Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ETERNAL LIFE or SECOND DEATH




Eternal life is life that continues without end. The idea of eternal life is nothing new. It has always been God’s plan that we, His chosen, will live with Him forever (see 1 John 1:2). He chose us through His foreknowledge that we will respond to the gospel, and believe in His Son, Jesus (see 1 Peter 1:2). The Psalmist, believing in eternal life stated, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6 NIV). Towards the end of Jesus’ ministry, He comforted the disciples concerning all that was about to happen to Him, including His return to heaven. He promised He would prepare a place for them in heaven, and then He would come back and take them to be with Him (see John 14:2-3).

Like the rich young man mentioned in Matthew 19:16-30, there are people who think there are good deeds they could do to earn eternal life. However, the Bible does not teach good deeds as the way to obtain eternal life. The Bible teaches faith in Jesus who paid the penalty of our sins. Salvation is by grace alone! The gospel of John says, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3 NIV). Also, Paul emphasizes in Ephesians, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). Had salvation been through good works such as donating large sums of money to charity, where would the poor be? Instead, the playing field is level, and anyone who is willing may come, on the basis of faith, because good works do not buy salvation.

So now that we’ve addressed eternal life and how to obtain it, let us look at what happens when one does not obtain it. Anything that goes on forever is eternal, but in that eternal state, one could be with or without God. Eternal life is life that continues forever with God in heaven. The opposite of that situation is life that goes on forever, but in hell. The Bible’s description of hell is scary, to say the least. It is an eternal lake of fire, originally prepared for the devil and his angels (see Matthew 25:41). It is also known as the second death (see Revelation 20:14). Eternal fire is fire that never stops burning and never goes out (see Mark 9:43). Can you imagine falling into a campfire forever? This is not a scare tactic to get anyone to do what they prefer not to do; it is the truth. The book of Revelation says, “If any anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15 NIV). Hell can be avoided, and it should be avoided at all costs!

Jesus told a story about a rich man and a sore-covered beggar who lay at his gate. The beggar’s name was Lazarus; he was so needy that he was willing to eat crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. When these two men eventually died, Lazarus went to heaven, and the rich man went to hell. In his torment in hell, he petitioned Abraham to allow Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and come to hell long enough to cool the rich man’s tongue. The reason he gave was, “Because I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24 NIV). How sad and scary! It doesn’t have to be that way. This scenario can be avoided by placing one’s faith in Jesus. In the conclusion of the story, Abraham declined the rich man’s request on two grounds: first, the rich man received good things in life, and Lazarus received nothing, and second, there is a great chasm between heaven and hell that makes it impossible to cross from one to the other. Wherever you choose to spend eternity, that’s where you stay; there’ll be no switching around.

There are people who say God is kind and cannot send anyone to hell, but they forget that He has other defining attributes like holy, just and faithful. We can be sure He will make good on His promise of hell by looking at history. He destroyed the ancient world with a flood, sparing only Noah and his family (see 2 Peter 2:5). Again, He burned Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes for their ungodliness, sparing only Lot and his family (see 2 Peter 2:6).


After this life comes eternity, which will be in one of two places: either in God’s presence or in hell. The choice is yours. Which one appeals to you? Please choose wisely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

CHRISTMAS




                                                        


God planned Christmas, the birth of Jesus, before the foundation of the world, before creation. What was His reason, you might ask? He knew how the devil would interfere with His creation and intentions for man, thus causing a separation between Him and man.

He could have prevented the interruption but didn't, because He wanted man to love, trust, and obey Him willingly: by choice. He therefore put a plan into place that would defeat the devil, give fallen man a second chance, and thereby restore His broken relationship with man.

The first Christmas was only the beginning, the first in a series of events constituting God's redemptive plan. In the first step, Christmas, God became man, in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life among sinners, showing them the way back to God--through grace, for He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NLT).

The next event was His death. He willingly laid down His life, suffered at the hands of sinners, who crucified Him. He told His disciples, “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily” (John 10:17 NLT).  They buried Him, sealing the tomb with a huge rock to ensure His disciples wouldn’t be able to move Him out. The devil who motivated them must have thought he had won this fight, but God had a surprise for him!

Third was His resurrection from the dead. The morning of the third day, there was an earthquake, an angel rolled the stone aside and sat on it. The angel comforted the women who had gone to embalm the body. “Don't be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen” (Matthew 28:5 NLT). Jesus came back to life, delivering a crushing blow to the devil once and for all. Jesus will never die again. Death and the devil were both defeated. That death paid for the sins of all who'd repent, ask for forgiveness, and accept the sacrifice made on their behalf. Because He rose from the dead, those who believe in Him shall also rise someday.

Fourth, He ascended into heaven as His disciples watched with broken hearts. Angels assured them, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:11 NLT).

The final event will be Jesus’ Second Advent. This time, He’ll come not as a baby, but as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and He will set up His kingdom. At His coming, every eye shall see Him (see Revelation 1:7), but it'll be too late for those who have not called on Him for salvation. Judgment and punishment will be all that await them,


As you celebrate Christmas this year, don’t just go through the motions. Understand that God loves you very much, and longs to enter into a personal relationship with you. How do you plan to respond to the One who has gone to such trouble to demonstrate His love for you? He has freed you to love and serve Him willingly. The window of opportunity is limited; it'll close for each person when they die, or when Jesus returns. Nobody knows when either one is going to happen (see Matthew 25:13). I encourage you to call on Him today. As the Bible says, “Today when you hear his voice don’t harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7 NLT). The Bible also asks, “What makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus Himself?” (Hebrews 2:3 NLT). The answer to this question is obvious—no one can escape punishment if he or she chooses to not respond to God’s love.  Decide today! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Our Priorities Matter To God



Most people love to save time, money, energy, and resources when they tackle a project. In other words, we like to see things turn out right on the first attempt, to avoid making corrections or re-doing later. Unfortunately, our best efforts don’t always yield the wanted results. Why is that? I found the answer tucked away in a little Old Testament book, Haggai, in the minor prophets— not putting God’s interests first!

