Category: Doctrines

Appointed to Die Once

Appointed to Die Once

One reality that nobody could escape is death. The Bible says we are all appointed to die once and after that the judgment. There comes a time when Christians and non-Christians alike will give an account to God on how they lived.

Bible Verse: Hebrews 9:27

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”

I used to hear people ask, “What is something you know but at the same time you do not know.”

Tricky question, isn’t it? Think about it; you know for certain it will happen but you don’t know exactly when.

Psalm 90:10, NIV

Death and Judgment

To die once is a general rule for all mankind. There have been very rare exceptions. For instance, Lazarus died twice (John 11:43-44). Those, like Lazarus, who was raised from the dead by a miraculous act, died a second time.

Another exception will be those who don’t die even once, but who will be caught up at the Rapture  (1Thessalonians 4:17). Then there’s Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) who did not die but were taken up alive.

The word judgment is a general term encompassing the judgment of all people; believers and unbelievers. Those who are in Christ will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). Unbelievers, on the other hand, will face God at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).

The Uncertainty of Life

How many people know when they will die? Some die in an accident. Others die from a long-drawn-out illness. Still, others have their life taken from them.

Nobody knows how long we will live on this earth, hence the reason why life is uncertain. We do not know what a day will bring.

In James 4:14, the Lord’s brother exposes the presumptuous folly of the practical atheists he condemned. These people thought they knew what the future holds for them. But it’s God alone who knows what will happen tomorrow or the day after.

When James said, “life is like a vapor,” he is referring to either a puff of smoke or one’s breath that appears for a moment in cold air. It stresses the transitory nature of life. See James 1:10; Job 7:6-7; 9:25-26; 14:1-2; Psalm 39:5, 11; 62:9; 89:47; 90:5-6, 10.

James 4:14, NKJV

Preparing for Eternity

Are you prepared for eternity? How many people are prepared to meet God?

Since there is nothing more sure than death and taxes, how are you preparing for eternity? Or are you just wasting your time?

Every person has a finite amount of time. So, use it wisely. Don’t use your time to glorify yourself. Rather, use it to glorify God. God wants His creation to glorify Him. Sadly, most people in this world want to do their own thing.

Hence, the consequence of disobeying God is found in Hebrew 9:27.

No two people indeed disobey God the same way, but that does not mean anyone is good compared to God. Jesus said in Matthew 19:17 that none is inherently good except God. We are all sinners before God, hence the reason why we all face judgment after we die.

Have you taken care of that sin debt before God by repenting and asking for forgiveness through the finished payment of Jesus Christ? If not, why not now?

Closing Words

For those of us that are saved, are you spreading this glorious news that Jesus came to save sinners? Are we using our finite amount of time to glorify ourselves or God?

Jesus is coming. Can you honestly say that you are prepared to meet Him? Romans 12:1-2 says we are to sacrifice our will to do God’s will; are doing just that?

Too many Christians look at salvation as fire insurance rather than a lifestyle change. When we glorify ourselves over glorifying God, we are acting just like unbelievers.

Do you believe that is what God wants for us? Absolutely not! Jesus died to make us new as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says. Are we living like that is true?


Recommended Resource: 

Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying, and Eternal Life by Gary Black Jr.

Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying, and Eternal Life by Gary Black Jr.In his acclaimed books, renowned writer, speaker, and philosophy professor Dallas Willard explored the nature of Christian life in God’s Kingdom.

Yet one topic remained undisclosed: Willard’s understanding of heaven and eternal life. In the months before his death, Willard engaged in moving and insightful conversations about the meaning of life and the life to come with close friend and theologian Gary Black Jr.

These inspiring dialogues were steeped in biblical theology as well as practical wisdom grounded in the here-and-now.

In, Preparing for Heaven, Black reveals not only Willard’s profound and liberating vision of life after death, but he also deftly unpacks the implications these realities hold for our lives today.

Black shows how Willard understood our mortal lives as preparation for what comes next—that death is not the end of one life and the beginning of another, but rather a transition through which we continue the transformational work begun on Earth.

Informative, challenging, and poignant, Willard and Black’s conversations and insights challenge us to reconsider our beliefs—that perhaps the line separating the afterlife from this life is not as absolute as we think, and that there is work to be done both now and in the glorious life to come.

As a result, we will find that our faith is more vibrant—and eternal—than we have dared to imagine.

How Important is the Trinity Doctrine?

How Important is the Trinity Doctrine?

The Doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most attacked in Christianity. Opponents insist that anyone who believes in a three-in-one God violates the first commandment of Moses (Exodus 20:1-3).

Needless to say, the biblical teaching of a triune God is also of the greatest importance. For many centuries, Bible scholars and theologians have made serious claims in support of the Trinity. They held to the view that the one true God exists in three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Belief in a Triune God

Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant branches of the church all agree that the Doctrine of the Trinity is firmly grounded in Scripture. They all agree that the teaching of a three-in-one God is consistent with the trail of Old Testament evidence of the same doctrine.

In the Old Testament, although there are strong implications that God is one, He is not a solitary Being. For instance, writers of the OT often use language that makes us think of plurality within this unity.

2,570 times in the Old Testament, the word translated “God” is Elohim which is a plural term. Except in five instances, the word refers to the one God who is the Creator, Master, and Sustainer of everything.

John 14:7

Sometimes, God used a plural pronoun when speaking of Himself (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 3:22). Moses, in declaring that God is one, used the same word he had employed to describe the “one flesh” relationship of a man and his wife. (See Deuteronomy 6:4 and Genesis 2:24.)

The word one in Deuteronomy 6:4 allows the idea of a plurality of Persons within the unity of the Godhead. Thus, we see that both the Old and New Testaments give us reason to believe that one can be more than one.

This may be beyond our ability to fully understand, but not a reason to reject it.

God is One, Not Three

It is clear from the Scriptures that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. That each has a distinct personality. Does that add up to three Gods? You may say yes if you’re working with mathematics or thinking of three separate people.

However, we are dealing with a God who is revealed in the Bible as one God, who has existed eternally as three distinct Persons. We must emphasize that God is one Being, not three. Therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three separate Gods, but three separate Persons.

As distinct Persons, each functions in His own unique manner. Each Person is self-conscious and self-directing. Yet, not one of them ever acts independently of the others or in opposition to them. Their minds, wills, and emotions are in perfect unity.

The distinction between the three Persons in the Godhead was evident at the time of Christ’s baptism (Matthew 3:16-17). We see the Son coming up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove, and the Father speaking from heaven.

Jesus also affirmed the Trinity when He commanded His disciples to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Explaining the Trinity

I have heard a lot of illustrations to explain the Trinity. Some people use egg and say, “The yolk, the white, and the shell make up the egg. See, it’s three-in-one!” Others may say that water can exist as ice, liquid, and steam. But in any form, it is just water. There’s your three-in-one!

There could be more illustrations, like a minister being a father to his children, a husband to his wife, and a pastor to his church. But I’d say this is the worst illustration. Why? It’s because this is a repetition of the hearsay that the triune God is just three manifestations of the way God works.

These analogies add little light to the subject of the Trinity. At best, they may only reflect the three-in-oneness of the Creator.

The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? Paperback – June 1, 2009

Does It Matter?

Why do many people put so much emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity? What difference does it make whether a person believes in it or not? If a person has placed his faith in the risen Savior, isn’t that faith adequate for salvation?

The Trinity is one of the most basic and life-related teachings of the Bible; no Christian should underscore its importance.

Let us take the most well-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Anyone who does not believe in the Trinity would have to say that in this verse, God sent His first created being to die so that we might be saved. You may ask, “What’s the big deal with that?” If this was so, then what God did was nothing more than sending one of His creatures to save others.

