Posted in assurance, encouragement, pilgrim's progress, salvation

How to guard from carnal thoughts and actions. What will do it?

I am reading and studying the John Bunyan book Pilgrim’s Progress. John Bunyan wrote this book in 1678. I am using a study guide from Mount Zion Bible Institute (free) and also notes and commentary from Ken Puls of Founder’s Ministries/Founder’s Press.

I absolutely love the language of the old Puritan times. At one point, Christian had fallen asleep and now had to retrace his steps because he had lost his scroll. The sun was setting and he worried would not make it to the safe and secure way-station Porter’s Lodge before dark. He had been told there were lions awaiting (though chained). He was nervous about the noise the doleful creatures would make.

I wrote this during my reflection time-

When I stray from the righteous path or lose my scroll, the night time noise of the doleful creatures disturbs my heart and troubles my mind.

Christian made it to the Porter’s Lodge, where he engages in conversation with Prudence. She asks Christian,

Saco Museum Panorama of Pilgrim’s Progress

Prudence: Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances at times as if they were vanquished?
Christian: Yes:
–when I think what I saw at the cross, that will do it;
–and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it;
–and when I look into the roll that I carry in my bosom, that will do it;
–and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going, that will do it.

What a wonderful summation of how to remain on the righteous path, and so to banish carnal thoughts and wayward behavior!

Ken Puls wrote: [excerpted]

The conversation at Palace Beautiful continues with Prudence asking Christian some questions. Prudence represents our carefulness to walk in the wisdom and truth of God’s Word. To be prudent is to live and act with discretion and to exercise good judgment. Prudence is the practical outworking of wisdom. Christian prudence is godly wisdom in action, as we apply God’s Word to what we think, say and do.
Piety began the discussion by drawing out Christian’s story and testimony for the benefit of all in the Palace; Prudence probes deeper. She presses Christian into a more weighty conversation that explores his inner motivation and struggles. Her questions focus on: 

1. His inward battles with former lusts
2. His fortitude to fend off carnal thoughts and worldly temptations
3. His strategy to guard his heart and mind against sin

I’ll focus on the third question and excerpt Puls’ notes here-

Prudence then asks Christian about his strategy to guard against carnal thoughts. What means are most effective in vanquishing besetting sin? 

Christian mentions the value of meditating on God’s Word. He ponders the truth of Scripture and preaches it to himself. He anchors his thoughts in the promises of the gospel: the cross of Christ (the place of deliverance), the imputed righteousness of Christ (the coat he now wears), the assurance of salvation (his roll that he carries close to his heart), and his destination (eternal life in heaven). 

Finally Prudence asks him why he is so eager to reach heaven. Christian is anchored in God’s Word and aiming for eternity. He has embarked on a journey and understands that this world is not his home. It is filled with sin, death, trials and afflictions, and it can wearisome as we press on day by day. We must remember that we are just passing through. Christian longs for the joys that await us in glory: 

There we will see Christ face to face (1 John 3:1-3; Revelation 22:4).
There we will be free, not just from sin’s condemnation and power, but from its presence (Revelation 21:27, 22:3).
There we will have life eternal; there will be no more death (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 21:4).
There we will be in the company of angels (Revelation 4:8) and the redeemed (Philippians 3:20) forever.

When you are discouraged…plagued by carnal thoughts…have sinned…drifted a bit…with ease and alacrity one can return to Jesus! Think of the cross, reflect on your salvation, look into the Book, and ponder your eternal destination.

That will do it.

Posted in assurance, faith, john macarthur, salvation

The dreadful reality of the apostate Church

One of my most fervent prayers is that your church is not filled with comfortable unbelievers. Why? I dread this day:

Artist: Boris Sajtinac

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ ” (Matthew 7:21-23)

Today is the day we should…

...draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22)

Here is a resource for you to test your faith and find assurance

Is It Real?– 11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation
1 John; 1 John 5:1; John 10: 10; 1 Peter 5:10

Throughout the letter is a series of tests to determine whether you possess eternal life. If you don’t pass these tests, you’ll know where you stand and what you need to do. If you do, you’ll have reason to enjoy your eternal salvation with great assurance.

Posted in encouragement, rejoice, salvation

Relief in Christ, a soul rejoices

Psalm 107:4-9

Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

This was me! Was this scripture written with my name in mind? Certainly it must be so? A poor wanderer, a Pilgrim without a destination, a sinner without repentance, yet longing for something, something. For what did I long? For what drink was I thirsty? Why was I feeling a deep, gnawing distress? Why was the way crooked? From whence did this trouble come?

Praise our glorious Lord for loving me before I knew Him. Praise Him, for though He was offended by my sin, He set the straight Way through Jesus for me, a sinner, to enter. Praise Him for satisfying my soul, completely. Praise Him for His wondrous works to the children of man.

No longer a wanderer, I am atop the rock, and the rock is Christ.

Posted in doctrines of grace, encouragement, irresistible grace, salvation

Of Tractor Beams and Irresistible Grace

My walk toward the cross was more like trench warfare. I fought it. During the time of the most pitched spiritual warfare, I created a lot of art in attempts to understand what was going on with me as my spirit fought the Savior but I couldn’t express it in words.

In this piece below I felt intuitively that my spirit was trying to transform but something was holding me down while at the same time something was pulling me up. In the piece below, the butterfly is broken and unable to transform because it is caught in a net as it attempts to fight off whatever has captured it. The poem, which I re-typed in larger font, mentions Strigoi. This is a folk personage who, in Romanian legend, is a kind of vampire. I intuitively felt that a dark force of evil had caught me, so I used the reference to Strigoi.

