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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Will of God

In general, the Bible refers to the will of God in three different senses. In some passages, "the will of God" is another way of saying "the law of God". The apostle Paul considers knowing God's law to be equal with knowing God's will. Since God's law instructs us in how we should live, the law may rightly be called "the will of God." "Law" basically means "instruction" and includes the entire writing Word of God. Therefore, God's will refers to His plans and purposes for us and the world.

"The will of God" is also used for anything that is expressed as God's desire. This is what we call God's "perfect will" because it is what God ideally wants for us - His best and highest purpose.

The "will of God" may refer to what God permits or allows to happen, even though He does not specifically cause or even desire it to happen. This could be referred to as God's "permissive will." In reality, much that happens in the world is contrary to God's perfect will. For example, God is opposed to sinful rebellion, lust, violence, hatred and resistance against Him, yet He permits evil to continue for the present time. God does no force anyone to believe in Him or to accept His Son, Jesus. It is our choice whether or not we entrust our lives to Jesus. We are free to refuse a personal relationship with Him and remain spiritually lost and condemned for eternity. Another example is how God allows many troubles and evils to affect our lives in this present world, which continues to suffer from from the results of humankind's rebellion against God. These things are not necessarily His desire or highest purpose.

Responding to the will of God: The Bible's teaching about God's will is more than doctrine or spiritual principles. His will relates to our lives in a practical way in everyday living. First, we must learn what God's perfect will is, which means we must study His Word so that we know what is revealed to us in the Bible (including His law). Because we live in evil times, we must understand "what the Lord's will is (Eph. 5:17). Nothing He ham planned for us will contradict what He has already revealed in His Word.

Once we know what God has already shown us in His Word about how He wants us to live, we must set our hearts and minds to following His ill and purpose for our lives. The psalm writer, for example, asked God to teach him "to do your will" (Psalm 143:10). Then he restates this same thought in different words. He prays, "lead me on level ground," which means that  he wants God's help to do what is right. Paul prayed that Christians would be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in order that they "may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way" (Col. 1:9-10).

Christ calls His followers to pray for God's will to be done. That means we must deeply desire for God's perfect plans to be accomplished in our lives, in our families and in the world. We show that desire by actually doing what we know God wants us to do. If this is our prayer and commitment, then we can be sure that both our present and our future are in God's protective care. However, if we hold on to any sin or rebellion in our lives, then we must realize that God will not answer our prayers. We cannot expect God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven unless we are attempting to do His will in our own lives.

Finally, we must not use God's will as an excuse for our lack of interest or for not taking our responsibility seriously in fighting the battle against sin. That is to say, we must not live with the attitude that things are simply the way God intends and there is nothing we can do about it. Our battle against sin, evil, spiritual laziness and compromise must be constant. It is satan, not God, who is responsible for the cruelty and injustice that currently exists in the world; and it is satan who causes much of the pain and suffering people experience. Just as Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, so it clearly is God's will for His followers to wage war against evil. We do this in part by spreading His message in the power of the Holy Spirit and by standing our ground against the forces of evil in the spirit realm.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Effective Praying

On the most basic level, prayer simply refers to people's communication or conversation with God.

The Bible tells us clearly why people should pray. First of all, God commands His followers to pray. God desires our companionship and wants to spend personal time with us. Prayer is the means by which we develop a deeper relationship with God.

Prayer is the necessary connection tat helps us get to know and understand God's plans for our lives, to receive God's blessings and to experience His fulfilled promises. It connects us to God's power and purposes.

Requirements of effective praying: Although prayer is not a particular formula of things to say or do, there are still several conditions that must be met for our prayers to be effective. We must have true and sincere faith that God hears our prayers, that He has the ability to accomplish what is needed and that He will do what He knows is best in the situation.

Prayer also should be made in Jesus' name. This does not mean that we must add "in Jesus' name" to the end of our prayers in order for God to hear us. In the Bible, doing something in someone's name means doing it with their approval and in their authority. It means being aware of who that person is and all they represent. Therefore, as we pray we must do so with an awareness of Jesus' power, compassion and desire to respond to our needs and requests. Praying with this in mind will build our faith and give us peace that He has all things under control. If our prayers are made in harmony with Jesus' character and intentions they can be extremely effective.

