Click herWhy Your Receiving the Word of God is a Matter of Eternal Life and DeathPeople are busy. There are home improvement projects, games to watch, social media, politics, and the news. None of these have the power of God unto salvation in them, however (Rom 1:16–17). Time is swiftly moving and no one (except God) knows the day of anyone’s exit from this world (Jas 4:14).
It has become popular for some to have a bucket list. This is a list of things people would like to check off that they did before they kicked the bucket (died). The race against time, often hindered by finances, makes life even more cluttered before the end.
Christians are acutely aware that people are dying around them, every day. There is very little spoken or written about people’s eternal home (Eccl 12:5). The wildly errant assumption is that people are going to heaven just because they died. There is a book that presents a very different reality than the polite, popular, presumption of paradise. That book is the Bible.
The sixty-six books of the Bible are the Word of God. This is God’s revelation of Himself, in precisely the format He preferred, to reveal who He is and what He has done. The Bible is our way of knowing God, through special revelation. Knowing God is knowing the salvation that belongs exclusively to Him (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). There is salvation, from the just judgment and wrath of God, in no one else than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; Titus 2:13–14).
The Bible tells us about Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ told His listeners that the Bible was about Him (Jn 5:39). Everyone who reads the Bible, taught by the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13; 1 Cor 2:13) knows this is true. Jesus Christ was the Word of God, who became enfleshed (Jn 1:14). He was the embodiment of truth (Jn 14:6). He came to set His captive people free from slavery to sin (Is 61:1; Lk 4:18; Jn 8:32; Rom 6:6).
In saving His people from their sins (Mt 1:21), Jesus went to the cross to suffer and die, shedding His precious blood for the forgiveness of their sins (Mt 26:28; 1 Pet 1:19). He bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). God the Father sent God the Son for this purpose (Jn 3:16). He redeemed the chosen people, His Father had given Him, from before the foundation of the world (Jn 6:37; Eph 1:4; Rev 13:8).
Salvation is a gift of God, granted by God (Eph 2:8–9), to those He has appointed to eternal life (Acts 13:48). Jesus gives His own, eternal life (Jn 17:2), by giving them His Spirit (Jn 20:22; Acts 2:33). It is the life-giving Spirit, who makes each elect soul alive to God (Jn 6:63; 1 Cor 15:45; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13).
Jesus told His followers that His Words were spirit and life (Jn 6:63). Some received His words with gladness, while others had no place in their hearts for His Word (Jn 5:39–47), spoken to them by Him. The same is true today.
The Holy Spirit fills the man of God to preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2), that is, Christ crucified (1 Cor 2:2). When the Word opens the ears for one to believe the truth proclaimed (Rom 10:17), it is because the Holy Spirit has fallen upon that elect soul (Acts 10:44).
Unbelievers stumble at the same Word that saves sinners (1 Pet 2:8). The Word is powerful, like a double-edged sword that cuts with utmost precision (Heb 4:12). This is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17).
Although the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is freely proclaimed to all people (Mt 24:15; Mk 16:15), it does not have the same effect on all people. It gives life to some, and it is lost upon others. Why is there a difference?
God sent His Word (Jesus) to His chosen people in the world (Jn 3:16; Rom 11:5). By the will of God, many received Jesus, just as they receive the Spirit/Word, today (Jn 1:12–13). God’s elect, Jesus’ sheep, hear the voice of Christ (Jn 10:27), and they are given the gift of faith to believe what has been revealed to them in the Bible (Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29), with the Spirit of truth, as their Teacher (Jn 14:26; 16:13).
Those who believe the Word of life (1 Jn 1:1), which is taken in by hearing (Rom 10:17), love the Bible (Ps 119:140), continuing in its teachings, all the days of their lives. This is the litmus test of eternal life. For one to have the indwelling Spirit (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; Jas 4:5), he also has the Word of faith in his heart (Rom 10:8). He meditates on it day and night. It is his delight (Ps 1:2).
Friend, examine your life. Is the Word of God the centerpiece of who you are and how you live? Your answer should be obvious, whether affirmative or negative. If your answer is “yes” then I rejoice in your love of the Bible and your hunger to learn more.
If your answer is negative, “No, I don’t read my Bible. No, I don’t enjoy the sermons at church. No, I have no interest in Bible study groups.” You must be warned that eternal damnation awaits you, as it does for the vast majority of people (Mk 3:29).
