Author: Alice A. Anacioco

In the World but Not of this World

In the World but Not of this World

While teaching believers about the essential doctrines of the faith, the apostle Paul never failed to admonish them how to live their lives as followers of Christ. Clearly, Paul had a constant concern for Christians living in the world while remaining free from the world.

Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:17-18

“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.”

In Ephesians 4:17-23, Paul used action words, such as walk, put off, and put on to describe the intentional way in which believers in Jesus Christ should live. Paul never described a passive faith but a faith that proved itself in action.

Putting Off the Old Man

When I was first ushered into my church family, I often hear our senior minister say, “We are still in the world but we should not be of this world.” And he always emphasizes how we as believers should no longer be conformed to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2), simply because we are not citizens of planet earth but heaven (Philippians 3:20).

I never realized it in the beginning but as I listened to God’s Word through my church leaders and began reading the Bible, all these biblical truths started to sink in. Christians should start living out their faith.

Paul wrote, “You should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk” (Ephesians 4:17). Looks like he just re-worded what he told the Roman church (Romans 12:2). Paul is saying that Christians are not to imitate the life of the unsaved people around them or pattern their lifestyles on them.

These people are dead because of their disobedience and their many sins (Ephesians 2:1), while the believers have been raised from the dead and been given eternal life in Christ.

Paul went on to describe this “walk” as a way of thinking – the futility of their mind” – and behaving – given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17, 19). Their thinking and ways were futile and depraved because they were so darkened in their understanding and had hard hearts.

In general, unrepentant sinners are unable to recognize their sinful ways, their rebellion against God, and the ultimate consequences of their sins: eternal condemnation.

In the World Out of this World

Loving the World and Everything in It

We cannot deny the influence of the world especially with social media and the entertainment industry. As it has always been, the world dictates what is acceptable and what is not. The world almost always controls the way people think, how they should dress up and carry themselves in public.

But the Bible gives a strong warning for Christians not to love the world or anything that is in it because everything that this world has to offer is not from God (1 John 2:15-17). Loving the world and living as the world does may gain us some rewards such as honor, prestige, and comfort. But even the best earthly rewards last only as long as we live.

Another downside to loving the world and everything in it is that love for the world is incompatible with love for the Father. So, if one claims to love both God and the world, there must be something wrong with his love for the Father.

The New Life in Christ

The Christian life must go beyond head knowledge. Of course, learning Christ must include head knowledge. But it must also include the ability to set our mind on the right things that will eventually lead us to live for and with Christ.

Christians should no longer lead a destructive, sinful lifestyle. They have been redeemed from the power of sin and even death, the penalty of sin. Through Jesus’ work on the cross, they have been reconciled to God and the Father and can obtain power from Him to resist temptation.

Subsequently, those who have truly accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord should put off their sinful habits (Ephesians 4:22), renew their minds (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2), and put on the new nature created by God for true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24).

Conclusion

Paul’s description of the life of a believer in Ephesians reveals a marvelous process, in which God works within a believer to change him or her. Relying on Jesus Christ’s saving works for us does not mean that we are inactive.

From a life filled with sin and futile efforts to gain merit before God, our lives can be transformed by our relationship with God (which has been made possible through Jesus). As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9, it is only “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.”

With Christ’s help, we can learn how to put on the “new man” who He freely provides to all who trust in Him, and will enable us to live in this world without forgetting that we are not of this world anymore.

Safety and Security in the Arms of God

Safety and Security in the Arms of God

Do you ever have trouble falling asleep? Do the pressures of your job, family, or finances push a restful night’s sleep out of reach? Considering everything that is going on today not only in your community but also in many countries all around the world, I can’t really fault you for having sleepless nights.

But know that you are not the only one asking questions such as, “When will this pandemic be over? Will I ever get my job back? When will my kids be going back to school? Will things ever get back to normal?”

I get it. It’s human nature to want a comfortable life. Who does not want safety and security in every area of their life? Of course, we all want that. But if you are looking to your riches and possessions, friends or family, and your government leaders for answers and solutions, you’ll end up disappointed.

Safety and security can be found only in the arms of God.

Learning from King David

While on the run for his life from his own son Absalom and his men, David faced great pressure and yet found a peaceful night of sleep in God’s arms. Absalom and his forces were in hot pursuit of David, hoping to kill him. In fact, they had camped all around the cave. We read this in 2 Samuel 17:1-29.

From within the cave, David calls on the Lord to hear his pleas and have mercy – just as the Lord had done before (Psalm 4:1). “Hear me” is a passionate and concerned call to God. David had been praying for God’s help and was desperate to receive and answer.

Safety and Security in the Loving Arms of God

With assurance in God, David asks his enemies how long they are going to mock him and imagine that they can overthrow him, and reminds Absalom that God has anointed him and that he is set apart from ungodliness and is separated from God (Psalm 4:2-3).

In a cold, damp cave surrounded by soldiers and listening to David compose another song, David’s close friends question if they have followed the wrong man (Psalm 4:6). They want to see results now with a swift victory, not wait on God. While they whine, David writes songs of praise to the Lord.

David Puts His Joy in the Lord

David’s thoughts drift to the annual harvest festival – a time when barns were full of grain and vats were bulging with wine. He lost a palace and the fortunes that came with it. Now he has nothing. Yet David’s joy is boundless.

With tears running down his cheeks, he sings, “You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.”

David puts his joy in God – not in goods. In all his adventures and with all his thoughts of the “good” days, David had seen nothing he wanted more than his relationship with God. This gave him peace; he felt safe and secure. He said, “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

Though Absalom’s armed forces circled around, David had the only One necessary to keep him safe. No arrow could touch him, no sword could harm him, and no army could conquer him. He had God. He had peace – perfect peace – the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Give Thanks in All Circumstances

If you lost your palace, i.e., your job, properties, or wealth, what would your reaction be? Would you scream and cry, or would you write songs of praise to the Lord? Would you sing praises to God and thank Him despite your circumstance?

It won’t be easy, I know. Some may ask, “How am I supposed to rejoice and be glad knowing that I have a family to feed and I don’t know where the money and food will come from?”

When I first found out that I would be the one to do the tithes and love offering (TLO) exhortation for our virtual church worship service this weekend, I must admit that I got a little worried. Why? That’s because most of us were affected by the recently imposed lockdowns due to the COVID 19 pandemic and as a result, we were not paid in full by our employers.

What could I possibly say to make my fellow believers in Jesus feel comfortable financially helping the church despite experiencing scarcity in their finances? Everybody has their needs and in this kind of situation we are in right now, the phrase “job security is a lie” that most financial educators often use in their lectures is becoming more and more real to us.

Stewards of God’s Riches

Where else could we find assurance if not the word of God? So I took out my Bible and was led to 1 Timothy 6:17-19, which is part of Paul’s final exhortation to young Timothy, his disciple. So, Paul tells Timothy to remind the church, especially those who are well-off, not to put their trust in riches.

