As Philip, the evangelist preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ in Samaria, a magician named Simon believed the gospel and was baptised along with others who also believed. Then, Simon continued with Philip in the gospel work.
When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard of the new believers’ community (church) in Samaria, they sent Peter and John out to serve the church. They arrived and God used them to bless the brothers and sisters to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of their hands. Though Simon was present, he didn’t receive this blessing — he was more interested in buying the power that he too might lay his hands on others to receive the Holy Spirit Acts 8:4-19. Was Simon a believer and part of the assembly? Yes!
But, Peter’s reply to his request was revelatory and instructive. Here is the apostle’s reply: Acts 8:20-23
May your silver perish with you! Why the threatening reply?
Because Simon, thought he could obtain the gift of God with money!
You have neither part nor lot in this matter! Why?
Because this disciple’s heart was not right before God.
Repent! Of what?
The wicked intent of his heart. How?
By praying to the Lord, if possible, for the wicked intent of his heart to be forgiven him.
For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity!
While the first three comments of Peter centred on Simon’s action of wanting to buy God’s gift, the fourth focused on his heart. Also, in a different scene, Peter prophetically commented on Ananias’s heart, “why has Satan filled your heart…?” and why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? Acts 5:3 & 4. Was Peter’s utterance to Simon and Ananias, right? Is revelatory prophecy not meant only for exhortation? Well, what do you know!
As we read the scriptures, the Holy Spirit can use it to expose our hearts to us as well as use us prophetically to expose one another’s heart with the intent for us to repent. But, if we fail to humble ourselves and repent, eventually, our hearts actions (imaginations) which are tangible to God plays out physically Psalm 14:1. This is the reason Christ’s life starts in our hearts. A “heart set on God” may sin and recover — but it’s not so with a “heart set on sin” Romans 4:8. Why? “… In whose spirit (heart) there is no deceit” Psalm 32:2b. Selah!
Careful study of the scriptures reveals something strange about believers who did not “set their hearts on God” (failed to guard their hearts) and Satan used it as his factory. They hardly ever recovered. They either died or never got mentioned again in the bible. Examples: Ananias and Sapphira, Sual, Judas, Simon, the strayed widows, Demas et al. Given this ugly possibility, scriptures exhort and admonish us to embrace the faith (Christ) wholeheartedly and keep good conscience 1 Timothy 1:19.
Simon’s response authenticated Peter’s insight about the condition of his heart. “And Simon answered, pray for me to the Lord that nothing of what you have said may come upon me Acts 8:24.” Again, he was more interested in avoiding “perishing” than the state of his heart for which Peter advised him to seek God. Simon’s heart was unlike David’s. David’s reply and reaction after Nathan confronted him mirrored the kind of “heart that is set on God” and commended 2 Samuel 12:1-4, 5-7, 9, and 13, Acts 13:22b.
As disciples, we need to set “our hearts on God” and not let poison in because, it can affect our relationship with God — separating us from having part in the business of the Holy Spirit while being active with “Churchianity”. Twisting Hebrews chapters 7, 9 & 10 in order to console ourselves, ‘All sins — past, present, and future — have been dealt with once and for all” will not heal a “heart set on sin” and take away its deep seated guilt.
It’s doubtful any human can live a guilt free life without Jesus Christ.
As Christians, only Christ’s sacrifice, a sincere and humble walk with Him deals death blow to guilt. It makes us fall at His feet as He exposes our hearts and actions of sin(s) to us by the Holy Spirit and we actually experience increasingly the double cure of His blood. Firstly, He cleanses us from the sin(s) we’ve fallen into and it becomes history. Albeit, people may still hold it against us but not God — the sign is, we enjoy His peace within and not guilt. Secondly, the sin(s) lose its or their grip over us and we neither cherish it in our hearts nor carry on practising it or them Joel 2:13 NLT, Micah 6:8.
But, if we continue cherishing the sin(s) we fell into in our hearts or — and, practice the sin(s), then, guilt will not go away. No theological analysis, psychologist or psychiatrist has the power to take away guilt’s power over a person.
Scriptures indicates that nursing iniquity (letting out the room of our hearts to Satan) is a different kettle of fish from falling into sin through overzealousness and carelessness. I am not saying circumstance justifies sin, just highlighting the truth that God, knows each of our hearts. ‘God looks on the heart’ 1 Samuel 16:7. This is why God’s understanding and judgement differs from ours and we’re not qualified to judge (condemn) anyone. We can state our understanding of God’s position but, is God’s to condemn or justify anyone.
