“The liberal soul shall be made fat… A generous person will prosper, and anyone who gives water will receive a flood in return… whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25)
One of the many lessons for me in life is to discover the benefit and the blessing of generosity. God promises that if you practice generosity you shall become ‘spiritually’ fat! (By the way, I was trying to diet and lose some weight when I saw this scripture… I am joking…). The word ‘fat’ means to be prosperous in all things and anointed for ministry! In Hebrew the word ‘liberal’ means to be generous and noble. In the past people believed that kings were chosen by God. The ordinary people expected their rulers to behave like God. One of their attributes was to be kind and generous with their resources. Low class people were stingy and wicked. Generosity of spirit was seen as a royal quality. This generosity is not only about money. It is an attitude of life. You can be generous with your time, emotions, words of encouragement and your desire to help others. Spiritually speaking, a generous person is willing to be a channel of blessing, to be used by God to bless others. God promised to greatly bless such a person!
As an unbeliever I was a selfish and greedy coward. I was afraid to share. I was afraid to become poor. I was afraid to be cheated by others. Things changed after I became saved. I saw that God sent His only begotten Son to die for me, to be my Savior. There is no greater sacrifice than that! I also saw that my Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross for me and by His death He paid all my debt of sin. I was overwhelmed by this most generous God. I now wanted to be like Him! I wanted to be free to come into His presence and worship Him! I did not want my conscience to judge me for being a greedy woman. I prayed and was filled with His generous Holy Spirit. Little by little I started practicing generosity in every way I could. I gave to the people not just money, but my heart. I gave them my best prayers and my most ‘expensive’ sermons. My heart became free. I started rejoicing in this adventure of giving! Initially, it was fearful because I lost much of my treasure on earth. But then, little by little, I started to reap from my sowing! This liberal lifestyle became a flood of blessings to me! Now, at the hour of my need, I testify that there are so many people who help, pray, encourage, and refresh me. I testify that the Word of God is true! God is faithful to His Word!
Child of God, be a generous and noble soul! Be like Jesus! Your reward will be great on earth and in heaven!
In Christ I declare:
Because I am generous and kind, according to His promise, God will bless me more than I can imagine! To His glory and for my good!
ROSES IN MY GARDEN Roses grow easily in my birth country Romania. But in Nigeria, my adopted country, because of humidity and the warm temperature, it is hard to grow them. But the miracle still happened! These are pink roses in my Nigerian garden!!! I am so happy! God makes me happy! You too dear reader, be encouraged! Remember that all things are possible with God!
“I am the Rose of Sharon, And the Lily of the Valleys” (SS 2:1)
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The Doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints’ (The Eternal Security of the Believer). Her main text was taken from the Book of John 10:26-30.
THE DOCTRINE OF PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS – DEFINED AND EXPLAINED
According to God’s Word, all true believers in Christ will persevere in the faith to the end of their lives because they are preserved by the sustaining grace of God. Because of the continuous gracious work of the Holy Spirit every child of God will endure in the faith until the end of his life. He will run the race of faith to the end and go to heaven. To persevere it means to continue in a course of action, be steadfast in purpose, despite difficulty, opposition, or discouragement. Other similar words are persistence, endurance, and determination.
Perseverance of the saints is truly the perseverance of the Holy Spirit working in the saints. The Holy Spirit working in them is the secret of their perseverance. God works and perseveres inside so that the Christian can work out, manifest the fruits, of his salvation. Without the work of the Holy Spirit inside his heart, the Christian becomes weak and discouraged and not be able to endure to the end of his life. Your salvation is God’s plan and ‘pleasure’. Glory to God for our great salvation! “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:12, 13).
This doctrine was initially defined by the Church Fathers, like Augustine, but came to light fully during the Reformation. This doctrine brought the greatest joy to the believers. Because of it, many went to death with joy in their hearts!
A child of God may backslide for a season, but God will restore His child back to Him before he dies. No child of God can totally fall from Grace, lose his salvation, or go to hell! Heaven, Eternal life, Salvation is sure to every child of God. This is the promise of the Father! And we believe it! The word ‘saint’ in Greek, means someone who is holy, separated unto God. According to the Bible, every genuine Christian, a born-again child of God is a saint. The word saint does not apply to a religious unbeliever or to some ‘special Christians’. This doctrine says that a child of God will continue to run the race by faith, will persevere against all hindrances, to the end of his life! God makes sure that his faith will not fail him until his last breath. This assurance of heaven is because salvation, from the beginning to the end, is God’s work. A believer is saved by Grace and thru Faith in Christ crucified and resurrected. This all-powerful holy chemistry of Grace and Faith works not only for Justification, but to the end of their lives, in the process of sanctification. Not only that the believer MUST end in faith, but that he WILL END IN FAITH! The doctrine is also called the eternal security of the believer. All those eternally elected by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit will finally be brought to sure salvation on the last day through the sovereign grace of God. All those who are chosen, called, and converted by God are kept by God for His glory!
THE DOCTRINE OF PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS – HISTORY AND ARGUMENTS
The churches are divided concerning this doctrine. Some believe it and others reject it. It is easy to misinterpret this doctrine. Many oppose it. They refuse to preach it saying that if a believer is sure of ‘making heaven’ he will not repent of his sins and become spiritually careless, proud, and lazy. He will take the grace of God for granted. Apostle Paul had the same problem with the people who took God’s grace for granted. He said: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom 6:1, 2). Over the centuries, many Christians have argued about this doctrine. Their most anxious questions are these: ‘Can a true believer in Christ lose his salvation? Can a child of God miss heaven and end in hell?’ These are extremely important questions to consider. About half of all Christians believe that a child of God can lose his salvation and end in hell. The other half, believes that a Christian may backslide for a season, but God will restore him to the right path and of necessity end his race in heaven.
The Roman Catholic Church totally rejects this doctrine. They believe that justification is secured thru the water baptism performed by the priest in the church. They say that this justification can be lost if the believer commits ‘mortal sins’ and fails to cooperate with the laws of the church (confessing of sins to the priest and the observing of penance deeds to atone for sins committed after the water baptism). They insist that no believer should boast of heaven. They call justification by grace and thru faith and the assurance of salvation we proclaim, presumption.
There are two famous theologians who strongly and openly argued about this doctrine. Each one has many followers. The first is John Calvin (1509-1564). He was a French theologian, pastor, and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. He believed in the doctrines of the sovereignty of God in election, the depravity of man, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. He said that man is born spiritually dead. He cannot desire salvation. The only people who will be saved are the elect, those chosen by God before the foundation of the world. They alone respond to the effectual call of God. The Holy Spirit brings them to repentance and salvation. He said that salvation is only by grace and thru faith and the saints persevere to the end. This is because God is working in them to will and to do of His good pleasure. He said that a child of God can never lose his salvation because it is the gift of God, and it is irrevocable.
The second famous theologian is a Dutch man called Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609). He argued bitterly against the teachings of Calvin. He believed that man has a free will to repent of not. He believed that election is conditional. The faith of the believer determines his stand with God. He said: He believed that a man can be born again but thru sin, he can lose his salvation. He believed that preservation is conditional: All believers have full assurance of salvation with the condition that they ‘remain’ in Christ. Therefore, perseverance is conditional. He said that all believers are graciously empowered by Christ and The Holy Spirit to overcome temptations, ‘to fight against Satan, sin, the world and their own flesh’. He said that the security of salvation is conditional, “provided they [believers] stand prepared for the battle, implore his help, and be not wanting to themselves, Christ preserves them from falling.” As you can see, Calvin exalted the Grace of God, and Arminius the faith of man!
Some of the most famous theologians and preachers in the world, John Knox, John Owen, Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd Jones, David Livingstone, were all Calvinists in doctrine. George Whitefield said: “I embrace the Calvinistic scheme not because of Calvin, but Jesus Christ has thought it to me” Charles Spurgeon said: “There is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless you preach what is now-a-days called Calvinism… Calvinism is the Gospel, and nothing else”.
