By Roland W. Keith
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by Him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (I Peter 2:11-15).
Every Christian knows that we have been saved by the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). It has also been made clear that our own efforts with regard to works of the Law, that is the law of Moses, play no part in our salvation. God alone determined to save us and devised a just plan to do so (Titus 3:4). But to what purpose? We know that God’s desire is for all to come to Him that we may have eternal life with Him and avoid eternal damnation. However, is that the sole reason for all that He has done?
There is a reason why God created the universe, why He created living things, why He created one being in His Own image, why He gave that being dominion over an entire planet, why He gave that being free will, and why He chose to redeem him after he fell from grace. There is no singular reason for these things. God took pleasure in the creative process, and He has remained involved in His creation ever since. As the one being who has been made in God’s image and given a measure of His creative impulses, we know what it is like to create something and be pleased with our efforts (Genesis 1: 25, 27). We also know what it feels like to have something we have made become corrupted. And many of us know the painstaking efforts to restore our creation to its original condition (Luke 12:32; Romans 8:20; Ephesians 1:10). We are, after all, imitators of our Father. God is not simply an observer of His creation, but an intimate participant in its total existence (Colossians 1:15-20).
What then of the creature made to reflect the Creator? Is getting into heaven the sole purpose for our existence? Since God had already created heavenly beings, and since he created us as a part of a physical universe, that assertion does not seem logical. As far as we know humanity is unique in God’s creation. A short blog does not permit us to delve into all the reasons why God created us, so today we will concentrate on one. God created us to do good. According to Paul, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Such good works require us to seek God while turning away from worldly pursuits. In his letter to Titus, Paul also wrote, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” (2:12-14).
Jesus spent His entire ministry helping others physically, emotionally, and spiritually (Matthew 15:30; 11:4-5; Acts 10:38). And, according to His example, He expects the same from us, saying, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). In emulating His good deeds through our own we bring glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16; I Peter 2:12).
What are among the requirements for doing good? We must be obedient to those in authority over us (Titus 3:1). We must be devoted to the work; it cannot be an on-again, off-again pursuit (Titus 3:8, 14). Such efforts are profitable to those we help as well as to ourselves. Moreover, a tree that grows to maturity and does not bear fruit is cut down and removed from the orchard as useless (Luke 13:6-9), fit only to be thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:19). However, when we bear fruit as Christ’s followers it not only benefits those in urgent need, it also accomplishes something else. By being model citizens concerned with and involved in the welfare of others it also silences those who would scoff at the followers of Christ out of ignorance (I Peter 2:15).
If a tree that doesn’t bear fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire, what does that say about works? Clearly Paul taught that works do not save (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nonetheless, James wrote, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:14-17, 20, 26).
Are Paul and James at odds? No. The works that are of no consequence are those performed under the Mosaic Law, a merit-based system that could only expose man’s violations of the Law but could not save them. Such works are dead works (Hebrews 6:1; 9:14). On the other hand, we are told that Jesus is the source of salvation for all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). John also tells us that we are children of God if we obey His commandments (I John 5:2). Such obedience requires work on our part. Jesus’ works and those of His apostles compelled those who witnessed them to believe in Jesus (Acts 2:22; John 14:12). While the age of miracles has passed, we continue to do the works of Christ by spreading the gospel and doing the other works that the Father has set before us. Moreover, we will be judged by them (Romans 2:6). Not dead works, that is works of merit under the old Law, but works of faith and obedience under the new law, the law of faith (Romans 3:27), the law of God (Romans 7:22), the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2), or the law of liberty (James 1:25). If we are being obedient our fellow Christians and the world should be able to identify Who we belong to by our works. If those works are not there to be seen, can our faith survive?
Here are some examples of the kinds of work we are to be engaged in as God’s servants (Matthew 28:18-20; James 1:27; Acts 2:35; I Thessalonians 5:14; Galatians 6:1-2; James 5:14-15; Romans 12:13-18; I Timothy 5:9-10; Hebrews 13:2-3, 6; I Timothy 6: 17-20). These are just some of the things we should be concerned with in the church. It is not a merit system, there is not quota, but it is of these things that we build a life of obedience or disobedience, for which we will be judged, even as the seven churches were judged (Revelation 2, 3). We should encourage one another to join in the harvest and stay the course. And when start to slack remember the words of Paul: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” Galatians 6:9-10).
By Roland W. Keith
“Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him” (Proverbs 13:5).
Most of us have doubts from time to time. About our abilities, our health, the world around us, about God, about our salvation. About many things. But it doesn’t have to be that way. King David often failed, he often sinned and felt downcast and troubled. Yet he was a man after God’s own heart and over the years he learned not only how to trust in the LORD, but what trust truly means. As king of Israel God did not make his paths straight, He didn’t prevent David from making mistakes or protect him from the consequences of those mistakes. But He did make him a promise, the same one He has made to all who follow Him. That if we obey Him He will be there for us. He will guide us, shield us from being pushed beyond what we can bear, He will give us the strength and understanding that we need to overcome.
