THE GOOD HEART?

The human heart; is it good or is it evil? There seems to be confusion amongst Christians as to what is true regarding the goodness of our hearts. Scripture clearly supports that wickedness lies within our hearts as well as the capability of our hearts to possess purity and goodness. If these are both true, then how are we to hold on to the joy that God calls His people to receive if we know that our hearts are inherently wicked? How are we to perceive our depravity with our desperate need for forgiveness if our hearts are good? There are several objectives that I hope this study will reveal to you: 1) our need of forgiveness is critical due to the inherent wickedness within our hearts that lead us to sin. 2) Our hearts are capable of possessing goodness and purity and that is only through true faith in Jesus Christ. 3) Our primary goal, in its entirety, must be to seek Christ over any other thing and that includes the search for our own goodness.

In Genesis 1:26-27, God reveals that He has made man in His image and likeness. Genesis 1:31 tells us that God saw that everything He had made was good, including man. Many verses in this study will indicate a goodness of heart. It seems later on, such as in Genesis 6, things change as God grieved over the wickedness of man’s heart. Jeremiah 17:9 are words from God the Father speaking of the human heart as being desperately wicked. In Matthew 15:19, Jesus speaks of the great evil that our hearts commit. These are portions of scripture that without correct understanding may lead people to great misunderstanding and we must be wise in how we interpret it. Sometimes we are limited by what God has not yet revealed to us in scripture pertaining to specific aspects of this life. Until we are given the information we need to better understand, our relationship with Him should be one in which we trust God in all things. God reveals to us in Proverbs 3:5-6 to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – During our time on earth, we are not given a complete answer as to why God made man in His image and would allow their hearts to become desperately wicked. What we know is that when Satan and his angels were hurled to the earth as Revelation 12:7-9 describes and Adam and Eve committed the first sin of humanity, its stronghold over the earth began and it has had its effect on the human heart to this very day.

This study will reveal that God does in fact desire goodness to reside in us and that He has no desire for wickedness. We must not misunderstand God’s desire for goodness and His allowance of wickedness within us as Jeremiah 17 mentions.  The wicked conditions of our hearts oppose God’s desire. The difference between what God desires and what actually occurs in us does not reveal any inability of God’s power or plan. The fact that God desires goodness to fill our hearts, but that God also allows wickedness to reside in us should make us aware of the impact that Satan has had upon our hearts. Satan holds authority over the earth for a limited amount of time as John 12:31 mentions. God is the One who has granted him that authority to do what he does as Job 1:12 indicates: 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. – We must be confident that Satan is not thwarting God’s plan in any way but that God is using him for His eternal purpose. If that were not the case, it would mean that God errors. Scripture speaks of God’s divine perfection so we know it is not possible for Him to make one mistake. Throughout scripture, it is evident that God opposes evil (James 1:13, 1 John 1:5) and yet for His divine purpose and due to our limited reasoning and understanding, we cannot fully comprehend why (Isaiah 55:8, Prov 3:5).

Humans are incapable of bringing any goodness into their hearts or performing any good deed apart from that which God will grant them.  Psalm 16:2, Jeremiah 24:7 and Ezekiel 36:26-27 evidence this statement. If that does not sound fair, your complaint would be against God and the way He has orchestrated life on earth. But, if God purposed this, and He desires goodness, shouldn’t we turn to Him in asking for goodness to grow within us? Maybe that will help you understand His ways and how He will lead you to dependence and love for Him when you see that He purposes our difficulties for us to seek and desire Him. To go about asking and receiving the goodness that God desires for us, we must first have a solid foundation in the faith. That is a heart that truly believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  That is the heart that believes that He had to die on the cross and was resurrected on the third day as the necessary sacrifice for our sinfulness. We must repent of our sin so that the sacrifice, which was given for us, validates who we are in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:8-10 also speaks to this statement of what Christ did for His children on the cross, which is also referred to as the atonement. Once a person surrenders their life to Christ, the Holy Spirit enters their being and places Holy desires upon their heart and they must choose whether or not they will be obedient to His requests.  Every one of His requests relates to His goodness no matter how difficult it may be for us to live out.  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.” – For many years I questioned the truth of this verse and its truth continues to be revealed and confirmed as I follow what is spoken in scripture. Matthew 6:33 is vital to successful Christian living as Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – As I fully pursue God, He continuously reveals to me His holy desires, those desires that glorify Him. I see it in scripture and the Holy Spirit speaks it into my heart. I must then become obedient to what He calls me to do. When I am obedient, evil seems to purge from my heart and God’s goodness takes its place. Be warned that obedience leading to the apparent goodness and joy that arises can just as easily fade away when we neglect our relationship with Christ. Remember that our hearts are still inherently wicked, which must force us to continually pursue God in His righteousness, never ours. When I am disobedient, not only have I dishonored God, (which indicates lack of trust and belief) but also my disobedience increases the difficulty of living a life of peace, contentness and joy that God has called me to.  John 14:15 evidences a vital truth relating to this when Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” – and in John 14:21 Jesus says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”  Deuteronomy 5:29 also confirms His good will in regards to our obedience when the Father says, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments, that it might go well with them and with their children forever!” – I have found myself at times, taking my focus off of Christ and allowing myself to be distracted (due to worry and fear) by finances, loneliness, work struggles and other problems that we all face. These distractions have led me to sin in various ways. Although I pray, I find myself with a hardened heart and lacking in trust for God. I deal with things that I have dealt with before and there is resentment that God has not already resolved the issues within my heart, which answers my lack of trust. I still desire to please Him (mistakenly thinking that I will make Him happier with me, forgetting how much that He already loves me) and then find myself seeking goodness rather than focusing on Him. Obedience is good and we may achieve some level of goodness that we desire, but that is only accomplished through Him by asking for it in prayer and by patiently waiting and listening to His Spirit within us. This process also requires trust and willful determination in seeking His direction. If you ask how to seek His direction, it is primarily through prayer and reading, studying and meditating upon His word and in solid Christian fellowship (Matthew 18:20). Remember that if we are lacking in an area, thinking that we are good, because of God’s love, He will refine us when we least expect it and when we most need it! (Hebrews 12:5-6). Although it may seem disheartening at times to realize that our hearts and flesh continually war against the sinfulness of this world, we can take joy and have great hope in that our fight glorifies God and yes, He does sanctify us in our walk with Him as we grow greater in love for Him and for others.

How beautiful it is to see where you are now versus when you were without Christ, with the assurance you may have as a believer, one who has fought against the enemy to pursue Christ!  There is great importance in fighting for our faith with the eternal perspective in mind. Synonymously, doesn’t a person put great time and effort into increasing their efforts and abilities in their job, marriage or their favorite sport or hobby to improve in those areas? If we don’t practice or try and improve in those areas, just as with pursuing our faith, we become stagnant, the enemy, as a weed, will find its way back into the heart and as 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober, be vigilant; because the adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” – How many people do you know of who one day gave their declaration of faith and later on they are caught in acts of extreme sinfulness and unrepentance? They were not vigilant and gave up fighting for what is good due to unbelief resulting from a wicked heart. Due to God’s perfect grace, they are given the opportunity to repent and begin a new life in Christ.  What about the “good works” of those who have not accepted Christ? Where did their seeming goodness come from? Their good works are of their own merit, and to them, not of Christ’s merit and therefore, done in vain and counted as filthy rags as scripture tells us (Isaiah 64:6, 1 Cor 15:58). I ponder the moment when the unbeliever faces judgment  (Rev 20:11-15) and God reveals to them that all good things they did and received were a gift from Him, but because they did not give glory to Him, they will receive no glory. Once they hear this, their instant realization of their eternal damnation that they denied Him breaks my heart. 

As a son or daughter of the Most High God, the greatest thing we can do is to desire the heart of God and we must continually ask Him for that heart. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing” so why not pray for a Godly heart? The Holy Spirit will reveal to us that we must ask God for His goodness to fill our hearts including the will “to do” those things which He desires. James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. – As our submission to God and sensitivity to sin increases and we desire that His goodness take over, we must request that God reveal to us specifically what sinfulness resides within our hearts. We can ask Him  specifically for those heart changes to take place as they tend to be connected to other areas of sin that we may be unaware of. God already knows this, He just desires that we train ourselves to listen to His Spirit working within us and that we are asking Him the right questions. As we learn to do this, we are growing in wisdom and discernment that God imparts to us (James 1:5). This tends to be how He will take His perfect work in us to greater levels. We must ask Him for it and we must be willing to accept whatever method of discomfort may be necessary for God’s goodness to grow in us.  Even when we know it may be painful, we must fully trust God in that what He desires is good and that we must allow whatever He deems necessary to affect those changes that glorify Him.  This attitude truly reflects the heart of Christ.