Haggai the prophet delivered a message to Zerubbabel, the Governor of Judah and Jeshua, the High Priest. In the message, God expressed displeasure about the deplorable condition the temple was in, while the remnant Israelites were building luxurious houses for themselves (see Haggai 1:9-11). It appears the houses were the only good thing happening to them, because God called their attention to all the areas in which they were failing. He said to them, “Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes” (Haggai 1:5b-6 NLT).

After addressing their problems, God prescribed the only solution that that was bound to bring resolution. He commanded them, “Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored…” (Haggai 1:8).
The governor, the high priest, and the people obeyed the Lord, immediately working to restore the temple, with God cheering them on (see Haggai 2:4-5)! And for their obedience, God promised a blessing. “I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you” (Haggai 2:19). What an encouragement!    

Are things not working out for you quite the way you hoped? The solution is closer than you might think. Examine your life closely. Have you been putting your interests ahead of God’s? That could be it. Seek God’s strength and courage to put Him first in all areas of your life, and He’ll bless you! I know, because I’ve experienced it. It’s amazing; it’s hard to explain. My experience is in the area of giving for His work. Even when I think I’m broke, I’m still able to take care of my responsibilities. I don’t know how He does it, but trust me, He does. What a faithful God!

The widow of Zarephath, mentioned in 1 Kings 17, also experienced this. Due to King Ahab’s evil reign, the prophet Elijah pronounced a drought in Israel, which led to a food shortage. The Lord instructed Elijah to go to Zarephath to be fed by this widow. He went to Zarephath. There at the gate, he met a widow gathering sticks. He asked her for some food, but the widow let him know she had enough ingredients for only one meal: for herself and her son. The prophet asked her to make him a little bread first anyway (see 1 Kings 17:13), because the Lord had said, “There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again” (1 Kings 17:14 NLT). She obeyed, and sure enough, “She and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days; the containers never got empty. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah” (1 Kings 17: 15-16). 


God is faithful; He never goes back on His promises, and He honors those who honor Him. Let’s be trusting and do things God’s way and sit back and see Him work on our behalf. What a mighty God I serve!   

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Earning Returns On God's Resources




What does it mean to earn returns? To earn returns means to gain or receive profit on a committed capital (an investment). Usually, the capital and the gains earned belong to the individual who provided the capital. 
Although whatever we own belongs to God (we are simply stewards – see Psalm 24:1), we can legally and rightfully earn returns on it for ourselves. You might ask, “How in the world can anyone gain returns on what belongs to another person?” Well, in God’s economy, it is very simple. Spend God’s money and resources wisely and generously: don’t be stingy, and the returns will pile up for you in heaven (see Luke 18:22). What a brilliant idea! After all, earthly riches are temporary; we do not take our possessions in moving trucks with us when we die.
Paul says to the young preacher Timothy, “Command them (the rich) to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19 NIV).      
In the parable of the shrewd manager, for instance (see Luke 16:1-9), the manager falsified debtors’ records that cost his employer lots of money. He came up with a scheme in preparation for his future, thinking these debtors would be kind to him when he was broke after being fired by his employer. But in our case as Christians, we don’t have to falsify anything; we have God’s permission to use all that He has entrusted to us for His glory and for our benefit (see Matthew 6:19-20).   
          So Christian, what are you doing with what God has entrusted to you? Are you holding onto it tightly? Remember, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV). So let it go. It is not yours anyway; allow it to work for your future!
           “How?” you ask. Meet the needs you see around you, give to God’s work, and Jesus’ response to you will be, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:35-36 NIV). 
If we don’t invest what God has entrusted to us now, we cannot hope for any future returns. If you’d like to hear God say to you, “Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:21 NIV), then do this: START TODAY PUTTING GOD’S RESOURCES TO WORK to benefit others!

   

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Is Anything More Valuable Than Your Soul?



As Jesus was nearing the end of His life, He made sure His disciples knew how things were going to unfold. He talked about the importance of His followers being willing to lose their lives for His sake. During one such occasion, He asked them, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26.).  It has been hundreds of years since this question was first posed, but it still needs to be asked, and needs to be answered honestly.

What does this question mean? No matter what you think it means, the manner in which it is posed suggests what the correct answer should be. Although everyone is at liberty to answer this question either way, “Yes” would be the wrong answer, because the question is suggesting that you shouldn’t put anything above your soul.

There are individuals who have claimed to be Christians, but with the passing of time, instead of growing in faith, they are living in sin, and don’t seem to care. They avoid the Church, maybe in an effort to avoid confrontation by caring Christians. They act like they either have no conscience at all, or don’t care; I find that very bothersome and scary. How can “Christians” who know what the Bible says about sin feel comfortable living in it? Whatever sin they are “enjoying” cannot be that much more important than their souls, can it?   

