“Until we come to that point of understanding what wretches we are; we will never understand the amazing grace of God. It takes a wretch like me to experience the amazing grace of God.” (A.W. Tozer)
Grace. We talk about it, we sing about it, pastors preach about it, writers write about it, but do we really understand it? Do we truly appreciate how amazing God’s gift of grace really is? “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” (Ephesians 2:8) There is no more valuable nor miraculous gift we will ever receive than the gift of God’s grace and, as Tozer noted, to fully appreciate it we must recognize why we need it.
Paul wrote in Romans 7:24, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” The word translated in the NLT as “miserable” is the Greek word “talaiporos” which means enduring trials, afflicted, wretched. When we grasp the definition of the word in the original Greek it helps us understand the terrible condition Paul was writing about; and it makes clear his words that follow: “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Ephesians 7:25a)
The other thing we should understand, to fully grasp God’s gift of grace, is the holiness of God. The believer understands his or her own wretchedness in direct proportion to how clearly he or she understands the holiness of God. “No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2) “Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)
Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This is an impossible standard, one we can never attain, but God is holy and can set no lower standard, because he is perfect. So it is the marvelous wonder of the Gospel that Jesus met this standard for us! And that was what Paul was pointing to when he exclaimed, “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Chris our Lord.”
Paul teaches us plainly that we cannot attain God’s standard of perfection, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” (Romans 3:20) So it is by understanding this principle that we can see ourselves in stark contrast to God’s holy perfection. And from there we can find the generous gift of grace he offers us: “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (Romans 3:22-24)
And that, friends, is grace. Praise be to God! “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” (Titus 2:11) “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Truly the Lord is full of grace and he longs to offer you his gracious gift. I pray that today will be the day you accept it, if you haven’t already.
“Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38)
You have almost certainly heard the term “virtue signaling” by now; it is a term that has received quite a bit of attention in the media as of late. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined by James Bartholomew, a British journalist, who defines virtue signaling as a “public act with very little associated cost that is intended to inform others of one’s socially acceptable alignment on an issue.” In today’s tumultuous social environment, we may see corporations, public figures, and even individuals noted for various acts of virtue signaling.
Running parallel to virtue signaling, and possibly even more notorious, is the term “cancel culture”. This is the practice of thrusting someone out of social acceptance because of some negative action or statement, that may be either current or deep in one’s past. The cancel culture hit close to home for me recently when a group of individuals decided my old high school should be renamed because something negative was discovered in the history of its namesake. Apparently, if someone discovers anything untoward about your past, it can negate all the good one may have also accomplished.
So what are we to make of all this? Do we fall in line with popular culture and engage in virtue signaling of our own? Do we look for reasons to cancel someone or something so as to purify our surroundings? What if someone discovers something in our past and makes a public spectacle of it? Could that ever happen?
As with all questions we may have, the first place we turn is to the Bible. In regards to virtue signaling and the cancel culture, we shall see that God has much to say! Let us start with this verse: “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” (1 John 1:8) Also, the Bible explicitly tells us: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) So, we see, that no one is perfect. Each and every person has something in their past (and/or present) that could be brought into the public eye at any time.
Let’s take a look at the capitol city in my home state as an example. St. Paul is named after a seemingly exemplary individual (the Apostle Paul) who wrote most of the New Testament and helped start the Christian church at great personal cost. Surely if there is a man worthy of having a city named after himself, it would be the Apostle Paul, right? Or could Paul be canceled?
If we go by the modern cancel culture, I think the Apostle Paul would definitely have a high potential for cancellation. Paul referred to himself as “the worst of sinners” in 1 Timothy 1:16. Prior to his conversion to Christianity, Paul was a persecutor of the church. He pulled people out of their homes and had them arrested for no reason other than their religious beliefs. Many of these people were beaten, tortured, or even killed. Paul stood by and watched while Stephen was stoned to death in complete agreement with the proceedings. Should a modern city, a capitol city no less, carry his name with a track record like this?
If the standard is perfection, then we need to recognize that the only perfect person to ever live on this earth was Jesus Christ. The rest of us, all of us, have sin in our history. So if we are going to start canceling people because of their past, we MUST cancel everyone not named Jesus Christ!
