God’s grace appears many times in the Holy Bible the following are those numerous times to prove to everyone who reads this of God’s grace with mankind.
ARE WE ALL THE SAME AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS?
The Series on “The Salvation of Mankind”
Whether you are a Christian or not we are all have to ask this question are we all the same at the foot of cross? This whole article centers around how to born again in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When we are talking about the cross we are talking about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Christians believe Christ died to redeem mankind of their sins. The cross is the starting point of life with Christ for all mankind. The cross actually represents the trials and tribulations of the world of sin. Jesus sacrifices his life on the cross for all the trials and tribulations of the sins of this world. This article will be the beginning of a series of articles on the ‘Salvation of Mankind’. In this we will explore what the cross or the crucifixion of Jesus Christ means to all of us.
Before we explore the meaning of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ I want to give the non-believers a little background about who was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was a Jew was said to be born to save the world from sin. Mary his mother had no normal impregnation of Jesus Christ because Mary was impregnated through the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus grew up and led 12 disciples in the ministry of God through the Son of Man, called Jesus Christ. He spent three years with his 12 disciples performing miracles such healing the sick, turning water into wine, raising the dead just to name a few. Jesus told his disciples that he must die of the cross to save the world the death of sin.
Let’s see what the bible says about the cross in Matthew 16:24-28… 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”… In this scripture Jesus foretelling his death to his disciples. The disciples knew what taking of the cross meant because in those days the Romans would make the criminals carry there cross to their crucifixion but perhaps the cross has a greater meaning. The cross was symbol by which the followers of Christ made a commitment to lose their lives to save their lives. What do I mean by this statement? Jesus as well as His followers was in danger of losing their lives because of what they believed in. They were being persecuted by the Jewish authorities as well as the Roman Empire. The commitment was their faith and the willingness to commit their lives to Christ or God for their eternal salvation. This is what Jesus meant when He states that … If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me…. However, to take your cross you must be willing give up for Jesus further states … For what profit is to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?… You can have all the possessions you desire in your life but it would be enough for your soul to enter the kingdom of God. When you become a Christian you must be willing give up your possessions if you have to and serve Christ. Your life will experience a worldly death for your salvation. You will express a new mind and heart. Your desires will be focus on Christ not your material possessions.
The cross has another basic meaning. It is an introduction to your eternal life with Christ. Your salvation was a gift from God, but when you take up your cross you will be beginning your journey of love and commitment to Christ. Whether you are a Christian or not we will all experience trials, problems, and obstacles in our lives. The cross is the trials and tribulations you must bear to enter the Kingdom of God. The cross symbolizes your faith and commitment to God for our debt of sins by Christ. What are willing to do when obstacles come your way that will test your faith in Christ or God?
The cross still has another meaning and that is a life of service. It states in Mark 10:17-22… 17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”[c]20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions… We all know that adultery, murder, stealing or to bear false witness to someone is wrong. Also know we should honor our parents as well. However, are you willing to give up your worldly possessions to serve or follow Christ? Taking up your cross means that you are will to put God or Christ at the center of your life. In this scripture above Jesus needed to test the young rich man commitment to having eternal life. Unfortunately, the young rich man failed the test because he placed a higher value of his possessions than his eternal life with God. The service that a Christian has is not an easy one. Once you commit your life to Christ there will be obstacles in your way because you are actually going against society’s status quo. You might want to witness to someone who doesn’t know Christ and they reject you or they may even get angry with you. You may want to do something nice for someone and they spit in your face literally. You may be asked do something very difficult like start a prayer group in a prison. Whatever, it is you must put Christ first in order to accomplish your task of service.
So are we all the same at the foot of the cross? The answer is yes!!! Everyone is the same at the foot of cross because we all have the same opportunity of the salvation Christ or God offers us.
What do you think?
Written by Kofi Baruti
EPHESIANS 2:8….For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…………..
