Friday, March 13, 2009

Why Is Jesus Waiting?

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Every day I’m deluged by waves of bad news.

As a Christian watching and waiting for the Lord Jesus to fulfill His promise of returning to Earth to set up His kingdom of peace, love and righteousness, I keep an eye on world events to discern the biblical signs that foretell of that blessed Second Coming. And so, day after day after day I peruse an endless list of news stories in search of those signs. They are very easy to find, but in the search I also discover that the world is filled with horror. That horror can stamp out any glimmer of hope.

Like standing stalwart against the crashing surf, all these constant updates on how bad the world is can eventually erode a person down. Each morning’s wakeup has become tinged with a subtle dread of knowing that I’ll have to hear about some injustice, atrocity or murder. My corporate prayer times are filled with reports of moral collapse and further acts that persecute believers in Christ and take the life of the innocent. My personal prayer times seem to more and more address the consequences of man’s inhumanity to man. And worse, I gaze at my children and feel a deep sadness that they will not experience the earthly opportunities and freedoms that the American dream had once provided.

On top of all the terrible news of today, as a student of Bible prophecy I’m also laden with the knowledge of the future horrors of tomorrow. The human institutions of justice created to uphold moral law that so many have bled to establish have been corrupted and will disintegrate into a totalitarian regime ruled by a megalomaniac world leader. Within a few short years, three quarters of the world’s population are going to be annihilated by nuclear war, raging famine, deadly pestilence and mass death. Freedom of religion will be stamped out. Those who call Christ "Savior" will be hunted like deer and exterminated. The world will visibly be in the grip of the cruel and merciless Prince of this Age — Satan.

And how do I cope with all this badness in the world and the knowledge to come? Initially, my lunch breaks have shifted from Channel 8 news to pre-recordings of American Idol, and from late night surfing of the news sites to Netflix. The wars I can control are played out in Command & Conquer games. But, these escapisms are only fleeting respites.

Honest coping — coping that heals the soul — finally arrives when one truly understands why Jesus is waiting to return, allowing the evil in the world to rage on in the meantime. The key to that understanding lies in 2 Peter 3:9 which reads, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." The verse teaches that Jesus waits because not everyone who will accept Him as Savior during the present Church Age has yet done so.

I could get mad, and probably in moments of weakness have, that I’m saved and am all set to go. Bring it on! But, what if Jesus had come back the day before I had accepted Him as Savior? What if Jesus was to return before your spouse, your child, your parents or best friend have accepted Him, leaving them to experience the wrath He has promised to let loose in judgment upon on the whole world? Those questions put my anxiousness for His return into true perspective.

That Jesus hasn’t returned yet is amazingly a mercy. The world is in a sorry state of affairs because mankind’s free will and Satan’s moment of ruling have made it so. But, to have the opportunity to be rescued from our sin and be granted eternal life by the true King of the Universe, the King who one day WILL fulfill His promises of destroying all evil and establishing His perfect kingdom... well, that life-saving chance is far too important when compared to our present limited time of suffering.

Jesus loves us, and I love Him for being so merciful. He is patient in returning because He wants everyone to have the opportunity to come to repentance and choose Jesus as Savior. Fortified with that knowledge, I think my day just got a whole lot brighter!


Kathy said...

Thank you, Nathan, for that reminder. As christians we all know this but patience and remembering are sometimes difficult. My daily prayer is Marantha but that should change to "Maranatha but Thy will be done"!

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Brother!!

Greg in NC

Billy said...

I needed to hear this! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Please pray for Caroline. She has to join us when we go home.


davidson county said...

Thanks for your article Nathan. I am thankful that the LORD keeps His promises and that His justice is perfect. In my spirit, I feel that it is time for Jesus to return and I do cry Maranatha. My prayer is for souls to believe in Jesus in every nation. I know the power of God to free a soul and that is very good news. Good news when there is little to be found.

Anonymous said...

A good dose of reality came in my mailbox last week--information about what God is accomplishing through Samaritan's Purse around the world! I read about the souls being saved, and immediately, I thought, "Father, not yet--there are so many thirsty souls out there still needing to hear and heed your call!"

If you ever need a pick-me-up, check out a Christian organization's Web site about their ministries (especially those that minister overseas).