John Wesley (the brother of Charles Wesley), who was the founder of Methodism, was Arminian in theology. William Seymour, the leader of Asuza Street revival, was Arminian too. These two men of God have influenced most of the Pentecostal churches at the present time. The most prominent among the denominations is ‘The Assembly of God’ churches, which are basically Arminian. All Presbyterian and Reformed churches are Calvinistic in theology! The Baptist, the Lutheran and the Charismatic Churches are split over these views. It is important to say, that all these Christians agreed that a sinner needs to be born again to be saved. But they differ especially in the matter of assurance of salvation.
As for us, we believe Calvin’s doctrines of Grace because it is more in line with the revelation in the scriptures. We do not follow men blindly. Calvin’s doctrines are not some additions to the Gospel. They stand as pillars of revelation concerning our salvation. But we are not ‘Calvinists’. We are ‘Christians’. It is important to say that you don’t need to know all the doctrines to be saved and go to heaven. But these doctrines help you to better understand God’s plan and purpose for your life, and to have greater peace of mind concerning your stand in Christ! By the Grace of God, convinced by the Word of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit, we believe that a Child of God is eternally saved and cannot lose his salvation. Our confession, our faith, is not a matter or religious arguments. It is based on the personal revelation of God’s Word by the Holy Spirit. Truth may be hated but truth always wins! Be humble and encouraged as you study God’s Word for yourself! May God open the eyes of your understanding to see the truth and to be set free from religious constricting man-made doctrines! I declare that it is well with your soul!
THE DANGER OF APOSTASY
Christians have wondered why some abandon the faith and do not persevere to the end. This is a mystery! In Greek, the word apostasy means departure, or rebellion. It is a willful falling away from the faith, making mockery of the religious practices you once cherished. In the Muslim religion, apostasy is illegal and even punishable with death. In Christianity, apostasy is the rejection of the faith by someone who formerly was a Christian. It is a conscious abandonment of faith in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. These are some dangers that can lead a Christian to commit apostasy: temptations, deceptions, persecutions, worldliness, fears, and doubts. King Saul in the Old Testament and Judas Iscariot in the New Testament are good examples of apostasy. We need to pray for wisdom, strength to run the race to the end! Let us encourage one another in the faith! “Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Heb 2:1-4).
We should examine our doctrines and lives! These must be in line with the Holy Spirit revelation! “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron… Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue (persevere) in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:1, 2, 12-15). This is a spiritual law: as you make spiritual progress, others will follow you! Amen!
YOUR FATHER’S GRIP IS STRONGER THAN ALL – ETERNAL SALVATION IS SURE FOR GOD’S CHILDREN
“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:26-30)
The words of our Lord are the most powerful argument to believe that eternal salvation is sure for all true children of God. Here, our Lord reveals the plan and the purpose of God concerning our salvation. First, He separates His ‘sheep’ from others. The believers are called ‘My Sheep’. The religious unbelievers who reject Him are not ‘My Sheep’. This clearly proves the doctrine of election. The unbelievers reject Christ. But they are not excused for their sin of unbelief. They shall be judged for it at the last judgment. Here you see that our salvation is by Grace alone. This holy work is done by the Holy Spirit alone. The Holy Spirit plants the gift of faith in the elect. Thru this faith the sinner believes in the Gospel. It is not that his faith saves him. It is Christ who saves him, by His Grace, thru His death and resurrection. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph 2:8, 9). Salvation is a miracle, the free gift of God given only to the elect. It is free but it is not cheap. Christ’ Blood shed on the Cross is the price for our standing before God.
Look at the major doctrines of grace in these scriptures.
*Divine election is by grace – “My sheep…My Father has given them to Me”
*Effectual calling: – “My sheep hear My voice”
*Justification – “I know My Sheep!”
*Sanctification – “My Sheep follow Me”
*Glorification, perseverance, and assurance of salvation – “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish! No one is able to snatch them out of My hand and out of My Father’s Hand! My Father is greater than all!” God’s grip is stronger than any other power!
Faith has good hands, good ears, and good feet! Faith has good hands and says: ‘I receive!’ Faith receives the Gift of salvation offered by Christ! Faith does not doubt or argue but receives the truth! Faith has good ears and says: ‘I listen!’ The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd. “So, faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ” (Rom 10:17; AMP). Faith has good feet and says: ‘I obey and follow!’ Faith follows Christ from earth to heaven!
The words of our Savior are so clear. It is hard to understand why some Christians believe that you can work your way to heaven, and that you can lose your salvation. Read these words again and worship your Savior: “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish”. For those who say you can lose your salvation, they have not received the revelation of truth. Eternal life is free and by Grace alone. The life you receive when you become born again is ETERNAL LIFE! It is not a temporary life that can end or be lost on the way to heaven. Eternal life is a true gift from God. God never makes mistakes. He does not take back His gifts. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call]” (Rom 11:29; AMP). If by His Grace God chooses to give you eternal life, then you cannot lose it. God knows the end from the beginning. Falling into sin in the future cannot destroy the eternal gift He gave to you! Backsliding has sad consequences. A Christian loses peace of mind, the joy of his salvation, fellowship with the brethren, opportunities for ministry and rewards. But he cannot lose his salvation. In this life, thru trials, and temptations, we lose strength, friends, possessions, social status, or money. But one thing is sure: You cannot lose your salvation! If you worked for it, salvation is like payment. If you merit it, salvation is like a reward. But salvation is not payment, and it is not a reward. It is the free eternal gift of God, because of the sacrifice of His Son, who died that you may live! Nobody can ‘snatch’ you out from the Hand of the Father! Even you, cannot snatch yourself out form the hand of your Father! For He is the Greatest of all! Halleluiah!
Sin keeps in bondage. The Word of God received and believed makes free from sin. Never forget! There are many slaves, hirelings, and workers in a house. They come and they go. But the children of the King abide in that family forever. A son may backslide for a season, but a son will come back to his father. He can never become a slave to the devil again. This is our confidence! “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn 8:34-36)
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT WE SHALL BE ABLE TO PERSEVERE TO THE END? Our confidence rests fully in God’s Word!
*We are saved eternally because it is God’s sovereign Will and eternal Plan!
It is not your will! God wishes, He desires, that all men should receive the truth and be saved (1 Tim 2:4). But HE WILLS to save only the elect. God’s will must always be done! Salvation is God’s idea and not man’s idea. The same God who foreknew, called, and justified us, will also glorify us. He will sustain us to the end. The saints persevere to the end because God sovereignly chose them to be eternally saved. “Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom 8:30). All these verbs are in the past tense. In the will of God, those He predestined are already glorified! It means that we already live in heaven! I repeat: God’s will and plan can never fail!
Apostle Paul said: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). This is a spiritual law: whatever God starts, He finishes it! God is not like man. He does not have ‘half completed’ projects. Just examine your heart and see: has God ‘started’ anything of eternal value in your soul? Then your salvation is sure! Heaven is your home!
*We are saved eternally because of God’s sovereign Grace and God’s free Love!
God’s Grace is unmerited favor to sinners He chooses to save. God’s Love is free. We did not do anything to earn God’s love. He loves us freely because of who He is, and because of what Christ has done, not because of what we have done. If we think that God loves us because of what we have done for him, we shall never have peace. Our lives will be in constant anxiety and fear of failure. Because we know that God loves us freely for Christ’ sake, we should relax in His love. God’s love never changes. God does not love you more today because you behaved well. God does not love you less because you disobeyed. God loves you every day the same! That is our confidence of heaven! It is not free will. It is free Grace! “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20). “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35-39)
*We are saved eternally because it is the promise of Jesus that we shall be with Him in heaven!