The book of Hebrews addresses this issue. I think we all need to pay attention, because God cannot be mocked. He always fulfills His promise, whether it is to bless or to punish. When He said He’d destroy the world for their increased sins, He did! See Genesis 6:9-22, 7:11-24. When He first called Abram, He promised to bless him, make him into a great nation, and make him famous and a blessing to others (see Genesis 12:2-3). Again, He did! These fulfilled promises assure us of God’s faithfulness. See also: Genesis 15:4-5; 15:13-16.

The author of the book of Hebrews says, “If we deliberately continue sinning, after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies” (Hebrews 10:26-27 NLT). And to prove his point, the author reminds us of the consequences that resulted from disobeying the laws of Moses in the Old Testament, and goes on to explain why it will be worse for people who trample on the Son of God, and disrespect the blood of the covenant (see verses 28-29). This message should wake up any Christian who is willfully living in sin-“Is anything worth more than your soul?” No! The pleasures of sin are so temporary and fleeting, and in the end, they sting!

John addresses the issue of Christians caught up in sinful lifestyles this way: “Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep sinning, because they are children of God” (1 John 3:9 NLT). His recommendation for prevention? “Anyone who continues to live in Him will not sin” (verse 6).

And how do we live in Him? By reading, studying, and meditating on His Word, allowing it to transform our way of thinking and living. As part of a vibrant relationship, we need to maintain open communication through prayer. Nobody can be applying the Word of God and praying for deliverance from temptation while living in sin!

The difference between the children of the devil and the children of God, according to John, is this: “Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God” (1 John 3:10 NLT). So if you claim to be a Christian but are enjoying living in sin, you need to ask yourself if you are really a child of God. It is very possible that you do not know Jesus in a personal way: that you are making a false claim. However, you can make a decision now to live for God by placing your faith in Jesus.

You decide where you are in your spiritual journey. Either you are not a Christian and need to be, or you made a decision for Christ at some point, but did not follow through. Either way you need to repent and allow the Word of God to guide you into godly living.

If you are a Christian, God has called you to be an ambassador for Christ. How are you going to accomplish that by living in sin? An ambassador represents his country of origin to another, by portraying his country in the best possible light. That is what God expects of His children; that we portray Him in the best possible light to the world. We don’t have to figure out how to do it; He has already given us the blueprint—godly living, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings” (John 8:31).  Let’s follow it! We've been redeemed by the blood of Christ; nothing should be more valuable to us than our souls! 
 




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

SHOW GOD’S LOVE, NOT JUDGMENT





 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV). God could have judged us and condemned us to hell without mercy, and no one could have questioned Him. Instead, He made provision for our redemption, and did not rub our sins in our faces, even though He is without sin and hates sin.

Having responded to God’s love, we became partners with Him to draw the rest of the world to Him in love. How can we achieve this? The best and surest way is to follow our prototype, Jesus! The apostle Paul admonishes us to “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly beloved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV). 

So how did God show us His love? Definitely not by rubbing our sins in our faces, but by presenting to us the gospel of salvation in love, and letting us know the consequences of ignoring it. He implored us to come to Him, and so we did, and now we are set for life.

If we are going to be imitators of God, we need to know what our prototype did and how He did it. Remember when Jesus was out with His disciples, and they went through Sychar, a Samaritan town? Jesus sat by a well because He was tired. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well, Jesus asked her for a drink of water. The two had a conversation that led the woman to admitting her immoral life style. Jesus didn’t condemn her for her lifestyle; He offered her the Living Water that wells up in a person to eternal life (see John 4:1-26). 

On another occasion, the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery; they wanted her stoned according to the Law. Jesus did not go along with them; He rebuked them for their hypocrisy (see John 8:7), and then encouraged the woman to give up her sinful life style.  He said to her, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11 NIV).

As Christians, what should we do when, based on the Word of God, people’s lifestyles are clearly wrong?  Should we shame and condemn them? No! Our approach should be sharing the love of God and salvation through Christ. If we follow up with love, God will give the increase at the right time, leading them to faith. Then when we encourage them to read and study the Word, the Holy Spirit will convict them of whatever they happen to be doing wrong.

Let’s remember that we are not called to judge or convict people. We are called to “Go and make disciples of all nations, and baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV).   

For now, let’s show people love and the way to salvation in Jesus, and leave the convicting, judging, and condemning to God for the appointed time! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Church Is Heaven's Embassy In The World

What’s an embassy, what is the Church, and how are the two similar? According to the Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, an embassy is a body of diplomatic representatives; specifically: one headed by an ambassador. In other words, an embassy represents its government in another country. According to the Bible, the Church is the Body of Christ-sinners who have placed their faith in Jesus for salvation, thus making them citizens of heaven. Christians are therefore, sojourners on earth; our home is heaven, and the apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:20, we are Christ’s ambassadors (authorized representatives) here on earth.

Hence, both entities are established to represent higher powers (their governments). If one desires to know something about another country, one could go to that country’s closest embassy to find out, or ask any of the diplomatic representatives of that country they encounter. In the same way, individuals who’d like to know about God and heaven could contact the Church or Christians. As Christians, we should present our home and Lord in a way that makes people outside the Church hungry for what we have, and how they could also know our Lord in a personal way. It is our responsibility as citizens to introduce others to our Lord!

Some of the individuals who have never traveled outside their country of origin probably have very little knowledge about the importance of Embassies. They don’t care much about the role embassies play in international matters. Having been born and raised in Ghana, and currently living in the United States of America, I know a thing or two about embassies.

