• Tag Archives salvation
  • Connected With God’s Grace

    “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For [it is] a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (Heb.13:9)”

    God’s writer for the above verse warns us that it is possible for our heart i.e. our intellect, emotions, and volition, to be carried from one strange and foreign doctrine to another. How can this be? I am a child of God! Every real child of God knows deep within that only God’s rich grace presented and permitted us to partake of His precious salvation! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph.2:8-9)” To many, I am afraid, that God’s grace is only associated with salvation. Certainly, we must and should frequently praise our Lord for His benevolent act of personally meeting and bestowing His wonderful gift of redemption upon us but does grace end there! My dear friends this is only the beginning! IICor.1:22 proclaims that salvation is merely the down payment (“earnest”) for what is to follow. Perhaps it is time we all hang our heads and deeply examine where we stand spiritually. Maybe we can only remember the love and zeal we used to have.

     

    The “carried about” in Heb.13:9 introduces a scary thought. If we become passive, in our walk and talk with the Lord, we give permission to outside influences to rule us, in spite of our Biblical knowledge and the occasional interaction. In a world filled with multitudes of anti-God ways, we must assume the responsibility, with fear and trembling, of scanning our own lives. Never forget that God has daily grace for each of us – first, for salvation (Rom.10:13) if we are void of it, and ,secondly, He ever so desires to meet with ever child of His for daily strength that He might see and hear our daily praises for His movements and comfort.

     

    To the church of Ephesus and to our souls today God says through Paul,

    “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

    Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (Eph.1:6-9) 

    God ever so desires to connect His grace with us. Are we willing?

    R.L.

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • The Book of Life, As It Effects Babies, The Mentally Challenged, And the Rest Of Us

    There is only one authoritative source for this small but profound doctrine. It is God’s Word. The text is II Sam.12:7-23. Instead of being with his army, for some unknown reason David was back in Jerusalem. From his vantage point, David gazed upon the beautiful young Bathsheba as she bathed. Eventually lust gave way to fulfillment.

    As the war progressed with David’s army even a greater one grew back home. When Bathsheba announced of her pregnancy to David he devised a scheme to rid himself of dealing with her husband and facing open shame as king. Little did he realize this only compounded matters between him and God. God sent the prophet Nathan to expose David’s sin and to pronounce God’s immediate future upon him because of it. Part of God’s plan was for the baby not to survive. [Stay with me now!] Soon after the child’s birth, the infant became seriously ill and David started fasting on the child’s behalf. On the seventh day the child finally died. The servants went in to tell David but were afraid of his possible reaction. After learning that the child had died David arose, cleaned himself, worshipped, and sat down to food. His actions confounded those around. Listen as David responded, “And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell [whether] GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?  But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. (2Sam.12:22-23)”

    Rest assured that not only is death a one-way door but God has special provision for innocent children and others who are born with mental limitations that prevent them from understanding sin. Their destination is not some type of baby limbo but rather it is the same place as the rest of the redeemed. In many ways, the work of the Holy Spirit was vastly different in the Old Testament from that in the New Testament. Although time will not permit us to examine this in detail, please remember that one functions of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is that of permanently sealing the redeemed. However, in the Old Testament we observe that the Holy Spirit came upon people to accomplish things (like delivering a message) and then departed. The only Old Testament exception to this is with David. David was completely aware of this and I believe that it is one reason we find it mentioned in David’s lament about this entire mess in Psalm 51. Note carefully verse eleven

    Even Moses, thousands of years ago, had a tremendous theological understanding of such a book. Listen to what he expresses to God after realizing Israel’s terrible sin. “…Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.  32  Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.  33  And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” (Ex.32:31-33)” From this we note several important things in regards to the book. This book is real and that resides in Heaven. God designed it, and to this very day, retains a perfect record within its covers!  Thus far, we have established that God removes the first time anyone sins, even once, his or her name.

    As we move to the New Testament, clues about this book add to its splendor! “And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life (Phil.4:3).” Paul considered those who served with him as having their names in, what Moses referred to as “thy book”, Paul now calls “the book of life”.

    Without a doubt, another glorious fact about this most intriguing subject is recorded the last New Testament book. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels (Rev.3:5).”

    Now we must add, to our little growing doctrine,  the eternal truth that God promises never to remove the name of anyone who overcomes. The prevailing question is – and how does one become an overcomer?   The answer“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (IJn.5:4-5)  The object that needs overcoming is our sinful condition and the way we come over to God’s side is by accepting The Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. In Revelation 13:8,  we note, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” A time is rapidly approaching unlike any before. During this era, all, with the exception of those in this book, now referred to as belonging to the “Lamb,” will be forced by earthly powers to worship a satanically possessed false messiah. Since “all” on the earth will be required to worship him and those in the “book” will not, we must conclude that the latter will be far beyond all earthly searches. In Revelation 17:8, we note a reference to this “book” in events during this great tribulation period. “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” It is noteworthy that not only will this member of the satanic trinity be cast in “perdition” but also all those on the earth do not have their names recorded in “the book of life”.

    Although there is no general judgment described in Scripture, every soul, who has or will tread upon this earth, will at one point pass by the creator and face judgment! In the following passage, we read about the great white throne judgment. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Rev.20:11-14)” The text reveals a number of things but please follow along as I point out only a few. At this judgment only the unredeemed will be present, God’s record “books” will be present, “the book of life” will be there, all passing by will be judged out of the “books” not out of “the book of life”, and all present will have the same destination.  Without question, God keeps perfect records and pronounces perfect judgments!

