Monday, September 15, 2014

“But he [Abraham” said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:16)

Why do we place such an emphasis on the Bible? You have probably noticed that each article begins with a verse from the Bible, followed by an explanation. Why do we do this?

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus gave the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. The rich man lived a life of pleasure and ease whereas Lazarus lived in misery. In time both died. The rich man went to “Hades,” a place of torment. Lazarus went to “Abraham’s bosom,” a place of peace, free from the pain of his former life. The rich man begged for relief form his torments. He pleaded that Lazarus might be sent “that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame.” But Lazarus could give no relief. There was no crossing the gulf that lay between them. Concerned now for his family he asked that Lazarus might be sent back from the dead to warn his brothers. “‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him [Lazarus] to my father’s house, for I have five brothers that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’” To this Abraham replied, “if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” A miracle will not work!

When Abraham referred to “Moses and the prophets,” he was speaking of the things written by them in the Bible.  Jesus gave this story to show that no miracle, no matter how great, would bring about a change in the heart when the Word of God is rejected. God is speaking today through the Bible and ONLY through the Bible. It is His desire that you hear what

He has to say. It is “good news” (the gospel) to whose heart is open to Him. Will you open your heart to hear Him?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Therefor having been JUSTIFIED by faith - Part 3

“Therefore, having been JUSTIFIED by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom 5:1-2)

God will justify any man, woman or child who will come to Him through faith. Faith in Christ is to believe what God declares in His Word regarding the person and work of Jesus. Faith in Christ means
believing that Jesus is the eternal Son of God come in the flesh (not the false teaching of the JWs).  It is to believe that He died on the cross ONCE for sin (not the false teaching of the RCC that He is crucified “spiritually” at every mass, or that there is a purgatory). It is to acknowledge that I am a sinner (what the Bible calls repentance). It is to come to God through Christ ALONE (not the false teaching of religion that “good works” can merit salvation). And, God WILL justify all who come to Him through faith in Christ. There will be no judgment, no condemnation and no purgatory.
Why is this so? It is because Christ becomes the believer’s substitute. It is not that God overlooks sin. He can’t! As our substitute, our sin was placed upon Christ and the just penalty for sin was paid in full by Him at the cross. Salvation is offered as a gift but the cost was so very great. The Father gave His beloved Son to die for us, unworthy sinners. Jesus paid a price we could never pay. Only a perfect sacrifice could satisfy a perfectly holy God.

 But to return to our question from last week .. How can God accept Christ’s payment for sin on behalf of the one who comes to God by faith in Christ? It is because God identifies the believer with Christ. God places the believer into Christ. Now, instead of being condemned “in Adam” the believer is now justified “in Christ.”

Because of the believer’s union with Christ, Christ’s death becomes the believer’s death. Christ’s resurrection becomes the believer’s resurrection. The believer is “seated in the heavenly places IN CHRIST” (Eph 2:6).