Posts tagged ‘God is Sovereign’

Salvation: God’s Will Over Man’s Will!

John 1:12-13
12 But to all who did receive Jesus, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

It is said that two wrongs don’t make a right. However, ever so often we come across Arminians who believe it is by our human will that a person believes in Jesus and possesses salvation. So, given the vacillating nature of our human will, the Arminian secures this lie with another lie (confirmed in John 6:39), which is that Salvation is losable because it is after all secured by the vacillating will of man. Now for man to be able to choose God, it must mean that man inherently is not totally depraved and knows what is good when he sees it. So, this is another lie (confirmed in Rom 3:12), which goes into securing man’s ability to choose Salvation. Now if man can choose salvation, it must mean Salvation is an open invite, which is another lie (confirmed in Acts 13:48). Also if Salvation is an open invite, then it means that man wilfully keeps the love of God presented to us in Jesus Christ waiting on him, till he is ready to accept Christ but then this is another lie (confirmed in Eph 2:1 & Mat 13:13) because the Bible says that man is dead in his sins, and concerning the Gospel it is said that man hears but cannot hear, looks but cannot see and listens and does not understand. Such are the five lies of Arminianism, which tries to suppress God’s sovereignty in Salvation. Why is this so? It’s because the Arminians typically cannot trust God with their salvation, and as vacillating as their nature could be, they feel more secure believing the onus of their faith is in their own hand, than in the hands of God.

Mat 15 (the reprobate heart)
11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?[d] 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person.

Jer 31:33 (the regenerate heart)
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2Cor 5:17 (the regenerate heart)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

You may ask me, does man have such a thing as free will? Well, the answer is yes obviously but it doesn’t supersede the sovereign will of God in Salvation. In the fall (Gen 3:2-6), man became a law to himself, forsaking the law of God and receiving a righteousness of self. In doing so man was sold into the slavery of sin but in Christ (Mat 11:28-30), man is reconciled back to God, going from being enslaved to sin to being enslaved to the righteousness of God. By his own will a man cannot change his own heart because his heart is the source of his being, from which his will which delights in wickedness springs forth. The free will therefore follows after the heart. So, in the reprobate state when the man’s heart is a stone (Ezek 36:26), his will delights in lawlessness/sin (Mat 15:19) but when he is saved, God gives the person a new heart (Jer 31:33), which matures delighting in God, His will and His righteousness (Ps 37:4). It is for this reason it is said that David was a man after God’s own heart, because he delighted in God’s law (Ps 40:8), which was the very nature and character of God, that was written on David’s heart to follow after.

I need to mention that just because God’s will supersedes man’s will, it does not mean that God makes man sin (James 1:13-15). Man sins by his own free will and God simply lifts his restraining hand and hands man over to his lusts (Ps 81:12/Rom 1:24). It is therefore man’s free will that makes man culpable of his sin, but man being the hypocrite he is from fallen Adam, blames God when he is tempted by his own sinful desires, & when it comes to salvation, he somehow sees his own free will as the instrument by which he chooses God’s salvation, as though his reprobate will ever had the desire for anything that is genuinely good.

Ezek 36
26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Ephesians 2
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; 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, that we should walk in them.

If you care to notice, there is great similarity in the above 2 verses of scripture. We see salvation is by grace through faith, it is 100% the work of God in us (Phil 1:6) and we cannot boast of those things which God has brought about for us to do because those things are the works of God’s Holy Spirit in us. By ourselves, we would have no desire for God and to know him. We would all be just like the world, who couldn’t care less about God and doing the right thing, unless it served their own vested interest. So, don’t say that it was by your will and you chose to believe in God because that would be like a wolf saying he loves to eat grass. From the fall, all of mankind loves sin and hates the truth about God. So, as I have proved to you from the Bible, Salvation is not by the will of man but by the will of God, who gives us a new heart, from which springs a new will/desire that freely enjoys doing the good will of God.

Psalm 3:8
Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people!

