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Hope of Eternal Life
3:7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs
according to the hope of eternal life.
does ETERNAL life mean to us? Surely it is a never ending life, but it
is more than that. The unsaved die and exist for eternity, but the saved
LIVE throughout eternity. Since God is the author of life, life is more
than just existing just as death is not the end of existing. Death is
eternal separation from God and involves punishment for rejecting the
worship of the One True and Living God. That worship begins with an
acknowledgment of our sins and then trust in the Lord Jesus Who died for
our sins. Eternal life is a life that begins the moment we trust Christ
and it continues forever. But it is also a life with a new quality as
well The Bible says that He that hath the Son hath life (1 John 5:12).
After coming to know Christ, eternity should motivate us, but does it?
are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the
issues of life will be taken care of for us by our heavenly Father
according to Matthew 6:33. I do not believe that the physical kingdom of
God is present on earth today. I believe that it is coming after the
Lord returns for the church. But I do believe that as Christians we
enter into the kingdom spiritually the moment we are saved. Colossians
1:13 says that He has delivered Christians from the power of darkness
and conveyed them into the kingdom of the Son of His love. No nation on
earth today represents the kingdom of God. Israel is still in rebellion
and unbelief and the Lord has not begun a reign of righteousness through
them yet even though I believe that is coming. Some would like to
believe that some of the nations of our Western Civilization are the new
Israel and represent the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, there has never
been a nation since the crucifixion that has submitted itself to Christ
as King and that has judged sin in a righteous way. When the Lord reigns
there will be peace and that is certainly not true in the world today.
The immorality present in the Western Cultures would surely make us
realize that presently Satan is the prince and the power of the air and
that Christ is not on the throne of any earthly kingdom (Ephesians 2:2).
Christians we can spend our time enjoying the present world and its
kingdoms or we can spend our time promoting the eternal kingdom. When we
promote and love the present world we usually try to change it into
something that pleases God. I am confident we can't do that, but I am
also confident that it can change us. We should separate from it instead
of trying to change it. We should preach and live as strangers in it. We
have no commission to change it and make it better. Instead we are
admonished not to love the world. John says, "Do not love the world
or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the
Father is not in him (1 John 2:14)."
verse says that we are heirs. Usually an inheritance is something that
we anticipate with joy. I am sure that is what Paul means when He refers
to the hope of eternal life. We don't hope to have eternal life, but
because we HAVE eternal life (John 5:24), we have something to
anticipate with joy. Peter tells us that our inheritance is reserved in
heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). I don't think we will ever squander that
inheritance or have someone else take it from us. I don't know all that
is involved in that inheritance, but it has to be good enjoyable things
that are associated with eternal life. Inheritances that we get in this
life only last until we die, this inheritance lasts forever.
the Gospel is presented as a way to have a better life here on earth.
While that may be the result for some people who have been living the
life of a prodigal, that is not the reason for trusting Christ. Neither
is it the reason for living and serving the Lord after we have trusted
Him. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). We are not going
to be able to change the world which is our enemy into a friend whose
blessings we can enjoy. But as we preach the Gospel it will miraculously
change people from lovers of the world to lovers of the Lord. However,
our preaching will only be believable if people see that our motivation
is "the hope of eternal life."
we think about what is important, surely the long-term benefits of
eternal life outweigh the short-run benefits that this world offers.
What a joy it will be to enjoy the presence of the Lord and His
blessings for eternity. But there is also a warning here because the
consequences of rejecting eternal life will also be eternal.
for the week of May 6, 2012
in the Stew!
they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating
the stew, that they cried out and said, "Man of God, there is death
in the pot!" And they could not eat it. So he said, "Then
bring some flour." And he put it into the pot, and said,
"Serve it to the people, that they may eat." And there was
nothing harmful in the pot. (2
this miracle, Elisha was able to counter the deadly effects of the
poison that had unintentionally been put into a pot of stew. The
incident actually happened, and of course it happened for a reason.
Obviously, the "sons of the prophets" who were eating the stew
must have been convinced that Elisha was truly a prophet of the Lord
unlike the so-called prophets of Baal and of other heathen gods.
However, I wonder if this portion has a lesson or application for us
today in new testament times?
the stew represent the spiritual food that we feed on? Could the wild
gourds represent false doctrine that is being fed to people
unintentionally by some who are well-meaning? Could the meal represent
the moral perfections of the Lord Jesus? When we preach Christ and Him
crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23) we can counter the poison of doctrines
that are being popularized today. Some of these "taste good"
but they are actually killers.
or teaching is important in the Bible. Teachers are going to be held
accountable for what they teach (James 3:1). Being sound in teaching is
emphasized by Paul to both Timothy and Titus in his letters to them.