Strangely (though not so strangely if you understand the Bible) I was trying to get “upward” toward something better, BUT NOT JESUS! Horrors, anything except Jesus! I bought Buddhist books, pagan books, New Age gooks, psychology books, all in vain attempts to stave off the one last resort to try- Jesus. I was vigorous about it.

During that time I felt that the world had two elements to it, good, or love, and evil. I represented that fight in this piece, called ‘Intelligent Design.’

You might notice that same cupola in Intelligent Design that is in the Suspended Transformation piece. It has a sort of evil eye as a wind vane and to me, seemed very demonic. It represented a strong tower or fortress of evil. My mistake then was thinking that good, or love, and evil were equal combatants in this world. Of course I know now that Jesus has overcome everything and evil bows to His will. The battle is not equal. It is not even.

I remember shortly after I was saved, this battle and its exigencies were still fresh in my mind and very palpable. I said to a church friend of the Arminian type, “I was brought to the cross kicking and screaming.” She looked at me and dismissively said, “You were not!” My friend and her circle in which I was involved strongly believed that the believer decides for him or herself to go forward down an aisle and the walk down the aisle is littered with rose petals, dancing unicorns and rainbows. While that may be some people’s experience, my own experience at salvation was one of agony, blood, tears, and resistance. I did not want to go. But I could not resist.

Source The Graphics Fairy

On Star Trek, tractor beams were a beam that emanated from a spaceship and when aimed at a lesser vessel, inexorably drew the then-helpless vessel toward the greater vessel. No matter if the lesser vessel had its shields up, or if its thrusters were in full reverse, or if they attempted to bug out at warp speed, once caught in the Tractor Beam, they could not escape and were pulled to the Vessel. The name ‘tractor beam’ was coined from food chemist and science fiction writer E.E. Smith’s original “Attractor Beam.” I was a Trekkie (original series) and I always liked the tractor beam. I did not know, but God knew, that decades later I would be caught in His tractor beam of grace.

Today I understand that God wrote our names down in His Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4). The default condition of every person on earth is that we are all sinners all the time and we do not seek God. (Romans 3:10-11).

However, His grace is such that, at the appointed time, God uses His irresistible grace as a tractor beam to draw people to His Son. (John 6:44). Without it, we would never willingly “choose Jesus.” We can’t and if we are drawn, initially we resist. However God is so mighty and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, so no one can resist it forever. Otherwise it would mean that satan and man can frustrate God.

John Murray said of irresistible grace:

The enmity of the human heart is most virulent at the point of the supreme revelation of God’s glory. So deep-seated and persistent is the contradiction that the Saviour as the embodiment of grace is rejected. It is when we recognize this that the need for irresistible grace is perceived.

No one cay say to Him, “Nah, I’m good.” Could Lazarus reply to Jesus in the tomb, “I want to lay here a little longer.” No. The Doctrine of Irresistible grace is the “I” in the TULIP acronym for the Doctrines of Grace. Though personal experience is not the final analysis of anything, I know my salvation walk was fraught with resistance. I dug in my heels.

It is a moral and spiritual impossibility for a person to come to Christ apart from the Father’s drawing. What we find now is that it is a moral and spiritual impossibility for the person given by the Father to the Son not to come. There is by Jesus’ verdict the invariable conjunction of these two diverse kinds of action—“all that the Father giveth me will come to me.” There is invincible efficacy in the Father’s action and this means grace irresistible. (John Murray)

At the time I was revolted by the notion of anything about Jesus, that the something better my heart was wanting was indeed Him. I  now am grateful every day that I know Him and that I can ponder His beauty and wondrous glory at any moment of the day. I can read His word at any time and earn more about Him. I can pray and enter into the throne room. I can see Him in other people of the faith. He is endlessly fascinating to me, to a degree that is as far as the east is from the west as I had found Him revolting before salvation. Only Jesus could turn such a drenched heart of sin and His very name on my tongue made it bitter, to one of cleansed wonder for His glory. Only him. Thank God we cannot resist Him.

For more on Irresistible Grace,

CARM definition and supporting verses

Irresistible Grace is the Power of God

The Doctrine of God’s Effectual Call

Note:
John Murray on Irresistible Grace, From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: http://www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343”

Posted in prophecy, rapture, salvation, tribulation

Will any people be saved after the rapture, during the tribulation?

A friend on Facebook asked me a question. I like questions. They send me searching the Bible for a Spirit-led answer. I enjoy studying for a purpose. Here is the question:

How it can be that the bible states that most people will go to hell, yet in the tribulation, so many are saved they can’t be counted? Is the dynamic different in the Tribulation?

As for most people going to hell, yes that’s true. The Bible says that Jesus promised-

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14)

A specific answer as to how many will be saved during the wrath known as the Tribulation period can’t be given, because we cannot quantify “many” and “few”. We know for example, that many people died in the Flood (most actually). Few were on the narrow way, (only 8 people actually. Noah and his family). We know that most were sent to destruction when four of the five cities of the plain were destroyed. Admah, Zeboiim, Sodom and Gomorrah were thriving cities full of people, and most were sent to destruction when the angels came to destroy them with brimstone. (Genesis 19:13, 24-25; Deuteronomy 29:23). Only a few were saved (4 actually, and one of those turned out to be a false convert).

Over the course of world history we can’t know how many means few and how many means many. But we notice the fact that as soon as Jesus began teaching the hard truths, most left him. (John 6:60, 66). If we look at the scene in context as a microcosm of the world population, most people throughout history have either rejected Him outright or left the faith showing they never were of Him at all.

