The Error Of Balaam Was In Placing The Love Of Money Above His Prophetic Calling— And That Cost Him His Life And Ministry!

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

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Balaam was an enigmatic figure in the Bible. In the Old Testament, he was portrayed as a prophet with many contradictions. In spite of his uncanny ability to hear from the Almighty and to see visions with his eyes open, Balaam incurred God’s wrath by embarking on a forbidden prophetic mission. Even when his life was miraculously spared by divine intervention, instead of turning back home, he continued on that destructive journey, relying on the permissive will of God, rather than his perfect will. Though Balaam gave very accurate and divinely-inspired prophecies, and though he seemingly refused to be induced by the promise of material gains to speak outside of the divine mandate, he ended up being destroyed by the army of Israel, on God’s orders, for luring Israel into idolatory. Prophet Balaam was indeed an intriguing seer, a man of many contrasting parts, whose calling and ambitions were constantly at loggerheads, as the Scriptures revealed. The lust of the eyes (greed) eventually undermined his relationship with God and sealed his doom (Numbers Chapters 22-25).

Numbers 22:1 Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.

Numbers 22:2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.

Numbers 22:3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel.

Numbers 22:4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.

Numbers 22:5 Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me!

Numbers 22:6 Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

Numbers 22:7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak.

Numbers 22:8 And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

Numbers 22:9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”

Numbers 22:10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying,

Numbers 22:11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’”

Numbers 22:12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

Numbers 22:13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.”

Numbers 22:14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

Numbers 22:15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they.

Numbers 22:16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me;

Numbers 22:17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’”

Numbers 22:18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.

Numbers 22:19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”

Numbers 22:20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.”

Numbers 22:21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.

Numbers 22:22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.

Numbers 22:23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.

Numbers 22:24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side.

Numbers 22:25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again.

Numbers 22:26 Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.

Numbers 22:27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.

Numbers 22:28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

Numbers 22:29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”

Numbers 22:30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”
And he said, “No.”

Numbers 22:31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.

Numbers 22:32 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me.

Numbers 22:33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

Numbers 22:34 And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”

Numbers 22:35 Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Numbers 22:36 Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory.

Numbers 22:37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”

Numbers 22:38 And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.”

Numbers 22:39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth.

Numbers 22:40 Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.

Numbers 22:41 So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people.

Numbers 24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness.

Numbers 24:2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.

Numbers 24:3 Then he took up his oracle and said:
“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,

Numbers 24:4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Who falls down, with eyes wide open:

Numbers 24:5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob!
Your dwellings, O Israel!

Numbers 24:7 He shall pour water from his buckets,
And his seed shall be in many waters.
“His king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.

Numbers 24:8 “God brings him out of Egypt;
He has strength like a wild ox;
He shall consume the nations, his enemies;
He shall break their bones
And pierce them with his arrows.

Numbers 24:9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’
“Blessed is he who blesses you,
And cursed is he who curses you.”

Numbers 24:10 Then Balak’s anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times!

Numbers 24:11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the Lord has kept you back from honor.”

Numbers 24:12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying,

Numbers 24:13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord, to do good or bad of my own will. What the Lord says, that I must speak’?

Numbers 31:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

Numbers 31:2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”

Numbers 31:3 So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm some of yourselves for war, and let them go against the Midianites to take vengeance for the Lord on Midian.

Numbers 31:4 A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war.”

Numbers 31:5 So there were recruited from the divisions of Israel one thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.

Numbers 31:6 Then Moses sent them to the war, one thousand from each tribe; he sent them to the war with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the holy articles and the signal trumpets in his hand.

Numbers 31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, just as the Lord commanded Moses, and they killed all the males.

Numbers 31:8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword.

Numbers 31:9 And the children of Israel took the women of Midian captive, with their little ones, and took as spoil all their cattle, all their flocks, and all their goods.

Numbers 31:10 They also burned with fire all the cities where they dwelt, and all their forts.

Numbers 31:11 And they took all the spoil and all the booty—of man and beast.

Numbers 31:12 Then they brought the captives, the booty, and the spoil to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.

Numbers 31:13 And Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation, went to meet them outside the camp.

Numbers 31:14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle.

Numbers 31:15 And Moses said to them: “Have you kept all the women alive?

Numbers 31:16 Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.

It took the writings of the apostles in the New Testament to unveil the true nature of Balaam as a wayward prophet who was more concerned with the use of his gifts for personal gains, than in pleasing the God who called and gifted him into the prophetic ministry. Balaam was a seer who couldn’t resist the lure of wealth and material gains in ministry. Although his words sometimes appeared to show he wasn’t after money, his actions readily betrayed his true motives. Despite his protestations that no amount of money could make him curse Israel, Balaam ended up offering Balak the recipe for doing just that, by enticing God’s people into idolatory and fornication with the daughters of Midian! It was Balaam, a prophet of God, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block in the path of God’s people, by inviting Israel to participate in idol worship and sexual immorality! How could a man who had such profound visions of the Most High deliberately set up God’s people to rebel against him? How could a prophet of God lure God’s people into idolatory and fornication? The answer is simple. A man of God who values his belly more than his calling will readily sell his anointing to the highest bidder, even if that means misleading God’s people into destruction. A prophet who loves the wages of unrighteousness will shamelessly distort the word of God to suit his personal interests. It was the love of money that drove Balaam into using his prophetic gift for evil purposes and becoming a false prophet thereby. And it is the love of money today that derails men of God from the path of righteousness and shipwrecks their faith. Covetousness will blind a man’s eyes to the truth of the gospel and make him follow after other gods (including mammon, the god of riches), while thinking he’s still following God. We’re vehemently warned in the Scriptures to flee from such prophets who lure us to follow after other gods, even though they may give us accurate and infallible prophecies! God is simply testing our loyalty to him with such prophets like Balaam, who are already marked for destruction.