The effect of prayer is greatest when we ask those things that re in harmony with God's persect will. Jesus teaches this principle in His model prayer - the Lord's Prayer. Much of the time we know God's will because He has revealed it to us in the Bible. We can be sure that any prayer truly based on the promises and motives of God's Word will be effective. God's will becomes clear only as we seriously seek to understand what His will is. This knowledge comes through prayer, reading the Bible and observing what God seems to be doing already. Then once we feel that we know God's will for a certain issue or situation, we can pray with confidence and faith that God will answer.

Finally, for our prayers to be effective we must be persistent. We must continue to ask until we get our answers. Praying persistently means that instead of worrying about a situation, we take it to God whenever it comes to mind, realizing that He is in control and will do what is best.

Methods of Effective Praying: We must genuinely praise and adore God - not just in words or songs, but from our heart. We also show our thanksgiving and gratitude for who He is and all that He has provided. We should sincerely confess any sin in our lives. God instructs us not to hesitate to ask for what we need. And we must pray with passion for others.

We are to pray with sincerity of our hearts. He does not respond to empty words. We can pray silently or we can pray aloud.

The Bible speaks of people praying in many different positions, including standing, sitting, kneeling, lying on a bed, bowing down to the ground, lying on the ground. We can pray any time, anywhere and in any position

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Nature of Idolatry

Idolatry refers to worshiping idols, images or other "God" substitutes. It is a sin - a severe offense against God - that happened again and again throughout the history of God's people.

Basic Character of Idolatry: We cannot fully understand the appeal of idolatry unless we understand its true nature. The Bible makes it plain that an idol, in and of itself, is nothing (Jeremiah 2:11; 16:20). It has no power of its own. However, behind all idols of false gods are demons. Both Moses and the psalm writers declare that false gods are demons.

God's Response to Idolatry: God will not tolerate any form of idolatry. He frequently warned against it in the Old Testament. In the Ten Commandments, the first two take a direct stand against worshiping anyone or anything other than the Lord God of Israel. Linked with the command not to serve other gods was a command to destroy all the idols and to break down the images of the pagan nations in the land of Canaan.

The New Testament also warns Christ's followers against idolatry. Idolatry can be seen in various forms today. It is clearly evident in the false religions of the world, as well as in sorcery, satanism and other forms of the occult. It is also present when men and women give themselves over to greed and materialism rather than trusting in God alone. In fact, idolatry is an issue whenever anything in a person's life takes priority over God.

Finally, idolatry occurs within the church when people believe they can serve God and experience His salvation and blessings and at the same time participate in the immoral and wicked practices of the world. As a result, the New Testament warns us not to be covetous, greedy or immoral (Col. 3:5), but rather to flee from all forms of idolatry. God makes it very clear tht those who engage in any form of idolatry will have no part in His kingdom (1 Co. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:20-21; Rev. 22:15).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Providence of God

After the Lord God created the heavens and the earth, He did not abandon or take away His care from His creation, allowing it to survive on its own. He continues to be involved in people's lives and in caring for His creation. He did not simply design the world, do what was necessary to get it to start working, and is now letting it slowly run down like a clock until it stops working. Instead, He is the loving Father who cares for what He has created. God's continual care for His creation and His people is called His "providence". Some of the most important things that this term implies is God's provision, oversight and personal involvement. But a most important part of God's providential care is intervention into the history of humankind to change or influence the course of events.

What is Providence?

