to Archived Meditations
1:15 Repent ye, and believe the gospel.
3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth
not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of
the only begotten Son of God.
know that salvation is by grace through faith (confidence) in the Lord
Jesus Christ. However, the word believe is used in a very casual way
today and many of us are confused about what it means to “believe in
or on” the Lord Jesus Christ.
many argue that believing the Gospel and believing on the Lord are the
same thing, I wonder if believing the Gospel doesn’t lead to believing
on the Lord. In other words, we can’t really trust or believe in the
Lord until we trust or believe what He says. We won’t be able to
believe what He says until we repent.
involves changing our minds where we disagree with God. I believe that
true repentance means that we are allowing God to win any arguments that
have with Him about the way of salvation, or about the need of salvation
or about anything He tells us that we find difficult to believe. We may
need to repent with regard to the truth that we can know for sure that
we are saved. We may need to change our mind about the reality of
eternal conscious punishment for the unbeliever. Repenting and believing
are linked in Mark 1:15 because we can’t believe God or His Gospel
when we are arguing with Him about the truth of the Gospel. The Lord may
have been implying that when we believe the Gospel we are actually
believing in the Lord. However, I know many people today who agree with
God about the facts of the Gospel who have no peace about their own
eternal destinies. I do not think they have actually “believed in or
on” the Lord. Let me give you an example:
ask us for our votes by trying to convince us that they can do the job
better than their opponent. They want us to “believe in” or “on”
them. Unfortunately in some cases we might vote for a man we “believe
in” because we think that He is able to accomplish what needs to be
done even though we don’t really believe Him. He may promise us that
He is going to cut taxes and we may know that either he can‘t or won‘t.
However, we might still believe that He is the best man to make
budgeting decisions for our country. So we might “believe in” a man
that we don’t totally believe.
spiritual things, however, we will not “believe in” One we can‘t
believe. Repenting and believing the Gospel makes it possible for us to
“believe in” the Lord Jesus Christ who promises to save those who
“believe in” Him. Believing in a person is one of the best
compliments you can give that person. The Lord finds it offensive if we
won’t “believe in or on” Him and says that an unbeliever is
already condemned. According to John 3:36, when we believe on the Lord,
we have eternal life or salvation. If we can’t say that we are saved,
that is, that we have eternal life, we really can’t say we have “believed
in or on” the Lord. If we haven’t believed in or on the Lord, there
is likely something that the Lord teaches with which we don’t agree.
We may not agree with what God says about sin in our lives. If that is
true, we won’t be able to believe the Gospel until we change our minds
to agree with God. Once we have repented and believed the Gospel we
should have no trouble “believing in the Lord” who cannot lie. Then
and then only will we know that we have eternal life.
of October 3, 2004
26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
peace or peace peace is the reward for those whose mind is stayed or
fixed or focused on Jehovah. I obviously don’t have my mind where it
ought to be a lot of the time because I have a tendency to get Peter’s
sinking feeling in Matthew 14:30 when he tried walking on water. I have
also been known to have the Israelites panicky feeling in Exodus 14:11
when they had the Egyptians pursuing them after their miraculous
deliverance from Egypt. I have been known to have the tendency to
complain like the Israelites in Numbers 21 when the way has seemed
discouraging and the food got old. If you have ever experienced doubt
when the Lord was working a miracle, or defeat when the Lord was
bringing about a victory or discouragement when the Lord was leading in
a direction that you didn’t like, then you, like me, did not have the
peace that comes with having your mind fixed on Him.
we walk by faith and not by sight when often we would rather walk by
sight and not by faith, we tend to get ourselves into spiritual
difficulties. We want to read the last chapter of the book of our lives
before committing ourselves wholly by faith to the Lord’s plan for our
life now that we are saved. We know that He loved us so much that He
died to save us and that His plan of salvation is the only one that
makes sense. Only His plan can save the rich and the poor, the young and
the old, the religious and the immoral. Only His plan can save in the
eleventh hour when people are about to die unsaved. Why do we have so
much trouble with His plan for our lives when we have experienced His
wisdom with the plan of salvation? We have friends who tell us that if
we do things “God’s way” it “won’t work”. They say that
things are different today and God does not work in the way He did in
the Bible. We have Satan telling us that if we do things “God’s way”
we won’t be happy or successful and that we will miss out on what this
life has to offer. We also have our own sinful natures that we would
rather depend on instead of depending on God. After all, God helps those
who help themselves, right?
peace would be such a treat in a world that knows only war and unrest.
