The Assurance of Trouble

November 3, 2017 at 8:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Romans 8:35

Paul, although writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, could speak from experience. He had experienced all these things: persecution, hunger, extreme poverty, life-threatening danger. Yet he remained convinced of the assurance of Christ’s love, not just IN SPITE of these things, but partly BECAUSE of these things.

In fact, the perseverance of his faith and the knowledge of Christ’s presence through trials, tribulations, hardship, and imminent death, utterly convinced him that nothing whatsoever in all of existence could ever separate him from the love of God in Christ.

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

Sadly, we are often backward in our thinking, looking at trials and temptations and difficulties as signs that God has forgotten or neglected us. What we should do, when God graciously gives us opportunities to strengthen our faith by turning to Him in times of trouble, is to rejoice that He loves us enough to give us such experiential assurances.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James 1:2-4

Tribulations come to us to strengthen our hope or assurance. They are not random occurrences that have somehow broken out of God’s corral, set loose to stampede and trample our lives. They are controlled tests and gifts of grace, teaching us to patiently consider our Savior and the justification He has won for us, not so that we could be left to our own devices, but so that we could be continually drawing closer to Him.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Romans 5:1-4

Anchored Upward

November 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As Christians move on toward greater maturity, secure in our salvation, growing in Christ-likeness and bringing glory to Christ instead of shame, the thorns and briars in our lives are removed.

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Hebrews 6:8

As we draw nigh unto God, the things in our lives that prevent us from drawing nigh to God have to be burned away. You draw nigh unto God, and the parts of your life that are not bearing fruit – briars and thorns – draw nigh unto cursing. You are the field; you belong to God. God does not curse His own. The briars and thorns get burned. Land won’t burn.

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Hebrews 6:19

Earthly anchors don’t always hold perfectly, but Jesus Christ is the perfect anchor, and we are not anchored, like a ship, down to the bottom of the sea. We are anchored upward – our Anchor is in Heaven. Our anchor is both sure (it will not slip) and steadfast (it lasts forever).

The assurance of salvation should not lead to laziness.

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

Hebrews 6:11

Once we move past the milk, to the strong meat, and start to grow up – be big boys and girls – we don’t have to squabble about who’s more spiritual than whom. We have “full assurance.” Assurance by itself should be enough, but our assurance is full. It is assurance plus bonus benefits. And it is shown by diligence, not slothfulness. Eternal security provokes growth, not childishness, because when you know in Whom you have believed, you draw closer and closer.

The Prepared Place

September 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Do You Know the Way?, John | 15 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

At the end of John Chapter 13 three very disturbing things have happened. One, Jesus told His Disciples that one of them would betray Him. Two, He told them that He would be leaving them to go to a place where they could not go. Three, He said that even Peter would deny Him.

This was upsetting, to say the least, and it was the backdrop against which He told them what we see in Chapter 14:

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:1-3

Jesus let them know that He knew their hearts were troubled, but He gave them the assurance that He gives all throughout the Book of John. “If you believe in God (and I know you do), then it is safe to believe in Me, too, for I and the Father are one: I am God.”

Then He told them something about Heaven: Heaven is a real place. We know this is true because Jesus spoke of it as a real place. It is not a state of mind. It is not the accomplishment of inner peace. It is not a psychological bromide for those who can’t face the reality of death or the loss of their loved ones. It is “the Father’s house,” meaning it is the eternal home of Jesus, and it is Jesus – not streets of gold or the absence of pain and sickness or the reunion of loved ones or even mansions of glory – Who is its main attraction. That’s right, Heaven’s main attraction will be Jesus. If you do not love Jesus, you would not love Heaven.

Jesus spoke solemnly and reassuringly (“if it were not so, I would have told you”) when He told the Disciples that He was going there to prepare a place, and that they would eventually – not immediately – be brought there by Him (“I will come again to receive You unto Myself”) – to be with Him (“that where I am there you may be also”).

The word translated “mansions” has more of a connotation of permanence than opulence. It is from the Greek word mone: an abode, a permanent dwelling place, not a temporary stopover. Again, Heaven is the place where true Christians will be with Jesus, not a place where “lesser” saints will envy “great” saints who have better “stuff” than us. In other words, there will be no “exclusive” communities in Heaven. However, because it is a place that Jesus is “preparing” (and has been for over 2000 years), it will surely be far more magnificent than what we can imagine. The God Who spoke the unfathomable universe into existence in six short days has been preparing our eternal home for 2000 years! I don’t know if you’re ready “to go,” but surely we are all excited about seeing it

This was Jesus’s first assurance to soothe the troubled hearts of His Disciples. We don’t know everything (or even very much) about Heaven, but we do know “the Way.” Jesus Christ is the only Way to Heaven.

Next time, we will see that the way to the prepared place is the particular path.

