No Excuse for Unbelief

‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:18-21).’

False Truth and False Freedom

It’s true to say there has never before been a time in history as the present. We have access to vast stores of knowledge that are instantly available at the click of a computer’s mouse. Almost without exception the information we seek is revealed on a screen before our eyes.

However, we cannot always be sure that what we read is true, but one such click instantly conveyed to me a paper about, ‘The *Age of Enlightenment’ which is also known as ‘The Age of Reason’.

It extended from the 17th to the19th century, and it was a time of so-called freedom, when through the means of intellectual and philosophical arguments those who had been trapped within the provinces of monarchical and church governance broke free and expressed their opinions and beliefs. Philosophers and scientists were free to think outside the box. Although not articulated as such, their new, but dubious creed, could have been encapsulated by the slogan: “Knowledge reveals truth and champions freedom.”

The above is a generalisation on my part; for ‘The Age of Reason’ had different spokespersons with their particular ideologies and beliefs. Initially the movement was based in Europe, but it spread to America with great impact. Science vied with religion in conflictual battles. The intelligentsia searched for experiential truth through experimentation, while leaning heavily upon scientific methodology. You might say the new religion was “Science”. Embedded within it was the pernicious germ of Darwinism which continues to deceive us today, just like the subtle words of the serpent to Eve (Genesis 3:13).

What they failed to discover was the real Truth (John 14:6), Jesus of Nazareth (John 18:5), and the freedom He brings from sin (John 8:36) and of the power of sin; and above all – escape from everlasting torment in hell (Mark 9:43-48)!

Little has Changed

Things haven’t changed greatly; for science is the religion of this present age. The adoration and worship of all things technological is rife. Astronomy and the exploration of space by probes and astronauts are the excitements and passions of our younger generation. Today’s mission is to save and restore the global ecology by reducing man’s adverse influence upon it. Paradoxically and diametrically we explore the possibilities of mining in Antarctica and under the oceans – even the harvesting of minerals from the Moon and Mars. These are the aspirations of entrepreneurs, some of whom do not seek personal gain and fame, but work for the better good of mankind.

Consequently ethical questions require answers and appropriate actions; for example, “Is it right to deploy thousands of satellites into space for the enablement of 5-G networks? Should we spend millions on developing gadgetry for controlling what happens in space? Should we seek military supremacy through the means of superior cyberspace weaponry? Or should we forget such things and recognise our weakness, and endeavour to live harmoniously with one another; thereby setting an example to the world?”

In all of these distractions we forget that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), and we are made to worship Him. We are blinded (Psalm 115:4-8) and ignorant of who we are, i.e., sons of God through Adam (Acts 17:29), and we are sinners in him. Judgment lies waiting at the door (Hebrews 9:27).

Sin, Judgment and Freedom

Sin! What is it you may ask?

Well, **sin is transgression against the law of God who is righteous, holy, pure and just. He is light (John 1:7-10) and there is no darkness in Him. He is Love (1 John 4:7).

When we disobey Him we rebel against Him and we deserve death (Romans 1:32), but if we believe and trust in His Son we are no longer condemned for our transgressions (8:1). This does not give us a licence to sin; on the contrary, we are bound in love and obedience to Him.

Some will ask if it’s ***fair and right that people should be condemned to everlasting hell if they don’t believe and trust in Jesus. I would ask them, “Who are we to question and judge God?” He made us and He has every right to do with us whatever He wants (Romans 9:21). We who sin fall far short of His righteousness (3:23) and are deserving of death (Romans 1:32) and punishment. It is only by His grace (Ephesians 2:8) that He saves ANY who repent and believe. He gives to them eternal life (Matthew 25:46).

Ignorance of His law is no excuse (cf. Romans 7:1). Just as in a civil court, anyone who breaks the law, if caught and found guilty, is served a sentence that must be satisfied.

To be found innocent when judged by the Son of God (John 5:22) at the end of time, a person must have repented of their sins and turned to God in faith (Ephesians 2:8.).

Conclusion

God ****reveals Himself to ALL through the glory of His creation, and by His Word and by His Son. No one can claim they are ignorant of Him and of His sovereign rule over them (Romans 1:18-21).

The good news is: To those who repent and believe (Mark 1:15) in His Son, He gives to them His Holy Spirit for their guidance and comfort (John 14:26). The Spirit rejuvenates their soul (John 3:3-8), and through new birth in Him they have eternal life (v. 16).

