The Uniqueness of Christianity

In Luke 14:16-24, we read the Parable of the great supper, and in verse 14 there is the invitation,  “Come; for all things are now ready”. This simple invitation illustrates the difference between christianity and every other religion, and also the difference between the true biblical gospel and every perversion of it. It highlights for us the absolute uniqueness of true christianity. No other religion can give this invitation without any qualification whatsoever. Other religions  and cults say ‘Do, do, do.’ The true christian gospel says, ‘Done, done, done’!

The seeker, who has been trying to get RightWithGod in every way he can find or think of, is in a miserable state. He may spend years trying  to remove, or alleviate his guilt before God and the fear that goes with, but he is on a search which always hits the buffers. Such a search will supply no rest for his soul. His guilt and stain remains.

What relief, what joy,  what happiness for such a person when they come to know the core truth of the Gospel of Christ. When they truly hear the invitation, “Come, for all things are now ready”, what indescribable happiness!  All good works, good deeds, good service; all penances, all self -sacrificing,  all spiritual and religious efforts, are completely abandoned as grounds for salvation. As one person put it when asked what was it like when you became a christian. He answered, ‘I took all my bad deeds and gathered them all in a heap. Then I took all my good deeds, and put them on the same horrible heap, and I freely received Christ as my Saviour’. He heard the invitation, “Come, for all things are now ready”, he grasped the precious truth, and in a moment he  was truly RightWithGod.

We must not miss the weight of the little word, “now”. The gospel invitation is always, “now”. 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation.” There is no guarantee that the invitation will be there for us tomorrow. Getting  RightWithGod is an urgent matter. There is nothing more urgent in anyone’s life. You see, not only does God have a plan for your life, but Satan also  has a plan for you life. If you are not saved, then Satan looks on you as one of  his ‘projects’, and he redoubles his effort to put his plan into action when you hear the unique invitation of Christianity, “Come, for all things are now ready”, and it catches your imagination. Satan then puts  his favourite strategy into action, namely, making you procrastinate. He whispers  in your ear, ‘Don’t rush, there is plenty of time. There are so many other things in your plans. put this invitation aside for the present, and you can come back to it at a more convenient time’. My friend,  do not listen, there will never be a  convenient time, Satan will ensure that at every point.

Banish him, my friend, and receive this unique invitation, which is the very soul of biblical christianity.

 

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Satan and the Mind

I wish to than all who responded to my last post. I have tried to acknowledge all of them. It there are any that I have not acknowledged, please let me know. I do not know how this WordPress programme really works, and  sometimes  am not sure that my replies are going anywhere. However, that is a side issue at this point.

The main point of contention has been the fact that I gave the  impression that Satan has direct access to the minds of Christians. When one asked if was I suggesting that Satan could work directly on the mind, it pulled me up with a jolt. I certainly do not believe that, but I admit that what I wrote may have been understood that way. I should have been more careful with my words.

In order to clarify matters I once again visited the opening chapters of the Book of Job, which is the clearest and most comprehensive  revelation we have in the scriptures of what goes on in the spiritual world. I came to the clear conclusion, as I read chapters one and two, that when God gives access to Satan, to trouble a believer, Satan always works through means.  Granted that that access was always and only within the limits that God set for him, but the means that He had at his disposal were astounding: the marauding Sabeans, the “fire of God from heaven”, the rapacious Chaldeans and the great wind from the wilderness; and in chapter two the smiting of Job with sore boils from the soles of his foot to the crown of his head. Satan’s aim was to break Job’s trust in God, but it seems he could not do that directly; he had to use means. Surely the same applies to His access to the mind; he uses means to do so, as one of yourselves suggested, he uses lewd images  and such-like. I have read the book of Job, very many times, and I never spotted this before. Brethren, thanks to  you all.