King David wrote, “My steps have held fast to Your paths; my feet have not slipped. I call upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show Your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at Your right hand” (Psalm 17:5-7) . David trusted God to sustain him against his enemies and times of trouble (Psalm 3:3-6). Nonetheless, he understood that death comes to all men, and even innocent and faithful people can die tragic deaths. He would have been well aware of the accounts of the babies Pharaoh killed, Samson and Able to name a few. Today we can add to that list— the children of Bethlehem, Jesus, John the Baptist, Stephen, James, and the traditional accounts of how many of the apostles died.
We can understand then that the trust we have in the LORD does not guarantee us a life of ease or a peaceful death. It is founded on much greater things than those. In Psalm 34:22 we read: “The LORD redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.” Yes, God will always be with us and our lives will be the better for it. But what does that mean? It means we will be better people, equipped to deal with life’s troubles and temptations. We will grow not only wiser but spiritually and mentally stronger. And we will be better prepared to meet and accept life’s bounty and poverty with equal disinterest. It also means that we understand God’s endgame. Not to give us a life of ease and luxury here on earth, but to make us strong, obedient, productive members of His kingdom who will one day spend eternity with Him. We do not trust in God necessarily to deliver us from physical death, though He may choose to deliver us again and again, but we trust Him ultimately to raise us up from our physical death to spiritual life (II Corinthians 1:8-10).
The Christian knows that our help in all of life’s trials comes from the Lord, so long as we trust in Him (Psalm 121:1-3; Psalm 125: 1-4). As the Psalmist wrote, “The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him” (Psalm 37:39-40). When we truly put our hope and faith in Him, confident in His promises, God blesses us (Jeremiah 17:7; Proverbs 16:20). When hard times come, we are not afraid, nor do we despair, knowing that in the end we will triumph in Him (Proverbs 16:20; Psalm 112:7-8).
God is always there to sustain us and lead us home, no matter how dire the situation, as we read in Psalm 46:1-7: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters His voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.” When we are afraid, we can put our hope in Him with unwavering confidence, as David wrote, “I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4; see also Psalm 56:11-13; Psalm 118:6-8).
When we humble ourselves before the LORD, He will be there to raise us up (I Peter 5:6). God knows our hearts, and, as Paul told the Romans, “all things work together for good” for those who are called by the LORD (Romans 8:27-29). However, as Christians it is important to remember that for us “all things” encompasses all the good and bad we experience and how we use them to achieve the long-game in God’s plan— that which, over many years, brings us to the gates of heaven. Peter alluded to this when he wrote, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled” (I Peter 3:13-14). As one who had suffered for the Lord, Peter was thoroughly acquainted with suffering for righteousness sake, knowing of what he spoke.
None of us have a crystal ball (at least not one that actually works). The best that we can do is to live our lives in obedience to God’s word. To do that we must be well studied in the word and determined to incorporate its wisdom and guidance into our lives. It will also help to be aware of what is going on in the world, particularly regarding the church. It is easy to feel comfortable in the confines of our homes here in America. However, it is not the same in other parts of the world. Moreover, recent events in both the public and political arenas here in the states indicate that our security even here is waning. How prepared are we to trust in the LORD? Are we ready to say, as Paul did, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6). Are we determined to heed Christ’s words to the faithful in Smyrna, when John wrote to them: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Remember it was Jesus who told His followers, “I tell you, My friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you Whom to fear: fear Him who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5). Trusting in the LORD means more than just looking forward to all the promises of good He has made to us. It also means trusting in His warnings about the judgment. If the promise of heaven isn’t motivation enough then let hell motivate you as well. I once heard someone opine, “I know for sure I don’t want to go to hell, Texas is hot enough.” Growing up in West Texas I understand exactly what they meant, but how serious were they? All joking aside, heaven and hell is as serious a conversation as we can have. The greatest command is to love God with everything we have. Do we love Him enough to want to obey His every command? Do we love Him enough to want to spend eternity with Him? And, secondarily do we love ourselves enough to want to secure our eternal welfare as opposed to earthly gain?
If we have our priorities straight then we will put our love and trust in the LORD, and be able to join with Paul in saying, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, Who was raised—Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39.