EPHESIANS 2:8 Click Here
For Post Written by Jocelyn Crawley Click Here
WHEN GOD LOSES PATIENCE
There are many times in the bible, “The Word of God” where it seems that God lost patience with mankind. To sight examples in the bible in Genesis 6: 5-8…5 Then the Lord[b] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord….. Again in Genesis 19: 23-25….23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. Still again with Joseph in Genesis 37:18-20…18 Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19 Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! 20 Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!”…and Genesis 37:26-28… So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. 28 Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt. The lord displays another example in Exodus 32: 35… So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made….. Again in the Israelites complained against God in Numbers 14: 34-35,.According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered against Me. In the wilderness that shall be consumed and there they shall die…. God still displays another example of lack of patience or betrayal in Job when Job faith in God is tested. Job is portrayed as a wealthy man of upright character who loves God. Yet God allows Satan to destroy his flocks, his possessions, his children, and his health. Job refuses to give up on God, even though he does not understand why this is happening to him, in Job 1:6-12…6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[a] also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come? “So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord …., even with Jesus His son, God allows Jesus to be tempted by Satan in the wilderness…Matthew 4:1-11….Them Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”,…still another example where it would seem that God’s son Jesus forsakes Martha and Mary when their beloved brother Lazarus dies, in John 11: 17-27….So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” The last example with Jesus’s death it seems that God has forsaken His Son in Mark: 15 33-34…Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?”
Now what is the point of all these examples when it seems where God has lost his patience and forsaken us? The point is that God has not forsaken us or lost patience with mankind. Did God do all these acts against mankind? Yes God did. God hasn’t lost patience with us but with sin, and in every example given in this article sin has been committed. You may be a parent and want what is best for your children. Most parents love their children as God loves you. But just because we love our children are they perfect or sometimes they do the wrong thing. The act of disobedience from your children has to be dealt with in some manner. There are consequences for all our actions when we fail to do the right thing at times in our life. You sometimes have to punish your child when they do things that are wrong, should it be any different with your heavenly Father. In all these examples there was some act of sin in the individual’s trust, faith, ignorance, disobedience etc. Let’s explore these examples further to explain God grand purpose in showing His grace, love and mercy.
The first example was that God was grieved that mankind was totally disobedient toward Him. They committed sin after sin in defiance of God. God was disappointed that mankind in this example turn away from God except for Noah and his family. They still believed in God and so God told Noah of his plan to destroy the world with a great flood. He told Noah to build an ark so that Noah and his family would be spared of this great flood that would destroy the world. God instructed Noah to gather all the animals by two so that Noah’s family as well as the animals would repopulate the world after flood receded. God’s grand purpose in this example wasn’t to destroy mankind but God wanted to restore mankind. God even promise Noah that he would never destroy the world by flood with the sign of the rainbow.
Sodom and Gomorrah was the most wicked place on earth at that time. The inhabitants there were evil doing all manner of things against God. Sexual desires, stealing from others, murder, idolizing false Gods and human sacrifices were common things in these cities. God grew impatience with the constant disobedience against Him, but still there was hope for Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham a righteous man before God pleaded with God if he could find fifty righteous people God would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. God told Abraham he would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if he found fifty righteous people. Abraham was unable to find fifty righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham interceded for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah that if he could find forty-five, thirty, twenty or ten righteous people God would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham couldn’t find even ten righteous in Sodom or Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah were examples of what God intended for people living in any cities. Sodom and Gomorrah were perfect examples of cities where the disobedience toward God was an acceptable life style. People in Sodom and Gomorrah knew how to act toward God but choose not to obey God. God’s grand purpose with this example was to show the world the consequences for God’s disobedience.
The story of Joseph in the bible is a great example of God’s grace, love and mercy but it seem that God had abandon Joseph. Joseph’s brothers were very jealous of Joseph because their father, Jacob favored Joseph. We as parents sometimes have a child that we might favor over all other children. It’s not that we love any of our children less it’s just with our favored child we might have more in common than our other children. It might also be that this favored child we might be more like us than the other children. In most case however, this favored child just might be more obedient to our rules than our other children. We can judge Joseph’s brothers for sailing their brother into slavery but having a favored child in any family is enough to stir up jealousy.