‘“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).’”

*The Age of Enlightenment

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment#Science

**Sin and Its Consequences

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/03/05/sin-and-its-consequences/

***Exclusions from the Church

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/12/12/exclusion-from-the-church/

****How does God reveal Himself to His Creatures?

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/11/25/how-does-god-reveal-himself-to-his-creatures/

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Pride

‘Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).’

Overindulgent self-esteem and pride are bedfellows – they are one and the same. In this day of the selfie, each person vies with the other: “I’m more beautiful than you. I have a better car. My husband earns more than yours.” By comparison those with low self-esteem are down in the dumps; they feel they are no good; they can’t make it; they are nothing: or so they believe, and some become suicidal.

All of this is of the world which is the devils’ paradise (cf. Matthew 4:8, 9). The devil himself, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), rules the roost at ground level – well, only for a time (Revelation 12:12c); for the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Jesus Himself will come to judge, and He will judge with righteousness (Psalm 72:2) and with justice. All self-indulgent pride will be done away with (Zephaniah 3:11).

God hates the proud (Proverbs 6:16, 17; Amos 6:8). His Word, the Bible, repeatedly affirms His condemnation of the proud of heart and Psalm 10 describes how He will overthrow the proud and bring justice for those who are oppressed:

‘The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; he blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts (2-4).’ And, Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” But You have seen it, for you observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand (vv. 13, 14a).’

Pride and Self Respect

Self respect and self-esteem are not the same. A self respecting person judges himself by the way in which he lives according to how he performs in upholding his principles, beliefs, morals and ethical values. The person who performs well according to these things can justifiably say he is proud of his achievements. He is not bragging; he is not shouting aloud to the world, “Look! See what I have done! Aren’t I great and wonderful? I’m better than you! I’m superior and of more worth – more powerful than you!”

The person who has genuine self respect is not prideful. He objectively considers truisms of himself; he does not boast; he does not brag about his attributes and accomplishments.

Self-esteem is a subjective analysis of self. It is based on comparisons of self to other people. A person with low self-esteem may see himself as inferior; he may feel he is not as good, not as clever, not as talented, or perhaps not as handsome or beautiful as those he may admire. These are all negative assessments. Such a person is unlikely to be boastfully proud, but that’s not to say he can’t be boastful.

So, pride in the right sense can be positive and good, but it is mostly exercised in a negative sense.

What does God’s Word have to say about it?

Satan’s Pride

Pride was the downfall of satan, or so it can be deduced from the Scriptures. Isaiah in his proclamation against Babylon and His condemnation of the King of Babylon who was a type of satan, tells of his downfall.

‘“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest side of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit (Isaiah 14:12-15).’

Another typical representation of satan is mirrored in Ezekiel’s prophesy regarding the fate of the prideful king of Tyre: ‘The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because your heart is lifted up, and you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,’ yet you are a man and not a god, though you set your heart as a god (Behold you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! ….. your heart is lifted up because of your riches) (Ezekiel 28:1-5).”’

And, ‘“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.

“By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.

“Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendour; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they may gaze at you (Ezekiel 28:14-17).”’

The Consequences of Pride

‘These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).’

God will abase and bring down the proud, as the following Scriptures testify:

‘Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase (Daniel 4:37).’

‘“Your fierceness has deceived you, the pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there,” says the LORD (Jeremiah 49:16).’

‘The Lord God has sworn by Himself, the Lord God of hosts says: “I abhor the pride of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore I will deliver up the city and all that is in it (Amos 6:8).”’

‘“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you exalt yourself as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, “ says the LORD (Obadiah 3, 4).’

A Warning Against Pride

‘Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17).’

Those who desire to serve as bishops: ‘must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behaviour,  hospitable, able to teach; …. not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil (1 Timothy 3:2, 6).’

Note that the devil is condemned (v. 6), and in his pride what power he has over the world will be taken away from him (Revelation 20:10).

The Good News

The good news is: ‘So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word or their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!  Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time (Revelation 12:9-12).’”

Finally, ‘He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).’

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Success

‘“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).”’

We all want to make a success of our lives, and if we are mature enough we have an understanding of what constitutes that success.

