CHRISTIANITY vs. CATHOLICISM

Much of society today has a general understanding that Christianity and Catholicism are religions sharing similar principles, if not the same beliefs altogether. This can be attributed to society’s lack of understanding and/or believing what the Holy Bible (Scripture) reveals to us versus what is taught from the Catholic Church. A very important question to ask yourself if there are differences between the two; if the differences lead to error in true belief and affect your eternal salvation, would you admit the necessity of researching, knowing and believing the truth, even if it opposes what you have previously been taught? If one religion were man-made versus a faith that is true, Holy and from God, wouldn’t it be wise to follow God rather than man?

The differences between the two faiths are massive and carry eternal ramifications. The observations following this paragraph seem to be the most well-known distinctions between the two and scripture will shed light on what is true and given to us by God and what is false teaching and given to us by man. The following points might shock you and if you find yourself in disbelief or question by what authority I claim these things, the truth is revealed to us in God’s word. I must admit my own concern of risking relationships that I have with my Catholic friends who may read this, as it will reveal the contradiction of their beliefs. I am far more fearful of their eternal future if their hearts are not opened to the truth and God has given believers a responsibility in sharing the truth with them (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19). As you ponder what you are about to read, I would encourage you to ask God to make the truth known to you. There are those who sincerely desire truth and those who want to avoid truth because of the conviction that comes with it. If you are perplexed why someone willingly chooses the wrong path, scripture tells us that our hearts are inherently wicked (Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19) and scripture tells us that the majority of the world remains in opposition to God. Scripture tells us to question our own hearts (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Doing so is vital, as it relates to identifying what we truly believe and if we have the necessary understanding of our need for Christ’s sacrifice because of our sinfulness. Scripture also tells us to beware of false teaching and contradicting philosophies (Romans 16:17, 2 Peter 2:1-3 and Colossians 2:8).  God tells us to test all that we believe in light of His word and Spirit (1 John 4:1). God tells us not to rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6 and 28:26), but upon His word! Pray that His true love and desire for you would be made known, as the God of all creation cherishes you and desires to be cherished by you. Pray that you would seek Him and His word rather than the laws of man. Eternal life with the Lord versus eternal damnation is what’s at stake. I realize that what I have just stated sounds harsh, but please listen to my thoughts according to scripture. I do believe that some Catholics have received salvation, in that; they believe the key points to the gospel message that is described later in this commentary. They also choose to ignore false teaching that they hear or may not even be aware of that the religion adheres to, as revealed by the Catechisms of the Catholic Church. Those whom I speak of, though possibly saved, lack wisdom in their knowledge of the scriptures by their association to a religion that is in opposition to God Himself. If you truly love someone, wouldn’t you want to know more about them? Shouldn’t that be the same, if not greater, for the God of the universe Who loves and desires you more than any other?  My hope is that this study may be used to open hearts, minds and souls to the truth. Do you desire to know God at His word rather than have an affiliation with a religion associated with false doctrines that seek to destroy what God has intended? The following bullet points are explained in greater detail throughout this commentary:

  • Scripture states that we are justified by faith through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sin, whereby, Catholicism states that faith in Him PLUS works justify the believer. The decision from the Council of Trent by the Catholic Church in the 1500’s still stands today that justification is offered upon the basis of human cooperation WITH divine grace. This false doctrine declares that Christ’s sacrifice is not enough. Holy Scripture reveals that “good works” are “evidence” of true faith in Christ, but that good works are not a requirement for salvation.
  • Scripture reveals that baptism must be fulfilled as an act of faithful obedience to God, but that it is not a requirement of salvation whereby Catholicism teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation.
  • Scripture tells us that the Christian receives forgiveness for their sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Their faith in Christ is in harmony with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Catholicism venerates the mother Mary in addition to the saints, which scripture does not substantiate.
  • The Catholic Church places high regard on traditions that are not substantiated by the Holy Scriptures such as their participation in rosary, indulgences and relics to name a few. There are some biblical traditions that are shared amongst both beliefs and prayer is one example, as scripture acknowledges the believer’s need to pray to God.  Holy Scripture reveals deviations from the truth.   Catholicism adds that we should pray to the saints and to the Virgin Mary, which is not substantiated by the Word of God.
  • Holy Scripture defines the means of salvation through Jesus Christ alone and the Catholic Church adds that salvation must come through the Catholic Church and that there is no salvation outside of itself. Catholicism also teaches the forgiveness of sins through Holy Communion and although Scripture reveals the importance of communion, it never states that it is a necessary means to receive forgiveness.
  • Christianity, throughout the Scriptures, declare that only God may forgive the sins of man and the Catholic Church declares that their priests have the power to forgive man’s sin.
  • Holy Scripture reveals that God is God and will always be the one and only God. The Catholic Church teaches that believers are to be made into gods.
  • The Catholic Church teaches of purgatory and no mention of purgatory is made anywhere in the Bible.
  • The Catholic Church teaches that Muslims worship and adore the same God that scripture speaks of, which is entirely contradictory to scripture.

God Himself has intentionally left us with the Holy Scriptures as the primary means to know Him (Deuteronomy 11:18-19, Psalm 119:10-11) and we must base our beliefs upon His word as He opens our hearts to Him (Ephesians 1:17). It is probably fair to say that every religion throughout history has a portion of truth mixed in with its false teaching. So often, those teachings speak of love, selflessness, good works and peace, but do not speak of the sufficiency of Christ alone amongst other things. False teaching is easily attractive to those who are not grounded in their belief of whom God is through Holy Scripture; that the Bible is God’s own words for us. Any belief contrary to what scripture reveals is false and synonymously, man-made. The differences between Christianity and Catholicism according to scripture are massive and, as previously mentioned; anything that opposes God and His word is heresy and major cause for alarm. Some of you may need to be honest in asking yourselves why you believe your faith, whatever it may be.  It may be that you came to your faith by your upbringing, whether from family members, friends or other acquaintances. If your faith is a direct result of those whom you learned from, are you willing to look deeper, to what the scriptures say rather than what your family or acquaintances say or believe, so that you may verify your eternal salvation? Is what they told you synonymous with what scripture reveals or is it in opposition to what God Himself has made known to us? My hope and prayer is that you will question your hearts and your beliefs as the Apostle Paul suggests in 2 Corinthians 13:5, ”Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

Scripture is full of evidence of God’s love and desire for you (Deuteronomy 5:29, Psalm 149:4, Proverbs 8:17, Matthew 10:29-31, John 3:16-18) and He desires that you love and believe Him in truth. What does it mean to believe God in truth unto salvation? It means believing and trusting in God, in whom He truly is as the triune God (Matthew 28:19): God the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. Realization of your sinfulness is essential (Romans 1:18-32, 3:23). Recognizing your sinfulness brings about the realization of your need to be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15) and your need to repent (1 John 1:9, Acts 3:19, 2 Peter 3:9). You must believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross as the necessary sacrifice to cover the price of your sinfulness (I John 2:2, Romans 3:25, 1 John 3:5, Hebrews 2:17) and that He arose from death three days later (1 Corinthians 15:4).   It is also believing that He now, and for all of eternity, serves as our Lord at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33, Revelation 3:21). This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and upon believing, you are completely forgiven for all of eternity. There is no greater gift that we may receive, as not only are we protected from hell, but we get to spend eternity with our Holy Creator in heaven!

 Here’s what God says about the inerrancy of His Word relating to the Scriptures (Holy Bible):

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Galatians 2:11-12 – But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 – knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

 COMPARISON BETWEEN THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE HOLY SCRIPTURE:

 -Is it the Bible alone for Truth or the Bible plus the Traditions of Men?

Catechism #97: “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God”

Colossians 2:8 – Beware, lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

 -Do I need to belong to the Catholic Church for Salvation, or is it enough just to go through Jesus alone?

Catechism #181: “’Believing is an ecclesial act. The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports, and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers. “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.’”

John 6:44-46“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.  Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.”

Catechism #868: “The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is “missionary of her very nature.”

Acts 4:12 – Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Catechism #1461: Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops’ collaborators, continue to exercise the ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 9:6“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

Mark 2:7 – “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Catechism #1257: The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all the nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

Romans 10:9-13 – that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

1 Corinthians 1:17 – For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

-If someone leaves the Catholic Church, they can’t go to heaven? What about the people who have left the Catholic Church and believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins?

Catechism #846: How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

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

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Ephesians 1:13 – In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

-How can the Eucharist be Jesus when He says to do this ‘in remembrance of Me?’

Catechism #1374: The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”

Luke 22:14-19 – When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.  Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

 -By taking the Bread and Wine, will that really get rid of my sins?

Catechism #1393: Holy Communion separates us from sin. The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is “given up for us,” and the blood we drink “shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins.” For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins: For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord’s death, we proclaim the forgive-ness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 2:2 – And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Acts 13:38-39 – Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

 -How can a Muslim get to Heaven when they do not believe Jesus is the Son of God who Died for their Sins?

Catechism #841: The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

John 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Romans 9:7 – nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”

 Purgatory isn’t in the Bible!

Catechism #1030: All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

Catechism #1031: The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire: As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

John 19:30 – So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

1 John 4:10 – In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Pastor/Theologian John Calvin – “Purgatory is a deadly fiction of Satan which nullifies the cross of Christ, inflicts unbearable contempt upon God’s mercy, and overturns and destroys our faith.”

-Is Jesus my Advocate to get to God, or is it Mary?

Catechism #969: “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation….Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.

Luke 1:46-47 – And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Luke 11:27-28 – And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”  But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

1 John 2:1 – My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

-Can I become a god? NO! Only God who is the Creator is God and will ever be God!

Catechism #460: The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

Genesis 3:5 – “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – spoken by the serpent (Satan)

Isaiah 45:5“I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,”

 God’s Warnings of False Doctrine and Teaching:

Deuteronomy 13:3-4 – you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

Jeremiah 14:14 – And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.”

Matthew 7:15-20“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

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

Acts 20:29 – For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

Romans 16:17-18 – Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.  For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

2 Corinthians 11:4 – For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 – For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.  And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Galatians 1:6-10 – I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

Ephesians 4:14 – that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

1 Timothy 1:3-4 – As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 – Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

1 Timothy 6:3-5 – If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

1 Timothy 6:20-21 – O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.

2 Timothy 3:5 – having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

2 Peter 2:1-10 – But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.  By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,

2 Peter 3:17 – You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

1 John 2:26-27 – These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.  But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

1 John 4:1-3 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

2 John 1:7-11 – For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.  Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

2 John 1:10-11 – If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

 God/Scripture teaches “Justification by Faith” and not by works:

Luke 18:1-14 – Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.  Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’  And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said.  And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

John 5:24“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

Acts 16:31 – So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Romans 3:10 – As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;

Romans 3:28 – Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Romans 4:3-25 – For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin. Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.  How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.  And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.  For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.  Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations” in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”  And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.  He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.  And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:9 – Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Romans 5:17 – For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Romans 9:31-32 – but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.

Romans 10:3 – For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

Romans 11:6 – And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

2 Corinthians 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of Him.

Galatians 2:16 – knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Galatians 2:21 – I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

Galatians 3:10-12 – For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”  Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 – 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.

Philippians 3:9 – and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

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FOUNDATION IN LOVING OTHERS

Love, it is such a beautiful and perfect thing as it was intended to be by God. Scripture has made this clear throughout its pages, as love is central to God’s character and central to the lives that He desires for us to live. Scripture reveals God’s desire for each one of us to love Him and to love others in ways that glorify Him. To do so, we must have a biblical foundational of faith in God through Jesus Christ. We can then gain understanding of what true love is, along with the humility to perceive where we fall short. We must repent of our selfishness and actively pursue true love if we desire to live God-honoring lives.  Realization of my inability to love as I should, in conjunction with the rest of the world’s inability to love, has provoked a great desire within my heart for us to better understand, believe and exercise love to its fullest in word and in deed (Col 3:17). The realization of our selfishness is painful and can often seem overwhelming. When that realization is followed with repentance, only then can the appropriate response become possible on our part, and that glorifies God and often leads us to greater joy.  Knowing that God Himself has loved each one us so much and would affect change within our hearts by revealing our sinfulness to us, (Heb 12:5-6) should lead us to greater love and intimacy with Him.

It has been extremely difficult for the human race to perceive the depth of God’s love that He has for all of His creation. The entrance of sin into the world through Adam and Eve and into our lives has negatively impacted how we view truth and how we view God. Ecclesiastes 8:16-17, Ephesians 1:18 and Hebrews 11:3 all give insight into this and we are called to seek and ask God for wisdom as James 1:5 tells us. Our perception of truth, and that, which is good, is viewed through a distorted lens because of sin (Heb 3:13, Eph 4:22). Our distorted perception has negatively affected our relationship with God since Adam and Eve. God, knowing that this would take place, prepared the way for mankind to come into perfect communion with Him. He did so by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins by being murdered on a cross as the perfect and necessary sacrifice for those who would believe in Him, their need for forgiveness and repent of their sins, as 1 Peter 2:24 and Mark 1:15 reveal.  The perfect communion I just spoke of will not take place until the believer enters eternity, but salvation by Christ’s death is the necessary means for that to take place. Does this sound like love to you? Do you question why God did it this way? Couldn’t He have thought of a better and less violent way that makes more sense to us? God has limited our perception of these things (Isaiah 55:8, Prov 3:5) and God saw this as the perfect means to let a dirty person like me into heaven without polluting it. Do you truly see yourself in the way that you are apart from Jesus Christ? Genesis 6:5-8 – Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. – Jeremiah 17:9“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;
 who can know it?Isaiah 64:6 – But we are all like an unclean thing,
 and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
 we all fade as a leaf,
 and our iniquities, like the wind,
 have taken us away. – Until we believe the depth of our own wickedness as the scriptures state, and that we deserve nothing more than hell apart from Christ, we should question our core beliefs and if they are truly in line with God’s word. In 2 Cor 13:5, the Apostle Paul tells us to examine our hearts to make sure we are of the faith. The majority of what Paul speaks of relates to our core understanding and belief of the necessity of the sacrifice. I realize that what I have just said sounds severe and you may ask why I would mention it in a study about loving others. We must have this foundational belief alive within ourselves before we can love others in the ways, which we are called to. To answer the previous question regarding the necessity of Christ’s death, would it be easier for you to understand and agree with if you had to risk your own life to save a loved one from certain death? God saw certain eternal death and damnation in the futures of the people whom He loved, so He made the perfect sacrifice for those willing to believe and repent of their sinfulness. He did this because of His immense love and desire for an eternal relationship with them. As I have indicated, our perception is finite in relation to God’s ways, which are infinite, and we should be assured that everything about God is perfect (Psalm 18:30) and holy (Revelation 4:8). Living in this fallen world has prevented us from participating in perfect communion with God and has distorted any perfect perception of God that we can have on this earth. Although difficult to fully perceive, God not only allowed, but He purposed that Satan and his angels would fall from heaven (Rev 12:7-12), in-turn, leading to sin’s introduction into the world and the fall of mankind. Although another study in itself, the statement I have made of God purposing Satan’s fall could sound tyrannical on God’s part, but might I add that the scriptures affirm God ordaining this (Isaiah 46:9-10, Psalm 103:19, 115:3, Lamentations 3:37, Romans 9:21) and if that were not the case, disagreement on your part reveals your support of the notion that Satan’s fall was an accident by God and that He is not in control. Something to think about is that we would never have understood God’s mercy and love for us, had He not ordained the fall, sending His Son into this world to save mankind. God has also revealed to Satan, as well as all of humanity, the futility of rebellion against Him. We can trust that the God of the universe is always good (John 10:11, Rom 12:2) and that He is free to do as He pleases without any necessity of our approval (Psalm 115:3, 135:6, Daniel 4:35), and that love envelopes all that He does (1 John 4:8).

