Christmas: The Dawn of Death’s Destruction

via Churchleaders.com Photo credit www.sodahead.com

The Apostle Paul wrote, “O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Anyone grieving the death of someone they love deeply will say that “sting” hardly begins to describe the pain.

And Christmas often heightens this pain. Certain decorations recall hands we will never hold again. Gatherings make visible precious absences. Sweet voices now stilled echo in our memories as we sing or share stories.

But this is not a bad thing. Christmas is actually a very good time for grief. Because sorrow has a way of disbursing fantasy nonsense and pointing us to what the birth of Jesus was all about: death’s destruction (1 Corinthians 15:26).

The sting Paul is talking about is not grief. He knows “sorrow upon sorrow” (Philippians 2:27). He is talking about something far worse: condemnation.

“The sting of death is sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56) because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). And physical death hardly begins to describe this death. Like all of us, Paul would have preferred to not die physically (2 Corinthians 5:4). But he knew he would (2 Timothy 4:6). The death Paul spent his life trying to save people from was spiritual death.

Paul’s main concern was the “wrath and fury” (Romans 2:8) people would experience if they stood before the “judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10) still in their sins (1 Corinthians 15:16-20). He believed the worst possible thing a human being can experience is to be “accursed and cut off from Christ” (Romans 9:2). He believed Jesus, who said,

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

This is the main issue in life. We must be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20) and have our sentence of hell cancelled (Colossians 2:14). And the only way to do that is to receive the free gift of God, which is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life through his Son, Jesus (Romans 6:23).

That’s why Jesus came. His whole purpose for being born was to die,

That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (Hebrews 2:14–15)

But not just to die. Jesus was born to be raised from the dead (Revelation 1:18). He is the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in him “though he die yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem it was the dawn of death’s destruction. It made possible the fast-approaching time when,

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8)

If you’re feeling grief this Christmas, then know that what you’re experiencing is very much a part of Christmas. Jesus came to deal with your grief. Hear with fresh ears the angel’s gospel: Jesus came to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). And if sin is removed, death’s days are numbered and your numbered tears (Psalm 56:8) will be wiped away.

May the Resurrection and the Life infuse your Christmas grief with hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Reclame

How will God judge us?

Photo credit www.thechristianmessage.org

John Piper:

No one will be saved on the basis of deeds. Everyone goes to the lake of fire, if he is judged on the basis of the books alone. That’s a frightening thing, because the lake of fire, according to chapter 14, burns forever and ever and ever. And their torment rises to all ages. You don’t wanna go there. You don’t wanna be judged on the basis of what’s written in the books. You want to be judged according to the books, on the basis of the Book (of life).

„None is righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10 None will be saved by the record of his deeds. None. Question: Does that mean that the record of your life in the books is irrelevant, if you have your name in the Book (of life)? Answer: No. When Romans 2:6 says „God will render to each one according to his works,” He means just what He says. God will render to every Christian and non Christian ‘according to’- which is a very bid difference than ‘on the basis of’ his works. It doesn’t mean your works save you. It does mean that your works confirm that you are saved.

I’ll say that again: When he says that God will judge everyone according to their works, He doesn’t mean the works become the ground of their salvation. He means the works are the fruit of their salvation, and confirm that they are written in there. With the Holy Spirit in their lives, living by faith alone, in the righteousness of Christ, imputed to them freely.

FRUIT DOES NOT MAKE A TREE GOOD. A good tree bears good fruit. It shows that the tree is good. For the believer, whose name is written in the Book of Life, the life of the Lamb who is slain, a believer who is covered by the blood of Christ, because they’ve thrown themselves on the mercy of Christ, they’re in the Lamb, who sing „Christ, who is my righteousness”, and they mean it, and they glory in their Redeemer, for them: The books are not condemnation, but confirmation.

VIDEO by Desiring God  Website http://www.desiringGod.org/

Voddie Baucham – Last sentence in the Book of Romans

Romans – 16:25-27 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith– 27 to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

As we come to the end of this letter, Paul does not disappoint. It has been said that “orthodoxy always leads to orthopraxy”. In other words „right believing” will lead us to our right behaving, eventually. If we don’t believe rightly, we won’t behave rightly. But, it is also true, perhaps even more true that orthodoxy always leads to doxology. Doxology, or praise. When you know God rightly, you cannot help but worship God. And, it is quite ironic that there are those in our day, and those in our culture, who pit our knowledge of God, over and against our worship of God, as though we have to choose one or the other. As if we can only be heady Christians who know a lot about God, or we can be spiritual Christians who experience a lot with God. That is a false dichotomy. Nothing could be further from the truth. You cannot fully worship what you do not know.

