Category: Christian Living

Judging Your Brother in Faith

Judging Your Brother in Faith

Do you know of any brother or sister in Christ who only eats vegetables? What could be the reason behind it? More importantly, how do you feel about it or your reaction to it? Perhaps you know some Christians who consider one day more sacred than the other while you consider every day alike.

Do you condemn or judge them for their weak faith?

Bible Verses: Romans 14:10-14

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Condemning the Weak Believers

The whole chapter of Romans 14 is talking about Christian liberty and unity. Paul addresses those who were strong in the faith, that is, those who understood their spiritual liberty in Christ and were not enslaved to diets or holy days.

Who are the weak believers? The “weak in faith” were immature believers who felt obligated to obey legalistic rules concerning what they ate and when they worshiped. Many people have the idea that the Christians who follow strict rules are the most mature, but this is not necessarily the case.

Romans 14:1

We don’t have the responsibility to decide the requirements for Christian fellowship in a church, only God can do this. To set up human restrictions, based on personal prejudices (or even convictions) is to go beyond the Word of God. We receive one another because God has received us (Romans 14:1-3).

Our first responsibility is to the Lord (Romans 14:8). If Christians would go to the Lord in prayer instead of going to their brother or sister with criticism or condemnation, the fellowship in churches would be stronger. See also John 21:15-25.

Every church has weak and strong believers. The strong understand spiritual truth and practice it, but the weak have not yet grown into that level of maturity and liberty. The weak must not condemn the strong and call them unspiritual. The strong must not despise the weak and call them immature.

God has received both the weak and the strong; therefore they should receive one another (Romans 14:12).

Do Not Judge Your Brother; Love Them Instead

The first part of Romans 14:13 admonishes us to stop judging one another. But if we stop with this, we might give the impression that Christians should leave each other alone and let the weak remain weak. But the second admonition explains things further.

The emphasis is not on master-servant but a fellow believer. It is the principle of brotherly love. If we love each other we will seek to edify each other and build each other up in the faith (Romans 14:19). In the succeeding verses of Romans 14, Paul shared several facts to help his readers help their brothers.

Stop judging your brother in faith. Stop condemning the weak believers.

In the meantime, we must help each other grow. All believers, strong and weak, need to grow. Strong believers need to grow in love; weak believers need to grow in knowledge. So long as a fellow believer is weak in the faith, we must lovingly deal with that person in his or her immaturity.

But if we really love the weaker believer, we will help them to grow. For a Christian to remain immature, having a weak conscience is wrong.

Unity Does Not Always Mean Uniformity

If you have been following the late Dr. Ravi Zacharias, you should be familiar with the phrase, “Unity does not always mean uniformity.” He always used this every time he had to deal with the question of the differences in minor theology among Christian denominations.

Paul is telling us the same thing in Romans 14. Sure, God wants us (and expects us) to set standards in our lives. Sometimes those standards will be different from other Christians and there is actually nothing wrong with that.

God does not want unity based on conformity. God does not want Christians to live by a set of rules given by their pastor. This then results in Christians having different standards in many different areas.

However, disputes arise when believers start judging other believers for having stronger standards. In Romans 14:10, God is telling us, “Don’t worry about what other Christians are doing.” In other words, how they live their Christian life is none of your business. At the end of the day, we will all stand before Jesus to give an account of ourselves. You are not responsible for them.

This is actually what I use to completely ignore what other Christians are doing. All I’m saying is, don’t get all offended over what people do. You are not their judge so stop acting like one. Romans 14:14 implies that God has given all Christians the liberty to decide what standards they want to have. Thus, we must be convinced of the standards we set for ourselves.

Closing Words

If you do not know yet the standards you should live by, go figure. Nothing is inherently wrong, but if you believe Christian rock music is wrong and drinking alcohol is wrong, then don’t do it. You are responsible for your own actions.

We will all give an account of the way we lived our lives. On that day, we won’t have time to look at everyone else. Are you prepared to stand before God?


