Posts tagged ‘religion’

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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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.

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.

The Glory of the Good we do belongs to GOD (not us).

Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

From the fall, man in receiving to himself a righteousness of self, is a law to himself and a god to himself. It is no wonder that a natural man’s attitude is indifferent towards God owing to that fallen need to serve himself in everything he does. Hence, fallen man has made the pursuit of serving himself as the chief end of his life, a wicked end justified no doubt by the most devious means because the truth is that man is no God and so his self-centered pursuit of life is nothing short of dastardly. Even when he does something good, it is with the motive of serving his own interest, so there is never anything that is genuinely good that comes out of man because man doesn’t believe God is God, man on the contrary feels that he is god and that is why he rejects the truth about God because he sees no point in serving God’s interest over his own.

Mat 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Luke 17:10
So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.

The other day I called Amazon to thank the advisor, whom I had fired the previous day because of the delay in delivery of my order. The advisor escalated my complaint and my order was delivered the very next day. I thought it would please God to display some neighbourly love by calling Amazon and appreciating that advisor for being patient with me and doing his job. So, I passed on a note of appreciation to his colleague over the phone and through an email feedback form as well. When I had finished the call, I felt almost in the 7th heaven (figurative) for doing this but I soon realized that the glory of the good I do belongs to God and was not for me to wallow in and delight in concerning how good I am myself. This incident brought me to write on this subject that the glory of the good we do belongs not to us but to God.

Mat 10:42
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.

Mat 6:5
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward.

True religion is about pleasing God and serving His interest, for hypocrites however, religion is all about pleasing people and serving their own interest. So, just as there is such a thing as temporal blessing, we ought to understand that these hypocrites who do good to serve their own interest and rewarded in full here on earth itself, where their every blessing is susceptible to the destruction/corruption of moth and vermin, possibly reflecting their own spiritual condition before God. I once attended a Bible study in Mumbai where a UK national asked this question: “Is it ok to serve God out of the desire of being rewarded?”, I then happened to understand that the fall of Adam is so ingrained in people that many Seek the Lord out of covetousness, & these people wish to serve the Lord with the intention of actually serving themselves. Indeed, God is no man’s debtor (Rom 11:33-35) and he will pay us back according to our deeds but Salvation is when we have the mind of Christ and God’s interest become our interests (Ps 37:4).

Mat 6:19-21
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We must understand that the power to covert the heart, is of God (Ezek 36:26-27), we know that God does not look at outward appearance but at the heart (1Sam 16:7). Also, the Bible teaches us that life is in the blood, so figuratively the heart which pumps the blood in our bodies is seen as the source of our being. Therefore, the evil thoughts and actions that proceeds from the heart of natural man (Mat 15:18), shows he is corrupt at the very source of his being. However, since God has the power to covert the heart, when He looks at a regenerated soul, what God is look at or looking for is His own handiwork within us (Phil 1:6) and there is none can thwart (Job 42:2) His mighty saving right arm i.e. His Son Jesus Christ (Ps 98:1).

Jer 31:33 (in the context of Eph 2:11-16)
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

To conclude, we can never freely obey God unless we are brought to desire it and enjoy it, which is what God brings about in His people. He gives us all a heart that seeks after Him and prizes Him over everything else in our lives (Mat 13:45-46). Out of the this regenerated heart flows our actions and intentions, which are God’s handiwork and for His own glory, making evident that His elect are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) because the glory belongs all to the Triune God Almighty for our Salvation.

Mustard Seed Faith Avails God’s Strength

Mat 17
20 Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

2Cor 12:9
But Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

From the two pieces of scripture mentioned above, we are able to deduce that the act of overcoming our trials, is in thinking less of ourselves and focusing our lives more on the Son of God “Jesus Christ”, through whom God creates and restores life in all its holistic essence. It is in counting all we have achieved in the flesh as loss (Phil 3:8) and dying to ourselves and living for the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 12:24-26) that we enjoy life in all its fullness. Have you ever noticed that people who show-off, put on the poorest show? The thing is we were not made for the purpose to glorify ourselves but to live for the glory of God, and am speaking of those who have been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is not about what we have done but about finding refuge in Jesus, learning His precepts & be empowered by His Holy Spirit to exercise His commandments with a new heart that beats for God (Ezek 36:26-27).