There are various definitions of love and we must keep in mind that as followers of Christ, we believe that God is the One who defines truth and therefore is the One who defines love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 is a biblical definition of love revealing its importance over any other gift or ability we may have: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – This is biblical love and is representative of what the Christian must seek in its entirety and is sought in vain apart from true faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:58 affirms what I have just said: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” – God living in us (the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit) gives Christians the ability to love in the ways that we are called to love, as it is a work of the Lord (1 John 4:7). For us to love others in truth, we must first understand the depth of God’s love for us individually. I will refer you to  the study I wrote entitled “God’s Love For His Children”. Until the Christian understands and believes God’s deep love for them, it is not possible for them to love others as they are called to. The realization and belief regarding how much God loves you should bring you to the understanding of how much God loves others, and successively, why and how you are to love them. John 13:34-35“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Do others know that you are God’s disciple by the way that you love one another?

We can further identify and define love from the following Greek word-meanings that we often see and/or experience. The Greek words for love are agape, phileo, eros and storge. Agape love is the selfless and unconditional love that God has for us and it is the love that He calls for us to be centered on in our relationship with Him and with others.  Agape is not shown by only doing what the person being loved desires, but what the one who loves deems as necessary towards the one being loved.  Examples are Christ dying on the cross for repentant sinners and spanking your children when they are disobedient.  It is a sacrificial love for their best interest that expects nothing in return from the person whom is being loved. The trueness of your application of agape love is evidenced by your behavior towards others. Phileo is a love that is platonic, warm affections in nature and often referred to as brotherly love as it is often exhibited between close friends. Storge is the Greek word defining more of the familial love that is evidenced by affections from and towards parents, children and siblings. Eros in the Greek defines love in the romantic sense, passionate or sexual. The feelings and emotions associated with eros love reveal a type of love that focuses more upon ourselves than it does others. In and of themselves, phileo, storge and eros love can enhance agape love, but by themselves and apart from Christ, they are misused and manipulated and often fail because they do not equally compare to unconditional or agape love. Today we observe society using sex as a common thing and the love that it portrays in itself never seems to last. We see family struggles in our lives as well as in the lives of others and have all experienced friendships that have ended out of selfishness. Agape love is what we are to strive for and the only way to effectively pursue and participate in that is through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. We will continue to experience relational complications due to our sinful flesh prior to Heaven. We must actively pursue true love in the biblical sense, examining ourselves with honesty and humility, realizing where we fall short in loving others and continue in the pursuit of righteousness. The Holy Spirit within us leads us to repentance and towards unconditional love.  In your representation of love, do you set unfair expectations upon others?  Do your expectations give any leniency towards the fallen nature of man? Be careful in your analysis of what you consider a fair expectation, as others may be placing their own expectations upon you.  As Dr. Larry Crabb mentions in his book, Inside Out, “We can recognize our demanding dependence on people, our sinful insistence that others do for us what they cannot do (a form of idolatry). When we learn to accept people who disappoint us by no longer requiring them to satisfy us, then we’re free to love them, to reach toward them for their sake without having to protect ourselves from feeling disappointed by their response to us.” We must focus our reliance totally upon Christ and not place so much of our hope for fulfillment upon others. People will fall short (Rom 3:23) of our expectations and we must keep that in mind as it relates to the forgiveness that God has extended to us as believers. Do you remind yourself of the love that extended Itself towards you, nailed to a cross, knowing you deserve death, but have been forgiven because of God’s perfect love for you? If you do not believe that you deserve death, then you are still not convicted by what the scriptures say about your wretchedness (Rom 6:23, Ezek 18:4) and therefore, your need for Christ’s sacrifice. Heavy emphasis must be placed on the manner of true and perfect love that was offered to us by God, through Christ, indicating the importance that He places upon us to love others sacrificially. Are you able to acknowledge that everyone else is under the same affliction that you are, called sin (Rom 3:23)? If not, be aware that you are one of those afflicted, and Jesus Christ, completely aware of your sin and the temptations that you face, still continues to love you although He commands you to repent, that you may be forgiven (Matt 6:14, Luke 24:47). Will you love Him by seeking the necessary heart transformations that need to take place (Ezekiel 36:26-27)? Will you love Him by loving others in the ways that He has commanded you? Your answer to these questions reveal where your heart truly lies. 1 John 2:5 – But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. – Now do you see why we are called to love others in such an unconditional manner? I will remind you that I too have been disobedient and sinful in my application of love. God has been longsuffering and faithful and the Holy Spirit endures with me as well as with all believers to fight for that which is good (1 Tim 1:18, 1 Tim 6:12, 2 Tim 4:7). As we love others, God is glorified in bringing joy to our hearts and to those whom we obediently love, while at the same time, Christ’s love is revealed to the world. Does it break your heart when you fail to love the way that you should? Do you seek repentance that gives way to obedience for the purpose of glorifying God? If so, good! It is evidence of your salvation by the Holy Spirit working in you. If you find yourself with an attitude of disgust towards your ex-spouse, a child molester or radical terrorist with no hope that Christ may bring about true repentance in them and you are not convicted by that, you should be concerned with where your heart truly lies. I would encourage you to confess your sin before God (1 John 1:9) and ask for a heart of love. That does not mean that you do not hate their sin, but that you would truly hope for their souls to pursue Jesus Christ. God never tells us that forgiveness and love are easy or that they come quickly, but He commands us to love and to forgive, even our enemies (Matt 5:44, Prov 25:21, Luke 23:34) and scripture affirms that we must repent and persevere in love.

1 John 4:8 – He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. – God and love are central to scripture, for God is love as the above verse references. It was God that did not need us, but chose to create us and also to love us. It was the Father that loved us so passionately and protectively that to save us from eternal damnation, He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world, who out of love and obedience to His Father, and love for us, died on a cross to become the perfect sacrifice for our sinfulness to save us from eternal death (hell).  1 John 4:8 and 1 John 2:5 are previously noted and  they correlate true knowledge and love for God with obedience. Our obedience to God in all things, including love, evidences our true faith in Christ. Living in this human shell has its own difficulties for the Christian due to the tension of sin, how the rest of the world portrays how to live versus how God calls us to live. We must not confuse the love of the world with the love of God. The Apostle Paul warns us in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” – In fact, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Let all that you do be done with love.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – We have a high standard to uphold, but as children of God, He places within our hearts a desire for what is good (Psalm 37:4) and also tells us to seek Him first and He will supply us with the will and the grace to honor Him as Matthew 6:33-34 and 2 Corinthians 12:9 indicate. I find how easy it is to continue in the activities of life and forget to account all things to God and it is the same for all of us. Therefore, we must have the mindset to continually account all things to God including our thoughts, hopes, words, and actions, and doing them with an attitude of love. If this becomes our desire and we become doers of the word (James 1:22), we will begin loving others with the heart that God intended for us in serving Him.

I will admit that this commentary is not one emphasizing some sort of fluffy approach to loving others due to the need for foundational truth, as well as my responsibility to God in that which I teach or affirm others in (James 3:1). God is the author of love, and Satan, who still has dominion upon the earth (2 Cor 4:4) will do everything in the power that he has been given (including offering counterfeit love) to try and tear us apart from the perfect love that we have been offered through Christ. If the enemy can take our focus off of Christ, diminishing our desire to fight for true love, there are eternal consequences that we will bare, in addition to the temporal. True love is warning others when they are in danger as James 5:20 indicates; “let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” – We must participate in admonishing others because of our love for God and our love for one another, as it should be given in their best interest. God holds us to the standard of loving others enough to share with them the truth about Jesus Christ through various means as kindness, accountability, sharing the gospel, etc.…We have all fallen short of loving others in most, if not all areas. It breaks my heart that I/we have allowed our fear, selfishness and unbelief to prevent us from loving others enough to share the gospel of Christ with them. Eternity in hell will be unbearable with no opportunity of escape. As we realize our own desperate need for Christ, we should hope even more that we would seek to lovingly share that truth with others. We are all guilty of allowing fear to keep us from loving others effectively and obediently. Are we going to love others in such a way that we will even risk being hated by them  for the sake of the gospel (Matt 10:22, John 15:18)?  1 John 4:18-19 reveals that love and fear are in opposition of each other; “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” – I am grateful for the grace that has been extended to cover my inability to love perfectly, but I desire to be transformed more and more into the man of God that will love Him and others enough to share the truth with them. We all must share in a similar attitude and actively seek becoming doers of the word (James 1:22). Romans 12:4-5 evidences the body of Christ sharing in that responsibility, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” – God already knows our strengths and weaknesses and when we are faithful in using the gifts that He has given us, He will use those gifts for the edification of the church and in bringing others to Christ. A key element within our hearts in loving others the way that we should, is to believe what the scriptures say and are we going to take the steps to be obedient to the word of God (John 14:15 and 21)? You are not the only one who may feel such an overwhelming task, but we must faithfully work against our own self-will that may be stemming from fear and unbelief. Do you seek a heart of repentance in regards to your fear and unbelief by confessing your sin, accepting His forgiveness, and asking Him for the necessary changes take place within your heart? Obedience in these matters evidences your trust and your love for God. Loving others  seems easy when we get what we want in our relationships, but often it does not happen the way we want it to and therefore we must fight to honor God in our pursuit of it. As we come to an understanding of true love from the biblical perspective, we realize there is so much more to it than we seem capable of in ability and understanding. Keep in mind, there are the things of God that have not yet been revealed to us and scripture refers to this mystery: 1 Corinthians 2:7 – But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. – Related scriptures reveal that some of the mystery has been made known to the children of God, but there are still things that God has not revealed to us and scripture is only “in part” regarding that mystery. 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 states: For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. – We still only know in part because that which is perfect refers to heaven and we have not yet arrived. That which is perfect is not referring to our current state because even though Christ is perfect, we are not yet in that perfect state with Him. For the believer, do you realize when we leave this world and come into the presence of our Lord and Savior, that sin will disappear from us (Rev 21:27) and our perception and understanding of God and His love will be perfected in us and the mystery revealed? Such immense hope in being able to love in such a way that fulfills perfect joy in us, and is also fully pleasing to God! Until that day, we have work to do my brethren, and I pray that as the body of Christ, we will work together, relying on Him for our needs and loving each other as our Lord has called us to.  Let us pray for heart transformation and for those moments where we react obediently in love and encourage others to wonder why we react that way. May we respond in such a way that sacrificially expresses love rather than bitterness or manipulation and to express love in such a way as to share the words of eternal life with another?

 Verses Related to Loving Others

Psalm 139:13-18 – For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

Psalm 149:4 – For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.

Proverbs 8:17 – I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.

Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.

Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Isaiah 43:4 – Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life.

Matthew 5:43-48“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Matthew 19:19“’Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus said to him, “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets.”

Luke 6:35-36“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

John 3:16-17 – “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.”  

John 13:34-35“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:9-17“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”

Romans 5:5 – Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 12:4-5 – For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Romans 12:9-19 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 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. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Romans 13:10 – Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

1 Corinthians 13:13 – And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 16:14 – Let all that you do be done with love.

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 6:10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Ephesians 4:2-3 – with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5:1-2 – Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Ephesians 5:21 – submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Philippians 2:2-4 – fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Colossians 3:12-16 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 – Now we exhort your, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

1 Timothy 5:8 – But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Hebrews 12:14 – Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Hebrews 13:1-3 – Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also.

James 2:14-17 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

1 Peter 1:22 – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

1 Peter 3:8-9 – Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 4:8-10 – And above all things have fervent love for one another for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:10-18 – In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

1 John 4:7-11 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:18-21 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Verses Relating to Inerrancy of Scripture

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Galatians 2:11-12 – But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 – knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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GOD’S HAND IN CALAMITY

Why and who…are they not two questions that our souls challenge God with in our lack of understanding as to why tragedy occurs? When we ask why, do we also ask if someone or something is responsible for the tragic events that take place? When we come to the question of whom, do we give responsibility to the one who is truly responsible and if so, do we attribute any responsibility to God and would we be correct in doing so? These are questions that I hope to help answer relating to this study and admittingly, I believe they will be difficult for many readers to accept. One of three primary reasons is due to the majority of churches today giving a watered down message of who God truly is, eliminating the knowledge of God as the God of perfect love, judgment, kindness, jealousy, forgiveness, holiness and wrath all in one. There are additional characteristics that contribute to the wholeness of who God is as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He is perfect in all of them. Secondly, the majority of “Christians” listen to their churches and pastors and do not study the scriptures in depth to know or even question if what they are being taught in church is biblically accurate. Often, many do not realize that there are other important truths that they are not being taught. These reasons lead the flock to be misinformed and unable to believe important truths regarding whom they call their God. Lastly is the matter of true belief in Jesus Christ; you either believe or you do not believe and there is no in between (Rev 3:16). Scripture tells us that there are many in the churches that do not believe (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23). Please ask God for an open heart and mind as you read this study and that you would verify the things in which I have written with scripture. I have included many of the scriptures within the commentary as well as many more that follow to affirm you in the truth of the Lord.