Joseph had favor with God because he loved the Lord and was obedient to God’s will and for those who don’t know Joseph story, God also gave Joseph the gift of prophecy through his dreams. Joseph had the ability to interpret dreams and predict the future through others dreams. It would have seemed God’s favor with Joseph had ended when he was sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph’s brother told their father, Jacob that Joseph was killed by a wild animal. However, Joseph was sold to a good man of wealth and became a favored servant in this man’s household. Again it would have seen that his favor with God had ended when the wealth man’s wife accused Joseph of raping her and Joseph was thrown in jail. However, in jail Joseph was able to interpret the dream one of the king’s servant while that servant was in jail with Joseph. Joseph’s reputation of interpreting dreams was presented to the Pharaoh of Egypt. The Pharaoh keep having reoccurring that which none of his council could interpret accept Joseph. The Pharaoh of Egypt summons Joseph to interpret his dreams. Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams and told the Pharaoh that Egypt would have seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. The Pharaoh was so impressed by Joseph interpretation of this dreams that he placed Joseph in charge of Egypt during this period second only to him. Joseph was in charge of Egypt’s food and water supplies during Egypt’s famine. All the people of the regions had to go through Joseph in order to obtain their portion of food and water including Jacob’s family. Jacob sent his sons to Pharaoh’s camp to get provisions for food and water. Joseph during this time of famine Joseph married and had two sons. Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt as instructed by their father to get provisions for food and water. Joseph did recognize his brother when they came before him. Joseph remembered what his brother did to him held the youngest of the brothers in prison. Joseph accused his brothers of being spies and made a deal with them that he would give them their provisions but one of the brothers had to stay behind in prison and they had to bring back their youngest brothers to prove that they her honest men. Joseph actually wanted to see all his brothers. Joseph didn’t want to reveal himself to his brothers because he wasn’t sure what they would do. Joseph’s brothers went back to Canaan told their father, Jacob want had happen and that they had to brings Benjamin, their youngest brother to Egypt for the provisions they had received. Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin. Joseph couldn’t restrain himself any longer and revealed himself to his brothers. Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 45: 4-8….4 And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt…. Joseph went with his brothers back to meet his father, Jacob. Jacob’s family moved to Egypt so that they may enjoy God’s blessing He had given to Joseph.
What was God’s grand plan in the story of Joseph story? God’s wanted to express to all of us that regardless of your gifts or whether you are favor with God or not God will never forsake you. God will never leave you alone to deal with your problems in life, but we have to believe that God is on our side. We have to believe that God is with us in good times as well as bad times. Joseph committed no sin before God yet he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. I wonder how many of us would have the kind of faith Joseph had. In most case we would have been complaining how life is not fair or maybe God is dead. So many of us don’t understand God is always in control. They say that some people say where was God when evil things happen to people? Where was God when the Jews went through the holocaust in Germany? Where was God when the African-American were enslaved? Where was God when the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan? Where was God? God was there still in control. The fact is that mankind has two choices to do good or evil. Mankind has these choices because God loves us and you don’t control people’s mind when you love them. All people have to choose their own path in the world whether it is evil or good. Again as I stated earlier God loses patience with the situation of our sins but not us as sinners.
The example of the Israelites is a display of a lack of faith in God as their sin. God heard Israel’s cried for freedom from Egypt. God sent Moses to free His people the Israelites. Moses was once a part of Pharaoh’s court and was raise as his son and heir to the throne of Egypt. However, Moses a Jew (which Moses didn’t know of his Jewish heritage) murdered a servant of Pharaoh and was banished from Pharaoh’s kingdom. Moses found out about his Jewish heritage was residing in a distant land when God called Moses to free his people from Egypt. Moses through many trials and tribulations in Egypt convince the Pharaoh to set free the Israelites. But God harden Pharaoh’s heart and he came after the Israelites and Moses. The Israelites were trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea. The Israelites complained to Moses saying we would have been better off staying in Egypt as slaves than dying as free people in the Red Sea. Moses then stretched forth his staff and said see the salvation of the Lord and parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could cross over. Just as the last Israelite cross over the sea closed their opening and drown Pharaoh’s army which had pursued the Israelites. The Israelites still complained while they were on their journey to a promise land because they didn’t have enough food or water. God provided a pillar which gave them food for drink for their journey. Moses was instructed by God to go into Mt. Sinai to get the commandments for the people of Israel. The Israelites while Moses was at Mt Sinai getting the commandments from God grew inpatient and made Arron Moses’s brother make a gold calf as a God for the Israelites to worship instead of God. The result of this constant complaining before God left our God no choice but to banish that generation of Israelites from the promise land. God made that generation of Israelites wonder in the wilderness forty years until they were all dead. What was God grand plan in this example? Simple left that generation of Israelites to lives as they choose in disbelief and sin.
