Thursday, December 21, 2006

THE DAY OF SALVATION


When we read the Old Testament we should ask:
"How Readest Thou?"

How do we read the Old Testament?

We should always remember the words Jesus spoke to the two disciples going to Emmaus in Luke 24, where Jesus said:

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

This is how we should read the Old Testament: Always looking if we see Jesus there, and if we see the Gospel of salvation there. This is how we now should read Isaiah 19:1 and following:

The Burden of Egypt

It is a burden, but with a happy ending. The title of this article is: "The Day of Salvation".

Isaiah 19:1
The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

Isaiah 19:2
And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

Isaiah 19:3
And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.

Isaiah 19:4
And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts.

This prophecy is a strong expression of the truth that "God smites in order to heal".

First the spiritual resources of Egypt crumble, and civil war breaks out. They seek the counsel of their spiritual leaders, but they are given into the hand of a fierce and cruel king, which probably represents Satan.

What is going on?

The following verses speak about the Nile River being dried up. But the Nile River has never dried up in past history.

Is God then speaking about Judgment Day in the future?

No! In the following verses God is speaking about sending them a Savior, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. These verses cannot be interpreted historically. These verses must be interpreted spiritually. God is preparing the ground for having them receive the Gospel.

What does Egypt represent?

Egypt represents the House of Bondage. The People in Egypt represent the unsaved.

Isaiah 19:14
The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.

Isaiah 19:15
Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do.

First the unsaved find out that their own works-gospels do not give them any consolation. Then, they experience the beginning of salvation.

It is:

The Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 9:1
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Why would people fear the Lord?

What would make people fearful?

They realize they are on the way to Hell. That is scary!

Isaiah 19:16
In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it.

Isaiah 19:17
And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it.

Why would the land of Judah be a terror unto Egypt?

Historically it was always the other way around: Egypt was a terror unto the land of Judah. Until we realize that the land of Judah spiritually represents the territory of those whom God regards as Jews.

Romans 2:28
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

Romans 2:29
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Those who have been born again are in God's eyes the Jews.
They are also the ones who evangelize. In Isaiah 19 they are evangelizing the people who are in the land of Egypt. These are people who are in the House of Bondage, and they know it. The Gospel is being preached in Egypt, representing the unsaved in the world. God declares in the Bible that at the time of Christ's second coming all those who are still in bondage are going to end up in Hell. The Gospel preached by the faithful church is a terror to those who are still unsaved and know it.

Why?

Because:

Hebrews 10:31
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

In that day (Isaiah 19:16)

What day is that?

It is the day that the Gospel is being preached to those who are still in the House of Bondage. In that day Egypt shall be like unto women. They do not stand up and fight like men, but they believe what has been told them, and they tremble like women, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts, which He has determined against those who remain unsaved.

What is this counsel of the Lord of hosts?

God says in the Bible: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die", and "The wages of sin is death", and the death that God has in view is an eternity in Hell. There is NONE of the unsaved who can claim that they have not sinned. They all came into the world as sinners. Therefore, all are guilty. All are bound for Hell. That is the counsel that the Lord of hosts has determined against them. But then we read about:

Five Cities

Here is the second "In that day". We read in Isaiah 19:18:

Isaiah 19:18
In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction.

What day is that?

It is "the day of salvation" for them.

Five cities shall swear to the Lord of hosts. Five cities make a vow to the Lord of hosts, which means that five cities have become saved. God says: They speak the language of Canaan, to indicate that they speak the language of the people living in the land of Canaan, which is the land representing the Kingdom of God. Only five cities became saved. That is a small fraction of the land of Egypt.

And is it not true: it is only a remnant that is saved?

God sends the Gospel through the entire world. Everyone hears, but only a remnant chosen by grace is actually saved.

Who are those people belonging to this remnant?

God says in Ephesians 1 that they are a people the Father chose before the foundation of the world, and He chose them to be in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why did God mention "five cities"?

