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THERE IS POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS

There is a wonderful praise and worship chorus entitled “Break Every Chain” and it states the one and only power that can break every chain and that is the name of Jesus.  The lyrics say:

There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus
To break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain
There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain
To break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain

All sufficient sacrifice, So freely given, Such a price, Bought our redemption, Heaven’s gates swing wide
There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus

To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain
There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus
To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain
To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain

There’s an army rising up; There’s an army rising up; There’s an army rising up
To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain
There’s an army rising up; There’s an army rising up; There’s an army rising up
To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain
To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain

There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus
To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain
There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus; There is power in the name of Jesus
To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain
To Break every chain; Break every chain; Break every chain[1]


So what does it mean there is power in the name of Jesus?  John1 is a good place to start.  It says In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.[2]  So we’ve learned that Jesus was with God from the beginning and in him was life and that life was the light of all mankind.  I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty powerful to me!  Despite the fact that from the beginning darkness has tried to overcome the light, it has failed, does fail, and will fail no matter what efforts or tactics darkness uses to overcome the light.

God clearly intended for there to be Power in the name of Jesus which is demonstrated by the words written concerning His son and what He was given dominion and power to control.  The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.[3]  This passage shows us that God’s desire is to reconcile Himself to all things; so much so that He sent his Son to make peace through the shedding of His blood on the cross.

The power in the name of Jesus so far exceeds any other name that we find it hard to comprehend.  He was, is and always will be our intercessor with the Father.  “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.   Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.  Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.  For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.”[4]  In the name of Jesus we have a high priest to intercede for us and His life, death, and resurrection gives us the opportunity to reconcile with God so that we can claim the promise of eternal life through Him and with Him.

So how does the name of Jesus break every chain?  There are many passages we could explore but for the sake of simplicity I have chosen one passage that says it all.  After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.   ‘I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.  For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.  I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.  While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.   ‘I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.  I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.  ‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.  ‘Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”[5]

The only thing I can say after that is there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain!


[1] Jesus Culture; Lyrics to Break Every Chain, Awakening:  Live from Chicago, 2011.
[2] John 1:1-5.  All scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.
[3] Colossians 1:15-20
[4] Hebrews 7:25-28
[5] John 17:1-26

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DO HUMANS BECOME ANGELS AFTER PHYSICAL DEATH?

Despite my best efforts to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings or challenge their way of thinking, I know this article will very likely do both of these things. Therefore, please understand that I do not take lightly the subject matter that I am about to undertake.  The title of this article is a question that is not new but is not often addressed or answered.  We have all heard someone say “Well, they earned their angel wings today” or read someone’s email or post on social media that talks about a human becoming an angel because the person has experienced physical death.  Unfortunately and undoubtedly Hollywood has contributed to this notion.  One obvious example is the old traditional holiday flick “It’s a Wonderful Life.”[1] Clarence is the character in the movie who is trying to help George get his life straightened out so that Clarence can earn his wings.  He references his previous human life and shares the frustration he has experienced not having earned his wings at the time of their meeting.  The fact is that humans and angels are completely different creations of God and a human cannot become an angel.  Now that some of you already have your blood pressure going up, take a deep breath and allow me to use scripture guided by the Holy Spirit to show you the difference.

When we look at God’s Word we find that from the beginning there is a distinction between humans and angels.  Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.[2] So Adam was made in the image of God but there is no scripture that supports that angels were made in the image of God.  While God’s creation includes angels, they are entirely different than humans.  His Word makes it clear that they are part of His creation when it says The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”[3]

Angels were created to serve God, to be his special messengers to carry out His will.  And while scripture is clear that Jesus Christ was sent to save the lost there is no indication that Jesus’ redemption of humans was applied to angels. When we look in the first book of Peter where this is clearly stated as follows:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”[4] 

This passage closes with “Even angels long to look into these things.”  If angels had been previously human, they would have no need to look into the gospel because as humans they would have already experienced the saving grace offered by our Heavenly FatherTo which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?’  Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”[5]  This further clearly states and supports the fact that angels were created by God to serve a completely different purpose from humans and as such they do not have a need for the gospel.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coin and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it.   And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”[6]   While the angels rejoice it is because of their specific role assigned by the LORD and not because they have previously experienced salvation.