We must remain aware of our own depravity amidst the goodness of God growing in us. If we do not keep our depravity in check, we can mistakenly allow our seeming goodness to “rule over” us as we may forget our source of goodness and as humility fades away, pride takes its place. The goodness is God’s, not our own. Romans 4:22-25 speaks of the righteousness that is imputed to us by God. – 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. – One of the greatest methods to stay in touch with the most beautiful relationship we are to have in our lives is to consciously remind ourselves who we are without the atonement of Christ.  This must not lead us to doubt the forgiveness that we received, but act as a reminder that it was God’s perfect love  itself, that declared us saints. This is when we can be joyfully overwhelmed  by what has taken place for us by the atonement.

Scripture affirms through its pages that God looks at the heart in recognizing those who live for Him and those who do not. Several verses that help in understanding the validity of this statement are 1 Samuel 16:7, Romans 2:28-29 and Romans 8:27. We must remind ourselves who we were prior to Christ and who we are now as faithful followers. We can be confident that the wickedness we were born into can be replaced with God’s goodness and we must continue in pursuit of Him.  2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all thing have become new. – So there the battle lies, is the heart inherently wicked or is it capable of goodness? Who is our true master, is it the deceiver of this world or the God of the universe? The direction of our hearts will reveal that.

The verses below should affirm the truth of not only what I have written, but more-so what God tells us.

Verses Related to the Good Heart

Genesis 1:26-27 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have 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.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:31 – 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 6:5-8 – 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.”

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!”

Deuteronomy 10:16 – Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.

Deuteronomy 11:18“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”

Deuteronomy 30:14 – But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

Psalm 16:2 – O my soul, you have said to the LORD, “You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.”

Psalm 32:11 – Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

Proverbs 28:26 – He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

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 31:33“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Ezekiel 36:26-27“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

Matthew 5:8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 15:19“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Luke 6:43-45“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Luke 8:15“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”

Acts 15:5-9 – But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them; “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Romans 2:28-29 – 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 7:15-25 – For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 8:27 – Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 10:8-10 – But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart: (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 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 made unto salvation.

Romans 12:35 – “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

Ephesians 3:16-17 – that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

Colossians 1:21-23 – And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—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.

1 Timothy 1:5 – Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

2 Timothy 2:22 – Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

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.

Posted in Humaness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

THE JOY OF THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF SORROW

Pain, sorrow, suffering and tribulation are words that relate to deep distress in our lives caused by injury, loss, disappointment, or other misfortune. These troubles are a result of living in a fallen, sin-cursed world and can bring great distress to the mind, body and soul. Our feelings and emotions are often stirred-up when these difficulties arise and can quite often take us to such a place of despair in our natural pursuits of happiness and joy. Many of us have experienced such great pain in this life, which even the sting of death would seem as such a relief, and it is often no different for those whom follow Christ. Are you able to perceive the beauty that is meant to grow out of these hardships, as one of God’s elect? The apostle Paul speaks of this in 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.” In that, we know there is a God-ordained purpose in every event that take place within our lives. God’s children are meant to seek Him in these times, as well as in all other times.

There are various reasons why the tribulations of this world bring such great pain into our lives.  Sin is often the culprit to our suffering.  Sometimes it is the sin that we commit that leads to the pain that we feel.  Other times it is the sin that others commit that brings distress into our lives and it may also be a combination of the two.  There are also those moments when misfortune occurs and nothing relating to sin seems to have taken place.  Whether or not your difficulties are a result of sin, we can sometimes find evidence of sin in our reactions to the suffering.  The relevancy in making this point is not to bring guilt, but to encourage us in searching deep within our hearts as to our thoughts, motives, desires and do they honor God? By seeking to honor God in these things, we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ and that brings peace to our souls. Jesus Himself felt sorrow over the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35) and it was related to the love that He had for Lazarus and his family.  It shows us that God shares in the loving characteristics that He has given us. God also reveals in scripture, His sorrow over the people that will not accept Him as God and Lord (Romans 9:1-5).  Examples of God’s sorrow are connected to His pure and perfect love (1 Timothy 1:5).  God desires to teach us about His perfect love and selflessness in the trials that we will face. We must be mindful that our reaction to sorrow does not lead us to unforgiveness, envy, covetousness, pride, unrighteous anger or believing that we know better than God what is best for us, as those responses reveal a lack of trust, as well as ingratitude towards God.

We live in a fallen world and the devil will try and rob from us what he can, and God may give him the authority to do so as Job 1:12 indicates in reference to Job’s circumstances – 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. –  Although we are not given all the answers as to why God allows evil, calamity or other painful  events to occur, biblically we know that it is for His purpose and glory, which we cannot comprehend in its entirety here on earth.  Referencing my study, God’s Hand in Calamity, it will give you insight into that question.  Often, our sorrow may relate to our own selfishness, as was previously discussed.  We are sorrowful when something occurs that conflicts with our hopes and desires.  God is completely sovereign and when something happens that we do not like, we can be confident that He did not make a mistake in allowing it to occur.  If someone we deeply love tragically leaves this world, isn’t it natural for us to grieve that loss?  Yes, and God understands and desires to console us in those times. We can expect to war with our emotions as believers in Christ.  For in God’s own purpose in allowing the enemy to rule upon this earth for a time, will we accept God’s sovereignty, trust Him, and in our relationship with Him, do we accept that satan has temporarily been given dominion?  In John 12:31, Jesus references the “ruler of this world” and that is Satan.  2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  Colossians 1:13-14 states, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” – The god of this age refers to Satan.  When studying these verses along with the rest of scripture, we are told that Satan does not have ultimate authority of this world, but that he does have authority over the minds and hearts of the unbelieving world. Those whom truly follow Christ are called to believe God in truth versus the lies that the remainder of the world eternally succumb to.  As believers, we will constantly battle against our flesh while on this earth.  The way we battle against this is by recognizing, understanding, believing and living-out the truth of the gospel.  Scripture is God’s word as Prov 30:5-6, Gal 2:11-12, 2 Tim 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21 and Rev 22:18-19 reveal and any doubt of that within our hearts will give way to the enemy speaking lies into our lives, making our situations worse. When we begin believing everything that God has said is true, our greater trust in Him not only comforts us, but also teaches us how to respond to the suffering that we endure. This is the beginning of discovering peace and learning to be content and even having joy, which God has chosen for us in this life, in the midst of all circumstances.

With all this being said, remember, we are human, we will battle our flesh until the day we leave this earth as believers in Christ and God is fully aware of this.  Even though suffering is sometimes a result of sin in one-way or another, it is natural to this world.  We are not meant to punish ourselves where we fall short in understanding these truths, but we are called to, and given the tools we need to fight for truth and joy in the midst of suffering.  One of the greatest lies that many of us have given into is a belief that we can attain the circumstances that we want with God’s help without considering what He wants for us.  We would never purposely choose our own painful circumstances that God purposes into our lives, as He uses those to draw us to Him and strengthen us.   We must overcome any belief that because of our faith in God, He will place us in circumstances that “we want” just because we love and trust Him.  1 Chronicles 28:3 evidences God not giving King David permission to build a temple for Him, in that God knew better than David what was good versus what David “thought” was good.  The quotation within the verse comes from the Father Himself, “But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well in that it was in your heart.  Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name.’” – We are called to trust God in all circumstances that we participate in. In this world, many circumstances are guaranteed to involve great difficulty stemming from the effects of sin in this world.   Our answer is to stop striving for those things that we think bring temporal happiness versus eternal holiness. Scripturally, there is nothing wrong with gaining monetary wealth, physical health, relational happiness or any other kind of temporal blessing, as long as your reasoning does not violate scripture. We have the propensity in hoping that these things alone will bring us the joy we need, when history and scripture have shown us that we will face great adversity on this earth while we are here and to rely on temporal blessing is unwise often idolatrous. There have always been and always will be difficulties related to financial hardships, struggles with those whom we love, as well as sickness and/or death that we will face.  There are wars, calamities and evil things that take place, as the evil one prowls the earth to and fro like a roaring lion as both Job 1:7 and 1 Peter 5:8 make mention.  It is good to have joy in the things that God gives us while we are on this earth, knowing that He is the gift giver.  We must also seek our greater joy in Him alone, as these things we have been given are temporary.  When we have found our joy in Him alone, we are not only better prepared for the coming difficulties on earth, but simultaneously preparing for our eternal relationship with Him (sanctification).

