What should the Christian's mental state be? We are given specifics in God's Word as to how we are to think, so as not to be overcome by anxiety and depression in this life. Not that anxiety and depression does not affect Christians just as much or more than the world, but how are we to overcome it so that it does not overcome us? It's possible, according God's Word, even while walking through dark trial, depression, grief, anxiety, to also experience, (and more so experience than in care-free times), His peace and joy. The Christian's mental state is conditional on His understanding of and faith in the finished work of Christ and His dependence on Christ and obedience by faith to the Scripture. It’s one thing to read it, even agree with it, and another to put it into practice in our lives. Too many in the church today, too often seek to find their peace and well-being in the world's ways and philosophies of living, or in drugs that numb the mind. As apostasy has come into the church, polluting the pure Gospel, more Christians have turned to psychology, (the counsel of man), rather than God's Word. We need to look carefully at the Word of God and what we are told is our true joy and peace, not only here and now, but for eternity. It is not one thing here in this world, and then another in Heaven. What is our joy and peace in Heaven is our joy here and now.
Phil. 4:4--Be rejoicing in the Lord always! I will say again, be rejoicing! [ALT]
To rejoice always--rejoice: Animating with gladness; exhilarating; feeling joy.
This is not a put-on of fake feelings you try to muster up for others when you really feel like you want to lay down and die. It is only possible as we consider and meditate in faith on what we have in Christ, His Word, His promise, Who He is, delighting in Him--regardless of our own condition and lot in life, since all, great and small, poor and rich, only have true joy in Christ alone. If we have found His salvation, we have reason daily to have joy. If we look to ourselves, we'll find despair. We'll find no joy in this world, only temporary happiness at times; but in Christ we can be exhilarated in joy in our fellowship with Him, since we have His indwelling presence now through all, and an incredible inheritance ahead that is sure, waiting for us at the end of the trial. Corrie Ten Boome use to say, "Look around and be distressed, look inside and be depressed, look to Jesus and be at rest." Joy is independent of circumstances. It is an inner contentment that comes from knowing your Creator--the lover of your soul--your Savior--God of all, Who dwells in your innermost being. We may not be happy about what is happening around us, be we can rejoice in our God Who is above all. Of course, if we are not growing in our knowledge of Him, delighting in Him, than we will not be rejoicing in Him either. The more we know Him, the more we exalt in Him.
Phil. 4:5 Let your* gentleness [or, considerateness] be known to all people. The Lord [is] near! [ALT]
Gentleness, forbearance, patience, calm mildness, considerateness...all synonyms here and is the fruit of the Spirit in us as our flesh is subdued by the power of the cross, and we are yielded to that Spirit, eyes on Him. "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no more I who live but Christ Who lives in me." The more we walk in faith in a perfect Savior, and see His forbearance with us daily, the more gentle and forbearing we will be with others. If we compare ourselves with others it is flesh vs. flesh. We'll either put them above ourselves or ourselves above them, as if the flesh could ever stand before God anyway! If we look at Jesus, and ourselves in His light, we see truth in His Spirit vs. our flesh, His righteousness vs. our unrighteousness, and in our inward parts we are humbled, we are able to have true meekness with others, regardless of their condition or character. I don't think one can have this type of gentleness until He is at peace in His heart trusting all to a perfect Savior in His life. So again, it is a matter of faith--rest in a perfect Savior Who is perfect love and humility, and Who works all things according to His purposes--which are for salvation and to destroy the works of the enemy.
Phil. 4:6--Stop being anxious about anything, _but_ in every [thing] by prayer and by petition, with thanksgiving, be letting your* requests be made known to God. [ALT]
We are anxious when we take matters into our own hands and forget to pray, or when we "walk in the counsel of the ungodly"--Ps. 1. In a sense we are saying, "I can do this without God. I can work this out on my own." If we try to figure things out without God, we can expect the consequences will not be what God wanted. We are to turn every care into a prayer. God owns our lives when we are His. We are not our own. So every part of our life is His and to be brought before Him in prayer. In "everything"--big or small, we need to cast our cares on Him in order to have perfect peace. Only through prayer, faith in a perfect Savior and His perfect love for us, trusting fully in His answer.