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn 14:1-3)
*We are saved eternally because of our eternal union with Christ
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom 6:3-5)
Water baptism is a picture of our union with Christ. We die and rise with Christ. Jesus’ death becomes your death. Jesus’ resurrection becomes your resurrection.
*We are saved eternally because His Spirit has sealed us, and it is God’s guarantee for His sure salvation
The Holy Spirit has anointed you and sealed you for final salvation. The Third Person of the Holy Trinity is the guarantee for your total salvation. A guarantee is defined a deposit paid in advance until the total purchase is made. “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Cor 1:20-22). “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph 1:13, 14). The Holy Spirit is in you already and He will be with you forever! “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (Jn 14:16). Never doubt Him!
*We are saved eternally because God’s own seed abides in us.
“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:8, 9). A child of God may fall into sin, but he cannot continue in sin for too long. In the past, like a pig, the sinner loved staying in the mud. After he is saved, he hates that ‘mud’. The Holy Spirit in him will remind him that he does not belong to the ‘mud’. He will repent, will rise, start to run, and finish the race! This is another picture: Let’s say as a young girl, you worked as a waitress in a restaurant. You dress with the uniform provided. Your boss, the owner of the restaurant orders you to serve the clients. One day, you resigned from that job. Many years later, you go to that restaurant with your husband and children to eat. The former boss cannot tell you to dress in your old uniform to serve the clients. Now, he must serve you at the table. The position has changed! God’s seed is growing in you and your testimony is sure!
*The nature of the New Covenant of Grace
If you are a believer, you are a part of the new covenant of Grace. You do not longer belong to the old covenant of the Law. God’s laws were good. The Law covenant was holy. But because their heart was sinful, the people broke God’s law. The new covenant is different. It will change your heart. It is internal. It is the work of Grace! Now, you will desire to obey. It is in unbreakable covenant with an eternal promise of salvation!
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer 31:31-34).
“They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’ (Jer 32:38-41). God’s puts His fear in you so that even when you stumble and fall, but you will not totally ‘depart’ from God! God’s unfailing grace anchored you eternally in the purpose of God. For you to lose your salvation God must destroy the work He has done in your heart. He must take away His Spirit from you. And that is not possible!
*We are saved eternally because Christ is our eternal Intercessor who prays for us
In the Old Testament, the High Priest, had 12 stones on His breastplate. On them, there were the 12 names of the 12 tribes of Israel. Now, Jesus Christ, our High Priest, has our names written on His heart. Christ always prays for you and His prayers are always answered. “Therefore, He is able also to save forever (completely, perfectly, for eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede and intervene on their behalf [with God]” (Heb 7:25; AMP). Christ is able to save you forever! Why? Because He lives forever to intercede for us. It is His prayer for our perseverance that keeps us to the end.
JESUS INTERCEDES FOR PETER
Just before the Cross, Jesus Predicted Peter’s Denial. “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me” (Luke 22:31-34).
That night Judas betrayed Jesus. He was arrested. It was a terrible night. Jesus said that it was ‘the hour and the power of darkness’ (Lk 22:53). In that dark hour, Judas’s soul was lost. Satan wanted Peter too, but he failed to drag him to perdition. Why? It is because Jesus kept Him thru His prayers so that Peter’s faith will not fail. That night, Satan almost won Peter’s soul. Peter stumbled badly. He denied his Savior three times. But Jesus has prayed for Peter and Satan has lost the battle for Peter’s soul. Jesus’ Prayers for Peter prevailed. Jesus persevered on behalf of Peter. When the rooster crowed Peter remembered His Savior’s words and wept bitterly (Lk 22:54-62). As you know, Peter repented. Peter turned back to the Lord. He became the mighty Apostle Peter who died as a martyr for Jesus. He came back from his terrible fall and obeyed the command of Jesus to strengthen the brethren. He does that even today, thru his words in the New Testament. As you can see, our eternal salvation does not depend on us. It depends on the faithful and powerful prayers of Jesus, our Great High Priest and Intercessor!
Dear Child of God, the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints should not make you careless with your soul. You need to pay the price for spiritual maturity. You need to study God’s Word, fast, and pray, and attend your local church to have fellowship with the brethren. The devil is real, and he is an enemy. He cannot drag you to hell, but he will try to spoil your testimony as a servant of God.
Now, this is a word of encouragement for the children of God who still struggle with doubts concerning their eternal salvation. As you can see, no man can convince you. Study God’s Word and pray for personal revelation. For a child of God to lose his salvation and go to hell, God must deny His Word. God must do the following: He changes His eternal will, plan, and purpose for you! He stops loving you. His Grace will be lacking, not be sufficient for your salvation. God has to say: “I am taking the imputed righteous of My Son from you and I give you back your sins!” If the life of Jesus is in you, you are married to Christ. What God has joined together let not man separate. For you to lose your salvation, the Father must separate you from Christ. He must remove the seal and the guarantee of the Holy Spirit given to you! He needs to break His promises to you in Christ! The Father will not do that! I am “confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). Perseverance does not mean I do not fall into sin. I fall and rise again! For you to lose your salvation Jesus must stop praying for you or the Father decides not to answer the prayers of Jesus. Both these two possibilities can never happen! Is this not the most wonderful, good news? Do you need more persuasion? Then pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit of hope! “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen!” (Jude 1:24, 25). Worship the Lord!
As for me, against all odds, I found that place at Jesus’ feet… my heart could not rest from seeking until I found that blessed spot… men have pushed me aside and prayed against my passion… men laughed at my longing and pointed other things for me to do… but the Lord of my sister Mary has become my Lord also. He called me heavenwards and revealed the space prepared and preserved for me alone. Throughout my journey, He encouraged, defended, and covered me. I have never seen a Man like Jesus… He speaks mysteries and my heart melts at the sound of His voice… He who holds the stars in His hand, holds my breath and my soul forever… The Lord is my Shepherd, what can man do to me? Nothing… for I fear no one except to grieve Him by my doubts, restlessness, and foolishness…In Him I have found peace and joy… this is my treasure… this is my testimony… My spot at His feet is secure forever… His seal is there… my name is stamped on that holy ground, and none can erase it… From the words of His mouth, I share with you all…like food on the table, in the presence of my enemies, He calls me to His personal banqueting table… I seat with Him on His throne… men’s eyes stare at something close to the ceiling… surprised, I turn, to look above and see: His banner over me reads:
OUR GREAT SALVATION (7)/ THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE TO LIFE
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The Doctrine of Repentance’. Her main text was taken from the book of Luke. “Jesus said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Lk 5:31-32). “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk 15:10).
WHAT IS REPENTANCE?
*Repentance is heartfelt sorrow for sin, turning away from sin, towards God, to follow Christ! It produces ‘fruits’. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor 7:10)
*Repentance is necessary to salvation! “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14, 15)
*Repentance is a gift of God! A gift from King Grace! “Him (Christ) God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Ac 5:31). “When they heard these things, they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (Ac 11:18).
Question: What is repentance unto life? Answer: Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience (Westminster Shorter Catechism)
Let me use and example… A woman thinks that she is ugly. She desires to do plastic surgery on her face. She has paid the doctor. She has left the house to go to the hospital. Going into the theater, when she sees the surgical equipment, the doctors and the nurses all dressed in white, ready for the surgery, she suddenly changes her mind. She said she does not want to do the surgery anymore. She turns back and goes home. From this time on, she stops thinking that she is ugly. She believes that she is beautiful. This is a picture of repentance.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Is 55:6, 7). You need to seek God, call upon Him thru prayer, return to God, and forsake sin. The word ‘repentance’ is not used here but this scripture describes it perfectly.