Therefore I believe the dynamic in the Tribulation is different. I base this on the verse in Matthew where Jesus said the Tribulation will be a unique time in world history. (Matthew 24:21,

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

As for why so many would be saved, it is because the Tribulation is the fulfillment of the Bible’s promises. John MacArthur says in his sermon “Tribulation Saints part 1”,

“We have prayed that some day there would be a sweeping revival across the world that would bring millions of souls into the Kingdom. It has been the prayers of God’s people through the centuries that God would bring a great harvest of souls. And He will. One day it will come. It will be the greatest movement of God’s saving power in terms of sheer numbers that the world has ever known. Now that anticipation of that should not shock us because God longs to save…”

Revival is something we always pray for, but we don’t often realize that the revival that comes might look very different than the revival we envision in our head. Usually we envision a peaceful, joyful revival that sparks cultural change and personal peace. Yet the revival ahead in the Tribulation will be in a time of blood and war and grief and widespread martyrdom.

The reasons so many will be saved are found in Romans 11:26, that all Israel will be saved, and in Genesis 12, the fulfillment of Abraham’s covenant that all (pagan) nations through Abraham will be blessed.

If you’re interested, you can hear about salvation during the Tribulation explained more fully in John MacArthur’s sermon “Tribulation Saints” parts 1 and 2, expositing these verses from Revelation 7 under discussion.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10).

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14)

Praise the Lord who saves!!

Posted in encouragement, Felix, grace, procrastination, salvation, thanksgiving

Thankful for salvation: thoughts on Felix

After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” (Acts 24:24-25)

It is stated earlier that Felix was thoroughly familiar with “The Way”. (v. 22). Whether it was because Felix had been governor in the area for almost a decade, or because his wife was Jewish, or both, Felix was familiar with the facts about Jesus and his “sect” as Paul’s accuser Tertullus put it. Felix was secure in his knowledge of Christianity in the intellectual realms, enough to feel confident to make a decision regarding the case.

But when the case got personal, really personal, Felix became alarmed. He told Paul to go away and when it was a more convenient time, Felix would think about it. The Greek word for time used in this verse means “a suitable time” or “the right moment”. But there will never be a more convenient right moment.

As James Montgomery Boice said of Felix’s procrastination, if you put it off, the same sinful nature that made you put it off today will make you put it off tomorrow. Nothing will be different. In addition, you’ve begun a habit of procrastination which will only deepen and entrench. Tomorrow it will be worse for you. Now is the acceptable time (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Notice Felix’s alarm at being told of sin and judgment. In the Greek the meaning of terror is ‘being in the grip of a great Godly terror’. The word is used 5 times in the New Testament.

–When the women who brought spices to the tomb after Jesus’ death saw the gleaming angels, they were terrified.
–When they were gathered and Jesus appeared to His disciples they became terrified.
–Cornelius’ terror at seeing a holy angel in a God-given vision.
–In Revelation when a great earthquake occurred and a tenth of Jerusalem fell, the people became terrified and gave God in heaven glory.
–Felix, upon hearing Paul speak of sin and judgment.

You see, in each of the four cases, apart from Felix, the people became terrified upon directly seeing a slice of heaven. Or in the case of the earthquake they knew it was a mighty work of God Himself. And just as seeing a holy angel of God or experiencing God’s hand directly, Felix was experiencing heaven. It wasn’t just Paul speaking some words articulately and Felix becoming annoyed or a bit worried. It was the Holy Spirit opening the depths of Felix’s soul to see his own sin compared to heaven. It was a deep, spiritual terror. Paul’s words and their effect should have brought about the same reaction from Felix as Peter seeing Jesus as Lord of creation with the heavy, full nets of fish in Luke 5:8. Peter fell at Jesus feet, saying “Go away from me, I am a sinful man!” Felix said, “Uh, come back later, this is inconvenient for me.”

When Felix was confronted with his sin and positionally saw how far he was from Jesus, he should have done the same as Peter. Yet though the Lord graciously offered Felix the opportunity to see his sin in light of God’s glory, and though Felix did see it and became abjectly afraid, he procrastinated.

This is a decision. Jesus said whoever is not with Him is against Him. (Matthew 12:30).

So don’t let anyone sway you from evangelizing this way, talking of sin, self-control, righteousness, and the coming judgment. “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” doesn’t have the same potential spiritual terror to pierce the soul as “You’re dead in your sins and Jesus is coming to judge you.”

There is no record in the Bible as to whether Felix found “a more convenient time” and reconciled to God. Probably not, seeing as the next verse records that Felix kept Paul in prison to see if Paul would cough up some money for a bribe. In this case, it IS worse for Felix. All that intellectual knowledge will put him in a worse position at the judgment.

For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:21)

It’s Thanksgiving. I can think of no better gift than salvation to be thankful for. A close second is the Holy Spirit as a gift and a deposit inside us, illuminating the wonders of the Holy Bible to our mind and growing us in sanctification. Or perhaps Jesus forgiving our sins after salvation, or maybe it’s His chastisement which refines us into sterling silver and gold. Or maybe seeing the world, on our walk after the meal, and giving God the glory for His beautiful earth. Or His eternal, boundless grace. There is so MUCH to be thankful for, if you are a Christian. Offer the Gospel to someone today, maybe by next year at this time they will be praising God in gratitude for their reconciliation, and blessedly, Thanksgiving will have taken on a whole new meaning for them.

EPrata photo

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Further Reading

All Dressed Up and No One To Thank

Giving Thanks for Salvation

Posted in demon possession, encouragement, john macarthur, joy, S. Lewis Johnson, salvation, sin

The joy of submitting to Jesus, and the tragedy of rejecting Him: two anecdotes (and a third)

There are two responses to the Gospel, yea or nay. Here is S. Lewis Johnson with an anecdote about a person who said yea.

Paul, His Gospel, and Thomas Jefferson

George Cutting is a man who is best known for the fact that he’s the author of a little pamphlet. You usually find it in tract racks of Christian churches. It’s entitled, “Safety, Certainty, and Enjoyment.” Mr. Cutting was just a simple Christian man who went around preaching the gospel. He was also a business man, as I remember, and one day he was bicycling through Norfolk in England. He was an Englishman. And he said it was early in the morning, and as he was going through, he was a very quiet man, he suddenly gained from the Lord the distinct impression that he should shout out a Bible verse. And so, right in the midst of this small town, there were just a few houses around, he shouted out “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He said he cycled on a little bit longer, and the Lord seemed to say definitively to him, “Say it again.” So he said he shouted out, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” 

Six months later he was visiting in that little village, and he was doing, as he frequently did, just knocking on door after door. His first question, he said, was always, “Are you saved?” That’s called the direct approach. [Laughter] So a woman opened the door and he said, “Are you saved?” And she said, “Oh yes. About six months ago I was in great distress of soul. I plead with God to help me, and even while I was calling upon him, I heard a voice cry out, ‘Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.’” And she said, “I was startled. I wondered if I had really heard right.” She said, “I prayed again to the Lord, and I said, “Lord if that is the message, repeat it again.” 

[Laughter] And she said, “And I heard it again and I trusted Christ, and I’m saved.” And Mr. Cutting had the joy of telling her that it was he who had called out the verse. That’s preaching. You know, when Paul tells us to be instant in season and out of season. And imagine there were lots of citizens in that little village who thought that it was very much out of season to hear a Bible verse shouted out early in the morning from one of their streets. But it was in season for that lady. 

there is only one response to the message of the apostle, and that is to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. Does salvation come by praying through? No. Does salvation come by paying the church? No. Does salvation come by good works? No. Does salvation come through religion? No. Does salvation come through some religious ritual which we practice, baptism, or sitting at the Lord’s Table? No. Does salvation come through the organization of the Christian church? No. You must be born again.

Here is John MacArthur with an anecdote on a person who said nay.

The Tragedy of Neglecting Salvation

And so, we believe it is a warning to the intellectually convinced, those who have heard the gospel, know the facts about Jesus Christ, know that He died for them, know that He desires to forgive their sin, know that He can some into their life and change their life but are not willing to receive Christ as Savior. And may I hasten to add that’s the most tragic category of people in existence. And I’ve told you a story once before that points it up as graphically as anything. I’ll never forget on one occasion when a lady came into my office and informed me that she was a prostitute. And she said, “I need help” And I said, “I guess you do.” And she said, “Please, I’m desperate.” 

And so I presented the claims of Christ to her from beginning to end and I said, “Would you like to invite Jesus Christ into your life?” And she said yes. She said, “I’ve had it.” She was at the bottom to say the least through the dope scene, the whole bit. So she prayed a prayer and evidently she invited Christ into her life. And I said, “Now,” I said, “I want to ask you to do something.” I said, “Do you have your little book that you have all your contacts in with you?” And she said yes. I said, “Well, let’s just take a match here and we’ll burn it.” And she looked at me and she said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Just what I said. I mean, if you’re really going to live for Jesus Christ and you’ve really accepted His forgiveness and you really met Him as your Savior, let’s burn that book and we’ll just have a little party here and just praise the Lord.” And she said to me, “That’s worth a lot of money.” She said, “That’s worth an awful lot 

Then she said to me, “I don’t want to burn my book.” Put it in her purse and looked at me right in the eye and said, “I guess I don’t really want Jesus, do I?” And she left. 

Now you see, there was somebody who when the..when it really came down to the nitty gritty and counted the cost, she wasn’t ready. I don’t know what the story of that dear girl is. My heart has often ached for her and I’ve often thought about her. But I do know that she knows the facts and she believes them, but she’s not willing to make the sacrifice. And it’s a bad bargain, for what she kept wasn’t worth anything compared to what she could have had in Jesus Christ forever.

These days in 2015 it is not popular nor even accepted to speak of hell or demons. But they exist, they are active in the world, and they still do possess people, just as they did in the time of Luke 4:31-37. That’s the passage John MacArthur was preaching when he related this anecdote:

This is a rare thing. I’ve preached the gospel for a long time and only about three times in my whole life have I ever heard demons speak, been confronted. One of them was a few weeks ago, I told you about last week, right down in the front when a demon-possessed person came running down the aisle after I was preaching the gospel, exalting Christ’s power over the kingdom of darkness, came at me and said, “Why are you attacking me? Why are you trying to hurt me?” Which is exactly what the demon said here.

But it was some years ago when I had first come to Grace. We had built the family center and we were having services there before we built this facility. It was a Sunday night and after the service was over I was over having some food with somebody from the church and I got a call from Jerry Mitchell who was here a few weeks ago. He was on the staff at the time. He said, “You’ve got to come down here, John, I’ve got a…I’ve got a girl in here whose got all kinds of demon voices.” He had never experienced anything like this and I never had either. And I said, “Well I don’t know if I could be much help but I’ll come right down.”