Before diving into such a difficult and controversial topic regarding God’s participation in calamity, you must first be grounded in your belief of the inerrancy of God’s word and the following verses affirm this so please review them if it is something you may question (Prov 30:5-6Gal 1:11-12, 2 Tim 3:16-17, 2 Pet 1:20-21, Rev 22:18-19). It is also vital that you understand the truth about God’s immense love for His children as well as having a biblical understanding about pain, suffering, tragedy and God’s purposes in them. I recommend that you examine these things prior to continuing in this study. If you were to only look at God’s hand in calamity without connecting His love and good purposes into the equation of scriptural truth, you would likely err in your understanding of Him and falsely accuse Him of being an overwhelmingly angry, unloving and unfair God. To help you with your understanding of these topics, you can also reference the related studies that I have completed.  Refer to “God’s Love For His Children” as well as the study called “The Joy of the Lord in the Beauty of Sorrow”.

You might ask why it would be important for us as believers to know and believe that if God were in fact ultimately responsible or the cause of calamity, why would knowing and believing this be necessary to our faith? For one reason, the more we believe God in whom He truly is while still loving Him in His severity as well as His kindness, the more we will truly love Him in His entirety. I imagine those described in Matthew 7:21-23 are some of those whom have heard and believed a false gospel; one that taught of God’s amazing love for all without consequences for sinfulness, without need for repentance and without any fear of a Holy God. I have heard “Christians” say, “My God wouldn’t do that!” when it comes to tragic circumstances and it breaks my heart because for some of them, whom they believe their God to be may not be the God whom the bible speaks of and that is why we must learn and believe who our God truly is. Another purpose in believing God’s role in calamity is the importance of knowing God’s perfect control over the universe and more specifically, in our individual lives. Matthew 10:30“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”Jer 29:11“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you,” says the Lord, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Eph 1:11 – In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, Rom 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – These scriptures evidence God’s control as well as His depth of care over us; not only individually, but also corporately in “all” things, and all includes calamity. Scripture tells us so, as you will see, and to help us realize the necessity in understanding and believing this, is that if God were not in control of calamity, then who is? It is unfounded scripturally for us to say that these things happen indiscriminately and that no one is responsible. We would have a much bigger problem on our hands if God were not in control. Regarding Satan’s hand in these things, although he is often the perpetrator of destructive and calamitous events, God is the one who permits Satan to do the things that he does and we will discuss that more later when Job is referenced. As difficult as it may be for many of you to believe that God would cause calamity, if the scriptures affirm it, you must believe even if you do not understand. Regardless of the subject, if you disagree with that statement, it evidences your lack of belief in the scriptures. We should ask God for wisdom to gain understanding into the heart of God. God desires that from us and James 1:5 affirms so.

I will tell you that as difficult as it is for many of you, including myself to fully comprehend; God is the One who is the cause of all calamity on this earth, from cancer in your loved ones and death to almost 3,000 people in the World Trade Center attack in 2001. I already know that this statement will bring anger to many that I would say such a thing, but you must look at the scriptures and God’s heart behind them if your deepest desire is to know and love God in truth. Again, to reiterate, at this point you have already meditated on the depth of His love and purposes in our suffering before moving forward in this study! The Father says in Isaiah 45:7“I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.” Deuteronomy 32:39“Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” Amos 3:6“If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? 
If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?” – These are only three examples of the scriptures evidencing God’s supreme hand in calamity. They represent a multitude of scriptures that should cause us to question our own understanding of Him and hopefully lead us to desire our understanding to be of a greater depth than we had before. One thing that is extremely important to note due to the difficulty in attempting to understand God’s active role in calamity is that God is not evil in any way and cannot commit any form of evil. James 1:13 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. Psalm 5:4 – For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. – These are two verses out of a multitude that affirm God’s goodness in His entirety. Scripture affirms that God is the source of all things, both good and calamitous. There is a tension in that God is not the author of evil, but that he permits it for His purposes. For additional understanding, I would like to quote my friend, Jesse Howard as in our dialogue on the subject he stated, “The moral responsibility of sin always falls on the sinner, whether that be man or Satan or demons. God ordains the sin (like in pharaoh refusing to let the people go) but God is never morally responsible for the sin.” – Another important item to note is that although God ordains the calamitous events that take place, the events in themselves, apart from His purposes in them are not necessarily good. He has a good purpose in all that He does and only He is fully aware of the purpose(s). Because God ordains them does not mean that we may gloat over them if it were to cause ruin in the life of another, possibly someone or a group that we do not like or believe represent evil. The Father says in Obadiah 12, “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother
in the day of his captivity;
nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah
in the day of their destruction;
nor should you have spoken proudly
in the day of distress.” – God is the One that may receive glory through the circumstances that take place, not us. We are to continually hope for the good of others as it relates to their salvation.

The primary reason that God will do anything is that it would bring glory unto Himself (John 17:4, Rev 14:7). How can God be glorified by causing multitudes to die in a tsunami or by children being born into a life of malnourishment or physical abuse? I cannot tell you specifically and God has not revealed to us in scripture more details of why some of these things take place nor the temporal or eternal effects of them. We do know from God’s word that He kills and brings illness upon individuals (1 Sam 2:6-7, 2 Sam 12:15-18, 1 Chron 13:9-10, Exod 4:11). We know from scripture that God brings about calamitous weather events and destroys nations (Gen 7:4, Psalm 135:7-8, 147:18, 148:8, Amos 4:6-13). Scripture tells us that God hardens hearts and that He is the author of the book of life, (Exod 10:1-2, Deut 2:30, Rev 20:15) therefore revealing that He has not penned the names of many into it. God’s word also tells us that He verbally gives Satan permission to bring disaster upon the lives of His beloved children (Job 1:1,12, 2:6-7, 2 Tim 3:12, Acts 12:2). No, I cannot tell you specifically how God orchestrates all these events to glorify Himself, but what I can tell you is that He is glorified in that He sent His son, Jesus Christ to face the ultimate calamity out of love for His people. God’s own Son was sent to the earth by Himself to be murdered on a cross, resurrected on the third day as the necessary sacrifice for our sinfulness so that we, who deserve death, would be given the opportunity to repent and believe in Him and share with Him in eternal life (John 3:16, Mark 1:15). God reveals to us that we will face tribulations (John 16:33). There is no biblical basis for thinking that we will not partake in the calamities that were brought upon this earth from the fall of man and from Satan’s impact in the time that he has been permitted by God to have dominion over the earth (John 12:31). Do you wonder why most “Christians” and even churches do not tell you this or agree with it? It reveals their lack of time in the scriptures as well as their lack of true belief in God’s word. It is also because they do not want it this way to the point that they will ignore God and desire a God apart from the God of the bible. There is a fear that if the entire truth is told, it will not be attractive for new believers. Is that not deceiving in its own way? The scriptures reveal that many will find the gospel message offensive to those who will not believe. The good thing is that when we do hear the truth, we are given the opportunity to repent and believe!

The difficulty in comprehending God’s hand in calamity is understandable from the perspective that generally, as a society, we have erred in our study and teaching of the word of God. When we desire a better understanding and come to realize that the primary purpose of Jesus Christ coming to earth was not to bring peace (Matt 10:34), but to tell the world of Himself, to die on a cross to prepare the way for eternal life to those who will believe, can we grow in true faith with Him. We will better equip ourselves to grow as we seek to know Him more than by His words alone, but from the deepest meaning of His words from the heart of the Almighty. Although we may not know and understand specific purposes of calamity, we should know that God loves us enough that He would take the necessary means to reveal Himself to us. Years ago, God had me on the brink of suicide, that He would then reveal Himself with His desire to have an eternal relationship with me. Had he not done so by ordaining my angry upbringing, in the midst, showing me the love of God, I would have perished for all of eternity. He used those events in my life to also shape and mold me for the ministry that He purposed for me. God has already ordained the calamity that shall take place tomorrow with the hope that it will develop the heart within man that his primary hope would be for God through Jesus Christ. When we as a people continue with the primary hope of comfort and happiness rather than holiness, we will continue to be tripped-up, as the tribulation of this world will confuse our purpose, which is to be in constant dependence upon Christ.

“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” – this is from Deut 5:29 and it reveals the Father’s passion and desire for us and for our holiness through Him. I have seen God use various means connected to tribulation to reach the hearts of men and His word also reveals the many different ways that He has done so and will continue to do so. He separates the wheat from the chaff (Matt 3:12) and although His methods seem harsh and maybe unfair, He is God and as the Father says in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. – Throughout scripture and even today, we see that God heals some and not others. God would command the unclean spirits out of some and not others. False teaching tells us that God wants us all healthy and wealthy and that we should claim these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Common sense would tell you to look at the lives of the Apostles who lived without any financial wealth and all but one were murdered. Let us look into the life of Job for a bit. Job 1:1 – There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. – We see here that Job was considered blameless and he shunned evil. Job 1:12 reveals to us that Satan received permission from God to bring calamity upon his life with the exclusion of bringing death upon him. Job’s children were killed, his wealth was taken away, he was given painful boils, he had a wife that out of her frustrations attempted to encourage Job to curse the Lord and he had unwise friends for support. Through all of the immense tragedy that He experienced, and reminding you that he was considered blameless, look at his responses to his own calamity: Job 1:21-22 – 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 2:10 – But he said to her, “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 12:9 – Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this. Job 12:16-25 – With Him are strength and prudence. The deceived and the deceiver are His. He leads counselors away plundered, and makes fools of the judges. He loosens the bonds of kings, and binds their waist with a belt. He leads princes away plundered, and overthrows the mighty. He deprives the trusted ones of speech, and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on princes, and disarms the mighty. He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man. Job 13:15 – Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. 
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. Job 23:13-14 – But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him. Job 42:2 – I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. – David says in Psalm 119:71 – It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. – As one of the children of God, how can you now say that God does not ordain calamity and far greater, for His own good purposes? It would be unwise for you to say that Job was a man many years ago whose story is his own and unique in that it is in the past and does not pertain to today. Similar stories happen in the lives of men today and will continue to happen until the last days of this earth.  As you wrap your mind around this, go even deeper in your understanding that not only did God give Satan permission to deal with Job, but that God volunteered Job for the task. Job 1:7-8 – 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?” God’s love is behind these events and Job is solid evidence of God doing these things for His good purpose. Much of our confusion lies in that we are not required to understand why, just trust and believe in our God of perfect love. has revealed to us men after His heart such as Job, David, Moses, Paul and so many others so that we would be encouraged to be men of God as they were. We are also to respond as they learned to respond when God brought distress upon them, with trust, hope and belief, repentance and forging ahead in loving obedience towards our God.

People make the mistake of disassociating biblical history with today’s modern world. Many claim their faith and yet live lives contrary to the scriptures stating that they are outdated and that times change. This is an example of unbelief and it would seem to me that even common sense should tell someone that God is God and that he does not change (Heb 13:8). I do realize the error in that thinking when scripture reveals that God hardens hearts and reveals truth to whom He will reveal it (Matt 13:11, Eph 3:3, Gal 1:12). God continues to have His sovereign hand in all things as He did 3,000 years ago. Is your heart in a place to believe that the disastrous events that take place, that may even affect your own life one day or already has, would come from the hand of God and that it would in some way glorify Him? Pray for wisdom and belief.

Another argument that I hear and similar with the one above is that God is no longer causing death or illness to people or doing the things that He did in the Old Testament. They will say that the New Covenant has brought about, in a sense, a “new world order”. Scripturally, there are some differences between the New and Old Testament in how God carries out His plan. In a broad sense, the purpose of the Old Testament was God revealing Himself to the people of the land. He revealed that He was the creator of all things as Genesis 1 gives detail and the people are given the law so that it would reveal the sinfulness of man. The New Covenant reveals Jesus Christ as the ultimate and only allowable sacrifice for us to have union with God. The New Testament reveals that we are to extend love towards everyone, including our enemies and God no longer commands His people to kill other nations nor individuals for particular crimes against God. In the midst of God administering a new plan for His people, He never forsook being the One to cause calamity upon this earth. If it were not God causing calamity today as He was in the Old Testament, who was that authority given to with the New Covenant and if it were not given to anyone else, do those things now happen indiscriminately where they did not before? Of course not, but those who do not follow the scriptures will tell you otherwise. God has the same purpose in calamity today in that He desires His people to turn to Him in the midst of suffering for the fulfillment of their eternal hope in Him through Jesus Christ.  Acts 5:1-11 evidences God killing people in the New Testament story of Ananias and Sapphira. Keep in mind as you interpret scripture that without enough information, it is an assumption on your part regarding the eternal destination of the one who perished by God’s hand.  When Uzzah was killed by God protecting the Ark of the Covenant from hitting the ground, his intention seemed good from our perspective, but there was disobedience and only God knows Uzzah’s heart and His own purpose. Who are we to question God?  I would like to include an exerpt from the book Disciples Are Made Not Born by Walt Henrichsen giving further evidence that God’s part in calamity has not changed with the New Covenant. “Now, we must be quick to remind ourselves that circumstances often enter our lives that are a reflection of God’s perfect plan but which we, because of our lack of perspective, interpret to be evil. Take for instance, the cross of Calvary. If you and I had been with the disciples on that eventful day, we, like they, would no doubt have seen the Crucifixion as a tragedy. Likewise, if we had been with the women at the tomb on that Sunday morning when they found it empty, we, like they, would have concluded that a further calamity had struck, that somebody had stolen the body. However, with the perspective of 2,000 years, we view both the Cross and the empty tomb not as calamities but as victories. Often a seemingly adverse circumstance will strike, such as the loss of a loved one, and from our perspective it has all the marks of a tragedy. But from God’s perspective, it may very well be the unfolding of a higher and more beautiful plan.” Jesus Himself is the perfect example of God’s goodness in calamity upon the entrance of the New Covenant. As followers of Christ, we must constantly remind ourselves why we are here and what our primary objective is. If we find that we’re seeking comfort, victory, respect and fairness over holiness, we need to reevaluate. Don’t forget that God has perfect understanding and knows the ploys of the Devil, but we must not use that as an excuse not to persevere in loving obedience in prioritizing our pursuit of Him.