If we had that kind of peace it would speak volumes to our unsaved
friends. But if we lose that peace by getting our eye off the Lord like
Peter did, a short prayer might be the solution. When Peter prayed, “Lord
save me!” he got His focus back and was delivered from danger.
we are paralyzed by the difficulties of life, we need to “stand still
and see the salvation of the Lord” like the children of Israel did at
the Red Sea. When we are asking, “What shall we do?“, sometimes the
best answer is to do nothing. We may find out that the Lord is able to
do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
we are discouraged like the children of Israel in Numbers 21, a fresh
look at the cross might be just the encouragement we need. The same
Gospel that saves is the Gospel that restores our fellowship to the Lord
when it has been broken by complaining about the Lord’s provision and
peace is available. May the Lord help us to quit looking at the
difficulties of life and to start looking “unto Jesus the author and
finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured
the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the
throne of God.” May we all stay focused on Him so we can enjoy perfect
of October 10, 2004
Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some
say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias,
or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I
am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God.
Lord starts out asking a general question and then moves to a very
personal question, “Who do you say that I am?” Many people can tell
you what others think about the Lord Jesus. Some can even tell you what
the major religious groups in the world say about the Lord Jesus.
However, the important question is, “What do each of us individually
think about Him?”
Jews thought He was an imposter. They said that He made Himself
something that He was not and, therefore, He deserved to die. (See John
19:7, The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to
die, because he made himself the Son of God.) As the Son of God, He had
all of the authority of God, all of the characteristics of God, all of
the wealth of God and He also would have been the Jewish Messiah that
was foretold in the Old Testament.
Gentile soldiers thought he was weak and they mocked His claim that He
was a King. Judas thought He was someone to be used and sold Him for 30
pieces of silver, expecting that no harm would come because He would
deliver Himself out of the hands of His persecutors. Many undoubtedly
didn’t know Who He was and didn’t care. But whom say ye that I am?
had the right answer. He knew that the Lord was the Christ or anointed
one of God. He wasn’t a Christ as many claim today, but He was the one
and only Christ. Peter knew He was the Son of the Living God and as such
He was not only the message of God and the messenger from God (John
1:1), He was very God. The Son would be like the Father. Peter didn’t
fully understand the suffering of Christ that would occur before His
resurrection at this point but He knew the One He trusted.
is on this bedrock Truth, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the
Living God, that Christ is building His church today. The church is
composed of the believers. He considers them His elect or chosen people
in the New Testament. He calls them saints or holy ones. They have been
bought with a price and separated from the world to be a special people
for the Lord. They are His bride and His body. They are precious to Him,
because they have believed in the truth that He is The Christ, The Son
of the Living God. These are the ones He came to save from the penalty
that they deserve because of their sins. These are the ones to whom He
gives a new life now. These are the saved.
do you say that He is? Our eternal destinies and our eternal blessing
depends on our personal response to this question.
of October 17, 2004
Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the
Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
other day, when I was jogging at the gym, I found myself wondering why I
was using up the limited number of heartbeats that I have left by
raising my heart rate unnecessarily. If the Lord knows how many heart
beats we have during our lifetime, and I assume He does since He knows
the number of hairs on my head and He knows every sparrow that exists,
why should I use my heartbeats up faster than is necessary in order to
maintain good health? This is a question for which I have no answer, but
I think I will keep on jogging.
question I have is why should we pray when God knows our needs before we
ask Him (Matthew 6:8)? Does prayer really change what God was going to
do anyway and does the prayers of a group of people affect the heart of
God more than the heartfelt prayers of a single person?
