Saturday, March 31, 2012

War

I'm sitting on a big rock in the creek bed. I've just finished reciting Acts chapter 1, 2, and 3. The birds chirps and trills, combined with the gurgling of the water, makes calming music.
But I'm alert. Tense. Thinking. Trying desperately to put the matter into words.

I caught a glimpse of a fierce war, the other day. Worse and far more serious than WWI or II. A fight to the death. It electrified my senses. Made me fear for my life, the lives of my family and freinds. Everyone's life.

Though I can't see it with my eyes, it is just as real as the Iraqi war, today. The battle is for my big brother's soul. My little sister's. My father's. The teenager walking down the street. Mine. Yours. Everybody's!

I already know which side will win. That was determined on the cross, when the champion of love died and rose again triumphant.

I know you've heard the story before. But wait! Listen! The defeated enemy continues to fight. Not in a frontal attack, but slyly. He's literally setting a trap for you, right now. Calculated to send you to hell right along with him. It's so well planned, nobody would ever guess. Satan sucks us in, with things we enjoy.
Dress. Food. TV. Movies. Games. Music. Books. All of it.
Thing is, when he succeds in trapping us, he throws a blindfold over our eyes so that we cannot tell that we are lassoed; on the broad way; cruising to hell.
We cannot trust ourselves in this battle.
But there is hope. Jesus too, is fighting for each one. He doesnt use co-ercion or deceit. He wins with love. He offers a bright future.

How can we know a trap and avoid it? Jesus gave us a yardstick to measure things by.
"He that is not with me is against me..." Matthew 12:30
Does that book I want to read, exalt God and draw me nearer? If not -- it is the devil's trap. It's that simple.

There is no middle ground.

(My next blog post, "Saved!?" continues from here.)

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing, sister…

    That line really made me think… "Does that book I want to read (etc.), exalt God and draw me nearer? If not—it is the devil's trap. It's that simple…"

    ~Blessings!~

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  2. Praise God that He has already won the victory! When after we have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ and His payment for our sins, we are saved and justified forever, no matter what the Devil tries to do! (Colossians 2:15) But as long as we live here on earth, we will have spiritual warfare - we can choose God's way, or the Devil's! Yet, (if we have already trusted Christ for salvation) our eternal salvation will still be secure, no matter how we choose to live. (Ephesians 1:13)

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  3. Karen, all the promises in God's word have a condition to them. For us to have eternal life, we must daily be accepting Jesus into our hearts and follow God's law. Our salvation is not a one time event, it's a moment by moment issue.

    “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” (Eze 18:24)

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mt 7:21-23)

    Heb 10:23-30 and there are many other verses. It is a dangerous place to be, when you come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what you do after you've accepted Christ. God is a just God, and He will not tolerate Sin.

    Please, I beg of you, study more to see whether your position is really founded on the word of God.

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    1. I appreciate your concern Elyssa. This is a VERY important issue!

      You are right that those verses clearly say that a person must continue living righteously and following the law to be right with God. This is how God operated in regards to his people Israel under the law. Today he is dealing with people in a different manner.
      God revealed to the apostle Paul a plan that had been “kept secret since the world began” and was a completely different program than he had for the Jewish nation.
      Rom 3:21-22 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
      Rom 16:25-26 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
      Col 1:25-27 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
      Eph 3:3-9 is another passage that lays this out.

      Taking a look at the Book of Romans, it starts out in chapters 1,2, and the beginning of chapter 3, showing and proving that all have sinned and are worthy of eternal death, and that “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his (God’s) sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

      Chapters 3-5 explain God’s plan for salvation “without the law” through faith.

      I would like to bring your attention to chapter six. The chapter tells how we were “baptized into Christ”, therefore we have been baptized into his death, and, “if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” THAT is how we can be truly justified from our sin – Christ WAS guilty of my sin, because he took it upon himself – literally baptized me (along with all my sin) into himself. I can not be “un-baptized” by anything I do after that. He already paid the penalty for all my sin, past, present, and future, and has imputed His righteousness to me (Rom 4).