But in God’s economy, sin does not have the last word. He sent his only Son to live among us, to teach us, to heal us, to die for us, and to rise again that we can be forgiven. And when we accept God’s free gift, then, like the Apostle Paul, we become new creations. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) And in Romans 8:1 we read, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Before we can participate in canceling others, we first must look at ourselves. Realizing we, too, are imperfect and sinful before a Holy God, we can understand that even our heroes were sinful, too. We never forget what Jesus taught us, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-4)
And with this in mind, rather than canceling others, let us share the Good News of the Gospel with them in hopes that they, too, might be saved. In the process we shouldn’t shy away from sharing our own personal failures in the hopes of leading another to salvation. Because, rather than signaling our virtue to others, we boast in the Lord, the only perfect One. “Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:31) Remember, Christians aren’t perfect, they are forgiven!
The Apostle Paul, when he shared with Timothy that he considered himself the worst of sinners, said this, “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16) This should also be our attitude! For “If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am” (2 Corinthians 11:30) and how gracious our Lord God is!
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There can be no doubt that God loves us. After all, the Bible says God is love. No matter where you find yourself at this moment, even if maybe you don’t feel it, you can rest assured that God loves you. More than you can imagine. And if you want to explore this love that God has for you further, please read our previous blog on the subject:
In this blog, however, we’re going to look at things from a slightly different perspective. Here we will accept that Jesus loves us (and teaches us to love others) as a given; so as Paul Harvey used to say, we’re going to look at the rest of the story. The Bible clearly teaches us that we should not “just pretend to love others” but to “really love them.” (Romans 12:9) But just how do we do that? How do we show true love?
In the world today it is not uncommon to hear someone say something along the lines of “Jesus is all about love and tolerance”. And when they say such a thing, what they are usually trying to convey is that true love is defined as accepting a person living in one sin or another just as they are without ever addressing the sin itself. But this position is only partially correct; yes we should treat all people with love, right where they are. After all, even if they disagree with us, Jesus did tell us we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). To the extent possible, we should show love to everyone, regardless of their present condition or spiritual state. But that is not the whole story.
You see, loving someone often means telling them the truth. So, if someone is, for example, caught in sexual sin, the loving thing is to tell them the truth. In fact, to tell them it is OK, to encourage them to remain in their sin, is actually damaging and unloving. Why? Because you may actually be preventing them from turning from their sin and receiving the eternal life that Jesus promises those who repent of their sins. The Bible says “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 6:9a)
Jesus came to Earth to live and die for us so that our sins would be forgiven; and to rise from the grave that we could have eternal life. So if we do not call out sin for what it is, and then encourage the sinner to repent and accept the grace of Jesus, we are robbing them of the very loving act that Jesus performed for them. Yes, we are very possibly keeping them from eternal life! So while some may decry that we are being hateful for not accepting others in their sin, in reality, we are being most loving when we tell them the truth!
Of course, we tell them in a loving and caring way. The Bible says: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1, CSB) So the loving thing, the Christ-like thing, is to gently point people to the truth of God’s Word, to encourage them they can change, they can escape the sin in which they are trapped, and to tell them what Jesus has done so they can be forgiven and have eternal life. And all the while, as we share this love of Christ, we are careful that we don’t fall into sin ourselves (for that is a real possibility!).
You can think of it this way: is it more loving to give an alcoholic another bottle or to speak the truth about their condition and point he or she to the nearest recovery center? Paul taught the Corinthian church, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:20) Jesus, himself, showed his love by pointing out our need to turn from our sins: “From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
God is very patient with us. But his patience and kindness has a purpose: “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4) He did not come to Earth to accept us in our sins as some would have you think, rather, he came to die for us that we might be forgiven of our sins: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) So, Jesus called us to repent from our sins that he might show his love to us by forgiving us.
Therefore, the most loving thing we can do, and the way to show true love to one who is caught up in sin, is to share the Gospel with them. We tell them that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23) and that they should “Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
To learn more about becoming a Christian, or if you just have questions, please check out KnowGod.org.
