Sincere apologies that I have not had much time to write lately. In lieu of that, I share an older post with you today. This post was released in the height of the coronavirus pandemic but I hope it’s words are still very much relevant today. ￼
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/03/23/where-do-you-stand￼/
This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.
Titus 1:1-3 NLT
Having spent a few posts on verse one of this wonderful letter, we now push on to verses two and three. I’ll list the first few posts at the bottom so you can catch up if you have missed any of them.
Paul has been sent to teach the truth about God, and this should lead to people living godly lives. I pointed out that if the teaching we give does not do this, we must review and consider whether we are teaching the truth or full counsel of God’s Word. Likewise, you as a hearer of such teaching, must consider if it is leading you to live a more godly life. We can all cite examples of people who claim to be Christian, and who have sat under so called Christian teaching for years, and yet are as a mean as a snake! Church leaders who stray from the Bible into popular or political sermonettes frequently fall into sin. None of us are perfect, and we will all make mistakes – no question. But the general trend of our Christian lives should be a steady journey into Christ’s likeness.
The general trend of our #Christian lives should be a steady journey into Christ’s likeness. #Bible #Jesus #Christianity
Transforming us into Christ’s likeness, and thus helping us live godly lives is not all that this truth achieves. It also gives us confidence that we have eternal life. Eternal life is not something we will achieve when we get to heaven, and indeed, if we do not have it before we leave this earth, it will be too late. Sin separates us from God, and covers us with guilt and shame. On our own, we have no glimmer of hope to reach the perfection of heaven. We must have a Saviour. Jesus paid the penalty for sin and death, and by accepting what He has done, and letting Him act as our substitute, we get into heaven on His merits and not our own.
If you are being taught a performance-based Gospel, which is no Gospel at all, what that means is you must do x, y and z to get into heaven. This is “the Law.” It means you must fulfil all of its obligations to enter the pearly gates. No one is good enough to do that. Far from giving confidence, it hangs over us like a black cloud and leaves us constantly feeling we are not good enough. And we are not, that’s the point!
Let’s say there were only three laws; x, y and z. For your entire life, you keep x and y perfectly. But on at least one occasion, you broke the z law. Can you get into heaven? Not without paying the penalty for breaking that law. All your life you would worry about that. Your confidence would be shattered.
The true Gospel is not about what you have or haven’t done. It is about what Jesus has achieved!
The true #Gospel is not about what you have or haven’t done. It is about what #Jesus has achieved!
I have confidence in getting into heaven not because I’ve kept all the laws, but because I know Jesus has. I can rely on Him to be my entry pass, as I can’t pay the price for the ticket myself. If it is not about what I have or haven’t done, then there is nothing I can do to change it. When I was a sinner (in nature), no amount of good deeds would get me into heaven. Likewise, now I am saved (in nature), no amount of sin can separate me from God.
The question that immediately springs up is- does that mean we can live however we like, indulging in sin and God will just have to forgive us and let us into heaven? No! It’s an obvious question, but it is based on an incorrect premise!
If we encounter Jesus, and understand all that HE has done for us, then that should not result in us wanting to sin. Instead, it will all the more encourage us to live godly lives. We have no confidence in the flesh, that is in ourselves to get us into heaven, but have full confidence in Jesus. As a result, we want to live to please Him. Grace is a safety net that catches us when we fall, it is not a licence to sin.
Before we know Christ, we sin because it is in our nature to do so. We are led by the flesh, and that wants what it wants. Once we encounter Jesus and put Him in charge of our lives, we are given a new nature. It is no longer in our nature to sin, although the habit of sinfulness still exists meaning we still do things wrong at times. We no longer live a godly life to earn our way into heaven, as that is futile. Instead, we live a godly life because it is our new nature to do so, and because it is the right response to a God who has done so much for us.
If you have no confidence in your eternity, it may be because you are trying to earn your salvation. It is like going to a banquet which is already paid for, and insisting on paying your share of the bill yourself. Instead, stop trying to pay and start enjoying the blessing of Christ. Do good things absolutely, but not to get into heaven, but instead because it is right and what Christ would do.
I do not say this as someone who has it all figured out. I still have something of a works mentality” meaning that I still strive to be “good enough” for God. This is wrong, as I, in and of myself, can never be good enough. Rather than trying to add to Christ’s work with my own pitiful attempts, I should just rest in what He has achieved. Any good that I do in this life is all because He has shown me what good is, and enables me to do it. God gets all of the glory.
