Will there be politicians in heaven?

Will there be politicians in heaven? Perhaps another way to ask this same questions is: “Can politicians, too, be saved?”

There is a Bible verse in the Book of Revelation, chapter 21, verse 8, which raises questions, especially now, during campaign season when the airwaves and Internet are filled with political ads bashing the opposition and grossly misrepresenting the truth. That Bible verse, which describes the final outcome of God’s judgment, reads: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

We read that verse and can understand why God would condemn those who commit abominations and murder. We understand why those who make use of prostitutes will be in the lake of fire. We agree that those who practice sorcery and idolatry will spend eternity in hell. But then we come to that last group who will be condemned: “all liars.”

Since one of God’s commandments forbids bearing false witness against our neighbor (Ex. 20:16; Deut. 5:20) and God clearly says all liars will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death, can politicians be saved?

For so many, their terms in office begin with a lie. They swear on the Bible to uphold the United States Constitution and then begin to violate its clear and plain words at almost every turn in order to gain power, wealth and political ambitions.

And, as I said in the opening paragraphs, can politicians be saved if they lie, twist and misrepresent the truth and smear others? The Word of God tells us where such politicians will be: “in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” It won’t matter if they claimed to believe or claimed to be guided by God’s Word.

By the way, we really won’t need politicians in heaven because everyone will be perfect and without sin – no laws and rulers will be necessary.

So, how can politicians be saved? The answer, of course, is the same for all: Repent and believe the Gospel. Put another way, that simply means to acknowledge and turn from sin to Christ Jesus for pardon, forgiveness and eternal life.

That is, after all, what Jesus preached (Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47). It’s what John the Baptist preached (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:1ff.). It’s what Peter and the apostles preached (Acts 2:38-39; 3:19; 20:21; 1 John 1:8 – 2:2). That is also why Jesus suffered, died and rose again – to pay the penalty for all our sins that we might repent and trust in Him for forgiveness and life eternal in His kingdom.

And, if politicians do repent and trust in the Lord Jesus, not only will they be saved, the lying should stop and the truth be clearly spoken.

And, to be fair as a preacher, perhaps I should ask the same question in regard to preachers and pastors? Will they be in heaven? After all, they will be out of a job there, too, because everyone in heaven will know the LORD and know His Word.

Truth is that ministers, too, ought to be concerned about lying and misrepresenting the truth. They claim to speak for God and to be instructing people in the doctrines of His Book – the Bible.

If they purposely alter the clear teaching of the Bible for the sake of earthly gain, power or wealth, isn’t that the same as what the politicians are doing? What if they teach some parts of the Bible and ignore others? Isn’t that a misrepresentation of the truth? And the cost is eternal – souls are misled and lost forever to God’s kingdom.

And, if it is done in ignorance, perhaps because ministers were taught errors in doctrine through other preachers, professors or church bodies, does that excuse teaching falsehood in the name of God? The end result is still just as devastating for the lost and misled.

Ministers have a responsibility greater than any other when they preach and teach because they represent God and are responsible to Him for faithfully speaking His words and not their own. People’s souls depend upon their faithfulness. Ministers are not to preach their own thoughts and opinions, or even those of church leaders and theologians. They are to proclaim the clear and plain words of the Bible. They are not to give their own interpretations of Scripture to the people, but to use Scripture to interpret Scripture for the people.

The Bible says of ministers (1 Cor. 4:1-2): “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

So, can preachers, too, be saved? Will there be ministers in heaven? Only if ministers repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! There is no other way.

And if ministers repent and trust in Christ, not only will they be saved from that lake of fire, we should be able to see the fruits of repentance: great respect for God’s Word, care to preach all of it faithfully, letting Scripture (not church bodies and church leaders, not so-called theologians, not popular opinion) interpret Scripture.

Why do we believe in Jesus?

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty … We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts….” 2 Peter 1:16,19 (read v. 16-21)

Why do we place our faith and trust in Jesus? Why do we believe that Jesus is God the Son in human flesh and our Savior from sin and eternal damnation? Is it a matter of blind faith, based on myths and fables, or is it historical truth witnessed by the disciples of the Lord Jesus and testified to by God Himself?

Peter plainly says our faith is not based on “cunningly devised fables” about the power and coming of Jesus Christ. They didn’t sit down and craft a story to deceive the world. Rather they were eyewitnesses of the power and majesty of the Lord Jesus. They not only heard His teaching; they saw His miracles. They saw the sick made whole, the lepers cleansed, the blind given sight, the lame walk and the dead raised back to life. And they were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. They saw His glory and heard the voice of God the Father testify of Jesus: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5). They witnessed His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection on the third day. They were so convinced of truthfulness of Jesus’ life and teaching, they suffered all, even death, for the faith they proclaimed.