Repentance is a change, a radical change. Because we hate changes, we resist and hate repentance. Repentance is crisis moment, destiny changing season in a sinner’s life. It is a radical turning away from sin towards God, from darkness to light, from disobedience to obedience. It is a conversion. It includes a commitment to follow Jesus Christ as a disciple. Repentance is the work of King Grace. It is the first work that the Holy Spirit does in the sinner, during the process of salvation. Without repentance there is no salvation. Repentance manifests as godly sorrow for sin. It is a terrible painful feeling of regret, of pain, that you have offended God. It manifests as anxiety, restlessness, emotional upset, or depression. At that time, nothing helps. The repentant sinner feels like dying. Repentance is a spiritual act, internal and invisible. But it produces visible ‘fruits of repentance’ (Luke 3:8) which are a new godly character and a changed behavior. Without these fruits, the repentance is not genuine.
Repentance has two components: God convicts, and man turns! God convicts of sin and the sinner must turn away from sin and turn towards God. The command to repent applies to all people. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Ac 17:30). All unbelievers must repent, turn to God, and surrender their lives to Christ. Only the elect repent. This is the major primary repentance. After that, they need to remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit. In case you grieve the Holy Spirit, stop all you are doing, turn around and repent! Obey God’s Word. Like the prodigal son, the backsliding believers also need to repent, come back to God, and be refilled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, repentance is a foundation and a lifestyle. It relates to both conversion and to sanctification.
Many do attack and hate the doctrine of repentance. They preach salvation without repentance. They tell sinners to ‘give their lives to Christ’ without telling them to repent of their sins. That is a false doctrine. They do not know the power and the tragedy of sin. They do not know the price the Son of God has paid to reconcile us to God. The same people who hate the doctrine of sin also hate the doctrine of repentance.
Repentance is a great Biblical word. Both in the Old and the New Testaments ‘repentance’ means a radical change of mind. The word ‘repent’ is also translated as ‘turn’ or ‘return’. For example: “you turn away from sin (from evil, from the world) and turn towards God’. This is the way the prophets were challenging the people to repent. The word appears more than 1000 times in the Bible. In Greek, the word repentance is ‘metanoia’. It means to think again, to think differently, to reconsider your thoughts, to think with a fresh mind. As a sinner, you were walking without thinking, without understanding. Suddenly you realize that this is the road of death. You stop! You then turn 180 degrees and change direction. You turn towards God, on the road of life eternal. You now walk with a fresh mind, a new thinking, and a new understanding. By faith in Jesus Christ, you stop thinking your old thoughts, you totally change your mind, your direction and purpose in life. To seal this act of repentance, God promised remission (forgiveness) of sin. The Holy Spirit comes to baptize the repentant soul. You are now born-again!
STEPS OF REPENTANCE
Repentance is a deep work done in the sinner’s heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit. These are the steps of repentance leading to salvation:
*The sinner sees his sin! For the first time in his life, he ‘sees’ his sin, that he has trespassed the law of God. Guilty before God, he now knows that he deserves to die and to go to hell.
*He sees that he is totally helpless to save himself. He now needs he needs a Helper, that he needs a Savior!
*He desires to be forgiven and to make peace with God.
*The sinner sees Christ on the Cross, who died for him. By shedding His Blood, Christ offers mercy, forgiveness, and grace to him.
*By the help of the Holy Spirit, he starts to trust Jesus. The faith is small like a mustard seed, but he believes that Jesus died as his Substitute!
*The Holy Spirit seals his genuine faith and gives him peace with God! The sinner now knows that God has justified Him and forgiven his sins!
Primarily, repentance relates to God who hates sin. As the sinner repents, he now hates sin with the same passion that he exercised in the past when he loved his sin. Repentance happens at the Cross. When you see that Christ died for your sins, a godly sorrow happens that leads you to repentance. You see that you are helpless to change yourself. You see the mercy of God available at the Cross. In the New Testament repentance and faith are spiritual ‘twins’. As the sinner repents, he now has faith in Christ, as His Savior. The Holy Spirit leads this holy work which ends in salvation and gives peace into the soul. True repentance always includes godly sorrow for sin and ends in peace and joy!
REPENTANCE AND FAITH
Apostle Paul was “testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ac 20:21).
Tests of true repentance: was it sincere? Does it last? Is your character changed?
You say: “I am not sure if my repentance is genuine” Then go to the Cross and gaze at Christ Crucified for you! The Vision of Him who died for you will ignite the fire of true repentance unto life, and you shall be saved!
REPENTANCE AFFECTS THE WHOLE SOUL
Genuine repentance affects the whole soul (the mind, the emotions, and the will). Basically, it has three parts:
*Confession! To repent you need to confess your sins. This is the work of repentance in your mind, in your thoughts.
*Contrition! This affects your emotions. You feel sorry for your sin, not just because you were caught, but because you broke God’s heart.
*Change! To repent you need to change your lifestyle, your speech, your behavior. This affects your will.
Repentance changes the whole life. It is a radical change. There is no going back. The repentant soul can only go forward. Therefore, repentance is making true progress in life. It affects the heart, the center once affected by sin. Once the heart is changed, the whole man changes. It is a total surrender to Jesus. It is a total commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ! The believer enters a new life of joyful obedience to the Word of God. The process of sanctification is a form of repentance that leads to spiritual maturity.
REPENTANCE LEADS TO RECONCILIATION
True repentance is not only asking God for forgiveness, but it’s also asking forgiveness from those that we’ve hurt. Real repentance leads to reconciliation, and to true peace with those that we’ve hurt. A true child of God who has repented will never return to practice sin as it was in the past. He may fall into sin and backslide for a time, but he will never return to dwell in sin as it was before. If a man who said he has repented but he goes back to sin exactly as it was in the past, that man has not repented properly. Any form of repentance that does not manifest as deep pain because he has offended God, is a false repentance. God will not forgive that sinner and will give him no peace until He sees a true desire that he wants to change. Repentance means that you hate sin with a passion. Sin becomes like bitter poison to you. You do not love it anymore. You expose it, and you forsake it. Progress, spiritual and physical, follows. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (PV 28:13). True repentance is always progress. It is complete. You forsake all sins! 100%! It is all or none that God demands! If you do not hate and forsake all sins, from their roots, heaven is still not your home!
THE HISTORY OF REPENTANCE
Before the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had a system by which they believed that sinners can be saved from sin and death thru the church. This was a system of works. There was no grace or faith in it. These are wrong doctrines. They believed that salvation starts at the point of water baptism, when all sins (inherited from Adam and committed up to that moment) are washed away. Because of this false doctrine, most people postponed their water baptism until they are old, sick, or ready to die. After the water baptism, according to the Catholic church, repentance became more difficult. To maintain salvation, the Christian must keep his church membership. If he commits any sin, he must feel sorry for his sins, and he must confess them to the priest, who will recommend acts of penance. They did not translate the word repentance as ‘changing your mind’. They translated it as ‘doing acts of penance’. Penance is defined as voluntary acts of self-punishment ordered by the church authority with the hope that the sin will be forgiven by God. Acts of penance are fasting, prayers, and doing charity works. The season of Lent, 40 days long, is traditionally a time for doing penance. This doctrine of Penance is an error. Repentance is the work of the Holy Spirit.
During the Reformation, the true doctrine of sin and repentance was thought. The Reformers said a man is saved from the law of sin and death at the point of justification. The sinner is saved by grace and by faith in Christ crucified. That is how a sinner becomes a born-again child of God. No act of penance can atone for his sins. The water baptism does not save a sinner. The Catholic priest cannot replace personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A backslider comes back to God in true repentance. His life will prove the fruits of repentance. The Word of God is clear: man is born a sinner. From that sin nature, sins will manifest. We all need a savior. There is only one mediator between God and man and that is the man Christ Jesus (2Tim 2:5). “Confess the sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (Jam 5:16). Pastors are called by God to equip the saints for the work of ministry. They have a role to play in supporting the peace and purity of the Church. However, the minister’s authority is only in the Word of God. They guide the saints spiritually, challenging them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our lord Jesus Christ, thru the process of sanctification, and never thru punishment.
