This verse can be rightfully divided into two distinct thoughts. The first thought concerns the greatness of our Lord and His awesome power. The use of the word “Lord” implies that He is our master; but who doesn’t love to serve a “Good” master? The idea of lordship has such a bad connotation in our culture because so many sinful men have abused power, “lording” it over others. But our Lord is great! And He is worthy of adoration and our submission. His power, or strength, is also abundant, mighty and great! The idea of power is that He has the ability to effect His will. He is not a wishful God, hoping people will come through for Him or waiting on the strength of men. Nor is He unable to thwart Satan’s plans, or any man’s plans that are contrary to His own. His power is overflowing; possibly only overshadowed by His own amazing restraint of that power, according to His will.
Let’s assume there is a problem today. The problem is that not a lot of people seem to be getting saved. Can you play along? This article is for Christians only. I want brothers and sisters to consider what I am going to say because I believe it is important. Just thinking about it brings conviction to my soul. To be more specific, it brings me shame and distress. Thankfully, I don’t stay there long as I lay my sin at the foot of the cross and trust that Christ has wiped them away completely, but once in while He gives me an all-too-clear glimpse of my truly disgraceful sin nature and tendency to succumb to the flesh.
The sin I am going to talk about is the worst sin possible. It is the sin of unbelief. In fact, it is the only unforgivable sin, if committed fully against the Son of God, Jesus Christ. But for those of us who have had hearts regenerated by His Holy, Infinite Grace, unbelief still creeps in. Often is occurs in subtle and deceitful ways. In my case, and I believe in many others, it can be spawned by a misapplication of scripture. Not a misinterpretation or misunderstanding in this case, but a mis-applying of the often well-understood, clearly believed Truths.
For now, I need to establish some assumptions I will trust axiomatically for purposes of this post. These are not unprovable, but I’m going to choose not to prove them now. Additionally, if you are of a different ‘camp’ in this often disputed escatalogical argument, I’d encourage you to judge the content of the article NOT based on whether you agree with my view of end times, but rather, whether the statements I make do, in fact, logically follow from my assumptions, and whether the application I’ll try to encourage myself and others to employ as the result is actually biblical.
because we have given up hope?
Romans 5:12: What a great verse to hold in your heart! What does Paul mean by “one man sin entered into the world?” This is a reference to Adam’s sin in Genesis 3:6-7. Adam’s sin in Genesis 3 provides the foundation for the reason we live in a sin cursed world and need a redeemer in a first place. Dear Christian, do not throw this away! In the spirit of “modernity,” many have found it necessary to avoid drawing on and trusting the supernatural, particularly creation. Some will say, “It doesn’t matter what I believe about creation, if I have Jesus, that’s all that matters.” God forbid. It does matter. Your view of creation is a reflection of, or rather a manifestation of, your view of scripture itself. And the same author who said “In the beginning,” (Gen 1:1, John 1:!) also said “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). That author is the Holy Spirit; and His authority is absolute and trustworthy. If you don’t believe Genesis 1-3, tell me, at what point do you start believing?
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for this is none under name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
Satan has created counterfeit religious systems; these systems teach partial truths, such as the truth that there is such a thing as sin. Satan is entirely satisfied if you believe you are a sinner, as long as you don’t obey Christ. So false systems have been created which allow men and women to believe they are a sinner, but to deny the truth spoken in Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in ANY OTHER (emphasis my own). The apostles not only proclaimed that salvation is available in the Christ, but affirmed Jesus’s own declaration that there is NO salvation in any other. Jesus isn’t an “option.” He is not one of many possible paths to God. He is the only path, and the only path to salvation. Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Catholicism – these are all religions that deny Christ as the only savior, the only provision for salvation. Christ isn’t one of a number of God’s to put on your shelf, He’s God almighty, solitarily! He’s doesn’t open the door for you to work your way to God, or prove your righteousness to Him; He is the only provision and all the provision!
Are you maybe a little too fanatical about your sports team, and, thus, not always putting God first? If Jesus visited your Facebook page would He put “Well done my good and faithful servant” in a comment, or would He feel like an intruder on your life? Do you spend more time on idle tasks than reading the Word? What if your spouse could look over your shoulder when you’re on the internet, or see through your eyes at the mall, would he or she consider your heart loyal? God knows all those thoughts and actions…Do not love the world or the things that are in the world!
There are (at least) 2 definitions for fear that we must understand. The first definition, the one used in the verses above that describe a proper fear of God, implies reverence. The word used in 2 Tim 1:7 is a different word. This word has more to do with the cowardice and timidity that people often have out of a desire for SELF-preservation. Let me be clear. God DID GIVE us the SPIRIT OF FEAR and AWE and REVERENCE OF HIM. If you have this, it is from HIM. What God has not given us is the spirit of cowardice that Paul was warning Timothy of in 2 Timothy. If you read the 2 letters to Timothy, you will see that Timothy struggled with the fear of men. He feared persecution for the gospel; I also infer that he was even afraid of some of his own church members’ opinion of him and “his youth.” (1 Tim 4:12)
Think of the folly of this line of thinking: Do you ever think God looks down at a large skyscraper or a strong weightlifter, or billions of dollars in a bank account and thinks, “Wow, that is impressive!” Certainly not! It’s absurd to believe that the Creator of all would be impressed with anything at all that creatures do! The God that accepts human offerings of sacrifice or religion is an idol, created by the minds of men who deny truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Reason with me, please! If there is a god, he could not be coerced or moved by human will, else he would not be God! And there is a God – and He is not compeled by men! He wills and does as he pleases! (Eph 1:4-5)