Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Remarkable And Eternal Life

            A story is told of a man whose way of life was remarkable by human standard. He was honest and very dedicated in all his assigned task. Remarkable in the respect he earned from co-workers and acquaintances. Remarkable in his gentle, caring love for his wife and in his unwavering dedication to his family. All his children became professionals and were very successful in their chosen field of endeavor. When he died suddenly at a young age below 70 years, the Scriptural age for a normal man, no one had anything bad to say about him. Remarkable indeed!

As his friends and family sat in solemn silence at the man’s funeral, the invited pastor delivered the message to put the remarkable man’s life in perspective. Family members had extolled the man’s character and comforted themselves with the assurance that he was sure to be in heaven. Nevertheless, and to the surprise of everybody, the pastor said, “None of the good things that the man did while he was alive earned him one second in heaven”. The Pastor continued, “He is there because he accepted God’s salvation by grace through faith in Christ.” The Pastor quoted Ephesians 2:8-9 thus:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

It is indeed scripturally true. No matter how remarkable our lives or achievements are, we cannot earn heaven. We do not earn heaven by our good works or by our own efforts, but to be in heaven is ONLY “by grace through faith in Jesus Christ”. One who goes to heaven must have known, believed with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and has repented of his sins.

The story of one of the criminals believed to be a thief, who was crucified with Christ is one good example. He believed the deity of Jesus Christ as evidenced by his rebuking the other unbelieving criminal, and who, by his own words spoken while hanging in the cross, believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God or God himself in human form.

Thus, the Bible says, eternal life is a gift from God. Let us examine our life. As religious and well-loved as we may be, we won’t go to heaven unless we accept God’s gift of eternal life. We must believe, confess, repent and ask Jesus Christ to forgive our sins. That will make our life truly remarkable.

The ABCs of Salvation: Admit we are a sinner (Rom. 3:23). Believe in Christ who died for us (John 3:16). Confess Him as our only Savior and Lord (Rom. 10:9-10).

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Weekly Bulletin, January 26, 2013)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Is Jesus Christ God?

                 The varied answer to this question has caused the birth of various religious denominations in the world.

            Frankly, even I myself had been confused because established religious denominations and well-known religious personalities insist that Jesus Christ is only the Son of God, not God himself. Not knowing the totality of the Holy Scriptures then, it seemed to me that this is true, as many verses in the Bible support this doctrinal statement. To illustrate, we can read in Acts 2:38, that: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” x x x This has become the basis for some religious denominations to baptize in the name of Jesus only, or what is known as ONESESS. However, in another book of the Bible, it also says: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matt. 28:19 KJV), which is principally the basis of the doctrine of TRINITY. This is what it means to know the totality of the Scriptures, or seeing the bigger picture, so to speak.

Thus, the totality of the Scriptures (Old and New Testaments), indubitably proves that Jesus Christ is God himself in human form, because God (the Father) is a Spirit and, therefore, cannot be visible to the human eye. However, He chose to reveal himself to man in the person of Jesus Christ so man could see, touch and personally talk to Him when He was on earth ministering.

By God the Father’s infinite wisdom and by a unique and supernatural way (not the natural process), He caused a virgin (Mary) to bear a child (His Son), to be born in a manger (symbolizing humility) as a human being in the normal way; who grew from a baby into manhood, but who showed supernatural wisdom and power to perform miracles like resurrecting the dead; causing the blind to see; the lame to walk; commanding the wind to stop; feeding 5000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, etc. (so numerous to enumerate), which cannot be done by any human being, to set Him apart from the famous religious personalities that we know.

Because he was truly human, he became hungry, he ate, he became thirsty; he became tired; angered or provoked as well; he shedded blood when he was nailed to the cross of calvary; he suffered pain and agony as any human being would, as he was hanging on the cross, until he gave up the ghost. He was human so he died. If He remains a Spirit, He would not die or at least mankind would not see Him die. His crucifixion to take the place of sinner-believers is in itself another mysterious and miraculous event in Jesus’ life. The purpose, of course, is to atone or substitute for the sinner-believers (1 Cor. 15:3) because the Scriptures say that, “For all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) and the “wages or penalty for sinners is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through faith (or believing in the heart) in Jesus Christ” that He is what he claimed to be, not otherwise, or because we are good or have done good (Rom. 6:23). For if the standard for salvation were for being good, no one will be saved because it is written in the Scriptures: “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no not one” (Psalm 14:3 KJV).

Then, as Jesus personally said repeatedly to his disciples, he indeed rose on the third day with a glorified body (which will live eternally forever and ever without end) and the Bible says, “he is in the right hand of God” (Psalm 110:1; Eph. 1:20); “Now, he sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, at God’s righthand” (Acts 2:33 NLT) interceding for all those who believe and accept him as their Lord and Saviour and who confess and repent of their sins (Rom. 8:34 KJV). Thus, the Bible says: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5 KJV).

This special miraculous resurrection on the third day after his death never happened to any man, or any acclaimed religious leader or founder of any religious denomination, and there is nothing said in the canonized Bible that one will duplicate this manner of resurrection. Yes, there will be resurrection of the dead, but it will be on the end time, not on the third day after death (John 5:29; 1 Thess. 4:15-17). These are indubitable and irrefragable proofs that Jesus Christ is a unique being who was 100% both human and divine. In fact, the Bible which ought to be believed in its entirety by a true believer and follower of God/Christ, emphatically and clearly says through the writing of John, the beloved Apostle of Jesus Christ:

In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make (John 1:1-3 NLT). x x x So the Word became human and lived here in earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness [Greek, grace and truth; also read John 1:17]. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father” (vs. 14). No one has ever seen God. But his only Son, who is himself God x x x” (vs. 18 NLT)

There are several existing versions of the Christian Bible today. However, the King James version was translated out of the original tongues; and with the former translations diligently compared and revised upon his majesty’s (King James of England) command, and appointed to be read in churches. For this reason, it is generally accepted by acknowledged theologians that the King James version (KJV) is a translation or version nearest to the original manuscripts (Hebrew for the Old Testament) and Greek (for the New Testament). Here is the King James version on the same aforequoted NLT version/translation:

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.”