While we are looking at the Book of Job, we might also notice some significant things. Notice that it is not Satan that sets the ball of trial and affliction rolling, but God: chapter 1:8,”Hast thou considered my servant, Job”. Why would God do this?  He did it to allow affliction to come  upon Job in order to His sanctification. It certainly worked, as we read in Chapter 42: 5,6, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of he ear: but now mine eye sees thee. Wherefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”.

Then we see in Chapter 1, verses 9 and 10, Satan’s hatred for Job, even before he was given access.  These words ooze with hatred; but note particularly the words, “Have you not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side”. Satan sees that hedge, not only round Job, but around every believer, and he hates it, because  it frustrates him beyond words. Job himself does not see it, nor do we see God’s hedge round ourselves; but it is very important that we believe it that it is there, and add this picture  to our own understanding of God’s protection of us. This is wonderful: God has put a hedge round each one of us, and  Satan cannot get through it until God gives him access. He spends his existence in  miserable frustration that he  can never do all that he would to the believer.

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Does Satan have Access to our Minds?

This is a very important question for the christian. To answer it we have to go back to the basics of human existence in the fallen state. The most basic thing of all is that God is God. This means that He rules without struggle throughout the universe, in full control of  all His creatures, and  all their actions. Over against this we have Satan, a fallen angel, and his army of obedient demons, who are also fallen angels; there is no provision for their salvation as there is for fallen humans, but they have an important role in the purpose of God, especially in relation to the sanctification of His saved people. His nature is one of total evil, and he is  incapable of changing or restraining his nature. He can be totally depended on to act according to his nature  in all circumstances. This is very important.

The good news is that God controls Satan totally and absolutely. That is why we do not live in a world of uncontrolled evil, but in one of controlled evil. It is good exercise for us to open our daily newspaper and skim through it, and ask ourselves, “Is the picture before me a picture of total evil, or one of controlled evil?”. The evidence speaks for itself. The basic truth is that Satan cannot do anything, except as God allows him.

Now we come to the question, Why does God allow Satan to do anything at all? Answer? Because there is a great work going on in this world. What we call ‘time’ is precious time. This is true for unbeliever and believer. We must be saved in time,  and we must be sanctified in time, except for the final step, when we see Christ. Satan is not involved in our salvation, except to derail it if it were possible, but He is much involved on our sanctification. We are sanctified mainly through trial and affliction. God sometimes, in accordance with His perfect wisdom, gives Satan access to the christian, not as a punishment, but in order to further His purpose of sanctifying His child in preparation for heaven. We would not do it that way,  but God’s ways are not our ways. In all this God sets the limits of what Satan can do. If we read Job, chapters 1 and 2,we see with the utmost clarity that this is the case.

However, sometimes God gives Satan an amazing  amount of freedom, within the limits He Himself sets. Satan cannot  break through these limits, but He will exploit the scope he is given to the maximum, because of His hatred of the christian and all that is good. He cannot act against his nature, but must give that nature its full rein. His compulsively evil nature makes it impossible for him to say, “If  I do that, I am helping forward God’s work, so I will not do it”. He serves God, not in glad obedience, but in the misery of compulsion. That will continue until God has no more use for him. He is then cast into the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20: 10).

Until then, Satan will have access to the christian’s body, mind, property, reputation, marriage, family, business, and so on, as God gives Him access, but not a shred more. God is God.

“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 

 

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The Gospel of Grace

The Gospel of Christ is not a gospel of works, nor a gospel where man takes the initiative and reaches out to God, nor a gospel where God provides the salvation and leaves the matter entirely in mans’s hands. The true gospel is a gospel of grace: a gospel where God takes the initiative, not out of any obligation, but where the motive arises in God Himself. He provides the Saviour,  and calls all men everywhere to repent of  their  sins and receive His gracious provision in giving His beloved Son to pay the penalty for all the sins, past, present and future,  of all who will trust in Christ for  their salvation:  a mutltitude that no man can number.

