Archive for December, 2012

Love That Cast Out Fear

Whenever we are ignorant of what is good, we do things with a feeling that that was the best approach but looking at these so called practical approaches, one rarely observes the fallen nature of man as the reason for what teaches him what he learns. The thing is: the world is only soaking in the lies of its iniquity. This is seen so commonly in man who chooses the path of wickedness in even making a living because he has been made blind (Is 6:10) to the fact that God is a higher priority than himself.

There are essentially three things that drive man to learn, think and act the way he does. These three things (1John 2:16) are: Power, Pleasure and Pride; they may either work together or individually to make a man the way he turns out. These so called 3Ps are driven by one thing and that is ‘fear’ or you may call it ‘insecurity’. This ‘fear’ a man has should not be confused with ‘cowardice’ because cowardice does not directly stem from the lack of faith/trust. The reason man has this fear/insecurity is because he subconsciously knows that he incurs the wrath of God in his fallen state.

1John 2:16
16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

When things start going wrong in a person’s life, the person can either take the easy underhanded solution which is as broad as the road of damnation to tackle the situation or he can stick to what the Bible teaches, valuing God more than his life’s sustenance. It is fear that makes man take the faithless solution, a fear which he covers by doing things that feed his pride, give into his pleasure and craving for power.

This fear that I am referring to is not the same as the ‘fear of the Lord’, for the ‘fear of the Lord’ is good as it brings repentance that leads one to Salvation but the fear of fallen man is the sorrow of his rebellion, which he tries to cover up with the 3Ps as he is blind to repentance as the only way out.

2 Cor 7:10
10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

The Bible teaches that God is love (1John 4:8) and the Bible also teaches love cast out all fear. Consider this, a person can only be considered as truly resilient, if he does not crumble or turn corrupt in character when he is faced with a bitter situation. However if he can look into the face of his persecution with a joy that has no ulterior motives, then the only thing that drives this truly resilient person is love i.e. God. Such is taught only in the Bible: in turning the other cheek (Mat 5:39), in giving one’s cloak when his shirt is already taken (Luke 6:29), in praying for those who persecute you (Mat 5:44) etc.

1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In Luke 18:2-6, it was perfect love that made the widow patient, always trusting and always persevering against the unjust judge. You may have understood by now that the perfect love that is taught in the Bible is not the mushy love we see in the movies. This perfect love teaches us not to be self-seeking and with this I come back to my earlier statement, where a man going through his regeneration learns his priorities and puts God before himself.

Deut 8:3
3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you [a]understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

Love is the key ingredient to true strength because it teaches you to overcome your biggest enemy i.e. you. If there was no such thing as love then how would we forgive? How could we ever be at peace with ourselves? How could we ever pray unto our Father: forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4)?

However a person will never understand ‘love’ until he comes to terms with the Person Jesus Christ. For as per the Biblical definition of love in 1Cor 13:4-7, the only way we can know that God loves man is when realization strikes us that it was LOVE that made the Father give unto a gruesome death/sacrifice His most precious Son (1John 4:9), that man may believe and be saved. In other words if you don’t know Christ’ sacrifice on the cross, you don’t know the love of God but if you know the love of God then you will also know His Salvation.

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

It must be understood that perseverance comes more from love than from determination because love preservers selflessly while determination can also persevere for self gain. Love can take a hit, fall and get back up again because it has better priorities but determination though it may be hard, it is brittle like glass and when it is hit, its goal is hit and so it shatters easily but this is not the case with love.

Phil 2:12-13
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

It is therefore seen concerning those who preserve for Christ, that they do so with fear and trembling; who are afflicted but never crushed, perplexed but never despairing in the working of their sanctification through the love God has given them in Christ (1John 4:19).

2Cor 4:7-12
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

To conclude, religion exuberates three characteristics as a mark of being genuine i.e. faith, hope and love. Faith without love profits one nothing for such has failed to imitate the Zenith i.e. Christ. Hope can never be considered apart from love because hope itself comes from God’s love given by grace (2Thes 2:16) and so we see the primary element in true religion is love which cast out all fear.

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Depravity and Trial!

There are many Christians who feel that having great faith is to be supercharged and praise God, something like where they increase before God. However of whom the Bible speaks of great faith, such are rarely noticed by people like these.

Matthew 8
5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him,
6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”
7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Matthew 15
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”
23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

John 3
26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”
27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’
29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

You can see from the above, the more a person recognizes his total depravity, the more he realizes his Salvation coming from Christ. There are essentially three steps in a Christian’s life, the first is Atonement- which was worked out by Christ on the Cross over 2000 years ago, the second is Justification- which is the point when Christ begins to take root in a person’s heart and the third is Regeneration/Sanctification- where the Christian is continually transformed into Christ’ likeness through trial.

Take the instance of the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Mat 22:1-14, it is seen in verse 11 and that in whom the Spirit does not work the Regeneration (Phil 2:12-13), that person has not been chosen for eternal life in union with Christ.

Now think about this, trial by fire (1Pet 1:7)– if God were to truly reprove you unto repentance (Rev 3:19), how much scope would there be for you to go through that trial with your head held high in pride? If you are able to go through the reproach of God with your head held high (Psalms 50:16-17) then the question is: was His reproach not that of a Father unto a son (2Sam 7:14)? It is therefore seen for certain that Regeneration takes place through trial, for trials call for greater obedience, which one can only adhere to by the power of His Spirit (Psalms 94:12).

Psalms 94:12
12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law,

The thing is, in the life of a Christian, his trials will make him small and make his God big. Throughout his life, he will know of his depravity, which in actual is him prostrating truly before his Almighty, Everlasting and Sovereign God.

There are many teachers out there, who in claiming to teach from the Bible, teach a doctrine of material blessing in obedience to God. Such teachers are well described in Mat 23:24, who teach strict obedience to certain values but have themselves given way to disobedience in submitting to their flesh when justice, mercy and faithfulness is required of them.

Mat 23:24
24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Such is the faith taught by teachers like these. However James 2 teaches that faith goes beyond lip service, which is a call that makes the believer feel the pinch of Regeneration, where he thinks nothing of himself in serving Christ through his brother (Mat 25:40).

James 2
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

There is a good book I recommend to you, called Stonewall Jackson’s Verse, which is a true story of an old Confederate Army General, whose life even during trial had Romans 8:28 as its center.

Romans 8
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

So to close this, all I would like to say is, if you feel small before God especially during your trial then consider that as a blessing of good faith (Job 5:17). For faith can be imputed only through repentance and all a person feels in repentance is small.

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