Hence, Jesus’s words to His body (the Church) is always pointed to the inside of the cup (heart) because it’s where God looks on. While, it’s not optional to keep outside the cup clean, for God, as aptly narrated by Jesus, outside cleanliness of our cups must come from the inside cleanliness His blood has achieved and is achieving for us Matthew 5:20, 1 Peter 3:4. This is the kind of righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees Matthew 23:25, 5:8.
So, to think or teach that the evils we may harbour in our hearts is less evil compared to when it’s actualised for others to see is deceptive. Whilst physical murder has more consequences for a victim’s family and friends unlike a victim of hatred, God, who is Spirit, understands how hatred of anyone (even those who make us their enemies) equates to murder 1 John 3:15, Matthew 5:43-48, 1 Peter 1:22 . We have the option to agree or disagree with God but not the luxury of moderating His judgement, period!
We can best serve our communities and bring healing to those battling with guilt by encouraging them to walk heartily with Christ.
God takes the things we permit, contrive, cherish and hold in our hearts towards other people and our spouses very seriously 1 Chronicles 15:29, Malachi 2:15 NKJV, Proverbs 4:23. A teaching that diminishes this truth is deadly Proverbs 25:28 NKJV, Proverbs 16:32 NKJV.
Paul stated it clearly: Think aright — and act rightly Philippians 4:8-9. It’s opportunity that restrains whatever we have in our hearts (hatred or love) from translating to physical murder or act of kindness.
It’s a faithless generation that fails to guard her heart. Guard YOUR heart!
This writing was prompted by an article I read a few days ago. It asserted that Suicide is not unpardonable sin and sufficient grounds for hell. This view was defended by purporting that, in spite of Samson’s committing suicide, he still got listed as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11.
Is the basis of this proposition true? The scriptures doesn’t testify to the theory of Samson committing suicide. No person who committed suicide in the bible is listed in Hebrews 11.
Here is the list of those who committed suicide: Saul, king of Israel and his armour bearer 1 Samuel 31:3-6, Ahithophel 2 Samuel 17:23, Zimri 1 Kings 16:18-19 and Judas Matthew 27:5. Add Samson’s name to this list and he will stand out as a sore thumb. His rightful place is in Hebrews 11, among those whose walk with God was amended.
From Genesis to Revelation, the gem is in the standing up again, not in the falling down and staying there or ending it all.
Samson requested strength from God in verse 28 of Judges 16 and verse 29 is an interlude to show that God answered swiftly and Samson swung into action. Then, verse 30 started with a conjunction, making it a continuation of Samson’s request in verse 28. This means that Samson made two request of God.
The first request was for strength with which to avenge the Philistines who were Israel’s rivals. His request was not for power with which to kill himself.
The second request was for God to let him die along with the Philistines. Samson probably felt he had completed his God given assignment as a Judge of the Israelites for twenty years and didn’t want to continue judging Israel as a blind man.
It is doubtful his request of God to let him die can pass as a suicide. God could have decided to preserve his life amid the wreckage regardless of his request to die.
David at one time also requested to die but, it is God’s discretion to answer our prayers one way or the other 1 Kings 19:4. In this case, He kept him alive. In another scenario, Hezekiah requested for extension of his live and got it 2 Kings 20:1-6. Simeon is another example in Luke 2: 28-30. God is sovereign!
If the assertion that Samson committed suicide is upheld and in spite of it, he was mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of faith then, it’ll be an affirmation that suicide is legitimate though appalling. In which case, what we need to be concerned about is the motivation for choosing suicide—whether the motive is right or wrong. This will be a dangerous phenomenon.
My persuasion on the issue of suicide whether it involves a professing Christian or non-Christian is that it should be discussed with lots of genuine love and heartfelt sympathy. The reason to apply gracious love is because it concerns a departed soul and for the sake of the grieving and pain the families and friends will be going through. The departure of any soul always brings mixed feelings of sorrow, pain and joy.
Before continuing, it’s apt to emphasize that Christians are not permitted under any heading to kill anyone intentionally according to (The law of the spirit of life in Christ) New Testament. It’s a serious issue in God’s heart—so much so that he regards hatred as murder.
Therefore, how could it ever be right in God’s sight for anyone to commit suicide? It’s difficult to grasp Ephesians 5:29a.
What exactly was commendable about Samson’s action, bearing in mind that the Philistines were more often than not at war with Israel, whom Samson represented as a Judge Judges 16:31b? Obviously, it was not him killing himself. What was praised is Samson’s faith that resulted in victory for his people Judges 16:30. It’s along these lines that Samson and others were mentioned in Hebrews 11: 17-36. Each of them had extreme rough times and overcame through their unflinching faith. Overcomers are a tested company—not extraordinarily favoured people.