Mat 22
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

Psalm 2
11 Worship the Lord with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 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!

Remember how God tells Israel in Deut 7:7 that He did not choose Israel because they were great but because they were the least of all peoples. You know, God is so Sovereign and Mighty that His enemies exists simply because He raises them, like fattening a cow for the slaughter (Rom 9:17, 22). Even Satan does nothing more than further God’s agenda in this world. You might ask, so if everyone is doing the will of God, why are people going to hell? Good Question… well, unlike the serpent in the garden of Eden, we who were made in the image of God are warm blooded, so as to indicate that we won’t adapt to our environment to the extent of succumbing to it. Take Simon for example, whose name means “a reed that sways with the wind” but after his confession concerning Jesus’ true identity as the Son of God, Jesus named him “Peter” meaning ‘rock’ (Mat 16:18), a testimony which cannot be shaken and upon which Jesus shall build His Church. It is said about God that He is immutable (there is no shifting shadow [James 1:17]) and this is how we are to be… holy as God is Holy, that even in an environment of a fallen world we shall be as saints empowered by grace to serve the Lord (Phil 3:14 & 4:13), like the lotus that grows in the marshes. So it is, that from the fall, all men are sinners (Rom 3:23) left with the self-righteousness they chose in Adam to saves themselves while the Saints are God’s elect in whom God overcame sin by the power of Jesus’ blood and reconciled them to Himself (1Jn 2:2). So, the reason people are going to hell is because the righteousness they chose for themselves in Adam doesn’t save them from sin, especially when you consider how self-righteousness blatantly differs from the righteousness of God, revealed to us in Christ.

John 1
18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him.

Rom 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!

The counterfeit religions of the world have a very misleading view of piety, because their righteousness is not revealed to them through Christ, the only mediator between God & men (1Tim 2:5). As a matter of fact, these religions are driven by the people’s self-righteousness in their wasted attempt to please God on their own terms but truth be told the only god they serve is themselves because if their righteousness is their own, then these fools are a law to themselves & wise in their own eyes. Following Jesus (true Christianity) on the other hand, calls for a piety where the precepts we are to obey are moral (Mat 28:18-20). I really don’t think God is really concerned with the people’s sadistic take on religion, who beat themselves silly, grow an unkempt beard or walk long distances barefoot to the Mosque, temple or monastery. If you think your zeal to not eat pork or drink wine pleases God (Mat 15:17-18), guess what… it doesn’t. What pleases God is seeing you obey His Moral Law, where you first love the Lord with all your strength and second that you love your neigbour as you love yourself (Mat 22:36-40). The religions of the world believe in putting on a show of humility with their attire for all the world to see, while by way of self-righteousness they magnify themselves before God concerning how they merited/attained their jannat/nirvana with their sadistic religious routines. However, the truth is Salvation is about being put right with God… aligning your desires with His by the redeeming merit of the unblemished lamb of God: Jesus, by whose blood we have forgiveness of sins. Salvation is not naturally possible for any person, until the irresistible grace of God converts the person from being self-centered to being God centered. This is true conversion and is only possible by way to repentance, where after God brings the person to realize the futility of his/her self-righteousness, that person submits/lowers/prostrates himself/herself to God, that in truly admitting his/her weakness, he/she may find comfort & refuge in God, through Jesus Christ.

Mat 5
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

2Cor 7:10
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

To conclude, if we were to look at Eph 2:8-10 and Luke 17: 10, we understand that we are saved by grace through faith and the evidence of our salvation is in the fruits but the merit is of Christ and so if we are to boast, we are to boast in the Lord (Jer 9:23-24) & think less of ourselves to the extent of boasting in our weakness, which is spiritual prostration in revealing how much we really love the Lord our God who is worthy of true worship (Rev 5:8-14 & 7:10). It is therefore in earnestly seeking the Lord concerning the obedience He requires of us, that we can see beyond ourselves and beyond our apostate totalitarian environment, only to realize as Paul did, how helpless we are as sinners (Rom 7:24) and how great the mercy of God is for those who seek Him that where our sin abound, His saving grace abounds all the more (Rom 5:20).

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