Suffice in Correction – Why does God allow us to Suffer
Is there a logical reason for HARDSHIPS in the presence of a LOVING GOD?
Job 2:10 …….What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?……..
The Last Days and The Last Day.
Before we do get to the topic on suffering, there is one more stumbling block to overcome and that is question regarding the last days. I was also one of those, whose will too listen to Biblical truths was somewhat cooled off, when looking at the last days and trying to establish meaning pertaining to the significance of the last days. Everyone always said and so was my own train of thought, that the last days were spoken of two thousand years ago. How long are the last days then? Does the Bible have a never-ending plan for the world, or is there a final end? It seems as if the end is continuous. This is exactly what Peter was drawing on in 2Peter 3: 4 – 7.
Well, let’s see what is really meant by this. Can we take this in a literal sense or not? If the Scriptures are Holy inspired, then the answer should be found in the Bible. The Bible has many apparent contradictions, yet when one really delves into the studying of the Scriptures prayerfully, the Scriptures in its original context disprove any contradiction. There is a bigger picture to be found. Scripture always interprets Scripture and extended study will always permeate into a better understanding of the Bible, as a whole.
In 2 Peter 3:4-7 Peter clearly says that this will be the prevalent thinking of man and that man will doubt the truths as set out in the Scriptures, especially in the last days.
To understand the eschatology or the study of the end times, it is important to notice the difference between the last days and the last day.
In Matthew 3: 1-2 and in Matthew 4:17 we see that both, the first command given by John the Baptist and by the Lord Jesus has the same content. “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand”.
This statement has caused many people not to take heed of the Bible. Many are saying and have said in the past, that the end mentioned here was said to have come two thousand years ago and nothing has happened yet. How may we believe such a statement? It seems as if the end will not come and things are continuing as they always have been. Why then repent?
As already mentioned, Peter gives an important warning in 2Peter 3:3. This statement is that there would be those who will doubt and even scoff at the Bible, especially regarding the return of the Lord. A closer look at what was meant by “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” describes the following: The original Greek used for the phrase, “at hand” reveals the following meanings; closeness, close, near, approaching and communion with God” This Greek word used in the original text is; “Eggizo”
To put this in simpler terms, one will have to consider two scenarios; one pertaining to an individual and the other with reference to the world and chronology of events and time.
For the individual it would mean that once the person has had a change of heart or has repented, the kingdom is at hand for this specific individual. In other words, this person will increasingly draw closer to God in communion and relationship. In a more permanent sense, this person will enter into the kingdom of God after death that is to say if this person is not subject to being taken by the Lord in the rapture. One is as close to Hades as one is as close to Heaven. When a person dies, that is it. The end and the beginning is at hand. Heb: 9:27-28 and as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 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.
For the individual person the last days of his or her life start when they are born and is significant, it is a time of preparation, because one does not know when your end will come. Eventually the individual’s last day does come. It is extremely important to know the difference between the last days and the last day. During the last days there is time for preparing to meet your Maker, but in the last day you will meet your Maker.
The last days in a corporate fashion, started with the first coming of the Lord Jesus, when God set the New Covenant, but it ends with a specific last day. The last days started two thousand years ago and the last day will be at His final return, when He will judge the world. It is only by God’s grace that the world has had two thousand years to repent, the final day, which will come and is getting closer every day. The Bible clearly distinguishes between, the last days and the last day. The last days are a time of preparation, a time of grace while the last day will be the end of grace and the start of judgment. The last days reaches a specific last day and hour.
In Matthew 24 the Lord instructs us to keep watch and focus on certain signs as the DAY is approaching. In 1and 2 Thessalonians as well as in 1 and 2 Timothy the Scriptures are more specific regarding these signs, but we will not go into that now. The fact of the matter is, no one knows the hour, but the seasons will be known. The last days ware and increasingly will reveal the final day approaching.
In these lawless times, to become skeptical of the Bible and the good news it promotes is quite understandable, if one is not well versed in the Scriptures. Fortunately the Bible warns us of an increase in this skepticism with time, especially towards the end. Every person with a sound and reasoning mind will have thought about this. With increased lawlessness, violence in a time of supposedly human rights, the villains who kill, maim, rape and rob are being set free, only to repeat their crimes. Many people are asking, “Where is the coming of the Messiah as promised in the Scriptures?” Is there really a God? The more lawless the world and the systems of the world become, the less the natural person will believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The answer is to be found in the Scriptures. In Matthew 24 where His return is described certain signs are given as well as certain reactions from the people. Matthew24: 3-14And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Quoting from Matthew 24: 10 – 14 from the Amplified Paraphrase: And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert Him Whom they ought to trust and obey and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred. And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, but he who endures until the end shall be saved. And the good news of the kingdom will be preached through out the world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come to an end.
This is the very core of the matter. Due to lawlessness and iniquity, suffering will become more prevalent in the last days. This will have an influence and an impact on individuals as well as corporately in the world. Doubt towards God will increase and the love for Him will grow cold. Amidst all of this, His return and coming Kingdom will be evident to those who know His Word, but due to all the tribulation, scoffers and unbelievers will not believe in Him, His creation, or His return.
We have looked at some of the stumbling blocks, preventing us to turn to the Lord our God and His Son Jesus as well as believing His Word, the Scriptures. Another of these issues, causing disbelief is hardships and sufferings in the world.
It is the purpose of this teaching to concentrate on the topic of suffering, its reason, our reaction and its result or purpose and why it should not be a reason to doubt in a living and existing God.
In closing on the introduction, mention with regard to the authenticity of the Scriptures was intended to strengthen the belief of the reader in the Scriptures, otherwise the description and discussion regarding the topic on suffering, may be met with skepticism. Doubt in the authenticity of the exact meaning of the Scriptures, has caused many potential believers, to fade into disbelief.
Faith has to be addressed and linked to fact. To have faith in something which is hypothetical is not faith, but blind faith or also called faith in faith. One cannot have sure stable faith in something, which cannot be proven. The Scriptures are an example of this. Just to believe in something may lead to all sorts of errors. The Scriptures are historically and scientifically accurate and proven authentic in so many facets, that it simply cannot be ignored. Surely it is the truth, the Messiah has left us.
A season to be anointed for buriel and therefter.
Myrrh, spice and perfume.
This topic focuses on a time where myrrh is used as preparation and purification for a bride. Once the bride has been chosen, after the purification by myrrh, there is a time where she will receive sweet spices and perfumes. This we read in Esther 2: 12. Before Esther became the bride of King Ahasuerus, she needed to be purified. The marriage of Esther to the King foretells something of the marriage between the King of Kings, the Church and ultimately Israel, His final bride. In the book of Revelation we read of this bride of Christ, who prepared herself for marrying the Lamb. Revelation19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.
The good women of the Scriptures symbolically refer of the Bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, in many ways. The Scriptures also teaches us that the one bride is the church, and the other bride represents repentant Israel. Myrrh was used to anoint corpses for burial and in many instances the dead in the Scriptures, are symbolic of the unsaved. When the unsaved are anointed with myrrh, it is to purify them and purge them from sins. It is a time of preparation, a time of cleansing and preparation, for what lies ahead.
Once this purification has taken place, the bride will receive and qualify to receive gifts of sweet spice and perfume. This is the same with the bride of the Lord Jesus; first there is a time crucifixion of the flesh and of burial, then a time of spice and perfume. One first has to sojourn in the desert, before reaching the Promised Land. The gifts of spice and perfume, represents the gifts, blessings and peace, only given by the Lord Jesus, our King of Kings.
It is important not only to understand the reason for the period of myrrh, but also to know for a fact, that once one has made himself or herself, ready to become the bride of the Lord Jesus, that a time of spice and perfume would materialize, not just significant for the current time, but especially pertaining to eternity.
In the New Testament we read about this as follow: Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. All these things do not mean pleasures, but includes the time in the desert, which eventually leads to the Promised Land.
As this document mainly focuses on the myrrh or sojourning in the desert, please do not forget the time of spice and perfume which is to follow the time of myrrh, as this is equally important and has a meaningful and desired destiny. If the time of spice and perfume does not seem to want to materialize in current affairs, bear in mind that the Lord said that those who love the world does not love God, and that believers were called to be in the world, but not of it. The time of spice and perfume could come as a foretaste of things to come in the here and now, but if one does not experience this time of peace and blessing now, it will be given in the life hereafter. The believer will however experience another type of peace, the peace of God even in a time of testing and affliction, but final peace without testing and affliction is promised to them that trust and obey His ordinances. The Lord has five crowns for those who qualify. The time of spice and perfume is just as real, as the time of myrrh. This anointing and blessed gifting does not occur without the other.
Blessed are those who are called to receive the anointing of myrrh. Psalms94:12-14 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; that thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. This almost sounds like a type of beatitude.
Although God has many ways and means for causing a season of myrrh and thus leading people into the desert to be tested, Job should be seen as one unique individual, who suffered severe testing. So we too must accept a time of myrrh, then the gifting of the spice and perfume: Job:5:17-18 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. In the case of Job, God had a specific reason for his suffering and also with each individual; God has His specific reason to usher in a season of myrrh. These are not the same types of seasons, because each individual is treated uniquely by God. Although the season for burial looks the same, it is not the same for each individual. Some may be able to endure more than others, but the reaction should be the same, according to 1 Peter 1 :6 – 10 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you. Although things are not always clear during heaviness, we should trust, rely, believe and have confidence in the One Who is not seen, yet perceived, and have an assurance that we do not become disappointed, but believe that a greater glory awaits those, who endure perilous times and bear the fruit of patience.
May God truly, have mercy on us all.
Part 1- Suffering and purpose.
Types and Prophecy
Please remember this Scripture; “For those who walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh and are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. Romans 8:1”
Sufferings are diverse in type and sequence of importance. Some people may see suffering as financial hardships, some may understand it to being victimized by others, some may see it as experiencing the loss of loved ones, some may experience it as being falsely accused, some may experience it as being persecuted for their faith etc. The list is endless. Others again, might be in a position where virtually all of these things happen to them simultaneously. It is a complexity of influences, which stretches one’s faith in God to limits, sometimes beyond human reason. It is these “negatives” and the existence of a “positive” God leading to so many “mental defects”. These “mental defects” are caused by our own lack of understanding of the Scriptures and the purpose of God in our lives.
When we look at the world and the evil in this world, a loving God seems to be a contradiction. This is not something new and has been around for a very long time. When reading the book Habakkuk, we notice that this type of paradigm existed in the very days of the prophet who wrote about the cares and concerns of lawlessness of his time. He saw it in his own day, but he also prophesied about 2600 years ago that it would happen in the last days again. The prophets of the Old Testament prophesied for their time, but this same prophecy also pointed to the Lord’s first and ultimately final return. What happened then happened at the first coming of the Lord and happens just before His second coming again. There is a saying which says, that history repeats it’s self and this type of Biblical prophecy is engineered in the same fashion, the only difference is that there is a final end to the repetition. When one studies the Scriptures, this type of pattern is frequently evident.
A short look into the prophecy of Habakkuk, reveals something which should sound familiar. It is interesting to see that the name Habakkuk means “the embracer” or “the wrestler”. The meaning wrestler accentuates the fact that Habakkuk was “wrestling” with the question in his own mind, regarding God allowing all the evil and seemingly ignored it unpunished. Habakkuk 1: 1-4 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
Doesn’t this sound like today? Nothing seems to make sense any more. Criminals are caught, court cases cost the state and the taxpayer millions, and then after all the trouble and expenses these same criminals are set free, to repeat their injustices. What happened to justice?
In a modern world of extreme competent technology and so many things to make life easier, there are increased suicides and depressions amongst people. One of the main reasons for this has to be blamed on psychology and theologies proclaiming a freedom from hardships.
The problem with the erroneous positive attitude of psychology and prosperity theology, is that it tries to uplift mankind and to set them free from hardships and mental accusations. It is also psychology and prosperity theology, which teaches man that he has his own rights and whatever he wants to achieve, he will reach. Yet when these “power positive” visualizations do not realize, depression sets in, and which results in extreme negativity, which may ultimately lead to suicide. Another gospel foreign to that of the Scriptures will always cause confusion hence the “mental defects” mentioned earlier. When the hardships in the world are not understood, then all sorts of “mental defects” permeate in the minds of mankind, especially to those who are brainwashed or hypnotized into believing that everything will be within their own reach and by their own power.
Psychology will tend to blame the suffering of an individual on events from his or her past, as well as on their so-called environment. Prosperity theology, which is actually not theology but heresy, will blame the person for not having enough positive faith, when traumatized as a result of problems experienced by them.
