Archive for the ‘faith’ Tag

The life of Faith [1]   Leave a comment

Faith is believing what you cannot see

Faith is believing what you cannot see

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” Hebrews 12:1

God has often been using water to test the faith of men. By faith, Peter walked on the sea, by faith Moses led the people of Israel through the Red Sea, by faith Naaman received his healing, by faith Noah built an ark to save himself and his family from the flood, by faith Elisha healed the waters of Jericho and by faith the blind man received his sight by washing himself at Siloam. The perfector of our faith, Jesus, used water to do supernatural things like changing water to wine, walking on the water and calming the sea. The challenges brought by the waters always resulted to miracles and growth to the life of faith.  When the people of Israel reached the Red Sea, they saw an obstacle but Moses saw the Red Sea as the way out. How many of us when we see the obstacle from far, we give up and refuse to make a step closer? Faith is what makes you get closer to the obstacle when people are laughing at you. The people of Israel had to reach the Red Sea for it to open.

This is what the Lord said to Moses: “And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.  Ex. 14:15

C.Cowman said: “God does not open paths for us in advance of our coming. He does not promise help before help is needed. He does not remove obstacles out of our way before we reach them. Yet when we are on the edge of our need, God’s hand is stretched out. Many people forget this, and are forever worrying about difficulties which they foresee in the future. They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them, miles and miles ahead; whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need. You must get to the waters and into their floods before you can claim the promise.”

While it is true that the Israelites went through the Red Sea on dry ground, God’s promises still stand when the ground will not be dry.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;the flames will not consume you.” Isa. 43:2

Even if the waters do not open when you’re “going through the rivers of difficulty”, be sure of this: You will not drown for the Lord thy God is with you!

When you pray, do it with faith.  If the answer still tarries, do not pray for it in such a way that it is evident that you do not believe that God can do what you’re asking for.

If you’re not sincerely expecting that God will answer your prayers, then you do not believe in God’s abilities.

Jesus said:

Then Jesus said to the disciples, Have faith in God.  I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” Mark 11:22-27

Jesus clearly said that what we ask for will happen and not might happen.

In this verse Jesus implicitly mentioned 2 reasons why people do not receive:

  1. People do not really believe that God can do what they are asking. In other words, they doubt.
  2. If you hold a grudge against someone and do not forgive, then God also will not forgive you of your sins. God does not tolerate this attitude (See Parable of the Unforgiving debtor) .

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”    Heb. 11:6

It is useless to pray for something you do not believe God can do. These are the kind of prayers God will not answer.

James said:

 When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing….But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” James 1:3-6

Here James explicitly explained one reason why people do not receive:

If your faith is not in God alone, i.e. you’re relying also on your strength or finance then you’re taking up the glory that should be to God alone. Either God has whole control or you take your destiny in your own hand. God will not answer prayers when you’ve one foot in the water and one foot in the sand. You’ve to take a decision.

James also mentioned in chapter 4:

Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure…”

C.Cowman said:

“You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings. God gives us the promises in a quiet hour; God seals our covenants with great and gracious words, then He steps back and waits to see how much we believe; then He lets the tempter come, and the test seems to contradict all that He has spoken. It is then that faith wins its crown. That is the time to look up through the storm, and among the trembling, frightened seamen cry, “I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me.”

If God does not do the miracles of opening the waters before you or lead you to walk on the waters, remember that you’ll reach the shore safely. God is not limited in solutions, if He was able to transport disobedient Jonah to Niniveh through a big fish, what can’t He do to bring you safely to shore? Hebrews 11 tells us that all the men commended by God had something in common – faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God and the righteous shall live by faith.  How can you run with endurance the life of faith? Hebrews 12 says: We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.

Whether we live by faith or not, the trials will be over. There will be joy if we persevere in our faith during the trial but regrets if we refuse to surrender and trust God. Living by faith is a decision that one takes because He knows God.

Posted January 7, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Without faith it is impossible to please God [Part 2]   Leave a comment

faithYou have so little faith, Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?

Mat. 14:31

 When we decide to adopt living by faith as a lifestyle, it will become evident to us that God is not limited by time, money an science.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.  Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.” Hebrews 11:1

Right now, my wife and I are going through trials. We do not know how we’ll go through but we know we will by trusting God.

Faith is believing that God is not limited by resources

Jesus took 5 breads and 2 fish and fed at least 5000 persons. This miracle Jesus did showed that God is not limited by resources. It is mathematically impossible to explain how people ate as much as they wanted when initially the resources were scarce. If your salary is less than what you spend, how can you make both ends meet? It is mathematically impossible but God works in ways we cannot see to provide our daily needs. Even if we do not know what we will eat tomorrow(Mat. 6:31), we believe God will take care of it. The Zarepthath widow(1 Kings 17:7) can testify how God multiplied flour and oil.

