What I Wish that you knew in your heart… ( 7 simple things) — Pastor Bill Randles Blog

What I Wish that you knew in your heart… ( 7 simple things) — Pastor Bill Randles Blog

What would I say , if I was given a chance to totally communicate freely with everyone I have ever loved; My brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, acquaintances, former church members, even my enemies ? What would I say if I was given a chance to before I die to put into the barest form, what […]

What I Wish that you knew in your heart… ( 7 simple things) — Pastor Bill Randles Blog

What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?

What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)

Justification! It is a big word, and very often people miss its true meaning. What is it to be justified? It is to be cleared of all blame, to be freed from every charge. It is the sentence of the court in favor of the prisoner. The prisoner stands there, charged with certain things; the evidence is all heard, and the jury brings in a verdict of “Not guilty.” The man is justified.

Notice a most remarkable thing in these two verses. We have two things here, which God does for the believing sinner that no man could do for anyone else. You could not both forgive a man and justify him at the same time. If you forgive him, he cannot be justified. He must be guilty, and therefore, there is something to forgive. On the other hand, if you justify him, then you do not need to forgive him. Suppose, for instance, one had been charged with a certain crime, and after everything had been heard, the jury says, “Not guilty,” and the judge pronounces him free. As that man comes out of the courtroom, a friend says to him, “It was kind of the judge to forgive you, wasn’t it?”

The man replies, “He did not forgive me; I did not require his forgiveness. I was justified; I was proven not guilty and did not need to be forgiven.”

OUR RIGHTEOUS GOD IS INCAPABLE OF ERROR

Of course, human judges may sometimes make a mistake. You have heard the story of the man who was arrested, charged with stealing a gold watch and chain. After all the evidence of the complaining witness had been heard, the judge looked down at the prisoner and announced, “The sentence of this court is acquittal.”

The man leaned forward and said, “What was that you said, judge?”

“I said, the sentence of the court is acquittal.”

The man looked puzzled and said to the judge, “Judge, I just don’t understand what that means.”

“Well,” the judge explained, “I mean you are acquitted.”

“Well, judge, does that mean I gotta give the watch back?”

You see, the man was guilty, and the judge himself had been deceived.

But God will never be deceived. Nobody can ever put anything over on Him. He knows every sin that you and I have ever been guilty of—sins in thought, sins in word, and sins in deed; and then in addition to all of these, failure to do the things we know we ought to do can be just as truly sin as to commit overt acts of evil. And God knows all about it, and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

But God undertakes both to forgive the sin and to justify the sinner—to clear him of every charge when he puts his trust in His blessed Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. You could not do that for anyone, but God can, and He does it because the Lord Jesus Christ in infinite grace condescended to take our place, to bear the judgment that our sins deserved, so that when we come to God, confessing our sins, over against all that sin and over against all that wickedness stands the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And on the basis of that, God says, “I forgive this man and accept him before My presence as though he had never sinned at all. I count him as righteous and justify him fully and completely.” That is the meaning of justification.

JUSTIFICATION OFFERS A NEW STANDING

You who have just recently come to trust the Savior, I wonder if you have entered into that. I wonder if you realize that the moment you trusted the Savior, that instant God gave you a new standing before Him. You stand before Him now as if you had never sinned at all. You say, “Well, I can’t forget my sins. They come up before me when I lie down at night; they come before me when I kneel to pray; and they are before me even in the daytime. There are so many things that I wish had never happened, and I sometimes wonder, since they come crowding in upon my mind as they do, whether they are really forgiven.”

Let me assure you, if you have really trusted Christ, they are not only forgiven, but forgotten. God says, “Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more,” and if God has forgotten them, then you and I may well say, “I too will seek to forget, and say with Paul, ‘Forgetting those things which are behind . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’” (Philippians 3:13-14).

God Himself is the author of our justification. We read in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 8, and really in one sense I am beginning at the wrong end; I am beginning where God leaves off here in the Epistle to the Romans, but I am beginning where I think you and I as sinners need to begin. In Romans 8, we read that it is God Himself who justifies. Take verse 33:

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

We are justified by God, the source of it. It is He who has taken up this question, who has gone into it fully and completely, and He says, “Now I am satisfied to acknowledge as righteous the man who trusts My blessed Son.”

