Acceptance—A Human Need

One of our basic human needs is acceptance. Without it, we feel alienated or maybe even rejected. In the Bible, acceptance is often referred to as “favor.” For example, when Joseph was sold into slavery, Genesis 39:4 says he “found favor” in the sight of his master Potiphar and was put in charge of the official’s entire household. Joseph found acceptance and approval because of his exemplary behavior.

Although the Christian faith may evoke a negative response from some, believers shouldn’t be discouraged. A life that reflects Christ pleases God. And in bringing light to a dark world, an obedient life will also bring the favor of many into its circle of influence.

Whose favor are you longing to receive? Do you desire God’s approval or man’s?


You Are Greatly Loved

Has your heart has been filled with sin? Have You degraded yourself and your body for the momentary pleasures of the flesh? At this point you’ve probably realized that you’ve reached the lowest part of your life and existence because of sin. But, the resulting feelings of ugliness and being unlovable are lies. They are part of satan’s assault on your life and self-esteem. When does it end?

Consider this—God’s mercy is everlasting. Sometimes a Christian becomes convinced that divine forgiveness has limits. This usually happens when the person has repeatedly confessed a sin but finds himself returning to the habit anyway. Satan whispers to us that surely the Lord is weary of this cycle of sin and admission. But as always, the enemy lies. The truth is that a believer cannot sin his way out of God’s grace, no matter how many times he confesses the same wrongdoing.

Would you not love to hear the angel Gabriel say to you, “You are greatly loved”? Take heart. If you have faith in Jesus, God himself says to you, “You are greatly loved.”

This is better than an angel’s voice. If you are “alive,” you are greatly loved.

We were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . . For by grace you have been saved through faith.” (Ephesians 2:3–5, 8).

Charles Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit

The following is an excerpt from a book written by Charles Spurgeon, a very famous minister from the past. His name and reputation are well known among Christians and the church family. His book on the Holy Spirit is eye opening and a treasure to read. I hope you will take to heart what he says in the following paragraphs. If you have the opportunity may I suggest reading the entire book. You will be blessed.

. . . . .A man is no Christian who does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. He may speak well and understand theology. He may be a sound Calvinist. He may be a child of nature finely dress, but not a child of the living God. He may be a man of so profound an intellect, so gigantic a soul, so comprehensive a mind, and so lofty an imagination that he may dive into all the secrets of nature. He may know the path that the eagle’s eye had not seen and go into depths where the understanding of mortals does not reach, but he will not be a Christian, even with all of his knowledge. He will not be a son of God, with all his studies, unless he understands what it is to have the Holy Spirit dwelling and abiding in him forever.

If I have God the Holy Spirit resting in my heart and making a temple of my body, do you think I will know it? Call it fanaticism if you will, but I trust that there are some of us who know what it is to be always, or generally, under the influence of the Holy Spirit—always in one sense, generally in another. When we have difficulties, we ask the direction of the Holy Spirit. When we do not understand a portion of Holy Scripture, we ask God the Holy Spirit to shine upon us. When we are depressed, the Holy Spirit comforts us.

You cannot explain the wondrous power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—how it pulls back the hand of the saint when he would touch a forbidden thing; how it prompts him to make a covenant with his eyes; how it binds his feet, lest they should fall in a slippery way; how it restrains his heart and keeps him from temptation. Oh, you who know nothing of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, do not despise it. Despise not the Holy Spirit, for that is the unpardonable sin.

Ah, but blessed be God, we can read the bible. “That he may abide with you forever.” Give me the Holy Spirit, and I will never lose Him until “forever” has run out, until eternity has spun its everlasting rounds.

I like the last part about “forever.” It is with great anticipation I await my time when I will be called home to be with God “forever.” When you think about it, forever is a long time to be happy.


Obedience Is Key

God providentially orchestrated each element of His plan for Israel’s success. However, if Gideon had disobeyed even one divine command, his army would have suffered instant defeat. Although the Lord’s ways may seem risky or illogical, we can always trust His indisputable wisdom and rely on His mighty power.

The key to a victorious Christian life is obedience. As you follow the Lord, He will faithfully supply you with instructions for each next step. His way may not be the easiest or the most comfortable, but it is always the best. Rely on Him, and He will lead you to victory.


God—The Greatest Lover of All

God’s love is totally different from ours. For one thing, His love is everlasting. He bestows it on us continuously, and there is absolutely nothing that can interrupt or interfere with it. This is because His love is not based on a feeling but flows from His very nature. Therefore, it is perfect, unchangeable, and trustworthy (1 John 4:8). In contrast, disagreements and other circumstances can cause human love to fluctuate or fail.

What’s more, God’s love is unconditional—there’s nothing we can say or do to either deserve or deter it. We never have to wonder if the Lord still loves us. Every day you and I walk under the canopy of His love, which remains unaffected by our behavior, whether good or bad. Even if we wander from His will or fall into disobedience, we don’t have to worry that the canopy will be removed. We did not build it, so we can’t dismantle it. The source of God’s love is God Himself, and His love is eternal, perfect, and without any conditions whatsoever.

Notice I did not say you would necessarily enjoy life because He loves you; nor did I say that God would overlook transgressions. Disobedience is a matter of grave consequence for the Christian. Yet even in our foolishness and sin, the Lord is our loving Father, who faithfully disciplines His children. We must always remember that sin does not affect God’s boundless love for us.