When considering relocating to another country, one can’t just up and move there without encountering an embassy. Every country has requirements for immigration from other countries. In order for me to gain access to the US, I had to go the US Embassy in Ghana, present the required documentation (quite extensive) for processing, and then be interviewed. On approval, I was issued a visa, permitting me to enter the US. That embassy was representing the government of the United States: protecting its interests, enforcing its laws even outside its shores, and making sure it is seen in the best possible light.       

Similarly, Christians are representing their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, here on earth! As the Church-heaven’s embassy, we should present the whole counsel of God to the world. We’re all ambassadors, and should maintain that status twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week! We can show folks outside the Church how to become fellow-citizens of our incredible country, whose designer and builder is God Almighty (see Hebrews 11:10). Armed with the information we share, those interested in becoming citizens will be directed to place faith in Jesus Christ, and can then look forward to their new home, where no one will ever shed another tear or experience sickness or death. We can also show them how they can contribute to the efficient running of the embassy by faithfully using their God-given talents and abilities.

An Embassy doesn’t run independent of the homeland; communication is ongoing whether there are problems or not. Likewise, the Church needs to be in constant communication with the Father, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV), because without Him we can do nothing (see John 15:5). Lines of communication are always open; there are no busy signals or voicemail messages. In fact, he is always with us and knows our needs before we even realize them.

Another role embassies play is looking out for the welfare of their citizens in the countries where they are based. Their citizens call on them when they run into trouble. Likewise, the Body of Christ supports one another, whatever the need. We pray for each other, encourage each other from the Scriptures, and meet social and financial needs as much as is possible.

Embassies and their ambassadors show travelers how to obtain visas to the countries they represent. The Church needs to show the world how to get entrance into heaven. Let’s do this diligently, because the time is coming when it will be too late to obtain a visa into heaven.    

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

NOT A WOODEN CROSS, BUT THE WOODEN CROSS




A wooden cross is made by nailing or tying two pieces of uneven-length wood together, as seen in this picture. Even a child could put one together. In years past, in Rome and other parts of the world, hanging a person on a cross was a way of punishing criminals. As to be expected, many criminals died this way, but of all the individuals crucified, only one of them had never done anything wrong. In fact, He was sinless.

A cross is a cross, but this sinless one on it made one particular cross significantly different from all the others. You see, the man on that cross was not a man at all; He was God, and he died willingly, out of love.

When God Almighty, Creator of the universe, with power to call on legions of angels to fight on His behalf, hangs defenseless on a tree, everybody needs to stop and pay attention! That act speaks volumes: of man’s ignorance and wickedness, and of God’s love and longing to forgive, redeem, and to replace a broken relationship with an ongoing Father-child relationship now, and into eternity.  

The cross: there was a reason for it! Right from the beginning, God knew He would be dying a cruel death, to restore the fellowship with man that would be broken by sin.

If you are confused, be patient; I’ll explain further. The only sinless Person who ever died such a horrible death was God. Why did He die if He was sinless? He died to pay for the penalty of man’s sin. Without this act, there could be no forgiveness of sin (see Hebrews 9:22), as His death was the only acceptable payment for the sins of man. That one act covers their past, present and future failings (see Hebrews 9:28). Without it, there’d be no restoration of the relationship between man and God.

So how did we fall out of fellowship with God? Adam and Eve (our original parents) sinned against God in the Garden of Eden through disobedience, and, being their offspring, we inherited their sin-nature. So now we sin because we were born with a sin-nature; we’re sinners not because we sin, but we sin because we’re sinners (see Romans 5:12). Sin has put a separation between us and God (Adam and Eve were thrown out of God’s presence). The only way to restore our relationship with God was for the sin to be paid for, which God did through that cruel death of His Son Jesus on the cross. For “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT). 

The cross! Although it represented such pain and agony, it demonstrated love and brought forgiveness and life! The cross!

How then should we respond to a sacrifice this costly? In one word, REPENT! Repentance is agreeing that we’re sinners (see Romans 5:20), deciding to turn our back on sin, and placing our faith in Jesus. When we take that step, God forgives us; because He’s promised He would if we confess and forsake our sins (see 1 John 1:9). If we choose to not repent, we’ll face God’s judgment in the future, and the verdict will be condemnation to hell.

Just so we understand that: “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). If you haven’t already placed your faith in Jesus, what are you waiting for? Tomorrow is not promised to anyone; death could knock on your door any day, any time, and it might be too late for you to experience God’s grace and forgiveness in a personal way. You might have an elaborate funeral when you die, but that won’t change your stand with God. Please do this today; it is that urgent!

When you place your faith in Jesus, God will: remove your sins as far from you as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:12). He’ll never again remember your sins (see Hebrews 8:12, 10:17). He’ll guide and teach you through His Word, the Bible, and through sharing with other Christians. He’ll always be available to you through prayer.

God is waiting for a response to His call; answer today!      



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

EVIDENCE THAT YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD









Are you a child of God? You might be surprised that I asked, because you are wondering, “Isn’t everyone a child of God?” What kind of evidence should there be?

Here are the Bible’s answers to these questions. God is the creator of all life; He created man in His own image, and so in that sense, yes, everyone is a child of God. However, Satan cunningly lured us into his camp, by deceiving Adam and Eve in the Garden, and thus causing a separation between us and God. The Bible explains our condition this way: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). Sin has definitely put a separation between us and God.

In order for that separation to be bridged, God sent His only Son to die in our place -- to take on the punishment that we deserved. As a result, Jesus became our sin-bearer. And the Bible says faith in Jesus as our Savior restores our relationship. God doesn’t force us to believe in Him; it is a choice each individual has to make on his or her own. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NIV). Also, the apostle Paul reminded the Church of Galatia, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26 NIV).