The study of the influences of psychology and prosperity theology and its influence in the modern church has left more uncertainties than solutions. Due to this being another topic and resulting in lengthy discussions, the shortfall in psychology and prosperity theology will not be addressed now, but should the reader want to know more about these issues, there are many books and related topics on the internet, which should be considered.
To understand the cause of hardships, we will need to look at the origin of these causes and it will be necessary to revert to the book of Genesis, the origin of sin.
What are some of the reasons for our sinful natures, according to the Scriptures?
- The original sin.
- Not resisting temptations.
1. The Original Sin
The plight for peace and safety and the lack of this peace and safety is one of the main reasons people do not believe in a God, or have a weakened faith in a universal omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God. This train of thought is exactly opposite to what the Bible offers, as the reason behind the sufferings of the human race.
I have often asked and have heard people ask, why a loving God would punish us for a sin committed 6000 years ago, by Adam and Eve.
When God created man, He created man with a free will. He created man to dwell on earth to cultivate the planet and to multiply. A loving and Holy God has created man in His image and not as a robot; In His image to be Holy and to be worshiped by, In His image to be creative and not only responsive. He created man with a mind and logic to be able to decide for himself. If God created man as a reactive robot, there would be no fairness, freedom and free will. What fairness and love would God reflect, if man was not in a position to discern and decide for himself?
It is exactly because of man’s free will that man has decided to go the same way as Adam and Eve. We are all guilty of sin in our lives and we have all become as God. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Ecclesiastes 7:20: For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. The problem is that man has been looking at the self too long and has not recognized his own shortcomings. In a time of human rights, man is failing to recognize his sinful nature and is continually seeking ways to justify his wrong and sinful behavior, after all it is his supposedly right to claim this.
All of mankind is guilty of the same offence, sin. This is evident in the life of each individual and therefore applies, to the whole world. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. The whole world, qualifies and no one escapes into sinlessness.
This is why God sent His only beloved Son. John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
People today and especially in a time of so-called human rights, do not have the ability to see their own shortcomings. I suppose this is why the Lord Jesus, when He was accused of mingling with sinners was rejected by the theologians of His day. His answer when accused of mingling with the sinners was that He did not come to heal the healthy, but those who were ill. Luke 5:30-32 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, they that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The key lies within repentance. These are the very first spoken words used in the New Testament. They were uttered by John the Baptist. Matthew 3:1-2 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.. It is not coincidence that these were the very words used by the Lord Jesus, when he started to preach: Matthew 4:17: From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
It is interesting to take a close look at the word “repent”. The Greek word for “Repent” is: “Metanoeo” and is described by Spiros Zodhiates, (Th.D) as “To repent with regret, accompanied by a true change of heart toward God. Repentance is retrospection, causing a change. It signifies a change of mind consequent to retrospection, indicating regret for the course pursued and resulting in a wiser view of the past and future.” This is also where the word metamorphosis, originates from. It is a change into something else, into a higher level, basically a new creation.
It is a loving God Who says in His Word: 2Peter 3: 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.
Yes, this answered another of the questions so many others and I had. The world is in a mess, yet the Lord seems to tarry on His return. Why is He so cruel? Well this is explained in the parable of the sower where the enemy came and sowed tares amongst the wheat, as explained in Matthew 13. When He was asked if the tares may be removed the Master said no, because some of the wheat may be uprooted as well. The Lord’s loving-kindness extends beyond our comprehension. If He had to return at this very moment there are many who would be uprooted with the tares and this may include many who may still have time to repent. The Lord is not slack in His return nor in His mercy and grace, yet the final day will arrive and the final judgment will take place.
In 2Peter3: 9, the Lord calls people to a healing an does not want any to perish but the very next verses, verses 10 -14 says this: 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. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all Holy conversation and godliness, 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? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
It is clear in these verses that there will be an ultimate end or a final day of judgment and that we should be of a “manner of persons” to be Holy in conversation and godliness, filled with peace, without spot and blameless.
The original sin, is the sin in which an unrepentant person stays. This is a way of life and a way of survival in the world where “survival of the fittest” is the evolutionary mindset of the natural man. This ongoing sin is not seen as sin but rather as an intelligent way of achieving one’s goals. Wise men are regarded as those who have made it in this world, by whatever ungodly means possible. These are those who have not understood the meaning of life and surely have not discovered the reality of a living Holy God. The true purpose has passed by them. Rather than to prepare for the return of Christ; they have embraced evil ways of surviving in the world, all seeking material wellbeing, by every conceivable method possible. To the unrepentant, sin is something that is looked forward to. This is how I was. I could not wait for the weekend to start, so that I could go out to get drunk, be with the boys and do everything appealing to the erotic nature. To me this was the life. This type of sin is not recognized or identified and is perceived as being a way of life. To the repentant sinner, the weekend is something he or she cannot wait for, because it gives them more time to draw closer to God in prayer and in studying the Scriptures. It is a time to escape from the sins around them and to spend quality time with their next of kin. Sin to these people has been identified and recognized as sin. The repentant person knows sin while the unrepentant person does not know sin and if he or she does, could not care when he or she commits sin.
To the person who lives the life of obtaining what he or she wants, by any means possible, sin does not exist unless they themselves are done in. The original sin is the sin in the life of one who lives by the sins and has not discovered God yet. Sin is a necessity to the unsaved person, to survive and to be perceived as on of the fittest.
According to Romans chapter one, no-one will have an excuse on the Day of Judgment. God has ways of calling the unrepentant people, and is doing this at present, maybe even more now as in the past. This calling does and will not last forever.
Due to the original sin, God said that man would only be able to eat, by the sweat of his brow. To labor for bread was something instituted by God. One of the seven deadly sins, is sloth or laziness. Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Modern times have many able and capable people without employment, who would really give anything to be employed and to earn their keep. On the other hand there are those who have ample opportunities but complain. Many people have been blessed with earning a keep, many have been blessed with their own businesses, but due to the sweat, constantly complain. This in its self is a sin.
As result of the original sin, earning bread by one’s sweat should be an accepted privilege and to reject this, is to be rebellious to God. God gave us Paradise in the beginning and if we take up our cross and follow Him, He will bring us back to this place of rest. Labor may be sensed as judgment, but can also become more pleasant, once one accepts this fate, as being able to earn bread by the sweat of one’s brow, which is an ordination by God.
Crosses are there to be carried and if we decide to carry this cross and bring our burdens to the Lord, He promises that He would take it and give us an easier yoke. It is all a matter of obedience and acceptance to His calling. As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes; all is vanity under the son, but all is not vanity under the heavens. Vain are the worldly things and meaningful are the things under the heavens. All things under the son are meaningless and have no eternal value, while the toils under the heavens have exceptional, eternal value. To live under the son is worldly and materialistic, but to live under the Heaven is Godliness and Spiritual. In the world there is vanity, but in the Spirit there is meaning. The things under the son, does not go to the Heaven as they are not of the Heaven, yet the things of the Heavens qualify for Heaven. In the world there is a lie, but under Heaven there is truth and truth is all that matters. Everyone is called to be more Heavenly minded and not worldly. There is no purpose in dying in the world without Heavenliness, but there is meaning in dying to the world, to obtain Heavenliness. To strive in the world, to try and reach something which is never satisfied, is useless as is the case with material wealth, but to strive towards Godliness which has an eternal value is great gain.
This does not mean one should lack in ambition, but the ambition should be to labor for the primary purpose, to do God’s will. The Bible calls us to seek the Lord first, then the rest would be added. Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
2. Not resisting temptations
It is because humans were created with the freedom of choice that they may and do succumb to temptations. This then draws on the original sin in the Garden of Eden again, but concerns the believer. It is these things or temptations, humans need to overcome.
The Scriptures explain this as follow: James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Believers are called to overcome temptations and therefore evil. Romans 12:21: Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. 1John 4:4: Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. We overcome through the power of the knowledge of Jesus and being baptized in the Spirit. If we call with a contrite heart and spirit, He promises us that He will dwell with us and if He is with us and we do not fall back, He will be the power enabling us to overcome these evil temptations. If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
When one considers what is written in the book of Revelation, it is remarkable to notice that each of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation, represents each of the church eras in history, as well as characteristics of every denominational error found in modern churches. In each of these churches, there is a direct command to overcome the unwanted “characteristics” evident in each of them.
When there are clear major doctrinal errors evident in a church, which may point to another savior, mediator, spirit and gospel, the Lord wants us to address them and overcome them. If the church does not repent of the other Jesus, spirit or gospel, then we should overcome the issue by breaking ties with them and not endure or tolerate the falseness. Everything contrary, added or subtracted to and from the Scriptures are from Lucifer and his ministers.
Quoting the Amplified paraphrase, where Paul uses harsh words to warn the church at Corinth. 2Corinthians 11:4 For (you seem ready to endure it) if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the (Spirit) you (once) received or a different gospel from the one you (then) received and welcomed; you tolerate (all that) well enough. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah). So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. (But) their end will correspond with their deeds.
Paul has the following advice or command; 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The Lord has promises for those who overcome, resist the devil and obey His instructions. In the verses above (2 Cor. 6:18) the Lord says that He will receive those who do not touch unclean issues. To the seven churches in Revelation He says: Rev.3:20-22 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 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.
This resisting is not only applicable to false doctrine, but is inclusive of sins to satisfy the lusts of the flesh. These sins are the same as with the original sin and there is a distinct line or border to separate this sin from the “unknown” sins or sins not perceived as being sin but rather a way of unacceptable perverse lifestyles. In the case of the sins of the unsaved, we realized that these people don’t know that they are sinning; it has become a way of life to them. It is once again clear, that due to the evolutionary theory, man becomes and acts like an animal. Sex is not seen as something holy between married couples; therefore sex becomes perverted and appealing to the flesh. It is because of the understanding that “we all belong to the animal kingdom”, that people start to live like animals and even worse.
To resist or to overcome sins and temptations, one will at least have to realize that something is amiss. Your conscience should accuse you of these wrongs you are doing. To the unsaved this ability is almost non-existent, but to the saved it is very evident and their conscience bear witness to the fact. Romans 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.
The saved person will increasingly become more aware of this accusation within him or herself. The ability to overcome these issues will determine the level of their faithful relationship with God.
The difference between the saved and the unsaved when faced with issues to overcome or to resist, is that the unsaved does not realize that he is not only sinning against the person but also against God, whereas the saved person will know for a fact that he or she is sinning against a brother or sister, as well as profaning the name of God at the same time. To the unsaved it is a lack of total repentance while with the saved it is a rejection, hatred and desire to overcome the sins which sporadically befalls them. It is the inability of overcoming and resisting sins that draws saved people to their knees in prayers of repentance, because it is not in their natures to want to sin anymore. To the unsaved on the other hand, the sin is soon forgotten only to be followed by the next bunch of sins, without any prompting or desire to come to repentance or to pray for forgiveness
Just as with the unrepentant and unsaved person, there are warnings and ways of correction aimed at the saved, when they miss the mark. (It is interesting to see that the Greek word used for sin is “Hamartia” which basically means, to miss the goal or the mark.)
When the believer rejects his conscience, the soft warning voice of the Spirit of God and continually gives in to temptations, the next step occurs, which is called backsliding.
To backslide, one has to have been somewhere of significance. You had to have tasted of the Heavenly things. In the Bible, we are called to be witnesses. (The Greek for witnesses is “Martus” by the way, and is significantly linked to being a martyr for Christ). It is an acceptable thing with God, if one dies or is martyred to the worldly sinful pleasures of the flesh. This does not mean we may not enjoy life the way God wants us to, but to reject the enjoyment outside of the will of God. In reality it is more peaceful to enjoy life, according to the rules of God, because your conscience does not trouble you by bearing witness against you.
When the pressure starts, the chaff will be separated from the wheat. There is a saying which suggests: “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. You will only be “tough” if you have an unshakable belief and faithfulness towards the Son of God and realize that the very existence of God, is real and not a myth. This unshakable belief will not only give you inner strength, but you will have to endure the mockers of the world, who will see you as being weak. It is the meek who inherit the Kingdom of God and not those who are strong in their own sight.
It is a known fact, that in certain courses presented by institutions in the world like the elite forces, individuals and groups are put under trials of stress to see what they are capable of achieving and overcoming. Selections of specific individuals are then made, according to their abilities, to address these “impossibilities” they need to overcome.
This is the same with the believer. Once a believer is put to the test and he or she is not strong in their faith which includes faithfulness, they will tend to backslide. These tests may originate from peer pressure, which is one of the meekest forms of testing, or may be more severe where one has to choose between being martyred or forsake ones faith. The latter has always been around and to this very day, Christians are being martyred by the religions of this word. Some of the many examples are to look at the persecutions of Christians in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Indonesia etcetera.
It is not the purpose to become judgmental here, but rather to learn from the Scriptures what the Lord says, regarding tests and backsliding.
2Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the Holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Once they were washed by the knowledge of the Lord, but again get entangled in the worldly evils, there will be something worse to come.
Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
John 5:14: Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Hebrews 6:4-7 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth, which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
The Lord is not cruel; He is just and does not want His flock to stray. He is the Shepherd and uses a rod and staff to comfort His flock. The rod has a purpose and the staff has its purpose. The rod is not so pleasant and it is there to protect, while the staff is guides. We serve a God Who loves us, therefore He will do anything possible to keep us close to Him, but He has not taken the ability away from us to reason and decide for ourselves. He has chosen for us to be with Him from the foundations of the Earth, now it is our turn to choose Him, Whom we should serve.
Backsliding occurs when the saved person, does not stay faithful to the will of the Father. This is where the inability of resisting and overcoming sins has taken a step for the worse and the believer has become disillusioned by especially false doctrine or habitual sin, not able to resist or overcome the devil and his angels of light. The sins the person may be caught up in, could be worldly or spiritually.
The Lord has ways of treating these three types of persons; those subject to the original sin, those who are natural and not spiritual enough to resist temptations and the backslider. It includes the saved and the unsaved. To the very sincere and faithful believer, other similar tests may come for reasons not always clear, but this person will always be able to have patience and know that God has His reasons, for allowing these things to happen.
The Lord has ways of convicting the sinner to repentance. One way is through His Word, the Scriptures and another way by the prompting of His Spirit. He keeps on reminding the individual and the world of His calling to repentance and uses specific methods to do this. It is also these measures the Lord will use to guide the faithful to even become more faithful. It is by the faithful actions and testimonies of the sufferings of the faithful, that those who are weak are strengthened.
The Times Ahead
Our Lord Jesus knows what is ahead and warned us about this, it is for this reason we need to thank Him, because forewarned is forearmed. In the Olivet Discourse (When He will descend onto the Mount of Olives) the Lord Jesus Says: Matthew 24:25 Behold, I have told you before. Here the Lord Jesus refers to the signs becoming increasingly evident in the last days. The purpose of this is for our trust and love in Him to grow positively stronger, rather than grow cold in negative situations. It is this hope and trust that will make us overcome and endure, rather than backslide. Matthew 24:12-13 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. In the very next verse, verse 14 the Lord Jesus has this to say: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” If the gospel means “The Good News”, then there is a gospel that will be preached in the last days, of good news indeed.
In verse 25 of Matthew 24 we read precisely what some of this good news is. Matthew 24:25 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the Holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) The good news here is that we ought to accept the Lord Jesus, so when the abomination of desolations manifests, we will know that it is the very Lord Jesus Who will set us free and deliver us from this. To the everyday person, this seems like bad news, the fact making it good news, is that when it happens, it is proof of God still keeping His Word, a God we may trust in. Many will read negativity into the signs of the times ahead, as explained to us in the Scriptures, yet these things are part of the Scriptures, which God calls the good news. The core of this part of the good news, is a call to repentance towards the unsaved and for the saved to look up, because redemption is at hand. The only way of escape, is to accept the Lord Jesus as the sole Savior.
Signs and Apostasy
The average person will think that any form of rebuke, chastisement or tribulation may seem bad at the time. This is exactly what God wants us to prepare for and realize. As things are getting worse and worse He is still in charge, although it might not seem that way. Look at the signs He has given us to observe, when he speaks about the last days:
- Many false Christs (Matt. 24:5)
- Wars and rumours of wars (Matt. 24:6)
- Famines (Matt. 24:7)
- Pestilences (Matt. 24:7)
- Earthquakes (Matt. 24:7)
- Being delivered up to the enemy for affliction and martyrdom. (Matt.24: 9)
- People betraying one another (Matt. 24:10)
- Many false prophets deceiving the nations (Matt. 24:11)
- The abomination of desolations (The Anti-Christ) standing in the temple. (Matt. 24:15)
- Tribulation such as the world has never seen (Matt. 24:24)
- False Christ’s and prophets showing many signs and wonders (Matt. 24:24)
To the natural or unsaved man these things are negative, but to the spiritual man, these are positive signs. Why? Because it is in these times that we are to draw close to Him, to look up, as our redemption draws closer. Luke 21:28: And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
In 2Tessalonians 2:1-4 we read the following words of preparation: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” This is what the Scriptures teach will happen. As mentioned earlier on, more and more people are seeking counseling with psychologists as they are increasingly “shaken in mind and troubled” by happenings around them, as the aforementioned Scriptures warns will happen. To understand the perilous times, is to be ready and without fear of these things to come. This is something psychology and the prosperity “gospel” neglects to teach. When people seek psychological counseling, they should receive the truth of the gospel to discover the purposes of God and thus receive the peace, not f this world, but the peace of the Prince of peace, the Lord of lords and the King of kings, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Then in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 we have the next words of preparation as encouragement; “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” There is no reason to read any negativity into these Scriptures, because the Scriptures are clear that these things will happen and it is already happening, so why be negative? The spiritual man will not grow cold when these things happen, instead he will be quite positive, because he will know that the Lord is near. This is the psychology of the Scriptures, not of the psychologists, who will seek to blame these negatives on something or someone else. When God allows these events to take place, who in actual fact is being blamed?
In 2 Timothy 3:1-10 we have some more words of encouragement: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall precede no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”
Notice the last sentence in 2 Timothy 3:10, where Paul speaks about knowing the right doctrine. To realize what lies ahead is positive and not negative. All of the above “negatives” are actually encouraging, because it proves the authenticity and accuracy of the message and predictions in the Scriptures. If all of these negatives are seen as positives how negative will those who understand these things become? Even the smallest of blessings from God, will be sufficient for them.
What is noticeable today is when one points to these Scriptures, fellow “brethren” react the same as the world and sees this as negative, yet the Scriptures are quoted. One of the sins people are involved in and causes the spirit of these people to be polluted is the doctrine of false peace and prosperity. Again mention must be made to worldly psychology and false-hope teachings, promoted in the so called churches of our time. When the happenings of Matthew 24, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and1 and 2 Timothy etcetera really starts to happen, it will be those who have positive attitudes because of wrong doctrine, who will not be ready. It will be them that will become utterly despondent, while those who expect these things to happen will become stronger and will grow in love towards God. Those who expect the worse will know that the coming of the Lord is at hand, and will trust in His deliverance.
The Scriptures warns us about a false peace. Ezekiel 13:10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar. It is reality in the world that there is no peace. It is people who tend to ignore these realities that fall into periodic states of depression. People who are confused living lives of fables then realizing how unforgiving reality is.
There is a danger in this peace, which is about to come. The world has never called so much for peace and safety before, as now. But the Scriptures warn: 1Thessalonians 5:3 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. Specifically speaking of the last days, just prior to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, there will be peace and safety. This peace and safety, according to the Scriptures will be false. This is the peace and safety the prosperity teachers are preparing their followers for. The very first peace to come into the world will be so longed for, that virtually everyone will embrace it with fervent reverence. It is the same with the first “peace bringer” as well. The first peace will be ushered in by the anti-Christ, unless the chronology of the events in the Bible, are false. The first Christ to come to the world will be the false one, whose purpose will be to deceive the whole world, which means most of the people. Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
It will only be the Prince of Peace, Who will bring long-lasting and true peace into being. The Lord encourages us in His Word: Mattew10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Amidst all of these negative issues around us today, it will be the Christian in the correct doctrine that will be able to endure and actually be energized in positive thinking, than to succumb to depression, loss of hope and suicidal tendencies. It is the well-versed and correct doctrinal educated Christian, that will look at all of these things as positive, because when he or she observes these things, he or she will realize that God is fulfilling the statements made in His address to us, through the Scriptures. When a Christian realizes this there will be very little prompting to backslide. Right doctrine will affect one to be set free, from a troubled mind.
There are basically two types of trails a Christian will face, one directly as result of God’s testing and another because of our loyalty to Christ, perpetrated by men.
Hardships from the world
(1Peter 2:19: For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.)
1. This is a testing of serious believers, because of their loyalty to their King
The content of what is to follow must please not be seen in a negative light. The content mentions tribulations, as referred to by the Scriptures and is not from the writer’s own formulation.
Many will say that this happened to the disciples of the Bible and is not meant for the faithful, or the disciples of today. The fact is, Paul said that everyone should be a follower of him, as he was of Christ. Another fact is that the Christians were martyred since the days of the apostles and history will prove this.
Today the same fact remains, as already mentioned the amount of persecutions in the world on Christians at this very moment is staggering, when one becomes aware of it. We are not told to ignore these persecutions, but rather to bear them in our prayers and intercessions. In countries such as, Indonesia, Ethiopia etcetera, Christians are being persecuted and martyred to this very day. To obtain more information about this, one may only contact a group of supportive Christians in this regard, under the name “Open Doors” There are also many web-sites and related articles to prove these current, persecutions and murders.
There are those who persecute; arrest and murder the serious believer, thinking that they are actually doing God good service by these actions. John16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. These are so-called “Christian” and non-Christian religions of our time. A true Christian will never physically kill. A true Christian will reflect the fruits of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22, which is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Once someone becomes a loyal and devoted Christian there will be those, who will reject and persecute you. This has nothing to do with the correction of God, but actually holds a blessing and promise to those who go through this type persecution and possibly martyrdom, initiated by those who think that they are doing God a favour. Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. This is the crown of everlasting life, to which the second death has no dominion or hold over its victim.
2. Rejection from friends and family
A true, devoted and faithful Bible believing Christian will experience and should be willing, to expect the following: Matthew10: 34-40 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. This does not mean we should hate our family, but it means that we are to prioritize the important matters, by loving God first. The first priority is God, and your service to Him, and then the importance of the family comes into play. We ought not to forsake God because our families have forsaken us. Families may put some type of pressure on one, who has become serious in their faithfulness, but we are to set an example and this does not include hatred. There is not one true, very serious Christian who has forsaken their families, it is rather the families who have forsaken them. We are called to hate wrong systems and doctrines, not people. The great commission is to make disciples, not to change the destiny or the order of events, which God has ordained to take place.
The Scriptures also says the following: 1Peter4: 12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. These fiery trials are aimed at believers suffering, as result of persecution from the world and their next of kin.
3. Preparation to receive great blessings for affliction and persecution.
When reading the Scriptures, it is clear that sufferings and affliction precedes better times. The result of listening and obeying the chastisement of God will be rewarded with consolidation, glory, blessings and acceptance by God. The principle of Myrrh, perfume and spice, becomes evident. First a burial and then comes heavenly things.
The Scriptures are full of this type of encouragement: 1Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ Acts: 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. James1: 2: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 2Corinthians 1:7: And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. Phillipians: 3:10: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Colossians 1:24: Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 2Timothy 2:12: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 1Peter 1:5-6 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 2Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
We can carry on and on, on this topic, but I am sure the reader understands the essence of the matter by now. The Lord has promised those who are willing to endure this type of temptation from the world and unsaved, due to their love and devotion to Him, that there is something better ahead.
However difficult the situation may seem, one must stay positive and even rejoice. This is only possible, if one has a steadfast hope and has a foundation built on the Rock, which is the Lord Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:17-18 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. James 1:12: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Amidst all of this, the Lord ends everything in a blessing for those who understand and are willing to go through with His plan. The Lord calls everyone to be ready, for the perilous times. All should take heed, watch and expect these things; otherwise their minds will become troubled and confused. To expect good times when the opposite happens, will be to be ensnared and caught off guard, which is always a good strategy of the enemy. Luke 21:31-36 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Please remember that the sufferings as explained in the aforementioned paragraphs are the believer’s sufferings. This has nothing to do with the unsaved or backslidden people. This is a suffering caused by the world and it’s unsaved, on the faithful remnant.
The chastisement and correction of the lord
(Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;)
Another reason for trials and testing of Christians or believers, as well as unbelievers and for that matter, the world, is also approved by God and even allowed and instructed by God. The result of these tests or trails will ultimately lead to accepting and acceptance of and by God, or rejecting and rejection of and by God. This is called the Chastisement of The Lord.
The testing of the Lord is more significant than one may think. It is not merely to afflict without purpose, nor is it for Him to get to know us better, through this chastisement. He knows the heart and thought of every person. He knows every hair on the head of the individual, because of His omniscience. No, the testing and trails are there for us to know ourselves better, they are there for us to realize who we really are, our reactions, measure of trust in a Holy living God, and ultimately our choice of conduct towards acceptance or rejection, of being guided in the way of the Lord. As the Psalmist wrote; “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”
Under the headings where the original sins of the unrepentant and the weak believers were discussed, not being able to overcome temptations as well as backsliding, mention was made concerning the ways of God to call and correct these people. This is a corrective calling of God, to these people.