God is pointing to the five cities that were conquered in the land of Canaan leading up to the general victory of Joshua and the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.

Now we turn to Joshua chapter 10 and see that the Gibeonites had made peace with the children of Israel. Then five kings of the Amorites sought to destroy the Gibeonites. We read:

Joshua 10:5
Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.

They besieged the cities of the Gibeonites, and the Gibeonites called for Joshua to deliver them. Joshua and all the army of Israel came and the victory was great. So great was that victory that Joshua asked the Lord for the sun to stand still. And we read in Joshua 10:13:

Joshua 10:13
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

Joshua 10:14
And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.

Joshua defeated these five kings, and from hereon the children of Israel had one victory after another.

Why was one city called the city of destruction in Isaiah 19:18?

Actually the Hebrew word "destruction" should be read as "the Sun". The scroll of Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls supports this.

What then is this city of the Sun?

It refers to Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, spoken of in Malachi 4:2. One of the five cities is named "The city of Christ"; the other four cities remain unnamed, because these represent the saints throughout the world. And then we read about:

An Altar and a Pillar

(Isaiah 19:19-20). Here is the third "In that day".

Isaiah 19:19
In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.

What day is that?

It is "the day of salvation" for them.

What does the altar represent?

An altar is a place where a lamb is sacrificed.

Will there be in the future altars in the land of Egypt where animals are sacrificed to the Lord?

No! Never again! When Christ, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed on the cross, the Ceremonial Law was fulfilled. Even though the Ceremonial Law stated that these sacrifices must be performed forever, the New Testament says that all these ceremonial laws were fulfilled to completion in Christ, as if they were fulfilled forever.

The altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt is a representation of the cross on the hill of Golgotha, which has been made known to all those in the House of Bondage. They now understand that the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the center of the Gospel, and Christ is in the center of their lives.

Is Christ in the centre of our life?

Is Christ in the centre of our kingdom?

Then what is this "pillar" at the border?

Who erected that "pillar" at the border?

God did that! The Hebrew word for "pillar" has been translated both "pillar" and "image". In other words, this pillar at the border is also a memorial and an image of the God they worship.

What is this pillar?

It is the Bible, the Word of God. The Bible stands firm as a stone pillar. The Bible is a memorial given to us by God, and it is as well an image of the God whom we worship. All we must know about God is in the Bible. The Bible stands at the border to let everyone know that enters this land: "Here is where we begin".

Isaiah 19:20
And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a Saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.

The Bible, the Word of God, stands for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the House of Bondage. They cry unto the Lord, because of the oppressors.

Who are the oppressors?

Satan and his army of demons are their oppressors. The slaves cannot free themselves from this bondage to sin and Satan. But God shall send them a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall deliver them out of this House of Bondage: Not by leaving Egypt, but by changing them from the inside.

How does Christ save all those who are in Him?

The Lord Jesus Christ took the sins of all those people whom the Father had given Him, and burdened with all their sins He stood at the Judgment throne of God, and endured the wrath of God on all those sins. Christ had to pay the full penalty. There was no grace for Him, because there was no one to stand in for Him. So He endured the full penalty, which was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. And when He completed that payment, He cried: victoriously with a loud voice: "It is finished". And then He died; He was buried, the third day He rose from the dead, and 40 days later He ascended into heaven. Presently He is reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords.

How do the people for whom Christ died get to know all this?

The Lord Makes Himself Known (1 John 4:10, Isaiah 19:21-22, Romans 12:1, Hebrews 12:6)

How does the Lord make Himself known?

The Lord sends His ambassadors to those who need to be saved. Not just once, or twice, but many times, until their ears are opened and they hear the Gospel, and they hear that Christ has died for them. The Lord Jesus Christ did not die for the sins of everyone in the world, because not everyone in the world ends up in heaven. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 7 that only a small fraction ends up in heaven, most end up in Hell.

Did the Lord Jesus know who would end up in heaven and who would end up in Hell?