Sin placed us in the devil’s kingdom of darkness, but God transfers us into His kingdom of light when we place our faith in Jesus. Only then can we claim that we are God’s children. The apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians of God’s promise: “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18 NIV). If being created by God automatically made us His children, this promise, “I will be,” would not be necessary. But as it stands, we need to become His children.

There are characteristics of the children of God, and there are characteristics of the children of the devil; they are not the same. If you are a child of God, you’ve become a new creation, your former way of life has become a thing of the past (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). God’s characteristics will be evident in your new life, because He lives through you, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NIV). The following characteristics are proof that a person is a child of God:

The believer/child of God:

Is indwelt by the Holy Spirit – “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9 NIV). Do you belong to Christ? If yes, do you have the Holy Spirit?

Has the assurance of being the child of God – “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16 NIV). The Holy Spirit gives us the inner assurance that we are God’s children. Are you a child of God? Do you have that assurance?

Has the hope and assurance of eternal life – “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV), and “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 NIV). Can you say with certainty that if you die today you’ll be ushered into the presence of God?

Is controlled and led by the Spirit – “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14 NIV). When there is leading, there has to be following. In other words we take direction and instructions from God; we don’t do our own thing. Who is the charge-person in your life, God or … (insert your name)?

 Does not live in sin – “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (1 John 3:6 NIV). Do you claim to be a child of God? Are you enslaved by any particular sin? Reconsider your claim, and don’t allow the devil to find excuses for you. If the Holy Spirit lives in you, you should be uncomfortable living in sin.

Delights in pleasing God – “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” (8:8 NIV). The opposite of this verse is also true: those controlled by the Spirit of God do please God! Do you sometimes sense God saying to you, “Good job!”? How does that make you feel?

Abides in Christ: Jesus describes Himself as the Vine and us as the branches. The branch, of course, will die if it does not receive nourishment from the tree. Receiving nourishment from the tree does not only keep the branch alive, but also helps it to blossom and bear fruit (see John 14:1-5).

Bears Fruit – According to the book of Galatians, the fruit we bear as a result of abiding in Christ is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Galatians 5:22). Is anything on this list missing in your life? What kind of fruit are you bearing? Is it fruit that can lead observers to the conclusion that you are a child of God? If you’re not bearing godly fruit, please pray for the grace to be able do so. You can then agree with the apostle Paul, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV).  

Accepts Corrections – we all need to be corrected from time to time, or we’ll make the same mistakes repeatedly. Correcting us when we go wrong is one of God’s ways of expressing His love for us, and He grants us grace to endure during those times. If we accept His corrections, we emerge from our experiences as wiser, mature, and better people. Job tells us, “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal” (Job 5:17 NIV). Also Proverbs tells us, “My son do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV).


Dear child of God, we’ve been commanded to be light and salt (see Matthew 5:13-14) in the world, in order to make Christ attractive to people. We can’t be effective in ministry if there is no evidence in our lives that we are God’s children!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Trials Are Good





Quite often, when we ask the question “Why?” we imply that something hasn’t gone the way we expected or the way it should have gone. We imply that a mistake has been made, and we need an explanation. 

We don’t direct our “Why?” questions only to each other. We direct them to God as well, and that is okay. He has the answers for all of them. We might not agree with His answers at the time, but He helps us see things His way eventually.  
Let us consider this: if, without asking God, we always had what we needed, and things always went our way, when would we express dependence upon Him for anything or express faith in Him? After all, He admonishes us to “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV). When would we ever ascribe our successes to His power and grace? Success would be all about us. All the glory would be ours and ours alone. We would claim, “I did this,” and “I did that,” and “I did the other, too.”  

If we didn’t have issues we could take to God, how would we know He could fix them? Had He fixed them before we ever asked Him, He would not receive any glory from us for fixing them. So, God allows trials in our lives to direct us to Himself and His awesome power. In fact, down here on earth, we will have troubles again and again, but they are good for us.

When things get rough, let us go to Him, not to ask why, but to express confidence in His ability to take charge, and work them out for our good.   
Rough times are God’s invitation and reminder for us to trust Him and lean on Him. Those hard experiences are times to be still and know that He is God (Psalms 46:10). When we lean on Him, He intervenes in unimaginable ways to demonstrate how much He cares about us.

God does not take pleasure in our pain, struggles, hurts or difficulties. Rather, He uses these situations to redirect us to Himself, because He is interested in a deeper relationship with each one of His children. May God help us to see suffering, pain, disappointments, and the like from His perspective, and to be thankful. Job did!

Things will not go smoothly all the time. Otherwise we would try to claim for ourselves the glory that is due Him. He has already said “I will not give my glory to another” (Isaiah 42:8 NIV84). NO EXCEPTIONS!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It Is The Lord

The Lord reveals Himself to us in many different ways. He does
that through His Word (the Bible), nature, His Ministers, friends,
family, circumstances, etc. Unfortunately, we don’t always hear
Him or recognize His voice right away. It is either because we
are not paying attention, we don’t believe Him, or we have not
learned to recognize His voice or ways. Jesus says in John 10:4,
“His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” When
we fail to recognize His voice we miss out on things like: His
encouragement, comfort, assurance, directions, and blessings. Jesus
revealed Himself to different individuals after His resurrection.
They recognized Him through the things they knew about Him.

