“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
Here it is, a brand-new year. What will you do with it? What will the new year bring? It’s always good to take a look at your life and see what you might need to work on for the coming year.
Do you lose your temper too often, or have you stopped studying God’s word? All of us have something to “fix.” We can’t change other people, but we can pray for them, and we can prayerfully work on ourselves. Christians need to draw nearer to God. None of us have any idea what the new year will bring, but we need to be prepared for whatever comes our way. This could be the year that Jesus calls us Home in the Rapture. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I think so. How can we prepare for that? That’s an easy question with a difficult answer. We can’t actually prepare. It won’t matter if you believe the truth of the pre-trib Rapture in order to be taken Home when it happens. What will matter is your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Scripture is clear that our faith is what brings salvation. When Nicodemus came to Jesus with questions about eternal life, Jesus told him he had to be born again.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Born again. Now there’s a phrase people like to throw around and use it to judge another person’s salvation. Notice that Jesus didn’t add any requirements to salvation – no works or rituals. It’s true that faith in Jesus should change our way of life, but it’s our faith that brings salvation.
“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).
Too often, a “seasoned” Christian will look at a new and/or struggling Christian with contempt because the one struggling isn’t living up to the expectations of the “seasoned” Christian. No wonder numbers are lowering for church attendance. That’s no reason for sermons to be watered down so as not to upset anybody, but if there’s someone in the congregation who is struggling with sin, they need to be helped out of that sin instead of being condemned. Maybe this is the year you need to truly take steps to admit you’re a sinner in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Let Him help you to overcome any sin that’s crippling your walk with our Lord.
We all have struggles with sin. Even more seasoned Christians aren’t perfect and need to draw closer to Jesus. Being judgmental and condemning is a sin.
“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and, ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).
This doesn’t mean we are to condone every lifestyle and sin, but it’s not up to us to point fingers and make sure everyone knows about another person’s sin.
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
It’s God who has the right to judge, and He knows if you or anyone else has truly come to salvation through Christ.
We all face an ongoing struggle against sin. Sometimes, it gets easier, but it takes prayer and seeking God to overcome sin. When we come to Christ, we are a new creation in Christ.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).
God sees us through the blood of Christ, and we need to honor Him by living life to please Him. We are like newborn babies and need to grow in our faith. We can’t stay babes forever. Maybe this is the year you totally surrender your will to His. Maybe this is the year you see the sin in your life and go to Scripture to find help to overcome it rather than pointing fingers at the sin of others.
Sometimes what people see as sin really isn’t anything against God’s laws. I heard someone say they sinned by eating bacon, and they knew eating pork is a sin. Really? Unless you’re Jewish, there’s no problem eating pork. Do you drink a glass of wine now and then? Are you condemned for that? Maybe your denomination says you’re condemned, but God only says drunkenness is a sin. Jesus turned water into wine, and if wine was a sin, He couldn’t have done that. The holier-than-thou religious leaders of the day tried to condemn Him for drinking wine.
“The Son of man is come eating and drinking, and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luke 7:34).
This is a classic case of judging someone but doing what you condemn them for. The Pharisees drank wine as part of obeying God’s directions for the Feasts. That doesn’t condone drunkenness. Faith in Christ brings forgiveness of any sin you might have committed or will commit. That forgiveness doesn’t make it okay to continue in sin.
The lifestyle we live as Christians is important. Today, many congregations accept sexual sin as an acceptable way of life. God isn’t pleased with openly embracing sin. You might want to study Scripture to understand God’s feelings on any sexual activity outside of a one-man/one-woman marriage. A woman who was an adulterer was brought before the Lord for Him to condemn her. Under the Law, she was to be stoned to death, but she found forgiveness in Jesus. He didn’t tell her to keep living the way she was living. When He asked her where her accusers were, “She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
Jesus forgave her, but she couldn’t continue in her sin. We also need to look at what was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah that caused God to totally destroy them.
“But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly” (Genesis 13:13).
When God finally had no choice but to destroy those cities, two angels were sent to rescue Abraham’s nephew, Lot, before the judgment came. The men of Sodom lusted after the angels.
“And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them” (Genesis 19:5).
Lot had to be taken away from Sodom prior to God’s judgment. In fact, this is a “picture” of the Rapture, and Jesus said it would be as it was in the Days of Lot prior to the Tribulation. Homosexual behavior will be everywhere, but the righteous will be removed prior to the judgment of God. Christians are only righteous because of faith in Christ.
We can see many signs that the Rapture is close. There are many, many signs that it will happen soon. Will it be this year? It very well could be. Anybody who watches prophecy closely is watching the events of the world unfold, and it’s exciting to think we could be the ones changed from mortal to immortal in the twinkling of an eye.
The war in Israel is so sad, and I urge everybody to pray for the Jewish people. The temple is ready to be built, and it has to be in place for the Anti-Christ to set up his reign of terror there. In recent years, we’ve been conditioned to accept the Mark of the Beast, and the economy of individual nations is soon to be put under one economic system. The New World Order is being set in place and will be under the rule of the Anti-Christ. All nations will turn against Israel, and if you pay attention to the antics of the United Nations, you’ll know that the evil of the Muslim world is condoned by the UN, but Israel is condemned for defending their right to exist. All of this is telling us that the Rapture is going to happen soon.
Will the new year bring the Rapture? If so, what will you be doing? Maybe you’ll be sharing the Gospel with a friend, or maybe you’ll be singing hymns and praises to our Lord. Hopefully, you won’t be embracing sin as if it’s fine with God. Remember, God gave His only begotten Son as the only way that we can be saved.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18).
If you believe in Him, then live your life for Him.
What will the new year bring? Let it bring all of us closer to Christ.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6).