You will never worship God rightly, unless you know God rightly. And here’s the beauty of it, because the knowledge of God is inexhaustible, we have an eternity growing in our appreciation for and worship of the almighty God. You cannot exhaust the knowledge of God. You cannot exhaust an understanding of what He’s done , and who He is, and because of that, you cannot and will not stop growing in your doxology, your praise. As Paul has walked through this, his magnum opus, the Book of Romans, and as he has dug more deeply than anywhere else in the New Testament, into this doctrine of our justification, it is only fitting, that as he comes to the end, he leaves us with this parting statement. If I had to give a title to this ending statement, it would be „Praise God for the Gospel!” That’s basically where Paul finishes.

I couldn’t help it, as I read through this passage and worked through this passage, through all of the implications here in this passage, I couldn’t help but just see the stark contrast between what we understand as worship and what Paul does here as worship. Because again, culturally, we’ve come to this place, where we believe that worship is purely experiential. That worship is about our experience with God. It is not about knowing God rightly. It is about encountering God passionately. If you read the lyrics of much of what we call worship music today, what you will find is that it is by and large not about God at all, but about our experience of God. About the way God makes me feel about me.

And so, when we gather, our desire is to bring ourselves to this cathartic experience of overwhelming ecstasy in how much God loves me. And how central I am in the grand scheme of things. We gather to make much of „me”, when what Paul does here, at the end of the Book of Romans is not to pause and talk about his experience, with these great truths. But, basically, to pause and say, „Before I go, let me remind you to praise God for the Gospel.”

In the text above, basically what you can do- there’s a bunch of propositional phrases and subordinate clauses in that sentence, and basically, what you can do is take all those propositions and all those clauses away and here’s what you get: „Now to Him”. Stop there. Cause, who is qualifying the Him? Stope there, and then it picks up in verse 27. You have another phrase there: To the only wise God. Go right after that, because that goes to describing this „Him”. So, if you put a line right after „the only wise God”, and you put a line right after „Him”, then, you’ve just connected those two. Here’s what you find: Now to Him be glory, forever more, through Jesus Christ. Amen. That’s his statement. The rest of this sort of explains the why and how there’s glory to Him, through Jesus Christ forevermore.

So, as we plow through this statement, let’s not actually lose sight of what Paul is doing here: Praising God for the Gospel. First of all, because the Gospel magnifies God. „Now to Him,” God is being magnified here. „To Him be glory, forever more, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Why through Jesus Christ? Because the gospel is the good news about what God has done in Jesus Christ. And that magnifies God. The Gospel magnifies God. That is why we worship God, that is why we thank God for the Gospel. That is why understanding the Gospel leads you to the right worship of God.

What is the Gospel?

Notice, first of all what Paul says here about God. He says that God is able, he goes on to say that God is eternal. Then, if you go down and look at verse 26, the last part of that, „according to the command of the eternal God.” So, God’s able, God’s eternal. He also says that God is singular, and that God is wise. So we see here a picture of God as able, as eternal, as singular, and as wise. So, God is magnified here, even in the words that Paul chooses to use to describe God. So, as he comes to this point of praise, as he comes to this point of worship, what he says is: If you’ve been listening and following all the way through the book of Romans, I’ve pointed you to God, by explaining to you the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I’ve explained to you the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we’ve seen that God is able. We’ve seen that God is eternal, so this is not an afterthought. We’ve seen that God is singular, there is no other God. And we see that God is wise. You couldn’t have figured this out on your own. But, beyond that, the Gospel itself magnifies this powerful, eternal, singular, wise God. If we understand the Gospel rightly.

What the Gospel is not

For the most part, we do not understand the Gospel rightly. We basically make 4 mistakes when we talk about the Gospel. And, this is what you and I encounter, when people say ‘the Gospel’. And why is it important here? Because Paul says „Praise God for the Gospel”. And, f you don’t know what the Gospel is, you are praising God for the law, and you are praising God for yourself. May it never be! Here is what the Gospel is not:

  1. Mistake #1 – We see the Gospel as (just) the plan of salvation – You ask the average Christian in our culture what is the Gospel, and they will not give you an announcement about what God has done, they will give you steps by which you get saved. Here is the danger in that: When you see the Gospel just as the plan of salvation, your understanding of the Gospel is truncated. So you are saved by the Gospel, but you are sanctified and you are kept by something other than the Gospel, if the Gospel is just the plan of salvation. Look at verse 25 again „now to Him who is able to strengthen you, according to my Gospel..” He doesn’t say „save you” according to my Gospel. If you read the Book, you know that God is able to save you according to His Gospel. It is the power of God to save.. (Romans 1:16). But, he says here that God is able to strengthen you, or to establish you. God is able to keep you, to make you firm, by the Gospel. The Gospel is not just how we get in, the Gospel is not just the plan of salvation. That’s a truncated view and it robs God of worship. Because, when we view the Gospel as just the means by which we are saved, and not the means by which we are also sanctified and kept, then we believe God does the initial work, and we do the rest. That’s a problem. (14)
  2. Mistake #2 – We see the Gospel as (just) the great commandment- there are those who boil down the Gospel, basically to the commandment, „Love God, love people.” There are thousands of churches out there whose statement is „We’re so and so church” and we’re about loving God and loving people. And, what it’s supposed to be is this sort of encapsulation of the Gospel. There’s a slight problem. That’s actually not an encapsulation of the Gospel. It’s an encapsulation of the law. That „Love God, love people,” it actually comes from Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39, where they ask: Jesus, what’s the greatest commandment, and they want to see which scholar He’s going to align Himself with. „What’s the greatest commandment?” There, Jesus says, „The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” By the way, that’s a summary of the first 4 commandments. So, „Jesus, what’s your greatest commandment?” His response, „I think 1 through 4.” And then He says, „And the second one is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s the summary of commandments 5-10. „Jesus, what’s the greatest commandment?” „I’m gonna have to say 1-4, followed closely by 5-10.” ‘Love God, and love your neighbor is not a summary of the Gospel, it’s a summary of the law. It is bondage, but, it is only the Gospel that frees us to love God, and love our neighbor. It’s the Gospel that empowers us to do that. If you replace the Gospel with ‘Love God, love people,’ you have actually replaced the Gospel with the law. There is no salvation in the law. By the works of salvation shall no flesh be justified. That’s not the Gospel.
  3. Mistake #3 – We see the Gospel (just) as the great commission. In other words, when Jesus says to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe whatsoever I commanded you (Matthew 28:16-20) there are those who say, „That’s the Gospel”. That ‘the whatsoever I commanded you’, that’s the Gospel. That is another instance of replacing Gospel with law, by telling everybody to go out and obey everything that Jesus commanded. The Gospel is not all the moral teachings of Jesus.
  4. Mistake #4 – We see the Gospel (just) as personal testimony- There are many evangelism training methods, that teach you to go out and share the Gospel with people. And, what they mean by that is ‘share your story’ with people. You know how ironic that is? The Gospel is Christ’s story. (18)

Praise God for the Gospel!

by needanewstartcom

The Gospel magnifies God

The Gospel is an announcement, it is news. It is God centered news. It is an announcement of what God has done. It is Christ centered news. It is an announcement of what God has done in Christ. It is cross centered news. It is an announcement of what God has done, in Christ, through the cross, to save sinners. The Gospel is grace centered news. The Gospel is an announcement of what God has done, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, through His cross, through His active and passive obedience, laying down His life, on the behalf of sinners, who are saved by the sheer grace of God, as that death is applied to them. And the Gospel is eschatological news. It is news for the now, and the hereafter. It has implications for every aspect of our lives.

  1. Implications for how we love God, and love people.
  2. Implications for how we carry out the Great Commission.
  3. Implications for how we understand, let alone tell our story
  4. Implications for all those things

The Gospel is an announcement of news. You are not the Gospel. The Gospel is not your story. The Gospel is not something that happens in you. The Gospel is something that has happened outside of you.

The Gospel displays God’s power

Not only does the Gospel magnify God, but the Gospel displays God’s power. Verse 25 „Now to Him who is able”. God is able- you could spend the rest of your life unpacking that one, right there. But, what has Paul been writing about? By the way, there is in this last sentence, a recapitulation of the major points that Paul has been making. It’s glorious when you see it. Paul goes bak here- „Now to Him, who is able to strengthen you..” In Ephesians 3, there is a doxology in the middle of the letter, that sounds just like this. Ephesians 3:20-21 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Jude 1:24 24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. And it goes back to this in Romans 1:4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.  and Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 

This is not just our justification. You go to Romans 8 and it’s the whole golden thread. This Gospel is not just how God gets us justified, but it’s how He gets us adopted, and sanctified, and glorified. All of it, right there in that chapter. And it is the Gospel, by which that is accomplished. In Romans 1:11 Paul says, „ I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.” What is the spiritual gift to strengthen them? The Gospel. The Gospel displays the power of God.