I have a grandson whose ambition is to make a lot of money so that he will be secure in his retirement. This is his passion and the course he has chosen. There’s no doubt that many people want to do the same, but little do they realise God may take away their life at any moment (Luke 12:16-20). He will judge them (Hebrews 9:27); and according to how they have lived, they will face eternity: either in heaven or in hell.

It hasn’t been revealed to them (Matthew 13:11-17) that there is only one successful outcome to life, and that is receiving an inheritance in the kingdom of God (John 14:2; cf. Ephesians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9). In His wisdom and providence He gives an inheritance to those who believe and trust in His Son (John 3:14-18).

As I’ve said before, all of us are *failures, and therefore only God can make us successful. However, while we are His servants (John 12:26) He gives us certain tasks to fulfil (Matthew 28:19, 20), and if we obediently fulfil them He will give us success.

Biblical Examples of Success

God commanded Joshua to be strong and very courageous and to observe the law (Joshua 1:7). If he obeyed God, in doing it he would be prosperous wherever he went. God commissioned him to lead the Israelites into the land. If they too obeyed Him, they would be successful in overcoming the inhabitants of Canaan and they would possess the land as their inheritance (v.6).

Joseph was chosen of God to fulfil the task of feeding His people (cf. Genesis 50:20) in a time of famine. We read in Genesis 39:2-4 ‘The LORD  was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favour in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put in his hand.’

His success was because ‘The LORD  was with’ him (v.2), and ‘the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand (v. 3b).’ It was all of the LORD’s doing. As with Joshua, he obeyed the command of the LORD.

When the Israelites rebelled against Moses who had been commissioned by God to lead them into the promised land, things went terribly wrong for them. Even Miriam and Aaron spoke against him (Numbers 12:1) and challenged his leadership (v. 2), but the LORD reproved them and spoke to them at the door of the tabernacle (vv. 4, 5). Because of their disobedience the LORD was angry with them (v. 9), and ‘Miriam became leprous, as white as snow (v. 10).’

Later, apart from Joshua and Caleb, the whole congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:2). Because Joshua and Caleb were faithful and obedient (vv. 8, 9), the LORD brought them into the land of promise (vv. 30, 38) and thus they were successful.

We note that Solomon was successful because he also obeyed the command of the LORD (cf. 1 Chronicles 28:6, 10).

‘Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s house; and Solomon successfully accomplished all that came into his heart to make in the house of the LORD and in his own house (2 Chronicles 7:11).’

The Key to Success

The key to success is faithful obedience to the LORD. It’s not the amassing of riches here on earth, but seeking, ‘first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).’

*Failure

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/02/06/failure/

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Failure

‘Love never fails. But whether there are prophesies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away (1 Corinthians 13:8).’

All of us are born failures because we are the offspring of Adam who failed God big time. God gave him and his wife Eve (cf. Genesis 3:20) a paradise in which to live, with one condition: they were to obey Him (Genesis 2:15-17). Both of them failed (Genesis 3), and Adam was held responsible (3:16), not only for the failure of his wife, but also for his own failure (3:17-19). The outcome for them and their progeny was spiritual and physical death (2:17).

Although they died spiritually and physically, their souls [Heb. nephesh] did not – since a person’s soul lives forever (Isaiah 55:3; Ezekiel 3:21; Habakkuk 2:4) and it is destined either for heaven or for hell (Psalm 16:10; 86:13). After death the body putrefies and returns to the earth from whence it came (Genesis 3:19). Death is the failure of the spirit [Greek pnyoo’-mah] with a small ’s’, which is the life-force that sustains the body. Jesus, the unique Man, whose physical lineage is traceable to Adam (Luke 3:23-38), voluntarily gave up His spirit (John 19:30). Only God the Son could could have done this; for He is Life (John 14:6), the One who gives life to all (John 5:21; 6:33) and takes it away (Deuteronomy 32:39). His death on the cross was a triumph, not a failure; since His Father raised Him (Acts 5:30) with a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44, 45, 49) to sit at His *right hand.

Notable Failures

Moses failed God at Meribah when he disobeyed Him by speaking to the people before striking the rock for water (Numbers 20:7-12). God told him to speak to the rock – not to the people, and He did not command him to strike the rock with his rod. The price he paid for his failure to ‘hallow’ God (v. 12) was death and exclusion from the promised land (Deuteronomy 34:1-6).