By Roland W. Keith
Have you ever watched a small child imitating one of their parents? One raises his spoon, the other raises his spoon. One brushes her hair back, the other brushes her hair back. One puts his boot up on the rail, the other struggles to get his leg high enough to get his boot up there too. Children imitate their parents because parents are their role models. The child loves his parents, admires them, wants to please them, wants to be like them— in everything. Jesus once said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:17). As Christians, no matter what our age, there is a certain child-like quality we must have. Even as we grow in wisdom, we must maintain our innocence, as Paul wrote, “I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Romans 16:19). And, as a child of God, we should imitate our Father and His First Born.
In his first letter Peter told his readers, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps” (I Peter 2:21). Jesus, Himself said, “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:15). He is the first and greatest example of how we can please our heavenly Father. We are the disciples, He is the teacher, we are the servants, He is the Master (Matthew 10:25). When we heed His words, we act in the wisdom of His teachings, when we ignore His teachings or rebel against them, we act the fool, to our own detriment (Matthew 7:24, 26). To Paul our desire to emulate Jesus should be unbounded, even by death (Philippians 3:10).
Paul used himself as an example for those he taught writing, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1). Along with himself he also used his fellow evangelists, as examples of how to follow Christ, writing, “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything” (I Thessalonians 1:6-8; II Thessalonians 3:7, 9). His point here should not be lost on us. It doesn’t take an apostle to take up the mantle of Christ to show others how to follow in the footsteps of our Savior. As we grow in Christ each of us should become a pattern for the next generation; if we don’t many of them will end up turning away from the truth.
Christ and His apostles are our examples in word and deed (I Timothy 1:16; Acts 5:41-42). In like manner, teachers are our examples, our church leaders are examples (Hebrews 13:7), and each one of us becomes a proper exemplar when we act in obedience to God’s word (Philippians 3:17). It is our responsibility, therefore it should be our goal to set the pattern for one another, for new converts, for the children in our congregations, for our friends, our coworkers, and for our communities. It is not enough to simply point to a Bible and say, “look in there.” We are the living bricks of God’s holy temple (I Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 2:19-22). We are a holy nation of people chosen to proclaim the excellencies of God and His Messiah (I Peter 2:9). One of the most effective ways to declare God’s truth is by exhibiting it in our own lives.
As James noted it is by being “doers of the word, and not hearers only,” that we prove that God’s word has been effectively planted in us, thereby demonstrating to others the power it has in the lives of those who trust in it (James 1:21-22). To deceive ourselves in to thinking we are being obedient to God when we are not doers of His word is to be false in our religion, leading to dire consequences.
So far, we have been looking at the positive examples in the New Testament and how to act in accordance with them. But the Bible is full of bad examples that were recorded for our admonishment as well. The Israelites were overthrown in the desert for refusing to trust in God (I Corinthians 10:5-6). First century Jews refused the truth out of jealousy (Mark 15:8-15; Acts 17:1-6). The story of Sodom and Gomorrah demonstrates the fates of those who engage in unbridled sin (Jude 1:7). Paul made clear to the Thessalonians what the fate of those who reject God and His word is when he wrote, “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might” (II Thessalonians 1:8-9).
Which examples we follow is up to us. The early Christians were devoted to God’s teachings and to fellowship, the breaking of bread, and to prayer (Acts 2:41-42). Are we? They sought peace and mutual upbuilding (Romans 14:17-19). They sounded the word forth into the world of their day (I Thessalonians 1:8). Are we spreading the word? So active were they that their faith was made known throughout the ancient world (Romans 1:8). No greater compliment can be paid to a congregation of God’s people than to say that they are effectively engaged in taking God’s word to the lost of the world. Not that the work will always be easy. Persecution, even in severe forms, is a reality for many of the faithful around the world today, just as it was for the early church.
James encouraged his readers to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3). Centuries before, the psalmist had written, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71). Looking for the silver lining when faced with oppression due to our faith can be a hard thing to do. But we must find a way to do it. Not for our own sakes alone, but for those who look to us for strength and guidance. We are not alone in the struggle. We have one another, and we have the Lord to strengthen and light the way for us. Nonetheless, it is good for us to count the cost of being a Christian (Luke 14:26-33). It is good for us to prepare ourselves for rejection from the world, and the possibility of discrimination against us because of our faith. As Paul told Timothy, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Timothy 3:12-13).
In the western world today the forces aligning against God’s kingdom and its people are increasing. It is not a far-fetched warning to say that if you have not experienced persecution for your faith the day may soon come when you will. When it happens what will you do? James encouraged his readers to emulate the suffering and patience of the prophets of old, encouraging them to remain steadfast (James 5:10-11). John reminded his readers to imitate the good, and not evil (III John 1:11). One thing is for certain— there is strength in brotherhood. We do not have to fight the battle or endure the attacks of the wicked one alone. Though what we ultimately decide to do is a decision that each of us will make for himself, we do not have to be isolated when we make that decision.