On the other hand, if you believe in the Trinity, you will accept John 3:16 as a declaration of a breathtaking truth. That God loves us so much that He, in the person of the Son, came to share our pain and provide salvation at a great cost. This in effect, makes Calvary the supreme manifestation of God’s love and holiness.

The Triune God Shared Our Pain

We often put a great deal on what Jesus suffered on the cross. But what about the Father and the Holy Spirit?

Imagine the pain that a mother and father suffer as they watch their child endure pain and suffering. The relationship of the Persons within the Godhead is closer than that of family members. So, how can the Father and the Holy Spirit not be affected by the suffering of the Son?

The Godhead has shared, and still shares, the pain of His creatures. He chose to create and give His moral creatures the freedom to sin that brought pain and death into this world. Yet, He chose to share in our suffering and sorrow.

Aren’t you grateful that we serve a God who, in Christ, suffered for us? God conquered death for us; He understands our pain. Here’s more great news – what Christ did will someday bring all of God’s children into a world without suffering, tears, or death.

Final Words

We may never comprehend God fully because He’s incomprehensible. God is so different from us and so awesomely great. But He is knowable.

The God who exists eternally in three Persons has reached down to us. He has made Himself known to people during the past ages by supernatural appearances and audible speech. But then, 2,000 years ago, God made Himself known to us in the Person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2).

You and I can know God by looking to Jesus and believing in Him. In many passages in the Bible, Jesus tells us that He came to make known the Father to us. Jesus said that anyone who knows Him will know the Father as well (John 14:7). He also said that He came to do the will of the Father who sent Him (John 6:38).

Let us pay attention to the words of our Lord and set ourselves to obey Him. After all, Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).


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Recommended Resource:

Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves

Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves Why is God love? Because God is a Trinity.

And why can we be saved? Because God is a Trinity.

How are we able to live the Christian life? Through the Trinity.

In this lively book, we find an introduction to Christianity and the Christian life that is from start to finish rooted in our triune God―Father, Son, and Spirit.

Not only do we understand the person and work of Christ through the Trinity, but also prayer, the church, and every aspect of our faith.

With wit and clarity, Reeves draws from church history down to the present referencing a wide range of notable teachers and preachers.

Here is a rich and enjoyable portrayal of the basic beliefs of Christianity that opens up the profound and life-changing truths of our faith.

What is Biblical Marriage?

What is Biblical Marriage?

Marriage as God instituted it is falling apart. The state has abandoned biblical marriage and redefined it to mean almost anything. Divorce and adultery are rampant.

Men objectify women by using women for sex. Women objectify themselves. Human trafficking and pornography are ruining relationships and the heart attitude of pride is just in the way.

So few people believe they have personal problems that are affecting their marriages.

Now, more than ever, we need to go back to the biblical definition of marriage.

What Constitutes a Biblical Marriage?

Bible Passage: Ephesians 5:25-33 (NKJV)

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

The Husband Must Love His Wife

Although the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), it is his responsibility to love his wife. He must love her with the same unreserved, selfless, and sacrificial love that Christ has for His church.

Christ gave everything He had, including His own life, for the sake of His bride, the church. This is the standard of sacrifice for a husband’s love for His wife (Colossians 3:19).

Also, the husband must love his wife as his own body. This is one of the most poignant and compelling descriptions of the oneness that should characterize Christian marriage.

The believing husband is to care for his wife with the same devotion that he naturally manifests as he cares for himself. And even more so, since his self-sacrificing love causes him to put her first.

In the end, a husband who loves his wife in these ways brings great blessing to himself from her and the Lord.

Ephesians 5:25, NKJV

A Perfect Marriage?

Since all people are sinners, nobody can have a perfect marriage. That does not mean we should not try. God instituted marriage at the beginning of time because man should not be alone (Genesis 2:18).

In the process of making women from men, God made an institution as a picture of the relationship He wants to have with His children.

God is willing to take the responsibility to save, sanctify and glorify anyone, but only if God’s children desire intimacy with Jesus Christ.

This picture of marriage is only a blurry illustration of the relationship God wants to have with humanity. It is about communion with God through Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can bring us to God as Jesus said in John 14:6.

He was also implying that communion and intimacy with God were only possible through Him as well.

Oneness in Marriage

In Ephesians 5:31, Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24 to reinforce God’s divine plan for marriage that He instituted at creation. By doing so, the apostle emphasized its permanence and unity.

The union of marriage is intimate and unbreakable. The word “joined” is used to express having been glued or cemented together. It emphasizes the permanence of the union (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:5-9).

Thus, in marriage, the husband’s life is so intimately joined to the wife’s that they are one.

Notice that Ephesians 5:32 uses the word “mystery” to describe the union between the married couple. When used in the NT, mystery identifies some reality hidden in the past and revealed in the NT Scripture.

Marriage is a sacred reflection of the magnificent and beautiful mystery of the union between the Messiah and His church. This was completely unknown until the New Testament (Matthew 13:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7).

Here’s a beautiful Christian wedding song.

Intimacy in Marriage

Sex is the highest form of intimacy by two becoming one (Ephesians 5:31), which results in reproduction/fruit. The same is true during intimacy with Jesus.

Please remember that intimacy in marriage and communion with God is wonderful for everyone involved.

Communion with Jesus results in the fruits of the Spirit that are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Jesus reproduces His character by the work of the Holy Spirit unto sanctification and holiness as Ephesians 5:26-27 says.

Once again, the problem is that too many people and Christians enjoy their sin and don’t want to live like Christ in their life. For many Christians, the Christ-like lifestyle is too difficult. What they don’t realize is that God enables us to live the sanctified, holy life (Philippians 4:13).

Only God can enable holy living. Unlike the many women that make excuses to not be intimate with their husbands, are we willing to sacrifice our will and be intimate and commune with Jesus, so that we may become more and more Christ-like in every area of our lives????

What a Biblical Marriage is Not

There are a bunch of common occurrences that should never occur in a God-ordained marriage.

Popular counselors say that men need to shut up so they can stay married. Women control their husbands by withholding sex and dictating when the dad can see his children. That is narcissistic!

In some families, the husband is a narcissistic dictator and the wife and daughters are doormats. Men are opting out of marriage because there is too much risk and cost associated with it. Quite often, men are illiterate and have no idea how to spiritually lead a home.

Because many women are not interested in sex, they will use any number of excuses to say no. All of these different cases are extremely unbiblical as the above verses say.

Ephesians 5:22, NKJV

Growing to be Christ-Like

As we become more and more Christ-like, we are growing in oneness with Jesus. Are we growing in Christlikeness or growing stagnant? Are the Fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives?

If Jesus was willing to die and rise again, to save, sanctify and glorify us, why are we not willing to sacrifice our will for His? If your husband is willing to unconditionally love your sinful heart, why are you not willing to sacrifice your pride and excuses?


Recommended Resource: Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship by Scott LaPierre

Celebrate the Marriage God Made for You

Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship by Scott LaPierre Your most important earthly connection is with your spouse, and when you honor the person you married, you’re also honoring God. He created marriage to be one of life’s greatest gifts, and the instruction manual you need for a joyful, lasting union is found in His Word.

In Your Marriage God’s Way, author and pastor, Scott LaPierre, takes a close look at the principles for building a biblical marriage—one in which your relationship with Christ brings guidance and blessing into your relationship with your spouse. You’ll gain the tools to…

  • understand the unique roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives
  • recognize and resolve the conflicts you face with a heart of hope and compassion
  • follow God’s worthy command to love and cherish your spouse unconditionally

Whether you’re at the beginning of your journey or you’ve been on the road together for years, Your Marriage God’s Way will provide the helpful and encouraging insights you need to experience marriage as God intends it.