What an amazing God we serve!

Mitchell said...

I agree with the gist of what you wrote Nathan. The mercy of God is something that we can probably not even fathom. I think too that in addition to this that certain things need to happen before He returns, we are told to watch and are given signs to watch for, so until those things happen it is not yet the appointed time.

son of thunder said...

Most of the time it's hard to remember that God is waiting for the exact moment and that we need to be patient.

It's almost like being in the doctors office: Your name's on the list, you know you will be called, but it feels like it takes 10 hours before you are! When it's really only been 10 minutes.

hartdawg said...

what about the flip side? it seems more people fall away than come to christ! thats not mercy thats cruel! 5 people falling away while 1 comes to christ because he is too slow! no disrespect its just what i see

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nathan for this reminder for us to perservere in these times of uncertainty.

hartdawg - I can't provide an easy answer that would satisfy your human observations, but may I try to encourage you? In human terms it may seem cruel to you, but our God is slow to anger and he gives His creation more than enough time and opportunity to repent (see 2nd Peter 3:8-9) and that is grace and mercy. To me one of the biggest reasons He gave us the Bible is to remind us that our faith is in a God who is the same yesterday, today AND tomorrow (and of course to reveal Himself to us). In Job 40 & 41, God basically reminded Job (when he thought God was being unfair) that His ways are above ours and we cannot stand or contend with Him - so we must be careful to assume that just because He doesn't do things our way that He doesn't care or that He is unmerciful or unjust. We are called by faith to trust in His mercy, His goodness, His love AND His justice all of which are absolutely perfect. I think you may also want to keep in mind that God also gives all of us a free will to follow or reject His Son and He himself will not intrude on that human free will. So even though it seems more people are falling away it is not God's fault.

I do understand your comment that life and God may seem unfair at times, my mother died of cancer you normally associate with heavy drinking or smoking - neither of which did she ever partake of in her life. She loved the Lord and served Him her whole life and it doesn't seem fair in a way that this should happen to my mom. The cancer was discovered in June and she died in December, 6 lousy months in human terms. Do I understand, no not entirely cuz I would prefer that she got to enjoy her 5 grandkids, my kids, for many more years and I would prefer she continue to cook me and my siblings our favorite meals. And of course my father would prefer to have his best friend and mate of nearly 50 years still around. But now all I can do is trust the heart of my Father in Heaven. I don't want to be like Job's unbelieving and contentious friends, there is no easy answer and I mean no disrespect to you by saying simply God is not cruel we just need to rest in His hands.

Rob from Alabama

Rick said...

I feel EXACTLY the same way!!!

Anonymous said...

I too have the seesaw feelings. I watch the violence of our world and say how long Father.. and then I think of my loved ones and ask, but what about them? I am glad the times are in the hands of God, not ours. I would not want to make the call. I do look for His return, but grieve that so many will be lost. No matter how we look at this, you have to know that God is never late.

son of thunder said...

hartdawg, I've had thoughts like that before, then I asked myself: Are they falling away from Christ or church? They are not the same thing. Christianity is a religion, not a relationship. Christ calls for relationship, not religion.

So these people who are falling away (as Paul predicted ) are not true believers for the most part. They are looking for something to ease their consciences and troubled minds. Believers who have a true relationship with Messiah have faith to stand because we believe that the Bible is true (not allegorical fairy tales) and God keeps his promises.

And, unfortunately, that's what a majority of churches teach: health and wealth, feel good, warm-fuzzy religion. They don't teach repentance or the saving atonement of Messiah. They don't teach the Book anymore.

That's why I fell away, and thank Jesus I found a church that teaches the Bible. I left religion behind and have gotten into a relationship with my God.

