The Signs of the time and the Word of God


The signs of the time, society heading into the wrong direction. It was not President Obama who chose this picture, but once again the liberal media portrays him as a Saint. I let the Word of God speak for itself.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 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.” Hebrew 4:12, 13.

“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.” Romans 1:18, 19.

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:24-32.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20.

Of one Spirit and one Mind?


“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1Cr 1:11-13.

Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth almost 2000 years ago. Even in the early days of the church, divisions and conflicts plagued the church in Corinth. Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus to correct and rebuke them. People had formed cliques and had their own leaders.  There was the “Paul Party,” who declared “We are following in the footsteps of the founder of the church, the apostle Paul. We’re the ones that are right with God!” There was the “Apollos Party,” who declared “We are following a man who is great in power and spiritual gifts, and impressive. We’re the ones really right with God!”  There was the “Peter Party,” who declared “We are following in the footsteps of the man who is first among all the apostles. Jesus gave him the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and he’s our man. We’re the ones really right with God!”  There was the “Jesus Party,” who declared “You all are so carnal, following after mere men. We are following in the footsteps of no one less than Jesus Himself. We’re the ones really right with God!”

Really not all that much different from today’s church. There are many denominations that claim that they are right with God and others are not because of what they believe or teach. They believe that the have the truth. There are so many denominations that it can get outright confusing for believers, let alone unbelievers.

Many unbelievers that watch the church are asking the question: “Which of all the different churches is the right one?  Shouldn’t you Christians all be the same? How come there are so many contentions and divisions amongst you?” I can see their point. There are the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, the Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterians and the list goes on. Which one holds the the truth? They all claim to be the right church, yet there are vast differences between them.

Than there are these Tel-evangelist who are fleecing the people of their money, selling their anointed holy oil or prayer cloth on TV like a shopping channel. Some teach the prosperity gospel, talking about sowing “your seed” so that God will bless you. Send in a seed of a thousand dollars and God will double it. God is not an ATM machine. Some of them want you to send them a love gift. These people are greedy and exploit people. They prey on the vulnerable and weak. They come in the name of God, but have alternative motives. Mostly to fill their own pockets and boast about their awesome ministry and how God has blessed them. No, you ripped off the people, that’s how you can afford to be on TV selling your anointed prayer cloth.

Jesus never taught a prosperity gospel. He never taught that we should be after riches in this lifetime. Seeing these TV preachers makes me not want be a identified as a Christian sometimes. They turn me off and admittedly they do make me angry.

What about so-called churches like the Westboro Baptist church that demonstrates at military funerals, condemning all homosexuals to hell and preach on the street corners that God caused 9/11. Is that anything like what Christ taught? Did Jesus come to condemn the people? Shame on these so-called Christians. They are not representing Jesus and they are far from Him. Is that how the church should act or look like to the outside world? Is that what a Christian church should look like?

What is the church? I know on thing for sure,  it is not a building,  a temple or denomination. The true church is the bride or the  body of Christ. Every true believer are individual stones that make up the temple of God, with Jesus being the cornerstone.

There are so many today just as in Paul’s days that follow a denomination, a certain preacher or liberal theologians. Many of the churches have compromised with the world, they are lukewarm and some are so far removed from the true faith that I could not even consider them as true followers of Jesus Christ. Many of those are seeker friendly churches, that do not address sin or talk about the blood. They want to be politically correct and don’t want to offend anybody. Was Jesus politically correct during His ministry? Jesus went right to the heart of a person, convicting them of their sins which led many to repentance. He did not hold back or softened the message.

The true Gospel is offensive and many churches are refusing to preach that message today. They care more about how many people attend their church, giving their tithe and offerings or making them feel comfortable. Let’s not talk about sin or hell.  Let’s rather focus on prosperity and how God will bless you if you do certain things. God loves you and blesses you and as long as you give us your money and stay at our church, He will continue to bless you.

I don’t even want to go into certain churches that are either sects or cults. They shall remain nameless at this time. So many of them are very legalistic in their teachings and some have total control over their congregation.  Some teach that the Sabbath and dietary laws need to be kept or  that water baptism is needed to be saved etc. Others teach that Sundays is the wrong day and that those who go to church on Sundays are worshiping Satan. Others deny the Trinity i.e the triune Godhead altogether, they teach that there are 3 gods or more. How much more confusing can it get? No wonder many unbelievers and especially atheist think of Christians as delusional and backwards.

Paul was very clear about being of one mind and one spirit:

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1Cr 1:10.

“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation,  and that from God.”Phl 1:28.

“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” Rom 12:16.

This is happening today, people follow a denomination or a leader. They listen and follow the teachings of those denominations and some put their trust in their salvation by being members of a certain church. Many people are very religious, but do not know the first thing about true faith or what the Bible teaches. Membership does not save anyone, a certain denomination does not save, neither does following a cult, sect or religious leader. Jesus Christ is the One that saves and a person that has received Jesus as Lord and Savior belongs to His church, the bride of Christ.

I for one rather follow Jesus rather than man. He is my guiding light, He is the way, the truth and the life. If I would rely on a church, pastor or priest for my salvation, I might be in trouble. Man is finite, corrupted and sometimes deceived. Unfortunately many have been deceived by certain church doctrines.

Jesus is the head of the church, it is He that we need to follow. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is God in the flesh. He humbled Himself to become one of us. Because of Him we can know the Father. Because of Him we are reconciled and justified before the Father. Because of Him we have eternal life. If we know Jesus, we know God. If we know Jesus,  we are One with God.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Col 1:15-18.