There are at least three aspects to God's providence. 1. Preservation: By His power God preserves, or maintains, the world He has created (Psalm 36:6). God's preserving power is accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ, who "is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Col. 1:17). Christ's power holds together even the very smallest particles of life. 2. Provision: Not only does God preserve the world that He created, but He also provide for the needs of the creatures upon the world. When God created the world, He created the seasons and gave food for humans and animals. After the flood had destroyed the earth, God renewed His promise to provide with these words, "as long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Gen. 8:22). God's care for humankind covers not only their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs. The Bible reveals that God shows a special love and care for His own people - those who choose to follow Him. God values each of us individually. 3. Government: In addition to preserving and providing for His creation, God also rules the world. Since God is sovereign, the events of history happen only as He allows. At times, He directly intervenes to accomplish His purposes and to reveal Himself to people. But until God finishes and fulfills history, He has limited His own supreme power and rule in this world. Scripture states that satan is "the god of this age" (2 Co. 4:4) and exercises considerable control while evil is still rampant in the world. This is, the world is currently in rebellion against God and, as a result, it has become a slave to satan (Rom. 6:16). But keep in mind that this limitation that God has put upon Himself is only temporary. He has already determined the time when He will destroy satan and all the forces of evil (Rev. 19:20).

Why is there suffering?: The Bible reveals that God's providence is not simply an abstract concept but one that affects our everyday lives in a sinful world that has defied God and gone its own way. Everyone experiences suffering at time and asks, "Why?" Such experiences raise questions about the reality of evil and its effect on God's plan.

God allows humans to experience the consequences of the sin that entered the world at Adam's and Eve's fall. Not only do we suffer because of our sins but as the result of other's sins. God wants us always to remember that consequences are the certain results that come because of the sinful choices humanity makes.

Suffering in the world occurs because satan is permitted to do his work by blinding people's minds, deceiving them and controlling their lives.  The fact that God allows suffering does not mean that He causes the evil that happens to us or that He is personally and directly responsible for all of life's tragedies. God never acts to bring about or cause evil or ungodliness to happen. But He sometimes permits it, directs it and overrules it in order to carry out His plans, test people's loyalty to Him and bring people to a point of recognizing or turning to Him. Whatever happens, God will still work everything out for the good of those who are faithful to Him.

How does God's providence affect us? To some extent, God's general providence and care over creation affect both the righteous and the unrighteous. However, in order for us to experience God's special care and direction in our lives, the Bible reveals that we have certain responsibilities. God's specific providence extends to those who obey God and fulfill His desires and purposes. Those who honor God and trust Him to direct their lives completely have the promise that God will guide them in the right way. Those who follow God must stay aware of how He wants to use and direct them as they reach out to others with His life-giving message.

God works in all things for the good of those who love, trust, and submit to Him by faith in Christ. God responds to and cares for us. Our sincere prayers and persistent faith keep looking to God, who will bring us constant help. Through prayer and dependence on God, we experience His peace, we gain strength and we receive His mercy, grace and help in times of need. We can pray in faith for ourselves and for others.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Should We Fear God?

We should fear God because of His matchless power as the Creator and sustainer of all things and all people. When we truly realize God's holiness, the normal response is to fear Him. Anyone who sees or experiences a manifestation of God's glory cannot help but become awed and afraid. The continual blessings we receive from God, especially for forgiveness of our sins, should lead us to fear and to love Him. It is a sobering and absolute truth that God is constantly aware of our actions and motives and that we will be accountable for those actions and motives.

How will Fearing God Affect our Lives?

The fear of the Lord is far more than a Biblical teaching. It is relevant to our daily lives in many ways. If we truly fear the Lord, we will obey His commands, live according to His Word and say "No" to sin.

The fear of the Lord has a sanctifying effect on God's people. It compels us to hate sin and avoid evil. The fear of the Lord has a spiritually cleansing, purifying and restoring effect that can last forever.

The holy and reverent fear of the Lord motivates God's people to worship Him with their whole being. People who fear the Lord will praise and honor Him as Lord of all. Worship Him who made the heavens, and earth, the sea and the springs of water" (Rev. 14:6-7).

God has promised to reward all those who fear Him. Humility and the "fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life" (Proverbs 22:4).

The broad command to "fear the Lord" involves understanding several things about a believers' relationship with God. First of all, we must recognize that God is loving, merciful and forgiving; but He also is holy, just and righteous. Knowing God and understanding His character means accepting the fact that His justice and holiness cause Him to judge sin.

Fearing the Lord means to be in awe of His holiness, to give Him complete reverence and to honor Him as the God of great glory, majesty, purity and power. "Let all the earth fear the Lord;" let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm" (Psalm 33:8-9).