by prayer and supplication — Greek, “by the prayer and the supplication” appropriate to each case [Alford]. Prayer for blessings; and the general term. Supplication, to avert ills; a special term, suppliant entreaty
supplication — a common term for a special kind of prayer [Harless], an imploring request. “Prayer” for obtaining blessings, “supplication” for averting evils which we fear
thanksgiving — for every event, prosperity and affliction alike (1Th_5:18; Jam_5:13). The Philippians might remember Paul’s example at Philippi when in the innermost prison (Act_16:25). Thanksgiving gives effect to prayer (2Ch_20:21), and frees from anxious carefulness by making all God’s dealings matter for praise,not merely for resignation, much less murmuring. “Peace” is the companion of “thanksgiving” (Phi_4:7; Col_3:15).
let your requests be made known unto God — with generous, filial, unreserved confidence; not keeping aught back, as too great, or else too small, to bring before God, though you might feel so as to your fellow men. --J, F, &B
Phil. 4:7--And the peace of God, the [peace] surpassing all understanding, will guard [or, protect] your* hearts [fig., inner selves] and your* thoughts in Christ Jesus. [ALT]
His peace will guard, (will be a well garrisoned stronghold in) our hearts. We only have peace in Christ. Jesus told us in "Me you may have peace...not as the world gives." We have many troubles in this world in which we could never have peace. Within and without, we have things to disturb our peace. But in Christ we have a peace that the world cannot fathom. It comes from knowing we have an inheritance kept for us that will never fade or be taken away--and that we are kept, guarded, protected for that inheritance through all that we go through in this life, no matter what evil affects us. We have His presence now with us walking through this life with us. We can never find peace if we look for happiness in this world with all its instability--the happiness of the world. We must be crucified to this world and all its happiness, and alive to Him to know that peace, (Matt. 10:39). That only comes by faith in a perfect Savior Who saves us, keeps us, and works all things together for our good as we love Him and are called according to His purposes--trusting those purposes and giving up our own. As we abide in Christ, we have peace in Christ.
Phil. 4:7 -
And the peace of God - That harmonizing of all passions and appetites which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and arises from a sense of pardon and the favor of God;
Shall keep your hearts - phroureō
Shall keep them as in a strong place or castle. Your hearts - the seat of all your affections and passions, and minds - your understanding, judgment, and conscience through Christ Jesus; by whom ye were brought into this state of favor, through whom ye are preserved in it, and in whom ye possess it; for Christ keeps that heart in peace in which he dwells and rules. This peace passeth all understanding; it is of a very different nature from all that can arise from human occurrences; it is a peace which Christ has purchased, and which God dispenses; it is felt by all the truly godly, but can be explained by none; it is communion with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost.--CLARKE
"This is trust; and His peace, the peace of God Himself, shall keep our hearts. It does not say that our hearts shall keep the peace of God; but, having cast our burden on Him whose peace nothing can disturb, His peace keeps our hearts. Our trouble is before Him, and the constant peace of the God of love, who takes charge of everything and knows all beforehand, quiets our disturbed hearts, and imparts to us the peace which is in Himself and which is above all understanding (or at least keeps our hearts by it), even as He Himself is above all the circumstances that can disquiet us, and above the poor human heart that is troubled by them. Oh, what grace! that even our anxieties are a means of our being filled with this marvelous peace, if we know how to bring them to God, and true He is. May we learn indeed how to maintain this intercourse with God and its reality, in order that we may converse with Him and understand His ways with believers!"--DARBY
Phil. 4:8--[As to] the rest [or, Finally], brothers [and sisters], as many things as are true, as many as [are] worthy of respect [or, honorable], as many as [are] righteous, as many [things] as are pure, as many as [are] acceptable [or, lovely], as many as [are] commendable, if [there is] any virtue [or, moral excellence], and if any[thing] deserving to be praised, be meditating on [or, thinking about] these things. [ALT]
