The Two Trees

The two trees of Genesis 2 and 3 give us a way of understanding God’s original intentions for man and grasping the limitations of the human nature, the result of man’s experimentation with the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From the instruction that God gave to Adam, we see that whatever we gain from eating the tree of knowledge of good and evil, even if it is humanly good, religiously good, philosophically good, socially good etc, it can only bring death. 

Genesis 2:16-17 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The capacity to know and do right, under a different set of circumstances, can also become the capacity to know and do evil. The problem is not with what is known and done, the problem is the source of what is known and done. 

Why do we have two trees at the centre of Eden?

Genesis 2:9 “Then the Lord God caused all the beautiful trees that were good for food to grow in the garden. In the middle of the garden, he put the tree of life and the tree that gives knowledge about good and evil.” (Easy-to-Read Version)

You will notice that of all these trees, the two life-altering ones, the two most defining ones, were at the centre of Eden. Let us also agree that everything God created was good, including these two trees (Genesis 1:12, 31). Later on in Genesis 2, God gave man access to all the trees in the garden (v.16), except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (v.17). So, again we must establish that what makes that tree forbidden for man was not an inherent evil in the tree, but the instruction that God gave.

Although Adam was the head of government of the earthly realm, he was under the authority of Jehovah. Hence, he was only God’s delegate on planet earth and he was to live and rule by God’s principles.

But there was another tree at the centre of the garden, and it was never forbidden for Adam. And it is mindboggling that they never ate of that tree. The tree of life was the most important tree there but it was despised, bypassed, ignored and may we say, rejected. Yet, the very tree that was declared out of bounds by God, was the tree that attracted man’s attention. Of course, we must take into account the activity of the tempter, who brought that tree into the spotlight for man, and by deceiving Eve to lust after it and disobey God’s instruction, he brought man (male and female) into darkness. 

The tree of life is the tree of God’s life (GRACE) and it is available to all who will seek it. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is the tree of God’s law (WORKS) at work in man. And it is as if these two trees are a divine picture of how God and man should be one, living together and working together. It is also a picture of how grace and works are complementary. However, there is an order: the tree of life first and then the tree of knowledge of good and evil (please note the order in Genesis 2:9). God’s life in us will definitely produce God’s righteous works within and through us (Philippians 2:12b-13, Ephesians 2:10, James 2:17-18, 20, 26). Since, the tree of life was first mentioned in that scripture, it means it was God’s priority for man. It was the tree that he ought to have eaten and become forever perfect in God. But since he ate the other one, he had to be temporarily banished from the garden because he had changed the order.

Having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it was not possible for man to have the life of God. He had to wait for his redemption. And until the Son of God became the Son of Man, who lived sinlessly and freely gave himself in death and was raised powefully by the Holy Spirit, we who were made in the likeness of Adam, through his disobedience, could not become the sons of God again (Genesis 5:3, John 1:12, Romans 5:12, 14, 19).

The proper place for the second tree

Adam and Eve had only one source of life when it all began, and it was God Himself. The issue for them was not what they knew and did but of whom they were. Because they were produced in the very image and likeness of Elohim, there was not a single problem, mistake or wrongdoing. Remember Adam named all the animals and there was nothing for God to correct (Genesis 2:19-20a). The life of Him, of Whom they were, guaranteed their actions. Everything done could be taken as done by God Himself. Yet, because man was made by God a volitional being, who has freewill, he had to be brought to the point to choose life or reject it. Hence, the two trees in the middle of the garden. 

Remember that God Himself created this tree of knowledge of good and evil and we must agree that it is good. But God says to not eat from it. Without trying to spiritualize anything, knowledge of good and evil also come across as one thing, “discernment”, a derivative of law. Now, let’s look at this scenario critically, so we can understand the mind of God for us. Although discernment is a work of God, in God’s divine order, it is not the first thing you need, and it is certainly not the most important thing you need. 

It is a good tree no doubt but it is not the best (first) one for you. Even when you have discerned what is right, it doesn’t guarantee your commitment to it. It doesn’t mean you will do it. So, we imagine that a gift of God could be in operation and that gift itself cannot make us choose the right course of action. This is also embodied in the ten commandments that God gave the children of Israel at Sinai. With the law, we can say they had discernment, but that in itself didn’t guarantee their obedience. That was why the law failed. They didn’t draw near to God to receive His life, to have His law written on their hearts, which is grace. The only righteous purpose the law served was to unequivocally confirm to our conscience that we were all sinners (Romans 7:12-13, 3:19-20, Galatians 3:22a). It was not God’s way of making men righteous.

This is why we must solemnly agree with the word of God that “knowing” is not the same as “living”. Knowledge is one thing, life is another. However, whosoever has the life of God will eventually walk in discernment…will not be culpable by the law of God. You see! Life first, then knowledge. If the knowledge we have is as a result of life, we will not have hidden compromises in our lives. But when it is knowledge itself we are fascinated with, even the knowledge of the word of God, because it is not God’s order, we will not be able to live according to what we are learning.

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  2 Timothy 3:7

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. [40] And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:39-40

Apart from the inflow of (new) life at salvation, the entire Christian experience must be driven by “life” first, and then “knowledge”. To change the order is to put ourselves into trouble. It is disastrous! The truth is, within this life, there is all the knowledge we need to have (1 Corinthians 1:30, Colossians 2:3). But in this case it will not be knowledge merely in the head, it will be knowledge at work in the heart. Jesus was showing the Pharisees in the scripture above that although they had knowledge, they didn’t have (His) life. And it was because they didn’t come to Him first; they went for knowledge instead. 

Today, you also have a choice to make: there are two trees at the heart of seeking God; tree of life and tree of knowledge of good and evil. The first represents grace; the second speaks of the law. Both are good, but there is a divine order. If you follow the order, it will be a relationship, a fellowship, if you don’t, it will be a religion, a dead doctrine. 

