Lord, What Will You Have Me To Do?

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

The apostle Paul is, arguably, one of the greatest ministers of the gospel, being the chief of the apostles, and the most distinguished preacher, evangelist and teacher in the history of the church. He lived an amazing life as a believer and as a servant of Jesus Christ, and did great exploits for the kingdom of God, eventually dying as a martyr. But, there was a time when Paul (then Saul) was a murderer of christians and a terror to the church of Christ. The turning point in his life occurred while on his way to persecute Christians at Damascus. His dramatic arrest by Jesus Christ, and his subsequent conversion to Christianity, shook him profoundly and set the stage for the life of total obedience and service to the Lord that followed. As dramatic as his conversion was, it was the question that Paul (then Saul) asked the Lord, after getting to know him, more than anything else, that set the tone for the great life and ministry he had in Christ.

The Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,

The Acts 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

The Acts 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

The Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?

The Acts 9:5 And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.

The Acts 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will you have me to do? And the Lord said to him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do.

The Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

The Acts 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

The only question Paul (then Saul) asked the Lord, after getting to know him, was what the Lord would have him to do. Paul’s question revealed a profound understanding of the sovereignty of God and his predetermined purpose and plan for his intelligent creatures. God is not so much interested in what we want do for him as he is in our obedience to his will, to do what he has predetermined for us to do. If we recognise the fact that Christianity is intended to make people know and do God’s will, and not a means of getting divine backing for our own will, our perceptions and orientation will change. We will become more kingdom-minded and less self-centered. We will be praying more for God’s will to be done, rather than for us to have our ways.

God has a plan and purpose for each of us. That purpose for our life was conceived in the eternal mind of God even before we were born. God told Jeremiah that before he came out of his mother’s womb, he had already sanctified and ordained him as a prophet to the nations. Paul would later acknowledge the fact that God called him from the womb and separated him to be an apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, before he was born. God told the Israelites who were about to go into captivity in Babylon that he had plans for them, which would bring them peace and prosperity, even in their captivity. For that reason, they were not to resist going into captivity, however unpalatable it looked. Recognising that God has a plan and purpose for each of us is key to living a fulfilled and successful life. Until we grasp that revelation, we’ll continue to insist on our own will and ways, which will ultimately lead to disaster. Our ways may appear right in our eyes, but they don’t always end well for us.

Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

Galatians 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Galatians 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Jeremiah 29:4 Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon;

Jeremiah 29:5 Build you houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;

Jeremiah 29:6 Take you wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that you may be increased there, and not diminished.

Jeremiah 29:7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace.

Jeremiah 29:8 For thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the middle of you, deceive you, neither listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.

Jeremiah 29:9 For they prophesy falsely to you in my name: I have not sent them, said the LORD.

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus said the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:12 Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:14 And I will be found of you, said the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, said the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Like Paul, we must intentionally seek the Father’s will for our lives, in all circumstances we find ourselves. We must ask for what he’d have us do, and not try to force God to approve and bless our self-willed plans. We must come in humility to the Father who has the blueprint and masterplan for our lives, and inquire what he has foreordained for us to do, for only God’s eternal purpose for our lives will bring peace, joy and fulfilment to us. Jesus said his food was to do the Father’s will, and to finish the work the Father gave him to do on earth. To identify the Father’s will for us, and to accomplish that will, should be our food too, as children of God. Christ did not come to do his own will, but the Father’s, and likewise, we are not sent by Christ into the world to seek to do our own will, but his. Thus, until we are able to identify what our God-apportioned callings and purpose on earth are, we will only be doing our own will. Until we ask God and receive a definite answer to the life-defining question, “what will you have me to do, Lord?”, we will be living at cross purposes with God. Until Paul asked that question and got a definite answer, he was living contrary to God’s will, being a persecutor and destroyer of God’s church, while thinking he was doing some great service to God, in his misguided zeal. But, when he asked and received from God what he was born to do, the fiercest persecutor of the church turned around to become its greatest masterbuilder ever! Destiny was finally discovered and fulfilled!!

John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

John 4:32 But he said to them, I have meat to eat that you know not of.

John 4:33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Has any man brought him ought to eat?

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Hebrews 10:5 Why when he comes into the world, he said, Sacrifice and offering you would not, but a body have you prepared me:

Hebrews 10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure.

Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, See, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God.

Hebrews 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, See, I come to do your will, O God. He takes away the first, that he may establish the second.

Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Luke 22:39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

Luke 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said to them, Pray that you enter not into temptation.

Luke 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.

1 Corinthians 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

Too many Christians there are who are busy imagining their life’s work and just feeling their way through life, without a definite word from God as to what their specific work and mission on earth are. Too many of God’s children are wandering aimlessly through life, lurching from one self-willed decision to another, just trying out anything that feels good and that seems to work, without a definite knowledge of God’s purpose for their lives. Until we have a clear revelation of the specific work we’re called to do in the kingdom, we will fail to fulfill destiny. Until you discover what your destiny is, how can you fulfill it? Thats why we frequently find a hand in the body of Christ struggling to be a leg, or an ear trying so hard to be an eye. But, if we discover who we are, and our position and place in Christ, we will fulfill God’s purpose for our lives in our generation. Thus, the greatest question, after salvation, is to ask God to reveal to us his will and purpose for our lives. That must be the starting point for whoever wants to live a fulfilled life in Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Corinthians 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1 Corinthians 12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1 Corinthians 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

1 Corinthians 12:18 But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.

1 Corinthians 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

1 Corinthians 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

1 Corinthians 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

1 Corinthians 12:22 No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

1 Corinthians 12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

1 Corinthians 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked.

1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

1 Corinthians 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

1 Corinthians 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.

In conclusion, deliberately seeking to know and to do God’s will for our lives, like the apostle Paul did on his first encounter with Christ, is key to living a fulfilled Christian life. God has a specific will and plan for all his children. He has a specific role and function for each member of his body to perform in his church and in his kingdom. Like parts of the human body, each member of the body of Christ has his/ her unique position and function in the body. The onus is on every believer to find out their position and role in the body of Christ, and to play that role accordingly, for the edifying of the church and the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth. Locating our place and purpose in God’s plan requires asking the Lord the same question that Saul asked him when he encountered Christ on the way to Damascus—”Lord, what will you have me to do?”

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Christianity Is Following Jesus Subserviently, Not ‘Using’ Him To Advance Our Personal Agenda!

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version).

Matthew 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 10:38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. We’re not Christians simply because we’re born into a Christian family, or because we go to church on Sundays. People become Christians through only one way—by being born again, which entails acknowledging they’re sinners, accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, repenting of their sins, and getting baptised in Jesus’ name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ, in order to become Christians. For, if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in him, such a person is not a Christian. Such a person does not belong to Christ. That’s simply the gospel truth.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

The Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation.

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Romans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father!

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

So, being a Christian is belonging to Christ in a personal way. It’s getting united with Christ by his indwelling Spirit. It’s becoming one with Christ. Thus, a Christian is someone in intimate union with Christ, one who has the mind of Christ. A Christian is one who follows in the footsteps of Christ, intentionally living as Christ did, while he was here on earth. In fact, the name ‘Christians’ was first given to the disciples/ followers of Christ by outsiders who observed how they so resembled Christ in their ways and conduct. It was actually a name of mockery, intended to deride and ridicule the disciples who were closely imitating Christ in their living. But the name stuck, because the followers of Christ were actually glad to be considered worthy of being identified with their Lord and Master. The early disciples considered it a badge of honour to be considered of the same comportment as their Lord and Master. What greater honour can a disciple have, than to be considered in the same light as his master?

Luke 9:23 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Luke 9:25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

The Acts 11:25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,

The Acts 11:26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Matthew 10:24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.

Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

John 15:18 If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

John 15:21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

John 15:23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also.

John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 15:25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: They hated me without a cause.

Christianity then is a lifelong imitation of Christ. It’s a discipleship programme that has the goal and final objective of making followers of Jesus Christ become exactly like him. Every gift of the Spirit to believers, and every manifestation of God to his people, are intended to build us up into the full image and stature of Christ. To be like Jesus is God’s goal for every Christian. God did not save us so we can harness his power to accomplish our pet projects and self-centred plans. He didn’t deliver us from the guilt and penalty of sin only to turn around and fuel our vile passions, pride, greed, covetousness and inordinate ambitions. Rather, we are saved to accomplish God’s will in our generation, like Jesus did in his sojourn here on earth. God saved us to deliver us from our destructive ways, and to replace our ways with his own. Just like the Father sent Jesus to the world and Jesus submerged his will beneath that of his Father, Jesus has saved us and sent us as his ambassadors into the world, demanding that we surrender our will to his and live according to his commandments. We are thus to look unto Jesus as our example in everything, as the standard we’re to measure up to, in obeying the Father’s will. In whatever situation we find ourselves, we are to look unto Jesus, allowing the mind of Christ to disrupt our minds and control our thinking and guide our actions and behaviour. We are to bring all thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ, as we seek, like Christ, to ensure God’s will is done in us and through us.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Ephesians 4:7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says, When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.

Ephesians 4:9 ( In saying, He ascended, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Ephesians 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:9 Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (AKJV).

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (AKJV).

Christians can only reflect Christ as we look unto him and keep beholding his glory. As we focus permanently on the Lord of glory and his agenda, we get gradually transformed into his image. As we fill our hearts with his words and are filled with his Spirit, our old sinful nature continues to die daily, while the life of Christ in us takes over. As we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow the Master, we gradually die to the flesh and thus grow in grace, becoming more and more like Jesus. The more we keep our eyes on Jesus, the more we receive grace to live above the temptations and snares of this world. As Isreal looked unto the brazen serpent on the pole and found healing and life, may we continue to gaze upon the risen Christ, who is our life, our hope and our glory. As we keep our eyes and minds fixed upon the risen and glorified Lamb seated upon God’s throne, we will become freed from the love of the things of this world, and discover the true purpose of life. That’s the ultimate goal of Christianity.

2 Corinthians 3:16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

2 Corinthians 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:11 For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:12 So then death works in us, but life in you.

2 Corinthians 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

2 Corinthians 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (AKJV).

Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Colossians 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

Colossians 3:7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Colossians 3:11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Colossians 3:14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In conclusion, being a Christian is much more than going to church on Sunday, or being born into a Christian family. To be a Christian is to be united with Jesus Christ spiritually, and to become his lifelong disciple thereafter. It entails denying ourselves, carrying our cross daily to follow Jesus, and living a life of absolute obedience to Jesus’ commandments, after we have been saved. As we follow in the footsteps of the Master Jesus, we are to seek only his will, and desire to do only those things which are pleasing in his sight. The goal of Christianity is to transform followers of Jesus Christ into his image, to become exactly like Jesus, in thought, words and deed, as they imitate the Master, inspired by his indwelling Spirit. Christianity is not using Jesus to fulfill our personal goals and advance our selfish ambitions, but dying to ourselves in our union with Christ, so that only Christ’s will will be done in our lives, and only his life will be reflected through us. True Biblical Christianity is following Jesus subserviently, after he has saved us, and not using Jesus as a means to advance our personal and selfish agenda.

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What It Means To Abide In Christ

(All Bible quotations, unless otherwise stated, are from the English Standard Version).

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

John 15:2 Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

In the passage of Scripture quoted above, the Lord Jesus compared the relationship between himself and his disciples to that of the vine and its branches. The Lord likens himself to the vine tree, with his disciples being the branches of the vine. As the branches cannot live and bear fruits on their own, except they are united with the vine, so are Christians lifeless and fruitless, outside of their union with Christ. Except we abide in Christ and draw nourishment and sustenance from his life and Spirit, we become barren and unfruitful, and will eventually dry up spiritually and die off. Such dead branches are of no spiritual value, but only fit to be cut down and cast into the fire. Such is the ultimate fate of believers who cut themselves off from Christ and don’t get reunited with him again. But, what does it mean, in practical terms, to abide in Christ? How do we remain united with Christ, in order to be fruitful and pleasing to God? We shall examine the Scriptures further to answer these questions.

1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

1 John 2:4 Whoever says I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him:

1 John 2:6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The apostle John, in his first epistle, connects abiding in Christ to knowing Christ, keeping his words and walking (living) as Christ did. To abide in Christ then means to know Christ, to keep the commandments of Christ and to live as Christ lived while he was here on earth. To know Christ is to be born again and to have the life of Christ (eternal life) in us (united with Christ). Being born again makes one a lifelong disciple of Christ, one who must now follow Christ and obey his teachings all his life. Obeying the commandments of Christ implies following the footsteps of Christ and living as Christ did. That’s the evidence of being a disciple of Christ indeed, when we continue or abide in his word. It’s as we obey and live by the word of God that we become fruitful in our Christian walk. That’s when our life becomes pleasing and glorifying to God. That’s how our love for God is manifested—when we keep his commandments. We may profess all the love for God with our mouths and in our songs, but until we keep God’s commandments, we’re only loving God by mouth and not in deed.

John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

1 John 3:24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

Finally, John was emphatic in what he meant by walking as Christ did, for those abiding in Christ. We must not love the world and its lusts and passions, for whoever loves the world does not have love for God, for the world and its lusts (the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life) are at enmity with God, and we cannot be loving enemies of God and be faithful in our love relationship with God, as that amounts to spiritual adultery. Simply put, friendship with the sinful ways of the world is enmity with God. No one can claim to abide in Christ who is living in sin. Anyone who lives in sin and practises a lifestyle of sinfulness has not truly known God. For sure, no one can be perfectly sinless in this fallen world and in our mortal bodies. However, no true Christian who is abiding in Christ will be comfortable living and grovelling in sin. When he falls into sin, a true disciple of Christ quickly repents, confesses his sin and turns away from it. The Christain who abides in Christ practises a life of righteousness by default, not a life of sinfulness, which he once lived (before he was born again), but has now renounced. By our union with Christ, we become new creatures, old things in our lives having passed away, while all things have become new.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?

1 John 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

1 John 3:5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

1 John 3:6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

1 John 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Ephesians 5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Ephesians 5:7 Therefore do not associate with them;

Ephesians 5:8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Ephesians 5:9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),

Ephesians 5:10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Ephesians 5:12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

Ephesians 5:13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,

Ephesians 5:14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Ephesians 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,

Ephesians 5:16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

Ephesians 5:19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,

Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (KJV).

In conclusion, a believer must abide in Christ, the same way a living and fruitful branch abides in a vine, for him to remain spiritually alive and fruitful. The moment a Christian stops abiding in Christ, he cuts himself off from Christ’s life, and automatically dies off, the same way a severed branch of a tree dies and rots away, and becomes only good for firewood. To abide in Christ means to be closely united with him in word, in spirit and in deed. It means to follow and obey the commandments of Christ, and to live as Christ did, while on earth. To abide in Christ means to live a life of righteousness, shunning sin and walking uprightly as Christ did. Thus, one cannot be said to be abiding in Christ who loves the world and its sinful ways, for friendship with the world is enmity with God. To love Christ is to hate the world and its lusts, just as to love the world is to hate Christ. No one can abide in Christ and in the world at the same time, for no one can serve two masters at the same time.