Today’s Christians are not entirely different in how they view Jesus Christ in comparison to the historic Jews who were waiting for their coming Messiah. They believed that He was to end Roman rule over them, just as people today think that with Christ, they should not have to endure many painful trials that take place. Americans tend to forget that Christians face severe persecution throughout the rest of the world and it is now increasing its movement into this country. We have forgotten that our primary purpose in trusting God, is not that He will eliminate suffering from our lives (in fact, we are told in scripture that we will be hated because of our faith and that will increase our suffering-Matthew 10:22-23), but because He commands us to trust Him if we have truly accepted Him.  Had the Jews truly studied and believed God’s word that they had at that time, they would have better understood what Christ’s purpose was.  That has not changed today and far too many Christians still do not correlate the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice in conjunction with our cross to bear on this earth (Luke 14:27) as preparation for eternity with Him. When we realize God’s true purpose for us and go after it; that is when we truly glorify God, as it is representative of our belief in Him and His word!

With all that being said, really, what good is the pain that invades our lives?  It has taken me what seems far too long to gain an understanding of that, and God uses it for His good.  What we know from scripture is that God has permitted the enemy to rule upon this earth for a limited time.  As previously mentioned in reference to Job 1:12, we know that God allows His people to endure pain and suffering, even from the hand of the devil.  Circumstances of life along with the enemy’s influence will continue to heap troubles upon us and God will use them as a means to teach us to trust Him in all things.  Do you hold onto anger in the painful things that have occurred, and is it directed towards God? God’s word reveals His perfect love for those who will bear their cross for His glory in this life, as Jesus Christ bore His cross for the Father, to take upon Himself, the sins of the world. He purposed to save those whom will repent of their sins and who will claim Him as their LORD and Savior. It is Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that paid our price in full for our sinfulness. When we come to the realization of the price that was paid, and that no good deed on our part relates to the salvation we receive, only then can we begin to realize the joy that is to be attained from true belief.  When we dive in and meditate on God’s love for us through the truth of His word as scripture reveals, we begin to understand the beauty of the pain we have endured. He even ordained those moments of tribulation into our lives (Deut 32:39, Amos 3:6, Isaiah 45:7) to bring us to our knees in dependence upon Him and realizing that He loved us so much that He was willing to bring such great sadness upon our hearts to allow us to see the beauty in Him alone (Rom 5:3-4, James 1:2-3, Heb 12:5-6).  Once we come to that understanding in our heart, mind and soul, then we can begin to grow in our love for Him in all circumstances. That is what leads to a true and amazing joy that no circumstance could ever fulfill.  There is Godly sorrow as well as worldly sorrow and 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 speaks of the difference. God has designed sorrow to lead us to repentance and a far greater hope in Him than what this world has to offer. The painful depths of the deepest and darkest valleys should lead us to seek Him in such a way that will reveal how expansive His love is for His sons and daughters.  The parable of the lost son in Luke 15 is evidence of the pain and sorrow that leads a wayward son to repentance.  Do not just listen to what I have written about regarding God’s love, but purposely go after it with everything you have and with fervent prayer and belief!  Jesus says in Matthew 6:33-34, “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.” It is only through God’s guidance, as He has magnificently changed my heart through the most excruciating times in my life. It wasn’t the pain alone; but that in the pain, He helped me to pursue Him will all my heart.

Although happiness and joy are related, there are differences between them.  If you look at the word happiness, it is tied to happenings, luck and fortune.  It has more relation to temporal circumstances.  Joy is related more to a level of peace and contentness and is not based so much on circumstances.  James 1:2-3 beautifully states, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Hupomone is the Greek word for patience, which is also synonymous with endurance. It took an act of God through the time and trials He has endured alongside me with His loving grace, and the will He has given me to persevere in seeking Him and understanding truth. It is the truth of His word, which has allowed me to see the beauty in the pain. It has brought to my heart and to my attention the great love that He has for His sons and daughters; that He would allow such a great pain into their lives to turn them from the evil ways and towards the ways of His loving rule in their lives. That is perfect love! It is preparing us to spend all of eternity giving praise and honor to the Father that lovingly sacrificed His innocent Son for our eternal relationship with Him. We are called to live lives, willing to endure the struggles that we will face, and at the same time, knowing that they are meant to produce a greater love and reliance for Him.  Others will see how we react to the trials in life. God will use these things to evidence His glory and draw others to Himself.

If you believe that you fall short in your joy of the Lord and accepting His desire for you to live joyfully in the midst of the difficulties, then prayerfully ask God to give you the understanding in what He desires for you. It is in His word and it is real. He allows this pain into your heart and soul, so you may ask Him for help, to seek and to persevere in understanding and believing. Below are many verses related to this topic. Not only do I ask and suggest that you read them, but do what is intended and study them, meditate on them and believe them. Pray over them and ask God to reveal their depth of meaning and understanding to you, as He desires that you have that greater joy that this world and its solutions will never bring. More than anything, God desires that you be united with Him, that you don’t just put Him first, but that you put Him everything!

As you meditate on the scripture below, you should notice the emphasis placed on various aspects of truth; that goodness and adversity come from God, so take JOY in that they come from Him for His perfect purpose.  Godly sorrow brings a greater joy! Look to the Lord for strengthening in the times of sorrow and weakness and do not fear, as you are to trust in Him.  Sorrow is intentional in leading His people to a greater trust in Him.  A sad countenance relates to wisdom as mirth relates to folly (Ecclesiastes 7:3). God has given me greater insight through the pain I have endured, as I have learned to focus on Him and it is true and it is wise, not just my own experience. There is a reward for our endurance for fighting the good fight and for trusting in Him. He calls us to overcome and He leads us if we will follow. Men will hate us. By suffering in Christ, we will receive consolation through Christ and we cannot compare the momentary affliction to the glory that is to come and as the apostle Paul states in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Let our sorrows lead us to repentance, to newness of life and to a greater hope, for we are awaiting the Day of the Lord!

Verses Relating to Sorrow, Tribulation and Joy

Deuteronomy 20:8 – “The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted?  Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.’”

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.

Psalm 119:28 – My soul melts with heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.

Proverbs 3:25 – Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes.

Proverbs 14:13 – Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief.

Proverbs 24:10 – If you faint in the day of adversity, surely your strength is small.

Ecclesiastes 2:2 – I said of laughter – “Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted, a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace,

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time, Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 7:2-6 – Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart.  Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.  The heart of the wise is in the house of the mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.  It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools.  For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool.  This is also in vanity.

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 35:10 – And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads.  They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 40:31 – But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 45:7“I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.”

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.”

Lamentations 3:38 – Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?

Matthew 5:4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 5:10-12“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

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.”

Matthew 11:29“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Luke 5:5 – But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

Luke 6:22“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.”

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 11:35 – Jesus wept.

John 15:21“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”

John 16:33“These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Acts 5:41 – So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Acts 14:22 – strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying.  “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

Romans 5:3-4 – And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produced perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 8:17-18 – and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.  Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer.  Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.  And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

2 Corinthians 4:17 – For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 – Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance.  For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.  For Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.  For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner:  What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication!  In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Ephesians 6:13 – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Philippians 3:10 – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

2 Timothy 2:10 – Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

2 Timothy 2:12 – If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

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

Hebrews 10:32-38 – But recall the former days in which after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:  partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.  Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.  Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

Hebrews 12:3-5 – For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.  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.”

1 Peter 1:6-7 – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

James 1:2-3 – My brethren, consider it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

James 2:5 – Listen, my beloved brethren:  Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

James 5:11 – Indeed we count them blessed who endure.  You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

1 Peter 2:19-23 – For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.  For what credit is it if you, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently?  But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.  For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:  “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

1 Peter 3:14 – But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.  “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”

1 Peter 3:17 – For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

1 Peter 4:1 – Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

1 Peter 4:12-19 – Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”  Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

1 Peter 5:10 – But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

Revelation 2:3“and you have persevered and have patience, and have not become weary.”

Revelation 7:17 – for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 21:4 – “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.”