A TRULY WICKED AND VILE SINNER

Some years ago a friend of mine was preaching in a certain place, and somebody came to him one day and said, “Could you come and see a woman who is very sick? We are afraid she is dying. She is troubled about her soul and doesn’t seem to understand the way.” Of course he gladly went as any of us would under such circumstances. As he entered the room and sat down beside the bed, the woman said, “Tell me what is necessary in order that my soul may be saved and my sins forgiven.” He told her the old, old story, the story of the Cross. He told her how “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He told her how, hanging on that cross in those awful hours of darkness, our blessed Lord Jesus, as the substitute for sinners, drank the cup of wrath that we deserved and made full satisfaction for iniquity; and now God can justify everyone who believes in Him, whom He raised from the dead.

When he finished, she said, “Oh yes, I know, I understand all that, but I don’t see how I can know that my sins are forgiven.” So again, very patiently, he went over the same story, but tried to present it in a little different light. He told her that the Lord Jesus was the one great sacrifice for sin, that He offered Himself for our sins, that He was made sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. And when he finished, she said, “Yes, I understand that, but is that all that is required?”

The evangelist sprang from his seat. He was a very fiery man by nature, and sometimes the fire came out even after he became a Christian. He said in a tone that shook the room, “You wicked woman!”

And she, lying there so sick, was almost terrified and said to him, “Oh, sir, why do you talk to me like that?”

“You wicked woman, you vile woman! You ask me what is necessary in order that you may be saved. I tell you how God has bankrupted Heaven to save your guilty soul. I tell you how He has sent His own blessed Son to give His life for you. I tell you how He was forsaken of God upon that Tree, and you have the insolence to look up into the very face of God and say, ‘Is that all?’ What more would you want? It is all that God Himself could do.”

She burst into tears and exclaimed, “Oh, sir, I understand. I did not realize what I was saying. Oh, I thank God for what He has done. It is enough! If it is enough for God, it surely is enough for me!”

EVEN THE WICKED MAY BE JUSTIFIED

Oh, that is it! The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself. He loved me, and gave Himself for me.

God sent Him. God saw you and me in our deep, deep need, and He sent Him to die for us, and now it is God who justifies the ungodly. God justifies the godly, the good, the pure, the true, and the noble! No, God justifies poor, lost, guilty sinners when they “believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25). It is our faith in the Word of God and the work of Christ that is counted for righteousness. Read Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The basis of it all is given in Romans 5:9, where we read, beginning with verse 8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

We who believe are now justified. It is not that we may, as some people put it, have a good hope of salvation, that we may hope that we shall be justified at last, that we may hope that in the day of judgment everything will be all right; but we are now justified—every believer in Christ.

Oh, so many of our hymns were written by people who hadn’t full assurance of salvation, and they express so often the desire that they may be cleansed and justified. How many real believers sing, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow!” And yet everyone who has truly trusted the Lord Jesus Christ is already washed, made white by the blood of the Lord Jesus, justified by God.

WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR JUSTIFICATION?

His blood! It is because of what He did. It is because of the blood He shed—the shedding of His precious blood; it is the giving up of His life. It is His life for ours—His holy, spotless life over against our sinful, wicked lives. The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me.

Somebody might say, “Well, I just do not understand what you mean. You talk about being justified by blood. In what sense could one be justified or cleansed by blood?” Let me give you an illustration. Out in the state of Washington, at the time of the first World War, four or five convicts in some way or another got over the wall of the penitentiary and escaped. After several weeks, they were all captured except one who was never located, at least not until the circumstances which I am going to mention.

He was able to get away, and eventually under an assumed name he joined the Army. After a period of training, he was sent across to France. One day, however, some other soldiers were added to the number, and one of them looked at this man and said, “I remember him. I knew him back in the state of Washington years ago. That’s so-and-so. He is not going by his right name. I remember when he was condemned to the penitentiary for burglary.”

He went to the officer in charge and told him what he knew about the man. The officer in turn wrote to the War department and asked, “What am I to do with this man? He is an escaped convict.” Washington sent word back to arrest him and return him to America as a prisoner. But in the meantime something had happened which made that impossible.

THE VALUE OF A MAN’S BLOOD

One night a number of men were wanted for a very, very dangerous duty, and the Captain said, “I am not going to ask any man to do the thing that I am going to tell you about, but I hope some of you will volunteer. I want some men to crawl out in the dark across No Man’s Land and find out what the foe is planning to do. It is a very dangerous undertaking—you may not get back—so I am not going to appoint anyone, but will ask for volunteers.”

