Sure and Steadfast Hope #522

18  …that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20  where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:18–20, NKJV)

Although anxiety can weigh down the heart to the point of despair, hope in Christ secures the soul. God’s promise and God’s oath are the two unchangeable things that give us strong encouragement as we live by faith (Heb. 6:13, 17). God made a promise of eternal blessings to Abraham and his seed. God keeps His word. God swore by Himself in order to confirm the certainty of His promise. God does not lie. Therefore, our hope (desire and expectation) of eternal life is sure and steadfast. Through Christ we have access to the Presence of Almighty God. He has gone into heaven before us, serving as our High Priest and obtaining for us God’s mercy and grace (Heb. 7-8). Patiently endure the present trials; your hope is secure in Jesus (Heb. 6:15).

Anxiety and Gladness #521

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” (Proverbs 12:25, ESV)

Anxiety is an anchor that strangles the soul, depriving the heart of joy and gladness. Worrying and fretting over things one cannot change diverts attention away from those things that truly matter. Jesus said that anxiety robs the heart of trust in and dependency upon God (Matt. 6:25-34). To guard against this enemy of joy, Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:25-34). Our proverb says the heart burdened with worrisome doubt can be lifted up by well-chosen words of comfort and encouragement. If you know someone who is struggling with anxiety, offer them a kind and pleasant word that reassures them of God’s ever-present love and care. Help lift the anchor that is dragging them down to despair.

This is Love #520

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. (2 John 6, NKJV)

There is a great deception upon the land. Cries of “love” are heard endorsing all manner of immorality. Sin’s reality and presence is swept away by chants of “love”, “love”, “love”. There is no doubt we need love. We need genuine love – the way God defines love – not counterfeits. This is apparent because “God is love” (1 Jno. 4:8). So, if we are to please God, His definition of love must guide us to the love we will practice and endorse. Every false view of love must be rejected as a lie of the evil one. The apostle of the Son of God said love is walking “according to His commandments”. When we obey God, we love Him and one another. Too simple, you say? Do you love God enough to give it a try? Make it your aim to practice love the way God defines it. Obey Him. Walk in love. Walk with God.

“I hate every false way” #519

Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:104, NKJV)

The inspired psalmist cast his lot with those who gain enlightenment through the word of God (cf. Eph. 5:17). There are many sources of information that are “falsely called knowledge”, but only one that gives us understanding of divine truth and His will for our lives (1 Tim. 6:20-21). We “hate every false way” precisely because they oppose God’s truth. They lead us away from God. There is one way of truth that leads to God, the Father. His name is Jesus (Jno. 14:6). Every false way leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13). We are morally obliged to know and follow God’s precepts. Do not be enamored with the false ways of sin and death.

Death of Sin or Life in Christ? #518

24  O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25  I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 7:24–8:1, NKJV)

Paul is describing the lost man who is under law, under sin in verse 24. The law of Moses could not rescue him from sin’s death; it magnified the problem of sin (Rom. 7:13; 5:20). This man is “carnal, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). He is “dead in trespasses and sins” because sin is ruling him (Eph. 2:1-3). He is lost in sin, miserable and consumed by death (Rom. 6:23). (He was not born this way; he chose to sin, Rom. 5:12). Lost in sin, he is sin’s slave, serving sin with the flesh. The sinner can only be rescued from sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord. There is no condemnation in Christ – thank God! The sinner puts on Christ when he is baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; Matt. 28:19). Once in Christ, he is saved from sin’s death. Now, he lives according to the Spirit of truth and serves God, no longer indulging the sins of the flesh. Are you lost? Christ will save you. Come to Jesus in faith and enter a saved relationship with Him by being baptized into Him. He is ready and willing to save you.

What Jesus Preached #517

17  And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20  Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, 21  “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17–21, NKJV)

Some Christians believe and are convincing others that Jesus preached the Law of Moses when He was on the earth. That is false doctrine. The fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2 in this passage could not be more clear. Jesus was sent to preach the gospel – the good news of redemption from sin’s captivity. That is why we must hear Him and not Moses, whose law could never give remission of sins (Matt. 17:5; Heb. 10:1-4). If Jesus did not preach the gospel when He came to earth, then He is not the Christ of prophecy. He did and He is.

Love and Honor Jesus #516

40  And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” 41  “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42  And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 43  Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” (Luke 7:40–43, NKJV)

The debt of sin is owed by all, since “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). Yet, all do not feel the burden of their debt and fail to honor Jesus Christ – the only one through whom God forgives sins (Rom. 3:24; Acts 4:12). Failing to do so, their sin remains. Every sinner must love and honor Jesus to be forgiven. If you have unforgiven sin, then put your faith in Jesus, bow before Him and in love obey His will. He commands everyone lost in sins to believe His gospel, confess faith in Him, repent of sins and be baptized to be forgiven (Rom. 10:9-10; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:37-38). Your sin remains unless you have loving, obedient faith. Knowing the debt of sin compels those of faith to come to Jesus for His forgiveness on His terms.

Deposit Your Soul #515

Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:19, NKJV)

Christians are the ones who “suffer according to the will of God” (see verse 16). Peter says to entrust our souls to God “in doing good”. Just as we deposit money into a bank for its security, we must deposit our souls to God for safe-keeping by doing what is good – even when suffering comes. Our Creator is faithful and he will protect us against all enemies of the faith. Your faith will be tried and tested in this life. You will be tempted to turn your back on God. Do not yield. Entrust your soul to God by doing what He says is good (Eph. 2:10). He will save you when Jesus returns (1 Pet. 4:17-18).

Scarcely Saved #514

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:16–18, NKJV)

Everyone, including Christians, will stand before the Lord and be judged by His truth (2 Cor. 5:10). Already the judgments of God are applied to His house, the church. The righteous are saved with difficulty – the strenuous effort of the devoted life of faithfulness to Christ (see 1 Pet. 4:16). Therefore, the outcome of those who do not obey the gospel of God becomes evident. The ungodly and the sinner face the certainty of divine wrath on the day of God’s judgment. Surely this is incentive for everyone who fears God to repent and live by faith. Those who glorify God as faithful Christians will escape the eternal suffering of sin’s punishment. Will you?

Grow Up #513

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:14, NKJV)

Having already told Christians to wake up and clean up, the apostle now tells us to grow up (Rom. 13:11-13). While it is true we put on Christ when we “first believed” (when we were baptized into Christ, Gal. 3:27), we must continue to clothe ourselves with the Lord. Successful godly living requires spiritual growth in order to make decisions that glorify God and avoid sin. If we fail to grow up in Christ it will become easier to provide for sin. Do not plan to sin. Guard your heart against lustful thinking and cast off the darkness that gives occasion to fulfilling sinful desires. Starve the flesh of sinful lusts; put it to death. Be clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ. Be filled with and comforted by His righteous truth. He abundantly provides all things for life and godliness. Remember, salvation is nearer than when you first believed (Rom. 13:11).