Faith is believing that God can when it is too late

When Jesus learned that Lazarus was sick, He intentionally stayed where He was for 2 days instead of healing Lazarus on the spot(John 11:6). When Jesus reached Bethany, it was 4 days since Lazarus was put in the grave. When Jesus came, Mary thought it was too late and said :

Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died“John 11:32

On the other side, Martha had a little faith and said: “But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask” John 11:22

When Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, Martha doubted and could not see it coming and she said:

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” John 11:39-40

Even when all has been said and done, there’s still hope for the dead because Jesus lives.

Abraham’s faith transcended Martha’s faith because he thought that God would raise Isaac from the dead after he offered him since he firmly had faith in God’s promise of a large posterity through Isaac.

Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” Hebrews 11:19

Faith is believing that God can when science says no

Jesus performed many supernatural things like changing water into wine, calming the storm and healing the born blind. These are miracles that defy science .The woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, spent much of her money with doctors but still could not be cured. Science could do nothing for her but Jesus said:  “your faith has made you well. Go in peace” Luke 8:48. When Jesus called Peter to walk on the water (Mat 14:31), it was a supernatural experience that defied the fisherman’s knowledge of water. Though he doubted on the way and sank, this man nevertheless defied the law of science through his faith in Jesus. God is above the law of science and having faith in Him can literally move a mountain to the sea.

Posted October 8, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Without faith it is impossible to please God [Part 1]   Leave a comment

faith

Without faith it is impossible to please God

Hebrews 11:6

When we got married, my wife and I decided to live a life of faith. It was not because we lacked something but it was a lifestyle we wanted to have. It did not took long when God started to test our faith.

Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:3

Each time my wife and I had to exercise our faith, we developed more endurance and patience. The first time it all started was when we were looking for a piece of land and house to buy while preparing for marriage. It was a tough situation and each time our parents asked us where we were going to stay, we felt embarrassed as the wedding day was drawing closer. When I told my father that I was relying on God in this situation, he did not understand and thought I was not serious and taking things lightly. I failed many times to keep faith, I was worried, anguished and doubted but was each time, God’s word encouraged me and I had strength to persevere. I have seen miracles happen and God faithfully provided what we needed. When we decide to live by faith we’ve to face constraints like time and money. It is in these situations that we learn that time and money are not issues for God. His timing is perfect. God miraculously provided us a piece of land which we could not afford and orchestrated everything to get the house built.

Before I started to live by faith I was prideful in my heart and thought that everything I had, I got them because of my hard work. When I started to live by faith, it was evident to me that everything I had came from God. I have seen God’s thumbprint in the planks, bulbs and furniture we purchased. Living by faith should be a lifestyle and not the last resort.

Living by faith EVERYDAY

Most often, it’s when we cannot resolve our problems that we turn to God as last resort. We then trust God and have faith in Him. When God has answered our prayers and petitions, we give thanks and take again our destiny in our hands. This behavior gives little opportunity for our faith to grow since we’re not living daily by faith but occasionally when things get tough. The Teacher wants to disciple us to live by faith, one day at a time and not worry about tomorrow(Mat. 6:34). Jesus taught His disciples “Give us TODAY”our daily bread and not “Give us our bread for tomorrow”.

If you train yourself everyday to run 7 miles, when you’ll be asked to run 8 miles it will not be tough because you developed endurance daily. However, if you do not train yourself everyday, you’ll most likely see impossibilities everywhere and fail to complete your race.

If we want to live comfortably we’ll most likely never develop endurance in our faith. It is in adversity, incertitude and impossibilities that faith works better. If you have good health, food, money and have no time constraints then how will you be able to discover a Jesus who can heal the born blind, multiply breads and even raise the dead? I have witnessed that poor people have more faith than rich people because they rely on God EVERYDAY to get their daily bread.

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews gave in chapter 11 examples of the champions of the faith. In Hebrews 12, he then described the people of God as running an individual race of faith in a stadium. Heroes of the faith like Abraham, Moses and Noah are watching and encouraging us to keep running.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” Hebrews 12:1-2

Posted October 8, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Do you believe Jesus saves [Part 2]?   Leave a comment

Do you believe?

Do you believe?

We have seen in an earlier post the implications of a belief. A belief is to consider something as true or trust in something. For example, I believe that the chair I’m using will hold me and not break. I have faith in this chair because I know its structural strength. After many years of use,  I still do not verify if it is still strong before using it. I would never have had this attitude with a weak chair. On what base is your faith sitting on?