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

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We Glory In Tribulations Also

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

The Christian has the promise of divine blessings and favour for living a life of obedience to the commandments of God. We are to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God which shall be revealed in us. However, the Christian’s life is not just one of bliss and glory. We are not only to rejoice because of the blessings and grace we enjoy. Part of the Christian experience is to suffer persecutions and tribulations for Christ’s sake. Suffering for Christ is to be experienced by all genuine Christians, though in different forms and in varying degrees. When tribulations and trials arise because of the cross of Christ and his gospel which we live and preach, we are to rejoice and be glad. We are to give glory to God for the opportunity and privilege to be counted worthy to share with the Lord in his sufferings. That’s what the New Testament teaches. 

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;

Romans 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Romans 5:5 And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.

1 Peter 4:14 If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the spirit of glory and of God rests on you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

1 Peter 4:19 Why let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator.

2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

Christian suffering is not optional nor can it be avoided. The Lord Jesus taught that anyone who would come after (follow) him should be prepared to deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow the Lord. The Lord also taught that no true disciple of his would escape persecution for the sake of the Word of God, the same way he himself couldn’t escape it, since no disciple can be greater than his master. Whatever the master passed through, every true servant of his must experience. The Lord suffered unjustly while on earth, and left us all an example to follow in his footsteps. No true disciple of Christ can escape suffering unjustly and being persecuted for righteousness sake. 

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Luke 9:24 For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Luke 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Luke 9:26 For whoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.

15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

John 15:21 But all these things will they do to you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.

John 15:23 He that hates me hates my Father also.

John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 15:25 But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

1 Peter 2:19 For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:

1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously:

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.

2 Timothy 3:10 But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience,

2 Timothy 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Mark 10:28 Then Peter began to say to him, See, we have left all, and have followed you.

Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Truly I say to you, There is no man that has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundred times now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

It’s important that every Christian is made to understand at the beginning of their walk with God that persecutions and tribulations are an integral part of our Christian heritage, in addition to the blessings of Christ and the glory that shall be revealed in us. Unto us it is given, on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Persecutions and sufferings are the means by which God allows our faith to be tested and purified and made stronger. They are the means by which our character and Christian experience are developed and built up. If we do not understand and accept this doctrine, not only will we be discouraged when trials come our way, we may become offended by them and abandon the faith. Deceived by the unbridled prosperity gospel, which preaches only the blessings of the cross but not its sufferings and shame, many a Christian have abandoned the faith, when adversity came knocking, being unprepared to deal with sufferings as part of the blessed inheritance of the Christian. Like Job’s wife, they’re ready to curse God and die, when the storms of life arise. Because such faiths have no depth, since they are not built on the Word of God, but are founded on the enticing words of man’s wisdom, they easily crumble under the weight of persecutions and tribulations. 

Philippians 1:29 For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

The Acts 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

The Acts 14:20 However, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

The Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

The Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

James 1:2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;

James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

1 Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Matthew 13:3 And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

Matthew 13:5 Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth: and immediately they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Matthew 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred times, some sixty times, some thirty times.

Matthew 13:18 Hear you therefore the parable of the sower.

Matthew 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;

Matthew 13:21 Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Job 2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown.

Job 2:8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.

Job 2:9 Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die.

Job 2:10 But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Not only are we to prepare for, and to expect persecutions and suffering for Christ, we are also to display the right attitude towards them. When faced with trials, we shouldn’t grumble, complain, threaten or fight back. We are not to despair or be downcast. We are to be positive in the midst of trials, knowing we are sharing with the Lord in his sufferings, and will also share with him in his glory, for only those who joyfully partake of the sufferings of the cross will share in Christ’s glory and throne. We are to commit our ways to God and count it all joy for the privilege to share in Christ’s sufferings and develop Christian character and experience. We are to give thanks to God in all things, including our trials, for all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. When we know these truths and live by them, the joy of the Lord will fill our hearts and strenghten us in our tribulations. In the world we will have tribulations, but the peace of Christ will keep our minds and hearts even in our tribulations, which we will eventually overcome by his grace. We are to be of good cheer even in the midst of tribulations, because our Lord has overcome the world. In all circumstances, we are more than conquerors!

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The Acts 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

The Acts 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show to us the way of salvation.

The Acts 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

The Acts 16:19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace to the rulers,

The Acts 16:20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

The Acts 16:21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

The Acts 16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

The Acts 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

The Acts 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

The Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God: and the prisoners heard them.

The Acts 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

The Acts 5:17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,

The Acts 5:18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.

The Acts 5:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

The Acts 5:20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

The Acts 5:21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

The Acts 5:22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,

The Acts 5:23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

The Acts 5:25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.

The Acts 5:26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.

The Acts 5:27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,

The Acts 5:28 Saying, Did not we straightly command you that you should not teach in this name? and, behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood on us.

The Acts 5:40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

The Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

The Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

2 Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Romans 8:36 As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

In conclusion, tribulations, persecutions and sufferings for righteousness are an integral part of Christianity, which every genuine disciple of Christ must experience in their walk with God. They serve as the means of trying and purifying our faith, and of building character and experience in us. God has ordained that every child of his must pass through the school of tribulations to learn obedience and develop spiritual maturity. We must therefore learn to count it all joy when we suffer for Christ’s sake and for the sake of his gospel, for we will only share in Christ’s glory if we are partakers of his sufferings.

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.

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Judas Betrayed Jesus And Went To Hell; Peter Denied Jesus And Was Forgiven And Restored: Is There Partiality With God?

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

Not a few people have wondered about the contrasting fates of Judas and Peter, following their betrayal and denial of Jesus Christ respectively. For betraying Jesus to his enemies leading to his capture and death, Judas ended up in hell. For denying Jesus thrice (and swearing and cursing while doing so), Peter still found forgiveness, and was restored as an apostle and a pillar in the church of Christ. Is there unrighteousness with God in the way both apostles were treated after committing almost identical sins? After all, Jesus had taught that anyone who denied him before men would be denied before his Father and the holy angels. So, why did Peter who thrice denied Christ before men, and cursed while doing so, find mercy before God, while Judas ended up in hell? Is God partial? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

The important point to understand in the issues of Judas’ and Peter’s betrayal and denial, respectively, is that neither of them committed the unpardonable sin. The only sin we’re told in the New Testament that’s unpardonable is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Both apostles sinned against the Lord, not against the Holy Spirit, and every sin against the Son of Man (the Lord Jesus) is pardonable. Therefore, both Judas’ and Peter’s sins were not unpardonable. So, if both Peter’s and Judas’ sins were not unpardonable, we must look at the response of both men after they sinned, to find out why one was forgiven and the other was not, after both men had committed almost identical sins against the Lord.

Matthew 12:31 Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven to men.

Matthew 12:32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Let’s start with Judas. After betraying the Lord and discovering that the Lord’s capture by the Jewish leaders had led to a trial which could result in Christ’s death, Judas felt sorry, repented, and returned the money he was given for betraying the Lord to his enemies. He experienced sorrow which led to repentance, which is a prerequisite for procuring divine pardon by any sinner. If sorrow leads to repentance that moves the repentant sinner to ask for God’s pardon and forgiveness, God will pardon and forgive the sin involved, as long as it’s not the unpardonable sin, which Judas’ sin wasn’t. That is the endproduct of godly sorrow—repentance that leads to forgiveness of sin and salvation. However, instead of asking for forgiveness, Judas’ sorrowful repentance led him to kill himself! He didn’t sorrow unto conversion, but to death! That’s the sorrow of this world and not godly sorrow! So, though Judas sorrowfully repented of his betrayal of Christ, he killed himself rather than seek for forgiveness, adding iniquity to iniquity. Thus, Judas died without obtaining remission for his sins. He died a sinner, and invariably went to hell. Judas could have been forgiven of his betrayal if he had asked for God’s forgiveness, as Jesus had already asked the Father to forgive all those who conspired to kill him. But to receive the forgiveness Christ prayed for, all involved must repent and ask for mercy, which Judas did not do. We see thousands of Jews who had supported and/or encouraged the killing of Jesus repenting and believing the gospel on the day of Pentecost and therafter, and being forgiven and saved. Judas sealed his doom by refusing to appropriate the forgiveness that was readily available for his sin, and killed himself instead.