Of course He did. He would not be God if He did not know that. Christ did not plan to save those people who end up in Hell, and He did not pay for their sins the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. But those whose sins He did pay, He pursues relentlessly until they come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. God's grace is irresistable. God says in 1 John 4:10,

1 John 4:10
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Is it not wonderful that He loved us first?

Here is the fourth time we read "in that day". We read in the ninth chapter of Isaiah:

Isaiah 19:21
And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it.

The Lord shall be made known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord, in that day.

What day is that?

It is "the day of salvation" for them.

They "shall do sacrifice and oblation".

No not literally, because the Ceremonial Law died with Christ on the cross. Christ has made the complete sacrifice.

But what sacrifices are acceptable unto God after Christ has gone to the cross?

God says in Romans 12,

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

That we present our bodies a living sacrifice means that our whole life will be dedicated to serving the Lord in whatever capacity He puts us. This is not just acceptable to God. This is our reasonable service. We cannot be puffed up for doing this. It is only reasonable that we serve Him this way. We serve Him not just one hour on the first day of the week. We serve Him every minute of every day. But on the first day of the week God commands us to dedicate that whole day to His service. Then we read in verse 22,

Isaiah 19:22
And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

Here we see the chastening hand of the Lord for those whom He loves. God says in Hebrews 12:6,

Hebrews 12:6
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

The chastening of the Lord is a form of teaching His children to walk in His ways. Next, we see:

A Highway (Isaiah 19:23, Isaiah 35:8-9)

Here is the fifth time of "in that day".

Isaiah 19:23
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve (with) the Assyrians.

What day is that?

It is "the day of salvation" for the Assyrians. Historically the Egyptians and the Assyrians were archenemies. But notice how God wrote this: "There be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria." Egypt reaches out to her archenemy Assyria. Egypt became saved, and now she desires that salvation also for Assyria. This is how Christ calls us to love our enemies.
Spiritually, Assyria, like Babylonia, is known as the kingdom of Satan. The Assyrians are in bondage to sin and Satan, and the Egyptians are willing to help them. First there is a mingling of Egyptians and Assyrians. Then the verse ends with: The Egyptians shall serve the Assyrians. It means that the Egyptians are serving the Assyrians by bringing them the Gospel.

What does this highway out of Egypt represent?

The highway in the Bible, if it must be interpreted spiritually, is the place where people are drawn to salvation. People are drawn to salvation through the Bible, the Word of God. Perhaps you remember that John the Baptist quotes from Isaiah 40 when he said: "Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God".

In the parable of the wedding feast the Lord Jesus said to the servants: "Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage".

God's grace is irresistable.
Therefore, from the picture of this highway out of Egypt to Assyria we can see that it was God's plan all along to include the heathen nations into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We now turn to Isaiah 35:8 where we see the same meaning for the highway.

Isaiah 35:8
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:

The Word of God is the way of holiness, by grace through faith in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The unclean shall not use this highway; they use another way. The lions and the ravenous beasts shall not use this highway. Only the redeemed shall be on this highway. Let's return to Isaiah 19:24. Finally we see Israel enter the picture:

The Third Part (Isaiah 19:24, Zechariah 13:8-9)

Here is the sixth time God uses the words "in that day".

Isaiah 19:24
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:

What day is that?

It is "the day of rejoicing in one faith" for Assyria, for Egypt and for Israel. The saints in Christ are drawn from every tribe and tongue and nation in the world. People who formerly were in the kingdom of Satan, or they were enslaved to the House of Bondage, or they were enslaved to a Ceremonial Law. Those are all wretched conditions.

Those who are truly saved out of those wretched conditions receive the label "the third part". In Zechariah 13 God focuses on the New Testament time. The chapter opens with: "In that day, there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness". This fountain, to wash off the stain of sin, is the blood of Christ, which He shed for the remission of our sins. There is no other way sins can be washed away. Then in verse 7 God speaks about Christ being smitten, beginning in the garden of Gethsemane until He died on the cross: "Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered". Then We read about "the third part".