People generally desire a God with limited characteristics such that only kindness and forgiveness would only be necessary in that they would be permitted to have sovereign rule over their own lives. As true believers in Christ, we cannot hold onto any part of that thinking or we dishonor God by not seeking to know Him and love Him for whom He truly is. In a marriage, you desire to be loved entirely, not just for your physical attractiveness or for what you can provide to your spouse, but that’s how people love God today and it’s cheap and it’s not true love and it does not endure. If you still do not believe what I am telling you and if you truly believe that you are of God, then trust Him in reading and then believing all the scriptures that follow this commentary as He desires to show you more about Himself so that you will love Him for whom He truly is. Look at the hearts of the men who loved God such as Job, David and Paul and how they replied to Him in their lives. Look at the sacrifices that they endured because of true love and belief. 2 Tim 3:1-5 and 2 Peter 3:10 tell us of the end days and that they are coming soon. Although God no longer commands His people to wipe out other nations that disdain Him, there is still wrath for them to bear. The end days that have been foretold are a “storing-up” of God’s wrath upon a world where the majority has denied Him and where many that claim to know and believe in Him are even His enemy (Matt 7:21-23). Remember, the life of Job is not one separate and single event. It would be out of God’s character to do that to one man in all of history for no relevant purpose in our lives. We see catastrophes happen every day in the lives of men! God has used the lives of similar men throughout the scriptures to reveal to us His truth in the things that we will face today and tomorrow. Satan must receive permission from God to do the things that he does and God is the One whom gives it to him (Job 1:12, 2:6-7). Satan is the evildoer, not God. People in the church twist the truth as 2 Peter 3:16 speaks – as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. – I encourage you as a follower of God to believe the scriptures and grow in your understanding of them and in your love for your Creator in whom He truly is, as He desires a greater intimacy with you. As I hope I am in agreement with you, I long for the day when we get to see our eternal reward come to fruition. Until then, may we be prayerful in asking God to give us wisdom and protect us in love and in truth from the adversities of this world. Isaiah 43:2“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”

Verses Relating to God’s Sovereignty in Calamity

Genesis 1:1-31 – Important to read as the chapter reveals God’s hand in creating ALL things.  Click here to see passage.

Genesis 2:7 – And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

Genesis 6:7 – So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 7:4“For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.”

Genesis 18:10 – And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”

Genesis 19:13-14 – “For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

Genesis 20:6 – And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.”

Genesis 50:20 – But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Exodus 4:11 – So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?”

Exodus 10:1-2 – Now the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”

Exodus 33:19 – Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

Numbers 11:33-34 – And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.  But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.  So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving.

Numbers 14:20-21 – Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord”

Deuteronomy 2:30 – But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day.

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 – For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 28:63 – And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.

Deuteronomy 29:4 – Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.

Deuteronomy 30:6 – And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Deuteronomy 32:23-27 – “I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows on them.  They shall be wasted with hunger, devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction; I will also send against them the teeth of beasts, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword shall destroy outside; there shall be terror within
 for the young man and virgin, the nursing child with the man of gray hairs. I would have said, “I will dash them in pieces,
 I will make the memory of them to cease from among men,” had I not feared the wrath of the enemy,
 lest their adversaries should misunderstand,
 lest they should say, “Our hand is high;
 and it is not the Lord who has done all this.”

Deuteronomy 32:39 – “Now see that I, even I, am He,
and there is no God besides Me; 
I kill and I make alive;
 I wound and I heal;
 nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.”

1 Samuel 2:6-7 – The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.

2 Samuel 6:6-7 – And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.

2 Samuel 12:11 – Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.”

2 Samuel 12:15-18 – Then Nathan departed to his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!”

2 Samuel 17:14 – So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom.

2 Samuel 24:16 – And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

1 Kings 9:9 – Then they will answer, “Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the Lord has brought all this calamity on them.”

2 Kings 17:25 – And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them.

1 Chronicles 13:9-10 – And when they came to Chidon’s threshing floor, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.

1 Chronicles 29:11 – Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.

Ezra 6:22 – And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Job 1:1 – There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

Job 1:7-8 – 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?”

Job 1:12 – 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 1:21-22 – 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 2:2 – And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

Job 2:6-7 – And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” 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 2:10 – But he said to her, “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 12:9 – Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this,

Job 12:16-25 – With Him are strength and prudence.
  The deceived and the deceiver are His. He leads counselors away plundered, and makes fools of the judges. He loosens the bonds of kings, and binds their waist with a belt. He leads princes away plundered, and overthrows the mighty. He deprives the trusted ones of speech, and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on princes, and disarms the mighty. He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man.

Job 13:15 – Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. 
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.

Job 23:13-14 – But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him.

Job 42:2 – I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

Psalm 2:4 – He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.

Psalm 44:11 – You have given us up like sheep intended for food, and have scattered us among the nations.

Psalm 75:7 – But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.

Psalm 78:26 – He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens; and by His power He brought in the south wind.

Psalm 103:19 – The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.

Psalm 104:4 – Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.

Psalm 104:24 – O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions –

Psalm 105:16-17 – Moreover He called for a famine in the land; He destroyed all the provision of bread. He sent a man before them—
Joseph—who was sold as a slave.

Psalm 115:3 – But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.

Psalm 119:75 – I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.

Psalm 135:6-8 – Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries. He destroyed the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.

Psalm 147:18 – He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

Psalm 148:8 – Fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

Proverbs 1:25-27 – Because you disdained all my counsel,
 and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity;
 I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm,
 and your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
 when distress and anguish come upon you.

Proverbs 3:5-7 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.

Proverbs 16:4 – The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.

Proverbs 16:9 – A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:33 – The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:21 – There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.

Proverbs 20:24 – A man’s steps are of the Lord; how then can a man understand his own way?

Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 21:30 – There is no wisdom or understanding
 or counsel against the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 – Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful,
 but in the day of adversity consider:
 surely God has appointed the one as well as the other,
so that man can find out nothing that will come after him.

Isaiah 10:22 – For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return; the destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.

Isaiah 14:24-27 – The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,
and as I have purposed, so it shall stand: that I will break the Assyrian in My land,
 and on My mountains tread him underfoot.
  Then his yoke shall be removed from them,
 and his burden removed from their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”

Isaiah 19:17 – And the land of Judah will be a terror to Egypt; everyone who makes mention of it will be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts which He has determined against it.

Isaiah 23:9 – The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.

Isaiah 40:23-24 – He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted,
scarcely shall they be sown,
scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
when He will also blow on them,
and they will wither,
and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.

Isaiah 43:13“Indeed before the day was, I am He;
 and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand;
 I work, and who will reverse it?”

Isaiah 43:20“The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen.”

Isaiah 45:4-7“For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.
  I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
that there is none besides Me.  
I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.”

Isaiah 46:9-11“Remember the former things of old,
 for I am God, and there is no other;
 I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, 
and from ancient times things that are not yet done,
 saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, 
and I will do all My pleasure,’ calling a bird of prey from the east,
 the man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
 Indeed I have spoken it;
 I will also bring it to pass.
 I have purposed it; 
I will also do it.”

Isaiah 48:9-11 – “For My name’s sake I will defer My anger, and for My praise I will restrain it from you, so that I do not cut you off.  Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; for how should My name be profaned?  And I will not give My glory to another.”

Jeremiah 14:22 – Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are You not He, O Lord our God?  Therefore we will wait for You, since You have made all these.

Jeremiah 18:11“Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”’”

Jeremiah 24:7“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”

Jeremiah 27:5“I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me.”

Jeremiah 32:42 – For thus says the LORD: “Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.”

Jeremiah 35:17 “Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the doom that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered.’”

Lamentations 3:37-38 – Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
 that woe and well-being proceed?

Daniel 2:21 – And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise 
and knowledge to those who have understanding.

Daniel 4:35 – All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven
 and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?”

Amos 3:6 – If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? 
If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?

Amos 4:6-13“Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities. And lack of bread in all your places; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord. “I also withheld rain from you, when there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part withered. So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, but they were not satisfied; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord. “I blasted you with blight and mildew. When your gardens increased, your vineyards, your fig trees, and your olive trees, the locust devoured them; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord. “I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; your young men I killed with a sword, along with your captive horses; I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord. “I overthrew some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord. “Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth– The Lord God of hosts is His name.

Micah 4:6-7“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast 
and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; 
so the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
 from now on, even forever.”

Zephaniah 1:12 “And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.'”

Zephaniah 3:8-9“Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord,
 “Until the day I rise up for plunder;
 My determination is to gather the nations 
to My assembly of kingdoms,
 to pour on them My indignation, 
all My fierce anger;
 all the earth shall be devoured
 with the fire of My jealousy. For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.”

Matthew 10:29-31Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Matthew 13:11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”

Matthew 15:13 – But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.”

Matthew 22:14“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Mark 1:27 – Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

Mark 4:41 – And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Luke 4:36 – Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

Luke 10:21-22 – In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

John 1:3 – All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

John 11:4 – When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

John 13:18“I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’

John 18:11 – So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

John 19:10-11 – Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”  Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

Acts 5:1-11 – But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.  And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?  While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.  And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

Acts 4:27-28 – “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Acts 13:48 – Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 9:18-22 – Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

2 Corinthians 4:11 – For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Ephesians 1:4-6 – just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:11-12 – In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Philippians 1:12 – But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,

Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Colossians 1:15-16 – 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.

Hebrews 2:8 – You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all In subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.

Hebrews 5:8 – though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

Hebrews 9:27 – And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Hebrews 12:4-7 – You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

Revelation 13:7-8 – It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Verses Relating to Inerrancy of Scripture

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Galatians 1:11-12 – But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 – knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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PETS IN HEAVEN?

Animals have served a role on this earth since God first created the fish of the sea and the birds of the air on the fifth day of creation.  On the sixth day, God created the beasts of the earth and man (Adam) where God gave man “dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” as Genesis 1:20-28 tells us.  Animals continue to play a major role in our lives whether it be for food, utility or companionship.  Many of us become emotionally attached to our animals and question their eternal prospects as much as we do our own.

God desires all people to love and to serve Him.  Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – In addition, God’s commands are out of His love for mankind, no matter how unfair or difficult they may seem to us as the Father Himself says in Deuteronomy 5:29, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!– Many see God as unforgiving, harsh and judgmental, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who see Him as a fully forgiving God that encourages us to pursue lives of constant happiness in whatever we deem is best for us.  The point of bringing this up in a study concerning animals in heaven is because there are feelings and emotions associated with this topic that can be linked to our relationship with God.  We must surely trust God to be who scripture says that He is.   If our understanding of God and scripture is incorrect, it will cause us to steer in the wrong direction in our beliefs (leads to sin), which dishonors God and may threaten one’s own eternity.  Many subjects throughout scripture should become very clear to us with comprehensive study, and yet there are some things that remain difficult to know in detail because of what may be unsaid in scripture. An example being; nowhere in scripture does God specifically say that your pet will be in heaven; therefore, it would be unwise to assume that he or she will be there because you feel that way. We must guard ourselves against a belief system that is based on feelings. Scripture tells us that our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19) and that is why we must base our beliefs on what is stated in scripture, as it is vital in knowing and loving God for whom He truly is. God knows all the details and we do not, and that must be sufficient; trusting Him when He has not given us all the answers (Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 55:8-9).

What is my purpose of this study?  I will tell you that I passionately want to know and love God for whom He truly is and to become obedient to Him in every way, which, in addition to my actions, includes my hopes and my desires.  I will tell you that I have had difficulty with the possibility that my partner Chief, a Labrador Retriever, who was my greatest friend on earth, and who passed away after sixteen years of life, may or may not be in heaven. Again, remember the importance of guarding your hearts against emotions that may not be of God, as they can draw us away from the truth. God did equip us with feelings and emotions, but when our knowledge, belief, and trust in God is warped, so then will the devil be able to use our feelings and emotions against us and against God.  If our hearts are in alignment with truth, God will be our first and greatest desire, as Matthew 6:33-34 indicates; “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Genesis 2 is where we first see man and beast together, and where God gave Adam the responsibility of naming all the birds and animals in which He created.  God was joyful over His creation and said that it was good.  Genesis 1:29-30 reveals to us that God’s original intention was that the herbs of the field and the fruit of the trees were to feed man, beast, the birds of the air, as well as every creeping thing.  It was God’s intention that man be obedient to Him, but then came the fall of man where Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.  Although a separate study in itself, we must be careful not to confuse God’s intention with what actually occurred as a result of the fall of man. God’s intention is perfect, and his plan was established before the foundation of the world. A consequence of the fall was that animals would be utilized as a sacrificial device towards God because of man’s sinfulness and his need for forgiveness until the time that Jesus Christ would come to fulfill that need (Hebrews 10:1-18).  Another possible consequence of the fall of man was that animals would be utilized as food, which did not take place until after the great flood as Genesis 9:3 reveals.