REPENTANCE AND FAITH ARE GOD’S COMMANDS!
Our Lord started His public ministry by preaching repentance and faith (Mk 1:14, 15). After the resurrection, Christ said to the disciples: “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk 24:46, 47). We are to preach repentance and remission of sins to all people! Repentance was included in their preaching of the apostles. “So, they went out and preached that people should repent” (Mk 6:12).
There are two types of ‘repentance’ or sorrow for sin. Apostle Paul says that godly sorrow for sin is a proof of genuine repentance. He also says that ‘sorrow or the world’ is a fake repentance, must be repented of, and it leads to death. “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor 7:9, 10). False repentance is a regret, a remorse for sin, expressed thru painful emotions, but the heart does not change. God does not accept this false repentance. There are no visible fruits of a new behavior and no peace in the heart. Here are some people who experienced a false repentance:
*Esau – “lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb 12:16, 17). *Pharoah – “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that He may take away from me this death only.” So, he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the Lord. And the Lord turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go” (Ex 10:16-20). *King Saul – “Then Saul said: “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed, I have played the fool and erred exceedingly” (1 Sam 26:21). *King Ahab – So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning” (1 Kings 21-27).
*Judas Iscariot – “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood. Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed and went and hanged himself” (Matt 27:3-5).
GOD’S GOODNESS LEADS TO REPENTANCE, TO SALVATION
“You are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4)
The Jews thought that because God has given them the Word, they are better than the Gentiles, that God is pleased with them. They talk about the goodness of God, but they do not repent of sin. Even Christians commit the same sin. They take the goodness of God for granted. They despise it. They wrongly interpret God’s goodness as an excuse to continue in sin. They see God as ‘an old weak nice grandfather’ who is good to them and who cannot punish wrong. They waste the riches of His goodness towards them. In Greek, the word ‘despise’ means to think against God’s goodness, to actively insult it in your mind, to see it as useless. By despising God’s goodness, grace and patience towards him, the sinner says that God approves of his sin. He refuses to repent of sin. This proud stubbornness is a sin in itself! To see God’s goodness as His weakness is to despise the Holy God! In other words, they ‘use’ God for their selfish desires. They hate God!
That is the tragedy of preaching wrong doctrines! These people come to church, say that God is good to them, but they do not know the plan and the purpose of God. They are willfully ignorant of God! ‘They do not know that the goodness of God leads to repentance’. This does not mean that these people are ignorant of the fact that God is good. They accept that truth in general. But they choose to forget the purpose of God’s goodness. They assume that God is good to them because they merit that goodness, that God rewards them because they are good themselves. They receive God’s goodness as an end of itself. They are not seeing it as a signpost leading them towards the Cross, where Christ died for their sins. They want the blessing of God’s goodness and at the same time, to continue in their sins. This is the attitude of religious scoffers. “Knowing that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget…” (2Peter 3:3-5). A scoffer is someone who laughs at the things of God, mocking and showing great disrespect to God. These people ‘willfully forget’ God, His acts and the purpose of His goodness and grace. These are religious unbelievers who despise God’s goodness and power.
What is the purpose of God’s goodness and grace to man? The goodness of God ‘leads’ you to repentance. The word ‘lead’ is the same as in in this verse: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom 8:14). This is a spiritual law: God leads His children by the Holy Spirit, thru His goodness and grace. To lead is an active word. It reveals motion. It describes cooperation between the leader and the follower. To lead it does not mean dragging you by force like a slave against your will. Leading is the constraining force of a holy influence. To lead it means to guide the way by holding your hand. It is the way you lead your dog by the leash. The dog knows that you are his master, and it follows you. The purpose of God’s goodness is to act as ‘a holy leash’ round your neck, to bring you to the Cross, to see why Christ died for your sins, and to repent. If you refuse to see God’s purpose for His goodness towards you, it means that you despise the purpose of God’s goodness. You insult God! A similar statement is this: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The unbelievers see God’s goodness as ‘slackness’, weakness, or laziness. Because God is patient waiting for them to repent, they interpret God’s patience as ‘slackness’. They willingly forget that God has the power to destroy all His creation. God does not delay His judgment because He is slack, but because He loves the sinners, and He is longsuffering. He wants them to take advantage of the extra time of goodness and that they should repent.
GOD WISHES ALL TO BE SAVED BUT HE WILLS ONLY THE ELECT
This is a difficult doctrine. We see that men’s reaction to the Goodness of God differ. Some refuse to be led by it towards repentance and salvation. These are the unbelievers. The believers appreciate the goodness of God and are led by it towards the Cross, where they repent. What makes this difference? Why does God not force all people to repent, so to be saved? This is a great mystery!
God told the Prophet Ezekiel: “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). ‘To turn’ it means to repent! Apostle Peter uses the same word in His sermon on the Day of Pentecost: “Repent, then, and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Ac 3:19). As you cans see, these are general calls to all men! God appeals to all men to repent!
God’s goodness is designed to bring all men to repentance and salvation. God is good in an active way even to the unbelievers. “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:45). Goodness is a manifestation of God’s grace to all men, believers, and unbelievers. God does not want anyone to perish but to come to repentance and receive eternal life. This goodness to the unbelievers is not part of the effectual call of the irresistible grace of God. It is a general grace that manifests as goodness to all His creation, but it does not change the hearts of men.
There is a great difference between what God desires (He wishes) and what God wills (He performs). God wishes that all should repent but He does not bring all to repentance by His irresistible Grace. This is a mystery. Some men are brought to repentance and others are not. Repentance is the peculiar work of the Holy Spirit. No man can repent except God brings him to repentance. God manifests His love, goodness, and patience to all, but some men despise it, misuses it and willingly ignore it. Child of God, if God does not bring you to repentance by an act of His sovereign will and irresistible Grace, you would not repent of your sins! Glory to God!
REPENT AND RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Ac 2:36-43)
This is part of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Peter preached the Gospel, Christ crucified and resurrected. The Word produced a strong reaction in the people. They were ‘cut to the heart’. This describes an instant godly sorrow and conviction of sins. It is the work of the Holy Spirit using the preaching of God’s Word. Peter told them what to do: Repent and be baptized in water. The effect of this true repentance is that they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. False repentance may be a very painful emotion of regret, expressed with weeping and tears. But the Holy Spirit is not ‘moved’ to come and fill that ‘vessel’. True repentance is like Elijah’s altar. The fire of God fell on it. False repentance is like the altar of Baal. There are many prayers and tears, but the heavens do not open over it. The fire will not come. This seal of the Holy Spirit upon the true repentant soul is eternal. It is for all generations to the end of time!
The definition of a Christian is this: A man (or woman) who has repented from the love of the world. He is now saved from this ‘perverse generation’. The world’ is a system, a spiritual realm under the dominion of the devil, also called ‘the god of this world’ (2 Cor 4:4). We are all born sinners. We are born with a worldly mindset that hates God. Often, this mindset manifests during the teenage years. The young man (or woman) does not want to go to church anymore. He thinks that religion is foolish, and it is made for ‘old people’. He tries to become ‘independent’ (better said rebellious). This attitude manifests itself as disobedience to parents, love of money, desire for fame. He thinks he does not need God to live well. Going to church means nothing to him. We all inherit this type of mindset.
Many years can pass by. Then one day, this man hears the preaching of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit reveals his sin to him, how he transgressed God’s Law, how he hates God. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. Godly sorrow for sin follows. He now repents of sin. He has faith in Jesus, the Savior. He is baptized with water as a public testimony that he is now a believer. Then he joins a living church. He loves to go to church, to listen to the Word of God, to pray, to work for God, and to have fellowship with the brethren. These are fruits of genuine repentance unto salvation. During revival the separation between the world and the Church becomes clearer. No more shadows of compromise! The Gospel is a message that comes with a sword. It separates people. In the same family, you see that brothers and sisters separate spiritually. Once the Word of God penetrates the hearts of men, it changes them radically. They become saved. The Word of God produces leaders, heroes, martyrs. God’s Word comes loaded with the greatest power in the universe! This is a great mystery! Halleluiah!