Zechariah 13:8
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

Zechariah 13:9
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Unmistakably, the third part is the part that is truly saved. They are the elect, who have been chosen from before the foundation of the world. Two parts shall be cut off and die and remain unsaved. But the third part is brought through the fire of Hell. We were in Christ when He endured the fires of Hell in our place. We were crucified with Christ, and we died with Christ, and we were buried with Christ, and we rose from the dead with Christ, and we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Therefore, God will never ask us to go through Hell again. In Christ we are eternally secure. That is why God can say: "It is My People".

My People (Isaiah 19:25, Hosea 2:23)

Please turn again to the Prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 19, verse 25. There we read that the third part shall be a blessing in the midst of the land:

Isaiah 19:25
Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

Does God have three different plans of salvation?

No!

Are there three different groups of people in view?

No! From verse 24 we have concluded that Israel, Egypt and Assyria represent the one third who have been saved. God has only one plan of salvation. But let us now consider each of these three superlatives, and let us consider each of these three blessings God has bestowed on them.

Blessed be Egypt, my people

We know that the actual land of Egypt is not in view. Egypt, in this picture represents those New Testament saints who were in the House of Bondage, but have been liberated by the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah knows only one Savior, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The prophet Hosea's wife bore him three children. God gave these children their names. The last two were named Lo-ruhamah, meaning "No-Mercy", and Lo-ammi, meaning "Not-My-People".

Who did Lo-ruhammah and Lo-ammi represent?

They represented the unsaved people of the world, both from the Jews as well as from the Gentiles. They were still in the House of Bondage, and thus they were under the curse of God. Then God speaks about the New Testament saints who were delivered from the House of Bondage in Hosea 2:23, where God says:

Hosea 2:23
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

In other words, God reversed the curse. We know that God was speaking about the New Testament saints, because this verse has been quoted in Romans 9:24-25.

Is it not wonderful to be named "My people"?

God himself named us "My people".

Then God says in Isaiah 19:25,

Isaiah 19:25
"...Assyria, The Work of My Hands..."

Again, it is not the literal Assyria that is in view, but those who have been in the kingdom of Satan, and have been translated out of the kingdom of Satan, into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. The mercy of God is that they have heard the Gospel preached, and it has pleased God the Holy Spirit to give them a new soul, or a new heart, and they have been brought into the church for further spiritual growth. Overall the number of people included here in this verse, Egypt, Assyria and Israel combined, represents only a small fraction of the world's population: It is only a remnant saved by grace.

Why does God say: "Assyria, the work of My hands"?

Does God have hands?

Only the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ are God's hands.

What work did the Lord Jesus do with His hands to make "Assyria the work of His hands"?

God says in:

Isaiah 49:16
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

How were our names graven upon the Palms of His hands?

BANG! BANG! The nails were driven into His hands and into His feet. The Lord Jesus hung on the cross for the remnant saved by grace. This remnant is called here Assyria, or Egypt, or Israel, to indicate that all along God planned to include the Gentiles into His salvation plan. These nails were only a fraction of the suffering that Christ had to endure for all those He came to save. Christ suffered both in His body and in His soul, meaning His Spirit essence. The outward evidence of His suffering was visible in His body.

Why does God say in Isaiah 49:16, "Thy walls are continually before Me"?

These are the walls of protection. God surrounds us with His protection, so that we will be preserved until the end.

Think of it now. We are the creatures. God could have sent us all to Hell and start all over. His righteousness would still be fully satisfied if He had done that. God did not have to send the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to be spit upon, and to be flogged, and to be nailed to a cross. But God chose to do that, because He loved us so much. He loved His creatures so much that He was willing to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for us.

Can we understand so much love for creatures that He has made?