may not understand how prayer works but we walk by faith and not by
sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) and God does ask us to pray both individually
and together. He asks us to pray for His will to be done (Matthew 6:10)
when we know that we cannot frustrate the will of God. He asks us to
continue praying even when it seems that He is not willing to listen
(Luke 11:8). He Himself prayed to the Father with Whom He had complete
unity (John 10:30). He tells us that prayers of worship and praise are a
sacrifice that pleases Him (Hebrews 13:15).
are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I assume that means
that if the Lord lays a burden on our hearts we are to keep praying
about that situation even when the answer does not seem to forthcoming,
much like the prayer of “importunity” or perseverance in Luke 11. My
earthly father could get quite impatient and would often say, “I said
no so don‘t ask me again!.” But the Lord says, “Keep asking and if
you are asking for something for which you ought to be asking, at the
proper time I will answer.” That keeps hope alive.
Paul asks for the Thessalonians to pray for Him that He might be
effective in the Gospel. He does this in a number of places (for example
see Ephesians 6:19 as well as 2 Thessalonians 3:1). Obviously, prayer is
communication with God and no relationship can survive without
communication. So let us pray for kings and all that are in authority,
let us pray for one another, let us pray for the furtherance of the
Gospel. Let us offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Let us
not wait until “all else fails” to pray but let us pray so that all
else does not fail.
is not what makes a Christian (Acts 10:2), faith in the atoning work of
Christ does that. But prayer is the automatic response of a Christian’s
faith (Acts 9:11), and prayer develops a close intimate relationship
with the Lord. So let us pray. I would say like Paul, “Pray for us.”
of October 24, 2004
Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is
profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and
of that which is to come.
we living for “short-run” enjoyment or do we make our decisions
based on what is best in the “long-run?” The short run is the life
that now is. The long run is the life that is to come.
was absolutely convinced that man’s existence did not end at the
grave. He talked about how he would like to depart or die so he could be
with the Lord even though he knew he was still needed here in the life
that now is (Philippians 1:23). In 2 Timothy 4 Paul knew that his
execution date was coming (the time of my departure is at hand, v 6) and
yet he knew that when this life was over there was a crown of
righteousness waiting for him. As a matter of fact, he knew that his
execution would “deliver him from every evil work (2 Timothy 4:18).”
Paul knew what was important and he put his money on the life that is to
knew that we need to be wise in this life. That is why he actually
encourages bodily exercise since it profits a little or for a little
time. Bodily exercise helps us during the life that now is. But there is
an exercise that will benefit us for eternity and Paul calls it
godliness. This godliness comes from turning away from the false things
of this world and turning to the living God by trusting in the salvation
provided through His Son (1 Timothy 4:7-10 and 1 Timothy 1:15). The
unsaved need to reminded that for them the life that is to come is an
existence without light or love. It will be spent in the blackness of
darkness forever (Jude 1:13) and yet it will be in a place of
everlasting burnings and torment (Isaiah 33:14 and Revelation 14:11).
Experiencing both fire and darkness at the same time seems impossible
but I believe God who says that the unbeliever will experience both. I
understand that the center of our earth is extremely hot and extremely
dark so these conditions can co-exist. It would certainly be foolish to
enjoy ourselves in the life that now is and suffer for it in the life
that is to come because we did not believe God.
of us who are saved may not have our priorities right either. We may be
so earthly minded that we are no heavenly good. We may have forgotten
that time is short and eternity is long and we may be living for that
which is temporary rather than for that which is permanent or forever.
good businessman will tell you that decisions that maximize profits in
the short-run do not necessarily maximize profits in the long-run. A
businessman might sell a defective item to an unsuspecting person at an
extremely high price and might maximize short-run profits by doing so.
But in the long-run, he may lose his business if people realize that he
is “ripping them off”. We may feel that we are maximizing the
benefits of this life when we violate the principles of righteousness as
found in the Bible but in the long run we will be losers. The unsaved
will lose their well-being in the life that is to come and the believer
will lose the reward that comes with faithfulness now. The present time
is our testing time. If we as believers are faithful now when following
the Lord is not popular, the Lord will reward us for that in the life
that is to come (1 Corinthians 3:14).
we need to sit back and think about the life that now is verses the life
that is to come. This will help us get our thinking and our priorities
right (Matthew 6:33, Romans 12:1-2, John 5:24).
of October 31, 2004