Get a copy of my devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you? In Life According to the Truth, disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman, honestly writes to the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

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.


Why did God Test Abraham’s Faith?

Why did God Test Abraham’s Faith?

We often hear many believers in Jesus say that trials are part of the Christian life. And most of the time they quote James 1:2, the story of Job, the temptation of our Lord (Matthew 4:1-11), and of course the classic example of God testing Abraham’s faith.

Genesis 22:1-24 records the greatest test that Abraham ever faced. But why did God test Abraham? Although the passage presents a beautiful picture of our Lord’s sacrifice at Calvary, the main lesson is obedient faith that overcomes in the trials of life.

Abraham eventually became known as the father of faith as a result of believing God’s promise despite the impossible circumstances.

Bible Verse: Genesis 22:1-2

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Trials vs. Temptations

As I said earlier, trials are different from temptations and we need to learn how to distinguish between the two.

Temptations come from our desires within us (James 1:12-16) while trials come from the Lord who has a special purpose to fulfill. Temptations are used by the devil to bring out the worst in us but trials are used by the Holy Spirit to bring out the best in us (James 1:1-6).

Temptations seem logical while trials seem very unreasonable.

Why did God Test Abraham's Faith

God Tests Abraham’s Faith

In Genesis 22:1-2, we read God asking Abraham to go out early the next day to Mount Moriah with his son Isaac and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering. Why would God give Abraham a son and then ask Abraham to kill him?

So, let me get this straight. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. What? Consider how unreasonable God’s request was. Isaac was Abraham’s only son, and the future of the covenant rested in him. Isaac was a miracle child, the gift of God to Abraham and Sarah in response to their faith. Abraham and Sarah loved Isaac very much and had built their whole future around him.

When God asked Abraham to offer his son, He was testing Abraham’s faith, hope, and love, and it looked like God was wiping out everything Abraham and Sarah had lived for.

Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Will Provide

Two statements reveal the emphasis of the passage: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8), and “Yahweh-Yireh” which means, “The Lord will see to it,” that is, “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14).

As he climbed Mount Moriah with his son, Abraham was confident that God would meet every need. Abraham could depend on the promise and provision of the Lord. He had already experienced the resurrection power of God in his own body (Romans 4:19-21), so he knew that God could raise Isaac from the dead of that was His plan.

Apparently, no resurrection had taken place before that time, so Abraham was exercising great faith in God. According to Ephesians 1:19-20 and Ephesians 3:20-21, believers today have Christ’s resurrection power available in their own bodies as they yield to the Spirit of God.

We can know “the mighty power that raised Him from the dead” (Philippians 3:10 NLT) as we face the daily demands and trials of life.

In times of testing, it is easy to think only about our needs and our burdens; instead, we should be focusing on bringing glory to Jesus Christ. We find ourselves asking, “How can I get out of this?” instead of “What can I get out of this that will honor the Lord?”

Isaac, a Type of Christ

If ever two suffering people revealed Jesus Christ, it was Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. Their experience is a picture of the Father and the Son and the cross and is one of the most beautiful types of Christ found anywhere in the Old Testament.

Jesus said to the Jews, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). In Isaac’s miraculous birth, Abraham saw the day of Christ’s birth, and in Isaac’s marriage (Genesis 24:1-67), he saw the day of Christ’s coming for His bride. But on Mount Moriah, when Isaac willingly put himself on the altar, Abraham saw the day of Christ’s death and resurrection.

We sometimes waste our trials and sufferings by neglecting or ignoring opportunities to reveal Jesus Christ to others who are watching us go through the furnace. But we make good use of difficulties by developing Abraham’s attitude, “God will provide.”

Trusting God means we keep moving forward even though we don’t know exactly how things will turn out. The outcome we leave in God’s hands.


Bottom Line

The greatest thing that can happen as we experience the trials that God sends is that we grow closer to our Father and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Calvary is not only the place where Jesus died for our sins, but it is also the place where He sanctified suffering and, by His resurrection transformed suffering into glory.