And yet, the reprobate want to compare us to robots. God has no love for robots.
God says in:

Isaiah 19:25
Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

Israel Mine Inheritance

Does this mean that Egypt and Assyria are not God's inheritance?

No!

"Mine inheritance" is a title God ascribes to every one of His creatures who becomes saved. The name Israel here does not refer to the descendants of Jacob. We must interpret the Old Testament by using the New Testament information as the latest revelation from God, and the later revelation carries the greater weight.

God says in Romans 9:
"For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel". (Romans 9:6)

In other words, all those who are of the seed of Jacob are not called Israel in the sight of God. There are many names in the Bible of those who are descendents of Jacob, and yet they died unsaved. Judas Iscariot is one. Judas Iscariot does not belong in Christ's inheritance. "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel".

In Galatians 6 the Gentile saints are also called "the Israel of God".

In Isaiah 49 the Lord Jesus is called Israel. We must keep in mind that we are a people that are called by His name. Therefore God says in the 3rd Commandment:

"Thou shalt not bear the name of the Lord in vain".

How readest thou?

Do we indeed consider that the Bible is one coherent whole?

It should not all be like loose sand. Let us not be swayed by those who hold the premillenial view of eschatology. When we see the name Israel in the Bible, we must interpret this name based on the context. In Isaiah 19:25 God is definitely speaking about salvation of the Gentiles in the New Testament era. When Christ died on the cross all differences between Jews and Gentiles were erased. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. Therefore, "Israel Mine inheritance" refers to the Israel of God. We are Christ's inheritance: We have been purchased by Him to be His bride.

What a beautiful name we have received. Not only are we called Christians, meaning "Of the family of Christ", but we also have received the name Israel, the same name as Christ has. Therefore, all the blessings promised to Israel in the Old Testament are directed to us. When we read, for example:

Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

This is the nation of the Kingdom of Christ. This is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the God who saves, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. First God chooses us, and we become saved because God has chosen us. We love Him because He loved us first.
Amen.

By Alfred Chompff

Monday, December 04, 2006

GOD’S GOOD NEWS


SALVATION!

What is it?
What is one saved from?
How does one get saved?
Is salvation really necessary?

These questions seldom, if ever, receive answers that are compatible with God’s Word. Many people take the following approach to things ‘religious’:
‘I believe that religion is ok for some people but personally I don’t have a need for it. I don’t see anything that wrong with my life. I work hard, I’m good to my wife/husband and the children. I’m not perfect but I’ve never killed anyone. I give to charity and try my best to always be there when people need help. I’m quite content with my life and happy within myself and to be honest, I think I’m just as moral as the next person—even a religious one.’

Religion however, far from offering salvation, weighs a person down with duties and ceremonies one must perform, and a rigid set of rules one must conform to, in order to ‘get into God’s good books’.

It places an impossible burden on people to change their lives, become moral etc, so that one day they might become acceptable to God. But anybody can change their lifestyle, reform and become a ‘new person’ whether they get involved in religion or not!

The true Christian Faith is not a religion, nor is it primarily a lifestyle. True Christianity is all about a message—God’s Message: the Gospel.
This Gospel reveals the spiritual condition of man and God’s way of salvation. This leaflet will briefly explain what salvation is, what a person needs to be saved from, how a person is saved and why salvation is so necessary—why YOU need it.

In essence, we shall present the reader with God’s Gospel: God’s Good News.
Salvation is deliverance. It means to be rescued or freed from a place of danger and brought to a place of safety. It also means to be preserved, to be kept. Salvation is God saving, or rescuing, a sinner from the eternal punishment for their sin and transferring them to a state of eternal safety and security.


To find out why salvation is necessary, we need to see what God says about the spiritual condition of man. In the Book of Genesis we see the account of Adam and Eve. God made Adam and Eve perfect, free of sin, and gave them a beautiful garden to live in and enjoy, with wonderful trees providing succulent fruits. Their life was one of tranquil days of love, happiness and contentment and of peace with God.
God said they could eat from any tree in the Garden,

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"
(Genesis 2:17).