Animals have played a major role in God’s design since the beginning of man, as God has purpose in all of His creation.  From Genesis 1:25 and 1:31, we see that animals participate in God’s purposes for His own pleasure, which include serving the various needs of man as has been previously spoken of in this study.  Scripture reveals that God has given specific assignments to animals.  1 Kings 17:3-6 reveals God speaking through His prophet Elijah to Ahab, telling him to hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan River.  God commanded the ravens to feed Ahab there, in which they did, bringing him bread and meat.  God also sent His angel to shut the mouths of the lions to protect His prophet Daniel as Daniel 6:22 mentions.  1 Kings 13 speaks of a man of God, who at one point was disobedient to God’s command to Him, and how God delivered the man to the lion to be killed.  Jonah 1:17 speaks of the great fish that swallows Jonah, where he was in its belly for three days and nights.  In Matthew 17:27, Jesus sent a fish with a coin in its mouth to teach a lesson to His disciples.  Numbers 22 is the story that tells of God utilizing His angel and a donkey to speak to the sorcerer Balaam.   We also know how Jesus told Peter to go back out into the sea after a day of unsuccessful fishing, and out of Peter’s first well-known act of obedience to Christ, he cast his nets over the boat and they were filled.  This evidences God’s command over the fish for His greater purpose in ministering to Peter, to the witnesses of that event, and for God’s people throughout history to reveal who Jesus Christ truly was and is today.

God’s word indicates that animals will be in heaven.  As the scriptures speak of heaven, they acknowledge horses, the lion and lamb, leopard, serpent, wolf, eagle-like creature, calf, cow, bear, cobra, ox, viper and goat. Those same scriptures can be found in the verses following this commentary. The animals mentioned are not the only ones that will be in heaven, but that they are mentioned symbolizes that many of God’s created animals will exist in heaven and in the new earth.  Greater questions arise from this.  Are the animals in heaven the animals that had previously lived on earth and that have then ascended into heaven?  Are the animals in heaven, new animals that God created specifically for heaven and not the same animals that roamed the earth?  Are animals in heaven a combination of those that were on earth, as well as new animals that were created for heaven?  Are there some animals from earth that ascend into eternity and others that do not?  Where do our pets fit into all of this?  This study will shed light into these questions and you will come to realize that many of those questions will go unanswered until we come face to face with God and eternity. Romans 14:10-12 and Revelation 20:11-15 tell us that every person from the beginning of time will come face to face with God.  The Romans passage speaks of the followers of Christ facing their glorious judgment and the Revelation passage speaks of the judgment of unbelievers, which is eternally horrifying.

God has granted various instincts and degrees of intellect to animals.  They have the ability to do things that are necessary for survival, to accomplish many different tasks, as well as participate in acts of affection towards other animals and humans.   While studying this subject, I found different opinions from various sources regarding whether or not animals have souls and spirits.  This is an argument that I will not speak into much detail about because of the lack of information and understanding that I believe is given in scripture.  Hebrews 4:12 indicates that there is a difference between the soul and spirit.  The soul relates more to who we are and the spirit relates more to our connection with God.   In John 4:24, Christ says, “God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”  With this very basic understanding of the soul, it would be possible to argue that some animals, if not all, may have a soul. I regularly observed amazing personality in the life of Chief.  He consistently expressed affection and compassion with ability far greater than most humans seem to be capable of.  He fervently enjoyed various aspects of life and he participated in necessary activities of survival just as humans do.  We observe wild animals with those same traits.  Arguments can be made for or against soul and spirit or that some animals may have and others may not.  I believe most arguments related to soul and spirit do not have a strong foundation because of what seems to be unsaid in scripture. Remember that God’s word supersedes our emotions when scripture does not support them. We might be correct in some of our thoughts and beliefs in what is unsaid, but we cannot rely on that, as those beliefs may have insufficient evidence related to scriptural truth.  If animals do in fact have a soul that survives death, it is different from man’s soul, as it does not need redemption, as man’s does.  Due to the sin of man, we must repent and accept the sacrifice that was made for us in Jesus Christ.  Nothing in scripture indicates sin in animals or that they must be redeemed. If in fact our pets enter heaven, and depending on what may be unsaid within scripture regarding those details, it could hold true that Christ’s death was not only for the purpose of redeeming the elect, but also for a purpose that the remainder of creation will enter His eternal kingdom, apart from those who oppose God. Romans 8:19-23 seems to indicate such an outcome: For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.  Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

What I have written speaks of what God’s word has already revealed, as well as some details that He has left unsaid. There are details about eternity, which we do not understand, and until that time comes, trusting God in that is important in having a healthy and sanctifying relationship with Him if we choose to do so.  Any normal person would hope to see those whom they have loved and cared about on this earth in heaven one day. For those of us whom have loved a pet, we may have a hope to see them in heaven as well.  We learn from scripture that we may or may not see them again, and this study will go into further examination.  Little is said on the details of heaven’s magnificence, but what we do know is that God has something wonderful in store for all His sons and daughters.  Luke 23:43 reveals this truth when Christ was talking to the penitent thief hanging on a cross next to Him – And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – Revelation 21:4-5 reads – And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” – Scripture tells us of the goodness of heaven, but there is no specific mention in scripture of animals that have lived on earth, living beyond death.  Again, what is unsaid leaves us without that particular knowledge.  We have assumed that we will again see our loved ones who have truly accepted Christ and it may be the same in regards to our pets, but do we know with certainty?  If you say yes, you speak from your feelings and emotions because scripture has left that detail unclear.  Our thoughts and hopes may seem pure in motive, but our belief, trust and joy must be in Christ alone, as He knows better than we do, what is good  in regards to eternity.

There are a multitude of biblical themes and Godly characteristics that give me a hope that one day again I will see my partner.  As we study scripture, we see that God has so many attributes, and because God is perfect, all of His attributes are perfect.  This means that He is perfect in love, hope, kindness, mercy and that He is perfect in the gifts that He will give us for all of eternity.  To know God with a sense of intimacy is to seek Him with all of our hearts, and as we do this, we begin to understand the severe beauty of His character.  The more we understand His character, the more we understand His desire for us.  We realize to a greater depth that He desires good things for us and that He is also the giver of all good things.  God even tells us to pray and ask Him to fulfill our desires if they glorify Him as John 16:24, John 15:7, Romans 8:32 and Philippians 4:6 reveal.  Scripture tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 (paraphrased) not to rely on our own understanding, but in all things, acknowledging Him and He shall direct our paths. – It is easy for us, especially myself in my own understanding, to believe that God’s goodness would entail Chief waiting for me at the narrow gate (referencing Matthew 7:13-14) upon my entry into His kingdom, but I cannot rely on my own thoughts and must trust God in whatever good thing He plans for me (us).  God commands His children to have joy, even in this difficult world, but we must remember that the joy He speaks of is through Him and focused on Him.  That is another study in itself, but He holds the key to it and tells us to knock on the door and He will let us in as Revelation 3:20 indicates.  One of God’s attributes is His propensity towards restoration.  He restores souls, He changes lives for all of eternity for those willing to accept His truth.  He speaks of a new heaven and a new earth.  John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – There is a biblical theme of restoration in regards to the earth and the heavens, sin to righteousness, being born-again, and that theme leaves us with the possibility of an eternity with our pets.  God was preparing to wipe out the human race due to the disobedience of man, but in preparation for the destruction by the great flood that took place in Genesis, God directed Noah to build an ark and to save each species of animal on earth.  God said His creation was good and animals wereof and still are part of that.  God delights in His creation and He delights in the joy that His creation brings to Himself and to man.

The flood was a result of man’s sin and disobedience towards God.  There is a concept in scripture that leads to a favorable argument for our pets eternally, as well as animals that have already lived on earth entering into eternity.  That argument relates to man’s fate having determined animals’ fate from the original curse that was placed over man and the world because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Scripture relating to this argument follows the commentary).  Prior to Adam and Eve eating of the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which they were commanded not to eat from, there was peace and perfect communion with God in the garden.  Prior to the original sin of man, there was no biblical mention of pain, sorrow or death relating to man or beast.  After sin’s initiation into this world, pain, sorrow and death appear in scripture.  The argument that animals are blameless for man’s sin may lead people to believe that animals are given the right to enter heaven after death.  An animal returning to the dust of the earth without the opportunity of heaven does not sound fair to us, especially if it was man’s original sin that would preclude them from it.  It may very well be true that they do enter heaven, but scripture does not seem to reveal the details of that to us and we cannot hold God to promises that He has not made based on what our assumptions or hopes may be as well as what we deem to be fair.

As part of this study, I read the book There is Eternal Life for Animals by Niki Behrikis Shanahan.  An acquaintance recommended this book to me after Chief died, and from the title, I hoped that the author would convince me scripturally that I would see Chief again.  Niki brings up many great points and arguments in her book that I was able to utilize for this study, and so I am grateful for that.  Unfortunately, I believe the author makes the mistake of allowing her feelings and emotions about something so special to her (her cat that died) to lead her into interpreting portions of scripture to mean what she wants them to mean.  She combines her hope, and that which is unsaid in scripture, to acquire an unbiblical interpretation of its meaning.  A primary example is taking so much of scripture that relates to the salvation of man and equivocating it to the salvation of animals.  Although many verses regarding eternity are obvious in that they pertain to man, there are some verses communicated in scripture that “could” pertain or hold true for animals, but details of that are not given or are not specific enough and therefore, we cannot assume that there is any correlation in those verses towards animals.  With that being said, there is a possibility that “some” of her interpretations of the unsaid relating to animals “could” be true, but we cannot go there in our understanding of who God is and what He has spoken, as that could lead us astray from the truth. We cannot take scripture out of context or make it what we want it to be.  The importance of this is revealed through Revelation 22:18-19, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” – I do not know the author, but I believe that her desire is to speak truth and she has risked altering the meaning of God’s word relating to animals because it is so dear to her heart.  We must be careful in not doing this with scripture, more importantly, with scripture that relates to our own salvation.  The author also speaks of eyewitness accounts of pets in heaven and there are also books that speak of people’s brief experiences in heaven while experiencing near death situations.  These may or may not be true, and again, we must be cautious in where we base our understanding of God because scripture consistently reveals to us that there will be many false prophets and deceivers in this world (Col 2:4, 1 Tim 4:1, 2 Cor 11:3). These things may have taken place, but we must rely solely on scripture in our beliefs, as it is God’s word and He will not lead us astray.

My sixteen years spent with Chief were amazingly special and I believe that my heart will continually long to be with him again.  Most will not understand the bond that we had, and yet there are some who will understand because they have experienced something similar with their own special animal(s).  I also long to be with my Lord and am confident that day will come because of the sacrifice that was made for me, the knowledge of my depravity and repentant heart that God gave me and how He continues drawing me to Him.  We must seek Him first, prior to all other things that capture our attention (Matthew 6:33).  I will admit to pondering the thought that one of the reasons God made Chief, may have been to reveal attributes of His love through Chief, that I would reflect on, and discover that I should love others in a similar way.  That particular thought is not revealed in scripture and therefore I cannot surely say that was God’s intention.  What I have come to understand through God’s word, as well as my life with Chief is my need for a greater ability to love others than I once knew.  I have not yet known a human being who is capable of the measure of what appeared to be unconditional love, affection, compassion, determination, character, strength, endurance and playfulness than I saw in my partner.  Psalm 37:4 tells us that if we “delight ourselves in the Lord that He will also give us the desires of our hearts.”  John Piper, one of our modern day pastors, writes in his poem, “And as I knelt beside the brook to drink eternal life, I took a glance across the golden grass, and saw my dog, old Blackie, fast as she could come.  She leaped the stream – almost – and what a happy gleam was in her eye.  I knelt to drink, and knew that I was on the brink of endless joy.  And everywhere I turned I saw a wonder there.”  I too have a similar thought to this if I am to be reunited with Chief.  He not only clears the stream, but leaps into my arms and his 80 pounds crashing with an eternal anticipation into my arms.

My hope is that you will be encouraged that even in not knowing for sure what is to take place, that you will place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and the good things that the Father has ordained for those who love Him. Please take the time to meditate on the verses below, as they give insight into what I have written and what God has already revealed pertaining to animals in heaven. My words alone mean nothing, but if they are aligned with scripture, may they be encouragement to you.

Verses Relating to God’s Love For His Creation

2 Samuel 12:1-6 – Then the LORD sent Nathan to David.  And he came to him, and said to him:  “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds.  But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children.  It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him.  And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”  So David’s anger was greatly aroused and against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!  And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”

1 Kings 4:29-34 – And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.  Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt.  For he was wiser than all men – than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations.  He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.  Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.  And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.

Job 39:19-30“Have you given the horse strength?  Have you clothed his neck with thunder?  Can you frighten him like a locust?  His majestic snorting strikes terror.  He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he gallops into the clash of arms.  He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword.  The quiver rattles against him, the glittering spear and javelin.  He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded.  At the blast of the trumpet he says, “Aha!”  He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of captains and shouting.  “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread its wings toward the south?  Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high?  On the rock it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold.  From there it spies out the prey; its eyes observe from afar.  Its young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there it is?”

Job 40:15-24“Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; he eats grass like an ox.  See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles.  He moves his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.  His bones are like beams of bronze, his ribs like bars of iron.  He is the first of the ways of God; only He who made him can bring near His sword.  Surely the mountains yield food for him, and all the beasts of the field play there.  He lies under the lotus trees, in a covert of reeds and marsh.  The lotus trees cover him with their shade; the willows by the brook surround him.  Indeed the river may rage, yet he is not disturbed; he is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth, though he takes it in his eyes, or one pierces his nose with a snare.”

Psalm 50:10-11“For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.”

Psalm 104:10-14 – He sends the springs into the valleys; they flow among the hills.  They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.  By them the birds of the heavens have their home; they sing among the branches.  He waters the hills from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.

Psalm 104:21 – The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God.

Psalm 147:9 – He gives to the beast his food, and to the young ravens that cry.

Jonah 4:11“And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left – and much livestock?”

Matthew 6:26“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they? “

Luke 12:6“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.”

Luke 12:24“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them.  Of how much more value are you than the birds?”

Luke 13:12-16 – But when Jesus saw her, he called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”  And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.  But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”  The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite!  Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?  So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”

Verses Referencing ALL of Creation

Psalm 66:4 – All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name.”

Psalm 145:9 – The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.

Psalm 145:16 – You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 145:20 – My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.

Psalm 150:6 – Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Isaiah 42:10 – Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you coastlands and you inhabitants of them!