Just think about it, the Creator of all things, Who was and Who is and Who is to come, the great “I AM” loves you and me with an unconditional love. He lives in our hearts and we are secure in Him, if we abide in Him. He is our teacher and He is the One that sees us through every obstacle or challenge we might face. Don’t follow finite man with their egos or pride and often times wrong motives. Follow Jesus instead!

Repentance before Salvation?


I had some very interesting discussions after writing two relating articles about faith verses works.  Is a person saved by faith alone or does he or she have to do something to earn their salvation?

I believe that the scriptures are very clear that people are saved by grace through faith and not of works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8,9.

Now to me it can’t get any clearer than that. Paul wrote this so that no one can boast about what they did in order for God to save them from wrath.

One person was bringing up repentance, he wrote that repentance is part of salvation, which means that the repenting person is actively involved in the salvation process. Is that really so, do people have to repent before they are considered saved? Repentance means a change of mind/heart. I believe that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, He is in the world to convict people of their sin. Some receive it and some will reject the truth. My pastor once gave a nice analogy about repentance.

When the Babylonians invaded the land of Israel, they took captives and transported them to Babylon which was in what is  now modern-day Iraq. The Babylonians not only took the people, they burned down their homes to the ground, so that there was nothing for them to come back to. That is what believers should do, burn down their homes, spiritually speaking.

The question is, does repentance come before salvation and can we consider repentance as work?  I believe that repentance must come first. There are several verses that would back up that believe. Jesus spoke of repentance many times in the gospels. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”Mark 1:15.  Jesus confirmed that a person must repent, which means the acknowledgment that they have missed the mark and are sinners in need of forgiveness.

Luke wrote: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38.  At first glance that sounds like that a person needs to repent before receiving the Holy Spirit, i.e to be “born again.”

Peter was talking to the Jews that had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. It was the day of Pentecost. Many believed that day, about 3000 souls were saved. The crowd listened to Peter as he preached that  Jesus is the promised Messiah and many had a change of mind (repentance). They believed the words of Peter and realized that Jesus was the Messiah that the patriarchs and prophets spoke about. That change of heart was a genuine repentance which resulted of the Holy Spirit indwelling them.

Question, was that change of mind the works of man or was it the Holy Spirit that convicted the crowd?  It is interesting, because in the very next verse, Peter said this: “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39. “As many as the Lord will call.”

Sounds like it is God’s work. He is the initiator and He is the One that saves. Did these 3000 people do any kind of works or did they simply believed God through the message preached by Peter? Where did the faith that they all  had come from? Did they earn it or do something that triggered faith in them? I believe that is was the work of the Holy Spirit that convicted the people and brought about a change of heart. They heard and believed the truth.

Paul said in the book of Ephesians, Faith is a gift of God. It is all God’s sovereign work and I believe there is nothing anyone can do to either earn salvation or work for their salvation. People are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and in Him alone. No one can please God by their works. Abraham had no works, yet God declared Abraham as righteous. “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Gen 15:6.

Abraham was justified because of his faith which was given to him by God. Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the Faith chapter or hall of faith. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham are on that list. Did Abraham do any work in order to be declared righteous? Was it works or his faith that made him righteous before God. It was faith in God and His promises that gave Abraham a righteous standing before God. Abraham had nothing to boast about, it was all God’s action and all the glory belongs to Him.

The Bible is very clear about that our works cannot please God. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb 11:6.

“Diligently seek Him.” I believe that God works differently in the life of every person. Some may hear the gospel preached at a crusade or at a church or maybe from a person that witnessed to them. They hear the message and believe and at that moment the Holy Spirit comes into them, making His abode. They heard and believed, changed their minds and received the gift of salvation. It was the Holy Spirit that worked in them and brought the conviction of their sins. God drew them and they repented.

I can only speak about my own experience that I had on that day when I received the Lord.  I did not go to a church or crusade. Nobody witnessed to me. I hit rock bottom about 6 years ago from alcohol abuse and I sat on my patio all by myself, feeling miserable. I remember it so vividly, I cried out, “God if you exist, please help me. I do not want to be like this any longer. This is not me!”

From that moment on my life changed. Something happened that was so amazing. I believe that a genuine repentance happened that day that came from the heart. I did not say, “I repent. I repent.” I do believe that God saw my heart that morning and that it was a genuine admittance that I was wrong and I was in need of a Savior.  God began a good work in me from that day on, I never had a desire of drinking again. I firmly believe that the Lord took that desire from me completely. I ask the Lord to forgive me for all the things I had done.  I was forgiven and born again that day and fell in love with Jesus my Lord and Savior.

To be honest, I didn’t know much about repentance, sin or anything else that the Bible teaches. I didn’t know about justification, sanctification, let alone the grace and mercy of God. All I know is that the Lord came into my life that day and I never have looked back. How was I saved? By my works?  I certainly had no works to boast about. I can’t say that I was an atheist or agnostic. I believed that there was a God, but I never paid any attention to Him or knew much about Him.

On that day something happened and I know that the Holy Spirit came into my life and changed me. Where did this faith come from? Not from me, I had no faith before, it was a gift of God. I believe that God knew that this day of my surrender would come long before I was even born. I lived a life seeking my own pleasures for 46 years  and when I hit rock bottom, He was there. God is always there, all a person needs to do is to make a U-turn and there He is.

On that day I was justified because I believed God, just as Abraham did so many years before me.  Justification is instant and cannot be changed or improved on. Sanctification is a life long process in which the Holy Spirit works in the lives of  every believer to conform them more and more into the image of Christ. That I agree requires participation of the believer, the willingness to surrender all to Him. That is the sanctification process, the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer.