Numbers 25:1 Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab.

Numbers 25:2 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.

Numbers 25:3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

2 Peter 2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

2 Peter 2:3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;

2 Peter 2:5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;

2 Peter 2:6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

2 Peter 2:7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked

2 Peter 2:8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—

2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

2 Peter 2:10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,

2 Peter 2:11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.

2 Peter 2:12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,

2 Peter 2:13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you,

2 Peter 2:14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.

2 Peter 2:15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

2 Peter 2:16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

Jude 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Jude 1:12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;

Jude 1:13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:11 The Good Confession
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate,

1 Timothy 6:14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing,

1 Timothy 6:15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

1 Timothy 6:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

Deuteronomy 13:1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,

Deuteronomy 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’

Deuteronomy 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 13:4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

Deuteronomy 13:5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

The error of Balaam was in assuming that as long as he kept hearing from God and seeing visions of the Almighty, he had divine approval for all his actions, however immorally he lived. It is in believing that continual display of the prophetic gift is a sign of divine vindication and approval of a sinful lifestyle. Samson too believed the same gospel, and therefore lived recklessly, lured into a false assurance of safety, as long as the power to perform miraculous signs and wonders continued to rest upon him. But, such prophets are ignorant of the fact that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. What this means is that, once God has imbued someone with a gift or supernatural ability, he doesn’t recall that gift back, even if the person misuses it or uses it against the will of God. Such gifts will continue to be operational in the life of the servant possessing them, even if the person lives an ungodly life (Remember Lucifer, God’s covering cherub who rebelled against God to become Satan? Well, he still retains his supernatural powers!). God’s judgement for the misuse of gifts and talents will come at the end of a servant’s life, not before. We will account for our talents, but not here and now. That accounting will be done at the judgement seat of Christ, at the end of the ages. Thus, God not taking immediate actions against an erring servant, and even allowing his gifts to continue to operate in such a person’s life, is not an endorsement of the person’s lifestyle. God is simply long-suffering and does not usually bring judgment before the time. But, God’s judgement will surely come one day, and all the secret works of darkness will be laid bare, and everyone will receive his due reward from the Lord.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Romans 14:11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

1 Corinthians 4:4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

Matthew 25:14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.

Matthew 25:15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.

Matthew 25:16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.

Matthew 25:17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.

Matthew 25:18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.

Matthew 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

Matthew 25:20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’

Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Matthew 25:22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’

Matthew 25:23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Matthew 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.

Matthew 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

Matthew 25:26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.

Matthew 25:27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

Matthew 25:28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

Matthew 25:29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

Matthew 25:30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

In conclusion, Balaam was a gifted prophet with an exceptional ability of connecting to God and accessing the divine will. Nevertheless, he made shipwreck of his faith and ended up destroyed in his prime. His error was in placing the love of money above his calling, and in being swayed by the wages of unrighteousness to lead God’s people astray. He was deceived by greed into thinking that he could make merchandise of his gifts and still retain God’s favour. Like many of his modern counterparts, Balaam misunderstood his calling, and presumed ownership of the gifts of God in his life, forgetting he was just an unprofitable servant entrusted with talents that he would one day be called upon to account for. May we take heed from the error of Balaam and strive to live as people who would one day appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of our stewardship. May we lay hold on eternal life and run with patience the race set before us, looking unto and following the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in meekness, humility, and godliness with contentment, which have great eternal rewards.

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God Is Going To Burn Up This Earth! Stop Trying To Save A Doomed Planet And Save Your Soul Instead!

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

2 Peter 3:7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.

In his second epistle, Peter foretells the destruction of our present world by fire. The earth and the heavens that exist now are reserved for judgement, in the coming day of the Lord, and will be burned up, along with everything in them. Peter goes on to remind us that God has done this before. The antediluvian world was completely destroyed by flood, with only Noah and his family (and the animals with him) preserved in the ark. God promised after the flood that he would not destroy the world with water again. But, he never promised not to destroy the world again, just that next time, it won’t be with water. Here, Peter makes us understand that fire will be the means by which God will destroy this present world.

2 Peter 3:3 First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts

2 Peter 3:4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!”

2 Peter 3:5 They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water,

2 Peter 3:6 through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished.

2 Peter 3:7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.

2 Peter 3:8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Let’s stop and consider this point for a little while. God will destroy the heavens and the earth that exist now with fire. Everything here will be burned up and completely dissolved. Skeptics and critics and unbelievers may doubt it, but that’s okay. People doubted and scoffed at God’s message of the destruction of the antediluvian world by flood in the time of Noah, but that didn’t stop God from executing his judgement at the appointed time. By doubting and scoffing, the unbelievers missed the opportunity to save themselves from the impending catastrophe. Their unbelief didn’t void the word of God, but it sure sealed their doom. Thus, God has decreed destruction upon this present world, and no amount of scoffing against God’s judgement will prevent it from happening at the appointed time.

Genesis 7:1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation.

Genesis 7:2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate;

Genesis 7:3 and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.