Four men stepped right out, and among them was this convict. Under cover of darkness, they crawled out over No Man’s Land. There were shells falling all around them, but three of them got through safely. The fourth man, the convict, apparently had got clear through to the enemy and secured the information and was coming back, when a shell fell and burst so near him that he was killed. They brought his mangled body in, and when the officer received the word from Washington to return that man a prisoner to this country, the officer wrote back, “He has washed out his crimes in his own blood.” He had given himself, he had given his life, and the giving of his life had washed out his crime against the government, though of course this did not touch the question of his sin against God.

JUSTIFICATION IS FREELY GIVEN
The Lord Jesus Christ was absolutely without offense. He was the holy Son of God, but He looked upon us poor sinners in our deep need, and He took our place in judgment. He went to the Cross, and He bore what our sins deserved. He poured out His life in the shedding of His precious blood, and when we receive Him, we can say that He has washed out our sins in His precious blood. He had no sins of His own for which to die. He was there for our sins.

Oh, why was He there as the Bearer of sin,
If on Jesus thy guilt was not laid?
Oh, why from His side flowed the sin-cleansing blood,
If His dying thy debt has not paid?

He took your place. Have you trusted Him? Do you believe God’s sure promise? If you have, you are justified by His blood.

“Well,” you say, “on what principle does God thus justify? The Epistle to the Romans, chapter 3 and verse 24, tells us:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

God justifies men by grace, not because of merit. You and I had no merit. Everything was against us. Demerit was ours, and no merit did we have to plead. But now God says in grace, “I am ready to take up that man and save him, if he will but receive and confess My Son as his Lord.” It is so hard for people to understand this. Men always seem to get the idea that they must do something in order to merit God’s favor. It would not be grace if it were merited. Grace is unmerited favor, and it is favor to those who have merited the very opposite. That is grace.

GRACE TO THE UNDESERVING
Suppose, just to use a very hackneyed illustration, that my sons were still school boys and there is a rowdy, regular bully in the neighborhood, and he falls upon one or the other of them and knocks him down and steals his books and his lunch basket, and then when I go out to talk to him, this bully turns on me and strikes me and stones my house, breaking my best plate-glass window. I have every reason to be thoroughly provoked with him. I would have a perfect right, you know, to go to the police and have him arrested and charged with assault and battery, and one thing or another. But suppose, instead of that, I wait, and on some cold winter day, I happen to see that young rowdy, and, as I am watching, I see him fall in the snow, and I run out after him. I learn that he has had no one to care for him. He is an orphan and has no father or mother to look after him, and I find he staggered and fell because of lack of food, he was so weak. When he sees me coming, he staggers to his feet and tries to run away. But he cannot get away because I have hold of his arm. He looks up at me and pleads, “I’ll never do it again, if you will let me go.”

But I say, “You won’t get away.” I bring him into my own home, warm him up, feed him, and give him a suit of clothes belonging to one of my sons. I take care of him and show him every kindness. He can’t understand it, but his heart is won. This is grace. He merited the very opposite, did he not?

Grace is favor shown to the undeserving. If people deserved it, it would not be favor; and so you cannot deserve God’s salvation. Often when I say to somebody, “I hope you are on your way to Heaven,” I receive the reply, “Well, I am doing my best to get there.” It is not a question of doing your best. It is a question of receiving the grace of God as manifested in Christ Jesus.

HOW DO YOU MAKE IT YOUR OWN?
In what way is salvation applied to you individually? We read in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justified by faith!

Faith is believing God and asking no questions. It is taking God at His Word. God says, “I am satisfied with the work which My Son has done. Because of that work, I raised Him from the dead and now offer to justify any poor sinner who comes to Me in My Son’s name and trusts in Him.” If you have come, you have a right to say: “Being justified by faith, I have peace with God [everything settled between me and God] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Have you said it? If not, say it now. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Romans 10:8).