Instead, they must put their trust and confidence in the living God who richly gives all we need for our enjoyment. The rich are to do good by being ready to give and willing to share.

We are not to trust in wealth. We may think we own what we have but the truth is, we don’t. We are not owners; we are stewards. If we have wealth, it is by the grace and goodness of God, and not because of any special merits on our part. The possessing of material wealth ought to humble us and causes us to glorify God.

As Christ’s followers, we are to employ what God gives us. We should use our wealth to do good to others; we should share, and put our money to work. When we do, we enrich ourselves spiritually and we make investments for the future. If you are still wondering how exactly you are going to do that, giving to the church in support of the Lord’s work is one of them.

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it

Secure in God’s Promise

Facing many of life’s problems, how can you sleep in the Master’s arms? First of all, you must be saved, and secondly, you must be like David and lead a sanctified, separated life. When you get saved, you change (2 Corinthians 5:17). What you love changes. What you love to do changes. Your priorities will change.

Sanctification makes you love the things you once hated and hate the things you once loved. Why? It’s because you are set apart for God (Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16). You are in the family of God (Romans 12:5). You are saved – sanctified.

How should Christians deal with the economic, social, and health crisis that the whole world is experiencing right now? First of all, we must put our trust and confidence in God knowing that nothing is beyond His control. Even when the world seems to be falling apart, we must never forget that we are safe and secure in the loving arms of God.

We are secure in God’s promise because He is faithful and will never let us down.

Closing Thoughts

Meditate within your heart the promise of peace, safety, and security that are found in God alone, and be still.

For a clear conscience and a right relationship with the Savior, makes for sweet slumber. Remember that no pillow is as soft as God’s promises, no blanket is so warm as His presence.


Should Christians be Afraid of Dying?

Should Christians be Afraid of Dying?

Scripture tells us that this life is not all that there is. Indeed, we are beings made for eternity. Death is the doorway to eternity for each of us and this eternity will be one of conscious existence.

Needless to say, each person must be prepared. So the obvious question is, “Should we be afraid to die?” More importantly, “Should Christians be afraid of dying?”

A Natural Fear of Death

Death is an unknown for all of us. We have never been dead before and so it makes sense that all of us have a natural fear of death. Besides, eternity is a long time. Put all these factors together and you will have a natural fear or uneasiness of death.

The Bible gives us some examples of godly characters that feared death. In 2 Kings 20:1-3, we read the account of King Hezekiah.

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’” Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

What? Hezekiah, a godly king, was afraid of dying? He sure was! Therefore, it’s not strange that we have the same type of fear.

How Christians Should View Death

While Christians do have a natural fear of death there should be no ultimate fear. Although we may have to suffer physical death because of the original sin of Adam, death eventually loses its horror as it transports the believer into a better life.

Once we understand what happens to us at the moment of death, we realize that death is not something to be feared. Although it is the separation of the spirit and the body, it is a separation into something better.

The Bible says that Jesus came to release us from the fear of death and dying in Hebrews 2:14-15.

“In as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Notice how it says that Jesus delivers us from the fear of dying.

How then, should Christians view death? Below are several factors that need to be considered.

Death is Not the End

When we die, we do not cease to exist. Death is a transition, it is not an end. Consequently, the ultimate terror of death is removed for those who trust in the promises of the God of the Bible (Psalm 23:4).

Why Not Fear Death

From the Scripture passage above, believers are told that the Lord is with them when they have to face death. In one sense, they only enter the valley of the shadow of death, not the reality.

Although believers do die physically, it’s not the same separation as the unbeliever experiences in death. This is because when we die physically, we are immediately brought into the presence of the Lord. Therefore, not even death can separate the believer from the Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

Death is Not a Punishment for Christians

In Romans 8:1, Paul tells us clearly that “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” It is true that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23), but that penalty no longer applies to believers – not in terms of physical death, and not in terms of spiritual death.

All the penalty for our sins has been paid for by the suffering and death of our Lord. Therefore, even though we know that Christians die, we should not view their death as a punishment from God or in any way a result of a penalty due to us for our sins.

Death is the Final Outcome of Living in a Fallen World

Although death does not come to us as a penalty for our individual sins as mentioned above, it does come to us as a result of living in a fallen world, where the effects of sin have not all been removed.

We still live in a fallen world and the last aspect of the fallen world to be removed will be death (1 Corinthians 15:26). When Christ returns, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)?

But until that time, death, as well as pain and suffering, remain a reality even in the lives of Christians. And related to the experience of death are other results of the fall that harm our physical bodies and signal the presence of death in the world.

Although God often answers prayers to deliver Christians (and also non-Christians) from these effects of the fall for a time, nevertheless, Christians eventually experience all of those things to some measure, and, until Christ returns, all of us will grow old and die.

The Citizenship of Believers is Heaven

Christians have their ultimate citizenship in heaven. Paul emphasized this truth when he wrote to the church in Philippi.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Although we live here on earth, our true home is with God in heaven. The Bible says we are merely temporary residents or pilgrims here. In fact, Peter addressed his first letter to these pilgrims when he wrote the following:

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1).

Our real home is in heaven. We are only temporarily residing here.

Should Christian be Afraid of Death

A Genuine Hope for Something so Much Better

Consequently, we have a realistic hope for an existence that is so much better in the next life. The Bible tells us not to sorrow or grieve for the dead believers as unbelievers do for their dead. Paul made this clear when he wrote to the Thessalonians.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NLT).

Notice the contrast. Believers have a genuine hope that death is not the end. Therefore, any sorrow we may experience for believers who have died is always mixed with a feeling of happiness for them. They have gone on to glory.

This is in contrast to those who have died outside of Christ who have no hope of eternal life in the presence of the Lord.

Death Completes our Union with Christ

Paul says that we are fellow heirs with Christ when we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17) and Peter encourages us to rejoice as we share in Christ’s suffering so that we may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:13).

But union with Christ in suffering includes union with Him in death as well.

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10).

“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 8:17).

Do you ever wonder why God allows us to experience death, rather than taking us immediately to heaven when we become Christians? Although not every one of us will suffer and die the same way Jesus did, through death we imitate Christ in what He did and thereby experience closer union with Him.

Final Words

As human beings, we all have a normal fear of death. Although a certain anxiety about the afterlife is natural, believers in Jesus Christ should not be obsessed with the idea of death and dying. Neither should we let the fear of death keep us from being effective while we are still on earth.

The apostle Paul said there is no comparison between this life and the blessings of the next (Romans 8:18). Indeed, everything will be greater in heaven. Anything we have in this life is nothing compared to what awaits us in the next.

We should keep all these things in mind when contemplating our own death. When we do, then death will hold no ultimate fear for us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Recommended Resource: Heaven and the Afterlife: The Truth about Tomorrow and What it Means for Today by Erwin W. Lutzer

Heaven and the Afterlife: : The Truth about Tomorrow and What it Means for Today Combining three books that together have sold nearly 1 million copies, Heaven and the Afterlife gives you Erwin Lutzer’s best reflections on eternity and what it means for you today.

