THE MERCY OF GOD

MERCY – It’s what God’s love looks like towards the sinner.

Merriam – Webster defines mercy as compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.

The reason there is no anointing on the message of love within the postmodern gospel which has infiltrated many churches, is because it is rooted is a self-centered, humanistic, lie which rejects the biblical account of the justice of God.

God is a holy God, and his love is bestowed on sinners AS MERCY. Jesus died for sinners, not because God was madly in love with them, but because God is merciful.

In John 3:14-15, Jesus says the following:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Jesus makes reference to the serpent in the wilderness, as recorded in Numbers 21.

5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. ~ Numbers 21:5-9

The serpent of brass which God commanded Moses to make was the atoning provision to save the people from the judgment which God had sent. Notice that the text says: And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died (v.6)

According to Jesus, this was a type of how God would deliver us from our sins (John 3:14-15) and this was a type of how God would “so love” the world through the giving of his Son, Jesus.

I read something once which I think is very indicative of how many people have come to view God’s love in the postmodern gospel. The comment said of God “He is madly in love with people. That is why He dealt so furiously with sin. He crushed Jesus so He could save me.”

This is incorrect. The truth is, we were under his judgment because of our sins, and he saved us because of his mercy!

Many times people ask: “Why would a loving God condemn people to hell?” Yet this question gets it backwards, because first came judgment then the atonement.

Therefore the correct question should be: “Why would a righteous God (the Judge of all) give life to a condemned sinner?”

The answer is: because he of his mercy!

In his mercy, God demonstrated his love towards sinners by sending his Son, Jesus, to die for their sins, so that whosoever would believe would not perish but have everlasting life.

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ~ Titus 3:4-7

When a sinner understands that he is condemned, and repents, he doesn’t question the justice of the love of God – “Why would a loving God condemn anyone to hell?” Rather, he praises God for his mercy, by which he demonstrated his love towards sinners.

THE LOVE AND RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF A HOLY GOD

I AM THAT I AM

Throughout the Bible, God is revealed as a holy God and every attribute of God is a revelation of his divine essence. The same God who is glorious in his love is also glorious in bringing down those who oppose and hate him.

The apostle John tells us: God is love ~ 1 John 4:8, and in the book of the Revelation, the apostle John tells us how God is praised, worshiped, and glorified for his judgments against the ungodly.

1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up THE WRATH OF GOD. 

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. ~ Revelation 15:1-4

Recently I came across a teaching which said the following:

God’s justice is something God does, and like everything He does, it flows from Who He is. The Scriptures tell us that God IS Love (1 John 4:8, 16); but there is NOT ONE Scripture that tells us that God IS Justice. God does justice, yes; but He IS Love. God IS NOT Justice who does Love. God IS Love who does justice.

Upon reading this, it wouldn’t take much for a person to come away with the conclusion that the writer is setting forth the ideology that love is the supreme attribute of God. Though the Bible does teach God is love, the Bible never teaches that love trumps all the other attributes of God.

God is love. He is merciful. He is gracious, and he is also angry with the wicked every day. ~ Psalm 7:11.

That last statement – God is angry with the wicked every day. – is a difficult one for many to swallow, but it is true nevertheless, because God never changes. ~ Malachi 3:6 

Throughout the Bible, there are many attributes which the scriptures ascribe to God and each one is revealed in a very specific context.

For example, after the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, the Egyptians who attempted to do the same, were drowned. Afterwards, Israel sang a victory song to the Lord in which they proclaimed: “the Lord is a MAN OF WAR: the Lord is his name.” ~ Exodus 15:3

In Israel’s time of trouble, when they needed God to defend them and deliver them from the pursuit of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, God was revealed to them as A MAN OF WAR .

When God gave to Moses the Ten Commandments, God revealed, in the very first command, that, he is a JEALOUS GOD.

2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I THE LORD THY GOD AM A JEALOUS GOD, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me…~ Exodus 20:2-5

Throughout the old testament, God referred to himself as a Jealous God within the context of idols. God alone is God, and there his no other God besides him. Those who serve idols provoke his anger. Even under the new testament, God, who is love, is a jealous God who will not tolerate his people serving other gods (idols).

If we think that because God is love, he is no longer a jealous God who will not be displeased with idolatry, we have embarked upon deception. God is who he declares himself to be, and he does not change. God said to Moses: “I AM that I AM.”

Whenever a scriptural truth such as, God is love, is elevated beyond the boundaries of the whole counsel of scripture, error quickly follows.

By emphasizing, God is love, as if its is the supreme attribute of God that trumps all others, we become prey to the mercy of those who define God’s love out of their own human reasoning.Thus the universalist can claim – everyone will be saved and no one will be damned for rejecting Jesus, because God is love, and God wouldn’t send anyone to hell. Yet this view of God’s love is not compatible with the whole counsel of scripture.

Deuteronomy 32:4 says God is JUST and RIGHT, and Psalm 89:14 declares “ JUSTICE and JUDGMENT are the habitation of God’s throne.”

Psalm 9:6 says: The Lord is known by the JUDGMENT which he executeth., and in Isaiah, God declares that he is a Just God: there is no God else beside me; a JUST GOD and a Savior; there is none beside me. ~ Isaiah 45:21

In Jeremiah, God says the following:

23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24

God’s character and attributes are proclaimed all throughout the scriptures and only when we hold them together do we get a true portrait of who God is.

GOD AND THE UNREPENTANT

In scripture, it is the unrepentant sinner who incurs God’s wrath, and not the repentant sinner. According to the Bible, God delights in showing mercy and forgiveness, even to the ungodly.

As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye,turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? ~ Ezekiel 33:11

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. ~ Isaiah 55:7

When the wicked turns to the Lord, the Lord will be merciful and forgiving, but what does the Bible say about the wicked who are unrepentant?

According to the Bible, the unrepentant are treasuring up wrath against themselves for the Day of Judgment.

But after THY HARDNESS AND UNREPENTANT HEART TREASUREST UP UNTO THYSELF WRATH against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God… ~ Romans 2:5

Many Christians can cite the words: the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Few know the context of those words. Though it is true that the goodness of God leads to repentance, Paul puts it in the form of question within the context of those who are hardhearted and unrepentant, and who despise the goodness of God.

