Posts tagged ‘religion’

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).

How to Move On from Vengeance?

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Rom 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Very often we come across situations where we are not only terribly wronged but also slandered for speaking the truth to those who have wronged us. Moving-on from there… is not so much about saving your image in society but about acting sincerely in that situation in the sight of God. There may be times when you want to bludgeon people (who have wronged you) to death, and it is worse if you’re short tempered because then many who love the thrill of a near death experience will instigated you. Still what you should fear is not so much the Law Enforcement so as to save your own skin but you ought to fear God and nip it at the bud by way of repentance unto God before those thoughts fruition into actions. So, what you must go about doing is the next righteous thing, despite the slander and you will come to notice that when your time of testing is over, that the perpetrator/s who you were contending with is/are dealt with so severely by God, that you will feel sorry for them (Isaiah 10:12).

Psalm 3:7 (Call on Him to give you Justice)
Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

Mat 11:28 (Find your rest in Him through your trials)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

If you insist on avenging yourself, then the only moving-on you will be doing, will be from the frying pan to the fire. However, if you are willing to let the fear of the Lord rule over your heart (Ps 119:10-11), your life shall be blessed, in your moving on from a self-centered life to God-centered life because you will never be able to really move on (Mat 5:4-6) unless you die to yourself and live for the glory of God who is just (Jn 12:24-26). Though you may sometimes be so angry that you can vividly imagine the bloody justice you would stoop to, to set things right. The truth is you are neither God over that situation, nor over yourself, nor over the person you seek to get even with. So, the best thing is to do is to swallow your pride, overcome your anxiety and find your rest in Christ (Mat 11:28-29), by way of reading scripture or listening to some Gospel music because it is in dying to ourselves and living for God that we find true peace in our situations. Moving-on, is not something synonymous with weakness rather it is about portraying the meek nature of Christ where our actions emerge not from the love/faith we have in ourselves but from the love/faith we avail in God through Jesus Christ (Jn 3:16). So, when you place your faith in God, moving-on is the bravest thing you can do while you are at peace, resting in Jesus (Jn 14:27). In fact, when you act from such faith and move on, it makes the people who have hurt you feel insecure for no longer having that emotionally destructive hold on you anymore.

Psalm 14:1
The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.

Prov 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Wisdom serves as a great comforter in helping us move on from acts of vengeance against those who have treated us unjustly. We must thereby understand that we live in a world where people think it’s ok to sin, as long as the people they are sinning against don’t know what they’re up to. However, for those victims who foolishly revere (from unholy fear) those who victimize them, their perpetrators are only encouraged to take advantage of them further because their victims awareness makes them feel unstoppable in their wickedness to a god-like degree. In all these circumstances, these sinners believe there is no God and they are in no way answerable for their actions to God. Though these who are wicked and unrepentant, may be wise in their own eyes, there is more hope for a fool than there is for them (Prov 26:12) & if you are ever stuck in such a circumstance, you need to learn to move on from being concerned about your image in the sight of people to being concerned about your image in the sight of God… in the sense, you need cut these people out of your lives and be totally unabashed about it, because you need not be deceived in revering people from unholy fear but you must learn to revere God from holy fear.

Rev 15
2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God 3 and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations.
4 Who will not fear you, Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

It’s amazing how unbelievers fool themselves into thinking that God doesn’t exist, so they can sin against their neighbour without even a second thought of contending with a gracious yet formidable God (Heb 10:31) because from the fall of Adam unbelievers are each a law to themselves but God can see through them like a sea of glass and if you will look at Rev 15:2 you shall notice that those who have come out of them (sea of glass) (Rev 7:14) were tutored in the fear of the Lord (Rev 15:4) unto wisdom and in their victory (Mat 24:13) they are equipped to praise God for the Salvation He has accomplished in them (Phil 1:6) through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (Rom 5:9). For some reason I guess the unbelievers don’t get the idea of God’s good justice playing out in their life because their sinning is so rampant accompanied with that deliberate blindness that ‘there is no God’ that incurring God’s justice becomes as common as breathing air and if they have managed to fool themselves so far, fooling themselves further to have no fear-of-God is not a far-fetched idea but one which maintains them as fools in their sinning against the Triune God Almighty.

1 Corinthians 3
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

I would like to conclude this piece on moving-on from vengeance by expounding on the above scripture. Salvation is sure when we stand on the rock that is Jesus Christ and we mature spiritually depending on how we build on this foundation. For those whose hearts are established in Christ, moving-on from vengeance is a lesson we will learn either willingly which is the easier way or unwillingly which is the hard way (1Cor 3:15/Mat 3:11) because such is the pivotal role the Sovereign will of God plays in our lives.