Every experience that God allows into our lives comes with the possibility of glory for God. He can take those times we find unspeakable and make them fountains of praise to Him. But we can’t see this until after we have trusted and obeyed, the same way Abraham did.

Let us then seek to glorify the Lord even when God tests our faith by bringing us trials, and He will do the rest.

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.

Sowing in Tears, Reaping in Joy

Sowing in Tears, Reaping in Joy

The Christian life is likened to a journey where there would be good times and bad times. So if you expected a comfortable, easy life the day you made a life-changing decision to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you’re definitely in for a big surprise.

While the joy that fills one’s heart when he or she receives God’s forgiveness and assurance of eternal life is so real, we need to remember that oftentimes that great joy is preceded by a season of tears. As Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

The Amazing Work of God

Psalm 126:1-6 with the title “A Song of Ascents,” thought to be composed after the Babylonian exile in gratitude for God’s restoration, is the seventh in the series of fifteen songs for pilgrims coming to Jerusalem.

When Israel’s rebellion became so great that the land itself was being defiled, God took them out of the land and sent them to Babylon for seventy years. After they had been set free, they could not believe what was happening.

They knew that both Isaiah and Jeremiah had promised this “second exodus,” but it was too good to be true. During long years of waiting, they had dreamed of returning home, and now that dream had become a reality. God in His grace had forgiven them (Isaiah 40:1-2; 44:21-22) and they could make a new beginning.

The surrounding nations, some of whom hated Israel, were utterly astonished at this event and openly confessed that the God of Israel had done great things for them. The Jews replied that indeed He had done amazing works for them, and they give God the glory (Psalm 16:2-3).

This ought to be the confession of every Christian and every local church.

Sowing Tears Reaping Joy

God’s Principle of Sowing and Reaping

In His covenant, God gave the promise of adequate food for the people (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), and the people who were planting seeds, were claiming that promise. It pleases the Lord when we water with our tears the seed of the Word that we sow. We cannot reap if we do not first sow the seed, and the seed must be watered with our tears and our prayers.

Some blessings God sends suddenly (Psalm 126:4), and some come as we patiently sow and weep (James 5:7). But His promise is secure so “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

God is Faithful in Keeping His Promises

If the Lord did not keep His covenant and send the early and latter rains, there would be no crops and their labors would have been in vain. Each raindrop was but a tiny thing, but when dropped on the earth, it was the promise of life.

How gracious of the Lord to send “showers of blessings” (Ezekiel 34:26) to His people. How important it is that God’s people pray for His blessing and prepare themselves to receive it.

Application for Christians Today

Even in the Old Testament, the gospel was already present. The gospel is the seed that we plant in men’s hearts. It is also true that some seed takes more time to sprout than others, but the principle laid out in Psalm 26:5-6 is still true today.

God also gives you the credit for working hard to see the seeds produce. That is what it means when it says “bringing his sheaves.” When we cry and put large amounts of effort into individuals to get saved or to grow spiritually, God will reward that hard work.

Shouldn’t we be more motivated to know the gospel and Bible better and always ready to share when the opportunity shows itself?


Get my devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Michael Heilman's Devotional Book

Publisher’s Description

Do you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you? In Life According to the Truth, Disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman, honestly writes to the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study you will be enlightened in regards to:
Why God must be the key focus of your life.
How to love God.
How to love others.
How to discern God’s will for your life.
How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ.

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant Joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

The 3 Levels of Heaven

The 3 Levels of Heaven

In the previous article, “Is Heaven a Real Place,” someone posted a comment asking how many heavens are there and who lives in each of them. I say his question is valid because Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Heavens must mean more than one, right?

But instead of writing a long response to the commenter’s question, I decided to write an article about the 3 levels of heaven and look at the various Scripture references supporting the idea of more than one heaven.

Jesus Passed through the Heavens

Hebrews 4:14 says, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”

The fact that Jesus “passed through the heavens” seems to give evidence that there is more than one heaven.