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.

Posted in Suffering | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

REWARDS IN HEAVEN

Many people have varying opinions as to what heaven will be like. The world varies in its religious beliefs and many think that heaven will be a place of equality for everyone who is there. For many years I assumed that heaven was a place that offered the same rewards for all Christians. The bible evidences that only true believers in Christ will inherit eternity in heaven with God as well as the rewards associated with that. Little did I know previously that the scriptures evidence greater rewards for those whom have lived lives of greater obedience towards God and His word.

The salvation that only a true follower of Christ receives is a beautiful gift that is completely unmerited by us.  Salvation is offered to everyone and only given to those willing to believe and accept its conditions. The conditions: believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he had to die on the cross as the propitiation for our sinfulness and that three days later, He rose from the dead (1 Cor 15:4) and ascended into heaven  (Acts 1:9-12) and that He is in fact God (John 10:30, Isaiah 9:6).  Repentance of our sins is also necessary to salvation (Mark 1:15, Acts 3:19).  Salvation  is the gift of God and given only because of His love and mercy.  It is not something that we can achieve by good works or by any other means. Paul states in Ephesians 2:8-10 – “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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” – As the latter portion of this verse states, we are created for good works as God prepared in advance for us. Therefore, those that place their faith in Christ Jesus, only by the grace of God are also chosen to live lives of good works. It is not our works that gain us entry into heaven (Isaiah 64:6), but it is our works here on earth that will dictate our rewards in heaven and the verses in and that follow this commentary will reveal that. God, in fact, gives His people incentive to perform good works in that when they honor Him by those works, He will joyfully reward His people. Although this may sound as if it could give way to false motives on our part in doing good works, God Himself looks at the heart and motive behind the acts as the Father speaks in 1 Samuel 16:7, “for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” It is not even of our own ability to have good motives, it is the Holy Spirit working in us that gives us the ability to perform good works with pure and true motivation; the desire to give glory to God and not ourselves. Philippians 2:13 reveals that when Paul says, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Some will argue that heaven is a place of equality in that rewards are granted equally to everyone regardless of their obedience to God during their lives on earth. They would say that the person who spent their entire life, obediently serving God receives the same reward as the person who accepted Jesus Christ as their savior in the last seconds of their earthly life. They argue this due to their lack of knowledge of scripture and sometimes due to justification of the knowledge of their own willful disobedience to God, trying to cover up their own hypocrisy and fear of judgment.  Many will point to Matthew 20:1-15 which is the Parable of the Laborers.  Read this parable as it portrays the workers who work an entire day and get paid the same wage as the workers who only worked a lesser portion of the day.  Many believe this to be an example relating to our rewards in heaven and that the person who spends their entire life in the service of Christ and the person who gives their life to Christ in their last minutes will receive the same reward.  This parable represents the gift of salvation, not of rewards in heaven.  The person who gave their life to Christ towards the end rather than the beginning represents the person who only worked a small portion of the day versus the person who worked the entire day, but both still receiving salvation upon having a true faith in Christ.  You will see the evidence of truth in these statements when reviewing the verses that follow this commentary.  Pastor and author Bruce Milne wrote, “Every kingdom work, whether publicly performed or privately endeavored, partakes of the kingdom’s imperishable character.  Every honest intention, every stumbling word of witness, every resistance of temptation, every motion of repentance, every gesture of concern, every routine engagement, every motion of worship, every struggle towards obedience, every mumbled prayer, everything, literally, which flows out of our faith-relationship with the Ever-Living One, will find its place in the ever-living heavenly order which will dawn at his coming.” – We do in fact have the promise of greater eternal rewards if we truly and passionately follow the life of Christ and the verses that follow the commentary evidence that.

Although we do not know specifically what the rewards in heaven look like, God gives great evidence in His word that He has prepared gifts for us in advance for honoring Him. We also receive temporal rewards  while we are on this earth and verses following the commentary evidence that. However, that is not the primary focus of this study. Many of our rewards on earth are evident by what we see and experience such as the blessings of loved ones and other fulfilled desires that are in line with God’s will. That is another topic of study of its own because some things that we may see as blessings or rewards may in fact be things that move us further away from God and we may not realize that what may seem good to us is not in line with God’s will for us.

When studying the verses that are listed below, I encourage you to study and meditate upon the depth and heart of their meaning.  When reading a verse, it may appear to say one thing when the intended meaning is something different than how you perceive it. There may also be multiple applications to the intended meaning. A very trusted source in which I recommend referencing are the John MacArthur Study Bibles as Pastor MacArthur’s scripture commentaries are very accurate and helpful in understanding God’s word.

After reading this commentary, and so important for us to grasp as we proceed into the rest of our lives and how we will live for God is the importance of not forsaking heavenly rewards that we have access to in exchange for worldly comforts that lure us.  Understand the severity in that earthly comforts are perishable, but rewards we store up for heaven are everlasting and eternal. My hope is that you will understand to a greater degree that your relationship with Christ on this earth is vital to what your eternity will look like.  In addition to scripture, keep the words of Pastor John Piper in mind in your pursuit of our great God, “Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people, who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.” – Are you confident of your motives and reasons for heaven in that they are centered on communion with God and not on fire insurance that you think you have?   Continually meditate upon the holiness of God, His love and sacrifice and that our worldly investments are nothing in comparison to that of our heavenly and eternal investments. We can take great joy knowing that God is preparing a great reward for His children in heaven. Meditate upon the truth of this and persevere in your relationship with God, praying that He will give you the heart to go after Him with everything!

 Verses Relating to Temporal and Eternal Rewards

Exodus 20:6“,but showing mercy to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.

Leviticus 25:18-19“So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments, and perform them; and you will dwell in the land in safety.  Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill, and dwell there in safety.“

Leviticus 26:3-13“If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.  Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.  I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.  You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you.  Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you. ‘For I will look upon you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.  You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.  I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.  I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.  I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.

Leviticus 26:14-45 – Click here as this relates to obedience and God keeping His covenant with His people.

Deuteronomy 4:40 – You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time.

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!”

Deuteronomy 6:3 – Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you – ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’

Deuteronomy 11:13-23“And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, your oil.  And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.  Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the LORD’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.  Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.  For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do – to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him – then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 – “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse:  the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.”

Proverbs 24:12 – If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?  He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?  And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

Isaiah 1:19-20 – If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 3:10-11 – “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.  Woe to the wicked!  It shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him.”

Daniel 12:3 – Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.

Daniel 12:13 – “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.”

Matthew 5:11-12“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 6:1-6“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them.  Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.  And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites.  For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your doors, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Matthew 10:40-42 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.  He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.  And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.  And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

Matthew 16:24-27 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desire to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with his angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

Matthew 19:28-30 – 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.  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Matthew 25:14-30 – Parable of the Talents.  Click here to read.

Matthew 25:34-46“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.  ‘Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You a drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take you in, or naked and cloth You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to you?’  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you game Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’  “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Mark 10:21 – Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack:  Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

Mark 10:29-31 – So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life.”

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.”

Luke 6:22-23“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!  For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”

Luke 6:35“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.”

Luke 19:17“And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’”

Acts 26:18‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Romans 2:5-6 – But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:

Romans 2:10 – but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

1 Corinthians 3:8 – Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

1 Corinthians 3:14-15 – If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

1 Corinthians 15:58 – 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.

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.

Ephesians 6:8 – knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Colossians 3:23-25 – And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hebrews 10:34-36 – for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.  Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Hebrews 11:26 – esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

2 John 8 – Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.

Revelations 2:10“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.  Indeed the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days.  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Revelations 2:17“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.”

Revelations 2:23“I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.  And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”

Revelations 2:25-28“But hold fast what you have till I come.  And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations – ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ – as I also received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.”

Revelations 22:12-15“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.  Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.  But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”

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.

Revelations 20:12-13 – And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

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.

Posted in Eternity | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY RELATING TO SALVATION

The purpose of this study is to assist with interpreting the truth about biblical election, predestination and what it means to be called and to be chosen. They are terms that relate to salvation and they are ones that are commonly debated and make many people uncomfortable in regards to the true character of God relating to our salvation.