Sanctification can be painful at times, the Holy Spirit is pointing out what needs to be purged and done away with in our lives. Sometimes we may put up a fight to surrender it all, but one thing is for sure,  the Holy Spirit is patient and longsuffering, but He will never let us get away with what is not right in the sight of God for long.  He will sanctify us. Sanctification is a process, the Holy Spirit teaches us and shows us what needs to be purged out of our lives. This is the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the sanctification of every believer.

We need to see things from a spiritual level rather than from the human level. God gave us spiritual understanding and the mind of Christ. God wants us the be holy as He is Holy. He will complete that work.  “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;…” Phl 1:6. Again,  not our work but His work. He began the good work and He will finish it.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phl 2:12, 13. 

I know that some may not agree with what I’m writing and I am not being dogmatic about this whole issue. I do believe however that it is not us but God that has done it all for us. We have nothing to boast about, not about our own goodness or how wonderful we might think we are and how we deserved to be saved by God. It is by His grace and because He loved us. He loved us so much that He became flesh to become one of us and to die and shed His blood on the cross. That is unconditional love and what could I compare that with? Before I say I did this and I did that, I look at the cross and say;  Jesus did that. The thief on the cross?  No works and nothing to boast about, yet he was saved by the Lord.  The thief had a change of mind that was genuine and from the heart. That in my opinion is what it is all about, the heart. People in the world have a heart problem with a God shaped hole, a void that only God can fill. The Holy Spirit calls people to repent, some will hear His voice and some will not.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16.

Fig Leaf Religion


Once again I had someone argue with me on my Facebook page about salvation after reading my blog “Faith or Works?”  This person believes as does his church that works are required in order to be saved. He cited of course the passage in James chapter 2, which some believe contradicts Paul’s writing in Ephesians chapter 2.

Paul and James do not contradict one another. Paul writes about salvation from God’s perspective and James from a human perspective.

Saving faith in a person should be evident in their lives by the fruit they bear. As Jesus said, by their fruit shall you know them. A genuine believer that is saved by faith should bear good fruit for the kingdom.

It amazes me that there are so many people that cannot and will not receive the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  They think that there must be something that they have to do to be saved. I guess some of of it is our human nature, but I have witnessed and seen numerous people spending years to argue that works need to be included. They argue that faith in God alone is not enough and that we have to do something more than just believe.

I don’t see how anyone can come up with a works based salvation message. I cannot find that anywhere in the pages of scripture.  It is all God’s work and nothing that we have done. God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He send His only begotten Son.  (John 3:16)

We are all declared sinners before God, not one is righteous on their own. “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.” Rom 3:10, 11.

God has declared that ALL of mankind has fallen short of His perfect Holiness.  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23.

It started in garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and they ate from the forbidden tree. That one act of disobedience caused sin to enter the world and the result was a spiritual separation from God. Adam and Eve who once were in perfect harmony with God found themselves separated and soon after witnessed what their disobedience had brought forth, the first recorded murder when Cain slew Abel.

I can only imagine what Adam and Eve must have felt on that day when they saw the outcome of their sin. The result of sin is death. They did not die physically, but they died spiritually. There was nothing that Adam and Eve could do to atone for their sin. They tried to cover up their disobedience with fig leafs, thinking that God would be ok with that. But it was not ok, God clothed them in animal skins, signifying that blood was required to atone for their sins. The blood of an innocent animal could only cover their sins but not take them away. Later when we come to the time of Moses, God instituted blood sacrifices as part of the law.

Just as Adam and Eve covered themselves in fig leafs, so are many people today have a fig leaf religion. They think that they can appease God on their own merit. They think that by their “good works” God will look at them as righteous before Him. That is a false hope, there is absolutely nothing that any of us can do to please God with our works. God provided one way and one way alone and we must receive that way.

The only way provided is through the precious blood of Christ. The shed blood of Christ on the cross was sufficient and acceptable for the Father. Jesus is our propitiation, the passover lamb. He that knew no sin became sin for us and died for us, so that we may live eternally with Him.

To all those who think and teach that faith in Jesus alone is not enough and that certain works are required to earn salvation are gravely mistaken. The law could not justify anyone and no one was or is able to keep the law perfectly. If any of us were able to keep the law, than Christ died in vain. People that want to live a life of bondage to the law are destined to fail. The law is perfect and breaking one of them means breaking all of God’s law.

“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Rom 3:20.

Paul wrote to the Galatians: “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:22-26.

Yet there are those who insist that works are required, the write books about it, they preach from the pulpit and keep their congregation under legalism and bondage. Christ came to set us free from all of that. We are no longer under the law but under grace. The gospel i.e. the good news is so simple, but people have to make it complicated and the put heavy burden on others. This is not what Christ came for and it is not what God wants.

Jesus came to die on the cross for us. He left His place in Heaven to become one of us and to take our sins upon Him. He didn’t have to do that, but God so loves us that He send His Son Who willingly gave His life. That is something to rejoice in and to be thankful for. But what do so many denominations and churches do? They overlook or don’t understand the true meaning of God’s grace and teach others that the have to live by certain rules and regulation in order to be saved.

They have teachings that are not biblical and not be backed up by the scriptures. They twist and turn verses or built their whole theology around a couple of verses, failing to compare scriptures with scriptures. It is no wonder that non-believers sometimes mock Christianity. There are so many denominations and branches of churches out there, teaching different viewpoints and are convinced that the are the only “true church.” There is a lot of confusion out there among the various denominations.