Singing the Song of Fools: A Critique of Traditional Views Held Among Christian Churches

Singing the Song of Fools: A Critique of Traditional Views Held Among Christian Churches

Music has proven to be an integral part of our culture. And it has played a significant role in the way we communicate our deepest emotions. Since the dawn of human history, music has greatly shaped our world and our perceptions of common topics. These include politics, love, sex, and, in some cases, certain behaviors that are tolerable in a sin-stricken society.

I recently came across an article from a Christian blogger named Joshua Infantado. In a 2016 blog post, Joshua offers an argument on our musical tastes and subliminal messages that could be hidden within these songs.

In this presentation, I want to provide a solid yet Biblical argumentation on this subject matter. Here, I want to offer a series of questions to challenge our current viewpoints on morality.

Also, I would like to thoroughly assess and challenge current practices of teaching and presenting hard doctrines, particularly the identity of Satan and the existence of Hell. We will look at this from a sociopolitical and Scriptural perspective, as well as trends during the onslaught of the global coronavirus pandemic.

“I will sing of Your love and justice; to You, LORD, I will sing praise.”

The Essential Question

What does it mean to glorify God [or Satan] from a Biblical and culturally diverse perspective through the lens of music and its underlying themes?

Focus Passage: Ecclesiastes 7:5 (World English Bible)

“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.”

What Music Means to Me

Music has been an essential part of my life ever since I was a toddler. As I lived through my preschool years, I learned how to play the piano, the drums, and the xylophone. Of course, I also learned how to sing.

At age 11, I was a pianist at a church I used to attend before the pandemic. I joined the school band and played as a percussionist until I graduated from middle school in 2019. I am currently a first soprano in a professional children’s choir in Northbrook. My gift of singing has gained attention over the years, including a performance at Carnegie Hall in the summer of 2019.

Our Recent Discussion

As the Vice President of the Agape Christian club at school, I had the wonderful privilege of collaborating with the President. We work together in initiating a whole group discussion on the rapidly evolving trends within the music industry.

In our series “Examining Salvation and the Nature of Satan” we gave the participants several questions to consider while reading Joshua’s piece. Most of which were based on a thorough and holistic examination of Joshua’s critical assessment of popular songs released throughout the past decade.

Together with the lessons from Lil Nas X’s controversial Satan video, we used the answers we got to assess some doctrines. We did this in a critical yet biblical way to expose some practices on controversial topics.

Thus, this presentation is not merely an assessment of Joshua’s theology alone. Rather, it is to examine the moral boundaries that must be drawn from a Christian worldview when such incidents pose such moral questions.

In light of the nature of this discussion, we challenged all members to carefully read through Joshua’s analysis. They must ponder on the points presented in the article, and view his opinions based on his cultural and religious circumstances.

An Overview of Joshua’s Article

In February 2016, Joshua Infantado (author of Becoming Christians) published an article titled “Singing the Song of Fools: Questions Christians Should Ask When Choosing a Song.”

His piece is a comprehensive and coherent analysis of lyrics taken from ten popular songs. These include Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

The Fingerprints of Satan?

Joshua begins his article by stating that there are catchy songs with hidden subliminal messages within the themes portrayed throughout the song. Through his assessment, he attempts to convey that the music we listen to may not be outrightly immoral.

But if you look deeper into the messages of their lyrics, he said that you will soon discover the FINGERPRINTS OF SATAN in these songs.

The reason I bring this into my analysis is that this is a common theme that is highlighted throughout his work. Joshua’s argument is based on the historical evolution of music throughout a historical period in America known as the Satanic Panic. Webster dictionary defines this event as “a moral panic regarding alleged satanic ritual abuse.” And the fear of such practices within the Occult (YourDictionaryar).

It also stems from the assumption that Lucifer was the angel in charge of music in heaven despite a lack of Scriptural evidence (see Ezekiel 28).

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Blurred Lines: Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines:

Ok, now he was close.

Tried to domesticate you.

But you’re an animal

Baby, it’s in your nature

Just let me liberate you

Joshua’s Analysis

Joshua critically condemns the song, citing its references to sexual sin and its use of profanity. In a formal rebuke of the lyrics, Joshua questions why Christians enjoy music like this. He said that Satan is very successful in poisoning the air with so much garbage [filth] and profanity through the music we listen to.

He then concludes his piece by posing five questions to consider when listening to a song. His stance stems from a literal interpretation of Ecclesiastes 7:5, with the assumption that the song of fools is a reference to music that is sung in the world today, with the belief that Satan was the angel of music before his rebellion.

Results From Discussion

In the group discussion, we asked the members to examine this excerpt and to consider behaviors they have observed during class this past school year. As we returned to in-person instruction in August 2021, foul language and other unruly behaviors also increased during class. This is especially during lunch periods.

As a result, more students served detention for various infractions, including those dealing with attendance and poor behavior. And this does not include TikTok trends such as Devious Lick, which encouraged vandalism within the school bathrooms.

Among the most common music genres that students listened to in an average 5-minute passing period were modern hip hop and pop. Needless to say, these are infamous for their explicit content and rappers selling their souls to Satan.

Music Can Influence Our Behavior

The lyrics derived from musical compositions, as well as other rhythmic characteristics, are key communicators of the conscience. These in turn drive our perception of right and wrong, and how the brain responds to our perceptions.

Let us take for instance the song Blurred Lines. A Christian who is tempted to have sex outside of marriage would listen to this song and would consider it to be a lure into that habit. Hence, the like-still of the flesh. And Satan would probably use a song like this to convince us that such behavior is acceptable, as commonly held in society today.

However, this argument fails to consider taking into account those who may not encounter such strong temptations.

Now, let’s examine two scenarios: The book of Psalms and the message of Lil Nas X’s Satan video. While there are contrasting themes within the spectrum, each of them exposes a flaw in the way the church teaches them.

The Book of Psalms

The Book of Psalms is a song within many songs, a hymn within many hymns. In short, these are works of poetic literature. Their objective? To communicate the glory of God through praise and worship, and in some cases, lamentation.

Most of the things written within the book have been incorporated into hymns commonly sung in churches today. This is an obvious work that glorifies God, as it is taken directly from the Bible, inspired by God.

Lil Nas X

We asked the participants in the discussions to examine the Lil Nas X controversy from a doctrinal perspective. They must not only go beyond the general message of Lil Nas X’s controversial Satan video. But they must critically evaluate how the church today preaches about Satan in a Biblical illiterate generation.

According to an article from Barna, a majority of self-proclaimed Christians fail to believe in absolute morality. Many of them also do not think Satan is a real and active being.

Results from the group discussion further prove this stunning statistic. Hence, the club President suggests that such songs with overt lyrics do not only encourage bad behavior. But it also certainly raises eyebrows, due to its extreme association with the dark side [Seitz].

Furthermore, the answers point to a sad revelation about how the church preaches the hard subject of Satan. Could incidents like Lil Nas X’s scandal be a result of teaching such doctrines out of fear and condemnation, and not taking such knowledge into practical applications in life?

A sermon can only do so much for a topic that is rarely if ever, preached in a sin-stricken world.

Back to the Drawing Board

In summation, the question of whether or not a song glorifies God is not based on its words or images alone. Rather, it is through individual circumstances and their convictions. The fear of judgment is largely due to the way we preach such topics as the identity of Satan.

Based on my assessment, we are not doing a really good job. I am not saying we should take this threat lightly. I am saying that the church needs to go back to the drawing board. That is if we are going to effectively expose others to the evil plagues of this world.