Another translation puts it this way: “We need to hold on to our declaration of faith: We have a superior chief priest who has gone through the heavens. That person is Jesus, the Son of God” (God’s Word).

Consequently, the reference to plural “heavens,” seems to refer to more than one “heaven.”

The Third Heaven

The Bible specifically refers to the third heaven. In 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul refers to himself in the third person when he said, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was caught up to the third heaven.”

So, if there is a third heaven it seems there must also be a first and second heaven.

What are the 3 Heavens

The 3 Levels of Heaven Explained

It is important to note that the term “heaven” is not used symbolically in Scripture; instead, it usually refers to one of three realms.

The three heavens are divided as follows:

1. Our immediate atmosphere

2. Outer space (the sun, moon, and stars)

3. The home of God

The Atmospheric Heaven – The First Heaven

The first heaven is linked to what we call the “atmospheric heaven.” This includes the air that we breathe as well as the space that immediately surrounds the earth. The technical term for this is the “troposphere.” It extends about twenty miles above the earth. The space above this is called the “stratosphere.”

The Bible uses the term heaven to describe this area in Genesis 6:7.

So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

In this passage, the “birds of the air” are the “birds of heaven.” The Hebrew word used here is the same word, in other contexts used of the presence of God, heaven.

Jesus also spoke of the “birds of the air” or the “birds of the sky” in the Sermon on the Mount. “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they” (Matthew 6:26)?

The word translated “air” is ouranos, the same Greek word that is elsewhere translated “heaven.” Thus, the word can mean heaven, sky, or air. It all depends upon the context.

Another example of this use of the term can be found in James 5:18. In this verse, we are told that the “heaven gave rain.” It is the sky, the first heaven, which gave rain. Therefore, Scripture often uses the term heaven in the same way as we would use the word “sky.”

The Celestial Heaven – The Second Heaven

The term heaven is also used of what we call the celestial heaven, known as the “second heaven.” This use of the term heaven refers to outer space or the stellar heaven. It includes the sun, moon, and stars.

We find this use of the term in the words of our Lord Jesus when He describes coming events. He said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29).

The stars are said to be “in heaven” or “in the sky.”

Deuteronomy 10:14 also speaks of heavenly spheres which beyond that is visible from the earth. “Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.”

The psalmist also wrote about this heaven of heavens when he said, “Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens” (Psalm 148:4)!

Therefore, there seems to be a second heaven, a celestial heaven.

Heaven, God’s Dwelling Place – The Third Heaven

The Bible is clear that God cannot be limited to any one geographical place. At the dedication of the first temple in the city of Jerusalem, King Solomon asked the following question when praying to the Lord:

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built” (1 Kings 8:27)!

King Solomon realized that the Lord was not limited to that one particular place. Indeed, the entire universe cannot contain Him.

Yet, Scripture also teaches us that there is a certain geographical place where God’s presence resides in some unique sense. It is also designated heaven. The writer to the Hebrews said, “Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1).

God’s throne is spoken of as residing somewhere – heaven.

Quote about Heaven

Heaven is God’s Presence

When Stephen was being stoned to death, he knew that he was going to a specific place and that would be in the presence of the Lord (Acts 7:55). While God does not reside in one particular area, there is a place where His presence dwells in a unique way. And Stephen was allowed to see that place as he was nearing death.

We also read this in Hebrews 9:24, “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”

Although the exact location of the abode of God is not revealed in Scripture, it is spoken of as being above the first and second heavens.

Heaven is an Actual Place

We can conclude that that there is such a specific place as third heaven. And since the first two heavens are actual places we should also conclude that a third heaven is also a real place. There is no reason to assume it is symbolic especially since the first two heavens are speaking of known realities.

But then again, while the Lord is not limited to this third heaven, in some special way He has a place there. This is the clear teaching of the Bible on the subject.

Conclusion

Heaven may be beyond the limits of our vision and many people do regard it as merely a sphere of life, or a state of independent locality. But heaven is a real place – the three levels of heaven are actual places.