Man In God’s World!

This piece is inspired by the book “Man In God’s World” written by the German theologian Helmut Thielicke. Today, people feel that there is no room for righteousness and religion in this world but as it is so often the case, the unbeliever loves to live in this surreal utopia where everything that ought to exist in the environment is there only to please him and serve his own vested interest. The truth however is that man is not God but God is God and everything that is there in all creation is there to please God not us. So, if we feel that there is no room in the world for God, guess what’s going to happen, the earth will swallow us 6 ft under before we reach a ripe old age. The Bible says that the earth yearns for the revealing of the sons of God, the rightful stewards of the earth, whose image/character of God that was broken in the disobedience of Adam has been restored in Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17).

Rom 8
19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Rev 12
15 And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.

Rev 13
4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Rev 15
2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious [a]over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. 3 And they *sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and marvelous are Your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty;
Righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the nations!
4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy;
For all the nations will come and worship before You,
For Your righteous acts have been revealed.”

That’s a whole lot of scripture I have mentioned up there but there is something I need to tell you along the lines of how this is God’s World we are living in. Like a king who is overthrown by his own people for his tyrannical reign over his people through the years, is the case of the unbeliever, who in serving his own interests like he was a god, uses and abuses his neighbour & the creation around alike & then creation fights back because God subjects her to that pain of child bearing & yearning concerning revealing those whom God has adopted into His family through Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13). I have mention Rev 13:4-6 & 15-17 above, so you would understand the context of Rev 15:16. Satan has naturally bastardized all of mankind from the fall of Adam with his blasphemous lies against God & His commandments (Gen 3:1-6). The reason the masses today are more interested to listening to demonic spirits and not the word of God is because from the falls the unbeliever is a bastard son/daughter of Satan (Heb 12:8), who is naturally opposed to the righteousness of God. So, like the Levites paid Melchizedek their tithe while they were still in the loins of Abraham (Heb 7:5), so too we who are all Adam’s offspring fell for Satan’s lies in the fall of Adam. Satan was however overpowered and kicked out of heaven and he fell like lightening to earth (Lk 10:18) and broke his fall with his face I presume but on earth he continues to fight his losing battle (Rev 12:13/Is 9:6), so he opens his mouth spews out his unreasonable hate against God and His church in an attempt to destroy the Church and foolishly thwart the mighty saving arm of God in the lives of His elect (Ps 44:3). Though the Bible says the world is under the sway of Satan (1Jn 5:19), the only fools listening to him are those whom he had bastardized in Adam. Imagine the Almighty Son of God, through whom all creation was made (Col 1:16-19), He took human form 2000 years ago in the womb of a virgin (that he may have no part of Adam’s sin) and became the sinless/unblemished atoning sacrifice for all of God’s people. The redemption this Jesus offers is 2-fold, first Jesus imputes in the elect His righteousness and second Jesus takes upon Himself the sins of the believer having overcome it by His death and resurrection. This Almighty Son of God is the one who binds Satan and plunders his house (Lk 11:21-22), saving whom He wills. Imagine Saul, who gushed like water from Satan’s mouth on the road to Damascus to persecute the Church but encountered the Lord Jesus Christ on the way, who turned Saul around from his righteousness of self to the righteousness of God.

Exodus 15 (Moses Song)
11 “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders?
12 “You stretched out Your right hand,
The earth swallowed them.
13 “In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed;
In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.
14 “The peoples have heard, they tremble;
Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 “Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;
The leaders of Moab, trembling grips them;
All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
16 “Terror and dread fall upon them;
By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone;
Until Your people pass over, O Lord,
Until the people pass over whom You have purchased.