It’s not the message itself. But HOW we deliver the message to others.

Raising Awareness of Satan’s Tactics

Here are eight practical solutions to tackle a complex dilemma posed by a morally declining generation.

1. Maintain empathy.

In Romans 14, Paul tells us to consider the weakness and temptation of our brothers and to not judge him based on his convictions. That doesn’t mean you are excusing the behavior, rather, you are allowing him the opportunity to make decisions.

A preacher whose sole motivation is to sow fear and strife will not only draw them away from Christ. But it will tempt many young believers to deny or run away from these hard truths. The doctrine of Satan and its heavy nature is not easy; it hurts to be exposed to this harsh reality.

The key is to do this through a spirit of gentleness and empathy, with consideration of the weaknesses of others.

2. Be supportive.

Support them in their fight against temptation. Many times when the incidence of satanic music comes up, we are quick to assume that these artists are Satanists. We all see the picture of Satan and not what is being communicated through the artist’s work. Why not view these moments as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than rebuke and shun.

3. Realize that some weaknesses may stay.

It’s a temptation to assume that someone’s a legalist or a false teacher without actually looking into the many trials they face regularly. For some of us, it is hard to resist certain temptations than others; some of which will take years to overcome.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul openly comes forward to confess his own struggle with sin, calling it a thorn in the flesh. Within every fall and affliction lies a working testimony of a broken man’s strength in Jesus.

4. Kill Satan’s hatred through an attitude of LOVE!

The best way to help someone comprehend such doctrines as sin and Satan is through love. Offer them your love, and pray for them when they are being tested. Show them that they are not alone in this lifelong battle and that Jesus is right there.

5. Encourage your congregation to make a difference.

If we are walking in a world ruled by evil, why don’t we take the opportunity to shine the light of Jesus into their souls? Invite your friend over to Red Lobsters on Friday. Don’t be afraid to admit your own assumptions and ask questions.

Strengthen your faith with Christian jewelry, apparel, and wall decors.

6. Listen.

Oh, is that such a lost art in a raging and impulsive world! The best way to alleviate their fears is by simply listening to their story and holding their hand.

7. Less Scripture, More Action!

Whoa! That probably hurts. Many of you may not like what I am about to say, but this is something I believe the Holy Spirit wants each of us to ponder on.

We know Ephesians 6:12 and spruce up the fanciest prayers when we are tested. But, are we truly showing others what it means to have true victory over Satan through Christ?

It’s time we start demonstrating this in real life, and not just through a 45-minute sermon filled with prophecies. Prayer and intercession are only step one. It’s time to do step two. It’s time to show the world that resisting the kingdom of Satan is not done simply through lip service and choosing to not listen to XYZ.

Time to put our weapons to use, and start the long process of winning people to the light!

Closing Prayer

Dear Father in Heaven,

I come before the throne to thank you for getting us through another day.

My prayer goes to those who may be reading this presentation; that they will not only be inspired but challenged to see spiritual truth in a new and enlightening way.

Lord, convict us when we are tempted to jump to rash judgments against our brother, lest we be guilty of any hidden sin that lies in our hearts. Continue to bless all of the writers contributing to this website, and let their talents be used to glorify your name.

May I continue to be a source of hope during a time when the world is being tried and tested as war cries from the sky. Help us be vigilant of who Satan is and embrace the victory that was given through the remission of our sins on the cross.

In Jesus’ name, amen!


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David by Eugene H. Peterson 

Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David Paperback – July 23, 1993 by Eugene H. Peterson

A devotional prayer book focusing on one year with the Psalms, the most sensitive and honest words written about daily stress and daily blessings.

Why We Believe Jesus is the Only Way

Why We Believe Jesus is the Only Way

Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 that He is the only way to God has raised so many questions. Why should we believe Jesus’ claim about Himself? What reasons do Christians have to continue to believe that personal faith in Jesus is so important?

In this post, let us look at the biblical evidence why Christ is the only way to heaven.

The Uniqueness of Christ

It is undeniable that there are some parallels between the teachings of Christ and other world religions. For instance, Christ’s emphasis on treating others the way we want to be treated is not unique to Christianity.

However, the comparative similarities are only part of the picture. Other major world religions emphasize the importance of human efforts to get us right with God. The gospel of Christ, in contrast, says that no one can come to the Father except through the Lord Jesus.

It’s only by grace through faith in Christ and His finished works on the cross that we can attain salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

JESUS is the Only Way to GOD

Salvation through Christ Alone

Does the Bible say that Christ is the only way to God? The apostle Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV).

But Peter did not come up with this conclusion on his own. He was with others when Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Why did the apostles and Jesus’ followers conclude that He had a right to make such amazing claims about Himself? It’s because they were witnesses to Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

Can One Be Saved without Hearing the Gospel?

If salvation is through the gospel, what about those who have never heard? We must understand that until the church was born, repentant sinners got saved without hearing the whole gospel message.

One of the thieves who was executed along with Jesus repented and got saved even without the whole gospel. The message of Christ’s death for sin and His subsequent resurrection had not yet been declared. But one of the thieves found mercy when he repented of his sins and asked Jesus to remember him (Luke 23:42-43).

The thief understood he had no hope but divine grace, and that the dispensing of that grace lay in Jesus’ power. This demonstrates true faith on the part of the dying thief, and Christ graciously affirmed the man’s salvation.

To what extent can we apply this example to others who recognize their sin and appeal to the one true God for mercy? We don’t know for sure. But the Bible shows that God sacrificed His own Son to assure salvation for those who will believe (John 3:16).

God is Just and Fair

Perhaps we find ourselves struggling with issues of fairness. Will God give everyone an equal opportunity to hear the message of Christ? It’s troubling to think that many people will suffer in hell because they were not given a chance to hear the gospel.

What about the people who suffer from mental retardation or other diseases? It would be impossible for them to hear and consider the good news of Christ. Some die at a very early age without hearing the gospel message.

In cases like this, we need to trust the Judge of all the earth to do what is right (Genesis 18:25). God is fair and just, no doubt about that; He knows what He’s doing.

Here’s a beautiful prayer song you can sing for the Lord, your Savior.

Jesus is the Son of God

In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul also noted the uniqueness of Christ. In Romans 1:1-5, Paul identified some distinctives that he believed set Christ apart from all other religious leaders.

According to Paul, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, who possessed both a human and a divine nature. This was something that he had once found impossible to admit. Well educated in the doctrine and theology of Moses, Paul initially persecuted Jews who followed Jesus.

After a life-changing encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, Paul became convinced that Jesus was both God and Savior (Titus 2:13).

Paul became one of the witnesses of Christ’s resurrection – a resurrection that distinguishes the gospel of Jesus Christ from all other faiths. Unlike all the other religious teachers and leaders, Jesus did not remain dead. And Jesus’ resurrection is God’s vindication of His claim that He is indeed the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4).

Thus, Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

The apostle believed that Christ had provided salvation that needed to be offered first to his countrymen and then to all nations.

Final Words

The Bible could not be more explicit in its proclamation of the exclusivity and sufficiency of Christ. Jesus came to live and die as a substitutionary sacrifice for those who will receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior (John 1:12; John 14:6; John 3:16).

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The consequence of that sin is death or separation from God (Romans 6:23). The good news is that because of God’s love and deep compassion for us, He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sin on the cross (1 Peter 3:18).

Have you received Christ and surrendered your life to Him? If not, have you thought about your response to the gospel? It’s not enough to know what the Lord has done for you. You must respond by personal choice.

It’s easy to put off making a decision but God wants you to decide about His Son today. Behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

If you want to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and His gift of eternal life, you can express it in this simple prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I acknowledge I am a sinner and can’t save myself. Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross for me. I sincerely repent of my sins and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life and mold me into the kind of person You want me to be. Amen!”