Paul tells us herefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  For we live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”[7]  So when a human passes from this world in to eternity, if they have received salvation, they go home to be with the Lord.  Our spirit passes from the body to eternity and with it we carry our soul (the essence of what makes us who we are).

Luke gives a very convincing illustration of this when he wrote There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. ‘The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’  ‘But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  ‘He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  ‘Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’  ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’  ‘He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”[8]

Even in death the rich man wanted Lazarus to serve him yet he is told that there is a great chasm between heaven and hell and there is no way to cross from one to the other.  The passage tells us that the angels carried Lazarus to Abraham’s side.  If he became an angel why would he need angels to carry him to Abraham’s side?  It is because it was Lazarus’ spirit that was taken by the angels to be by Abraham’s side.

Let me close with this thought.  Scripture tells us And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.”[9]  The “proper dwelling” referenced in this verse is the heavenly realm not the earthly realm.  Based on the way it is written it is likely referencing the angels that followed Lucifer when he was exiled from heaven (one third of the angles in heaven followed Lucifer).  Paul asks us why would God have humans judging angels that were formerly human? The reason we will be able to judge angels in heaven is because we will be higher than the angels due to our being like Christ.

God created both angels and humans to serve Him but the evidence is clear that humans will not become angels in eternity.  While it may be comforting to think that this will happen because of the earthly image that has been created about angels, God has a much greater purpose and for humans it all begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  So don’t aspire to be angel-like go for greatness and aspire to be Christ-like!


[1] It’s a Wonderful Life filmed in 1946, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
[2] Genesis 1:26.  All scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.
[3] Colossians 1:15-17
[4] 1 Peter 1:3-12
[5] Hebrews 1:13,14
[6] Luke 15:8
[7] 2 Corinthians 5:6-9
[8] Luke 16:19-31
[9] Jude 1:6

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WHAT IS YOUR STORY?

We don’t sing the old hymns like we used to. Most churches have moved to the more contemporary style of music and occasionally pull out one of the old hymns of days gone by. I can still remember the lyrics of many of those old hymns I grew up hearing and singing and sometimes they give me such solace and peace. Recently, the Holy Spirit put one of those old hymns in my heart and mind and the chorus has been something that I find myself humming or singing throughout the day. When that happens, you know that God, through the Holy Spirit, is encouraging you to hold on to the message in those words. While the hymn’s title is “Blessed Assurance” written by Fanny Crosby in 1873, it is the chorus that is a constant on my heart and mind. The lyrics of the hymn are:

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

{Refrain:}
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above:
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

{Refrain}

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

{Refrain}

That chorus “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long” is such a powerful and compelling message to those who claim to be Followers of Jesus Christ. This chorus being planted in my heart and mind, day and night, brought me to a point of self-examination and introspective searching. Can I truly say this is my story and this is my song? Or have I allowed other things to take the place of this being my story and praising my Savior is an occasional thing like Sunday morning in church or special occasions where I need to look holy to those around me? So let’s take a few moments together to give serious thought and honest evaluation to these questions.

God’s Word tells us ““The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.”(1) Do you remember every waking moment that The Lord lives and we owe praise to our Rock! He is the Rock of our salvation and He sets us free from our enemies. So often when I hear men talking about their struggles with maintaining a close walk with the Lord my mind immediately goes to the instructions given to us in 2 Samuel. How can we have a close relationship if we don’t remember first what brought us into a close relationship with the living Lord to in the first place? If we are not praising and exalting the One that brought us out of darkness then how can we possibly maintain a close relationship? Satan distracts us with busy-ness and draws our hearts and minds to numerous other activities and things that removes the eternal mindset we owe to the One who Lives and who gives us an eternal promise. We get caught up in the here and now and when we do, we are prime candidates for the temptations of the enemy!

