Pull Out All The Stops and Let Faith Be Your Guide

For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.—Colossians 2:5

Christians generally associate faith with when they received the Lord as their Savior and rightly so. By believing in Christ, we enter into a relationship with Him. But that’s not the end—after our initial decision comes a lifetime of walking with Him.

The word walk is used to describe behavior and conduct. We may mistakenly conclude that after salvation, the Christian life is all about doing things for the Lord. Colossians 2:5-7 clearly state that we walk with Christ in the same way we received Him—by faith. This means we place our trust in Him for every circumstance of life.

Remember, God does not grade our daily life and performance on a salvation scale. He looks at one thing, as I’ve said. He’s looking at our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to walk with Him daily. Pull out all the stops and let faith be your guide.

“Will the Holy Spirit Ever Leave a Believer?”

Simply put, no, the Holy Spirit will never leave a true believer. This is revealed in many different passages in the New Testament. For example, Romans 8:9 tells us, “…if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” This verse very clearly states that if someone does not have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, then that person is not saved. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit were to leave a believer, that person would have lost the saving relationship with Christ. Yet this is contrary to what the Bible teaches about the eternal security of Christians. Another verse that speaks to the permanence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence in the life of believers is John 14:16. Here Jesus states that the Father will give another Helper “to be with you forever.”

The fact that the Holy Spirit will never leave a believer is also seen in Ephesians 1:13-14 where believers are said to be “sealed” with the Holy Spirit, “who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” The picture of being sealed with the Spirit is one of ownership and possession. God has promised eternal life to all who believe in Christ, and as a guarantee that He will keep His promise, He has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer until the day of redemption. Similar to making a down payment on a car or a house, God has provided all believers with a down payment on their future relationship with Him by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell them. The fact that all believers are sealed with the Spirit is also seen in 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 4:30.

Beginning on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit began permanently indwelling believers (Acts 2). The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of God’s promise to always be with us and never forsake us.

While the Holy Spirit will never leave a believer, it is possible for our sin to “quench the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30). Sin always has consequences in our relationship with God. While our relationship with God is secure in Christ, unconfessed sin in our lives can hinder our fellowship with God and effectively quench the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives. That is why it is so important to confess our sins because God is “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). So, while the Holy Spirit will never leave us, the benefits and joy of His presence can in fact depart from us.

Is Being Gay A Ticket To Heaven or Hell? Find the Answer Here.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.—James 1:13-15

The question of whether gay people go to heaven or hell is much discussed today, and there is confusion surrounding the issue. On one side are churches that teach that homosexuality is blessed by God. On the other side are churches that condemn all homosexual thoughts and actions as deserving of eternal judgment. Is being gay a ticket to heaven or hell?

First, a clarification. Our world labels people according to their weaknesses, sin tendencies, addictions, or sexual inclinations. When we do that, we create an adversarial, “us vs. them,” position. We begin to see people in categories, rather than as individuals, and this is dangerous. When we ask if gay people go to heaven or hell, we may be using the label gay rather than considering the individual who may be struggling with temptation or confused about his or her sexual identity. For the purposes of this article, we will define gay as “practicing a homosexual lifestyle.”

When God created human beings, He designed them male and female, in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Adam and Eve were created perfect, and God blessed their physical union in the first marriage (Genesis 1:28). Homosexuality was not part of God’s creation. When the first man and woman chose to disobey God’s command, sin entered the world (Romans 5:12). With that sin came brokenness of all kinds: thorns, tornadoes, drought, sickness, disease, cruelty, and sexual distortions.

Since that time, every human being has been born with a sin nature. Our natural selves demand the right to be our own gods. When we desire something contrary to the will of God, the desire itself becomes sinful (James 1:13–15). We may sin in different ways, but it is all sin. Some have an overwhelming desire to lie. Some are unfaithful to their spouse. Some may overcome outward sins—and are puffed up with arrogance. And some may be tempted to engage in sexual acts with their own gender. It’s all sin. It is all unacceptable to God. And we all need a Savior.

God, our Creator, could have wiped out the human race and started over. He owes us nothing. Because of our high treason against our Creator, we all deserve hell. Heaven is perfect, and we are not; we are disallowed from God’s presence. In His great love, God made a way that we sinners can be made righteous (Ephesians 2:4–5). Jesus, the Son of God, offered Himself as our substitute on the cross, thereby taking the punishment we deserve (John 10:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God poured out His wrath against sin upon His own Son so that those who trust in that sacrifice can have their sins transferred to His account (Colossians 2:14). In exchange, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. God then declared that whosoever trusts in Jesus as their Lord and Savior be granted eternal life in heaven (John 3:16–18).

That divine exchange—our old life for His new one—brings about a transformation from the inside out. Second Corinthians 5:17 says that, if anyone is in Christ, he or she becomes a new creature. All the sin, selfishness, pride, and perversion that were part of our lives before that moment are wiped clean, and we are pronounced righteous before God (Psalm 103:12). God then takes on the task of conforming us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). We are not saved from hell to continue in the same sins Jesus died for. We are saved so that we can become all God designed us to be (Ephesians 2:10). That includes renouncing our past and our sinful tendencies and embracing the wholeness we were created to experience.

In answering the specific question about whether gay people go to heaven or hell, we can substitute the words gay people with other sin groups. Do adulterers go to heaven or hell? Do kleptomaniacs go to heaven or hell? Do prostitutes go to heaven or hell? Paul answers these questions clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. People who live in unrepentant sin have no place in God’s kingdom. Those who practice sexual sin, including homosexuality, are on that list. Paul, anticipating objections, says, “Do not be deceived” about this (verse 10).