If you sincerely prayed this, you are now a child of God and have the assurance of eternal life.


Recommended Resource:

Is Jesus the Only Way? by Philip Graham Ryken

Is Jesus the Only Way

We’ve all heard people say it: “The problem with Christians is that they think Jesus is the only way to heaven.” Even reason says: We go to the college of our choice, watch the cable channel of our choice, and eat the food of our choice.

So why can’t we pray to the god of our choice and get to heaven by any means we choose?

These are fair questions. Questions that demand an answer if Christians are going to insist that their claims are true—and that all other religions’ claims about salvation are thereby false.

They are questions Philip Ryken confronts head-on in this accessible book.

Within these pages, the four essential Christian beliefs that pluralists find most troublesome are explained in clear, everyday terms. Ryken argues not only that Jesus is the only way, but also why this must be true.

The Two Trinities of Life

The Two Trinities of Life

Both believers and non-believers in Jesus are familiar with the Doctrine of the Trinity, one of the core tenets of Christianity. Undeniably, people have different views and interpretations as to what this doctrine is all about. Some argue that the Trinity is unbiblical while others say the Bible explicitly teaches it.

But in this post, I will share with you what I call the Two Trinities of Life.

One weekend as I was sleeping, I got a revelation of what makes up the Trinity that we, as believers, understand (Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit).

The Trinity Definition

Notice that throughout Scripture, there are several accounts of authors (including Jesus) who understood how these three entities work together. For instance, in the lives of many believers, they unite as one to sanctify and purify them

That same night, I received a revelation about a group of entities that work to create the sinful nature we live in. Here, I will show you how the Holy Trinity works to outweigh the works of the Trinity of Darkness. I will cite some Scriptural evidence and visual objects to support these things.

What are the Two Trinities?

In theological language, the Trinity is the essence of three entities in one. When we think of the Trinity, we often associate this term with the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). However, there is also another “trinity” that we do not often recognize, and it mainly has to do with the sin nature we live in.

The World, The Flesh, and the Devil: A Critique

Many theologians and pastors are in an ongoing debate on the formation of trinities within the Christian doctrine. For example, we have the familiar “world-flesh-devil” trinity. But notice that in the book of Revelation, Satan is also a part of another unholy trinity, preceding with the Antichrist and the false prophet.

Too often, we see the dark trinity as one actual Trinity, just like the Holy Trinity. We associate this “dark,” unholy trinity with the familiar entities associated with the present, including the world. The main problem I have with this theological conclusion is that it neglects the eternality of these very things that align with the sin nature and its consequences.

The Dark Trinity: Satan, Sin, Death

We can see this unity of Satan, sin, and death in Genesis 3 – the chapter that explains how man’s original sin came to be.

Satan

The Dark and Unholy TrinityIn Genesis chapter 3, we see the first encounter that revealed the cunning nature of Satan. We also find in Ezekiel 28:12-18 and Isaiah 14:12-14 some references to the fall of Satan and his angels. This is while making an indirect connection to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, whose spiritual powers came from Satan.

Before God created man, God created angels and even Satan. Thus, we can probably understand that Satan fell from grace before man sinned. Satan’s rebellion against God and his exile from Heaven have set the stage for the fall of man. In other words, Adam and Eve sinned against God as a result of Satan’s rebellion.

However, we must understand that sin cannot take place without a source of temptation or “crafty” influence. This simply means twisting what is bad in God’s eyes into something good in OUR eyes. This is where Satan gets in the picture. He plants the seed of sin through temptation. How exactly does he do it?

Satan deceives people through the twisting of God’s instructions (ex. Scripture), or something within our environment, or the world as a whole. This is why he is on the top of the triangle.

Sin

Sinning is the act of disobeying God’s commandments and giving in to temptations that will only benefit one’s SELF but not God. Going back to Genesis 3, Adam and Eve sinned against God because they believed in Satan’s lie.

The devil told them that eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, will give them the wisdom to discern what was good, and what was evil. There was no evil before they sinned, so Satan knew that if he could convince Adam and Eve that they would obtain a divine knowledge of good and evil (without God), they would not ‘die.’

The pride that led them to sin is the same pride that caused Satan to rebel against God. And it is pride that causes us to sin as well.

The world and the flesh are mingled into this portion of the Trinity.

Death

Death is the result of man’s wickedness which was planted by Satan. The punishment of our sin is death (Roman 6:23). What were the results of death? Sin resulted in the death of innocence and perfection in man. Hell, Hades, Sheol, or the Lake of Fire (Second Death) is the eternal punishment of sin. We have also been separated from God because of sin (Isaiah 59:32).

The Second Death

The Holy Trinity

John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but having eternal life.”

God sent His son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for all of our iniquities so that we would have the hope of going to Heaven. It is by God’s grace, and by our faith in the finished work of Christ, that we receive the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us on the path to righteousness.

Our sins are forgiven, washed away, and never to be remembered again (Hebrews 8:12)! We are no longer under the authority of Satan! We are under the wonderful presence of God, hallelujah!

My Question for You

What is one sinful seed that has been planted in your life during this pandemic? How can we best support you in your growth with Christ? Please let us know in the comment section below this post.

I think one of the sins I’ve been struggling the most with has been selfishness. It’s because I tend to center a lot of things around myself. Oftentimes, I get anxious about things that I don’t need to worry about. There are also times when I forget that my life is about God and not me.

A Closing Prayer

Dear Father In Heaven,

Be Prayerful I come before you in the name of Jesus. Thank you for this sacred revelation that you have placed in my heart this past weekend. Thank you for your love, mercy, and sovereignty.

Lord, forgive us our sins and seal our souls with the shield of redemption. Continue to comfort those who continue to lose to Covid-19 and acts of hatred against our brothers and sisters.

I pray that you would pour out your Spirit and guide our seniors as they prepare for their future after graduating from high school.

Please, Lord, continue to strengthen me as I continue to lead this virtual movement you have entrusted to me. I ask that you also bless those who are reading this article.

Finally, may we not only examine our shortcomings, but we will love those who have sinned against us. May I continue to be a light that shines in times of tragedy. Dear Lord, please continue to give me the strength and the courage to rise above all of the wiles of Satan.

In Jesus’ name, amen!

God’s Principles of Giving

God’s Principles of Giving

Giving, particularly tithing, is just one of the few subjects that often cause division and conflict within the body of Christ. Although God has laid out clear principles of giving in His Word, many Christians still struggle a lot in this area. Some even go to the extreme of accusing the church leadership of just being interested in money.

Why is it that many Christians seem to have the wrong attitude when it comes to the issue of money? It’s pretty easy for many to get involved in the church ministry and sacrifice their time, gifts, and talents. But when asked to give financially for the works of the Lord, suddenly they become indifferent.

In the same way that money is the engine on which our society runs, the church also needs money to run the Father’s business. Outside of the giving of its members, the church has no source of income.

The Role of Money in Society

5 Biblical Principles of Giving

In both the Old and the New Testaments, we see several principles of giving that help us to see money from God’s perspective. May these five principles enable us to handle God’s blessings in a way that is aligned with His will.

Sometimes, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with God’s abundant favor that we forget to seek God’s guidance on how to use them. We must never forget that God has a purpose for everything and He is in control of all things. At the end of the day, our purpose is to live for God and His glory.

So, here we go …

#1 Principle: God Owns Everything

There is no argument that God is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth; this is the principle of sovereignty. All things that exist belong to God and God alone (1 Chronicles 29:11).

It was not enough for King David, a noble and successful king, to acknowledge that the entire earth belonged to God. He added that all its fullness also belonged to Him, including the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1).