1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds… ~ Romans 2:1-6

Paul says these words on the heels of his condemnation of the wicked in verses 18-32 of the previous chapter, where Paul tells us God abandoned the wicked to their own devices.

  • GOD GAVE THEM UP to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves… ~ v 24
  • GOD GAVE THEM UP unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature… ~ v. 26
  • GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient… ~ v. 28

God’s disposition, and his dealings with the wicked who are unrepentant is well documented throughout the entirety of the scriptures. Consider the following:

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: THOU HATEST ALL THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY. ~ Psalm 5:5

God judgeth the righteous, and GOD IS ANGRY WITH THE WICKED EVERY DAY. ~ Psalm 7:11

The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence HIS SOUL HATETH. ~ Psalm 11:5

The CURSE OF THE LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. ~ Proverbs 3:33

I could go on and on, because God’s displeasure with those who practice wickedness (child molestation, rape, murder, demon worship, sodomy, human trafficking, etc.) and refuse to repent, is well documented throughout the scriptures.

At this point, allow me to remind you, God extends mercy to the wicked who repents, but to the UNREPENTANT who despises God – God has no pleasure in them.

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. ~ Psalm 5:4

God is indeed a loving and forgiving God, and he desires to forgive people of their sins, but they must turn away from their sins and turn to him to be forgiven by him. God is a good God, who commands all people, everywhere to repent ~ Acts 17:30, but when his goodness is despised by the ungodly who hate him, they become subject to his wrath.

9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy WITH THEM THAT LOVE HIM and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

10 And REPAYETH THEM THAT HATE HIM TO THEIR FACE, TO DESTROY THEM: he will not be slack to him that HATETH HIM, HE WILL REPAY HIM TO HIS FACE. ~ Deuteronomy 9:9-10

Throughout the entirety of the Bible, in both the old and new testament, God’s love, grace, and mercy is extended to all people; and he is forgiving towards all who humble themselves in repentance. Yet for those who refuse to repent because they despise and hate him, he reserves them unto the day of judgment to be punishment ~ see 2 Peter 2:9; 3:7

Unfortunately, many Christians have the notion that the truth of the severity of God towards the wicked is a message which portrays God as harsh and unloving. Yet, the scriptures make a distinction between those upon whom God lavishes his love, and those who are an abomination to him.

The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. ~ Proverbs 15:9

The commonly held belief that God loves every person (good and evil, godly and ungodly) exactly the same, is not a scriptural teaching.  Consider for example John 14:21: He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me SHALL BE LOVED OF MY FATHER , AND I WILL LOVE HIM , and will manifest myself to him.

Clearly, this text suggests that those who love Jesus and obey him will be recipients of both his, and his Father’s love.

Now, consider verse 23: Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and MY FATHER WILL LOVE HIM, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Now consider Hebrews 12:6-8

FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVETH he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, GOD DEALETH WITH YOU AS SONS; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye illegitimate, and not sons.

Notice that here in Hebrews, the Father chastens those he loves. This is said in contrast to those who are without chastisement. There is a love bestowed on his children, that those who are not his children are not partakers of.

THE LOVE AND WRATH OF A HOLY GOD

Throughout the Bible, God’s word reveals that God is holy and is to be feared and held in reverence. This holy God, who is to be feared and held in reverence, is very compassionate and gracious and merciful towards all who repent of their sins.

God’s love is freely given to those who bow before him, in holy fear and reverence. It is not bestowed on those who refuse to humble themselves before him, and who defy him.

Throughout the Bible, God’s love for the world is his offer of forgiveness and mercy to the ungodly who will humbly come to him with a repentant heart. 

I read something once which I think is very indicative of how many people have come to view God’s love. The comment said of God “He is madly in love with people.  That is why He dealt so furiously with sin. He crushed Jesus so He could save me.”

This statement speaks more of our infatuation with ourselves than it does God’s loves for us as revealed in the scriptures. In truth, God’s love for us isn’t a revelation of how wonderful we are: how God just can go on without us. Instead, God’s love is a revelation of how glorious he is.

That a holy, sovereign God, who is going to judge the world in righteousness reaches out to us in love to save us through his Son, Jesus Christ, glorifies him and not us. It displays his majesty and beauty, not ours.

There are many people who recognize the words of  John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. Many can quote these words verbatim. Unfortunately, many of those same people do not know the context in which the words are spoken.

Let us consider, briefly, the context of God’s love in John 3:16 to better understand God’s love as it is revealed in scripture. Let’s begin with verses 14-15:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Now consider the old testament account from which Jesus references in verses 14-15 above.

5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 

6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 

7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto theLord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 

8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 

9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. ~ Numbers 21:5-9

The serpent of brass which God commanded Moses to make was the atoning provision to save the people from the judgment which God had sent. Notice that the text says: And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died (v.6)

According to Jesus, this was a type of how God would deliver us from our sins, and it was an old testament foreshadowing of how God would display his love for us in Jesus Christ.

Sinful man is under the judgment of God, but God sent his son to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all who will repent and turn to him and this is how God so loved the world. He gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Now consider John 3:17 – 21:

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.John 3:16 – 21

Now notice verse 36:

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

God gave his Son to bestow his love on all who would humbly turn from their sins. God’s love for all people is revealed in his giving of his Son, with the condition, that the recipients of his love turn from their sins.

Those who refuse to turn from their sins by rejecting the precious gift of God, which he gave through the offering of his Son, have consequently rejected the love of God. Therefore they are condemned, and are under God’s wrath.

Whether we like it or not, there are people throughout the world who hate God because they love their sins. God’s love is extended to them, calling them to repentance. If they persist in their rebellion against God, refusing to humble themselves, they will be judged and damned in their sins: In this way, they are under the wrath of God.

The new testament teaches that God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man he has appointed: Jesus Christ.

God has given his Son as the witness of himself, and in the Son, God offers forgiveness, grace, and mercy, to all people. Those who believe God’s witness, in his Son, receive life everlasting through God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy; which is freely given in Jesus Christ.

Those who reject the Son of God; reject the love, mercy, and grace, God has offered them. God is holy and just to be displeased and angry with those who refuse to humble themselves before him so that they may receive mercy and grace.

On the day of judgement, those who reject God’s love will have no intercessor, no advocate to defend them, and will stand before a holy and righteous God with all their sins exposed before him. They will be judged for their sins because of their defiance of his goodness, and their rejection of the love God offered them in Jesus.