It’s unfortunate that a Christian or anyone for that matter should suffer depression but is a reality. It’s like any other sickness. Servants of God both in the Old and New Testaments and in our time, have suffered depression. Prophets and kings, Paul the apostles, Spurgeon and many others. It needs not end in suicide.
Being a Christian is not the only way but is the greatest and surest protection against depression from leading to suicide.
So, is suicide a sin punishable by hell? In my opinion, Yes! Avoiding suicide at all costs is a safer option by miles.
Does it mean that everyone that has committed suicide has gone to hell? Frankly, I don’t know the answer. What happened between God and each of those individuals’ in their final moment is unknown to us. However, let each person have His conviction Romans 14:23.
The bible clearly state that we Christians don’t know the answer to everything. Put differently, we know in part—as a people who see though dimly. Therefore, unashamedly, we can be relaxed to say we don’t yet know an answer to some matters.
The final arbiter as per the fate of a person who committed suicide will be God’s.
Suicide is a regrettable waste of the precious gift of life–given to us to steward by God.
Whilst it is only fitting to approach these kind of matters with genuine love and deepest sympathy, it doesn’t seem right to provide a cheap biblical reason to console us when we’re grieving over our loved ones who unfortunately reached the dark alley of suicide.
No matter our views, to put forth our comments in the guise of giving the truth “in love” at a time others are grieving the loss of their loved ones especially through suicide, speaks volumes of our understanding and participation in Christ’ nature or virtue of “speaking the truth in love”.
All this said, the most important thing that counts at the end of the day, is for us humans to do whatever we can to help one another not to walk down the staircase of suicide.
Finally, as a reminder to those grieving over bereavement and especially of this kind, be rest assured that God is with you and He is your strength. Whilst there are many miserable comforters, there’s always “The Comforter”, the person of the Holy Spirit! Depend on Him. Shalom!
Is the bible actually true or what? Careful reading of the bible affirms that it is saying, ‘Before Christ came into the world, mankind did not have life as a result of Adam and Eve’s fall’. We just existed! We were working, discovering and inventing things, eating, having sex and making babies. In this sense, humans are not far from the ants who, also work smartly, build and engage in reproduction.
So, Christ Jesus came to give mankind life, life in its abundance!
Does this suggest that holy men and women of old before Christ did not have life too? The bible gives this notion and I second its truth. They had glimpses of His life from a distance and longed earnestly to possess it. The longing kept their hearts and minds towards God. So they served Him with reverence and fear.
But, since Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection some people have been escaping from merely existing into life. And no longer are those who have the glimpse of life just longing after Him—they are possessing life, life in all its abundance. Nicodemus had something of the glimpse of life so he went to see Him (Life) better at night. Christ Jesus nodded him towards the life—‘get born again, and then you will see life clearly. You will not only see it, you will possess it by water and the Spirit’ John 3:1-5.
Since His resurrection, a body of people on the earth described as His body possess life and increasingly have Him in all of His fullness. Note, it is not just having life but possessing life (Christ) in His fullness— having a real vibrant relationship with the living Christ Jesus the Head and High Priest of His body on the earth John 10:27. Not a fairy tale.
“If the Lord is not a real and vital part of our lives, then we are only half living”— Crosswalk. In which case, God is asking, where art thou? Genesis 3:9.
Dear friend, are you part of His body? The Holy Spirit will bear witness to you in your spirit Romans 8:16. His joy and peace will evidence it to you in your inner man. Restfulness in your inner being will testify to it. Crazy thoughts and jumpy actions will be vanishing as you are astonished by His awesome power resurrecting you to an increasingly godly and goodly thoughts and actions that gladdens the heart under every situation. Which is to say, all things are now working out only for good in your life! All things are beginning to be made by the Holy Spirit to serve as a springboard to prepare you as a part of the bride (wise virgins) for the bridegroom (Eternal Life).
The measure of life, abundant life that mortals can contain is made available by Christ Jesus to all who ask for it Psalm 86:5. How merciful and gracious God is!
Merciful because He looks to His Son’s sacrifice and grants forgiveness to all who ask for it though they be sinners—gross sinners who murdered His Son, Jesus.
Gracious because He is all powerful to rescue all who are in hiding beaten or negotiated down (Genesis 3:1-6) by the dominion of darkness if only we will come out to meet Him as He walks towards us and not hide behind trees (ministries and other people, so to speak Proverbs 11:21) Genesis 3:8. By His power, He translates all who receive and accept His Son (the Messiah) from the darkness of hell into the light of heaven—that is, His Kingdom. This is the power of the second Adam, the life giving Spirit.
The life of God in the earth is flowing in His Kingdom on the earth. And the Kingdom soon will overun the kingdom of this world as the will of God is increasingly being done in the earth as it is done in heaven.