Matthew 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:

Matthew 27:2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

Matthew 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see you to that.

Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

2 Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same letter has made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death.

Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

The Acts 2:22 You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know:

The Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

The Acts 2:24 Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it.

The Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

The Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Son Jesus; whom you delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

The Acts 3:14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted to you;

The Acts 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God has raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

The Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know: yes, the faith which is by him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

The Acts 3:17 And now, brothers, I know that through ignorance you did it, as did also your rulers.

The Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he has so fulfilled.

The Acts 3:19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Now, let’s turn to Peter. Immediately after denying Jesus, Peter regretted his actions, became sorrowful and wept bitterly. However, he didn’t go about killing himself. He repented and became converted. He accepted the forgiveness that was readily available for his sin and continued loving and following the Lord and hanging out with the rest of the apostles. The Lord saw and recognised this conversion in Peter and even foretold of it before Peter fell. Therefore, after his resurrection, Jesus sent Mary Magdalene to tell the rest of the apostles that he had risen, specifically including Peter among those to be informed, showing that Peter’s denial had been forgiven, with him having repented and received God’s pardon and mercy. When the risen Lord met Peter with the rest of the apostles fishing at the sea of Tiberias, he again confirmed Peter’s conversion, by asking Peter if he loved the Lord. Based on Peter’s confession of love for the Lord, he was commissioned afresh to take care of God’s sheep and to feed his flocks. From that moment onward, we see the rededicated Peter serving God so zealously and ending up as a martyr for the Lord. Thus, Peter’s reinstatement, after his denial of Jesus, was not based on favouritism or partiality on God’s part, but on Peter’s repentance and conversion. This pathway was also available for Judas, but was not utilised by him, with Judas choosing to kill himself instead of repenting and accepting God’s pardon for his transgression.

Luke 22:47 And while he yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus to kiss him.

Luke 22:48 But Jesus said to him, Judas, betray you the Son of man with a kiss?

Luke 22:49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said to him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

Luke 22:50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

Luke 22:51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer you thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.

Luke 22:52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, and captains of the temple, the elders, which were come to him, Be you come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?

Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, you stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Luke 22:54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

Luke 22:55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

Luke 22:56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked on him, and said, This man was also with him.

Luke 22:57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.

Luke 22:58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, You are also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.

Luke 22:59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.

Luke 22:60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what you say. And immediately, while he yet spoke, the cock crew.

Luke 22:61 And the Lord turned, and looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, Before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice.

Luke 22:62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

Luke 22:33 And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.

Luke 22:34 And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall thrice deny that you know me.

Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

Mark 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came to the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.

Mark 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?

Mark 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Mark 16:5 And entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

Mark 16:6 And he said to them, Be not affrighted: You seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Mark 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee: there shall you see him, as he said to you.

John 21:1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself.

John 21:2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

John 21:3 Simon Peter said to them, I go a fishing. They say to him, We also go with you. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

John 21:4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

John 21:5 Then Jesus said to them, Children, have you any meat? They answered him, No.

John 21:6 And he said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat to him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

John 21:8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

John 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

John 21:10 Jesus said to them, Bring of the fish which you have now caught.

John 21:11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

John 21:12 Jesus said to them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples dared ask him, Who are you? knowing that it was the Lord.

John 21:13 Jesus then comes, and takes bread, and gives them, and fish likewise.

John 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.

John 21:16 He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:18 Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you gird yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.

John 21:19 This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, Follow me.

Joseph, a type of Christ in the Old Testament, who himself was betrayed and sold by his brothers into what should have been his death, displayed the Spirit of Christ by readily forgiving his brothers, when he was in a position of power to punish them for what they did to him, when they asked for mercy. If Joseph could readily forgive his brothers who planned to kill him and conspired and sold him into slavery, is it too much for Christ to forgive Judas if he had asked for forgiveness, instead of killing himself? Is it too much to expect Christ, who taught us to love our enemies and to bless those who despitefully use and abuse us, to forgive a man who betrayed him, if that man had repented and sought for forgiveness? Nothing in Christ’s character and teaching suggests he wouldn’t have forgiven Judas and restored him as an apostle, if Judas had repented and asked for forgiveness for betraying the Lord.

Genesis 37:17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan.

Genesis 37:18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near to them, they conspired against him to slay him.

Genesis 37:19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer comes.

Genesis 37:20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast has devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

Genesis 37:21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.

Genesis 37:22 And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand on him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

Genesis 37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him;

Genesis 37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

Genesis 37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

Genesis 37:26 And Judah said to his brothers, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

Genesis 37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be on him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brothers were content.

Genesis 37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchants; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Genesis 50:15 And when Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did to him.

Genesis 50:16 And they sent a messenger to Joseph, saying, Your father did command before he died, saying,

Genesis 50:17 So shall you say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you now, the trespass of your brothers, and their sin; for they did to you evil: and now, we pray you, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father. And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

Genesis 50:18 And his brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be your servants.

Genesis 50:19 And Joseph said to them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it to good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Genesis 50:21 Now therefore fear you not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.

Matthew 5:43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 5:45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?

Matthew 5:47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Matthew 5:48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Thus, it is evident from Scriptures that there’s no partiality or unrighteousness with God. God is no respecter of persons. He honours whoever honours and obeys his commandments, while despising whoever despises his words. Apart from blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which is the unpardonable sin, there is pardon for every other sin. Though our sins may be as scarlet, they can be as white as snow, if we repent and forsake them, and accept God’s pardon in Christ Jesus. Judas refused to repent and accept God’s pardon for betraying Christ, and decided to kill himself instead, choosing to sorrow unto death thereby. He went to hell because he refused to appropriate for himself the pardon Christ offered on the cross to all those responsible for killing him. Peter, on the other hand, sorrowed in a godly manner, leading to his repentance, conversion and restoration. God was not partial in restoring Peter to his apostolic position, after denying Jesus. God simply responded, as he promised in his word, to every sinner who would repent, forsake his sins and accept his pardon. Whoever does that will be accepted by God and restored to fellowship and communion with him after sinning. That’s a universal law of God that applies equally to all men and can be activated by all sinners. There is no partiality with God when dealing with men’s sins. God has a similar requirement for all men when it comes to what men must do to find favour in his sight after they’ve sinned. God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but wishes that every wicked person would repent and be saved. It’s not his will that any man should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Therefore, it would be against God’s will to refuse to pardon any sinner who repents and forsakes his sins.

1 Samuel 2:30 Why the LORD God of Israel said, I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD said, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

The Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

The Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.

Isaiah 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil;

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Isaiah 1:19 If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land:

Isaiah 1:20 But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 33:12 Therefore, you son of man, say to the children of your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turns from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sins.

Ezekiel 33:14 Again, when I say to the wicked, You shall surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;

Ezekiel 33:15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Ezekiel 33:16 None of his sins that he has committed shall be mentioned to him: he has done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In conclusion, God did not display any partiality or favouritism in his dealings with Judas and Peter, after both apostles betrayed and denied Jesus Christ, respectively. Judas went to hell for betraying Jesus simply because he refused to repent and receive the pardon which was available for his sin. By choosing to kill himself instead of repenting and accepting God’s pardon, Judas died with his sins unremitted, and thus went to hell, where all people who die with unremitted sins go. Peter, on the other hand, repented after denying Jesus, and was converted and restored. The end of both apostles was thus determined by their response after sinning, and not by God. There is therefore no partiality with God when dealing with men’s sins.

