Posted in jesus, righteousness, salvation

A plea for your salvation

This is me, one woman’s plain-language plea for those who read this blog who are unsaved to believe in the Gospel.

We can see God plainly because He has made Himself plain in creation. (Romans 1:19). He has set eternity in our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We know it, but we suppress it. Why? We’re sinners.

Because we’re all born sinners and do wrong from even in the womb, (Psalm 51:5), we can’t go to heaven after we die. There IS a heaven, and after-life that lasts forever. So heaven exists but what would make it heaven if we’re all there acting like we are here? It would not be heaven.

Only God is holy, that is, without sin. He does no wrong, He does not lie. He is perfect in righteousness…and we’re not. (1 John 1:18, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10).

Therefore humans have a problem, don’t we? We can’t do right, having a sin nature, and God is righteous and the bridge is so wide. A great gulf is fixed between us and Him…except that Jesus came to be that bridge. He lived a sinless life as a man, in the days of His flesh He was tempted as we are but overcame it all. He died on the cross as a criminal who had done no wrong, and took on all of God’s wrath and punishment for our sins.

It is true, God is angry with you for sinning. God hates sin. Hates it. (Psalm 5:4). He has wrath about it. He was pleased to crush His son (again are you shocked at this language? It came straight from the bible, Isaiah 53:10). Then, pleased with His Son, God raised Jesus from the dead, and brought Him to glory. Now Jesus is not only the bridge, but the door we can go through to get to heaven.

Picture a car wash. The car is put on the tracks and goes through the building with powerful washing, and emerges the other side sparkling clean. Scrubbed from top to bottom. We don’t get out and scrub the car, it is automatically scrubbed while we do not contribute to the work. Jesus’s blood washes our sins away and if we go through Him we emerge clean by His works and we can go on to heaven.

But how do we get to the car wash? How do we get clean?

Repent.

That means hating your sins and asking Jesus to forgive them. He can and He does. He lived the life on earth and resisted performing even one sin, even one thought of sin. He is qualified to forgive us because He has triumphed over sin, and He took your punishment for them.

If you do not seek Jesus and repent of sins, believing He is qualified to forgive you because He is the resurrected Son of God, then God will reject you when you die and come asking to get into heaven. Those who reject Jesus will be rejected in turn. If God was pleased to crush His sinless Son, (Isaiah 53:10) do YOU think you’d fare any better standing before Him pleading your own sinful case?

It might sound shocking to hear of things like God hates sin or being rejected or crushing His Son. The world certainly teaches that God is [only] love and that heaven is open to all. But I go back to the original, if you go to heaven like you are now, and so does everybody, what makes it heaven? Earth is a terrible place, full of murderers and liars and child molesters. Even if you are not those things, you’re a greedy, coveting, lying, cretin who doesn’t do good and has poison in your heart. If you have ever even had one malicious thought, you’re a sinner. So again, what makes heaven, heaven, if YOU’RE there?

I was a sinner too. I still am, but I asked Jesus to forgive me (Romans 10:9) and in His mercy, He did. He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell me so as to help me resist sin. I still have that sin nature but I am a new creation in Christ. I am IN Christ. You see, once we emerge from that car wash, the track leads straight to Jesus’s arms and He enfolds us to Himself and He is in us and we are in Him. There is no better place to be, than in the One who is righteous, sinless, holy, living and perfect. He will never forsake me nor let me go. No one or nothing can snatch me from his hand.

He will give you the desires of your heart. Your desire is to sin. If you reject Him and won’t repent, He will allow you to fulfill your desire to sin, but that disqualifies you from entering heaven. When you die, you will get your wish to be apart from Jesus forever. You will got to hell. Hell is real and at this very second it is full of people who thought they were saved because they were good. Thought they had the right religion. Thought there was no God, or hell, or heaven.

So repent while it is the day and not the night. Your foot shall slide in due time. Jonathan Edwards described the enormity of an eternal hell:

It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: For “who knows the power of God’s anger?

