Posts tagged ‘Salvation’

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.”

Salvation is True Freedom!

Rom7
14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

On the occasion of my country’s Republic Day, I feel compelled to write on freedom and what it truly entails because today the only freedom the average Indian knows is freedom from the British Raj, which is something like the Israelites of Jesus’ time seeking Christ only to save Israel from Roman rule. The individual on the other hand is clueless about his/her own nature before God, of how enslaved he/she is to sin.

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

Before I knew the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour from revealed scripture, I was just another sinfully predictive human being, who sought nothing more than self-gratification in life. If we look at 1Jn2:16 we see there are 3 facets of bondage drivers in this world that deter people from finding freedom in God i.e. the lust of the flesh, which is pleasure dealing with indulgence of the senses beyond that which is healthy; then the lust of the eyes, which is power: craving that which is beyond our means. Third being the boastful pride of life, which you see in the faces of people who are full of themselves.

Gen 3
6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

These three facets of bondage, show its self as also driving the fallen nature of Adam and Eve, where when Eve saw the tree was good for food, it accounted for her lust of the flesh i.e. it pleased her senses beyond that which was good for life. Whereas when she saw it was a delight to the eyes, that was her lust of the eyes i.e. a craving for power. Finally, her opinion outside the righteousness of God to find the fruit desirable to make her wise (Prov1:7) was what wet her worldly appetite towards the pride of life. Today, yielding to this fallen pride/pleasure/power is what enslaves the actions of all the people in the world, who are as much under the sway of Satan (1Jn5:19) as Adam and Eve were, when they fell to disobedience. Herein is our bondage to sin, our very nature from Adam.

Mat 5
39 “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40 “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41 “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
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 causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

If we were to look at the above scripture from the perspective of the world, it comes across as only a good teaching which is not practical. Ironically, the world also recognises much of the success of these teachings as having played a role in India’s non-violent freedom movement driven by Mahatma Gandhi.

Proverbs 16
7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

As the Lord Jesus says, an individual can serve only one of two masters, either he/she shall serve God or he/she shall serve money (Lk16:13). As it is with the world, these are given to only serve themselves outside the righteousness of God, for such is the nature they have received from Adam, that they cannot even consider the thought of trusting God with their lives, in being consistently yet cautiously good (Mt10:16). That in obeying Jesus, it is God who preserves them from the wicked (Ps37:40).

Rom 5
17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Life is therefore a pilgrimage for an individual who seeks the Lord in the midst of the moral defilements of this world and just as one would stop to take directions, so also the real question on which the individual must pause to ponder is: How can he/she live a life that is pleasing to God? Its answer is sited in Micah 6:8.

Micah 6
8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

John 15 (Jesus’ words)
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Like an electronic appliance that cannot function without electricity, so too Micah 6:8 cannot materialize unless the individual goes through a spiritual rebirth, which comes through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn3:3/2Cor5:17). There are three aspects to this saving faith: Knowledge, Intellectual Assent & Trust. These three are all given to the believer in Salvation. Where knowledge is of things which are spiritually appraised (1Cor2:14), while intellectual assent is to dwell on the substance that is our faith and know its fullness in the Lord Jesus Christ (Lk24:32) and finally trust is what distinguishes the sheep from the goats and the angels from demons and that is where, after having the knowledge and intellectual assent the believer is given to exercise his/her faith in waiting on the Lord in faith (Is40:31/Mt25:1-13).

Rom 10
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

There is but one name i.e. Jesus Christ in which there is Salvation and God’s good pleasure, that those who desire the Lord Jesus Christ, are given a circumcision of heart (Rom2:29) that they live not as in serving themselves but in serving God (Col3:23-24).

Rom 7
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

In Salvation therefore is true freedom for every man, woman and child because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (Jn14:6). Besides our nature to sin, is only nauseating at its height because it marks our unhealthy spiritual estate and sinful bondage before God and so to live life to its fullest is to begin a journey as though it were our life’s pilgrimage to know the Lord Jesus Christ from the Bible.

God bless!

Sovereign grace Vs Legalism and Antinomianism

There are large numbers of Christians, who have become subject to views of antinomianism or those which are legalistic. Legalism is that which says that one is saved purely by works of Law while Antinomians hold a view that the grace of God covers them to the extent that even though their carnal nature is not made subject to true repentance, they are still saved because of grace. Mat 1:21 speaks to both these extreme apostate ideas by showing the legalist that Salvation is in Christ alone, while it shows the antinomians that Christ’ deliverance is not “in our sins” but “from our sins”

Mat 1:21
21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

A preacher once said: one can only enjoy the benefits of Christ’ Cross when he bows before the claims of Christ’ Crown. What this refers to is essentially that one truly receives Christ in his life only when he receives Him as SAVIOR AND LORD. For those who try to merit Salvation it shows they have not truly received Christ as their Savior and for those whose nature shows no elements of any sanctification, they have not truly received Jesus as their Lord.

Sanctification is the work of His Spirit. To many believers, the Holy Spirit is generally associated with how much noise can be made at a spiritual gathering. The work of the Holy Spirit is very deep and for one to associate the Spirit primarily with the gift of tongues today is almost blasphemous. The gift of tongues was given only to the early Church, who did not have the compilation of the Bible, once the Bible was compiled in about the third or fourth century, the gift of tongues and prophesies ceased because the Bible is complete and sufficient to edify the Christian and cursed is that person who tries to add or take away from it. It is for this reason, that the many noise makers in spiritual gathering do not find one interpreter today for three of these people who are said to have this gift of tongues.

Quoting from the Nicene Creed, which was a faith declaration of the early Church, this is what is stated when it speaks of the Holy Spirit: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life”. We know when God created Adam from the soil, He breathed life into Him. We also know that scripture in God breathed. So though it was His Holy Spirit, that God had put into Adam to give him life, which Adam lost in his disobedience. In the same way the Word of God in the Bible, is God breathed (Holy Spirit) proceeding from Father and Son as One, given to us in scripture that we may believe and have life.

It is interesting to note that the Exodus came before Mount Sinai, what I mean to say is that God first delivered His people from Egypt and then gave them the Law at Mount Sinai. It was not the other way around. As a preacher I know once said, it took God one day to get His people out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of His people. We see from all of this that though a believer is saved by grace and not His own merit, lawlessness cannot be a part of his life. He is always subject to the Moral Law of God, where He puts God first and his neighbor at par with himself.

1Thes 2
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

You see the reason, we can do the stuff that is pleasing to God, is ONLY because of the life given to us in Christ i.e. His Holy Spirit. Had we not received Christ, we would not know or have the slightest inclination to please Him. So the word of God in the scripture, is the life given to us in Christ, which His Spirit i.e. God; who is at work, in us who believe. Thus even after we have been sanctified, the only statement we shall render to God is the one in Luke 17:10.

Luke 17
10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

Such is Sovereign grace, that he who receives it humbled not exalted in himself, for the very meaning of grace is unmerited favor i.e. when one receives (especially concerning Salvation) what he does not deserve. I need to emphasize here that sanctification is not our work but the work of God in us, it is hence seen from the parable of the master who calls people to work in the vineyard that he who is called to work even at the very last moment, receives full wages i.e. even the person who is on his death bed and repents unto Christ, he too receives the full measure of Salvation; for just as Salvation is of the Lord (Lam 3:26), Sanctification too is by Him (Lev 20:8) and so He does with what is His own as He pleases… Sovereign Grace!

Mat 20
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

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