      Now, moving on in Romans 6-8, it tells us that we have been freed from sin (our old master), and are no longer slaves to it. We now have a choice as to which master we will serve – Sin, or Righteousness. That is a choice we have to make every day, and it DOES MATTER what we choose, but does not affect our eternal destiny. God is a just God, and He will not tolerate Sin. And that is why he sent his Son to pay the price and wash us from our sin, because He knew we could NOT keep the law. How could we think that we can just keep the law perfectly instead of accepting God’s free gift, and hope we are good enough to make it into heaven – that is a dreadful and dangerous way to live! Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
      If we could be good enough to save ourselves from our sin (or keep ourselves saved), then why did Christ have to die?

      I have been doing some studying on this and will continue to do so. I sincerely hope that you will be doing the same. I realize this is a rather long comment. If you would like to take this to email so we are not filling up your blog space, I’d be glad to connect via email.

      Karen

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    2. Hebrews 13:8 says,
      "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

      The mystery kept from the beginning of the world that Paul wrote about was "Christ in you the hope of glory". Which is how we are to keep the law. As you say, we cannot of ourselves.
      But the conditions of salvation have not changed since the fall, and Israel is part of humanity, not another species which God dealt with differently. God's relationship with Israel was to be a lesson book to the world. Otherwise, what is the point of the Old Testament or the Bible?

      Karen, I'm sorry to say it, but you make a lot of statements that there is no Biblical proof for.

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    3. Karen, I think you have the whole issue the wrong way around. You assume that if it is possible to lose salvation, then it must follow that we have to earn it after we are converted. But that is not what these girls are saying, or whatn the Bible teaches about the whole matter. Yes, Jesus saves us when we are converted, but it doesn't end there. He then goes on to change us into His image, when we constantly behold Him. Please note that we do not do that job either--it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13) None of it is our own, but both conversion and then the changing into His image is essential if we are to see Heaven at last. He is able to complete the saving work in us (2 Corinthians 8:6), since He is the author AND the finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). If we take the beginning and throw out the end of our faith, we are not going to get there. If we resist the sanctification process by turning in the opposite direction, or letting Satan subtley turn our eyes off Jesus until we give away our faith, then we give away our right to the Heaven. Revelation 3:11 "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
      The New Testament is as clear as the Old Testament in stating that we must remain faithful if we wish to gain the eternal reward. It is not enough to become a Christian, we must stay a Christian. Read Hebrews chapters 3&10 for a discussion of this fact. Here are a few exerpts. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" (vs 23-29)
      Notice that Paul is talking to saved people here ("wherewith he was sanctified").

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    4. Chapter 6 also says the same thing very plainly. "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (vs 4-6)
      The end of our faith has to be the same as the beginning of our faith (total submission to God and His working in our lives), so that we can lay hold on eternal life.
      "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, wherunto thou art also called, and has professed a good profession before many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12.
      "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." James 1:12
      "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;" Hebrews 3:12-14.
      Unbelief is the opposite of faith. Faith will get us to heaven. Unbelief will send us in the opposite direction. We have to take heed that we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. The reward will be the crown of life, that we are cautioned not to let any take away from us.

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  4. From the comments you all have been posting, I do not see why you would think that Christ had to die – why couldn’t we just continue with animal sacrifices for sin, rather than the Son of God dying for us? In some ways I agree with your statement, Christella, that “God's relationship with Israel was to be a lesson book” - God’s dealings with Israel written in the Old Testament, are for us to learn from, and many of the accounts show a picture of things God had planned for the future. But that’s exactly it:

    His Word makes it clear that the only way to satisfy God’s judgment on sin is the shedding of blood. Heb_9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Under the law, God’s chosen people had to give animal sacrifices to “cover” their sins. Not only was this a way for them to be forgiven, but it is also a picture of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, shedding his own blood for sins, once and for all.