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5, 6)
Job was a righteous man. During his trials, he insisted that he is righteous. At last, God brings him face to face with His sovereignty and majesty. He then repents of his superficial understanding of God’s Word and ways.
THE PRODIGAL SON REPENTS AND COMES HOME (Luke 15:11-24)
The younger son asked his father for his share of inheritance. He took all he got and went to ‘a far country’. He spent everything in wasteful living. He became in need. At his lowest point ‘he came to himself’. These words mean repentance. He came back home. The father welcomed him with love saying: “this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!”. Our Lord said that true repentance leading to salvation is heavenly joy. We too should rejoice! “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk 15:10).
Do not make it easy for a sinner arrested by the power of the Holy Spirit. Leave him in the hands of God! Let him cry and let him plead for mercy. It may take hours or days… But the moment will come when the peace of God shall descend and cleanse, heal and save his soul… I have witnessed this miracle of life with many… ‘What can wash my sins away? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!’ Do you rejoice as you read these words? Can you say ‘Amen’? Do you identify with them? Do you have a burden to pray that souls be saved? Do you hate sin? Are you dead to sin? Do you love righteousness and holiness? Do you pay the price to be like Jesus? Then blessed are you, for you are free! Give God all the glory! In Jesus’ name, amen! Worship the Lord!
Pray “for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19,20)
When the anointing of the Holy Spirit comes down, suddenly it is so easy to minister… the memory is active and at peace… the words become oily in the mouth of the preacher. The atmosphere is filled with the intoxicating presence of King Grace Himself… none can remain the same… you learn more in a minute under the anointing, than a year of studying the Bible on your own… I love the Holy Spirit! Glory to God!
“For His anger is only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5)
I received a letter from a woman who is broken hearted. Her loving daughter suddenly became rebellious and left the house because of a man she says she loves. Both mother and daughter are born again Christians. The man is not. The daughter is an adult and she has the right to do what she wants to do. But the pain of rejection and betrayal is tearing the mother’s heart. ‘I have cried all my tears… I have no one left…’ – she told me… Please pray for her that she will become better and not bitter; that God will glorify Himself in her life; that God will strengthen her to serve Him more! In Jesus name, amen! Thank you for your prayers!
This was my answer to her…
In all things and all situations we are commanded to thank God! It can always be worse…trust God even now… Continue to pray… You have not seen the end of the story… If you have cried all your tears then you are in a transition season… Things will change… They can never be the same again… Accept the change… Do not compare the present with the past… It is not better or worse, just different… Enter into this new season of your life with a grateful heart… You could have died in the past from sickness or accident… but you are still alive, to feel both sadness and success… Thank God for that! People and things come and go but God is always the same…keep your eyes on Jesus then you shall receive strength, peace, wisdom and joy… God kept you alive to do His work on earth… Something good is coming out of this pain…You shall be able to minister to women, mothers, wives more than ever before… You shall do it with a greater compassion because you have experienced both pain in the night and joy in the morning… Your ‘pain tears’ have been exhausted but your tears of joy can never end! In Jesus name, amen!
OUR GREAT SALVATION (6)/ THE DOCTRINE OF SIN/ DEAD IN ADAM, ALIVE IN CHRIST
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The doctrine of sin’. Her text was taken from the Book of Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Sam 17.
WHAT IS SIN?
Sin is not a popular topic these days. Many pastors avoid preaching about sin because they feel it is a ‘negative subject’. But the Bible talks much about sin. We need to know what sin is so that we can repent and understand salvation. If you are ignorant of sin, you will never understand God’s holiness, His Love, His mercy, and His grace. Sin is defined as intentional transgression of the God’s Law or rebellion against God. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 Jn 3:4). In the Bible, the word ‘sin’ appears more than 400 times. The Bible considers sin a very serious problem. Many different types of sin are mentioned, so the total count would be even higher. These are some other words relating to sin: iniquity, condemnation, guilt, crime, unrighteousness, error, evil, wickedness, and disobedience. The Bible states that everyone has sinned (Rom 3:23), that the punishment for sin is death (Ezekiel 18:20; Rom 6:23) and that all sin can be forgiven only by faith in Christ crucified and resurrected. Sin is also defined as ‘missing the mark and coming short of the Glory of God’. Sin separates man from God. God is holy and He hates sin. Because God is a Person, sin is personal. Sin is not just like breaking the speed limit and receiving a ticket from the police. Sin is betrayal of love, breaking God’s heart. Doctrine is important because it influences behavior. Truth is always visible in deeds. The doctrine of sin says that man broke God’s law. Sin is the evil in man. It manifests in evil deeds, but sin is the root of many sins. ‘I am not a sinner because I commit sins. I commit sins because I am a sinner’
THE ORIGINAL SIN AND THE FALL OF MAN
Over the centuries, many wise men and philosophers have tried to explain why man is the way he is, evil, selfish, and wicked. Also, they tried to know why all men die. To them, this is a mystery. It is only the Bible that reveals the truth about it. The story of the creation and the fall of man is found in the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis. Therefore, these chapters are extremely important in understanding how the first man called Adam fell into sin and how his fall affected all humanity. The people who believe in the evolution theory, do not believe that Adam was only one man. They believe that many monkeys became many men. Therefore, they reject the doctrine of original sin and fall of man. The racists also reject this doctrine because they do not believe that we all, black and white, came from only one man.
To understand the original sin read the Book of Genesis, chapters 2 and 3. God created Adam and Eve. They were innocent and perfect. They had an intimate relationship with God. They were happy. God placed them in the Garden of Eden. They were there to take care of the Garden and to work in it. Work was a pleasure. There was no sickness, no old age, and no death. God told them that they can eat from every tree in the Garden, including the tree of life. He commanded them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This prohibition was because God wanted man to continue to depend on Him for knowledge of life as they continue their fellowship. The second reason was because man needs to remember that God created him, and he must humbly submit to God in all things. At the time God created man, the devil was already a sinful being. He was thrown down from heaven, together with some of the angels who rebelled. The devil, using a snake, tempted Eve to break God’s law. The reason why he initially tempted Eve and not Adam it is because she seems to be an easier victim. She was not the one who received God’s Law directly. She depended on Adam to explain to her what God has said. Also, she was not the head of the family. Therefore, she had a lesser sense of responsibility for her actions. The devil hoped that Adam, because of his love for his wife, will share in her sin. He succeeded. The devil deceived Eve by giving her false hopes. He told her that by breaking God’s law she will not die, as God said it. Eve was tempted by pride and doubt. She became ungrateful to God for His provision for them. She wanted more… She wanted to become ‘like God’, giving commands and not submitting to any other being. She chose to eat the forbidden fruit. She gave some to Adam who ate it too. That moment in time, by breaking God’s Law, sin entered Adam. Death entered with sin. It affected him and all his descendants, including us. This is God’s Word: “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20).
What are the consequences of the original sin? Man was created in the image of God, holy, righteous, wise, and loving. Thru sin, man lost these wonderful qualities. The image was destroyed. He became totally wicked, evil, completely incapable to know God or do any good spiritual thing. He became spiritually blind, spiritually dead. This total depravity of sin manifested as shame, running from God, and a guilty conscience.
Adam and Eve lost their place in the Garden, and the opportunity to eat from the tree of life. Spiritually, Adam died the day he sinned. Physically, he died 930 years later (Genesis 5:5). God’s Word was fulfilled! Death proved the devil to be a liar and God’s Word to be true!