The trilogy includes:

One Minute After You Die. A simple and moving explanation of what the Bible teaches about death, this book makes you consider a sobering truth: one minute after you die, your life will not be over. Rather, it will be just beginning—in a place of unimaginable bliss or indescribable gloom. Are you ready for that moment?

How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity with God summarizes the Bible’s teaching on salvation, answering questions like, “What role do I play in my own salvation? Can I lose my salvation if I commit a serious sin? What if I doubt that I’m saved?”

Your Eternal Rewards. This book explores the often-overlooked Scriptures about reward and judgment for Christians, answering questions like, “How will believers be judged? Do rewards for faithfulness vary? If heaven is perfect, why do rewards even matter?”

Together these books will help you live faithfully today, readying you for that final hour when you meet your Maker.

The 7 Judgments of God

The 7 Judgments of God

The Bible tells us that there will come a time when every person shall stand before God to face final judgment (Hebrews 9:27). However, many people do not understand that instead of one final judgment, we read from Scriptures that there are a series of 7 future judgments.

These judgments differ with respect to time, purpose, subjects, and circumstances.

The Judgment Seat of Christ

This judgment, also called the Judgment of the Bema, is for the body of Christ only, the church, and it will take place in heaven immediately after the rapture of the church and the resurrection of the believers who have died in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “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.”

The 7 Judgments of God

The context of this verse clearly indicates that the judgment seat is not optional, i.e., no believer is exempt. The word we refers to believers in Christ and just so we don’t miss it, Paul includes the word all. Every single member of the body of Christ will appear before the Lord to be “judged.” (See also Romans 14:10-12.)

However, we must understand that the issue at the judgment seat is not salvation but rewards. This judgment is not to determine whether people will enter heaven or hell, or to punish sin. This ultimate issue is decided when one decides to accept or reject God’s gift of eternal life.

At the judgment seat, each believer’s work will be evaluated to demonstrate whether they are good or bad, and rewards will be conferred. You can read more about the judgment seat of Christ in this article.

The Judgment of Old Testament Believers

The resurrection and rewarding of Old Testament saints will take place after the 7-year Tribulation according to Daniel 12:1-2.

“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

After the Tribulation period is over, Jesus Christ will return (with the church saints) to resurrect and reward the Old Testament saints. Consequently, every believer who has died from the time of Adam until the Second Coming of Christ will have been resurrected by this time.

But why aren’t the Church saints and the Old Testament saints resurrected and rewarded at the same time? We read in Hebrews 11:39-40 that they will not receive what has been promised to them apart from us. This means they must wait for the church to be resurrected (and rewarded) first.

The Judgment of Tribulation Believers

Those who trust Christ during the Tribulation period and are martyred will be raised and rewarded at the Second coming of Christ. We read the following in Revelation 20:4-6.

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”

“But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

Note: Some believe that the Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints will be resurrected and rewarded together at the Second Coming of Christ, or the end of the 7-year Tribulation.


The Judgment of Living Israel

All Jews who survive the Tribulation will be judged right after the Second coming.

The saved will enter the millennial kingdom, and the lost will be purged (Ezekiel 20:38). The Scripture teaches that before the Messiah can begin to reign, a judgment must take place to determine who will enter the millennial kingdom, “for they are not all Israel who are of Israel” (Romans 9:6b).

Ezekiel 20:34 and Ezekiel 39:28 says that God will bring Israel out from the nations where she has been scattered throughout the times of the Gentiles into her own land. The fulfillment of this prophecy started happening in 1948 when Israel became an independent state once again. From that time on, Jews are seen returning to their land in large numbers.

Read more about God’s promise to bring Israel back to her own land in this article.

So, when Christ returns personally to earth, He will first gather Israel outside the land of Israel, called the “wilderness of the peoples,” to execute judgment on them face to face (Ezekiel 20:35-36). Matthew 24:31 also says, “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.”

What will be the basis of God’s judgment? As in the church age, salvation in the Tribulation for both the Jews and Gentiles is through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. (See Romans 9-11.)

Every single one of them will have to pass under the “rod of God” and their individual works will be brought into judgment, but not because they are saved by their works, but because their works demonstrate that they failed to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah.

The Judgment of Living Gentiles

Just as the Lord judges the Jews who survive the Tribulation when He personally returns to earth, so He will also judge those Gentiles who remain. This is often referred to as the judgment of the “sheep and goats” (Matthew 25:31-46). The righteous will enter the millennial kingdom and the unrighteous will be cast into hell.

Matthew 25:31-33

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”

What are the 7 Judgments of God

Though salvation is by grace through faith, the saved who survive the Tribulation will be identified by their works in befriending their Jewish brothers. During the Tribulation where universal anti-Semitism is prevalent, befriending Jews is an outward manifestation of one’s salvation.

Matthew 25:40, 45

“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.’”

The Final Judgment of Satan and His Demons

Christ will also judge Satan, the created spirit-being who became the devil and his followers when He returns to the earth and sets up His kingdom, and their judgment is certain. They will be sent to the bottomless pit and eventually to the lake of fire where they will be condemned and punished for all eternity.

Revelation 20:10

“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Matthew 25:41

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”

See also 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6.

The Great White Throne Judgment

All the unrighteous or unsaved dead from all time will be judged and sent to their final destination, the lake of fire, at the end of the millennium by the One whom they rejected. They will be judged according to their works.

We read this in Revelation 20:11-15.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who 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, 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. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Closing Words

While many Bible-believers think there will be only one future “Judgment Day” where every person who has ever lived will be judged, the Scriptures affirm that there are various judgments and will happen in stages.

The question now is this: Which judgment would you like to participate in? Would you like to take part in the judgment seat of Christ where you will be evaluated and rewarded in heaven without having to go through the Tribulation?

Then all you need to do is acknowledge that you’re a sinner in need of a Savior in the person of Jesus Christ, receive God’s forgiveness, and His offer of eternal life by surrendering your life to Him. After which, you are to start living out your faith, grow in His grace and allow Him to use you for His purpose and glory while you wait for His coming (Titus 2:13; Philippians 3:20).

I’m not saying you won’t have a chance to be saved during the Tribulation and be rewarded when Christ comes to set up His earthly kingdom. But why would you choose to experience the outpouring of God’s wrath if you can be assured of eternal life now?

The 7 Future Judgments of God

And you wouldn’t want to appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, right? The vision of this final judgment should cause everyone to stop and think about the eternal implications of this future event.

For those who never trusted in the Lord Jesus as their Savior, it should cause them to want to search out the truth regarding Christ, to accept His free gift of eternal life, and be rescued from eternal doom.

For the believer in Jesus, the future reality of the Great White Throne Judgment should cause deep concern because of the many (including some family, relatives, and friends) who will be participants of this event because they never placed their faith on the Lord Jesus.

Act now before it’s too late.


