What’s the Use Anyway?

Dear Friends;

May God the Father, and Jesus our Lord be blessed, and may the Lord sanctify you and give you a heart to understand His Will.

Yes, what’s the use of serving God? What’s the use of enduring suffering and injustice for His name, while others seem to have it easy. While others, who do not fear Him, actually prosper?

There is nothing new under the sun, and neither are these questions. Look at what the Jews used to say in the times of Malachi.

Malachi 3:14,15 – “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Armies? 15 So now we consider the arrogant to be fortunate. Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God and escape.”

Do not fall into that sin. It is a death trap! While many of the Jews were speaking and thinking that way, a few did the opposite…

Malachi 3:16At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another.

And God took notice

Malachi 3:16The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name.

Friends; think very carefully about what you are thinking and harboring in your heart. The Lord may seem quiet at times, but He takes notice and listens.

Malachi 3:17 “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies, “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.

In His Name. AMEN.

The Joy of Living Sanctified

To my brethren in the Lord;

May the grace and peace from our Father in heaven and from our Lord, Jesus-Christ, be with you. If my Lord Jesus will permit, it is my prayer that through these few words, you will be convicted to earnestly pursue holiness, for in it we find the pure joy that comes from living sanctified, freed from the power of sin.

The joy that we experience from living sanctified comes in great measure each time we get to see the extent to which sin has truly been rendered powerless in our personal lives. Here are two examples from the scriptures which illustrate this point.

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 –  We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

How could the Macedonians be so joyful while being severely tested and extremely poor? Where did that joy comes from? It came from living sanctified. Normally, you would not expect joy in the midst of a severe test, let alone while also living in extreme poverty. In those circumstances, sin typically rages in our lives: envy, jealousy, greed, bitterness, hatred for those who have much, etc. all typically erupt and consume us in such circumstances. But look at the Macedonians! They were joyful! They were abundantly joyful! Sin truly had no power over them, to consume them. And the Macedonians were not unique, for we see for instance Peter speaking in similar ways of those he was writing to in 1 Peter 1:8.

In 2 Corinthians 7:4, Paul stated “In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy”. What was the source of that joy? It came from sin having lost its power in their lives, so that even in all their afflictions, sin, with all its temptations, could not overcome them. No, their minds were clear and focused on the big reward…the lives of the Corinthians. Sin could not convince them that the reward was not all that great after all, and that they should simply save themselves from all this unnecessary pain.

You, my friend, can experience the same joy today

The joy that comes from living sanctified is a tangible one. The things that you used to aspire to slowly lose their importance. The bitterness that you have been harboring, for whatever reasons and perhaps for years, starts fading. Those things that you could not resist in the past (extreme drinking, indecent behavior, fornication, pride, etc.), you find yourself conquering them time and time again. Ohhh the unspeakable joy that emanates from deep within when your very eyes see sin defeated in your life, lying flat on the floor rather than ruling your heart, mind and body as in the days of old. A new man you are becoming, a new woman, a new creature entirely indeed (2 Corinthians 5:17).

What we are talking about here is not to be confused with the old adage of becoming wiser as we grow older. Sin is age-agnostic. Nooooo my friend, what we are talking about is the tangible power of the Holy Spirit in your life. We are talking about Romans 6:22 becoming a vivid reality that you can see, touch, smell, taste and hear everyday.

Romans 6:22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

That joy my friend is the fragrance of freedom, the aroma of the true freedom that Jesus gave you, for He declared Himself… I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:34, 36).

No wonder even the gates of hell cannot prevail against those who continually pursue holiness. And no wonder their joy is an unshakable joy, for it is the joy of the victory of sin, the sweet aroma of pure freedom, permeating every aspect of their own lives, even in the deepest of afflictions.

Dear brethren, I pray that you will be provoked to grab hold of the true freedom that has been purchased for you, and experience the unparalleled joy of living sanctified.

