By: Norm Rasmussen
Not everyone who considers themselves Christians are going to make the rapture -- presumably what Revelation 3:10 is referencing. Hear me out please on this. This is a very serious matter. God wants no one missing His rescue mission before all hell is allowed to break out on planet earth at a magnitude the human mind has extreme difficulty comprehending (though it's starting to knock louder on our doorstep as each day passes) ' but there is too much scriptural support that STRONGLY HINTS that many will NOT be walking close enough to God in righteousness (uncompromising obedience to His Word) to be 'worthy to escape' the mind-blowing evil that God will allow from Satan to descend on this planet before Jesus sets up His Kingdom rule here.
Read what God has recorded for us about this very sobering and crucially important matter:
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:34-36 KJV)
'Worthy' is highlighted above because that is the primary purpose of this writing ' to help the reader understand the crucial importance of walking in uncompromising obedience to God's wisely interpreted, wisely applied Word.
I must first lay an important though brief foundation for the new Christian before proceeding further, so please bear with me you more knowledgeable saints. Not ONE Christian will ever become righteous enough ' worthy enough ' by their OWN doing; their own self-efforts; to be pleasing to God. God of course knowing this ' gave to born again believers Christ's righteousness ' Christ's worthiness ' when they made the decision to ask Jesus Christ to be their Savior and granted Him permission to be Lord of all in their life. This is what God wants us to understand as is addressed in 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Philippians 3:7-9. This is a very important revelation a Christian will do well to seek the Lord on about matters of eternal Salvation: It is God's IMPUTED righteousness ' His imputed holiness, freely given to us that saves us ' not our OWN righteousness ' our own holiness.
Yet that is only HALF of this critically important matter, which Satan is working overtime to keep Christians from understanding! God wants followers of Jesus Christ to work diligently to walk DAILY in righteousness ' in holiness ' in obedience. That's the hard part ' the challenging part - for us, but a critically important part. Here's scripture to bear this out:
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. ' 2 Cor. 7:1 (NKJV)
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.' - 1 Peter 1:13-16 (NKJV)
The above scripture passages address walking DAILY in perfecting holiness in our relationship with Christ Jesus. BECAUSE God has given born again Christians HIS righteousness freely, He NOW expects us to DEMONSTRATE IT by our persistent obedience to Him -- not indefinitely keep asking forgiveness for our sins which 1 John 1:9 gives us the right to do (thank you Lord!) and assume that's the end of the matter with God, but to begin to repent. Repentance is not acknowledging to God that I have sinned again against Him, and then asking His forgiveness for it. That's simply obeying 1 John 1:9. 1 Peter 1:13-16 and 2 Cor. 7:1 purposes to communicate to us that true repentance is actively working with God to get ruthlessly serious in our walk with Him whereby we are in a constant state of actively pursuing God to reveal to us where we are somehow missing the mark with Him in alignment with His Word and maybe perhaps even call on our life and/or the gifts He has given us to use for His glory - His Kingdom advancement in the lives of others ... and DO something about reaching the place where that stronghold of sin has been broken off our life.
I'll say it again because everyone needs to get this: The true meaning of repentance is to change the way we THINK.
God knows that if we don't work diligently with His Spirit to start changing the way we THINK about on-going disobedience in our life, we surely aren't going to stop giving into our pet sin(s). We'll be on the never-ending spiritual treadmill of 1 John 1:9 our whole time on this planet, which is only HALF of this very important matter in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Let's take this one step higher, because Satan surely does. Satan's vicious, relentless intent is to get people to believe certain sins(s) really aren't sins AT ALL ... so therefore what is there to confess and ask God forgiveness for ... let alone repent of? If you need some clarification ... take the issue of homosexuality. Need more be said?
Asking God to forgive us of our sin is easy.
Believing God has forgiven us of our sin
once we ask
for it is a bit more difficult for some,
but God wants us to believe it. That's the much easier part. The more difficult part ' the SECOND part
' is to strive to reach the place where we no longer give into temptation to
commit our pet sin(s) anymore ' so we don't HAVE to ask God to forgive us
anymore for that sin, because if you don't commit it anymore, there is no
need to ask forgiveness for it ' is there?
(As an example, you don't need to ask God to forgive you of
murdering someone if you never murdered anyone - understand?)
(As an example, you don't need to ask God to forgive you of murdering someone if you never murdered anyone - understand?)
Satan does NOT want Christians understanding this SECOND part of holiness ' our proving ourselves 'worthy' to God to be freed by Him from the demonic snare that is going to come upon the whole earth ... because once that snare is allowed by God via Satan to come, it will be so much more difficult to walk in God's maximized protection (though everyone on the earth at that time will STILL be able to call out to Jesus for eternal salvation if they want it, and trust Him for divine protection. It may just cost them their life shortly thereafter they receive Salvation, but I suspect few will care, given their options).