When you choose the second, the law, it brings weakness and condemnation; but when you choose the first, grace, it brings strength and justification. And then when you partake of the second tree (of knowledge of good and evil), after enjoying the tree of life, it will be healthy and approved of God, because it will not merely be the law anymore, it will be experienced as Truth (John 14:6). 

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Cf: John 1:14, Colossians 1:6

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credits: lifehopeandtruth, YouTube, wideawakechristian

The Way of the Cross

Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Two aspects of the cross

When the cross goes to work in a life, it brings to death ALL that belongs to Adam because we were in Christ when He died. And that is the first part of the work since there are two sides to the cross. We were “dead” with Him (2 Timothy 2:11, Romans 6:8). We “were” crucified with Him (Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20). All past tense. Hence, we must reckon ourselves dead to ALL that belongs to Adam, the life we were born with. This death has been achieved by the LORD Jesus already; when we come to believe, we only need to reckon it, put it into account, make it the working principle in our own lives, that we are indeed dead to sin (Romans 6:11).

This is a function of your will in alliance with God’s will. By this “knowing”, you are laying down a working principle for your mind to be subject to the renewal that had begun in your spirit (Romans 6:6). 

The second aspect is the reason why you must take up your cross and follow Jesus. “…much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life“. While what it takes for us to be translated from the kingdom of darkness into light was accomplished by the death of the LORD Jesus, having being reconciled, there is a saving work that continues to occur in us as we allow Him to live in us. The point here is this: in order to experience His life, we have to allow the cross to keep working inside us, that is, in our souls

 Psalm 19:7 “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”

What if we refuse this saving work of the cross?

There will be no experience of life. Conversion stands on two legs: reconciliation and salvation. The first deals with a restoration of relationship with God while the second deals with the actual experience of Christ life, which brings fellowship (James 5:19-20). If we are restored and we are not in fellowship with God, that is, we are not abiding in Him, then there can only be a cutting away (John 15:2, 6; Ephesians 5:1-5, Galatians 5:19-21). 

The first diagram below shows man before he is reconciled to God, and the second one shows man reconciled and saved, the two legs of conversion. The spirit is not only alive (Ephesians 2:1) but has recovered its rule over the soul (Ephesians 4:23-24). Hence, the reality within the spirit becomes the legislative principle of the soul. Christ is no more obscured but clearly seen in the personality by all. 

What does the cross do?

The cross is not just a place we come to at the moment of salvation; it is the evidence we must keep carrying about to confirm our loss of the adamic life, on one side, and show forth our gain of Christ life, on the other. All of this occurs as we subordinate our will, which is in the realm of the soul (inward parts), to God’s will, which is in the realm of the spirit (hidden  part). 

Psalm 51:6 “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”

The hidden part: your spirit

According to Psalm 51:6, the Holy Spirit will make you to know wisdom, that is, God’s will, in your hidden part – your own spirit. When the cross has worked, and the spirit that was once dead is now brought to life, you cannot now say you don’t know God’s will. Proverbs 2:7 says “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous…” You may be wondering, so where is this wisdom (God’s will)? He has lodged it in your spirit.

Your spirit is the hidden part, where God dwells; and it is from there He works out His government through your soul (mind) into your whole being. Your soul is the inward parts. It is inward but not hidden, you see! It is not hidden because you have built a reputation for yourself, either good or bad, based on the condition of your soul. Your soul is the seat of your willpower, emotions, intelligence, mind, motivation and conscience.

The inward parts: your soul

But there is a problem! The first part of that Psalm 51:6 says, “…thou desirest truth in the inward parts”. What is that? When truth is not the governing principle of the inward parts, which is your soul, the will of God within your spirit will be frustrated. That is why the work of grace to be done when we have entered into new life is the reprogramming of our inward parts. There are views, traditions, cultures, principles, policies etc that are inherently antagonistic of Christ and the kingdom of God. These have become a part of your subconscious way of acting and reacting, that means, it has penetrated so deep that it doesn’t require your active thinking to work anymore. It is now on autopilot! And it makes it look like you are not born again!

The truth in the inward parts that God desires is Christ Himself. Therefore, no matter what the ruling is in your spirit about a matter, an unrenewed mind (soul) will only make it to be a ruling in principle but not in practise. It is like what Paul was describing in Romans 7. You know the ruling of God in your spirit, that is, the will of God, but there is another (different) principle at work, which has been working in you before your new birth experience, and has dominated your thinking to the point that you cannot do God’s will. Let’s say it in a different way: you consciously know God’s will (in your spirit) but you always act unconsciously on the opposite (which is your own will) that is in your mind. 

Being a believer only proofs one thing; you have been born! Having been born, we must now live for Him who redeemed us.

This is the reason why you cannot just remain a mere believer, you must proceed to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. You have allowed one side of the cross to affect you, when you were reconciled to God; now, you need to allow the other side of the cross to work, or else you will frustrate the grace of God (Hebrews 12:15, 2 Corinthians 6:1). Our spirits were reborn as we believed in the LORD Jesus Christ, yet our minds will remain the same until we renew it by exchanging our old views, norms, traditions, principles for that of the kingdom of God (Matthew chapters 5-7)

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The cross is the link between the renewed mind and the spirit

Ephesians 4:23 “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;”

Whereas the mind seems to be in charge of our lives when we were yet ignorant, the cross actually works to change that order as we discover God’s mind. The cross, being a place where God’s will was executed, has a mandate to restore God’s order in every life that allows it. The way the mind is described here shows a mind that is now been controlled by the spirit, your spirit.