With the difficulty that most of us may have in trying to understand why God would allow people to go to hell, we need to understand that scripture tells us that all people are called to have a relationship with God through a true acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Being called means that God has put that desire within the heart of every man and woman and He therefore desires everyone to love and to choose Him. Unfortunately, many do not accept Him as their hearts are not willing to make that commitment that is necessary for eternal salvation. If you are one who struggles in believing that God has not chosen everyone for salvation, keep this point in mind, if everyone is called and yet so many are not chosen and bound for hell, does that mean God made a mistake in whom He chose or that God may not be in control? Referencing my study, God’s Hand In Calamity reveals so much scripture evidencing God’s ultimate control. Make note of how many times the verses that follow this commentary use the terms chosen, called, elect and predestination to help you in your understanding of what scripture really says about this subject.

From the verses listed in this study, you will see that God chose to save some and exclude others from spending eternity in His presence. This may seem a paradox to some and Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us not to rely on our own understanding which should reveal to us that what we might think is fair is always superseded by God’s understanding and truth. The second half of Exodus 33:19, God says, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” His choice is based on His own good pleasure and sovereign will. It is for His own good purpose in which we may not understand (Isaiah 55:8-9). You will see that He chose before the world was formed and that He chose, not because he foresaw any particular responses or acts by those chosen, but that faith and good works are the result of those whom are chosen.

1 Timothy 2:1-6 tells believers to pray for all men, that He desires all men to be saved and that Jesus Christ gave Himself as a ransom for all. “All” is not intended to indicate that Christ died for all men without exception. He did not die for the purpose of saving the lost that have chosen not to accept Him. Evidence of God’s great grace is that if fear arises in man after realization of the truth of God’s sovereignty related to man’s salvation, man could make the decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. By doing so, he can have confidence that he is also of the elect. As His chosen people, we are still responsible to share the gospel with the rest of the world whether or not we believe that someone is of the elect.

Following this commentary are many verses referencing the topic. I will leave it up to you and your willingness to believe and understand scripture in coming up with your conclusion as to what God has revealed to us through His word. Most of these verses seem clear in the truth of what God is revealing. It is wise to go in depth when studying scripture; investigating and meditating on the true meaning, especially verses of this magnitude that are so controversial, even in the Christian community. I always recommend to those who want help in understanding scripture to utilize the commentaries done by Pastor John MacArthur. His studies and observations are to be trusted and although I utilize an array of sources to assist me with understanding, MacArthur has been useful in helping me understand scripture to a deeper level that I may not have previously discerned. In reading the following verses, I recommend not just reading one and immediately moving on to the next, but putting time in meditation as to what is being spoken. When you truly realize that scripture is literally God’s spoken word to us, what a revelation it is to know that the One True God speaks to you now!

           Verses Relating to Sovereignty of Election

Exodus 7:1-5 – So the LORD said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”

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.”

Deuteronomy 7:6-7 – 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;…

Deuteronomy 10:14-15 – Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.

Deuteronomy 29:2-4 – Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land – the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. 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 32:39‘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 2:6-8 – “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. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory…”

2 Chronicles 30:7 – And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see.

Job 1:6-12 – Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” 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?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”  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.

Psalm 20:6 – Now I know the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.

Psalm 33:12 – Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Psalm 65:4 – Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple.

Psalm 106:5 – That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, that I may glory with Your inheritance.

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

Psalm 135:6 – Whatever the LORD pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places.

Jeremiah 32:40“And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.”

Ezekiel 11:18-20“And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”

Matthew 1:21 – …And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 11:27“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

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

Matthew 20:28“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

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

Matthew 24:22“And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

Matthew 24:24“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”

Matthew 24:31“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Mark 13:20“And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.”

Luke 18:7-8“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….”

John 6:44“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:63-65“It is the spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

John 15:16“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.”

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.

Acts 18:27 – And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace;

Romans 8:28-30 – 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. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Romans 8:33 – Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Romans 9:10-24 – And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 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 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, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Romans 10:20 – But Isaiah is very bold and says: “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

Romans 11:4-8 – But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 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. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: “God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.”

Romans 11:28 – Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

Romans 12:3 – For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 – For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 – But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.

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.

Ephesians 4:30 – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Philippians 1:29 – For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

Colossians 3:12 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…

1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 – But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 – But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 1:8-9 – Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…

2 Timothy 2:10 – Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 – And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Titus 1:1 – Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness…

Hebrews 9:15 – And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

1 Peter 1:1-2 – To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace by multiplied.

1 Peter 2:8-10 – …They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

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; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Jude 1:4 – For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

Revelation 17:8 – The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Revelation 17:14 – These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

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.

Posted in Salvation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

One of the challenges in the Christian life relates to the believer having an assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation is slightly different from the certainty of salvation. A brief definition of assurance is being confident and having freedom from doubt. When associated with salvation, it refers to the believer’s confidence and conviction that the penalty of their sins have been paid for and that heaven has been secured as their eternal destination by Christ’s death and resurrection. Certainty is defined as knowing without a doubt, definite or perfect certainty. Certainty is more closely related to having proof. 1 John 5:13 – “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” – It can be arguable that as a true believer, one may have an assurance of salvation, but because we lack perfect faith in our humanness, we may not have that perfect certainty until that day we are face to face with Jesus Christ.  For example, I am “assured” that when I get in my vehicle to drive to my destination, it will get me there, but I am not “certain” until I actually get to my final destination. Although we would desire to have perfect certainty relating to our salvation, our sin (fallen world) and lack of faith (that which we cannot see) limit us in that certainty we want. To some, it would seem that any lack of certainty reveals a flaw in ones faith. I cannot speak to know all the ways or motives of God, but scripture reveals that His ways are good (Psalm 86:5) in that they glorify Himself and His children are recipients of His goodness.  Scripture indicates that God does not reveal all things to us and gives evidence to the mystery (Rom 16:25, 1 Cor 2:7) of the ways in which God calls His children (John 10:27). If we where to see all things in advance, it would not be faith as Hebrews 11:1 indicates, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – It appears that God ordains the absence of certainty, which may motivate the believer to strive even greater for the cost of Christ for a greater assurance. God utilizes various motivators in our lives such as fear, love, eternal rewards, etc. Phobos is the Greek word for fear and defines it as fear, terror and reverence. Fearing the Lord in loving reverence for Him and even terror (as He is the One who has authority to cast people into hell) is healthy and evidences a person who strives for the heart of God  (Deut 6:2, Matt 10:28Mark 12:30). It is wise to question our motives to affirm that our work is not being performed in vain (1 Cor 15:58). We must search our hearts, meditate on scripture and ask God that His heart would become our heart’s desire. We must realize that nothing we can do in and of itself will make God love us any more, but that the good things we do are done with love for Him because of His love for us.  Paul writes 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.” – Assurance of salvation is not a requirement for salvation, but without assurance and because of our adversary’s continuing efforts against us, we may intermittently question if we are truly saved without it.  Assurance is necessary for us to possess the joy that God desires for us as His sons and daughters. Obedience to God is necessary to a healthy relationship with Him and also connected to greater assurance. The issue of obedience, or lack of, may lead us to question our stewardship of service to Him and we will continually need to communicate with God in prayer, scripture and our brethren on the correct balance. Satan will tell us that we are not doing enough and at the same time, through our conscience, God will let us know if we are not obedient to Him in the ways that He desires. Of these two examples, the second is one of God’s love and grace, but is not any guarantee of salvation in itself. So many people today live lives that are contrary to how scripture portrays the life of a true Christ follower and they choose to believe that a simple prayer gives them the “heaven insurance” they desire. Many of these same people have amazing evidences of God speaking into their hearts and lives, which is a beautiful example of God’s great love calling them to Him. Unfortunately, many will choose to believe that the call, in and of itself, is the evidence of their salvation, when in fact; their answer to that call is the evidence of which path they have chosen.  Matthew 22:14 reveals the truth of this statement in Jesus’ own words; “For many are called, but few are chosen.” There is a false sense of security for the one who seems to be assured with their false understanding of scripture versus what God truly seeks in the heart of a believer.

