Category Archives: Christianity
True Believers in Jesus Christ have true “hope” for what they have not seen: eternity with God. I do not really know what this hope will be like to some degree when it is realized, because I have not seen it yet, and it is beyond the imagination of my fragile human brain. However, I know that this hope is secure: there is zero percent chance that God will not keep His promise to resurrect me eternally. Some day the hope will be realized. But I am glad for the days I have on Earth, before I get to experience the promised hope for real, because it gives me to chance to exercise my faith through my actions, which, by God’s grace, will result in eternal reward later. It is a blessed thing to live out the hope of heaven even before we get to see it, while living on this imperfect, sin-filled planet.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:24-25)
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:22-23 NIV).
True Christians groan internally because we not only know how bad this world is, but because we also know how great our future is. The Creator of the entire universe is adopting us as His sons! Our bodies will be redeemed: they will be transformed into a new kind of body that cannot perish (I Corinthians 15:35-58). So of course we groan, because we anticipate how much better things will be when our life on Earth is done.
There is evil in the universe. We can see it decay all around us. We see stars die, we see species become extinguished. We ourselves are subjected to many diseases and each of us must eventually die. We see people behave with deliberate hate towards each other, causing hurt to each other on purpose. We all do this.
So why did God allow all this to happen. The Apostle Paul answers this question in the Bible:
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21)
God is not the source of evil. The source is the Devil, and our own evil hearts. But God allowed evil to happen. We did not have a choice when we were born whether or not to be born evil. It was part of who we were.
But God creation was not “subjected to frustration” for no reason at all. God is not sadistic. He had a purpose. The purpose was to create for himself a family of children who have successfully overcome evil by His power. You can defeat evil. This does not happen from will power or years of effort, but it takes place in your heart when you repent of your sins and believe in the blood of Jesus to cleanse you from your sins. So then, you who were once a wicked sinner will be liberated from evil so that you may freely become one of the children of God. Apparently this transformation cannot happen without pain. God allowed (did not create) evil in order that we might transcend evil and completely defeat it by his power. Through much pain and suffering we can now learn to deny ourselves and worship him. Now we can accept pain willingly in order to lovingly sacrifice ourselves for others, Just as Jesus sacrificed Himself for us even while we still hated Him.
Our universe is broken. There is sin, pain, disease, and suffering in our world. But one day sin will be fixed. God, through Jesus’ death on the cross, will ressurrect true believers in him to live perfectly sinless eternal lives. This is the day when God’s true children, those who believe in Jesus and have repented of their sins will be revealed. Indeed, it is as if our damaged universe is waiting for this moment with great expectation:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:18-19 NIV)
I am a child of God because of what Jesus did on the cross for my sins. Are you a child of God too, or are you still rejecting His gift of eternal life?
Repent and believe!
There are horrible things in this world that happen to true believers in Jesus Christ. God has blessed me with a comfortable life so far that I have never really undergone pain and suffering. If you are someone who has gone through difficult circumstances I may not be able to relate to you personally. I do not know what it is like to personally go through divorce, lose a sibling or spouse to death at a young age, or experience a painful or debilitating sickness or injury. But I do know that these things will be worth it in the end because the Bible says so:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18 NIV)
Yes, I may not know what you are going through, because I have never experienced it. But on the other hand, you have never experienced the glories of heaven. When you do, you will have a new outlook. All that pain you carry inside you, no matter how deep it seems now, can be and will be defeated when you are resurrected:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4 emphasis mine)
Be sure that if you are going through great pain today that I do not judge you. I do not know what you’re going through. Of course you are going to hurt inside. Of course it feels horrible. I don’t judge you for that. I would probably hold up worse than you if I had to go through it. But know this: there will come a day when it will not only get better, but the pain will be completely gone, if you believe in Jesus Christ. It will be replaced by pure, genuine joy. That is a promise made by God, and you can take it to the bank.
God bless all who suffer in Christ’s name.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16)
God has our best interests in mind. He did not purchase our salvation by the blood of Christ just to make us His slaves, although if He had that would have been much better than remaining slaves of sin. But rather God chooses to adopt us as sons. And He gives us the Holy Spirit to assure us that we have nothing to fear, since the God of the universe is our caring father.
If you have believed in Jesus Christ and have repented of your sins, you can be assured that you ARE a child of God, even when you do not feel it. The Holy Spirit reminds us through the promises we read in the Bible that we are God’s children, and He causes us to cry out to God as “Abba” or “Papa” in our hearts. We are God’s helpless little children, but we have nothing to fear, because the Master of the universe is our Father.