These are the things, then, that we are to be occupying our minds with. It is a guide to every thought pattern. Let's look at what the opposite thought pattern would be--Lies and falsehood, dishonorable, immoral, hateful or vengeful, disrespectful, impure, unpraiseworthy--in God's eyes especially. The world calls good evil and evil good. In all our distractions, plans, work, meditations, entertainment--the many thoughts we have to have each day in order to just go through our normal functions of the day, let God's way of thought be our guide through it and our habit. If we find our thoughts and meditations going in the wrong direction, according to our flesh, turn it back, as one stirs a rudder of a ship, to the right direction. The fact that Paul writes these things tells us we have control over the direction of our thought life. We may not be able to always control what comes through our mind, but we can choose what we allow to land there, come over the threshold and make a nest there. We can choose to own a thought or turn it away. Turn it away at the threshold before it comes inside. Bad thoughts, impure thoughts--they come to everyone. This world is full of things that turn our minds from Christ. Just a trip down the road with billboards to look at, or a trip to the store, or a commercial on TV in spite of you (rarely) finding a decent program to watch, will put the wrong thoughts in your head. Be careful how we are entertained. TV itself, aside from the blatant immorality, is so full of worldly propaganda to brainwash us into their thought pattern of postmodern thought and political correctness. Sometimes, unfortunately, even worldly, self-centered thought, is taught in church by those who have mixed worldly thought with the Bible. The only way to have a pure mind is to wash it in God's Word daily and meditate on His Word, in fellowship with His Spirit, letting Him have His way in us daily by faith. Then every other thought that comes at us from without can be taken captive to the obedience of Christ in us. I don't believe we are to become like monks, closing ourselves off to the world in order to never let anything unclean come before us. It is not what we are called to. We are to live in the world, among the world, but not be a part of the world. We have His Word and His Spirit in order to do so.
We cannot escape sorrow in this life. "In this world you will have trouble", (John 16:33). The Bible says, "Blessed are they that mourn, they shall be comforted". (Matt. 5:4) Yet, we are promised His joy and peace. These do not contradict each other. We find that as we walk in step with the Spirit that our sorrow becomes the sorrow of Christ, and our mourning is His mourning. But if we share His sorrow, we will also share His joy. He mourns over all that evil and the affects of sin has brought to mankind and the world, and yet we find a rejoicing in Him in His triumph over all, and His eternal purposes, and His enduring promise that one day He will wipe all tears from our eyes. We walk in His LIFE. The more we rejoice in that hope which is future, the more we appropriate that eternal life here and now even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Peter 1:4 unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Peter 1:5 who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials,
1Peter 1:7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:
1Peter 1:8 whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Peter 1:9 receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
The Lord seeks our obedience. So what is obedience? It is important that we understand the obedience the Lord wants from us. Many seek to give an obedience that can never please God. It is the same obedience of the Judaizers that Paul struggled against as he wrote to the Galatians. The obedience of faith is the only obedience God will accept from us. No obedience of our flesh, will do.
There can be no "obedience" of the truth without faith in the finished work of Christ. Faith and obedience in Christ are practically synonymous. Our obedience is to believe into Him and trust Him to be our only salvation, sanctification, righteousness and life daily. When we try to work out our salvation by outward works and observances, even what appears to be obedience to the law...we disobey God because we do not walk by faith in Him, rather we walk by faith in our own righteousness.
Rom 1:5--through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
The apostles brought the gospel message...an obedience of faith in Christ.
Rom 16:25--Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages
Rom 16:26--but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith--
Heb 3:18--And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?
Heb 3:19--So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
Those walking according to outward religious works, rituals, laws, are walking according to the flesh, and not the Spirit. They never enter in to His rest--the rest of faith in the finished work of Christ, and His sufficiency, as their only righteousness, because of unbelief. They believe they must still somehow have a part in producing their own righteousness before God.
Heb 11:6--But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Those in the (religious) flesh seek to please God by their service. But if not walking in faith in His inner work in and through them, it is impossible to please God. They are still in the flesh.
"As to man, the law and the ordinances were only bondage. They aimed at bridling the will without its being changed."--J.N. Darby
Gal 4:9--But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
weak — powerless to justify: in contrast to the justifying power of faith (Gal_3:24; compare Heb_7:18).
beggarly — contrasted with the riches of the inheritance of believers in Christ (Eph_1:18). The state of the “child” (Gal_4:1) is weak, as not having attained manhood; “beggarly,” as not having attained the inheritance.
elements — “rudiments.” It is as if a schoolmaster should go back to learning the A, B, C’S [Bengel].