The example of Job in the bible is a great example of a Christian’s faith in God. In this example Job didn’t sin or place himself in situation where he was tempted to sin. This was just a testament of love for God and the faith that God will never forsake us. Job was stripped of all his flock and possessions as well as his health by the devil. God allowed this to happen to prove a point to the devil. The point God wanted to prove to the devil is that a person love for God has nothing to do with having great success in life. Satan told God that the minute Job lost his possessions and his health he would curse God. But this didn’t happen to Job he still kept his faith in God. What was God’s grand plan in this example? God’s point in this example was that no matter what happens to people who believe in God, God is still in control and will never forsake us. Job could have curse God or complained about his faith in God but he love God and knew that God is good and God is love. Most people think when they have or they are living a faithful like for God they will be immune to the things that happen to Job. The worldly things are ruled by the devil not God and sometimes the devil can make things happen in our lives so that we could turn away from God. But Satan is a deceiver and will use any weapon to entice us to turn away from God.
Jesus temptation in the wilderness was a testament of faith and obedience to God’s laws for all of us. Jesus came as an example of what we in the flesh should be like as God’s followers. Satan used every means to tempt Jesus to turn away from God. But Jesus didn’t turn away from God and that means we should either. I stated before in previous articles that we are in a spiritual warfare with the devil. Our only defense is God’s love grace and mercy in us. We must follow the word of God no matter what temptation come upon us which is God’s grand plan in this example.
Jesus was able to performed many miracles during his ministry on earth. Martha and Mary was grieved that Jesus didn’t save their beloved brother, Lazarus from death. Jesus himself was grieved that Martha came to him wondering why Jesus didn’t save their brother, Lazarus. This is another example of having great faith in God promises. Martha knew Jesus was great and could perform miracles but didn’t understand why Jesus didn’t come to her brother’s aid when he knew Lazarus was dying. This is where we as Christians have blinding faith. This is to say by blinding faith is that we have to know God is in control even when we don’t understand what God is doing. We can’t explain everything that God does for us because most of the time we don’t that maturity of faith to understand God’s purpose. Jesus as well as God wanted to prove they have power over death by which Jesus was able to resurrect Lazarus from death
The last example is when Jesus called out to his heaven, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me.” This is a perfect example of what it is like to be totally separated from God. This was the case as Jesus cried out for Jesus knew this would happen to him. Jesus wasn’t crying out in disbelief or discuss He knew he was taking on all of our sins and in doing so at that moment he would be separated from his heavenly Father. What was God’s grand plan in this example? Very simple that mankind would be pardon for all of our sins. Mankind will sin because we live in a sinful world but there is always hope because your heavenly Father will always forgive for your sins if you repent. God has never lost patience with mankind only sins leave us absent from God’s grace, love, and mercy.
What do you think?
Written by Kofi Baruti
WHAT IS GOD’S WORD IN YOUR EXISTENCE?