The Bible says that true believers are children of God. The Apostle Paul says that the Holy Spirit affirms our place in God’s family:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; (Romans 8:14-15 NIV)
Here it says that the Holy Spirit does not make us slaves, because slaves live in fear of their master. Slaves never know what their master is going to do to them. He may sacrifice their well-being or even their lives for his own benefit.
But children, on the other hand, know that their father has their best concerns in mind. Being a child requires obedience just as a slave must be obedient, yet children are accorded more inherent value. Whereas it is normal for a master to sacrifice his slaves for his own best interest, a true father sacrifices himself for the welfare of his children. That, I think is why we are called children of God, because God sincerely cares about us the way a father cares about children, and even sent Jesus to die for us, affirming that we are of great value to Him. One would not expect a master to do this kind of thing for someone who is merely a slave.
However, there are other passages in the Bible that seem to say that we are slaves of God:
Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. (Romans 6:19)
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it asbondslaves of God. (I Peter 2:16)
How can one verse of the Bible say that we are slaves to God, and another verse say that we are not? The best answer that I can come up with is that we are by rights slaves of God, and ought to see ourselves as slaves of God and behave as slaves of God. We have no basis for demanding sonship from God. And yet God Himself chooses by grace to make us sons. Jesus purchased us from damnation and slavery to sin by His own blood: therefore we owe Him everything we have including our very body and souls. We are happy to be His slaves. And Yet, by His incredible grace He has chosen to make us more than just slaves. God has chosen to make us sons. Such is His incredible love for us.
What is the main driving force of your life? Is it the Holy Spirit? The Apostle Paul says:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God (Romans 8:14 NIV).
Those who are not led by the spirit of God are not children of God. One way to tell if you are led by the Spirit of God is to identify the main driving force in your life. Be honest. What is most important to you?
If one of these are the most important thing in your life, then you are not a Christian:
Quality of life/ comfortable lifestyle.
Power. Being in charge.
On the other hand, if Jesus Christ is truly at the top of your list, you are a Christian. Here are a few goals, motivations, and lifestyle choices that are common in those who regard Jesus Christ as the greatest thing in their life.
Self denial. Giving up their career and lifestyle and dreams for the sake of others and for Jesus (Matthew 16:24).
Obscurity. Doing your best work where it’s needed, especially when no one will notice it or congratulate you for it. (Matthew 6:4)
Absurdity. Being willing to be thought of as a fool in order to do what is right (I Corinthians 1:18).
Perserverence. Doing what is right even when it seems boring and difficult (.
Ugliness. Preferring our physical imperfections to be publicly seen rather than cultivating a facade for the purpose of seducing others (Isaiah 53:2).
Loneliness. Giving up the company of the wicked in order to do what is right, and to serve God (Matthew 10:37).
Bondage. Preferring to be the slave to others rather than to impose cruelty on others. Swallowing our pride and serving others (Phillipians 2:3-4, 7-8).
In my last post we read about how God resurrects both the spirit and the bodies of true believers.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e]his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
Thus true believers know this. They know that they are obliged to serve the spirit and not the flesh, and indeed we do this willingly and gladly:
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:12-13 NIV)
True believers do not live according to the flesh. We may stumble in the flesh (Romans 7:19) but our primary focus and purpose is always to serve God (Romans 7:22). If you are living in the flesh, that means if money, sex, popularity, or pleasure are the primary driving forces behind the everything you do, then you are not a Christian. As Paul says “you will die.” But if your focus in life is to obey the Spirit, which causes you to “put to death the misdeeds of the body” then “you will live.”
Notice that the Apostle Paul does not expect us to “put to death the misdeeds of the body” by our own power. That is impossible. We cannot count on our own inherent goodness to conquer sin. But we can defeat sin in our body, that is resist temptation, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The act of putting to death the misdeeds of the body must be done “by the Spirit” so that we cannot exalt in our own power.
You are going to die. That is a fact. Your body is growing old. It is harder and harder for you to find happiness as you get older because you realize that life is all vanity. Money, sex, popularity, none of it truly satisfies. But you are addicted to it and worship it all the same.
If that describes you–and indeed it describes all of us at some point in our lives–then you need to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus. Stop living for yourself and your foolish lusts. Admit your wickedness, stop praising yourself, and start praising God who loves you so much that He created a way for you to become His child.
Death is awful. It is the horrible, complete destruction of what once was a beautiful person. But death does not have to win, because if you believe in the one who raised Jesus from the dead, you too will be raised from the dead with an incorruptible body. Your mortal flesh will become immortal. This isn’t just poetry. This is real.
But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:10-11)