Must We Forgive Anybody & Everybody?

I am compelled to write on the topic of forgiveness because just like when we speak out against sins like homosexuality, we are told that we must not judge, the world has similarly misconstrued Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness to only suit themselves. After all, the people of the world are gods to themselves, who love to use the Word-of-God to serve their own wicked interests. It’s a very painful thing to forgive the wrong people but the world doesn’t care as long as they can fool the innocent into keeping their guard down, so they can be taken advantage of further. Such is the sadist nature of many people in this world. It’s funny that the world’s people, who have no desire to follow Jesus, with not even an inkling whatsoever of what a Godly demeanor is, can have their heads filled with all these silly notions of religiosity that God requires of the believer, which highlights nothing but their wishful thinking & ignorance. The Bible is available to anybody and everybody who wishes to know God and it is usually lethargic fools who succumb to the world’s idea of forgiveness, which does not serve God’s interest but only the interests of the wicked who delight in sinning against their neighbour. Ideally the Fear-of-the-Lord is the beginning of wisdom but with such humanist teaching flagrantly being taught in Christian circles, what Christians today are learning is not the fear-of-the-Lord but the fear-of-people, which is why the nominal devout Christian is a fool even by the standard of this godless world.

John 20
22When He had said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”

Mat 16
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Yes, I am aware of all the verses that teach us to bless those who persecute us, curse us and speak evil against us (Mat 5:44) and that God shall forgive us only as we forgive those who sin against us (Mat 6:12). I also know that we are taught to turn the other cheek but this is in the context of not returning evil for evil (Mat 5:38-39). For instance if somebody breaks into my house and steals from me, Jesus doesn’t require me to keep the doors wide open thereon, neither am I to break into their house and steal from them to set things even but I have all the right under the moral and civil Law, as provided by God to take action against this person who stole from me. Remember, scripture must be studied and understood in the light of scripture so that we understand the Word-of-God on God’s righteous terms and not on the World’s ridiculous terms. What I am talking about is studying scripture by way of exegesis and not via an eisegesis. We must understand that scripture teaches us to conform to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) in whose image we were made. So, just as there is no salvation without repentance, we are not required to forgive unless the person who has sinned against us is sorry for what he/she has done. In this context, even if the person who has sinned against us apologizes to us seventy times seven (Mat 18:21-22), we are to forgive in imitating the meek nature of Jesus Christ (Is 42:3) but to those hypocrites who are unrepentant being right/wise in their own eyes (Isaiah 5:21), we are under no obligation to forgive them and we can even pray to God asking for His justice that the perpetrator may be softened with humility (Luke 18:7), so those necessary interactions we make with them are bearable or better still that he/she may repent and turn to God through our witnessing for the Gospel.

Luke 19
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him [b]gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone [c]to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The above portion of scripture shows us that an apology/repentance is not an empty word because the Bible requires people (Rom 2:12) to back it up with the action of restitution as you can see (Luke 19:8) and God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor 9:7). Even if you we were to look at the Judicial Law concerning protection of property and social responsibility in Exodus 22, we understand that the Judicial Law demands restitution only because the Moral Law which it serves to hedge demands it. Though the people of the world might have a good laugh on this subject of restitution, it only shows why pagan societies are so inconducive compared to western societies which have been shaped by the Gospel. It is important to note that though Jesus cried out on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34), not all but only those (elect [Acts 13:48]) who repented of their sin were forgiven. For instance: the centurion who stood before Jesus when He breathed His last (Mark 15:39), this centurion exclaimed just as the Apostle Peter did (Mat 16:16)… saying truly this Man was the Son of God. However, in the case of Judas who betrayed Jesus (John 17:12 [below]) and the Pharisees who wickedly tried Him (John 19:10-11 [below]), there was no forgiveness for them and these were handed over to their own destructive lusts (Ps 81:12/Rom 1:24). Judas hanged himself & as for the Pharisees, they saw Jerusalem fall and the destruction of the temple in just a span of 37 years from Jesus’ death. Unless I have to really spell it out for you, Judas and those who wickedly tried Jesus received no forgiveness. The historian Josephus described Jerusalem as having reached a state very similar to what liberal Hollywood portrays as the future of the world (judging from movies like Pacific Rim Uprising, Resident Evil Retribution, Mad Max etc.); 70 century AD Jerusalem not only saw the destruction of the Temple but also the people’s plight reduced to what was prophesied in Isaiah 3. There is one account of this looting party who broke into this woman’s house because they smelled something cooking and when they got in they found a woman cooking her own baby. Though these people had hit an all-time low in their depravity, they left the house being unable to even stomach the idea of woman sharing with them her food which was her own child which she was cooking as food.