The resurrection of Christ, you know, is the declaration, the seal of it all. In the previous verses, at the end of the fourth chapter of Romans, we read, beginning with verse 22: “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” That is, when Abraham believed God, it [his faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. And then we read:

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:23-25)

That is justification by His resurrection. Why? Because His resurrection tells of God’s satisfaction in the work that His Son has done. When He hung upon that Cross, He was bearing our sins, He was taking our place, dying there in the sinner’s stead. Now, if He had never come out of that tomb, it would show that redemption was never accomplished. If that tomb remained sealed and the body of Jesus remained in it, then it would show that it was all a farce, and I would not dare to trust Him as my Savior at all. But see, it is the third day, and His resurrection is the divine declaration that all who believe on Him and rely on Him are justified from all things.

ISN’T THERE ANOTHER SIDE OF ALL THIS?
But I know that some of you have been saying in your hearts, or thinking subconsciously at least, “Yes, but there is another side to it. Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that faith without works is dead?” Yes, it does, for we read, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

“Well,” someone asks, “does not that contradict what you have been telling us?”

Not at all. You need to see exactly what it is that various writers of the Epistles are dwelling on. The apostle Paul (and practically all of our references have been from his writings), is telling how poor sinners may be justified before God. But now we turn over to the Epistle of James to find out how we who have professed to believe in Christ may be justified before men.

Suppose I say to my companions in the world, “I have just come to Christ, and I am justified from all things.” They have a right to look at me, at my life, to see for themselves whether there is any change in my life. You see, in order to be justified before them, in order to be justified before men, I have to manifest by my good works the fact that I have received a new and a divine nature. Let me read it to you.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (James 2:14)

That is, what kind of faith? A faith that has no works? Where there is real faith in Christ, one’s work will be different. His life will never again be what it used to be. Everything will be changed.

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:15-17)

REAL FAITH IS MANIFESTED BY YOUR WORKS

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18)

I cannot show my faith without works, but I can show my faith by my works. If I put my faith in Christ and have trusted Him as my Savior, I have been justified before God, justified freely, justified for nothing, justified without cost, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Now as I live for the One who has justified me, as I devote my redeemed life to the glory of the One who has saved me, my confession is justified before men. Men who get to know me will say, “That man is real; that man is genuine; he lives what he professes.” Do they say that of you? Does your life testify to the reality of the faith that you profess? If you have trusted Christ, you are complete in Him, you are justified freely by His grace. Now by a life devoted to His interests, you are to prove to those around you the reality of that faith of which you speak. ~ by Harry Ironside

Can you be a "Christian Freemason?"

In the last year I have come across a growing number of people bearing the name Christian and at the same time accepting active freemasonry within the same breath. My hope with this blog is to provide the reader with intelligent, organized, and biblical information in order to measure the teachings of freemasonry against the […]

Bethel Church : New Age & Islamic Mysticism

Bethel / Hillsong Church & New Age/ Islamic Mysticism practices- this is not Christianity. Isaiah 2:6 “For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with eastern ways; They are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they are pleased with the children of foreigners.” Watch video here

What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39) Justification! It is a big word, and very often […]

The gospel of accommodation……….

The gospel of accommodation……….

The gospel of accommodation is to change, appease, pacify the masses with a message that sounds close enough to the truth perhaps close enough to get into heaven. Why do we do this? Because the true message of the cross confronts us convicts us and demands an answer…. “Choose this day whom you will serve.” No matter how hard we try we cannot escape the nagging “knowing” that the big bang theory is a bust and mass annihilation into nothing when we die is nothing more than a delusion or that “being the best we can be” will somehow cut it. God has already fully made a way, one that cannot be meddled with and if it is, it is another Gospel. The only way to be reconciled to God is through receiving the full payment for our sins by Jesus Christ. His work and His work alone has cleansed us of all sin, once we add to this with works, law keeping etc., that becomes another gospel and WE are telling God what Christ did wasn’t enough and “we know” how to get ourselves to heaven. In other words, “we don’t need your help God!” THAT is what we are saying when we reject Christ and when we decide “we” know how to reconcile ourselves to a Holy God.

