Tag Archives: Salvation

The Cure for Depression

David’s life began as a young shepherd boy keeping watch over his father’s flock as they grazed along the hillsides of Judea. Being the youngest son of Jesse, he was the one chosen by God to be the next king of Israel. The current king, Saul, showed great jealousy over the selection of David before the end of his reign had taken place, attempting to pin David to the wall of his palace with a javelin not once, but twice on two different occasions  (1 Samuel 18-19).

The Psalms are the writings of David as he experienced life as a shepherd boy and also as a man on the run, for his life, from the king. Throughout the Psalms David’s emotions are on full display, from triumphant in victories over the lion and bear attacking the flock and the defeat of Goliath, to the despair he felt in the forced separation from his best friend Jonathan, King Saul’s son. There were those who hailed David as victor for his acts of valor, and those in confederate with King Saul who sought to fulfill the King’s wishes in seeing David’s demise.

Many of David’s Psalms begin with hopelessness and despair but find their way to praising God for His goodness, faithfulness, longsuffering, deliverance, and/or salvation before their conclusion. David’s answer in Psalm 42 to being cast down and disquieted was to “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God”  (v.11).

Psalm 3   “LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me,” (v.1).   “Arise, O LORD, save me… Salvation belongeth unto the Lord,” (vs.7-8).

Psalm 12  “Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth,” (v.1).  “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth,” (v.6).

Psalm 35   “Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me,” (v.1).  “My soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in His salvation,” (v.9).

Psalm 56  “Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up,” (v.1).  “In God will I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me,” (v.11).

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God IS Love

God Is Love3rzThe most beloved verse in all of Scripture, John 3:16, declares from the mouth of Jesus Himself in His conversation with Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, “For God so loved the world…” The greatness of the capacity needed to love the whole world is not something mere man could do; only God who IS Love is capable of such love.

Love comes from the very nature of who God is, for “God is Love” (I John 4:8). Love is not merely an attribute of God… God IS LOVE. Without God there would be no love. Without God there would be no love in this world for others, no love for the downtrodden, no love for the poor, no love for the wounded and weary. GOD IS LOVE.

Because of God’s love for the world He sent His Only Begotten Son to offer the redemption of man to Himself. Although the greatness of His love is for the whole world, His gift of Eternal Life is only given to “Whosoever believeth in Him.” Whereas His love is universal, salvation from sin is not; it is dependent upon each individual’s decision to repent and seek God’s forgiveness from their sin.

Without Christ man is incapable of loving fully. Without Christ love is superficial, man-made, subject to the whims of one’s emotions. With Christ love is pure, gentle, kind, compassionate, enduring and loving throughout all generations (Galatians 5:22-23).

Meeting Messiah

Following the Resurrection of Christ those who had so vehemently sought for His death were left with an Empty Tomb. The watchmen who had been assigned to guard the tomb were given large sums of money by the chief priests with instructions to say to anyone who asked, “His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept.” In Jewish culture today this belief is still “commonly reported among the Jews until this day,” as Matthew recorded in his day (Matthew 28:11-15). For a Jew to finally meet the Messiah the Old Testament Prophets foretold about is truly life-changing.

The True ROCK

In the closing days of Moses’ life God commanded Moses to write a song for Israel, a song that “When many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness.” God had shared with both Moses and Joshua the direction, contrary to His commands, the Children of Israel would go once they entered the Promised Land, eventually succumbing to the idol worship they would encounter. “Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the Children of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 31-32)

Moses began the song by declaring the God who had brought them out of bondage in Egypt into the glorious light of The Promised Land, “HE is The Rock, His work is perfect… Just and right is He.” Upon recounting God’s leading from the time of Adam to the present, Moses then included in his song a time when they would “forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation… Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.”

The song continued that because of their turning away from God a foolish nation would arise, provoking them to anger, and the Children of Israel would be able to put to flight a thousand of the enemy by one man, and ten thousand by two, made possible only “except their Rock [the Children of Israel’s] had sold them, and The LORD had shut them up? For their rock is not as Our Rock… For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.”

 In the closing lines of the Song of Moses the Children of Israel would learn was to be sung, “The LORD shall judge His people… And He shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted… Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.” In full assurance it is then proclaimed, “See now that I, even I, am HE, and there is NO god with me.” The Rock of man’s salvation is none other than God Himself… “Upon This ROCK I will build My Church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it,” (Matthew 16:16-18).

500th Anniversary of “THE REFORMATION”

On October 31, 1517 a German monk named Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg seeking a discussion on the selling of Indulgences for the remission of sin by the Catholic Church. The aim of the Church in selling the Indulgences was to raise money to rebuild St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Luther, who had become the Professor of Theology at the college, knew from his reading and studying of the Scriptures there was no forgiveness of sin except through the blood of Jesus Christ. The people were being put under great deception by being told by their priests the Catholic Church held the key to God’s forgiveness through the purchase of Indulgences. The simple act of Martin Luther on that day began a Reformation to return to the Truths of Scripture and away from what had become the tenets of a man-made religion.