Coming to Rev 15 mentioned in the start of this post, let’s take a look at the Song of Moses and compare it with the what is mentioned above. The above is the Song is what Moses and the people sung after God parted the Red Sea that they may pass. Notice Verse 12 in Exodus 15 above… “the earth swallowed the Egyptians” who followed the Israelites into the Red Sea, just like it is mentioned in Rev 12:16. Then notice also Exodus 15:16, the people whom the Spirit of Christ past over came at a price, which was paid on the cross. Take a look at Baptism, its akin to the burial of believer in that we die to ourselves and come alive to God (John 12:24-26). This dying to ourselves, which is actually godly sorrow that brings about repentance leading to Salvation does not happen of our own volition (2 Cor 7:10). The Spirit of Christ subdues us, takes away our hearts of stone and gives us a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26-28) which is so obedient that the Bible says it’s as though God’s Law were written on it (Jer 31:33).

Matthew 24
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

Matthew 13
24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven [m]may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27 The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Though many people may consider Mat 24:40-41 as the rapture, it is not, because if you were to look at the context of this scripture, you will understand that that coming of the Son of Man is spoken in the context of paying out the good justice of God upon the ungodly, also take a look at Mat 13:30, it shows you that what goes first are the tares. One must also note that the rapture is an offshoot of this escapist ideology where God is not sovereign. On the contrary, as God did not spare His own Son (Rom 8:32), why will He spare us the rod and the Bible says he scourges/disciplines every son whom He receives in Jesus (Heb 12:6/Jn 1:12-13). The only difference between the scourging Jesus received and we will receive is that Jesus was the sinless Lamb of God by whose atoning sacrifice we have life, while the scourging we receive is the discipline we need to walk on the right path.

Ecclesiastes 7:17
Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?

Prov 16:31
A gray head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.

So, to help you put the tares going early into perspective, the wicked die early and if we are to have life, we can only continue to do so on God’s terms because after all we are all just men living in God’s world but thankfully the Triune God Almighty is good. Take a look at the statistics for yourself, you’d notice that average life expectancy for a drug addict is 30-39 years. Coming to the LGBT, these people are 42 times more likely of die of Aids and 4 times more likely to commit suicide; with suicide alone wiping out 34,000 of the LGBT each year, it is the third leading cause of death among the LGBT who are between 15 to 24 years old. For convicts charged with capital crimes, like rape or murder even if they do not hang, their odds of death increase by 78% & their life expectancy reduces by 10 years. Coming to Alcoholics, the average life expectancy is 47-53 years for men and 50-58 years for women. Unless you haven’t noticed, I have stated the statistics of only those whom the Bible says will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9-10). To conclude I shall say this, it is much better to live at the mercy of God which we generously avail in His Son Jesus than to live at the mercy of people fallen in Adam who know no mercy but tyranny.

Psalm 37:17
For the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the Lord sustains the righteous.

What we as His Church should learn from the bombings in Pakistan!

Exodus 1
5 All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. 6 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. 7 But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.

In our calling to be Christlike we ought to remember that as much as Jesus is the Lamb of God, He is the Lion of Judah. When I look at the bomb blasts in the two Churches in Lahore – Pakistan, it seems that these Christians are calling for the world to sympathise with their circumstances but as such if a Church (body of believers) is truly from God then the world would hate that Church for bearing the righteousness of God, as over supporting and empathising with it.

John 15
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant 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.

Today the circumstances are such that if we eliminate one threat of terror, many more arise, which is as though these favour God’s justice upon a world which has turned slothful in its faith in Christ. Take a look at the record of Exodus 1:5-12 and you will know that such multiplication of people is given by God, to meet His purpose (Prov16:4). Now we can either glorify God’s grace and mercy through genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn14:1) or we can glorify God’s justice and wrath from heretic notions concerning God, which never defined true Christianity.

What Christians mostly perceive about God today is nothing but heresy, which for most part is because these do not know their Bibles from cover to cover. The plight of the Christian Church is such that if Christians were to go through the list of predefined heresies, they would realise that they do ascribe to some of them concerning what Christianity teaches, when in truth Christianity teaches none of these. Such is the spiritual sloth the Church is dealing with today. The truth is people are not bored about God, they are merely fed-up with the same old repetitive lies they fabricate concerning God. After all unlike the truth, lies cannot be enjoyed like they were an original.