These are some scriptures revealing the pride and sin of Lucifer in heaven: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit” (Is 14:12-15). “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; Therefore, I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones” (Ezekiel 28:15, 16). “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8)
THE UNPARDONABLE SIN
Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt 12:31, 32). The unpardonable sin is a sin committed by a religious unbeliever. This is a sin that cannot be forgiven by God. God does not grant repentance to the sinner. It is a sin or a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The sinner consciously and willfully rejects and slanders the Holy Spirit. He knows the truth about God’s Word. He is not ignorant about the work of the Holy Spirit. He knows the truth about the Grace of our Lord Jesus. His conscience convicts him of sin. Despite all these, he attributes the work of God to the devil. The sin becomes unpardonable, not because the Blood of Jesus is not strong enough to atone for it, but the sinner cuts himself off from any possibility of repentance and faith to salvation. It leads to total hardness of heart. It is a personal choice to go to hell. It is a form of spiritual suicidal stubbornness. This is a warning: don’t take God’s name in vain! Don’t grieve or quench the Holy Spirit! Be quick to repent!
SIN UNTO DEATH
Sin unto death is committed by a backsliding child of God who becomes rebellious against God’s Word. The Holy Spirit warns him to stop sinning. If he refuses, God may take His child home to heaven thru untimely death. Prayer and intercession for such a one may not work. “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death” (1 John 5:16, 17). Taking the Holy Communion in an unworthy manner may lead to weakness, sickness, or untimely death too (1 Cor 11:27-32).
ATTRIBUTES OF SIN
*Sin is a specific type of moral evil for which man is held directly responsible. Sin includes guilt and moral pollution. Every man is born with a guilty conscience and with a corrupt nature. Because God hates and condemns sin, man deserves to die and go to hell.
*Sin is absolute. There is no neutral ground between evil and righteousness. Man is either justified or he is condemned by God. For example, Jesus says that there are only two options: you either confess Him or you deny Him before men. “Therefore, whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10:32, 33). He also says: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Luke 11:23).
James says that obedience to the Law of God must be total. There is no mercy for partial obedience. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). This is a point of practical application: Dear child of God, do not marry, do not become intimate friends with people who are not born again. They may be from the same family or tribe with you, they may work in the same office, they may attend the same church. But there is no connection between you and them, between light and darkness. For example, an unequally yoked marriage will always be troubled because of complete spiritual misunderstanding (2 Cor 6:14-16).
*Sin is always an offense against God and His Law (written in the Bible or on men’s consciences). “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel” (Rom 2:12-16). A man may steal from his neighbor or may commit adultery with another man’s wife. These are sins against other men. But sin as a principle is always in the singular: ‘sin’ and not ‘sins’ Sins are products of sin. Sin breaks God’s Law and His heart.
*Sin dwells in ‘the heart’, which is the central organ of the soul. From the heart, sin affects and corrupts all the other organs: the mind, the will, the whole body. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer 17:9, 10). “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (PV 4:23). The ‘issues of life’ means the very source of life, of your thinking. Jesus said: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man” (Mt 15:19, 20).
DEATH IN ADAM AND LIFE IN CHRIST
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.). Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:12-21)
Let us study this important scripture: Two times we read the words ‘death reigned’ (verses 14 and 17). In verse 12 we read ‘death spread to all men’. The word ‘spread’ means to pass thru, to pierce thru like an arrow. Death is the poisoned thread that passes thru all men’s hearts and unites them in sin. In verse 21 we read ‘sin reigned in death’. These are terrible words. What do we see? Because of sin death is now king over all men. Sin is universal. Death is universal. Rich and poor, young, or old, all must die. About 60 million people die every year; two die ever second. The main two causes of death are these: ischemic heart disease (‘heart attack’) and Stroke. The heart and the brain are the two main organs that first succumb to death. “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). The word ‘appointment’ means something that is stored and kept waiting for men in the future. Death is an appointment with God. The primary principle in this scripture is that one man’s deed affects many. For better or for worst, deeds have consequences. No man lives or dies alone. Adam’s sin brought death to many. Christ’s obedience made many righteous. How can this be? Christ is compared with Adam. Sin entered humanity thru one man, Adam. In the same way, righteousness entered humanity thru one man, Christ. The word ‘one’ appears 11 times in this passage. The word ‘reigned’ is used 5 times: Death reigned, death reigned, reign in life, sin reigned in death, grace might reign. Adam had a kingdom where sin and death reigned. Christ has a Kingdom where eternal Life and Grace reign. The phrase ‘much more’ is used 3 times. The words ‘free gifts’ appear 3 times. Salvation is by Grace alone, in Christ alone. It is a ‘free gift’ because Christ paid it all! What man lost in Adam, is gained in Christ, and so ‘much more’. Adam never had the righteousness of Christ. He had his own righteousness. When he sinned, he lost his own robe of righteousness. In Christ, we receive the righteousness of Christ that is much more than Adam ever had. This gift is by grace and can never be lost! Glory!
THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ADAM AND CHRIST
Adam is ‘a type of Him (Christ) who was to come’ (Romans 5:14).
1-Each one, Adam and Christ, was appointed by God to be the head, and the representative of his people. They did not appoint themselves. God did! Adam was not only the natural ‘father’ of all people, but God appointed him as the ‘federal head’ or representative of all people. Both Adam and Christ were ‘ambassadors’ for their people. In His work with men, God always deals with their representatives.
2-Each one is the head of a covenant made with God. God made a covenant with Adam. It was a covenant of ‘works’. Adam could work and enjoy life in the Garden. But this happiness was conditional. Adam could eat from every tree except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If Adam breaks this law, he will die, himself and his descendants. Obedience to God’s Law was the condition for life and happiness.
God made a similar covenant with His Son. God the Father told God the Son that if He is obedient as a Man to His Law to the end of His life on earth, if He takes the sins of His people on Himself and dies for them, then the men shall be set free and declared just in God’s sight. They shall become His people and He shall be their God.
3-Each one, Adam and Christ, pass the result of their life’s work on their descendants. Whatever they do, their descendants will share in it!
PRINCIPLES OF ONE MAN’S DEEDS AFFECTING HIS DESCENDANTS
1-SIN ENTERED THE WORLD THROUGH ONE MAN
The name Adam means ‘mankind’. When Adam sinned, ‘mankind’ sinned. “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Cor 15:21, 22). In Adam, because of sin, ‘all die’. Adam is not the generator of sin. The devil is the originator. Adam learned how to sin from the devil. Because the devil hated God, he attacked Adam who was God’s best creation on earth. The devil ‘advertised’ sin and foolishly, Adam ‘bought’ it. In any other way, Adam was ‘like God’, reigning on the earth. But Adam was not satisfied. He disobeyed God. Like a virus, when Adam sinned, ‘sin entered the world’. Immediately the sin damaged man. It affected his body, soul, and spirit. All Adam’s descendants were in his loins, and they became affected by the same sin.
THE SIN OF ACHAN
God sees all humanity as a unit, and not just as many isolated people. One man’s sin affects many. For example, in Joshua 7 you see the sad story of Achan. When Achan sinned, God commanded the Israelites to stone Achan and his family to death. You see that one man’s sin affected his whole family and even the whole nation. The children of Israel attacked Ai. God did not protect them. They lost the battle. God considers Achan’s sin not as a personal sin, but as the nation’s sin. Thirty-six men who were not involved in Achan’s sin died because of Achan. God told Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you” (Josh 7:10-12). Achan stole God’s property! The gold was to be kept for God in the treasury. God did not blame only Achan, but the whole nation of Israel. “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house” (PV 15:27). God tells Joshua to stop crying and praying. He should find the sinner and kill him the next day. Achan had the whole night to repent of his sin, but he refused. The next day he was discovered. He confessed his sin, but it was too late. The sentence of death came upon Achan and all his children and his property. Many are horrified at this. Why did they kill his children too? It is possible that they were accomplices to their father. You can see that sin spreads from one man to many others. But one thing is sure, God is merciful, but we should never take His mercy for granted. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).