No wonder that Christians look divided, rather than being of one mind. They follow the teachings of men rather than what the word of God teaches.

The only way someone can be saved in by believing in Jesus by faith. It is not Jesus plus, it is Him alone and only through Him and Hid finished work can we be justified before God. It is not our righteousness that God looks at but His righteousness that was imputed onto every true believer. Thank you God for Your mercy and for Your grace. Thank you Father for giving Your only begotten Son.

Thank you Jesus for setting us free from the bondage of law and that you have broken the wall of separation so that we may come boldly before the throne of God.Thank you for giving us Your perfect peace.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom 5:1, 2. 

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Rom 3:21-28.

Faith or works?


There are some that firmly believe that the Bible is full of contradictions. Are they right, does the Bible contradict itself? The most common one that people use to proof their case the Bible contains contradictions are the writings of Paul and James. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians writes:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8, 9.

Paul clearly states that believers are saved through faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross. Saving faith is a gift and it was given by God to the believers. They cannot earn it by works or any other means. Salvation is truly by God’s grace and through faith in Christ alone.

Wait a minute some argue, what about James, he seemed to think that works are required in order to be saved. Is that what James is saying and people use it to point out a contradiction to what Paul wrote?  Paul wrote “not of works.” James mentions works. “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:17, 18.

An obvious contradiction some would say. But is it really a contradiction? Let me first say that there are no contradictions in the Bible, there might be some words that got lost in translation from the Hebrew or the Greek into English where the  translators could have used a different word, but there are no contradictions.

Are these passages in conflict with each other? Did James contradict Paul when he wrote that faith without works is dead? I don’t think so at all. The most simplest way of looking at these two passages is that Paul wrote from God’s perspective or the divine level and James wrote from the human perspective, the human level.

Paul makes it very clear that man cannot save himself. No matter how hard someone might try to reach God by works or religious rituals. Salvation is a free gift of God by His mercy and grace. It is His divine action that saves the believers, not the other way around. God did what we could not do for ourselves. He made the way to be reconciled with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, our propitiation. Many times in the Bible we read “I will.” It is God that saves.

James is saying that someone can say that they have faith which cannot be seen. Anyone can say, I have faith and I believe in God, but they do not show or bear any fruit at all. They may go to church, read their Bibles, look spiritual and act holy but in reality they are unfruitful. They go through the motions and that’s what James is saying, true saving faith should be evident in the believer by how they live and how their faith in Christ produces fruit, some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred fold.
What did Jesus say about faith and bearing fruit? There are many passages of course, I will use the gospel of John to show what Jesus said.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.: John 15:1-8.
Abiding in Christ is the key, faith in Him and Him alone saves a person, not works. Good works or bearing fruit is the evidence of faith. There are many within the Christian faith that teach that works are required and in order to be saved you have to do this or that. Those are either cults or legalistic people who do not know or understand the grace of God. They are in bondage to themselves. If anyone ever comes to you with that kind of doctrine, point them to the thief on the cross. He had no works to show for that would save him, yet Jesus told him that he would be in Paradise with Him. The thief on the cross believed Jesus and had a change of mind (repentance).

“Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4. 

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3.  James 2:23.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16.

http://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/doesnt-james-214-18-make-it-plain-that-good-works-are-required-for-salvation-3/

Hell is for real


Many have raised the question and discussed the existence of a literal place called Hell. Is Hell for real? I believe that it is, in fact Jesus Himself spoke more about the literal existence of Hell than anybody else in the Bible. Another word for Hell is the lake of fire mentioned four times in the book of Revelation. What is that place and where is it?  

 I don’t think that anyone really knows for sure. 

There are some that believe that hell is in the center of the earth, while others believe that it may be far out in the universe i.e. the outer darkness Jesus spoke off. “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Mat 25:30. This phrase was used by the Lord  three times in the gospel of Matthew. 

The word Hell appears 32 times in all of the Bible. In the Hebrew the word hell is Sheol. According to the concordance the word Sheol can mean:  underworld, grave, hell, pit. The OT designation for the abode of the dead or: 1) place of no return 2) without praise of God.  3) wicked sent there for punishment.  4) righteous not abandoned to it.  5) of the place of exile.  6) of extreme degradation in sin.

In the New Testament which was written in the Greek the word Hell/Sheol is translated as Gehenna. Here is what the concordance list as to what it means: 1) Hell is the place of the future punishment call “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.

The Apostle Peter in his second epistle uses the word tartaroo to describe Hell. Concordance: 1) the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews. 2) to thrust down to Tartarus, to hold captive in Tartarus.

I believe that Peter used this word because he was writing to a Greek audience and they knew what he meant by the word Tartaroo.

There are many even within Christendom that either flat-out deny the existence of Hell or fail to speak about from the pulpit. Just as many deny the existence of Satan i.e. the Devil. Universalism teaches that there is no Hell and that eventually everybody will be saved. Then there are those that would say, if God is so loving, why does He sent people to Hell? 

First of all, God does not send people to Hell, they send themselves there by rejecting His free gift of salvation which is through His Son Christ Jesus. He did not come into the world to send people to Hell, He came to set people free from sin and the white throne judgment of God that all of those who reject Jesus will have to face one day.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:16-20.

Many people know John 3:16, but many forget to read the other verses to get the full context of what Jesus was saying.  God loves us and he demonstrated His love by giving His only begotten Son, but many do not want to believe, do not care or simply reject Him. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God (Rom 3:23).  All of us have broken God’s divine laws and we deserve punishment.