Naturally, your mind will like to stand alone and that is how it unwittingly fulfills the agenda of the devil, since it has not been subjected to your spirit, where God’s government resides in you (1 Corinthians 3:16). But when you (your spirit) present your body as a living sacrifice, because your mind is within your body, it is included in that transaction. This is a change of government, which leads to a change of principles, policies and practices. 

A “living sacrifice” is a paradox because it is made up of two opposites and yet true. A sacrifice always speaks of death, how then can it be “living” anymore? This is a beautiful description of the cross and its two aspects; while self is dead in us, Christ is now alive.

This presentation of your body to God after been born again is what applies the cross in the most forcible way to your soul (mind) and reverses the order of government from soul leading the spirit and body to spirit leading the soul and body. It is this that makes you henceforth to “Walk in the spirit”, so that you do not fulfill the lust of the flesh (the old ways of thinking and living). Galatians 5:16.

The cross now becomes the link between the mind (soul) and the spirit, such that your thoughts, speeches, actions, interactions, and entire experience (representing the outworking of the willpower, emotions, intelligence, mind, motivation and conscience) are brought under the righteous rule of your recreated spirit.

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

This is the divine order that the cross restores into your life. Your recreated spirit is where God dwells and He works out the “increase of His government” (Isaiah 9:6) throughout your soul until all members of your body becomes instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13).

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 Picture credits: Ray Stedman, Emily Tomko, ChristianBlessing, Catholicbb dot org

Take up your cross

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Everybody in the world is need of salvation. The substitutionary death of Christ is for as many as will come to Him. If the entire world comes, there is more than enough grace to save them; yet, some choose to come while others refuse. Now, for those who come, they find a preliminary rest, and they must now be tutored in the comprehensive benefits of redemption (Ephesians 1-3, Colossians 1-2) in order to fully enter into their rest. This will lead to a lot of celebration.

God has made all things ready; He has only asked me to come and feast (Luke 14:16-17). 

This is where the problem usually begins in the Christan life. Although many realize the need to be forgiven, and they do come to Christ and they are saved, yet they eventually turn down the offer of the actual feast they were invited to. Many rejoice at the discovery of what Christ has done and who we are now in Christ, but to settle down into their inheritance and feast on Christ, which is a different matter entirely, is dismissed. That is both an unfortunate and unpleasant irony! To be saved is only the beginning. You need to proceed to “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

The first stage of our Christian experience is a period of celebration, where we just rejoice and stand in amazement at what God has done for us in Christ. But there is a second stage! It is a time of consecration, where we now enter into the responsibilities of our elevated position in Christ. This does not end the celebration, it only makes it richer. You are not only a child of God’s royal family anymore, you are now becoming a son (because of your Christ likeness), in whom God is well pleased. Galatians 4:1-6, Isaiah 9:6a, Matthew 3:17

“…let him deny himself…”

The enemy of our souls, who is the prince of this world, knows how to interfere and even frustrate the experience of salvation. And he does this by injecting the false notion that, “as long as you are saved, you don’t really need to feast on Christ… you don’t need to obey the word of God, you can keep living according to your old life, and you will make it to heaven. That is an illusion you need to wake up from.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these…of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things SHALL NOT inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 emphasis ours)

Therefore, the LORD says “…let him deny himself…” That is, you… you yourself must deny your own self. Or else you will listen to these suggestions of the enemy of your soul, who is like “…a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He is ever on duty, looking for ways to deceive you and keep you in a state of deception. The only way to deal with him in this matter is not primarily by binding him. If there is anything to bind at all, it is your self. The scriptures didn’t say to ‘deny the devil’, it says to ‘deny yourself’. SUBMIT YOURSELVES therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). When we submit to God, we are denying ourselves; and that is when we can resist any offer (of sin) from the devil.

Remember that the devil did not suddenly close up his entire evil enterprise because you became a Christian. He continues to refine his ways and methods to see how he can still gain you for himself, in spite of your claim of salvation.

Why deny self?

Self is the “image of God” compromised. Sin entered into the world through Adam, therefore all became sinners (Romans 5:17-19). Through sin, the image of God that we carried at creation has been exchanged for the image of the devil at the fall (Genesis 5:3). This image of the devil in every child of Adam works by exalting your own will over and above the will of God. Hence, the entire experience and exposure you have had in life, in living to please yourself is what we call “self”, which is the devil’s disguised agenda for your life. Please note this: the devil knows that by luring you to live for your self, to prefer your will over God’s, he is confirming before heaven and earth that you actually belong to him. 

Once you deny yourself, the devil has no means of luring you again into his cosmic propaganda. 

“…and take up his cross…”

In Matthew 11, after the invitation to come to receive salvation in verse 28, the LORD then presents the means by which the salvation received is perpetuated according to his plans. Let me note with you that our salvation is meant to be permanent, it was not made to be something that can be lost. Yet, the permanence that God intended depends on knowing His ways and living according to His plans. So we see the LORD introducing the yoke in verse 29. 

Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Remember that there was a promise of rest in verse 28 for those who come, but in the look of things, it is quite clear that if you refuse to “take the yoke of Jesus” so as to learn of Him, the rest that was promised cannot be found. You will actually find rest for your soul when you settle down to feast on Christ (John 6:33-35). The rest is in what you feed on. It’s just like wanting nourishment without actually eating the food you have before you. The rest that Jesus promised, which is an indication of transformation, of the takeover of grace from all self-effort to change, and of walking in the newness of life, is only for those who will “learn of Christ”. 

How do we learn of Him and feast on Him?

