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Monday, May 21, 2018

Saturday, May 19, 2018

“On Faith vs Works”

Thanks for writing. Don´t worry about running. If all you can do is walking, then that is all you can do. And that’s fine, so stop comparing what you can do with what I can do. We often push ourselves too hard by trying in our own strength. It is just like with Salvation. Paul writes, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”[1] 

In Ephesians he says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”[2] In his letter to Timothy he proclaims, “Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”[3]

That´s why Jesus said, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”[4] If the yoke is too hard and the burden is too heavy, maybe it is not His yoke but your own or someone else's that you have unwisely taken upon yourself or allowed others to place upon you. 

Maybe you are trying too hard in your own strength to save yourself, that you are not letting Him do it. You are not believing in His word like you should be, but are trying to earn your salvation with masses, and communions, and prayers, etc. Not that these things are necessarily wrong. But if you are trusting in them to save you, then you are working your way into God´s presence, when all He asks is that we call upon Him with all of our heart. 

In Jeremiah we read, “Call upon Me and I will answer you.”[5] “Ye shall seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all you heart.”[6] Notice that He said with all your heart, not all your works. 

Later in Romans Paul says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”[7] This question of a second birth was even hard for Nicodemus to understand. He was the religious leader who came to Jesus in the cover of night to inquire more into Jesus’ teaching. But the truth is, we must be born again. That’s what Jesus said, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of Heaven.”[8]

Dear one, we can never earn our salvation through our own works of righteousness. In Isaiah we read, “Our own righteousness is as filthy (menstrual) rags.”[9] But God in His mercy sent us His Son to die on the cross that we might have the free gift of eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”[10] You see, salvation is a gift of God, but right from the beginning of time man has been trying to save himself through his own righteousness. 

Remember the story of Cain and Abel. Instead of offering a lamb as a sacrifice as God had requested, Cain offered the works of his own hands. God was displeased because He wanted obedience, not sacrifice. The lamb even there in the beginning of time typified the “Lamb of God which would take away the sins of the world.”[11]

Cain got so mad that he killed his brother Abel, whose simple faith and obedience had showed Cain up for the self-righteous religionist that he was. God does not want our religion, He wants our hearts. 

God has promised that if we open our hearts to Him and ask Him to come in, believe on Him by faith[12] that He was raised from the dead, He will come in and have fellowship with us and we shall be saved, or secured in His love and protection. 

In Romans Paul writes, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”[13] Notice he says that righteousness comes by belief, not by works.
 
That’s why Augustine in his Homilies on the Gospel of John wrote, “Understanding is the reward of faith: therefore, do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.”[14] So we see that faith comes before a proper understanding. In other words, faith is the key to a proper understanding of things here and now and here after. Solomon wrote, “ Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”[15] But in order to get that wisdom, we need faith. Not a blind faith, but faith built on reason and experience. That's why Peter tells us to give a reasoned defense of our faith, and Paul tells us to study that we might be approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Paul also talks a lot about the importance of faith in both Roman’s chapter four and Hebrews’ chapter four. By believing in Jesus we enter into rest through faith. We no longer struggle to save ourselves or to keep ourselves saved but rest in Him, believing on His word and precious promises. Remember that Mary, the sister of Martha, chose the good part and sat at Jesus’ feet to be ministered to by Him, while her sister Martha continued to serve. And the Lord chided Martha when she requested that Jesus make her sister go back to work. He said, “But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.”[16]

In the book of Revelation Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. If any man hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with Me.”[17] Pray this little prayer with me or something like it and have your sins washed away once and for all. 

“Dear Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God and died for me and have taken upon Yourself the sins of the world including mine. Thank You for dying for me. I now accept You into my heart for eternity. I believe You rose from the dead and I trust in You for eternal life. Please forgive me for my sins and self-righteousness. Help me to rest in You and in Your love and mercy and freedom. Grant me an infilling of Your Holy Spirit so I too may have the power to walk with You. In Jesus name, I pray.” 

If you have sincerely prayed this prayer or one similar from your own heart you are saved. The fight for your eternal soul is over and you can rest in Jesus knowing that you are His for eternity. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father´s hand. I and My Father are one.”[18]

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions please feel free to ask.

Notes:

[1] Titus 3;5
[2] Ephesians 2:8-9
[3] 2 Timothy 1:9
[4] Matthew 11:28-30
[5] Jeremiah 33:3
[6] Jeremiah 29:13
[7] Romans 10:13
[8] John 3:3
[9] Isaiah 64:6
[10] John 3:16
[11] John 1:29
[12] There are strong and reasonable arguments that support the claims of the disciples as the best inference from the evidence at hand, i.e., the empty tomb and the fact that neither the Jews nor the Romans produced a dead body to disprove the resurrection event, and that none of the disciples, who were eyewitnesses and knew the truth of the situation, recanted on their beliefs even in the face of severe persecution and martyrdom. Martyrdom does not prove truth, but it does prove sincerity. But the fact that the disciples were in a position to know the truth of the resurrection lends toward the conclusion that the resurrection was in fact true and not a myth developed later by them. 
[13] Romans 10:9-10
[14] Augustine, “Homilies on the Gospel of John” 29.6
[15] Proverbs 4:7
[16] Luke 10:42
[17] Revelation 3:20
[18] John 10:27-30

Friday, May 18, 2018

Israel Celebrates Birthday With Gaza Massacre


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