Psalm 24:1, NIV

David emphasized the truth that God’s ownership of the earth extends to the people who live upon it. Through the rights of creation and continuing provision, God has a claim upon every person who has ever lived. This includes everything that they own, possess, and will acquire. Can you think of a more sweeping statement of God’s ownership?

So, if God owns everything, what do you have that rightfully belongs to you? Nothing! Nada! God’s sovereignty gives Him the exclusive right to exercise supreme authority over everything. And that extends even to our personal belongings. All that we are and all that we have are His.

You may ask, “How do I honor God’s sovereignty in my giving?”

#2 Principle: We are but Stewards

Although all things belong to our God, He has entrusted us to care for and use His possessions. This is the principle of stewardship. What is required of a steward? Faithfulness!

As stewards, we must be faithful in the way we use God’s talents and treasures inside and outside the church.

In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Paul used the image of the steward. A steward is a servant who manages everything for his master, but who himself owns nothing. As caretakers of God’s money and property, we must do well to use them only for His purpose and glory. Thus, we give in support of the needs of the church and the ministry.

Jesus also gave a parable indicating that one day we will give an account to God on how we handled God’s money. Will God find us faithful and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23). Are you spending the money entrusted to you by God to honor Him and further His Kingdom?

#3 Principle: Sowing and Reaping

When a farmer sows his seed, he may think that he lost it as it fell from his hand into the ground. In the same way, we may feel we are losing money every time we give. But just as the farmer gives the seed in anticipation of a future harvest, we should give with the same expectation. And the better quality of seeds we sow, the greater will the harvest be.

This is the principle of increase that Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 9:6. We reap in measure as we sow. This principle needs little explanation because we see it operating in everyday life.

The farmer who sows much seed will have a better chance for a bigger harvest. The investor who puts a large sum of money into a company will certainly collect more dividends. As we invest more in the work of the Lord, the more “fruit” will abound to our account.

2 Corinthians 9:6, NLT

Keep in mind that when we give to God, we are never losers. God always rewards the giving heart both now and in eternity. But what do we reap when we sow into God’s Kingdom? We will reap a harvest of blessings, both material and spiritual.

Don’t stop the flow of God’s blessing by disobeying Him in the area of giving.

#4 Principle: God Supplies All Our Needs

In Philippians 4:19, Paul tells the church that God would supply all their needs. Why did Paul believe this? It’s because they met his needs. They call this the supply principle.

The apostle did not see the gifts of the Philippian believers as simply coming from them. He saw it as the supply of his need from heaven. Paul trusted the Lord to provide for his needs and God did through the believers at Philippi.

To paraphrase what Paul said, we might state it this way, “You met my need, God is going to meet yours. You met one need that I have, but my God will meet all your needs. You gave out of your poverty, but God will supply your needs out of His riches in glory.”

There is a direct correlation between God supplying our needs and the liberality with which we supply the needs of others.

2 Corinthians 9:10 also speaks of how God supplies the giver with his own needs and also the means to give to others. As long as God can count on us to supply the needs of others, He will continue to provide for us. God supplies not just our daily needs; He gives excess for us to share with others.

#5 Principle: Our Attitude Towards Giving

This is the principle of sincerity. How do you react every time the offering basket is passed around? Do you often make an excuse to skip this part of the worship service by going to the washroom? Or do you pretend to not know what’s going on? 

I know that many Christians do not believe tithing is commanded in the New Testament. The sad part is that they mock those who do and call them fools for (allegedly) believing their pastor’s lies. I get it; we don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to biblical tithing.

For this reason, I want us to stick to giving in general, whether it be in tithes or in freewill offerings. What attitudes should not characterize our giving? 2 Corinthians 9:7 reads, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Here’s a song by Ron Kenoly to encourage us to be faithful in our giving unto the Lord.

No Grudges nor Reluctance

“Grudgingly” literally means “not in grief.” When we give, we should not be sad nor feel like it’s something painful to do. And after giving, we should not regret having done so and complain or murmur.

Not Out of Necessity or Under Compulsion

Do you give out of pressure or because you feel compelled or manipulated? Or is it because you have been made to feel guilty?

The Jews were required to give under the law. For fear of legal and moral punishment, some of them would grudgingly give what necessity obliged them. What about you?

We Give from the Heart

The Christian attitude and motive in giving or in any other activity for the Lord are vitally important. Our giving must come from the heart, and the motive in the heart must please God. Our giving is to be sincere, heartfelt, and in recognition of God’s abundant provisions in our life.

We must not be “sad givers” who give reluctantly or “mad givers” who give in response to pressure. Rather, we should be “glad givers” who cheerfully share what we have because we have experienced the grace of God.

The believers who are motivated by grace reap the blessings of personal enrichment in their lives and characters.

Proverbs 22:9, NASB

Concluding Words

As we pointed out, God is sovereign over everything and has entrusted us with His properties. God also promised an increase when we sow our seeds and will supply all our needs exceedingly so we can share with others. Finally, God is concerned about our character in giving.

You might ask, “If the two negative attitudes mentioned in 2 Corinthians 9:7 characterize me, is it better for me not to give?” For sure many would say, “Yes, you should not give if it’s not from your heart.” However, I’d say we should not stop supporting the work of God. 

Instead, we should keep obeying God in this area of giving and ask Him to change our attitude. It may hurt at first to give sacrificially into the ministry. But this should not deter us from continually doing what is morally right.

Whenever we purpose in our hearts the amount of seed that we sow into God’s fertile soil, may we consider these five biblical principles of giving.

God bless us all!


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: The Grace of Giving: A Biblical Study of Christian Stewardship by Stephen F. Olford

The Grace of Giving: A Biblical Study of Christian Stewardship by Stephen F. Olford

Financial giving is a topic that many people don’t openly discuss. It is also a topic that many Christians misunderstand and undervalue.

With a solid perspective, Dr. Olford has penned a comprehensive, honest, and deeply perceptive study of financial stewardship that will help many in understanding this important topic.

Becoming God’s Own Children

Becoming God’s Own Children

One of the greatest blessings of the Christian experience is adoption (Ephesians 1:5). First, we become God’s children by regeneration (John 3:3; John 1:12). And then we are adopted into God’s family when God gives us the Holy Spirit as a seal of His ownership over us.

When a sinner trusts in Christ as Lord and Savior, he starts as a spiritual baby who needs to grow (1 Peter 2:2-3). But as far as his position is concerned, he is an adult son who can draw on the Father’s wealth.

Our Relationship with God

In one of my posts, I said that “adoption focuses more on the personal relationships that salvation gives us with God.” We are not just little children but adult sons (and daughters) of our heavenly Father.

But what does it mean to have a father-child connection with God?

The Bible mentions several ways in which our relationship with God is truly a father-child connection. These are in contrast with that of a slave or servant.

The Same Nature as God’s

As children of God, we have the same nature as the Father, but the servant does not.

When we trust Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and this means we “share His divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

The law could never give a person the nature of God within. All it could do was reveal to the person his desperate need for God’s nature. So, when the believer goes back into law, he is denying the very nature within. Also, he is allowing the old nature (the flesh) to go to work.

New Creation in Christ

We have become new creatures through the ministry of reconciliation brought about by the works of Christ. Our old, sinful nature is gone and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

Since we have God’s nature within, we need to have an appetite for that which is pure and holy. Our behavior ought to be like that of the Father. We ought to live in that kind of spiritual environment that that is suited to our nature. We ought to associate with that which is true to our nature (2 Corinthians 6:14).

Not Orphans

The servant does not have a father; believers in Christ do.