Exactly why He says to “take up your cross and follow him” (Luke 9:23)  and “take my yoke upon you” (Matthew 11:29). Let us note that wherever grace meets faith, the cross goes to work, unless we frustrate it by refusing to deny ourselves. Taking up your cross and taking His yoke upon you suggests that this is a matter of your choice. In this case, to take up your cross is to live by the victory of Christ on the cross (John 19:30). Practically speaking, it is to:

1. Disown your will and ways

                  AND

2. Choose God’s will and ways

John 6:38 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”

But, we need to know what the cross is, that is, what it represents:

1. Taking up the cross is like carrying your obituary with you wherever you go. Galatians 2:20, 5:24

2. Taking up the cross is serving the *world* the notice of your death to it, and it’s death to you. Galatians 6:14

3. Taking up the cross is showing the *world* that there is no hope in the flesh, and that it must die. Colossians 3:3, 5

4. It is showing forth the receipt of the “dying of the LORD” that gives you the right to live like Him. 2 Corinthians 4:10

5. It is simply, “not my will, but thine be done”

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

*The world as used here is not the earth, it is a system (gr: kosmos). It is the evil system of satanic government ruling over the mind of unsaved mankind (Ephesians 2:2, John 14:30).

Since the cross was not a place of pleasure but of pain, it means carrying the cross, in a sense, will mean bleeding, going through the pain of not having your own way. Yet there is a joy that comes with it. “…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:3). The cross is one side and it is a side of suffering and pain, but there is another side, which is the resurrection. This is the side of enjoying and pleasure. 

The Cross: The Suffering Side

Philippians 1:29 “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake

Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”

The Resurrection Life: The Enjoying Side

Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

So, taking up your cross to follow Jesus is choosing to share in Christ’s suffering in order that you may share in His glory (Romans 8:17). What is this suffering? When we surrender our will (Luke 9:23), lose our lives (Matthew 16:25) and love the LORD Jesus more than father, mother, children and even ourselves (Luke 14:26), it is suffering. This makes every attempt of our flesh to rise again from the dead, to make us live like those who are not yet saved, to prove abortive. 

What about the yoke?

In agriculture, a yoke is an instrument of gagging two animals (usually oxen) of the same nature together for a higher purpose. One is usually more experienced, while the other is less experienced. Binding their necks together makes the inexperienced one to go along with the experienced one to achieve the higher purpose. That yoke “makes” the inexperienced animal to become like the experienced one. Therefore, the yoke of Jesus is the means of binding and gagging ourselves to Him, so that the direction and character of our lives henceforth is determined by Him, and we only follow

That yoke makes us to walk side by side with the LORD every single day of our lives. That is why without it, we cannot learn of Him. By taking His yoke, we seize to be in the general multitude of people who are admiring Jesus from afar but never following. This yoke is the evidence that we are learning Him, following Him and are becoming like Him. Whether you will take His yoke upon you or not, whether you will take up your cross or not is entirely up to you. Jesus will never force it on you. But it is the only way to find that true rest you are seeking for your soul. 

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credits: Highlands Baptist Church, Pinterest, Pastor’s Postings

The Economy of Grace

Sometime ago in eternity past, a meeting was convened in the heavenlies, and going by the records we have, it was a closed door meeting between the three highest, strongest, wisest and closest persons (Genesis 1:26). The Oneness that exists between these three defies the capacity of language and description. And because language relies on human experience to furnish with terms of definitions and communication, how will it not break down in any attempt to express the most beautiful union that exist, beyond the boundaries of time and space? Words fail us here!

Anyway, Father, Son and Spirit, came into this meeting, not to deliberate in order to arrive at a resolution, rather they came to revisit and then implement a highly classified programme they had previously planned (Ephesians 1:4-5, 9, 11; 3:11, Colossians 1:26, Romans 16:25-26).

Without any angelic input, “…God (all three in one) created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27 (with bracketed explanation). In verses 26 and 28, we see what was freely given to this man (both male and female). Absolute dominion, which is control, regulation and management, of the earth. Basically, man was made a divine representative in charge of implementing God’s agenda on earth. Please note that this man had nothing to contribute to his own creation and he didn’t receive anything at the beginning of his life by labour or as a payment/reward for any work done. It is all of grace!

Elohim (God: Father, Son , Spirit) is so complete in Himself that all that is ever needed by this man was supplied by Him. Even the twenty four elders, having a sense of their own nothingness, and having only received all that appears to be their glory, they bow repeatedly and cast down their crowns (the symbol of their glory) before God (Revelation 4:4,10). We don’t know what we are meddling with whenever we ignore or abandon the grace of God, to deploy our own efforts, either in the continuation of the Christian life or even in the most mundane routines of our lives

“Grace is the divine cure for sin and self” John 8:3-12

Fast forward to Genesis 3

Unfortunately, the first man failed. He set aside the grace of God and fell into an economy of works, *the ability to know good and evil, which was the beginning of the human conscience, and also the ability to experience good in the context of evil and evil in the context of good. Originally, man was made to live by his personal knowledge of God and not particularly by differentiating between good and evil. The former is an economy of grace (all the work is God’s and it only requires positive volition or faith) while the latter is an economy of works.

Having lost the life of God, he could no longer achieve the real intentions of God, and he could not implement or fulfill God’s predetermined programme (Ephesians 2:10, 1:4-5, Romans 8:29-30, Genesis 1:26-28). Whatever he does now, no matter how good it is externally, even if it is purportedly done for God, it is actually done for self. It is done as a result of works, not of grace; as a result of silent calculations in favour of self and not purely of God’s pleasure and purpose. 

* The tree of knowledge of good and evil represents the unrealistic, satanic and carefully disguised policy of cohabitation of good and evil. The fact that we can be good in our own way. That is, the possibility of doing good works without dealing with the inherent evil in us through salvation (Luke 18:18-25). And it is also the permission to do evil to others as long as it will bring us good (Exodus 1:15-16).