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Did Jesus Christ Die On A Friday?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

Christians the world over commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, the day he was believed to have been crucified (according to church tradition), just as it’s universally accepted he resurrected on Easter Sunday. Following church tradition then, Christ couldn’t have been in the grave for up to two full days, since the Lord died around 3:00 PM, and was buried before 6:00 PM on the same day. If Jesus was buried on Friday evening, and resurrected very early on Sunday (most likely on Saturday night, for his grave to be discovered empty early on Sunday morning), then his stay in the grave would amount to just a little over 24 hours—he would have stayed in the grave, under this scenario, just for one day and two nights at most.

Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ emphatically told his disciples he would be buried in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, the same length of time Jonah, who typified his burial and resurrection, was in the belly of the whale. Jesus equally told the Pharisees that if they destroyed the temple of his body, he’d raise it up in three days, further confirming the fact that he would spend three days in the grave before resurrecting. The apostles of the Lord, who were eye-witnesses of his death and resurrection, also testified that he rose from the dead after three days. But there are some contradictions between what Jesus and his apostles taught about the length of time he stayed in the grave, and what church tradition believes and practices on this subject. Since Jesus and his apostles, rather than church tradition, are to be believed on this issue, how then did the church get the day of Jesus’ death wrong, since he couldn’t have died on a Friday, if he truly spent three days and three nights in the grave, and had already risen very early on Sunday morning? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer this question, as well as to find the correct day of the week on which the Lord was crucified.

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you.

Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said to him, What sign show you to us, seeing that you do these things?

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

John 2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days?

John 2:21 But he spoke of the temple of his body.

John 2:22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this to them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Matthew 17:22 And while they stayed in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:

Matthew 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Luke 24:1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Luke 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher.

Luke 24:3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

Luke 24:5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said to them, Why seek you the living among the dead?

Luke 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spoke to you when he was yet in Galilee,

Luke 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Luke 24:8 And they remembered his words,

Luke 24:9 And returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.

1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand;

1 Corinthians 15:2 By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Let’s start by reviewing the Jewish division of time in the Scriptures, as this is very important in understanding how days and nights were measured in biblical times. For the Jews in the Old Testament, the day was divided into 12 hours (from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM), and the night too was broken down into 12 hours (from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM), composed of four equal watches of three hours each. The Jewish day started from 6:00 AM and ended by 6:00 PM, while the night started by 6:00 PM and ended by 6:00 AM. Thus, the first hour of the day was 7:00 AM, while the 12th hour of the day was 6:00 PM. The 11th hour workers we read in Jesus’ parable were thus recruited around 5:00 PM, and worked for only one hour (the ancient Jews stopped all work by 6:00 PM—no one worked while it was night). Another thing to note also is that, the Jews in the Old Testament calculated each day from evening to evening. Thus, Friday started from 6:00 PM on Thursday and ended by 6:00 PM on Friday. Saturday, the regular weekly Sabbath day, traditionally started by 6:00 PM on Friday and ended by 6:00 PM on Saturday. So, for Christ to spend three days and three nights in the grave, to arise during the night of Saturday, means he must have died by Wednesday. That way, he would have spent three nights in the grave—Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night—, and he would have equally spent three days in the grave—thursday day, Friday day and Saturday day. He would then have risen by Saturday night (anytime from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM), so that by very early in the morning on Sunday (remember the day started by 6am), the grave was already empty, because he had already risen! That’s the only way the Lord could have spent three days and three nights in the grave before his resurrection, like he told his disciples, and like his disciples bore witness. His dying on Friday, as the church traditionally believes, would have made this impossible!

John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world.

John 11:10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him.

Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

Matthew 20:4 And said to them; Go you also into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

Matthew 20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

Matthew 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and said to them, Why stand you here all the day idle?

Matthew 20:7 They say to him, Because no man has hired us. He said to them, Go you also into the vineyard; and whatever is right, that shall you receive.

Matthew 20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last to the first.

Matthew 20:9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

Matthew 20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

Matthew 20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the manager of the house,

Matthew 20:12 Saying, These last have worked but one hour, and you have made them equal to us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

Matthew 20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do you no wrong: did not you agree with me for a penny?

Matthew 20:14 Take that your is, and go your way: I will give to this last, even as to you.

Matthew 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? Is your eye evil, because I am good?

Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

So, if Jesus died on a Wednesday and not on a Friday, how did the church miss it and get mixed up with Good Friday? How could such an obvious fact have eluded Bible scholars and theologians over the centuries? The answer is simple—rather than walking back from the definitely known resurrection day to the unknown crucifixion day, scholars had relied on the relationship of the sabbath day to the crucifixion to determine the day of its occurrence. Instead of accepting the Lord’s words literally about the number of days he would be in the grave, and walking three days back from the day of the resurrection to set the day of the Lord’s death, people decided to work presumptuously with a scripture that put the next day after his death as a sabbath day, presuming every sabbath day to be Saturday. Based on this assumption of every sabbath day being a Saturday, and since the crucifixion occured before a high sabbath, the day Jesus died was thus erroneously fixed on a Friday. Meanwhile, little thought was given to the fact that from Friday evening to Saturday night could never amount to three days and three nights!

Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Mark 15:35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calls Elias.

Mark 15:36 And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.

Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.

Mark 15:38 And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom.

Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

Mark 15:41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him;) and many other women which came up with him to Jerusalem.

Mark 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly to Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

Mark 15:44 And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling to him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.

Mark 15:45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Mark 15:46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone to the door of the sepulcher.

Mark 15:47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst.

John 19:29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it on hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) sought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

John 19:32 Then came the soldiers, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.

John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they broke not his legs:

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and immediately came there out blood and water.

John 19:35 And he that saw it bore record, and his record is true: and he knows that he said true, that you might believe.

John 19:36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

John 19:37 And again another scripture said, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, sought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

John 19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

John 19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

John 19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid.

John 19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulcher was near at hand.

The error in setting the day of the crucifixion of Christ arose from the assumption that every Sabbath day was a Saturday! Of course, we know that the normal weekly Sabbath day in the Old Testament was Saturday, the seventh day, the day consecrated in the law for rest from secular work and for the worship of God. However, what is easily missed when reading the Old Testament is that, apart from the weekly Sabbath which was observed invariably on Saturdays, there were other days of the week on which fixed festivals of the Jews randomly fell, and that the beginning of those festivals were to be declared special or high sabbaths, and were to be observed as days of rest, the same way as the regular weekly Sabbaths. For instance, the Passover was to be celebrated on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nissan or Habib, the first month of the Jewish calendar, which traditionally falls between March and April in our Roman calendar. This date can fall on any day of the week, depending on the year in which it occurs. Whatever the day of the week the 14th day of Nissan fell on, it was to be declared a special sabbath and to be observed as a day of rest as the regular Saturday Sabbath, the same way the 25th of December can fall on any day of the week, and whatever day it falls upon is to be declared a public holiday. This special or high sabbath is not just for the Passover feast, but for all other sacred feasts of the Jews that had fixed dates. The first and last days of such feasts were usually observed as special or high sabbaths.

Leviticus 23:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

Leviticus 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

Leviticus 23:4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.

Leviticus 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover.

Leviticus 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.

Leviticus 23:7 In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:10 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest:

Leviticus 23:11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

Leviticus 23:12 And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD for a sweet smell: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.

Leviticus 23:14 And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering to your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Leviticus 23:15 And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

Leviticus 23:16 Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:17 You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering to the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet smell to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.