The first heaven is the immediate atmosphere above us, the second heaven is the place where the sun, moon, and stars exist, and the third heaven is God’s dwelling place. And someday we will be in the third heaven too. The Bible says we are citizens of heaven living as strangers and pilgrims on this foreign land (Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 2:11).

But while we wait for our Lord to come back for us and take us to our native home, we are to live heavenly lives here on earth.


Reference: Heaven, the final Destination of Believers by Don Stewart

Recommended Resource: Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths about Your Eternal Home

If any of us learned we were going to move to a foreign country, we’d do everything we could to learn about that place so that we’d be prepared when moving day arrived. As Christians, we know some day we will leave our familiar country and be united with God in heaven. And yet many of us know very little about this place called heaven.

In this enlightening book, bestselling author Dr. Robert Jeffress opens the Scriptures to unpack ten surprising truths about heaven and explain who we will see there and how we can prepare to go there someday.

Perfect for believers or skeptics who are curious about heaven.

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).

The Christian’s Spiritual Blessings

The Christian’s Spiritual Blessings

In the society or community, we are identified by our given names as well as our family names. On the one hand, it is a prestige to bear the family name of the famous, the rich, the influential, the powerful, and perhaps the heroic.

On the other hand, it is a shame to bear the identity of the fugitive, the criminals, the terrorists, the violent, or the unwanted. People are either looked-up to or looked down on based on their status in life, regardless of their moral or financial position in life.

Identity is the way you think of yourself and the way the rest of the world sees you. In short, it defines who you are.

Who are the Children of God?

When I was a young Christian, I thought that all people, being created by God are all called God’s children. However, as I matured in my relationship with the Almighty, I have learned through His Word that only those who received and believe in Him were given the right to become children of God (John 1:11-13).

We become children of God not because of any merit we earned; not because of our earthly father’s choice but because of God. We become His adopted sons and daughters when we are born again in spirit.

As the Word says, those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God (Romans 8:14). Well, in this world, there are only two choices. If you are not led by the Spirit of God, then you are led by the spirit of darkness. And if you are not with Him, then you are against Him (Matthew 12:30).

John 1:12

For a Christian who received and believed in Jesus Christ, there could never be anything more precious than being identified as a “Child of God.” It is all because of His mercy, greatness, and grace that we were given the right to become children of God. It is not because we chose Him but because He has chosen us.

It could never be more prestigious than such! Unfortunately, we sometimes underrate the blessings of being such a child of God. Many Christians due to their innocence in the true Word of God limit their identity in Jesus to be just like the rest of this world which is not what God planned for us.

Certainly, to be identified as a child of God brings many blessings and calls for many responsibilities. With this, let us unfold a few of the blessings we receive just because of His great love for us.

Because of the greatness of God, we were brought to be:

Complete in Christ

As Christians, we are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10) and not because of human merit. We are complete and it is all because of Jesus and for all that He has done on the cross.

In this spiritual warfare, we are complete because we have Jesus and we shall not lack anything nor need anyone else. No religion, ceremony, ritual, tradition, custom, or legality in any form is needed to complete His work. We need no further additions or deletions.

Jesus’ death and resurrection were more than enough. As stated in John 19:30, “It is finished.” We have been made complete to salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

So now, we can live in glory because the One who promised, the one in whom we believe, keeps His promises (Hebrews 10:23).

Heirs of God and Co-heirs with Christ

The privileges of being an heir of our earthly parents’ wealth, bring inexplicable joy especially if it is least expected. What more joy can it bring to be an heir of our heavenly Father, not of material things but the glorious everlasting life even if we do not deserve it at all!

While the highest glory only belongs to God, through Christ He made us heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). The route to this heir-ship is open to all but is only received by those who accepted and believed in Him. However, the route to heir-ship has some demands that are in no way light and easy.

And that is, one needs to share with His sufferings so He can also share as a co-heir to His glory.