So I came down, I walked in and there was chaos in the office. It was over in the building by the family center, and I walked in and the place was in disarray and it was obvious that she had been terrorizing things. She had overturned the desk and poor Jerry who was a boxer in the Navy was having a hard time defending himself against this girl, and that is characteristic of New Testament accounts where there’s a certain level of strength that’s beyond normal. And I’ll never forget the greeting when I walked in the door. I walked in the door and this…out of this girl’s mouth — whom I had met and with whom I had spoken because she had been coming to the church — came this voice, and I can’t, obviously, replicate it. But in my memory I know what the voice said. It’s something like: “Not him, not him, not him, get him out, get him out, get him out,” to me.

Well my first reaction was, “I’m leaving. I’m not sure I’m up to this.” Wow! And my second reaction was, “They know who I am and they know whose side I’m on, that’s very affirming.” It was affirming. I sort of started feeling apostolic. Paul I know and Jesus I know and John MacArthur, you know? Wow! Amazing!

I don’t think that demon was afraid of me humanly. I don’t have any human power to deal with demons. In fact, Jerry and I didn’t know what to do. We started trying to send the demons away. We sent them everywhere you could think of, the pit, the abyss, Phoenix, anywhere hot, you know. And the bottom…the bottom line is they didn’t go anywhere and so we just were praying and saying, “You know, this isn’t working, this casting out thing isn’t working. I’m not Jesus and we’re not apostles and we don’t have authority over that kingdom.” There’s only one way that this girl will ever be delivered and that is when Christ delivers her in the act of salvation.

So we wrestled, literally physically trying to restrain her and get her in a chair and she was so exhausted physically and finally calmed down and we gave her the gospel. And she confessed her sin. I’ll never forget it, just really gushed out her sin before the Lord and embraced Jesus Christ and then it was just this calm that came everywhere. There was deliverance. Nothing to do with me, nothing to do with a formula, nothing to do with an exorcism, nothing to do with that at all, that…that is not what deals with demons. She needed to be delivered from the kingdom of darkness, you understand that? And she was. She was.

The demon was terrified of me not because of something I could do in the human. The demon was terrified of me because the demon connected me with the message of the gospel. And the demon knew that if the gospel came to this girl and she believed that he was finished. And that’s exactly what happened. She was as clean as the driven snow after that and never had another occasion of that kind of terrifying experience.

Anyone who is not of Christ and in His sheepfold is under bondage to the god of this world, satan They are serving him, whether they believe it or not. And anyone who has not confessed their sins and submitted to the Gospel is at risk for being possessed by a demon.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Does that means He might be far? Yes. Someday, He might turn a person over to their sin in a hardened heart and salvation might not be possible after that. His grace, peace, mercy, and love is manifold. Having the gentle and lovely Spirit inside of us is a ‘burden’ that is easy. As we saw from the anecdote about the demon, having satan in us is a burden that is harsh and heavy. How many woes lay in the demon direction, and how many blessings there are in Christ. Seek Him while ye may!

Posted in beth moore, billy graham, charles spurgeon, discernment, I am the door, martyn lloyd-jones, salvation

Jesus is the door: what do these famous testimonies reveal about their understanding of Christ?

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

This is one of the famous I AM statements by Jesus. Here they all are.

1. And 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).
2. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “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).
3. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
5. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
6. 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).
7. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1).

Any study on these statements would be rich and edifying. However let’s just look at the door. The door is narrow. There is only one door. It is an exclusive door. No other door will allow entry to heaven. If anyone tries to come another way, he is a thief and a robber. (John 10:1)

Jesus leads his Jews out of the fold into salvation. He has another fold (John 10:16) where He leads His Gentiles out into salvation and green pastures. No one can go to green pastures another way except through Jesus. His way is exclusive because He is the ONLY way. His way requires repentance, a realization of our utter inability to perform any act He would consider righteous and a realization of His total ability to crush us like a bug if He so desired- and that would be just. We understand His holiness but also His mercy in saving us. One would think that a conversion testimony would include acknowledgement of at least some of those positional truths.

Here are a few conversion testimonies I found online. Compare them. And in the back of your mind, keep thinking about the Door. At the bottom I’ll have the moral of the story.

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Conversion story #1

At the end of the sermon, the preacher had “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live!” I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, “Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.” … I listened to the Word of God and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ. I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I thought I could have sprung from the seat in which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren . . . “I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood!” My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Jesus Christ, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock and my goings established … Simply by looking to Jesus I had been delivered from despair…

That young man certainly was aware of his position in Christ prior to salvation. He had been in despair, he heard the Gospel and he was saved by blood.The young man was Charles Spurgeon. His subsequent life certainly reflects the foundational understanding he had of the Gospel.

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Conversion story #2

“I didn’t have a fireworks moment for my salvation, I had a falling in love with Jesus in Sunday school when I was a very young child.” But she did have an altar call moment. In high school, she had planned to become a lawyer, but one summer while leading a group of sixth-grade girls at camp, she received what she considers a call from God. “I had no words, nothing but a sense,” she says. “God took a very troubled young woman and made sure that she understood.” She walked down the aisle of her church, committing herself to ministry.”

So she had a mystical sense to walk down an aisle and commit to the idol of ministry. Not the standard Gospel call of realizing our depravity in brokenness and turning to a resurrected, blood shedding Jesus as the exclusive hope for reconciliation with God… The woman is Beth Moore. Her subsequent life certainly reflects the lack of understanding she should have had of her position in Christ both before and after salvation.