Genesis 7:4 For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.”

Genesis 7:5 And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.

Genesis 7:6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth.

Genesis 7:7 And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood.

Genesis 7:8 Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground,

Genesis 7:9 two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah.

Genesis 7:10 And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the earth.

Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.

Genesis 7:12 The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

Genesis 7:13 On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons entered the ark,

Genesis 7:14 they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature.

Genesis 7:15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.

Genesis 7:16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

Genesis 7:17 The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.

Genesis 7:18 The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters.

Genesis 7:19 The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered;

Genesis 7:20 the waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.

Genesis 7:21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings;

Genesis 7:22 everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.

Genesis 7:23 He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, human beings and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark.

In view of the impending catastrophe that will consume our world, how should we comport ourselves? Our conservationism will not prevent the world from being destroyed at the appointed time. Our focus on reversing or preventing further changes to the climate, though noble, will not prevent God’s judgement from falling upon the world. Our concerns and frettings about endangered species cannot save them from destruction. As Peter admonished, seeing that the earth and everything in it will be burned up, what kind of people should we be in our relationship with God? What can we do to escape the decreed destruction?

2 Peter 3:11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness,

2 Peter 3:12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire?

2 Peter 3:13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish;

2 Peter 3:15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,

2 Peter 3:16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Our concern should be how to escape the wrath to come, not the conservation of the planet or the preservation of endangered species. We should be seeking a place of safety to shelter inside, like Noah. God’s grace made a way of escape for Noah because of his faith in God. He was commanded to build an ark of safety for himself and his family, and for the animals he was instructed to bring in, in order to preserve life on earth after the flood. Thankfully, God has provided a way of escape for us too. It’s not an ark of wood like Noah’s, for no wood can survive the fire of God’s wrath that will dissolve every element on earth. The new place of safety is in Christ Jesus, for all in Christ will be taken away from the earth, in the rapture, before the destruction of the world with fire.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed,

1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

1 Corinthians 15:54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

Hebrews 12:25 See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven!

Hebrews 12:26 At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.”

Hebrews 12:27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe;

Hebrews 12:29 for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

Christ Jesus is God’s provided ark of safety to shield humanity from the impending destruction of the world. Jesus came to save men from their sins so that they can save themselves from the wrath of God hanging upon this sin-cursed world. Whoever believes in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior and obeys his gospel will be saved. Those who reject the gospel will be damned. Just before the destruction of this world by fire, all those in Christ, by virtue of the new birth experience, will be caught up to to meet the Lord in the air, for onward movement to heaven, to partake in the marriage supper of the Lamb, while the world faces the fierce wrath of God’s judgement. Eventually, the heavens and the earth that now exist will be burned up, for a new heaven and a new earth to be set up, that will be filled with righteousness.

St. John 3:14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

St. John 3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

St. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

St. John 3:17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

St. John 3:18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

St. John 3:19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

St. John 3:20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.

St. John 3:21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

St. John 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands.

St. John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

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

St. Mark 16:16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.

The Acts 2:36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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

The Acts 2:40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

The Acts 2:41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

The Acts 16:29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

The Acts 16:30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Acts 16:31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

The Acts 16:32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

The Acts 16:33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.

Romans 10:9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.

Romans 10:11 The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.

Romans 10:13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

In conclusion, our present Planet Earth has been ear-marked by God for destruction with fire, just as certain as the antediluvian world was destroyed by the great deluge. Scoffers may doubt all they want, but that’s not going to change the course of the world we live in. We can’t save our beloved planet from this impending catastrophe, but we can save ourselves from being part of the carnage, by repenting from our sins, confessing Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our Lord and Saviour, and by getting baptised in his name, to receive his Spirit and become united with him. Only those people who are in Christ are guaranteed safety from the roasting the world is going to experience. Rather than try to save the doomed planet, save yourself from the wrath coming upon the ungodly world of sinners! Abandon the wrecked and sinking vessel called Earth, and jump into the lifeboat called Jesus Christ, to get to safety!

Isaiah 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth,
which I will make,
shall remain before me, says the Lord;
so shall your descendants and your name remain.

Hebrews 1:10 And,
“In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;

Hebrews 1:11 they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like clothing;

Hebrews 1:12 like a cloak you will roll them up,
and like clothing they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will never end.”

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

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Did Jesus Make Use Of His Divinity While On Earth?

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

Let me start by stating unequivocally that Jesus Christ is both the Son of the living God and God too. He has been both from eternity past, and will remain both for all eternity. At his incarnation to become mankind’s Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus added humanity to his divinity, and became God-Man in this dual nature, being fully God and fully Man. Confusion lingers among most Christians as to which aspect of Jesus’ dual nature was operational while he was here on earth. Did he operate fully as God, fully as Man or partly as God and partly as Man? Were the miracles Jesus did the result of his divinity, or because he was an anointed Servant of God (a Man )? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

Peter stated clearly, in the Book of Acts, that Jesus performed the wonders and miracles he did as a Man anointed by God, and not as God, though he is God. It was his humanity that was anointed by the Holy Spirit, enabling him thereby to go about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the Devil, because God was with him (in the anointing), not because he was God. His work was extraordinary, and his achievements, as the model Servant of God, were unrivaled and unparalleled, because the anointing upon him was without measure. Jesus had the Holy Spirit without measure, unlike other servants of God before and after him, who all had only a measure of the Holy Spirit. Jesus also excelled above all because of his sinless nature, unmatched consecration and total submission to the Father’s will. But, the point remains that he performed on earth as a Man anointed by God, not as the God that he also is. Jesus equally made it clear that, while on earth, he could do nothing by himself, except what the Father showed him. He only did what he was instructed to do by the Father, and only performed miracles the Father wanted him to perform. He only spoke the Father’s words and only did the Father’s will. He was Jehovah’s perfect Servant who only carried out Jehovah’s orders. As the Father’s true and faithful witness, Jesus only spoke what he heard from the Father, and not his own words.

The Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

John 3:34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God: for God gives not the Spirit by measure to him.

John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.

John 3:36 He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him.

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise.

John 5:20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that himself does: and he will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

John 5:21 For as the Father raises up the dead, and vivifies them; even so the Son vivifies whom he will.

John 5:22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:

John 5:23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.

John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;

John 5:27 And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

John 5:30 I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me.

Matthew 12:15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from there: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

Matthew 12:16 And charged them that they should not make him known:

Matthew 12:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

Matthew 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit on him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.

Matthew 12:19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment to victory.

Matthew 12:21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

In his letter to the Christians at Philippi, Paul explained how Jesus kept his divinity aside and operated entirely as a man, during his incarnation on earth. Though fully God, Jesus did not invoke his divinity while on earth as Messiah. Other than accepting worship and forgiving sins (which were marks of Christ’s divinity), every other thing he did was as a Man anointed by God. He didn’t strive to display his divinity here. Though he was and is and will remain God, while in human flesh, he humbled himself and accepted his position in redemption as Jehovah’s Servant. If Jesus had resisted and defeated Satan as God, then it would be unfair for God to expect us to resist and defeat Satan as mere men. If Jesus had remained sinless and undefiled as God, it would be unfair for God to expect humans to strive to be sinless and undefiled in their humanity. If Jesus had acted in anyway as God while on earth, it would be unfair for God to expect mortals to act in that way also. But, Jesus made sure to deny men such an excuse before God, by keeping his divinity aside, within himself, and by acting entirely in his humanity, while he walked on planet earth. He resisted the Devil as an anointed Man; he raised the dead as an anointed Man; he calmed the raging storm and walked upon the sea as an anointed Man; he multiplied bread and fish to feed thousands as an anointed Man; he healed the sick as an anointed Man; he preached the gospel as an anointed Man. Other anointed men of God before Jesus, like Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Daniel, etc, had also performed wonderful miracles, turned water to blood, parted seas for people to pass through as dry land, raised the dead, multiplied a little meal to feed many people, caused an axe to float on water, healed leprosy and other illnesses too. Even Peter, by the command of Jesus, walked upon the sea also. Peter didn’t walk on the sea because he was God, but because he was anointed by God to do so! The apostles of the Lord too performed almost all the miracles Jesus did. They healed the sick, cleansed lepers, cast out evil spirits, raised the dead, etc. The apostles didn’t do all these because they were God, but because they were anointed men of God. Jesus himself had promised them that they would do greater works than he had done, by virtue of the Holy Spirit that would come upon them after his resurrection and ascension to heaven. Thus, it was the anointing of the Holy Spirit that did the works in Jesus’ ministry, not his divinity!

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.

John 14:12 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.

Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him;

Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

It’s therefore very clear then that Jesus acted entirely as a Man while among men, not making use of his divinity, save in the instances of forgiving the sins of people and accepting their worship. Every other thing he did was as an anointed Man who had the Holy Spirit without measure. He came to show his people the example of how to live a godly life on earth. To be a merciful and faithful High Priest, he needed to be tempted as a man and to pass through the fullness of manhood and face the Devil and his temptations as a man, so he can empathise with men when they pass through similar conditions. Calling upon his Godhead to navigate through life on earth would have undermined his ability to relate with men as brethren. He had to be like his brethren in all things! He had to feel pain, suffering, hunger, thirst, temptations, depression, exhaustion, tiredness, etc, as a man. That’s the only way he could sincerely relate to us and connect with us. That’s the only way he could have become one of us. His divinity would have stood in the way of appreciating our humanity, if he had not kept it aside within him, while sojourning here on earth. Jesus lived entirely as a Man among men, when he walked upon the earth!

Hebrews 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that you are mindful of him? or the son of man that you visit him?

Hebrews 2:7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of your hands:

Hebrews 2:8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers,

Hebrews 2:12 Saying, I will declare your name to my brothers, in the middle of the church will I sing praise to you.

Hebrews 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God has given me.

Hebrews 2:14 For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Hebrews 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Hebrews 2:16 For truly he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Hebrews 2:17 Why in all things it behooved him to be made like to his brothers, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.

Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

Hebrews 5:2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

Hebrews 5:3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

Hebrews 5:4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said to him, You are my Son, to day have I begotten you.