    Revelation has two final references. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 21:27)” “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.(Rev. 22:19)” 

    Now let us tie all of this together. God has a book called “the book of life.” Scripture teaches us that at birth every soul has their name recorded by God in this book. At some point, a child’s indwelling sinful nature comes alive and causes that soul to rebel against God. When this rebellion occurs so does sin and with sin comes the erasing of that person’s name from God’s book. From that unknown point onward, that same soul needs God’s redemption in order to have his name placed back into God’s family register.

    Without any question, the Bible clearly teaches that prior to salvation, one must one must acknowledge their sins, repent of their sins, and trust the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, children who die in a state of innocence have not sinned, therefore, they cannot, and need not, be redeemed. Once a sinning soul is redeemed, or bought back, God re-enters that soul’s name back into His book and assures the recipient that, not only will he never be removed again but also that He was granted eternal citizenship in His city with Him, His entire family, and all the celestial beings! Only those in God’s book have God’s gift!

       Compiled by Dr. R. L. Luther

     


  • “A know-so salvation”

    Candle_7“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Eph.1:6)

    “Do you have a ‘know-so’ salvation? What I mean is, do you know that you are saved and have the assurance that if you died tonight, you’d spend eternity with the Lord in heaven?
    Many folks don’t have that assurance, and in some cases it is not a spiritual problem. It is a psychological problem. They cannot accept the fact that God has accepted them.”

    “Charlotte Elliott penned these words to a timeless hymn of assurance:
    ‘Just as I am, without one plea,
    But that Thy blood was shed for me,
    And that Thou biddest me come to Thee,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come!’
    You are accepted just as you are. It is all grace.”

    “Find the hymn ‘Just As I Am’ and sing it to the Lord. Make it your song throughout the day when Satan tries to make you doubt God’s love and eternal gift of salvation.”
    (Adrian Rogers )


  • Repentance (Lesson #1)

     

    I. Its Importance

    In these times of easy believe-ism, it is highly probable that, for one reason or another, there is a void in fully understanding our Bible’s tremendously important doctrine of repentance as God has intended. When this happens, churches and believers confuse and except movement and excitement with lasting, faithful, and spiritual growth. Later when these impulsive and shallow events pass, the local congregation and its leadership are often facing confusion, discouragement, and even perhaps later, find themselves searching for someone or some folks to blame in order to help with what they believe to be the solution. Unfortunately, all too often this problem cycles in way too many congregations.

    Although a void in teaching the Biblical doctrine of repentance appeared from time to time not long after the first group of faithful believers were permanently empowered by the Holy Ghost from upon high, from what I have been able to discover, the problem with a shallow understanding of this doctrine, in our era, started in the beginning of the 20th century and rapidly gained momentum soon after WWII.

    A. B. Stringfellow states, “The truth in this lesson is one seldom mentioned. Repentance is not a popular subject. Repentance is absolutely necessary and is indispensable to salvation. Wherever this subject is taught, it brings forth fruit. Faith in Christ is the goal of teaching and preaching-but that teaching and preaching must stress repentance. Jesus stated that repentance was a necessity for salvation (Luke 13:3). Webster defines repentance as “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret or contrition.”[1]

    One of the primary factors interfering with accepting and defining true repentance is man’s sinful nature.

    – (Jer. 25:4-7) “And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending [them]; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.  5. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:  6.  And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. 7.  Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.”

    _(Ezek.14:4-11) “ Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;  5.  That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. 6.  Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn [yourselves] from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.  The following happens when people attempt to come to the Lord apart from personal repentance. – 7.  For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:  8.  And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.  A warning to liberal prophets not grounded in God’s priority that is placed on repentance  – 9.  And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10.  And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seemeth [unto him]; 11.  That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD.

     (Acts 5:3-11) “ But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land? 4.  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5.  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried [him] out, and buried [him]. 7.  And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. 8.  And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. 9.  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband [are] at the door, and shall carry thee out. 10.  Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying [her] forth, buried [her] by her husband. 11.  And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.”

    It is impossible for pledges and promises to replace real repentance that is always exemplified by Godly honesty. In reality, pledges and promises to God will eventually reveal the real level of sinfulness in a heart.

    Repentance will continue to hold a key part of salvation in the great tribulation period. – (Joe 2:11-14) “And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp [is] very great: for [he is] strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD [is] great and very terrible; and who can abide it? 12.  Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13.  And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he [is] gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14.  Who knoweth [if] he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; [even] a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?  

    When one comes before God completely overwhelmed by countless things, extreme caution is necessary! First for the unsaved – God only knows how many times the unsaved have experience pressure produced by despair and run before Him crying out and experiencing a temporal emotional release. It is at this very moment the devil, if given the opportunity, confuses that soul into believing they have just experienced salvation. Apart from truly crying out to God with a broken heart because of their sinful condition and asking God to mercifully, forgive them, and then inviting Him into their hearts as their personal Savior, the personal consequences may be life-long. Except God intervenes by using His word, more than likely through His people, there is a 100%

    possibility that the rest of their lives will live be spent living being submerged in spiritual deception. As a result, it is commonplace for believers, who have witnessed their actions, to interact with them as believers when in reality they are not. On the other hand, for the saved, when these times come we certainly need to come before The Lord as soon as possible, dumping all before Him, if need be asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins, and then praise Him for His salvation in our lives!

    Real repentance has, is, and in the future will always hold top priority with God but, in all honesty, how important is real repentance to you?


     

    [1] Stringfellow, Alan, B. Great Truths of the Bible, Virgil W. Hensley Inc. Tulsa Oklahoma, 6116 East 32nd St. Tulsa, Ok. 74135