John 17
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

John 19
10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

To conclude, it is rather ironic to notice those who believe that one must forgive even when the other is not sorry, extend this idea to their doctrine thinking, genuinely believing in the Gospel can exist without repentance unto Christ (Jn 12:24-26). However, God doesn’t rebuke His people for praying to Him for justice, when the world has dealt unjustly with them individually or collectively (Rev 6:10). The Bible also teaches that the Gospel is veiled from the unbeliever (2Cor 4:3) by his/her own unrepentant nature (Mat 11:20). So, if we who are made in the image of God, are taught to imitate God, in His likeness as revealed to us in Christ, we are not bound to forgive those who aren’t sorry, just as God does not forgive those who do not repent & believe in the Gospel.

John 8
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Satiated in God Vs Idolatry!

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

James 1:12-13
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

The above two verses tell you what it is like to be satiated in God and what it is like to try and satisfy yourself with idolatry. Idolatry is simply the means of serving your own ungodly interests by way of fabricating gods for your worship, pursuing a life of greed, sexual immorality or a desire to wield power from that pride of self. Being satiated by God on the other hand is about using all the means God has provided you in life to serve His interest and good pleasure. It is only possible to know God through Jesus Christ (Jn 1:18), unto whom God draws the elect (Jn 6:44) and offers His salvation (Jn 1:12-13), transforming us each day into the likeness of His Son (Rom 8:29) for we who belong to God, belong to Christ (Rom 8:9), made and restored for Jesus’s glory (Col 1:16-18). Now, let’s take a look at a couple of scriptures that highlight the absolute frustration of self-idolatry compared to the pure satisfaction of serving the Lord.

Psalm 1
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

John 4
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

If we were to go back to the fall of Adam & Eve in Gen 3:1-6, we see from verse 5 where the idolatry of self really started, and it is for this reason the Lord Jesus Christ says that man can either serve money or serve God, not both (Mat 6:24) because nothing serves our own vested interest like money. There is nothing wrong with earning money, money can very well be used to serve God’s righteous interests i.e. furthering the gospel, nourishing ourselves & feeding our families. The problem is when, we see money as the means as furthering our rebellion against God, and in doing so, fund our own destruction (Prov 8:36). The thing about idolatry is that, we value only that which serves our ungodly interests and only for so long as it does, after that everything becomes dispensable and disposable because from the fall, our lives are founded on a lie that we are gods to ourselves (Gen 3:5) and so unlike God who does good in serving His own interests, we do only the most heinous things in serving nothing more than our own interests because the truth is the Triune God Almighty is God and we are not.

Isaiah 49:15
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Mat 10
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

So, the only rightful place for God in our lives is FIRST PLACE, over our neighbours (friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances). If anything but God, takes FIRST PLACE then you will see yourself doing the most heinous things in justifying that idolatry. I must add the world is filled with the worst of hypocrites who calls what is good: evil and what is evil: good (Is 5:20). In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees claimed Jesus did all the good he did, not by the power of God but by the power of the chief of demons Beelzebul but that is exactly how it is with the people of the world, who are gods to themselves, their wishful thinking allows them to blurt out any damn nonsense which they desire others to accept as truth, simply because it came out of their mouth but the truth is these fools aren’t God, only the Triune God Almighty is God. Therefore, it is only the word of God that endures forever (Is 40:8) because it is the truth of The Triune God Almighty, who really is God and hence His word goes forth and doesn’t return void (Isaiah 55:11). Unlike rejecting the vested lies of fallen men, rejecting the truth of God revealed in Christ only works towards our destruction (Jn 3:16-18) according to the righteous will of God.

Psalm 34
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.

Mat 10
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

I would like to conclude by saying that to fear anything more than God is idolatry as well because Psalm 34:10 says that even the most fearsome unbelievers, will never be satiated in life with everything they have but those who seek and fear the Lord, whose lives are accountable to their Lord-&-Saviour Jesus Christ, these shall be satisfied in God & not be left in want of any good thing (Mat 6:33).