I recently met a middle aged man who was wearing what looked like a wedding band yet said he was neither married nor a widower. So I asked what was up with the ring? He replied its a “God prayer ring” to which I replied, what does that mean? He shrugged his shoulders as if to say he doesn’t even know what it means and proceeded to stumble out what seemed to be a regurgitation of what he has been told it means. He mentioned God and prayer yet couldn’t tell me how I could “get to God.” I asked him so where do we go when we die? Once again he shrugged his shoulders as if to say “I don’t know” and I said well you believe in “God” so I assume you must believe in heaven and hell”….at which time he became uncomfortable and replied with (waving me away) “nahhhh we just go somewhere but I don’t believe in hell or heaven and all that stuff.” And he didn’t want to hear the true Gospel. This man, like all of us, will stand before God and will be without excuse when the final Judgement is executed. You see it is not God who sends people to hell it is our choice to reject the True Christ, The Messiah, The Anointed One — we cannot blame God. He has made a Way but we reject it. This man is like most people I meet they have accepted a version of Jesus, a gospel of accommodation to suit themselves in this life. Whatever someone needs to do or believe to make this life as comfortable as possible, even if that means exchanging the truth for a lie. When someone comes along with the True Gospel they do not want to hear it. They say as it is written “who say to the seers, Do not see,” and to the prophets, Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions…”

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What must I do to be saved?

What must I do to be saved?

Today is the Day for Salvation, tomorrow is not guaranteed, do not let your hearts be hardened.

Paul declares that “the gospel of Christ…is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom:1:16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

So believing “the gospel of Christ” gives salvation. But is believing the gospel the only way to be saved—and if so, what is the gospel? Peter declared, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts:4:12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

No answer is given to the question, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…” (Heb:2:3) How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

There is no escape except in Christ: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn:14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Berean Call

The masks we wear and the outward condition.

The masks we wear and the outward condition.

While we all have a different journey (and story) to the Lord there is only one way to be reconciled back to God. My outward condition was open for all to see clearly that I needed help and my inward condition was equally corrupt I was decaying from the inside out.  I was reaching the end of myself and I would end up on my knees crying out to this Jesus I had heard of so many times.

I knew I just couldn’t keep working my way through life anymore. I was exhausted, hungry, and lost. This time, the exhaustion, hunger, and wandering wasn’t physical.  I had tried everything I knew to “get better” and nothing worked.  This time, I called out to Him for real, meaning it and desiring Him to save me from this life I had lived.  Knowing that He alone a gift of grace from God, received by faith and faith alone to be justified by Jesus Christ and be reconciled back to my Creator, my Heavenly Father, a gift none of us deserve. I would eventually come to respond to Jesus Christ but my journey to Him was still a long road to travel.  It wasn’t God who was distant from me; I kept my distance from Him. He is not hard to find. He is a very present help in times of trouble. I just thought I could figure this all out on my own.

We think we can try hard enough, and have enough “fortitude” and “push through” in our own strength.  I would come to know and understand, apart from Him, I can do nothing. Apart from Him I would continue to find myself in valleys and going around mountains of destruction over and over again. Everything man and the world had to offer had failed to “change” me. All the psychology, psychiatrists, mental tests, and human science modalities had proven over and over again to bear no fruitfulness in my life.  If there had been any change it was very temporary never able to sustain real transformation.  To date, these same modalities would not be what finally did bring about a true everlasting change.

To realize that I can do nothing to earn, keep, or work for salvation is both a relief and humbling at the same time. To recognize that I was (we all are) born spiritually dead and in sin and the only way to God is to be spiritually reborn (John 3:3).  Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

Many people struggle through religion, rituals, tradition, self-atonement, works of the Law, and none of those things will reconcile a person back to God.  Jesus Christ had many things to say regarding the “Law keepers” of His day.  Jesus says Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead peoples bones and all uncleanliness.” I knew I needed help the only help that can truly change a person is found in Jesus Christ alone and his finished work on the cross. Sadly, many people and religion have a form of holiness, morality, and altruism, but none of it has the power to save a soul.

What is the Gospel?


Trusting God Through It All

“But I’m a good person”…are you, am I, according to whom?

“But I’m a good person”…are you, am I, according to whom?

I often ponder why we do not think about our only two choices once we leave this earthly vessel.

  • Is it we are too busy?
  • We just don’t care?
  • Is it too frightening?
  • We simply think I live a “good” life surely that counts for something? 

I can only speak for myself as to why I never thought of my eternal destination and it was because I was “living my best life now” and didn’t care about what would happen once I died.  I would just figure it out when I got closer to it all. Or perhaps I would just implode into “nothing” and that is a very comforting delusion to tell ourselves, as is the delusion of some place in between for a second chance or “working” it off before heaven somehow. I can say now, as I continue on this pilgrimage through the world, that God is much less concerned about us “living our best life now, or being the best versions of ourselves” things I hear both from the secular world and those saying such in the Name of Christ, or under the guise of Christianity.