Concerning the two blast in Lahore, which targeted Christians on Easter (Resurrection Sunday), I am sceptical about how many from these masses who were targeted, were living their lives for Jesus Christ as over merely living for themselves. In most cases of Christian heresy I have observed that these so called Christians are spineless and compromise their Christian lifestyle from unholy fear of godless fools. Yes, I know of Pakistan’s blasphemy law and it reminds me of how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego defied the State in its apostasy by refusing to pay homage in any form to the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan3:1-18), which was initiated by political mischief.

For most part people are ashamed of the Gospel only because they are ashamed of the truth. It’s true that it takes an individual a whole lot of courage to speak out against the masses who err with great passion. Some of the famous passive thought trains among humanists are:
· if you can’t beat them, join them
· when in Rome, do as the Romans do

This is merely because people comprise on the reverence for God out of fear of the people. It happens even here in India that Christians receive/eat the sweets offered to Idols out of fear of the people but such fear estimates that these people are the ever present standard to these Christians as over God, whose good pleasure is set aside because these Christians fear the people as over fearing God.

Rom 13
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behaviour, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

To conclude, if the Christians in Pakistan start living out their Christianity as over cowering under the lies of Islam, while still trying to appease people around them, then they shall inherit the blessing of Ex1:12 by grace as over being made subject of God’s justice. The Christian code is a moral code and though the Pakistani government may ascribe to Islam, its function is to maintain Law and Order in the country, which is impossible under Islam because Islam lacks the idea of what defines a society, while its teachings promote anarchy and disestablishment of a nation. So if Christians were to exercise their faith in their nation, Pakistan will not only become more tolerant to the Gospel but would also flourish as a nation.

Ezek 36 (God’s promise to His elect)
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of 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 keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.

What we ought to learn from the Brussels Attack!

Though very few may know of the fall of Adam that is inherent in people from Original Sin, surely everyone has noticed that people by nature are interested in everything except the truth about God in the Bible. Today people from the convenience of their plush homes talk about the atrocities that happened during the Christian Crusades but few have the courage to talk about the atrocities which took place on the Islamic side, which occurred under no provocation, except for their craving for power. The truth is that people by nature hate truth and love lies for such is the sweet poison of unbelief that prevails in the fallen sons of Adam until these come to Christ (Rom5:17).

Though the Crusades involved many unjust murders (not mere killings), its motive was good… to protect Christian civilizations like the Byzantine Empire in the Middle-East from destruction. Today scores of Christians are being murdered and sold as slaves in the Middle-East especially in Syria and Iraq. Many blacks often hate the Christian culture for the slave trade, which their forefathers were unwillingly subject to decades/centuries ago but these same people forget that it was the Arabs who sold the namesake Christians their slaves. This trade still exists today, it’s just that the Arabs have only found themselves different customers but do the blacks in America and Europe complain of this?… No, because whom they consider as brothers today are only those who are as morally perverse as they are. If you have watched the movie Amazing Grace which is based on a true story, you will know that it was the true Christians who initiated and ended slave trade in the West.

Am I calling for a Crusade? Well, I certainly don’t want the unjust killing of Christians and Jews that happened during the Crusades happening now but I would like every measure taken to safeguard the lives and livelihood of Christians in the Middle East because if we are going to be people who only take action when our heads go under the guillotine then the same bland “worldwide condemnation of the attack” that the Christians in Syria & Iraq got from an unbelieving world, is what the Brussels and the Paris attack are also going to get.

Luke 6
38 “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

If you would like to know what is my stand on the Brussels Attack, I would say: read Isaiah 10:5-20 and please know that the only reason you may not agree with me here is if your life does not bear witness from holy fear that God exists. Wake up Europe, wake up and smell the coffee! The world leaders who merely condemn the attack are going to do nothing for you outside their own safety/interest because they are terrified of the truth and can’t ever say the words “Islamic Terrorism”. However, if you turn for your unbelief to God in repentance, He shall secure you in Jesus’s love.