In John 1:1,… In the beginning was the “Word”, and the “Word” was with God, and the “Word” was God…. Strictly speaking the “Word of God”, means Christ or God speaking to us. The “Word of God” is our instructions guide on how we are to live as Christians. You must study the “Word of God” in order to learn about who Christ or God is and why God created you. I believe that everyone was created by God for a specific purpose. What is God’s purpose in your life? In this article we will not examine God’s purpose in your life, but we will explore why God created us. Most people think God created us to serve Him and this is true. However, beyond you serving God why did God give certain gifts or abilities to some people? In this article we will explore what is God’s word in the purpose of our existence. First, we were made in God’s image before the foundations of our world. The bible says in Ephesians: 1: 3-6, 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. This scripture is referring to the redemption of Christ in us. To redeem something or someone is to recover, pay off, rescue, or to save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. God’s knows that we were born in a sinful world but He made provisions for all of us before we were born. God’s grace and love were already present before we even knew who God was. God’s word tells us that we existed for his glory and blessing before we were born.
What is the purpose of God’s word in our existence? Our whole existence is based on whether God allows us the choice to serve Him, this means that God is all powerful and omnipotent. If we believe in this statement then we were all born to serve Him. Our existence is a gift from God for we are gifts from God and to the world. But there is a process in our existence with the word of God. The word of God states in Ephesians: 1 7-14, 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory…. Jesus died for our sins so that we would not be slaves to our sins we committed. Instead we have become slave to God and salvation for repenting of our sins for when we choose to serve Christ and follow his ways you are choosing the gift of your salvation. God’s knows all your weaknesses and sins in past present and future. God knows your heart. You have in your existence the right to choose and follow the word of God. God will never choose for you because he loves you and he has given you the gift of salvation. Most people when they received a gift have a right to accept that gift or not. In the same manner your very existence with God is whether you accept God’s gift of salvation through his grace, love mercy for you.
What do you think?
Written by Kofi Baruti
CHRIST WITH BENEFITS THE XMAS GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Hebrews 2: 3-4, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
This is the season of giving as always at Christmas time. I thought I start with God’s “Gifts of the Holy Spirits”. I mentioned in another article or post, the Salvation Theme of the month of September, about Christ with Benefits which is your benefits given to every Christian once they commit their lives to Christ. I believe God created everyone for a purpose and your gift or gifts that God created in you is what you were created for. I also stated in the article or post that it was your spiritual benefit package which was depended on your abilities God gave you. In this article or post we will explore the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
What are the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit”? Paul says in Corinthians 12: 1, & 4 – 11,……Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant,……..4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same[b] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. Paul also says in Corinthians 12: 27 – 31,…..27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best[d] gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. You are part of the body of Christ when you join or commit your life to Christ. Now you are a part of the ministries in the body of Christ.
Knowing this now we have to discern what is our Gift of the Holy Spirit? To do this we must explore the meanings of the spiritual gifts. Your spiritual gifts were meant to be a gift by God to minister to the needs of the body of Christ. This is done to build up the church of Jesus Christ. These spiritual gifts are extremely important to the church of believers because everyone can’t discern when people who are speaking for God if they are real or not. Many Christian congregations have been led astray due to false prophets. One important spiritual gift is the gift of prophecy and tongues. These believers tell the future of the church of believers of Christ as well as interpret people specking in different tongues (not meaning languages of the world but spiritual languages spoken in the church). The greatest spiritual gift is love in the church of Christ because without love we can’t do God’s work or ministries. The bible speaks of this love in Corinthians 13: 8 – 13, when Paul states ….”Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail: whether there are tongues, they will cease: whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child. I understood as a child. I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three: but the greatest of these is love…… Paul in this bible passage is speaking to the church of Corinth on how they should be using and expressing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Paul had to do speak to the believers of Corinth this way because they had become boastful and prideful regarding their spiritual gifts. I express this because sometimes in the church of Christ today believers want to compare themselves with others thinking because they have this spiritual gift or that spiritual gift they may be better to serve God than others. It matters little what our spiritual gifts are it matters that we do everything in church of Christ in love.
You join a church of Christ you must search your heart to find your spiritual gift. I speak of Christ with benefits I am truly talking by the benefits you have to the church of Christ. What will be your ministry or contribution(s) to this world of sin in which we all live? The Christian as well as the non-believer was made to serve God I believe with some spiritual gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are an invitation to do God’s work or ministries which God has given you according to your own abilities. During this Xmas season instead of thinking about what you will get as a Xmas gift as a Christian try to explore how you will be a spiritual gift to the world?