again — There are two Greek words in the original. “Ye desire again, beginning afresh, to be in bondage.” Though the Galatians, as Gentiles, had never been under the Mosaic yoke, yet they had been under “the elements of the world” (Gal_4:3): the common designation for the Jewish and Gentile systems alike, in contrast to the Gospel (however superior the Jewish was to the Gentile). Both systems consisted in outward worship and cleaved to sensible forms. Both were in bondage to the elements of sense, as though these could give the justification and sanctification which the inner and spiritual power of God alone could bestow.--J, F, &B
This is today what many ministers of the gospel seek to teach their congregation—to bridle the will, by striving to keep the law, rather than by faith in the inner working of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit Who brings to us the life and righteousness of Christ Himself in our hearts, to go back to the beggarly elements of living the Christian life by works rather than an obedience of faith. It is only that righteousness—of Christ Himself, that will ever be pleasing to God, and it is only faith in Him that will be considered obedience to Him.
May the Lord deal completely with our religious flesh, and expose it! May He reveal to us a righteousness of faith—and obedience to that--by faith.
Isa 12:2—“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”
Isa 12:3 –“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
Has God Himself become your salvation?
In the Hebrew--yeshû‛âh, BDB Definition:
1a) welfare, prosperity
1c) salvation (by God)
Picture a well---full of all the blessings of God in the Heavenlies...all we have to do is put our bucket of faith down in it and draw in our time of need!
Eph 1:3--"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ"
The word for wells means a continuous flowing fountain, spring, or well. Sometimes we forget that our salvation is a continuous flowing fountain of grace that we must draw from daily. There is only one way to draw from this well—by faith. When we come to Christ by faith, He saves us eternally, but He also provides for our daily salvation. There is a need for salvation daily from the flesh, the world, and the devil—all things that oppose Christ in us. There is a constant need for dependence on that salvation, and we must learn to draw from it.
John 4:13—“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:”
Joh 4:14—“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Have you found the Lord as your salvation? His living water is not something we drink from only once for salvation, but we drink from it daily as a living fountain. Too often we try to draw from our own dry wells daily, without realizing it. Spiritual life only comes from His Spirit—never from our own efforts or from this world.
Jer 2:13—“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
His Spirit in us is our living fountain. His promises given to us are sure, as all we need for life and godliness as we abide in Him, drawing from His life by faith. Matthew Henry states:
“Note, (1.) God's promises revealed, ratified, and given out to us, in his ordinances, are wells of salvation; wells of the Saviour (so some read it), for in them the Saviour and salvation are made known to us and made over to us. (2.) It is our duty by faith to draw water out of these wells, to take to ourselves the benefit and comfort that are treasured up for us in them, as those that acknowledge all our fresh springs to be there and all our fresh streams to be thence, Psa_87:7.”
But oh, how we forget, daily, too often as Christians, to draw from that well, abiding in His grace and indwelling, looking to those promises in His Word, appropriating them at the time of need. How often the Lord needs to get our attention to remind us. If we would learn to draw from that well daily, in the small things, then it becomes habit for us when the hard things come our way, as they inevitably do in this life. The Christian life was not meant to be lived any other way, but by daily drawing from that living fountain, which is Christ. How aware are you of His indwelling presence daily? How often do you think about it? We are to walk in faith in that indwelling presence daily, which was only made possible by His finished work on the cross, and our trust in that. Sometimes we spend more energy thinking of what we must do for God, rather than realizing it is all about what He wants to be and do in us and through us. Or, unfortunately, many times we are caught up with what we must do for ourselves each day, and forget God altogether! When there is hardship in our life, we can be sure the fountain has not run dry. When there is dryness in our soul, we need to drink deeply and be refreshed. When there is sorrow and grief, the fountain is there for healing and comfort. When there is no strength for the tasks we face, the fountain of life strengthens us. When we are overwhelmed by our own flesh and its seeming power over us, and our inability, we draw from that living water that springs up within, and we walk by faith in His power, and we find power to yield to His righteousness, subduing the flesh. When faced with temptation, rather than trying in our own strength to resist, we get on our knees and draw from that well, finding in Him the way of escape. When life itself becomes overwhelming and we see no hope, we find, in that well of salvation, a joy eternal, that gives us purpose and hope and energy to live unto His glory, knowing one day we’ll share that glory with Him.