Theorizing 666!

I have a theory with enough Biblical support to decode the number of this man who is 666 from Rev 13:18. I have reason to believe that this man is fallen Adam, who was deceived by Satan to receive his own righteous standard which was passed down to all his progeny through procreation. This nature of rebellion against God that comes from men who are each a law to themselves from fallen Adam is the spirit of Anti-Christ (1Jn 4:3 & 2Jn 1:7).

Deut 6 (Christ Law)
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

Rev 13 (Anti-Christ Law)
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Have you ever wondered, what it is to be a law to yourself, it is to be a god to yourself because you are answerable to none but yourself for everything you do and this is what happened in the fall (Gen 3:5-6). The whole world however has been deceived in Adam because nobody is really answerable to only to himself, he in fact stands accountable to that ungodly peer pressure, which determines his survival in it. So, if you look at Rev 13:16-17 above, you understand that godless societies exude that unholy fear by which it’s members are forced to yield for the sake of their survival, because their members are mere existentialists, estranged from God, knowing nothing more than their own existence. God’s Law on the other hand was revealed to us men through Christ (Jn 1:18), which in the Old Testament was through the Angel of the Lord a.k.a. the Son of God and in the New Testament through Jesus Christ (Gal 3:19). This Law is the very nature of God, whose image we were made in and whose character we were made to represent in our being through in His Son Jesus Christ (Col 1:16-20). Now, what exactly is this Law?

Mat 22:36-40
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This is the Moral Law of God, whose interest we are to serve before our own. So, if you were to look at this in the context of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20: 1-17, you would notice that this Law reflects the first four laws of the Ten Commandments instructing the Saints to fiercely love God with all their strength and second to love the people in our environment as ourselves. This Law as Jesus has taught us is not merely exercised in deed but also in thought (Job 31:1/Mat 5:17-20 & 27-28), which is metaphorically referred to as binding the Law to your forehead and right arm. Now if you were to take a look at the Ten Commandments, you will see what makes up the anti-Christian law, because Biblically a three time reference signifies fulfillment, so the number 6 representing the six laws to do with our neighbour, mentioned thrice i.e. 666, signifies an unsaved people (Rev 13:8) who are each a law to themselves. This is how a godless syndicate works in society, where neither grace nor deserving justice is entertained because surely you know what it is to be at the mercy of people and you know how senseless violence promotes that unholy fear by which these godless syndicates bring its people to remain committed to their cause for the sake of their own survival, being convinced by the awe in which they are brought to stand of ungodly syndicates who are recognized for their wickedness both in thought and deed (Rev 13:12-15).

Psalm 14:10
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds;
There is no one who does good.

Psalm 84:10
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Mat 10
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.

If we were to look at Ps 14:10 & Mat 10:28 in the light of Psalm 84:10, you would know how critical it is to remain devoted to God even in the face of affliction. If we were to look at the definition of Israel as given in Gen 32:28, we see God’s sovereignty in the salvation of His elect in this, that the godly are sanctified in the furnace of affliction which is the world, and prevail by the power of Christ… just as Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego did walking with the Son of God (Angel of the Lord) in the furnace of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3:25). The Church, which comprises of both New Testament and Old Testament saints is the spiritual Israel (Eph 2:11-13), that thrives by the Spirit of Christ even in the furnace of affliction. For Jesus is that seed of Abraham (Gal 3:16), which germinates in the hearts of God’s elect in calling them out of the world and adopting them into the family of God. This seed of Abraham, is the Spirit of Christ by whose power the individual who is called unto God, successfully resists the nature of fallen Adam, which is so naturally prevalent in the world that the Bible refers to it as that broad road of destruction (Mat 7:13). Surely this nature of fallen Adam is Satanic and resisting this nature (James 4:7) in the world is not to merely to fight against flesh and blood but to wage war against the spiritual forces or darkness (Eph 6:12) but as always there is hope for the elect in Christ, as mentioned in Rom 8:38-39. It was through the Son and for His glory that all creation came into being (Col 1:16), a glory which He shares with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit and it is through His Son that God promises a complete takeover of this world (Col 1:20/Dan 2:44-45). For there shall come a time when this world shall stop glorifying His good justice under the deception of the anti-Christ and be transformed to glorify His mercy and grace in Jesus Christ (Jn 3:16-18) as prophesied in Isaiah 11, for in this God delights, seeing His image restored in mankind by the redeeming power of His Almighty Son.

Happy Ending… (for the Godly)!

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