Monday, March 12, 2007
2 Thessalonians 2:13
"But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth".
There are three things here which deserve special attention.
First, the fact that we are expressly told that God's elect are "chosen to salvation": Language could not be more explicit. How summarily do these words dispose of the sophistries and equivocations of all who would make election refer to nothing but external privileges or rank in service! It is to "salvation" itself that God has chosen us.
Second, we are warned here that election unto salvation does not disregard the use of appropriate means: salvation is reached through "sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" It is not true that because God has chosen a certain one to salvation that he will be saved willy-nilly, whether he believes or not: nowhere do the Scriptures so represent it. The same God who "chose unto salvation", decreed that His purpose should be realized through the work of the spirit and belief of the truth.
Third, that God has chosen us unto salvation is a profound cause for fervent praise. Note how strongly the apostle express this - "we are bound to give thanks always to God for you. brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation",etc. Instead of shrinking back in horror from the doctrine of predestination, the believer, when he sees this blessed truth as it is unfolded in the Word, discovers a ground for gratitude and thanksgiving such as nothing else affords, save the unspeakable gift of the Redeemer Himself.
By A.W. Pink
Thursday, March 01, 2007
ARE YOU READY TO MEET GOD?
Question: What kind of question is that? Of course I am! I’m not as bad or wicked as others are. I was baptized and I attend church regularly. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually done much more good than bad in my life. Surely these things will count for something before God.
Answer: If you are trusting in any of those things as the basis for your salvation, then you are in all likelihood unprepared to meet God. Actually, we of ourselves have no righteousness nor could we ever perform any good work that would help in the slightest way to accomplish our salvation. Joining a church or going through religious ceremonies (baptism, confirmation, confession, partaking of the Lord's Supper, etc.) will not relieve the burden of sin's guilt and its awful penalty. The Bible is very clear concerning the error and folly of such reasoning, and the utter inability of any self-effort to remedy our sinful state. It is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us Titus 3:5
We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness [our good works] are as
filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none
that seeketh after God. Romans 3:10-11
Question: If this is truly my condition before God, what will be the penalty?
Answer: The Bible teaches that all the wicked will be gathered at the end of the world to receive just punishment and reward for their rebellion against God.
For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his
mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:7
For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. Deuteronomy 32:22
Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the
portion of their cup. Psalm 11:6
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Revelation 20:12
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2
Question: God is a loving God and, as such, would never send anyone to a place of eternal torment and punishment. Isn’t that true?
Answer: It is true that God is a God of love. However, His love is qualified and directed only toward those who have been made righteous by the finished work of Christ. In His great love, He has provided eternal salvation to all that believe in Him. It is also true that God is a God of justice. God takes no pleasure in sending sinners to Hell, but in His perfect justice, He must punish sin.
The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after
righteousness. Proverbs 15:9
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1:6
For thou are not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Psalm 5:4-5
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways. Ezekiel 33:11
Question: What you are telling me is that, according to the gospel, if I truly believe and trust in Christ, I will not have to suffer and endure the punishment of Hell. How can that be?
Answer: Because Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for all those who would believe in Him. As their substitute, He suffered and endured the eternal punishment of Hell that they themselves deserve. Those who truly hang their lives on and place their trust in Him alone as their Savior need never again fear the divine judgement and wrath of God.
Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 1 John 3:5
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36
Question: But what does it truly mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior? Doesn’t believing simply mean agreeing with all that the Bible has to say about Him?
Answer: It means a great deal more than intellectually agreeing with the truths of what the Bible has to say about creation, sin, judgement, wrath, etc. It means that I turn away from sin and commit my whole life to the service of Christ as my Lord.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. I John 2:3
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or
else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:13
Question: Are you saying that other than through Christ there is no way of escape from Hell? There are so many people who follow other religions. Will they be in Hell?
Answer: Sadly, yes. In His righteousness, God must demand payment for sin. Those who follow other religions don’t have a substitute to bear their sin. Christ, who is God, is the only one able and qualified to bear our guilt and save us from the wrath of God all men so richly deserve.
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity. Habakkuk 1:13
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Romans 3:24-25
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. Hebrews 10:12
Question: It's becoming more and more obvious to me that I have been mistakenly trusting in myself for salvation and not Christ. In spite of this, is salvation still possible for me?
Answer: By God’s mercy, yes. Recognize that it is God alone who saves. The Bible clearly teaches this. Pray that God will give you an extreme hatred for and an ability to turn away from your sins.
I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. Isaiah 43:11
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
All who humbly seek Him, cry out to Him for mercy, and submit their entire lives to serving Him can know that they will never have to face the prospect of Hell. What they will face instead is eternal blessing in the presence of the Lord Jesus.
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. James 4:6
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke 18:13
Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Acts 16:30-31
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:3-4
Question: How can I believe on Christ? I know very little about Him or the Bible.
Answer: Wonderfully, faith is a gift that God gives to us to believe on Him. Pray to God to give you that faith. Because the Bible indicates that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, you should take advantage of every opportunity to hear, read and study it. It and it alone is the Word of God.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Question: Does the Bible indicate that I must attend church regularly?
Answer: Nothing we do can actually save us, only God can do that. However, in obedience to the Bible, which is where we should look for truth, we should diligently seek a place of worship that is faithful to the Word of God.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
Question: Do I really have to commit my life entirely to God? That is not something I’m
ready to do. Can’t I put it off until some later time or period in my life?
Answer: The Bible reveals that there may not be much time. If you should die unsaved or are found in that state upon the Lord's return in judgement, rest assured that you will spend an eternity in Hell suffering just payment for your sins. Are you really willing to risk that?
Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? Job 7:1
For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold
now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. James 5:8
And he (Jesus) said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Luke 12:15-21
By Alfred Chompff