What do you think?
OUR SINFUL NATURE
Sin: 1. transgression of divine law. 2. Any act regarded as such a transgression especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle. 3. Any reprehensible action, behavior etc. serious fault or offense. 4. To commit a sinful act. 5. To offend against a principle, standard. 6. To commit or perform sinfully. 7. To bring, drive etc. by sinning.
Sin is the biggest vice for the Christian. 1 Corinthians 3:3, (NKJV) states…for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?… Sin is an action word and therefore when committed by anyone has its consequences. We live in a sinful world and we are born in sin. Knowing that we are born in a sinful world the Christian as well as the non-believer have to fight the temptations or vices of this world. Many people whether Christian or not struggle with sin or sins every day. I gave the definition to begin this topic because I want to point out there is no such thing as accidental sin or the phrase most people might use “the devil made me do it”. Sin is a conscience deliberate act against god and when we sin we choose to do so.
There are many forms of sins, but the one we will explore will be the cardinal sin of lust. The topic of lust was briefly talked about in the last post article, “You Are Not Alone”, however I thought we should explore this issue further. Lust may be a tempting vice even for most Christians. First let us see with some examples of lust in the bible,…. In Proverbs 11: 6, (NKJV) The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust…. Also in Ezeliel 23:12, (NKJV)…“She lusted for the neighboring Assyrians, Captains and rulers, Clothed most gorgeously, Horsemen riding on horses, All of them desirable young men…. In Proverbs 6 : 23-25, (NKJV)…For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the flattering tongue of a seductress. 25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids…… Many of us may have lusted after a woman or a man but Jesus says in Matthew 5: 27 – 26, (NKJV)… 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart…. We all have at some times may have looked at an attractive man or woman and said to ourselves “I would like to be with her or him, is this in itself a sin of lust. The answer lies with your heart intent, that is do you desire to want to have sex with that person or you just want to meet them. Lust is something in which you have a motion to have sex with a person without any real feeling or commitment of the relationship with that person.
Let us explore some of the ways lust plays in our relationships. One way lust affects is when we engaged in casual sex or what some people refer to as a “booty call”. This is when you may be attracted to a person but you don’t want to have a real relationship with that person. This is harmful in that you may not have any feeling of love for that person which may have been misleading especially if the other person is seeking love. It also can be very dangerous if you are engaging in having unprotected sex that may result in sexual deceases or AIDS. It also can lead to unwanted pregnancy. Generally, when people engage in casual sex acts they have only one motive and that is to satisfy their own sexual desire. This is not what God wants us to do with our relationships with others. God hates this because it is deceiving, selfish, as well as a sin. It is a sin before God because God is love! Real love for a person is not deceitful or selfish. God needs us to love and respect one another. All this is done when we allow our sinful nature to control our emotions of self-gratification.
The other issue regarding our sinful nature is the player. This is usually played by men but women can be players too but not as much. This person is in a relationship for a period of time with another person but is cheating on that person. These players may come to us in many different forms such as a cheating husband or wife, a cheating boyfriend, or the man on the down-low. What does the bible say about adulteress relationships… in Exodus 20: 14 God says, …“You shall not commit adultery…., in Leviticus 20:10, (NKJV) …The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death…, (in the old testament days adultery was a very serious offense and was usually performed public execution by stoning) … in Proverbs 6:32, (NKJV) ….Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul….., Jeremiah 7: 8-10, (NKJV)…. Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’….. These examples in the bible are just some of the dangers that can happen to us if we allow our sinful nature of sex to influence us into adulteress relationships.
