Category Archives: Salvation

The Day Of Judgment Will Come For All Of Us

The coming day of judgment will be difficult for those that rebel against and do not submit to YHWH now. Of course, some will face judgment when they die, before he returns and their fate is equally grave should they not have submitted to the LORD. Judgment comes for all of us. Each of us should ask ourselves, “Am I prepared? Am I preparing my children? my household?”

The LORD is ever merciful, though and the answer is quite simple. Turn to him. Repent. The only way to the father is through the son, Yeshua.  (John 14:6)

Joel 2

     1Blow a trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm on My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
For the day of the LORD is coming;
Surely it is near,

      2A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness.
As the dawn is spread over the mountains,
So there is a great and mighty people;
There has never been anything like it,
Nor will there be again after it
To the years of many generations.

      3A fire consumes before them
And behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them
But a desolate wilderness behind them,
And nothing at all escapes them.

      4Their appearance is like the appearance of horses;
And like war horses, so they run.

      5With a noise as of chariots
They leap on the tops of the mountains,
Like the crackling of a flame of fire consuming the stubble,
Like a mighty people arranged for battle.

      6Before them the people are in anguish;
All faces turn pale.

      7They run like mighty men,
They climb the wall like soldiers;
And they each march in line,
Nor do they deviate from their paths.

      8They do not crowd each other,
They march everyone in his path;
When they burst through the defenses,
They do not break ranks.

      9They rush on the city,
They run on the wall;
They climb into the houses,
They enter through the windows like a thief.

      10Before them the earth quakes,
The heavens tremble,
The sun and the moon grow dark
And the stars lose their brightness.

      11The LORD utters His voice before His army;
Surely His camp is very great,
For strong is he who carries out His word.
The day of the LORD is indeed great and very awesome,
And who can endure it?

      12“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;

      13And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.

      14Who knows whether He will not turn and relent
And leave a blessing behind Him,
Even a grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?

      15Blow a trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,

      16Gather the people, sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and the nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom come out of his room
And the bride out of her bridal chamber.

      17Let the priests, the LORD’S ministers,
Weep between the porch and the altar,
And let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD,
And do not make Your inheritance a reproach,
A byword among the nations.
Why should they among the peoples say,
‘Where is their God?’”

Deliverance Promised

18Then the LORD will be zealous for His land
And will have pity on His people.

      19The LORD will answer and say to His people,
“Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil,
And you will be satisfied in full with them;
And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations.

      20“But I will remove the northern army far from you,
And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land,
And its vanguard into the eastern sea,
And its rear guard into the western sea.
And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up,
For it has done great things.”

      21Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad,
For the LORD has done great things.

      22Do not fear, beasts of the field,
For the pastures of the wilderness have turned green,
For the tree has borne its fruit,
The fig tree and the vine have yielded in full.

      23So rejoice, O sons of Zion,
And be glad in the LORD your God;
For He has given you the early rain for your vindication.
And He has poured down for you the rain,
The early and latter rain as before.

      24The threshing floors will be full of grain,
And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil.

      25“Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.

      26“You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Then My people will never be put to shame.

      27“Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel,
And that I am the LORD your God,
And there is no other;
And My people will never be put to shame.

The Promise of the Spirit

28“It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.

      29“Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

The Day of the LORD

30“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire and columns of smoke.

      31“The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

      32“And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Will be delivered;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
As the LORD has said,
Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Remember The Words Of the Prophets and Of Our Savior

The commandments of our LORD and Savior are consistent with the words spoken by the holy prophets. They are not different. Peter calls us in his second letter to remember both as he then goes on to remind us of what they both said. Yeshua fulfilled the message of the Torah and the prophets. He did not change the message or end it. Let us remember as Peter encourages us to do.

We are also reminded to look forward to the coming day of the LORD. For those who gladly follow him now, this is a great hope and expectation. For those who reject and rebel against him, it will stand as a day of judgment. Let us keep this coming day in mind as we choose to live our lives daily.

2 Peter 3

Purpose of This Letter

1This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

The Coming Day of the Lord

            3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

      8But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

A New Heaven and Earth

     10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

      11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

      14Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Do not miss the warning Peter gives regarding Paul in verses 16-18. Paul is still misunderstood and has been since he started teaching. If he was misunderstood then by people who shared his culture and language and customs, then it is easy to imaging how so many Christians today misunderstand him and what he was teaching. As an example, many  say he taught against the Torah and the law, but this is wrong. He taught against the law for salvation. He did not teach against obeying the law. This is one simple example. He is perhaps the most misquoted and misunderstood of any Biblical figure and often his letters are used as an excuse to behave differently than how Yeshua (and his disciples) actually demonstrated for us. (For more on this: Understanding the Law – What Does It Mean For Us Today, Is God’s Law A Burden?, Remember the Sabbath)

I truly encourage you to test everything you are taught against what the word actually says and pray for wisdom and discernment.

I include some helpful links on my website at Focused Ministries – Understanding Hebrew Roots.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Redemption Is Not Earned, But Granted Through Grace

The redemption and marriage of Ruth seems on the surface very strange to us as we have different customs than God’s people did back then. However, it is also a beautiful image of redemption. Ruth left all she knew behind to accompany Naomi into Israel. Naomi was a widow with no more sons to marry Ruth.  Ruth served her loyally and selflessly. Naomi in turn guided her in seeking redemption through her kinsman redeemer, Boaz. Ruth did not understand what all was going on and the significance of each step as she obeyed. She simply trusted and obeyed. She had no power to redeem herself. And in the end she is used by God in the line of David. That is significant for someone starting as a non Jew. She embraced the LORD even when she did not fully understand and even though the LORD’s ways were foreign to her at first. She trusted Naomi who led her.

In a way this can also serve as a picture of our own walk with YHWH. We all start lost, separated from him by sin. We need a redeemer and we find one in Yeshua. He redeems us from our sin and makes a way for us to be reconciled with YHWH. We must trust and accept him, submit to him. We can not “earn” redemption through our own acts. We also do not simply continue doing things our way. How do you think it would have worked out differently in this historical account if Ruth acted as one from Moab instead of adopting the customs of the LORD and his people? Not well.

Let us learn to trust Yeshua as Ruth trusted in Naomi. Let us truly seek and be thankful for our redeemer, Yeshua.

Ruth 3

Boaz Will Redeem Ruth

      1Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? 2“Now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids you were? Behold, he winnows barley at the threshing floor tonight. 3“Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4“It shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do.” 5She said to her, “All that you say I will do.”

      6So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her. 7When Boaz had eaten and drunk and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came secretly, and uncovered his feet and lay down. 8It happened in the middle of the night that the man was startled and bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet. 9He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative.” 10Then he said, “May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich. 11“Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence. 12“Now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13“Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until morning.”

      14So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15Again he said, “Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.” So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. 16When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did it go, my daughter?” And she told her all that the man had done for her. 17She said, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18Then she said, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.”

Ruth 4

The Marriage of Ruth

      1Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, “Turn aside, friend, sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. 2He took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3Then he said to the closest relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4“So I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you.’” And he said, “I will redeem it.5Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.” 6The closest relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, because I would jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it.

      7Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. 8So the closest relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” And he removed his sandal. 9Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. 10“Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today.” 11All the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem. 12“Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD will give you by this young woman.”

      13So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel. 15“May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”

The Line of David Began Here

      16Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. 17The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

      18Now these are the generations of Perez: to Perez was born Hezron, 19and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab, 20and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon, 21and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, 22and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Rejoice In Our Salvation Through Yeshua

We may be born again thanks to Yeshua, our savior. He overcame death. He made a way for us to obtain a salvation that is imperishable and undefiled. It is reserved for us in heaven. Let us rejoice even though we may face trials during this life.

1 Peter 2:4-9

    3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grow In Respect To Salvation

A simple message to reflect on from 1 Peter today.

1 Peter 2:1-3

As Newborn Babes

      1Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

We are to put aside some fleshly impulses toward malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. Peter is not talking to unbelievers but to believers and followers of Yeshua. Let us take heed and not dismiss it as a message aimed at “those who are lost”. He is aiming it straight at those who already follow Yeshua.

He calls for us not to be complacent and satisfied with our current understanding of the word, but rather to long for more like a baby longs for milk. In this way we grow in respect to salvation. We are to avoid stagnating.

An interesting test to consider…

Do you feel you are already 100% in understanding and close relationship with the LORD… perfection mastered on earth? Of course most believes say “no”.

Do you want to be close to the LORD and walk more perfectly according to his ways? Most believers say “yes”.

Then we should expect to experience change in our lives. If we are complacent to just keep doing everything how we grew up or how we are doing it today, we are not growing in the LORD. We should expect and look for where we should drive real change in our lives, tangible change… not just “I am getting sort of better at… over time”.

Give it some time to soak on and prayerfully reflect on it. Then ask YHWH to show you were he wants you to change. Ask him to help you long for change like a baby for milk so that you may draw nearer to him.

Remember, change is uncomfortable in most cases, so don’t expect to “feel” like you should change. Look to YHWH’s word to understand where you should change based on what he has told us.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Saved By Grace, Lay Down The Former Things

We are saved by grace through Christ, and not by our own actions. However, we are to lay down the former things, the former lusts and sin and change. We are not to remain the same, but rather to become holy, because the LORD is holy.

1 Peter 1:10-16

      10As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

      13Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Accepting Christ as LORD means we change our behavior to be more like his. It is a deception from Satan that people teach that he accepts you the way you are and does not expect or desire you to change. He may accept you where you are, but he expects you to submit to him and follow him. Our lives should be transformed. It follows that our lives should be constantly changing to some degree as we continue to learn and grow closer to him throughout our lives. We should never get to a point of complacency and stop expecting change unless we conclude that we have learned all there is to learn about YHWH and are doing all we can possibly do to please him perfectly… which is to say we should continue to expect to be changing for our entire lives.

We don’t change to be saved, but rather because we are saved.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Living Hope, And A Sure Salvation

1 Peter, like so many letters and books of the Bible, contains a lot of information if we slow down long enough to reflect on it and ask our Father to open our ears and eyes to be able to more fully understand it. Do not rush through. “Chew” on it awhile.

1 Peter 1

A Living Hope, and a Sure Salvation

      1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

      3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

      10As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

      13Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

      17If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

      22Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

24For,
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,

      25BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.

Peter writes to those followers of YHWH who have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and are scattered across different lands. They are living as aliens amongst other people who do not believe as they do. Right away I think that this letter applies to most of us who truly seek to follow YHWH through Yeshua today. Most of those who even claim to be Christians are living lives that are blended or mixed and mingled with pagan beliefs. It has been happening for centuries, but you can see it continue to evolve today. Pagan holidays rather than YHWH’s holy days are celebrated. People embrace homosexuality and transgender even within some churches. There are many examples. This of course makes it harder for those who wish to truly follow him according to his ways laid out in his word. Simply put, we don’t really fit in to culture and are more like aliens from another land living amongst the people of the land.

Peter notes that the Father already knows who will obey him. He is omniscient (all knowing). He also comments on the sanctifying work of the Spirit. The Spirit makes us holy over time as we build relationship with YHWH through the Spirit. Of course we also see the role of the blood of Yeshua. Do not overlook the work of the Spirit but rather seek to embrace him.

Even the simple greeting relaying “grace and peace” is worth reflecting on. He does not greet them with “may you be rich and free of troubles”. Rather to be receivers of YHWH’s grace and experience peace that comes with it, these are things to be desired and pursued.

Our salvation is through Christ. It is imperishable and reserved for us in heaven. We should rejoice, even if we experience hardship and trials for awhile in our lives while we wait. As a matter of fact, he does not just emphasize “survive” hardship, but rejoice in the hope of salvation and recognize that our being tested can actually bring glory to YHWH, if we handle it right. (I admit that I sometimes do not handle all my trials well, but I see the Spirit at work over time transforming me and I am closer as time goes by and I continue to mature.)

We are called to prepare our minds for action. Living the Father’s way is not passive, but active. Fix our hope on the grace we receive through Yeshua for forgives of sins. Be obedient, even like children, and be set apart and holy… apart from the former lusts which tempted us and in which we sinned.  Once again we see that YHWH calls us through scripture to change our behaviors and attitudes. We are not to remain the same and say “now I am saved”. We are to change. We are to be holy because the LORD is holy.

We are called to love one another. This does not mean to accept one another in our sin. That is not love. Love drives us to help others find their way to the LORD, not remain in sin and rationalize why they can not or should not change. But how we engage with people should reflect we care about them. This does not mean hang out with sinners who refuse to acknowledge a need to change and seek Christ. We should follow Yeshua’s example… bring the word to people and then our closest circle of friends should be fellow believers and followers of YHWH.

Do not miss at the close. Peter quotes scripture. The word of the LORD endures forever. This is what I preached to you. Once again we see the founding fathers of the Way, of Christianity as followers of Christ, telling us that they taught the unchanging word of YHWH. They did not make up a new set of instructions based on only Yeshua. Quite the opposite. What Yeshua taught was totally consistent with the Torah and the writings of the prophets. This unchanging word of YHWH is what Peter and his fellow apostles taught to followers of Yeshua. We are not to simply disregard what is referred to commonly as the Old Testament and start over. The unchanging word of YHWH endures forever.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

 

Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Is Real

The most basic rule of warfare is perhaps that if you don’t realize or accept there is an enemy moving against you, you will most probably lose. If you don’t fight back with an effective strategy, you will lose even if you take on the enemy. If you don’t properly identify your enemy, you will develop the wrong strategy.

In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul provides us important guidance about the reality of spiritual warfare.  Too often Christians dismiss spiritual warfare and focus only on the things we can see and touch. This leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. If we do not recognize the true enemy, we will struggle to win against him.

Ephesians 6:10-18

      10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

      18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Some key points upon which to reflect:

  • Our strength comes from the Lord, not ourselves
  • The devil is real and he has strategies he uses to lie, cheat and destroy. He will use more than one strategy against us.
  • Warfare does not always take place in physical world, sometimes it is in the spiritual world. Consider the book of Job.
  • Just putting on one or two pieces of the armor of God is not enough, we need to put on all of them.
  • Prayer and a relationship with Jesus is necessary! Jesus tells us to pray daily and to pray specifically to not let us yield to temptation, and to be rescued from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13
  • We are to stay alert and pray for others in addition to ourselves. Pray for those preach the gospel that they would preach boldly!

Let’s explore what it really means to put on the full armor of God.

Truth can simply be defined as the real facts about something.  Surprisingly the world today proposes that truth is relative when it comes to God or how we live… “True for you but not for me”, etc. This is no more accurate than saying “If I do not believe in gravity, I will not fall off a ladder.” Gravity is true whether or not I believe in or accept it. God lovingly and in great detail shares truth in the Bible and reveals it in the world around us. There is absolute truth.

Righteousness is characterized by living consistently with God’s standards of morality, justice, virtue, etc. As God’s standard is Himself, it is a lofty bar. We will never achieve it to perfection but He is the standard and reference point none the less. We should keep our eyes on Jesus and seek help from the Holy Spirit to keep changing to be more like Him.

The peace that comes from knowing the good news is not a promise that we will avoid conflicts and trials, but rather an affirmation that when we have relationship with Jesus Christ we know He is with us in this life and that we have eternal life on the other side of this world. We can have peace through the mightiest storms.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1. In this context Paul reminds us that we must trust in God even when we are under attack by Satan. Just because we can not recognize how God is working in the situation does not mean that He is not there. We can be confident He is with us.

Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences, which is death. It is not enough to know or acknowledge Jesus Christ. Even Satan and his demons due that. By asking and accepting Jesus into our  lives and repenting from our sinful ways we receive salvation through grace.

The sword of the spirit, or word of God, is what Jesus Himself used to defeat Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11. We must know the word of God before the attack comes just as a soldier must train and be prepared before he goes to battle.

To be effective we must understand and use all of this equipment daily. It ceases to become “something we do” and becomes “how we do everything” in our lives.

Remember to heed Paul’s warning and guidance for prayer. The battle is not ours alone, but the Lord’s!

18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Faith Without Works Is Dead

Do not be distracted by those that say we are saved by faith, and thus works have no value or significance… they are unnecessary. What a selfish view to think that works are only for your own purpose to get into heaven. James makes a strong case for us to consider that our faith, if genuine, leads us to do good works, to live the way Yeshua tells us. We do good works because we serve Yeshua, not to be saved. One can readily ask, “If you have not works evident in your life, are you really submitted to Yeshua? Are you really saved?”

James 2:14-26

Faith and Works

      14What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

      18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. 24You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Once Saved, Always Saved?

There is a common teaching among followers of Christ that goes something like this… “once saved, always saved”. This is based largely on John 10:27-30.

John 10:27-30

27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30“I and the Father are one.”

However, this says only that no one can snatch them away, but it does not say that someone can not leave of their own free will. Some who have known the LORD do turn their back on him and reject him, willingly.

While there is room for good discussion and study on the matter, let us consider Hebrews 6:1-8.

Hebrews 6:1-8

The Peril of Falling Away

      1Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3And this we will do, if God permits. 4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

The most important trap at issue here is that many get complacent. They think if someone (or they themselves) once were in submission to Christ, that now they can do anything and rebel or reject him and go about their lives however they please and still “get into heaven”. This is dangerous complacency. We must remain vigilant and continue to seek and submit to the LORD. Our relationship with him is not a one time decision where we walk down to the  aisle to pray for 5 minutes. It is based on a lifetime of choosing him over and over again.

Also, I must emphasize that our attitude should not be motivated by “how do I get into heaven”, but rather by “how may I best love and serve the LORD my God”. We will then enjoy him in this life and eternity. Can you imagine if we treated a spouse this way? “I want you to provide for me and take care of me in retirement, but I will ignore or rebel against you all my life. No worries, there was that time we said ‘I do’ to get married so we are good, right?”

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.