Exodus21
12 “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.
13 “But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee.
14 “If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die.

You know the funny thing is people don’t know what truly is Grace and Law. The opposite of Law is not Grace but lawlessness, which is sin (Mat7:23 [NASB]). The Bible teaches that God has put in place three institutions, which are the Family, Church and State. The State is only in charge of Law and Order, while the Church is given charge to care for and nourish society through ministries that deal with education, medicine and infrastructure; but where does that happen today? Today, the State is playing Church through government run schools, medical facilities and infrastructure; hence, instead to exercising justice on convicts whose sins are deserving of death (Deut19:4-6/1Jn5:17), the State is messed up and confused, exercising grace instead on murderous anti-social elements who deserve to be executed only because treason is defined here as coming from vested interest and not as being one nation under God. Now if Brussels were operating under a theocracy, this Salah Abdeslam would have been executed the same day he was caught. Such should have also been so with Yakub Menon and Ajmal Kasab in India, and it is from such disobedience we ought to take a look that the unholy fear a nation succumbs to, when the State forgets it is given to exercise justice under God.

To conclude, with prayer being removed from schools and government institutions and with Churches turning to Mosques and Pubs throughout Europe, out of pure lack of religious interests, it can safely be ascertained that the West has turned slothful in its faith in Christ. So, if one’s comforts are to surpass a lifestyle of Godliness so as to define the people’s liberty then I must say that God is not going to let that happen, simply to let us know that He exists and will not be ignored by people who consider their lifestyles as being more important than God, while taking for granted the common grace they enjoy as a nation formed after Biblical principles.

Repentance and the Gospel!

I see the world as having essentially two types of people, those who attribute their success and their lives to God and those who love to wallow in their own glory, even if it is by the means of crediting their success or their lives to something else besides God, which appeals as eye-candy to the people around.

Mat 5:45b
… for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Imagine people who perform but in their ignorance of God, fail to see their every effort/talent as being cushioned by the hand of God. So when these are asked as to what is the secret of their success they just arrogantly blurt their ignorant feelings available to them in that moment, not realizing to whom that credit is due. Still, God is not insecure like fallen men who desire payback for every emotion they invest in their neighbour.

Psalm 115:1
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.

What is Repentance, it is turning away from that fallen desire of taking all the credit and giving glory to God, who matters more than all creation put together. If you find this hard to accept, it reflects only your miniscule perspective on God. Ironically, you will notice that though you haven’t figured the extent to which creation exists, you have no trouble in meditating on your own fallen desires with little care for those around you, leave aside all creation. That glory rightfully belongs to God (who is good and without sin) in all creation (Ps148), not to you or me or any other person for that matter.

Psalm 113:7
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,

Mat 5
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

The wearing of sackcloth in the Old Testament was synonymous with coarseness of mourning, where looking to God was the only comfort which would satisfy the soul. This repentance too is from God given to His elect (Act11:18) that they may know the truth about God and themselves and be brought to that spiritual prostration, which is every believer’s privilege in knowing God Almighty.

Mark 2:17 (In the context of John 1:10-13 & Rom 3:23-26)
17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

It has always been so, that those who feel they don’t need Jesus are only those who are completely at home with their sin. For every other religion, the code of religiosity is an outward code but in Christianity the code is purely moral and so a person’s faith is not measured by the colour of his beard or by the length of their trousers or by the food he eats. By this I do not mean a person should dress immodestly but just that Christian principles are based on moral values and not an outward showcasing of religiosity from the individual. So it is that, what Biblical Law focuses on concerning the individual is: morality (Is1:11-17). For people from their fallen nature are prone to remaining in their immoral and godless state even while performing the Ceremonial aspects of the Law, only because such is the love for sin in every man from the fall of Adam.