Doctrine is one of the pillars of the church in Acts 2:42. The good news
of the Gospel is one of the doctrines that must remain pure. Paul
condemns the Galatians for turning away from the Gospel that he preached
to another gospel which is not really another gospel. In Galatians 1:7
there were some who were intentionally perverting the Gospel of Christ.
In this case they were trying to make Christianity a sect of Judaism and
were saying that only those who kept the old testament law were truly
Christians. Paul emphasizes that we are not saved by the works of the
law but we are declared right with God by faith in Christ and by faith
in Him alone (Galatians 2:16). When the Gospel is perverted, people are
led astray and they do not believe in the Christ of the Bible. Instead
they believe in some philosophical fantasy. What we think is right
cannot save if our thinking is not Biblical, but what God says is right
will save every time.
order for the Gospel to be pure, we have to preach that Christ was in
fact God made known in the flesh. We have to preach that He was sinless.
We have to preach that He is the only way to heaven. We have to preach
that He was crucified and then rose again the third day. We need to be
clear that He lives and will return. These pure strains of the Gospel
will never bring death but will produce life in those who have them
become a part of their very fabric by faith as they feed or meditate
it is easy to get side tracked. While it is true that the works of the
law do not save, yet Christians should be careful to maintain good works
(Titus 3:8). These good works involve much more than the moral law
embodied in the ten commandments, but moral behavior is certainly
included. However, when we as Christians spend our time trying to make
the unsaved live moral lives without pointing them to the Savior, we are
perverting the Gospel. Much of what I read by well-meaning Christians
seems to emphasize eliminating the moral evils of the world rather than
telling people that they need the Savior of sinners. The name of the
Lord Jesus is seldom mentioned in their well-meaning pursuit of
righteousness in the world. But when the people whose lives have been
reformed die, they still go to hell if they haven't trusted in Christ.
We all need to be saved, not reformed.
was able to make that which was poisonous edible through the addition of
some meal. We need to keep the sinless, crucified, resurrected Christ
central in our preaching of the Gospel and in our desire to see the
world saved. We need to be careful to keep the stew edible and pure so
that we don't unintentionally poison those to whom we preach.
for the week of May 13, 2012
Gals, He's Mine!
is your beloved More than another beloved, O fairest among women? What
is your beloved More than another beloved, That you so charge us?
of Solomon 5:9)
differ on the interpretation of this beautiful love poem. Some think
Solomon is the man wooing the young lady in the poem, and they think
that he has won her heart. Others think that she is in love with a
shepherd but that Solomon is trying to win her love away from him. For
various reasons, I believe that Solomon, the King who has brought her
into his chambers, is the only man in the young woman's life and that
she is totally in love with him.
we come to chapter 5, the young woman is asked by the "daughters of
Jerusalem," whoever they might be, "What is your beloved more
than another beloved?" Apparently this gal would have been
considered a "good catch" by any man. Why was she so sure that
this was the man for her? She starts out describing him and as she looks
across Solomon's army she says that nobody compares to him. He is the
chief or the standard bearer among ten thousand. In other words, he is
the standard by which others should be measured; and when they are
compared to him, they all come up short. Now that is quite a heartfelt
compliment. If Solomon had in any way been listening in on this
conversation, can you imagine how it would have made him feel? I am sure
that he would have stood just a little taller and would have felt
greatly loved by this woman. There is no doubt that physical attraction
is prominent in the relationship of these two, but physical attraction
can sometimes turn to physical disgust after people get to really know
each other and if they begin to feel used by their significant other.
However, that would not be the case in this relationship. The physical
beauty of this women would only be enhanced by her loyalty and emotional
commitment to Solomon. As a practical matter, if husbands overheard
their wives talking about them this way in situations where the wives
were being "honest" with their girlfriends, can you imagine
what this would do for the marriage? And of course, it would also be a
beautiful thing if men talked this way about their wives on those men
only fishing and hunting trips that they take.
the story probably has an application to Israel as the bride of Jehovah,
we in the new testament surely can apply these principles to the church
in its relationship to the Lord Jesus. The church universal is a bride.