The one who loves God, loves His Word (Jn 8:42). The one who has the Spirit of God craves the Word of God (Jn 6:34), as one desires his daily bread (Mt 6:11; Lk 11:3). God has made us hungry for Himself, and He has given us bread from heaven to eat (Mt 5:6). This bread for our souls is the Bible that reveals Jesus Christ to us — Him who is the Bread of Life (Jn 6:35, 48, 51).
Receiving Jesus, the Word of God, is only by the will and grace of God (Jn 1:12–13). Without God’s Spirit, there is zero interest in the spiritual food found only in the Bible (1 Cor 2:14). To eat this Word is as sweet as eternal life. To choke on this Word is as sour as eternal death.
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Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
It has been argued by Jehovah’s Witnesses (and Mormons) that the Bible teaches that Jesus is not divine, but an exalted creature. Appeal is made to the above verses and Hebrews 11:17 - By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son - in which Abraham “offered up Isaac”, he “offered up his only begotten son”. As in Isaac’s case, who was “only begotten” in the normal sense, so with Jesus, who “in the same sense that an earthly father, like Abraham, begets a son” – so say the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The words “only begotten” in the verses above, do not mean that Christ was created, but that He is unique, specially blessed or favoured. B.B. Warfield wrote:
“The adjective ‘only begotten’ conveys the idea, not of derivation and subordination, but of uniqueness and consubstantiality: Jesus is all that God is and He alone is this”.
Consubstantial means, ‘of the same substance or essence’. (Christ is consubstantial with the Father).
Thinking about Abraham and Isaac, Isaac was not Abraham’s “only begotten” son in the sense that he was the only son Abraham had. Abraham had a number of sons, including Ishmael, whose birth preceded Isaac’s. Isaac was Abraham’s “only begotten” son in the sense that he was Abraham’s favoured, unique son. If God is Jesus’ Father “in the same sense that an earthly father begets a son,” then it would seem that Jesus must have had a heavenly Mother as well as a heavenly Father.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that -
So, since the Father is eternal, His Son must also be eternal, because the term Father is meaningless apart from Son.
Jesus Christ was thus the only begotten Son before the incarnation.
R.C. Sproul, “Essential Truths of the Christian Faith”
Ron Rhodes, “Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses”
By David Norczyk
“Dear God, thank you for making me completely autonomous from Thyself.
Were You to have done otherwise, my salvation would depend on You. May it never be! You are too much of a gentleman to impose your sovereign will upon others.
As it is, I thank you that I am not like others, who are not making good choices. I have been wise and powerful to self-generate a faith in Your Son, Jesus, who did His part in making my salvation possible. I am grateful He did a good job, and I am grateful to me, too, because I was able to finish the good work He began, by placing my approval and acceptance on His work.
In choosing to let Jesus save me, I am thankful for the conditional covenant that lets me do my part, to share the glory, for willing and working my own salvation.
I have made a good choice, and I am grateful that I have done that myself, by my own free will.
In the name of my savior. I pray. Amen.”
By David Norczyk
God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, which is only possible by His omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience. Everything lives and moves and has its being because of God (Acts 17:24–28).
Knowing all things, and having infinite power to move all things, whatever comes to pass is God’s will (Lam 3:37; Ezek 33:33; Jn 13:19). It was His will to create all things that exist. Thus, He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36). Hence, the natural world operates under God’s Law for it. This is true for the moral world of men, too. In His dominion come our comforts and judgments.
If God wills for a man’s will to choose right or to choose evil, God’s sovereign will is done (Prv 16:9) God made everything for His purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil (Prv 16:4). The numbered hairs on every head, and the numbered days of every person’s life is God’s prerogative (Job 14:5; Mt 10:30).
God has made man to bring glory to God, and in righteousness or unrighteousness, God will be glorified by those in both categories. God bestows knowledge, wealth, wisdom, poverty and every other station in life to each one. Individuals and nations are both under His providential care.
His administration every moment of everyday, and in every place, is operational (1 Tim 6:15). He is Lord over the forest, the forest fire, and the fireman. Whatever change may appear in the natural world or in the world of man, it is God causing change, as determined in His predetermined plan (Acts 2:23).