We have much of this illustrated for us in the  parable of  the man who made the great supper, in Luke 14: 16-24. We all like to get invitations to weddings, anniversary celebrations, etc. Normally these invitations come from family relations and friends, and they are invitaions to join in the celebration of some  special occasion. But there is nothing of this in the parable. All we read is, “a certain man made a great supper, and invited many” (verse 16). No occasion  is mentioned, no indication that the invited were special friends or relations; simply that they were many, and that it was a great supper. This is an excellent illustration of the nature of the gospel: it is a gospel of grace: God preparing, making provision,  and inviting a huge number of people.

The parable also points to man’s responsibility in responding to the gospel invitation. The invitation is simple: come and partake of the provision that I have made. Nothing is said here about dress, or bringing a gift, or a requirement to help.  In fact the opposite is the case: simply, come and partake. The invitation is, “Come, for all things are  now ready”. The  emphasis on “now” is very important, and  rules  out preparing, or dressing up, or bringing anything. In other words, it is ‘Come as you are, and come now’. God’s time is always, now. Later may be too late.

But, my friend, Satan has another plan for your life. It is to make sure that you end up in the eternal torment of Hell with himself. The problem is that Satan is such a wily and cunning operator, that, He hides himself. Without you even knowing that He is there, he gets inside you and diverts you from the urgency of the invitation, “Come for all things are now ready”. He brings up before you all your plans and your dreams, causing you to say, “Yes, I will come, but not until I get past the present phase of my life”. You will notice that this was the nature of the answer given by those who declined the invitation. God’s response is similar to that of the man who made  the great  supper. The invitation goes over to others. ‘None of those invited and who make excuse will taste of my supper.’

 

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Being Late

Yes, my apologies: late again!

I do not like to be late for anything, but circumstances sometimes beat me, as at this present time. Sometimes one’s world goes into orbit, as mine has done recently: but one must keep things in proportion. It is no great disaster when one is late with a blog. However there are matters to do with human existence, where lateness is a most serious matter. I speak, of course, of being RightWithGod. We are by nature enemies of God and bound for eternal misery, and if that is to change it must happen in this life. Once our time in this life comes to an end, there  will be no more opportunity to make our peace with God. This we must do by receiving God’s own provision for sinners in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

In Matthew 25: 1-13, we have the parable of the ten virgins. In those days it was the custom at a marriage that, when the bridegroom arrived for the marriage supper, that a procession was  formed made up of young maidens carrying lamps who would follow the bridegroom into the venue of the marriage feast. It was traditional that the bridegroom would be a bit late, and the maidens would be kept waiting. In this case in the parable, the bridegroom was very late and all ten maidens fell asleep.

At midnight the the announcement was made, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh: go ye out to meet Him”. At this point, the  description of these ten maidens given in verse 2 is becomes clear: there it says, ‘Five of them were wise, and five of them were foolish, the difference being, that though both had their lamps burning, only the wise had a hidden reserve supply of  oil.

This illustrates the difference between those whose religion is only outward, and those whose religion is rooted in the heart.  Those with outward religion depend only on the fading light of their good  works which can be seen by men. Those who have  received Christ, hope in Him and in Him alone for their salvation. He dwells by His Holy Spirit in their hearts , ever living and ever maintaining their witness in the world. They are the truly wise, who receive Christ in this life. They go in with the Bridegroom who is Christ to be with Him forever in perfect blessedness and happiness.

The foolish maidens begin their efforts to get RightWithGod when it is too late. The door has been shut, and their pitiful pleas to gain entry are answered by the Bridegroom from within: “Truly I say unto you,  I know you not”.

Yes the wise maidens slept, as well as the foolish; and true christians  often fall into a spiritual slumber because Christ is taking such  a long time to return. Nevertheless, as long as they have Christ in their hearts, they will go to heaven when He comes.

Being late with a blog is nothing. Leaving preparation for eternity till this life is over and it is too late, is not just foolishness. It is insanity,

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