Some of you may be questioning if I am saying that it is our good works that will give us the assurance we desire.  There is only partial truth to that and hopefully I will answer any uncertainty you may have. The Holy Spirit is real and alive and is in fact God just as the Father and Jesus Christ are God.  The trinity is another study in itself and the point I am making for the purpose of this study is that the Holy Spirit is God. Once Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit entered those who believed in Him. John 20:21-22 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. – Throughout Jesus’ time on earth with His disciples, they had difficulty in understanding His miracles, His words to them as well as many parables that Jesus told them. Much of this is because they did not yet have the Holy Spirit living in them and were not given the understanding at that time. When the Holy Spirit came into their lives after Christ left them as He ascended into heaven, much of the “mystery” was starting to come together. Ephesians 3:3-5 – “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.” – When we choose to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and that He had to die as a result of our sin to grant us forgiveness and that he was resurrected on the third day, the Holy Spirit enters our lives. Once the Holy Spirit enters us, there is a change that occurs within us and it is very evident in the way that we live out our lives. 2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks of that – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – The progress that each Christian will make in their journey may be at varied increments and levels of faith, knowledge and wisdom, but rest assured that there is a great change that takes place within the life of a believer when one truly accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Going back to the evidence of good works in the life of a believer is this: 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.” – This verse reveals that our works in and of themselves are equivalent to nothing, BUT when we truly accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, our good works become the fruit of His righteousness in us. Many good works become evident in our lives and the decrease of sinfulness within us evidences a true faith that will lead the believer to a greater assurance of salvation. If we as believers remain willful in our sinfulness, how can we have that assurance?  Hebrews 10:26 – “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” – It is important to note that assurance of salvation is reserved for the obedient.

There have been times of growing steadily in my faith while simultaneously not feeling secure in my assurance. This had been a result of listening to the lies of the enemy as well as sensing the Holy Spirit speaking to my conscience about what He desires from me. The enemy has also used that to tell me, “See, you’re not even good enough for the God that you claim.” Praise God for His grace in calling me to persevere in seeking truth and learning to truly believe His Word. I will tell you that one of the greatest blessings as of late and for the first time in my life is being confident in the assurance of salvation that I now have. In reaching this point, the believer must come to the understanding of the depth of love that God has for His people. It is a deep study that is necessary for a believer to meditate on in being able to truly understand His love for each of us individually. God has given me such a deep understanding of His love and that has increased my love for Him, which leads to greater obedience to Him (John 14:15). When you truly fall in love for reasons that are selfless, you are willing to do whatever you can to bring pleasure to the one you love. 1 John 4:18-19 written below is important to meditate on in addition to other verses that relate to God’s love.  As you continue to meditate on them, they will give you understanding of what perfect love is and that it was perfect love by the Father, placing His Son on the cross to die for those willing to believe, repent and give their lives in entirety to Him.  The apostle John said, “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.” – What I am getting at is that I have begun to see myself blameless before God for the first time.  Not because I am sinless or holy, but by truly believing and accepting Christ’s loving sacrifice.  I still sin and as I look back, I constantly see how God continues to change my heart and how that positively affects my obedience. He has placed in me a deep sensitivity to sin in that I hate it and I despise any part I have in it and it brings pain to me when I see it in others as well because I know it hurts God and their relationships with Him.  Where I used to naturally sin much of the time, it has become more natural to be obedient as God has filled my spirit with His word and the balance of my Godly desires has begun by outweighing my fleshly desires. We will continue to battle our flesh until the day we leave our earthly bodies, but as you are filled with God and His Word, the transformation takes place and with perseverance, you can receive an assurance of salvation that will bring greater joy. The excitement I have is knowing what God has said in His Word is true and that for many years I doubted it. My excitement grows as I begin to believe God’s word in every sense.  He increases my joy in the midst of every circumstance that I face. I did not just say that my circumstances will improve, I said that in all circumstances there will be joy in the midst of the difficulties.

Do you wonder how you can get there, to the point of understanding God’s love for you and in turn, falling in love with Him and having a greater assurance of salvation? You must understand and believe  your utter depravity, inability, worthlessness and sinfulness apart from Jesus Christ. Jeremiah 17:9“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” – Without Christ you are incapable of any good thing. If you believe that you bring  good to the table apart from Christ, you are deceived and you will not truly believe your need for Christ and that he HAD to die on the cross because of your sinfulness. The grounds of our faith is the justification of faith through Jesus Christ as Peter says in 1 Peter 2:24-25 – “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed.” Ephesians 2:8 – 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. – Have you asked God to make the necessary changes to your heart, spirit and soul; that you may have this assurance? If not, ask yourself why. If you truly believe, you will ask  at whatever the cost. Ask God to give you a heart of trust and then repent for any unbelief that still resides in your heart and mind. Your answer may come quickly and it may not. God has patiently been getting me to this point in my life for over forty years. Although God is sovereign in His timing, I suggest giving everything to Him and stop living in opposition of His desires for you. Until you make this choice in your heart, you will continue battling against the will of God.

 Verses Relating to Assurance

Psalm 4:3 – But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the LORD will hear when I call to Him.

Proverbs 21:2 – Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.

Isaiah 32:17 – The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.

Matthew 7:21-25“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 the, 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.”

Luke 5:5 – But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

Romans 2:13 – for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;

Romans 8:9 – But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Romans 8:16-17 – The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

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

Romans 11:22 – Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God:  on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness.  Otherwise you also will be cut off.

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 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.

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 3:12-13 – in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Colossians 2:2 – that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 – knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.  For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

2 Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

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 3:14 – But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,

Hebrews 3:14-15 – For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said:  “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Hebrews 3:18 – And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?

Hebrews 4:1-2 – Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.  For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

Hebrews 6:4-8 – For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Hebrews 6:11-12 – And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:19 – This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

Hebrews 10:22 – let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:38“Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

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; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:3-6 – Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.  By this we know that we are in Him.  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us1 John 2:28-29 – And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.  If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

1 John 3:2-3 – 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 3:14-15 – 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.

1 John 3:18-19 – My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.

1 John 4:12-19 – No one has seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.  God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  Love has been perfected among us in this:  that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.  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.

1 John 5:13 – These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

1 John 5:18 – We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch 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.

Posted in Salvation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

TRUE REPENTANCE

What does it mean to be saved, to truly have Jesus Christ living within us and what is required for that? Isn’t it just a simple prayer asking Him into our hearts or is there more to it? So many have the misconception that it only takes several sentences of prayer and that we are heaven-bound disregarding any necessary transformation that God seeks within our hearts. Throughout scripture, we are told what is required of us  leading to the truth that we must have a heart that seeks God in His entirety. That desire is not natural of our own free will, but by God’s grace in giving us that desire for Him. It is His will and His sovereign hand in preparing our hearts, as He desires to be glorified in that.  Essential to what God desires from a glorifying heart, and the focus of this study, is a true heart of repentance in the midst of our naturally sinful hearts.

To define repentance, it is a turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and turning back to God. True repentance is a “godly sorrow” for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction. This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person’s relationship to God. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 – “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly man: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” – It is vital for us to know where our hearts lie and what kind of sorrow we subscribe to, giving us an indication of the trueness of our faith. I am including Pastor John MacArthur’s commentary on the above-mentioned verse: godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation. “Godly sorrow” refers to sorrow that is according to the will of God and produced by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 2:25). True repentance cannot occur apart from such a genuine sorrow over one’s sin. The word “leading” is supplied by the translators; Paul was saying that repentance belongs to the realm or sphere of salvation. Repentance is at the very heart of and proves one’s salvation: unbelievers repent of their sin initially when they are saved, and then as believers, repent of their sins continually to keep the joy and blessing of their relationship to God (1 John 1:7-9). sorrow of the world produces death. Human sorrow is unsanctified remorse and has no redemptive capability. It is nothing more than the wounded pride of getting caught in a sin and having one’s lusts go unfulfilled. That kind of sorrow leads only to guilt, shame, despair, depression, self-pity, and hopelessness. People can die from such sorrow (Matt 27:5). – I would highly suggest referencing the scripture verses in this study as well as the entire bible with John MacArthur’s commentaries. A good source and easy to access are the John MacArthur Study Bibles.

Primary to you proceeding with this study, you must believe that all of scripture is the inerrant word of God. Verses that tell us so are Proverbs 30:5-6, Galatians 2:11-12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21 and Revelation 22:18-19. If we do not believe scripture to be absolute truth even though God says that it is, picking and choosing what we think to be true brings us to a point where truth is whatever we want it to be. This leads us into having no foundation of truth, as we are called to believe that the bible is truth.  Following this commentary, scriptural evidence is included that describes what it means to live separate from God. There are verses that give insight into the sin that leads to death. Giving in to the sin that leads to death is the direction that people will take whom live separated from God. Once we perceive through scripture that we as humans are naturally inclined to live separate from God through the deceitfulness of Satan because of his rule over this world, scripture relating to our need to repent of our sinfulness is made clear and indicates to us the direction we must take as believers in Jesus Christ. We must examine our hearts (2 Cor 13:5) and God’s word reveals the evidence of the sincerity of our repentance, which occurs within the hearts of His children.  The last group of scriptures following the commentary will reveal our role as followers of Christ in turning others away from sin.