No servant or slave could ever call his master, “Father.” When a sinner trusts Christ, he receives the Holy Spirit who tells him that he is a child of God (Romans 8:15-16). It is natural for a baby to cry, but not for him to talk to his father.

However, when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell a believer, He cries out, “Abba Father.” In response, the believer cries, “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15).

The word “Abba” is an Aramaic word that is the equivalent of our English word “papa.” This shows the closeness of the child to the father. No servant or slave has this kind of relationship with his master.

What a blessing to be able to call God, “Abba Father!” Christians no longer have to worry even though they do not have a physical father. God as our Father is more than enough. He promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us. We are no longer orphans, hallelujah!

Obey Out of Love

While a servant obeys his master out of fear, God’s children obey out of love.

The Holy Spirit works in the heart of the believers to quicken and increase their love for God. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is to produce love (Galatians 5:22; Romans 5:5).

Throughout John’s description of the Last Supper, we can’t help but notice the repetition of the word love. If we treasure God’s Word and obey it, then the Father and the Son will share their love with us and make their home in us.

Obedience is Proof of Our Love for God

As the believer yields to the Father, loves the Word, prays, and obeys, his relationship and experience with God will go deeper. If we love God and obey Him, He will manifest His love to us in a deeper way each day.

The Judaizers told the Galatians that they would become better Christians by submitting to the law. But the law can never produce obedience. Only love can do that (John 14:15). When we love, we obey!

God’s Children are Rich

The child of God is rich, while the servant is poor.

As children, God has made us His heirs and we have become co-heirs with Christ (Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:16-17). And since we are adopted – placed as adult sons in the family – we may begin drawing our inheritance right now.

Everything in heaven and on earth belongs to God, thus, He holds the right to all of it. And since we are God’s children, we are co-owners of all that God owns. We are rich because our heavenly Father is rich.

Now, this does not necessarily mean that every Christian is living a very comfortable life. God wants us to enjoy abundant life. He came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10b). Nevertheless, a life of plenty does not always mean owning a mansion or having a fat bank account or being able to travel around the world.

We need to keep in mind that riches are not limited to the kind that the world has to offer. God’s riches are more than just money or wealth.

God has made available to us the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7; 2:7) and the riches of His glory (Philippians 4:19). As children of God, we also get to enjoy the riches of His goodness (Romans 2:4) and the riches of His wisdom. Above all these, all the riches of God are found in Christ, our Lord, and Savior (Colossians 1:19; 2:3).

What it Means to be Blessed

A Bright Future

God’s children have a bright future, while the servant does not.

While many kind masters do provide for their slaves in old age, they were not required to. But the father always provides for his son (2 Corinthians 12:14).

As children of God, we will never experience lack because the Lord is our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is adequate for our every need.

We do not have to worry about tomorrow because our heavenly Father is in charge. He promised to take care of our daily needs; we just need to trust Him (Matthew 6:34). Worrying about tomorrow does not help either tomorrow or today. If anything, it robs us of our effectiveness today – which means we will be even less effective tomorrow.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by fear and despair because of all the things that are happening today. The chaos that we see around us may very well find a way to steal our hope and cause us to doubt God’s promise of a bright future. But we need to hold on to the hope that we profess because He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

Conclusion

God Almighty is not just our Creator; He is also our Father. This father-child relationship that we have with God allows us to come to Him anytime, anywhere without any hesitation.

Each of us can experience the profound truth that the apostle John expressed. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1a)!

God is your Father, you are His child. Your heavenly Father loves you, cares so much about you, wants to bless you, and is preparing a bright future for you. Never let the enemy convince you into believing otherwise.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

Adopted by God: Discover the Life-Transforming Joy of a Neglected Truth by Barton Priebe

Adopted by God: Discover the Life-Transforming Joy of a Neglected Truth by Barton Priebe

Every Christian has been adopted into God’s family. Yet, the great truth of what adoption means has been neglected throughout history and overshadowed by other truths.

In Adopted by God you’ll discover—perhaps for the first time—the life-transforming joy that comes from being adopted as God’s cherished son or daughter.

Through clear biblical teaching and stories from the Priebe family’s journey in adopting their son from China, this book will:

  • Explain what it means to be adopted by God
  • Increase your assurance of God’s acceptance and love
  • Provide you with the strength to face the most difficult trials in life
  • Equip you to gain victory over sins in your life
  • Enable you to relate to others in ways that heal the wounds of racism, sexism, and loneliness

Discover adoption. Encounter joy. Experience transformation.

The First and Second Resurrection

The First and Second Resurrection

Whether or not there’s just one (general) resurrection of the dead is one of the hotly debated end-time topics. Some Christians believe that everyone will be raised on the same day. But others say the resurrection from the dead will not occur at the same time.

But what does the Scripture say?

Resurrection at the Last Day

Christians who believe that the bodies of all men will be raised at the same time often quote John 11:24. As Martha weeps for the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus assured her that he will rise again. To which Martha replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

John 11:24, NKJV

But do the words “last day” (or last hour) literally mean one literal day? Those who reject one general resurrection for everyone argue that it refers to an undetermined period of time. And it could even stretch over a thousand years.

Indeed, the Greek word translated “day” can have the meaning of an indeterminate amount of time. The Greek word for day in the Greek Lexicon of the New Testament has the following entry: An extended period like the Hebrew word yom.”

The Two Resurrections

There is a serious misconception that there will only be one resurrection. Nowhere in the Scriptures are we taught that! While it is true that all the dead will be raised and judged, neither the place, time, nor the judgments are the same.

Several passages speak of a separate resurrection of believers and unbelievers.

John says there will be two resurrections for two classes of people. One will be raised to “eternal life” while the other to a “resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29).

Luke 14:14 also speaks of a “resurrection of the just.” Since everyone will be resurrected, there has to be a “resurrection of the unjust.” This concept of a separate resurrection of the just and unjust is repeated by Paul in Acts 24:15 when he testified before Felix.

And John makes a clear distinction between the two in Revelation 20:4-5. He says, “… I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and the word of God. 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.”

Here, we have the souls of the believing dead waiting for their own resurrection. This takes place after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth.


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The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus

The First Resurrection

The resurrection of the believing dead; those who did not worship the beast and receive his mark is called the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-5).

The fact that there is a first resurrection certainly implies a second resurrection. Furthermore, those who participate in the “first resurrection” are called blessed. On the other hand, those who do not experience this first resurrection will experience the “second death.”

The Second Resurrection

We are told in the same passage that “the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were finished.”

Let it be made clear that there is at least a one thousand year interval between the First and the Second Resurrection. The people who are raised one thousand years later will be judged and cast into the lake of fire. We read this in Revelation 20:11-15.

If these thousand years are literal, and the two resurrections described are each literal resurrections, then this seems to make two separate resurrections necessary. Consequently, not everyone can be raised and judged at once.

The Order of the Resurrection

In general, the Bible speaks of two future resurrections: the First Resurrection and the Second Resurrection. The former is the resurrection of life while the latter is the resurrection of death.

Three groups of believers will have been raised at different times at the culmination of the First Resurrection. But before looking at these participants, we must note that Jesus Christ is the first to be raised.

Jesus Christ, the Firstfruits

Jesus Christ’s resurrection was the first in God’s program, to be followed by believers. The apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

“But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.”

Jesus is called the firstfruits of those who have died. Others will come after.

As Paul preached the gospel to the Jews and Gentiles, he said that Jesus the Messiah would suffer and die. He would be the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:23); never to die again.

1 Corinthians 15:20

The Church Age Believers

The Rapture is when Christ comes in the air to “snatch away” the living believers and brings them to the Father’s house. But not many Christians realize that church-age believers who have died will also be resurrected.