Recommended Resource: Revelation (The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries) by John Walvoord
Edited by Philip E. Rawley and Mark Hitchcock

The book of Revelation has long fascinated and even confused readers and students of the Bible. Yet the Bible is written to be understood, and Revelation is no exception. Who better to help you understand the seals, trumpets, vials, woes, and plagues than John F. Walvoord, one of evangelicalism’s most prominent leaders, and Mark Hitchcock, today’s leading Bible prophecy expert? 

In this first in a renewed series of commentaries from Dr. Walvoord, he points out that much of the book’s symbolism can be interpreted literally. At key points, different views and approaches to interpretation are explored. Walvoord devotes special attention to textual and doctrinal issues while avoiding technical language. 

Is Heaven A Real Place? Where Is It?

Is Heaven A Real Place? Where Is It?

It has been said that everyone thinks about heaven. However, some people say heaven isn’t a real place. Rather, it is a state of mind, a fancy, an abstraction, wishful thinking, a figure of speech, or a sentimental dream. Are these people right? Or is there something that awaits us in the hereafter?

When it comes to the truth about the reality of heaven and where it is, there is no greater authority than Jesus Christ. He came from heaven to earth and then returned to heaven, where He awaits the day when His bride, the church, shall join Him in the mansions He is preparing for her.

Bible Verse: John 14:2

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Heaven is a Real Place

Jesus taught that heaven is a real place. In John 14:2, Jesus told His disciples, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.” Jesus calls heaven “a house, a dwelling home.” It isn’t just an illusion. It’s as real as the home in which we live right now.

While the apostles were looking up into the sky following Jesus’ ascension, two angels appeared, saying, “Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Jesus obviously went somewhere when He ascended upward. The Scripture says that He went to heaven (1 Peter 3:22). Jesus went to a real place, an eternal home, not into a state of mind or an abstraction.

Philippians 3:20

Jesus prayed, “Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). He did not say “Our Father in a state of mind” or “… in an eternal illusion.” Our Father is in heaven, a real place. Luke 20:20 says we are to rejoice not because the spirits are subject to us but because our names are written in heaven.

The apostle Paul writes, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). One can only have citizenship in a real place. Therefore, heaven must truly exist.

All of these facts from Scripture make it clear that heaven is indeed a genuine place.

Heaven: A Home of Beauty

What a wonder heaven must be! In only six days the Lord created the universe, and yet He has been preparing the homes in heaven where we are going to live throughout eternity for two thousand years.

John describes our eternal home, as a city that is foursquare, 1,500 miles up, down, and across (Revelation 21:15-17). It is as large as from the most northern point of Maine to the most southern tip of Florida and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. Each level arises above the other, mile after mile. The twelve gates are built upon twelve jeweled foundations proclaiming accessibility for all believers from every kindred, tribe, and nation (Revelation 21:14)

Paul wrote: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard. Nor have entered into the heart of man. The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Closing Words

While many people think heaven is only a state of mind, or a mythological place, Scripture makes it clear that heaven is an actual place that exists. And it is the final destination for believers. Indeed, if you have placed your faith in Christ, you are heaven bound.

Results of the New Life

Results of the New Life

By nature, mankind is sinful and that is why we have been separated from God. Thus, we cannot approach God on our own; we must do so on His term. In order for that broken relationship to be restored, we must be separated from sin and set apart to righteousness. We must have new lives in which our sins have been forgiven and obliterated.

But it is one thing to be convinced of the need for the new life; it is an entirely different thing to acquire the new life. Not only that, more importantly, we also get to enjoy the results and benefits of having a new life in Christ.

Everlasting Life

John 5:24

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

One benefit of finding new life in Christ is called in the Bible “everlasting (eternal) life.” The character of this great reality may be summarized by carefully looking at each word. The word life stresses the quality of this new relationship to God (John 10:10).

It does not mean of course, that we are not physically alive before salvation; it simply stresses the fact that we enter a new, personal relationship with God that gives us the fullness of spiritual vitality that we lacked before (John 17:3).

Results of the New Life in Christ

The word everlasting emphasizes life without end. Though it will not be completely fulfilled until our future bodily redemption (Romans 8:23), it is still a present possession that can never perish (John 10:28).

Everlasting life must not be conceived of as an exclusively future possession. Rather, its possession is clearly seen in our actions. Thus, “no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Indeed, love is the confirming evidence that we do, in fact, have eternal life (1 John 3:14).

The greatness of this spiritual reality constitutes a wonderful incentive to vigorously proclaim to those who are still “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

A New Nature

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.”

The term new nature refers to the spiritual transformation that occurs within the inner man when a person believes in Christ as Savior. The Christian is now a new man as opposed to the old man that he was before he became a Christian (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 3:9-10).

This concept of newness may be traced to an important choice between two Greek words, both meaning “new.” One word means new in the sense of renovation (to repair), the other in the sense of fresh existence.

It is the latter that is used to describe the Christian. He is not the old man renovated or refreshed; he is a brand new man with a new family, a new set of values, new motivations, and new possessions.

The old man is still present in the new life and expresses himself in corrupting deeds such as lying (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). The new man, to be visible, must be put on as one would put on a new suit of clothes (Colossians 3:10).

In other words, the new nature must be cultivated or nurtured by spiritual decisiveness to grow in Christ. We must not revert to putting on the old suit of the former life; rather we must continue to grow in this new life (Ephesians 5:8).

The message of the new nature is a message of supreme hope: the Spirit of God can accomplish a life-changing transformation for all who will only believe in Christ.

Christ’s Righteousness

Isaiah 61:10a

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

One of the most awesome requirements of God made upon men and women is that they be righteous, that is, conform to His ethical and moral standards (Psalm 15:2; Micah 6:8). Since God is holy, He cannot allow sinners into His presence (Isaiah 6:3-5).

Since we are all sinners, we could not be saved apart from the supernatural intervention of God (Romans 3: 10, 23). The righteous demands of God coupled with the inability of man might present an insoluble dilemma. God Himself, however, has graciously solved the problem.


He sent Christ, who never sinned, to die for our sins and thus satisfy His own wrath against us. Simply put, it means that God, at the cross, treated Christ as though He had committed our sins even though He was righteous.

On the other hand, when we believe in Christ, He treats us as though we were as righteous as Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Bible calls this type of righteousness “imputed righteousness” (Romans 4:6). That simply means that God puts to our spiritual account the very worth of Christ, much as though He were a banker adding an exhaustible deposit to our bank account.

Sadly, many people still refuse to believe that such an abundant blessing can be theirs as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nevertheless, the Bible clearly urges all men to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Placed Into God’s Family

1 John 3:2

“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.”

In a general sense, all men and women are the offspring of God in that He is the Creator (Acts 17:28-29).

This relationship, however, is not sufficient to offset the penalty of sin, because everybody is a sinner separated from God (Romans 3:23). Therefore, for a sinful person to become a child of God, a miraculous transformation must take place. The Bible refers to this change as being “born again” (John 3:3).

When an individual places his or her faith in Christ as Savior, he or she is born again into a new, spiritual, family relationship with God (Galatians 3:26). They gain God as Father (Ephesians 4:6) and other Christians as brothers and sisters (Hebrews 3:1).

