God’s Life Insurance Policy

The first aspect of salvation, being delivered from the penalty of sin, is similar to life insurance. Because of Adam’s disobedience, we inherit his nature at birth. We are born physically alive but spiritually dead; separated from our Creator.

To receive true life, one first must recognize that he or she is a helpless sinner separated from their Creator and then believe the gospel. At that moment one becomes a child of God and has everlasting life that can never be lost. That’s the best life insurance!

God is infinitely Holy!

If you are growing in your understanding of your sin nature and the holiness of God, you begin to realize the infinite gap there is between the Lord and us. My heart is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). I am learning that “in me (that is in my flesh [old nature]) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18). The closer I get to the light of God’s holiness, I cry out like Isaiah, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:4) 

Growing requires time

However, did I understand the depths of my depravity the moment I received Jesus as my Savior? Does anyone ever understand the depths of their depravity at that moment? I don’t think so. Children or teenagers don’t understand the depth of their sinfulness. Neither do new converts. It requires time and spiritual growth. The closer I become in my relationship with Christ, the more rubbish I see in myself. If He dumped that all on you and I at one time, it would be devastating.    

What motivates you?

Yet in seeing more and more of my depravity, I am able to grow to understand more and more of His mercy and grace. The more I dig deeper into justification, the more I am compelled to live a life that glorifies Him and is good for me and those around me. His life insurance has given me what I don’t deserve (Spiritual life) and has withheld from me that which I do deserve (Spiritual death). When I understand that, it motivates me to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18; II Corinthians 5:14-15).  

God’s Policy promotes godliness

Understanding the comprehensive coverage of God’s Life Insurance actually promotes godliness and service. The grace of God teaches me to deny ungodliness and worldly lust; to live righteously and soberly (Titus 2:11). Grace never gives us the green light to sin more so grace may abound (Romans 6:1). That is a significant misunderstanding of God’s grace.

God’s grace always leads in paths of righteousness. If I am learning to develop my relationship with Him, His grace not only saves me from the penalty of sin, but It also saves me from the daily power of sin. Living by His grace and power glorifies Him and is good for me. Am I growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ?

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. II Samuel 16:7

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Check out , Assurance of Heaven, an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know you with certainty that heaven is your final destination, while learning to discern wrong teachings that may cause you to doubt. Download a FREE Study Guide that compliments the book.

Does God offer us Fire Insurance or Life Insurance?

Most people have insurance on their home. It would be pretty ridiculous not to have it. My eldest son almost burned down the house once when he was frying hamburgers on the stove. He went to do something in his room, forgot about them, and filled most of the house with burnt burger smoke. He yelled for me and I dashed into the house, grabbed the skillet, and tossed it outside. That’s probably the closest we ever came to using insurance. 

There is only one time when you will absolutely need fire insurance and that is when your house catches on fire. Thankfully, most never have to use it.

Is Salvation fire insurance?

Often some criticize those who ‘claim’ to be saved but show no visible fruit. Some will judge that such a person only wanted ‘fire insurance’. In other words, such a person doesn’t want to go to hell, but his life doesn’t seem to change much. It fails to show outward fruit or interest in things like going to church, reading the Bible, etc. Their conclusion usually is that those people are on thin ice when it comes to salvation. They just want ‘fire insurance’.

Although I do not like referring to salvation as fire insurance, it will actually prevent you from even having a fire. But to me salvation is better described as life insurance since that is what we really need. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life.” (I John 5:12).

Salvation is Life Insurance!

Every human is born physically alive, but spiritually dead; separated from God. We need spiritual life. The only way we get that life is by being born again; born from above.

When a person believes the gospel, he or she becomes a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26). That’s called being justified by faith. You are declared ‘not guilty’ in the court room of God Almighty! You have passed from death to life (John 5:24). That happens instantaneously when you believed the gospel. You are born again (spiritually) as God’s child. It is a one-time act of hearing (understanding the gospel) and believing it, which causes an irreversible change in your final destiny.

The truth is that if we have God’s life insurance, we don’t need fire insurance. Receiving spiritual life will keep you from needing fire insurance. Those who receive spiritual life by faith in Christ will never end up in the Lake of Fire.