King David failed God in his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:4, 5) knowing full well that what he did was against God’s commandment (Exodus 20:14). Furthermore he arranged the death of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11:6-17), so that he would be free to marry her. The upshot was that God caused their illegitimate son to die (12:15-19). David pleaded to God for forgiveness for the evil he had done (Psalm 51).

King Solomon failed God by having for himself seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:3), and because of them ‘his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David (v. 4).’

The Bible records a catalogue of failures, not least, the failure of His chosen **people who disobeyed Him (Isaiah 1:2; 65:2-5, 11, 12; Romans 10:21) and lacked faith (Hebrews 4:2) in Him.

Perhaps the most well known failure is the Apostle Peter. After promising Jesus he would lay down his life for Him (John 13:37, 38) he was found wanting when Jesus was brought before the high priest. On that stressful occasion, Peter denied knowing Him three times (18:17, 25-27).

The good news is that God restores and builds up failures who ***repent of their sins. He forgives them, and accounts them righteous (Romans 4:5-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21) through the substitutionary sacrifice of His Son on the cross. God perfects them in Him (John 17:23), and in due time they will dwell with Him in the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1-7) where there will be no failures.

*At the Right Hand of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/06/10/at-the-right-hand-of-god/

**Biblical Perspective – God’s People

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/04/26/biblical-perspective-gods-people/

***Repentance

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/01/23/repentance/

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Political Correctness

‘And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature and it is set on fire by hell (James 3:6).’

Having lived on this planet for eight-and-a-half decades I can look back with some perspective. In my experience, the way in which people think has changed because we have been influenced by the events of history.

In more recent years there has been the exponential growth of manufacturing industries. The world has become a smaller place on account of us being able to easily travel from one continent to another. Global trade operates on a scale that people of my generation could never have predicted or imagined.

Brexit Day has come and gone, and despite the claim by those who wanted to remain in the EU that we have become a more insular, inward-looking nation, the opposite is true. The world is our oyster; for we are free to trade with other nations, and thus we are free to engage with them in a way that was not previously possible. Endorsing this view is the Bank of England that has minted a new fifty pence piece. On one side it has the epithet: “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations – 31st January 2020.”

This may be fine, but like other nations, we are concerned with real issues such as: security, global warming, terrorism, people trafficking, drug addiction, poverty and 5-G.

What is in store for us?

Just recently the Coronavirus rapidly spread from Wuhan in China to other countries because the authorities failed to act quickly. They have now put into place draconian measures to prevent further infection. Cities, towns and villages have been quarantined, and travel between them is restricted.

Without a doubt universal travel exposes us to infections, and we are vulnerable before them. Likewise the exchange of information via the Internet exposes us to things that could hurt us. There are some who would attack our values and traditions of which we hold dear. These people have different ideologies, beliefs and political agendas, and despite what it says on the fifty pence piece they will not want to accept our offers of peace and friendship.

Our Words

Engage with them we must (Matthew 28:18-20), but in our exchanges we must use the language of diplomacy. Likewise in our multicultural society we have to use words carefully, so as not to cause offence.

New laws drafted under the *Human Rights Act give people freedom to follow their beliefs and to practise them, providing they do not attempt to force them on others. But in the current climate, our values of morality and ethics have come under attack. The new vanguard [satan’s minions] proclaim, “black is white, lies are true, and evil is good.” Consequently the exchange of views on platforms like Twitter and FaceBook can become very heated. Certain topics such as racism, feminism and sexism have to be treated with the utmost care. From a Christian perspective respect must be given to all people, regardless of their practices and beliefs (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32). Words must be chosen carefully to avoid accusations of prejudice and hate, and they must be said in love (Matthew 22:39; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). Issues regarding inequality and gender can be particularly sensitive.

From my perspective I observe that the world is undergoing a momentous transition. It is no longer a collection of independent separate countries, provinces and states that more of less keep themselves to themselves, but a global metropolis where the actions of a few powerful people can affect the whole city. Trump, Putin or Xi Jinping need only make one fatal error, and that could bring irreparable disaster – even total destruction. It’s like being back in the days of the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear annihilation was very real. Brinkmanship was the name of the game.

Today the affect of the Coronavirus would be insignificant by comparison. It seems to me we are walking on thin ice, and we have to be very careful. Our words must be chosen wisely so as not to stoke up hatred and accentuate differences. We are in this maze of political correctness where one word said in innocence could set the world on fire (James 3:6).