Paul entrusted God his life and said: “I know in whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1:12) . What does a Christian mean when he says ” I entrusted/gave my life to Christ” ?

Jesus said :”anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life“. As per Strong’s concordance, the greek word πιστεύων (pisteuōn) used to describe believe means:

pisteúō (from 4102 /pístis, “faith,” derived from 3982 /peíthō, “persuade, be persuaded”) – believe (affirm, have confidence); used of persuading oneself (= human believing) and with the sacred significance of being persuaded by the Lord (= faith-believing).  To entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

The belief described above is not a shallow one but based on conviction, being persuaded, having faith and entrusting self. It is not just knowing what Jesus said but acting upon this knowledge. Jesus died for the sins of all men (John 1:29,1 John 2:2, 2 Cor. 5:19) but not all men will be saved because they refuse to trust in the work of Christ. They have the knowledge but refuse to be persuaded, to have confidence and entrust their destiny to Christ. Religions taught us to do good works and obey God’s laws to obtain God’s mercy and forgiveness. When we do good deeds and obey the requirements of religions, we have an inner satisfaction that “we’re not that bad” and that God somehow owes us a good ‘karma’ or place in heaven. To have a good conscience, many have conceived in their minds the illusion that there exists such a thing as a weight balance between right and wrong that God looks at to decide our destiny.

Jesus did everything so that men stop trying to earn God’s favor by their good deeds. God wanted to draw men to Him through a mediator, the man Jesus-Christ.

This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.” 1 Tim. 2:5

What gives this man Jesus-Christ the credentials that He should be obeyed? Why should we take Him seriously? The main reason is that He claimed to be God. In previous posts, it has been discussed lengthily why Jesus is God. We’re not going to go through these here. We’ll take as a fact that Jesus is God to establish the foundation of the Christian faith and hope in Jesus. It would be risky to believe in Jesus’s words if He was just a powerful celestial being like an angel. Jesus is God’s Word who was made flesh(John 1) i.e. God took a human body. Jesus promised to give eternal life(Jn 10:28, 1 Jn. 5:11) and a place in heaven (Jn 14:3) to all those who believe in Him (Jn 1:12). If we believe that Jesus is God, it implies that we accept all His teachings and believe that He is the only true God (1 John 5:20).

This is why sinners are saved through faith. i.e. trusting Christ for giving them eternal life.

Paul said: “Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” 2 Cor. 5:14

The public acknowledgment and confession that Jesus alone is God and saves are sufficient to render a sinner righteous.

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Rom. 10:8-11

A sinner is declared righteous because of His reliance on Jesus (Phil 3:9, Rom. 1:17, Rom. 3:22 Rom. 4:3). The basis of this righteousness is that God declares: ‘You are right oh sinner to come to Jesus and trust Him alone for the salvation of your soul!‘. The public declaration that Jesus is God, that He died for the sins of humanity and was raised from the dead implies that there’s a total rejection of getting right with God by any other means.

Posted July 30, 2016 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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God, Family, Religious duties, Job…[Part 2]   Leave a comment

Priorities

Priorities

As mentioned in the previous post, when God is the one leading our life, He will properly guide us in the way we should prioritize our time towards our family, work, ministry and others. Unless God has given clear orders, we should not change the priorities He has set. We will see in this post cases where Jesus has specifically called out men and women to leave their family and occupations to follow Him.

  1. Come and follow me

He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead!Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.  But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-62

Both of these 2 men agreed to follow Jesus. However, when Jesus called them to do ministry, they pointed out to their responsibilities towards their family. They wanted to wait and set in order their affairs at home. The issue with this reasoning is that the zeal to follow Jesus will vanish if we do not instantly choose to obey. If God calls now to do something and we choose now to do something else, we will most likely be entangled in that choice and will never be able to fulfill what God called us to do.

2. The excuses to reject God’s invitation

In the Parable of the Great feast, the guests gave excuses and rejected God’s invitation.

But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’  Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’  Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.”

Their replies seemed legitimate. These are common excuses we hear in the church today: Business duty, family responsibilities and unwillingness to leave possession.

Jesus wanted to clearly teach his disciples that it will not just cost something but everything if someone chooses to follow Jesus. If we want to be a disciple, we are putting at stake our possession, relationships, job, family and even our life if we want to be a follower of Jesus.