God by His Mercy and Grace has provided a way to avoid that judgment and that is through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Those who believe by faith will be saved and inherit eternal life. Those who reject will have a different destiny; Hell or eternal separation from God.

Some may say that God does not exist, therefore Hell does not exist. Can they really be sure? Can they be sure hat there is nothing after death?  I may not be able to proof the existence of God or Hell to an unbeliever or someone who rejects God completely, but I know that I know that God is for real, heaven is for real and unfortunately Hell is for real.

God does not want anybody to end up in Hell and I believe that He makes every effort to save people from that place. He does this through His word and the witness of others that share the gospel. People have to really harden their hearts before God let’s them go, just as Pharaoh did. It is not God that hardens the hearts of people. God gave Pharaoh many chances to listen to Him, but Pharaoh hardened his heart each time and rejected,  until God finally let him go.

I hope that there are many out there that have a soft heart that hear the call and the voice of God. This world as we know it is coming to an end. I don’t know the day or the hour, we are on God’s prophetic time clock. Looking at the world today, it’s a few seconds before midnight.

I’m no expert on Hell either, neither do I want to be, I never wanna see or be at that place wherever it may be. I hope that if you are an unbeliever and read this, not to laugh it off, but to at least think about what Jesus said and what He did. Jesus did for us what we could not do ourselves. He died for you and me, taking our deserved punishment so that we can spend eternity with Him. Eternity is a long time and there are only two destinations; Heaven or Hell. Which one will you choose?

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6.

 

Sinless Christians?


I have had several people tell me over the years that they are sinless and sin no more. Their argument is that born again believers are a new creation and thus they cannot sin and they have overcome sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. They quote 1 John 3 which says that a believer can no longer sin.

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” 1John 3:9.

Sounds pretty convincing and convicting doesn’t it? Is John saying that a believer cannot sin and if he or she does they are of the Devil?

Let’s go back a few verses: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.” 1John 3:3-6.

They following contains a few exerts from commentary by John Stott and David Guzik. I ‘m gonna put some closing thoughts at the end.

Sin is lawlessness: John defines sin at its most basic root. It is a disregard for the law of God, which is inherently a disregard for God Himself.

We often fail in the battle against sin because we won’t call it for what it is: lawlessness, an offense against the Great Law Maker, God. Instead, we say things like “If I’ve done anything wrong . . .” or “Mistakes were made . . .” and so forth. Call it for what it is: sin and lawlessness. “The first step towards holy living is to recognize the true nature and wickedness of sin.” (Stott)

You know that He was manifested to take away our sins: John here defined the mission of Jesus Christ at its most basic root – to take away our sins. The angel Gabriel promised Joseph regarding the ministry of Jesus: “you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin.” Luke 1:21

Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the penalty of our sin. This is immediately accomplished when one comes by faith to Jesus.

Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the power of sin away. This is an ongoing work in the lives of those who walk after Jesus.

Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the presence of sin away. This is a work that will be completed when we pass into eternity and are glorified with Jesus.

He was manifested to take away our sins: This is the work of Jesus in our life. It is a work we must respond to, but it is His work in us.

We cannot take away the penalty of our own sin. It is impossible to cleanse ourselves in this way. We must instead receive the work of Jesus in taking away our sin.

We cannot take away the power of sin in our lives. This is His work in us, and we respond to that work. Someone who comes to Jesus does not have to clean themselves up first, but they must be willing to have Him take away their sin.

We cannot take away the presence of sin in our lives. This is His work in us, ultimately accomplished when we will be glorified with Him.

In Him there is no sin: Jesus had no sin to take away; therefore He could take away our sin, taking it upon Himself.

Abiding in sin or abiding in God.

Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

Whoever abides in Him does not sin: Since sin is lawlessness, a disregard for God ( 1 John 3:4) and since Jesus came to take away our sins (1 John 3:5), and since in Jesus there is no sin, then to abide in Him means to not sin.

It is very important to understand what the Bible means – and when it does not mean – when it says does not sin. According to the verb tense John uses, does not sin means does not live a life style of habitual sin. John has already told us in 1 John 1:8. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. In 1 John 1:8, the grammar indicates John is speaking about occasional acts of sin. The grammar of 1 John 1:6 indicates that John is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin. John is not teaching here the possibility of sinless perfection.

“The present tense in the Greek verb implied habit, continuity, unbroken sequence” (Stott); the NIV has the right idea when it translates these verbs with phrases such as keeps on sinning, continues to sin, and he cannot go on sinning.

Whoever abides in Him does not sin: John’s message is plain and consistent with the rest of the Scriptures. It tells us that a life style of habitual sin is inconsistent with a life of abiding in Jesus Christ. A true Christian can only be temporarily in a life style of sin.

Paul’s teaching in Romans 6 is a great example of this principle. He shows us that when a person comes to Jesus, when their sins are forgiven and God’s grace is extended to them, they are radically changed – the old man is dead, and the new man lives. So it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Christ to be comfortable in habitual sin; such a place can only be temporary for the Christian.

In some ways, the question is not “do you sin or not?” We all sin. The question is, “How do you react when you sin? Do you give into the pattern of sin, and let it dominate your lifestyle? Or do you humbly confess your sin, and do battle against it with the power Jesus can give?”

This is why it is so grieving to see Christians make excuses for their sin, and not humbly confess them. Unless the sin is dealt with squarely, it will contribute to a pattern of sin that may soon become their lifestyle – perhaps a secret lifestyle, but a lifestyle nonetheless.