For them, there will no forgiveness when they stand before God to be judged. They will be judged, not by God’s compassion, but by God’s wrath.

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT 

From Genesis to Revelation, the coming day of the judgment of God is a biblical truth.

For God shall bring every work into JUDGMENT, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. ~ Ecclesiastes 12:14

Jesus told his disciples that those who reject the message of the gospel would be held accountable in the Day of Judgment.

14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
 

15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in THE DAY OF JUDGMENT , than for that city. ~ Matthew 10:14-15

According to Jesus, those who do not repent will be judged in the Day of Judgment

20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they REPENTED not:

21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have REPENTED long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon atTHE DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for you.

23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for thee. ~ Matthew 11:20-24

According to Jesus, those who rejected him during his earthly ministry, will be condemned in the Day of Judgment.

38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
 
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
 
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
 
41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in JUDGMENT with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they REPENTED at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
 

42 The queen of the south shall rise up in THE JUDGMENT with this generation, and shall CONDEMN IT: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. ~ Matthew 12:38-42

In John 9:39, Jesus said: For JUDGMENT I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

The apostle Paul testified of the Judgment of God.

24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him CONCERNING THE FAITH IN CHRIST.
 

25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, andJUDGMENT TO COME, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. ~ Acts 24:24-25

In the book of Romans (chapters 1-2), Paul expounds on how every man is going to be judged according to his deeds in the Day of Judgment, and says this is going to happen “In the day when God shall JUDGE the secrets of men BY JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL. (2:16)

While some pervert the message of the cross given by the apostle Paul; claiming God will not bring anyone into judgment for their sins. Paul NEVER taught such doctrine.

The death of Jesus did not cancel the Day of Judgment. Nowhere does the Bible teach that God judged every man at the cross, thereby cancelling the Day of Judgment.

At the cross, the pentalty of death for our sins was paid in full so that all who believe in Jesus Christ may have life through him. Those who trust in Christ are justified and cleansed from their sins by his blood and will not be condemned.

At the cross, Jesus gave himself as an offering for our sins, so that, through faith in him, we could be justified in the sight of God according to the mercy of Him who is going to ” judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ” ~ see Psalm 9:8 and Acts 17:31.

There is no escaping the judgment of God for those who reject Jesus and refuse to repent.

Consider the words of Paul from Romans 1: 28 – 2:6

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

2 But we are sure that THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD is according to truth against them which commit such things.

3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt ESCAPE THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD?

4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to REPENTANCE?

5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself WRATH against THE DAY OF WRATH and revelation of THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF GOD;

6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds… ~ Romans 1: 28 – 2:6

In Acts 10:42, the apostle Peter declared, “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God TO BE THE JUDGE of quick and dead.”

Peter elaborates on this in 1 Peter 4.  

For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

Who shall give account TO HIM that is ready TO JUDGE the quick and the dead.

Verse 5 is a reference to Jesus. Jesus is the man by whom God is going to judge the world as Paul says in Acts 17:31, “He (God) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness BY THAT MAN WHOM HE HATH ORDAINED.”

In the book of the Revelation we see that only Lamb (Jesus) was worthy to open the seven sealed book containing the revelation of God’s judgment on those who oppose God. In chapter 19, it is Jesus who “treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” (v. 15)

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and IN RIGHTEOUSNESS HE DOETH JUDGE and make war.

12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
 
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called THE WORD OF GOD.
 
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
 
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and HE TREADETH THE WINEPRESS OF THE FIERCENESS AND WRATH OF ALMIGHTY GOD. 
 
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.
 
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
 
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
 
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
 
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
 
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. ~ Revelation 19:11-21


The apostle Paul has a similar description in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9:

“…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire TAKING VENGEANCE on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”

The author of Hebrews refers to ETERNAL JUDGMENT as one of the foundational principles of the doctrines of Christ (see Hebrews 6:1-2), and warned of the judgment of God against those who abandoned the faith.

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
 
27 But A CERTAIN FEARFUL LOOKING FOR OF JUDGMENT AND FIERY INDIGNATION, which shall devour the adversaries.
 
28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
 
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
 
30 For we know him that hath said, VENGEANCE belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
 

31 IT IS A FEARFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE LIVING GOD. ~ Hebrews 10: 26-31

In his second epistle, the apostle Peter reminds us again of God’s judgment saying the following:

4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto JUDGMENT;
 
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
 
6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
 
7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
 
8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
 

9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto THE DAY OF JUDGMENT to be punished…~ 2 Peter 2:4-9

The apostle Peter believed the DAY OF JUDGMENT is THE COMING DAY OF THE LORD.

1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
 
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
 
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
 
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
 
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
 
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
 
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against THE DAY OF JUDGMENT AND PERDITION of ungodly men.
 
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
 
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
 
10 But THE DAY OF THE LORD will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
 
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
 
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of THE DAY OF GOD,wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
 

13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. ~ 2 Peter 3:1-13

Jude also warns of the Day of Judgment:

5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
 
6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT DAY.
 
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
 
8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
 
9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
 
10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
 
11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
 
12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
 
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
 
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
 

15 To execute JUDGMENT upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. ~ Jude 1:5-16

The apostle John testified of the judgment and wrath of God (see Revelation 14:6-8; 15:1-8) and of the final judgment before the throne of God.

11 And I saw A GREAT WHITE THRONE, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were JUDGED out of those things which were written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they wereJUDGED EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. ~ Revelation 20:11-15

GOD AND THE UNREPENTANT

In scripture, it is the unrepentant sinner who incurs God’s wrath, and not the repentant sinner. According to the Bible, God delights in showing mercy and forgiveness, even to the ungodly.

As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye,turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? ~ Ezekiel 33:11

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. ~ Isaiah 55:7

When the wicked turns to the Lord, the Lord will be merciful and forgiving, but what does the Bible say about the wicked who are unrepentant?

According to the Bible, the unrepentant are treasuring up wrath against themselves for the Day of Judgment.

But after THY HARDNESS AND UNREPENTANT HEART TREASUREST UP UNTO THYSELF WRATH against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God… ~ Romans 2:5

Many Christians can cite the words: the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Few know the context of those words. Though it is true that the goodness of God leads to repentance, Paul puts it in the form of question within the context of those who are hardhearted and unrepentant, and who despise the goodness of God.