True fear of the Lord causes believers to place their faith and trust in Him alone for salvation. The psalm writer encourages all who fear the Lord to "trust in the Lord - He is their help and shield" (Psalm 115:11). In other words, fearing God produces confidence, hope and trust in Him, which are necessary when we are looking to God for mercy, forgiveness and spiritual salvation. To fear God involves recognizing that He is angry about sin and has the power to punish those who stand arrogantly against Him and break His laws.

Promised rewards to "fear the Lord" include security and protection, provisions for daily needs, and a long life. Those who live in reverent awe of God know that "it will go better with God-fearing men" regardless of what happens in the world around them (Ecc. 8:12-13).

Finally, fearing God brings a humble confidence and overwhelming spiritual comfort. The New Testament directly links the fear of the Lord with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31). Those who fear God and obey His Word will experience a deep sense of spiritual security and  anointing of the Holy Spirit to confirm and lead their confidence and security.

Testing for Genuine Baptism in the Holy Spirit

A genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit will inspire us to love, honor and worship God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ more than before. It is the Holy Spirit who causes love for God to grow in our hearts. But any spiritual experience that draws our attention, prayers, worship or affections toward anything or anyone other than God and the Lord Jesus is not from God.

A genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit will make us more attentive to our relationship with the Heavenly Father, assuring us that He loves and cares for us and His children. It will also lead to a greater awareness of Christ's presence in our daily lives. But any experience that does not result in a deeper friendship with Christ and a deeper awareness of God's care and companionship is not from God.

A genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit will cause a greater love for and appreciation of God's Word. He will deepen our love for and devotion to the truth of God's Word. But any spiritual experience that does not increase our hunger and thirst to read and obey God's Word is not from God.

A genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit must be preceded by true repentance and by faithful obedience to Christ.

A genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit will increase our dissatisfaction with any activities that offend God and defy His spiritually pure nature. It will also turn us from the selfish pursuit of earthly pleasures and reputation.

A genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit will give us a greater desire and power to spread the message about God's forgiveness, spiritual salvation and the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

A genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit will cause us to be more open and receptive to the Spirit's work and purposes within our individual lives.

A genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit will cause us to be more conscious of the work, guidance and presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. After being baptized in the Holy Spirit, New Testament followers of Christ were continually conscious of the Spirit's presence, power and guidance. Anything that does not reinforce our goal to please God, to accomplish His purposes for our lives and to live in such a way that we promote His work in respect is not from God.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Assurance of Salvation

Question: Is it right for a person to say that he is saved? In other words, may I know that I am saved, and if so, on what authority?

Answer: If you really are saved, you may know it on the authority of God's Word. God says in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son HAS everlasting life". You know whether you believe in the Son or not. If you do believe in the Son, you know you have everlasting life because God says so here in so many words.

This is also emphasized in 1 John 5:11-12: "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." When one who believes in the Son doubts that he has life, he makes God a liar. This is indicated in the preceding verse, where we read: "He who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son".

Furthermore, anyone who has received Jesus as his Savior and Lord and King may know that he is a child of God. God says so in so many words in John 1:12: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God." If you have received Jesus, you have a right to call yourself a child of God. You have no right to doubt that you are a child of God.

Again, everyone who believes in Jesus has a right to know that he is justified, that his sins are all forgiven, and that God regards him as righteous in Christ. He has a right to know it on the very best authority, namely, because God says so. We read in Acts 13:38-39: "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things." Notice that it says, "Everyone who believes is justified." You know whether you believe or not. If you do believe in Jesus, God says you are justified. Many people doubt their salvation because they rely on their feelings instead of looking at the Word of God. It is not at all a question of whether you feel that you are a child of God; it is simply a question of what God says. If you rely on your feelings instead of the Word of God, you make God a liar for the sake of your own feelings.