As this sovereignty pertains to the Son of God and salvation, we see the same wisdom and power of God (1 Cor 1:24). The sovereign wisdom of God has chosen weak and small things, to shame the strong in their lust for bigger (1 Cor 1:26–29). The foolishness of the Gospel of grace (1 Cor 1:18), preached to creation remains the sole enterprise of fools for Christ (1 Cor 4:10).
With the full forces of the domain of darkness (Col 1:13), also under His dominion (Acts 26:18), God prospers the wicked, giving them every advantage against light, life, truth, and righteousness. The whole world is in the power of the evil one (1 Jn 5:19). Sinful man has zero chance, no possibility to remedy his spiritual deadness (Eph 2:1; 1 Cor 2:14). No action, no thought, no work, no choice can reconcile him to God. This is God’s sovereign plan that no flesh may boast in His presence(1 Cor 1:29).
Every aspect of God’s salvation of a chosen people, to be His own possession (1 Pet 2:9), is from His sovereign good pleasure (Is 46:10). It is eternally decreed in His sovereign will, revealed to us in His sovereign Word. God has revealed His sovereign election and reprobation from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4–5; Rom 9:22–23). The propagation of His Word is a sovereign act of God’s Spirit (1 Cor 2:4; 1 Pet 1:2), through preaching, when and where God Himself determines (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15; Jn 6:63).
Even false prophets, preachers, and teachers play their important part in the drama of the devil’s deception. God sovereignly saturates the world, with false religions, and a multitude of false “Christian” cults. This causes the sovereign God’s work to shine, in contrast with that which can only steal glory from God.
The sovereign ordination of select sinners, to receive the gift of faith, is only the beginning (Acts 13:48). Every action required to move from sovereign predestination to sovereign glorification is the sovereign work of our Triune God (Rom 8:30). There is so much work to be done, and it is immensely difficult work, so much that many call it, “a miracle.” As in, “It would take a miracle for Bob to trust in Jesus, so as to be saved.” This is true for everyone who is chosen, not just Bob.
Sinful men hate the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, as much as they hate the sovereign God Himself (Jn 7:7; Rom 1:30). They deviously separate His attributes, “My God is a God of love, and He would never send anyone to hell.” Or, “God delights in sharing His glory with another, letting each person make the decision to let Jesus save him or her. O glorious day! What a choice I have made!” To point out this man’s self-boasting will only guarantee his anger and wrath because you have offended his pride.
Sinful men also hate God’s sovereignty, in the distribution of gifts and talents. Here is the impetus for socialism, to correct God’s erroneous distribution.
Sinners loathe God for all the chaos in the world, “Where was your God in that disaster?” God, in His sovereignty, has permitted sin to enter the world (Rom 5:12), and sin will serve to bring glory to God, by inviting a demonstration of divine justice (Rom 1:18). Sometimes God will withdraw His restraint of evil, as He did with Job, and with Jesus on the cross.
When the saint learns God’s sovereignty it spurs his desire for the means of grace. Seeing his situation, the believer prays to the One who is able to deliver him, from encroaching trouble of every kind, in this world. He searches the Scriptures for greater knowledge of God (Jn 5:39; 2 Pet 3:18) and His wisdom for living holy, by grace (1 Pet 1:15–16). Far from this knowledge puffing up pride, it is the knowledge of God’s sovereignty that humbles the saint like nothing else (Zeph 2:3; Mic 6:8; Acts 20:19; Eph 4:2; 1 Pet 5:5).
When one realizes everything is from God, through God, and to God (Rom 11:36), he sees providence in everything. Sovereignty causes God’s people to draw near to Him, as Healer in illness, as Deliverer in oppression, as Savior when in sin. Christ is all, over all, and in all (Col 3:11) — therefore, let us revere Him, thank Him, praise Him, love Him, and glorify Him…for His sovereignty in all things (Ps 103:9).
By David Norczyk
In the eternal good pleasure of God, He predestined His elect to adoption as children of God (Rom 8:30; 9:23; Eph 1:4–5; 1 Jn 3:1, 10). God decreed their salvation before time (Rev 13:8; 17:8), and in time He causes them to be born again of God, by His Spirit making them alive in Christ (Jn 3:1–8; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13; 1 Pet 1:3). This is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.
