VIDEO True Love and Eternal Salvation

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

The sixteenth-century English Bible translator, William Tyndale, was detained by royal authorities in Belgium and condemned to die. He was tied to a stake, strangled to death, and his body was burned. His last words were reported: “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes.” Not a prayer of vengeance, judgment, anger, or regret—but a prayer of love, that the king of England’s eyes would be open to spiritual truth. That is consistent with Paul’s description of unconditional love in 1 Corinthians 13:7: Love “hopes all things, endures all things.” And Jesus’ words in John 15:13: True love will lay down its own life (self-interests, desires) for the life of another. Jesus Himself, while dying on a cross, asked God to forgive those who put Him there (Luke 23:34).

All of these are examples of unconditional love—the kind of love God demonstrated when He sent His own Son to die for us, for those who were His enemies (John 3:16; Romans 5:10). Love for one’s enemies is unconditional love.

The Bible knows nothing of conditional love. How can you put the needs of others ahead of your own today?

True love is always costly.  Billy Graham

The Divine Guarantee of an Eternal Salvation, Part 2 (Romans 5:2–8)

Stronger than Hate

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34

Within twenty-four hours of his mother Sharonda’s tragic death, Chris found himself uttering these powerful, grace-filled words: “Love is stronger than hate.” His mother, along with eight others, had been killed at a Wednesday night Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina. What was it that had so shaped this teenager’s life that these words could flow from his lips and his heart? Chris is a believer in Jesus whose mother had “loved everybody with all her heart.”  

In Luke 23:26–49 we get a front row seat to an execution scene that included two criminals and the innocent Jesus (v. 32). All three were crucified (v. 33). Amid the gasps and sighs and the likely groans from those hanging on the crosses, the following words of Jesus could be heard: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (v. 34). The hate-filled initiative of the religious leaders had resulted in the crucifixion of the very One who championed love. Though in agony, Jesus’ love continued to triumph.

How have you or someone you love been the target of hate, ill-will, bitterness, or ugliness? May your pain prompt your prayers, and may the example of Jesus and people like Chris encourage you by the power of the Spirit to choose love over hate.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

When have you found it hard to love someone? Is there someone you find it hard to forgive now? What steps might you take?

Father, forgive me when I find it hard to forgive others. Help me to demonstrate that love is stronger than hate.

When the Odds Are Against You

Judges 7:1-7

Have you ever felt backed up against a wall with no way out? Although a situation like that is truly beyond what you can manage, it is not too big for God. In fact, if you could competently handle every difficulty that arose, then the credit would go to you and not to the Lord.  Impossible circumstances teach us an important lesson: to depend on Him and not on ourselves.  

Gideon was a reluctant warrior who felt inadequate for the task God called him to do: to deliver Israel from Midianite oppression (Judg. 6:14-16). But in obedience, he had rallied 32,000 men to fight against the enemy. However, the Lord then whittled the army down to just three hundred men. Humanly speaking, it would be impossible to defeat the enemy forces with so few. But that was precisely God’s point: He alone would achieve the victory and receive the glory.

When the odds are not in your favor, that doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. Stand your ground and keep your eyes on Him. Trust your heavenly Father, and you’ll be amazed at what He will achieve. Then glorify Him, giving thanks for His faithfulness.

When Christ is in You

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

The New Covenant includes a mystery Paul had the privilege of revealing to the Gentiles (Colossians 1:24-29). The history and prophecies of the Old Covenant contained a few hints of God’s plan for the last days, but the focus was centered on the “fulness of time” when the Messiah would come (Galatians 4:4).

Paul seemed thrilled to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8) and to have the responsibility of unveiling “the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Ephesians 3:2). More than the obligation, Paul felt a dread judgment if he failed (1 Corinthians 9:16). It follows that we should be clear in our own declaration of this mystery.

Simply put, the mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Obviously, that is the result of salvation. The new message is the completed work and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The promises of the prophets and the long history of Israel tend to obscure the eternal plan of God (Ephesians 3:11)—thus the detailed effort of the New Testament writers to amplify the “whosoever will” aspect of the gospel message.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven” (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Now it is possible for the whole world to have a personal and eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. HMM III

Faith Not Afraid to and Dares to Fail

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. —1 Corinthians 4:5

God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it.

God will allow His servant to succeed when he has learned that success does not make him dearer to God nor more valuable in the total scheme of things. We cannot buy God’s favor with crowds or converts or new missionaries sent out or Bibles distributed. All these things can be accomplished without the help of the Holy Spirit. A good personality and a shrewd knowledge of human nature is all that any man needs to be a success in religious circles today….

We can afford to follow Him to failure. Faith dares to fail. The resurrection and the judgment will demonstrate before all worlds who won and who lost. We can wait.   BAM059

Father, keep me faithful today. I don’t need to succeed in the world’s eyes; I’ll wait. Amen.

Altogether His and His Alone

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind. —Luke 10:27

Lord, I would trust Thee completely; I would be altogether Thine; I would exalt Thee above all.

I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee. I want constantly to be aware of Thy overshadowing presence and to heart Thy speaking voice.

I long to live in restful sincerity of heart.

I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thoughts may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship. Therefore I pray in the words of Thy great servant of old, “I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise thee.”

And all this I confidently believe Thou wilt grant me through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen. POG118

A distinguishing characteristic of true love to God is that it is supreme. “No man can serve two masters.” There cannot be two objects of supreme regard….The love of God is paramount to every other principle…every desire subservient to that of promoting His glory. DTC071-072

From Death to Life

1 John 3:14

Death is an inescapable fact. Euripides the poet called death “the debt we all must pay.” George Bernard Shaw wryly wrote, “The statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of one people die.” Death is the most democratic of all experiences.

No matter how we diet, how much we exercise, how many vitamins or health foods we eat, how low our cholesterol, some day, some way, we will die. The invincible reaper knocks ultimately at every door.

At some point each of us has felt the trauma of death. And in the poignant words of Tennyson, we have “a longing for the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is stilled.”

God deals seriously with the topic of death. We find the word “die” or its equivalent more than 1,300 times in the Bible. It tells us that sin brought death into the world, but that is not its last word on the subject.

At Easter we celebrate our Lord’s victory over death. His triumph over the grave vaporized all doubts among the believers in His day. The seismic significance of what took place on Easter is the epicenter of our faith. It is not a belief that grew up within the Church; it is the belief around which the Church itself grew up, and the “given” upon which its faith was based.

The resurrection forever negates the contrary arguments on eternal life—Feuerbach’s “wishful projection,” Marx’s “consolation of the oppressed,” Nietzsche’s denial of the eternal and Freud’s illusion theory.

In the radiant light of the resurrection, death becomes not a destruction but a metamorphosis, not a diminishing but a finishing. It is not a postscript or an appendix to our book of life, but rather reveals life on earth as merely the preface, with life in heaven as the full text—a text without end.

“We know that we have passed from death to life” (1 John 3:14). These words reverse the usual order of things. Conventional thinking says that we pass from life unto death. But John, who had heard the immortal words and witnessed the mighty life of the One who is the resurrection and the life, declares that the believer goes “from death to life.”

The resurrection of Christ transformed the crucifixion into a coronation. And the truth that we affirm is that we have passed from death to life!

Henry Gariepy, The War Cry