God caused the book of 1 John to be written for the very purpose that everyone who believes in the Son of God might know that he has eternal life: "These things (are) written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). If God caused a book of the Bible to be written so that we might know this, then certainly we may know it. The above verse teaches us that the way to know it is from what is "written". The first thing to be sure of is that you really do believe in Jesus - that you really have received Him as your Savior, surrendered to Him as your Lord and Master, and confessed Him as such publicly. When you are sure of this, you may be absolutely sure that you are saved, that you have eternal life, that your sins are totally forgiven and that you are a child of God.

~R. A. Torrey~ - "The Bible Answer Book"

The Antichrist

Question: Who is the Antichrist, and when will he appear?

Answer: The Antichrist will be a person in whom satan's resistance to Christ and His kingdom will culminate. He will be a man, but a man whom satan will fill to such an extent that he will be satan incarnate. The devil always seeks to mimic God's work, and his mimicking of God's work will culminate in his mimicking of the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. The Antichrist's coming will be "according to the working of satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

The Antichrist will appear just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ, and our Lord will "consume him with the breath of His mouth and destroy him3with the brightness of His coming".

There are already many antichrists preparing the way for the final and consummate antichrist (1 John 2:18). Indeed, everyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist, but there seems to be a special preparation for the antichrist, in whom all the forces of evil will coalesce. These forces of evil will join and be headed by one man whom the devil will especially gift and in whom he will dwell, and that man will be the Antichrist.

~R. A, Torrey~

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Christ in the Old Testament

John 1:44-51  Suggested further reading: Luke 24:25-27; 44:48

How much of Christ there is in the Old Testament Scriptures! We read that when Philip described Christ to Nathaniel, he said, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write."

Christ is the sum and substance of the Old Testament. To Him the earliest promises pointed in the days of Adam and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. To Him every sacrifice pointed in the ceremonial worship appointed at Mount Sinai. Of Him every high priest was a type and every part of the tabernacle was a shadow and every judge and deliverer of Israel was a figure. He was the Prophet like unto Moses, whom the Lord God promised to send, and the King of the house of David, who came to be David's Lord as well as Son. He was the Son of the virgin and the Lamb foretold by Isaiah, the righteous Branch mentioned by Jeremiah, the true Shepherd foreseen by Ezekiel, the Messenger of the covenant promised by Malachi and the Messiah who, according to Daniel, was to be cut off, though not for himself. The further we read in the volume of the Old Testament, the clearer do we find the testimony about Christ. The light which the inspired writers enjoyed in ancient days was, at best, but dim, compared to that of the gospel. But the coming person they ll saw afar off, and on whom they all fixed their eyes, was one and the same. The Holy Spirit, which was in them, testified of Christ (1 Peter 1:11).

Do we stumble at this saying? Do we find it hard to see Christ in the Old Testament, because we do not see His name? Let us pray for a more humble, childlike and teachable spirit. May we never rest till we can subscribe to our Lord's words about the Old Testament Scriptures: "They are they which testify of Me"  (John 5:39).

For meditation: In the earliest days of the church the Christians only had the Old Testament to prove that Jesus is the Christ. How would you have managed?

~J. C. Ryle~ - "Daily Readings from all Four Gospels"

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Desperate Wickedness of the Human Heart

Matthew 12:14-21  And suggested further reading: John 7:1-9

The desperate wickedness of the human heart is exemplified in the Pharisees, who, silenced and defeated by our Lord's arguments, plunged deeper and deeper into sin. What evil had our Lord done that He should be so treated? None, none at all. No charge could be brought against His life: He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. His days were spent in doing good. No charge could be brought against His teaching: He had proved it to be agreeable to Scripture and reason, and no reply had been made to His proofs. But it mattered little how perfectly He lived or taught. He was hated.

This is human nature appearing in its true colors. The unconverted heart hates God and will show its hatred whenever it dares and has a favorable opportunity. It will persecute God's witnesses. It will dislike all who have anything of God's mind and are renewed after His image. Why were so many of the prophets killed? Why were the names of the apostles cast out as evil by the Jews? Why were martyrs slain? Why were so many Reformers burned? Not for any sins they had committed. They all suffered because they were godly men. And human nature, unconverted, hates godly men because it hates God.