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Conversion story #3

in 1914 at the encouragement of their minister the young man was now beginning to take a hard look at the reality of his spiritual condition. “For many years I thought I was a Christian when in fact I was not. It was only later that I came to see that I had never been a Christian and became one.” As he struggled with his salvation a grace truth came into focus. He said he had not really heard sound preaching of the gospel in his early life. “What I needed was preaching that would convict me of sin and … bring me to repentance and tell me something about regeneration. But I never heard that. The preaching we had was always based on the assumption that we were all Christians …” As the young man read for himself he slowly but surely saw the logic and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like the waves of the incoming tide, the reality of God’s grace swept over his heart until trusting Christ was all he could do. As surely as that reality overwhelmed him personally it overwhelmed him professionally.

The young man was Martyn Lloyd Jones, (source) a preacher called “logic on fire” and certainly his long and fruitful life subsequent to his conversion testifies to the grace of Christ in bringing him to regeneration from brokenness in sin.

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Conversion story #4

A certain young man began attending a tent revival.

“And then it happened, sometime around my sixteenth birthday. On that night, [the preacher] finished preaching and gave the Invitation to accept Christ… On the last verse of that second song, I responded. I walked down to the platform, feeling as if I had lead weights attached to my feet, and stood in the space before the platform… My heart sank when I looked over at the lady standing next to me with tears running down her cheeks. I was not crying. I did not feel any special emotion of any kind just then. Maybe, I thought, I was not supposed to be there. Maybe my good intentions to be a real Christian wouldn’t last. Wondering if I was just making a fool of myself, I almost turned around and went back to my seat…” As [the young man] stood at the platform, a friend of the family’s, testified to the young man and guided him to pray.

“He prayed for me and guided me to pray. I had heard the message, and I had felt the inner compulsion to go forward. Now came the moment to commit myself to Christ… I checked ‘Recommitment’ on the card I filled out. No bells went off inside me. No signs flashed across the tabernacle ceiling. No physical palpitations made me tremble. I wondered again if I was a hypocrite, not to be weeping or something. I simply felt at peace.”

The young man was Billy Graham, attending Mordecai Ham’s tent revival. The subsequent life of Graham testifies to his lack of a foundational understanding. Especially when in his mature decades, Graham said things like a person could go to heaven without ever hearing the gospel, knowing Jesus Christ, or having lived a sincere life just knowing he needed something. “They’re going to come another way” Graham said. No. They’re not.

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You see the weakness of Moore’s and Graham’s theology in describing their conversion. Their descriptions posted were not immediately after conversion, either, they were statements made decades later when one presumes some sanctified maturity has set in.

You see the strength of Spurgeon’s and Jones’ conversion stories. They talk of sin, grace, redemption, resurrection, regeneration.

Jesus is the Door. It is a narrow door. It is the only door. It isn’t easy to become a Christian. It involves a deep, soulful agony. Here’s Don Green on how to recognize true repentance,

Look at verse 4, where Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” This word for mourning describes deep, inner agony…agony. Jesus is describing a spiritual mourning here, not an earthly mourning. It’s easy enough to see that. There are a lot of people that suffer earthly loss and mourn that, that don’t receive comfort from Christ. Unbelievers who are mourning their losses don’t receive comfort from Christ. What Jesus is talking about here is spiritual mourning over sin. He had just talked about poverty of spirit. It’s in the context of repentance.

…the tax collector in Luke 18, verse 13…Luke 18, verse 13, you don’t need to turn there. The tax collector standing some distance away was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breasts saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” He was beating his breast, his agony, his mourning over sin was so great that he had to release it physically. This was no superficial response. This was no quick nod of the head to the question, “Do you think you’re a sinner?” And then move on to whatever the next topic of discussion was. No, the kind of mourning, the kind of sorrow that repentance expresses is a sorrow that stops you in your tracks, a sorrow that you can’t get over.

Salvation is no easy-breezy nod to the Holy I AM whilst wiping one’s feet on the doormat saying, “Gee, thanks for the ministry.” It isn’t ambling down an aisle, and checking off a ‘recommitment’  box after a quick prayer. Salvation is agony and going through the door means you leave all else behind, enter alone, and worship. Jesus isn’t relieved you have recommitted. He isn’t wringing His hands in hopes that you will fall in love with Him. He doesn’t have an ‘easy button’ you push. He has a narrow way of entry with strict requirements. Jesus is THE DOOR. He is not a doorMAT.

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Further Reading

How easy is salvation?

Posted in encouragement, grace, repentance, salvation, sin

The Most Terrifying Thing God Can Do: In which I testify to God’s grace in giving me over to my sin

Last week Tim Challies posted an article titled The Most Terrifying Thing God Can Do. It’s a terrifying article. It crushed me reading it and apparently it did for many others as well. I saw this article referred to and re-posted numerous times.

The most terrifying thing God can do is to turn an unsaved person over to his sin. Here is a sample of the scriptural truths the article contains:

We speak often of hell and eternal consequences for sin, but perhaps we give too little attention to God’s action against sin in this world and this life. God’s punishment for sin is sin. His punishment is allowing people to experience the life-stealing, soul-rotting consequences of their sin. He expresses his wrath by allowing them the very thing they want. He does this because when they get the thing they want, it only deepens their destruction. 

In this way, sin is its own punishment. And in all the world I see nothing more terrifying than this: the prospect of God allowing people to experience the full impact and weight of their sinfulness. Nothing is more terrifying than God determining that he will no longer restrain the evil within them.

This is a terrifying thought.

This would be a terrifying event.

For me, the event was not hypothetical. It actually happened. Just before I came to salvation, God turned me over to my sin.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)

I’d lived for 43 years as a sinner, but I had one particular besetting sin that consumed me. After so many decades, the Lord turned me over to it and released restraint. He turned me over to my sin so that I’d choke on it, and by virtue of contrast, thirst for His purity and holiness. After a few mercifully short years, I cried for mercy to the God that I would finally acknowledge and my sin that I would finally admit.