The Bridegroom Cleans His Bride’s Wedding Gown

March 22, 2010 at 10:25 am | Posted in Eternity | 16 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The custom of modern weddings is for the bride to wear white. White symbolizes her purity. This is a good and fitting tradition. But it is not always completely accurate. These days few and far between are brides who have kept themselves totally pure up until their wedding day.

The bride of Christ is His church – the body of believers to whom He has granted eternal life. Christ is a pure and holy Bridegroom. He is coming to claim a pure and holy bride.

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 5:27

In fact, there will one day be a great feast or “marriage supper” for Christ and His bride.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Revelation 19:7

Just as there are few brides who have remained completely pure until their wedding day, there are few (maybe none) Christians who have been completely sinless since the day of their salvation. Yet, we see that Christ’s bride will indeed wear white:

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Revelation 19:8-9

It has not fully been revealed to us exactly how the impure members of Christ’s church will be transformed into His holy, unblemished bride. It may well be that our impurities will be purged away before the judgment seat of Christ. But, it is certain that the fine white linen of righteousness we will wear will be our Lord’s imputed righteousness, and not our own self-generated good works (Titus 3:5).

Eternal life is neither earned, nor kept, nor enhanced by our own power or goodness. The invitation to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is an invitation to come receive a free gift.

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17

We sometimes use the word “freely” to mean “having the quality of unlimited access.” If someone invites us to freely enjoy the buffet, we go back for seconds and thirds and fourths until we are stuffed. There is a connotation of easy access to God’s great riches in this verse, but the primary import of the Greek word dorean is something that is given without cost, something received even though it is undeserved. God will make His bride pure; that is His gift. He has not left it up to us to purify ourselves or keep ourselves pure in our own power.

In this site’s category called “Eternity” the past several postings have focused on the doctrine of eternal security. Starting with I Corinthians, I have taken at least one verse from every subsequent book of the Bible, except Jude, and shown that, when God grants you eternal life, He makes you His child. You receive a new ontological “heart.” You are a new creation. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and God will not take His salvation away. You can not “lose” it, and you can not “reject” it. No man will make God a liar by causing Him to break His promises.

This is not an excuse to presume upon God’s grace and willingly or carelessly practice sin. If you find that you love sin more than Jesus Christ, regardless of what religious experience you may have had, or what you have been told, you need to make sure you have actually trusted in Jesus Christ personally unto salvation, and not merely your own “decision” or a special unscriptural formula.

Here are the previous lessons on eternal security:

Delivery and Birth (I Corinthians)
The Deposit on Your Soul (II Corinthians)
It All Depends on What Your Definition of “OF” Is (Galatians)
All in the Past (Ephesians)
Who “KEEPS” Me Saved? (Philippians)
Perfect Unbreakable Love (Colossians)
Learning to Like Eternal Life (I Thessalonians)
Eternal Destruction (II Thessalonians)
Temporarily Saved Is Not Really Saved at All (I Timothy)
Get Over Yourself, because You Can’t Get Over on God (II Timothy)
Eternally Paid in Full (Philemon)

The Author of the Story that Never Ends (Titus, Hebrews)
Eternal Security Does Not Have an Expiration Date (I Peter)
The Legend of the Unsaved Christian (II Peter)
The Everlasting Anointing (I John)
The Things that Will Last (II John)
Eternal Infamy vs. Eternal Honor (III John)

All in the Past

October 20, 2009 at 7:50 am | Posted in Eternity | 16 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Satan, the adversary of every Christian, will one day be bound and utterly defeated. At that point he will no longer have the ability to harass and torment the children of God. Today, however, he is tirelessly at work doing all he can to rob God of glory, and to destroy the creatures that God loves. Dr. Frank M. Kepner, the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Long Beach, California, from 1956-1979, once wrote: “Yes, when we have been brought close to Christ by some high spiritual experience or by some noble decision, we may always expect great temptation to follow. For Satan never surrenders a life to God without a desperate struggle.”

Of course, the faithful Christian who studies his Bible is not ignorant of Satan’s devices, weapons, schemes, or persistence. When he is tripped by Satan, and stumbles into sin, he need not fret or wallow in defeat. In fact, Christians have access to a great promise concerning God’s compassion on His children even when they have shamefully stumbled.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32

When you have been “born again” – that is, born into the family of God – your past sins are forgiven, your current sins are forgiven, and even your future sins are forgiven. The “tense” of your sins is not the important thing. The tense of God’s forgiveness is. The sins of believers were dealt with on the Cross of Christ and they “hath” been (past tense) forgiven.

A believer who is dealt a blow by Satan, and who gives in to sin, grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

This would have been the perfect place for God to tell us that our sins can cause the Spirit to be grieved to the point that He leaves us, and that we lose our eternal salvation. But He does not. Instead, He reminds us that, though we may grieve the Holy Spirit, He still seals Christians unto the day of redemption. Satan is strong. Some men are strong. But no one can break the seal of God.


Entries and comments feeds.