This is the Gospel from the bible:

The Resurrection of Christ

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

Posted in righteousness, satan, sin

If we had X-ray vision what would sin look like?

When satan was created, He was the most beautiful angel. Ezekiel 28:12 says

Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”

Inside or out, satan was not only beautiful, but he was the very seal of perfection. But it didn’t last. Though he was created perfect, one day, unrighteousness was found in him.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:15)

Initially, sin might look beautiful but the more a person becomes trapped in it, the less beautiful it is and the more they are eternally destroyed.

The woman may be beautiful, and the sin so enticing, Proverbs 5:3 says
For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey and her speech is smoother than oil.

But the end of it all is is hell.

in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps head straight for Sheol. (Proverbs 5:4-5)

But sin at first looks great, else no one would engage in it. Remember Superman’s X-Ray vision? Wikipedia defines X-ray vision as

Although called X-ray vision, this power has little to do with the actual effect of X-rays. Instead, it is usually presented as the ability to selectively see through certain objects as though they are invisible, translucent or not present, in order to see objects or surfaces beyond or deep to the affected object or material.”

THIS is what sin looks like. Here is the Old Man. Once so beautiful and shining, it is what satan’s soul looks like. Eve thought the fruit looked good and a delight to the eyes, (Genesis 3:6) but shortly after all it had brought was pain and bondage (Genesis 3:16). If we had X-ray vision and could see beyond the enticing surface, this is what we would see:

“Sin”, collage on handmade paste paper, by EPrata

O, would that sin looked like this to our eyes, then we would not be so attracted to it! And sadly, horrifically, it is what us inside us. This ugliness is what Jesus sees when He looks at a non-believer. Lovingly, He still died for us.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

However, being that sin is so gross and deadly, it makes the triumph of Jesus all the more glorious.  Where satan is all-darkness that fools us into thinking it is light, Jesus never had one blot, one lie, one corrupt thought, one serpent slither. Not once, not ever. He IS the Light!

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

If we had X-ray vision looking at Jesus, our eyes would see only glory upon glory, shining like the sun. He is a prism of Light, reflecting throughout all the universe and into the eternity we will share with Him! When He looks upon a believer He sees that same righteousness-

For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Don’t be fooled by the initially enticing beauty of sin. It is gross, destructive, horrible. Put on your X-ray vision to see beyond its surface lie. Run from it toward Jesus who set us free from its bondage, and gave us the Spirit’s vision to see through its enticing spoils. Satan’s offerings are nothing. Jesus is our all in all.

Posted in righteousness, slave, theology

We are slaves of Christ, and God owns our body

We are not just servants of Jesus, not just bond-servants, but slaves. Yes, we are co-heirs, friends, and sons, but we are His slaves. Let’s focus on that relationship for a minute.

John MacArthur:

Being a slave of Christ may be the best way to define a Christian. We are, as believers, slaves of Christ. You would never suspect that, however, from the language of Christianity. In contemporary Christianity the language is anything but slave language. It is about freedom. It is about liberation. It is about health, wealth, prosperity, finding your own fulfillment, fulfilling your own dream, finding your own purpose. We often hear that God loves you unconditionally and wants you to be all you want to be. He wants to fulfill every ambition, every desire, every hope, every dream. In fact, there are books being written about dreams as if they are gifts from God which God then having given them is bound to fulfill. Personal fulfillment, personal liberation, personal satisfaction, all bound up in an old term in evangelical Christianity, a personal relationship. How many times have we heard that the gospel offers people a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

What exactly does that mean? Satan has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and it’s not a very good one. Every living being has a personal relationship with the living God of one kind or another, leading to one end or another. … But what exactly is our relationship to God? What is our relationship to Christ? How are we best to understand it? You do have a personal relationship to Jesus Christ, you are His slave. That’s putting it as simply as I can put it. ~Slaves for Christ

Few of us go so far as to re-align our thoughts with the fact that we are His slaves. Fewer of us would go even further to explore the full implications of that fact.