Leviticus 23:20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.

Leviticus 23:21 And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation to you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

Leviticus 23:22 And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reap, neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest: you shall leave them to the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:24 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

Leviticus 23:25 You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:29 For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

Leviticus 23:30 And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

Leviticus 23:31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Leviticus 23:32 It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.

Leviticus 23:33 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:34 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:36 Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day:

Leviticus 23:38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

Leviticus 23:40 And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.

Leviticus 23:41 And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

Leviticus 23:42 You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

Leviticus 23:43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:44 And Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.

Thus, not every sabbath in the celebration of a Jewish festival was necessarily a Saturday. The beginning and last days of every Jewish festival, irrespective of the day of the week it fell on, was a sabbath, not just the regular weekly sabbath that falls on Saturday. Sabbath is not synonymous with Saturday. Sabbath simply means ‘rest‘. Any day a rest was declared for the Jews to celebrate a religious festival was called a sabbath, whatever the day of the week it fell on. Such sabbaths that fell on days other than Saturday were called special sabbaths or high sabbaths. The high sabbath in the Gospel that followed the day our Lord was crucified was therefore not the regular weekly sabbath that was observed on Saturday! It was a special or high sabbath, to mark the beginning of the feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread. Therefore, to assume the high sabbath following the crucifixion was Saturday, and then conclude the crucifixion took place on Friday, the day that normally preceded a regular sabbath, was a gross error! It was this wrong assumption that led to the adoption of Friday as the day of the crucifixion, which makes it impossible for Christ to be in the grave for three days and three nights and still resurrect on Saturday night (between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM)! The wise thing to do, in determining the day of the crucifixion, would have been to walk back three days and three nights from Saturday night, which would give us Wednesday as the day of the Lord’s death. It’s only by dying on Wednesday by 3:00 PM, and getting buried before 6:00 PM on that day, that the Lord could spend three days (Thursday day, Friday day and Saturday day) and three nights (Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night) in the grave and rise up Saturday night (6:00 PM to 6:00 AM), for the tomb to be empty very early on Sunday morning! To fix the crucifixion on any other day would distort Scripture and present a glaring contradiction between what was prophesied and what happened. It’s no wonder then that critics of the Bible had latched onto the church’s erroneous interpretation of the crucifixion day to poke holes in the infallibility of Scripture and its divine origin. If we can’t convince sceptics and critics that Christ actually stayed for three days and three nights in the grave like he said, how can we convince them of the literal fulfilment of other things the Lord prophesied about? That’s why it’s important to get the day of the Lord’s crucifixion right, because the Scriptures cannot be broken! There are no contradictions in the Bible if rightly divided, for Scripture does not fight Scripture, though scholars may fight one another in their interpretations of Scripture.

In conclusion, the day traditionally accepted as the day of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus poses a lot of problems with respect to the number of days the Lord spent in the grave before his resurrection. If we follow the tradition of Good Friday as the day of the crucifixion, and if we agree with the Scripture that Christ had already risen early on Sunday morning, then it would mean he spent less than two full days in the grave, contradicting myriads of Scriptures, including Jesus’ own prophecies about his death, as well as eye-witness accounts of the apostles concerning his death and resurrection. Friday was erroneously assumed to be the day of the crucifixion because the day after it was a sabbath day, and it was assumed every sabbath day was a Saturday. However, what was not taken into consideration in arriving at that conclusion was that the beginning of the feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread was to be declared as a special sabbath called a high sabbath, whatever the day it fell on. Thus, not all sabbaths in the Bible fell on Saturdays, as the first and last days of most holy feasts in Israel were to be declared mandatory sabbath days of rest, whatever the days they fell on. Thus, the high sabbath that followed the crucifixion was not the regular weekly sabbath of the seventh day (Saturday), but occurred on a Thursday. The crucifixion therefore took place a day before this high sabbath (on Wednesday). Thus, Jesus died around 3:00 PM on Wednesday, and was buried before 6:00 PM on that day. He thus was able to spend three days and three nights in the grave, and rose up Saturday night, as the grave was already empty very early on Sunday morning. Therefore, we should be talking of Good Wednesday, not Good Friday! This knowledge may seem irrelevant to some people, but it goes a long way to prove there’s no discrepancy in the Bible and no contradictions in the Scriptures, once they are rightly divided. Critics who have used such apparent contradictions to attack the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible would thus be disarmed, on learning that truly, the Lord spent three days and three nights in the grave before resurrecting, as prophesied and as foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Truly, the Word of God must be accomplished exactly as spoken, for the Word of God cannot fail. Blessed be the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

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The First Coming Of Christ Was To Save Men From Sin, Not To Set Up The Kingdom Of God On Earth!

(Except otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

The Jews greatly misunderstood the first advent of Christ, believing his coming was to liberate them from the oppression of Rome and to set up the kingdom of God on earth. Thus, when Christ steered clear of the politics of the nation and their nationalistic fervour, the people were greatly disappointed and questioned his messiahship. Even after his resurrection, his apostles were still looking forward to the immediate restoration of the Davidic Kingdom! But, the Lord’s response to their query on this should be useful even to us today as well.

The Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

The Acts 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen:

The Acts 1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

The Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.

The Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

The Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

The Acts 1:7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.

The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

The Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

The Acts 1:10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

The Acts 1:11 Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.

It’s instructive to note how the Lord turned the apostles’ attention away from the issue of an earthly kingdom in his first advent, focusing instead on the purpose of his first coming—the salvation of men from the bondage of sin. The Jews were more concerned about their political, social and economic plight. They were tired of the tyrannical and oppressive government of Rome that had reduced them to vassals and bondmen. Their age-long hope and expectations for a Messiah then was basically political. They wanted someone to set them free politically from the oppression of Gentile subjugation and restore the glory of the Davidic Kingdom. In short, the Jews wanted a political saviour who would save the nation from its many plight, not the least, its subjugation to Rome. They wanted a divine judge, like Gideon, Barak and Jephthah of old, to deliver them from their enemies.

Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs.

Luke 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

Luke 24:16 But their eyes were held that they should not know him.

Luke 24:17 And he said to them, What manner of communications are these that you have one to another, as you walk, and are sad?

Luke 24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said to him, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

Luke 24:19 And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

Luke 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

Luke 24:22 Yes, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher;

Luke 24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

Luke 24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

Luke 24:25 Then he said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

But, Jesus knew his mission from the Father and was very clear about it. His first coming wasn’t to deliver the nation of Israel politically and set up the kingdom of God on earth. He didn’t come to uproot the oppressive Romans and upturn their rule. Jesus’ agenda wasn’t political, nor was it social or economic. His first coming was just for one purpose—to save his people from their sins! That’s what the angel that announced his birth said, and that’s why he was given the name “Jesus”, which means Saviour. For sure, he will later set up God’s kingdom on earth and rule over it. But first, he needed to recruit citizens for that kingdom. Only men and women who have been rescued from the bondage of sin will be citizens of the kingdom of heaven. So, he had to pay the price for sin and rescue as many women and men that will believe in him, to make them citizens of that kingdom first, before he will come back to set up the kingdom of God on earth.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.

Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Luke 19:1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

Luke 19:2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

Luke 19:3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

Luke 19:4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

Luke 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said to him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at your house.

Luke 19:6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

Luke 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Luke 19:9 And Jesus said to him, This day is salvation come to this house, as much as he also is a son of Abraham.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Thus, while the people were more interested in the immediate establishment of the kingdom of God, Jesus was more interested in recruiting citizens for that kingdom. While they were more interested in political freedom, Jesus was more interested in their spiritual freedom from sin, for that’s the only way people can become citizens of God’s kingdom! Thus, Jesus sharply refocused the attention of even his own confused apostles on his mission—it’s not their business to know when the political kingdom of God would be established on earth; their business right now, till the Lord returns to set up his kingdom on earth, is to help save men from their sins and make them citizens of that kingdom, when it’s eventually set up!