And if that were not enough, we have the witness and testimony of God Himself concerning the person and work of Jesus. God testified of Jesus at His baptism and again on the holy mount (cf. Matt. 3:17; 17:5). And the Scriptures – written not by the will of man but of the Holy Spirit as He moved men to write and guided and directed them in the thoughts they expressed and in the words they wrote so that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, testify to us of Jesus, who He is and what He has done to redeem us and give us life instead of death.

“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” and “whereunto [we would] do well [to] take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in [our] hearts….” The Scriptures, the Word of God, “are able to make [us] wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

Our faith is based solidly “upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2:20), and God Himself has given us His witness and testimony concerning Jesus, both in His Word of the Scriptures and from the holy mountain: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

O God, grant that we hear Your testimony concerning Jesus and the light of truth shine into our hearts. Grant us true and saving faith in Jesus our Savior. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible.]

 

What was Jesus’ message to the world?

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

Have you ever wondered what message Jesus preached to the people as He traveled from city to city and town to town? Many would have us believe it was simply a message of God’s love for us and our duty to love others, but was it? The Bible sums up Jesus’ preaching in this way: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Jesus preached the coming of the kingdom of God – the day of God’s judgment upon sinful man and the establishment of God’s everlasting kingdom – and He called upon all to repent and believe the gospel (cf. Mark 1:15). His message was the same as that preached by John the Baptist, who said: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Nor was it different than the preaching of the apostles following His death and resurrection, for Peter preached: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; cf. 3:19).

If the hearers of Jesus, of John the Baptist and of the apostles – even the religious people among the Jews – needed to repent and believe the gospel to be a part of the kingdom of God, why is it that so few preachers today are calling upon their hearers to repent of their evil ways and look to the LORD God for mercy and forgiveness for the sake of Christ’s atoning sacrifice – for the sake of Jesus, who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (cf. John 1:29)?

If Jesus’ hearers needed to repent and believe the gospel, they were on the wrong path and living secure in their sinful ways, thinking all was well with their souls when it wasn’t. And what of hearers today? Are they any different? We all need to repent and look to Jesus for pardon and peace. Only in Him can we sinners be forgiven of all our sins and escape the coming judgment of God. Only in Jesus, can we have any part in the eternal kingdom of God.

And what message are we to proclaim in this dark and dying world? It’s really no surprise. Jesus tells us: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47). We are to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name – for the sake of His innocent sufferings and death in our stead!

O merciful and gracious God, grant that we heed Your words and repent of our evil ways, trusting alone in Your mercy and forgiveness for Jesus’ sake, and grant us a place in Your everlasting kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

[Scripture from the King James Version of the Bible]

 

Faith: What difference does it make?

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son….” (v. 16). Jesus Christ, God’s Son born of the virgin Mary, was sent into this world to redeem us from our sin and the wrath and condemnation which God’s holy law requires. Jesus did this for us by keeping that law perfectly in our place and then suffering and dying upon the cross to pay in full the punishment for all of our sins. His resurrection is proof that God the Father accepted the sacrifice of His only begotten Son in our stead.

Since Christ Jesus has accomplished our redemption for us, those who believe in Him, placing their trust and confidence in His holy life and His innocent sufferings and death in our stead rather than in themselves and their own sin-tainted righteousness, are not condemned by God but forgiven of all their sins. They have everlasting life in heaven for Jesus’ sake!

On the other hand, those who do not believe in Jesus are already condemned. Why? It is not that Jesus did not fulfill all righteousness for them, and it is not because Jesus did not pay in full the just penalty for their sins. It is not even because God does not have forgiveness in heart for them. Rather, it is because they have rejected the way of salvation God provided for them — the only way of salvation. God is left with no choice but to condemn them for their sins and failings and, chief of all, for their rejection of His only begotten Son, their Messiah and Savior, Jesus!

What about you? God sent His only begotten Son to redeem you. Jesus paid in full for all your sins when He shed His blood upon the cross. God offers you forgiveness and life in His Son. If you believe in Christ Jesus, you are not condemned — you have forgiveness for all your sins and everlasting life! But if you do not believe in Jesus, you stand condemned already for not trusting in the only begotten Son of God!

O dearest Jesus, thank You for Your holy life in my place and for Your sufferings and death upon the cross for my sins. Graciously grant me faith to trust in You alone for my salvation. Amen.

[Scripture from the King James Version of the Bible]

There is joy and peace in believing

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13

We know that our Lord Jesus Christ will soon return to judge the earth. The dead will rise and all will stand before His throne of judgment (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10). While the rest of the world will shrink back in terror because all their evil deeds will be exposed (cf. Matt. 24:29ff.; Rev. 1:7: 6:12-17), we can face that day in joy and peace.