The Words of Jesus

My questions for you are: “Was Jesus politically correct?”  “Did He cause offence?”

 “Do His words offend today?” And more importantly, “Do they offend you?”

They crucified Him not for what He did, but for what He said (Mark 14:60-64)!

“Will He not justly destroy the world with fire (2 Peter 3:10)?”

Words of Comfort

‘I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land (Psalm 85:8, 9).’

*Christian Rights and Human Rights

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/10/04/christian-rights-and-human-rights/

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Saint or Sinner?

‘He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works (Psalm 33:15).’

Who am I? Am I a Saint or a Sinner?

The answer to the first question will be your identity, i.e., the core of your being – the nature of your *mind, body and soul. The question requires an answer in the present tense.

Regarding the second, but important question, your reply will reveal how you assess yourself in light of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16), and this can only be arrived at from your understanding of them (Matthew 13:23). God knows whether your assessment is true. Whatever the case, ultimately His Son will pass judgment (1 Corinthians 4:4, 5) upon you according to the state of your soul and the life you have lived in light of the Scriptures (cf. Matthew 4:4).

You will have to come before Him and face judgment (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Did you live a saintly life whilst serving Jesus, or did you live a devilish life serving satan? It is impossible to serve both – you can only serve one (Matthew 6:24).

Inspired by the Holy Spirit the writer of Hebrews penned these words: ‘For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even the division of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).’

The importance of a truthful answer to the second question becomes clear in verse 13, which goes as follows: ‘And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.’

God’s word is ‘living and powerful’. It reveals discrepancies between the ‘soul and spirit’, and it affirms that nothing can be hidden from ‘the eyes of’ Jesus Christ, who at His second coming will come as the Judge of all people (Acts 17:31).

What is Your Answer?

This is personal. You cannot hide among a crowd and hope you will not be seen by God. You must know in your heart that you have been born again by His Spirit, and if that is the case, you are ‘in’ Christ (1 John 2:3-5). You are a member of His body, i.e., the church, and thus you are a ‘saint’ (cf. Ephesians 1:1). If you are not a member of Christ’s body in this way, you are not born again (John 3:3-8), and you are an unsaved ‘sinner’ destined for hell.

Because you regularly visit a building on Sunday mornings and evenings to meet with people, your attendance does not make you a member of Christ’s body. Even if you have been baptised in water, it does not mean you are a Christian; for a true Christian is a person who has been utterly transformed by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is the criterion that guarantees you have been born again. Your soul and spirit work in harmony with the Holy Spirit, who leads you (Romans 8:14).

Such a convert is undoubtedly a saint, and the motivation for his actions arise out of his love for Christ (John 14:21). For him Christ is all (Colossians 3:11). He lives for Christ, and he is prepared to die for Him (cf. Philippians 1:21). In terms of his spirit, he has died to the world and he has been raised to newness of life in the resurrection of Christ. I’m speaking figuratively here (Romans 6:4), but there will come a time when he will literally be raised to life with a new spiritual body at the second coming of Christ (Romans 8:1i; 1 Corinthians 15:44). By faith he looks forward to that day (1 Thessalonians 5:2). The **reality of these things is attested to him by the Scriptures, and by the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

Obviously if you have not received the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) you are not born again, and you remain in the realm of the world of sin. You do not dwell in the kingdom of God’s love (Colossians 1:13). You are a sinner who lacks the power and desire not to sin – indeed, you love sin and you hate God (cf. Psalm 68:1)! You rebel against God’s rule, and you resent Him being the King of the universe (1 Timothy 6:13-16). In His sovereignty He reigns over all, i.e., the world, heaven and hell; for they were made by Him (John 1:1-3). God is ***omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, and as such He has decreed that you shall be judged by His Son to whom He has given all authority (Matthew 28:18) until such time that He shall ‘be subject to Him (1 Corinthians 15:28).’

What say you? Are you a saint or a sinner?

The answer to this question is of enormous importance; for our identities are determined by God who fashions our hearts (Psalm 33:15). He gives life (John 5:21; 6:33) and He takes it away (Deuteronomy 32:39; Job 27:8). He chooses His ****elect (John 17:2; Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12), and renders to the unsaved according to their deeds (Romans 2:6, 8, 9).

‘Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him (1 John 2:3-5).’