How does God call and correct people?
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him
The Scriptures warn us that God has ways of dealing with those who are under the power of the original sin, those who do not really want to overcome sins and those who have backslidden. God basically uses chastisement as a measure to call everyone closer to Him. Should they not heed to this chastisement or consider knowing Him better, He says in 2 Thessalonians 2: 11 that He will send them a strong delusion so that they will believe in a lie. Another warning God gives us in His Word, is that those who do not want to turn to God and come to repentance, will be given over to their own devices.
When one comes to understand the reasons for chastisement, I am sure one would gladly receive this chastisement, rather than to be sent or allowed a delusion originating from God, nor would we want to be left to our own devices, as this will only lead to the opposite of Heaven which I am confident, once a person has weighed the consequences, would not prefer. The effect and reasoning in God sending a delusion and handing the hard hearted over to their own devices, will be discussed later on in this document.
Before reading further please remember the meditational Scripture” For those who walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh and are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. Romans 8:1”
The Correction Of The Lord
Let us consider what the Word of God teaches regarding His chastisement, the resulting suffering the method used, as well as the desired and undesired outcome.
According to the Scriptures, it is the Lord calling us to repentance. Luke 5:32: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Could this be the same calling after the fall in the Garden of Eden? I would think so, as it is the will of the Lord for nobody to be lost. He has also chosen us before the foundations of the world. He sent His only begotten Son as the second Adam to rectify that, which was lost by the first Adam. Adam himself could not return to the Garden of Eden, it was God’s grace and His reaching and calling to man, that causes this return and correction. When God called Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after the fall, they first hid themselves, and then blamed each other for their sins. I can’t help but wonder what the result would have been, had they repented of their sins. The very thing God calls us to do today! So many people are still hiding from God, because of condemning sins, they are guilty of. Each one of them has this opportunity, given by the Lord Jesus, the second Adam, to answer to the calling of God, to openly admit their trespasses to God and to repent. It is this answering to God and repentance that will restore them back to the Garden of Eden and to the Tree of Life. Man will never be able to return to the Garden of Eden, by himself. He has to gain access through the door or the way, which is our Lord Jesus Christ, the second Adam. 1Corinthians 15: 45 – 57 And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is this second Adam, the very Lord Jesus who allows us access to the Garden and ultimately to restore us to the Tree of Life. There is no other mediator by which one can get back to be restored to the beginning. 1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. This restoration is back to the very foundation of the world, where God had known the repentant sinners as His faithful creatures of the creation.
Religious institutions would have it the other way round, where man is trying to reach God, in the same manner as building the Tower of Babel, while it is the Lord Himself reaching and calling to man. It is not through works that this contact is achieved, but by His grace. If this grace could only be understood as being sufficient, and not rejected or worked for!
It is the ignorance towards this calling that causes the Lord’s mercy and grace to even extend further. To ignore or to take the calling lightly and not to recognize this calling, will result in the favor of the Lord reaching towards us in ways, not always so pleasant.
One of the reasons man is not reachable and does not understand the purposes and ways of God, is a lack of knowledge. The Scriptures make mention of this. Hosea 4:6: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Matthew 22:29: Jesus answered and said unto them, ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. It is this very knowledge that sets us free. John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. The more we study the Scriptures the more we understand the calling and purpose of the Lord. To study the Scriptures is a command and not optional. 2Timoty 2:15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
It was previously mentioned that the Lord Jesus Himself said, “His Words are Spirit”. John 6:63: It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. The more one reads and studies the Scriptures the more one will understand the ways of God. This is not limiting God’s power, because He reveals Himself supernaturally in many ways to those who seek and do not have the Scriptures or are unable to read. This supernatural ability does not cease with those who study the Scriptures, who are blessed to have the Scriptures and who are able to read God’s Word. The willingness to read and study the Scriptures prayerfully and reverently, results in understanding the Scriptures which only happens by revelation of the Divine Spirit. It is only the Lord Jesus who through His Spirit will reveal these truths to those who seek it like gold and silver. Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. This ability will be for all who call on His name and is not just for the clergy.
A friend and I once visited a group of people in the townships, who are much less fortunate and more illiterate than most people we know. We were there to share the gospel with them. We were astounded to hear what one elderly gentleman had to share with us. The knowledge he shared with us regarding the will of the Lord left us quite confounded and surprised. The knowledge he shared, we had obtained through extensive Bible study, the type of study where the Greek and Hebrew needed to be defined. The power of God should never be refuted or limited, because the Lord promised that He would reveal Himself to those who earnestly seek Him, with a contrite spirit and obedience to His commandments. To keep the Lord’s commandments is not being legalistic, as many would have it. It is not to keep the commandments to get saved, but because of salvation and the love we aught to have for Him. 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.
If one does have the Scriptures and do not study it rather preferring to rely on experiences only, one will become vulnerable, to other spiritual influences. This delusion will lead to false doctrine and error. The Scriptures warn us about this and calls those who are blessed with logic and intelligence and who have the Scriptures to their disposal, to study. 2Thessalonians 2:10: And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: Jesus said that He is the way, the life and the truth. He is the Word. John 1:14: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The purpose of studying the Scriptures:
1. To lead to Salvation – 1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me
2. To cast out Spirits – Matthew 8:16 When the even 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 Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
3. Is the truth – Colossians 1:5: For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel
4. To sanctify and cleans us – John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Ephesians 5:26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
5. To receive the Holy Spirit and to be more Spirit led – Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them, which heard the word. John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
6. For living correctly – 2Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
It is the very essence of everything and to reject, it will lead to: John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. Yes, when the Lord returns, as explained in Revelation 1:16. He returns with a two edged sword from His mouth. Revelation 1:16: And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. This sword is His Word, according to Ephesians 6:17: And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It is this sword, the Scriptures we are to use, to judge our way of life and to discern by. Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Lord will return and whatever was said in His Word, the Scriptures will be used for and against our final plight. The Book of Life will be opened and those who lived by and against God’s Word will be judged according to it.
Straying and the correction of the Lord
Someone once mentioned the way of the Bedouins, shepherding their flocks in the desert and said that if a sheep out of the flock keeps on straying, the shepherd would eventually have no alternative but to break on of its legs and then to carry it on his shoulders. This would ensure the sheep not straying and was for the protection of the sheep. The ultimate result would be, for the sheep getting used to being close to the shepherd and once healed, would not normally stray again. Should the sheep stray again the procedure would be repeated, until the sheep reacted according to the will of the shepherd.
When the Lord says that He is our shepherd, we could expect the same way of His shepherding us. Should we stray from what He wants us to do, he will also break our legs, but then will carry us on His shoulders. Should we keep on straying, the procedure will be repeated. Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called to day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
When the Shepherd uses the rod instead of the staff, this is what is meant by His chastisement and the Scriptures are clear in the purpose of His chastisement on us.
Hebrews 12:5-13 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands, which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
The problem today is that when the Lord chastises us, we tend to turn to man and psychology for the answers or for a solution or lifting of the burden. The Lord Jesus told us to call and go to Him, for his yoke is easy to bear. This is the gospel of real love. To just accept a gospel of love without judgment or chastisement is not in line with the Scriptures. The correction of the Lord never lacks love in His divine love towards us.
There seems to be a contradiction in the Scriptures, regarding the love of God and the easy yoke He has for us which is found in Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. This points to those who were once illuminated and knew God but due to backsliding, something worse was to come upon them. It is also the very next chapter in Hebrews, chapter 11 where God teaches us about faith and faithfulness. The importance of the word faith cannot be overemphasized. The Greek word used for faith, is “pistis” and means to have faith, but also to be faithful. Faith without faithfulness is dead. The Hebrew word for faith “emunah” also has this dual meaning, of faith and faithfulness.
Thank God for His chastisement; this chastisement that goes forth to the unsaved, the saved who err and the backslidden. It is this chastisement the Lord uses to call us to Him. The very thing people want therapy for, could very well be the calling of the Lord. A calling to repentance! How many people have missed this calling, because they err in their perception of the ways of the living God?
Man’s council versus God’s council
Seeking the council of man is an erroneous belief which may well be due to man not fully realizing that God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. God has knowledge of everything and therefore allows everything. To seek alternative methods of therapy exclusive from the living God, is to reject Him and to fall into works and a way, which may seem right to man. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. These ways would include accepting a gospel where the Lord only allows prosperity, or where the counselor blames the affliction of a person on something or someone else, rather than finding the solution with the sin in the person’s life and calling on the only mediator and councilor the Lord Jesus Christ, to mend the broken hearted. Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Councilor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Why have we rejected: Isaiah 25:1 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy councils of old are faithfulness and truth. Yes, the Lord is the “Wonderful Councilor.” Who needs to venture beyond His council?
We ought to re-evaluate, and return to the one and only Councilor and Therapist. Isaiah 28:29 This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
It is the Lord Who causes a seeking of counseling, which may only be found through His therapy or healing. It is this Councilor Who eventually causes all tears to dry. Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Earnestly seek Him while it is possible, because there will be a time when He will be sought and not found.
A chastising Father
In Hebrews 12:5-13, we specifically read about the Lord’s chastisement. Consider what the content of the chastisement of the Lord contains.
- We are not to despise or grow faint when we are being chastised.
- It is because of His never ending love, that He chastises us.
- We are treated as sons, when we are chastised.
- Those whom he does not chastise are bastards. (This will be discussed later on.)
- We should be more in acceptance, subjection and in accordance with Our Father’s chastisement than, we were of our earthly fathers.
- His chastisement is for us, to partake in holiness.
- The Lord’s chastisement yields fruits of peace and righteousness.
When Paul mentioned these Scriptures, he quoted Proverbs 3:11-12 as reference to the Torah which the people of his day were familiar with. “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Notice Paul mentions that the Lord chastises those whom He loves, exactly like the chastisement of a loving father. The problem today is that people do not readily accept the chastisement of the Lord, because it is not preached anymore, nor is chastisement accepted in any form today. The rejection or misunderstanding of chastisement is mostly due to the concept of human rights emanating from modern psychology. The Scriptures teaches us to chastise our children: Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (According to the Amplified paraphrase – He who spares the rod [of discipline] hates his son. But he who loves him disciplines diligently and punishes him early.) This discipline, from a loving parent is never joyous, but painful to the parent and the norm is that such a parent will discuss the matter with the child, because they are concerned for the welfare of the child. A loving parent will always sense an emotion of heart felt pain, when chastising one of their children. I don’t think we can start to fathom the feeling God must experience when He chastises us, because His love is much greater than that of any parent.
It is totally understandable that chastisement given, without the necessary self-control or reason, by a parent as well as the gross neglect towards children regarding love, resulting in child abuse, is to be rejected in totality. The Bible warns us against this: Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
The problem is that controlled chastisement given to a rebellious child has now also fallen under the same category as child abuse, rather than corrective discipline. If discipline is kept from children, how are they going to accept the discipline from God? The very last church dispensation mentioned in the Scriptures is found in Revelation 3: 14. This is the church known as Laodicea and its name is derived from the decision of the people, hence “Lao”, meaning laity and “dicea” meaning decision or rights. It is this very church the Lord Himself speaks to, regarding discipline, in verse 19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” This Scripture is very clear in explaining the necessity of repentance, after affliction. In 2 Timothy 3:2 the scriptures mention that in the last days there will be those who are disobedient to parents, lovers of themselves, boasters, unthankful and unholy. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
The lack of discipline in children due to so called human rights is resulting in the complete opposite, where children have become increasingly rebellious. Schools, parents and communities have major problems with regards to young people, wanting their own ways and rejecting authorities’ council. This has always been evident in children not being under controlled corrective disciplinary values. This could possibly be the reason for so many adults having to face so many disciplinary hearings in their work place today. A lack of discipline in one’s youth will carry through to adulthood.
The sad part is that they will have a form of godliness or religion, yet they will not be accepted by the Lord.
It is very, very important to take note of the reason. Scriptures give for God’s chastisement. In Hebrews 12 it results in holiness and righteousness and in Revelation 3:19 it is a reason for repentance. As we may recall, this is the very action the Lord has called us to do. The words of repentance were the very first words spoken in the New Testament and should be considered seriously.
In a world today where crime and immorality is on the increase and being accepted as part of healthy living, or part of a normal society, it is not surprising to find suffering amongst people. One only has to sit down to ponder about this for a while and it won’t take much musing by a sober minded person, to realize the mess everything is in. The youth of today have “rights”, each individual has his own “rights” and one dare not infiltrate the “space” of these people. One has to first establish the “space” or the other person’s “rights” before making contact. If you do “infringe” upon the rights of another person and he reacts violently, it is his right to do so, even if your intentions were well meant. The problem is, that when each person has their “rights” and they oppose or clash with the “rights” of another person, who will be blamed. Your “rights” may not necessarily agree or be compatible with the “rights” of another. This will obviously and inevitably cause conflict. One has to conclude that human rights causing conflict in this manner, is actually not human rights, but selfishness, something the Scriptures condemn.