Here are four points indicating that true repentance has taken place in one’s life regarding specific issues of sin:

1. Confession of the sin to persons of accountability, the church and persons affected by the sin in order to restore the trust and confidence of; by making genuine repentance known.

2. Turning away from that sin and aggressively pursuing righteousness which is an attitude that ends indifference and complacency to sin and any complacency that exists in regards to evil and deception.

3. Time must pass as evidence or proof of true confession and repentance.

4. Although the person is forgiven when the above points are adhered to in the heart and with God, the person may always be in danger in those particular area(s) of sin and the consequences of that/those sin(s) could be ongoing.

If we become aware that a change of attitude, feelings and/or beliefs is necessary,  we must begin to dedicate all those things to God in prayer and in action. James 1:22 states, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We must confess our sin before God, believing it is wrong and truly desiring and asking God to change our hearts in reference to our evil desire(s). Asking God for His forgiveness and believing His forgiveness is necessary. In Mark 11:24, Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” He lovingly demands that we believe Him in what He says. We should align our prayers within God’s will and knowing the scriptures aids us in that. Our hearts must truly desire to turn away from sin and strive in pursuing righteousness. It is no doubt a battle that must be fought as the evil one will continue to attack us in our weaknesses. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, do all to the glory of God.” – We must focus on God and not our sin. I have noticed in my own life that for years when my sin was my focus, I didn’t get far in conquering it. When my intimacy with the Lord grew, so did my hatred for living in ways that opposed God and the sinful areas of my past began to dissipate. When God becomes the focus and there is growth in that relationship,  sin will decrease as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. We will continue to battle sin in our lives as believers in Christ because we are still attached to our “flesh” while we live in this world.  When the struggle remains in specific areas of sin, God has not yet been made the focus in that area. It is necessary for a person to understand the depth of their sin and the depth of the price that was paid for their sin by Jesus Christ. Once that occurs within our hearts, the desire and action to persevere in dedicating our lives to God through the tribulations that we will face will encourage us to take the focus off of ourselves and in turn, glorify God as we begin to understand the grandness of who He truly is.

Verses Relating To Separation From God:

 Matthew 7:13-27“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. 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 thorn bushes 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. 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 it’s fall.”

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.

1 John 1:6-7 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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 2:4-6 – He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 John 2:21 – I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

1 John 2:28-29 – And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

1 John 3:24 – Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Revelations 3:3“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”

Revelations 16:9 – And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.

Revelations 16:11 – They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

Verses Relating To Giving In To Sin Which Leads To Death:

Ezekiel 18:23-31 – “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live? But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.  Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?  When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.  Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.  Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’  O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?  Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’” says the Lord GOD. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.  For why should you die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. Therefore turn and live!”

Ezekiel 33:11“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

Ephesians 4:17-24 – This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

2 Timothy 2:19 – Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart form iniquity.”

James 1:14-15 – But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

2 Peter 2:21-22 – 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.”

 Verses Revealing Need For Repentance:

Jonah 3:10 – Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

2 Chronicles 7:14“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Proverbs 28:13 – He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

Isaiah 1:16-17“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.  Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

Matthew 3:7-10 – But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.  Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Matthew 4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mark 1:15 – and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 3:8-9“Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Luke 13:3“I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

Acts 2:38 –Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 3:19 – Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Acts 17:30-31 – Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.

Acts 26:20 – but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

Romans 2:4-6 – Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 12:21 – lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

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

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,

James 2:14-26 – 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. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  you believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend o God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Revelations 2:21-23“And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.  Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulations, unless they repent of their deeds.  I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.  And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”

Revelations 3:19“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.”

Verses Identifying Evidence Of True Repentance:

Psalm 26:2 – Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.

Psalm 32:5 – I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Psalm 38:18 – For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin.

Luke 5:5-11 – But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”  And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.  So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.  And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”  For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.  And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid.  From now on you will catch men.”  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

Luke 6:44“For every tree is known by its own fruit, For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.”

Luke 15:18-19“I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  Make me like one of your hired servants.”

Acts 26:20 – but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10-11 – For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.  For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly man: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

James 5:16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Role Of Christ-Follower To Turn Others Away From Sin:

Proverbs 24:11 – Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

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.”

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.

1 Corinthians 5:5 – 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.

Galatians 6:1 – 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.

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 John 5:16 – If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death.  I do not say that he should pray about that.

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.

Posted in Salvation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

TRUE FAITH IN CHRIST?

In this day and age it may seem confusing as to what it means to be a true believer in Jesus Christ.  A reason for the confusion lies in that there are so many people who claim their faith in Christ and live  contradictory to how the bible speaks that they are to live.  Throughout this study, I will make reference to a true believer rather than a believer because there are many who claim to be believers and the bible reveals that not all are so. Scripture also reveals that Satan and his demons are believers (James 2:19), but they have ultimately rejected God.

As we move forward in understanding what true belief is, and as with all true biblical studies, we must agree that scripture is the inerrant word of God. God tells us so in Proverbs 30:5-6, Galatians 2:11-12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21 and Revelation 22:18-19. In understanding true faith, it is necessary we know that God’s love for His children is a central theme of scripture as it is spoken of throughout His word.  For affirmation of what I’ve just said, please reference my study on God’s Love For His Children.  We must be confident that as difficult as it may seem to be obedient to God’s word, the commands He gives us are out of love as they glorify Himself which in turn benefits us as His children (Rom 8:28). He has sent the Holy Spirit into the lives of His children to lead them to repentance (Rom 2:4) and into eternal fellowship with Him (1 John 2:25). His commands are out of His tremendous love for us and Deuteronomy 5:29 gives passionate evidence of that; “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!”

We must accept that all of scripture is God-breathed because His word says so or we will believe only those things we want to believe and throw out what we do not like or agree with. We must realize our desperate need for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as He was offered for us through His death and resurrection as a result of God’s mercy upon us because of our sinfulness  (Heb 10:14-23).  If you struggle with your “apparent” need of repentance for your sinfulness, refer to Jeremiah 17:9 and Rom 3:23.  God’s desire for an eternal relationship with each one of us was His reason for sending His Son to die. We must come to the realization that not one good thing we can do makes us good enough for heaven (Isaiah 64:6), but that our true belief in the sacrifice of Christ is our only hope (John 14:6). We are fully incapable of salvation without truly accepting that sacrifice and a condition of salvation includes true repentance in regards to our sinfulness (Acts 3:19). It is necessary for us to continually examine ourselves (2 Cor 13:5) so that we become honestly aware of our hearts and our motives. The importance of examining our own hearts is vital in growing as a believer in Christ, which God desires for us to do for the remainder of our lives on earth; examining and growing; that is part of the sanctification process. For those unable to make it to this juncture in their faith, it may be an indication of someone whom has not yet truly accepted Christ. Some people will admit that they are not believers; others may say they are and still not truly believe as they are without the Holy Spirit and their hearts do not truly desire Him. Again, the importance of examining our hearts with humility is vital in coming to know Him, growing in Him and having assurance of salvation in our lives (Heb 6:11). Many people have a false assurance of salvation. This is someone who thinks they are saved, but are not. Who am I to say that one is unsaved, not I, but the word of God speaks to the details of that. It is a responsibility of believers in Christ to warn others of rebellion towards God and at the end of this study, scripture references this truth. 2 Peter 1:10-11 states, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – Another necessity of having assurance is mentioned by RC Sproul in his book, Chosen By God; “There are many Christians who are indeed in a state of salvation who lack assurance. To be lacking in assurance is a great hindrance to spiritual growth. The person who is not sure of his state of grace is exposed to doubts and terrors in his soul. He lacks an anchor for his spiritual life. His uncertainty makes him tentative in his walk with Christ.” – The spiritual condition of the heart is vital and the verses included in this study should shed light on the true condition of our hearts and the necessity of asking God for hearts that glorify Him.