A great book to read on the subject is Frank Peretti's The Visitation.

hartdawg said...

here is my problem, this may sound disturbing but i cant be the only one who feels this way. i know it aint true in my mind but i wonder about it in my heart. here it is; some people veiw god as waiting to bash us with a bat and others as smiling at sin. here is what i struggle with, an inactive, passive god who does nothing but pull the free will card. you need some form of justice nope, gotta wait til the rapture. a friend is screwing up his life you pray, God pulls the free will card. does god still heal? theologically yes, practically no. does God intervene? theologically yes practically no. a few weeks ago i was finally able to get a friend to church and it was a powerful message just as he started to preach his phone rang and he answered it. i was outside praying/cussing at God to do somethuing. if he is just going to be this passive God why pray? whats the point

hartdawg said...

it seems that as far as forgiving sins he is great, but for stepping into situations he is useless. it seems i do all i can and he does nothing. i know in my mind it aint true but i wonder in my heart. if god dont intervene in free will noone would be saved. its like he gives me such a burden for youth so i do what i can and he sits silently, passively and inactively by. i dont believe the diest idea of God but i understand why they believe it. i cant be the only one who has ever struggled with this. i am quite sure its more common tho not admitted than i think

Anonymous said...

hartdawg - I know life gets tough to understand at times but may I caution you about your "feelings" towards God - feelings come and go but God is forever the same. God IS NOT inactive and He IS NOT pulling some free will "card" as you put it, as that would indeed make Him a cruel and arbitrary God. This type of god is actually what you find in all the false gods such as Buddah, Allah, Zeus etc. Those who worship these "gods" live in abject fear that their "god" is going to pull a fast one just for fun or to stir up the pot or to one-up some other ompeting "god". They serve small, petty Gods. And just because we fail to recognize His working and activity in this world does not make Him inactive.

The free will of the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was given to Adam & Eve from the very beginning of Creation and He cannot and will not intelope on or supercede that which He gave. That would be the definition of arbitrary and that would make God inconsistent, dis-ordered and mean spirited since we could never know what to expect from Him. And like I said God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and He is orderly and consistent and He is Loving.

In the Bible I think David and Job are good examples of how God grants us some leeway in asking Him questions so that we can try and understand our lives. But you also see that such questions are always mindful of who God is and are asked with absolute respect and fear of a Holy God, if not God disciplined. So you do have the ability to approach the throne of God with proper questions and you can speak to Him from your heart. Just remember to whom you speak and that we are called to faith even if we don't get the answer we expected.

I understand you may have questions but I respectfully urge you to use caution when you get to the point when you can say "for stepping into situations he is useless" and where you can say you "cussed" God. Be careful..God is not useless and he doesn't need our help in being God. If you can get to the point where you would question the authority and sufficiency of God to this degree be sure you don't begin to think you want make a run at placing yourself in His place and on His throne. Don't think for one second that you are more equipped to deal with your world than the Creator. I pray this is not what you meant because God is a jealous God and He takes second place to noone and nothing.

And as for your burden for youth that is great. But please remember Revelation 3:20 is very clear that Jesus is the one knocking on the door to bring salvation, not us, and that we are the ones who must open the door from the inside (that is our free will). If you or I saved them then they are still bound for an eternity separated from God.

hartdawg- I shall pray for you. I shall also pray that your faith increases and that you will learn to lean not so much on your own understanding (actually we all need that - myself included). I am not trying to be self-righteous as we all have questions but I am concerned about some of your comments that could border on blasphemy and rebellion.

Rob from Alabama

Anonymous said...

Great Subject! Thanks for the post Nathan. I would like to add that while we see the world around us seemingly collapsing; these events are minor compared to God's wrath to come. Before I make my point on this subject I'd like to mention that the following scripture from the NKJV of the Bible illustrates to me what is happening in the world today on a much grander scale than in the past (probably due to the mass availability of information flow or knowledge increasing).

I will make the point on why Jesus seems (to many) seems to be tarrying in the face of world adversity. But before I do I'd like to use some scripture for true support:

In this passage Christ uses the parable of the "Wheat vs. the Tares" to show mankind how the strife we face in the world today can put such a burden on us as to cause us to fall away or to test our own faith in Christ. Satan will use any means he can to uproot us and to turn us against Christ. We must keep our faith strong to the end and never waiver in our beliefs lest we fall victim to the evil one. I'd like to put this forth a bit backwards, in other words I'd like to let Jesus explain through scripture the meaning of his parable up front so that in reading the parable you should be able to follow it a bit more clearly.