I remember the day when I realized that the sin wasn’t so fun anymore. I realized that my sin had me, I didn’t have it. Like a rabbit in a snare, I tried to shake loose of it, and could not. This perplexed me, because I had always been able to do anything I’d set my mind to. This was different. I was trapped. (Romans 7:14)

Now I know that we are slaves to sin, in bondage to it and to the god of this world, satan. But like quicksand, the more I tried to get out of my sin on my own terms and in my own effort, the more I foundered. I truly felt like I was sinking, forever to be engulfed in a toxic brew of my own making, sinking under the weight of it. My lips were only inches above the water and I felt I had only moments to go, relatively speaking, before I’d sink below the surface to rise no more. And it was cold.

Just prior to salvation, I was attempting to chronicle my experience in art, trying to puzzle out in visuals what words could not express. A spiritual process was happening to me, but I did not understand that it was spiritual. I only knew it was something. I was in a 1 Corinthians 2:14 situation. So I thought that whatever was happening to me I could try and figure it out by making visuals instead of words.

I wrote a little book called “Story of a Fly”. I look back on it now and I see clearly that it is a record of my coming to faith. It contains images and groanings my soul was expressing that words could not convey. As for the title, I think flies are disgusting, and I had no idea why I chose a fly to represent me, the main character in my little book. In retrospect, it was because I was under bondage to satan, also mentioned in the bible as the Lord of the Flies (Baal-zebub or Beelzebul).

In my book, I ‘knew’ there existed a secret kingdom, existing in the midst of and alongside the world I could see. I wanted to go there.

I’d traveled a good deal out in the American West. One of the native mythologies was a trickster god called Kokopelli. He plays the flute and is seen as a spirit of music. He’s also a fertility god and god of agriculture. In my deepest recesses I ‘felt’ that a trickster god was preventing me from obtaining the kingdom, represented below. I called him the ‘fly-wrangler’.

I was searching, seeking, making a long and winding road…but not obtaining this kingdom I wanted to enter so badly.

I felt I was so close and was about to triumphantly enter the kingdom! But there was a barrier. It was insurmountable.

It felt like I was a fly in a jar, captured. I was free to fly around in the jar but not free to get out and go into the kingdom. It was very frustrating. Of course, this feeling I’d had I now know was the weight of sin. Psalm 38:4 is so true! Without repenting no one can ever enter the kingdom of God. I had to deal with my sin.

I could not figure out why I was not enjoying the peace I’d so longed for. I was trying so hard! Yet now I know-

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

All the while, God had given me over to my sin, which I still pursued, though I did not want to anymore. The law of diminishing returns was clearly demonstrating that it was not a worthwhile pursuit.

And that is the last page of the little book. The last page depicts a woman who was well and truly locked in sin. Being given over to sin is truly terrifying. There is a soul-numbing effect that God’s release to sin as punishment has on a person. At least it did to me. The grief is violent, desperate, physical, all-consuming. Spiritual torment! And yet I didn’t know what I was grieving over!

I left many more subsequent pages in the book because I ‘knew’ the story was not going to end there. I did not know what to do next or what would happen next, but the girl was not going to be left in the jar. It just couldn’t end this way…could it? But the grief was an agony.

Not too long after I decided that my sin was the hindrance. I repudiated it. I sought God, who was holy and I repented. Of course the Lord enlivened my spirit and drew me to that point. I had not a clue what to do except wallow in my sin and cry. It was the Lord who was the catalyst.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved… (Ephesians 2:1-5)

Being given over to sin is terrifying. That feeling never left me. It fuels me, it haunts me. Sin is a terrible thing. Even more terrifying is God allowing us to bask in it, wallow in it, then sink in it. Obey the Lord. Be grateful for His grace. He saved us from a ghastly fate.

Posted in destruction, jesus, jonathan edwards, salvation, sinners in the hands of an angry god

When you’re saved…and your friend is not

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. ~Walter Winchell

I’m not a social person. I am a loner who likes her own company. However the Lord blessed me with two very good friends in my life. One was while I was in grade school through High School. The other came into my life when I was 40 years old.

If you ever had a friend who loved you for who you were, accepted you quirks and all, and with whom you never had a fight or even a cross word, you were blessed. I know I was.

Imagine a person so caring, so selfless, so consistently nice, that there were even whispers from others that ‘she must be an angel’ and mean it literally.

Imagine a person whose house was always open, no matter the time of day or night, and who would make you tea if you were sick and bring issues if you were crying. Who always listened without interruption. Who had been married for over two decades to the same man, an astounding statistic among unsaved people. Who was a great mom and a great wife. Who would cook for you even if it was from her last can of beans in the cupboard, and serve it with a smile. Who was talented and artistic and always up for a road trip, whether it was mini or maxi.

Who was the one person in town everyone loved.

And all this without being a Christian. But then again, neither was I.

She made me a better person. She introduced me to concepts of unconditional love, consistent acceptance of people without criticism, staying married, putting the children first. Of having uncomplicated fun, and enjoying the small moments. Of even spiritual things, like there being a force in the universe managing events and people.

For 6 years it was a great relationship. When everything else in my life went crazy, this friend was there.

And then I got saved. You know what happens then. I moved 1200 miles away, You know what happens then. A double strike against a friendship continuing.

When two are together and one is in Christ and the other is in sin, it is called being unequally yoked. This refers back to two oxen who are yoked together for the purpose of plowing a straight row for planting. If you yoke together a large ox and a small ox, or an old ox and a young ox, or a strong ox and a weak ox, they will pull in different directions, make crooked rows, or plow in a circle. It does not work.

