Category Archives: religion
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.
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.
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.
There is no way that a sinner like me can defeat sin in my own power. There is no set of rules that I can follow that can make me good, since I am incapable of following any perfect set of rules. So the “law” does not help me, it exposes me as a sinner and condemns me.
But Jesus Christ loved me and died to save me. It is His perfect sacrifice: Holy, loving, completely without sin, that is powerful enough to defeat the death in me. Jesus Christ has done what I can never do. He has conquered sin for me on my behalf.
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.And so he condemned sin in the flesh,4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4 NIV)
No one is perfect, including true believers in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul himself admitted that he himself sometimes failed in resisting sin:
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. (Romans 7:21-22 NIV)
However, if you have believed in Jesus for salvation and repented of your sins you will not be permanently condemned for what you have done:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)
This law of grace by faith leaves true Christians free to do more good and continue to serve God. Why? because the law of grace allows us to OPENLY ADMIT how horrible our sins are and still become holy worshippers of God. Other religions teach hypocrisy. They teach you that you have to be perfect, or follow some special rules better than everyone else. So they give you an incentive to lie, since none of us are perfect.
But there is no need for me as a believer in the Grace of God to lie about how bad I am. I know I am a horrible person. I know I am at least as wicked as you are, if not more so. But I have been saved by the grace and goodness of God. The grace is freely give to all who admit that they need it and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.
True Christianity is based on humility and love for others; not arrogance and disdain for others.
God’s laws tell us that we are wicked. They tell us that it is wrong to murder, to steal, to lie to our family. We know that God’s laws are right because we feel bad in our heart when we break them. We feel bad when me murder, steal, and lie. But we still do it! This hypocrisy condemns us, because we not only do what is wrong, but we do it knowingly.
Therefore we will be rightfully punished by God for all our sins unless we repent and believe in Jesus for salvation.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. (Romans 7:14-16 NIV)
God’s laws are righteous and Good, but human beings are not. Therefore God’s good and Holy laws end up condemning us to death because they reveal our wickedness and corruption:
Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. (Romans 7:9-12 NIV)
God’s rules expose you and me as sinners. But all is not lost, because Jesus died for sinners. He did not die for perfect people; He died for people like you or me who have often deliberately disobeyed Him and maliciously hurt others. He promises us eternal life and forgiveness of our sins if we admit how bad we are, repent, and believe in Jesus Christ who died for our sins.