If you are trapped in sin and want help, or if you just want to share your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com
For most of us, 2020 is a year likely to go down as the one we most wish to forget. It was a challenging year to say the least; and as we welcome to 2021, we certainly are looking forward to better times. We are especially looking forward to seeing things open up again such that we can resume our normal lives and normal recreational activities. Family vacations, dinner on the town, getting together with family and friends; I’m quite certain we are all hoping these things will be back to normal. And, in all likelihood, we are preparing to make New Year’s resolutions, just like we have in other years.
But how many times have you made a steadfast New Year’s resolution, saying to yourself, this time it’s going to stick? Perhaps you even told your friends, made a pact with a family member, or in some other way determined to assure success. Were you trying to quit smoking, lose weight, stop drinking, or maybe shop less? Maybe you wanted to spend more time with your spouse, or avoid relationships altogether. Maybe you resolved to drive closer to the speed limit? How many times has your resolution failed mere days or even hours after you made it?
Perhaps even more so this year, we find ourselves focused on what we want to change about our lives. We look in the mirror and want to change what we see or we gaze at our bank account balance and focus on changing what we spend our money on. Some of us will devote real time and energy into a new diet plan or exercise routine while others may focus on improving our relationships. Still others may decide now is the time to find a new job or make that big geographical change we’ve been dreaming of. Without a doubt, New Year’s has become the time to look forward and plan for the changes we long to make.
But what if tomorrow never comes? Mathematically speaking, the probably exists that at least some of us reading this right now may not live to see New Year’s 2022 and it is in light of that possibility that I wish to emphatically urge each of you reading this to consider the chance that you will not see tomorrow. Psalm 39:4 states: “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.”
The Bible tells us it is appointed for all to die once, and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27) but that Jesus Christ was sacrificed to take away our sins (Hebrews 9:28) that we might have eternal life with God in heaven (John 3:16). Whether you believe that or not is irrelevant because “For the Scriptures say, ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.” (Romans 14:11)
Every knee will bow; every tongue will confess. That is the reality facing each of us when we die – whether or not we choose to believe it now. The difference is this: those who believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him for their salvation will be saved. And then there is everyone else. As it is written: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” (1 John 5:12).
So with the finite nature of our earthly lives as a back drop, I want to implore each of you to consider the brevity of your mortal life on this planet, to recognize that physical death is not the end, and to challenge you with the task of accepting the free gift of salvation that is available through Jesus Christ, if you haven’t already. For the temptation, when it comes to our relationship with God, is to assume we have another day…or another hour. The fact is, we may not even have another minute. Please, please, reach out to God now, while there is still time.
And know that accepting Jesus Christ as your savior is a New Year’s resolution that will never fail!
Take the time, do the research, learn for yourself the truth about God. But do it now, for tomorrow could be too late. Of course, we’re always happy to help answer your questions, too. Email us anytime at ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com
God bless. We truly wish each of you better things in 2021!
The rapture of the church is coming. The Bible is very clear about that and, while it is very true that no one knows the day or the hour, there are sure signs of its approaching. Looking around us at events of the last 75 or so years, such as the rebirth of the nation of Israel, as well as more current events in the last 12 months, and there are indications that the rapture is closer than ever before. I’ve written about this previously, and if you’d like a refresher, please check out the link below:
Today I am not focusing on the coming rapture itself but, rather, I want to draw a picture of what the events immediately following the rapture might look like. The Bible speaks of the horribleness of this time: “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” (Matthew 24:21-22) That is a grim outlook for sure, but since the Bible doesn’t give explicit details, drawing a picture of this future time requires a bit of the imagination. None-the-less, I think simple logic allows us to formulate a pretty good idea. So let’s dive in.
Zero hour: the rapture has just happened. Somewhere around 1.5 – 2 billion people, who were genuine Christ followers, just disappeared. Along with them, all children under the age of accountability are also missing. Gone in an instant. Among the missing are local and world leaders, doctors, pastors, pilots, taxi cab drivers, truck drivers, ship captains, military personnel, business leaders, police and emergency responders, and more. Since many of the people who just disappeared were actively driving trucks, cars, planes, and ships, we can be sure that in the seconds following the rapture there are massive automobile crashes, plane crashes, train wrecks, ships aimlessly adrift without their captains. Further, planes that haven’t yet crashed may be flying without a pilot in control, destined to crash when the fuel runs out. As you can imagine, these events happen all around the world, in copious numbers, almost simultaneously.