Death, previously unknown, would enter their lives—not merely physical death, but also spiritual death. Adam and Eve did eat of the forbidden fruit and death did enter their lives that very day, just as God had promised. Physically, they did not die immediately but the ageing process of decay and corruption, the breakdown of their physical bodies, did begin that day.

However, they did immediately die spiritually. They were no longer acceptable to God for they had become sinners and were unclean in His sight. This death, both physical and spiritual, has passed on to every person ever since:

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon ALL men..."
(Romans 5:12).

This is because Adam, the first man, was made the representative of all mankind by God. As their representative, Adam’s sin was imputed (charged) to them, his descendants, the entire human race:

"...by one man’s disobedience (the) many (that he represented) were made sinners..."
(Romans 5:19).

The fact that both you and I sin offers undeniable proof that we are sinners and shows that we come from the sin seed which began with Adam. Just as a grass seed will only produce grass, so too, the sin seed will only produce sinners.
Most people readily admit that they are not perfect but a source of comfort for many is that they see themselves as only ‘minor’ sinners.

Most people’s assessment of themselves is,
‘I am basically a good person. I know I’m not perfect but at least I’m not as bad as that person.’ They judge themselves by comparing themselves with others and according to this standard, they judge themselves to be basically good people. But the reality of the situation is that we have all sinned against God:

"For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"
(Romans 3:23).

Man has missed the mark, or target, and as far as registering points with God—man isn’t even on the scoreboard! Almost everyone is under the impression that if they do their best then God will accept them, for what more can a person do than his best?

But God says
"...every man AT HIS BEST STATE is altogether vanity (unsatisfactory)"
(Psalm 39:5).

The best a man can do to recommend himself to God falls far short of the perfection which God demands:

"...we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (good deeds) are as filthy rags..."
(Isaiah 64:6).

Despite all of mans’ enthusiastic religious efforts, God says

"...There is NONE righteous, no, not one: there is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God. They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become UNPROFITABLE; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE"
(Romans 3:10-12).

Quite a predicament isn’t it?

The standard by which we are to judge ourselves is the one that God has set: perfection—and if we are honest, we will admit that we are imperfect.

The Lord Jesus says:
"...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law..."
(Matthew 22:37-40).

No one, not even the most religious person around, would dare say he has loved God perfectly or his fellow man as himself. So we see then that, far from being guilty of only ‘minor sins’, we all stand guilty of the greatest sins.

The concept of ‘minor’ sins is a false one anyway, for to break even one of God’s laws is to break all of them:

"For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all"
(James 2:10)

and God has made clear to us the penalty of sin:

"For the wages of sin is death..."
(Romans 6:23).

Society often gets into an uproar when a judge lets a criminal off with just a warning or hands down a light sentence. The judge that does this is perverting justice, he is not a just judge. When someone commits a crime, they should pay the full penalty that the law requires.

While it is true that God is a God of love and mercy, it is of the utmost importance to note that He is also a Just God, a Just Judge.

God declares of Himself:
"...The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin...WILL BY NO MEANS CLEAR THE GUILTY..."
(Exodus 34:6,7)

and
"...there is no God else beside Me; a Just God and a Saviour..."
(Isaiah 45:21).

In order for God to save a sinner (someone who has broken His law) without perverting His justice, His law must be obeyed perfectly and His justice, which demands full payment for sin, must be satisfied. How was this accomplished?
God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. He was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the agency of God the Holy Spirit and therefore did not carry within him the seed of sin. He did not descend from Adam and was, therefore, without sin and wholly acceptable to God. Just as Adam is a representative, so too is Christ. But while Adam is the representative of all mankind, Jesus Christ is the Representative of all those God gave Him—those whom God chose to save—through faith in His Gospel:

"...God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; whereunto He called you by our Gospel..."
(2 Thessalonians 2:13);

"As Thou (the Father) hast given Him (the Son) power over all flesh, that He (the Son) should give eternal life to as many as Thou (the Father) hast given Him"
(John 17:3).