First, God causes the Gospel preacher to be sent (Rom 10:15), and this Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached in the power and with a demonstration of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:4). The Spirit of God fills the preacher and inspires him to proclaim Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2). If the preacher is not filled with the Spirit, he will preach psychology, philosophy, politics, and man-centered theology in a topical sermon.
If the Spirit is at work, there will be a public reading of the Scriptures (1 Tim 4:13), and the sermon delivery by the preacher will explain the chosen passage (verse by verse) from the Bible. He will explicate the terms in their context, the theology found therein, and he will apply the original meaning to his listeners, so they might understand and live accordingly.
While the preacher preaches in the Spirit, those who have ears to hear will recognize the voice of Christ instructing them in the Gospel of grace (Jn 10:3–4). As the Word of Christ enters the ear of the hearer, externally, the Holy Spirit also begins His internal work in the one whose heart He enters (Ezek 36:26; 2 Cor 4:6). The Spirit says, “Let there be light,” and there is light in the heart of His new creation (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:17). This is an irresistible work of God…just ask the first creation (Gen 1:3)!
Second, regeneration is the powerful, internal work of the Spirit in creating a new spiritual creature (2 Cor 5:17). The natural man is deaf and blind (1 Cor 2:14), with a heart of stone (Ezek 36:26). He is dead to God (Eph 2:1), and he has zero spiritual discernment without his receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:8; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor 12:13), who then abides permanently in the soul of the elect, redeemed (Rom 8:9, 11; Gal 4:6; 2 Tim 1:14; Heb 13:5).
The soul of man includes the mind, the heart, and the will. The Holy Spirit puts the Word of God into the mind of the regenerate man. He gives illumination to the things of God by giving the man the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). It is the Spirit who searches the deep things of God (1 Cor 2:10, 12), and then reveals them to His chosen ones in accordance with His measure (as with faith — Rom 12:3).
The renewal of the futile mind transforms the thinking (Rom 12:2; Eph 4:17). With the mind of Christ, the new believer sets her mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom 8:6), on the things above (Col 3:2). Her eyes are on Jesus (Heb 12:2), who is authoring faith in the mind of the saint. She now has a mind that wants to know God (Phil 3:10). Her thoughts are of Christ and His kingdom. She now loves God with her mind (Mt 22:37). It is Christ’s Spirit who opened her mind to understand the Scriptures (Lk 24:45).
One Spirit is granting one mind to Christ’s one church, despite the diabolical deceptions of the devil and his demons in the name of Jesus. The Christian has her mind set to know the truth (Jn 8:32; 14:6). She grows in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18).
The Holy Spirit’s internal work is efficacious in the inner recesses of the heart of the elect child of God. The life-giving Spirit opens the heart of those chosen to hear and believe the Gospel (Jn 6:63; Acts 16:14). These remnant believers were appointed to eternal life before creation (Rom 11:5; Acts 13:48). The Word preached made them hear and believe (Rom 10:17).
Regeneration removes the heart of stone toward God and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26). The heart for God is a miracle considering the natural man’s rebellion, obduracy, incessant inclination to evil, and penchant for pride. The human heart, apart from Christ, is wicked above all else (Jer 17:9). Its inclination is only evil all the time (Gen 6:5). Sin is the natural hardening agent, and the natural man is a slave to sin (Jn 8:34; Rom 6:6).
The heart transplant produces new affections. Hatred for God is transformed into love for God and Christ (1 Jn 4:19). The demonstration of God’s love for His bride, the church (Eph 5:25), is publicly displayed at the cross by Jesus (Jn 15:13; Rom 5:8).
This love prevails, being irresistible, for God is love and Christ constrains His people with His love (2 Cor 5:14; 1 Jn 4:8). He loved us, that is, His beloved from every nation tribe and tongue (the world), by pouring His love in our hearts (Rom 5:5) as a token of even better things to come (2 Cor 5:5). The Spirit in us is the God of love, loving us from within, explained in His love letter to us (the Bible). We have love for God because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). We did not choose Him, but He chose us (Jn 15:16; Rom 11:5; Eph 1:4).