What is important is that we never sign a “peace treaty” with sin. We never wink at its presence or excuse it by saying, “Everybody has their own sinful areas, and this is mine. Jesus understands.” This completely goes against everything we are in Jesus, and the work He has done in our life.

Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him: To live a lifestyle of habitual sin is to demonstrate that you have not seen Him (in a present sense of the ultimate “seeing Him mentioned in 1 John 3:2), and that you have not known Him. There are some people so great and so wonderful that seeing them or knowing them will change your life forever. Jesus is that kind of person. (David Guzik)

So, if some claim that they are sinless, are they deceiving themselves? I strongly believe so. As long as we live on this earth in our earthly bodies we cannot and will not be perfect. They only sinless and perfect One is our Lord Jesus Christ. If people could be perfect and sinless on their own, than Christ did in vain. Why do we pray the Lord’s prayer where it says “forgive us our trespasses?” Why did Jesus in His letters to the seven churches ask them to repent? What about the passage in Revelation?

“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.” Rev 12:10.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” 1 John 1:8-10.

 

American Christianity


I hear about Christians getting slaughtered in Sudan or persecuted and killed in the Middle East by radical Islamist just about everyday. There is a pastor in Iran,  Youcef Nadarkhani that has been sentenced to death because he is a believer in Jesus Christ. The Iranian regime, governed by Sharia law gave him a chance to recant his confession in Christ which he did not. This man is a true believer that even though he was threatened with hanging he will not denounce his faith in Jesus. The Iranian regime has also declared that their goal is to wipe out Israel from the map and Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever happened. I was watching the O’Reilly factor yesterday and the son of Oliver Stone whose name is Sean Stone converted to Islam and is pretty much a defender of Iran and it’s regime. 

Newsweek has a bloody picture of Jesus on its front page with the title “War on Christianity.”  There is an all out war against Christians around the world.  This war is real, in Sudan the Arab radical Islamist from the north slaughter the black Christians in the Nuba mountains which is the border between Northern and Southern Sudan. They kill men, women and children with machetes, burning down churches by the churches. These brothers and sisters in Christ endure heavy persecution and many are facing death by the sword. Christians are hated by radical Muslims and there is no tolerance towards people of a different faith.

Everyday I read the articles and reports about what’s going on and it saddens me to hear and see these gruesome reports that come out of Africa and the Middle East. The Syrian government is killing its own people, Iran will soon have a nuclear weapon to attack Israel and the war against Christianity is becoming a reality. Can we as believers here in the west, especially here in the US even imagine what these brothers and sister have to endure and face everyday? The White House and the President who supposedly is the most powerful men in the world has been silent for the most part on many of these atrocities. Just yesterday Franklin Graham was on Pierce Morgan’s show talking about the crisis in Sudan and how the radical have once again started to bomb the churches in the Nuba mountains.

He also addressed the dire situation the Iranian pastor is facing and that he could be hanged within days. Graham said that the President hasn’t called anybody to the White House for a prayer meeting or to put pressure on the Iranian regime to free Youcef Nadarkhani, instead the President apologized to the Afghans because our military accidentally burned some Qur’an”s.  He did that on the same day when two American service men were killed because of the incident. What is wrong with that picture? Mr. President, stop bowing down to the Saudis and stop your political correctness when dealing with countries like Iran. We don’t have to apologize to the radical and the radical regimes, they attacked us. They should apologize to us for killing our brave service men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq. Christians didn’t fly the planes into the World Trade towers, radical Muslims did.

These are the same fanatic radicals that want to wipe Israel off the map, destroy America and the West. If any Muslims says that Islam is a peaceful religion, I doubt that very much and if the so-called peaceful Muslims are silent about what’s going on with the radicals of Islam, than they have become irrelevant.

Thinking about that, made me wonder, what are we as Christians suppose to do about this? Let me say first that I am not talking about every believer here in the US, I’m just broadly generalizing and please don’t take it personally if you read this. There are many good and strong believers that care and go out of their way to help those in need.  In general however, most of American Christians go to church on Sunday’s and think they have done their duty. They sit in a nice comfortable pew and listen to either a sermon or a Bible study in an air-conditioned facility, coffee and donuts afterwards, a little fellowship and off they go. Is that all or should we be more in tune about what’s going around the world to our brothers and sisters in the faith? There are a lot of activities and events, special concerts and many programs throughout the week. That in itself is not a bad thing, but are we that voice in the world for those who have no voice and are desperately crying out for help? Do we genuinely care about people who are persecuted and killed because they believe in Christ?

I hope that many of us are. I have to admit that we live pretty comfortable lives here in the US, which may change one day. Are we ready for that day? Or will we unlike the Iranian pastor turn away from Jesus because of persecution? We are living in days where prophecies are being fulfilled just about everyday, yet many of the churches or denominations have no clue about Bible prophecy or what some of these current events mean to us as believers. We are living in the very last days and I believe that the Lord will come soon for His bride. Will He find us sleeping as the five foolish virgins or awake and on alert as the five wise once? Israel is God’s time piece and we need to look at Israel because everything relating to the end times is centered in Israel, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount or the epicenter.

I wish I could go over to Iran and talk to Ahmadinejad and ask him to let  Youcef Nadarkhani go, or to be in Sudan standing with our brothers and sisters. Sometimes I feel like James and John who asked the Lord if they should call for fire to rain from heaven and make an end to all of this. There are many good Christian organization already over there. There is Far Reaching Ministries  led by Wes Bentley that trains chaplains  for any kind of situation that may occur.  Many of them know that they may never come home again. They are risking their lives every single day for the furthering of the kingdom and they are willing to give their lives and reach people with the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

I don’t have all the answers, but there is one thing that we as believers can do. Praying without ceasing. The prayers of the saints avails much. We can be a voice if we want to and not let the opposition silence us as some would love to do. The Lord Himself said: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Mat 5:13.