Three personalities

In order to gain a divine viewpoint that will lead to your choice of grace over works, let us consider three personalities in the history of eternity. Lucifer, Adam and Christ. We already hinted about Adam earlier in the discussion. We will get back to him shortly!

Enter Lucifer.

Before the world began, which, of course, was before the existence of man, Lucifer was undoubtedly God’s highest and most endowed creature (Ezekiel 28:12-15). Unfortunately, he entertained a thought that totally obscured (despised and rejected) all that God had done for him. In his heart, he longed for what he could do for himself and despised all the gracious things God had done for him (Isaiah 14:12-15). This was the beginning of works, as well as, the introduction of sin.

It is a grave thing to discard God’s grace, which exalts His righteousness, in order to embrace our own works, which exalts self-righteousness (Romans 10:3, Isaiah 64:6). This is a serious matter. Lucifer was instantly sentenced (Ezekiel 28:17b) alongside the angels that joined him in the revolt (Jude 6, Revelation 12:7); and that was the beginning of self-works, the hallmark of Satan’s new kingdom. Lucifer wasted no time to steal the authority of man, as the coordinator of all physical creation, through deceit. And how did he achieve this? He simply reproduced the same dissatisfaction with God’s work (grace) in the woman, which led to unbelief, and then to eating the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 

Enter Adam.

Lucifer had succeeded in deceiving the woman by sifting out any value whatsoever she has for the grace of God, and shifting her focus (which could also be worship) from God to herself (Genesis 3:6). Being fully aware of what had happened and the implications of the same, Adam submitted to the error of works, in false humility, and likewise despised the grace of God.

Enter Christ.

Remember that this is God’s universe and it is only His plan that will eventually be fulfilled, regardless of temporary hitches, reflecting the negative volition of man, you know, man turning down God’s purpose. Man had failed but God’s plan was still on course. There was no need to create another man because the seed of the woman (Christ) will ultimately bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). Christ is the seed of the woman because he was not a direct offspring of Joseph, Mary’s husband-to-be. Mary became pregnant of Him without any “work of man”, again showing the supremacy of God’s economy of grace (Luke 1:34-35). 

His entire life was a testimony against Lucifer, that God’s purpose can never be denied, even if gets delayed. The delay is due to the principle of volition. Whenever a factor involved in the materialization of God’s purpose chooses contrary to God’s will, in this case man, it only excludes him from being a beneficiary, because God will eventually have a Man that will please Him on all counts.

Now, here is a mystery and it is a production of Agape Love: only God could please Himself! Hence the Second Person in the Godhead came as a Man, so that He could fulfill this grand design of God, that man will fully cooperate with God, and at the same time, He became the only means by which all men can reproduce the same extent of faithfulness in their personal lives. 

Hebrews 2:10 KJV

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Lucifer lost his entire position with God because he looked away from what God had done for him and he wanted to do something else for himself. Adam lost his dominion for the same reason, preferring to eat the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the symbol of independence from God and declaring sufficiency apart from the grace of God), and the effects of his lost position remain evident among us. Except those of us who have believed into the Son of God, Jesus Christ (John 3:18, 36).

Enter you and me

Now, we are confronted with the same big question, as it were, as if we were in the Garden of Eden. The two trees are in the midst of the garden, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And we are to choose one, only one. Previously, the instruction was just pointing to what not to eat, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which if we eat, we are sent out of God’s grace into the outer darkness of self-righteousness and self-works. However, today, we now have the instruction pointing not only to the tree to avoid but to the tree to embrace, the tree of life. This instruction comes to us as an introduction and invitation to Jesus Christ.

John 14:6 KJV

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

John 10:10 KJV

“…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Matthew 11:28 KJV

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

In order to enter into God’s economy of grace, we (have to) believe on Him, accept His terms and disdain anything that wants to set us back unto depending on ourselves, instead of Christ. If it is not of faith, it cannot be by grace. Faith, the evidence that we have seized from trusting ourselves and we are now depending on God, is the means by which we enter into all the works that God has done for us

In this economy, no one has more access to God than you do and there is nothing God has done for one in the past, that your journey requires, that He cannot do for you. Although, those who actually exercise their privilege, pressing into this access by the Word of God and prayer, will experience more benefits of divine access like befriending God (Genesis 18:17-19, James 2:23), being certain of God’s will (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:17) and seeking to know Him more (Philippians 3:10). 

This is all of grace, and we dare not credit ourselves with any evidence of growth we have in our lives. Grace is the means by which we enjoy the necessary growth that accompanies salvation. Anyone who despises Grace has despised Christ Himself, and can only struggle to live the new life. Thankfully, God, in mercy, will normally allow us to struggle for a while so that we can see the utter foolishness of trusting ourselves or trying to help Him. Have you learnt to wait on Him, to seize from your own works, in order to experience His abundant life that He gives freely?

LORD, please have mercy on me for neglecting your righteousness and going about to establish my own self-righteousness. I reject the way of Lucifer. I refuse to belittle your work of grace and mercy. I humble myself to walk with you. Henceforth, I dissociate myself from all that is not your grace. I take my place in Christ. Christ is now my life. Grace is now my method. AMEN.

Picture credits: kingdom culture, Bible Pic, Psalm 16:11 ministries

The Personality of the Believer

While predestination establishes the Sovereign end to which a Christian can aspire to and progressively experience in real-time, and priesthood represents our personal responsibility in daily, moment by moment, contact with God; there is something of the peculiarity of a believer that we must take into account, as we seek to live faithfully before the LORD and fruitfully with other members of the LORD’s body.

At the very moment of salvation, the new believer, being grafted into Christ, is specifically fixed into a definite point in the LORD’s body, which, unknown to the new believer, already defines the solution (ministry or service) he represents to the rest of the body, and the role he will be required to play in the days to come. The expression of grace, the combination of gifts, as well as, the scope of his relevance (which is how he is structured to serve) to the rest of us (the LORD’s body) is already established on the very day of salvation. 