Mark 16:15 – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Luke 3:4-6 – as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:  “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Acts 3:20-21 – and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Romans 8:19-23 – For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.  Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

Colossians 1:23 – if indeed you continue in the faith – grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Revelation 4:11 – “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”

Verses Relating to Animals

Genesis 1:24-25  – Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.  And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:28-31 – Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.  Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.  Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.  So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 6:17-21“And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.  But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark – you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.  And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.  Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.  And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

Genesis 7:15-16 – And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life.  So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.

Genesis 9:8-17 – Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying:  “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you:  the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.  Thus I establish My covenant with you:  Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  And God said:  “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:  I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Exodus 20:9-10“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God.  In it you shall do no work:  you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.”

Job 38:41“Who provides food for the raven, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?”

Psalm 49:12-15 – Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.  This is the way of those who are foolish, and of their posterity who approve their sayings.  Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.  But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me.

Psalm 104:24-30 – O LORD, how manifold are Your works!  In wisdom You have made them all.  The earth is full of Your possessions – This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great.  There the ships sail about; there is the Leviathan which You have made to play there.  These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season.  What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good.  You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.  You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.

Psalm 148:1-14 – Praise the LORD!  Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise Him in the heights!  Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!  Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!  Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens!  Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created.  He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.  Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all the depths; fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word; mountains and all hills; fruitful trees and all cedars; beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying fowl; kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all judges of the earth;  LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.  And He has exalted the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints – of the children of Israel, a people near to Him raise the LORD!

Proverbs 12:10 – A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 – I said in my heart, “Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.”  For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other.  Surely, they all have one breath, man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity.  All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.  Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?

*Click here for further commentary on verse 21

Hosea 2:18“In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground.  Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely.”

Joel 1:18-20 – How the animals groan!  The herds of cattle are restless, because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment.  O LORD, to You I cry out; for fire has devoured the open pastures, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field.  The beasts of the field also cry out to You, for the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the open pastures.

Matthew 19:28 – So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Verses Evidencing Animals in Heaven

2 Kings 2:11 – Then it happened as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Isaiah 11:6-9“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 65:25“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.

Revelation 4:7 – The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.

Revelation 5:13-14 – And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:  “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”  Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!”  And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

Revelation 6:1-8 – Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”  And I looked, and behold, a white horse.  He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.  When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.”  Another horse, fiery red, went out.  And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.  When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.”  So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”  When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.”  So I looked, and behold a pale horse.  And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with Him.  And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

Revelation 19:11 – Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.

Revelation 19:14 – And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

Verses Evidencing the Pattern of Man’s Fate Determining Animal’s Fate

Genesis 3:14 – So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.”

Genesis 3:19“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:22-23 – Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.  And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” – therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

Genesis 9:2-3“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea.  They are given into your hand.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.  I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”

Genesis 9:8-11 – Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying:  “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.  Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Exodus 9:22-25 – Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt – on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.”  And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground.  And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt.  So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.  And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.

Deuteronomy 7:13-14 – “And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.”

Deuteronomy 28:1-4 – “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:  Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.  Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.

Jeremiah 7:20 – Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place – on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground.  And it will burn and not be quenched.”

Jeremiah 12:4 – How long will the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither?  The beasts and birds are consumed, for the wickedness of those who dwell there, because they said, “He will not see our final end.”

Jeremiah 21:6“I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they shall die of a great pestilence.”

Ezekiel 14:12-13 – The word of the LORD came again to me, saying: “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it.”

Ezekiel 14:17“Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, ‘Sword, go through the land,’ and I cut off man and beast from it,”

Romans 5:18 – Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

1 Corinthians 15:21-23 – For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

1 Corinthians 15:26 – The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

Revelation 8:9 – And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Revelation 16:3 – Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.

Revelation 19:17 – Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,”

Revelation 22:1-3 – And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the middle of its street and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve him.

Verses Relating to Inerrancy of Scripture

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Galatians 2:11-12 – But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 – knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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GOD’S LOVE FOR HIS CHILDREN

Throughout life, so much seems to be said about how much God loves us. Do you think you are able to comprehend the depth of love that God truly has for His sons and daughters? Maybe with all the struggles of life, is it easy for you to question God’s love.  My hope in this commentary is to reveal to you that having a strong understanding and truly believing the depth of love that He has for His sons and daughters is vital for us in living out the Christian life; one which brings glory to Him and one that gives us great joy in the midst of our afflictions.  As believers, we are called to honor Him (Prov 3:9-10). Understanding and believing God’s love for His children is foundational to our faith, as doing so is pleasing to Him and it increases the joy that we have in following Him!

As a Christian, I grew up hearing of His love, while at the same time, I grew up with depression and an overwhelming fear and concern that because I had always lived with it, I would probably continue to live with it for the rest of my life.  Although this study is not about depression and fear, it can be applied to any emotion where we are deprived of joy.  Even while we live in a world where evil is overwhelmingly present; God desires His children to reside with love and with joy and without fear of the tribulations that we encounter.  Depression and fear had been a result of my not truly understanding and believing the truth of scripture as I had lived with these things with very minimal joy.  Both of those traits stemmed from selfishness (not getting what I want in life), which oppose love.  Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – I know just from this verse that the feelings and emotions that I had expressed or felt in the past were not of God.  1 John 4:18-19 states, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  We love Him because He first loved us.” – Here it is revealed that fear is related to a lack of love and reference is again made of God’s love towards us.  These are only two verses out of many that speak of God’s love.  We should then realize that baggage (including sin) within ourselves prevent us from receiving His love.  What led me to question the depth of my belief in His love was the Holy Spirit’s work within my heart; questioning the root of my emotional pain in accordance with what the scriptures reveal.  The fear I dealt with, mentioned above, is fear related to circumstances and is not the same as a reverent fear that we should have towards our Holy God.  The subject of fear is another topic in itself and important to the subject of love, as Jerry Bridges writes in his book, The Practice of Godliness, “A crucial characteristic of our growth in godly devotion, then, must be a balanced approach to all three of the essential elements of devotion: fear, love and desire.  Another crucial characteristic must be a vital dependence upon the Holy Spirit to bring about this growth.” – The Holy Spirit must lead us and we must be aware that if we are imbalanced in these areas, it will negatively affect our view of God and that will affect how we glorify Him.  Scripture tells us that we are to fear God and that we are also loved by Him.  Meditate on the scriptures, as they reveal how we must attempt to balance these things.

The majority of human beings spend their days seeking fulfillment in most things apart from God.  Isn’t it true that we are seeking the perfect relationship, one that seems to give us the greatest pleasure?  So many times that seems to be represented by the love of another, sex, drugs, alcohol, power, wealth, possessions, security; whatever makes life easier and what “feels good” is the relationship we tend to seek.  If you claim your love for Christ and yet live in sinfulness and place idols before Him, it reveals your lack of love for Him in your heart (John 14:15).  Also, Jesus states in Matthew 6:21“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. In pursuing the things of this world, we never seem to be satisfied.  That is because God does not allow us to be fulfilled in them as He has created in us a desire of fulfillment that can only be met by perfect love, which only comes from God.  Rather than going into greater detail of what perfect love is, I hope you will get an idea by studying and meditating on the verses following this commentary.  I had spent my entire life seeking the things of this world and had still been left empty.  For the first time in my life I decided (with the leading of the Holy Spirit) to truly see if what scripture speaks of in reference to God’s love is true.  I had to look into it because nothing else was working as there was still emptiness inside.  Yes, even with the knowledge of my desire to live for Christ, there had still been emptiness because I had not truly understood and believed in the depth of His love for me and I was still seeking it in other things.  I searched for every verse that I could find that related to the love that God speaks of for His children.  I studied those verses in depth and even looked into the Greek and Hebrew meanings of specific words that would shed light to better understand the passages as they were written.  It has become vital to pray and meditate over these verses that are filled with evidences of God’s love for His sons and daughters.  Do you realize that the God of this universe calls those whom are His, His sons and daughters (2 Cor 6:17-18)? Meditate on His word and His love.  Memorize His words of love and repeat them to yourself throughout your days (Psalm 119:10-11, Deut 11:18-19).  As you begin to do these things with a fervent desire, God’s love will magnify within you.  Joy begins to grow as truth pushes out emotions of depression and fear (Romans 12:2, 2 Cor 5:17).  Less and less, do we seek those other things, which we have all been guilty of looking for; to fulfill what God has intended to be fulfilled by His love.  As amazing as the realization of all of this is, and in sharing with you my past difficulties in believing His love, it is vital for you to know that we all must constantly remind ourselves of the truth. Because we continue to live in the flesh and battle with sin, I tell you that I myself must come back to His words of love to constantly remind myself because the enemy will consistently tell us we are outside of God’s love.

The devil has used the tribulations of this world to mask God’s love for His children.  So many have mistakenly abstained from true belief in God’s love due to pain and suffering, wrongful death and basically, things that happen that do not seem fair with our limited understanding.  For reasons that only God knows, He has not given us specific answers to why many of these things take place.  What He has told us is that the devil is the temporary ruler of this world (John 12:31), we are sinners whom are given free will, and again, we are not given a complete answer as to why God has ordained this, but we are to trust Him.  Many people have come to believe that if God is God and if there is a god, why would He allow evil to occur.  In that thinking, they have, in a sense, made themselves their own god by believing that they know better than God what should be allowed and what should not.  In all the evil that is committed in this world, God still stands firm in His word that He loves His children and His children are those whom love Him.  We are told throughout scripture that the Devil’s time will come to an end (Rev 20:10) and God has promised His people, that for their love, He offers perfect love in return, which includes the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, and eternity with Him in heaven.  John 14:23-24 – Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” – God’s word indicates that we are to obey Him no matter what the cost.  How do we do this without love?  We cannot.  There has to be love and only God can give a person the love that is necessary to obey, even when it is seemingly impossible.  The above verse indicates that there are those who love Him and those who do not.  If you say, “God, give me the heart to love,” and you actively pursue it, you show evidence of one who loves God and who desires to learn perfect love.  If your reaction is one that is unwilling to submit to the severity of His words of love, then there is hardness in your heart that may be evidence of a heart that is unrepentant and unwilling to love God.

God’s words of love are true and if you are struggling with trusting and believing the depth of God’s love, it reveals your own misunderstanding, hardness of heart and/or unbelief of scripture.  I spent most of my life hearing God’s word, but doubting that it could change me and that was a form of unbelief.  Although the purpose of our faith in Christ should not be specifically to improve our emotional well being, it often is a result of true faith in Christ.  The truth finally struck me that God would do with me what His word said He would do. I had to pursue Him and His truth (they are one) diligently, as He tells us to in scripture (Heb 11:6).  If you find yourself disagreeing with God’s word, and if you are a true believer and thinking correctly, you will look into why you are wrong.  If you choose to disagree with what scripture says, it evidences that you are one who does not believe in the truth of God’s word and you will pick and choose what your own truth is.  If that is the case, then the word of God is not true, and that is the indicator that you do not have a true belief in the God of the bible and therefore you have made yourself your own god.  The point I am making in relation to this study is that if you are a true believer and struggle with love as it is discussed here, you must believe that scripture speaks truth in relation to God’s love for His people.  When we fall short of understanding, we must persevere in seeking to understand the depth of our Creator’s love for His sons and daughters.  Our understanding of God’s love for us has been distorted due to errors in what we have been taught, our lack of study and misinterpretation of the scriptures and also because we do not see things as God sees things (Isaiah 55:8-9).  J. Stephen Yuille who authored the book, A Hope Deferred: Adoption and the Fatherhood of God, is quoted with the following observations of God’s perfect and infinite love; “God’s love is never self-serving. That means He doesn’t need to love us, nor does He need us to love Him. Simply put, He doesn’t gain anything from loving us. That realization shouldn’t disturb us or offend us. On the contrary, it should comfort us, because that’s the kind of love we need (unconditional). We need someone to love us that actually doesn’t need us (conditional). God has that kind of love in Himself. And here is the wonderful thing: He lavishes it upon His children. We don’t need to earn God’s love. We don’t need to merit God’s love. We don’t need to worry that God’s love for us will change. We don’t need to worry that God’s love for us is contingent upon our performance. Why? God’s love is merciful, and it’s the whole reason why he adopted us.” – I realize now that I don’t deserve it, but that it was freely given to me. I/we need to stop trying to deserve it, meditate on His words of love in the scriptures, believe it and joyfully and undeservingly accept it.

The verses following the commentary are to memorize and meditate on and they reveal how much God loves you.  I want to give you an example of how meditating on one individual verse can strengthen your hope in Christ expand your joy.  You have probably heard that when we get to heaven, we will receive a new name. That comes from Revelation 2:17 and Jesus says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.  And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”  – Interesting, we get a new name, what exactly does that mean?  Pastor John MacArthur explains his understanding of the verse and I have paraphrased his words. – The hidden manna refers to the spiritual bread that the true believer receives and that the unbelieving world cannot see. He then assists the reader in understanding that the white stone represents what was given to an athlete who won in the games. The white stone was an admission pass to the winner’s celebration afterwards and it pictures the moment when the overcomer will receive his ticket to the eternal victory celebration in heaven.  The new name is described as a personal message from Jesus Christ to the ones He loves, which serves as their admission pass into eternal glory.  It is so personal that only the person who receives it will know what it is. – Do you hear that? A personal message…from Jesus Christ to you!  Only you and He will know it!  A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM CHRIST!!! THAT’S how much he loves you!!!  Do you realize the implication that as a true believer, you will have one on one communication with Jesus Christ in which there will be a special bond shared between the two of you? This exemplifies why it is necessary to delve deep in understanding as we seek scriptural truth. God is passionate about His people!