And there aren’t enough emergency responders, hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc. to handle the sudden influx of injured and dying. The chaos at this moment on a worldwide scale will be unimaginable. And not even an hour has passed since the rapture! With so many local and world leaders suddenly missing, confusion and chaos will reign to even the highest ranks of governments around the world. Countries will blame each other, they will not trust each other, and they will almost certainly go into the highest states of war readiness. Within just a few hours, certainly within 24 hours, the world will stand on the brink.
Meanwhile, theories about what really happened will swirl with a voracity never seen before. There will be those with some religious or Biblical knowledge who will possibly recognize the events as the rapture and subsequent beginning of the great tribulation, but many of them will deny it because they can’t imagine they were left behind. Governments will offer explanations in an effort to suppress the looming chaos. And as those explanations start to multiply, the world economy is already coming to a standstill as financial markets the world over crash, manufacturing all but ceases, prices skyrocket, and rationing is implemented. Massive, worldwide unemployment may be just a few days away.
In the coming days and weeks immediately following the rapture, the supply of food dwindles rapidly, and with dwindling resources among those now out of work; large scale, worldwide looting will erupt, overwhelming emergency responders already taxed to their limit. With military personnel throughout the world already on high alert, there will be few resources available to quell local tensions and tumult. Hungry people desperate for crucial supplies will begin to attack each other and many tens of thousands are likely to die in the ensuing civil unrest, that quickly reaches fever pitch, with riots and violence becoming the norm.
As local governments around the world are increasingly unable to handle the burgeoning crisis, mob rule starts to take root in some areas, whereas martial law may be the norm in others. Brutality will be increasingly common as the struggle to assume control facilitates the rise of competing factions. It hasn’t been 3 weeks since the rapture occurred, and already the world is a completely different place. Hostile and unyielding. The weaker begin to die off, either from lack of sustenance, or having been killed trying to fight for what they need. With all Christians gone, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is absent, so the lawlessness has reached levels never before seen on earth.
Over the next several months, the world becomes more and more merciless. Wives are raped in front of their husbands, husbands are tortured and killed in front of their wives. Governments impose ever more restrictive levels of control; consequences for disobedience become ever more dire. Corruption takes hold and new allegiances form. War has likely broken out in many parts of the world, with some nuclear weapons possibly already detonated. World power shifts occur rapidly, but with no real leadership, genocide may become commonplace. Chemical & germ warfare may very well be occurring. Suffering among people has reached inconceivable levels never seen or imagined before.
If you have ever watched the movie “Left Behind”, I can tell you that it in no way captured the true horror of this period in time. It will be far more ghastly than anything I can write here or any movie can portray. Mankind simply hasn’t experienced this level of utter upheaval in all of history. It is far, far beyond what we can truly imagine or communicate. This is why, if the Lord does not cut the time short, all mankind will simply die out. And it is in the midst of this anarchy that the antichrist will rise to power. People will be so desperate for a man with a plan that they will eagerly follow this power figure who emerges with such charisma and seeming peaceful intent.
Time and space do not allow me to dig into this much deeper, but hopefully I have fired your imagination to a degree with which you can see the agonizing reality that will be the great tribulation. While God will still be saving people during the tribulation period, I can assure you, this cruel and ghastly period in history is something you do not want to experience. And you are most likely not equipped to survive it, either. And even if you think you are, you may want to consider if your wife, brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers are. Because even if you do survive, you will almost certainly see many of those you know die. Quite possibly in brutal, violent, horrifying ways. As I stated, it will be a time of incomprehensible horror.
But for those who choose Christ now, it will be much different. We will not face God’s wrath. We will be raptured into perfect fellowship with our Savior. We will know peace and joy such as we cannot yet imagine here on Earth. And it is not too late for anyone to choose Christ. No one has sunk too low, or fallen too far, to be beyond the reach of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even in the great tribulation people will still be getting saved, but so much better to make that decision now. Just admit you are a sinner, accept his forgiveness, and follow him. God wants everyone to be saved and to know the truth (see 1 Timothy 2:3-4), his desire is for you!
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
To learn more about becoming a Christian, or if you just have questions, please check out KnowGod.org. Do it today, before it is too late. For the hour is getting late.
Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com