How is your confidence? Are you trying to earn your way into God’s good books? Do you need to let go of your own efforts and place yourself fully in Jesus’ hands? You will not regret it!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (ESV) We take another little break from the ATBOB series to think about something I feel is important for us to discuss. The other evening, I caught an episode of…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2018/05/24/one-way/
Over the weekend, I have been sharing this short series on the rich man and Lazarus. Here is the final instalment, and I hope you find it challenging and encouraging.
I hope to return tomorrow with some new material so watch out for that!￼￼￼
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/09/07/the-rich-man-and-lazarus-pt-3/
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.22 “The time came…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/09/03/the-rich-man-and-lazarus-pt-1/
The Bridge of Triumph Chuck Pinson Greetings brethren on this Lord’s Day! Today I am excited to introduce our guest writer, Andy Brown whose blog I would recommend highly. Andy who lives in Essex, England is a father of four lovely girls. He has been faithfully following Jesus for twenty-plus years, and has been a…
— Read on devotionaltreasure.wordpress.com/2021/05/16/i-can-only-imagine/
Pearl of Wisdom #’17 We ought to spend our time here, preparing for there In our society, which is largely anti-God, anti-Christian and promotes evolution, humanism and secularism, it is hardly surprising that people think very little about eternity – life after death. If you take a Christian worldview, then you believe and understand that…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2018/09/24/live-for-eternity-pow17/
Last week I wrote a post called – Precious Faith – which looked at the opening words of Peter’s second letter. Having reminded his readers of his slavery and apostleship, and the like precious faith they share, Peter continues.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT)
Living A Godly Life
In his opening, Peter tells us that we share a faith given to us by God. Likewise here, we see another example of what God has given to us. Namely, everything!
Well, not strictly true… although I once heard a preacher say that this verse does mean just that. That God has given us everything we might want, need or desire. If we were not fallen, sinful creatures, then that might not be so bad.
Peter, however, does not mean literally everything but rather qualifies his words. God, by His power, has given us everything we need for “living a godly life.” God has indeed blessed us richly, and gives us what we need that we might live godly lives. He does not empower us to commit sin, nor to swallow up all we want in selfish greed.
It can be very difficult to be a Christian in today’s world. Some days it feels like we live on a different planet to the rest of the population. We are criticised, laughed at and persecuted, and at times it can feel almost impossible to live in a godly way.
Yet, Peter would encourage us by reminding us of what we have been given – everything! We can do it, because we have what we need. This is not to depend on ourselves to live righteously, but instead to draw on that “divine power” that the Holy Spirit brings. We live godly because we follow Christ, and want to be like Him. We have courage to stand out from the world even if it costs us something.
Verse 3 continues by saying we have received all of thins by coming to know Him – that is, the One who has called us by His marvellous glory and excellence. So, this means that we receive this as we come to know Jesus Christ. It is not received in church attendance, daily devotionals, doing good works (as profitable as those things are), but it is also about knowing Christ.
I am reminded of Paul’s words from Philippians:
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
Philippians 3:8 (NLT)
I have been challenged lately by asking myself how Christlike I am. I often do not feel a whole lot like Him, and as I examine what it means to be like Him, I have to first truly know Him. I challenge you in the same way today; are you Christlike? How well do you know Jesus?
Last time, we thought about the precious faith we share, and now Peter points to precious promises.
And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
2 Peter 1:4 (NLT)
Because of His glory, because of how excellent Christ is, He has bestowed upon us promises as precious as our faith.
These promises allow us to share in Christ’s nature, and that is also what allows us to become Christlike. I hasten to point out that these promises are not given to us because we are good, have earned them or are superior to anyone else; no, they are given to us simply because we know the Lord.
The corruption of the world is what I touched on earlier. We are surrounded by sinfulness, and temptation seems to appear from every direction. How can we Christians escape such wickedness and not be overwhelmed by it? By receiving these very valuable promises, by drawing on Christ and all His strength and abiding in Him (as a branch linked to a vine) we can deny human (sinful) desire and seek the Spirit’s lead.
Practically, what does this all mean?
Put simply, I believe these verses point us back to God’s Word. We find these precious promises in the Bible. We come to know Christ fully as we see Him revealed in Scripture. As we study the Word, it changes us from the inside out and, over time, we become more like the Lord we serve.
Seek out those promises today. Read the Gospels and learn about who Jesus is. As you do so, you will be eternally blessed.
While the phrase is weeping and gnashing of teeth are not entirely encouraging, they are important biblical concepts. this blog post offers some interesting insights into their meaning, and some more general thoughts on this particular parable which I will encourage you to read.
I do not like to share posts too often, as I do not want to weary my readership! But there are some truly amazing writers on WordPress, so do explore for yourselves and find them!
Weddings are awesome, but sometimes full of tension and surprises. To plan a wedding is one of the more complex projects I have been involved with. …