The Scriptures teach us to be servants of all. This can only be achieved when you forfeit your rights, to serve rather than to be served. Imagine the state the world would be in, with this type of attitude? This is called “agape” or Godly love. This is exactly what God did for us, He became a man to serve, suffer and die for us, the sinners of the world, and has called us to take up our “rights”, NO, rather our cross and follow Him and to become servants of all.
It is due to our own perceived “rights” that the Lord has allowed a chastising and suffering in the world. Let’s see what the Scriptures teach, concerning, the reason behind this suffering, the Lord brings our way.
Reasons for Correction
As a direct result of the prosperity teachings of certain religions as well as the propagation of human well being by psychology, the purpose of correction by a loving God has lost its meaning to man.
1. The Calling to God To The World
When one reads the Scriptures, it is impossible to perceive the reasons behind hardships, as anything else but as a calling to repentance and to righteous living. There are many people who can testify to this fact. Many people have experienced some type of trauma in their lives, which has resulted in them calling to God, because it was the only one left to call to and the only available way to escape
It is this sincere and earnest calling to God and the resulting answer from God that causes a sinner to change his or her ways. What is not always noticeable is that it is a calling from God that starts first which affects the calling of a person. The Scriptures say that it is God who loved us first, hence His calling us. 1John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. The affliction God causes, is the very affliction that make people respond. The prophet Isaiah speaks of this type of affliction: Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. As already mentioned, these sufferings may vary in type and sequence. To one person another person’s sufferings may not be perceived as suffering. This suffering could be physical, mental or both, but it is certainly personal. It becomes an intense personal issue between God and the person involved and is only solved between God and the affected person.
God chooses the sinner, before the sinner chooses Him. It is God Who gives us to the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus says: John17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. John10:29: My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, to suffer, die and be resurrected. God loves the whole world and wishes nobody to perish. He has manifested Himself to all humankind and is still calling to this very day. He knocks and everyone who will open, will receive Him. Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
When He receives them He gives them to the Son and the Son will not refuse them. John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Only some of the many references to this calling in the Scriptures need to be mentioned with regard to the calling of God, to the world and to individuals who have not opened up yet.
When one considers what happened to King David and the sinful life he had, this calling of God is clear. David wrote the following: Psalms 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word Psalms 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. Psalms 88:7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah. Psalms 25:16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. In these afflictions it is clear that God caused them and that David called out for help and also turned in repentance to accept God. The calling towards forgiveness of sins during affliction is noticeable as well: Psalms 25:17 – 18 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.
The Lord’s calling is not unfamiliar in society today. The whole world is groaning under the effects of affliction, yet the world has become oblivious to the fact that it is these very things they deem to be because of an absence of God, in reality is a real living God, calling them.
Lamentations 3:32: – 33 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men
The Lord our God does not willingly want to afflict us and has great patience, mercy and grace. But it is because He cares for us and it is due to His amazing grace and love that He has for us, that He does not want sinners to be left as bastards (fatherless), as is written in Hebrews 12:8
2 Chronicles 6:26 When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them. This is another example of the calling of God to repentance, through the afflictions upon the people of the world, which He so dearly loves. God hates sin and lawlessness, but He loves a repentant sinner seeking perfection and closeness with Himself. It is this hate of evil sins and love of righteousness God has, that causes suffering and blessings on the people He cares for.
Jonah 2:2 – 3 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas.
To the unbeliever these are callings to repentance, a turning from the sins of the world and the sins in the person’s lifestyle. To be able to bear this suffering, will only possible if one understands the purpose of suffering and the tribulation the world is facing. There is a way out and that way out, is to call for help to the right source and that is God.
2. The Warning and Correction of the Believer.
To the believers in Corinth, the following message is given: 1Corinthians 10:13: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
When affliction comes upon us, we should not lose faith, to become faithless and less faithful. As we have read in Matthew 24, the love of many will grow cold when the perilous times start in the final days. We also read that those who will understand and know the Scriptures will endure and not faint. If it so happens that the suffering becomes unbearable, then it would be advisable to look at ones personal relationship and come to understand the purpose the Lord is working in the specific situation. Psalms119: 50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. To know the Word is to know the purposes of God and to be ready. It is the Word of the Lord that explains everything. It is the Word of the Lord that prepares His people, for what lies ahead. It is the Word of the Lord that warns about tribulation, especially in the last days. To understand and accept this is to get one ready. It is the Word that quickens our understanding.
Affliction is very necessary, not only to the unbeliever but also to the believer. Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings 1Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.
To have suffered in the flesh and to have come to repentance, by understanding the purpose of God, is to start shedding sins and to begin obeying God and His will for us. Once salvation has taken place; then the cleansing starts to take place. This is the significance of the Passover. As soon as the Israelites left Egypt, they were lead into the desert to be tested. So it is with those who have eaten the Passover lamb, who have accepted the Lord Jesus, as their personal Passover, the very Lamb as Saviour to be tested and tried according to their faith, to grow in faith and faithfulness. It is a fact that the feast of Passover is inclusive of the feast of Unleavened Bread. Just as the Jews need to get rid of the leaven of the house, so we should get rid of the leaven or sin in our lives and spiritual house, or bodies.
It is affliction in the lives of firm believers that should cause an increase in faith and faithfulness. This type of affliction should also cause the backslider to return to his rightful stature. It is not the will of God for anyone to be lost, but it is not always the will of the believer to stay faithful.
The Scriptures are clear in its indication, for us to become increasingly cleansed. Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. Romans12:2 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.
We are called to become increasingly cleansed and not to give in to the sinful nature of the flesh. Galatians 3:3 – 4 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. Paul warns the Galatians that the sufferings to bring them to perfection, was not in vain but had a very specific purpose and should not be neglected.
1Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. Yes to have suffered all of these afflictions and battles as well as that which lies ahead, will and should not be perceived as being in vain. This is that, which we have been warned about, understand and to endure.
This calling should not be rejected or seen as something not sufficient. This calling is not vanity or worldly. There should be a response to this calling. Our calling ought to be: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
3. Considering Job’s judgment
It is very important not to judge the afflicted. It is also not the purpose of the content of this topic, to judge someone who might be experiencing difficulties. The Lord allows affliction and the matter needs to be solved between the afflicted and the Lord alone. This is especially valid with regards to a person, who suffers affliction and who is in right standing with God.
When we look at Job, we notice that he was by his own admission, righteous and blameless. Not only by his own admission, but also according to God who said: Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Job’s blessing was seen by others and measured, according the prosperity and wealth he enjoyed. All his gain was reckoned as Godliness, something Ephesians 6 warns us not to do. Job’s so-called friends accused him of having been unrighteous in some way, although they could not themselves define this unrighteousness. It was only God who knew the reason behind Him, allowing this affliction upon Job.
A lesson is to be learnt here and that is never to condemn a person for not being righteous or upright when they are afflicted. After all it is only God, Who knows the hearts of man. When God judges us we need to seek His face and hear what the reason for the chastisement is. He will always have a reason and for us to interfere in His reasoning, is not called for. When God judges someone else, it is not for us to judge the person as well, by our own understanding, but rather to allow the person to seek God’s purpose in fasting, prayer and in His Word. It becomes very personal and we are not to mediate, but to pray and help, after all there is only one Mediator between man and God and that is the Lord Christ Jesus.
In all the discussions taking place between the so called friends of Job and Job himself, it is very clear that they also understood the basic purpose of God, causing affliction on wrong doers. This is the main reason, his friends accused him as well as Job himself questioning God about this terrible affliction. His friends, leaning only on their own understanding and not seeking the Lord God in the matter, became judgmental, by proclaiming that Job had to have d some sin, while Job knew for certain that he had done nothing that was regarded as reason for his affliction. The friends of Job knew that God chastised for a reason, because He does and the Scriptures teaches us about this.
Very important to notice, is that the wicked who refuse to draw close to God and who also reject God, seem to prosper in the book of Job. Job 21:14 – 15 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? (Amplified paraphrase). In Psalm 73, the Lord says that the day for judging these people will eventually come.
This prosperity is actually a curse, because God allows them to be mislead in this very prosperous situation, according to Job chapter 27 and specifically Job 27: 23 [God causes] men to clap their hands at Him [in malignant joy] and hiss Him out of His place. (Amplified paraphrase).
When reading these verses, it becomes clear that those who prosper are not necessary under the blessing of the Lord, but actually under His curse, while Job on the other hand is experiencing quite the opposite, although he seemed to have a reason not to be afflicted, due to his apparent ability to be self-righteous.
In chapter 29 Job uses 50 pronouns to justify himself and to question God, regarding his circumstances. Instead of being humble, Job is self-righteous. It is only when he realized how God saw him that he repented. As God says in His Word: Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. As well as in 1Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Yes, when you think you have “arrived” is to put yourself in a very precarious position.
In Job 32 and 33 it becomes clear that Job justified himself in a time of affliction, because he questioned and even blamed God for his predicament. He never justified God in his situation to recognized God as his righteousness, but attributed his righteousness to himself. In Job 33: 8 – 14 we read that Job even says that God “untrustingly” watches his paths. Here he even makes a statement, that God is an untrusting God.
If one lives a righteous life, a clean life, separated unto the Lord and attributes this to himself, rather than to God, he or she is justifying the self rather than God. The Scriptures are clear in saying that God restores our souls for His names sake, not for our or the names sake of Job. The same scenario is valid where one attributes the fruits of the Spirit to him or herself. An individual’s own fruits are not the yardstick to measure the person by, but rather the fruit of the Spirit evident in the person. The fruits of the Spirit are the fruits of the Spirit and represent the Lord Jesus’ presence in your and your life. Justifying oneself is to reject and not to honour the gift of God’s Spirit, to you.
Reading further into Job the answer with regard to the suffering of Job and the purpose becomes clear. In Job 36: 7 – 9 we read that the righteous are shown their true character by God, when they think that they are in right standing with God, due to their own sufficiency. Job 36 : 9 Then He shows to them [The true character of] their deeds and their transgressions, that they have acted arrogantly [with presumptuous and self-sufficiency] (Amplified paraphrase).This is what God does. He knows the hearts of every individual, every hair on every head, but reveals the true character of the individual to the individual.
Basically Job did exactly the same as the wicked, in that he complained to God and rejected the affliction of God. Job 36 : 10 – 14 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity. If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge. But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them. They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.
In Job 38 – 39 The Lord Himself asks Job some questions, so as to prove to Job that he could never be as God and that he was not in a position to attribute his justification and right standing with God, to himself. The Lord’s Word tells us in the New Testament that it is God Who loved us first, the love does not come from us first, but from God. So it is with justification as well.
The questions posed to Job makes job realize in Job 40: 1 – 4 that he is not in a position at all to judge God’s motives and actions, but that he should be humble before the Lord. He now acknowledges his own shortcoming and accusation against God and is humbled which causes him to rather keep silent and give all the glory to God. Job:40:1 – 4 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the LORD, and said, behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
In the story of Job, it becomes very evident that all the people who judged according to their own understanding were wrong. Although we are called to discern with righteous judgment as mentioned in John 7: 24, one example that is, according to the will and purpose of God and by His Word and ordinances, we are not to rely on our own judgment. God’s Word is our plumb line, to judge by. If God’s Word says something is wrong, then it is not us who generate this judgment, but God and we had better discern and act on the judgment. Should we refuse and question this judgment, we will soon find ourselves in the same predicament as Job, and his friends, no matter how righteous we justify ourselves to be.
There are many people today, who will be given the right to justify their afflictions through psychological therapy. Their circumstances are not seen and attributed to God’s purpose, but rather justified as being from another source, outside of God’s omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient capabilities. The result of psychotherapy would be to culminate in the joys of last pillar of Sigmund Freud’s heresy, which conjures up temporary pleasure, the so called pleasure principle, rather than to seek God’s reason in the matter and to find the ultimate solution and peace. Council sought in the way of the ungodly, such people as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung who were basically atheists can definitely not be from God. They eventually did not even agree with one another and parted ways. How in God’s name, could the council of the ungodly be approved by God for His names sake? This is rejecting God’s council to embrace the council of the ungodly. To reject God is the same as the sin of witchcraft. 1Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
Prosperity cults will always blame affliction on a believer, as a lack of faith. This is to place ungrounded an unfair burdens on believers. They become the judge, in place of God.
In closing on the issue of Job, affliction must never be taken lightly and the council of others to try and fathom God’s affliction upon a righteous person should never be condoned. God will ultimately make His purpose known.