Hebrews 5:6 As he said also in another place, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

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;

Hebrews 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

The implications of Christ walking entirely as a man, while on earth, are profound. First, it makes his example of godly living a realistic target that other anointed men in him can aspire to achieve. We can truly follow in his footsteps, if we abide in him and are filled with his Spirit. Second, as our High Priest before the Father in heaven, Jesus can be expected to be merciful when interceding for us and forgiving our iniquities, since he has passed this way before as a Man, and has experienced first hand, as a man, what we’re passing through. He is thus able to empathise with us, and to give succour when we need it, seeing he himself needed succour at some point in time in his travails at Gethsemane, and was strengthened by an angel. When we ask for help in times of needs, he will readily understand. Third, having walked on planet earth in our shoes, Jesus understands exactly the limits of our humanity, as well as the temptations we’re able to endure. He will therefore not allow any temptation to come our way that’s beyond our capacity to resist. He will make a way of escape for every temptation that’s beyond us. Fourth, he walked the earth with the same resources we have at our disposal, and overcame, so he can help us to overcome also. He knows exactly what we need to succeed, and he’ll make that available to us, being a merciful High Priest. In expecting us to follow in his footsteps, the Lord is only asking us to do what he has done in our shoes. It’s like the boss in a company who worked in every department in that company, before becoming the Director. He can be counted upon to understand the challenges of every department, and what’s needed to succeed at every level. But, he also can’t be fooled, because he has been there! He can empathise with our genuine challenges, but he can’t be deceived by our inability to effectively use the resources at our disposal (the same resources he had at his disposal) to achieve the success he achieved in that position. That’s the genius of God in leading men. He first became a Man, and lived among men like a Man, and overcame, so no man can excuse his failure, when given the same resources the Lord had on earth as a Man. Talk about leadership by example! Oh, the wisdom of God! Hallelujah!

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

1 Corinthians 10:13 There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

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.

1 Peter 2:25 For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

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 you, except you abide in me.

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.

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.

In conclusion, Jesus Christ had a dual nature while on earth, being both fully God and fully Man. However, in his sojourn here on earth, he kept aside his divinity within himself, and  operated fully as a Man. The works and the miracles he performed were as a  Man anointed with the Holy Spirit and his power. Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil by virtue of the anointing upon him, not because of his divinity. He resisted the Devil as an anointed man, he  overcame the temptations of the world as a Man and he felt the full range of passions and emotions that every man feels. He truly identified with mankind completely in his incarnation. By this, he became an empathetic High Priest for mankind, after his death and resurrection, seeing he can relate completely with what we’re passing through on earth, having experienced the same while on earth. He can therefore readily give us help in times of need, having a perfect understanding of what we pass through, in our struggles with Satan, the flesh and the world. Above all, he lived fully as a man to lay down for us the example to follow in serving God in the flesh. With his help and support, and while abiding in him, every Christian can expect to be victorious in our spiritual warfare, because Jesus was here and saw it all and overcame all. We’re following a Lord and Master with a perfect experience of what we’re passing through, so we have no cause to worry! Jesus knows and understands everything we’re passing through, because he experienced them himself first hand!

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Do Not Conform To This World!

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

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

The apostle Paul enjoined the Christians in Rome not to conform to the patterns of the world around them, but to be transformed by the renewing of their mindset, in their union with Christ. By the world, the apostle refers to the cosmic system ruled and controlled by Satan, which is in opposition and rebellion to God and his laws. The Scripture makes us understand that since the fall of man and the rebellion and chaos that followed, Satan has been the illegitimate ruler of the world. He has been deceiving, manipulating and inspiring people to rebel against God and his laws. The Bible calls him the ruler of this evil world, and the prince of the power of the air, the spirit at work in disobedient and rebellious people. Satan confessed before Christ to being in control of this sinful world system. Thus, the systems of the world are controlled and influenced by Satan, who is called the god of this world. The politics, science, arts, fashion, culture, ethics, business, commerce, educational system, and even the religions of the world, are firmly in Satan’s control. What Satan does through all these systems under his control is to instigate rebellion against God, by undermining God’s authority as Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and the only One deserving of worship. By promoting alternate systems of worship that either ignore the only true triune God or adds other gods to the holy Trinity (idolatory), and by promoting knowledge, science and cultural practices that are at variance with the word of God and his will for mankind, Satan has created a system in the world that’s entirely anti-God. He induces men to strive to be independent of God, and encourages them not to retain God in their knowledge. Like he did to Adam and Eve in Eden, he’s still deceiving mankind with the proposition to become like God, without the need to submit to God and obey him. Thus, every aspect of the devil-controlled world system is ungodly and does not recognise and worship God as directed by the Bible. The whole world indeed, outside of the body of Christ, lies in complete and total darkness, under the influence of Satan.

Luke 4:5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,

Luke 4:6 and said to him, To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.

Luke 4:7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered him, It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, Did God actually say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?

Genesis 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,

Genesis 3:3 but God said, You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.

Genesis 3:4 But the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die.

Genesis 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. I

Genesis 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, What is this that you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world— he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

In contrast to the world’s spiritual darkness, the born-again Christian is light, by virtue of his union with Christ, who is the light of the world. Also, the Christian is called to follow and obey Jesus Christ and to imitate his holy life. We’re called to submit to God and his government, the very antithesis of what Satan induces the world to do. The believer is to shine the light of God he carries in this dark and evil world, as well as pull down every evil imagination, and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, and to judge every disobedience of the rebellious world he lives in, through his own obedience to Christ. To succeed in their God-given mandate, believers are called to stand firm in their opposition to Satan and his evil and rebellious world system. We’re to resist the devil and his shenanigans. We’re to reprove all works of darkness wherever we encounter them, by word and by our godly living. The Christian is to let his light shine in this dark world, that men may see his good works wrought in Christ, and glorify the heavenly Father. As salt of the earth, we’re to bring savour to this tasteless world. Therefore, we must stand firm against the world in our opposition to the ungodliness and the unrighteousness that permeate its entire fabric. We are to act as God’s witness against the vileness in the world, showing how God intended for mankind to live and relate with him and others, through our Chistian conduct and preaching.

Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

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 5:1 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.

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

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

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.

Thus, the Christian is called to be a non-conformist with regards to the ungodly world system instituted by Satan in all spheres of human society. To allow the value systems and the ungodly and godless cultures of the world to influence us is to fail in our calling to checkmate Satan’s influence in the world. To succumb to the wordly ways of doing things is to surrender to Satan, instead of resisting him. We must understand that the world is at enmity with God, and that friendship with the world equates with enemity with God. Anyone who will thus align and cozy up with the world is declaring himself an enemy of God. We’re admonished not to love the world, neither the things that are in the world. The world system is characterised by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life, which are all inspired by Satan to oppose God, and against which the Holy Spirit is in perpetual conflict. Therefore, as children of God, we’re commanded not to submit to, or align with, these anti-Christ wordly systems. Rather, we’re to be transformed into God’s image, by renewing our minds through study, meditation and obedience to the word of God. Conformity with the world is Satanic and anti-Christ!

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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 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 2:16 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.

However, our non-conformity or resistance to the world is not to be done violently or in confrontational ways. We are to live at peace with all men, as much as it depends on us, and are therefore to be gentle and gracious in our dealings with all, including unbelievers. Our fight is spiritual, not physical, and our targets are the forces of darkness inspiring men to rebel against God, not the men and women of the world who need deliverance. Our goal is not to resist for resistance sake, but to project God’s light and truth in a world suffused with darkness and error. We are to bear witness to the truth, in order to convict unbelievers of their ungodliness, to give them a chance of seeing God’s light, and his offer of salvation and deliverance in Christ Jesus. We are to be ready to give a reason of the hope that’s in us, with all meekness and gentleness, speaking and living graciously in love with unbelievers. We’re not to hate unbelievers or ostracise them; rather, we’re to set the godly example of holiness, love and God’s truth before them, so that they can see the difference beteeen light and darkness. We’re to stand firm in our beliefs and practice of our faith, and not allow unbelievers to intimidate us because we’re in the minority. Not conforming to the world will cost us dearly sometimes, even affecting our relationships, positions and standing in society. It may even cost us our lives ultimately. But, Christian discipleship comes with a cost. Following Jesus faithfully and living in obedience to him is never hassle-free. A true disciple is one who denies himself, takes up his cross and follows Jesus daily. He’s someone ready to lose his life for the sake of Christ and his gospel. A disciple is not supposed to seek his own interests, or seek to do his own will, but should always seek and do only the master’s will. In obeying and doing the master’s will, whatever the disciple encounters along the way, he’s to gladly accept, knowing he will be rewarded eternally for his life of obedience and sacrifice to the Lord. By living in accordance to kingdom values, we automatically become non-conformists to the world, and true and faithful witnesses of God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. That’s the only way we’re called to live for God. That’s the only way that gives us a real opportunity to engage with people around us and help them encounter Jesus. That’s the path of true Christian discipleship.

Romans 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.

12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.

Romans 12:20 To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;

1 Peter 3:16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,

Titus 3:2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

3:4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,

3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Titus 3:6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

Titus 3:7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—

1 Corinthians 5:10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

John 17:15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

John 17:19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

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

Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

John 16:1 I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.

John 16:2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.

John 16:3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,

Philippians 2:15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Philippians 2:16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

In conclusion, the fallen world system we live in is ruled and controlled by Satan, who is the god of this evil world. Satan influences all aspects of the cosmos with his darkness, lies and hatred for God and his laws. Every aspect of the Satanic world system is in enmity with God, being in opposition with God. The Christian, having been delivered from Satan’s domain, becomes a citizen of God’s kingdom, and an ambassador of Christ in this fallen world. We’re called to shine forth God’s light and truth in the dark and perverse world we live in, as we try to counter Satan’s influence over the people he has held captive, in order to deliver them from his vile grip. We’re thus called and commissioned to resist the Devil and his evil, anti-Christ system wherever we encounter them. That makes the Christian a non-conformist with respect to the systems of the world. We’re not to conform to this world, but are to oppose it, as we stand firm in Christ, to bear witness to God’s word and point men and women back to God, through the preaching and the out-living of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The cost of non-conformity can be huge, sometimes requiring the supreme sacrifice, but God’s promise of eternal glory and everlasting rewards in Paradise far outweigh the temporary inconveniences we suffer here while following Christ and obeying his commandments. We must therefore be true and faithful to Christ in this vile and perverse world, in order to be counted worthy to reign and rule with him in glory, when he returns to take over the government of the world from the usurper Satan.

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Country First, Or Kingdom Of God First?

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

St. Matthew 6:33 But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.