The purpose for separating the verses below from the body of a commentary without further explanation is for you to go deep into  understanding on your own.   I want you to see just how much scripture there is that reveals how much God loves and desires His people.  There are even more words of God’s love throughout scripture that are not included in this study.  Please, if you sense that you have fallen short in understanding the depth of His love by your painful emotions or your disobedience, repent, pray and ask God to teach you perfect love.  God is seeking that from and for you.  Ask Him to give you a heart of understanding (James 1:5-6) and belief that will change your life forever in the ways of truth versus many of the lies in which we have grown up believing (many of which we don’t even know we have come to believe).  It is my suggestion that you not only read the verses below, but that you study them, meditate on them individually and memorize them (Deut 11:18-19).  Without doing so, you will not understand the depth of love as you are called to.  If you have difficulty in understanding scripture, there are study bibles available that give good interpretation and understanding.  The John MacArthur study bibles are a source that I highly recommend.  When we begin to understand how much God loves us, joy is a result in that the things of this world no longer become our measure of worth.  Do you have the sense of walking blameless before God?  He has that for you and it is the product of loving obedience from the Holy Spirit. Understanding the greatness of the depth of His love in the sacrifice of placing His own son, Jesus Christ on the cross to die for us because of our sinfulness and to be resurrected and to sit at the right hand of the Father for all of eternity, and He did it because He loves us?!!  This reveals that we must prepare ourselves for what is in store for those who love Him. The words in this commentary alone cannot reveal the depth of love that God has for you, but the scriptures that follow are God’s love letter to you that I pray will open your hearts to the truth of the depth of a Holy love that human words cannot adequately portray (Ephesians 3:19-20).

 Verses Related to God’s Love

Deuteronomy 5:29“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!”

1 Samuel 2:30 – Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: “I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.”  But now the LORD says: “Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.”

Psalm 139:13-18 – For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

Psalm 149:4 – For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.

Proverbs 8:17 – I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.

Proverbs 8:23-29 – I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth.  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water.  Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primal dust of the world.  When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth,

Isaiah 43:4 – Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life.

Isaiah 54:10“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.

Isaiah 62:3-5 – You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.  You shall no longer be termed forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.  For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 31:3 – The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Malachi 3:16-17 – Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name.  “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels.  And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

Matthew 10:29-31“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?  And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

John 1:12-13 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 3:16-18For 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.”

John 15:9-17“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.”

John 17 – It’s important to read the entire chapter as Christ prays to the Father for Himself, His disciples and for all believers…click here to read.

Romans 5:5 – Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:14 – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.

1 Corin 13:13 – And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

2 Corin 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corin 6:18“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”

Galatians 3:26 – For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:5-7 – to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Ephesians 1:4-6 – just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:11-12 – In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 2:4 – But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 3:19-20 – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

Ephesians 5:2 – And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

1 Thessalonians 5:5 – You are all sons of light and sons of the day.  We are not of the night nor of darkness.

Hebrews 13:5 – Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

1 Peter 5:7 – Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

1 John 3:1-3 – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

1 John 4:4 – You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

1 John 4:7-11 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:18-19 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  We love Him because He first loved us.

Verses Relating to Inerrancy of Scripture

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Galatians 2:11-12 – But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 – knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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JUDGING OTHERS

Judgment, it is a word that evokes various considerations and emotions amongst those who hear it.  We consistently hear the phrase that we are not to judge.  Although there is some truth to that, this statement has led the majority of Christians to error in how God has called them to practice righteous judgment and encourage others in the faith.  If you already feel a hint of cynicism as to what I have just said, please don’t disregard my comment prior to reading what this study and the scriptures reveal.  The purpose is to inform you of biblical truth regarding different aspects, purposes, prohibitions and allowances of judgment as scripture tells to us.

As previously mentioned, we consistently hear that we are not to judge, PERIOD!  This is a common misinterpretation of the entire subject, as derived from Jesus’ own words in Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:37-42.  Paraphrasing, these verses read as follows: “we may not judge, lest we be judged” as well as “why do you speak of the speck in your brother’s eye and not perceive the plank in your own eye.”  All of scripture must be taken into context, and for lack of a better description, “bundled” together into one package of truth.  Often, we observe people who pick and choose portions of scripture that they agree with and leave out other parts that they do not feel comfortable with and they live their lives accordingly.  People often do not understand scripture and rather than seeking to understand, they ignore and distort the truth to their own detriment.  As the Apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 3:16, “…as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” – Not only will this limit our knowledge of the truth, but we are held accountable for any misrepresentation of it as Revelation 22:18-19 states, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” – We must believe truth for what it truly is and not turn it into something strictly meant to make us feel good, therefore, having derived our own definition.  The reason in stating the importance of this is to reveal that if we do not have a desire for biblical truth and only desire what seems right for us, we need to question our hearts.  The importance of questioning our hearts is that we must know if we truly love God, which in turn gives us confidence, or lack of, that we will be with Him eternally.  If our hearts have been deceived, we must affect the necessary change before we find out that it was too late.  2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.”

Regarding judgment, first and foremost, God is the supreme judge and we know this from scripture.  Psalm 75:7 – But God is the Judge, He puts down one, and exalts another.  Isaiah 33:22 – (For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us). – There are many verses revealing this truth and there is no court on earth that comes close in comparison, let alone you and me.  To be the supreme judge means that He judges every human being on this earth that has ever lived and that will ever live.  His judgment is so severe that there are those whom He judges as righteous and they spend eternity with Him in heaven and there are those whom He judges as unrighteous and they are bound to hell for all of eternity. For those whom are judged as righteous by the Father, they are not done so by their own good deeds, but that they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and Christ’s righteousness is then imparted unto them.  True acceptance by a person is based upon the knowledge of their own wickedness (Jer 17:9) and therefore, the truth that Christ had to be that perfect sacrifice for their forgiveness and eternal acceptance by God.  Anything else falls short and the Supreme Judge casts them into hell for eternity.  That is judgment to the extreme.  For those who can’t get past this extremity, it is often difficult for them to love God for who He is; who scripture says He is, for God is the Word.  John 1:1-2 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. – God holds various qualities and characteristics from His mercy to His wrath and He is perfect in all of them but we must not forget that He is also the perfect Judge.  As we learn scripture, it is important to seek understanding relating to the character of God, as this helps us in knowing God at a deeper level and having a better understanding why He does what He does.  Relating to judgment, understanding His character will help us learn to trust Him as the Holy Judge and that His judgments are good.

Now, to partially agree with those who consistently say that we are not to judge, I will again reference Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:37-42.   They both speak of the hypocrisy when we are guilty of judging others wrongfully (unrighteously).  They speak that if we judge others, we will also be judged and that we must also forgive if we are to be forgiven.  These are important verses, and just like all of scripture, they must be taken into context as we discern truth.  These verses are speaking specifically towards unrighteous judgment.  A primary example of unrighteous judgment would be judging the actions of an unbeliever.  1 Corinthians 5:9-13 shows us the difference between righteous and unrighteous judgment as Paul says: “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I have written you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person.  For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside?  Do you not judge those who are inside?  But those who are outside God judges.  Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” – These verses give biblical proof that there are areas that we as believers in Christ are not to judge and that there are areas that we are to judge and I will explain.  To aid you in understanding the specific meaning behind the Apostle Paul’s words, I am including Pastor John MacArthur’s commentaries on each verse.  1 Corinthians 5:9my epistle. A previous letter that Paul had written the church at Corinth instructed them to disassociate with the immoral (cf. v. 11; 2 Thess. 3:6-15).  1 Corinthians 5:10people of this world. Evidently, the church had misinterpreted the advice in that letter and had stopped having contact with the unsaved in the world, while continuing to tolerate the sin of those in the church, which was even more dangerous to the fellowship.  See John 17:15 and 18. God intends us to be in the world as witnesses (cf. Matt. 5:13-16; Acts 1:8; Phil. 2:15)1 Corinthians 5:11named a brother. Paul clarifies his intention in the earlier letter.  He expected them to disassociate with all who said they were brothers, but had a consistent pattern of sin.  not even to eat. The meal was a sign of acceptance and fellowship in those days.  See 2 Thess. 3:6 and 141 Corinthians 5:12-13outside. Paul never intended himself or the church to be judges of unbelievers outside the church, but to judge those inside (cf. 1 Pet. 4:17).  Those on the outside are for God to judge and believers to evangelize.  Those who sin on the inside, the church is to put out.  Verse 13 is quoted from Deut. 17:7. – From these passages, we realize that we are not  to judge the unbeliever, but we are called to share the gospel with them and we are called to live lives that honor God which is also a witness to the unbeliever.  How can we judge an unbeliever when there was once a time when we had not known Christ ourselves?  God will work in the life of the unbeliever in whichever method He chooses.  Some will insist that just by us believing that someone is an unbeliever, we are casting judgment towards them.  It is not unrighteous judgment, as God has given us the scriptures to discern what is good and evil, so that we may perceive what is not of God.  Those with hardened hearts will continue to argue against this issue.  It is nothing different than if I have decided that you are hungry and need to eat; it comes from wisdom and discernment that I believe you must eat, not any form of unrighteous judgment.

Read 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 as well as Leviticus 19:15, Proverbs 31:9, Ezekiel 22:1-2, John 7:24 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-11, as they all acknowledge that it is not only acceptable for followers of Christ to judge those that claim the faith, but that we are told to judge them in a righteous manner.  So, why are we called to judge those that claim the faith?  What good purpose can come from this and how are we to fulfill our role as a faithful believer?  As followers of Christ, we are called to judge righteously, in that we are to hold those accountable who claim the Christian faith.  By being held accountable and holding others accountable through God’s word, we participate in living a life that God has called us to.  We know from scripture that as Christians, we may experience some temporal rewards for honoring God, but more so, we are promised eternal rewards for our obedience.  We should be holding our brethren accountable, not only because we are commanded to, but also because we should care for their welfare and their relationship with God.  James 5:19-20 reveals the truth of this, as well as the benefit of doing so when James says, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” – The accountability that we are to hold ourselves and others to, if they are willing, should begin with the everyday matters of life on up to any larger issues of sin that may be affecting one’s decisions.  One purpose for accountability in the small matters, is they evidence the desire to honor God in all things. 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – The other purpose is that the unbelieving world looks at us with a microscope and if we are viewed by them as a people no different than themselves, what difference then does it make to be a Christian?  In addition, the larger sin issues in our lives start very small and grow into the bigger issues that lead to a hard-heartedness towards God. Unrepentant sin is what we must avoid at all costs.  We must always be diligent in our steps towards being assured of our salvation; never taking it for granted.  If we continually leave sin unchecked, it is evidence that our hearts are not seeking God with the desire of one who truly pursues the Lord.  We must fight until our last day on earth, as the devil seeks to steal joy and salvation from those who claim the faith.  Jesus says in Matthew 10:22“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.  But he who endures to the end will be saved.” – Another reason why we are to hold those in the church body accountable, is because there are deceivers in the church that poison the minds of others; Jesus refers to them as wolves.  He says in Matthew 7:15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” – I have found that the church body will consist of generally four groups of people in relation to why they are in the church.  There are sub-categories within each group, but for the purpose of this study we will only discuss the four main groups.  There are those who have truly accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  One thing which stands out about them is that they will encounter many of the same tribulations as the rest of the world, along with issues related to sin, but apart from the rest of the world, the Holy Spirit living in them, convicts their conscience and delivers them to repentance.  Secondly, there are those that are truly seeking to learn the truth and they will either come to Christ or they won’t.  Theoretically, the church encourages them to learn and seek the truth, so that they may be able to partake of the eternal relationship that God has promised those whom accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  The third group, and one that I am familiar with, as I was one of them for much of my life, claims Christ as their savior and yet they do not pursue Him with the heart that is required of one that is saved. They are often considered good people by the world’s standards, as well as their own and are wishy-washy, in that, as they claim Christ, there is no passion for Him.  The thought of heaven sounds great to them and because they want no part of an eternity in Hell, they assume their salvation with a faith that is built on a weak foundation.  They are referenced by the words of Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:15-16“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”   The danger they pose to the church, is that their “faith” to the immature believer who may be watching from the sidelines, appears to be a faith where God makes no demands of His people.  It is very evident that there are no consequential changes of the heart that take place and that their lives tend to be similar in many ways to the lives of the unbeliever.  Lastly, and also very dangerous to the church, are those who claim their faith in Christ and they live lives of wanton sinfulness and speak heresy in regards to the church.  This group is a cancer to the church, in that they corrupt the minds of those who seek truth, by their own deceitfulness (Col 2:8).  Throughout church history, we hear of those in church leadership who commit terrible acts of sin, as well as people in the congregations who live adulterous and sinful lives.  There are a multitude of “Christian” churches worldwide that do not teach scriptural truth.  These atrocities within the church allow immature believers, as well as the unbelievers of the world to continue in their misunderstanding and/or unbelief of what it means to live for Jesus Christ.  We are commanded to love them, admonish them and if they do not repent, eradicate them from the church.  The way we do this is through the church discipline that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 18:15-17“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he hears you, you have gained your brother.  But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.  But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” – This is God’s formula for how we are to deal with those in the body of Christ in regards to unrepentant sin.  As harsh as this might sound, God’s grace is still available in every situation and there is opportunity for redemption to the one referred to as the heathen and tax collector.  The purpose of excommunication from the church body is not only for the purpose of punishment, but as protection to the congregation and also to encourage righteous conviction upon the guilty heart that will either be led to repentance or sadly enough, a hardened heart against God.  If someone communicates to us our sin, which we have committed, and we immediately begin the process of repentance, whatever that might look like for the specific situation, we have done what God has called us to do and we have honored God.  If on the other hand we have chosen to continue in that sin, even after the church admonishes us, the evidence of our hardened hearts towards God is revealed.  If though, we are sons and daughters of God, the Holy Spirit WILL speak to our hearts and lead us to repentance.

I hope this study has unraveled the truth about judgment and why, when used correctly, it can be a beautiful device to lead our hearts towards a greater intimacy with our loving God.  As with anything, in the hands of the wrong person, judgment can and will be used as an evil tool of the enemy.  May our hearts be vessels of humility towards our brethren and our King as we aspire to judge righteously and as we are also judged righteously.  Please allow your hearts to hold fast to truth as you meditate on the scripture that follows this commentary.

Verses Relating to God’s Judgment

Isaiah 11:3-4 – His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.

Matthew 7:6“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

Matthew 7:13-14“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Matthew 7:17-27“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.  Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  Therefore whoever hears these saying of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  But everyone who hears these saying of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell.  And great was its fall.”