Part 2 – the rejection of the calling
The World’s Religions.
No person has ever become a Catholic, a Methodist, a Dutch reformist, a Charismatic, a Lutheran etcetera by reading the Bible. All who have read the Bible have become Christians. It was not the gospel of man revealed to them, but the Gospel of God.
A Methodist is Methodist because he or she believes the doctrine as given by the Methodists; a Catholic is a Catholic because he or she believes the doctrine of Catholicism etcetera. Yet when these religious believers study the Scriptures for themselves, it is not Catholicism or Methodist or Presbyterian anymore, but the Christianity of the written Word of God. It is God ordaining the doctrine of God while religion in general, ordains the doctrine of the religion, as seen by men specific to that religion. It is a faith of clinging to the traditions of man.
God’s ordination takes place by the Holy Spirit and not by man or by a religious institution or system. The religious system ordained by man, is known for their fruit of pride, unhappiness, manipulation, adultery, divorces, rejections, jealousies and gossips, murders, pedophilia, etcetera, yet they lean on the Lord and say, the Lord is with them. The religious system of man, proclaim verbally that it is Christian, yet the reality of a living God has not germinated and sprouted in its existence, nor does the religious system believe in a true creation, therefore have doubt in the Creator. This is not the love of Christ, but is rather referred to by Christ as sin and witchcraft, only a form of godliness. 2Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
People in this system have a fear of being rejected by this system, if they “go too far” and confess that Christ is the only way, truth and life. They fear of being put out of the congregation, they have grown up in or the tradition of that which they are used to. This is what happened in the time of the Lord Jesus on earth and it is still happening to this very day. Look at what the Bible says: John 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. After their son was healed (saved) his parents knew what had happened, yet refused to communicate the truth to the Pharisees or the pastors, priests, dominees, fathers, spiritual leaders, or clergy of that time, because they knew that to say the person received Christ and was born again to become a disciple, would be beyond the measure of tolerance, and definitely the understanding of these so called ordained leaders. If you do not belong to their denomination, they will doubt and even reject your salvation. Catholicism says that they are the only way to heaven, the Dutch reformed Church, the Jehovah Witnesses and the Charismatic, more particularly the Rhema cult, says exactly the same thing. If you do not belong to us, we doubt if you will enter into heaven. We are the only way. Today one will find even a bigger heresy taking place, where these religions actually go beyond what they have always stood for. They have embraced the heresy of ecumenism and oppose that which they first proclaimed and even still proclaim, and that is to preach that all roads lead to God, while all roads in actual fact lead to Rome. Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life and nobody comes to Heaven but by Him. 1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; To even suggest that one cannot go to heaven without one or another denomination is blasphemous. In an interview recently as result of the movie “The Passion of The Christ” Mel Gibson was asked on ABC news while being interviewed, if one can get to Heaven without the Lord Jesus, to which his reply was in the affirmative. This type of religious doctrine causes confusion to the average person and rejects and denies God’s sovereignty and very power of the Holy Ghost. The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord Jesus is the only way to salvation; therefore it is not correct of these religions to make statements that it is only through, their doctrine, mediators and medeatrixes, by which man can be saved.
One should not forfeit ones birthright due to weakness, because you are concerned of being thrown out and rejected by your religion. Are we to please God, or the religious leaders and man? Other Scriptures mention the same type of event, John 12:42-43 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
It is obvious that the doctrines of men in the religious system have failed to address the purpose God has behind the sufferings in the world, as well as the purpose of these sufferings. The very calling of God in perilous times, both in the world and in the life of the individual, is to be solved with psychology rather than a repentant and contrite spirit, one of the prerequisites of salvation, in the eyes of God.
We have seen that the Lord causes affliction in the life of the individual and in the world, to affect them to repentance and to come to salvation. We have also seen that the Lord does not prefer to bring affliction onto people, yet He does it to bring them closer to Him. We have also noted that He has given us His Word, the Scriptures to study, which will enable us to discern right from wrong and to then correct our ways.
It is our decision, nobody can force us, nor does God force us. God does remind you through constant chastisement, up until a point, when He causes something worse to happen. We will look at what might happen and two kinds of people it might happen to.
First of all, two things may happen to those, who refused from the beginning to believe in God’s Word. This is mostly the unbeliever, one who was never healed.
Secondly, those who were healed and continue to sin, may receive something worse to come upon them as before their healing. Recalling one of the many Scriptures quoted in this regard: John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Before looking into the results of not studying, believing and continuing in the truth or the Scriptures, mention should be made that if one decides to carry on in the Scriptures then there are many blessings ahead. We will not be going into these blessings at this stage as the purpose of this topic is to explain the Lord’s chastisement and ultimate rejection. But in short and as discussed earlier in this document, God will bless and reveal Himself to those who continue to follow His commands. He has also given us a promise, and God never goes back on His promises : John 8:31- 32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
To the unbeliever in the first instance, God issues a calling to become clued up with His Word and to come to repentance. To the believer, there is an exhortation to continue in the Scriptures, because of guidance and sanctification purposes. The demand to study the Word, is also to enable us to discern between truth and error and to be found approved by God.
2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. If one does not study the Word and keep to its original meaning, then surely one is not dividing the word correctly. As also mentioned before in this document; Scripture interprets Scripture. A person may not merely take one of the verses and interpret it without taking the rest of the chapter and especially the rest of the Bible into consideration. The Scriptures are also not for the individual to interpret, according to what he or she thinks it should be. This principle is obviously also valid to groups, or denominations. 2 Peter 1:20 explains: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” Unfortunately there are too many groups and religions, who have formulated their own interpretation, only to be misled and to mislead others.
Hebrews 5:12- 14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that suet milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belonged to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. The study of the Scriptures will enable people to discern between the Holy and the profane, between good and evil. It is this study that will enable people to see and understand, the same way as the blind was healed by the Words of The Lord Jesus, to become His disciples.
How very fortunate one must be to be found worthy to become a disciple, chosen by the Lord Himself, yet this is in the grasp of everyone who are willing to obey God and His commandments. In John 9 this ordination is described, where a blind man receives the healing of the Lord to receive sight which he never had. This is a healing which in a spiritual sense, still happens today. The Lord Jesus never wanted His healings, to be made known publicly and to this very day this is kept quiet. When the Lord restores eyesight to the blind today in a spiritual manner, it is for them to understand the Scriptures. It is when this type of healing takes place to people, that they qualify to become disciples of the Lord Jesus.
This is explained by the person in John 9, when he repeatedly told the spiritually blind Pharisees after they had asked him three times, to explain to them the healing which had happened to him: John 9:27 – 28 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. Truly the religious leaders who were not healed were and today still are, blind guides, as called by the Lord Jesus. As they rightly admitted, they are disciples of Moses and Paul says the following concerning these leaders: 2Corinthians 3:14 – 15 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
It is only because of the Spirit of God, the same Spirit the Lord Jesus left us, that the Scriptures are opened up for our understanding. Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. This is not achievable by our own strength and is explained also in 1Corintians 2.
To say that this is only for an elect few, is blasphemous because all are called to share in this amazing blessing. The Lord Jesus specifically says, that those who ask for the Holy Spirit with a contrite and broken heart, will receive what they ask for. Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
To reject this or to be misled in an understanding that this is only for the clergy or an elect few, is extremely dangerous and will have dire consequences.
2Thessalonians 2:10 – 12 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
If one does not study the Scriptures then, one will not be approved and discernment will not take place. God says in the Scriptures, as quoted from 2Thessalonians 2: 10 – 12 that He, will send a delusion to those who refuse to love or study the truth. This is to cause them to believe in a lie. This is the main reason for so many disputes in the religious system of the world today. There is a lie in religion, withholding people from being saved and to make them available as a living sacrifice, to be born again. We know from the Scriptures that the bread of life is the Lord Jesus: John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. We also know that this bread is the manna, spoken of in Exodus: John 6:31-33 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
The manna is the Lord Jesus as well as His Word, the Scriptures and if we do not know the Scriptures and God tests us, how will we pass. As with 2Thessalonians 2:11 where god sends a delusion, so as to test us, He did the same in the desert, when He sent the manna to the Israelites: Exodus 16:4: Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. Notice the Lord God said that it was to prove or test them. When God sends a delusion, it is to test us and we will be able to discern the delusion, which results in passing the test, but we could also fail by not knowing enough! It is the Word of God which will always judge for us and the more we know of Hid wonderful council, the more we will be able to succeed and be guided in His truth. Hebrews 5:12-14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
To those who do not study, nor continue in the Word, the opposite of the blessing will transpire. There comes a time when God will give one over to something worse. This is where man thinks he is correct and on the right path. To reject the Word of God is to reject the Lord Jesus and also the Spirit. The Word is the Lord Jesus, and the Word is Spirit. (John 6:63). To reject the Spirit is also to grieve the Spirit, which is an unpardonable sin.
The Scriptures teach us that God will never forsake or leave us and that He will continue the work He has started in us. Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
If we continue with what the Lord wants us to do and not be covetous, then only should we be confident that He will finish the work, He has started in us. We cannot, not obey Him and still rely on God’s support. He has given us many commandments in the New Testament, to adhere to. Should we rebel, ignore or be too slothful to follow these commands, it is us who depart from God, Who said that He will never forsake or leave us. He will never depart from us, if we keep His statutes, but that does not prevent us from parting from Him, by leaving His statutes. This departure may become so advanced, that He stops His rebuking and chastising. The deceptions will increase and we will believe in lies. Catholicism says that it has the truth, the Mormons say they have it and the Charismatic’s, say no, they have it. With all sincerity, the only place to find the truth is in the Scriptures, the very Word of God.
The second thing that happens to those who refuse to listen to the Lord happens to those who continue in a promiscuous life style. These people receive a more permanent delusion, where God actually gives them over to their perverse lifestyles. This is clear when one reads Romans chapter one. A sure sign of this promiscuity being approved by God may be found in the approval of laws under the human rights banner of today. The emphasis here is not without love and concern for these people, but rather despising the way of life they believe in. Let us take a very careful look at the following Scriptures:
Romans 1:21 – 32 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darken. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 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; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. Who knowing the judgment 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.
These Scriptures quote specifically, that these people actually knew God at one stage and the thought is sobering to one’s mind. It is because they followed their own understanding that they became self sufficient and departed from God, only to become proud and arrogant. They are void of understanding, also becoming covenant breakers concerning God.
The concerning fact remains, that they once knew God and that God gave them over to perverse mind and way of life. Is it coincidences that in our time laws have been passed as result of human rights, to approve of these obscenities? Surely this is a prophecy come true, in the very day and age we are living in. If one carries on with what is evil in the sight of God, God will eventually give you over to this perverse world and its carnality.
Some years ago a relative of mine, was involved with the wrong crowd. The result was a life of recklessness that included assault apart from other serious offences. Even though he was rebellious, his parents never stopped loving him. They took him to psychologists, had priests speak to him, but to no avail. His mother broke down one day and said, that it had gone beyond her hopes and ability to try to correct him and that she wished for him to get hurt in some way, before it is too late.
When someone very dear to you does not want to give up on his or her rebellious lifestyle, no matter what angle you approach to try and let the person understand, that you care for him or her, the final resort is to let go and hope and pray. Although the love for the person is beyond words and no action whatsoever will change his or her mind, one finds oneself in hopelessness, only those who have experienced it will understand.
How much greater is God’s love for us! If we love beyond understanding, then how much more does the love of God which surpasses all things go? He warns everyone in so many ways not to live reckless lives, yet they carry on and on. He chastises and some will hearken to this chastisement, yet there are those who don’t listen and obey. Eventually He also gives them over to their own destructive means.
When the world is given over to their wrongful ways, eventually these wrong ways start to seem right to everyone. Proverbs14: 12: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death
The question frequently asked, is why doesn’t God put an end to all of the suffering in the world and return now? This has to do with His grace. He has called all to come to repentance, but the people would not listen. If He had to come back right now to harvest souls, there is a possibility that you could not be among the souls to be harvested. This is made clear in the parable of the weeds and tares, in Matthew 13. The tares will be bound and burned when He returns, while the wheat will be taken into the storehouse.
It is a loving God that warns and causes certain actions and happenings in the lives of people, before He totally hands them over to their madness and lawlessness.
The following Scriptures and discussions may be disturbing, to those unfamiliar with this part of the Scriptures. This is the type of message which is rejected and never spoken of by most religious concerns. This is another reason people “stress out” today, a total lack of understanding the ways of God.
The Bible is clear in its message and instructions. Many of the churches have lost their disciplinary power and authority, with regard to helping the body of persons to grow and understand the chastisement and reaction of a Holy living and loving God, towards those who depart from the faith.