While there are many scriptures and passages of scripture we could use as an example of “this is my story”, I don’t want to turn this article into a book, so we will use a single passage that hits all of the key points.

David testified “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”(2)

  • So, using this passage, let’s pull out some key elements that should be part of our story:
  •  Whom shall I fear, whom shall I be afraid;
  •  The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
  •  Though war break out against me, even then I will be confident;
  • One thing I ask from the Lord, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;
  • For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling;
  • I will sing and make music to the Lord;
  • Your face, LORD, I will seek;
  • The LORD will receive me;
  • Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors;
  • I remain confident in this: I will see goodness of the LORD in the land of the living;
  • Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD

While every man’s story will be different because of his life experiences, these elements should be interwoven in the story if he professes to have a personal heart relationship with Jesus Christ. While the language will be different because we do not necessarily speak as scripture is written, the essence of each item above will be in the story. All of God’s men must be prepared to share “their story” so that God may be glorified and others may learn and grow from the story we tell. So, WHAT IS YOUR STORY?


(1) 2 Samuel 22:47-50
(2) Psalm 27:1-14

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SATAN IS A LIAR; TEMPTATION IS REAL; HELL IS FOREVER

My intent in writing this article is not to scare or frighten the reader but to give them an understanding of a spiritual reality that is far too often ignored. For the most part it is not being taught in today’s church either.  May the Holy Spirit guide you as you read this article and my heart’s desire is that it will make you thirst for studying God’s Word to gain addition insight about not only hell but the eternal home for all Followers of Jesus Christ, heaven.

Sadly, in today’s organized church far too many have moved away from preaching the truth of the gospel and the reality of spending eternity in one of two places; heaven or hell. There are some fundamental issues that every Follower of Jesus Christ should be well acquainted with so they are prepared to talk to the questions that come up about eternity.  Many, including people in the church, believe that everyone will go to heaven because why would a loving god send anyone to eternal torment.  While a nice thought, that is far from what God’s Word says very straightforward and clearly.  Some believe if we just try to be a good person and do good things for those around us then that’s the best we can do.  Again this is not what we know from God’s Word which teaches us that even with our very best efforts to live a righteous life they are like filthy rags in comparison to God’s righteousness.  So let’s look at three critical elements of understanding Satan, temptation, and the reality of hell being for eternity.

Jesus was talking with the crown and questioned why they could not understand what He was saying.  He quickly identifies the problem and tells them You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [1] Since the fall of man, we have all entered this world as sinners.  From birth we have a sin nature.  If we surrender to this sin nature then our lives will be patterned after Satan who is described as having no truth in him and further described as a liar and the father of lies.  Deception, distraction and destruction are his tools to keep people in his web of sin.  We are told “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”[2]  Satan and his band of demons use any and all methods to create an inviting environment to follow the false teachings of false prophets created by sin only to lead a person or group to be devoured by their blind devotion to the enemy, Satan.  The church is not immune from these efforts as Satan boldly uses religion as a means of creating false prophets and false teachings.  That is why it is so incredibly important that we stay connected to our Heavenly Father through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word so that we can see through these ploys of destruction. Satan is a liar and from his very first interaction with Eve in the garden he has been telling lies ever since.

Our second critical element is the fact that temptation is for real.  When God condemned Lucifer to the earthly realm, He gave him power and dominion on earth.  Because of this power, anyone that loves the world cannot have the love of our Heavenly Father in them.  Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”[3]  It is because of this power that God intentionally gave to Satan that he can use temptation as a source of drawing people away from God and into his lair of destruction and eternal separation from God.  We can boil it down to a pretty simple concept; when we surrender to temptation our desire is to please ourselves instead of obeying God’s teachings to flee from destructive sin.  Paul made it very clear when he said “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”[4]   Seeking self-gratification and the pleasures of the flesh characterize the unsaved, however, those who are saved can find themselves slipping back into the characteristics described in this passage if we do not follow the guidance given in God’s Word that says “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.”[5]