Being chosen by God for salvation was not something that was to be earned or merited, it was not to be a reward, but was solely according to His Will:

"(God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began"
(2 Timothy 1:9);

"...He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world...Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will"
(Ephesians 1:4,5).

Faith, like everything else pertaining to salvation, is a gift given by God, it does not originate within ourselves:

"For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast"
(Ephesians 2:8,9),

and this faith ALWAYS believes THE TRUE Gospel, never a false one (see 1 Thess.2:13,14 again).

Jesus Christ is the Substitute of all those God chose to save. As their Substitute, He lived the life of perfect obedience to God’s law that none of them ever could, thus providing the obedience they needed to become right with God:

"...by the obedience of ONE (Jesus) shall (the) many (those He represented) be made righteous"
(Romans 5:19).

As their Substitute, He died and was resurrected, thus paying the penalty in full for their sins:

"(Jesus) was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification (acquittal)"
(Romans 4:25).

Jesus blotted out
"the handwriting of ordinances that was against us (those He represented)...and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross"
(Colossians 2:13,14).

God’s Word says that all the sins of those for whom Christ died were transferred to Him, and that His righteousness would be charged to them:
"For He hath made Him (Christ) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him"
(2 Corinthians 5:21).

The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is the only way that God can remain Just and at the same time be the Justifier of sinners:

"To declare, I say, at this time HIS Righteousness: that He might be Just and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus"
(Romans 3:26).

The belief that there are many religious paths one can travel but that all lead to the same God, is a lie which deceives many, for not only do they differ greatly in what they say about God and salvation, they often totally contradict each other. Just as there are many wrong answers that can be given to 2+2, there is only one correct answer.

So too, there are many false gods and many false christs in religion’s supermarket, but there is only ONE TRUE God, there is only ONE TRUE Christ, and what you believe about God and about Jesus Christ will show whether you believe in the True or in one of the many counterfeits which cannot save. God warns that many

"...pray unto a god that CANNOT save"
(Isaiah 45:20).

Only ONE road leads to God:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me"
(John 14:6).

Religion, even that which professes to be ‘christian’, claims to know what it is that man can do to ‘make up with God’. But we can tell you right now that their teachings about salvation are false, for they all teach that man must do something in order to get saved and/or stay saved.

This is the identifying mark of religion’s false gospel.

The word religion comes from the Latin word religare meaning to tie up, or to bind. Religion binds you to a system of laws and duties which must be obeyed if you are to see Heaven and if disobeyed will condemn you to Hell. God declares in His Holy Word that man cannot do anything to get saved, that salvation is 100% God’s work from start to finish and that no one is saved who believes contrary to this.

What better news could there possibly be for man than to learn that God, Who demands perfection, does not save sinners based on their imperfect efforts, but on the perfect obedience unto death (the righteousness) of Jesus Christ. Please do not misunderstand. The Bible does not say that obedience is not necessary, that one can simply believe in Christ and then live as one pleases. Obedience is very important in the life of a saved sinner, but that obedience is not what saved him or keeps him saved!

What we have shared with you is, in a nutshell, the Gospel—God’s Good News. Only those who believe the Gospel, which reveals Christ’s righteousness alone as that which saves sinners and keeps them saved, will enter into Heaven with nothing to fear.

Those who do not believe the Gospel shall be damned – condemned to Hell forever (Mark 16:16), for their sins remain charged to them.

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth....for therein is the righteousness of God revealed..."
(Romans 1:16,17).

This true gospel message was presented by Moreno Del Ballo


Saturday, December 02, 2006

RECIEVING JESUS CHRIST


Receiving Him

"But to as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
John 1:13

What does it mean to "receive Christ"?