It is significant to note that the term “brotherly love,” which Christians are commanded to have for each other (Hebrews 13:1), is never used in the Greek language to refer to loving others as though they were your brothers. Rather, it is always used of loving those who actually are your brothers.

So it is in the Christian faith; we actually are brothers and sisters with other Christians.

Not only are Christians the children of God by spiritual birth; they are adopted as well (Ephesians 1:5). This figure implies a dramatic transformation of status from slave to son (Galatians 4:1-5). One is no longer in bondage to the master but becomes a free son possessing all the rights and privileges of sonship.

One of these benefits is the right to call God Abba, an affectionate term meaning “father” (Romans 8:15). This marvelous relationship carries responsibilities with it, as well as privileges. Everyone who has the hope of having his sonship perfected someday is presently purifying his own life.

Since Christians or born again believers bear the family relationship to God they must also exhibit the family character.

Empowered By God

Acts 1:8

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

It’s been said that one of the most common excuses for not becoming a Christian is the fear of failure to live the Christian life. Besides overlooking the fact that men cannot be saved on the basis of good works (Titus 3:5), this objection neglects the truth that God provides the power to live the Christian life.

Before Christ was crucified He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to help believers (John 16:13-14). The subsequent events of the Book of Acts supply ample evidence of the fulfillment of this prophecy (Acts 4:7, 33; 6:8).

Results of the New Life in Christ

The power of the Holy Spirit was not designed solely for the first-century church. Rather, all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus have power His power available (1 Corinthians 6:19). However, living the Christian life under the Spirit’s power, must not be thought of as simply allowing the Spirit to take control while the believer does nothing.

The believer still must live the Christian life, though he does it through the Spirit’s power. Romans 8:13 says, “… if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Simply put, it is us who must put to death the sinful deeds of the body, but we are to do it through the Holy Spirit’s power.

Christians who struggle in their own strength to live the Christian life will surely fail. We must by faith appropriate daily the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:4-5). To give a practical application, we are to trust the Holy Spirit to empower us in specific instances such as sharing our faith with others, resisting temptation, being truthful, etc.

There is no secret formula that makes the Spirit’s power available. It is simply a reliance on Him to help.

Conclusion

When Christians get “saved” they were given everlasting (eternal) life; they are said to be new creatures; to have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ; to have been adopted into God’s family, and are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The great news is, these wonderful results of having new life in Christ are offered freely to all who trust in Christ for salvation.

If you have not yet surrendered your life to Christ but want to enjoy these benefits of having a new life, why not make the decision now to acknowledge you’re a sinner in need of a Savior.

Here’s a simple prayer you can recite (from your heart) and invite Jesus into your life:

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of Your forgiveness. I believe You are the Son of God; that You suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. I also believe that You, Lord Jesus, rose from the dead to secure my place in heaven.

And so, right now, I ask that You forgive all my sins and take over my life. I place my faith in You and receive You as Lord and Savior of my life. Come reign in my heart and my life, and help me to live a life that brings glory to Your name.

This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen!

3 Powerful Enemies of the Christian

3 Powerful Enemies of the Christian

In the previous post by Brother Jess Cortez, he said that only those who believed in and received Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior were given the right to become children of God based on John 1:12 and that only those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:14).

God’s Word is truth and there is no of going around it. There are only two sides: the Lord’s and that of the devil. You are on either side but not both and there certainly is no middle ground.

And then Bro. Jess went on to enumerate the blessings bestowed on God’s children which are truly amazing. These blessings he mentioned (based on the Word of God, of course) are things I wouldn’t trade for anything else in this world no matter how appealing they may be.

But one thing we often forget is that the moment we decided to be on God’s side is also the day we became enemies with the 3 most powerful forces that seek to constantly defeat the followers of Christ.

Enemies of the Christian

Three powerful enemies are constantly trying to defeat the Christian’s testimony and spiritual success: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Powerful Enemies of the Christians

The World

The Greek word used is kosmos and the root meaning is “order” or “arrangement,” hence beauty (cf. cosmetics and the cosmos flower).

The main meaning of kosmos is the organized system that is under the devil’s control and leaves out God and Christ. According to the apostle John, “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).

That being said, it is important to note that kosmos does not always have a negative connotation. John 3:16 uses the word for the people that “God so loved.” This meaning also occurs in the expression “Savior of the world” (John 4:42). Paul also uses kosmos for the created planet in his sermon on Mar’s Hill (Acts 17:24).

Why is the world one of the 3 enemies of the Christian life? This is because it entices us to go against God. In other words, it leads us to sin. This is why the Bible warns us against loving the world or the things in the world; if we do, the love of the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15).

Does this mean we should not even think about recreation, books, TV shows, movies, etc? I once had a Christian colleague who said she does not watch movies nor listen to music because she believed it would lead her to sin. She also added that all kinds of entertainment would make her impure and unworthy of God’s love.

While I commend her for making this commitment, I honestly think it would not be fair for her to expect others to do the same. Indeed, Christians should not conform to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2) but it does not mean we should completely separate ourselves from the people of this world and have a superiority complex.

It’s undeniable that today there are many professing Christians who are walking hand in hand with the world that you can no longer tell the difference between the believer and the unbeliever.

So, where exactly do we draw the line? When considering any activity, think about what God thinks about you doing it. Will He approve of it? Is God glorified? Does this give you an opportunity to let your light shine brightly for those who are still in darkness?

The Flesh

The literal meaning of flesh is found in expressions like “flesh and blood” and “flesh and bones.” Christianity does not teach that the human body is evil, but that it can be used for evil.

The flesh can also refer to a destructive influence. As such, the flesh can be our most insidious enemy because it is inside the believer and ever-present with its depraved cravings.

We cannot say that our old, sinful cravings will completely disappear at the moment of conversion. The Bible teaches that the old nature, with all its corruption, is still there because it is living within us. The urge to sin is ever-present to drag us down and so one should not think that he or she is not a true believer because of such temptations.


Recommended Resource: War Room (Christian Movie 2015)


Even sincere and devout Christians (including the apostle Paul) can have terrific struggles with the flesh. As long as we live in the body we will have to contend with the flesh. The whole terrible catalog of the flesh is recounted in Galatians 5:19-21.

The secret of victory over the flesh is to be led by the Holy Spirit: “Walk (that is, live your life) in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The Devil

Devil (diabolos) is simply an anglicized form of the Greek word that suggests hurling (slander) back and forth. The devil is a personal enemy who opposes God and His plans and tempts His people. The Bible calls Satan the wicked one (Matthew 13:19), a murderer, a liar and father of lies (John 8:44), an adversary who seeks to devour (1 Peter 5:8), and an accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-10).

Although the devil has already been beaten at the cross by Christ, he still has the power to influence men to do his work. As I said earlier, the moment you decided to follow Christ, you became enemies with the devil and he is going to tempt you and will try everything to lead you into sin.

