Have you opened your gift yet?
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1: 3,4)
Are you a believer and follower of Jesus Christ? If you are, did you realize that He chose you to be a part of His family even before you were born? He actually chose you before He created the world in which we all live. All who have faith in God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ, can rest confident in the knowledge that their name is written in His Book of Life. He who overcomes will…be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. (Revelation 3:5)
This is called the Doctrine of Predestination. It is very difficult to understand. Indeed, we as humans aren’t able to completely understand it and shouldn’t try. We will understand it fully when we meet God face to face in heaven. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12). It is one of the things we accept and believe by faith. Our God is the great “I AM”. He is the God of past, present and future. He knew each of us before we were born. He knew our name, He saw/sees our life, He was there at our conception and birth and He knew/knows the exact time of our death.
My intent with this writing is not to try to explain, understand or help others understand this doctrine. Rather I want to reinforce to all people that faith and salvation are not dependent on anything we do or don’t do, or on anything we say or don’t say. Faith does not come to us on the basis of any decision we make, or fail to make regarding God and His Son, and the foundation of our faith should not be based on our feelings. We are fickle humans and our feelings change from day to day and from one situation to the next.
Jesus is the cornerstone which supports the foundation on which our faith is built and faith is the life saving rope that attaches us to Him. Faith in Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit through reading, studying and hearing the Word, and also through baptism.
Has anyone ever asked you this question – Have you been saved? One day when I was a young mother and still had small children at home I answered a knock on my door. When I opened the door there were two well dressed and seemingly nice young men at the door who asked me that question. I confidently answered; yes. The next question they asked me was; how do you know that you are saved? – My answer – because Jesus died for me.
I know that I am saved because of what Jesus has done for me and for all people. I am saved because Jesus became human and lived the perfect and sinless life that neither I, nor any other human is able to live. He suffered the punishment all of us deserve for our sin when He suffered and died on the cross and was forsaken by God, His Father. He sacrificed His life for us and conquered death by rising from the dead three days later.
So does that mean that all people are automatically saved? The answer to that question is “No”. All people CAN be saved, but unfortunately some, by their own choosing will not be. Salvation is a free gift offered to all who are connected to Jesus by faith. It is available to everyone but not everyone will take hold of it and open the package to receive its blessings.
It could be compared to getting a gift on your birthday all wrapped in pretty paper with a bow tied around it. Inside the gift is an ipod which would be useful in many ways, but if you leave the package sitting on your desk because it looks pretty and never open it, it will be of no use to you. That’s the way it is with God’s free gift of grace. The word grace means undeserved love. It is the love God has lavished upon undeserving sinners. It is there for all people, but not all people will take hold of the gift and open it to make use of its wonderful blessings. Many times the things we feel are so important in this life get in the way.
Jesus tells us in John 3:16; for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. He died for all people, but many refuse to believe God’s promise of salvation through faith in Him. They choose to reject His promise of life in Jesus name. We are told; Light [Jesus] has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).
The truth is many people choose to reject Jesus because in order to live for Him and serve Him, they would have to give up their sinful lifestyles. They are happy in their gay relationship. They are happy living with that person they are not married to. They want to love God, but they love themselves more and aren’t willing to change. They fear that if they give up the sinful things which seem to make them happy, they will never be happy. Their gift of salvation is like the unopened package sitting on the desk. It is there for them, but they don’t open it and therefore it is of no use to them. We cannot serve God and our sinful nature at the same time. Jesus tells us; No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money (material possessions or self) Matthew 6:24. But for those who love Jesus and put Him first in their lives He says; great is your reward in heaven (Luke 6:23).
If you are one of those people who want to love Jesus, but are afraid that if you give up your sinful lifestyle you will be giving up all hope of happiness, I can say to you with confidence; don’t be afraid! Are you afraid that if you walk away from the affair you are having with another man’s wife or another woman’s husband that you will never be happy? Don’t be afraid! Do you feel that the gay lifestyle is the only way you will find happiness or comfort in this life? Walk away from it and don’t be afraid!
Turn to Jesus. Open His free gift. Pick up your Bible and read about what He has done for you. Move forward with a life in service to Him and your fellowman. The weight of your sin will be lifted from your shoulders. You will feel free to serve God in whatever capacity He sets before you. He will more than make it up to you, if not here on earth, then when you are called to your eternal home in heaven. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6: -21).
Don’t ever look at your past or present life and say to yourself; I can never be good enough for God. None of us are good enough. We are all sinners. Without Jesus we are unfit to stand before a holy God. You are a sinner, but through repentance and prayer you are a forgiven child of God and He will give you the power to change your life. Whatever is in your past is forgiven because of what Jesus did for you. He will give you the power to walk away from that affair. He will give you the power to walk away from that gay lifestyle. He will give you the power and the courage to walk away from that man or woman you are living with but not married to.
Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? If you believe in Jesus and have faith in His promises it most certainly is. Be confident that by faith you are a forgiven child of God. If you have never been baptized, now is a good time to find out more about it. Baptism offers forgiveness and faith, and through it you will become a true member of God’s family. Stay close to God through study of His Word and worship. Jesus says; it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luke 5: 31,32). Don’t leave your gift of grace and salvation wrapped in pretty paper and sitting on the desk. Open it and be confident that God loves you enough to die for you. He will never leave you or forsake you. You are His.
If you, like me, are confident that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, be careful that you don’t fall. Stay connected to Him by studying His word at home. Talk to God daily in prayer. Attend worship services to hear His word preached and taught. Be encouraged by the faith of your fellow Christians. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10: 25)Keep in mind that although you may at times let go of Jesus, He will never let go of you.
As for the doctrine of Predestination – I don’t understand it, but who has understood the mind of the Lord or instructed him as his counselor? (Isaiah 40:13). I believe it by faith because God tells me it is so. I trust in His almighty power and believe His promises. In Him there is hope for the future. I know that this life is not the end. I know that He loves me with a perfect love. I believe and trust that I was chosen by Him before the beginning of time to be a beloved member of His family and to someday live with Him in eternity.
This life is your time of grace. It is the only chance you will get to open the pretty package and make use of God’s wonderful gift of salvation. Life is short and it is fragile. It can be taken from you in a moment – in the blink of an eye. Don’t put God off until a later time. Reach out for Him now through His Word. Make sure your name is written in The Lamb’s Book of Life. Once you are called from this earth, there will be no turning back.
If you would like to learn more about Jesus – His life and what He did for all people, go to www.whataboutjesus.com. Feel free to email any questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to answer them and if I can’t, I will find someone who can.