Sinners and religious (pious) people must now flee to Christ Jesus for safety. The appointed time God has given for all men to be saved is running out Romans 13:11. The righteous are being taken out of the earth yet men know it not. God is rejoicing as His own return home.
God is strengthening the body of His Son on the earth to tell the world that God loves them. God does not want anyone to perish Titus 2:11, 2 Peter 3:9. Enough people have perished because while on earth clothed with mortal body, they only existed having refused and rejected life. Receiving this life (Christ) is so crucial and as such, God gave opportunity to even those who existed before Christ’s advent the chance to receieve Him, in their hearts.
Mankind (men and women) need eternal life in this present life. Therefore, have life that you may live ABUNDANTLY forever not exist forever. Goodness and religion do not give life! Life gives goodness and devotion. Those who know and possess life know this reality, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10.
Life is at your disposal; take Him in richly Colossians 3:16!
The fact that Adam used his God given ability of choice to choose the way of self and the devil as opposed to choosing the way of the spirit authenticates the truth that the flesh (self) profits nothing John 6:63. Had he chosen the law of the spirit of life (faith in God) the law of sin and death could have had no chance! But God, Who is omniscient, had made a provision for man (all humans) through the obedience and sacrifice of The Lamb.
Jesus had the ability and the chance the first Adam had to choose self, the way of the devil or the way of the Spirit and He proved to both principalities and man that God can be chosen over self and the devil. Praise God! Therefore, he opened the door by which man’s original destiny should be actualized.
So whoever chooses or eats and drinks Christ (the Bread and drink from heaven), is automatically exercising that glorious privilege the first Adam had but failed to use. The first tree in the midst of the garden was not to be eaten but the Lamb of God hung on the cross (Christ), must be eaten for anyone to have His Spirit and enter into a life of communion with God.
God, being the Alpha and Omega KNOWS AND SEES all who will choose Christ (the way of the Spirit) over the devil and self even before they are born. Since the way of the devil and clay (self) is destined to destruction, all who choose it gain destruction and hell. But, all who choose the way of the Spirit are destined to victory and eternal living with the Almighty God. Man is now able to choose Christ because of the grace of His sacrifice—which, the bible tells us is made available for all men but only those who accept or choose to believe it enjoy its core purpose Titus 2:11, 1 John 2:2, John 10:10
Predestination therefore, is on the basis of God’s foreknowledge, which is based on the slain Lamb and the free gift of choice God blessed man with. Man’s use of his God given will to choose Christ glorifies God more as opposed to the idea that He is scared that man will reject Him forever and as such, He made some to be robots as to get them to compulsorily love and serve Him. If this assertion is right, He would have created man as a robot from the beginning and, man wouldn’t have got the chance to choose to disobey Him. Jesus proved this interpretation is wrong! The glorious song will be sung one day by multitudes that chose God over the devil and self. Indeed, Jesus is the first-born among many brethren not conscriptsRom 8:29.
It is true we’re forcefully rescued from the kingdom of darkness but, that is not without our using our gift of choice from God to believe (that is accept) His gift of salvation John 1:16, Rom 10:13. This is the reason no human is born again from their mother’s womb though God can decide to reveal His plan for an unborn soul ahead of time. While Jeremiah’s destiny was revealed before he was born, that of Saul (Paul) was only revealed after he was born Jer 1:5, Gal 1:15. God has a destiny for everyone!
Someone may ask if Saul asked or exercised his free will before Christ saved him in a dramatic incident. My answer is yes. Saul responded to the voice and grace of God (Christ) that appeared to him though he had the choice to be stiff necked like Caiaphas the High Priest Matt 26:64, Heb 4:7. Salvation is not initiated by man but man needs to respond when God draws John 6:44. Christ visits the world today even in more dramatic ways yet some people don’t respond to Him—they choose not to. How many people has God saved in plane and car crashes and yet they pretend they don’t understand that God is inviting them to accept Christ. How many people have arranged to meet up with a friend only to hear the person has passed away prior to their meeting. Yet, they refuse to be alerted that they need Christ the Saviour since, they too will pass on someday.
If you’re reading this post and you’ve not responded to Jesus Christ, think of how many times you have heard the gospel in many different ways in your heart with or without a physical person speaking to you—that is the voice of the Holy Spirit, please respond and believe in Christ, as it is not too late.