Satan’s most powerful tactic is still deception. He does this by first sowing seeds of doubt in your mind about what God actually said. He did it to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and succeeded. And so, he will continue to do so among God’s people today.

But when Satan does this to you, there would be no point arguing with him, for he is the greatest debater of all time. He will try to disrupt your focus on God and His works, discourage you, and will stop at nothing to destroy your relationship with Christ. How do you fight him? Your best defense against the devil is the Word of God.

When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness while fasting for 40 days, our Lord in three notable temptations used the Word of God. Upon realizing he lost, the devil left Him and the angels came to attend to Him. You can read about it in this post.

One other thing, although we can defeat Satan with the use of Scriptures, we must also submit to God and resist the devil so that he will flee from us (James 4:7). But before the devil even launches an attack against us and catches us off guard, let us always remember to apply the blood of the Lamb.

Lastly, the Christian’s defense against the devil is the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17). The devil is a defeated foe – Christ bested him at Calvary. Nevertheless, he will remain active in the world until he is locked up for one thousand years. The devil’s ultimate doom is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).


Conclusion

Life here on earth is a battleground and the Christian life is a warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

But the Bible tells us that we have victory in Christ because He has already defeated the enemy and has emerged victorious. Christians can live a victorious life because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:57).

This is not to say that everything is going to be “a bed of roses” for the believers in Jesus. Sure, there will be trials and difficulties. In fact, the Lord Jesus Himself said that in this world we will suffer tribulations. But we should not lose heart because He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).

Why is Jesus called the Son of Man?

Why is Jesus called the Son of Man?

During His earthly ministry, Jesus’ favorite designation in referring to Himself was “the Son of Man.” As a matter of fact, seventy-eight times the Gospels record Jesus using this title for Himself.

One of the most notable instances was when Jesus asked His disciples the question about His identity and put it to them this way:

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am” (Matthew 16:13)?

Why did Jesus refer to Himself as the “Son of Man?” Why not call Himself “the Messiah,” “the Son of God” or “the Son of David.” After all, each of these titles was rightfully His.

The Phrase “Son of Man” in the Old Testament

In the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew expression “son of man” appears 107 times, the majority (93 times) of which appears in the book of Ezekiel. And there are three ways that this expression is used:

  • to contrast the lowly status of humanity against the exalted dignity of God and the angels (Psalm 8:4; Numbers 23:19).
  • as a form of human address to Ezekiel.
  • as a future eschatological figure whose coming will signal the end of history and the time of God’s judgment (Daniel 7:13-14).

The phrase Son of Man in the Old and New Testament

The Phrase “Son of Man” in the New Testament

In the New Testament, Jesus is called “the Son of Man” eighty-eight times. What is the significance of using this designation for Himself? Below are several ways by which the phrase is used.

It is Connected with the Sufferings of Jesus.

The title “Son of Man” is connected with the sufferings that Jesus would experience on behalf of His humanity. Notice that Jesus used this title when He began to predict what would happen to Him in the future (Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 8:31).

We do not find the Lord referring to Himself with titles such as Messiah or Son of God, when predicting His suffering on the cross, as well as His resurrection. Rather, He used the title “Son of Man.”

It is Connected with Jesus’ Earthly Life and Ministry.

When Jesus took on humanity to save mankind, Jesus was recorded saying He had no place to call home. Matthew records the following:

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20).

It Refers to Jesus’ Perfect Humanity.

Some believe the title “Son of Man” refers to the fact of Jesus’ perfect humanity. Although He was God, Jesus came down and lived among us as the perfect human being. In so doing, He fulfilled the Law of Moses and did what no other human being was able to do.

By using the title “Son of Man,” Jesus was identifying with the people He had come to save. Jesus wanted to convey the truth that He was entirely human; that although He was God, He became a human being and lived among us for a short period of time.

It is Used in Contexts where Jesus Claims Deity.

Many people who believe that Jesus was just a man use the argument that Jesus never claimed to be God to support their position. In fact, they say, Jesus referred to Himself as the son of man. Yet, we find this designation used in contexts where Jesus claimed deity.

Here are just a few examples:

1. In Mark 2:10, Jesus uses the title Son of Man for Himself when claiming authority to forgive sins. The Jews recognize that only God can forgive sins and yet Jesus used this authority while using the title “Son of Man” rather than “Son of God.”

2. In Mark 2:28, Jesus claimed that He, the Son of Man was “Lord of the Sabbath.” Again, we find this designation of Himself used in a context of rights and privileges which belong to God alone. Indeed, only God Himself could claim that He is Lord of the Sabbath.

3. In Luke 19:10, Jesus used the title “Son of Man” for Himself when He stated that He came to earth to save the lost.

4. In the book of Daniel, we read of the prediction that the Son of Man would inherit God’s everlasting kingdom (Daniel 7:13-14).

In this context, the Son of Man is a divine Person who is in the presence of the Ancient of Days (God the Father). Obviously, this cannot refer to an ordinary human being for no human being could be in such a position.

Therefore, by using the title the Son of Man, Jesus was actually claiming deity. Furthermore, when Jesus was on trial for His life and was asked if He were the Messiah, He referred to this prediction in Daniel.

Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62).

Jesus’ statement infuriated the religious leaders and charged Him of blasphemy for claiming equal authority with God. They clearly understood that Jesus referred to Daniel’s prophecy and was claiming the position of authority with God.

Why is Jesus called the Son of Man

It Speaks of Jesus’ Exaltation and Rule.

Jesus also used the title “Son of Man” when He spoke of His return to the earth and His rule (Matthew 25:31). Jesus will come to rule and reign the title Son of Man will be His favorite once again.

Conclusion

Why did Jesus prefer to be called the Son of Man?

Some might think that the title Son of God refers to Jesus’ deity and Son of Man implies His humanity. However, the term Son of Man goes back to Daniel’s vision of a divine being who was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that shall not be destroyed and will be worshiped by all peoples, nations, and languages.

Son of Man is not merely a title for a human being. It is a title that belongs to God Himself and the religious leaders who were schooled in the Old Testament Scriptures knew exactly what Jesus was claiming for Himself.


Recommended Resource: Son of Man: The Gospel of Daniel 7 and Son of Man: The Apostles’ Gospel by Samuel Whitefield

Jesus never used the title Messiah publicly and, instead, referred to Himself as the Son of Man 78 times. Why?

Son of Man by Samuel Whitefield

The New Testament Gospels, as they are written, depend on Daniel 7. Jesus referenced this chapter far more than any other to reveal Himself as the divine Human and to declare His gospel.

Jesus’ first-century audience understood His message, but we have lost sight of the way Jesus presented His gospel. Our understanding of Jesus, our grasp of the biblical story, and our ability to clearly communicate the gospel have been seriously hindered by our not fully understanding one particular chapter in the Bible.

Daniel 7 is not just an end-time chapter. Based on Jesus’ words, Daniel 7 is a gospel-centered chapter and perhaps the premier summary of Jesus’ majesty.