This study includes scripture relating to those who know Christ and those who do not know Christ as their savior.  Many of these verses appear harsh in nature and there are also many verses that express peace and joy as they relate to eternal salvation. That harshness is to bring conviction upon our hearts of our sinfulness towards the God who loves and also as realization that hell is real and that we must repent and believe that we may receive salvation (Mark 1:15). That peace, love, joy and salvation are only promised to true believers, not everyone, and God relays this throughout scripture. Quoting Pastor John Piper, “Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people, who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.” – As you read the verses following the commentary, go deep in understanding them and allow your heart to absorb them. They may give you insight into your own heart and if you are truly one who desires Jesus Christ beyond anything else. This is important for us to know, whether it be for ourselves, our friends and family whom we love, or for those God places in front of us throughout our lives for us to minister to. Throughout these verses, you will see multiple statements made about the true heart for Christ, those whom live out their lives for Him versus the “lip service” of those who only put on a good Christian appearance. Much emphasis is made about the fruit you will see in the lives of those proclaiming Christ, the good and bad fruit. For those that are not the sons and daughters of God, there are inferences to ruin, hell, death, punishment and the wrath of God. We are told to beware of those proclaiming Christ who do not live for Him (Col 2:8). Although it is not our works that gain eternity with God (Isaiah 64:6), our works, also referred to as the fruit of the Spirit, are evidence of the condition of our hearts and of our eternal salvation. Although the Holy Spirit dwells within those whom accept Jesus Christ, we still face the effects related to the sinfulness of this fallen world; we are attached to our sinful flesh on a daily basis. The difference being when the Holy Spirit resides in us, we are not consumed with sin and do not live a lifestyle of sinfulness and the bible clearly reveals that. In these verses you will see references to those who are obedient and to those who are referred to as the “sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:2, Col 3:6).  So much is mentioned about those who profess to know Jesus Christ as their savior and yet they live lives of willful disobedience; in effect, they believe in vain (1 Cor 15:2). Remember, even the demons believe in Christ, but they do not follow Him as spoken in James 2:19. God makes mention of those who are lukewarm in their faith in Revelations 3:16, He says He will vomit them out of His mouth. Society and many “believers” take sin so lightly and throughout scripture, God gives clear commands to do otherwise. Many people make the mistake of either discounting the severity of specific sins, sin as a whole or just relying on Jesus’ dying for all sins, no matter what, and not taking into account the true condition of where their hearts lie. Are we okay with sin or does it bring pain to our hearts when we sin? Digging deeper, why do we regret our sin? Is it because we’ve been caught in it or is it because we’ve hurt God? 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 discusses the motives behind our sorrow. I would like to include Pastor John MacArthur’s commentary in regards to this verse: godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation. “Godly sorrow” refers to sorrow that is according to the will of God and produced by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 2:25). True repentance cannot occur apart from such a genuine sorrow over one’s sin. The word “leading” is supplied by the translators; Paul was saying that repentance belongs to the realm or sphere of salvation. Repentance is at the very heart of and proves one’s salvation: unbelievers repent of their sin initially when they are saved, and then as believers, repent of their sins continually to keep the joy and blessing of their relationship to God (1 John 1:7-9). sorrow of the world produces death. Human sorrow is unsanctified remorse and has no redemptive capability. It is nothing more than the wounded pride of getting caught in a sin and having one’s lusts go unfulfilled. That kind of sorrow leads only to guilt, shame, despair, depression, self-pity, and hopelessness. People can die from such sorrow (Matt 27:5). – I would highly suggest referencing the scripture in this study as well as the entire bible with John MacArthur’s commentaries. A good source and easy to access are the John MacArthur Study Bibles.

Our loving obedience towards God is a key indicator of where our hearts lie. The pressure of being obedient is seemingly impossible; without God that is. When the Holy Spirit resides in us, it is God that changes our hearts, not strictly of our own strength although we are  held responsible in our obedience to Him.  The lives of those who have Christ in them will evidence of that. There are those who do not feel the need to examine their hearts and they do not realize the importance of being true to themselves and to God in perceiving where their hearts may lie. Do we live in the lusts of our hearts or are we gaining ground in the battlefield against them?  Do we have the Holy Spirit in us or do we not? The severity of this is not from me; it is from God and His word. God calls us all to obedience and throughout eternity, God has not changed (Heb 6:17) and neither have His desires for us. Bible prophecy has foretold of the ways people will live in opposition to Him throughout time and especially as we approach the end times (2 Tim 3:1-5). He tells us not to conform to the ways of the world (Rom 12:2) although the world will tell us opposite (Col 2:8). Do you see “believers” living sinful lifestyles and getting away with it? Are you absolutely positive that they are getting away with it and that they are in fact believers?

It is vital to recognize that God desires for every man and woman to belong to Him because His love is immense and scripture is filled with evidence of that. The severity of salvation is that of God telling the world to trust and believe Him and in their willingness to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, they will receive eternal worship of our Lord in heaven and forfeit eternal damnation in hell! Do we truly believe that and are we willing to make whatever sacrifices God calls us to make to receive Him?

Remember, God is the one who can change the hearts of men.  Whether it be ourselves, our loved ones or others that we know, God is sovereign and through prayer and the will of God, hearts opposing Him can be turned into hearts that love Him (Ezekiel 36:26).  This study is not to condemn, but to bring forth hope and understanding of how much our hearts and souls are in need of Christ and to reveal to us our need to allow God to change our hearts and lives in ways that glorify Him. He desires to do this because of His perfect love for us.  If you question where your heart truly lies, ask God to search your heart and to give you a heart for Him (Jer 17:10, Psalm 139:23). Prayerfully consider asking God to change you into whom He desires you to become.  I encourage you to read each verse and meditate upon their deepest meanings.  If this is something that you do not desire, that may tell you where your heart is.

Verses Relating to a True Faith

Psalm 50:16-21 – But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you?  When you saw a thief, you consented with him, and have been a partaker with adulterers.  You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit.  You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.”

Proverbs 19:16 – He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.

Proverbs 21:2 – Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.

Proverbs 26:23 – Fervent lips with a wicked heart are like earthenware covered with silver dross.

Ecclesiastes 5:1 – Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.

Jeremiah 5:2 – Though they say, “As the LORD lives,” surely they swear falsely.”

Jeremiah 7:8-11“Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.  Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes?  Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD.

Ezekiel 33:31-32“So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.  Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.”

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.”

Matt 7:13-27“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.  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 thorn bushes 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.  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.”

Matthew 12:48-50 – But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”  And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 15:8-9“ ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

Matthew 15:18-19“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

Matthew 25:41-46“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Mark 7:6 – He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: “ ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.’”

Luke 6:46-49“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.  And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.  And the ruin of that house was great.”

Luke 8:21 – But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

Luke 21:34But 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.  For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Romans 6:16 – Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Romans 8:9 – But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

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.

1 Corinthians 11:27-32 – Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 – Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:33-34 – Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”  Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.  I speak this to your shame.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

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.

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.

Galatians 5:19-24 – Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

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 4:20-24 – But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Colossians 3:5-10 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.  But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.  For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.  Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

2 Thessalonians 1:8 – …in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:12 – …that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

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 4:16 – 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.

1 Timothy 5:24-25 – Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later.  Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.

2 Timothy 3:1-9 – 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 for 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, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth:  men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

Titus 1:16 – They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Titus 3:10 – Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

Hebrews 2:1-4 – Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

Hebrews 3:7-11 – Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw works forty years.  Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways,’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” 

Hebrews 4:1 – Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

Hebrews 6:8 – but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Hebrews 10:29 – Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled 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?

Hebrews 10:38“Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 2:18-19 – But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.”  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that there is one God.  You do well.  Even the demons believe—and tremble!

James 4:4 – Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1 Peter 1:6-7 – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

2 Peter 2:22 – 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.”

1 John 1:6 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice truth.

1 John 1:8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 2:3-6 – Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.  By this we know that we are in Him.  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 John 2:9-11 – He who is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.  He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.  But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

1 John 2:15 – Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

1 John 2:28-29 – And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.  If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

1 John 3:10 – 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.

1 John 3:18-19 –My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.

1 John 5:1-3 – Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.  And His commandments are not burdensome.

Jude 12 – These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.  They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit twice dead, pulled up by the roots;

Jude 16 – These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.

Jude 18-19 – how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.  These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

Revelation 3:15-16“I know your works, that you are neither cold not 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.”

Role of Christ Follower to Turn Others From Sin:

Proverbs 24:11 – Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

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.”

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.

1 Corinthians 5:5 – 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.

Galatians 6:1 – 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.

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 John 5:16 – If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.

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.

Posted in Salvation | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments