we have now received the reconciliation."
"And not only this, but we also exult God though our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom
we have now received the reconciliation."
The rebellion of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden broke the perfect relationship between God and man. Since God cannot have evil in His presence, He drove them out of the garden, thus separating God and man, awaiting the day when the second Adam, Jesus, would come to reconcile man back to God. "Behold, the Lord's hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2). It was our sinfulness that caused us to be separated from our Creator, but in His lovingkindness He reaches out to us through His Son because He desires to have a relationship with His people. Colossians 1:19-23 says, "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body though death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach - if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which now was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister." When Christ bore our sin upon that tree, He took upon Himself what we rightfully deserved - He took upon Himself the wrath of God in which He was forsaken by the Father. Through His substitutionary death, He filled the mighty gulf between God and man so that we might be reconciled to Him. It is in Jesus that we are justified so the Father can look at us as if we really are " holy and blameless and beyond reproach." "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). God, through Christ, works to restore that broken relationship that this sinful human race caused. The shed blood of the Savior covers up our wretchedness so that it appears that we are holy as He is holy, thus allowing us to come boldly before the Most High in His very presence. "And not only this, but we also exult God though our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Romans 5:11). We no longer have to be separated from our God! In Christ our relationship with the Lord is restored. The first Adam rebelled and severed our relationship with our glorious Creator; the second Adam submitted and restored our relationship with Him so that we might worship Him forevermore in thankfulness and adoration. Through His blood, we have received justification so we might experience reconciliation. Our justification is who God sees us as and in our sanctification the Holy Spirit is working in us to make us become who God sees us as in Christ so that we will one day be glorified and truly and eternally be united with Him.
"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord is wonderful and worthy to be praised!! He has done so much! May He receive all the glory!! I've decided to share my testimony so that you can see how great God is and so that you can have hope in salvation. The following is my personal testimony of how the Lord God has saved me by His marvelous grace:
As I was growing up, my family went to a number of different churches and denominations. I heard the Gospel many times and I considered myself to be a Christian. I knew Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but I never took it personally - that it was for me He died, for my transgressions. At the end of church services in most of the churches I've been to, they would have an invitation. "With eyes closed, heads bowed..." I heard the sinner's prayer countless times. I got "saved" (supposedly) so many times that I can't even remember every time. Every once in a while I thought about the terrors of Hell, so I would quickly close my eyes and pray the sinner's prayer. I would ask God for forgiveness of my sins and ask Jesus to come into my heart. I never felt saved, but it temporarily eased my conscience. Sometimes, when I tried to go to sleep at night, I thought about how terrible it would be to spend eternity engulfed in unquenchable fire, but then I would try to push the thought out of my mind and plan on dealing with it when it comes. Without a doubt, I knew (or so I thought) that I would be going to Hell when I died. I remember at school one time a nonbeliever friend told me, "I'll see you in Heaven," and I said something like, "No you won't. That's not where we're going." I didn't ever try too hard to become a true Christian because I knew that I wasn't good enough and that I would never be good enough. I was right - no one's good enough, we're all desperately wicked. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). I felt like there was no point in even trying to change or trying to become a better person, so all I did was pray, wishing that I'd go to Heaven when I died. I used to say that if I had three wishes, the first one would be for me to go to Heaven, even though I thought it was nearly impossible - that's why it was a wish, not a hope. Maybe when I was in about 10th grade, I felt the urge to tear my Harry Potter poster off the wall in my room. I gave into the conviction, took it down, tore it in half, and threw it away. I knew that witchcraft was wrong and that God wouldn't want me to entertain myself with it. Around the beginning of 11th grade, I felt the Holy Spirit really start convicting me and bringing to memory things that I used to hear at church (I haven't been attending a church in a few years by this time). I was convicted to stop listening to secular music and soon I dug my Bible out of my bottom drawer. I tried to read it, but I didn't know where to start. I decided to read out of the New Testament but I didn't know where it was. Later I joined the "Christians in Action" club at school. I felt God working in me. I remember one day I was in my room by myself and I realized how sinful I was and how I basically ignored God for so long, living however I wanted. I truly repented and put my faith in Christ. I felt that I might actually be saved. Jesus saved me! It was nothing that I did, it was ALL Him!! If I did anything then I would deserve at least some of the credit in my salvation, but I didn't do anything. I can't do anything to earn my salvation. He did everything and deserves ALL the credit!! In the following days I was full of joy. During P.E. class at school, when we walked laps, I prayed to God the whole time. I never liked P.E., but I came to the point where I almost looked forward to it so that I could just walk and pray. Soon after, my family started getting in contact with old friends from one of the churches we used to go to. We started going back to church and for different reasons we switched churches and moved around a bit. Certain beliefs of mine were different back then, but within the last year or so, God has revealed to my family specific truths from His Word. We started to pray for a church to finally get settled into and so we visited many different churches. We attended a church for about a year but never became members there. I'm very thankful for that church and how the Lord used it in our lives. During that time we were straightening out our beliefs, and studying the Bible to figure out what our personal beliefs were instead of just trusting what the past churches that we attended told us. As I was reading and learning what the Bible really said, I came to the realization that I'm saved. I'm really saved! I'm a daughter of the King! I finally had complete assurance of salvation. This is something that I needed for so long since, naturally, I'm a doubter. The thoughts of not being good enough crept back into my mind without even realizing that I was trusting partly in myself and not fully in Christ. Now I have no doubt about my salvation. It's real! It is God who saved me! God had used all of these circumstances to help me grow closer to Him and have a stronger relationship with Him. Within the past few weeks, the Lord has led us to a good biblical church. I truly feel that this is where He wants us. We actually came across this specific church earlier, but our beliefs were different then and we didn't even want to visit it, but He led us back to this church. God has revealed the truths of Scripture to us, but there's still a lot to learn. I won't completely understand everything there is to know about God, but I'm glad that I know the small amount that I do know. I look back on who I was before salvation and who I am now. I'm a new creature. I used to not think that this could really happen to anybody, but now I know it can happen. I've witnessed it. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). I know I'm not perfect. I know I fail Him everyday. I know I'm weak. I know I need a Savior. Christ has saved me! Now I want to obey Him. I'm still growing in Him. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). If He can save me, trust me, He can save you too. He is mighty to save!! May He alone receive ALL the glory forever!! He saved a wretch like me!!!
"But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement." Romans 5:8-11
"And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." 1 Corinthians 12:26
"If we had to preach to thousands year after year, and never rescued but one soul, that one soul would be a full reward for all our labour, for a soul is of countless price."
Let's stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ! May we always remain faithful to Him no matter what trials may come upon us, even if it means the severe persecution that Christians in other countries are facing. May we be willing to suffer and even die for the sake of Christ!!! After all, He died for us...
Stand firm in the faith!!
"Home where we'll all be together again. Home where our praise to the Lamb will never end.
I'm going Home where we'll walk the streets of gold and never see a tear again.
I'm going Home where I'll cast my crown before the King of kings and Lord of lords.
I'm going where all our dreams become reality. Home where I'll be with all my family.
We'll soon be there sitting round the tree of life within the presence of our King.
Home where our cares will forever be gone. Home where our tears will be traded for a song.
I'm going Home where I'll stand before the Savior Who has bled and died for me.
I'm going Home where I'll thank Him face to face for all that He has done for me.
I'm going where I'll never feel the battle seat. Home where I ne'er again will know defeat.
We'll soon be there strolling through the streets of gold and lost in wonder, love, and praise." ~Eshes
For a born-again Christian, it's a wonderful thing to know that someday you'll make it Home to Heaven!! We'll finally get to be with our Savior and worship God continually! Thank the Lord for describing the beauty of Heaven in His Word!
"And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life" (Revelation 22:1-2).
"For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe all tears from their eyes" (Revelation 7:17).
Heaven will be better than anything we can ever imagine. The best thing about Heaven will be being in the presence of the Lord for all eternity. How beautiful our future Home will be!! We must remember that we're not Christians just so we can go to Heaven. We're Christians because Christ is worthy of being glorified.
"Lord Jesus, I'm going to obey You and love You and serve You and do what You want me to do, as long as I live even if I go to hell at the end of the road, simply because You are worthy to be loved and obeyed and served, and I'm not trying to make a deal with You." ~Paris Reidhead
Our purpose in life isn't to do all we can do to get to Heaven but to do all we can do to glorify God. Thank the Lord that He does have a heavenly Home waiting for us!
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created."
Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? So many people have asked questions like these and wondered what the meaning of life is. If we just evolved from apes and the world began with a Big Bang (as many claim to believe), then there would be no meaning or purpose to our existence. We would have somehow evolved ultimately from nothing, and this ball of nothing wouldn't have had any plan for us. But, praise God! That's not what happened! God is the Creator of the universe! He had a plan! He had a purpose! He knew each one of us before we were born (Psalm 139:15-16) and He knew what He wanted each individual to do in life. He may reveal that plan to us later in life if we follow His will for us. Man, as a whole, have been given the meaning of life, which is clearly stated in the Scriptures. According to Revelation 4:11, everything was created for God's pleasure; He wants His creation to glorify Him. Our role in this life is given to us through Ecclesiastes 12:13 - "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." How wonderful it is that the Creator Himself tells us what His purpose is for us! In conclusion, our lives are meant to glorify God by fearing Him and keeping His commandments. So let's get out there and glorify God with our lives so we can fulfill the meaning of life!!
"And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
2 Corinthians 3:17
God has richly blessed us here in America. The freedom of religion we have is so wonderful. May we never take this for granted. Many Christians around the world face persecution every day because they don't have this freedom. Let's remember to keep the persecuted church in our prayers. "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body" (Hebrews 13:3). Thank the Lord for the liberty He's given to us. As Christians, the best freedom we have is in Christ. He sets us free from the bondage of sin and death. "Being then made free from sin, ye become the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:18). The Scriptures lead us to this fact. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Any freedom we have should be used for good, not evil. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve on another" (Galatians 5:13). We must not slide back into sinful ways. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1). Jesus has delivered us from death unto life. We're not under the control of Satan anymore. Jesus Christ Himself has set us free! One liberty that everyone has is choice. We all have the freedom to choose whether or not we'll accept Christ. John 3:16 even states that "whosoever believeth on Him" will live eternally. This means that everyone has the choice but the people who choose to believe and repent will live. The following is a chorus (from the song I Give You Freedom) that seems to sum it up.
I own the cattle on a thousand hills,
I write the music for the whippoorwills,
Control the planets with their rocks and rills,
But give you freedom to use your own will.
And if you want Me to, I’ll make you whole,
I’ll only do it tho’ if you say so.
I’ll never force you, for I love you so,
I give you freedom - Is it “yes” or “no”?
So God gives us the choice. He wants to save us, but He only will if we ask Him to. He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). He loves us so much, yet He gave us all free will. He doesn't demand anything of us. We have the choice of either loving Him or hating Him. We have the choice of either accepting Christ as our Lord (master) and Savior or not accepting Him. We have the choice of either going to heaven to live eternally or going to hell to die eternally. Which will you choose? God has given us freedom!! Praise the Lord!!
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
...a time of war, and a time of peace." Ecclesiastes 3: 1,8
The bumper sticker that reads, "No God, No Peace. Know God, Know Peace," has it right. We can only know true, fulfilling peace through having a deep relationship with the Lord. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:21). While Jesus was still on the earth, He said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). Through Jesus we can have lasting peace. This peace far exceeds any form of peace that the world offers. Jesus told His disciples that He would send them a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to dwell in them and guide them. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). No matter what trials we face in this life, we have full access to the peace that Jesus provides for our earthly lives. "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). If we cast all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7), the weight of our burdens will melt away. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." What peace we can find in the Savior!! Thank the Lord, "For He is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14).
"Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them,
Peace be unto you."
"Behold, The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
To sin means to commit an offense against God. There is not one person, besides Jesus, who has not sinned. Every one sins, whether you're living in sin or you're a born again believer. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We have the choice to either be sinners or forgiven sinners. We can accept the free gift or refuse it. He will forgive us, but only if we ask. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). We must repent, believe, and surrender our entire lives to Christ. He has the power to transform our lives. Jesus saves! We must flee from our sinful ways as soon as possible. It is very dangerous to be contently living in sin. Remember: "Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay." We must be prepared for whichever comes first - death or Jesus' coming. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20). It would be wise for those who are not saved to get saved now - tomorrow might be too late. For example, take any of the natural disasters. Most people were probably enjoying their lives in sin and ignoring the sacrifice that Christ made for them. They were just going about with their normal life when suddenly a hurricane, or some other natural disaster, struck. It would have gotten the people shook up and thinking, Did that really just happen? It could have taken the lives of people who didn't truly accept Christ, causing them to be ushered into an eternity of pain and suffering. Sin is deadly! Without repenting and turning from it, then we'll also be doomed to the lake of fire where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Luke 13:28). Take Jesus' advice and "sin no more" (John 8:11). Of course, we wouldn't be able to completely stop sinning, since we're still part of the wicked human race, but we'll be able to sin less. In other words, we wil still sin, but we won't live in sin. After turning from our evil ways, we should live completely for the Lord. We want to be more like Him in righteousness. I believe that God hates sin and that we should hate sin as He does. We should stay away from sin so we're not tempted to do wicked things. "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not" (Proverbs 1:10). Proverbs 6: 16-20, 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, Galatians 5: 19-21, Revelation 21:8, and other portions of Scripture list things that God hates. If we purposely continue to do these things then we'll not inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of these sins are lying, adultery, fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, murder, etc. We should hate all these things and have no part in them. Hate the sin, not the sinner.We should hate "even the garment spotted with the flesh" (Jude 23b). If we truly "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself" (Luke 10:27) then we will have no desire to partake in those things that aren't pleasing to the Lord. May we hate sin as God hates sin.
As we celebrate Jesus' Resurrection, let's remember what it meant for us. Let's remember all that He endured for us...all the things that eventually brought Him to the point of death...then resurrection!! May we keep our eyes focused on what truly matters - our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!! Our whole life should be centered around Him!
When presenting the Gospel, many times people leave out the glorious resurrection. I've been guilty of this as well, but we must remember the significance of Jesus' resurrection. Our faith rests on the very truth that Jesus rose from the dead. "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14). Without the resurrection, we would be serving a dead Savior, but Jesus conquered death! The sepulchre couldn't hold Him! Jesus is alive! Alive forevermore! Jesus willingly came to this wretched world. "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). He knew what He was getting Himself into. He knew He would be hated, betrayed, and mocked. He knew He would suffer and die on the cross. He was reviled so horribly yet He never once sinned. His perfect love for us is what kept Him on that cross. He endured the torture from those He loved deeply just so every one of us could have the opportunity to live with Him for eternity. He died on the cross and was put in the grave. Three days later...He arose! He lived once again and appeared to His disciples. Later, after He told His disciples what to do while He was gone, The Lord Jesus ascended to heaven to be with God the Father. That is were He resides, waiting to bring His sheep Home. If He didn't resurrect, then He would still be in that grave. But, no. "He is risen" (Matthew 28:6). We serve a living God! He saved us from sin and He gives us the choice of accepting His gift. Thank the Lord for overcoming death so that we might live! Praise God!! We have a living Savior!!
Happy Resurrection Day!
"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."
There's a story of a major sacrifice which begins with a man taking his son to work one day. He worked at a drawbridge, controlling when it went up so boats could pass trough under it or so trains could travel across it. They decided to have lunch when suddenly the man heard a train coming so he told his boy to stay there while he went to put the bridge down. The boy decided to follow his dad instead but fell and got stuck in the gears. the father didn't know what to do - put the bridge down so the train could safely pass through or leave it up so his son could live. He decided to save the hundreds of people on the train, thus killing his son. He saw the passengers inside the train living merrily as if nothing happened, but he wanted to scream to them how he just killed his own son to save their lives. Similarly, God sacrificed His only Son to save us all from our sins. Many people are acting just like the train passengers - not even caring about the major sacrifice made for them. We all should accept this free gift. If someone handed us a free gift, we'd most likely take it. Why not take the gift that God has for us? It's so much better than any material thing we could receive. He is offering us the gift of eternal life. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Let's not ignore this most wonderful sacrifice the Lord God has made for us. Let's show our love for Him and continually thank Him for the deep love He has for us. He has truly sacrificed so much for His lowly, sinful creation.
We should daily remember the sacrifice that Christ has made for us, not only on Good Friday. Yet today is the day set aside to celebrate it, we should always celebrate it in our hearts. May we never cease to thank God for the ultimate sacrifice He has made for us through Jesus Christ the Lord.
I'm a twenty one year old Christian saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. Praise the great name of our glorious Savior!!
Go serve your King!"