No Other Name?

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My Musings – There once was a time, at least in the Western world, that people almost universally accepted that Christianity was the only true path to God, whether they took that path or not.  Today, this is no longer universally accepted even within “Christian” circles.  Outside Christian circles this premise is becoming more and more contemptible.  These three “scenarios” (see below) are being played out like a shell game.  But it’s anything but a game.

You’re Okay, I’m Not Okay – Your path to God looks like the right path to me and I’m on the wrong path.

You’re Okay, I’m Okay – Your path to God might be okay for you, but that doesn’t make my path wrong.

You’re Not Okay, Saying I’m Not Okay – Your insistence that you are on the right path to God and I am on the wrong path is arrogant, intolerant and hateful.

The reality is: that Christianity has always been the only true path to God or it never was. The reality is: that other paths to God  have always existed or they do not exist now.  The reality is: if other paths to God exist, then Christianity is not one of them – because Christ said He was the only path (John 14:6).  The reality is: that it is up to us to decide what we believe (who we believe in).  Some would have you believe that the reality is that there is no wrong answer here.  The reality is: do you really want to bet your (eternal) life on it?

My Advice – Eternal security is not determined by the democratic process.  The majority view is only right if it is right, not because most people believe it is right (or not).  Stakes are too high to just go along with the crowd.  Being politically correct is an insufficient justification in the life to come, one must be absolutely correct.  You owe it to yourself to  investigate these “truth claims” very carefully, then to choose wisely.  The “pea” of truth is only under one of these shells.

This Far and No Farther

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My Musings – “He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them.” And the list goes on and on.  God is sovereign (possessing supreme or ultimate power). Kingdoms rise and fall at His bidding. He tells the seas this far you may go and no further.  I suspect He has also set limits on how far man may go.  We may think that the world is out of control, or that global warming has doomed us, but God is still sovereign – this far you may go and no farther.

In the days of Noah, the inclination of man was only evil all the time.  Talk about out of control.  Yet God finally said, you’ve gone far enough and “cleansed” the world with the flood, leaving only Noah (the last righteous man) and his family.  God’s remnant.  Perhaps we are reaching God’s limit once again.  This time the judgement will be final, purified by fire, and only the elect (saved), His remnant will survive to enjoy eternal life.

My Advice – Make sure you are part of the remnant.  Accept Christ.

Turn His Face

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Numbers 6:24-26 – “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”  (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Think about this for a moment.  God.  The Creator. Eternally existent. All powerful. Glory so magnificent and awesome that no one in the flesh can gaze upon Him and live. He needs nothing that we could possibly give Him, yet He longs for us.  A longing so deep that He sent His only Son to dies for us.  He turns His face towards us and shines upon us.  He graciously redeems us, who otherwise are unredeemable. He blesses us, who otherwise deserve a curse.  He will never grow tired of us, but will keep us close to Himself for all eternity to come.

My Advice – Be a peace in these thoughts.

 

The Heirs & The Disinherited

THE HEIRSTo him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:6b-7)

Overcomers – The heirs of new earth are the overcomers of the old earth. This includes all those addressed at the end of each of the seven letters to the churches (Revelation Chapters 2 and 3) as well as the martyrs who overcome through the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11).(1) As John pointed out in his first epistle, all true believers are overcomers (1 John 5:4–5). So, this promise is not just for the spiritually elite. Because we are the children of God, we shall inherit all things.(2)

Water of Life – People living in most developed countries do not think much about water. But it was a major concern in John’s day. No doubt John himself, working in the Roman mines, knew the meaning of thirst. Tortured saints throughout the ages would certainly identify with this wonderful promise from the Lord – free and abundant living water for all.(3) As is quite evident, this refers not to physical thirst but to a desire for spiritual blessings,(4) a thirst that will be quenched.

He Will Be My Son – This is the only place in John’s writings where son is used to refer to the relationship of man to God.(5) This expresses the intimate relationship between the saints and God in the eternal state.(6) An intimacy not known since the fall.

THE DISINHERITED“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

The Overcome –In contrast to those who were overcomers (heirs of the Kingdom), Revelation 21:8 describes the people who were overcome by sin and would not trust the Lord (the disinherited). The worldly consider Christians to be losers, when in reality it is the unbelievers who are the losers.(7)

How They Are Described – Eight epithets (not an exhaustive list) are used to describe the doomed and the damned: the fearful (cowardly); the unbelieving (faithless, untrustworthy); the vile (abominable, polluted); murderers; fornicators; sorcerers (those who practice magic arts, closely connected with idolatry and magic) and; idolaters.(8) This passage is not affirming salvation by works. Rather it refers to works as an indication of whether one is saved or not. Naturally there will be many in Heaven who were once guilty of these sins (as Paul said, as some of you were) before they were converted, but who turned from them when they trusted Christ as their Savior. Though works are the evidence of salvation (good works) or lack of it (evil works), they are not the basis or ground of it. Similar lists of sins are found elsewhere in Revelation (Revelation 21:27; 22:15).(9)

The fearful are the cowardly, people who did not have the courage to stand up for Christ (see Matthew 10:32–33). The word abominable means polluted, and refers to those who indulged in sin and were thus polluted in mind, spirit, and body (2 Corinthians 7:1). The other characteristics mentioned in Revelation 21:8 need no special explanation, except to note that all of them would be true of the beast’s followers (note Revelation 17:4, 6; 18:3, 9; 19:2).(10) Note also that God puts cowards at the head of the list. When people are afraid to take a stand for Christ, they are liable to commit any kind of sin as a result. They are the fearful, or the cowards who would not confess Christ, preferring and choosing to go along with the crowd who practiced sin.(11)

Eternal Thirst – They will be with Satan and the two beasts (the anti-Christ and the false prophet) in the lake of fire and brimstone for all eternity. This is the second death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14). These are those whose names are not written in the book of life (Revelation 20:15).

Up Next – The Holy City.

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References

  1. Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (pp. 1914–1916). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  2. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 985). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  5. Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 2, p. 564). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  6. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 985). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  7. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  8. Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Re 21:8). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
  9. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 985). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  10. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  11. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 856). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Never, No One

John 10:27, 28 – “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – The only reason to doubt eternal security is if the “salvation” experience was not genuine. But if it was genuine, it cannot be lost or taken away.

My Advice – You cannot lose your salvation by anything that you say or do, because “no one” includes you. But this does not mean you should live your life as you wish without concerns. God will discipline to bring correction (sometimes He even takes people home early), there may be lasting negative consequences (for this life) and you can lose blessings and rewards (this life and the next).

No Fear

Psalms 56:10, 11 – In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise-in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Indeed, what can man do? They can harm the body, they can rob of us possessions, but they cannot harm our soul or rob us of our eternal security.

My Advice – No matter what, put your trust in God. Money and fortune can disappear. Friends can desert you. Job security can be lost. And yes, at times, even parents can disappoint you. But God will never fail you, He is worthy of your trust and praise