The heavenly Father has always loved you, and He always will. As you release any misconceptions about His everlasting love, you’ll be able to rejoice under His canopy.

Happy Valentines Day.


Eleventh-hour Breakthrough

Eleventh-hour Breakthrough

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)

One of the greatest hope-killers is that you have tried for so long to change and have not succeeded.

You look back and think: What’s the use? Even if I could experience a breakthrough, there would be so little time left to live in my new way that it wouldn’t make much difference compared to so many decades of failure.

The former robber (the thief on the cross next to Jesus) lived for another hour or so before he died. He was changed. He lived on the cross as a new man with new attitudes and actions (no more reviling). But 99.99% of his life was wasted. Did the last couple hours of newness matter?

They mattered infinitely. This former robber, like all of us, will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of his life. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10). How will his life witness in that day to his new birth and his union with Christ?

The last hours will tell the story. This man was new. His faith was real. He is truly united to Christ. Christ’s righteousness is his. His sins are forgiven.

That is what the final hours will proclaim at the last judgment. His change mattered. It was, and it will be, a beautiful testimony to the power of God’s grace and the reality of his faith and his union with Christ.

Now back to our struggle with change. I am not saying that struggling believers are unsaved like the robber was. I am simply saying that the last years and the last hours of life matter.

If in the last 1% of our lives, we can get a victory over some longstanding sinful habit or hurtful defect in our personality, it will be a beautiful testimony now to the power of grace; and it will be an added witness (not the only one) at the last judgment of our faith in Christ and our union with him.

Take heart, struggler. Keep asking, seeking, knocking. Keep looking to Christ. If God gets glory by saving robbers in the eleventh hour, he surely has his purposes why he has waited till now to give you the breakthrough you have sought for decades.


Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation?

Answer: First, the term Christian must be defined. A “Christian” is not a person who has said a prayer or walked down an aisle or been raised in a Christian family. While each of these things can be a part of the Christian experience, they are not what makes a Christian. A Christian is a person who has fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior and therefore possesses the Holy Spirit (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8–9).

So, with this definition in mind, can a Christian lose salvation? It’s a crucially important question. Perhaps the best way to answer it is to examine what the Bible says occurs at salvation and to study what losing salvation would entail:

A Christian is a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). A Christian is not simply an “improved” version of a person; a Christian is an entirely new creature. He is “in Christ.” For a Christian to lose salvation, the new creation would have to be destroyed.

A Christian is redeemed. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18–19). The word redeemed refers to a purchase being made, a price being paid. We were purchased at the cost of Christ’s death. For a Christian to lose salvation, God Himself would have to revoke His purchase of the individual for whom He paid with the precious blood of Christ.

A Christian is justified. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). To justify is to declare righteous. All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared. Those absolved of guilt would have to be tried again and found guilty. God would have to reverse the sentence handed down from the divine bench.

A Christian is promised eternal life. “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). Eternal life is the promise of spending forever in heaven with God. God promises, “Believe and you will have eternal life.” For a Christian to lose salvation, eternal life would have to be redefined. The Christian is promised to live forever. Does eternal not mean “eternal”?

A Christian is marked by God and sealed by the Spirit. “You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13–14). At the moment of faith, the new Christian is marked and sealed with the Spirit, who was promised to act as a deposit to guarantee the heavenly inheritance. The end result is that God’s glory is praised. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to erase the mark, withdraw the Spirit, cancel the deposit, break His promise, revoke the guarantee, keep the inheritance, fore go the praise, and lessen His glory.

A Christian is guaranteed glorification. “Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). According to Romans 5:1, justification is ours at the moment of faith. According to Romans 8:30, glorification comes with justification. All those whom God justifies are promised to be glorified. This promise will be fulfilled when Christians receive their perfect resurrection bodies in heaven. If a Christian can lose salvation, then Romans 8:30 is in error, because God could not guarantee glorification for all those whom He predestines, calls, and justifies.

A Christian cannot lose salvation. Most, if not all, of what the Bible says happens to us when we receive Christ would be invalidated if salvation could be lost. Salvation is the gift of God, and God’s gifts are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). A Christian cannot be un-newly created. The redeemed cannot be unpurchased. Eternal life cannot be temporary. God cannot renege on His Word. Scripture says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

Two common objections to the belief that a Christian cannot lose salvation concern these experiential issues: 1) What about Christians who live in a sinful, unrepentant lifestyle? 2) What about Christians who reject the faith and deny Christ? The problem with these objections is the assumption that everyone who calls himself a “Christian” has actually been born again. The Bible declares that a true Christian will not live a state of continual, unrepentant sin (1 John 3:6). The Bible also says that anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that he was never truly a Christian (1 John 2:19). He may have been religious, he may have put on a good show, but he was never born again by the power of God. “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). The redeemed of God belong “to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4).

Nothing can separate a child of God from the Father’s love (Romans 8:38–39). Nothing can remove a Christian from God’s hand (John 10:28–29). God guarantees eternal life and maintains the salvation He has given us. The Good Shepherd searches for the lost sheep, and, “when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home” (Luke 15:5–6). The lamb is found, and the Shepherd gladly bears the burden; our Lord takes full responsibility for bringing the lost one safely home.

Jude 24–25 further emphasizes the goodness and faithfulness of our Savior: “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

(article reblogged from “Got”)