Christian nationalism teaches Christians to put their earthly countries first, to seek to defend and project the values of their countries above all else, and to be ready to die for the national flag, if need be, as the ultimate demonstration of nationalistic patriotism. Absolute and unwavering loyalty to country is seen as the hallmark of Christian patriots. From the Biblical/Divine viewpoint, what values should Christians be promoting and defending with their lives, if need be? Where is the Christian’s citizenship, and what banner should the Christian be lifting up and defending at all times? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

Let’s start by reminding ourselves who we are, as Christians, and what our goals and objectives are, biblically speaking. The Christian is a new creation who has died to himself and to the world, having been born again through his union with Christ Jesus. By our union with Christ via the new birth, we become adopted into God’s family, and become sons and daughters of the living God. By being children of God, every born again Christian becomes a citizen of heaven, having come under heaven’s domain, following our deliverance from the powers of darkness, and our translation into God’s kingdom. As citizens of heaven, though we are still in this world, we are not of the world anymore. We have a different Spirit from the spirit that’s ruling and controlling the men and the affairs of this world. While on earth here, the Christian’s primary assignment is to represent heaven as its ambassador, and to help reconcile the men and women of the world to God, through the preaching and the out-living of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To permeate the world with heaven’s values, and to recruit citizens for the kingdom of God, are our primary tasks on earth, as Christians. Therefore, the Christian’s loyalty is, first and foremost, to the kingdom of heaven. Our absolute allegiance should be to Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Lord and King. The cause of Christ in this world is what we are called to defend and project at all cost. The flag we are to lift high at all times is the royal banner of Christ. Each Christian is a soldier in the army of the Lord, with the mandate to fight spiritually with the kingdom of darkness, so as to deliver the souls of men and women held captive by Satan. As soldiers of Christ, we are not to entangle ourselves with the affairs of this world, but are to be single-mindedly focused on our commission, so that we can please our Commander-in- Chief who has enlisted us into his army.

2 Corinthians 5:16 Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18 But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

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

St. Matthew 28:18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.

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

St. Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

St. Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the Good News to the whole creation.

St. Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be condemned.

Philippians 3:17 Brothers, be imitators together of me, and note those who walk this way, even as you have us for an example.

Philippians 3:18 For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ,

Philippians 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who think about earthly things.

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

Philippians 3:21 who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able even to subject all things to himself.

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

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

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

St. John 17:14 I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

St. John 17:15 I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one.

St. John 17:16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;

Colossians 1:13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love;

Colossians 1:14 in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins;

St. Mark 8:34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

St. Mark 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.

St. Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?

St. Mark 8:37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life?

St. Mark 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

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

2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.

So, for a Christian to devote his life, time and resources to defending the cause of any earthly nation, while abandoning the cause of Christ, is direct rebellion against the mandate of heaven. It’s the greatest act of disloyalty to Christ. To sacrifice our lives in projecting any nation’s values may earn us the status of national heros, but heaven does not recognise that as an act of heroism! As far as heaven is concerned, such a Christian did not die in service to the Lord, nor for the Lord’s sake. Such a Christian died serving the world and Satan who rules and controls all the kingdoms of this world! To kiss a nation’s flag and to pledge allegiance to it may be a great demonstration of nationalistic fervor, but that’s not heavenly nationalism! True Christian/heavenly nationalism pays allegiance to the heavenly kingdom of God, and defends the banner of Christ, not that of any nation on earth! Christ told Pilate his kingdom is not of this world, otherwise his servants would have fought carnally to prevent him from being arrested. Let’s not be deceived, Christian friends! Our kingdom is not of this world. We’re just strangers and pilgrims here on earth. Our kingdom is in heaven, where our King, Jesus Christ, is right now, sitting on God’s throne. Let’s seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Let’s stop projecting worldly kingdoms, and start being loyal and faithful to our heavenly country! Our lives and resources should be spent in recruiting citizens for the kingdom of God, and in living, projecting and defending the values of heaven, not fighting and dying for Satan-controlled kingdoms of this world that will all be destroyed soon, for the kingdom of God to take over! For true Christian patriots, it’s the kingdom of God first, not country first!

St. Luke 4:5 The devil, leading him up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

St. Luke 4:6 The devil said to him, “I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want.

St. Luke 4:7 If you therefore will worship before me, it will all be yours.”

St. Luke 4:8 Jesus answered him, “Get behind me Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’”

2 Corinthians 4:3 Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish;

2 Corinthians 4:4 in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.

St. John 18:33 Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

St. John 18:34 Jesus answered him, “Do you say this by yourself, or did others tell you about me?”

St. John 18:35 Pilate answered, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me. What have you done?”

St. John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn’t be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here.”

St. John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to him, “Are you a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

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

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

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

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

1 Peter 2:10 who in time past were no people, but now are God’s people, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

1 Peter 2:12 having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Hebrews 11:14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.

Hebrews 11:15 If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return.

Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

Revelation 11:16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,

Revelation 11:17 saying:
“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.

Revelation 11:18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” (NKJV).

2 Timothy 4:1 I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom:

2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;

2 Timothy 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.

2 Timothy 4:5 But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.

In conclusion, the born again Christian is, first and foremost, a citizen of heaven. His heavenly citizenship takes precedence over his earthly citizenship. Therefore, the Christian’s overriding loyalty and allegience are to be to Christ and his kingdom, not to an earthly country. As Christians, we’re to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The Christian is an ambassador for heaven on earth, to represent heaven and project its values among the people of the world, as we seek to recruit citizens for our heavenly country, through the preaching and the living of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Living and dying for any other cause, outside of the cause of the kingdom of heaven, is living and dying in vain. Loyalty and allegiance of a christian to any cause outside of the cause of Christ is adulterous, amounting to unfaithfulness to Christ, who is our husband and head. For the spiritually-minded Christian, it’s the kingdom of God first, not country first. We should be motivated by heavenly nationalism, not earthtly nationalism, for our kingdom is not of this world. As soldiers of the cross, let’s lift high Christ’s royal banner, even as we pull down every nationalistic pride, and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, as we strive to bring every thought and action to the obedience of Christ. Christian nationalism is glorying in the flesh, which is pride of life. We should glory in Christ instead, and not in any country of the world.

