No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you. Franklin Graham
It is when I am in the beauty of His creation that the weight of the world disintegrates to be replaced with Gods amazing peace and love. Joseph- Anthony: Green
You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in you. Augustine
The apostle Paul prayed to God for the salvation of those who “have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3).
The apostle Paul was making his plea to his own people who in their religious zeal had rejected God’s provision of His own perfect righteousness for their own self-righteousness. They were intensely religious in their own eyes, but not with the true knowledge of God. They were running well but in the wrong direction. They labored to do good deeds, but for the wrong goal. They were religious, sincere, dedicated, but in their anxiety, they would miss their eternal reward.
“They have a zeal for God.” I meet people like that every day. In their religious zeal, they knock on your door, too. Like the apostle Paul, I am not against religious zeal or enthusiasm. However, they are zealous in their religious ceremonies, prayers, observances, holy days, fasts, visitation, teaching, etc., “but not in accordance with knowledge.” There is no use being zealous if you are zealous for the wrong reason. It will not help you if you are going in the wrong direction spiritually.
The apostle Paul was writing from his own personal experience. He had been very zealous for the Law, and in that enthusiasm, he killed men and women who had a different “knowledge” than his. He had a mistaken zeal for God. He believed sincerely, but he was sincerely wrong. He had been zealous, but his zeal was focused on the wrong object.
Then there came a day when he gained true knowledge of the righteousness of God, and he counted all his self-righteousness as dung and received salvation by free grace alone.
Paul’s zeal became refocused “with knowledge” when he met the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus. Knowledge of what? Before the encounter with Christ he did not know about God’s righteousness and sought to establish his own. In Philippians 3:4-6 he tells about that self-righteousness. He said, “I still count all things to be lost in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. . . that I may gain Christ” (v. 8). He gave up his zeal for self-righteousness by good works “that I may know Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (v. 9).
That is Paul’s “knowledge.” “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4).
Spurgeon once said, “It is easier to get a sinner out of sin than a self-righteous man out of his self-righteousness.”
Have you tried to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone who thinks he can earn or merit a right relationship with God by his religious zeal?
What is the problem? In their zeal they “know nothing about God’s righteousness, and seek to establish their own, they do not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (v. 3).
Any form of self-righteousness will never save you. In contrast, the Lord God has provided His own perfect righteousness by which He justifies the ungodly. Jesus Christ was obedient to the Law at every point, even to the point of death. God in His righteousness imputes the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to the believing sinner. He imputes to the believer what Jesus did for you on the cross. God will accept the believing sinner because of what Jesus is and what He did. Jesus Christ shall be your righteousness.
If you say, “No, I will not have His righteousness; I will have a righteousness of my own,” you are ignorant of God’s righteousness, and you shall perish.
God would never have sent His Son to the cross if you could be saved by our religious zeal. The death of Jesus on the cross was needless if you could be saved otherwise (Acts 4:12). If you are trying to have a righteousness of your own by being zealous for God, your church or denomination, baptism, church membership, emotional experiences, etc. then you are in competition with Jesus Christ.
Your eternal salvation lies absolutely outside of yourself, in the person and atoning work of Jesus Christ. Salvation is not in what you do in your religious zeal, but in what Christ Jesus has done on your behalf.
If you try to add anything to that finished work by your own thought, feeling, good works, baptism, church membership, etc., you have spoiled the work of Christ on your behalf. It shall never be Christ plus your _________, regardless of what you may fill in the blank. If you are to be saved, you must get out of the way and let God alone do it. The spiritual birth is all God’s doing, not yours or mine. Sinners saved by grace through faith will glorify Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is all by free grace of God in Jesus Christ.
“Going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” The righteousness of God is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Sinners are saved by God’s grace. Salvation is through faith in Christ. It is based on grace, and free grace alone through faith alone which is in Jesus Christ alone! It is a gift from God freely received by the sinner.
SELAH! Pause – reflect- just think of that!
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Another word for hope is faith. Another word for faith is trust. There is no other I trust my life with but Jesus. Joseph- Anthony a son of Jehovah
“The heart is rich when it is content, and it is always content when its desires are fixed on God.” — Miguel Cordero-Munoz
The way people treat you is a reflection of themselves not of you. Joseph- Anthony: Green
There is nothing that will enrich our lives more than a deeper and clearer perception of God’s presence in the routine of daily living. William O. Paulsell
Have you ever temporarily lapsed into unbelief and sin after you became a Christian? The condition of backsliding results from spiritual apathy or disregard for the truth of God’s Word. It results in a departure from a winsome confession of faith and Biblical ethical standards. Actions are affected by our attitudes toward God and His Word.