The infusion of new qualities in our innermost parts includes the human will. It is not in the enslaved will of man to want, nor to work any aspect of transformation (Jn 1:13; Rom 4:5). When God puts His Spirit in us, He puts His will in us with Him. His will is for His people to be conformed into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), who is the icon of God (Col 1:15). The end goal is for us to see Christ Jesus as He is (holy), so we become like Him in mind, heart, and will (1 Pet 1:16). His Spirit causes us to know His ways, His covenant, and to walk in His statutes (Ezek 36:27).
The transformation from regeneration is nothing short of amazing. We who were dead are now alive to God. Evil works have become good works, by Him who wills and works His good pleasure in us (Phil 2:13). From disobedience to His Law, we now walk by the Spirit of Christ (Gal 5:25), who causes us to walk in His statutes (Ezek 36:27). From a selfish will comes a new prayer, “Not my will, by your will be done.”
Christian, know that He who began this good work in you will grow you and strengthen you by His grace (Phil 1:6). He will never leave you nor forsake you in this work begun at regeneration (Heb 13:5). He will complete it, even perfect it. Regeneration is all a sovereign work of God’s Spirit, with no contribution from you. For this reason, we give thanks and honor Him who is still at work.k here to edit.
By David Norczyk
First, election is biblical (Lk 23:35; Rom 11:5; Eph 1:4–5; 2 Tim 2:10; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 2:9). Nobody denies this, but how election is defined is in dispute.
Second, election is eternal. God chose a people for Himself before He created anything in the material/physical universe (Rev 13:8; 17:8).
Third, because election is eternal, it is unchangeable. God Himself is immutable, therefore, what He purposes will come to pass.
Fourth, when God chose His people before creation, He was entirely free. He was constrained by nothing.
Fifth, the eternal purpose of God in election comes from His eternal will.
Sixth, God’s eternal will is the result of His eternal counsel.
Seventh, God’s eternal counsel comes from His eternal good pleasure.
Eighth, election is theo-centric. Election is of God, and is not conditioned by anyone nor anything else. God is the subject in election.
Ninth, election is unconditional. God makes His free will choice without any foreseen circumstances.
Tenth, election is decreed. God has issued an eternal decree, which establishes the election of those He has determined to save by His grace, in time.
Eleventh, election is personal. God knows each person He has created and for what purpose He has created them, whether that be election or reprobation.
Twelfth, election is God’s choice. Considering all people deserve eternal punishment, having gone the way of sin, it is only mercy on God’s part to save some. Those He elected are those He saves.
Thirteenth, election finds no grounds in its objects. There is nothing that makes a man elect-able.
Fourteenth, election is gratuitous and unmerited. Man does no work to gain election.
Fifteenth, election is the fountain of every saving good. Every item in the order of salvation results from election.
Sixteenth, election includes the glorious end, as well as the means to that end, meaning the whole of salvation.
Seventeenth, there is only one election, which results in only one people of God. There are not many elections, producing more than one people of God. The one people of God are His elect.
Eighteenth, election is all grace. If one is elect, it is only by God’s grace.
Nineteenth, election is sovereign. God, in His absolute wisdom and power, freely chooses a select group.
Twentieth, election has a definite number of individuals who make up Christ’s body, the church.
My thanks for the work of Homer C. Hoeksema, “Voice of the Fathers”. 2nd edition. (Jenison: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2013), which is a commentary on the Canons of Dordrecht 1619. The above list is a concise summary of my notes on election taken from his excellent work.
By David Norczyk
Original available here
Does God wait for people to do something before He does something? With man-centered theology, the answer is a resounding, “yes.” With God-centered theology, the obvious answer is, “no.”
The premise with man-centered theology is that God has done His part; now it is time for you to do your part. He’s waiting for you.
In the errant view of man-centered theology, God has loved everybody, everywhere, and at all times. Christ died for everybody, but now everything is hinging on what you are going to do. The Triune God is playing charades with everyone. The picture is drawn and the clues have been given, now the God-head frantically tries to help you decide that Jesus is the answer.
The agents of charade evangelism work, work, work to create games, sporting events, and candy-laden programs to entice everyone to come and see the big show. Everything is an allure to prepare people to meet Jesus so they can make the right decision about Him and be saved. In this humanist theology, smart people choose Jesus, and stupid people reject Him.