Don’t drink from broken cisterns of this world. Don’t exchange the living water that is there available to all who come by faith, for the dry wells of humanism, religion, sensationalism, or the passions of this world. They have an empty promise they cannot fulfill. Their end is death. Don’t try to live the Christian life by your own power and strength. It cannot be done. Don’t try to walk through life without drawing from that living water. If you are thirsty, drink!
Isa 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
Isa 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Isa 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
I dedicate this to my sister Wendy, who recently went home to be with the Lord, in December of 2006. Wendy had metastatic breast cancer that spread to her liver and her spine, and eventually her brain. She suffered so much pain yet through it all she trusted in the Lord. Though she did not understand all God’s plan for her, yet she trusted in Him, and surrendered all to Him. That surrender grew deeper until the end. During this time my agnostic brother said to Wendy, “Would you ask God why He allows my baby sister to suffer so much?” He recently presented this question again on a family get together, and feels there is no answer and stated, “I won’t hold my breath waiting for the answer”. I’m writing this now in response to his question and to all out there who have that same question and struggle with it. The answer actually is very simple, yet the hearts of men are not able to accept it. They strive to find their own answer that agrees with their own thinking and desires and they won’t accept God’s. Yet God has given us the answer in His Word.
I hope someday my brother, Larry, will read this, when he is ready to accept God’s answer, as He tells us in His Word. Here is the reason for suffering in the world—for the suffering of God’s children, and the Son of God Himself—it is all of you who are sinners and do not believe in Him. You are the reason for the suffering of the Son of God and for the suffering of all who are His children and share in His sufferings, and the reason the world continues to suffer more and more evil. It is a difficult thing to hear, but it is the truth.
God’s mercy brought Wendy home to Him, and delivered her from her suffering—His mercy is what allows the suffering in this world as His justice is held off until sin reaches its full measure and all is judged, and until all who will, come to receive His salvation. He is a perfect God. He is perfect in justice—perfect! The reason we ourselves have a sense that justice must be paid, is because the God of justice put that sense into our consciences. He is also perfect in mercy. His justice cannot excuse sin. If He excused one sin, He would be unjust. But He is perfect in justice, which makes Him God. He would fail to live up to all His own perfection if He stooped to our level of injustice. His justice had to be satisfied. Because He is also perfect in mercy, He satisfied His justice Himself, by coming in the flesh as man—the Son of man, yet God—and taking on Himself our sin and it’s penalty at the cross. That sacrifice alone satisfies the penalty for sin and only faith in Him will bring us in right standing with God. All man’s own efforts to find righteousness are nothing but filthy rags in God’s eyes, as He has proved to us His own holiness and that we are incapable of living up to it. There is no justice accept the justice Christ gave on our behalf. Faith—that complete reliance on all He is and what He did for us—is the only salvation. For scripture references for this please read the book of Romans, especially Romans 5 and Romans 8. If there were other roads to heaven, you can be sure Jesus would not have come here to suffer and die and take on our sins, which were repulsive to Him.
So in His mercy, Jesus allows sin and evil in this world—the source of evil coming from man’s sin and rebellion against Him and His laws. As Christians, our souls are redeemed but we have not yet received our final redemption as we still dwell in an unredeemed world in an unredeemed body. But Jesus promises us one day that…
1Cor. 15:49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
1Cor. 15:50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
1Cor. 15:51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Cor. 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1Cor. 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
1Cor. 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
1Cor. 15:55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
1Cor. 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
1Cor. 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is our final redemption! For now we dwell in this body of death and are subject to all the diseases and sicknesses the rest of the world is. But one day our body will be redeemed finally and there will be no more suffering or death. Wendy was delivered from her body of sickness and suffering through death—the shedding of that body. Yet she is now with the Lord in His presence, just as Jesus told the thief on the cross… “today you will be with me in paradise.” The end of the body is not the end for the Christian, it is deliverance.
2Cor. 5:4 For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life.Why does God wait? Why doesn’t He end suffering now? It is for you that do not believe in Him, who scoff at Him, and who disregard His law and His Word, and reject His claims and His way of righteousness that suffering goes on. It is His mercy for you as He waits for many more to come to find His grace and be saved. It is because of His longsuffering that His children are also asked to be patient and longsuffering as they wait for His coming, when the earth will be judged and evil will finally be once and for all done away with. Oh yes… God will judge evil. Many scoff at Him now going so far as to say, “if there is a God, let Him strike me dead now.” Well… be thankful that He is longsuffering and doesn’t… yet you can be sure your day of judgment will come as it will for the whole earth, if you do not find His salvation for yourself.