Our third and final element is hell is forever.  Barna Associates, a public survey/research firm, found in one of their surveys that only 32% of adults see hell as, “an actual place of torment and suffering where people’s souls go after death.”  No wonder so many people have bought into the ways of the world.  They don’t believe there are any consequences for doing so.  One of the false teachings that exist today is that hell is temporary.  Not true.  Hell, just as heaven, is for eternity.  In the Gospel of Mark it tells us “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”[6]  The Gospel of Matthew describes how it will be at the end of time saying “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”[7]  Seems pretty straightforward doesn’t it?  Yet people choose to put on blinders and go their own direction choosing to worship self over a personal relationship with their Creator.  The book of Jude states “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”[8]  The Gospel of Matthew gives us a word picture regarding the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”  This passage goes on to say “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Then he describes the fate of those on the left “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”[9]  Hell is indeed for eternity and there is no way to cross over from hell to heaven.

[1] John 8:44; all scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.
[2] Matthew 7:15
[3] 1 John 2:15-17
[4] Ephesians 2:1-3
[5] James 4:7-8
[6] Mark 9:43
[7] Matthew 13:49-50
[8] Jude 1:7
[9] Matthew 25:31-33, 34, 41

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AMERICA’S MAJOR PROBLEM IS SIN! PERIOD!

While so many are puzzled, oblivious, or in denial over the variety of issues being debated, argued and fought about in our nation, it is actually quite simple to explain.  We have lost site of the one thing that is at the root of all things contrary to God’s Word, SIN.  While there are many and varied definitions of the word “sin,” we will use the definition of sin as being a person’s effort to find identity for self apart from God.  Scripture tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”[1] which means that every person that has ever been born came into this world a sinner.  Some individuals who profess to be Followers of Jesus Christ as well as entire denominations have become so arrogant in their practice of religion, they attempt to use God’s Word to justify their sin rather than allowing God’s Word to convict them of their sin and lead them to repentance.  They have fallen for Satan’s lies and they are contributing to the sin problem rather than offering the one and only answer and that is Jesus Christ.  John tells us “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”[2] 

Look around you, open your eyes, our country has demonstrated how quickly a civilized nation can become lawless. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power.”[3]  Our Heavenly Father has made it very clear of His expectation when He said “You shall have no other gods before me.”[4]  There is nothing vague or mysterious about this statement.

From the very beginning of time God has made it clear that he is a God of love.  His love is referred to as AGAPE love meaning that it is unconditional.  While He may be disappointed by our decisions or how we live our life ignoring Him and following the ways of the world, He still loves us in spite of our thoughts, actions, or deeds.  At the same time He has made it very clear that he is a just God, meaning that he will issue out what is merited to those who refuse to accept his gift of grace and mercy.  Scripture tells us “remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”[5]   We move from no hope and being distant from God to being full of hope and being drawn close to God by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  The Lord goes on to tell us “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.[6]  What we deserve for our sinful nature is death but God has made a way for us to receive eternal forgiveness through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

So many deny knowing what the gospel says and in reality they are really saying they choose not to listen to God’s Word and label it as foolishness, narrow minded, for the weak, and the list goes on and on to justify why people refuse to accept the grace of God and repent of their sin.  Grace is defined as “unmerited favor.”  We don’t deserve it but God gives it to us anyway because of his unconditional love for us.  The Gospel of Matthew tells us But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”[7]  My fear is our nation, much like the foolish man, has built our nation’s house on sand.

Jesus said “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”[8]  WOW!  Have we allowed so much evil to be stored up in our nation that it now is an unstoppable force?