1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds… ~ Romans 2:1-6

Paul says these words on the heels of his condemnation of the wicked in verses 18-32 of the previous chapter, where Paul tells us God abandoned the wicked to their own devices.

  • GOD GAVE THEM UP to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves… ~ v 24
  • GOD GAVE THEM UP unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature… ~ v. 26
  • GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient… ~ v. 28

God’s disposition, and his dealings with the wicked who are unrepentant is well documented throughout the entirety of the scriptures. Consider the following:

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: THOU HATEST ALL THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY. ~ Psalm 5:5

God judgeth the righteous, and GOD IS ANGRY WITH THE WICKED EVERY DAY. ~ Psalm 7:11

The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence HIS SOUL HATETH. ~ Psalm 11:5

The CURSE OF THE LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. ~ Proverbs 3:33

I could go on and on, because God’s displeasure with those who practice wickedness (child molestation, rape, murder, demon worship, sodomy, human trafficking, etc.) and refuse to repent, is well documented throughout the scriptures.

At this point, allow me to remind you, God extends mercy to the wicked who repents, but to the UNREPENTANT who despises God – God has no pleasure in them.

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. ~ Psalm 5:4

God is indeed a loving and forgiving God, and he desires to forgive people of their sins, but they must turn away from their sins and turn to him to be forgiven by him. God is a good God, who commands all people, everywhere to repent ~ Acts 17:30, but when his goodness is despised by the ungodly who hate him, they become subject to his wrath.

9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy WITH THEM THAT LOVE HIM and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

10 And REPAYETH THEM THAT HATE HIM TO THEIR FACE, TO DESTROY THEM: he will not be slack to him that HATETH HIM, HE WILL REPAY HIM TO HIS FACE. ~ Deuteronomy 9:9-10

Throughout the entirety of the Bible, in both the old and new testament, God’s love, grace, and mercy is extended to all people; and he is forgiving towards all who humble themselves in repentance. Yet for those who refuse to repent because they despise and hate him, he reserves them unto the day of judgment to be punishment ~ see 2 Peter 2:9; 3:7

Unfortunately, many Christians have the notion that the truth of the severity of God towards the wicked is a message which portrays God as harsh and unloving. Yet, the scriptures make a distinction between those upon whom God lavishes his love, and those who are an abomination to him.

The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. ~ Proverbs 15:9

The commonly held belief that God loves every person (good and evil, godly and ungodly) exactly the same, is not a scriptural teaching.  Consider for example John 14:21: He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me SHALL BE LOVED OF MY FATHER , AND I WILL LOVE HIM , and will manifest myself to him.

Clearly, this text suggests that those who love Jesus and obey him will be recipients of both his, and his Father’s love.

Now, consider verse 23: Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and MY FATHER WILL LOVE HIM, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Now consider Hebrews 12:6-8

FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVETH he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, GOD DEALETH WITH YOU AS SONS; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye illegitimate, and not sons.

Notice that here in Hebrews, the Father chastens those he loves.This is said in contrast to those who are without chastisement. There is a love bestowed on his children, that those who are not his children are not partakers of.

I AM THAT I AM

Throughout the Bible, God is revealed as a holy God and every attribute of God is a revelation of his divine essence. The same God who is glorious in his love is also glorious in bringing down those who oppose and hate him.

The apostle John tells us: God is love ~ 1 John 4:8, and in the book of the Revelation, the apostle John tells us how God is praised, worshiped, and glorified for his judgments against the ungodly.

1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up THE WRATH OF GOD. 

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. ~ Revelation 15:1-4

Recently I came across a teaching which said the following:

God’s justice is something God does, and like everything He does, it flows from Who He is. The Scriptures tell us that God IS Love (1 John 4:8, 16); but there is NOT ONE Scripture that tells us that God IS Justice. God does justice, yes; but He IS Love. God IS NOT Justice who does Love. God IS Love who does justice.

Upon reading this, it wouldn’t take much for a person to come away with the conclusion that the writer is setting forth the ideology that love is the supreme attribute of God. Though the Bible does teach God is love, the Bible never teaches that love trumps all the other attributes of God.

God is love. He is merciful. He is gracious, and he is also angry with the wicked every day. ~ Psalm 7:11.

That last statement – God is angry with the wicked every day. – is a difficult one for many to swallow, but it is true nevertheless, because God never changes. ~ Malachi 3:6 

Throughout the Bible, there are many attributes which the scriptures ascribe to God and each one is revealed in a very specific context.

For example, after the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, the Egyptians who attempted to do the same, were drowned. Afterwards, Israel sang a victory song to the Lord in which they proclaimed: “the Lord is a MAN OF WAR: the Lord is his name.” ~ Exodus 15:3

In Israel’s time of trouble, when they needed God to defend them and deliver them from the pursuit of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, God was revealed to them as A MAN OF WAR .

When God gave to Moses the Ten Commandments, God revealed, in the very first command, that, he is a JEALOUS GOD.

2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I THE LORD THY GOD AM A JEALOUS GOD, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me…~ Exodus 20:2-5

Throughout the old testament, God referred to himself as a Jealous God within the context of idols. God alone is God, and there his no other God besides him. Those who serve idols provoke his anger. Even under the new testament, God, who is love, is a jealous God who will not tolerate his people serving other gods (idols).

If we think that because God is love, he is no longer a jealous God who will not be displeased with idolatry, we have embarked upon deception. God is who he declares himself to be, and he does not change. God said to Moses: “I AM that I AM.”

Whenever a scriptural truth such as, God is love, is elevated beyond the boundaries of the whole counsel of scripture, error quickly follows.

By emphasizing, God is love, as if its is the supreme attribute of God that trumps all others, we become prey to the mercy of those who define God’s love out of their own human reasoning.Thus the universalist can claim – everyone will be saved and no one will be damned for rejecting Jesus, because God is love, and God wouldn’t send anyone to hell. Yet this view of God’s love is not compatible with the whole counsel of scripture.

Deuteronomy 32:4 says God is JUST and RIGHT, and Psalm 89:14 declares “ JUSTICE and JUDGMENT are the habitation of God’s throne.”