The above word for word quotation from the New Life Translation Bible (NLT) [the modern English understood by the English speaking world] and in the King James version appear in the canonized Bible. Canonized means it passed UNANIMOUSLY the standard of the test conducted by the canonizing FATHERS representing the Christian Community on what writings or books are to be included as Holy Scriptures (or Bible). If we believe the Bible is true 100% in all its aspects and contents, then Jesus Christ is truly God and also truly human (100% God and divine and 100% human). Thus, nobody in this world or heaven or anywhere beyond is like Him.

Obviously and without any iota of doubt, the WORD, his only SON, “So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us” (NLT) and “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (KJV) refer to none other but the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, the Apostle John wrote:

1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit (or teaching, or doctrine), but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the anti-christ, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3 NIV)

Jesus Christ is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4); the image of the invisible God; the first born of every creature (Col. 1:15). First born here means before anyone person existed, He already was, NOT a first child. Thus, when the Jews said to Jesus: “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” Jesus answered: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am (John 8:57-58 KJV). Meaning, Jesus claimed that he existed before Abraham was born. Tracing backward long before Jesus was born as human being, when God commissioned Moses to LIBERATE the Israelites from their bondage by the Egyptian government, Moses asked God:

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.

15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

(Exo. 3:13-15 Emphasis supplied)

God is Omnipresent. God existed in the unknown past, he is presently existing and he continues to exist in the future forever and ever.

Definitely, therefore, Jesus Christ is God (in person or human form). Let us all worship and serve Him in ways we can and are capable, for he is truly God and Supreme above all.

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, January 19, 2013)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Who Are We In God's Kingdom?

           The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 3:26 that: “For ye are all children (or sons) of God through faith in Christ Jesus”. He means, we are adopted sons (or children) of God, as there is only one natural begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Under Philippine civil law, a legally adopted child acquires the same rights and privileges of a natural born child. Stated differently, both natural born and adopted child have the same rights and privileges. There is no difference at all in their rights and privileges, especially on their inheritance rights. The same is true to our spiritual law in God’s kingdom.

Thus, the Bible tells us, we are Joint-heirs with Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God (Romans 8:17). Meaning, whatever rights and privileges enjoyed by Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, we also enjoy, like the gift of eternal life, except that we do not sit at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33 and Psalm 110:1), and we do not reign as King of kings (Rev. 17:14), and neither are we called LORD of lords. (Rev. 19:16) but as “the called, and chosen, and faithful ones” (Rev. 17:14).

Let us review who God says we are: The Bible tells us that because of our relationship to Christ (assuming that we are true believers of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and have confessed and repented of our sins and received Him as such in our heart), we are forgiven (Acts 10:43); reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18-19); new creations [born again] in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17); spiritual children of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17); God’s adopted [sons] children (Gal. 4:4-7), and God’s witnesses (Mt. 28:19-20); and ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). We are predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29), and “when he shall appear (referring to Jesus’ Second Coming), we shall be like him” [meaning, our corruptible body will put on incorruption, and becomes immortal] (1 Cor. 15:53), for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 KJV). Most wonderful of all, like Jesus Christ, God the Father’s only begotten Son, though we shall die physically one day, we shall resurrect and will live eternally and reign with him forever (Rev. 22:5).

Blessed are those who BELIEVE in their heart and have repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their LORD and only Savior for they become children (Sons) of God (John 1:12) and like Jesus Christ, the LAMB of God, theirs is the kingdom of heaven “and they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

Such mysterious and wonderful truths as narrated above, should leave no doubt about who we really are because of the love of God, if we BELIEVE in Him and in Jesus Christ as His only begotten Son. Who are we in the kingdom of God? If we are a born again believer, we are the adopted son/daughter of God, even now.

(FGBMFI Davao City Weekly Bulletin, January 12, 2013)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Faith And Riches

Who wants to be rich? Everybody. Yes, without any exception. What kind of riches should we look for?

This is the good news! If riches is what we want, the good news is that God’s Word does promise riches to the believer. The “bad” news is that these riches promised to the believer is not cold cash or property, but rather spiritual for the most part.

The other good news is that we do not need money or anything else except faith to attain these riches promised by God. Rich and poor, young and old, man or woman, educated or not, or whoever we are, are in equal footing in attaining these riches.

Here are some examples of riches that can be ours as genuine or true believers in Jesus Christ:

(1) Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8).

(2) Christ, “the hope of glory,” living in us (Colossians 1:27).

(3) “Redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,” according to the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7).

(4) The comfort of the love and understanding of God the Father and the Son, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

(5) The riches of his glory, to be strengthened with by his Spirit in our inner being (Ephesians 3:16).

(6) The “riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33).

(7) Having all our needs met by God [including material and physical needs] (Philippians 4:19).

Indeed, God’s Word promises us great riches and treasures that cannot be bought with any amount of money, or attained because of our stature in society. These riches we must seek, enjoy, and use to serve God and our fellowmen to glorify their source – our heavenly Father, through His only begotten Son. But we must be BELIEVERS of God the Father and His only begotten Son and the Holy Spirit. And that belief or trust in Him (the triune God) is evidenced by our character reflected in our thoughts, words and deeds.

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, January 5, 2013)