If we do not know this chapter, we cannot fully grasp the gospel. Jesus commissioned us to carry the message found in this chapter to every people, but we cannot carry what we do not understand. Let Daniel open your eyes to the gospel as Jesus proclaimed it.

Did the apostles continue to use Daniel 7 as a foundation for their gospel? When we examine the New Testament carefully, we find something surprising: Daniel 7 was a framework the apostles repeatedly used to present the gospel of the kingdom.

View the apostles’ gospel through the lens of Daniel 7 in Son of Man: The Apostles’ Gospel, and rediscover the message that turned the world upside down.

What is the Biblical Definition of Repentance?

What is the Biblical Definition of Repentance?

A correct understanding of the doctrine of repentance is very important because it is one of the basics of the Christian faith. The author to the Hebrews said:

“So, let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely, we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God” (Hebrews 6:1 NLT).

This is why believers need to take time to study this subject.

Biblical Definition of Repentance

We hear so many definitions of the word repentance. But what does the Bible say? What is repentance according to the Bible?

In the New Testament, there are two different Greek verbs translated “repent,” each with a different meaning.

The first is the word metamelomai which means “a regret of past actions.” It has the idea of being sorry or a feeling of remorse for something that was done, but it does not necessarily result in a change of heart and action.

The second verb metanoia means “to change one’s mind as a result of after knowledge,” resulting in a complete change of attitude. It is important to note that when the Bible encourages believers to repent, what is being encouraged is this latter use of the Greek word “repent.”

What is the Biblical Meaning of Repentance

So, whenever we speak of “repentance,” i.e., the act of repenting, we are not speaking of being sorry for what we have done, or merely having a change of mind about our sins. Biblical repentance results in a complete shift of attitude toward God and our sins.

When John the Baptist preached repentance, he was basically telling the people that they needed to change their ways since the kingdom of God was at hand (Matthew 3:1-2). Luke also records Jesus telling the people they had to repent (Luke 13:3).

In Acts 20:21, repentance is defined as turning from sin and turning to God.

The Nature of True Repentance

Repentance is more than sorrow. Feeling sad or sorrowful does not necessarily mean that a person is repentant. Godly sorrow is what leads to repentance.

In his second letter to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NIV), Paul wrote:

“Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it, I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while, yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point, you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”

Repentance results from godly sorrow, which in turn leads to salvation and an actual change in direction.

True Repentance Brings about Regret.

Sinners who genuinely repent cause them to regret how they have acted in the past. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul said this:

“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death” (Romans 6:21)!

True Repentance Leads to Action.

To illustrate true repentance, Jesus used the story of one of the two sons who was asked by their father to work in their vineyard. At first, the lad refused but afterward, he changed his mind and went.

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went” (Matthew 21:28-29).

Jesus taught that true repentance is not merely feeling sorry for something that has been done; it has to be followed by actions.


True Repentance Causes Sinners to See Who They Really Are.

When we are genuinely repentant, we will have a new view of who we are. Let us take a look at some examples in the Bible.

Job

While Job was going through his suffering, he protested his innocence and righteousness. However, this changed when he came face-to-face with God:

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42: 5-6).

Isaiah

Isaiah, though he was a prophet of God, realized his true nature because he was confronted with the holiness of God. Isaiah saw himself for who he truly was in the presence of God.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5 NIV).

Peter

After Jesus performed the miracle of the Great Catch, Peter saw himself in a different light. He recognized his sinfulness in the presence of Jesus. We read about this in the Gospel of Luke:

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8).

The Thief on the Cross

The criminal who was next to Jesus on the cross is another example of true repentance. At first, he joined with the other criminal in taunting Jesus. However, he changed his attitude toward Jesus as well as to the other criminal who was crucified when he realized that the one being crucified next to him was the Messiah.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:39-41).

The thief had a change of heart and asked Jesus if He too could be part of God’s kingdom. In response, Jesus promised him that he would enter paradise with Him (Luke 23:42-43).

Judging by human standards, we may regard ourselves as decent and moral people. But when we compare ourselves to the living God, we will have an entirely different view of who we are.

As the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and reveals to us how it looks before a holy God, we begin to realize how terrible sin is. This understanding of sin causes in us a change in behavior – repentance.

True Repentance Does Not Always Manifest Itself in Emotion.

We often equate repentance to some emotion of sorrow or remorse but just because the repentant person shows little or no emotion does not mean he is not sincere. True repentance is not showing emotion for our past deeds, it is changing the way we act in the present.

In other words, the key is the change in behavior, not the emotion that is shown. A person who truly repents has determined that his or her life must change.

True repentance is not showing emotion for our past deeds; it is changing the way we act in the present.

True Repentance vs. False Repentance

What is the Biblical Definition of RepentanceThe difference between true repentance and false repentance (mere sorrow for sin) can be seen in the example of Peter and Judas.

Matthew records that when Peter realized he betrayed Jesus; he was sorry for his sins. But it did not stop there. He went outside and wept bitterly. There was genuine sorrow for his actions.

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:73-75).

Judas, on the other hand, decided to take his own life instead of coming to God in repentance. Matthew explained it in this manner:

“So, Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5).

Judas only had remorse for what he had done, he did not repent. There is a huge difference between the two.

Results of True and False Repentance

Using the same example as above, we read that after he repented, Peter was restored to fellowship. He received the forgiveness of the Lord and learned that repentance can restore us into a right relationship with the Lord.

Also, Peter was given the honor to preach the very first sermon for the church on the day of Pentecost. And in that sermon, Peter urged the people to do the same thing that he had done – repent.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

When Jesus rose from the dead on that Easter Sunday morning, Peter was found with the other disciples. He did not leave the company of believers, nor did he kill himself. He repented of what he had done and had returned to be with the other believers.

On the other hand, Judas only felt remorse. Instead of repenting and looking to godly people for support, he hanged himself. And according to the Scripture, Judas went to his appointed place of judgment, as explained in the Book of Acts:

“With the payment, he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood” (Acts 1:18-19)

These two men provide examples of what we as Christians should do and should not do when we sin. Peter showed us that we should not merely feel sorry for what we have done, but we should repent. We must own up to our sin, and have a determination to change our behavior. The Lord will then restore us to fellowship.

This is what genuine repentance is all about.

Closing Words

Biblical repentance does not merely involve feeling sorry or remorse for sin but also a change of mind and heart that leads to a change in action towards sin. To repent is to recognize that we have sinned and our sins are offensive to God.

We are to turn away from sin, turn to God, ask for forgiveness, and walk with God in obedience to His commands.

God is calling everyone to repentance. The focus of Christ’s mission was to call all sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32) and this call for absolute surrender goes out to all people (Luke 13:5).

Have you accepted the call?


Reference: Winning the Spiritual War by Don Stewart

Recommended Resource: Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel by Richard Owen Roberts

It is a serious problem when society misunderstands or disregards sin and repentance. But when the church neglects these doctrines, the impact is profound. This book unfolds the nature and necessity of biblical repentance, but for the church in particular.