Psalm 9:6 says: The Lord is known by the JUDGMENT which he executeth., and in Isaiah, God declares that he is a Just God: there is no God else beside me; a JUST GOD and a Savior; there is none beside me. ~ Isaiah 45:21

In Jeremiah, God says the following:

23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24

God’s character and attributes are proclaimed all throughout the scriptures and only when we hold them together do we get a true portrait of who God is.

REFUTING UNIVERSALISM: IS REPENTANCE REQUIRED?

I recently came across the teaching of someone claiming that it is heresy to teach people that they must repent to be forgiven by God. There is s a growing sentiment towards this persuasion, and it is straight out of the doctrine of those who teach universalism (the belief that everyone is saved) as well as those who teach an unscriptural view of grace.

The ideology behind it states that God has already forgiven everyone, because forgiveness proceeds repentance.

Yet in Acts 2, when Peter preached the gospel to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost, Peter preached that the people should repent to be forgiven of their sins.

Now when they heard this (Peter preaching the gospel), they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, WHAT SHALL WE DO? ~ Acts 2:37 

In response, Peter said, REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. ~ Acts 2:38 

Peter did not tell them, “your sins are already forgiven.” He instructed them to repent for the remission (forgiveness) of sins. 

In Acts 8, Peter confronted Simon the sorcerer because he had offered money in exchange for empowerment to give people the Holy Ghost.

Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. REPENT therefore of this thy WICKEDNESS, and pray God, if perhaps THE THOUGHT OF THINE HEART MAY BE FORGIVEN THEE. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. ~ Acts 8: 20-23

Peter did not tell Simon the sorcerer that his sins were already forgiven. Instead, Peter says: “REPENT therefore of this thy WICKEDNESS, and pray God, if perhaps THE THOUGHT OF THINE HEART MAY BE FORGIVEN THEE. “

God is a loving and forgiving God, and he desires to forgive people of their sins, but they must turn away from their sins and turn to him to be forgiven. Consider the words of God through the prophet Zechariah:


Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; TURN ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will TURN unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.

Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; TURN ye now FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS, AND FROM YOUR EVIL DOINGS: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the Lord. ~ Zechariah 1:-4

To be forgiven we must TURN from our sins. 

When Jesus appeared to the apostle Paul, he told Paul that he was sending him to the Gentiles …to open their eyes, and to TURN THEM from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, THAT THEY MAY RECEIVE FORGIVENESS OF SINS, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (faith in Jesus).” ~ Acts 26:17-18

Paul interprets this commission by Jesus as preaching repentance:

Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should REPENT AND TURN to God, and DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE. ~ Acts 26:19-20 

Paul was sent the Gentiles to TURN THEM to the Lord. Paul did this through preaching salvation in Jesus Christ through repentance and faith. 

Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,

Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Acts 20:18-21

To claim that Paul or any other new testament writer taught forgiveness from God without repentance, is scripturally in error.

In Acts 13, Paul preached to the people and reminded them how John the Baptist had first preached REPENTANCE  to all the people of Israel ~ v.24

When Paul was in the city of Athens (Acts 17), he was stirred in his spirit because he saw that the whole city given over to idolatry. When Paul found that they had made an altar with the inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Paul used this as an opportunity to preach the gospel to them. Paul’s message can be read beginning in verse 22. In verses 30-31 we read the following:

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now COMMANDETH all men everywhere to REPENT:

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. ~ Acts 17:30-31

Notice that Paul says that God has commanded “all men, everywhere to repent” and Paul says this within the context of the coming Day of Judgment, wherein God is going to judge men through Jesus Christ.

While at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel to the people and a man who had been crippled all his life was healed. This caused quite a stirring among the idolatrous people at Lystra who then attempted to worship Barnabas and Paul.

And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.

And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.

Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.

Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should TURN FROM THE VANTIES UNTO THE LIVING GOD, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein… ~ Acts 14:11-15 

Notice that Barnabas and Paul preached to the people to TURN from their idolatrous practices and serve the living God. Turning from idolatry to serve the Living God is REPENTANCE..

In Acts 15, the Jerusalem counsel (of which Paul and Barnabas were a part) concluded that the Gentiles in Antioch were brethren in Christ because they had TURNED TO GOD.

Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are TURNED TO GOD:

But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.  ~ Acts 15:18-20

In Romans 11:26 Paul refers to Jesus as the deliverer who shall come out of Zion and shall TURN ungodliness from Jacob. Paul also says the following to the Thessalonians:

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.

For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how YE TURNED TO GOD FROM IDOLS TO SERVE THE LIVING AND TRUE GOD;

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10

Throughout the entire Bible, forgiveness is the blessing that come through repentance.

 

TOLERATING FALSE TEACHERS

Tolerating false teachers is not only dangerous, it is also disobedience to God.

The new testament writers did not set the example of tolerance, and in some cases, complacency, which some ministers are choosing to follow regarding false teachers.

The Bible has much to say regarding false teachers, false ministers, and false doctrines. Never does the Bible treat these with kid gloves. On the contrary, false teachers and false ministers (false apostles/false prophets, etc.) are ministers of Satan who are deceitful workers. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:13- 15

In the book of Acts, Paul warned and commissioned the elders of Ephesus to be on the watch regarding false teachers. ~ See Act 20:17 – 32

Paul also wrote the book of Galatians to counter to teachings of the Judaizers, referring to them as “FALSE BRETHREN,” saying,“we refused to give in to them for a single moment.” ~ Galatians 2:5

Paul gave to Timothy the following instructions:

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears… ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-3

Paul instructed Titus as well: A bishop (a Pastor) must hold fast to the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Titus 1:9

Paul then says:

10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

Paul also instructed Titus to reject a man who is a heretic after the second admonition, because those who are heretics are subverted, and sinful, and condemned.” ~  See Titus 3:10-11

According to the apostle Peter, false teachers cause the way of the truth to be evil spoken of. ~ 2 Peter 2:2

Jude tells us to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints and warns of ungodly men who creep in unawares and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.

Peter describes false teachers by saying they are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption… ~ 2 Peter 2:17-19

Jude is just as harsh:

These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. ~ Jude 1:12-13

The apostle John, who wrote much about love and truth in his first epistle calls false ministers, liars and anti-Christs ~ 1 John 2:18-26, and says, they are of the world. ~ 1 John 4:1-5

In his second epistle, John refers to them as deceivers, and says not to have fellowship with them nor become partakers of their evil deeds by bidding them Godspeed. ~ 2 John 1:7-11

In the book of the Revelation, the apostle John was given a message of rebuke from Jesus for the church at Pergamos, because among them were those who held to the doctrine of Balaam, and some who held to the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.