A mom doing dishes. EPrata photo.

It is the same with two people getting married if one is saved and the other isn’t. The Bible prohibits such unions. And as for friends, it is similar but not exactly the same. One friend is a new creation, yearning for the things of heaven. The other is an old sinner, yearning for the things of the world. The twain exist together, but their very purposes for life differ as much as the east is from the west.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Christians are not to be bound together with non-Christians in any spiritual relationship or enterprise that would be detrimental to the Christian’s testimony within the body of Christ. … [however] … this command does not mean believers should end all associations with unbelievers; that would defy the purpose for which God saved believers and left them on earth.” ~John MacArthur on 2 Cor 6:14

Still, the inevitable pull of Jesus away from unsaved friends is going to happen. But meanwhile, it was my chance to illustrate to her by word and deed what it means to be a Christian. How Jesus who gave me a new heart and a purpose for living (glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever), and how He brings meaning to life and that eternal.

Even though friends may be far apart in geographic distance, the wonders of the internet allow people to keep up. I prayed for her, I witnessed on my FB page, and I carefully watched what she put up on her page. Nine years went by. As sanctification increased, there was less to talk about. As the world infiltrated her more and more, she became more deeply entrenched within it. As the Spirit infiltrated me more and more, I became more deeply yearning for heaven and the things of heaven. I read her typical liberal stuff, but there was nothing overtly declarative for satan. It seemed that a seared conscience or a reprobate mind was not happening yet. (1 Timothy 4:2, Romans 1:28). A holding pattern continuing this long perhaps meant that the Lord in His grace would save her still. Hope remained.

And then the inevitable happened. As these Planned Parenthood videos keep coming out, demonstrating America’s culture of death and our deeply entrenched sin, she made a comment on her FB page exalting PP and minimizing sin and God. This time, I could not refrain and I gave the Gospel (again) in a short sentence.

As it is with the Word of God, it pierces. It settles like a burr on the conscience, to niggle and worm its way into the very soul. This is because–

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

I knew the Spirit would work its way into the heart once again. As we all know, there comes a time when the person either submits to the pricks of the goad, crumbles, and repents; or closes the heart and it becomes hardened.

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. (Romans 9:18; cf. Mark 8:17).

What will happen? Would this be the moment we’d see grace upon grace, and a converted heart? O, Lord, I yearn for all to be saved, as You do, but I yearn most for the people I love. My friend was wonderful how I wish I could share that Jesus is the best friend of all. How great if we could enjoy Him together.

Unfortunately it was not to be. This appeared soon after. My heart broke in two. It was titled “Declaration of Sinlessness.”

And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ (Luke 16:26)

A public and formal confession repudiating our sin, God, Jesus, and the atonement is a pretty devastating event in a person’s eternal life. A public confession of Jesus and His atonement and belief in His resurrection is an important public utterance, and so is the importance of rejecting Him just as forcefully.

And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:32)

Gill’s Exposition explains the unpardonable sin spoken of in Matthew 12:32.

It shall not be forgiven him: not because the Holy Ghost is greater than Christ; or for want of efficacy in the blood of Christ; or because God cannot pardon it; but because such persons wilfully, maliciously, and obstinately oppose the Spirit of God, without whom there can be no application of pardon made; and remain in hardness of heart, are given up to a reprobate mind, and die in impenitence and unbelief, and so there is no forgiveness for them.

Is this the unpardonable sin for her? Probably. Conclusively? I leave it in Jesus’ hands. He knows what is in a man, I do not. I only know what I see, and the fruit is thorns and brambles. The road seems to have finally diverged for good.

“For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. “For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6:43-45)

Therefore, publicly repudiating God and declaring one’s self sinless is a serious offense. If it’s not a sin leading to death at this moment, it’s a sin that will in all likelihood lead to a hardened heart and a seared mind. The prognosis is bad, if not terminal.

Of course God CAN change the heart of anyone. Whether a name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life or not I don’t know. I still pray so. But it is with my own heavy heart that I see the voice declaring evil, the heart hardening, the conscience searing, the chasm arriving.

The Christian life is hard. It involves constant battle of one’s flesh nature, to subdue the old man in us and glorify God by submitting to His Spirit. It involves rejection, hardship, trouble. All these things we know. But to watch loved ones, or any ones travel that broad road leading to death with the eternal chasm at the end of it is agony. Hearing or seeing their blasphemous words of evil against a Holy God is wrenching. One friend is traveling the road that ends where there is no weeping (Isaiah 65:19) while the other travels the road where it only ends in eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth (Luke 13:28)

There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God’s restraints. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell. There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, they would soon break out, they would flame out after the same manner as the same corruptions, the same enmity does in the hearts of damned souls, and would beget the same torments as they do in them. ~Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

I’m no different than anyone else. I was a horrible sinner, now saved by grace, hoping and praying for the gift of redemption to be given to those I love, and those I don’t love, and those I don’t even know. When a soul goes striding past grace and insists on their own broad path to destruction, it’s hard to watch, let alone endure. Everyone has loved ones who are on the broad path, with a mother or a father or a friend praying for them with breath held and hands clasped.

Everyone has loved ones who died in their sin, unconverted and now in torment, with their friends on this side of the veil clinging to the knowledge of the Justice of Holy God and there but for the grace of God go I.

I’m no different. But … Lord, come quickly.

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Further Reading

Is it good to have close friendships with unbelievers?

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Pilgrim’s Progress online

How do I minister to an unsaved friend whose loved one died without a relationship with Christ?