We see the power of God here. The power to save us, the power to strengthen and sanctify us, and the power to secure us. Paul says, „Praise God for the Gospel, because the Gospel doesn’t just magnify God, but it displays His power. God’s power saves. God’s power strengthens. God’s power keeps. Isn’t it interesting that here in this doxology, Paul doesn’t say, „Now, in light of what I have given you, hold on tight and work real hard. By the way, he’s not against holding on tight, and he’s not against working real hard. But, you have to understand that your holding on tight, and your working real hard is not what keeps you. It is a byproduct of the only thing that keeps you, which is the Gospel. (29)

The Gospel unfolds God’s providence

„according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages, but now has been disclosed through the prophetic writings, and has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith. What does he recap here? Salvation history. Paul, the Jew, the Benjamite, was anticipating the fulfillment of of the promises that God made to his forefather Abraham, and is now seeing the conversion of the Gentile world, the very fulfillment of the promises that he’s longing for, and beyond that, he gets to walk the ground and watch it happen first hand. So, when he says, „Praise God for the Gospel, he cannot help but recount salvation history, and what it is that God has done. We see this also throughout the letter, that which is revealed or manifested. That goes back to 1:17 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith, and 3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. Paul’s pointing back to it, here in his doxology. „Praise God!” But, not just praise God because I feel warm and fuzzy about God right now. Praise God because of the things I told you earlier. Praise God because of what I said in chapters 1,2,3,4,5. Praise God for all of these things I have just unfolded for you. Praise God for that which was present even in the writings of the prophets, but is only now being fully understood. Praise God for His timing in His bringing these things about in His fullness of time. Romans 1:2  the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. Again, Paul is not just praising God because he’s finished writing, he’s praising God and he’s pointing back to what he’s written, much of it in the first chapter. Again, this is a bookend. WE PREACH THE GOSPEL, and THAT’S WHAT MAKES THEM OBEDIENT SONS OF GOD, because it unfolds God’s providence before us. How can you hear the Gospel and not pause in awe of the unfolding providence of God?

Pentecost (2) How many gifts are there?

from Wayne Grudem’s  BIBLE Doctrine – Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith.

In Part 1 We read regarding Spiritual Gifts in general- 1)Spiritual gifts in the history of redemption and 2) The purpose of gifts in the New Testament age. You can read part 1 here.

The New Testament lists specific spiritual gifts in six different passages. See table here –1 Corinthians 12:28 , 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 7:7, 1 Peter 4:11.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

  1. apostle   – (1-8 from 1 Cor. 12:28)
  2. prophet
  3. teacher
  4. miracles
  5. kinds of healing
  6. helps
  7. administration
  8. tongues
  9. word of wisdom   – (9-13 from 1 Cor. 12:8-10)
  10. word of knowledge
  11. faith
  12. distinguishing between spirits
  13. interpretation of tongues
  14. evangelist        –   (14-15 from Ephesians 4:11)
  15. pastor-teacher
  16. serving    –  (16-20 from Romans 12:6-8)
  17. encouraging
  18. contributing
  19. leadership
  20. mercy
  21. marriage     – (21-22 from 1 Cor. 7:7)
  22. celibacy

1 Peter 4:11 whoever speaks (covering several gifts) and whoever renders service (also covering several gifts). Click to read more…

Mai mult

Free Will (2) Thirteen Things a Lost Person Can Not Do

by Curtis A. Pugh (via) monergism

That the lost sinner must cast himself wholly on the mercy and grace of God must be obvious to those who read and believe the Scriptures. But the Bible knows nothing of such foolish man-made ideas as „praying the sinner’s prayer”, or „making a decision for Christ”, or „inviting Jesus into your heart” or „going forward to receive Christ.” No New Testament preacher ever used such terms or tactics! To tell spiritually dead sinners that there is something they can do to bring about their salvation is damnable heresy for by its false hope sinners are taught to trust in what they have done rather in Christ who has done all. 

