As the Judeo-Christian ethic erodes in the world around us, the protection dome of the Holy Spirit is appreciated more and more each day. For it is easy to look at the news and despair. Newscasters and reporters exist on doom and gloom. When I was in news, the rule of thumb was, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Good news, unfortunately, doesn’t sell. It didn’t back in ‘my’ day, and it still doesn’t.
As I contemplated that, it came to me that that might be the reason why Christianity is under such siege, for it is the best of Good News, ever!
The powers that be – high elected officials, CEOs of social media, billionaires, and so on – do not want the news to be good. They are using climate change, the virus, and any crisis that comes along to promote fear and chaos in order to grab more and more power. As they increase their power, they erode ours by attempting to keep the average Joes (you and me) in constant fear.
Christian writer Francis Schaeffer, 40 years ago, envisioned what he called the arbitrary elites working very hard to bring about a New World Order. For their vision to come to pass, Christianity has to be first eroded, then done away with altogether to be supplanted by Marxism or some other ‘ism’ that is solely human both in concept and in scope.
Guess what? And this is part of the very Good News … The LORD God Almighty actually knew all this from the very first moment of the creation of the heavens and the earth. Isaiah 46:9-10, “I am God, and there is no other … I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please.'”
Oh yes, there will come a New World Order. Jesus, through the Apostle John in Revelation, has laid out exactly how this will come about, and we are beginning to see the first stages of it.
One huge benchmark of the Last Days will be something called the Mark of the Beast – a mark that is put on every person’s right hand or forehead. This mark will allow the people of the day to buy and sell, without which there will be no commerce allowed. If you take this mark, you are doomed forever, for it will mean you have become part of the ‘Beast’ system, a worshiper of the anti-Christ (Revelation 13:16).
As of now, we see this system being introduced in an experimental way. Those who have taken THE vaccine are going to be allowed freedom to travel and shop, while those who reject it will have those freedoms curtailed. Please understand that the vaccine is NOT the Mark of the Beast, but it is a precursor, probably for the powers that be, to see if it could work and how it could work. Heads up: those of us who are believers in Jesus Messiah and who are firmly entrenched in the Grace of God will not be on earth when the Mark is implemented.
Fear is a powerful motivator. But there is something infinitely more powerful that the “arbitrary elites” are overlooking – God’s Love and God’s Grace.
Jesus Paid It All
I hear the Saviour say thy strength indeed is small.
Child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.
REFRAIN: Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.
Lord, now indeed I find Thy power and thine alone
Can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.
For nothing good, have I whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calvary’s Lamb.
And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat.
In my walk with the LORD, I have been very aware of Jesus’ command to us to stay firm in our faith until the end. Why does Jesus command us to stand strong in the face of adversity, to cling to Him until the end? If we have been saved, once and for all, why do Jesus and the writers of the Bible need to remind us to stand firm in our faith?
Well, the answer is that we are human beings. As we have seen in the COVID crisis, it is altogether too easy to get caught up in human emotion and let fear have sway over us. Even those who are saved in Jesus Christ can lose sight of Him, now and again.
Whenever I have been pulled off-center by temptation, the way back is a process of reaffirming my faith and asking for God’s Grace to create in me a pure heart. A perfect prayer, in times of fear, times we don’t feel close to Jesus, is found in Psalm 51, verses 10-13.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways so that sinners will turn back to You.”
In this Psalm, David is asking not only for forgiveness for his sin of adultery with Bathsheba but also for Grace to restore him to a relationship with Almighty God.
You see, Grace is not automatically bestowed upon the human race, even though Jesus paid the sin debt for all of us. We do have a part to play. God has given us free will for a reason. And that reason is so that He can have a relationship with us. A relationship does not go one way.
Think, you who are parents, of your relationship with your children. If one of them decided one day they no longer wanted you in their life (God forbid), there is nothing you can do to force a relationship with them. You can call them, email them, even snail mail them. If they do not respond, there is no relationship. Now, being a loving parent, you would always stand ready to receive them back home. And though the LORD God yearns for us, He does not impose Himself on us. But as a loving Parent, He does stand ready with wide-open arms for anyone who asks for Mercy and Grace.
Obeying Jesus’ command to stay firm in our faith mitigates the risk of going sideways. And there are so many ways to go sideways, as is evidenced in the lives of Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, Simon Peter, Apostle Paul, and so on. Every one of these men of God “missed the mark” at some point. However, all were reconciled to Him upon repentance and renewal of their faith.
This is one reason why Christians need to band together, to come together in worship and fellowship, and to hear and study the Word of God, to stay strong together in their faith. You’ve heard the expression: strength in numbers? Consider this: if one Christian in the Grace of God can withstand much, imagine how much more a band of Christian believers, standing firm in the faith under the banner of the Grace of God, can withstand. That is ‘church,’ my friends. Jesus Himself instituted ‘church’ when He said, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
It is imperative for Christians not to abandon meeting together. Hebrews 10:23-25 advises strongly … “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He Who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
And which DAY would that be?
Each of us will have a day of reckoning with the LORD. Some of us may pass away and meet the LORD in heaven. But there is coming a day of Grace, when “… the LORD Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them to meet the LORD in the air. And so we will be with the LORD forever. Therefore, encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Question: Are you ready for this Day of Grace?
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a love letter of encouragement – good news for those who feel abandoned. He writes that we, who are being saved, are being adopted into God’s family through God’s gift of Grace through Jesus Messiah.
Paul writes that the Ephesians, and us by extension before we came to Christ, were dead in our sins. We followed the ways of the world. We were tempted with all the world has to offer, and many of us succumbed to the power of the devil. Actually, all of us are sinners. Every single one of the eight billion or so on planet Earth! And sinners are subject to the wages of sin which is death (Romans 6:23). “But,” verse 23 goes on, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD.”
In Romans 5:8, we read that Jesus died on the cross for us while we were still in our sins. Our LORD paid the entire price of our redemption. “Paid in Full” is written on EVERYONE’s sin debt. But here’s the thing: Unless and until, by faith, we acknowledge our free gift of salvation, we will not see the richness of God’s mercy. An unopened gift is a gift unacknowledged.
We say, ‘Seeing is believing.’ But when it comes to faith, we need to believe first to see. That’s what faith is. Believing in something we cannot see. It doesn’t take any faith whatever to believe that we are currently sitting at a computer reading this. But it does take faith to believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, suffered and died, was buried, rose again on the third day, and waits by the throne of God to come back to earth for us.
So now, with the eyes of faith, we can know that by His great love for us, as Paul says, God made us alive in Jesus. And it is solely by the gift of God’s Grace that we have been saved, through our faith … not by works, so that no one can boast (verse 9).
Someone told me lately that they believe that everyone is saved because “after we die, Jesus comes to us and offers eternal life, and who would turn it down? Right?” My dear friends, this teaching cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. It is, indeed, indicative of how New Age and other false teaching is infiltrating Christian doctrine. More on that another time.
The Bible teaches that we are called to admit we are sinners and need God’s forgiveness; to believe that Jesus Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins; and to turn from our sin and accept Christ as our personal Saviour and LORD of our life. We cannot do that when we are dead. I’m sorry if that seems offensive to someone. Many of us have lost loved ones whom we aren’t sure were saved, and it is beyond painful to think of someone we loved not being in heaven.
Some modern churches and preachers want to soften the blow, so to speak. But they do sinners no favors. There is no other way to the Father but through Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Faith in Jesus, in His life, death and resurrection, is what opens the door to saving Grace. There is no other way. There is no other way. As a pastor once told me, “I didn’t write the book. I don’t make the rules. I’m just the messenger.”
Friends, the truth is that when we turn from our sin and are born again in Jesus Christ, we are made new creatures in Him. And the LORD Jesus is, even now, preparing a place for us in His Father’s realm, that we might be near Him forever and ever. He is just waiting to shower on us His incomparable kindness and the riches of His Mercy and Grace.
Life is short. Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first! No, seriously, we might be Raptured at any moment. There is nothing left in prophecy to be fulfilled before the Rapture. Listen, any of us might go out on the street later today and be hit by a truck and killed. Again, God forbid. But I want to be ready for any eventuality. Don’t you?
For anyone who has not been saved in the Blood of the Lamb, and who wishes to know more about Jesus’ free gift of Salvation, please see the ABCs of Salvation at the end of this article. Time is short.
Eternity is long. Choose eternal life in Jesus Messiah!
Do it today.
Let us pray: LORD God, what a comfort it is to know that we are saved by Your Grace, that we are now alive in Your tender loving care because we believe on Your Son Jesus Christ. Father, we pray for all of our acquaintances who are not yet saved that they might open their spiritual eyes and see the One Who paid their sin-debt in full; that they might reach out to Him and claim their free gift of God’s Grace. Thank you, LORD, for loving us all so very much. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.
If anyone reading this devotional has not yet received Jesus as their Saviour, but God has touched your heart by His Holy Word, please email me (email@example.com) or find a Bible-believing local church and ask the Pastor what you must do to be saved in Grace. In the meantime, please consider the ABCs of Salvation:
A – Admit
Admit what you have done wrong and ask forgiveness.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B – Believe
Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as payment for your sins.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
C – Confess and Choose
Confess and choose to allow God to be in charge of your life.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This article, based on God’s Holy Word, was written by the inspiration of God’s own Holy Spirit. All glory to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.