All Policy holders have everlasting life

Once you are God’s child you are always His child. You may be a disobedient one. You may be a child that wanders off; but you still remain His child. No one can snatch you out of His hand including yourself. You shall not come into judgment. You receive everlasting life, the forgiveness of sins, and have been made accepted in the Beloved (Jesus).  You are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption.  You will never perish in the Lake of Fire. And it’s not based on anything you do, good or bad. It’s based completely on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ who promised that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life (John 3:16; 6:47).

God’s Insurance Policy is Free!

Salvation is more of a life insurance policy than fire insurance, because it gives you spiritual life that cannot be lost. It’s full coverage from the day you believed the gospel until the day you stand before the Lord. There’re no premium in this policy. He offers this policy as a free gift to whosoever will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!  

Next Time: Understanding the comprehensive coverage of God’s Life insurance program actually promotes godliness and service.

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Find out how to be secure in your relationship with God.

Check out , Assurance of Heaven, an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know you with certainty that heaven is your final destination, while learning to discern wrong teachings that may cause you to doubt. Download a FREE Study Guide that compliments the book.

Thank you for stopping by. I invite you to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and assurance of heaven for anyone who believes the gospel.

Chosen by God?

In high school the gym teacher would often pick two captains for two teams, whether it be football, baseball, or dodge ball. The two captains would then take turns picking others for their team. Obviously, they would pick friends and then guys they believed would have the best athletic ability. Not to be picked last was the fear that ran through most of our veins. Well, that fear can grow exponentially if you think God has not picked you.  

A few years ago, I knew a young man that struggled with his relationship with God. He commented to another brother in the Lord that he was struggling with assurance; not sure if he was really saved and going to heaven. Rather than providing comfort of the gospel, the other brother gave him a devastating answer, saying to him that maybe he wasn’t ‘elect’ or ‘chosen’. That’s pretty harsh and presumptuous in my opinion.  

The Go-to-Verse

The go-to-verse for those who believe God arbitrarily chooses some people for salvation and rejects the rest is Ephesians chapter one, verse four: “…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love”.

Presuppositions

Most everyone has presuppositions, especially when it comes to seeing the word ‘chosen’. We can focus on the word ‘chosen’ and automatically think that God picked some and not others for salvation. But is that what the verse actually says?  

The Body of Christ

No, it doesn’t. It does say that He chose us (referring to the apostle Paul and the Christians at Ephesus – Gentiles) in Him. The context as you read into chapter 2 is referring to believing Jews and Gentiles. They are the ‘us’ that God chose in Him. There was significant enmity between the two groups. But God reconciled them through Christ and now both Jew and Gentile believers form one new man (Eph. 1:10; 2:15, 16). That one new man is referred to as the church, the body of Christ (Eph. 3:6).  

Unbelievers were never in Christ

Unbelievers are “in Adam”. IN ADAM all die. Only in Christ are we made alive (I Cor. 15:22). This happens when a person is born again; when one becomes a believer (John 5:24). No one is in Christ before the foundation of the world. According to Ephesians 2:12, Gentiles were without Christ. How could Gentiles who came to faith in Christ, be without Christ, if all believers were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world?  

Secondly, the apostle Paul greeted Andronicus and Junia who “were in Christ” before him (Romans 16:7). How could those two disciples be in Christ before Paul, if all believers are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world? It’s not possible.  

The Place of Spiritual Blessings

Under the New Covenant, God decided before creation to place all believers (Jews and Gentiles) after the cross in Christ when they believed the gospel. That means that every person who trusts in Jesus Christ as Savior is placed into the body of Christ (the church), where we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3). It’s a positional truth.

Being “in Him” is the very first blessing, resulting in being holy and without blame (v. 4); adopted as sons (v. 5); accepted in the Beloved (v. 6); and receiving redemption (v. 7). Many more of these blessings follow in the rest of chapters one and two. However, a person isn’t “in Christ” until he believes. God decided before He created the world that all believing Jews and Gentiles would be place into one body (in Christ), His church.

Conclusion

Trying to say that Ephesians 1:4 means that God picks some and not others for salvation is reading that into that verse. Jesus Christ died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6). That’s includes all of us. He tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9). God “desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4). People don’t get saved because God didn’t choose them. They fail to receive salvation because they reject the one and only way, Jesus Christ (John 14:6; John 5:40).   