An example of this may be found in Matthew’s gospel, chapter eighteen verses fifteen to seventeen. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother, but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
This is a warning to the rebellious brother that he will be excommunicated from the congregation, if he does not acknowledge his trespasses and come to repentance. This is when the believer reacts to an unrepentant brother’s nature. It is a warning, that God will do the same. The difference is that God will bring such a delusion and belief over the sinner resulting in him or her believing a lie which they would think is not a lie. It is God Who opens and closes eyes and ears and understanding.
The reason for this person is being expelled from the congregation, is for the individual to be subjected to the heathen or unbeliever and to realize how well he had it in the council of the wise. This would normally and hopefully have resulted in the expelled brother, to return to the circle of believers with a repentant attitude. A repentant brother was and is always welcomed back; a typical “prodigal son” scenario.
More harsh Scriptures to consider are where Paul reacts towards Alexander and Hymenaeus, as well as to the person who had sexual relationships with the wife of his father. 1Timothy 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1Corinthians 5:5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Please note that this handing over to Satan was basically the same as excommunication from the believers. This was to give them over to the world and the king of this world, which is Lucifer.
There are two reasons for this handing over mentioned in these Scriptures; the one is for those who blasphemed, to learn not to blaspheme again. The other was for the destruction of the flesh, so their souls may be saved. In both circumstances, the purpose is not permanent, because should they obey and repent, the sentence would be lifted. Should they refuse, the sentence would remain, with worse consequences. In both cases it is to allow Satan to work with them, and when he works, it is not pleasant. People should come to repentance when they are left to Satan. There is only one alternative to find peace again and that is through repentance, back to the Savior.
In John 12: 37 – 43 we read about people who would not listen to the calling of God, eventually they should not listen to the calling and finally the Lord made it so, that they could not listen to His calling. To refuse the calling of God due, to the pressures of being afraid of being rejected by man and of the religious establishment or for whatever other reason, will result in the Lord blinding one’s eyes and hardening one’s heart. This is what happened to Pharao as well as to many rulers in Biblical times. When the Lord blinds one and hardens one’s heart, nothing will be able to rectify the matter. John 12:37 – 44 But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him that the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Isaiah, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Jesus cried and said, he that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me.
God’s Purpose Of Satan in Repentance And Correction
What we will be discussed now might cause a major paradigm shift in understanding yet another facet of the Scriptures. Paul commended the Bereans in Acts 17: 10-11 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. We are called to search the Scriptures as well. When looking into what will follow now, please bear the fruit of the Bereans and search the Scriptures to see if what you are told is the truth. The Bible says we should never lean on our own understanding, but rather trust God more than man. This is why we should rather obey the Scriptures than man. In the verse above Paul commends the Bereans for searching the Scriptures, because it is the Scriptures judging for us. It is important therefore that you are encouraged by this very Scripture, to do likewise. Too many are gullible and believe anything preached to them, yet the believers at Thessalonica did not even believe what Paul preached, until they compared what he had said with the Scriptures.
It should be clear by now that the Lord uses and allows certain sufferings and afflictions to try the unbeliever, so to come to repentance. It should also be evident that the Lord uses the same methods to chastise the believer who strays, thus to purpose a cleansing, sanctification, realizing in increased holiness in the person upon whom this chastisement may fall upon.
Before we look at the messengers and means, God uses to bring these trials across our way, we should consider and understand the following verses: James1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted (Peirazo), I am tempted (Aspeirastos) of God: for God cannot be tempted (Peirazo), with evil, neither tempteth (Peirazo), he any man. When one looks at this verse it would seem as if there is a contradiction, because in the first part of this verse the Word says that man can be tempted, yet in the second part of the verse it says that God does not tempt. The Greek words used are shown in the brackets and “Peirazo” means to try, scrutinize and examine, while the next word used is “Aspeiratsos” basically meaning the opposite to “Peirazo” and indicating a meaning, not to be tempted. In the first part of this verse when the Greek is taken into consideration, the verse should read “Let no man say when he is examined, tried or scrutinized the he is not tried, examined or scrutinized. In the second part of this verse the Word tells us that God cannot be examined, tried and scrutinized by evil. This is understandable, because God is Holy. But now the apparent contradiction is found where it states that neither does He examine, scrutinize or try any man. First of all, we should remember that God is Holy and righteous. He will not want to examine, try and scrutinize those who are close to him and follow His commandments. In the very next verse we read: James 1:14 But every man is tempted (Peirazo), when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. It is when a man strays from God that He will allow one to be tried. But because He is a good and Holy God within Whom is no evil, He will allow us to be tried, by the evil one and not by Himself because there is no evil in Him. As already noted, the unsaved are always tried by trials for the very essence to get saved, while the saved and more specifically the, backslidden are also tried by trials, so as to be sanctified and set apart unto holiness, thus to complete their salvation.
The basic message In James 1:13-14 is: let no man say when he is examined, tried and scrutinized by God, because God cannot be examined, tried and scrutinized, as God does not examine, tries, or scrutinize any man, yet God will allow man to be examined, tested and scrutinized, from another source. God does not tempt any man, but allows man to be tempted by the tempter, Satan. Man cannot say he is not tested in this manner. God cannot be tested in this manner, because He is holy, nor does He test any man, also because He is holy and without evil, but He allows evil to test man.
This is one of the reasons the Lord’s Prayer tells us to pray, that the Lord will not lead us into temptation, but to be delivered from evil.
What do the Scriptures teach about God’s roll in allowing these trials in our lives? Is it possible that, just as Paul handed people over to Satan for the destruction the flesh, that God may use the same method? Remember Paul said that he is a follower of Christ, Who in actual fact is God. It is important to note once more, that the handing over to Satan causes the death or destruction of the fleshly nature and the sin which beguiles us, but the outcome, is for the soul to be saved. The flesh must continually die, to make the soul prosper increasingly towards cleanness and holiness. According to Paul, he handed people over for this purpose.
Because God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, He is in charge and in control of everything and present everywhere. It is because of this powerful ability of God, that Satan has limited free reign, but is rather used by God. After all if God possesses all of these attributes, then Satan must be subjected to His authority. Satan will obviously also be able to make certain decisions by himself, just like everyone of us. If it was not for this ability then the angel of light, as Lucifer is called, could never have rebelled against God in the first instance. Satan has the freedom to do certain things, he is a prowler in the form of a lion, seeking who he may devour, and he also accuses the brethren in the presence of God, continually. (1Peter 5:8: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour and Revelations 12:10: And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
But because God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient He is in total control, therefore He will not allow His people to be tested beyond their abilities. It is God who allows and commands. It is at the very command of His Word that spirits react and obey. Mark 1:21 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, what thing is this? what new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.
In the time of King Ahab who was married to Jezebel, the Lord God Himself spoke and commanded a lying spirit to enter the mouths of the prophets of Ahab, so as to mislead him. 2Chronicles 18: 19 – 22 And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee This is exactly what happens in the New Testament where those who do not love the truth or continue in the Scriptures or in the will of the Father, will become deluded and live in error. 2 Thessalonians 2: 10 – 12 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. It is basically our own fault, if this happens to us. It is a lack of knowledge that will cause us to err. Mark 12:24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
The lack of understanding the Scriptures, will allow people to become deluded. One of the ways where people are mislead by not knowing the Scriptures, is when God sends a delusion, that they will not be able to discern right doctrine from wrong doctrine. The problem today is that people tend to believe any and every thing they hear from the “clergy” in the Church. It is evident that these people will be mislead if the messengers of Satan, masquerading as angels of light, come an lie to them, especially from a form of godliness in the very midst of the religions, they so dearly rely and trust in. Should they be lied to from the pulpits of their “churches” it will virtually be impossible for them, not to believe in this lie. It is obvious that God will allow this, because one of the commands God has given us, is to know the Scriptures and if we refuse to study and come to the knowledge of His Word, we will be judged by the Word. The success lies within knowing the Word and the Word is God. If the deceiver, Lucifer and his angels are allowed to test us, as in the case of Job and we do know the Scriptures, then we will have the victory. It is always the truth that sets one free from the deception, lies may bring about.
Look at what happened to Job. The Lord actually speaks to Satan in person and commands Satan to test Job. A direct dialogue between God and Satan took place. Job 1:8-12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
The Lord God made evil and uses it to activate certain actions for His purposes and will. Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. The Hebrew word used for evil here, is described by the following meanings: wickedness, wicked, mischief, hurt, bad, trouble, sore, affliction, ill, adversity, harm, naught, grievous, sadness. This falls exactly in God’s plan to want people to call out to Him, Abba, Father and to submit to Him It is through affliction by the evil one, that pride and the lust of the flesh comes to a fall. This is the purpose of suffering, of which so much is misunderstood. When these things happen to a person, it is a very serious call to repentance and holiness.
When a nation or an individual goes against God or His faithful people, He will judge them accordingly. Here the Lord God uses perverse spirits to fulfill His purpose: Isaiah 19:14 The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.
There is also a tribulation sent by the Lord, to those who persecute His people as mentioned in the New Testament. 2 Thessalonians 1: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; Thus it is the Lord, once again sending or causing tribulation to those who trouble His chosen. This could happen immediately or it could happen when the Lord ordains it to happen in the future. The ultimate judgment in this manner will obviously happen at the time of His final return. A Christian need not take the law into his or her own hands; the Lord will be the final judge. The revenge is the Lord’s.
There are many, many more incidences in the Bible where the God uses evil to fulfill His purposes. In Judges 9:23 we read: Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech. In 1Samuel 16: 14 the Word teaches us : “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.” 1Samuel 18:9-10 the Word says: And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. Notice it says that it was an evil spirit from the Lord! Obviously not from within the Lord, but dispatched by the Lord.
The Scriptures are full of these types of messages and it clearly brings unpleasantries on those it is aimed at. It is the Lords judgment, testing and chastisement that are effected in this manner. If we refuse to obey His current judgments, something worse will come upon us, His final judgment!
If we take a closer look at the thorn in the flesh of Paul, it is described as a messenger of Satan. 2Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. The reason for this could possibly have been a pride problem, Paul may have had. The reason for the messenger of Satan was not removed after Paul had asked God, three times to remove it, was for Paul not to have been exulted beyond that what he was.
In the Lord’s prayer this very issue is taken up where we are commanded to ask the Lord, not the Devil, but the Lord, not to deliver us into temptations, but from all the evil. Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Even the Lord Jesus, prays to His Father to deliver us from evil. John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. What is also amazing in chapter 17 of John’s gospel is that the Lord Jesus did not even pray for those who do not want to be saved, but His prayers were directed in favor of the saved, those who want to be saved and those who are in the process of salvation and sanctification.
Who better do we have, than the Lord Jesus to intercede on our behalf? It is the very Lord Jesus Who prays for us to the Father, Who was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit and thus by God, to be tested by the Devil. I suppose this is the reason, He prays for us and we are called to pray, not to be lead to evil.
He was our ultimate example. This is the reason Paul wanted us to be followers of him, who was a follower of Christ. The word for follower in the Greek actually means, to mimic or to imitate. If He was tested in this manner, then we should expect to be tested in the same manner. The sufferings in this world are to effectively bring people closer to God. It is God calling the people. It is a call to soften hearts and kill the fruits of the flesh which are: Galatians 5:19: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. This is to be replaced by the fruits of the Spirit, being: Galatians 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law
It is only a heart which has gone through painful circumcision, to have been softened and turned from stone to flesh. It is this change of heart, which may truly witness and be a witness of the fruits of the Spirit. 2Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. It is by God’s Spirit that hearts will be softened, to enable us to overcome temptations, which appeal to the flesh.
He will not forsake those who seek Him with a contrite heart, at a dark midnight, troubled time. When a troubled hearts seeks the Lord like gold and silver, He will not refuse the plight. It is a time of deep calling and the Psalmist who said in Psalms 119:65 that he had to be afflicted to be saved, also says in Psalms 40: 12 – 13 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.
The Lord our God has a promise for those who earnestly seek Him, not for their own pleasures but for the sake of the name of the Lord. It is for His names sake, that He works repentance in us. He does not want anybody to perish, and desires all to come to repentance.
Luke 11:9 – 13 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
If we soften our hearts and repent, the promise we have is that when we ask God for His Spirit, He will surely give His Spirit to us, as a helper. This help is not to be rejected, because of conflict of interest between God’s ways and our ways. Too often we ask God to help us to overcome certain sins in our lives, yet He said that He has given us His Spirit to help us and He also says that He will never leave or forsake us. So to constantly ask God to help when He has given us help, in the form of His Spirit and the Scriptures, is not to understand the help or to effectively use His help. Help is only engineered into reality, once it is utilized. This only happens when we effectively hear and obey the commandments given to us in His Word and when we separate with the sin, which the Spirit convicts us of.