No one needs to get frigid when we talk about exercising the will as if to say it negates Eph 2:8-9 because it doesn’t in any way! No one can boast of using his or her will to achieve salvation because if God did not create man with the ability or nature of will and if Christ did not die and resurrect, the case of using it wouldn’t arise 1 Cor 4:7, Philippians 2:12-13. Even believers are called upon to use the gifts of the spirit and not to leave it dormant as some people do 2 Tim 1:6. It’s in the same way; those without Christ are persuaded by the gospel to use their God-given faith and will to believe in Christ Jesus. Heb 11:6 says, without faith we can’t believe or come to God and see Him for who He is—the One Who rewards those who worship Him! Even those who come to Him can’t function in His gift(s) in their lives without keeping faith in Him.
So, no Israelite will be saved because they are Israelites according to the flesh—no gentile will be saved by keeping ordinances but all, whether Jew or Gentile, who hear the gospel and believe in Jesus Christ will be saved. Every human has faith and the ability to exercise it. It’s a gift of God to man. It distinguishes man from the beast of the field. The inability of man to have faith towards God caused by Adam’s fall has been restored to man through Christ’s sacrifice made before man fell. This is the reason some people in the Old Testament were able to serve God by faith. His atonement is not limited. In other words, it’s for the benefit of the whole world but only those who choose it enjoy its full benefits.
For clarity, I am saying that one benefit of CHRIST’S ATONEMENT is the restoration of the ability for man to choose God and the other is salvation that results from actually making the choice. No one who has faith toward God will be damned. Faith toward God translates man into His spiritual house and opens up the privilege of joining His great house on the earth where, through teaching, reproofing, correcting and training in righteousness, the Treasure in the jar of clay is let out by the breaking of the jar and the treasure of Gold and Silver (redemption) begins to overlay the wood (soul) Rom 12:1-2. This principle and privilege will be open till God chooses to bring it to a close at such a time He has set.
God intervenes to harden men’s heart ONLY after He has sent warnings upon warnings. We can see this principle running through the whole scriptures Prov 29:1.
So Rom 9:29, is not telling us that God has made some people to be dishonorable and some honorable but according to His sovereignty and will, He has destined clay for dishonourable use while His Spirit in man is destined for a glorious end.
The story of Esau and Jacob like other biblical stories depicts for us spiritual things with physical realities which, eventually, manifested as was seen with Esau’s choice. Also, Jacob amplifies Eph 2:8-9 and Rom 12:2, which tell us that those who choose God receive His life in them and gradually shed the fleshly nature and increasingly put on gold (Christ) the silver of redemption Gal 3:27, Lev 5:15-16. The power to persevere through to maturity is a blessing from God as we submit (yield our will) to abide in Him James 4:7. It’s the attraction of love relationship John 14:15, 2 Cor 8:24.
Interpreting predestination as God creating some people to be destroyed and some for salvation is absolutely defective irrespective of theological camp. Every soul that comes into this world is from the first Adam who was ab initio predestined for salvation. God has never created new people except those who make a choice to believe in Christ Jesus the Lord of all salvation and are learning obedience from Him Acts 4:12, 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15, Eph 2:10.
The first man God created had faith because he had the image of God. Because of his sin, the image was distorted. Nevertheless, he was still a creature of God who needed regeneration. All humans descended from Adam. To this end, Acts 2:21 states, “But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” 1 Tim 4:10.
For clarity and by way of definition, everywhere I have mentioned humans in this article, I mean beings that descended from Adam and Eve and as such, have mortal bodies; flesh, blood and bone Rom 9:11.
Finally, to treat predestination from the point of the fall of man rather than before man’s creation is misleading. Forgetting that God created only one man whom He destined for salvation has lead to a great misunderstanding of this doctrine; a doctrine that should cause all souls to rejoice in God’s love for them.
God’s principles have been in motion before man was created. God has already shown mercy and poured out His blessing(Christ) Proverbs 10:22 and blessings1 Tim 6:17 to mankind.
The Holy Spirit is within the bride of Christ saying, “come” and the bride is hearing it and echoing it—Whoever is thirsty, “come!” and drink of the water of life freely Rev 22:17. This is the gospel message the body of Christ is preaching to the world. Hopefully that is your message.
All humans are destined for salvation. I plead with you to receive Christ Jesus if you’ve not done so and you’ll receive the free gift of regeneration (salvation) John 3:16.
God does not just do loving things, He is Love. Out of His love, He freely and willingly created man in His own image and likeness though being fully aware that man will fall. Because He is love, the alpha and omniscient, He does not offer mankind a gift He knows they can’t receive. This is why from the foundation of the earth, He prepared the Lamb and sacrificed Himself so that in His appointed time, He’ll make public spectacle of His enemy at the cross on behalf of man. So, God’s nature in man is a gift.
Man through lack of faith in God fell. But God had a first-hand plan to restore man by offering him His sacrificial gift.