1 Corinthians 12:18 (emphasis mine)

“But now hath God SET the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”

Jesus is the Vine

And those of us who have been cut off from the wild olive (saved from sin) and grafted into the Good Olive (alive in Christ) are the branches. (John 15:1-2, 5; Romans 11:24, 1 Corinthians 12:13). The point at which you have been grafted is the SET place for you to blossom, and to serve the rest of us with that which has been kept into your care for us by the Vine. If we will be attentive to the workings of God in and around our lives, we will realize that the way we have been made (constructed) to serve is according to the measure of grace we have received, and where we have been located in the body. 

Differences of administration

This is why some may have a public ministry and others may have a more hidden work that cannot be taken for granted. Even when we seem to be in the spotlight, it largely depends on the hidden routines of our inner fellowship with God, as well as, the hidden work of those fellow members with us of the body of Christ, who may not have been appointed to such an assignment. The brother-preacher depends on the hidden machinery of his own fervent walk with God, as God shows him mercy, and the support he enjoys from his helpmeet, who graciously relives him of several important domestic activities that could have “punctuated” (hindered) his relevance. 

Each person’s part is important and you must choose never to look down on what you have been given. Just know that as little as it may seem to you, the rest of the body depends on it. And you know that, you also depend on others for what you don’t have. God has made it so, in order to ensure that (as important as we may think we are) we remain in fellowship with others, without which we could never have a ministry. This interdependence is the hallmark of Christ-likeness. It keeps us humble. Whenever we are giving, we are reminded that we have already received from others before, and we will yet be required to sit down to receive from others, as we finish our own turn of dispensing. 

As spiritual as you may be, there may be a quiet cloud of uncertainty over your spirit, that may be gradually degenerating into worry, which a very casual brother or sister can give a word of encouragement that easily dispels that cloud. You will notice that there was no struggle on the part of this person to give such an encouragement; it was a natural outflow of his life. That is the ministerial/service component of the life supply of Christ that is at work in him, as a branch on the Vine. 

We are usually in need for an excessively long period of time because we take God’s order for granted. What you need now has a supply in another but if you have despised the need to be in fellowship, you have, by the same token, cut off the appointed “branch” that could have given you the desired supply. And I dare say, you also have a supply that someone needs, and you have kept that person waiting indefinitely! 

Remember, it is that which you have been given, much more than others (that makes you special), that God expects you to dispense regularly to your members (other branches like you on the Vine). Hence, you always have something to give; don’t deprive your members their supply in your life (hands).

1 Corinthians 12:25 

“…there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”

From 1 Corinthians 12:18 above, we see that it is God the Father that does the grafting. He is called the Husbandman in John 15:1. He has SET each one of us into a specific space in the Vine, in Christ, and it is that grafting that determines your setting (the way you have been configured to participate in the continuous distribution of Christ-life in the body). 

Ephesians 4:16

 “Christ has put each part of the church in its right place. Each part helps other parts. This is what is needed to keep the whole body together. In this way, the whole body grows strong in love.” (New Life Version)

“Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (The Living Bible)

Whereas we have all received the same kind of life, Christ-life, and we have the same opportunity to “…grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18), however, the differences of our peculiar situations, the diversities of the Spirit’s workings in our lives and the emphasis that our individual callings impose on us, demands that we accept the personality we have been endowed with.

 Each branch is the same, yet different. The content is the same (Christ-life) but the context is different (grace, gifts and calling). There is no calling or assignment in Christ that can compromise the Christ-life itself. In fact each calling is an expression of grace designed to show the diverse ways the Spirit glorifies Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Know what you have been made to be

In as much as we will not go about coining technical titles for our services within the body, we must know what we have been made to be, by God, to the rest of the body of Christ. The other members of the body depends on the life supply of Christ that comes from the joyful discharge of your grace and gifts, of course, through the platform of your calling. In the same vein, you also have the privilege of receiving the life supply of Christ through their own peculiar grace and gifts.

When we have this continuous give and take relationship at work among God’s people, where we give what we have and receive what we don’t have, we are witnessing the sweet fellowship of the saints. This is one of the reasons why you don’t really want to be like another in the body. There can only be one of his or her type, and there can only be one of your type. However great the ministry of one may be to the rest of us, when we have received of Christ from him and are full, we also have something of Christ to give in return, however little it may seem. 

Recognizing your peculiarity in sobriety

The danger here is that we all are prone to think more highly than we ought to think of ourselves and our relevance to the body. In the light of our predestination to be holy and blameless before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4-5) and our privilege to minister directly to God as priests (Revelation 5:10), all of which are delivered unto us by God’s grace and not by our works, we have the more reasons to be sober about our peculiar placements in Christ. 

We have not received any gift or grace to feel bigger or better than anyone of our brothers and sisters. Even when our calling seems to place us at a position of influence over many, we must remember that we are only giving to all who receive from us that which actually belongs to them. We have not been endowed for ourselves but for others of the household of faith and those whom the LORD will eventually draw unto Himself. 

Finally, your uniqueness is more picturesque (vivid) in the context of others who have been made to be diverse from you. Our relevance is more profound when we are in fellowship with others. This is because they will learn to reserve the portion of service you do well than any other for you, and you should also learn to humbly release your hold on some aspects of service that can actually be done better by others. This is the joy of fellowship. As we each reserve that which we have no natural supply for, and focus on the consistent supply we have, we are giving room for the growth of the body of Christ. Honestly, this is your privilege!

