Salvation for all men is God’s will and for that reason Christ died on the cross. However at the end of the book of revelation, in Revelation 22:15 we find people outside the gate to the city where the redeemed dwell, separated from the presence of God. From now until then, the echo of John 3:16 is still audible, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. When anyone ends up outside the gate, it will not be because God did not care, it will be because they chose the path that ended outside the gate. May the grace of God unite with the free will of man for the salvation of man. He who has an ear let Him hear.
God deals with each person justly. No man can substitute for the other, except Christ who died in our place that through His grace we live, even though our souls have sinned. He bore our wickedness on the cross and transferred His righteousness to us. Without Christ, we will have to face God on our own merit . Who can claim to be righteous before God on their own merit? The most righteous acts according to the scriptures, are like filthy rags before Him. However by His grace, I AM righteous. That grace teaches righteous living. I trust that your soul shall live through Him who bore our transgressions.
God extends grace and He also extends justice. This makes it a very fine line to navigate. Under grace, the advocate Jesus Christ speaks on our behalf drawing from His sacrificial death on the cross to make it possible to walk that fine line. Jesus calls it the narrow road that leads to life. When there is an uprising the authorities curb it with full force. When there is a violation of human rights and the law, the perpetrators are hunted down and brought to justice. How about encouraging rebellion against the Lord Almighty? He makes the call. May we love Him, walk with Him and encourage others to come along focusing all the glory on Him. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
People scramble for power, nations go to every extend to show their strength against others. In the midst of it all is a silent but firm reminder that there is one who has command and control over all. He established the world, He stretched out the heavens, the thunder of His voice echoes through the heavens and the earth. Who is like Him? Let us be still and know that He is in charge and is calling us all to Himself. From every tribe, people, nation calling us all by name to a place of repentance and recognition of who He is. In the midst of the rage, remember that when He speaks even the storms obey. He summons the winds from every corner of the earth and there is no place to hide from His presence. The intent of the heart is bare before Him. Lord may we recognize who you are, give you the due glory and stand in compliance before you. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
~ Jude 1:20-23 ~
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh”.
In conclusion of this exposition on the call to contend for the faith, Jude adds additional pointers, exhorting believers to stand their ground, build muscle, rescue those heading towards hell and destruction, but hating their defiled garments.
Build Yourself up, in your most Holy Faith. Just as physical muscle is developed by weight exercises, so the Lord expects a building up of holy faith, by doing some lifting, digging deeper and applying discipline. An athlete preparing for the Olympic games, trains hard to get into shape. They watch what gets inside their body and they operate under strict discipline. Why? Because they have their eyes on the crown. Jude gave the exhortation to build yourself up in your most holy faith, keeping your eyes on the crown of glory. Stay disciplined, don’t get distracted because you are in a competition for the price of the upward call, with many witnesses and many counting on you. Don’t drop the baton, stay in shape so you can endure to the end of the race, with no muscle crumps and no surprises on that day. The apostle Paul brings this out very well: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Jude then exhorts to pray in the Holy Spirit. To let God give articulation to the deepest groanings that words cannot even utter, tuning into His Spirit and connecting with Him for a deeper conversation. In doing this, you begin to operate at the right frequency, cutting out the background noise, getting right into the throne room and in deep communion with the Holy One. With that you can keep Yourself in the Love of God, and not get out of lane, as Jude exhorts, but keep your focus and remain in the love of God. In this way John 8:32 becomes meaningful, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Thus, continuing in Hs word uncovers the truth, and bring you the true freedom, thereby proving to be His disciples. From that point, look for mercy unto Eternal Life. When you are building up the most holy faith in Jesus Christ, praying in the Holy Spirit and keeping yourself in the love of God, you are essentially placing yourself in the place where God delights. The place where His forgiveness is made available for those that love Him, not remembering their sins against them, but showing mercy. A place where the pleasure of the Lord abounds for restoration, because a heart is set after Him. In that place, His enduring mercy can be found unto eternal life. Once conditioned and positioned, show compassion, making a distinction. Compassion leads to action, identifying with the situation and taking action to bring change. In this direction, Jude admonishes to make a distinction, meaning don’t get entangled in the situation you find others in but become a solution provider heeding the call to act.
The call rings loud; save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hate the garments defiled by the flesh. In other words, heed the call, going to every extent to ensure the truth is well communicated and that people are getting onto the pathway of life. Just as there are people clothed in righteousness, others stand defiled in every way and headed for destruction. For those, there is a call to save with fear, hating even the garments defiled by the flesh. To pull out of the fire is no time to be “politically correct” as fire fighters in an emergency situations will attest to, but be uncompromising and tell the uncompromising truth to pull out of the fire, because the destiny of many depend on it. To stand unconcerned is to snuff out freedom’s holy light and allow for the destruction of those heading towards the fire of hell, which is only reserved for the devil and the fallen angels, as the scriptures indicate.
Therefore, stand and show the way to life, point people in the direction of righteousness, and not be afraid to call out the wrong doings with love, calling a spade a spade in order to bring them to the place of God’s mercy. Jesus already made provision, on the cross, for their deliverance from the curse of the law so they can be grafted into the covenant of Abraham and be part of a people called by His name. In doing this, it is important to keep a sustained focus on the King of Kings, the Sovereign One, the Lord Almighty, examining yourself daily to be sure you are still in the faith and living in a daily expectation of His return. I pray that many will heed the call and many sons and daughters of righteousness will be born throguhout this period of lent.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.
March 8, 2019
~ Jude 1:4 ~
“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ”.