Find out how to have assurance of heaven

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Check out , Assurance of Heaven. It is an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know you have the certainty of going to heaven and learn how to share the faith with others. Download a FREE Study Guide that compliments the book.

Who Says the Crowd is Right?

When growing up, my parents cautioned me about crowd mentality. They warned me not to follow the crowd. I took their advice. Following the crowd will take you places you may not want to go.

A pastor gave me the same advice although couched a little differently. He would say, “Who says the crowd’s right?” He would say this in regards to Christian teaching. A majority view of something doesn’t mean it’s the correct view.

In reality, God rarely uses the crowd or the strong to accomplish His work on earth. He uses people who are willing to be faithful and obedient. “For my grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”. (II Cor. 12:9)

One Faithful Servant + God = a Majority

1. He used Noah to build an ark; one man out of millions who was faithful for the task. “By faith Noah being warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear…”(Hebrews 11:7)

2. He selected one man, Abraham, as the progenitor of the nation of Israel, through whom the Savior would come. (Genesis 12:1-3) “By faith Abraham obeyed“. (Hebrews 11:8)

3. He used Sarah, who was past the age of child bearing, to bring Isaac, the son of promise into the world. (Hebrews 11:11) “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive…” (Hebrews 11:11)

4. He picked one faithful man, Moses, to lead the nation of Israel to the Promised Land. (Ex. 3) “By faith he forsook Egypt… “(Hebrews 11:27)

5. He selected Gideon, from the weakest clan and the least in his family, to go up against an innumerable Midianite army with only three hundred men. “The Lord said to him, surely I will be with you…” (Judges 6:16)

6. He empowered Samson to defeat the Philistines. (Judges 16:28-31) “The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him…” (Judges 14:6)

7. He used David, a young man of faith, to defeat Goliath, the 9 foot giant. (I Samuel 17) David said to the giant, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…” (I Samuel 17:46)

8. Because of the faithfulness of King Hezekiah, God fought the battle . He sent the Angel of the Lord, who killed 185,000 men of the Assyrian army, saving the southern kingdom of Judah from defeat. (II Kings 19) “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel“. (II Kings 18:5)

9. Because King Asa sought the Lord by faith, God won another victory for Judah by defeating a million-man Ethiopian army. “Asa cried out to the Lord his God... it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God” (II Chronicles 14)

10. God used the prophet Elijah to rid the northern kingdom of Israel of Baal worship. (I Kings 18) “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly… (James 5:17)

11. He rescued Daniel, who refused to worship the king, from the lion’s den; causing Daniel to prosper in the reigns of Darius and Cyrus, Gentile world rulers. (Daniel 5:29-6:28)

12. God called the greatest single persecutor of the church, Saul, to become the greatest evangelist of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul. (Acts 9)

They weren’t perfect people. They had sin issues like the rest of us. But they placed their faith in the Lord and He used them. One man or woman plus God is a majority. Jesus asked His disciples, “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) His question implied, not much. Are you following the crowd? Or are you being a faithful child of God?

Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?” Proverbs 20:6

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Find out how to be secure in your relationship with God.

Check out , Assurance of Heaven, an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know you with certainty that heaven is your final destination, while learning to discern wrong teachings that may cause you to doubt. Download a FREE Study Guide that compliments the book.

Thank you for stopping by. I invite you to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and assurance of heaven for anyone who believes the gospel.

Do Babies Go to Heaven?

As a youngster, I hung out with kids who were all older than me. One particular day we were tossing rocks in between two houses. My cousin watched us from his bedroom window. Sixty-five years later I can still see my cousin diving for cover as the rock that I threw came crashing through his window.  Fortunately, he was not hurt. The older kids immediately ratted me out to my mother. She disciplined me mildly due to the fact of my age and that it was not intentional. I just couldn’t throw accurately because of my young age. 

Accountability is an important factor in life for many things. Rational caring people do not hold children responsible for things they do not understand. I believe God, who is infinitely more merciful and gracious than humans, treats us similarly when it comes to salvation. Scripture teaches us that we are accountable for what we know. Thus, when it comes to babies and children, there is a level of accountability based on their ability to understand the gospel. A child must first hear the gospel and be able to comprehend the gospel to believe the gospel.

Following are nine Biblical reasons why I believe that babies and children who have not reached a level of understanding are not held accountable for their sin and unbelief. 