If we are silent we will loose the good fight and we will be trampled under foot. Political correctness is killing this country and the liberal agenda is anti Christian. Just as the liberals are uniting for their causes, we as believers can unite and speak up and fight the good fight. We can be that voice crying in the wilderness….unless we let the enemy silence us.

Personally, I would like to finish the race as Paul did: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2Ti 4:7.

Darkness


I am facing a bit of a challenge in my life right now. For the last few weeks my wife and I have taken in our 19-year-old grandson. He is currently unemployed and is just now finishing his high school diploma. In the last couple of years he’s been living with relatives, bouncing around with no real priorities or direction in his life. His mom and step-dad told him that he could no longer live with them if he doesn’t change his ways. They have three young children together and fear that he would set a bad example if he lives in their home. Needless to say he was not willing to make changes.

He became rebellious as many teenagers his age do, it’s all about them, they know it all, not heeding the advise given by their parents. He is not going to church, does not read his Bible and is more interested in smoking weed and hanging out with his friend who like to do the same. He listens to rap music all day long which contains a lot of bad language which has a bad influence on many young people lives today. I talked to him about smoking wheat and that it is not cool or hip and that the music he listens to is degrading and full of darkness. I talk but he doesn’t listen, it goes into one ear and out the other.

Just this week I was telling him that he is bringing darkness into my home and that I do not like it. His typical response, “what do you mean?” I said to him, I once lived in darkness until I came to the light which is Jesus, Who took all that darkness that surrounded me away. Now I’m feeling the presence of darkness in the house. I told him that if he surrounds himself with darkness, he allows for that darkness to enter his mind. Once it has entered, it will take control and make it’s home there.

If we allow the darkness to come in, it will reflect on what kind of person we are or what kind of person we have become. There is so much darkness already in the world that has invaded many people’s mind and they are controlled by the darkness. They may not realize it but they are under the control of the evil one. Everyone that lives in the darkness is not serving God Who is Light. “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” 1John 1:5, 6.

Jesus talked about that in the gospel of Matthew: “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Mat 6:22-24.

I think that this is a good reminder for all of us who serve the Lord and want to be His disciples. Are we letting any kind of darkness come into our homes and minds? Are we watching the same programs on TV as the world? Maybe some of us have become complacent and have compromised in some ways. I have sometimes experienced some compromise in my own walk, thinking, that movie has a few bad words, but hey I can handle that. The media and Hollywood has become so dark these days that I believe it has a bad influence on many people’s lives, young and old. Am I allowed as a Christian to watch movies and shows? Yes, but do I want to pollute my mind with shows that are nor edifying and are in reality worthless and a waste of time?

I was once living in the world and I was of the world with all it’s lust and desires. Now that I know Jesus I am not of this world any longer. I am living in this world, but I am not of this world, I don’t have to participate in the things of the world. Jesus has set the believers free from all that bondage. We are free in Christ. Now that I am free why would I go back to Egypt, and a live a life of bondage again?

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” John 17:16, 17.

Jesus came into my life and showed me the truth, I am no longer believe in the lies of this world. Satan is the prince of this world, he is nothing but darkness, full of lies and deceit. Btw, Ozzy Osbourne is not the prince of darkness, but that prince of darkness does exist and his name is Satan or the Devil, the accuser and the murderer. Everyone that does not want to come to the Light lives in darkness and serves him, willingly or unwillingly.

I’m not sure how this will all play out yet with my grandson, but I trust in the Lord that He will guide me and give me directions. I don’t want to come over as to condemning, but at the same time I can not condone his behavior. I’m sure that many parents have faced or currently experiencing a similar situation with their teen daughter or son. Unfortunately, I can not force him to read his Bible or to go to church. I cannot force God on him. How could I, God does not force Himself on anyone. It is a choice that every person has to make. At this moment my grandson has turned from the Lord, but I know that the Lord still loves him.

I pray that one day he will realize that he lives a life of illusions and that this world has nothing to offer that satisfies. This is also a time of testing for me, can I be a good example to him and show him that he is loved? Can I show the love that Jesus has for the sinners and the backsliders? It is not easy to witness someone going the wrong direction towards a steep cliff, especially a family member. I told my grandson that he is at this moment not on the narrow road but on the broad road that leads to destruction. I have been on that road and it is not an easy one to travel.

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”John 8:12.

The Integrity of Job


So often, when I have a conversation with unbelievers and skeptics they will bring up the book of Job.  Their argument is, why did God single out Job and bragged about him to Satan?  Job did all the right things and loved the Lord, yet He allowed Satan to take everything that Job had, his family, servants and possessions.

Why would God do that to someone who loves Him. Isn’t He suppose to be a loving God?  At first glance I admit, it might look that way, here is a guy just going on about his day thinking about his sons and daughters when tragedy strikes him out of nowhere.  In one day he looses it all,  his sons and daughters and his livelihood. Everything that he worked and lived for, up in smoke. Job had no clue what was going on and why this came upon him. He did not have the benefit that we have when we read the story in the Bible.

The first two chapters give us a unique look behind the scenes, a look into the spiritual world unseen from the human eye. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:6, 7. Satan was most likely prowling the earth as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour.

“Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”Job 1:8. Poor Job, he had no idea that God and Satan had a conversation about him. It almost seems like God may have been bragging a little bit about Job. Satan seized the moment:  “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “Does Job fear God for nothing? “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Job 1:9-11.