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credit: daily verses, Pinterest, Pinterest, borrowed light, NLT.com

The Priesthood of the Believer

Salvation is by the grace of God. While it is beyond our will, it includes it or else we can have no way of arriving at the goal of our predestination. God has declared His love to us; whether we respond or not, it is now our choice. If predestination is about what God has chosen, then your salvation is about choosing what God has already chosen. We choose God and His purposes when we believe. Believing is what puts us into what God has planned. This is the beginning of our profession of faith (Hebrews 10:23, 4:14).

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called.. ” (Romans 8:30). A calling demands a response. Only those who respond positively to the call to salvation can therefore be called “the called“, who are then justified and those remaining in that state of justification are eventually glorified.

Therefore, day by day, we choose God’s work and ways, as we worship in the temple of our hearts. Before Christ came, we could not think of drawing near to God by ourselves. We would need a prophet like Moses or a priest like Aaron to represent us, albeit annually. But now, in Christ, we do not need such go-betweens anymore. We have been invited into an everlasting covenant with a special relationship with the Trinity. While this may not look like what is widespread among believers today, it remains the truth, if you are willing to settle with God’s word. 

The proof that you believe this is that you will live like that. The actual temple of worship is no longer a place of meeting; it is now your heart. And the Word of God says “Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.” (Proverbs 4:23 CJB). Your heart is the spiritual temple that determines the actual course and the material consequences of your life. And this is the place where the Word of God is planted, as you meditate and pray through Scriptures, to change the way you think in order to change (the direction of) your life (Romans 12:2, Luke 8:11, 15).

A place of meeting is simply a place to fellowship with others (Hebrews 10:25), of which Christ died for and made accepted in the beloved. It is also a place of instruction, where the Word of God is systematically dispensed to achieve “…the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) Also check 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Now, let me ask you a simple question: which of these two places is busy – your heart (being the place in your body where you commune/interact with God) or a physical building that is your place of meeting? 

Where should we have more shouts of praise? Where should we have more supplications and petitions? Where should we have more melodies of joy? That’s right! Your heart! But we see that service times in churches are more busy with these than our hearts when we are not in church. Even though God has declared you a priest (Revelation 1:6, 5:10), you have to actually carry out your priestly service in the temple of your heart (1 Corinthians 3:16). 

Once this truth comes alive in your heart, you will see how difficult it is for the devil to make you a sinner again. You will understand why sin will no longer have dominion over you in Christ (Romans 6:14). It is a very simple matter. God, whose temple you are, will not allow you to be shared with the flesh, the natural man. Think about that! Once you believe, God is committed to make it your material experience.

The flesh refers to the kind of life Adam received through his disobedience, having lost the glory of God, and is now the type of life we are all born with before we come to Jesus. Genesis 1:27, 2:25, 3:7, Psalm 51:5

When you understand that you have been predestinated to be holy and without blame before God in love (Ephesians 1:3-4), it will drive you into your daily priestly service, where you officiate in the temple of your heart. That simply means you are active in the temple, in your inner man, worshipping God, and offering “…the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15).

Since righteousness is your right standing with God, it, thereby, requires you to stand before God daily in the Holy of holies of your heart, as an official of the Heavenly council. This kind of priestly service is what brings you into the obedience of life that is the literal out workings of your predestination by God (Romans 8:29, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1:11). 

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: [11] For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10-11 (emphasis mine)


Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credits: Pinterest, ubdavid.org, agodman.com

The Predestination of the Believer

I find it difficult to accept some (or is it most?) of the things taught among believers today. We discuss issues of predestination only to satisfy our intellectual curiosity, you know, to search out, as it were, the secret things of the LORD which has not been revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29). And a lot of these have turned the body of Christ into fractured parts, that are divided along the lines of every conceivable section of biblical thought, taken too far, and losing it’s complementary position in the midst of other doctrines (teachings) in the entire counsel of God. 

Every doctrine of the word of God is a piece of the puzzle. No one piece is the entire puzzle. Just like no one believer or no one group is the entire body of Christ. The only way to understand God’s word, without creating unnecessary factions in the body, is by putting every single teaching in scriptures, side by side, precept upon precept, fixing the puzzle as it were, in order to arrive at the image of Christ. If most of us believers will do this one thing, we will find more than 80% of our seeming differences resolved, without any extraordinary intervention.

Many of us are holding on to certain interpretations of God’s word that excludes other factors stated in the same scriptures, but which we have willingly chosen to be blind to. 

A candid check

I have a suggestion for you. Can you check what you or your group believe in the light of the rest of scriptures? Is there a clear rebuke from scriptures against the extreme you have taken certain interpretations you have of an aspect of God’s word? Why would you not want to reexamine what you believe? Obviously traditions are very powerful, and people will rather die believing errors than allow the whole counsel of God’s word to put them in order.

Take for instance the issue of predestination. I have wondered why it has always been discussed in the light of Esau and Pharaoh, which creates this nagging doubt in many believers, wondering whether they can ever be sure of their salvation. Yet, in those same scriptures, we see God saying some strong words to every one who believes in Him, which if we simply believe, we will experience the end result of what He said. Here are a few scriptures:

Ephesians 1:4-5 KJV

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: [5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

John 10:28-29 KJV

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [29] My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Romans 8:28-29 KJV

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [29] For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

The case of Esau

You see for yourself that these scriptures are not written for our debates, rather it is written for our understanding, which if we believe, we will receive the result He promised. The question of not been sure we have been predestinated or not really does not arise from these scriptures. Even in Esau’s case, you only need to compare scriptures to see that the result of his life was his choice, as it is with the rest of us. Please compare Genesis 25:22-23 with Romans 9:10-14.