One of the strongest characteristics of a gift is that it can be rejected. Every gift that cannot be rejected is anything but a gift. In which case, we must find another name for it.
Salvation is an eternal gift from God to man. It’s a gift that has an eternal value which must be received by man to enjoy eternity. It’s not an afterthought gift—it was prepared by God from the foundation of the world, sealed and presented to mankind at His appointed time in Christ.
God is not just the source of faith, He is the Faith
God being the faith, exhibited faith in man irrespective of knowing that man will abuse the gift of free will He gave to him to use the way he chooses. He was teaching man by example what it means to have faith in Him.
God’s original intention is for man to fellowship with Him by faith as exhibited by His relationship in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. And, that His intention has not changed. After man fell, because of His love for man, He gave him a school master (the law) to constantly remind man of Him and consistently show them that they will never enjoy Him again except they return to Him by faith.
Rom 7:14 tells us that the law is spiritual while man had become carnal (faithless) as a result of the fall. So, the law always shows man that he is weak and needs a savior. God created man as a being of faith and will, but also gave man the law knowing that its burden will eventually drive man to exercise that faith to seek for a saviour. It remains the truth that man fell because he used his will to place his faith in the devil (self-gratification). This is actually the crime man committed against God. To have used the blessed privilege God gave him of free will to reject and hurt God—an eternal crime that needed eternal remedy.
Manifestation of the Remedy
It is God’s character to always give a foretaste. So right from Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel and the prophets, He started indicating to the devil that he is in big mess because man will once again, in a scale that beats the devil’s imagination, would freely, willingly and joyfully choose Him (God) their creator over him (Satan). Therefore, Heb 11:26 associated those people of faith in the Old Testament with Christ even before He was manifested.
His appointed Time
God’s grace that rested on the men of faith in the Old Testament exploded on the earth as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ (the physical manifestation of what took place from the foundation of the earth 1 Pet 1:20, 1 Cor 2:7, 2 Tim 1:9, Titus 1:2), which was what the people of faith in the dispensation of the law tapped into but has now appeared to all mankind—born and unborn. It’s made available even for the unborn because Adam’s fall made man’s DNA totally depraved. Nevertheless, we must remember that God did not create man originally depraved. Man’s salvation is not found within man but within the sacrifice God had already prepared outside of man. This sacrifice is however only accessed by faith. How wise God is!
God who created man knew that man will remain a being of faith as He created him in spite of falling. Man can only lose this privilege after death. This is why we’re to accept Christ’s sacrifice while we’re still living. So, without Christ’s sacrifice no one could have been saved not even those who kept a great deal of the laws of God in the Old Testament. It’s on this platform I will discuss the topic of predestination below.
My greatest intention here is to inspire believers to pray, study and converse with the Holy Spirit on this topic and arrive at least on a conviction rather than just swallow what is popular or convenient. I will borrow from those who are wiser than me to say, understanding this doctrine is not a prerequisite for salvation nevertheless; I believe it does affect our walk and service to the Lord Rev 3:8. Everyone who is in Christ must recognize that the devil cannot force them against their will to deny Christ.
There are very few Christian doctrines in which, even renowned teachers of the scripture quote more names of saints who are not mentioned in the bible in order to authenticate it as much as in the teaching of foreknowledge, Predestination, election and calling.
At this point, let me mention that every calling of God is based on election and election is based on predestination which is based on His foreknowledge 2 Tim 2:19, “The Lord knows those who are his,”. God calls every human being!
What is His foreknowledge based on?
Difficult questions like this makes predestination one of those tough Christian doctrines many believers fear to study closely. So, it’s been left to theologians and even many theologians have not painstakingly and prayerfully sought God’s answer but have taken the position of being content to accept what past reputable servants of God laid down. While, we’re encouraged to behave like the Bereans regarding most teachings, this one seems to be an exception, but such position in my opinion is resorting to tradition which does not encourage conviction Rom 14:23, 5.
The difficulty of the doctrine is made even more difficult because it is usually expounded in such an academic fashion. I believe it’s done so as to conceal what is actually being said which is, in its finality, that some people are destined for salvation and consequently others are not. Its ripple effect means some people are for honourable use and others for dishonourable and as such, they can be dispensed of by God to hell and eventually to the lake of fire. Any attempt to hold a different view to this not too correct perspective is usually met with vehement resistance and viewed as disrespect to faithful servants of God whose works have been a huge blessing to the body of Christ. Such view gives credence to a laisser-faire attitude to spiritual discipline.
The silent punch in the doctrine that God elected only some for salvation and not others, in the main, paints God as originator of evil though it’s quickly cushion with Rom 9:10-29, who are you to question the maker—He is entitled to do whatever He likes. They call it sovereignty but, that is misinterpreting the beautiful sovereignty of God which, protect and favours man whom He has made for His own good not bad pleasure.