We know too, if the Lord should tarry, that the day of our death draws ever closer. The Bible tells us that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). While the rest of the world fears death and dreads that day when he or she must stand before the LORD God and be judged of Him, we can face the hour of our death in joy and with peace.

Why is this so? Because the God of hope fills us “with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Though, of ourselves, we could not stand in His presence because of our sin (cf. Ps. 130:3; Rom. 3:23), yet our God has given us hope by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, into this world a true man – that Babe born of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem – that He might fulfill the righteous demands of God’s law in our stead and bear upon the cross the full punishment and condemnation for all our sins (cf. Gal. 4:4-6).

As the Bible says, “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28; cf. Rom. 3:24-26; Ps. 130:4ff.).

And it is God the Holy Ghost who has revealed to us through the Word of God this salvation won for us by Christ Jesus. He assures us that “He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:6,7). He assures us that “though [our] sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18) for the sake of Jesus’ shed blood. Through the Spirit’s working, we are given hope! We have joy and peace in believing! (Cf. Eph. 1:9-14; Rom. 5:1-2; Phil. 4:7).

 O God of hope, we praise and thank You for the gift of Your Son to bear our sins upon the cross and rise in victory that we might have hope and have peace and joy in believing that You accept us and forgive all our sins for Jesus’ sake. Strengthen and keep us in this hope unto life everlasting. We ask this for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[Scripture from the King James Version of the Bible]

 

Do not fear, only believe

“As He was speaking, they came from the synagogue ruler saying, Your daughter has died. Why do you still trouble the Teacher? But hearing the word spoken, Jesus said to the synagogue ruler at once, Do not fear, only believe.” Mark 5:35-36 (Read v. 21-43)

Do things ever seem beyond hope? Have you ever prayed for the Lord’s help only to have things go from bad to worse, with no intervention in sight?

Think how Jairus must have felt when he sought Jesus to come to his house and heal his 12-year-old daughter who was ill and near to death. While on the way, with crowds pressing in upon Jesus, a woman with a flow of blood touches his garment and is healed, and Jesus stops to speak with her. Jairus had hope – faith, whether strong or weak – that if Jesus would just get there in time and lay His hands upon his daughter, she would be healed. But then the bad news came. It was too late. His daughter had died! Why bother Jesus – “the teacher” – any longer?

But note what Jesus did as soon as He heard those discouraging words. He gave Jairus words of hope, words upon which his faith could rest: “Do not fear, only believe.” Rather than letting Jairus give up all hope, Jesus called upon him not to fear but to believe!

The Scripture record tells us what happened next. Jesus arrived and, accompanied by His inner circle of disciples, He puts out those weeping and mourning over the girl’s death, saying she’s not dead but sleeping. Then He takes hold of the child’s hand and speaks to her the words: “Talitha koumi; which is, being translated, Little girl, I say to you, Rise up!” (v. 41). The Scriptures tell us: “And immediately the little girl rose up and walked” (v. 42).

We may see no hope. We may think it is too late for God to intervene. We may even consider our sins too great and think there is no help for us. But Jesus says, “Do not fear, only believe.”

Cannot the God who created and still sustains all things help us in every time of trouble? (Cf. Jer. 32:17; Rom. 8:31ff.; Ps. 50:15.) And need we give up hope of salvation? Jesus will be our judge, and He is the one who died on the cross and paid in full for our sins and the sins of the world and rose again. As the Bible says, “Who is he condemning? It is Christ who has died, but rather also is raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:34; cf. 1 John 2:1-2).

There is still hope, no matter how hopeless all may appear. Rather than giving up in despair, trust Jesus. “Do not fear, only believe.”

O dearest Jesus, Son of God and my Savior, grant that I not despair and be afraid, even when all appears hopeless, but trust in You and in the everlasting salvation You won for me by Your death upon the cross and glorious resurrection. Amen.

Scripture quotations from Green’s Literal Translation (LITV). Scripture quoted by permission. Copyright 1993 by Jay P. Green Sr., All rights reserved. Jay P. Green Sr., Lafayette, IN. U.S.A. 47903.

Repent and believe the gospel

“And after John was delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God draws near. Repent, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15

John preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins and, after John’s arrest, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God draws near. Repent, and believe the gospel.”

Our message today is no different. We still preach and proclaim “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God draws near. Repent, and believe the gospel.”

The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God draws near. In fulfillment of His ancient promises, God sent His Son into the world, a true man, to redeem us from the curse of the law and open to us the gates of heaven (cf. Gal. 4:4-5; Lk. 1:68ff.). And now that Christ has died for the sins of the world and is risen again and ascended to the right hand of the Father, the day of His return to judge the living and the dead and to establish His everlasting kingdom draws near.