The above very popular clichés are just that, clichés, they still focus on self, (me, me, me, me) which is the very antithesis of the message of the Cross of Jesus.  In Luke 9:23 Jesus says “If anyone desires to follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

This putting off coming to the Lord is not unique to me.  Jesus spoke of this very issue explicitly and quite clearly in The Gospel of Matthew chapter 8-9 (including many other places and examples in the Word of God). In Matthew chapter 8 we see our human condition of wanting what we want, how we want it, and at the same time wanting the “benefits” of heaven.  In this chapter and leading up to it Jesus had already healed people and people were marveled at His teaching and the multitudes followed Him. 

Only a handful were actually following Him in THE Way He is to be followed. Most were simply following Him for “what they could get out of it” versus truly understanding their spiritual condition and the need to know Him. Jesus says something in Matthew 8:22 that seems so cruel at first glance. (But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”) Jesus responded to a man who seemed to want to follow Him, BUT…the man had things to do first.  We all make excuses, plan our lives and when we are ready then we might choose Him. 

Most of the time, we choose a version of “jesus” that fits our life, our way, our traditions, our culture, a version that is comfortable. “A jesus” on our own terms, in which we can still control how we do things; but these different versions of Jesus Christ sadly will not save your soul.  The Scriptures tell us this very thing that we will (and do) happily accept another jesus, another spirit and another gospel. 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” If a false christ, a false gospel were not possible, scripture wouldn’t warn over and over and over again that it is in fact so. Jesus wouldn’t emphatically warn to take care you are not deceived if deception were not so.

As a nurse working in an emergency room I see people die every day. At one time I would find some odd coping mechanism to deal with seeing death on a regular basis. Now, when I see a dead body rolling to the hospital morgue I am overwhelmed with utter despair and grief.  That despair and grief is not for the family of the loved one they just lost, rather for the one that is dead, and I ruminate and cry to the Lord in tears with only one cry…Lord did they KNOW You? Did they know Jesus Christ of Nazareth or did they follow another jesus, another spirit, another gospel? 

That question that takes my breath away in my spirit is overwhelming. It is overwhelming because of the reality of such a question. We will spend more time picking out what we are going to wear for the day, what meal we are going to cook one evening, what things need to be done around the house, or when we need our hair done next than we do our very real eternities.

“But I am a good person”

Are you?

Am I?

According to whom?

Perhaps you think that God is good, and will therefore overlook your sins. But it is His goodness, that will make sure that murderers, rapists, adulterers, thieves, blasphemers, liars, etc. receive justice. He would be a corrupt Judge if He turned a blind eye to injustice.

If a convicted murderer were standing in a courtroom before a judge, and the judge just simply let him go free, no jail time, no probation, no fines…. just free, we would have a meltdown because “justice wasn’t served”  ….The reality is… we are all murderers, rapists, thieves, adulterers, liars, blasphemers etc. Nothing but Christs sacrifice can acquit us of our guilty verdict before a holy God.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our lives are but a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away.

Romans 5:19-21

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 3

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–So we are made right (justified) with God through faith and not by obeying the law. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.

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How many gods do you actually believe in?

How many gods do you actually believe in?

Whether it’s 330 (33 million, or ’just’ 33 depending on the hindu source) million ‘gods’ in hinduism or the 10,000 in rome — the point is that polytheism is polytheism.

Although if you were to ask a hindu if they were polytheistic, they would likely respond with a ‘no’, as would most people who follow the teachings of rome. Neither party would ‘consider’ themselves polytheistic — but they are, in actions.

Prayer is defined in its most basic form as an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication.

In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity (a god). When praying to a ‘god’ (‘saints’, ‘dead relatives’, ’spirits’ etc) other than GOD the Creator of all that is: the person (consciously or subconsciously) is assigning Gods attributes (omnipresent, omniscience, omnipotence) to that object of affection: so by default making that object an idol or a god.

Whether the person calls the object (s) of worship/adoration an idol or god or not, they’ve made that object (s) a god by their deeds, despite a conflicting verbal refutation of the former.

  • You shall have NO other gods before Me.”
  • “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God……”Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Acts 17:29
  • “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
  • “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12