While Romans 9:10-29 portrays the unprofitable state of all mankind and God’s vehemence against evil and His determination to rescue man, Rom 9:30-33, points man to God’s solution. The answer to man’s predicament is faith in the prepared sacrifice of His Lamb. Jew or gentile, whoever humbles him or herself to acknowledge their filthiness in spite of their pretentious law keeping and look to the Stone in Zion will be saved Luke 18:1-14, John 4:7-25, Matt 15:21-28, John 6:37.
Scripture meditation and Conviction
I believe foreknowledge is on the basis of the sacrifice of the Lamb which avails for all who He brings into the world. No human comes into existence without God’s permission Gen 30:2, Deut 28:11, Ps 127:3. No human is destined to hell by God 2 Pet 3:9. All humans without exception are destined to salvation. The basis of my believe is this, God created only one human—the man Adam and everyone else came from him. The original plan for man who Adam represented is for salvation. This is God’s sovereign will for man—though, He willingly placed in man to choose Him or Satan. However, as a loving Father, He did not fail to instruct man on the right path Gen 2:15-17.
Examining predestination from the time of man’s fall rather than before the fall, leads to error in its interpretation. The fact that the bible tells us that God’s Lamb was sacrificed from the foundation of the world, gives us a clear picture that God knew that man was going to fall. Nevertheless, He chose to create man not as a robot but a living soul with the ability to make free choice. It is important to note that man’s free will is a gift resulting from God’s nature of faith embedded in man. Man’s fall did not make him the creation of the devil. Devil created nobody. The nature of the devil got infused into man. Man becametotally depraved but that didn’t change God.
Because God is omniscient, Alpha and Love, His plan for man did not change. And His sacrifice stirred by His love for man opened a window of escape for man. That window made it possible for man to once again put their faith in God their creator. And men through all ages have being taking advantage of faith’s open door to return to God.
It’s not forced because God knows better that forced love is no love Mark 8:34, Rev22:17. We as humans know that when we’re loved without coercion is better than when we’re loved because we have forced it even if it is done subtly. When people love us for what they can gain for themselves rather than loving for the sake of love it repulses us. Loving for the sake of love is what creates true relationship and intimacy. God knows this truth far better than we humans! And, this is the truth of intimacy He seeks with man.
God in creating man put this His nature in man (Adam) and Eve. They kept using His nature in them to love and fellowship with Him until the devil came and contested their loyalty to God just as he does today with everyone who is in Christ. At this point, God could have turned them to robots so that they’ll not exercise the gift of free choice He gave them but He did not because He had made a provision for man’s escape. It is extremely crucial that we note that He made a way of escape without changing His original intent to see man love Him as a loving father by the use of the gift of choice He gave man in Christ. How are you using yours?! John 14:15.
On the earth, man is the only thing that has life and the Spirit of God in itself. Other things have life—for existence e.g., the plants and animals. God did not breathe into them to give them life like He did with man whom He created in His own image. So, Oxygen in man is not the Spirit of God in man.
All the time they were in the garden and kept their eyes and expectation on God’s usual evening visit, obeyed and served Him, His Gold and Silver overlaid or clothed their souls so they were not naked. And their clay or body remained an agent or a vehicle to express the Gold and as a result enjoyed health.
Unfortunately, after man had lived for a while in the garden of Eden loving God by not eating from the tree as commanded by God, the first opportunity they had to show that they indeed prefer Him to self and Satan, they failed by obeying the enemy, consequently showing contempt toward God their creator. Without reference to God, man got into communion with the devil and learnt how to please self and obey Satan. Their choice instilled a fallen nature to all mankind.
However, man was still destined to salvation because of God’s love for man. Man made of clay served as a jar containing the Spirit of God which is the Gold buried in the earth. The result is that man lost the Gold in him, the Gold that is honourable, eternal and the hope for eternal bliss with God. Man became, so to speak, a beast living for itself and for the one who ruined his destiny (Satan).
We will continue our meditation on “Predestination” in the next post
Every person that is born into this world has a bad tree (heart) because sin lies at its root. For this reason, no one person is better than any other Rom 3:23, Matt 12:33.
Also, everyone has got faith which can be placed in one’s self, a guru, some god or in Jesus Christ. Where we place our faith affects our hearts tremendously and it determines our immortal life!
Mankind is Trapped in Sin- What is the Way of Escape?
Free things (gifts) are usually despised but, the free gift of regeneration (salvation from sin) is actually paid for by Jesus. No one should carry-on in this life or depart from this world without tasting and enjoying the beauty of regeneration. It creates a beautiful landscape in one’s life!