According to the popular understanding, God is appealing to our will to make a decision as to whether we want Christ in our life or not. It is as though we occupy the place of a jury in a court room. On the one hand, we hear an appeal to make a decision in favor of Christ. On the other hand, we hear an appeal to make a decision in favor of Satan. After hearing the evidence, it is up to us. We supposedly choose by our own "free will" whether we will "receive Christ" or not.

It is up to us. According to this understanding, God loves all people the same, and he appeals to all with equal desire for their salvation. It is finally and ultimately up to the individual person whether he or she will "receive Christ" and so make the love of God "real" for them. Salvation, then, is understood to be the result of a decision. It is not the result of God's decision, because God supposedly wants everyone to be saved.

God, says the popular view, has already made His decision. It is the result of man's decision, for God, according to the popular understanding, can not "force us" to do something against our own will. Salvation is by the "free will" of man.

But this popular way of understanding salvation is false.

It is not what the Bible teaches.

The Bible does not teach that salvation is of the will of man.

The Bible does not teach that "receiving Christ" is an act of our "free will".

Consider what the Scripture above is saying:
"...who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God".

According to the Bible, salvation and true forgiveness is by the will of God, not by the will of man. When a person "receives Christ", it is not something that ultimately comes from the individual's "free will". To receive the true Christ is a demonstration of the will and power of God. We receive Christ, not by our own will, "not by the will of man", but by the will of God. By the power of His Holy Spirit, God uses the good news of Christ's effective work as a substitute for His people. He received the punishment due His people, that they might receive the resulting blessing of forgiveness and justification based on Him alone. (Matthew 1:21; John 10:11; 2 Corinthians 5:20,21; 1 Peter 2:24).

Why is this important?

Because the salvation God gives He gives to helpless sinners who are unable to save themselves. He did not come for the healthy, but for the sick, yes, even for those who are "dead in their transgressionsand sins" (Ephesians 2:1).

Hopeless, spiritually dead sinners have no inherent power to make a true decision.

They are not in the spiritual jury box, but in the spiritual grave.

If they are to be saved, God must decide. He must exercise His will, and raise them from death to life. If we see ourselves as other than the helpless and spiritually dead sinners that we are, we will embrace a "salvation" that is more a tribute to our own good judgment than an indication of true forgiveness. Such "salvation" is only false security, but is not true forgiveness. We need true forgiveness. May God teach us that "receiving Christ" is by the will of God!

"It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy."
Romans 9:16

John Pedersen

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD

For God so Loved the World

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

A False interpretation of this verse goes like this:

This verse is probably the best known verse in the Bible. It may also be the most misunderstood. God sent His Son Jesus into the world to providesalvation for all of mankind, but all mankind is not "automatically" saved.There must be an act of our faith on our part in believing in the Lord JesusChrist. We must make this verse personal. We need to look at it as directedto us, "For God so loved [your name], that he gave...". Jesus came into theworld to give his life for your sins. Have you applied this verse toyourself? Have you asked Jesus into your heart to be your Savior? If you'renot sure about this, please write or call for help.

A True interpretation of this verse is as follows:

John 3:16 speaks of the good news of the gospel. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should notperish but have eternal life."
Why is this message of God's love good news?
Because it tells of what God has done. The next verse,
John 3:17, says:
"For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that theworld through Him might be saved." God sent His Son to save the world, and He succeeded! By His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus Christ both paid for the sins of His people and provided His own righteousness as the basis of God's forgiveness and favor. As the angel said to Joseph,
"You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins".(Matthew 1:21).

The good news is that God has actually accomplished the salvation of the world by the work of Jesus Christ.
Are you numbered among the world Jesus came to save?
Are you given to the Lord Jesus by the Father?
As the Lord Jesus says:
"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and he who comes to Me I will in no waycast out." (John 6:37).

Come to the One who really saves. Come as you are,helpless, hopeless, knowing you have no goodness or power in yourself. Ifyou do come to Him with this knowledge, you are assured that He has brought you.
His love really saves!