Jesus said, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
Backsliding is different from apostasy, which spurns the grace of God by renouncing the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-31). When a person renounces his faith in Christ that person was never a true child of God, and never was among the elect of God (John 3:18-21, 36; 5:24-29).
On the other hand, the elect individual, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and redeemed by God has been delivered once-for-all from the bondage of sin. Backsliding is not a “fall from grace” in the sense that a Christian once saved by grace can lose his eternal life in Christ. He is God’s child forever, and He has placed His life in the believing sinner.
There were times when the disciples of Jesus withdrew from fellowship with the Lord (Matt. 26:56), Peter denied Christ (26:69-75), Corinthian believers lived in sin (2 Cor. 12:20-21), the Church in Asia became lukewarm (Rev. 2:4, 14-15, 20), etc.
The people of Israel serve as an example for Christians today. We are exhorted to persevere in righteousness and doing the will of God. Israel forsook her covenant with the LORD God (Jer. 2:19; 8:5; 14:7), and demonstrated her unfaithfulness by disobeying God.
In the New Testament backsliding is viewed as an individual problem, although it is possible for churches to become backslidden, too.
Why do Christians become backslidden? We all still possess the old nature that is “corrupt through deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22; Rom. 7:13-24; 1 Cor. 3:1-3). Lack of continuous fellowship by “abiding” in Christ results in a lack of spiritual vitality and ineffective Christian service (Jn. 15:4-8). There is no other way to live the Christian life except by maintaining an intimate fellowship with our Lord. If we do not maintain that vital contact with Him we cannot sustain spiritual growth and effectively minister in His name.
Unbelief (Heb. 3:12), bitterness (12:15), love for the world (2 Tim. 4:10), love for money (1 Tim. 6:10), adherence to worldly philosophy (Col. 2:8), legalism (Gal. 3:1; 1:6; 5:7), indifference and spiritual coldness (Rev. 2:4; 3:16) are other causes for backsliding.
How can we prevent backsliding in our spiritual life? It is essential that we “abide” in Christ (Jn. 15:4-7), remain spiritually alert (Eph. 6:18), put on the full armor of God (v. 10), be prayerful (1 Thess. 5:17), etc. Seek to love the Lord God with all your mind, heart and personal being every day.
We can thank God that He patiently perseveres with His saints. Just as we are to persevere in doing His will, we can be thankful that He has made a wonderful covenant with us in the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. The grace of perseverance is one of the great benefits of the atoning death of Jesus Christ for our sins. The solution for backsliding is found in the abiding love and mercy of our God of grace who remains faithful to His promises.
Backsliding is serious business. Martin Luther well said, “The offenses given within the church are greater than those given among the heathen because when Christians degenerate, they are more godless than the heathen.”
We have a choice. We can progress or regress in our Christian life. We have a great responsibility in how we choose to live the Christian life. God is able to strengthen and progressively sanctify the Christian if we cooperate with Him (Heb. 3:12; Phil. 3:10-16).
The promise to every backsliding Christian is to, “Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:7). Acknowledge your sin, turn from it, trust in the Lord for forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your mind, heart and daily life. Jesus says, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5).
It is reassuring that the Bible clearly teaches that the truly spiritual regenerate can never be lost. We are his forever children. Once his child by the new birth, always his child. However we can lose our fellowship with God and our effectiveness in Christian service. The God of all grace has provided a bar of soap; let’s use it often (1 John 1:6-10; 2:2).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006 Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author’s written consent.
SELAH! Pause – reflect- just think of that!
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Psalms 25:16 New International Version
He is the best comforter.
Have you ever heard of the old saying: You can be in a crowd of people and feel like the only person in the world: “You can be alone and be the most contented person in the world.”
We all go though the times when we feel lonely and we go through times of trouble where it seems as if no one cares.
This is the best time to take it to God and talk with Him as if He is your best friend, because He is.
Whenever I feel lonely or like no one cares I pour my heart out to God and a feeling of peace and love comes over me.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus Immanuel (God amongst us) for always being there whenever we need you. I give thanks in Your loving name. Amen.
May the sweet sunshine of Jesus’ precious love bless you today and every day.