So where are you in this sad state of affairs?  Standing on sinking sand or standing on the solid rock, the Word of God.  “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”[9]  I challenge all true Followers of Jesus Christ to stand firmly on the Word of God and speak God’s truth, not twisted, distorted, watered-down or manipulated words heard in a sermon or from someone designated as a “church leader”, but God’s words.  There will be a price to be paid for standing for God’s truth.  But remember this: the solid rock is not going anywhere but the rest is built on sinking sand!  “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”[10]


[1] Romans 3:23.  All scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.
[2] 1 John 3:4
[3] 2 Timothy 3:1-5a
[4] Exodus 20:3
[5] Ephesians 2:12-13
[6] Romans 6:23
[7] Matthew 7:26-27
[8] Matthew 12:35-37
[9] Deuteronomy 32:4
[10] 2 Timothy 1:7

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THE STRUGGLES WITH FORGIVENESS

So many men struggle with the idea of forgiveness and this is often the area the enemy relies heavily upon to cause men to doubt that God can forgive someone that has a past like they do.  Many in our culture picture God as this angry deity that can’t wait to punish us for our sins.  The fact is we can have forgiveness but it is up to us to accept it.  For this reason, I want to utilize God’s Word to bring awareness of what our Heavenly Father has to say about forgiveness and create a greater awareness of how we can be confident of being forgiven.  John tells us “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.”[1]   “His name” refers to Jesus and He is the atonement for our sins.

Paul was speaking to the Jew and the Gentile when he said “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.”[2] You notice Paul says “through Him everyone who believes is set free.”  First, a person must accept a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and then justification comes to us because of that relationship.  No matter how hard we might try, we cannot do enough to earn God’s justification by “being a good person” or “living by the ten commandments” but Jesus accomplished it for us by His death, burial, and resurrection.  Clearly this is telling us that God chooses to forgive us of all our sins.  While Satan often tries to use our past as a way to distract and deceive us from God’s truth, scripture clearly shows that no matter how great our sin, He forgives. God tells us “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”[3]

 So for those who choose to look at God as being angry and mad at people and is just waiting to take out his displeasure on all who have sinned (which is all of us), God’s Word doesn’t at all provide support for this ideology. This passage of scripture gives us a valuable description regarding sin and forgiveness: “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.  The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”[4]Some key points from this passage:

  • For anyone that enters into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ they are a new creation, the old has gone (sinful man) and the new is here (freedom in Christ).  This does not mean we achieve perfection through this relationship but forgiveness.
  • It was God’s plan that made a way for reconciliation; it was not man’s idea because of our sinful nature.  God wants a personal relationship with the part of His creation that was formed in His image so if anyone is in Christ they are reconciled through Christ.  The Holman Bible Dictionary defines reconciliation as “The establishment of friendly relations between parties who are at variance with each other, making peace after an engagement in war, or readmission to the presence and favor of a person after rebellion against the person.”[5]  Sin caused man to be rebellious against God and therefore created separation and distance.  Through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ we have a way to be in the presence and favor of our Heavenly Father.
  • God allowed His one and only Son to serve as the sacrifice for all sins past, present, and future so that in Him we become the righteousness of God.

So often we forget or ignore the fact that we were sinful by nature and we needed forgiveness and reconciliation with our Creator.  As a result, we fail to forgive others as we have been forgiven.  Men particularly struggle with this idea of forgiveness.  We expect forgiveness from others but have difficulty giving it.  Scripture tells us “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”[6]We are to model ourselves after Christ and our Heavenly Father.  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”[7]Pretty strong message when scripture says “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

In closing, I want to remind all Followers of Jesus Christ that salvation does not prevent us from sinning.  Let’s face it, it is our nature from the beginning; it is in our DNA. God tells us “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”[8]  It is very important to recognize that our relationship with Jesus Christ must be our primary focus and if we maintain that focus we will minimize sin but we will sin nonetheless.  Thought or deed, sin is sin.  God knows this and He gives us words of comfort when he had John write “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”[9]

My heart’s desire is these words regarding forgiveness will give you a new or refreshed look at what God has done for us and what we should be doing for Him in relationship to forgiveness.  Thank you Lord for your grace and forgiveness so that we might reconnect our hearts with yours!


[1] 1 John 2:12
[2] Acts 13:38&39
[3] Hebrews 8:12
[4] 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
[5]Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991.
[6] Ephesians 4:32
[7] Colossians 3:12-14
[8]1 John 1:8
[9]1 John 1:9

Note: this article was inspired by God Has Forgiven You – Jesus Christ brought love from Heaven posted on www.believers.org website