“For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

It couldn’t be any clearer than this!

Two events will take place when Christ comes at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

  1. The resurrection of the dead in Christ
  2. The catching away of those who are alive and remain

Paul talks about this in greater detail in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Christians who are alive at this time will be “caught up” (raptured) to meet the Lord in the air. As they are being caught up, their bodies will be changed.

The Tribulation Saints

The tribulation saints are those who come to faith in Jesus Christ during the Great Tribulation period. And they will be raised at the Second Coming of Christ.

Note: The Rapture and the Second Coming are not the same events. The former takes place before the 7-year Tribulation while the latter takes place at the end of the Tribulation.

Through the witnesses of the 144,000, multitudes of people will come to the saving knowledge of Christ. However, they will be killed because of their testimony of Christ and the Word of God. They would not worship the beast nor take his mark (Revelation 20:4-6).

These Tribulation saints will come to life just before Christ comes to earth to reign for one thousand years.

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The Old Testament Saints

Another group of believers who will be raised after the Tribulation period is over are the Old Testament saints.

We read this in Daniel 12:1-2 (NIV):

“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.

But at that time your people, everyone whose name is found written in the book, will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”

After the tribulation period is over, Jesus Christ returns. He will then resurrect 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.

The Wicked, Unbelieving Dead

The resurrection of unbelievers will take place after the thousand-year reign of Christ upon the earth. All the unbelieving dead who have ever lived will be resurrected and judged at this time.

This is the Second and Final resurrection that comes at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

Here, Jesus will sit in the righteous judgment of all who refused to acknowledge His Messiahship and Saviourhood. From every part of the earth, the bodies of the wicked dead are raised to receive their final sentence. God will banish them permanently from His presence and they will suffer eternal punishment in the lake of fire.

Closing Words

The Bible teaches that everyone who has ever died will eventually be raised from the dead.

Job 19:25-26 (NIV) says, “I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end, He will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh, I will see God.”

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the confirmation of the resurrection of the human body and future judgment.

“And if Christ has not been raised … those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).

If you die in your sins, the judgment is sure. So, if you do not have a relationship with God through Christ, would you accept His gift of salvation today? Confess that you are a sinner and trust Jesus to save you.


Reference: Resurrection and Judgment by Don Stewart

Recommended Resource:

What Happens After Life?: 21 Amazing Revelations About Heaven and Hell by Ron Rhodes

What Happens After Life?: 21 Amazing Revelations About Heaven and Hell by Ron Rhodes

Do you wonder what happens when you die? If so, you’ll love these short, inspirational explanations of the Bible’s most encouraging teachings about heaven.

Trusted Bible teacher Ron Rhodes combines his rock-solid scriptural insight with illustrations from leaders throughout church history.

Each chapter is short enough to read in one sitting and zeroes in on a single encouraging truth. You will quickly find your fears and doubts replaced with confidence in these truths:

  • Death is a transition into a wonderful life, not a fearful end.
  • You will enjoy eternity in a wonderful new body.
  • You will be reunited with Christian loved ones.
  • Sin, sorrow, sickness, and pain will be no more.
  • Best of all, you will enjoy face-to-face fellowship with God.

Bypassing philosophical arguments and contentious debates, this reassuring look at the clear teaching of the Bible will empower you to embrace the future with hope and joy.

Who is the Great Harlot in Revelation?

Who is the Great Harlot in Revelation?

Revelation 17 talks about “the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters” (Revelation 17:1). But who is this prostitute that John is referring to in this passage? Is it possible to come up with the correct interpretation without being labeled a bigot and an extremist?

Religious Idolatry on the Rise

A harlot or prostitute is an individual who has been unfaithful in her wedding vows. In Revelation 17, John portrays an apostate church. Although it professes loyalty to Christ, it cleaves to idols and a false religious system. The Bible calls this spiritual idolatry.

God tells John that the influence of this apostate church is worldwide. “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15). Indeed, the great harlot is a worldwide false religious system.

In Revelation 17:2, we discover that this “great harlot” seduces “the kings of the earth,” not just the general population. They are stupefied and mesmerized by this worldwide religious system centered in Babylon.

The Ancient City of Babylon
Photo Credit: Learnodo Newtonic

Revival of the Roman Empire

John further writes, “So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns” (Revelation 17:3).

Going back to Revelation 13:1, we read, “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.”

What we see in Revelation 17:3 and Revelation 13:1 is the same. The great harlot sits upon the revived Roman Empire or the nations represented by the European Common Market.

A Deadly Beauty

In Revelation 17:4, John describes the apparel of the great harlot. “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls.”

She has the outward appearance of royalty; she is wearing gold and precious stones and pearls. This means she has unlimited wealth. In her hand is “a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.”

Outwardly, the great harlot is beautiful, but the contents of her cup are poison to the nations of the world.

John identifies the great harlot in Revelation 17:5. “And on her forehead, a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

Babylon is the “Mother,” which means the source, or the polluted fountain from which all spiritual prostitution flows.

The word “mystery” in the New Testament does not refer to something mysterious. Rather, it refers to some truth not previously presented by God to men. The “mystery” is in the last days, there will be a great worldwide apostate church that will reject Christ and dishonor God.

Worldwide Confusion

Nimrod's Tower of Babel This identification of Babylon as the source of spiritual unfaithfulness takes us back to the Tower of Babel, where it started.

Nimrod, who was the arch apostate of the post-diluvian world, built the Tower of Babel. He was four generations after the flood and is recorded as “the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel” (Genesis 10:8-10).

Nimrod’s generation built the Tower of Babel to cast God and His influence out of the earth. They proposed to build a great tower that would reach into heaven so that they could have the benefits of God without submitting to Him.

God’s reaction was, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So, the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth” (Genesis 11:7-9).

Here’s the critical point: the first organized, idolatrous, religious system in the history of the world was introduced at Babel. John calls Babylon “the Mother of Harlots” because it was the birthplace of spiritual adultery.

One day, the great religious system that began after the Flood will return to the forefront. Man will again organize in rebellion against the Creator just like at the Tower of Babel.

Judgment of the Great Harlot

How will it all end for the great harlot? Revelation 17:16-17 reads, “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.”

In essence, Joh is saying that in the middle of the 7-year Tribulation, the European Common Market will realize that they are mere puppets of the great harlot. They will then turn on her and destroy her with a vengeance.

Conclusion

Revelation 17 focuses on Babylon’s religious character, climaxing in a world religion during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. The major indictment against Babylon is the city’s spiritual idolatry (Revelation 17:4-5).

Millions of Christians will disappear at the Rapture. Meanwhile, the church institution left on earth (void of true believers) will quickly fall into the hands of opportunists. Arnold Fruchtenbaum says this of the prostitute in Revelation 17:

“Babylon the Harlot that represents the one-world religious system will rule over the religious affairs during the first half of the Tribulation. She rules over the nations of the world fully controlling the religious affairs and has the reluctant support of the government. The headquarters of this one-world religion will be the rebuilt city of Babylon, the mother of idolatry, for it was here that idolatry and false religion began.”

Robert Thomas also says, “She leads the world in the pursuit of false religion whether it be paganism or perverted revealed religion. She is the symbol for a system that reaches back to the Tower of Babel which extends into the future when it will peak under the regime of the beast.”


References:

  1. NKJV Prophecy Study Bible edited by John Hagee
  2. The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days by Mark Hitchcock

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: Revelation (The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries) by John F. Walvoord

What's the Book of Revelation About?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.

Refined, updated with the English Standard Version (ESV), and streamlined, this classic text is set to help you interpret the last book of the Bible and gain a better grasp of current trends and the climax of history!