The Meaning:
Mat 13:37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.
Mat 13:38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

The Parable:
Mat 13:24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;
Mat 13:25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
Mat 13:26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
Mat 13:27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'
Mat 13:28 He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?'
Mat 13:29 But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." ' "

This parable is a picture of what it will be like in the end-times at the judgment seat of Christ. But is also a picture of what is happening in the world today. Because we are all so intertwined together in our everyday lives (racially, ethnically, relationally, at work and at play) we see and hear a multitude of opinions and apologetics on just about every subject and world event. This causes mass confusion amongst us. On Friday 3_13 I was sitting in Washington's Reagan International Airport awaiting a flight to Boston and I was amazed at the number of 'light up' billboards depicting diversity in our lives and why it was so culturally important to allow all peoples to live together in our neighborhoods as well as in our daily lives. Each photo included people of different ethnic backgrounds hovering around computers and playing backyard games together. I just stared and chuckled inside at what is happening around us and at how fast this change is coming upon us, gone are the borders that God seemingly put into place through the scattering of the peoples with like tongues/languages at the time of the "tower of babel".

So back to the parable... As you can see from the parable Christ's tarrying WAS MEANT to be. Christ stated: "to let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest". If you have a green-thumb and understand how seeds grow, you will note that at first all seeds grow a distance away from each other, as they mature and grow taller and wider in breadth the plants when left alone begin to intertwine (grass is a good illustration) as these plants are left to grow, weeds also grow and get intertwined in the mix. When left to grow, in the end we have a total mess of a garden or a yard. A good planter or bearer of fruit will continually cultivate and fertilize the plants while all the time suppressing the growth of weeds using weed killers of some sort. This is just what a Minister of God and a true Christian does each and every day, together one sows the seed (an individual)and another harvests the plant (a new Christian). Along the way this future new Christian has heard the word, has many questions, receives many answers, gets tons of advice and eventually makes a decision. The advice can be negative (satan getting involved) or positive (hearing truth from the word and from believers in Christ).

So what is my point? Well in today's world it just may be that Christ tarries because he is continually allowing the Wheat to grow together with the Tares, and Christ has allowed this growth to go on for millenniums to allow a natural separation to occur (in other words he is allowing satan to harvest what he can to uproot those who are not true Christians, he is also exposing to the world those who are true Christians and have the ability and the will to stand against satan and to not waiver in their faith. A kind of sorting the tares from the wheat while we are still here on earth (satans domain). Thus, I believe that the world events we see today are only birth pangs, which are getting closer and closer together culminating into the birth of God's wrath on Earth. Take heart though because GOD IS IN CONTROL and the rapture is an event that will take the "wheat" out of the way before great tribulation. However, in the meantime the worldly events and tough times will get so bad that it will be so easy to just give up on God, while at the same time it will get so bad that it will also be SO EASY to make a decision to put your faith in Christ for your salvation. Events in the world will begin to become so severe causing the separation between good and evil to occur so quickly, that those Christ is waiting on for decision making will take place at parallel speeds. This is all supposed to happen, but sorting will begin to occur at break-neck speed and just before it seems hopeless for humanity as it is about to destroy itself then and only then will God make the call to save humanity.

Be of good spirit and do not lose your faith. Christ is coming soon, we must continue to spread the good news so that those whom God knows will make a decision for him in fact do come forth.

I hope this helps just one person....

In Christ - David from Virginia

hartdawg said...

rob from alabama
how goes it? i often wonder if what i struggle with is common, as i stated i know it aint true but when people i care about seem to be heading for disaster and i cant do anything but pray then no answer i get very frustrated. i suspect i am not hte only one who struggles with these thoughts. as far as cussing God out while God is holy he also understands (that dont make it right) these are things i work on. i spose also too often i try to play holy spirit and get mad cus he dont work fast enough for me. then when i see articles like this one i quickly see the flip side cus i just want jesus to come. i also get worried that if he dont hurry more loved ones will fall away. my feeling is if more people come to christ good but i am more concerned (selfishly perhaps)about people God placed in my care who are "saved" but not yet planted so they are succeptable to falling away. make sense?

hartdawg said...

p.s. i appreciate the prayers. i just need to get to kno God all over again. as for God intervening in free will this is what i believe, God does intervene in free will, i just dont know to what extent. certainly not as much as calvinist believe. i cant wait to get my computer so i can read these comments more often. the only thing i like more than posting them is reading them

son of thunder said...