The inheritance that is given to us, unlike our inheritance from our earthly parents is imperishable. It does not rot and does not need to be replenished. It is an inheritance prepared and kept in heaven just for us (1 Peter 1:3-5).

And because we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, we are highly blessed and greatly favored in many ways.

In our daily walks in life, we encounter unexpected favors that we cannot imagine. All these do not happen coincidentally but intentionally and freely given to us by no other than our Father in heaven through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Are you not overwhelmed with this?

Finding Your Identity in Christ Quote from Overcomer 2019 Movie

Innocent before God

Because of the sin that separated God and man, it took heaven’s dearest to take the blame so that we can be declared innocent in the eyes of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

He took our place on the cross that we may have eternal life in the heavenly realms. By His mercy and love, He took from us something we deserve, and by His grace, replaced it with something we do not deserve at all. We deserve the sure punishment in the flames of hell but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23)

No one is righteous but by the grace of Christ, we have become the righteousness of God. By receiving Him, we become children of God. We have been saved from guaranteed destruction. By His grace we are justified freely (Romans 3:24) and He polished us into a new creation in Christ Jesus.

God withheld the punishment for our sins in the past until the time that He sent Christ as an offering for the forgiveness of our sins. It is because Jesus has taken our place that we no longer are to be condemned (Romans 8:1).

Because of Christ, we are now free from condemnation. We were dead but now we are alive in Christ.

Loved Unconditionally

God knew us from the start. He knows us so well that He even knows the number of our hair (Luke 12:7, Matthew 10:30). While we did not even know Him and while we were wallowing in sin, God already showed His love for us by giving His only son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

God did not mind what we are, who we are, and what wrongful things we’ve done. He has forgiven our sins and He loves us unconditionally (Romans 5:8). The love of the Father is so great that He loves to call us his children (1 John 3:1).

Indeed, the Lord loved us long before we even knew Him and He remains faithfully loving us, no matter what. Until when will God love us? Until eternity! (Psalm 136:1)

Destined to be with God throughout Eternity

It is God’s special purpose to have us be called His own through Jesus Christ. That is why heaven rejoices for every soul that receives Jesus as their Savior. It gives Him great pleasure to bring us to His own family (Ephesians 1:5)

As the apostle Paul said, everything we do from now on, founded on the hope of our eternal life, would not mean anything had Jesus not risen from the dead and we could have been the most pitied people in this world (1 Corinthians 15:19). But because He is faithful in keeping His promises to us, His children, we look forward to that day when He will come back to take us to be with Him.

Jesus promised that He would go ahead of us to prepare a place for us (John 14:2-3). Are we really going to have physical mansions within our Father’s house? Will it be a huge one? Or will it be a room within a house? We can only answer that when we get there.

But one thing is certain; if it is a “place” prepared by Jesus for me, it will be extra special. Whether it be a mansion or a green pasture in the field, it will be a glorious one because I will be living in eternity with God! This is the joy and glory of being a child of God!


In summary, it is all because of the greatness of God that we were brought to be:

Ccomplete in Christ

H – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ

Iinnocent before God

L – loved unconditionally &

Ddestined to be with God throughout eternity

Conclusion

Because of God’s grace and mercy, we receive the right to become children of God. It is the greatest blessing to be redeemed and be called a child of God. It gives us the authority to sit on heavenly realms but this also brings responsibility to each one of us.

As children of God, we bear His image and we become the light of this world. Let us all be encouraged to keep our light shining brightly so that others who are still in darkness may also come into the light.


Recommended Resource: Overcomer 2019 Movie (DVD)

From the creators of the #1 box-office hit War Room.

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) after he loses his basketball team and is challenged by the school’s principal, Olivia (Priscilla Shirer), to coach a new sport he doesn’t know or like.

As John questions his own worth, he dares to help the least likely runner take on the biggest race of the year. Filled with a powerful mix of faith, humor, and heart, this inspirational story will have you on the edge of your seat.

Here’s the official trailer: