Does “Everyone” Include Satan?

July 21, 2017 at 10:01 am | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
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Question: We were telling our children that God loves everyone, but then they asked, “Does God love the devil?” What should I tell them?

Answer: First of all, you are correct in telling them that God loves everyone “in the world” (John 3:16). Of course, we also need to let our children know that God loves in greater ways than we do, and that God is so much greater than, and different from us, that it is possible for Him to harmonize His will and His feelings in ways that are not possible for us. In other words, God’s feelings are perfectly controlled, and are more holy than ours, so it is possible for Him to love His enemies (Romans 5:8) and hate His enemies (Psalm 5:5, 11:5) at the same time.

When it comes to the devil (and the angels for that matter), the Bible does not give us specific information on God’s “feelings” about them. He created them, and the angels obey Him, which must please Him, and He is love (I John 4:8), so it is possible that He loves them, but the Bible never really emphasizes that, as far as I know. Satan and his demons, on the other hand, disobeyed Him, and He cast them out, and He has not devised a plan of redemption for them the way that He has for us fallen human beings, so it is probably reasonable to say that God does not love them in the same way that He loves us (if He loves them at all).

What I would emphasize to children is that the devil made a horrible choice in trying to make himself equal to God (Isaiah 14:12-14) and he paid for it. Still, he does not want to be forgiven. He hated God first without a cause, and that will never change. Our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, committed the same sin: disobedience and self-idolatry (and, sadly, we still do it too, every day). But the fact that God was still willing to die for us, and forgive us, shows how great His love for us truly is. Meanwhile, no matter what His feelings toward Satan are, because He loves us, He will one day imprison Satan forever and ever in order to protect us from him (Revelation 20:3-10).

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A Revelation of a Violation against Revilation

April 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Exodus | 1 Comment
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Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

Exodus 22:28

The second part of this verse is pretty self-explanatory. It would, for the Israelites, prohibit them from speaking disrespectfully or insultingly about Moses or any of God’s appointed representatives: priests, judges, parents, etc. The principial part of it would also apply to New Testament Christians today. We may disagree with the policies, and even the personal beliefs and opinions, of those in authority over us, but we must respect the “office” they hold. We must recognize that it is appointed by God even if those who hold it are misusing it. We should speak respectfully of them, or say nothing at all if we can’t say something good, or if we can’t call evil what it is in a Christ-honoring way. This is one reason why I don’t say much at all about politicians or judges!

The first part of Exodus 22:28, though, is more problematic. To “revile” carries the same basic meaning of “curse,” so it is possible that there is parallelism going on here. Hebrew parallelism uses repetition for emphasis and impact. But why would the true God outlaw reviling little “g” gods that aren’t even real? The word translated as “gods” is elohim, which sometimes means the capital “G” God. Other times it means rulers or those with power – even supernatural power, such as angels or demons. So, the Holy Spirit might be telling Moses to tell the people not to talk bad about authority, and then reiterating it through emphatic parallelism in the second part of the verse.

One the other hand, He might be saying, “Don’t make false gods part of your cursing (which would imply that you believe they’re real).”

A third option is that the first part of the verse might prohibit speaking presumptuously or lightly about beings more powerful than you, even if they’re wicked. Doing so would be a sign of a false prophet or a false teacher.

Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Jude vv. 8-9

It’s not our place to get into a cursing match or even an argument with beings that are stronger than us apart from Christ, nor with beings whose status and activity we don’t even fully understand. Humility should be our default attitude toward any type of authority – even when we oppose it.

Winning the Argument that Christ is Better

March 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 6 Comments
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The Book of Hebrews was authored by the Holy Spirit, but there are vastly differing opinions over which human instrument He used to do so. Personally, I believe it was the Apostle Paul. It was written to convince the Hebrews (Jewish Christians) of the superiority of Jesus. A key phrase is “a better…” The Lord Jesus is “better” than all the attempts at righteousness in the Jewish religion.

Another one of the book’s main themes is the encouragement to draw near – draw nigh – to God.

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Hebrews 7:19

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22

We don’t have to chase God all over the country. As Christians, we can draw near to Him any time we want. When Jesus spoke to His disciples about the little children, He said, “Suffer them to come unto Me.”

In Hebrews Chapter 1 we see that Christ is better than the prophets of God who came before Christ’s birth.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 1:1-2

The prophets told people about how God created everything, but Christ was there when it was created.

Second, Christ is better than the angels.

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

Hebrews 1:4-5

The angels are sometimes called the sons of God, but they are created beings, and the created is not to be worshiped. Only the Creator is to be worshiped.

The angels serve Jesus, and they serve Christians, too.

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Hebrews 1:14

How does knowing that Christ is better than the prophets and better than the angels convince us to draw near to Him? It’s step one of an argument. How did the Hebrews know that they were supposed to have priests and a high priest and altars and sacrifices and a tabernacle and sin offerings and blood sacrifices? God told them (His Word). But through what medium? His prophets. They delivered the Law – including the ceremonies of their religion. But if Christ was greater than the prophets, then the people needed to learn from Him.

Christ did not really come with a revelation of following a by-the-numbers set of rules and regulations. He came with principles like Grace and Love. The angels and the prophets helped deliver the Law, which was God’s revelation of His nature to the people, but Christ is enthroned in glory. He is seated at God’s right hand.

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Hebrews 1:3-4

Christ is better than the prophets because He is God. He is better than the angels because they were created and He is the Creator.

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Hebrews 1:8

The cults don’t like this, but it is still true. “The Son” is a more excellent name. Jesus is God, and He has been forever. He was not “born” as touching His Deity. However, God the Father has especially honored Him as Son.

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Hebrews 1:8-9

Who’s in Charge Here?

November 14, 2012 at 10:53 am | Posted in Social Media Shares and Mass Emails, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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It can be so tempting… Someone you really care about has experienced a tragedy like the unexpected death of a loved one. It’s not uncommon in situations like this for people to react with extreme grief. “How could God do this?” they will demand to know. In these days of social media, such expressions can find their outlet in very public places. I am thankful at times like these for opportunities to minister in the name of Christ. Jesus Himself knows what it is like to experience pain and sorrow (John 11:32-38; Luke 13:34). Great care must be taken, however, to avoid the temptation to lie about God in an attempt to make someone feel better, or even to protect God’s reputation.

Let’s use the example of a parent who is grieving over the death of his or her young child. Here are some of the common lies that well-meaning Christians use to try to keep hurting people from questioning God’s goodness or even existence:

“This was not God’s plan.”
“God just needed another angel.”
“God is not in control of the earth.”
“Satan owns this world until Jesus comes back.”
“God never causes pain.”

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about these statements is that they are the types of lies that we sometimes euphemistically call “half-truths.” Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), specializes in this type of deceit. Mixing a lie in with the truth makes it all the more palatable.

Here is the truth: God can and sometimes does allow pain and tragedy. The Bible is replete with examples of God allowing the wicked to reap what they have sown, and even sending calamities and death to specific individuals and large groups of people. We don’t like to think of God having the power to spare a young child from death, and then refusing to exercise that power, but we do no service to God when we claim to know His secret counsel, and make a pronouncement that something was definitely not His plan, when in fact we simply do not know.

We also know that the angels are created beings. They exist in reality, but they are not former people who have died and gone to Heaven. The idea – popularized by everything from greeting cards to cartoons – that when people die they don a white gown, receive a halo, and float away on a white cloud playing a harp, is completely unsupported by Scripture. Is it really helpful anyway to suggest that God is lonely or lacking in Heavenly servants so that He sometimes selfishly takes away someone’s child to make another angel? The One True and Living God is not lonely. He is perfect, immutable, and lacks nothing.

Finally, we must beware of the lie propagated by the so-called “Word of Faith” or “Prosperity Gospel” movements. Many people tune in regularly to a religious television network called TBN and they have been deceived by the lie that man’s fall in the Garden of Eden gave Satan complete control over this world and locked God out pending Christ’s return. Pentecostals and Charismatics are especially susceptible to this heresy, which says that the way to activate God’s intervention into the devil’s domain here on Earth is to send up our “faith” in the form of “words,” which give God permission to make us healthy, wealthy, safe, or influential. Of course, the wealthy proponents of this false teaching will also tell you that your words of faith need to be accompanied by “love offerings” or “seeds of faith” that begin with a “$.” Again, anyone who buys into this religious Ponzi scheme has not honestly read the New Testament.

Men and women are fallen sinful creatures. Apart from the saving power of Jesus we enslave ourselves to the little “g” god of this world, Satan. But Satan has not overcome God. He has not locked God out of the earth. He has not tricked God nor unseated Him from His sovereign throne. For reasons which we can not fully understand, God allows Satan to operate with some authority in this world (subject to God’s ultimate control). If you know someone who is upset with God for taking someone they love, here are your choices:

1. Leave them alone and pray for them.
2. Pray for them, be there for them, and keep your mouth shut, your ears open, and your shoulder and tissues handy.
3. In a kind, loving, humble way, tell them the truth: God is Lord over all and He is completely in control (I Chronicles 29:11). Satan’s temporary, limited reign on this earth was broken and he was defeated by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection (Ephesians 4:8-27). Jesus Himself is seated at God’s right hand, and has been given all authority and power over everyone, every place, and every thing (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 1:1-3).

And whatever you do, don’t lie about God. He is working all things together for His glory and the good of those whose trust is in Christ Jesus, whether it seems like “good” at the time to us or not (Romans 8:28).

Calling Witnesses (Part 3)

April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Luke, Salvation | 6 Comments
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The witnesses who have testified so far against the unconverted sinner have been:
1. True Christians
2. Praying People
3. Godly Men and Women of the Bible

Now I call:

FOURTH WITNESSES: DEPARTED CHRISTIAN LOVED ONES

These witnesses are called to rebut the claims that are often made by those who are unconverted: “My best witness could not be here. I had a friend or a family member who knew the Lord, and this person would vouch for me and tell you that I’m not so bad as to need a savior. But this person has gone on into the afterlife.”

Therefore, I will call such a person to testify now. This person will not testify in your favor as you suppose. This person wants very badly for you to come to Jesus. Your departed Christian loved ones are in Heaven now, and though they may have shed many tears for your condition while they were alive, they can not cry for you now. Surely they prayed for you often and fervently while they were in this world, but they have other, far more pleasant, occupations now. They are engaged in full-time worship of their Lord – in-person worship – joy unspeakable. It is not completely clear from the Bible if these loved ones will be present when you are called before God on the day of judgment, but, if they are, and if they hear God’s sentence that you are condemned, and if they hear God’s command for you to depart from His presence for all eternity, their response will not be the response they would have had while still living in this earthly realm. No, their response before the judgment throne when you are cast out will be, “Amen, God is good and He has done what is right.” You see, no one, having experienced God’s love, His unveiled presence in Heaven, the full application of His free grace, will take sides against Him. All tongues will confess that He is just. These people pitied you while they viewed you through the lens of God’s common grace, but if you remain unconverted, God will lift the restraining grace which you experienced in your earthly life, and you will be revealed for the monstrous rebel against your Creator that you truly are. As one preacher said, all of creation will stand and applaud that God has rid the earth of such a thing as you.

FIFTH WITNESSES: THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN IN GENERAL

These witnesses are in glory now. One instant after their very first glimpse of the glory of their Lord, they realized how foolish it was for them to have wasted any time whatsoever bickering and squabbling over who may or may not have wronged them while they were here in this world. It no longer matters to them in the least whether someone took something that rightfully belonged to them, or whether someone said something hurtful about them that wasn’t true. Those common worldly occurrences do not hinder their joy one bit. All their tears and regrets have been wiped away. When they appear before God for judgment, His beloved Son steps into their place, and says, “Father, this one has trusted Me – His sin was put to my account, and I have paid it all.”

I know that you would probably like the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses. “Aren’t you bored there,” you want to ask them, “just worshiping God for all eternity?”

How foolish your question seems to them! Their very first glimpse of God’s glory seemed to last an eternity of eternities and it was all pure bliss. And that first glance was just the start of the start. It only gets better and it never ends. There is no such thing as boredom in Heaven.

SIXTH WITNESSES: UNREDEEMED SINNERS IN HELL

These witnesses are the opposite of the previous witnesses. They have gone to the grave without trusting Jesus. Their pain and torment will make it difficult for them to testify.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Luke 16:22-24

As an unconverted sinner, their testimony might shock you. Jesus used Gehenna to illustrate something of the nature of hell. Gehenna was the dump outside the city where the fire was not quenched and where the worms that lived on the garbage never died. It is not a place of relief for unconverted sinners – not a place where you will be able to say, “At least I don’t have to listen to preaching there – no more ‘holy rollers’ to invite me to church. No one trying to tell me about Jesus – none of those ‘religious hypocrites’ there.” That is not the testimony of these witnesses.

Instead, their testimony is “Oh! – how I wish I would have believed God’s Word! How I wish now my idiotic pride would not have kept me from admitting I was wrong and God was right! How I wish I hadn’t believed the evolutionists and the agnostics – they supported me and encouraged me when I was alive – but where are they now? Where are the people who told me, ‘Everybody gets to come to God in different ways?’ They told me that it was silly to think that Jesus of Nazareth was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that nobody would come to God the Father if they didn’t come through Him. Now, I am separated from God, I am in darkness – I am trapped – I will never get out… and I am in torment.”

If you are an unconverted sinner, even those who sided with you to their end are now testifying against you.

SEVENTH WITNESSES: THE ANGELS

Next, I call to the stand the Heavenly host of ministering spirits that we call angels. They are servants of God. They are His messengers and His army. They also minister to living Christians. Now, however, they will testify against the unsaved.

These angels are not the red-faced little babies playing harps that you may have seen in greeting cards or curio cabinets. These creatures move among the spirit world. Whether they are on an errand for God, engaged in battle against Satan and his minions, or protecting one of God’s servants in his ministry at any given time, we do not know. However, we do know that they rejoice in Heaven when a sinner is saved. Their testimony is most likely going to be that there are times when they pass by an unsaved person who suddenly uses God’s name as part of a curse word, or who utters the precious name of Jesus Christ because he is exasperated or frustrated over something. In righteous outrage the angel lifts his fiery sword to take vengeance on behalf of the Almighty, and it is only the loving longsuffering grace of the Almighty that restrains him. These angels have not disobeyed the Lord since the rebellion of Lucifer caused the banishment and condemnation of one-third of their number. They must find it almost unthinkable and immeasurably horrible that you would rebel daily against your Creator, and even more so that you would then reject His Son Who bled and died for your soul!

You have heard the testimony of a number of witnesses. They are all against you, and yet they plead with you to turn to Christ. You might say, “I’m not in any kind of shape to come to Jesus… I don’t dress like a church person, I don’t talk like a church person, I don’t even think like a church person…” My friend, that is irrelevant. The issue is not what you look like – it’s Who you look to. God in His grace and mercy has allowed you to make it this far. Do not turn away from the testimony you have heard with the poison of unforgiven sin still in your system. Look to Jesus today: LOOK AND LIVE.

If you’ve already looked to Christ by faith – if you’ve already trusted and received Him as your Savior – what a world of good it will do you to look again – look often – look every chance you get! There’s nothing more encouraging for a Christian who’s on a long arduous journey home than to look upon the One Who saved him to begin with.

Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 3)

January 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Eternity | Leave a comment
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Objection: I know that I can lose my salvation because Lucifer once was in Heaven, and was cast out. There were also MANY angels created by God that chose to follow Lucifer to the fiery pit.

Answer To Objection: Lucifer being thrown out of Heaven has nothing to do with losing your salvation. Lucifer was never saved, so he could not “lose” his salvation.

Objection: Adam and Eve fell from God’s grace and favor and lost their eternity in the Garden.

Answer To Objection: When Adam and Eve were created in the garden they had not yet been “saved.” It was only after they sinned that they needed to be saved. God put them out of the Garden, but that is not “losing their salvation.”

Objection: If a Christian decides to walk away from God and live in sin he will surely die in his sin.