    Jesus Christ IS the same yesterday, today and forever, but the history which I just went over shows that even though God never changes, something HAS changed from then – the animal sacrifices are no longer the method of covering sins but now Jesus’ blood cleanses us. Rom 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” 1 Pet 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”

    If what you believe is true, then, how faithful, how righteous, how “conformed to his image”, do we have to be? I guess I don’t understand your explanation of how it can work. I mean, under the Jewish law, if a person sinned, they had to bring a certain sacrifice for their sin, and that took care of the sin. Today, Jesus is our sacrifice, but he only died once. Do you believe that any time you fall into the Devil’s trap and commit sin, you have to go to God and say, “Well, I sinned against you again, and need some more atoning blood to cover it,”? That is not the way it works! He already died – He already paid the price – He already shed the blood – ONCE – And the only thing we do to get that atonement is say, “Yes, Lord, I accept the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb as the payment for all my sin!” And after THAT is when he can use us for his glory, transform us, and conform us to the image of his Son.

    Thank you all for spending the time to discus this with me. We really have opposite views on the issue, and it seems that we are not getting anywhere with this. Let’s just all agree to study the Word of God and ask Him for wisdom in this area. He loves to direct a true heart that is seeking the truth.

    Eph 1:17-19 (This I pray for all of you, as well as for myself)
    That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
    The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
    And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

    Karen

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    1. The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; - Hebrews 9:8,9.

      For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. - Hebrews 10:1-4.

      By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; - Hebrews 10:10-12.

      Clearly, the Bible says that the animal sacrifices did not take away the sins of the people (Heb. 10:4), but Jesus Christ takes away our sins (Heb. 10:10). The animal sacrifices were a symbol used to point toward Jesus' death.

      But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. - II Corinthians 3:18. As we behold God, we are changed into his image.

      And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD. - Zechariah 10:12. God will give us the strength to do his will, to be real Christians, in word and in deed.

      Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can become more and more like Jesus.

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    2. Karen, you are right. Jesus died for our sins, and there is nothing we can do to atone for our own sins. That is something we all believe. But you stop there, while the Bible is clear that there is more to the story than the first step of forgiveness. Jesus is powerful enough to not only forgive us for our sins, but to change us into his faultess image. The Bible message of salvation is that Jesus has died for us (the Old Testament taught that Jesus will die for us in the future--that was the sole difference), and then once we recieve forgiveness for our past sins, Jesus then cleanses us from unrighteousness and goes on to forgive us when we sin in the future. There is no Bible evidence that we are given forgiveness for all future sins before we even commit them. Those are sins that we need to seek forgiveness for when we realize we have done wrong. Yes, His sacrifice is adequate and ample to forgive us for any sins we commmit (he died once and for all), but it's not a like a huge deposit into our bank account that covers every future wrong-doing. Instead, it's like giving us access to a bank account so that we can draw money whenever we need it. Otherwise why is Jesus making atonement for us in the sanctuary right now? Intercession would be unnecessary if our future sins are forgiven too. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Romans 8:34. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25. Yes, He died for us, and that sacrifice was once and for all. But Jesus is still there making intercession for us on the merits of His blood. And He changes us into His image. You can't have justification without sanctification. Jesus is changing you as long as you live and breath. That is a process that we must be always open to, never turning our back on it. Read Jesus' parable in Matthew 18, of the man who was forgiven a great debt, who then turned around an oppressed his fellow man. The man who forgave him the debt then threw him into prison until he could pay the whole debt--the very same debt that had been forgiven him. And Jesus says that this is a picture of the kingdom of heaven.
      "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:6-9.

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  5. It's so true; there is a constant battle for our souls.. it's a day by day decision. Will we choose Truth in every moment? If we let ourselves slide just a little here and there; does it really matter in the long run? The answer is Yes, it will matter and does matter.

    "Satan sucks us in, with things we enjoy.
    Dress. Food. TV. Movies. Music. Books. All of it.
    Thing is, when he succeds in trapping us, he throws a blindfold over our eyes so that we cannot tell that we are lassoed; on the broad way; cruising to hell.
    We cannot trust ourselves in this battle."

    We cannot trust ourselves or our feelings. We have to run to the Lord and trust Him. Measure ourselves up to His high standards.


    Do you mind if I share this on my journal online?

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    1. No, of course I don't mind Samantha. Now that I've caught more of a glimpse of this truly fierce battle, I want everyone else to as well. Desperately want that. So, go ahead. Share it! :)

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    2. Christella,
      Thank you! I think the battle is stronger today than it ever was. It's so sad to see the ground that the devil is gaining and to see those we love being deceived.

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