“But now, O you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” (Romans 9:20)

“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:16-18).

“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34)

God made us. He owns not just our heart, and our mind, but our body. Ask Isaiah.

“at that time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, (Isaiah 20:2-3).

God saw fit to use Isaiah’s body AS the message He wanted to send to the people. Isaiah obeyed. We read in verse 2 the LORD said, and in verse 3 cut to three years later, Isaiah did. Did the LORD say, if you don’t mind…please… I know this is embarrassing, but…” No. The Lord who is the Potter said to the clay, ‘I formed you and now I want the vessel that is your body to be a sign. Naked.’ Isaiah surrendered to God, and when the call came to do this thing, he obeyed. What a marvelous lesson in being a slave to righteousness. How would you like to be a walking naked billboard from God to everyone in your town?

We are slaves. Ask Job. God used his body, too. Satan charged Job in the presence of God of worshiping God only because God had put a hedge around Job. God told satan that he was allowed to test Job but not to touch his body. (Job 1:6-12). Satan took Job’s property and children.

However Job remained steadfast so satan asked God for further access. This time the LORD said satan could touch his body. (Job 2:5-7). Job’s body broke out in loathsome sores from head to toe. In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10).

God made us and will deal with us as He deems fit. Not just the mind, nor the heart, but the body. We are His slaves and He owns us. Ask Mary.

Luke 2:26-38 describes the scene where an obedient girl, a young virgin betrothed, was told that she will conceive a son by the Holy Spirit. In the day of Jesus and before, it was a mark of honor and duty for a woman to conceive a male child. The family must grow and the tribe must be maintained. It was a black mark on a woman not to have children, and worse, not to have boys, and the lack caused deep distress in the woman who was barren. (1 Samuel 1:10). Hannah, in 1 Samuel 1:2; Manoah’s wife, in Judges 13:2-3; Sarai, in Genesis 11:30; and Elizabeth in Luke 1:36 all were women in disgrace because of their barrenness, but received news of their forthcoming child gladly. Not so Mary. Her situation was not a social blessing but a social disgrace, because she was not married. Yet she said,

“I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Holman Standard Christian Luke 1:38). Though the word is translated servant or bondservant in most of the other translations, in Greek it is doulos, slave. Mary knew that if the LORD wanted to use her body to instill a child by the Spirit, He would, and she would obey, no matter the social cost. Even 33 years later, she was still haunted by the stigma of uncertainty of proper birth, when the townspeople charged Jesus and said, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Mary’s son, not Joseph’s son, the proper way to declare birth genealogy. Mary knew this and she said, ‘I am His slave, let it be done to me.’ O, that we all could obey so gracefully! What a lesson for us.

The three examples go from the Lord’s use of our body from superficial to deep. Isaiah walked naked. Job was beset with sores on his skin. Mary was used all the way to the interior of her body- her womb. We are His clay.

Once you think about how the LORD chooses to use us, it becomes clear that we do not own our body at all. Look at the verses in where He gives a blessing:

“You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.” (Exodus 23:25-25)

Here the LORD shows that he controls the wombs of the women and the bodies of the tribe by declaring healthy child-bearing, no illnesses, and healthy living until the number of days is fulfilled.

Herod was struck with worms. (Acts 12:23)

In John 9:1-3, a man had been blind since birth. He spent all his days, decades perhaps, blind, until the moment that the Potter should deem it the time to release him from blindness. Why did God use the man’s body this way?

“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

We are slaves, through and through. Not just our mind and heart, but our body. We do not just ‘serve’ Him, but He bought us with His blood. Redeemed us, with His blood. Purchased us with His blood. (Revelation 5:9, Acts 20:28, 1 Corinthians 6:20). Slaves are bought, and we are.

He owns us and can do with us as He wills. May it be to our benefit and His glory that we accept this as Isaiah, Job, and Mary- in worshipful submission.

“I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.”

‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42: 3-6)