Answer To Objection: Do you mean die physically, or go to hell? Do you know any Christians who do not sin at least once every day? Is that “living in sin?” Do you know any Christians who have achieved sinless perfection? How many sins does a Christian have to commit before he or she “loses his salvation?” Why is most of the New Testament after Acts written to Christians telling them how to get the victory over sin, instead of telling them to get re-saved since they must have lost their salvation? Every Christian sins. We should not, but we do. God chastens His children for sinning. He does not kick them out of His family, or go back on His Word and take away His eternal salvation.

Brain “Washing” Produces “Clean” Living (Part 2)

March 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 4 Comments
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Continuing from Part 1, Philippians 4:8 tells us exactly what sorts of things are good to think about.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9

But what about the thoughts that are not good – the fiery darts of Satan? How do we keep them from coming in? First we need to know about our enemy, and take him seriously. There is a story about President Roosevelt, who thought that his dog was a good fighter. However, the dog was once attacked by another dog and soundly beaten. When challenged on whether the President’s dog could no longer be classified as a good fighter, President Roosevelt replied, “No, he’s still a good fighter – he’s just a poor judge of dogs!” As Christians we should know that Christ’s love for us will give us the ultimate victory over any enemy.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

We should never underestimate our enemies, but, once we are able to recognize them, we can be confident.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

II Corinthians 5:10

When we think about the seemingly limitless assault on our thought lives, and wonder how we can out-think so many enemies, we must remember that even statistics are on our side. King Hezekiah told his soldiers when he saw the multitude of Sennacherib’s army against them:

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:

II Chronicles 32:7

After all, only a third of the angels fell from Heaven. That means there are still two-thirds on our side as ministering spirits. I’m not great at math, but, by my count, two-thirds is at least twice as much as one-third!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Things we should think about:

1. What is true. There is no point worrying about what we don’t know or what we can’t control. Some of us remember the “Y2K” hysteria when supposedly all of our technology was going to fail, causing chaos, when computers would be unable to recognize the year “2000.” It turned out not to be such a big deal. Worrying about something when there is no indication it will come to pass probably means the devil is lying to you. He is a liar, he’s the father of lies, and he was a liar from the beginning.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Genesis 3:1

2. What is honest and just. Some things are unworthy of a Christian’s energy, even of his thought energy. Scheming to work out things on our own, instead of trusting God to take care of them, is dishonest, and it causes a bad report. Don’t even think on it!

3. Whatever possesses virtue and praise. Some things are morally neither right nor wrong. They are amoral. But they have no “virtue” – they don’t motivate anyone to do good. Leisure activities may be technically without sin – but will they become a source of time consumption? Where is the virtue? It is not immoral to think about fashion, and to think about how we are going to dress. The issue is not what’s wrong with that. The issue is what is right with that? Where’s the virtue in it? Does it possess the potential for praise?

We are going to spend time talking to other people. When we think about what we’re going to say ( and it is important to think about it!) we need to think of something we can praise them for, not something that will tear them down.

When I think of Sis. Susie, do I think, “Oh no, here comes old big-mouth?” If so, then I’ll have to lie to her to be nice to her face. What I need to do is think, “She might be talkative, but she really is a friendly person.” That will produce praise.

Our testimony is affected more by what we do than what we think, but it is so important to “wash our brain” – to clean up our thinking. Because right thinking produces right living. “Brain washing” results in “clean living.”

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Philippians 4:9

To live right we must learn, but we also must “receive.” Learning is when it enters the brain – when something becomes a stored fact. But “receiving” is when we accept it and make it a part of our life. Hearing the Word of God produces faith – and living the Word of God is the evidence that we have that faith. If I know the God of peace, I should also know the peace of God.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Psalm 119:165

Only God knows your heart, but if you’re easily offended then you’re not acting like someone who’s truly a Christian. In Nehemiah they had all kinds of opposition – traitors within and intimidators without. I know that the real key is that they had God on their side when they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days, but look at the type of people God used to do this great work.

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

Nehemiah 4:6

Their thinking was right, so their living was right, and therefore their working was right. Our thoughts control our actions – and our actions reveal our thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 warns to beware of the evil ruler: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”

Is your brain washed? Is your life clean? You can’t have a clean mind or a clean life until you have a clean heart – until the Lord Jesus Christ has created in you a new heart.


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