Jesus then adds regarding the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes: which thing I HATE. ~ Revelation 2:14-15

Jesus also rebuked the church at Thyatira because they were allowing a woman whom he referred to as Jezebel who called herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce God’s servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. ~ Revelation 2:20

There is more that can be said along these lines, and maybe I will address them at a later time. However, I have provided the references above as testimony from God’s word that false teacher, false ministers, and false doctrines are not to be tolerated; not even in the name of love.

JESUS BORE OUR SINS

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God ENDURE GRIEF, SUFFERING WRONGFULLY.

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even HEREUNTO WERE YE CALLED: because CHRIST SUFFERED FOR US, LEAVING US AN EXAMPLE, that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that JUDGETH RIGHTEOUSLY: 

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. ~ 1 Peter 2:19-25

According to the the apostle Peter, Jesus is our example to follow when we endure grief and suffer wrongfully. Peter says this within the context of the grief and sufferings of Christ which he endured when he bore our sins at the cross.

Throughout the bible, the definition of what it means to “to bare” consistently carries the meaning of lifting the burden from another. For example, as believers we are to: bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. We are to follow Christ’s example in bearing the burdens of others, because , Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree: the cross.

Isaiah 53:12 tells us, “He BARE the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

The Hebrew word for bare in Isaiah 53:12 is: naw-saw, and is translated as forgiveness in its various forms on multiple occasions in the old testament. For instance, it is translated as “forgiving” in Exodus 34:6-7:

And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Keeping mercy for thousands, FORGIVING iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. ~ Exodus 34:6-7

It is also translated as: forgive, forgiven, and forgavest in Psalm 25:16-18 and Psalm 32:1 &5.

Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and FORGIVE all my sins. ~ Psalm 25:16-18

Blessed is he whose transgression is FORGIVEN, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile…I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou FORGAVEST the iniquity of my sin. Selah. ~ Psalm 32:1, 2, & 5

In the scriptures above we can see that God bares his people’s sins by forgiving them.  In Romans 4, the apostle Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2 (referenced above) in view of the forgiveness which comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 

7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are FORGIVEN, and whose sins are covered. 

8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Romans 4:6-8

The Hebrews word, naw-saw, which is translated, bare, in Isaiah 53:12 appears in 610 passages of scripture in the old testament and is referenced a total of 653 times. Here are a few examples of how it is used elsewhere in the old testament:

And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and BARE UP the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. ~ Genesis 7:17

And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, WHICH TOOK AWAY the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. ~ Exodus 10:19

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I BARE you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.  ~ Exodus 19:4

And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark MAY BE BORNE with them.  ~ Exodus 25:14

Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them. And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to BEAR you myself alone: The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. (The Lord God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!) How can I myself alone BEAR your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife? Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.  ~ Deuteronomy 1:8-13

The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God BARE thee, as a man doth BEAR his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God, Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.  ~ Deuteronomy 1:30-33

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to BEAR them. ~ Isaiah 1:13-14

Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and CARRY them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. ~ Isaiah 40:9-11

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, WHICH ARE CARRIED from the womb: And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I WILL BEAR; even I will carry, and will deliver you. ~ Isaiah 46:3-4

I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and CARRIED them all the days of old. ~ Isaiah 63:7-9

In Isaiah 53:4 the Hebrew word, naw-saw, is rendered as borne.

Surely he hath BORNE our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 

In the gospel of Matthew; Matthew interprets Isaiah 53:4 in view of healing and deliverance.

16 When the evening was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:

17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, himself TOOK our infirmities, and BARE our sicknesses.~ Matthew 8:16-17 

According to Matthew’s interpretation of Isaiah 53:4, Jesus did not take the peoples infirmities and bare their sicknesses by becoming afflicted and sick in their place. Instead, Jesus took their infirmities and bare their sicknesses by delivering them from demons and healing them.

From Matthew’s interpretation of Isaiah 53:4 we can see that Matthew understood the words of Isaiah in view the antidote which was healing and deliverance.

In the same way, Jesus bore our sins by giving himself as an unblemished sacrifice so that we could be cleansed from our sins by his precious blood and made alive with him through his resurrection from the dead.

It is in view of the salvation which Jesus obtained for us through the laying down of his life that we should understand what it means that he bore our sins.

THE NEW TESTAMENT 

The new testament Greek word for bare is, anaphero, and it means to take up, bear, bring, (carry, lead) up, offer (up). It is used 9 other times in the New Testament in 8 different verses.

1 Peter 2:24 says “Who his own self BARE our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

In Matthew 17:1 it is used to describe Jesus leading three of his disciples as they ascended up the Mount of transfiguration: “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and BRINGETH THEM UP  into an high mountain apart.”

Mark 9:2 also referencing the ascent up the Mount of Transfiguration as “LEADETH THEM UP.”

In Luke 25:51 it is used to describe Jesus’ ascension after His resurrection: And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and CARRIED UP into heaven.

Now consider this for a moment: The same Greek word used in 1 Peter 2:24 which says Jesus bore our sins is the same Greek word used to describe his ascention into Heaven. This immediately reminds me of the burnt offerings which were offered on the altar of sacrifice in the Old Testament.

The words burnt offering come from the Hebrew word “o-law” meaning “ascending.”  The burnt offerings were to be wholly offered to the Lord as a sweet fragrance. Ephesians 5:2 tells us: Christ loved us, and gave himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

Jesus was wholly given to the God for us, and was accepted for us, as a sweet fragrance to God.

In Hebrews 7:27 and 9:28 the Greek word, anaphero translated bare, is used to describe Jesus giving his life as an offering for our sins:

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, TO OFFER UP sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he OFFERED UP himself.

So Christ was once offered TO BEAR the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

In Hebrews 13:15 anaphero is used as a reference to the sacrifices of praise which we offer to God: By him therefore LET US OFFER the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

In James 2:21 it is used as a reference to Abraham offering up of Isaac as a burnt offering on the altar of sacrifice: Was not Abraham our father justified by works, WHEN HE HAD OFFERED Isaac his son upon the altar?