3. The cost of following Jesus

This is why in Luke 14:25 Jesus clearly said that we should think well before we choose to follow Him as it might imply disruption in our relationship with the family and put us in discomfort. Loving Jesus more than our family members implies that we are ready to be considered hating them because of our choice to obey Jesus.

  • Leaving Job and Family

Jesus went to the working place of Matthew who was a tax collector to call him to be His follower:

Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.” Luke 5:27

Matthew left on the spot his job to follow Jesus. Matthew did not care of leaving everything, he just obeyed the one who called despite the consequences.

It was the same for James and John who immediately left their boat and their father to follow Jesus. These disciples like Peter and Andrew fished for a living. Following Jesus implied that they would have less time or no time to fish. Some of them were married and I wondered what they told their families on that day when they came home without money or fish. What did Zebedee think of his sons? If you were one of these disciples, what would you do if your family asked you: “Who do you love most, Jesus or us?”. Do you fear be called a radical follower of Jesus?

Peter who was a married man said:

We’ve left our homes to follow you.”“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.” Luke 18:29

  • Forsaking possessions

Jesus once said to a rich man:

There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22

Unfortunately, many people have not been saved and will not be saved because their hearts are set on possession. We cannot serve God and Mammon Jesus said (Mat. 6:64).

4. When the priorities clash with expectations

Mary’s priority was to listen to the teachings of Jesus while Marthe was busy preparing the dinner. Well, if Marthe did not take her responsibility of preparing the dinner then what were they going to eat?

Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:39-42

There was incomprehension. It seemed unfair that Marthe was doing the house chores to welcome the guests while her sister sat and did nothing. Jesus’ reply rightly pointed out the priority. Being at the feet of Jesus was more important than preparing dinner. For Mary, food for the soul was more important than ordinary food.  Jesus was not going to be at Mary’s place for a long time and she wanted to get the most of Jesus’ presence.

There was this woman who choose to give something of great value to Jesus. She was blamed for wasting money because of her love gift to Jesus. Her love for Jesus was considered folly by those who were just acquaintance to Jesus. Jesus said: “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me?  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” Mat. 26:10

5. How can I be sure what God is asking me to do?

We could say that these disciples and people mentioned in this post physically saw Jesus and this is why they had this motivation and strengths to leave everything to follow Jesus. Or maybe we could say:

How then does this apply to me for the context is different. If Jesus Himself appeared to me like He did with Paul then I will be sure that it is God who is asking me to leave everything

Our relationship with Christ allows us to know Him more. When we know Him more, our faith is built up through life’s experience. When we have experienced that God has been faithful to us, we become more confident and dare to live more by faith in the Son of God. This is a cycle which continues and makes us more mature.

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

When we know God, we discern His voice like a sheep discerns the voice of the shepherd. We will not be tossed by our emotions or the many voices calling for our attention. When the Shepherds calls, we just leave our occupation(ministry, family, work..) on the spot to listen to Him.

It is often easier to say “No” to God “because He understands” than “No” to earthly responsibilities. This is a life struggle because we do not see God but see people and react on our emotions. Only spiritual maturity or faith in the Son of God can give us the boldness required to have an undivided attention to God’s plan.

Posted May 21, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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To gain the whole world and lose your soul[2]   1 comment

Matthew:16-26

Matthew:16-26

Fire is useful and not a threat as long as we can control it. The closer we get to it and the more it grows, the more precautions should be taken. So is it with possessions.

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Tim. 6:10

It is not money in itself which is evil but the “love of money”. It’s all about the person’s attitude towards money. How far can someone be rich and not be greedy and stingy? It is difficult to be rich and not set our heart on it.

If you lose your spouse and child whom you love dearly, your heart will ache.

So how can you know if you’re entangled by the “things of this world”?

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” Mat. 6:21

If you lose all your possessions, will your heart ache? Our heart aches on things that we value.

I know deep down my heart what are the things in this world that will make my heart ache if I lose them and I prayed the Lord to make me what He wants me to be.

There is no greater comfort to know that you are living your life as God wants it to be. Have you ever struggled with this question “What do I want? What should I do?”

When such questions rise up, it is time to let God answer these questions. When we try to take in our hands our own destiny and push God away, we are putting at stake the destiny of our soul. Most of our world leaders are not followers of Jesus and have been very successful. Do they have the peace, love and joy that only Jesus can give to the soul?

If you reached a crossroads and are wondering about your marriage, home or career path, it’s worth to be still and seek God’s counsels. Even if golden opportunities are at your doorstep do not jump to the conclusion that God brought them to you. The heart is deceitful, no one can trust it. So do not follow your heart or instinct as world leaders or friends tell you to do.