John 5:24“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

2 Corinthians 11:32 – But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

2 Timothy 3:1-6 – But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,

2 Peter 2:9 – then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

Christian Directive to Hold Others Accountable

Psalm 141:5 – Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness.  And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it.

Proverbs 9:7-9 – “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.  Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

Proverbs 27:5-6 – Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Matthew 18:15-17“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he hears you, you have gained your brother.  But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.  But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

Luke 17:3“Take heed to yourselves.  If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”

Romans 15:14 – Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another,

2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

Galatians 6:1-6 – Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For each one shall bear his own load.  Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

James 5:19-20 – Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Verses Relating to Judging Others

Leviticus 19:15“You shall do no injustice in judgment.  You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty.  In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.”

1 Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Proverbs 31:9 – Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Ezekiel 22:1-2 – Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Now, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city?  Yes, show her all her abominations!  Then say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:  “The city sheds blood in her own midst that her time may come; and she makes idols within herself to defile herself.”

Matthew 7:1-5 – “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 9:11 – And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Matthew 12:36-37 “But I say to you that for every word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Luke 6:31“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

Luke 6:37-42“Judge not, and you shall not be judged.  Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you:  good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”  And He spoke a parable to them:  “Can the blind lead the blind?  Will they not both fall into the ditch?  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”

Luke 18:9-14 – Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men – extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

John 3:17“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

John 7:24“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

John 8:7 – So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

John 8:15-16You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.  And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.”

John 12:46-49“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.  And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.  For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.”

Romans 2:1-3 – Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.

Romans 12:16-19 – 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.  Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Romans 14:1-13 – Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.  For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.  Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.  Who are you to judge another’s servant?  To his own master he stands or falls.  Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.  One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike.  Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.  He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.  He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.  For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.  For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.  Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.  But why do you judge your brother?  Or why do you show contempt for your brother?  For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  For it is written:  “As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 – Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.  For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?”  But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 4:4-7 – For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.  Then each one’s praise will come from God.  Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.  For who makes you differ from another?  And what do you have that you did not receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 – It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles – that a man has his father’s wife!  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 – I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person.

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 – Does any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?  Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Do you not know that we shall judge angels?  How much more, things that pertain to this life?  If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?  I say this to your shame.  Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?  But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!  Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another.  Why do you not rather accept wrong?  Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?  No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

2 Corinthians 5:10-11 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

Galatians 5:14-15 – For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

2 Thessalonians 3:6 – But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

1 Timothy 5:13 – And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

Titus 3:2-7 – to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.  But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

James 4:11-12 – Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.  He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.  There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.  Who are you to judge another?

1 John 4:1-3 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.  And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Verses Relating to Inerrancy of Scripture

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Galatians 2:11-12 – But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 – knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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COMMITMENT TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

What does the Bible mean to you?  What is the heart of God’s word and why are we, as believers, placed here on this earth?  These are key questions to our faith and questions that far too many professing believers may have some wrong answers to.  Throughout scripture, God reveals that as believers, we are to live our lives entirely for Him.  It does not mean that we are to live this life the best we can and hopefully do enough good in this world (morality).  It does not mean that we are to get everything done that we need to accomplish and when we have time, give what remains to God.  What living entirely for God means, and scripture tells us is that we account ALL things to God.  1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – This reveals that we are called to glorify God in everything from our thoughts, hopes, desires, what we consume, our recreation, finances, possessions our interaction with others in every single relationship and in everything else!  With that being said, we as believers must ask God to give us the ability, heart, mind and soul to live and serve Him in the ways that He desires.

We already know that living obediently for God bares great difficulty at times and if our hearts have truly declared Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, His spirit within us will encourage and lead us to live in the ways that He has called us to live. If we honestly examine ourselves and realize that our hearts are not desperately seeking to obey Him in all things, we should question if Jesus Christ is truly the focus of our hope. In doing so, if the Holy Spirit resides in us and we confidently believe God to be the author of truth, we must simply repent and seek the heart of loving obedience towards Him. Be mindful that your obedience is not strictly for the sake of obedience, but for the sake of Christ and in that, fruit will grow out of love and desire for your beloved Savior.  In reaching this place within our hearts, the Holy Spirit is increasing our sensitivity to sinfulness as we realize our need for change. Realizing our need is based on the understanding of the magnitude of the sacrifice that took place by Christ’s humiliation on the cross for the purpose of glorifying His Father by carrying the entire burden of our sinfulness. In this, forgiveness was offered to all of humanity and only given to those who will truly accept it. By prayerfully and faithfully searching the depth of our hearts for any sinfulness that resides in us, God will reveal to us what must be replaced with His goodness (sanctification).  If you have established that you desire to honor God, which will be evidenced by your active repentance and obedience, you can be assured that God is the one who has placed the desire upon your heart.

As all Christians do, I have struggled with my own sinfulness and my own perceived “lack of service” for God.  Although we are never “good enough” (Isaiah 64:6, Eph 2:8-9), it is Christ’s sacrifice alone towards the believer, that gives us our claim to righteousness, where the enemy uses guilt to bring self-condemnation. As followers of Christ, we must strive for obedience, while simultaneously resting upon God’s grace and Hebrews 4:15-16 sheds light of God’s understanding of our struggle: For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Also keep in mind that God is working all things together for good to those who love Him as Romans 8:28 reveals.  God has utilized my trials and circumstances in conjunction with my pursuit of Him in prayer and His word to bring about an understanding of what He is truly looking for in His children. For hundreds of years, people have battled with doctrines of good works, and that good works are a necessity to gain entry into heaven. Good works alone will never gain entry into heaven, but only true belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that we will receive such a great thing! Good works (fruit) that He desires from us will grow out of true faith and pursuit of Him. God is the giver of the desire (we should still ask Him for the desire) and we must be obedient in the steps to build upon that solid foundation in our faith that will produce good fruit in our lives. It is no different when we practice a sport to improve our abilities or we might spend more time with the ones we love to improve those relationships. Once that solid foundation is built based on the truth of God’s word will we find ourselves living the lives that God so desires.  The life God desires for us does not focus on our happiness or even that we become better people, but that our focus is in glorifying Him, although we simultaneously become recipients, as well as contributors of His goodness. We become providers of truth to others in what we profess by our words and deeds and we are being sanctified through His Spirit as we give of ourselves.  During the times where we do not feel restored, He will use the difficulty, our misunderstandings or measure of unbelief to draw us deeper into His love and truth. As we participate in the lives of others, we must be mindful that we are doing so with the primary purpose of glorifying God versus the primary purpose of serving others. The Holy Spirit within us gives us a desire for their well-being because that is synonymous with God’s character. The reason I distinguish primary purposes in glorifying God and serving others is that many people are guilty of making their ministry their God rather than God Himself and their ministry becomes an idol.

Foundational to our ministry is how we live out our lives on a daily basis and in that, how others see us living out our lives as believers. Before we can become most effective in ministry, we must be solid, in that our lives are centered on Christ. That is what others will see. We can concern ourselves with how much time we spend volunteering, how often we speak kind words towards another or how much money we donate, but if these things are not done in love, we are doing them in vain. 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” – Looking back on my life, I can observe where I fell short in glorifying God by my motives and deeds, and by God’s grace, He continues to reveal to me when my motives are wrong and His Spirit brings me to repentance. I continue to see so many people who will speak of the goodness of God, but are living in tremendous hypocrisy. They speak to others of the necessity of Jesus Christ in one’s life, and yet, the way they live is no different than the way an unbeliever lives. Is it difficult to number how many acquaintances we may know who claim their faith in Christ and at the same time, often show hatred and unforgiveness towards others, live lives of adultery, fornication, drunkenness and greed? The list goes on and we are all susceptible to many forms of sin, but when the Holy Spirit resides in us, we become sensitive to these things and His Spirit leads us to repentance.  As true believers in Christ, God calls us to live lives of obedience, as we are His representatives. Let’s discuss the reasons and effects of why we honor Him. First, we do so because He says so. If we truly love, believe and trust God, we will do whatever He asks of us, which is exactly what Abraham did regarding the sacrifice of Isaac. Secondly, we honor Him because; what is good for God is synonymously good for His children. Romans 8:32 evidences that statement, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” – If we live the lifestyle that God calls us to, others see that and it becomes one of the greatest ministries bestowed to us. It reveals that we are not just telling others that God is good and that we need Him, but we are also showing them that God is good in that we trust Him. When we live a life without hypocrisy, others will take notice and will either desire it or oppose it. Jesus states in Mark 13:13, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” – If we live lives of hypocrisy in our claim to faith, it will be noticed and have a negative effect. That hypocrisy will encourage some to think that they do not need God since lifestyles of believers appear no different than that of the unbeliever. Also, if one does come to claim belief in Jesus Christ, they may come with an understanding that it is okay to live unrepentant lifestyles and in turn, “trample the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace” as written in Hebrews 10:29. When we as Christians speak truth and live truth, we are, in effect encouraging others to do the same as they lay claim to Jesus Christ in their own lives. God will use the lives of His people to encourage obedience in the lives of others.

For many years I suffered with great difficulty and sometimes questioned my own faith regarding my lack of good works. I have come to realize that I was placing faith in myself regarding my own “goodness” (or lack of), rather than solely relying on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for my righteousness and the forgiveness that I had received, price paid IN FULL! I now see that God has so greatly cherished me that He has long-suffered in pursuing me and revealing His truth within my heart. I was striving to be obedient to gain God’s favor, which revealed different lies that we are all susceptible to believing. Striving to gain God’s favor reveals lack of faith and belief in the finished work of Christ on the cross, therefore, adding good works as a necessity for salvation. Striving of this nature reveals pride, in that we think we can be sufficient in our own ability. I will admit that this can be a difficult struggle in maintaining true reliance in God regarding our righteousness on His behalf because the deceitfulness of the world consistently tells a different story. Truth permeates us when we meditate on God’s word, remain in it, pray and surround ourselves with a body of believers for encouragement. We must spend our lives in constant pursuit of God, as Satan is relentless in his pursuit of us. In the times when the enemy whispers to us that we’re not doing enough, we must allow the truth of Christ’s sacrifice to remind us that we have been made righteous through Jesus Christ! If we have been disobedient, we do not wallow in condemnation, but we go to God in repentance.  We are human, still attached to our flesh and so we make mistakes and are susceptible to that while we remain on this earth. The difference between the believer and false-convert (unbeliever) is; does our sinfulness occur on a regular basis as a result of habitual unrestrained evil desire within our unrepentant hearts or are they sinful acts that the Holy Spirit convicts us of and we pursue repentance? Are we continually asking God to give us a heart to hate our sin enough to turn from it?

The verses that follow this commentary give tremendous evidence of truth to the words I have written. I want to encourage you to study them and meditate on them. Transfer these words to your heart, your life and the ministry you’ve been given. Desire and pray to receive the deepest understanding of their meaning. I encourage you to go deeper than just reading the verses, but to study them and meditate on them. It is highly recommended to utilize a trusted study bible to understand the meaning of scripture. We must desire to have a greater understanding of scripture, and in that, we must realize there is one truth intended and we should verify what we think scripture says is in fact what God is truly revealing. My prayer for you is that as you read this study, your heart will be transformed (I hope you will pray that for yourself) as you begin to understand the depth of how you will live out your life in faith. Your life will reveal your faith. Become confident in your pursuit of godliness, as God desires to use you in the lives of others and what a great gift it is to offer someone the joy associated with eternal life in Christ! What an honor it will be to know that God will use you, His son or daughter, to glorify Himself for all of eternity!

Verses Relating to Living Righteously

 Deuteronomy 5:29“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me, and always keep all My commandments that it might go well with them and with their children forever!”

2 Samuel 12:14 – “However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

Proverbs 11:6 – The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.

Proverbs 11:9 – The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.

Isaiah 42:6-7“I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison those who sit in darkness from the prison house.”

Isaiah 49:6“Indeed He says ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Daniel 6:4 – So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.

Matthew 5:16“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 9:8 – Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

Matthew 10:16“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

 Matthew 15:14“Let them alone.  They are blind leaders of the blind.  And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

 Matthew 23:2-3 – saying:  “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”

 Matthew 23:15“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

Matthew 23:24“Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”

Luke 2:32 – A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.

Luke 20:20 – So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

Luke 21:34“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.”

Luke 23:13-14 – Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people.  And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;

John 6:70 – Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”

John 15:8By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

Acts 20:28 – Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Acts 24:16 – This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

Romans 2:19-29 – and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.  You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?  You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?  You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery?  You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?  For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ as it is written.  For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.  Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?  And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 13:13 – Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

Romans 14:13 – Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Romans 14:18 – For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

1 Corinthians 8:9-13 – But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?  And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

1 Corinthians 9:12-14 – If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?  Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.  Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?  Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:27 – But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 – Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 – But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.  And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

2 Corinthians 6:1 – We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

2 Corinthians 6:3 – We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.

2 Corinthians 8:20-21 – avoiding this:  that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us—providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 4:28-29 – Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Philippians 1:27 – 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,

Philippians 2:15 – that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Colossians 4:5-6 – Walk in the wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 – You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

1 Thessalonians 4:12 – that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 – Abstain from every form of evil.

1 Timothy 3:7 – Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

1 Timothy 4:12-16 – Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in the word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.  Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.  Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 3:5 – (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);

Titus 2:8 – sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Titus 3:1-2 – Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

Hebrews 4:15-16 – For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Philemon 1:6 – that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

James 1:22-27 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.  If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.  Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

James 2:14-17 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.

James 3:13 – Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

1 Peter 2:12 – having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:15 – For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—

1 Peter 3:16 – having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

1 Peter 4:11 – If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.  If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

1 Peter 4:16 – Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

2 Peter 1:5-11 – But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.  Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

2 Peter 2:13-22 – and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime.  They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls.  They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.  They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages for his iniquity:  a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.  These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.  For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.  For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.  But it has happened to them according to the true proverb:  “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

2 Peter 3:11 – Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

1 John 2:6 – He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

Verses Relating to Inerrancy of Scripture

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Galatians 2:11-12 – But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 – knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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