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on the Day of Resurrection,
only to discover that it was empty. She reported that to Peter and
John, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t
know where they have put Him!” John 20:2. Peter and John went to
verify her story, and after that they left, “but Mary stood outside
the tomb crying.” (John 20:11). Jesus appeared to her at the tomb, but
she thought He was the gardener. During the conversation, Jesus
said to her, “Mary” (V 16). As soon as she heard the mention of her
name, she knew who she had been talking to, she had recognized
His voice. So “She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic,
‘Rabboni!’” (V 16). Oh, the joy, the excitement, and the peace she
must have felt to know that her Lord was alive after all, the result
of voice recognition. Had she not recognized His voice, she might
have continued to sorrow over His death and disappearance from
the tomb.

Likewise, when Jesus appeared to the disciples by the sea of
Tiberias, they recognized Him, not by His appearance but by
what He said and did. They admitted to Him their failure and
disappointment for the night. They had not caught any fish. When
Jesus told them what to do, and the result was a large catch of fish,
they knew right away who He was. John said to Peter, “It is the
Lord.” (John 21:7). How comforting and how reassuring it might have
been for them! Do you ever recognize Him in your circumstances,
and are you able to follow His leading? When the disciples did,
the result was astonishing.

On the day of resurrection, two disciples were on their way
to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem. They were
discussing the events from the past few days, i.e. Jesus’ death and
resurrection. As they went along, Jesus went up and walked with
them. They didn’t recognize Him, even when He rebuked them for
being so slow in understanding the Scriptures. They invited Him
home to dinner, and at the table, as He took bread, gave thanks,
broke it and began to give to them (He had a habit of doing that),
their eyes were opened and they recognized Him (Luke 24:30-31).
Are you able to recognize Him through His ways of doing things?
We need to look for God in all situations and circumstances and
be able to declare to ourselves and others, “It is the Lord.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

BE A SAINT








Who is a saint, and when does one become a saint? There are
people who think sainthood is pronounced upon a person after
their death, based on how good or how holy they lived. According to the
Scriptures, saint is another name for Christian. The apostle Paul
addressing the Church at Ephesus called them saints; “Paul, an
apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus,
the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1). These addressees were alive,
so one does not need to be dead to be called a saint. Hence those
of us who are in the body of Christ Jesus are saints, whether we
are in or out of our individual earthly bodies.
Having established that we are saints, we should also establish
that unless the Lord draws us we cannot come to Him (John 6:44),
and therefore sainthood is a calling. Paul writing to the church
in Rome addressed them this way, “To all in Rome who are loved
by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:1). The online dictionary
defines Call as: 1) Making a request or demand, 2) Speaking
in a loud distinct voice so as to be heard at a distance, and one
of the definitions for to be: is to become. So CALLED TO BE
SAINTS means, God requested/demanded that we become
saints. To become something different from what we are requires
a transformation from one state of being to another (Example:
going from a cocoon to a butterfly). We are transformed from a
state of unbelief/ungodliness to belief/faith in Christ, resulting in
the newness of life and the renewal of the mind. We are not called
to act like saints; we are called to be saints.
Sainthood is not a cloak we put on and take off when we feel
like it. We are to be saints around the clock, 24/7. It should be
our new nature, our state of being. We are to be saints at home,
away from home, when we are awake and when we are asleep. We
should be saints at all times; in the company of believers as well
as in the company of unbeliever, no matter what. ‘Saint’ should be
our identity; the identity by which we are known.
How can we vibrantly maintain our sainthood? Let’s compare
sainthood to professions in the circular world. We need to have the
mindset that we are saints. We need to learn all we can about being
saints, by studying the manual for saints, by attending in-services,
seminars, and training sessions about saints. This will equip us to
get better at being saints. The word says we should not neglect the
assembling together of the saints, as some are in the habit of doing,
but we should encourage one another (see Hebrews 10:25). It also says we
should correctly handle the word of truth (see 2 Timothy :15). Every so
often, professionals go through certification and re-certification
to ensure their skills and knowledge are up to date. We Christians receive
our certifications and re-certifications through the trials we go
through, to confirm that we are applying the lessons we learn on
how to maintain our sainthood.
Sainthood is ongoing, and takes perseverance. We should get
better at being saints with the passage of time as we keep our gaze
on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2).

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

You Need to Secure Your Visa Now





Securing a visa is a clue that you’re about to go on a trip. Many people are homebodies; they hate to travel. The reason for being a homebody differs from person to person, but we’re all on a trip right now, whether or not we hate to travel. Sooner or later, we’ll arrive at our intended destinations.  
Our destination is the afterlife. The decision to travel is not ours to make; that’s just how life is designed. Once the journey starts though, it goes on until it ends and we relocate. The destination after this life, however, is by choice; we get to decide where we’re going. Having the ability to decide implies there are multiple destinations from which to choose; there are two distinct places: heaven and hell.

Heaven is the place Jesus is preparing for all those who believe in Him. “’In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3 NIV). In another conversation about heaven, Jesus promised, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world’” (Matthew 25:34 NIV). 

Heaven is described as a place where God will live with His people. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there’ll be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain! (See Revelation 21:3-4).
Who wouldn’t want heaven for their eternal destination? It has streets of gold, gates of pearls and no need for the sun or moon, because the glory of God lights it up (see Revelation 21:21-23). That’s where I’m going! I got my visa ready, and it reads, “Because you believe in the name of Jesus, the Son of God, you have eternal life” (see 1 John 5:13 NIV). Would you like to come to this wonderful place of peace, tranquility, and beauty? I encourage you to come along. Your departure date could be any day from now, so allow me to show you how to secure your visa.  Someone once said about preparedness, “I stay ready, so I don’t have to get ready.”