Salvation is free, saints. Walking in holiness ' righteousness ' obedience - is what Jesus is addressing in Luke 21:34-36. Let's not allow Satan to delude our comprehension on this matter, which He works so hard at trying to do. In other words, how determined will you and I be in trying to walk as squeaky clean as we possibly know how so that God will find NO REASON NOT to reward us for it when it's time to be supernaturally protected by God as the going gets much, much rougher (challenging; trying), as it's inevitable it's going to.
Know this about God if your mind has grown spiritually hazy of late. God rewards the obedient to His Word. God tends to discipline ' chastise ' WITHHOLD various favor ' blessing ' even withholding divine protection to various degrees when a person refuses to get serious with the Lord - from those who walk in compromise with Him in this life.
Furthermore ' the Bible makes it quite clear that God is going to reward our obedience in this life to Him and more importantly ... THROUGHOUT ETERNITY to one degree or another. Just knowing you are going to heaven once you die is priceless. But that's just the start. Seeing from scripture that God is going to REWARD Christians for their obedience once reward time comes takes it to a much higher level of importance.
God wants to find reason for rewarding our determination to walk worthily of
his divine favor, but it is up to US to deserve it to some degree (and
perhaps others a large degree. Who wanting God's
maximized blessing(s) would push it with God?!).
Salvation is free -- walking WORTHILY of
it will cost us dearly before we get to heaven! It requires diligence on our part to get
ruthless with spiritual compromise ' spiritual disobedience. God grants a lot of mercy and compassion with His
people when they first get saved, but as time goes by, God expects more from
us than when our salvation first began. (Oh can I speak from painful personal
God grants a lot of mercy and compassion with His people when they first get saved, but as time goes by, God expects more from us than when our salvation first began. (Oh can I speak from painful personal experience!).
[Though this particular writing has mostly to do with striving to walk in personal holiness, a companion writing addressing spiritual deception may well be warranted, and there are many well written ones already on the Internet (i.e., http://carm.org/). Christians are warned by Jesus to beware of the intense, sophisticated end-time spiritual deception that will only increase up until Jesus returns. A person who is careless - cavalier - apathetic - about personal holiness -- personal obedience to the Word of Truth -- will be extremely vulnerable to buying into spiritual deception. The two usually go hand in hand, though not necessarily. There are people who have blindly given themselves over to "christian" cults and para-cults and all sorts of doctrinally twisted biblical beliefs in mainline Christianity (and it's GROWING leaps and bounds in certain mainline churches and/or various Christian denominations!) who probably work more diligently in striving to walk in personal holiness than many devout born again Christians .. but like I say, this would require a thorough second writing to do it adequate justice.
Suffice it to say, "wolves in sheep's clothing" to various degrees are best disguised by caring a Bible under their arm and attend the VERY same church as you do and listen to the same Christian media broadcasts/Christian resources as multitudes of others do. The BEST way a person can truly spot spiritual deception is to KNOW the Word Of God; KNOW how to wisely interpret it; KNOW how to wisely apply it. People who are most prone to spiritual deception are either ignorant of the Word of God, or they BELIEVE they know the Word of God but have given themselves to deceptive teachings - deceptive interpretations of what the Word of God is communicating without personally and patiently and persistently inquiring of the Holy Spirit regarding it's proper understanding and application. Satan is the DECEITFUL MASTER at getting Christians to believe and SPREAD scriptures taken either out of their intended purpose and context, and using a scripture passage or two to proof text a belief that is NOT fully endorsed by the Holy Spirit nor ever will be. Here is a highly recommended link to help people better understand the Holy Scriptures: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/p-t/EightRulesOfBibleInterpretation.htm ].
You and I may live to see the time (right now it's mid-2014) where we are imprisoned for being bold for our obedience to the Lord and be forced to undergo various 'sophisticated brainwashing techniques' in prison and/or detention centers as experimental guinea pigs and/or "dangerous to the welfare of our very own self, our family, the community, the state or the nation" to try to get us to crack and renounce Christ as our Lord and Savior, or at the very least for standing up publicly for uncompromising righteousness ' even though so few around us care to, or are brave and courageous enough to. (Essentially Satan's definition of "repentance" is changing the way we think about Biblical spiritual Truth). That is not the time to figure out what you are going to do, if push comes to shove. TODAY is the time to KNOW what you are going to do should God allow you and I to go through any type of torment Satan is allowed to do to us before God rescues us ' be it the rapture, or eventual torture, then martyrdom.
Saying anymore about the matter is probably going to be nothing more than repetition on my part, so I'll end out by challenging you with what I strongly believe is the Holy Spirit's serious and sobering challenge to everyone reading this.
Do you truly believe walking worthily of the salvation freely given to you is your reasonable demonstration to God that you are thankful for it ' or are you hoping that God isn't as serious about judging sin in your life as the devil would love you to think?
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