1. God has removed the sin barrier for all people. Christ’s death paid the penalty for everyone (Heb. 2:9). This would include babies and children. However, they are unable to understand enough to make a faith decision.  “The Lord is merciful and gracious…” (Psalm 103:8)
2. Romans 1:18-20 teaches that man is held accountable for their unbelief when they fail to respond to the revelation of God in creation… “They are without excuse.” The implication is that at some point early in life, they had an excuse. They could not cognitively recognize the truth of God as Creator.  
3. When David’s young child dies, he responded, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Sam 12:23) David believed in life after death – “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” He knew that he would see the young child again (Psalm 23:6).  
4. “For before the Child shall know to refuse evil and choose good… (Isaiah 7:16)” Doesn’t that imply that young children are unable to discern moral choices? That’s why they need parents for guidance.
  
5. Israel’s unfaithfulness kept them out of the Promised Land. Yet their descendants would go in; “your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there…” (Duet 1:39) Because they had no knowledge of good and evil, the Lord did not hold them accountable.  
6. Furthermore, only those 20 years old and older would die in the wilderness. Those younger were not held accountable and would live to see the Promised Land.  (Num. 14:29)  
7. Job lamented, “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb? …Then I would have been at rest.” (Job 3:11, 13) Job believed in an afterlife (Job 19:26). It seems he would have arrived there even as an infant.  
8. Under the Old Testament law, the mother needed to offer a sacrifice for herself when she gave birth. An atoning sacrifice (sin offering) was necessary for the mother, but not for the child (Lev 12).
9. Israel had sacrificed their babies to pagan gods.  God said they had filled the place with “blood of the innocents” (Jer. 19:4). How is anyone innocent unless they are young and have no awareness of moral choices before God? 
  

All are born separated from God because of Adam’s sin. At some point in time, and only God knows, every person becomes responsible before Him for his/her sin and unbelief. Infants and younger children do not sin knowingly and willfully against God. Although they do disobey, it is only apparent to us because, as adults, we can discern it.  

Babies and younger children go to heaven because God’s grace through Christ’s death is applied to them. That fits with the character and nature of God who is gracious and full of compassion; great in mercy; righteous in all His ways“. (Psalm 145; Psalm 36:5)

 “Shall not the Judge of the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25) 

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Find out how to be secure in your relationship with God.

Check out , Assurance of Heaven, an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know you with certainty that heaven is your final destination, while learning to discern wrong teachings that may cause you to doubt. Download a FREE Study Guide that compliments the book.

Thank you for visiting this site. I invite you to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace.

Paul vs. James, A Contradiction?

There seems to be a contradiction in Scripture that a man is justified (declared righteous) by faith according to Paul, but justified by works according to James (Rom. 5:1; James 2:24). It’s either one or the other.  It can’t be both, can it?

But actually, it is both. A mountain climber may have faith to climb mountains. But in order to demonstrate his faith in his ability to others, he actually has to climb the mountain. Merely saying he can do it doesn’t show his faith in his ability to others.

Concerning the book of James, a majority of pastors and Bible teachers teach that good works and righteous living are always a result of faith. If there are no works then there is no faith. In other words, if you’re not living ‘right’ then you’re not saved and on your way to heaven. What they fail to understand is that James is written to believers who have been justified by faith in the court room of God. Being justified by faith is a one-time act of hearing (understanding the gospel) and believing it, which causes an irreversible change in your final destiny.

Five evidences that James was writing to Believers
1. At least 15 times in the book, he addresses them as brethren or beloved brethren; a reference to their spiritual relationship in the Lord (James 1:2, 9, 19; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:1, 10, 11; 4:11; 5:7, 9, 10, 12, 19)  
2. In chapter 1 verse 3, they were experiencing trials which were testing their faith. They had to be in the faith for their faith to be tested.
3. They were “brought forth” by the word of truth (1:18). They were born again.   
4. According to Chapter 4 verse 5, they were indwelt by the Spirit of God; “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”.   Only believers have the Spirit.
5. James warns them not to hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with partiality. (James 2:1) “Our’ demonstrates that the writer and the audience were in the faith. Some of them were misusing their faith in their relationship with rich and poor.
Dead does not mean non-existent

The reason most commentators assign some of these people to the unbelieving realm is because they have “dead” faith (2:17). They teach that ‘dead’ faith is equal to no faith. But dead doesn’t mean non-existent. In the context, it means useless. It doesn’t profit. These believers were living a self-absorbed and carnal lifestyle like the Corinthian church (I Cor. 3:1-4).  

