It’s that time of year again when people feel compelled to make some well-intentioned resolutions. Some people see this time of year as a time to give up a bad habit, such as smoking, while other’s want to be better stewards of their money. Making a resolution is easy, but keeping it takes commitment. A good resolution to keep is to study Scripture and apply it to your life. All Scripture is God-breathed and for our benefit.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Many Christians read through their Bible each year, and that’s a good habit to get into. On the other hand, as you race to get all those scriptures read before next year, be sure you stop and study them. Memorize scriptures so you can bring them to mind in a time of need or if you’re witnessing to someone who wants to know more about your Christian faith. If you become familiar with passages that bring comfort, you’ll be able to bring peace to a friend who’s struggling, or help others in their walk with Jesus. As you study Scripture, look up the meaning of words in their original language. No matter what translation you use, our English Bible is merely a translation from the original languages. You’ll gain deeper understanding by knowing the definition of original words and phrases. A concordance is a good study tool.
Today, Christianity is being challenged, God is being mocked, and many laws are in place which legalize sin. Only Bible study will give you the knowledge to defend your faith and the courage to stand firm on God’s word. Only by studying Scripture will you have answers when your faith is challenged or if someone asks for answers to their quest for truth.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
The world, which is under the influence of Satan, accepts many things that contradict God’s word. If you sanctify the Lord God in your heart, then you’ll have Scriptural truth to answer someone who claims that God’s OK with the particular sin they embrace. You may be accused of judging, but by studying God’s word, you can explain that you aren’t judging because God defines sin. Then you can open their eyes to God’s love and forgiveness. If you’ve studied Scripture, you’ll be able to help them repent and accept salvation through Christ.
As you study God’s word, examine your own life. We all struggle with sin, but we must recognize that sin and ask God to help us overcome it. James helps us see how to draw closer to God.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:7-8).
It’s easy to recognize sin in others but justify our own sin. Anger, lust, and poor stewardship of our money are just a few things we justify. James says not to have double standards. Study Scripture and use it to draw closer to God. Remember, God hasn’t changed His mind about what is and isn’t sin. What was sin yesterday is sin today. He shed His blood to purchase your redemption from the wages of sin.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Christ paid a huge price to save you. Don’t take that fact lightly.
When you study Scripture, you’ll probably learn things your pastor doesn’t teach. When God’s word differs from man’s interpretation, always believe Scripture.
“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).
You may have to change your mind about the “profane and old wives’ fables” you’ve been taught. For instance, many preachers teach that the reason God destroyed all flesh in the Flood is that Seth’s sons married Cain’s daughters. Scripture doesn’t say that. Satan uses that fable in order to make God look angry and vindictive. An honest study of Genesis chapter 6 reveals that the “sons of God” are the fallen angels, and the “daughters of men” are human women. This ungodly union produced the Nephilim, which had to be destroyed or all of humanity would be corrupted beyond redemption.
If you believe that God destroyed all flesh because one human married another human, then you’ll be confused about other passages. Jesus said the end times would be like the days of Noah. Satan is once again trying to corrupt the human genome by leading “scientists” to cross human DNA with animal DNA to create hybrids and many evil things. When a person is not fully human because of tampering with DNA, they cannot be saved because of the corruption. Jesus died to save humans, not hybrids. With the GMO foods, hybrid creatures, and now a vaccine that’s paving the way for the mark of the beast, if you don’t study and understand Scripture, you will be led astray by lies.
When people see the inner peace you have in these troubled times, they may ask questions. There are many questions on people’s minds these days, and the answer to many of these questions can be found in prophecy. This past year has been very trying, and people are confused, scared, and nervous about the future. Bible prophecy will give you answers when someone voices fear over this virus that’s shutting down the world, or the results of the fraud and dishonest liberal politicians in the American presidential election. If you’ve studied Scripture, you can explain about the signs of the times and why it’s important for every person to give their life to Jesus because the end of time is approaching quickly.
We can see the one world government falling into place, as well as the technology for the mark of the beast. If you don’t study Scripture, you’ll believe the lies that are being told by liberal lunatics who follow Satan, but you’ll find peace and assurance from God’s word that Christians won’t go through the seven years of tribulation.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
Things will continue to become more Satanic as we move towards the Tribulation period, but Christians won’t see the horrors described in Revelation beginning in chapter 6.
A very common comment I hear is “things are changing,” and people feel that something’s about to happen. That “something” is prophecy being fulfilled. God gave us prophecy for our benefit.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:19-20).
Peter had witnessed amazing things as He walked with Jesus. In spite of what he saw, he placed prophecy above what he experienced, yet most preachers won’t teach on prophecy. In effect, that’s telling God that a large portion of His word doesn’t matter. The events happening around the world, especially in the Middle East, will make more sense when looked at through Bible prophecy.
Why is there such a fight over Israel’s right to exist? God gave that land to the Jewish people forever. Period. The UN, the USA, or any other political alliance you can name, has no right to take it away from them. Study Genesis chapter 13 to see that the land was given by God Almighty to Abraham’s seed forever. Abraham is the father of the nation of Israel. Prophecies in Ezekiel tell of the dry bones joining and coming to life. The dry bones represent Israel, and they began coming together when Israel was reestablished in their God-given land.
Ezekiel also tells of a war when all nations will come against Israel, and we see nations aligning today to fulfill that prophecy. Wars will continue, but Israel will be victorious; however, they must first recognize that Jesus Christ is their Messiah. We are living in the last days, and only Biblical prophecy will give you understanding of these crazy times.
Which brings us to the Rapture. Studying Scripture will reveal that not only is the pre-tribulation Rapture Scriptural but it’s on the very near horizon. This is first “pictured” in the book of Genesis. In your study of Genesis, you’ll come across a man named Enoch who was taken (Raptured) by God prior to the judgment of Noah’s flood (Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5). Enoch is a “picture” of the pre-tribulation Rapture. When you study Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, you’ll see that Paul taught a pre-tribulation Rapture. Also, the letters that Jesus dictated to John, which are found in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, spell out the history of Christianity throughout the ages. After the final letter, John saw a door open in Heaven.
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1).
This is the Rapture. The rest of Revelation is what John saw happening after Christians are Raptured. He describes marvelous things in Heaven where Christians have been taken, but on earth it’s horrifying. God’s wrath will be poured out on earth during those final seven years. All those who haven’t accepted Christ for salvation will face harrowing times. This should inspire you to witness to others about the good news of salvation through Jesus. Only Christians will escape God’s wrath.
The most comforting of all subjects to study is salvation. God made it simple for us, but people have complicated it.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
What a wonderful promise! There’s nothing you can do to save yourself. Only grace from God accepted by faith brings salvation. There’s no other way to spend eternity in Heaven than through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everyone is a sinner and falls short of God’s perfect standard, but Jesus shed His blood for the entire world. The question is, have you accepted His sacrifice?
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26).
Have you placed your faith in Christ alone for salvation? Many people place their faith in works, such as doing good deeds. Some even believe that baptism equals salvation. Each person must make the choice to accept God’s free gift for themselves. If you were baptized as a baby, you didn’t make your own profession of faith, so you need to do that now. It has to be your own choice. You should be baptized because of obedience, and you should do good deeds as a way to glorify Christ, but only faith brings salvation. As you study Scripture, you’ll become more and more thankful for the price He paid to redeem you.
Of all the resolutions you can make, the one with the greatest rewards is to truly study His word and walk close to Him.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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