Grace to you, from my Father in heaven and yours, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Two reasons you should come to Him just “as you are”, not matter “how good or bad you think you are” (Part 2 of 2)

img-thingReason 2: We cannot change what we are by nature…it’s what we are! Click here for the first reason.

Romans 3: 21-24 – But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. [21st century King James Version]

Romans 5: 11-19 – And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. [KJV]

We saw previously that the first reason why we should come to Jesus-Christ just like we are is because, where it matters, we are actually all the same, sinners! Now, here are some questions. Can a snail change itself into a tiger? Can a man change himself into a butterfly? Of course not! Why? Because this is what they are. They cannot change their nature. No matter how the snail may wish to be a tiger or the man a butterfly, it just won’t happen, because they do not have the power to do so. It is the same for all of us. As long as we have not accepted Jesus-Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are sinners, whether we like it or not, and no matter how hard we may try to change it. It is our nature and we have all come short! To be acceptable to God, we need to change “our very nature”, which is something no one, but Christ, can do for us.

It is important to recognize that it’s our inherent sinful nature that Jesus-Christ completely changes (making us acceptable to God). It is not our character (although accepting Him will now make that kind of change worthwhile)! All is required of us first is to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, that is the starting point. We recognize our sinful nature and recognize that Him and only Him can do something about it. It isfrom that point that any effort we make to live an honorable life starts to count.

Come as you are! It is His business to change you!

You are untouchable! Literally!

iStock_superhero-300x2231 John 5:18 – We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. [NASB]

Yes, you are untouchable. However, not because you are strong, but instead because Jesus-Christ to whom we belong is strong!

We have already looked at the first part of this verse. Now let’s turn our attention to the second. It says “…the evil one does not touch him”, and the reason for it is because “…He who was born of God keeps him…”. He who was born of God is none other than Jesus-Christ, and Jesus-Christ protects you like a treasure! Jesus-Christ said it himself in John 10.

John 10: 27-29 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

This verb “touch” is not any kind of touching. It is the word “haptomai” in the Greek, which literally means “touching someone (something) in a way that alters”. This touching has serious impact! It is used 36 times in the New Testament. Most of the times, it is used to describe Jesus-Christ acts of healing or people touching him to get healing (e.g. Mark 5:28, Mark 6:56). Here however, the impact would be negative and devastating if the devil could indeed touch us.

He will try to lie to you and intimidate you. But the reality is…he cannot touch you!

Claim this wonderful love and protection from Jesus-Christ every day; remind yourself that the devil has literally no power over you! Not because you are great, but because Jesus-Christ our Lord is great!

Yes, you are untouchable!

Really? God’s children do not sin? That’s what 1 John 5:18 seem to say!

iStock_000015240396XSmall1 John 5:18 – We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. [New American Standard Bible]

To understand what this verse is really saying, one must understand that God actually sees two kinds of sin. Here, in verse 18, He refers to one of them specifically, and not the other. Understanding this will clear up all the confusion!

But first, let’s see how some other versions of the Bible have translated 1 John 5:18 in an attempt to clarify its meaning. The New International Version states …anyone born of God does not continue to sin…“, while the New Living Translation read “God’s children do not make a practice of sinning…“. At first, both of these versions seem like the correct interpretation. However, looking at the immediate context of  verse 18 (verses 16 and 17), we believe that God meant literally…“no one who is born of God sins”. But He is referring to a very specific kind of sin.

1 John 5: 16, 17If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death

One kind of sin leads to death, and the other does not! Also, we see that all unrighteousness is sin, but that it does not necessarily mean that the consequence of all sin is death. Verse 18 actually refers to the sin that leads to death, and therefore to eternal separation from God.  But us who are truly of God (who have accepted Jesus-Christ as Lord) cannot commit such sin, because we cannot be separated from God! Verse 18 is not referring to the kind of sin that everyone makes.We are God’s children for eternity! Once we were declared son or daughter of God, we were promised eternal life. And that cannot change!

To God be the Glory!