1 Corinthians 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord (AKJV).

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 (AKJV).

James 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:5 Do you think that the scripture said in vain, The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?

James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Why he said, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (AKJV).

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Not Everyone Who Says To Me, Lord, Lord, Will Enter Into The Kingdom Of Heaven.

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New Heart English Bible).

St. Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

St. Matthew 7:22 Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did not we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’

St. Matthew 7:23 And then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’

Being a Christian is more than making confessions about the lordship of Jesus Christ. It’s more than acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Saviour. In the passage above, Jesus made it abundantly clear that not everyone who calls him ‘Lord’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. The Lord went further to say that some people will even prophesy accurately, cast out devils and do mighty miracles in his name, and still end up in hell! This is really sobering! How can someone confess Jesus as Lord, do mighty works in his name, and still end up being rejected by Jesus as a worker of lawlessness? Yes, it’s possible, because Jesus himself said so! Thus, confessing Jesus as Lord, and doing mighty works in his name, are no guarantees for going to heaven! That should make every Christian to stop and ponder seriously!

Why will someone call Jesus ‘Lord’, do mighty works in Jesus’ name, and still end up rejected by Jesus? Why will such professed followers of Jesus end up in hell? Well, the Lord himself provided the answer to this dilemma. Such Christians will be rejected because they are workers of iniquity (lawlessness). It means that, though they professed to follow Jesus and to serve him as Lord, they did not obey Jesus nor keep his commandnents while here on earth. Jesus calls them lawless, meaning tbey didn’t keep his laws. They professed to be Christians and to love the Lord, but in their works they denied him, living abominable and disobedient lives, contrary to the ways and teachings of Jesus Christ. The Lord describes such people who profess to be christians, who hear his teachings but do not follow them, as foolish people who build their houses on the foundation of sinking sand. Such houses are destined for monumental collapse when confronted with judgement. Such faiths that are not grounded and rooted in obedience to God’s word cannot escape the fiery judgement of God at the end of the road.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God, but by their works they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.

St. John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

St. John 14:21 One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves me. One who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him.”

St. John 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, what has happened that you are about to reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”

St. John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.

St. John 14:24 He who does not love me does not keep my words. The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

St. Matthew 7:24 “Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, will be compared to a wise man, who built his house on a rock.

St. Matthew 7:25 And the rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

St. Matthew 7:26 And everyone who hears these words of mine, and does not do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.

St. Matthew 7:27 And the rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell-and great was its fall.”

The scripture teaches that the foundation of God stands sure, and that the Lord knows those who are truly his. Those who call upon the name of the Lord are to depart from iniquity (lawlesness). God cannot be mocked, for whatever a man sows, that’s exactly what he will reap. God is not deceived by our hypocritical lip service. He looks beyond our vain words to scrutinise the thoughts and intents of our hearts, and the fruits of our lives, including our secret works done in the dark, which no one may have seen. He will thus reward every man according to our fruits, and according to our labours. God knows those who are serving him hypocritically, and those following him sincerely. He knows those who are sacrificing their lives for him and his cause, in obedience to his commandments, as well as those using his name and his gifts to exploit people and corruptly enrich themselves. Nothing escapes the omniscient and omnipresent God, and no one can fool him!

2 Timothy 2:19 However God’s firm foundation stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”

2 Timothy 2:20 Now in a large house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of clay. Some are for honor, and some for dishonor.

2 Timothy 2:21 If anyone therefore purges himself from these, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, and suitable for the master’s use, prepared for every good work.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Galatians 6:8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:13 There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Revelation 22:10 He said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

Revelation 22:11 He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him do righteousness still. He who is holy, let him be holy still.”

Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

In the end, every man is responsible for his final destination. Eventually, where we end up is in our hands. If we are true and faithful in our walk with the Lord and keep his commandments to the end, he’ll acknowledge us as his own, and welcome us into his presence, when our pilgrimmage on earth is over. If we are lawless and rebellious against the Lord’s commandments, even though we call him Lord and do mighty miracles in his name, he will deny us and command us to depart from his presence, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. It’s only a genuine and sincere faith in Christ, maintained to the very end (and demonstrated by obedience to his commmandments) that saves, not lawless confession of Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

St. Matthew 10:32 Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven.

St. Matthew 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

St. Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

St. Matthew 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.

St. Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

St. Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.

St. Matthew 24:11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray.

St. Matthew 24:12 Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold.

St. Matthew 24:13 But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved.

St. Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?

In conclusion, not everyone who calls himself a Christian, or calls Jesus ‘Lord’, will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Only those followers of Christ who obey his commandments and live according to his will, are guaranteed entrance into his kingdom. That much was said by the Lord himself. It behooves all who call upon the Lord, then, to depart from iniquity, as no one who practises lawlessness will be admitted into God’s kingdom. The Lord we serve is holy, and as we abide in him, he expects us to be holy too, for without holiness, no man shall see the Lord. Only those who do the will of God, not those who merely confess Jesus as Lord, or those who do mighty miracles in his name (while living lawlessly), will enter into the kingdom of heaven!

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (KJV).

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.

1 Peter 1:15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct;

1 Peter 1:16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

1 Peter 1:17 And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence (HCSB).

1 Corinthians 6:9 Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality,

1 Corinthians 6:10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom (HCSB).

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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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