How would we who are part of that "bride" answer those who
would like to believe that there are other gods that are just as good as
the one we love? Or how would we answer those who would seem to think
that no god is as good as our God? What is our beloved more than another
beloved? I could start enumerating the ways that He is better, but this
is a meditation limited by space, so I will only mention a couple of
reasons as to why no one else even comes close for me personally. No one
else has been willing and able to totally and completely forgive my
sins, both intentional and unintentional. The Lord has proven to be
loyal to me even when I have not been totally loyal to him. Humans can't
love the way He loves, it just isn't in them. Our love is always
performance based in some way, His is unconditional even though I know
that He loves it when we speak well of Him both by what we do and by
what we say.
when the question is asked, "What is your beloved more than
another?," can we who are a part of the bride of Christ start at
the Lord's head and end up at his feet describing His beauty? Would we
say, "Yes, He is altogether lovely!" Or have we reached a
point in our relationship with Him where we would admit that He has been
good to us, but perhaps not as good as we would have liked. Do "the
daughters of Jerusalem" see a bride that is totally in love with
her bridegroom? Or do they see a bride who is less than loyal to the
is a beautiful picture of what a relationship ought to be. If our
relationship with the Lord was as intensely satisfying and beautiful as
the relationship between Solomon and this young lady was, we would have
lots of people asking, "What is your beloved more than another
beloved?" We would have people scrambling to hear our answers. We
wouldn't have enough preachers of the Gospel available to answer the
questions of those who simply don't understand this kind of
relationship, but who would like to have one like it. Fortunately, we
don't have to say, "Sorry gals, He's mine!" We don't lose His
personal love and loyalty when we speak well of Him and when we share
for the week of May 20, 2012
you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled;
for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
are some things that I wish I could forget. My family and I made a trip
to Gettysburg several years back and I wish I could forget what we saw
and felt as we looked over one of the most famous battlegrounds in the
Civil War. There was a sinister feeling to that place that even my
children noticed. That was a place where Satan had worked his magic and
many soldiers died. Relatives fought relatives. People who should have
been friends ended up killing each other in that war. Gettysburg is a
terrible thing to remember.
while Gettysburg seems close and personal because the war was on US
soil, all war is a testimonial to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
When Eve believed Satan's lie that God was holding out on her and she
would know true happiness if she ate the "forbidden fruit,"
she set in motion the sorrows of men and women killing men and women
from that time on. Her son Cain killed his brother Able. The earth was
finally destroyed in the flood because of the violence on the earth.
violence will continue until the end of this age. The disciples had
wanted to know when the Lord was going to return to set up His kingdom
and when the end of the age would occur. Apparently, the tribulation
period that is described in this chapter is the end of the age after
which the Lord comes to reign. That will be a brand new age. During that
tribulation period there will be wars and rumors of wars that will be
far worse than anything we have experienced thus far in the history of
mankind. We have all heard of Armageddon. That war will be fought during
this short period of seven years. Human beings will be intent on killing
each other. And all of these wars will occur because of sin.
like to remember the heroic feats of those who are willing to fight wars
for us. Some make the ultimate sacrifice and give their lives. I wonder
how many of those who have died end up in heaven and how many end up in
hell. We know that only those who sins have been forgiven end up in
heaven and that forgiveness comes about through faith in the death of
Christ. But I suspect most of those who die in war have died unsaved.
Satan is reaping his harvest in glee as soldiers and civilians by the
millions have entered eternity unsaved as a result of war. Isn't it sad
that we need to defend ourselves and our country against others just
like us that the Lord has created? The ones we fight have souls and
families and are loved by God just as much as the soldiers that we send
to fight them.
are all thankful for those who have been willing to protect us and our
country in war. But as we honor and memorialize them on Memorial Day
weekend, we need to remember that we are remembering that sin is real
and that Satan is real. Even as we remember the Lord on the Lord's day
with a cup of wine and a loaf of bread we are forced to remember that
those who hated the Lord without a cause (John 15:25) were willing to
murder Him because they envied Him (Matthew 27:18). Killing is in the
nature of man because sin is the nature of man ever since the fall of
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
am glad that there is something better to remember than war and its
depravity. King David could say:
give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among
the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous
works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek
the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the
judgments of His mouth. (1 Chronicles 16:8-12)
His marvelous works and His wonders is so much better than remembering
wars that certainly make heroes out of our soldiers but which remind us
of the dreadful consequences of sin.
for the week of May 27, 2012