It must never surprise true Christians if they meet with the same treatment that the Lord Jesus met with (1 John 3:13). It is not the utmost consistency, or the closest walk with God, that will exempt them from the enmity of the natural man. They need not torture their consciences by fancying that if they were only more faultless and consistent everybody would surely love them. It is all a mistake. They should remember that there was never but one perfect man on earth, an that He was not loved but hated. It is not the sins of the believer that the world dislikes but his goodness. it is not the remains of the old nature that call forth the world's enmity, but the exhibition of the new. Let us remember these things and be patient. The world hated Christ and the world will hate Christians.

For meditation: Light let in under a lifted stone sends creatures scurrying back to the dark. So it is with sinners in the presence of holiness (John 3:19-20)

~J. C. Ryle~ - "Daily Readings from all Four Gospels"

The Mind of a Child

Matthew 18:1-4

There are many lovely characteristics in children - the power to wonder, before they have become deadeningly used to the wonder of the world; the power to forgive and to forget, even when adults and parents treat them unjustly as they so often do. No doubt Jesus was thinking of these things; but, wonder as they are, they are not the main things in His mind. Children have three great qualities which make them the symbol of those who are citizens of God's kingdom.

1. First and foremost, there is the quality which is the keynote of the whole passage - the child's humility. Children do not wish to push themselves forward; rather, they wish to fade into the background. They do not wish for prominence; they would rather be left in obscurity. it is only as they grow up, and begin to be initiated into a competitive world, with its fierce struggle and scramble for prizes and for first places, that this instinctive humility is left behind.

2. There is the child's dependence. To children, a state of dependence is perfectly natural. They never think that they can face life by themselves. They are perfectly content to be utterly dependent on those who love them and care for them. If men and women would accept the fact of their dependence on God, a new strength and a new peace would enter their lives.

3. There is the child's trust. Children are instinctively dependent, and just as instinctively they trust their parents that their needs will be met. When we are children, we cannot buy our own food or our own clothes, or maintain our own home; yet we never doubt that we will be clothed and fed, and that there will be shelter and warmth and comfort waiting for us when we come home. When we are children, we set out on a journey with no means of paying the fare, and with no idea of how to get to our journeys' end, and yet it never enters our heads to doubt that our parents will bring us safely there.

The child's humility is the pattern of the behavior of Christians to their neighbors, and the child's dependence and trust are the pattern of the Christian attitude towards God, the Father of all.

~William Barclay~ "Daily Devotions"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Do Not Mistake the True Meaning of the Cross

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Galatians 6:14)

All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles.

It is like the old Cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial, the difference fundamental!

From this new Cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life with encouragement for a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist tries to show that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. The modern view is that the new cross does not slay the sinner, it 'redirects him!"

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere, but it is as false as it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the Cross.

The old Cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. In Roman times, the man who took up his cross and started down the road was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected: he was going out to have it ended! The Cross did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more!

The race of Adam is under death sentence. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the Cross. Thus God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life!

~A. W. Tozer~

God Is Always First - and Will Surely Be Last

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, with the Lord." (Revelation 1:8)

God is always first, and God will surely be last!

In the plan of God, man is never permitted to utter the first word nor the last. That is the prerogative of the Deity, and one which He will never surrender to His creatures.

Man has no say about the time or the place of his birth; God determines that without consulting the man himself. One day the little man finds himself in consciousness and accepts the fact that he is. There his volitional life begins.

Before that he had nothing to say about anything.

After that he struts and boasts, and encouraged by the sound of his own vice he may declare his independence of God.

Have your fun, little man; you are only chattering in the interim between first and last. You had no voice at the first and you will have none at the last!

God reserves the right to take up at the last where He began at the first, and you are in the hands of God whether you will or not.

Adam became a living soul but that becoming was not of his own volition. It was God who willed it and who executed His will in making Adam a living soul. God was there first!

And when Adam sinned and wrecked his whole life, God was there still. Adam's whole future peace lay in this - that God was still there after he had sinned.

It would be great wisdom for us to begin to live in the light of this wonderful and terrible truth: God is the first and the last!

~A. W. Tozer - "Renewed Day by Day"