Consider these thirteen spiritual things an unsaved person cannot do:

1. HE CANNOT THINK AS GOD DOES:

„For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

2. HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND GOD:

„. . . thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself . . .” (Psalm 50:21)

„Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? (Job 11:7-8)

3. HE CANNOT SEE SPIRITUAL THINGS:

„Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

4. HE CANNOT KNOW HIS OWN HEART: 

„The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

5. HE CANNOT PROPERLY DIRECT HIS OWN PATHS:

„O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

„There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

6. HE CANNOT FREE HIMSELF FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW:

„For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10)

7. HE CANNOT RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT:

„Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not . . .” (John 14:17)

8. HE CANNOT HEAR (receive & understand) GOD’S WORDS:

„He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God.” (John 8:47)

„But the natural (unsaved) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14)

9. HE CANNOT BIRTH HIMSELF INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD:

„Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God.” (John 1:13)

„For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16)

10. HE CANNOT PRODUCE REPENTANCE AND FAITH IN CHRIST:

„For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

„. . . for all men have not faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

„For unto you it is given . . . to believe on him . . .” (Philippians 1:29)

„. . . if God peradventure will give them repentance . . .” (2 Timothy 2:25)

„. . . to them that have obtained like precious faith with us . . .” (2 Peter 1:1)

11. HE CANNOT COME TO CHRIST:

„No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him . . . Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:44, 65)

12. HE CANNOT BELIEVE ON CHRIST:

„But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep as I said unto you.” (John 10:26)

13. HE CANNOT PLEASE GOD:

„For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. . . . So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:5, 8, 9)

SO THEN, MANKIND IS SHUT UP TO THE FACT OF HIS OWN TOTAL INABILITY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT HIS LOST CONDITION.

In the light of these things which a spiritually dead (lost) sinner cannot do, how then do we account for the command of God to all men to repent? The Bible does state that God „. . . now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). What do we do about the counsel of God to men which says they are to believe on Christ? Would God command and instruct men to do that which they cannot do?

We answer an emphatic „Yes!” Our proof is the holy Law of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai. While there was nothing wrong with God’s Law, no man is able to keep those commandments (1 Timothy 1:8; Romans 8:3). No man ever kept the Law of God and yet God was right to give it to man and command its keeping! By that Law we see ourselves as sinners (Romans 3:20). That was the purpose of the Law!

While God requires repentance (the will to turn from sin) and faith (the will to believe in Christ), no man is able of himself to do either. Thus, as with the Law, man is forced to see that there is nothing good in him and that he cannot repent and believe savingly in Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Bible God’s children recognize their own inability to do anything to save themselves. In addition to the portions previously quoted in this tract, consider the following statements:

„. . . I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)

„Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

„. . . I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.” (Psalm 88:8)

Turn us. O God of our salvation . . .” (Psalm 85:4)

” . . . Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.” (Jeremiah 31:18)

„But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our riqhteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee . . .” (Isaiah 64:6, 7)

„. . . Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).

Those who think that they can properly repent of their own ability and savingly believe of their own faith fall into error. They trust in their own ability and not in the saving work of Jesus Christ! Is not this true of those who boast of their past sins and their turning from them? Do they not claim that they did it themselves? Repeatedly we hear this in their popular „testimony meetings.” Some are willing to share the glory and admit that they had a little help from God, but even this is wicked confidence in the flesh. And do not some religionists boast of their faith as if it was some great thing worthy of reward? Faith (confidence) in my faith or in my turning to God is not „. . . the faith of God’s elect.” (Titus 1:1)

Paul wrote concerning true children of God, „. . . We . . . worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3). To trust in anything done in the flesh (human nature and strength) is to have „confidence in the flesh.” To trust in your prayer, your baptism, your goodness, your faith or any experience you may have had is to have confidence in the flesh and not to trust in Christ. The faith and confidence of the true believer is in Christ! Those born of God trust not in rituals, sacraments, good works, their own repentance or their faith in Christ, but rather in Christ alone!

„Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith . . .” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Are you trusting in your faith or are you trusting in Christ? What is the object of your faith? Do you really see that all your „righteousnesses are as filthy rags”? (Isaiah 64:6). Have you seen that you deserve Hell? Are you willing to take your place as a sinner and if God sends you to Hell will you say He is just, fair, and righteous to do so? Or do you think yourself unworthy of eternal punishment?

Consider these words from the old English Baptist Gadsby Hymnal.

O beware of trust ill-grounded;
‘Tis but fancied faith at most, 
To be cured, and not be wounded:
To be saved before you’re lost.

Have you never been wounded by the Word of God so that your sins have been laid bare? Have you never been lost–that is, have you seen yourself as hopelessly lost and a Hell-deserving sinner? How can you think yourself saved if you have never been lost? Jesus said, „. . . I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). If a sinner, surely the Scriptures cited in this tract have shown that you are helpless to do anything about your terrible lost condition!

Salvation is free and comes, „Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us . . .” (Titus 3:5). Look to Jesus Christ, who has done all things necessary and possible, „for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

May God give you grace to see yourself as He does, and may He give you the twin gifts of „. . . repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21) so that you are „. . . not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39).

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