God’s Word says that Jesus will soon come “from Heaven with the angels of His power, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that Day” (2 Thess. 1:7-10).

Now is the time to repent and believe the Gospel (2 Cor. 5:18 – 6:2). It’s time to recognize the sinfulness of our ways and to turn to the Lord with faith in the Gospel – that good news that our God is gracious and merciful toward us and forgives our sins and iniquities and gives us a place in His everlasting kingdom for the sake of the Son, Jesus Christ, and His innocent sufferings and death in our stead. God is “good and ready to forgive, and rich in mercy to all those who call on” Him (Psalm 86:5).

Those who repent and believe the Gospel of forgiveness and life in Christ Jesus will be saved. Those who do not repent and place their faith and confidence in the Son will be condemned to the eternal fires of hell when Jesus comes to establish His everlasting kingdom.

O gracious and merciful God, grant that we repent of our sinful ways and believe the good news of forgiveness and life in the Son. Amen.

 [Scripture quoted by permission from Green's Modern King James Version (MKJV) Copyright 1993 by Jay P. Green Sr., All rights reserved.]

For Audi Devotion, click the following ling: Mark1.14-15.mp3

A message I would share with all?

If there was one message I could share with everyone, it would be the truth that this world is headed for judgment and that there is only one way to escape that judgment and live forever – Jesus Christ.

Though the ways and direction of this world may seem inviting to us, they are quite literally a dead end. They lead not to life but to judgment and eternal condemnation because they are not the ways of God who created all and will one day remove all that is evil and contrary to His perfect will and restore His creation to what He intended it to be (cf. 2 Pet. 3:7ff.).

Though each and every one of us is by nature and birth in rebellion against the holy and sinless God who created the world and all things, choosing rather to live for self and go our own way rather than living for God and obeying His commandments, God does not desire to condemn us and cast us into hell. That we might be spared His judgment and condemnation, God graciously sent His own son into this world a true man to live a perfect life for us in the ways of God His Father and then to bear upon the cross the just punishment for our sins and the sins of the whole world. This Jesus did and then rose again.

Rather than be condemned along with this wicked world, God graciously calls upon you and me – upon all – to repent of our sinful ways and return to the God who made us. God says to us in His Word: “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7). Because Jesus Christ, the righteous, is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the whole world, we have pardon and forgiveness through faith in His name. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7; cf. 1 John 1:7 – 2:2).

It is my prayer that you will repent and believe on the Son. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Will You Enter God’s Eternal Rest?

“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Psalm 95:7-11 (Read Psalm 95)

Will you enter God’s eternal rest, or are you hardening your heart against Him? God’s Word comes to you. You have it in your Bible, and it is still here and there preached by faithful ministers. But do you hear it and believe it?

The Children of Israel heard God’s words through Moses and even directly from God Himself on Mt. Sinai. They saw God’s mighty works in Egypt, at the Red Sea and in the wilderness. But did they believe? Did they trust in the LORD God to lead and guide them, provide for them in their journeys and bring them safely into the Promised Land? The answer, sad to say, is no! Again and again, they grumbled and complained. Again and again, they disobeyed the commandments of the LORD. And, when it was time to go up and take possession of the land the LORD was giving them, they doubted God’s Word to them and wanted to return to Egypt. Therefore, because of their unbelief, they did not enter into the rest promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Now, the Word of the LORD comes to you. It calls you to repent of your sinful ways and rebellion against the LORD and receive forgiveness and life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God’s own dear Son.

Will you hear God’s Word? Will you acknowledge your utter sinfulness and rebelliousness before the LORD? Will you come to God and trust in Him to receive you and forgive you of all your sins because Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God in human flesh, fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s law for you and then bore your punishment upon the cross and rose again?

If you refuse to repent and turn to the Lord Jesus for mercy, you err and go astray in your heart. You do not know the way of the LORD, and you will not enter into His eternal rest!

But when, by the gracious working of God, you humble yourself before the LORD, hear His Word and believe God’s promises of pardon, peace and life everlasting, you will receive of His mercy and be blessed with the eternal joys of heaven for Jesus’ sake! The forgiveness of sins and eternal life which Christ Jesus won for all when He suffered and died upon the cross and rose again from the dead will be yours through faith in His name.

LORD God, have mercy upon us and grant that we not harden our hearts against You and the truth of Your Word. By Your Holy Spirit, grant us true repentance and faith In Jesus Christ our Savior. In His name we pray.  Amen.

[Scripture from the King James Version of the Bible]