LEVI PAYS TITHES THRU ABRAHAM
Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah. He asked God to spare the city if there are ten righteous men there. God agreed. “Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten” (Gen 18:32). You can see that ten righteous people can represent a city for good. In the same way, a bad man like Achan, can affect the nation for bad. We are told that Levi, who was yet unborn, paid his tithe thru Abraham. “Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him” (Heb 7:9, 10). Abraham won the battle against the kings. He meets a holy priest called Melchizedek who stands for Jesus. Abraham pays tithes to him. We are told here that Levi, who was Abraham’s great grandson, and was still unborn, now found in the loins of Abraham, he paid tithes to Melchizedek. Later, Levi is appointed by God to be a priest. He will collect the tithes from the children of Israel. But here, he pays tithe thru Abraham, to Melchizedek, a type of Christ! In the same way, when Adam sinned, we who were in his loins, we sinned in Adam.
2-DEATH ENTERED THE WORLD THROUGH SIN
God commanded Adam: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:16, 17). When Adam disobeyed God’s command, he sinned. Death entered him and his descendants. Death is a foreigner. Death is an enemy. Death is not natural to man who was created in the image of God. God did not create a man who will die. Death is a punishment God gave because of sin! Hell was never made for men. Our Lord said to the unbelievers: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt 25:41). If Adam did not sin, he could have gone to heaven like Enoch and Elijah who did not die on earth. Sin is the poison that entered Adam’s heart. Death is the result. Sin and death can never be separated. You die not because you commit sins (adultery, stealing, etc). These are the fruits of sin! You die because the original sin from Adam has produced death in you. That is why babies die. They inherited the sin and death of Adam. We are born to sin and die. This is the tragedy of sin.
Temptation to sin may come from the world, but sin does not come from outside. Sin lives in the heart and it is expressed thru words and actions. These words defile, corrupt, and kill the man. Death is first spiritual, then physical. Sin and death separate the sinner from God. It is an eternal separation from God. “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Is 59:2). This eternal separation caused by sin and spiritual death can only be ‘bridged’ thru the Blood of Christ. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:1, 2). All men are born spiritually dead. We can describe spiritual death as a useless mind, no understanding of life, ignorance, blind hearts, no love, no peace. “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph 4:17, 18). The sinner is alive to sin, to the world, and to the devil. He knows nothing about God. He hates God and His Word.
THREE TYPES OF DEATH: SPIRITUAL, PHYSICAL, AND THE SECOND DEATH
There are three types of death: spiritual, physical, and the second death. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, became Man to live and die as a Substitute for sinners. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ who died for him, that one is saved. Anyone who refuses to believe in the Cross, dies as a sinner and goes to hell. Thru His death, Christ set us free from the power and bondage of sin and death. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:14, 15). Because the devil deceived Adam to disobey God, to sin, he is now the master of men. He holds men in slavery thru the fear of death. Men fear physical death but are ignorant of the spiritual death, which is by far, more dangerous. Thru faith in Christ, the believer has conquered the spiritual death. Death is separation from God. But the believer is one with Christ. Nothing can ever separate them. Therefore, he does not fear physical death, which is ‘gain’ to him. Lastly, there is ‘the second death’. This is the eternal death in hell. When an unbeliever dies, from spiritual death he translates to the second death in hell. Our Lord says: “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev 21:6-8). All this tragedy happened because of one man! He was not deceived as Eve. He sinned willfully, fully understanding the consequences of sin and death that will come upon him and his descendants. “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1Tim 2:14). Oh, Adam!!!
3-DEATH SPREAD TO ALL MEN BECAUSE ALL MEN SINNED
This doctrine is difficult to understand. It says that we die not only because we inherited sin from Adam, but also because of our personal sins. God says that in the loins of Adam, we too sinned. God hold us responsible for our personal sins. When a baby is born, he is born rebellious. You do not teach a baby to be stubborn. You teach him how to obey. King David said: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps 51:5). He also says: “The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; They are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear, which will not heed the voice of charmers, Charming ever so skillfully” (Ps 58:3-5). Experience proves that all men are born desiring to commit sin. God searches the heart, and He knows!
Jesus was born in the womb of the virgin Mary, by the Power of the Holy Spirit. He was not born thru the contribution of Joseph’s sperm. This was to avoid man’s sinful heritage. He did not die because He sinned. He was sinless. He died as a holy, perfect, pure Substitute on behalf of sinful men who believe in Him. These are difficult doctrines, but we accept them by faith in the Word of God! By faith we believe that we sinned in Adam. By faith we also believe that we died to sin thru Christ, when we were buried and rose again in Him! “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor 15:21-23).
CHRIST THE SAVIOR OF MEN WHO BELIEVE
God could have killed Adam and Eve immediately after they committed sin. But He did not. He allowed millions of sinners to be born on earth, live and die and go to hell. Why? Because this was His plan from the beginning. In the midst of this tragedy of sin and death, the glory of His Son was revealed. This is the Gospel of our salvation. Jesus died and rose again for me and for you! Our salvation is a miracle. It is a Great Salvation indeed! Blood was shed for the oil of joy to run down on our heads. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb 9:27, 28). God reveals this mystery of salvation and redemption of sinners thru the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God’s manifold wisdom is revealed to men thru the preaching of God’s Word in the Church. “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Eph 3:8-12). Let us never forget: This One Man, Jesus Christ, thru one Work, His death and resurrection, has saved all men from sin and death! Glory!
The angels are stronger than men. They worship God always crying ‘Holy, Holy, Holy!’. But there is a part of God’s character that they do not know. They do not understand God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, longsuffering, and love the way we do. We alone can praise God for His Forgiveness, Grace, and Mercy! When the angels sinned, they received no mercy. There were immediately judged. That is why the good angels desire to know about God’s Grace given to men (1 Peter 1:12). We are teaching angels about King Grace! Is that not wonderful? Adam’ sin affected all men. Christ, the Second Adam came, and by His obedience unto death, He affected all humanity for good, and forever. God is calling men from darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, from death to life! Will you come to Jesus? Will you believe the Word of God?
In the story of David defeating the Giant Goliath, you see the authority of the leader, the representative of the people. His victory is the victory for all his people. His defeat, his death, means slavery for all his people. The Goliath stands for Adam. David stands for Christ. King Saul was supposed to lead Israel in the battle, but he was afraid to die. Jonathan, his son, could have represented his father, as the heir to the throne, but he too was afraid to die. The Shepherd boy David stood and killed the Giant. At that moment, all the Philistines became the slaves of Israel. Also, King Saul Jonathan and all Israel, in theory, became the servants of David. They were to submit to him as their new king. That is why King Saul tried to kill David. Like King Herod killed all the babies because of baby Jesus, so King Saul tried to kill David. He failed because God was with David and not with him.
Goliath represented the Philistines. David represented the Israelites. Whoever loses, his people will become slaves to the other. This is an example of David, a type of Christ, and a federal representative of the people of Israel. King Saul and his son Jonathan were afraid to go forward to fight the giant called Goliath (1 Sam 17:4-11). That battle is the eternal battle between Christ and the devil. Goliath despised David for being just a youth. He cursed David by his Philisties gods. David won the battle before any arrow was shut. He won it by the Word of God. He said to the giant: “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Sam 17:45-47).
What is the practical application? Sin is rebellion against God. Therefore, rebellion is always punished by God. We are to submit to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are also to submit to the delegated authority in the church. This submission is our protection and blessing. Waling in submission under your pastors and leaders, is a proof that you are dead to sin and alive to God. Finally, dear Child of God, please remember and be encouraged: David always wins against all Goliaths of the world! Jesus is Lord! Worship the Lord!