Only God can see a person’s heart

Faith that is evidenced by appropriate works justifies that person before others. They can’t see what you believe, but they can see your faith in action.  They were to “speak” and to “do” as those who will be judged by the law of liberty”. (James 2:12) Their talk of faith (speak) was to align with their walk of faith (do).

Paul vs. James

The apostle Paul was opposing the Jewish works-righteousness mentality; that a person could be restored to a relationship with God by works (Rom. 3:1-5:1). James was addressing a lack of righteous living of the believer

Paul taught the doctrine of justification; being immediately delivered from the penalty of sin and declared righteous in position forever, by faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Good works should follow in a believer’s life, but often they must be learned and sometimes they are lacking (Eph. 2:10; Titus 3:8, 14; I Cor. 3:15).

James addressed the need for these believers to be delivered from the power of sin. This is referred to as practical sanctification. Their lack of works and righteousness failed to evidence the inward reality of their faith to others. 

CATEGORY     PAUL’S Teaching     JAMES’ Teaching 
Issue:     Works-righteousness     Lack of righteous living 
Justification:     Before God by faith    Before others by works 
Salvation:     From the Penalty of sin    From the Power of sin 
Works:     Believers should do    Believers not doing (useless) 
Context:     Justification    Sanctification 

It takes time for new believers to grow in their faith. Some never grow much. Abraham was saved in Genesis 15:6 and demonstrated that his faith had matured in Genesis 22 about 20 years later (Rom. 4:3; James 2:21-24). Maybe instead of writing people out of the kingdom, we should try to have a conversation with them about the gospel. If they have believed the gospel, then we should help to assure them of their salvation. And then if we have a good relationship with the person, we can help them “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

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Learn more about your security in Christ.

Check out, Assurance of Heaven, an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know you have the certainty of going to heaven and learn to share the faith with others. Download a FREE Study Guide that compliments the book.

5 Reasons Easy Believism is not Easy

There is a certain sect of Christianity referred to as Lordship salvation that would accuse me of teaching easy believism. They typically set up a strawman argument. In a strawman those who oppose you make a false representation of what you believe and then argue against it.  

They will often say things like ‘walking an aisle’ or ‘repeating a prayer’ or “just believing some facts” is what I and others believe saves a person from hell. But that is the furthest from the truth. Biblical grace teaches that a person is saved the moment they understand and believe the gospel. It is a one-time act of hearing (understanding the gospel) and believing it, which causes an irreversible change in your final destiny. The Bible refers to that as being “justified by faith” (Rom. 5:1).   

God made the message simple in that it is easily understood, but it’s not easy to believe . Most people and all religion think that you must ‘do something’ in order to be accepted.  This goes against our pride.

5 Reasons Easy Believism is not Easy 

It’s not easy to believe that I’m a condemned sinner. Most people think that they are good. But Jesus said, “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Luke 18:19) 
It’s not easy to believe that there’s nothing I must do other than believe. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, its the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
It’s not easy to believe that He rose from the dead. But He appeared after His resurrection to over “five hundred brethren”, to “all the apostles”, and lastly to the apostle Paul (I Cor. 15:6-8). 
It’s not easy to believe in life after death by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. But Jesus said, “He who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).  
It’s not easy to believe that Jesus was not only a man, but that He is God. He said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).  

The gospel is a simple message. Jesus, the God/Man, died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. That’s not hard to understand. It’s easy enough that even a younger child can understand it.  

But human pride gets in the way and that makes the simple message difficult to believe. We are so accustomed to working for everything that we think salvation has to be worked for; that it has to be earned. But the Bible says, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9).  

We have no work to do to receive everlasting life and the forgiveness of sin. Jesus Christ did all the work for us. Our salvation was purchased at great cost to our Lord. And in His amazing grace He offers it to us as a free gift; received by simply believing that His death, burial, and resurrection is sufficient.  

Check out , Assurance of Heaven, an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know you with certainty that heaven is your final destination, while learning to discern wrong teachings that may cause you to doubt. Download a FREE Study Guide that compliments the book.