Who are you?

Saint or sinner?

*Mind, Body and Soul

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/23/mind-body-and-soul/

**The Reality of Now

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/11/28/the-reality-of-now/

***The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/14/the-omniscience-omnipotence-and-omnipresence-of-god/

****Election

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/05/16/election/

****Unconditional Election

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/09/14/unconditional-election/

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Quality of Life

‘Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst (John 6:35).”’

One’s quality of life is of enormous importance (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20). We hear every day of tragic happenings that adversely effect the lives of children and adults alike (cf. Luke 13:1-5).

Thousands, if not millions of children are born with abnormalities, and some are injured through accidents, while others are damaged or scarred mentally on account of abusive parenting, or because they have been abandoned by their parents, or perhaps orphaned through wars and natural disasters.

*UNICEF is an international organisation whose purpose is to support children worldwide; particularly young people who are in dire need of the basics of life, i.e., a home, food, clothing, decent living conditions, education, health care; and above all, responsible adults who really care for them with genuine love (cf. Luke 12:22-31).

We hear a lot these days about people who struggle to live because of severe disability, incurable pain, chronic or terminal illness. Today there is a call for the legalisation of **euthanasia in the UK where it has been ***debated in Parliament, but never sanctioned on account of the prevailing views of MPs. Generally Christians do not support euthanasia, because of biblical teachings – primarily, the ****sanctity of life and the commandment of God not to kill other human beings (Exodus 20:13).

What Qualifies as an Acceptable Standard of Life?

What qualifies as an acceptable standard of life will vary according to individuals and their circumstances.

Two years ago I underwent a serious operation that could have threatened my life, and it was necessary for me to have another operation six months later. Prior to the first operation, for a period of three months, I suffered with pain, which at times was so severe it was excruciating. Sleeping for any beneficial length of time was impossible, and eating was a struggle. I found it hard not to be depressed, and I was concerned for my wife and my daughters for whom I was becoming a burden.

Moving from my bedroom to the bathroom and back was a painful business. Getting up and down the stairs was more taxing. Attending hospital appointments by car or taxi was equivalent to being in a torture chamber, because every movement and jolt inflicted pain. On account of my suffering I seriously considered ending my life. I repeatedly prayed to God asking Him to relieve me of my agony, and to strengthen my faith. I pleaded for strength and perseverance, and for help in being a good Christian example to those who did not know Jesus. God never let me down. He was there with me through all my trials. He was and is my constant *****hope.

I am grateful for all the loving support from the church of which I am a member. Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ lifted me up in prayer, visited me and chatted with me on the phone (cf. Galatians 6:2).

Today, my condition has very much improved. I no longer suffer severe pain – just minor discomfort. Much of the time I feel as if I’m ‘normal’. I can walk and get about without difficulty; I can even drive the car! So I would describe myself as one who has a very acceptable quality of life. I praise God (Psalm 146:2) every day for every breath He gives me, and for His many blessings.

The Best Quality of Life is Yet to Come!

I know in my heart that God has in store for me, and all Christians, a quality of life that is beyond our comprehension – a new existence of infinite wonder, beauty and loveliness (1 John 3:2, 3). God promises us life in abundance (John 10:10), and to a large extent we have it now by being in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2), but in the life to come when ‘“there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:4),”’ our quality of life will far exceed anything experienced on earth.

A Note to the Reader

Whatever quality of life you have at this present time, if you look to Jesus and put your trust in Him, you can know that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus, the righteous Son of God, has suffered more excruciatingly than we can possibly imagine to take away our sins (John 1:29), and to take upon Himself the punishment we deserve.

If you believe in Him and trust Him, you have a guarantee (Ephesians 1:13, 14) that in the life to come, all be well with your soul. You will have peace and eternal life in Him (John 3:16; Revelation 1:4-6).

*UNICEF

https://www.unicef.org.uk

**Euthanasia

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/overview/introduction.shtml

***General debate on the existing law relating to assisted dying

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/backbench-business-committee/news-parliament-2017/assisted-dying-general-debate-17-19/

***Hansard – Assisted Dying

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-07-04/debates/EFD57ADB-AE18-4D6B-9DA8-CCDDF99D1D0A/AssistedDying

****The Sanctity of Life

http://request.org.uk/issues/life-and-death/sanctity-of-life/

*****Hope

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/01/07/hope/

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