It is interesting to hear Satan say that God had a hedge i.e a protection around Job, he was blessed by God in all he did. I believe that believers in Jesus Christ have a hedge around them just as Job did. Satan in his arrogance challenged God by stating, hey if you take everything away that he has, he will not love you and curse You to Your face. Satan thought that Job or for that matter any other believers only love God when He blesses them, but turn from Him when tragedy or tribulations arise. God in His sovereign will gave Satan the permission to hit Job with afflictions.

“And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:12.

That was the moment when Jobs world would be turned upside down. We read that Job lost his seven sons and three daughters in one day as well as all of his livestock. What a terrible day in the life of poor Job. Yet in all this tragedy, he did not curse God. As a matter of fact, he praised God.

“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22.

I don’t think that was what Satan intended, he was hoping that Job would blame God and turn from God. The opposite happened, although deeply grieved, he did not forsake or denounce the Lord. I can only imagine that Satan was a bit furious.  Some time later Satan appeared before God again and we have the same conversation in chapter two of Job.

“And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Job 2:2, 3.

We need to read this verse very carefully, God allowed it because Satan incited Him and God allowed Satan to destroy everything that Job had. I believe what we can glean from this is, that without God’s permission, Satan can’t do a thing to harm believers. This second time around Satan wanted even more.

“So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. “But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” Job 2:6.   It was Satan’s  desire to physically harm Job in hope that he would curse God.

Again, God only allowed Satan to strike Job, but not to kill him.  “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” Job 2:7. Here is Job, covered in painful boils and now even his wife asked him to curse God. “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:8.

In ancient times, people thought that the person that was punished so severally must have done some kind of sin to deserve something like that.  This time even his wife wanted him to curse God and die. But Job just answered: “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:9.

Even now Job does not curse or blame God for his sufferings. Now I don’t know how I would have reacted if I were to be in the shoes of Job. As the story goes on, three of his friends come to comfort him, but as it turns out they were no comfort at all. They either blamed Job for everything that happened to him, because they thought that he must have sin in his life and lost favor with God. In the end however it turns out that these three wise men  weren’t all that wise. At the end God intervenes and rebukes his friends. What happened to good old Job? God restored everything to Job and more, He restored everything ten fold.

I think we as believers can learn a lot from the story of Job. We do have a hedge around us that protects us from many things of the world. At the same time, we are not immune from pain and suffering. Many Christians are going through various hardships, from persecutions and tribulations to financial issues to many other tragedies in their life’s.  We are not exempt, but ultimately, God is in control of all things and nothing happens without a purpose and His permission. Sometimes God uses sufferings and tribulations for His divine purpose and to work in people’s life’s. I may not understand why sometimes, but God knows and nothing is done without a reason and a purpose.

Even the Apostle Peter was subject to Satan on more than one occasion.  “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Lk 22:31.

Peter had to go to some trials, He denied the Lord three times and he had hardships and was imprisoned and crucified upside down in Rome, just as the Lord told him when He was still with them. So were many of the other disciples. All of the Apostles except John died a martyrs death. The Apostle Paul experienced many afflictions, beatings, imprisonment and ultimately death by beheading.  This is what Paul thought about sufferings in his lifetime:  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”Rom 8:18.  

Paul looked at the eternal not the temporal. In this life, Christians who follow the Lord will face opposition, trials and tribulations. The Lord told us so. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

We as Christians have an enemy that is relentless, the world, the flesh and Satan. I believe that most of our afflictions are not caused by Satan but by our own flesh. The flesh is warring against the Spirit. Many people want to blame Satan for everything that is going on in their life’s, but I think many times it’s just the flesh and the world. Of course we should never underestimate Satan, he is called the prince of this world and if Christians are living in the world as if the world were their home, then they are subject to Satan. The Bible speaks of Satan as the accuser of the brethren, he accuses us day and night before God.  (Rev 12:10)

Sufferings and pains are not easy, but they do strengthen a believers faith and draws them closer to the Lord. That’s what happened to Job, Peter and Paul as well as many others throughout history. In the end everything turned out well for Job and Satan was proven wrong.

That’s what Satan wishes to happen to the believers today. He wants us to curse God as soon as some kind of trial, sufferings or pain come our way. Most of us may never face the kind of tragedy Job was confronted with, although there are many that have had tragedies of various degrees in their lives. The question becomes , if any one of us who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior gets confronted with tribulations and trials similar to Job’s, will we keep the faith and integrity that Job demonstrated?

I hope and pray that none of us will ever face something like Job, but if we do I hope that we will stand tall and firmly rooted in the Lord. There is a spiritual warfare raging. Satan knows that he only but a short time left. We need to fight the good fight and stand against every fiery dart that the enemy may throw at us.

No matter what happen in this life, the destination of the believer is to be with the Lord. God will never leave us nor forsake us as long as we abide in Him, no matter what may come our way.  Satan is already defeated and he will try anything to distract or harass the believers. We need to stand on the promises of God. We as believers are secured in Christ and nothing can take that away.  The book of Ephesians is all about our position in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Rom 8:38, 39. 

We are secure in Christ and we are not of this world. The world can’t touch us, unless we allow the cares of this world to dominate our lives.  As long as we abide in Christ to live after the spirit rather than the flesh and we resist the Devil and his temptations and lies, we can overcome every obstacle and tragedy that we may face. All things here on the earth are temporal and will fade with time, our destination as believers is eternity. We need to set our eyes on the eternal and look up, our redemption draws close. Maranatha Lord Jesus.