2Cor. 5:5 Now he that wrought us for this very thing is God, who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
2Cor. 5:6 Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord
2Cor. 5:7 (for we walk by faith, not by sight);
2Cor. 5:8 we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Php 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Php 1:23 For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
2Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.
2Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
2Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 2Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
2Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
2Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
Those who do not believe in His righteousness and justification through faith in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8,9), and Who He is, must suffer their own choice and the consequences of sin to the full. If He were to end evil now, it would mean wiping out you, Larry, and all you who reject Him—all mankind who fail to recognize Him and accept Who He is and His salvation. He allows man to have full choice in the matter. He gives them what they want. Ultimately, He promises He will end evil and suffering (Rev. 21).
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
As it says in Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
What is Wendy’s suffering compared to an eternity in His glory, sharing all He is and has for us forever? His ultimate judgment of evil means all who reject Him and His salvation, going by choice, their own way, being their own gods, or making their own gods according to their liking, will finally get what they want—final and complete separation from God—from all He created—which means all good things you see and enjoy in this earth. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it. The rain falls on the just and unjust. The sun shines on the just and unjust. Those who don’t believe in Him, for a time still enjoy His creation and His goodness, although misusing and abusing it for their own lust and greed, disregarding His laws. It means they will have no source of supply to any of their needs—none will be fulfilled. Man—thinking he can be sufficient in himself, thinks he satisfies and provides for himself, yet all things he enjoys have come from God. The needs of his soul for happiness, well-being—the need to fulfill hunger, and all other needs, all come from God Himself. All light comes from God, and they will be removed from all light and its source into complete and utter darkness. They will be removed from all of that for all eternity. It is what they chose, though God held out His way of life to them. The Bible clearly tells it and warns us and offers His life. People take His Word and twist and misuse it to satisfy their own desire for godhood just as the serpent did in the garden of Eden with Eve rather than accepting His righteousness and life. They could no longer enjoy the perfect presence of God and the garden He created for them any longer. Just so... those who reject God’s salvation will no be able to enjoy Him, or anything He created any longer once all is judged.
Because He is perfect justice and righteousness, He will not allow anything evil into His heaven with those He loves. It would corrupt it, just as the earth has been corrupted and brought unbearable suffering upon it. Until man sees that in his rebellion from God, he is part of the evil and chooses to take the side of God, he will not understand the answer to this question. As long as he thinks he is good in himself and has no need for God, he will not understand. So the question is really—which side will you choose? Your way, or God’s? Which side will you be on? Will you be a part of the evil that is finally destroyed--the part that is the cause of the suffering in the world—or the part that brings its redemption?
I have been suffering greatly for the last few weeks with severe pain in the pelvic area. I don’t know yet what is wrong--possibly a nerve problem. I have very strange symptoms, like electricity jolting through my body, and piercing pain. I have strange sensations in my head and headaches. I’m going to a specialist next week and hope for some answers. It may be something disabling for the rest of my life--I don’t know. I hope not. I give God praise that His longsuffering allows this and I pray, with Him, as I share in His suffering in this world because of its sin, as I wait for His redemption, that He will be glorified in me. I only hope His love will be portrayed through me. His love that endured and took on the suffering of man in the body of a man—and even though He was perfect and without sin, suffered in the flesh, and took our sins and its curse upon Himself, so one day my body of sin and sickness and death will be redeemed, just as my soul has been redeemed even now. My soul enjoys His salvation, and one day my body will also. I praise Him now in my body, and I pray that in this body His glory will be seen in me while I have opportunity to give Him that glory. I choose to be a part of His life and glory!!! While I wait, He gives me grace to endure, and His very own presence indwelling me, comforting my heart, and strengthening me. This is His promise to all who love Him. No evil will harm them. Even here in this world full of evil, we are more than conquerors through Christ, and nothing shall separate us from His love. We have all we need to walk through this world safe in Him until our final redemption! Hallelujah!
My prayer for my brother, and for all, is that you will pick up the Bible and forget all the arguments, and just read it with the motive of truly learning what is being said. To all who seek Him in truth, He will make it plain. Those who pick it up to misuse and twist into their own meaning will miss it.
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