I read a post, yesterday: “to criticize the church for such erroneous ideas is like someone spitting in the face of a bride with her groom standing by.” When I suggested that the history of the church, and even the entire Bible demonstrates, that when the infidelity of God’s people worsens, He sends prophets, apostles, and reformers to correct the church…click…delete…well, my post lasted all of one minute.
Why don’t we like the God of the Bible (Rom 1:30), who sits in the heavens and does what He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6)? Is He waiting on us to work to make the kingdom a physical, visible reality on earth as the Roman Catholics and the post-millennialists purport? Will He only work to get things done if Christians are unified? Mercy! What other conditions do men place on themselves that God has not placed on them? Answer: legion, for they are many!
The truth is that the one true God, revealed to us on the pages of the Bible, and by the Holy Spirit’s illumination, is absolutely sovereign in His workings. In His eternal good pleasure, He has issued an eternal decree for all things to come to pass. Nothing operates outside of His decreed will (Rom 11:36). His will is to work all things for His glory. His works are so sure to happen that they are said to be finished from before the foundation of the world (Heb 4:3).
Why is this an affront to His creatures? It is good news for the redeemed, who stand by and watch the machinations of humanity come to their futile end (see Ecclesiastes). Man is not God, nor will he ever be. The serpent promised deity to man in the garden (Gen 3:5), and man has believed the deceiver’s lie ever since. This is why Mormons think they will someday be like God the Father, being a deity over their own individual planets.
Every time a pastor entices you to choose Christ and be saved (Pelagian/Arminian heresy), or every time a pastor tells you to obey the Bible without reference to the Holy Spirit’s sovereign work in you (Judaiser), he is deceiving you.
God has ordered everything by His sovereign will. God is working His will in everything. He causes everything to happen. The earth spins. The sun shines. The flower grows. The human is conceived, and everything else…everything…is the work of God.
This is the affront: God deserves the glory for 100% of it all. We should give thanks to Him in everything and for everything. This is why God is not the God of second chances. He is the God of the sovereign, providential here and now. He is not waiting for anyone nor anything because He sits on His eternal throne, and He dwells within the hearts of His people, to do all His will and good pleasure. Who else could work all things for the good of His people who love Him?
From a Guest Blogger
For the past 12 months we’ve had a number of lockdowns with warnings to, “Stay at home, save lives”. During this time I’ve heard about many deaths …
“Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.
Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You [God];
And [God has] set his limits so that he cannot pass.” Job 14:1,2,5
Life is fragile and death is certain. Our days are numbered. No one escapes.
But Jesus said:
“I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25
From Guest Blogger
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
It’s only recently that I’ve begun to realise just how integral the Church is to God’s plan of salvation. I understood that when I was saved I became a child of God and a member of His family but I didn’t fully grasp the implications.
God’s family is more than a theoretical concept, and I am not an only child. Christ died to purchase a people, a bride, a Church, a body (1 Peter 2:9-10; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Corinthians 12:27). To think that I can remain functionally isolated from the rest of His body is to deny an essential aspect of the gospel.
Membership of a household clearly implies the kind of close, everyday relationships that families who live together participate in. Being built together and being fitted together are more than vague notions. These words don’t describe scattered or isolated individual believers, or a one-time event. They require ongoing close proximity and regular contact. Belonging to, and being actively involved with, one specific local fellowship of believers is inseparable from individual salvation. It’s an absolute essential, not an optional extra.
I was saved to be part of the body. If I’m not, I deny God’s Word and weaken the body of Christ.
From a Guest Blogger
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. John 4:23
“The worship was great!”
When I say something like this, what I’m really talking about is the music. This takes no account of truth, or the state of my heart, or my relationship with God. If it’s just about the quality of the music then it doesn’t even matter whether those participating know God; a believer and an unbeliever could both reach the same conclusion about the quality of ‘the worship’ based on whether or not the music is enjoyable and well-produced.
My evaluation of ‘the worship’ in this sense is presumptuous. It’s based on what it does for me, how it makes me feel, my own enjoyment of it. In reality, who am I to comment on whether the worship is great, or dismal? Worship is not for me, it’s for God.
Jesus said that true worshippers must worship God in spirit and in truth. This kind of worship is a much less tangible activity than music, quite likely invisible to an observer and, therefore, impossible to assess in the terms we often use to evaluate what we call worship. Only God, who sees the heart, is truly able to determine the quality of the worship that’s offered to Him.