God’s declaration of hatred against Esau happened after the fact. You will see that in Malachi 1:3. The only thing stated in Genesis was the fact that the elder shall serve the younger. And that is not strange as we see in the case of Joseph, who being the youngest after Benjamin, was served by his entire family, not for any wicked reason, but as Joseph himself said, to preserve a posterity (Genesis 45:7). Hence, the fact that God said the older (Esau) will serve the younger (Jacob) doesn’t look like wickedness at all. 

It was merely a matter of function, an office of divine assignment that Jacob was called into, to serve his own generation. Remember that age is not always the yardstick for a higher responsibility in God’s programme. David was the last son of Jesse, forgotten in the fields with the family livestock, yet he was God’s chosen king for Israel. And you know what I mean, while age could mean seniority, it is not always God’s priority for determining who will lead.

What about Pharaoh?

Here is one rule we must always have in mind: while predestination is within God’s province, decision (choice) is given to all of us, to allow every man to freely choose the course of his own life and the end that results as a consequence. I believe, according to God’s word, that God knows the end from the beginning, but that is not a knowledge He shares with anyone (especially as it relates to the eternal fate of man) since it directly violates the condition necessary for man to choose freely.

Yet, we can know how we will end by simply believing His word of promise and obeying it. Those who don’t believe and refuse to obey can also be sure of their end. Hence, it is not a matter of God determining a person to fail such that he has no choice in the matter; rather it is a matter of God equally giving us the opportunity to choose. Please note that ‘whosoever’ in John 3:16, which means anyone, is free to come to Jesus to believe, and scriptures emphatically declares that they shall be saved. In the same vein, anyone is free to refuse the call to salvation, and God’s word is equally clear about the destiny of such a person (John 3:18, 36).

The fact that the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart was an action taken after a period of “longsuffering” (bearing with him in the hope of a change), which marks the giving up of a person “…to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28 KJV). So we see in Romans 9:16-23, two types of vessels, vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy (v. 22-23), which are also called vessels unto dishonour and honour in verse 21. These are the two categories of people that God has determined. The analogy of the potter and the clay in verse 21 again reinforces the idea that we all have a choice in the matter. You are the clay, God is the potter; if you cooperate with Him, you will turn out a vessel of mercy (v.23), and if you don’t, then you have chosen to be “…fitted for destruction” (v.22), a vessel of wrath. 

Romans 9:19-20 KJV

“Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? [20] Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it , Why hast thou made me thus?”

The reason why you can’t question God about the outcome of your life, as it says in verses 19 and 20 above, is that you have been made exactly as you have chosen. Yes, God is sovereign and He knows the end of all things, yet within the scope of our own human understanding, we enter into either of the two possible outcomes (vessel of mercy or wrath) simply by choice. 

By faith, you can become a vessel of mercy like Paul and by unbelief, you can become a vessel of wrath like Pharaoh. Now look at this in Exodus concerning Pharaoh: “And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.” Exodus 10:3 KJV.

Now, let’s be honest, if God determined Pharaoh to be destroyed, why was He asking him this question? Did you know that all the 10 plagues of God’s wrath against Egypt were not just an arbitrary display of power, it was God giving Pharaoh the opportunity to choose what kind of vessel he will become? Even when Pharaoh finally released the Israelites, after the 10th plague – the death of his firstborn son and all first borns in Egypt – he still arose in anger to pursue them to the red sea, where he destroyed himself. So, we see that God gives everyone the opportunity to choose the outcomes of their lives. 

What is your predestination?

If you have come to Jesus, you need to take God’s word seriously, for all its worth. Why should you be clueless about how you will end when He has revealed in His word (unless you don’t know) that He has “… chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). As you can see, the one who is saved already should read and learn that he has been chosen to be holy and blameless. This is God showing you “the good pleasure of his will” for you which if you believe, you are (then) “…predestinated… unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself…” (Ephesians 1:5)

It is your choice! Just as the new birth occurred by faith, the entire Christian life is by faith. That’s why the scriptures say, the just shall live by faith, that is, the one who has been justified and declared righteous will continue in this state of righteousness only by faith. By believing that God has chosen me to be holy and blameless in Christ, that is how I am able to partake of His divine nature, and by that experience I confirm my predestination as a vessel of mercy and honour. 

Once you believe, it will produce the effects mentioned in John 10:28-29 and Romans 8:28-29. Jesus spoke so strongly and it is only for those who believe. What will be the proof of my faith? That which His predestination was designed to produce in me must then be seen by men (Matthew 5:16). 

Matthew 5:16 KJV “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Remember in Ephesians 1:4-5, God’s predestination will produce holiness of life. It is not your works but His own works done beforehand (Ephesians 2:10), which your total trust and rest in the Saviour will make manifest. So the works that God has already done before the foundation of the world actually gets done in our lives as we believe; and those are the good works we do as a result of His new life in us. (Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8, 14, 2 Timothy 3:17, Hebrews 10:24, James 3:13, 1 Peter 2:12). 

If you are still postponing the time of your salvation, the only thing you can be sure of is the outcome related to your current condition of sin, and not a future condition of righteousness. You cannot expect to receive the consequence of a life that you have not yet chosen. So, “…To day if ye will hear his (Jesus’) voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Hebrews 3:15 KJV – parentheses mine). The only time you are sure of choosing heaven is when you have chosen Jesus. He is standing at the very door of your heart now, waiting for you to open to Him (Revelation 3:20). Let’s pray together:

Lord, I am willing to open to you. Please come into my life now and make me whole. I repent and forsake my sin and I receive and embrace your righteousness. Help me to trust you and take you at your words. Let me live henceforth with the certainty that comes with your new life in me. Thank you Lord. In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen. 

Photo credits: seanmungun.files.WordPress, bible-lessons-for-kids.blogspot, Pinterest, 100versebible.WordPress, faithgateway.com, Pinterest, docjsm.org