In order to secure your visa, you have to agree with God that you’re a sinner (see Ephesians 2:1-3), accept Jesus’ death on your behalf, and ask for His forgiveness and to be adopted into his family (see Romans 10:9-10). He will forgive you, give you His Spirit, and give you the assurance of eternal life in your new home (see Matthew 25:34). After you secure your visa, start learning more about your Savior and your future home through daily Bible reading and prayer. The more you discover, the more you’ll long for your new home. In addition, join a Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your faith.

Hell, on the other hand, is the place prepared for the devil and his angels, as well as those who don’t believe in Jesus. Jesus presents it this way: “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41 NIV). Hell is described as a place of torment, day and night, forever and ever (see Revelation 20:10). Who would want to go to such a miserable place if they had a choice in the matter? Think about it! Still, many refuse to make the decision that will ensure their future is secured in God through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son. Choosing to not believe in Jesus is the only visa you need to get into hell.

But why would you choose to spend eternity in such a God-forsaken place? Please call on Jesus today while there’s still time. You might be called out without notice. God loves you and does not want you to perish, and that is why He sent His Son to take on the punishment you deserve (see Romans 6:23). So you don’t have to go to hell; the penalty for your sin is already paid for. This could be your last chance to get ready, and stay ready. Secure your visa today!  


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Are You Trying To Impress People With Your Spirituality?









Which Scripture passage comes to mind when you think, “Faking Spirituality”? Do you remember the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira? If not, please allow me to refresh your memory. You can read the full account in the Acts of the Apostles (see Acts 5:1-11).

After Pentecost, having been empowered by the Holy Spirit, the believers lived in love and shared everything, even their possessions. Those who had property sold it and brought the money to the Apostles to benefit the entire community, although it wasn’t required. They did it, because it was the right thing to do, as expressed by John, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:17 NIV). They did it joyfully, not looking for any recognition, for God loves a cheerful giver (see 2 Corinthians 9:7).

One couple, Ananias and his wife Sapphira, like the others, sold a piece of property. The two agreed to give only part of the proceeds to the Apostles for community use, and that was their right (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). However, when Ananias brought the money, he wanted the Apostles to believe that he brought the total amount. Sapphira, coming in a few hours after her husband’s report, not knowing what had transpired earlier, confirmed her husband’s report, which was a lie. Needless to say each was rebuked sharply by the Holy Spirit, and they were buried side-by-side, a few hours apart (see Acts 5:4-10). It was a good lesson for the rest of the group, and it should be a lesson for us as well.

Ananias and his wife were not rebuked for surrendering only part of the money; they were rebuked for deception. They were trying to give the impression that, like the others, they had surrendered all.

Do you ever pretend to be something that you really are not? Do you like to tell others how often you read your Bible, how much time you spend in prayer, how you do this, that and the other good work? Think about it! Do you try to impress others with how often you fast, give to charity, and so forth? Do you criticize others when you are guilty of the same thing? Do you put others down so you can appear to be better? (See Matthew 7:6). God wants you to be yourself.  He sees what you are and what you do, and why. He will take it from there. “Your’ Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:18 NIV). You don’t need the applause and commendation of men. God will reward you in due time.  


Jesus called the Pharisees, “Whitewashed tombs” because they were such hypocrites, “Everything they do is done for men to see” (Matthew 23:27). That definitely is “Faking Spirituality.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Basic Truths About Our Faith




The Bible is full of promises that assure us of God’s love and our position in Christ. We need to keep some basic promises at the forefront of our minds all the time to keep us hopeful in our walk with Jesus and enable us to encourage each other.

Our Security and Safety
First and foremost, we need to remember that God’s love for us will never fail under any circumstance. The apostle Paul states it clearly, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV). (Also see Isaiah 49:16).

We are His Children
Out of His love for us, God has adopted us into His family and calls us His children. Even though the world does not recognize us as such, God does, and we recognize each other as brothers and sisters. The apostle John calls our attention to this truth, “How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1 NIV).

Assurance of Our Sins Forgiven
We have the assurance of our sins forgiven, never to be mentioned again. Unlike us, God does not lie. He has promised to let go once He forgives. He never brings issues back to accuse or shame us —
·         “Your sins have been forgiven on account of His name” (1 John 2:12 NIV),
·         “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12 NIV).

Ongoing Cleansing
Since we don’t cease to be human after conversion, our old nature still presents a challenge. It is in constant opposition to our new nature, resulting in occasional falls. God made provision for those times as well, and no matter how many times we fall, we can go back to Him for cleansing and restoration. John clearly states, “If anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1 NIV).

We are Never Alone
God assures us of His constant presence through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit:
·         “This is how we know that He lives in us: we know it by the Spirit He gave us” (1 John 3:24 NIV).
·         “The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” (Romans 8:11 NIV).
·         “Those who are led by the Spirit God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14 NIV).

Assurance of eternal life
We have the assurance of eternal life. We shall be with Him forever and ever:
·         “This is what He promised us—even eternal life” (1 John 2:25 NIV),
·         “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11 NIV). (See also 1 John 2:17; 1 John 5:13; Titus 3:7).
·         The night before Jesus was crucified, He prayed for His disciples and all believers (present and future). In His high priestly prayer, for us, Jesus asked that God would guide our walk in this life, keep us safe from the evil one, and pave the way for us to be where He is to see His glory someday. Would God deny Jesus anything? Of course not! (See John 17:1-26). Hence we are all set to be with Him forever.