Thank you for visiting this site. I invite you to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace.

Easter Gives the Helpless Hope

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin entered the world. Because of their sin, every human enters the world with a sinful disposition; separated from God. It placed all of mankind in a helpless position. And there is nothing we can do to fix it. We can’t make ourselves acceptable to a holy God. It would take a work of God to do the things necessary to restore the relationship.  

Intervention Needed

The restoration between God and man would require a sufficient Substitute to make the payment for our sin. In addition, man’s righteousness that was lost needed to be restored. Works of righteousness on our part cannot take away sin nor restore the relationship.(Titus 3:5) God would have to intervene.  

The Perfect Sacrifice

Thankful He did. Jesus Christ came down to earth to be the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for sin. His death on the cross paid for the sin of the world. “He tasted death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9). He was buried and three days later He rose from the grave.   

Resurrection

If Christ had not risen, we would still be dead in our sins and in a hopeless situation with no possibility of restoration (I Cor. 15:17). But indeed, He did rise from the grave proving that he has the power over sin and death. After He rose, He was seen by five hundred brethren and the apostles (I Cor. 15:6-7). Furthermore, His death, burial, and resurrection is sufficient to restore our relationship with the Father, because He paid our sin debt and imputes his perfect righteousness to everyone that believes.  

Our Hope

Although we are helpless, we are not hopeless, because Jesus Christ did all the work necessary to bring us back to the Father. His resurrection is proof that He is the Lord and that whoever believes in Him can rest their hope fully upon His grace that is  “to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13). 

Happy Resurrection Day! He is risen; He is risen indeed!   

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The Thief and the Middle Cross

C.I. Scofield was a preacher and writer. He penned the following Biblical article about Barabbas who was sentenced to death and expected to die the next morning for his crime. However, it was a custom at Passover for the Roman governor to release a Jewish prisoner. (Following Titles added and article condensed)

Barabbas was a criminal

Barabbas was condemned to die. No one has ever questioned the justice of his sentence. He was a rebel against the law, a robber and a murderer. He was not under probation, but under doom. He was not awaiting trial, but execution. Just before him, as his only prospect, was the awful death of crucifixion. He knew what that meant: long hours of unspeakable agony, the hands and feet torn by great spikes, the wrist and shoulder joints dislocated by the dragging down of the body, each quivering nerve a separate torture through tension, a burning, unquenchable thirst, and, all around, a jeering, taunting mob. All the horizon of his life is narrowed to that. The only question is, when?

A Pardon : Barabbas is set free

Then the night falls. But it is a disturbed night. Even in the prison it is perceived that something unusual is occurring. Confused noises, outcries, the tramping of feet, penetrate the thick walls. Barabbas dumbly wonders what it all means. Perhaps it is another insurrection such as that he, poor fool, raised against the majestic, inflexible Law. But the night wears on, and at last it is daylight—the light of his last day! And now he hears footsteps, the key grinds in the lock, his prison door swings open, but, just as he is summoning all his brute’s fortitude for the ordeal which awaits him, he hears the joyful words: “Go free! Go free! Barabbas; another takes your place; another is to die between the two malefactors (criminals).”

Barabbas lives while Jesus dies

As Barabbas emerged into the free, glorious sunshine, the crowd was already surging out toward the Place of the Skull. And then, if not before, the desire must have arisen to know who had been condemned to die in his place. One can, easily imagine how Barabbas followed the throng, striving eagerly to see the Man who was to die for him.

The Substitute: The innocent takes the place of the guilty

His substitute in agony there was the new Teacher out of Galilee, the Man who spoke as never man spoke, the Man whose life had been absolutely without sin. Adam sinned, and Abraham and Moses, and all the prophets, but not this Man.

5 Things Barabbas Knew

First, he knew that he was a guilty wretch, under the righteous condemnation of the law (Luke 23:25). And in both these respects Barabbas was a representative of all men (Rom. 3:10-20, 23; Gal. 3:10).

Secondly, Barabbas knew that the Sufferer before him had done no sin (John 8:46; John 19:4; 1 Peter 2:22).

Thirdly, he knew that Jesus was, for him, a true substitute. He was verily and actually dying in his place and stead; an innocent and holy being bearing the very penalty which the law had justly decreed to him, Barabbas. Whoever, in the coming ages, might question whether Christ’s death was vicarious (done in place of) and substitutional, he could never question it (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 2:22-24; 3:18; Isa. 53:5- 6).