To constantly ask God to overcome for us is to put the Lord Jesus back on the cross, because He has already been there and has been victorious. Now it is our turn to overcome and to be victorious, in crucifying the deeds of the flesh and to put on the new man, the one without the sins.
Please do not reject the chastisement of the Lord. Remember, we have all fallen short of the glory of God according to Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.. We should not cling to the erroneous traditions of the religions of our fathers, as mentioned in Acts 7:51, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye”. It is of vital importance that everyone should come to repentance and cultivate a living relationship with the Lord our only Savior. The traditions of man and our fathers do not qualify for the amazing grace. We need not look at man, but at the Lord Christ Jesus. Give in to the calling of the Lord God and allow being broken. It is better to be broken by the Rock of ages, than to be broken by Him. Luke 20:18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
Remember that it is the bride who needs to get herself ready, according to Revelation 19:7. The brides of the Scriptures are chosen by the representative of the father of the groom, as was the case with Isaac. These messages are a picture of the Holy Spirit calling the bride, at the request of the Father or God, to be given to His Son, the Lord Jesus.
The Lord Jesus has paid the price fully on the cross. He has gone through the season of myrrh and we are called to follow Him. It is by the grace of God that this happened and this grace was not cheap, but reality and extremely painful. If you have recognized the calling of God in your life, please answer and receive His calling with a contrite heart and broken spirit. Reject pride and the evil in this world and return to the Lord Jesus. He said that He loved us first, so please return His love and accept the Lord Jesus as you’re only Savior, then look forward to the season of spice, an everlasting life in the peace and presence of the Lord.
Repentance is to make a 180 degree turnabout to the worldly ways and the fruits of this world, which is: Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Repentance is a sincere answer to God’s calling and to receive and manifest the fruits of the Spirit which are: Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
To take this step takes more “guts” because one will not compromise with the world, but rather reject it. There are seventeen works or fruits of the flesh mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21, while only nine fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. It should be much less effort to produce the fruits of the Spirit, than that of the flesh and if one thinks about it, it really takes much less effort. More energy is put into satisfying the flesh, than the Spirit. Sin is actually hard work, when one comes to think of it.
Everyone has a choice of basically two masters to serve. The one is sin, or the master of sin, Lucifer and the other is the Lord Jesus. God issues a warning in this regard in Joshua 24:15 and says that we should choose this day whom we want to serve.
Repentance is also to forgive those who have trespassed against you. This forgiveness is essential and our attention is drawn to this in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Without us forgiving others, how can we expect a holy and blameless God, to forgive us. Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Repentance is to put on a new man; it is a change of and renewal of the mind of a person. It means to be born from above, which is not optional, but a direct command from God. To refuse this command, is to refuse going to heaven, because this is the very most important prerequisite of qualifying to enter heaven. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
This is the most serious decision a human being should make. A mistake made here will not be reversible on the Day of Judgment. The decision is final, with final everlasting consequences.
It is the wish of every Christian that the unsaved, are saved, but most of all it is the wish of God, that all come to repentance.
If you have not made this decision, please consider, repent and answer the calling of God. Confess your sins to Him and ask Him to give you His Spirit to be born again. This is a very private matter, between an individual and God.
Once you know that you are born again, please continue to grow and to be sanctified continually, through prayerfully having a close relationship with the Lord and by studying His Word.
1. There is no condemnation for those who walk according to the Spirit and not according to the Flesh. For those who do walk according to the flesh and not the Spirit, the promise does not realize. – Romans 8:1
2. When one looks at the sufferings and hardships in the Scriptures, it becomes abundantly clear that God used these as tools to correct the staying of His people. By reading the historical books, Exodus to Chronicles alone, it is clear in virtually every chapter that God punished His people, so as to work repentance in their lives and to ultimately call them back to seek Him. The same type of message emanates from the poetic books such as the psalms. The very purpose of the prophetical books was also to warn God’s people about coming judgments on the unrepentant state of His people. Habakkuk is one of the prophets who clearly illustrates the times that were and were to come, a time describing current events. Nothing has changed and God still uses this method today.
3. Sins originated in the Garden of Eden and all people are found guilty of this type of sin. Romans 3:23 and Ecclesiastes 7:20.It is because of these original and unrepentant sins in the world, that God sent His only begotten Son to die and have victory in the resurrection. A divine exchange took place where Christ died in our place. He came as the second Adam, to rectify the mistake of the first Adam. John 3:16 and 1Corinthians 15:45.The Lord Jesus came to heal the sick. That is the reason He spent time with the sinners, Luke 5:30-32. The Lord Jesus does not want any to perish, 2Peter 3:9. The Lord Jesus is the only mediator between man and God and anything or anything else is another Jesus. There are no other mediators or mediatrixes, Acts 4:12, 1 Timothy 2:5, 2 Corinthians 11:4.
4. The call to repentance is the very first words spoken and the very first commands in the New Testament. Matthew 3:1-2 & Matthew 4:17.
5. God loved us first and gives us to the Lord Jesus, 1 John 9: 19, John 17:6, John 10:29, John 6:65, and calls His people to repentance through affliction 1 Kings 8:46-50, Psalm 119:65, Psalm 25:16, Psalm 25:17-18, Lamentations 3:32-33, 2 Chronicles 6:26, Isaiah 48:10, Jeremiah 18:7 -8, Ezekiel 18:30-32, Luke 13:1-5, 2 Corinthians 7:9, Galatians 3:3, Hebrews 2:10, 1 Peter 4:1 1 peter 5:10,Revelation 2:5.
6. The correction is not only reserved for the unbeliever, but for the believer who is not willing to overcome. The over comers should overcome and resist the devil. James 4:7-8 & Romans 12:21. An over comer should separate him or herself from unclean things, 2 Corinthians 6:17-18. These over comers should not tolerate the other Jesus, Spirit and Gospel, 2 Corinthians 11:4. The believer should abide by the commandments of the Lord Jesus. This is Godly love and it is due to obeying and doing these commandments that the Lord said, He would reveal Himself to mankind. John 14:21.The Lord Jesus said that He knocks and we should be in a position that we overcome, and then He will dwell with us, Revelation 3:20.7.
The Lord chastises those whom He loves and treats them like His children, Hebrews 12:5-15.
8. To the believer who is backslidden, the Scriptures clearly warn that a worse state will come upon them, as before they had known God, 2Peter 2:20-22, Matthew 12: 43- 45, John 5:14. For the backslider, the backslidden state may go too far and these people basically crucify the Lord again and a call to repentance for renewal may not be possible, Hebrews 6:4-7, Hebrews 10:26-27.
9. The ability not to grow weak, to become successful over comers and not to backslide is to understand the Scriptures and the time the Scriptures warn about, especially referring to the last days, which will draw to a close on the last day. To understand the last days and to be ready for what lies ahead, read especially, Matthew 24, 1 & 2 Thessalonian 1 & 2 Timothy and 2 Peter. These Scriptures warn about an apostasy or a falling away from God, in the last days. People err, not knowing the Scriptures Matthew 22:29. It is these people who unfamiliar with the Word of God that will become faint when the perilous times, these Scriptures warn us, will take place. This is the reason their love towards God will grow cold, Matthew 24:12-13.It is psychology and prosperity gospels which proclaim peace when there is no peace, Ezekiel 13:10. The first peace and safety to come to the world the Scriptures warn about, is false, thus in:1 Thessalonians 5:3.There is a call to study the Scriptures, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, to rightly divide the Word and to be able to discern, Hebrews 5:13-14. The Word says that when we see these perilous things happening, we should know that the Lord is near, Luke 21:31-36. People perish, by not knowing the truth Hosea 4:6. In Psalm 119:50 it is the Word of God, which causes David to be comforted in his affliction. It is God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that say, no one will be afflicted beyond what he or she is able to bear.
10. Prayerfully seek the Lord Jesus and repent, then He will help you to understand the Scriptures by revealing Himself to you, through the Scriptures. Matthew 11:25, 1 Corinthians 2: 6-16, Mark 4;12, Luke 8:10, Luke 10:21-24, John 8:47.
11. Reasons for knowing and using the Word of God:
- The Word saves. 1 Peter 1:23, 1 Timothy 4:16, Romans 10:17, John 6:45.
- The Word casts out spirits. Matthew 8:16, Luke 4:36. When reading and quoting the Word of God, people get saved, cleansed and receive new minds. That which is demonic, flees and the old sinner dies to become a new creation.
- The Word is the truth, to set one free. Colossians 1:5, John 8:31-32.
- The Word sanctifies, cleanses and the newly born go through a process of cleansing, by dying to the senselessness of the worldly things. John 17:17, Ephesians 5:26.
- The Word is Spirit. To understand and know the Word, is to be Spirit lead. John 6:63.
- The Word teaches us to live increasingly corrected lives. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
12. Believers will also be faced with affliction and persecution from the world or the unsaved and scripturally illiterate. 1 Peter 2:19.Some will think that they are doing God a favour if they persecute and even kill the faithful. The Scriptures say, that the believer should not fear those who cannot kill the Spirit, Matthew 10:28, or if they are cast into prison for their faithfulness, because they will receive the crown of everlasting life, Revelation 2:10 1 Peter 12:14. Believers must expect to be rejected by their families, because the believer prioritizes between God and their next of kin. This is not a hatred to the family, but putting God first, then the family. The family will reject the believer, not the believer the family, Matthew 10:34-40.
13. Believers who are persecuted for their faith, will receive many blessings and rewards and should rejoice when they do suffer tribulation, Acts 5:41, 1 Peter 1:17, James 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:7, Philippians 3:10, Colossians 1:24, 2 Timothy 2:1, 1 Peter 1: 5-6, Matthew 5:11-12, 2 Corinthians 12; 9-10, Romans 8:17-18.
14. In the case with Job, there are those who will receive a testing from the Lord because they justify themselves by their own righteousness, not being able to recognize God in the matter. Read the book Job.
15. The calling of the Lord should not be rejected. Watch out for the religious who only have a form of godliness, 2 Timothy 3:5. The acceptance of the Lord Jesus should also not be rejected for fear of being put out or being rejected by the religious establishment, John 9:22, John 12:42, John 16:2.
16. We are to be confident, that what Christ has started in us. He will finish, if we are not covetous. Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 13:5.
17. Should someone keep rejecting the calling and correction of God, the following will happen:
- Romans 1:21-32 – Perverse people will be given over to their deceitful lifestyles.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:10 – Refusing to study the Scriptures will result in God sending people a strong delusion, enabling them to believe in a lie.
- Proverbs 14: 12 – Many think that they are in the correct way, yet it is a way of death.
- John 12:37 – 43 – To refuse the calling of God, due to the pressures of being afraid of rejection of man and of the religious establishment, will result in the Lord blinding one’s eyes and hardening one’s heart. This is what happened to Pharao as well as to many rulers in Biblical times. When the Lord blinds one and hardens one’s heart, nothing will be able to rectify the matter.
18. The purpose of Satan in repentance, while an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God rules:
- Satan is the tempter, not God, Matthew 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:3, James 1:13.
- Man is allowed to be tempted, if he strays. James 1:14.
- God commands the spirits and sends them to purpose His will: Mark 1:21, 2 Chronicles 18:19-22, 2 Thessalonians 2:10 – 12, Job 1:8-12, Isaiah 19:14, Judges 9:23, 1 Samuel 16:14, 1 Samuel 18:9-10, 2 Corinthians 12:7, Matthew 6:13. There are many, many more Scriptures referring to these actions, the Lord God utilizes, to tempt those He deems necessary with.
19. Understand the time of Myrrh and the time of spice and perfume. First there is season of myrrh and then the season of spice and perfume. First it is the sins of the flesh, to be anointed for burial then the new or quickened life will prevail. Rev. 19:7, Rom. 8: 28, Psalm 94:12-14 and Job 5:17-18.
The primary focus of the Lord our God, is to get us back into the Garden of Eden or Heaven, as this garden is a picture of in the book of Revelation. It is the Lord Himself Who calls us to repentance through afflictions and hardships, a time of myrrh, by using the devil to get to us. Once we have answered with a repentant heart and decided to discard the sins of this world, it is God Who gives us to the Lord Jesus, Who then becomes our High Priest and who constantly intercedes for us, to His Father, eventually to qualify us as His bride, thus giving us an everlasting season of spice and myrrh.
This calling to repentance and to be born again is the most important decision man should make. To make a mistake here or to postpone this offering, is to go into eternity without the will of God thus rejecting that which He has set out, as being prerequisites for entering heaven and therefore eternity, which is a very, very long time without hope.
Thus we should pray: Matthew 6:9 – 13 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.