If you’re at a crossroads, be still. If you are bored of hearing the words “Pray and have faith” at this instant, examine if your heart is already set out for something.

If you were at a crossroads and not sure if you took the right decision, it might be worth returning on your steps and let God guide you.

Posted March 17, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Believer or Disciple?   2 comments

Disciple or Believer?

Disciple or Believer?

Therefore, go and make DISCIPLES of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the COMMANDS I have given you.” Mat. 28:19

While discussing with a friend of Catholic faith, I asked him several questions and his replies left me perplex for several days.

I asked him the following questions and these were his answers:

  1. Who is Jesus for you?

He answered with conviction: “Jesus is my God. He died for my sins. He is a mediator between God and me“.

I had the preconceived idea that he did not know these things about Jesus and his answers left me benumb.

2. Do you believe you’re a sinner?

He said he was a sinner and that he prayed every day to ask Jesus for forgiveness.

3. What is repentance?

So I ask him if he knew the difference between repentance and asking for forgiveness. He answered that repentance is changing completely from a precedent bad habit but asking for forgiveness is something continuous.

4. What is the meaning of Christmas?

As we were in the Christmas’ period, I asked him what it meant for him. He replied that Christmas made him remember that one day Jesus came to die for his sins and that it was important to celebrate it.

This friend of mine had all the knowledge necessary to be saved as per Romans 10:9. He confessed and believed in his heart that Jesus was his Savior. He knew the core message of the Gospel and I wondered why I should evangelize this guy.

One day, while going for a long walk, I decided to make a shortcut by passing through a Catholic church yard. When I passed by the church’s entrance, I heard the priest say clearly that it was necessary to have saving faith in Jesus. This again left me perplex. The Catholics are taught about the saving faith and they believe it. Why then do the Christian claim they are still unsaved?

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he wrote to people who knew nothing about the gospel. The confession of Jesus being their Lord was sufficient evidence of them being saved .

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved“Romans 10:9

It was also crucial for Paul to teach to the Jews and those of non-Jewish that faith in Jesus was sufficient to save one soul apart from good work and following the law(Romans 3:23-26).

My friend also told me that he was a believer but did not really practice the requirements of his religion.

I shared my perplexity with my wife and we went through his answers again.

I reached the conclusion that the Catholic church succeeded in deceiving people by making them believers but not disciples. A disciple is a believer but a believer is not necessarily a disciple.

Jesus’s command in Mat. 28 was clear: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations

Jesus did not say ‘Go and make believers‘.

During Christmas week, I always stand in amazement at seeing all my colleagues of muslim, hindu and catholic faith excited to make Christmas preparations. They all know the meaning of Christmas but this belief or knowledge did not save them.

What then differentiates a believer and a disciple?

My friend demonstrated much allegiance to Jesus but he violated the first commandment for he was an idolater through his prayers to Mary. I saw people of hindu faith worship Jesus, among other gods. One who confesses Jesus is God and worship him is not necessarily a disciple. We therefore need to be careful that in our church we have disciples and not just believers.

 

It was quite easy to discern that my friend was an idolater. However, we can easily ignore that an idolater is someone who worships the things of this world.

Paul says: “You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” Eph. 5:5

John also warned against idols: “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” 1 John 5:21

A disciple is therefore one who does not worship the things of this world. He does not cling to anything or anyone, except Christ. His joy, peace, assurance and hope is Christ.

Another genuine mark of a disciple is Love.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34

One who does not love, does not know God and is not a disciple.

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love…But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us…If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers” 1 John 4:7-21

Christ’s command was this: “Teach them to obey all my commands”. All these commands can be summed up in 2 commands: Love God with all your heart and Love people.

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Mat. 22:37-40

If one loves God with all his heart, he will not worship idols or the things of this world. If one loves people he will do no harm. He will not lie to his neighbor, gossip, slander, steal, murder or have evil thoughts. The law is therefore fulfilled in these 2 commandments.

One clear evidence of an evil believer of the living God is Satan. He believes everything written in the bible, that Jesus is God and that He died for the sins of man. However, this belief did not have impact on him.

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror” James 2:19

A disciple is therefore someone who loves God and loves people. Do our churches have more believers than disciples?

There has been many crusades and massive amount of money invested in evangelism program. Sadly, many of these programs were fruitless for there has been no follow up after proclaiming the gospel. The biggest work starts at discipleship and this is where many church leaders failed. Discispleship is the greatest omission of the Great Commission.We are therefore left with people who left their religion and became believers and think they are saved. This is a tragedy  and a deception for as we have seen, a believer is not necessarily a disciple.

Posted December 18, 2015 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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