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.

So, the Lord made it clear to his hitherto-misguided and confused disciples what his mission was, and what their mission too should be —he didn’t come to set up a Christian political empire on earth in his first coming, and we shouldn’t waste our time trying to do that. He didn’t come to fan the embers of Christian nationalism, and we shouldn’t waste our time and resources trying to do that. Rather, Jesus came to save men and women from their sins, and that’s all we should be doing! The great commission is our only mission on earth as disciples of Jesus Christ, for that’s the only mission the Lord gave his church! Jesus is not interested in being King of any country on earth right now, for his kingdom is not of this present world system! That much the Lord said himself.

John 18:31 Then said Pilate to them, Take you him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:

John 18:32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die.

John 18:33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him, Are you the King of the Jews?

John 18:34 Jesus answered him, Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of me?

John 18:35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me: what have you done?

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.

Yes, Jesus is not interested in being President of any country, or all the countries on earth, right now. Right now, he’s in heaven as high priest for mankind, to intercede for the people and save as many women and men from their sins. Right now, he’s the Captain of the Lord’s hosts, leading the charge against the hosts of darkness who have held men captive in sin, and we his foot soldiers are expected to be completely focused on this war. We’re not to entangle ourselves with the affairs of this world, so that we may please the one who has enlisted us into his army! Jesus escaped from several attempts by his misguided followers to make him a king prematurely. He still does not want to be made a king of this world system by any group of Christians and our misguided Christian nationalistic sentiments. Jesus is fine with being Saviour right now, and we should be fine with our mission to help reconcile men and women spiritually with him.

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Romans 8:34 Who is he that comdemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:4 No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.

In conclusion, the first advent of Jesus Christ (which spans from his incarnation and birth to his return in power and glory to rule the earth in righteousness) was for the purpose of taking on human form in order to be able to pay the price for the sins of fallen humanity and reconcile us back to God. He was born to be Saviour of the world, to deliver men from their sins. Thus, he willingly offered his life at Calvary as a ransom for the remission of sins, and he is right now seated at the right hand of God, where he continues to intercede for the sins of the people, as God’s high Priest. As Saviour and Redeemer, Christ continues to work through his church right now, in the great commission, to rescue souls from the powers of darkness and translate them into his kingdom. That’s the primary focus of the Lord right now and that should be the primary focus of the church militant too, who are his ambassadors on earth. The Lord will come back to take over the kingdoms of this world, when his intercessory work is over, and he will be King of kings and Lord of lords on earth, but that will be in the second advent, not now. We’re not called to take over the political systems of the world for Christ, through Christian nationalism. We’re not called to spread Christianity through political revolutions. We’re simply called to preach the gospel to every creation, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and win souls for the coming kingdom of God. Therefore, as our Lord avoided political entanglements with the affairs of this world while here, we too, as soldiers of Christ, are to avoid such entanglements, which could derail our mission. Let us then focus squarely on the great commission and recruit and prepare citizens of the coming kingdom of Christ, for the Lord has no interest in taking over the political systems of the world right now. His kingdom is not of this world system!

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Walking By Faith, Walking In The Spirit And Living In The Spirit— What They Mean In Practical Terms

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Christians are constantly enjoined in the New Testament to “walk by faith“, to “walk in the Spirit” and to “live by the Spirit“. What exactly do these phrases that are supposed to guide Christian conduct and living mean? How are believers to “walk by faith“, “walk in the Spirit” and “live by the Spirit“? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

Let’s first examine the issue of walking by faith. Faith is defined in the Scriptures as the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is said to come by hearing the word of God, and implies an act of obedience to a commandment of God. For instance, before the great deluge that destroyed the antediluvian world, God commanded Noah to build an ark through which to save himself and his family. Noah obeyed and was saved with his family, while the flood destroyed the world. Noah’s act of obedience is described as an act of faith. He heard the word of God concerning an event that had not happened, obeyed the word of God and was saved. That’s walking by faith. To walk by faith then is to live in obedience to the Word of God. It means to live as prescribed by the Word of God. We saw the same example of walking by faith in the life of Abraham, the father of faith. God called him to leave his father’s country and go to a strange land he didn’t know. He obeyed without questioning and set out on this journey, not knowing where he was going, but relying completely on God for direction and leadership. That’s walking by faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Hebrews 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed be called:

Hebrews 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from where also he received him in a figure.

Walking by faith is also contrasted with walking by sight. Those who walk by sight are guided by human reasoning and the natural senses. They are guided by self. Such people need to see before they believe. They have to prove everything beyond reasonable doubt before they buy into it. It’s like Thomas who had to see the print of the nails in Christ’s hands, and palpate the hole in the Lord’s side before believing the Lord had risen. That’s the natural human tendency—to see before we believe. That’s walking by sight, in contrast to walking by faith. Walking by sight does not require God’s word for guidance. It doesn’t depend on following or obeying God’s word. Walking by sight is living by the human senses. It is man guiding himself and depending on his wisdom to navigate through life. In contrast, walking by faith is man believing God and relying on God’s supernatural wisdom and power for guidance and leadership. It is man trusting in the word of God and obeying it as the rule of conduct for his life. Walking by faith is fallible and mortal man realising it is not in himself to guide or lead himself. Walking by faith is man submitting to God and living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 Corinthians 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed on with our house which is from heaven:

2 Corinthians 5:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed on, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now he that has worked us for the selfsame thing is God, who also has given to us the earnest of the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:9 Why we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the middle, and said to them, Peace be to you.

John 20:20 And when he had so said, he showed to them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be to you: as my Father has sent me, even so send I you.

John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive you the Holy Ghost:

John 20:23 Whose soever sins you remit, they are remitted to them; and whose soever sins you retain, they are retained.

John 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the LORD. But he said to them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you.

John 20:27 Then said he to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold my hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God.

John 20:29 Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.

Psalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way.

Psalms 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

Next, let’s examine the issue of living by the Spirit. Every born again child of God (who’s been born of water and the Spirit) has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him or her. Yet, every born again child of God still has their old nature (the flesh) alive in them. A Christian can thus follow the dictates of the flesh in obeying its lusts and desires, or he can follow the leading of the Spirit in obeying the word of God, subduing the flesh and bearing fruits of righteousness thereby. To follow the impulses of the flesh and fulfil its lusts is to live by the flesh. It is the normal way every natural, unregenerated person lives. It is a life wholly controlled and dominated by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life. It is a life controlled by the devil, for he it is that is at work in the children of disobedience, instigating them to rebel against God and his government. Such people who are said to be in the flesh cannot please God, simply because the flesh is in perpetual enemity with God. To love the flesh and to live by the flesh is to hate God, simple! The Spirit of God in the believer is constantly at war with the flesh and its lusts in us. If we resist the Holy Spirit in us and submit to the flesh, we will bear fruits of the flesh (the works of the flesh), which will lead to spiritual death. If we through the Holy Spirit resist and mortify the flesh, we shall bear fruits of the Spirit and please God.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.