Isaiah 1
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

In repentance, God grants the individual the overwhelming capacity to put to death their nature to sin, a death to the individual’s sinful-self, unto a new life in God (Jn12:24-26), symbolized by sitting in ashes and dust (Job42:6) and being washed in the waters of baptism (Rom6:4). This realization of a person’s spiritual plight before God, is the beginning of the work of God the Holy Spirit in putting sin/immorality to death in the individual (Phil1:6).

Col 3
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

Such is the importance of repentance, which is the highlight of Baptism. Without repentance it is impossible to believe in the Gospel because one needs to begin emptying themselves of their love for sin/immorality to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. This capacity is granted the individual in Christ, who presents the believer a living spirit, which right from its infancy (Jn3:3,16), desires and exercises the righteousness of God (2Cor5:17).

Isaiah 58:5
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?

Mk 1:14-15
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

So to conclude, just as Christmas marks the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and Resurrection Sunday marks the redemptive accomplishment of the Lord Jesus Christ for all God’s people. Baptism marks the individual made ready through repentance to believe in the saving Gospel. The Bible puts this across through some beautiful euphemism, where the Church, which is the body of believers, is being prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive her groom: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev 22
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

For as creation is given to glorify God, we see that just as a man is given to pour out his strength and labour for the woman he loves, who in turn is given to draw forth righteousness from him by her beauty, so too the Salvation of God’s Church is by the absolute merit of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev5:9), who paid Salvation’s ransom for His Church in His blood (1Tim2:6) and sent the Holy Spirit (John15:26) to sanctify and beautify His Church as a bride into the image of God, which was lost in Adam’s fall (Rom5:17). That just as Salvation is by grace through faith, so too is the beauty of Jesus’ Church that her faith is a gift from God to draw forth the righteousness of her beloved groom to save her from her sins (Lk5:20).

My Secret Sin of Self-Adulation!

Gen 3
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.

From the account of the fall of man, there is much to learn. Summing verses 3 and 5 above, we see that the fall of man involves a spiritual death (broken communion with God) and from this spiritual death we also see that fallen man has turned blind to what his spiritual disposition really is before God, blind to such an extent where man himself yearns for worship in some form or the other. We see this very much in society today where pedophiles and homosexual perverts assert their rights to be treated with respect despite their spiritual morbidity.

I have never really shared much about myself in my blog post but now I am compelled to, so that you may see the sheer weight of what of our sinful inherent Adamic nature. Somewhere in 2003-05 I was being treated for schizophrenia and was put on medication, which also catalyzed my weight. The medication was supposed to limit my thoughts so my mind would be more stable and I could live a normal life. Well I am still on this medication though I now only take the lowest form of this dose.

By character I have been mostly an introvert and shy, I have now come to notice that most of problems were because of my secret self-adulation. This may not be such a problem for other people but for it was for me because whatever took place around whether that be on TV, radio, a street banner, my neighbour shouting etc., that all had some connection with me. Why? You see being an introvert, you don’t really go out and ask what is happening but you construct a story in your head with you at the center of it all… just because (you/I) (are/am) so important. I was dead in my relationship with God and I knew nothing more of Christ than what was formally practiced around me. Estranged from God as an unbeliever, I did not comprehend the spiritual weightage of the first and foremost and greatest commandment (Matt 22:37-38), which was to love God with all my heart and mind even beyond myself.

You see even though I had heard preachers preach umpteen times; I never gauged the sheer importance of totalitarian faithfulness to Christ in thought as well as action. I however at that time of being ignorant of the spiritual aspect of His Moral Law, I attempted to resolve my introvert nature by being brutally honest and I lost a few good friends with that, while one has nicknamed me the ‘possibility thinker’ I think. What I have learned now is that it was not my introvert nature, which was an issue but this notion in my head that I was so important that nothing which happened around me could have any significance if it was not connected with me directly or indirectly. It was almost as though I idolized myself secretly. Even if I did something good my introvert nature would buffet me from openly seeking praise but deep within I desired that praise enough to construct stories out of thin air based purely on my presumptuous nature. With time I have turned audacious and this has all been because of my secret self-adulation, which points to my inherent Adamic nature; self-adulation, which was intense enough to equal self-worship (Gen 3:5).

