Belief and Trembling?

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. (James 2:19) What makes us any different than the demons? As a matter of fact…even the demons who are destined to be tortured in Hell know enough to shudder at the belief in the Most High God. So, how do we know that our belief is a belief that leads to salvation? How are we different than the demons? How can we be saved from being burned in the fire of Hell? The “church” today paints a “wide gate” picture of salvation…that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will be saved. They believe that no matter what people do, if they believe in Jesus, they will go to Heaven…They pervert the Scripture of Romans  10:10, “For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Don’t the demons meet those requirements as well? We know from James 2:19 they believe. Don’t they confess that Jesus is Lord…Mark 5:7, “and shouting with a loud voice, he said , “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore you by God, do not torment me!” So if this is what we are basing our salvation on…that gives us faith that is equal to that of the demons…who are still going to Hell…….so what is the difference?

Jeremiah 6:16 says, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.'” Jesus Himself tells us what we must do to become his disciple, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Therefore, salt is good; but if salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:26-35) Our belief…our faith must move us to obedience and action. We must be willing to forsake all and count the cost to become true disciples of, not just travelers with our Lord and Savior. Godly faith requires action…Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being of itself. (James 2:17) Jesus died to give us a faith that works obedience in us (Romans 1:5). True faith begins and ends with obedience…obedience to God’s commands, carrying out God’s commands through His power, the way He tells us to do them. We must be willing to submit to God’s righteousness and forsake man’s “religious” ways. In Matthew 7:21-27, Jesus is speaking to believers when he says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness.’ Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” 

I know that I for one, do not want to be one whom the Son of the Most High God declares that He never knew me. I want to be “diligent to present myself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) I want to be “diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless”. (2 Peter 2:14) I want to “diligently keep the commandments of the Lord my God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded me.” (Deuteronomy 6:17). I want to “diligently take heed to myself to love the Lord my God.” (Joshua 23:11). My prayer for you is that you will find the saving kind of faith…greater than the faith of the demons…faith that changes you, faith that makes you obedient to God’s ways. Faith that doesn’t change you, doesn’t change your destination.

Camouflaged Christians

The Waterfall Frog (Litoria nannotis) of Austr...

Have you seen them? Shhh…..Look very carefully. They are there, very well-blended into their surroundings…into the world…so well camouflaged in fact that no one can tell the difference. They are the “Camouflaged Christians”. God’s Word gives several warnings against blending in with the world and taking on their practices. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” This verse sounds like the world, but how much of this do we see in the church today, among believers…among people that profess to know and love God? Proverbs 4:14 admonishes us, “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. James 4:4 should wake us all up to the fact that we shouldn’t be blended into the world…”Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’?” The world and God are on opposite ends of a continuum. Chances are, if the world is embracing something, it is not godly. We are called to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Peter 1:16). We, as believers in the Most High God, are not to allow so much of the world into us and our lives that we begin to look like, sound like, feel like the world. We are the salt and light…we are supposed to be different, peculiar, set apart. We are supposed to make the world want what we have…but how can we do that if we are no different than the world…what do we have left to offer? We are known by our fruits…

So, how do we live our lives and not blend in with the world? The short answer is read the bible and do what it says; fear God, love God, and obey His Law. Some specific verses that have spoken to me about not living in the way of the world are these:

Ephesians 5:8-18, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light, Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, says “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Knowing that this world is a temporary thing and that my citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), I keep my focus on what is before me. I strive to live this life as an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20)…I represent Him…therefore I cannot take on the values of the world…I can’t blend in. Faith that does not change you doesn’t change your destination. We need to stop immersing ourselves in what the world values and pursuing its worldly pleasures. We need to get down to business and start living our faith. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). We need to pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We need to find the small gate and the narrow way and walk it out (Matthew 7:14). We need to stand up and be the people God has called us to be…holy, set apart, abhorring evil and clinging to what is good…we need to uncamouflage ourselves from the world.

Complacency Comes Before Calamity

The turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. (Proverbs 1:32) Have you ever realized how easily one can slip into complacency? The spirit of complacency is sneaky. One minute you are on fire and zealous for Yahveh, and the next minute BAM! there you are sitting right in the middle of complacency. I mean after all, complacency can be a nice place to be…right? Complacency is a place where we make assumptions…we assume there are no consequences for sin, we assume that we don’t have to live zealously for Yahveh, we assume that we have all the time in the world to make the changes that Yahveh is calling us to make today. And…we all have excuses…busy schedules, jobs, school, and the list goes on.

Yahveh is calling us all to wake up from our slumber and live zealously for Him. Revelation 3:15-16 says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Zephaniah 1:12 says, “And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘the Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.'” It is time to stop wasting our days and hours living a complacent life. It is time to stop living and accepting the culture of mediocrity that is so prevalent today. It is time to wake up and live our lives with purpose, completely souled out for Yahveh. We need to live Romans 12: 9-13. “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”