Monday, November 22, 2010

Christians…..In Hell? (Part 2 of 2)

The Bible tells us that anyone who partakes of the divine nature will manifest certain characteristics in their lives to some extent.  While no one will manifest these characteristics perfectly, if they have truly partaken of the Divine nature they will manifest them to some degree in an ongoing manner.  For instance:
 
1) The true children of God will look completely and solely to Jesus Christ as the only hope for obtaining forgiveness for and salvation from their sins.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12 See also: 1Timothy 2:5 

2) The true children of God will long to obey Christ.
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says ‘I have come to know Him’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:3-6 See also: John 14:21-24

3) The true children of God will love God’s Word and read God’s Word. This is the necessary implication of wanting to obey Christ, for the commands of Christ are only found in the scriptures.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘if you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  
John 8:31,32 See also: Psalm 119:14-16, 18, 24, 31, 32, 47, 48

4)The true child of God will not use foul or filthy language in any ongoing or consistent manner.
“...the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil. And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you shall be justified and by your words you shall be condemned.”  Matthew 12:33-37
“If any man thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.”  James 1:26 See also: Ephesians 4:29; 5:3,4

5) A true child of God will have a burning passion to talk about Christ, to talk about Scripture and to share the gospel with others.
“...the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart...”  Matthew 12:33
“Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”   Matthew 10:32-33 See also: Matthew 28:19-20, 1 Peter 2:9

6) True Christians will be persecuted to some degree.
“And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  2 Timothy 3:12 See also: 1 Peter 4:12-17; John 15:18-25; 16:1-4

7) A true Christian will be eventually be sorrowful and brokenhearted over the sins he commits and confess them to God.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar and the truth is not in us.”  1 John 1:9, 10 See also: Psalm 32:3-5; Psalm 34:18

8) A true Christian will experience God’s discipline and instruction.
“....for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Hebrew12:4-11 See also: Proverbs 3:11,12

These are some of the things that the Scriptures say will characterize the lives of children of God. But Please do not misunderstand, just trying to add some of these characteristics to your life will not make you a “partaker of the divine nature”; just as hanging apples on an orange tree will not change the nature of the tree.  If you want oranges you must first change the nature of the tree. In much the same way these characteristics will naturally and consequently follow a true, biblical conversion.  And just as a tree does not bring forth fruit in order to live, but rather because it is alive; we will bring forth spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22,23) because we have been “made alive” (Ephesians 2:5).

So do these things characterize your life?  If so, then you have objective, concrete evidence that you have truly been “born again” for “the one who practices righteousness is righteous” (1 John 3:7), and “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest (obvious): whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God” (1 John 3:10).

But let me ask you again, does your life reflect the moral character of God?  If not, or even if you are just not sure, I urge you, dear reader, to go back to the beginning and start anew.  Don't go to hell forever because you are too proud to consider that you might be wrong!  Consider anew the enormity of your sins before an all-knowing God who hates sin (Psalm 5:4-6).  Consider that you have sinned against a holy and righteous God who would be unjust if He did not punish your sins.  Consider that you have sinned against an infinite (limitless) God and now your sins have taken on an infinite character that you as a finite (limited) creature cannot atone for.  And finally, consider Jesus Christ-God in human flesh; a sinless man who could die for man’s sins, and yet one who is God and could pay an infinite price!
 
Though God’s goodness, justice and holiness cannot let our sin go unpunished, God in His kindness, mercy and long suffering has provided a Savoir willing and able to bear our punishment in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died as a substitute for sinners such as you and I and rose from the grave having paid for sin in full!
 
I urge you, dear reader, to flee to that Savior again and again! Surrender to Him! Bow to Him! Love Him! Look to Him! And cling to Him forever!  He alone can forgive your sins. He alone can release you from your guilt. He alone can give you the new nature that we all so desperately need.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
JKB

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