The Law and the Gospel

Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. —James 2:10

The moral law does not consider our weaknesses as human beings; in fact, it does not take into account our heredity or infirmities. It simply demands that we be absolutely moral. The moral law never changes, either for the highest of society or for the weakest in the world. It is enduring and eternally the same. The moral law, ordained by God, does not make itself weak to the weak by excusing our shortcomings. It remains absolute for all time and eternity. If we are not aware of this, it is because we are less than alive. Once we do realize it, our life immediately becomes a fatal tragedy. “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died” (Romans 7:9). The moment we realize this, the Spirit of God convicts us of sin. Until a person gets there and sees that there is no hope, the Cross of Christ remains absurd to him. Conviction of sin always brings a fearful, confining sense of the law. It makes a person hopeless— “…sold under sin” (Romans 7:14). I, a guilty sinner, can never work to get right with God— it is impossible. There is only one way by which I can get right with God, and that is through the death of Jesus Christ. I must get rid of the underlying idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience. Who of us could ever obey God to absolute perfection!

We only begin to realize the power of the moral law once we see that it comes with a condition and a promise. But God never coerces us. Sometimes we wish He would make us be obedient, and at other times we wish He would leave us alone. Whenever God’s will is in complete control, He removes all pressure. And when we deliberately choose to obey Him, He will reach to the remotest star and to the ends of the earth to assist us with all of His almighty power.

By Oswald Chambers

Don’t Be Afraid

Matthew 14:22-34

We can expect that at some point in life, we will hit turbulence. Perhaps we’ve already experienced some and can tell there is more to come. Our situation may be so serious that we wonder, How am I going to make it through this?

Consider the time when the disciples found themselves in rough water on the Sea of Galilee. Scripture tells us that waves were battering their boat and the wind was against them. In the midst of the squall, the disciples thought they saw a ghost approaching. These grown men, some of whom were seasoned fisherman, cried out in fear. Their apprehension didn’t subside until they became aware that it was Jesus walking toward them.

What happened when they recognized that it was the Lord? They received . . .

• Comfort in their crisis. Tension subsided as they thought, Ah, Jesus is here. We aren’t helpless and alone anymore.

• Courage to face their trial. Peter found the boldness to obey Jesus and step out of the boat.

• Confidence for their future. They realized that Jesus’ presence could not be driven away by the severe winds.

What waves and winds are battering you? Are you afraid? Ask the Lord to reveal His presence in your situation and then to fill your senses with that awareness. Close your eyes and picture Him at your side, holding you tightly. Let your ears hear Him whisper reassurance and love. Fill your mind with the knowledge of His promises, and draw upon the strength, comfort, and courage He offers.

The Lake of Fire

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

Some people may not believe in hell, but God makes it clear that all “the fearful, the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8).

Actually, Jesus Christ said more about hell than anyone else in the Bible. To the unsaved, He will say: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

The lake of fire is not here on the earth. The beast and the false prophet are to be cast into the lake of fire before the binding of Satan for a thousand years; then the present earth itself is to be removed, and finally Satan will be “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10; see also 19:20; 20:2, 7, 10-11). Thus the lake of fire is in existence both before and after the removal of the present earth, and will continue to exist forever.

Many argue that the lake of fire is symbolic and should not be taken literally. If so, the reality must be so indescribable that it can only be symbolized by an eternal lake of fire. Perhaps it is some distant star, since stars are essentially lakes of fire, and those “that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” are to be “punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

Rather than questioning the reality of hell, which is the just destiny of all who reject or ignore the free gift of salvation provided by the infinite love and sacrificial suffering of God Himself in Christ on their behalf, men and women should come to Christ in faith and “be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9). HMM

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed; with us is the Lord our God, to help us, and to fight our battles

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed; with us is the Lord our God, to help us, and to fight our battles.—2
Chronicles 32:7, 8.

WE fling aside the weight and sin,
Resolved the victory to win,
No shrinking from the desperate fight,
No thought of yielding or of flight,
With the brave heart and steady eye,
We onward march to victory.

IF you, your heart, your will, are enlisted on the good side, if you are wishing and trying that the good in you should conquer the bad, then you are on the side of God Himself, and God is on your side; and “if God be for us, who shall be against us?” Take courage, then. If thou dislikest thy sins, so does God. If thou art fighting against thy worst feelings, so is God. On thy side is God who made
all, and Christ who died for all, and the Holy Spirit who alone gives wisdom, purity, nobleness. How canst thou fail when He is on thy side? On thy side are all spirits of just men made perfect, all wise and good souls in earth and heaven, all good and wholesome influences, whether of nature or of grace, of matter or of mind. How canst thou fail if they are on thy side? CHARLES KINGSLEY.

Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth

Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. Isaiah 65:17

The new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, … so shall your seed and your name remain.

We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And 1 John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.

Isaiah 66:22. 2 Peter 3:13. Revelation 21:15.

A man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest

A man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest. Isaiah 32:2

Forasmuch … as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. —The man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts. —I and my Father are one.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. — There shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. — The LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. — Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble. — Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

Hebrews 2:14. Zechariah 13:7. John 10:30. Psalm 91:1. Isaiah 4:6. Psalm 121:5,6. Psalm 61:2. Psalm 32:7. Isaiah 25:4.