Galatians 5:18 But if you be led of the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Galatians 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Galatians 5:21 Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Galatians 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

1 John 2:17 And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God stays for ever.

Ephesians 2:1 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Living by the Spirit/ walking in the Spirit then means allowing the Holy Spirit in us to lead, guide and empower us to resist the flesh and its lusts. It means allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us into all truths and to live by the truth of God’s word. The Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of Truth, because part of his work in the believer is to guide and lead us into all truths and to glorify Christ. To live by the Spirit then is to walk by faith! It is the same as living in obedience to the word of God. A Christian who lives by the flesh continually grieves the Spirit and cuts himself from fellowship with God. Such a person can never please God and is in danger of spiritual death, the same way a branch disconnected from a tree is in danger of dying. Living or walking in the Spirit implies being filled with the Spirit and walking in the light of Scripture, walking in the wisdom of the Holy Ghost and bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:1 Be you therefore followers of God, as dear children;

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling smell.

Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints;

Ephesians 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Ephesians 5:5 For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God on the children of disobedience.

Ephesians 5:7 Be not you therefore partakers with them.

Ephesians 5:8 For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Ephesians 5:10 Proving what is acceptable to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Ephesians 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

Ephesians 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatever does make manifest is light.

Ephesians 5:14 Why he said, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:17 Why be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

In conclusion, the New Testament uses certain figures of speech to describe the believer’s walk in Christ. “To walk in faith” is a term used to describe a life lived in obedience to God’s word, as faith comes by hearing the word of God. This is contrasted with “walking by sight“, which is the natural man’s way of living and acting, guided totally by his five senses. “To walk in the Spirit” or “to live in the Spirit” mean the same thing. They both refer to a life directed and led by the Holy Spirit, as against those who live by the dictates of the sinful or old nature, who are said to “walk in the flesh” or “live in the flesh“. Those that are in the flesh cannot please God, for the flesh is at perpetual enemity with God, as it opposes the Spirit of God and rebels against God’s word, being under the control of Satan. No wonder only those who have the Spirit of God and allow themselves to be led by the Spirit are called children of God. Thus, only children of God can live and walk in the Spirit, and only they can walk by faith. These terms therefore describe the submissive relationship of the Christian to both the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

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Faith Is Obeying God

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

Most people view faith as merely believing God. Though faith involves believing God, not all who believe God have faith in him. For instance, devils also believe there is one God and even tremble before him, but they don’t have faith in him!

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

So, faith implies more than just believing God. Biblical faith implies obedience to God and his word, as evidence of our belief in him. From the chronicle of men of faith in the Scriptures, we discover that their acts of faith were tied to their obedience to God’s commandments. Noah obeyed God’s command to build an ark and shelter in it for safety against a flood that was promised would destroy the world. That was described as an act of faith. When God commanded Abraham to leave his father’s house and go to a strange land he didn’t know of, Abraham obeyed. That was described as an act of faith. When God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to him, Abraham obeyed. Bible described Abraham’s obedience as an act of faith. Thus, we see from the heroes of faith in the Bible that faith involves not just believing God, but more importantly, it implies obeying him and doing his commandments.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Hebrews 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed be called:

Hebrews 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from where also he received him in a figure.

Faith as an act of obedience to God’s revealed will or directive is implied in the fact that faith comes by hearing the word of God. Faith may come by hearing the word of God, but mere hearing of God’s word without acting upon it is no faith. Faith may come by hearing God’s word, but biblical faith is demonstrated by obeying God’s word! If a man hears the word of God and acts upon it, he has faith in God. If a man hears the word of God and refuses to act upon it, though he may claim to believe God, but like the demons who believe God and tremble, such a man has no faith in God! Faith is not a feeling we work up in our minds. Faith is the individual’s response to the word of God. If we obey God’s word and act accordingly on it, we have faith. If we hear God’s word and we refuse to obey it, we do not have faith. If we disobey and rebel against God’s word, we are simply faithless! Refusing to obey God’s commandments is evidence of unbelief, even if we claim to believe God!

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias said, Lord, who has believed our report?

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is preached among men for people to believe and obey, in order to be saved. It is the obedience of faith in the gospel that saves. Jesus said that for a man to be saved, he must repent and believe the gospel. Only those who believe the gospel and are baptised shall be saved. That’s what Jesus said. If a man claims to believe Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, but refuses to be baptised as Jesus commanded, is the man displaying faith? Such a man who repents, but refuses to be baptised will not have his sins remitted, for only those who repent and are baptised are promised remission of sins, according to the Scriptures. True believers are those who obey God’s commandments completely, not those who act otherwise. Jesus likened those who hear his words but do not obey them as foolish people who build their houses on the foundation of sinking sand. That faithless structure is destined for a monumental collapse!

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Romans 16:27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Matthew 7:26 And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house on the sand:

Matthew 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

In conclusion, faith is an act of obedience to God’s commandment, and is not just believing God, for one can claim to mentally believe God and fail to obey him, like the devils who believe God and tremble, but do not have faith in him. Faith comes by hearing God’s word, and is demonstrated by obeying God’s word. Inward faith is revealed by outward obedience to the word of God. That’s how a man is justified in the sight of God—by hearing the word of God and by believing and obeying it. Anything contrary to this is not faith. Thus, one can believe in God and still perish, if he or she does not obey God’s directive on what to do to be saved.

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The Fallacy Of The Unconditional Love Of God

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the King James Version).

St. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

St. John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

St. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

In the passage above, the Lord was emphatic about those the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Holy Trinity) would love and make their abode in them—those who love the Lord. God will not love everyone in a profound, personal way, to make his abode in them. Only those who love him will have the divine love expressed to them in such a profound, personal way. That much was said by the Lord himself.

God’s general love for humanity is manifested in giving out his only begotten Son as the atonement for sinful mankind. Although all men can benefit from this profound love, not all men will. Only those who accept God’s sacrifice of his Son, believe him as Lord and Saviour and obey his gospel will be personally loved by God. Those who reject God’s salvation, which is the evidence of his love, will experience his wrath and judgement instead. The wrath of God, not his love, will abide on such disobedient people.

St. John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

St. John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

St. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

St. John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

St. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

St. John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

St. John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

St. John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

St. John 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

St. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

So, only those who love the Lord will experience the extravagant, personal love of God. How does a man love God? The Scripture is very clear about that. Loving God is not a sentimental feeling. It’s not just what we sing or say with our mouths. Loving God is demonstrated in only one way—by obedience to his commandments. Jesus said that if we love him, we should keep his commandments, just as he loved the Father and kept the Father’s commandments. His love for the Father was demonstrated by his obedience to do the Father’s will. Our love for Christ can only be demonstrated by our doing his will and by keeping his commandments. He that claims to love God, but does not keep his commandments, is a liar. The love of God is not in such a person. So, we don’t love God in words, but in deeds, by obeying his commandments.

St. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

St. John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

St. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

St. John 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

St. John 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

St. John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

St. John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Finally, only those who love the Lord are guaranteed answers to their prayers and God’s blessings. It’s only those who do things that are pleasing in his sight that receive his special favour. Just as the Son did only those things that pleased the Father and thus became his beloved Son in whom he was well pleased, so is it in our relationship with Christ. Only those who obey his commandments, abide in him and do only things that are pleasing in his sight are his well beloved. Only to such people will he manifest himself in profound ways. Those who disobey and rebel against his commandments will not become his well beloved in whom he’s well pleased. Those who do not abide in him are in danger of being cut off, not loved unconditionally.

St. John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

St. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

St. John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

St. John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

St. John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

St. John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

St. John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

St. John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

St. John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

St. John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

St. John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

In conclusion, the love of God, though potentially available to all men, will only be experienced in a personal and profound way by those who receive his love and in return love and obey him. Only those who believe and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and obey his gospel will experience the abiding love of God. Only those who keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight will receive his special love and blessings. Thus, the love of God is not unconditional, to be experienced by all men, however they choose to live in relation to God’s commandments. Those who disobey God and rebel against his will will experience the fullness of his wrath, not his love. That’s what the Scripture teaches.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

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