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.

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.

# # #

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

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.

How To Be Calm In All Situations Through Christ Our Defender

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.—Proverbs 14:29

There are verses from the book of Proverbs that emphasize the value of being slow to anger. This is especially important when facing a verbal attack. Quiet listening, however difficult, protects us from speaking rashly and offers the opportunity to ask God for help in responding as Christ would.

A calm, gentle reply can defuse a tense situation, but without taking time to process what was said, few of us will be able to answer wisely. When we are slow to anger, we can gain understanding of the situation and the hidden motives that a hot-tempered person can’t objectively comprehend. The Holy Spirit will provide insight on how to answer in a tense situation.

A calm, gentle type response is unnatural, but that shouldn’t surprise us since the One who modeled it is supernatural. Our priorities need to change if we’re to emulate Jesus. Love and understanding must supersede the need to defend ourselves, and preserving the relationship must replace safeguarding our rights. So be calm in all situations, and let Christ be your defender and protector.

We Must Confess Unrighteous Anger As Sin

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.—Romans 12:17-18; 21

We must confess unrighteous anger as sin and then begin to deal with it immediately. Anger is often a response to hurt and care must be taken not to excuse or defend it in the name of justice. Even when someone has sinned against you, it’s important to realize that holding onto anger in response is also a sin. Scripture tells us to overcome evil with good, not to repay it.

Some people want to hang on to ill feelings, but nursing a resentful attitude isn’t sustainable; anger must be put aside. If we retain our “right” to hold grudges, we can’t expect to live in the new nature Christ has created for us.

The place where we will find strength is in our new Christlike personality. Our responsibility is to put it on. He invites us to cooperate with Him in the process of transformation. With each step of obedience, the peace of Christ will increase and anger will diminish.

Do You Live A Life That Is Devoted To Christ?

2You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.—Matt 10:22

Standing firm is not a way to be saved but it is the evidence that a person is really committed and devoted to Jesus. Endurance is not a means to earn salvation either; it is a by-product of a truly devoted life for Christ. Endurance grows out of commitment to Jesus Christ. In Matthew 10:22, Jesus predicted that his followers would be severely persecuted by those who hated what he stood for. In the midst of terrible persecutions, however, they could have hope, knowing that salvation was theirs. Times of trial serve to weed out true Christians from false or fair-weather Christians.

When you are pressured to give up and turn your back on Christ, don’t do it. Remember, the benefits of standing firm and continuing to live for Christ far outweigh anything the enemy has to offer.

Remember to praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Do You Consider Yourself A Friend of God?

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.— James 2:23

Let’s say that being called a believer in God, or a follower of God, or a servant of God is not enough for you. Let’s say that you want to be called, like Abraham, a “friend of God.” What would it take to acquire that appellation? How could you become a friend of God? According to James, Abraham was known as the friend of God for two basic reasons. He not only believed in God and the promises God made to him, but he also acted in accordance with his faith. He had works that flowed from his faith (James 2:22).

Abraham believed God when God told him that he would have an heir from his own body and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens (Genesis 15:4-6). At that point in time Abraham’s prospects for having a child seemed dim. Nevertheless, he believed God’s promise. “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-21). And as our verse for today makes clear, Abraham’s faith in God made him righteous before God. Abraham was justified by faith.

The reason why Abraham was justified by faith, however, was because his faith was more than mere lip-service to God. It was a living faith. It was the kind of faith that leads to works. This was revealed when God tested his faith later on by asking him to sacrifice his son on an altar (Genesis 22:1-19). Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, but God stayed his hand, and Abraham’s faith in God’s promise of an heir and many descendants was completed. He became known as the friend of God (see II Chronicles 20:7 and Isaiah 41:8).

Jesus said this with respect to friendship with him, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). We can see, then, that friendship with Jesus, as well as with God, comes about when we believe in them and follow their commands. After all, what kind of friend to God and to Jesus would we be if we never did what they said?