One way we can follow the example of the early church is to forsake not the assembling of the saints (Hebrews 10:25). We can temper the resolve of our faith with consistently studying God’s word, with an active prayer life, and fellowshipping regularly with like-minded believers. And finally, we can follow our Lord. As Paul told the Hebrews: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:1-4).
In the end to imitate Christ is to consider what He endured for us, and to follow Him wherever it may lead us, trusting in God’s promises.
By Roland W. Keith
Can one fall from grace? Someone once explained to me that if a person dies unsaved, they never really were in a state of grace or truly saved to begin with. That’s like saying because I’m not currently in the Navy I never was a sailor to begin with. But, in fact I spent many years serving our country in the Navy, just as there are some people who spend many years in faithful service to the Lord with their name written in the book of life only to have it blotted out in the end because they turn their backs on the Lord at some point. Peter wrote, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment… then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment (II Peter 2:4, 9). God knows how to rescue us and secure our salvation. That is true. But the fallen angels’ positions in heaven were secured by God’s might as well; heaven’s armies have never been defeated nor ever shall be. Yet there are angels who have been cast into hell because they turned away from the surety of God to pursue something else.
Jude wrote, “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:5-6). The Israelites were saved, only to perish outside of the land they had been promised because of their unbelief. We must understand, however, that this unbelief spoken of was not atheistic. They believed in God. They were daily witnesses to His might and existence, from their rescue in the land of Egypt to the cloud-by-day and pillar of fire-by-night, and from their daily rations of manna to God’s rumblings on the mountain. Their unbelief was a lack of trust that God would deliver, even though He always had. The angels on the other hand already had a proper place in heaven and chose to give it up in rebellion. Let us learn from these lessons. We always have free will, both before and after our coming to the Lord. Therefore, choosing to follow the Lord is a perpetual choice. We choose to follow every day. Sadly, at some point a person will occasionally decide to walk away from his salvation (II Timothy 4:10).
According to Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, two men, Hymenaeus and Alexander, had made shipwreck of their faith (I Timothy 1:18-20). Paul explained that “I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” This indicates that he had a hope that they would return to the Lord, but there was no guarantee. As we all know in a shipwreck while many may be saved, many more may perish. Simon the sorcerer is another man whose salvation was on the brink. Many have claimed that Simon was not saved, but if that was so then Peter’s response to his impertinence is very odd. Peter did not accuse him of falsity or advise him to seek true faith, rather he instructed him to “Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.” Simon was told to repent of his sin, to which he it seems quite sincerely beseeched Peter to “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me” (Acts 18: 9-24).
Perhaps no verses more clearly illustrate the need for us to safeguard our salvation than Galatians 5:4-7. Writing to members of the church Paul warns them: “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” We cannot fall away from something we do not possess. These were people under grace in danger of throwing it away by returning to the Law. There are many warnings against falling away or reverting to sin in the Bible for those already in the kingdom (Matthew 13:37-43; I Corinthians 10:1-13). Once such caution was given by Paul when he wrote: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (I Timothy 4:1-2).
Another such caution was given by Peter: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire”” (II Peter 2:20-22; Hebrews 3:13).
The possibility of falling away is a very real concern, especially for some within the brotherhood. Therefore, we must work to strengthen one another even as we look to our own salvation (Hebrews 10:25; I Corinthians 9:27; II Peter 1:10). There are many causes that can make us lose heart or turn aside— tribulation or persecution (Matthew 13:20-21), disobedience (Hebrews 3:18-19), love of the world (I John 2:15-17), false teachers (Acts 20:29-30), among other things. So, how can we prevent falling away? First, we can do everything that we can to abide in the Lord and His word (John 15:6; 8:51). We can study His word diligently and learn to apply it to our lives (Acts 17:11; II Timothy 2:15), knowing that within the scriptures is the way of our escape (I Corinthians 10:13). When we falter, we can repent and renew our efforts (Revelation 2:5, 16).
We have to word, we have prayer, we have one another to lean upon. But, more than anything else, we must trust the One Who has given us His promises, as the psalmist wrote, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:1-3). Before departing from them Paul told the Ephesian elders, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). If we remain true to His word and we participate in the blood of Christ then we can put on the armor of God in order to withstand whatever Satan and the world throws at us (I Corinthians 10:16; Ephesians 6:10-18). We can continually increase Christian character by following Peter’s admonition: “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” II Peter 1:5-10; also I Corinthians 16:13).
Lest we tend to get distracted by the cares of life it is important to recall these words from the Lord: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The result of falling away is eternal condemnation (Revelation 2:4-5; II Peter 2:20-2). The result of repenting and turning to God and thereafter remaining in His grace is eternal salvation as Jesus proclaimed in His revelation to John, “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.