January 28, 2016
Most people live life from day to day in a worldly fashion. Some acknowledge that God exists but don’t pay much attention to Him or care about pleasing Him. Others, who have a New Age way of thinking, acknowledge a “higher power”, but that isn’t God Almighty. Many Christians work, play, and live like the worldly people around them and rarely question if they are right with God. Then it happens. The abdominal pain is more than a pulled muscle. You have cancer. What now? Many people who have been diagnosed with a serious disease take that as a challenge to “get right with God”. Someone who has been diagnosed with lung cancer may decide to stop smoking thinking that will appease God, or someone with heart problems may change their diet. That’s good but that isn’t getting right with God. We live in a fallen world and disease is a fact of life. Sin is also a part of this life. Every person on earth sins and every sin can be forgiven. Every sin can be forgiven, but only if the sinner truly accepts Christ for salvation. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. If you think “getting in touch with your higher power” is the same as repenting of sin and placing your faith in Jesus Christ, you’re wrong. You need to study God’s word and learn the truth. There is no other way for salvation than through Jesus Christ. “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. There is no salvation in “a higher power”. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ.
When tragedy or disease strikes, people who normally don’t give God much thought will either blame Him or turn to Him. When the crisis passes most people go back to ignoring Him. The days after September 11, 2001, are a prime example. The American people seemed to cry out to God but there was no real commitment to Him. They were looking for a temporary shelter. Some asked “Why did God let this happen”? They blamed God for the tragedy. They forgot, or just didn’t understand, that Satan is working hard to destroy lives and America as a nation has rejected God for many years. Most people want His blessings but don’t want to live so as to please Him. When bad things happen people like to put the blame somewhere. When a mass murder happens they blame the gun. If an earthquake destroys a city and claims many lives it’s called an “act of God”. God did not create the calamities in this life. When God created Adam and Eve they lived in a perfect place…the Garden of Eden. Satanic lies and disobedience caused Adam and Eve to be expelled from God’s Garden and sin has caused calamity ever since. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9. Satan is behind every tragedy in life.
Many people live lives that are opposed to God, but they expect His protection from troubles. God had told the nation of Israel “If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.“2 Chronicles 7:14. Yes, this was directed to Israel, but it is good advice for Christians. After all, Christians are called by His name. We have we dropped the ball. Too many who claim to be Christians don’t live for Christ but honor Satan with worldly attitudes, manner of dress, tattoos, piercings, foul language, relationships, etc. Non-Christians don’t know any better, but those who claim to be Christians should not participate in worldly activities. You may dispute that these things matter, but they do. We cannot “work” to earn our salvation, but our way of life reflects our heart. If you can use God’s name to curse and swear, you don’t honor Him with your words. Do you embrace the homosexual agenda even though you know that God views it as sin? Do you move from one sexual encounter to another even though God is clear about the fact that this is sin? If you claim to be a Christian and embrace sin of any kind then you need to repent of your sin, ask for His forgiveness, and get right with God.
What would happen if every Christian began to honor God in every part of life? We would certainly influence people around us. “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31. Christians can be an example to the people around us. If we are right with God and honor Him in all we do then we just might help a parent or a friend to come to know Jesus. If Christians would vote for Godly men to run this nation then prayer would not be banned from classrooms and sin would not be legalized. If Christians would honor God in every facet of life there would be fewer babies born out of wedlock, abortion would be illegal, divorce statistics would drop, child abuse would be rare, and governments would not legalize sin. If Christians aren’t right with God then how can we lead others to Christ? Christians need to “… humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways…“. We need to honor God in all we do.
Don’t honor God for what you want to get out of it. In other words, don’t think “If I will stop ___ then God will do ___ for me”. Wrong. Jesus has already done the most wonderful thing for you that only He could do. He shed His blood to purchase your salvation. We can’t imagine what this cost Him. Jesus is God, yet He became human. He knew what He would face when He entered His creation, but He chose to suffer for us and shed His blood for our salvation. Shouldn’t we who call ourselves Christians honor Him by being a living sacrifice for Him? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. Live for Him who died for you.
How do we “get right with God”? First acknowledge that you are a sinner, repent, and place your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Ask Him to forgive your sin. He will. Then, live for Him. Live your life so that it is pleasing to God. Study His word and pray. Measure your life by what you read in the Bible. God has never changed and His view of sin is different than our view sin. We need to conform to God. Jesus said “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22. Every Christian needs to take an honest look at themselves and pray for God’s help in turning away from sin. People around us who are worldly may laugh and mock, but it is God whom we need to please.
Tragedy will strike you one day. Someone you love will die or you will be stricken with disease. Don’t wait until you’re older or until you have “sown your wild oats” to get right with God. We never know when it will be too late. Think of how many young drivers are killed in automobile accidents or how about that 30 year old man who suddenly dies of a heart attack. If death comes before you have accepted Christ then you have waited too long. Now would be the time to repent of sin and ask Christ for forgiveness. If you have already accepted Christ, then be sure you are right with Him. We cannot do any works to gain or keep salvation, but there are eternal crowns to be earned. What you do on earth and the choices you make will matter for eternity. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.
It may not be illness that takes you by surprise. We are living in the last days that are foretold in the Bible. The Rapture is on the near horizon and could happen at this very moment. The Bible tells us that after Jesus calls His followers Home, life on earth will be nearly unbearable. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.“Matthew 24:21. If you claim to be a Christian but don’t truly follow Christ you need to get right with Him. If His ways don’t matter to you then perhaps you didn’t mean it when you mouthed the words professing your faith. If you are sitting on the fence trying to decide whether or not to accept Him, make a decision for Him now. If you have come outright and rejected Him, then you need to rethink your decision. You don’t want to be left here after the Rapture to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation. God has promised that Christians will not face the wrath of God, but it is up to you to be sure you have truly accepted Christ’s sacrifice.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9. There is no better time than right now to get right with God. Either accept Him as your Saviour or, if you have already done that, start living your life to honor Him.
God bless you all,
Previously published newsletters can be found at Strait and Narrow Ministry Newsletters
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.