Let us explore the different forms of adultery. First you have the cheating husband or wife. This husband or wife is very deceptive in communications and transactions with others. Most men may be married for years to a woman and yet have a lady or ladies across town in an apartment or home. They may live their lives as if they are happily married but to satisfy their own sexual drive have other sexual relationships. They may feel that this life style is OK as long as the spouse is not aware. However, they are only deceiving themselves because the question in their life is why do they need other sexual relationships in their marriage? They are insecure because they don’t even consider their spouses feeling or their children if they have any. This person would need pastoral counseling to really get at root of their sexual insecurity. The reason I would recommend pastoral counseling is because need to know this is affecting their relationship with God as well as their spouse.
The next form of adultery is the cheating boyfriend. I know that adultery is defined as having sexual relationships outside the married but this boyfriend has had a relationship with his girlfriend for many years. In most cases the man and woman have children in this relationship. They may actually consider themselves married because they do all the things a married couple would do. This person is also insecure, because their insecurity centers around real commitment. The question that needs an answer here is, “why not just marry this person you have a long time relationship with? This relationship is what legal society calls common law marriage. But God wants us to be sincere in our committed relationship with others. This is why God says in … Genesis 2:24, (NKJV)…Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. This is why marriage is so important, because when you marry another person you and your spouse make a three way commitment or covenant before God. You make a commitment to your spouse to love honor and obey her in marriage, your spouse makes a commitment to you to love and honor you in marriage, and the both of you make a commitment with God to love and honor your marriage. Instead you are breaking your commitment with God and your spouse when you allow your sexual drive to intercede in your relationship. By society standard the legally married status is only a certification, and sometimes this use as an excuse not to make your relationship legal. This also is misleading that person because in our society any couple that has lived together more than 90 days is in a common law marriage. A Christian married is a holy matrimony with God and that doesn’t require a certificate. Pastoral counseling is also recommended to get at the root of your lack of commitment is their relationship.
The last form of adultery is the man on the down-low. This form is the most deceiving because this person is hiding the fact they are have a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex. This person is what is called bisexual. The biggest insecurity they have is in their own sexuality (that is their sexual attraction to a person of sex). This person is the worst of all the deceivers because they are lying and deceiving anyone that means anything to them. Some of these men are afraid to come out of the closet to admit their sexuality. This has the potential of causing great spiritual as well as physiological damage to them as well as others in their relationships. These men may think they are getting away with their sexual nature but God always knows your heart. These men may stay in a relationship for years committing biggest deception in their lives with their wives. This relationship may become deadly or physically harmful especially if the person is not practicing protected sex. This person would need to get psychiatric counseling to deal with their sexuality as well as pastoral counseling to deal with their relationship with God and their spouse and family. This relationship would be most difficult to restore because of the mistrust involved. The bible doesn’t actually say anything directly about homosexuality but it does talk about carnal knowledge with men in Genesis 19:5, (NKJV)… And they called to Lot and said to him; And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”…, (in this incident the men wanted to actually rape the men Lot had in his house this act as well as other immoral acts lead to the destruction of Sodom and Goliath)… in Judges 19:21-25, (NKJV)…21 So he brought him into his house, and gave fodder to the donkeys. And they washed their feet, and ate and drank. 22 As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, [a] surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!”
23 But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter and the man’s[b] concubine; let me bring them out now. Humble them, and do with them as you please; but to this man do not do such a vile thing!” 25 But the men would not heed him. So the man took his concubine and brought her out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until morning; and when the day began to break, they let her go. (This was also another example of carnal sex and rape of a man and women in Gibeah.)
The homosexuals in our society are outcast when comes to the church. The bible has stated that God hates men having sex with men in God’s law to Moses in Leviticus 18:22, (NKJV)…you shall not lie with a male as a woman. It is an abomination…. We all have a sinful nature as well as a sex drive, but we have to control these urges when they come upon us. God has the word of God to help us with our sinful nature. The church has always been against gay marriages because there is nothing the bible that supports gay marriages. However, I believe that the homosexuals have their rights in our society as well as their choices to live a faithful life style. I also believe that the church doesn’t have the right to judge them only God does because whatever we do we will have to answer to God on judgment day. The church should receive them with open arms as they would any other sinner and pray for them that they receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
What do you think or believe?
Written by Kofi Baruti
Seek the Kingdom of God and all things will be added to you.