Fourthly, he knew that he had done nothing whatever to merit the marvelous interposition (intervention) of that substitutional death. Whatever may have been back of it, it reached him as an act of pure grace (Psalm 69:19-20; Eph. 2:4-9; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 2:11; Rom. 4:4-5).

Fifthly, he knew that Christ’s death for him was perfectly efficacious (effective). There was, therefore, nothing for him to add to it. Just because Christ was dying, he was living. The only question before Pilate was whether Christ should die or Barabbas. When it was decided that Christ should die, Barabbas was set free. His assurance was complete the instant that his Substitute said, “It is finished,” and gave up the ghost (John 19:30; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rom. 5:19; 1 John 1:7; Col. 1:20; Heb. 10:10,14). – by C.I. Scofield

Like Barabbas, we deserve an eternal death sentence. But thank God that He sent His Son so that we might have everlasting life. It is simply received by faith in Christ and what he did. It is a one-time act of hearing (understanding the gospel) and believing it, which causes an irreversible change in your final destiny. The moment you believe in Him you pass from death to life and have the assurance of heaven! (John 5:24; I John 5:13)

Find out how to be secure in your relationship with God.

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What About the Person that Never Heard the Gospel?

That’s a question that has come up often over the years. It’s a good question. It was a question that I had in my mind at one time. Often the person is trying to reconcile the character of God in his mind. Sometimes they question their need for a Savior; “If some people in a faraway land gets a free ride to heaven because they never heard, then why do I need a Savior?  

But the Bible tells the reader, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23) And that there is only one way to the Father through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).  

Five Ways God reaches people

First of all, creation testifies to the existence of God. His Divine nature and power are revealed in the creation. Because of this, every person is without excuse of knowing that God exists; “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”  (Rom. 1:20). 

Secondly, the Spirit of God ministers to the unbelieving world. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin as the problem, judgment as the consequence, and the righteousness of Jesus as the answer; “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…” (John 16:8). 

Thirdly, Jesus said that if He was lifted up (on the cross), He would draw all to Himself: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (John 12:32, 33). He doesn’t force people to come, but He does draw them.  

Fourthly, God uses messengers or as we call them missionaries. For example, the Spirit prevented Paul from going to Asia and directed him to go to Macedonia. There he met a woman named Lydia who worshipped God. The Lord open her eyes to the gospel and she believed. “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14-15). 

Fifthly, the Lord always uses His word as specific revelation either written or verbally. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). 

God responds to those who respond to His light

Not everyone in the world has a copy of the Bible available to them. But if a person is responding to the light that they do have, God will ultimately provide them with what they need, just like Lydia.  

Two examples

In a gospel tract, From the Jungle to Jesus, Dikkie Ekiai tells his story how he came out of tribal paganism living in Borneo to faith in Jesus Christ. It didn’t happen overnight. But it did start with a search for truth inspired by observing the intricacies of a spider web. He wrote, “One day while walking through the jungle I came across a big spider weaving its web. Observing how this spider could weave a perfect symmetry and angle every time, I concluded that someone must have designed this creature with its unique ability.” Read more about his journey to faith.  

A friend of mine ministers in a county jail. One day he encountered a prisoner who had read the graffiti in a cell that said, “Trust in God”. He told my friend that little phrase caused him to pray for the first time in his life. His seeking prayer was answered for God sent my friend to Him to share the grace of the Lord Jesus with him. 

God is not limited

We cannot limit the arm of God. The question doesn’t challenge the character of God. He can reach anyone anywhere in the world. But it does require a seeking and humble heart to respond to the light that they have.  “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Everyone must come to God on His terms. He has given every one the opportunity. He is a just and righteous Ruler. Some have more opportunity to hear about Christ than others. But even many of those reject that truth because of their desire to remain in darkness (John 3:18). Like the religious rulers of Israel, many are not willing to come to Him to be saved (John 5:40).  

Find out how to be secure in your relationship with God.

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Purchase, Assurance of Heaven, an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know you with certainty that heaven is your final destination while learning to discern wrong teachings that may cause you to doubt. Download a FREE Study Guide that compliments the book.