During Martin Luther’s early days as a monk he came under great conviction of his sinfulness before God. Whereas other monks in the monastery would spend a few minutes a day confessing their sins to the priest, Luther would spend hours confessing his for he was cognizant of how sinful man is in his fallen state. It was not until he read in Galatians 3:11, “But that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith,” that he realized it was not by the works of confession, simplicity of living as a monk, or even self-flagellation that provided forgiveness of sin but having a living faith based totally ALONE upon Jesus’ voluntary death on the Cross for man’s sin, His burial, and bodily Resurrection triumphant over sin and death (Romans 10:9-10). As a repentant sinner, Luther placed his full faith and trust in Christ apart from the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church from which he was eventually excommunicated and proclaimed anathema, bound for hell.

Only available in Latin and confined to only being read and interpreted by the Catholic Church, Luther began translating The Scriptures into the language of the German people so they, too, could read for themselves, “The just shall live by faith,” and find salvation in none other name but Christ Jesus as the Apostles preached on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 4:12). In doing so, Luther found himself having to be in hiding to complete the task as those led by the demons of Hell sought to stop his work. The Scriptures we hold in our hands today, written in our own language, found its beginning in the days of Luther on that fateful day in October 1517 when God opened the floodgates, that whosoever reads and keeps those things written therein will be blessed (Revelation 1:3).

Why So Many Denominations

In his classic book, “The Trail of Blood,” J.M. Carroll, a Texas pastor and educator of the last century, lays out the beginnings of the multitude of different religious denominations. After the ascension of Christ back to Heaven as recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Acts, the spreading of the Gospel by the Apostles and the early Christians continued as Jesus had commanded before His departure, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15). Once the early believers passed on to Glory through death and new generations arose, the way of salvation in Christ Alone as found in Scripture began to be distorted by some of the churches that had been established throughout the known world. Those churches began requiring the addition of baptism for salvation, referred to as “baptismal regeneration.” It was from this error that the birth of different denominations arose.

The separation of churches thus began. As early as A.D. 251 churches loyal to the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ broke fellowship with the erring churches. As an outgrowth of requiring adults to be baptized for salvation, it was determined by A.D. 370 to begin baptizing infants by immersion, too.

A group of the erring churches formed into the Catholic Church, organized during Constantine’s reign, and became involved in legislative activities. In A.D. 416 a law was passed making infant baptism mandatory throughout the Roman Empire. Those who rejected the practice as unbiblical took their stand against obeying the new law and suffered the consequences. Just ten years later in A.D. 426 the “Dark Ages” began, lasting over 1,000 years with over fifty million Christian martyrs giving their lives for the Truth of the Gospel.

It was not until 1530 during the Great Reformation the Lutheran Church came about in Germany under the leadership of Martin Luther, a former Catholic monk who was converted to faith in Christ Alone upon reading in the Scriptures, “The just shall live by faith,” (Romans 1:17). In 1541 the Presbyterian Church came into being in Switzerland under the leadership of John Calvin who left the Catholic Church upon his conversion to Christ. England’s King Henry VIII established the Church of England around 1534, making himself the head of the church after the Catholic Church would not annul his marriage to his first wife. In spite of their coming out of the Catholic Church, each of these denominations continued the practices of church and state alliances, baptismal regeneration, and infant baptism, which had evolved throughout the intervening years to either sprinkling or pouring for baptism.

The Methodist Church was born out of the work of John and Charles Wesley, and George Whitfield, in the 1700s, who had been members of the Church of England and had hoped to reform it from within. The Episcopal and Anglican churches also derive from the Church of England begun by Henry VIII. Those who remained true to the Scriptures since the days Jesus walked with His disciples and taught them salvation is by grace alone through faith alone were first referred to as Baptists in 1523 in Switzerland.

Preparing for Eternity

The coming eclipse of the moon passing before the sun caused numerous details to be considered and executed in preparation of its arrival throughout the United States for its safe viewing. Some traveled great distances at great cost to be in the direct path of its totality of coverage. Maps were pored over, arrangements for travel and lodging were made, meals were planned, the acquisition of solar viewing glasses were sought out and action taken to be in the best possible location for the best possible view. Much preparation took place by individuals to see the once in a lifetime event.

Before natural disasters strike, such as hurricanes in the current age, much time is given broadcasting the time of their potential arrival. Admonitions are made to prepare for the coming wind, rain and flooding such storms bring. Windows are boarded up, store shelves are emptied of their products, fuel is sought out to power transportation and generators, arrangements are made to either stay or find shelter elsewhere until the storm passes by. Much time and preparation takes place by each individual in its path in anticipation of what is about to befall them.

The Prophet Amos in the Old Testament of the Holy Scriptures admonished his hearers “Prepare to meet thy God,” (Amos 4:12). The judgment of God was once again upon the Children of Israel after endless years of rebellion and rejection of God’s Will for their lives. The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament over 800 years later called for Spiritual preparations to be made, “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27). Preparing for Eternity is the most important preparation each individual must make.

To find what is needed to prepare for an Eternity with God one must spend time in His Word reading the Scriptures for what God requires of man to be in a right relationship with Him. One must spend time in prayer seeking God’s forgiveness and His Will for their life. One must daily be about the Father’s business, going where He would have them go, doing what He would have them do, sharing the Good News of the Gospel with all who will hear. The first step in preparing for Eternity is to begin with the ABCs…  Acknowledge your sin (Romans 3:10, 23);  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection for sin (Romans 5:8-9; 6:23);  Confess your need to Him of His Forgiveness (Romans 10:9-13). From there, as the Apostle Peter admonished in 2 Peter 3:18, “Grow in Grace, and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be Glory both now and forever. Amen.”