In the verse, Jude admonish the brethren to watch out for certain characters in their midst. These characters he points out crept in without notice and had become abusive of the grace of God, turning it into all kinds of vulgar and ungodly behavior that denied the Lordship of Christ, God Almighty. How did they come in unnoticed? Is it because they crept in quietly, looked the same, blended in, sang the same songs, had the same language and community behavior, dressed the same way? Their hearts were far from God as Jude points out although they might have professed to know God. They were vicious at heart to the extent of turning God’s grace into vulgarity with their very hearts and actions denying the lordship of Christ. How could the people not notice? Probably because they crept in quietly as we are told, or is it because they were busy with the organization of activities, or busy with church services, or busy with the “important” things while the “cancer” quietly attempted to wreak havoc in their midst? How did Jude notice from afar, but the very people at the center did not? Was Jude more sensitive to their environment than the very people right there? Had they lost their sensitivity, or did they just not care? Were they completely out of touch with the reality on the ground? In any case, the Lord had everything marked out, He had His eyes set on the people and expected vigilance as He does now.
For that reason, Jude in verse three called for a contention for the faith, standing the ground and defending the faith, being vigilant and not allowing these characters to destroy the fabric of faith. These characters go to every extent to dishonor the name of the Lord. How would you identify these characters? By being grounded in the knowledge of God and being obedient to the leading of Holy Spirit, testing every spirit as john encourages, “Beloved do not believe every spirit but test every spirit to see whether they of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1), and into the midst of the brethren. God is saying, “watch out!”, and in watching out and testing every spirit, it is imperative to develop the attitude of the Bereans as indicated in the days of the Apostle Paul, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
In searching the scriptures, they were positioning themselves to operate within the framework of God’s word, which has been proven to be perfect as Psalm 119:18 indicates “open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from your law (word). This is a perfect way to avoid the deception and expose these characters that Jude warns about.
I pray that the eyes of your understanding be enlightened; that you may know what the hope of His calling is, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.
March 4, 2019
“Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”
~ Jude 1:1-3 ~
When Jude, gave the exhortation to contend for the faith, he recognized that deception was becoming common, some people were denying the Lordship of Christ and he was calling the people to watch out, to be grounded in truth, and to stand for what is right, never giving up but to STAND.
In calling the people to contend for the faith, Jude was not calling for the use of missiles, guns, swords and knives or any man-made weapons of destruction to fight a cause, but was calling for vigilance, an increase in the knowledge of the holy one, an increase in truth and an increased desire and commitment to peace and a life of freedom. He was giving an exhortation to stand on the solid ground of faith and walk in the highway of righteousness, love and peace. He was calling for a cherishing of the gift of eternal life and a hallowing of the giver of the gift, calling to remembrance both His love and His wrath. Some people may choose to walk in the ways of darkness but for those who have seen the light of day, he exhorts to continue walking in that light. For the fear of their deeds being exposed, some prefer to stay in the dark place, devising schemes of darkness that do not lead to peace. For those in that place of darkness, remember the light of those around you is focused on you and there is no hiding place from the eyes of the Lord.
As darkness deepens, freedom’s holy light shines brightest, positioned on the solid foundation of faith knowing, as John 1:5 (NIV) indicates that, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”. And again, as Luke 11:35 exhorts to “see to it that the light in you is not darkness”. This is the contention Jude calls for, a truthful self-examination to ensure first that the pure light of God lights up the inner most being and then have that light shine out into the dark places to bring illumination and a witness. The exhortation to contend for the faith comes with mercy, peace and love multiplied to those that are willing to accept it, as it echoes to people from every tribe and every nation, to stand for what is right, to create a safe and prosperous world, promote justice and work for peace. The eyes of the Lord are upon the nations of the world to see which way they choose go. I exhort you therefore to let your light shine, to work the works of day and to stay out of the darkness. I pray you will accept to be free and rejoice in that freedom.
March 2, 2019
When Adam disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, he died spiritually as God had originally indicated in Genesis 2:16-17,
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””
When Adam and Eve ate of tree, the unhindered communion with God was severed and they began to hide from God. The protection of their innocence was no more due to their disobedience, they had been ushered into a new realm, the awareness of good and evil, and became disconnected from direct and harmonious fellowship with God, which the bible calls death (please read for yourself, Genesis 3:7-8). To be sure Adam and Eve did not get trapped in that state of disconnected fellowship forever, God kicked them out of the garden, so they would not take of the tree of life and live forever (please read for yourself, Genesis 3:22-24).
Does the rest of humanity share in Adam’s sin (disobedience) and its consequences? The answer is YES as Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” which is exactly what happened to Adam in the garden. His sinful and fallen nature propagated to the rest of humanity. By virtue of Adam’s disobedience, the rest of humanity carry the same fallen (sinful) nature which has no spontaneous fellowship with God but rather separated from Him, having the same awareness of good and evil and predisposition towards sin which God referred to as death in the garden of Eden. Again, Isaiah 53:6 states:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
This means every one of us by virtue of what transpired in the garden of Eden, have gone astray, away and separated from God, which is death. To reconnect us back to God, the iniquity of us all was laid on Jesus Christ to redeem the connection originally lost in the garden of Eden. Symbolically, the dividing wall between man and God was torn as Jesus paid the price on the cross (Mathew 5:21) such that the possibility for direct reconnection to and fellowship with God was restored as in Romans 5:18,
“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life.”
The sin of Adam brought separation from God to all men and the righteous act of Christ on the cross (satisfaction of God’s judgement) brought justification for all. This justification is by acceptance ONLY, although it is available to all as in John 3:16,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.
Believing precedes justification, even though justification is available to all. Thus, through one man’s (Adam) offense judgement (spiritual death) came to all and through one man’s (Christ) righteous act the free gift resulting in justification of life came to all men. Adam sinned and man died and separated from God, Christ died so man could be justified and live!
I pray that you will accept the free gift and be justified before God living a restored life of fellowship with Him.
February 27, 2019