But, the only remedy from this helpless predicament mankind finds itself in, is to place one’s faith in the sacrificial atonement of Christ on the cross and His resurrection. Accepting this, though deemed rhetoric by many, it changes the heart from bad to good. This change is commonly referred to as born again (regeneration) John 3:7, 1 Pet 1:3. While, regeneration is not visible to the human eyes, its action within the human spirit (heart) is more violent than any tsunami, earthquake or volcano ever known to man. Yet, like the burning bush in Exodus 3:2, it does not destroy man. It makes man to become God’s temple–God’s dwelling. Man becomes a place God is worshiped, a holy, safe and peaceful place that house His kingdom 1 Cor 6:19, 3:17, Luke 17:21 NKJV, Rom 14:17. This is the glory the presence of God creates in a regenerated person.
In all of human history, Jesus Christ is the only Man who has claimed, that He came into the world as a gift to die for the sin of man. Through faith, you can believe and be converted into Christ’ life (Christianity) and become a new creation with a completely new personality able to do amazing things because of the Spirit of God that comes to DWELL inside you 1 John 4:14.
Take a look at the following scriptures to see examples of what possibilities the Spirit can create in those converted to Christ:
1 Kings 18:24 Elijah could only have been filled with the Spirit of God, as one man, to face so many evil priests- boldness! Luke 10:19
Acts 3:6 Peter must have been filled with the Spirit of God to talk about having a name (Jesus) when alms was requested of him- power! Mark 16:17-18
Acts 7:59-60 Stephen was filled with the Spirit of God to ask for forgiveness for those who were sending him to an “early” grave- love, forgiving heart and no fear of death! 1 John 4:18.
Acts 16:24-25 Paul and Silas were filled with the Spirit of God to sing in prison instead of fearing for their lives and future- confidence! Heb 10:35
Acts 19:18-19 These new converts were filled with the Spirit of God to abandon their god of many years for a God they were just knowing –faith! Heb 11:6
Phil 3:8 Paul abandons all he had gained in his life for “just” the knowledge of Christ – knowing proper evaluation (what is necessary from what is expedient) 1 Cor 6:12
It is clear that the insanity of being filled in the spirit according to Rom 8:6, which results to (life and peace) is much more sane compared to the sanity in the flesh Gal 5:19-21, that leads to (death- eternal damnation ).
God’s gift of regeneration (change of man’s heart from bad to good) is never meant for us to compete with Him (God) in holiness, righteousness and goodness. Also, this rescue of a people from the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom of light (Christ Jesus) referenced as regeneration is for God’s glory, praise and purpose Col 1:13.
God’s purpose in rescuing a helpless, sin riddled and hell bound people to Himself does not include for them to compete among themselves about who is more holy, righteous and good 2 Cor 10:12.
On the backdrop of the above assertions, in becoming a believer (Christian), you will find it a pleasure to be eternally grateful for the penal and substutitionary atonement of Christ– which is to say, Christ satisfied the penalty of the law as required by God’s righteousness and justice and He underwent this penalty in the place of mankind INCLUDING YOU and I. This truth propels a believer or believers to; diligently seek the Saviour’s purpose in other to show forth His praise and glory while ceaselessly celebrating His gracious mercy and love. This is what those converted to Christ and engrafted into the royal priesthood are ordained to do all the days of their mortal lives and throughout eternity 1 Peter 2:9.
On these grounds, the invitation in 1 Peter 1:15-16 is not a call to compete with God in holiness.
1 Peter 1:14 explains verse 15 and 16, as it points to the type of invitation God is extending to His Children. It is important to note, this invitation is to those who are already His children and so, it is not an invitation to the catalogue of things that needs to be done to become God’s child Eph 2:8.
To become God’s child (a Christian), repentance from rejecting Christ Jesus to accepting Him and confessing Him as the Son of God and Messiah is all that is compulsorily required– including His atoning death and resurrection. Faith reposed IN JESUS CHRIST and CONFESSED, brings regeneration to a sinner. Those who receive salvation in Christ are commanded to be baptised by immersion in water as a shadow of the reality of being identified with His death and resurrection Rom 6:4.
Yes! Being a Christian has a yoke to it but it is an easy yoke which is momentary Matt 11:29 NLT, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls”, 2 Cor 4:17.
My personal testimony regarding Christianity can be summed up like this; “… while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8).
The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men 1 Cor 1:25. True great minds humble themselves before Jesus Christ!
May God bless you as you consider and believe in Jesus Christ like Sergius Paulus the proconsul of Paphos, the Samaritan woman and Nicodemus Acts 13:12, John 4:15-26, John 3:1-16.