Promise for Answered Prayers
God has given us a blank check we can cash any time the need arises. That check is not drawn on a financial institution, and doesn’t necessarily refer to physical cash, even though it could sometimes. The name of Jesus is like a blank check to get us whatever we need from the Father, as long as the request is in accordance with His will:
·         “My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name … Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:23-24 NIV).
·         “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us –whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV).
Rewards
Employees expect to get paid and even receive bonuses every now and then. Believers are not employees; we are bond slaves with no rights. We cannot demand payment for anything we do. Yet without our asking, our Father has taken the initiative to reward us from time to time, and He has reassured us regarding the big finale—eternal life with Him.
·         While predicting His death, Jesus said to His disciples, in regard to His return, “The Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done” (Matthew 16:27 NIV).
·         Also, in Revelation, Jesus reminds us, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12 NIV).

These are wonderful promises that solidify our position in Christ! Let us review them often for encouragement, growth, and victory over the enemy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CLAIM PROMISES WITH CARE




A promise is the assurance that one will act as specified. The Bible is filled with promises to encourage us in our walk as Christians, and these promises cover every area of life. There are conditions surrounding some of the promises, so before we claim one, we need to read and re-read to make sure we understand the promise and its requirements, if any.

There are many promises that start with ‘If.’ For example, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land”(2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV). If we don’t follow what He commands, He will not fulfill the promises. 

By claiming promises erroneously, we are putting words in God’s mouth; we are holding Him accountable for something He has not promised us. The result then becomes disappointment, thinking God has not honored His Word. Clearly, He is not going to do something he has not promised just because someone is claiming it.  The promises He fulfills are the ones He’s spelled out and where the conditions, if any, have been met by the claimer.

For example, look at this promise: “I will be with you always.” What does it mean?  First, I’ll tell you what it does not mean. It doesn’t mean everything will go well, or that there will be no problems. It does however mean He will be with you no matter what is going on. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you… The flames won’t set you ablaze” (Isaiah 42:2 NIV). This promise clearly implies problems, with the certainty of God’s presence. So don’t claim promises He hasn’t made.

Also, when you go to God with a request, make sure you call your need by name, because calling it by any other name could make it difficult for you to see the answers. For example, if you ask God for a car, what you are really asking for is the ability to be able to get around.  If He responds by providing you with somebody to give you a ride, or if He puts you on a bus route, would you consider that an answer to your prayer? Probably not!  Because what you really wanted was a car with the title in your name. So if you need transportation, ask for transportation, and if God decides you need a car in your name, He will provide you with one. 

The other promise we love to claim is, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24 NIV). What does this promise mean? Does it mean we can ask for anything? I don’t think so. When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” Then He concluded by saying, “Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39 NIV).  This prayer is an indication that we need to take God’s will into account.  If what we request is against God’s will, we can forget it. So we need to find God’s will about issues before asking, because He will not grant anything contrary to His will.


Also, God doesn’t always tell us the duration of assignments, so don’t assume your job, relationships, etc. are for a lifetime. He can redirect you as He sees fit, at any time. You could be devastated if you get too comfortable and He redirects you. But always remember redirection is okay, because, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV). Let’s not hold on too tightly to our assignments! For example, when Moses was asked to go bring the Israelites from Egypt, he did not have details. I am sure he assumed he was going to get them into the Promised Land, but that is not what happened.

Let’s claim promises with care!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

You Were Bought At A Price




Anyone who purchases a product with his or her hard-earned money likes to value and protect that product, and in addition, expect that product to perform as specified by the manufacturer. For example, how would one feel if one spent thousands dollars buying a car that keeps breaking down and leaving one stranded day after day? I am very sure one would be very disappointed and frustrated, and maybe, even return the car to the dealer.

In the same way, God gave His one and only Son to die to pay for the sins of the world, and expects those whom He purchased to live and function in a certain way. The apostle Paul wrote to the Church of Corinth about sexual immorality in the Church (i.e. among Christians). He told them, “Flee from sexual immorality” and then reminded them, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NIV). Since we’ve been bought, we have a Master to obey; we can’t live any how.

It cost God the life of His Son Jesus to free us from sin. The expression, ‘At a Price’ is an indication that our salvation was very expensive, and because of that He does not take sin lightly. What is the point in giving His life if we are going to continue to live in sin anyway? When He said, “You are to be  holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be mine” (Leviticus 20:26 NIV), it was not a suggestion; it was a command.  He bought us, He owns us, and has the right to demand that we live up to His standard. He deserves our admiration, obedience, and honor!  

Which sin do you struggle with? Is it fornication, extramarital affairs, lying, gossip, or something else? It is not too late to turn your life around. God is ready to enable you to turn your life in the right direction, but you have to be willing to identify the sin and be willing to flee from it; you have to want to change.  Jesus said to His disciples before He ascended into heaven, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in …” (Acts 1:8 NIV). Our way of life is included in being witnesses. We received the power that gives us victory over sin when we came to faith in Jesus, because that is when the Holy Spirit came to indwell us.

There are many who say God is love and will forgive, and that is true.  But the Scripture asks, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase” (Romans 6:1 NIV)? The answer of course is, “By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer” (Romans 6:2 NIV). Let’s not take His grace for granted. 

Our faith becomes questionable when we continue to live in sin. This is what the Scripture says about that, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin” (1 John 5:18 NIV). In other words, continuing to sin intentionally, is an indication that one has not been born of God. Ouch! May our way of life match the truth of God’s Word, and serve as proof that we were bought at a price!