Finally, in 1 Peter 2:5 it is a reference to the spiritual sacrifices which we offer to God: Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, TO OFFER UP spiritual sacrifices, ACCEPTABLE to God by Jesus Christ.

In that Jesus bore our sins, he offered up Himself. God accepted the offering and sacrifice of Jesus for us. By him and through him, our sins are taken away by the blood he shed on the cross.

Jesus was not rejected by God in our place. Instead, Jesus offered himself as a holy and pure offering, accepted by God on our behalf, and by His precious blood we have redemption: this is HOW he bore our sins.

THE CROSS & THE WISDOM OF GOD

The following is a rebuttal to William P. Young’s distortion of the cross of Christ, in which Mr. Young claims that the cross originated with men rather than with God.

I will begin with an excerpt from William P. Young’s new book, Lies We Believe about God:

Who originated the Cross?

If God did, then we worship a cosmic abuser, who in Divine Wisdom created a means to torture human beings in the most painful and abhorrent manner. Frankly, it is often this very cruel and monstrous god that the atheist refuses to acknowledge or grant credibility in any sense. And rightly so. Better no god at all, than this one.

The alternative is that the Cross originated with us human beings. This deviant device is the iconic manifestation of our blind commitment to darkness. It is our ultimate desecration of the goodness and loving intent of God to create, an intent that is focused on the human creation. It is the ultimate fist raised against God.

And how did God respond to this profound brokenness?

God submitted to it. God climbed willingly onto our torture device and met us at the deepest and darkest place of our diabolical imprisonment to our own lies, and by submitting once and for all, God destroyed its power. Jesus is God’s best, given willingly and in opposition to our worst, the Cross.

When did God submit? Not only in Jesus incarnate but before the creation of the world, according to Scriptures (Revelation 13: 8). God knew going into the activity of creation what the cost would be. That God’s own children, this highest order of creation, would one day make the final attempt to kill Life.

And how would we religious people interpret this sacrifice? We would declare that it was God who killed Jesus, slaughtering Him as a necessary appeasement for His bloodthirsty need for justice.

To claim that the cross did not originate with God, but with man, is to diminish the cross of it’s saving power. Man’s wisdom cannot save, and if the cross had originated with men, there would be no salvation through the cross.

According to the apostle Paul, the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 NLT

To undermine the cross by attributing it to the wisdom of men, as Mr. Young has done, is to undermine all the work of redemption accomplished through Jesus Christ who through the eternal spirit, offered himself without spot to God to cleansed us from our sins so that we may serve the living God ~ Hebrews 9:14.

The scriptures testify, without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins ~ Hebrews 9:22, and Paul tells us that Jesus reconciled us to God through the blood of his cross ~ Colossians 1:20.

Contrary to Mr. Young’s assertion, the cross was predetermined by God and those who crucified Jesus were unknowingly accomplishing that which God had ordained. Peter preaching to his Jewish brethren says: brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. ~ Acts 3:17-18

In Acts 4 we read the following:

26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

28 For to do whatsoever THY HAND AND THY COUNSEL DETERMINED BEFORE TO BE DONE. ~ Acts 4:26-28

According to the Bible, Jesus is the foundation stone of the house of God.  Jesus was rejected by the people but chosen by God: The stone the builders rejected, is the precious cornerstone chosen by God. Jesus referred to this as THE LORD’S DOING and marvelous in our eyes. ~ Matthew 21:42

It was God’s will for Jesus lay down his life ~ John 10:14-18; 14:28-31. Jesus did not die on the cross in submission to the will of men. Jesus died on the cross in submission to the will of God ~ Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:7-9.

He gave himself for us to redeem us with his precious blood, and this was ORDAINED by God from the beginning.

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20 Who verily was FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you… ~ 1 Peter 1:18-20.

Peter refers to Jesus as a lamb without blemish and without spot, echoing the typology in the old testament sacrifices which pointed to Christ.

The blood of the Passover lamb by which Israel was redeemed from Egyptian slavery, and the atonement sacrifices offered in the tabernacle and temple, and the feasts observed by Israel; all had a foreshadowing of the redemptive work of Christ. God established his testimony in Israel and the prophets testified of it as well, for they prophesied of Jesus who was yet to come.

After his resurrection, Jesus opened his disciples understanding to the scriptures which testified of him. Jesus revealed to them that things they had just witnessed regarding his death and resurrection were spoken of in the Law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets ~ Luke 24:44-48.

That the scriptures testified of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, speaks to the fact that the cross of Christ was the wisdom of God and not the wisdom of men, for in previous ages it was hidden from men.

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:6-8

The cross is the testimony of God ~ 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, and prophets who testified of the sufferings of Christ did so, not by the wisdom of men, but by the wisdom of God.

The apostle Peter tells us that the prophets testified beforehand concerning the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, BY THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST which was in them ~ 1 Peter 1:11

The cross through which salvation has come is of God, and not of men.

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: FROM HIM cometh my salvation. ~ Psalm 62:1

REFUTING UNIVERSALISM: ARE ALL PEOPLE IN CHRIST?

There is an increasing sentiment for the dangerous theology of universalism.

What is universalism?

In a nut shell, it is the theory that God has reconciled every person, having already forgiven every person’s sins (no repentance or faith in Jesus is necessary), and everyone is going to be saved and live happily ever after.

One of the scriptural texts taken and twisted by the universalists is 1 Corinthians 15:22:

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The universalist interprets this text as saying, “just as all men died (spiritually) in Adam, even so, all men (literally every human) shall be made (spiritually alive) in Christ.” Some universalist go as far as to make claim that every person is in Christ and Christ is in every person.

This is a fallacy.

In 1 Corinthians 15:22, Paul is expounding on the resurrection to come. Paul does this by way of comparison that just as every man who is in Adam, dies; every man who is in Christ shall be made alive.

Paul is not teaching that every human being is in Christ, and therefore will be made alive.

Paul states that he preached that Christ had risen from the dead and this is what the Corinthians had believed. He then asks how is it that there are some among them who claim there is no resurrection of the dead, since Christ was preached to them that he was raised from the dead.

Paul then expounds on the resurrection and concludes with these words:

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (be physically dead), but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth US the victory through OUR Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Paul makes reference to this same mystery of the resurrection in his 1st epistle to the Thessalonians.