Roberts’ in-depth study heavily references both he Old and New Testaments and includes chapters on the myths, maxims, marks, models, and motives of repentance, as well as the graces and fruits that accompany it. There is also a wise warning about the dangers of delayed repentance.

7 Marks of a True Prophet

7 Marks of a True Prophet

Anyone who loves to study Bible prophecy should get acquainted with the men and women that the Bible calls prophets and prophetesses. Who are they and how were they identified? Are prophets those strange people, wearing strange clothes, eating strange things, preaching strange sermons, and doing strange things that no one understands?

It was a great and distinct honor to be a prophet of the living God. That’s why there were so many false prophets in Israel. The prophets anointed kings, performed miracles, and predicted the future.

At the same time, a prophet’s assignment could also bring great danger, difficulty, and even death. As God’s mouthpiece and spokesman for predicting and previewing the future, the prophet was called to speak God’s uncompromising message to an often rebellious people, which frequently brought reproach, opposition, criticism, and even execution.

Throughout history, many people have claimed to be a prophet and made several predictions about the future. How do we distinguish between true prophets and false prophets? In this post, we will look at the 7 distinguishing marks of a true prophet

The Test of a Prophet

The true word and way of God have always been plagued by imitation and counterfeiters. For this reason, the Lord established a clear set of test questions a person had to pass to be received as a true spokesman for God.

Four main passages in the Old Testament deal with false prophets.

Deuteronomy 13:1-14

In this passage, Moses warns the people that there may arise from among them prophets or dreamers who could also accurately predict the future or produce a sign or a wonder. So, they must be careful and not believe them right away. Instead, they should allow God to bring confirmation as it would be unusual for God to speak alone through a dream without confirmation.

Deuteronomy 18:15-22

In this passage, Moses makes a distinction between a true and false prophet.

First, Moses tells the nation of Israel that the Lord God will raise up for them a (true) Prophet like him from their midst, from their brethren, and they should listen to Him for God will put His words in His mouth and will speak to them everything that God will command Him (Deuteronomy 18:15-19).

A false prophet on the other hand, who presumes to speak a word in God’s name, but speaks in the name of other gods shall die (Deuteronomy 18:20). How shall the people know he is a false prophet? If the thing that he speaks does not happen or come to pass, it means the Lord has not spoken through him (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

Jeremiah 23:9-40

This passage describes the pain inflicted on Jeremiah by the false prophets.

True prophets know how serious it is to be called by God to declare His word, and they accept the responsibility with fear and trembling. So, when they see self-styled prophets living like sinners, they grieve.

No wonder Jeremiah had a broken heart and trembled like a drunken man. He realized what the false prophets were doing to the people and the land, and it makes him sick. The false prophets were committing adultery and walking in lies.

Ezekiel 12:21-14:11

In Ezekiel 12:21-28, Ezekiel’s messages rang with the certainty and the nearness of God’s judgment on Jerusalem and the land of Judah. But the people were quoting a proverb that may have been devised by the false prophets to humiliate Ezekiel.

Because Ezekiel’s prophecies had not been fulfilled immediately the people started paying more attention to the false prophets than to the Word of God. The visions of the false prophets were false and misleading (Ezekiel 12:23).

In Chapter 13 of Ezekiel, God declared that the false prophets had spoken only lies and explained how He would judge them.


7 Distinguishing Marks of a True Prophet

In the above passages and many others, Scripture presents at least seven key distinguishing marks of a true prophet. These marks were not always present in every case, but certainly, in some cases they were.

However, for any follower of God who really wanted to know, there would have been no question who was a true prophet and who was false.

1. The true prophet never used divination, sorcery, or astrology.

See Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Ezekiel 12:24; Micah 3:7. The source of the prophet’s message was God Himself.

“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” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

2. The true prophet never tailored the message to cater to the desires of the people.

See Jeremiah 8:11; 28:8; Ezekiel 13:10.

The false prophets, or “pillow prophets” as some have described them, spoke the message that would bring them popularity and money. They were the “Fortune 500” prophets, the religious opportunists (see Micah 3:5-6, 11).

The true prophet spoke God’s unadulterated message regardless of personal loss, shame, and even physical harm.

3. The true prophet maintained personal integrity and character.

See Isaiah 28:7; Jeremiah 23:11; Hosea 9:7-9; Micah 3:5, 11; Zephaniah 3:4.

Jesus said that true and false prophets will be known by their fruits, that is, by what they do and say (see Matthew 7:15-20).

4. The true prophet was willing to suffer for the sake of the message.

When the prophet Micaiah, son of Imlah, prophesied the defeat of Ahab and Jehoshaphat, he was put in prison and was given nothing but bread and water (1 Kings 22:27-28).

Jeremiah was cast into the dungeon of Malchiah the king’s son when he declared the Word of the Lord saying, “Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live” (Jeremiah 38:4-13).

5. The true prophet announced a message that was consistent with the Law and the messages of other true prophets.

See Jeremiah 26:17-19.

The true prophet’s message must neither contradict nor disagree with the previous revelation of truth, but rather should confirm and build upon that body of truth (see Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

6. The true prophet, when predicting future events, had a 100 percent success rate.

See Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

Unlike the modern psychics, 25 percent (or even 99 percent) was not good enough! If alleged prophets were not 100 percent accurate, the people were to take them outside the city to stone them to death (see Deuteronomy 18:20).

7. The true prophet sometimes had the message authenticated by a miracle.

See Exodus chapter 5 to 12.

This test was not conclusive evidence, however, because false prophets also produced miracles on occasion (see Exodus 7:10-12; 8:5-7; Mark 13:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). Therefore, Moses added further aspects to this test in Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

The true test is the content of the message, not miracles. The true prophet spoke only in the name of the Lord and called people closer to God, not away from God.

Conclusion

As the saying goes, prophets were both foretellers and forth tellers. Although they are usually thought of as being announcers of the future, they spent most of their time proclaiming God’s words about the age in which they themselves lived.

But as the prophets delivered God’s message about the present, it naturally spilled over into the future as they threatened punishment or promised blessing.

Do prophets exist today?

There may not appear prophets today as in the Old and New Testament periods. However, it must be noted that God can still speak through people in whatever way He chooses to reveal certain information at certain times. And this information will not contradict what God has already revealed about Himself in His written word, the Bible.


Reference: The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days by Mark Hitchcock

The End by Mark HitchcockThe end times have seen a great amount of interest in the last two decades, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive overview of biblical prophecy and eschatology for more than five decades.

Mark Hitchcock’s book is a comprehensive resource for the twenty-first century. The End will do for eschatology what Randy Alcorn’s Heaven did for people’s understanding of heaven. It provides a solid biblical foundation for Christians to explore the essential truths around the topic of the end of the world.

The End lays out Biblical prophecy in a clear and understandable way explaining how to interpret Bible prophecy, pointing out key passages, events, and characters. It also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the different views on the Rapture, the Millennium, and the chronology of end-times events.