I am now coming to believe that if people knew as their very basic thought, the kind of devotion the Lord requires of them, we would have all the world’s psychiatrist out of work.

John 4
23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

Isaiah 14
12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart: ‘ I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

Another thing you would notice from the Genesis 3 account is that Satan (Lucifer) and his angels had fallen before man had fallen. For how else would Satan tempt Adam and Eve while knowing that falling from the glory of God makes one view oneself as a god? Isaiah 14 mentioned above speaks precisely of such a fall from the glory of God.

From this we learn that not only is it best for one to view the Triune God as nothing else but God (the Sovereign Lord over all that is in heaven, earth and world below) but also to learn to submit one’s folly of self-adulation at the feet Christ in repentance i.e. spiritual prostration.

I am not saying I am there yet and have successfully done what needs to be done but I am saying that God the Holy Spirit and convicted me of such an ungodly mindset and it is making a big difference in how am beginning to see things around me and deal with them.

Armour of God!

Though this world may seem to move from bad to worse, I know that God is as much as in control now as He ever was and as He will be forever. For as much as He is glorified in being a creator over creation, he is glorified is being a redeemer over His vessels of mercy and also glorified in His anger over His vessels of wrath. It is not for God or the Christian to worry as to what the world is coming to because God is Sovereign but it would be of much help to the Christian to wear the full armor that God has given him, to withstand days of peril.

Eph 6:13-17
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

The “belt of truth” in verse 14 is something that fastens the armor of God upon the believer. Let’s read Rom 1:18.

Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Just as if I were to say that my glass is only filled half way or that my glass is still half empty would both be true, hence from Romans 1:18 we can also say “God’s mercy has been made known from heaven touching godliness and righteousness of men, who by their righteousness stands firm in the truth.” We therefore see that the breastplate of righteousness that is held-fast to us by truth protects our bosom so that our hearts entertain nothing else (Proverbs 6:24-27) other than God (Deut 6:5 and Jer 31:33). This, my friend is the mark of a people and belong to God.

From Eph 6:14, we see that the believer is called to have readiness to preach the Gospel as Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-20 that All Power has been given unto Him and we are therefore commanded to go into the nations and bring in the good news of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of peace! That the people may adhere to the One God in the Father, Son and Spirit, as He promised to remain with His people till the end of age.

Romans 10:13-15
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

About the shield of faith in Eph 6:15 that extinguishes the fiery dart of Satan. We know God Himself promised to shield Abraham (Gen 15:1) and it was because Abraham believed that it was credited to him as righteousness (Gal 3:6). The Bible also tell us in 1John 5:5 that it is in believing in Jesus in which we have the shield of faith that quenches the fiery darts of the enemy (1Peter 5:8-9).

Also, you are not fully sheltered if your head is not protected. For in this battle that happens for the time that God has decreed, a blow to head can prove to be fatal and if God has called you to receive His helmet of salvation (Psalms 140:7) then it implicitly implies that He will give you His full armor, which is a privilege the world has not seen.

Habakkuk 3:13
You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah.

Finally, you also need a device of attack and what we have been given is the sword of Spirit i.e. the Word of God – The Bible, which is a weapon given to us by His Spirit in His wisdom.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I kept this for last; Brother/Sister now that you have seen the splendid Armor presented to you, here is its purpose:

Ephesians 6:11-12
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

If you think the opposition is big then this should console you: God controls the opposition! Do you know how some vaccines are made in the field of medicine? The actual virus is taken, made handicapped and injected into the body. The virus cannot really do much harm but what happens is that the body starts producing antibodies, which builds up the immune system against that disease and this is probably how God Sovereignly uses Satan and all his dominions to build God’s people.

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