But then Paul goes on: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Notice the abrupt turnaround with the word but. The church Paul was addressing had members who in the past had practiced those very sins—BUT when trusted Jesus, everything changed. Their loyalty changed. Their nature changed. Their actions changed. No one is exempt from God’s righteous judgment on sin (Romans 6:23). But no one is exempt from His offer of forgiveness and transformation. When we surrender our lives to Christ, we must let go of all that defined us in our sinful state. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). We must die to our old sinful lifestyle. We must die to our right to be our own boss. And we must die to those desires in us that violate God’s righteous decrees.

Gay people go to either heaven or hell on the same basis that drunkards, liars, haters, and self-righteous church people go to either heaven or hell. Our final destination depends not on what we’ve done but on how we responded to Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. Unrepentant sinners will die in their sin and be judged accordingly. Repentant sinners are forgiven in Christ. When we receive Him as Lord, He becomes our final authority.

To be a Christian means that we now strive to model our lives after His perfect one. We want to please Him more than we want to please ourselves (Matthew 10:37–38). And there is no question that homosexual acts are displeasing to Him, just as heterosexual sin is displeasing to Him. If we insist on living a gay lifestyle, as if being gay was our identity, we are turning our backs on Christ’s sacrifice. We cannot expect God to simply overlook in us the very sins that put Jesus on the cross.

Many people who are same-sex attracted have come to faith in Christ and, in doing so, surrendered that particular temptation to Him. Some go on to marry and live in Christ-honoring, heterosexual marriages, and others choose celibacy, finding the fulfillment they need in intimacy with God.

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(Reprint with permission | GotQuestions.com |© 2018)

Can You Rejoice In Your Suffering?

“Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance”—Romans 5:3

The apostle Peter says that when professing believers are beset by trials yet remain steadfast in the Lord Jesus, their faith is proved genuine. The result is confidence in their salvation, and with each new trial, assurance and trust in Christ grows. Their continued perseverance is the fruit of salvation that demonstrates they are abiding in Him.

That’s why we can rejoice even in our sufferings—because through them, God is assuring us of our salvation and conforming us to His image. Knowing this should give us hope and encouragement to continue the process of sanctification, because we have confidence that our salvation will be completed with the resurrection of our bodies.

The next time you face trouble, remember God wants you to know that your salvation is genuine. So hold tightly to Christ and keep trusting Him.

Grace, Truth, And Acceptance By Our Lord Jesus Christ

Salvation is simple enough for a child to understand, but it’s also so profound that we can’t plumb its depths. One thing we can know for certain is that it’s a work of God, whereby He regenerates a spiritually dead sinner into a new creation filled with the life of Christ.

How does Jesus receive us?  I know how he treated me. I was a sinful twenty-something on a downhill path.  Though I’d made a commitment to Christ a decade earlier, you wouldn’t have known it by the way I lived.

Finally I came to Jesus, and he welcomed me back.  Please note– he did not accept my behavior but he accepted me, his wayward child.  He said, “Come back.  I’ll clean you up.”  He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  Not just grace, but also truth.  Not just truth, but also grace.

Grace and truth. Grace told the adulterous woman at the well, “I do not condemn you.” Truth told her, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).  Jesus shared truth but did it graciously.  Jesus offered grace but did it truthfully.  Grace and truth.  Acceptance seeks to offer both.

Has Your Christian Life Become Stale and Musty?

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.—Psalm 51:12

Have you lost the joy of your salvation? If your Christian life has become stale and musty, it’s time to remember what Christ has done for you and to ask that He restore your excitement.

Think about how Andrew longed to know the Savior and spend time with Him (John 1:38-39). The disciple’s example is a good reminder that sweet fellowship with the Lord isn’t supposed to end with devotional times. It should also stimulate a desire to share with others the joy we find in our relationship with Christ. Andrew was motivated by his conviction that Jesus was the Messiah (John 1:40-41). He’d found the answer for a lost and hurting world and wanted others to know.

When Andrew answered the call to discipleship, Jesus told him he’d be catching men instead of fish (Matt. 4:18-19). As followers of Christ, we too have this same assignment. Our styles and opportunities vary, but we’re each responsible to develop a lifelong habit of bringing others to Jesus.

Are You A Good Example Of Being A Christian?

Ephesians 4:22-32

When we become Christians, saved by the blood of our redeemer Jesus Christ, we have an obligation to conduct ourselves accordingly. I know that can be difficult in these days and times. It is now more critical than ever that we show the world that living in the darkness of despair and rebellion is not the way to go.

Unbelievers watch us as we go about our daily lives. For some they are just looking for an excuse to justify their worldly behavior when they see a believer acting the same worldly way. Our walk with the Lord is probably the only exposure they will have to God and Jesus Christ.

So, what steps can we take to provide unbelievers with a view of life that is modeled after Jesus? The following is a brief outline of the Christian walk, which can be found in Ephesians 4:22-32. If you don’t want to explore these passages in the scriptures, you can always print out this email message and use as a road map for your daily living.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the courage, stamina, and strength to walk in love like Jesus—Steps to walking, talking and acting like a Christian:

1. Lay aside the old self which is corrupt with lusts and deceit.
2. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
3. Put on the new self which is in the likeness of God.
4. Lay aside all falsehood, speaking the truth with your neighbor.
5.Whoever steals must steal no more but rather labor instead.
6. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only such a word as is good for edification.
7. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
8. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander be put away from you along with all malice.
9. Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you.