14 For IF WE BELIEVE that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead IN CHRIST shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

The dead “in Christ” who raise from the dead, and those who remain (still alive) at the coming of the Lord, are those who (in verse 14) believe that Jesus did and rose again.

Reading into chapter 5, we see that there is a difference made between those who are, in Christ, who will be gathered to the Lord when he comes, and those who are NOT in Christ, and will not be partakers of the resurrection.

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Paul’s reference to the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a reference to every human being. Neither is it scriptural to say that every human is in Christ and Christ is in every human. Neither is every person a child of God as taught by universal theology.

Such ideology is deceptive, misleading, and demonic.

DOES GOD HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE?

This teaching is in response to the author of The Shack: William P. Young. In his new book, Lies we believe about God, Young makes the assertion that God is not in control and God doesn’t have a plan for your life.

On the contrary, the scriptures reveal God’s sovereignty and that he has specific plans for us. God said the following to Abraham:

Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. ~ Genesis 15:13-14

Notice that God declared his plan to Abraham regarding Abraham’s descendants before they were born.

All throughout the old testament we see God working out his plan and purpose of redemption (which was ordained before the foundation of the world) through the lives of those he called. Many times in scripture, God declared what he was going to do in advance through those whom he raised up as prophets. This absolutely speaks to the truth at God is in control.

For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that THE PURPOSE OF GOD according to election might stand, not of works, but of HIM THAT CALLETH;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. ~ Romans 9:9-12

While I do think we sometimes misunderstand how God’s plan for our lives is worked out, the notion that God doesn’t have a plan for us, is totally unscriptural.

The very fact that God calls some of us to do one thing, and others to do another, is evidence that God has a plan for our lives. The apostle Paul said: “For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles.” ~ Galatians 2:8 Paul embraced God’s plan for his life by embracing his calling as an apostle to the Gentiles.

In Acts 16 we read the following concerning the ministry of Paul and Silas:

6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were FORBIDDEN of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but THE SPIRIT SUFFERED THEM NOT.

8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, COME OVER TO MACEDONIA, AND HELP US.

10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, ASSUREDLY GATHERING THAT THE LORD HAD CALLED US FOR TO PREACH THE GOSPEL UNTO THEM. ~ Acts 16: 6-10

Paul and Silas were forbidden by the Spirit of the Lord from preaching in Asia and Bithynia. Instead, they were led by the Spirit of the Lord to preach the gospel in Macedonia. This speaks to the truth that God had a plan for Paul and Silas. He wanted them to preach the gospel to the Macedonians, rather than going to Asia and Bithynia.

In 1 Peter 5 we read the following from the aged apostle Peter:

The elders (Shepherds or Pastors) which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. ~ 1 Peter 5:1-3

We know that Peter was an apostle, and Peter was also a Pastor who was personally commissioned by Jesus to “feed My Sheep.” 

Consider the following from the gospel of John.

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, FEED MY LAMBS.

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, FEED MY SHEEP.

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, FEED MY SHEEP.

18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

19 THIS SPOKE HE, SIGNIFYING BY WHAT DEATH HE SHOULD GLORIFY GOD. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, FOLLOW ME.

20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?

21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and WHAT SHALL THIS MAN DO?

22 Jesus saith unto him, IF I WILL THAT HE TARRY TILL I COME, WHAT IS THAT TO THEE? FOLLOW THOU ME. ~ John 21:15-22

According to John, Jesus has a specific calling for Peter’s life: feed my sheep. Peter was not to concern himself with the call on John’s life, but was told by Jesus: follow me.

The ideology that God doesn’t have a plan for our live’s is completely contrary to scripture. When we consider the many servants of God throughout the pages of the Bible we quickly see how wrong this claim is.

Consider that God called Noah to build an Ark because God was going to bring a destructive flood upon the world, and Moses was chosen by God to deliverer the children of Israel out of Egypt.

God made Moses the leader of Israel, and through Moses, God gave Israel the Law. God chose Aaron and his descendants as priests, and the tribe of Levi as their servants in the ministry.

God chose Joshua to lead the children of Israel into the promised land, and God gave each of the tribes of Israel a specific plot of land to possess within the borders of Canaan’s land.

All throughout scripture, God chose specific people at specific times to do specific tasks according to his will; such Gideon, Samuel, and David.

God said concerning David: I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall FULFILL ALL MY WILL. ~ Acts 13:22

God spoke to Jeremiah and said: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. ~ Jeremiah 1:5

God then told Jeremiah: I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. ~ Jeremiah 1:10

According to the Bible God had a specific plan for Jeremiah, and that plan was wrapped up was God’s calling of Jeremiah as a prophet to the nations.

When Mr. Young denies that God has a plan for our lives, he not only contradicts to the testimony of scripture concerning the lives of the servants of God recorded in the Bible, he also contradicts every teaching in the Bible concerning God’s will with regards to how we are called to live as children of God.

For instance, the apostle Paul says the following to the believers at Colosse: For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might WALK WORTHY OF THE LORD UNTO ALL PLEASING, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God… ~ Colossians 1:9-10

In Ephesians, Paul says: See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what THE WILL OF THE LORD is. ~ Ephesians 5:15-17

And to the Romans Paul wrote: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, WILL OF GOD. ~ Romans 12:1-2

All throughout the new testament, we are given specific instructions concerning what the will of God is, and how we are to live in a manner which is pleasing to the Lord.

Paul tells us that it is the will of God that we live a life of sanctification because God has called us to holiness ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.

Paul also tells us that it is the will of God that we be thankful in every thing ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Peter tells us what the will of God is when we suffer as Christians ~1 Peter 4:14-16 .

Ironically, William Young, who disputes that God has a plan for our lives, also teaches (in the Shack) that Jesus doesn’t want to make us Christians. Yet, when Paul testified of Jesus before King Agrippa, the King said to Paul: You are almost persuading me to be A CHRISTIAN. ~ Acts 26:28

The apostle Paul wanted King Agrippa to become a Christian. William Young is opposed to God wanting people to becomes Christians. As a Christian, I prefer the apostle Paul’s credentials over that of William Young.

Paul, who almost persuaded King Agrippa to become a Christian, believed that God had a plan for his life, for he repeated claimed that he was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles according to the will of God.

God absolutely has a plan for our lives!