Hey, hartdawg, the best tool we've got is prayer. We have to believe that when God says that He wants no one left behind, He means it. But, that's not to say that we don't have the free will to say "No" to God's offer.

God will not "force" someone to go to heaven; that would be hell to the one who refuses to go.

And I know exactly what you're talking about. I have an unsaved step-son who would rather do his own thing and believe that he's cool with God. He's been told and told and told. I pray for him. I weep for him. And God, in my limited view point, is absolutely silent. But God is doing something, I just don't know what.

Our job is to tell people about the wrath to come and how to avoid it. It's God's job to move. And it's their job to either accept or reject the Truth.

Anonymous said...

Hi hartdawg,

Been there done that, buddy. I think I know what you’re going through and I’m praying for you. There's a paradox at play here where God is totally sovereign in His grand plan and yet we have free will. I can kind of grasp the concept during rare lucid moments but can’t articulate it as I should.

There were times in my distant past where I hate to admit it but I fought with a God I was skeptical even existed. I was angry that I didn’t get what I wanted when I asked for it in prayer and that He – if He existed - seemed silent. It’s very obvious to me now, in looking back, that He was far from silent but was doing a work in my heart and life. My heart was wrong and I was selfish. He gave me opportunities by putting situations in my life and letting me make choices. I mostly failed but He persisted as He does even now. I needed (still need) lots of correction and He is patient. I can’t elaborate because it would take pages but suffice to say that as my attitude changed He began to answer my prayers in ways that still give me a sense of awe.

I’ll give you an instance that happened not long ago. I’ve sustained many injuries in the sport I do and I can tell you that what usually begins as a slight twinge in the course of sports training can end up causing debilitating pain for months before it heals. One day during training I hurt my right leg so badly I could barely hobble and drive the pain was so excruciating. The prognosis of an experienced friend was crutches for six weeks. I panicked because I needed to drive and climb stairs to get to work and family relied on me to be able to do things for them. There were no other options open to me. That night, before bed, I prayed for healing because I was concerned for those who relied on me and the next day I had no pain whatsoever. I’ve had many, many injuries in my days and that was a miracle.

I don’t know why God sometimes answers prayers in a spectacular way and at other times He is silent. Our responsibility is to prayerfully draw close to Him in worship and repentance. One thing that’s helped me in the last three or four years is to thank Him for various things in my life and to pray for other people. Even people I don’t particularly like. Keep praying hartdawg – He is listening out for you.

SeanOsborne said...

I hold to a different perspective on when Jesus will come for the Harpazo event.

I take the literal Biblical view, which is based upon the ancient Hebrew betrothal, elopement and wedding template. This is key Bible prophecy.

The Hebrew betrothal template works like this:

Only the father of the groom would determine all things were ready and that the son had fully prepared a place for his bride. The son would not see the bride at all during this period of time. Then and only then when all things were properly prepared would the father send the son to collect his bride.

In this way the decision to return to collect the Bride of Christ is not a decision or an action Christ initiates, but rather this is the decison of God the Father, and only God the Father.

We have literally been told exactly this by Jesus, when He said the following in the specific context of the 'last days,' "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Mark 13:30-32 (KJV)

The Harpazo is soon, were are in the season, but there are apparently still more of the Bride of Christ who have yet to join us. I feel certain we will not be "caught up" without them.

That this template is what we are subject to, I cite Ecclesiastes 1:9

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

Anonymous said...

Hi Hartdawg,

I'm sorry to hear you are struggling so much. I, unlike some others on this site, believe that you can be completely free with God about how you feel (Heb. 4:16 says "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."). First of all, God knows how you really feel whether you say it out loud or not, and it seems hypocritical to me to suppress your true feelings--then you're not being honest with God. Consider David in the Psalms--he was pretty down-and-dirty honest with God! And secondly, Heb. 4:16 reminds us that we can come BOLDLY during our "time of need." Hartdawg, if this isn't a "time of need" for you then I don't know what is! As you express your emotions freely before your loving God, though, always remember that our faith is based on TRUTH (on a person--Jesus Christ) and not on how we feel at the moment!!

Also, remember that it is God's job to save people. You can witness, pray, speak all kinds of truths to them, serve them, etc., etc., etc., but it is the Holy Spirit's job to save souls. Besides, you never know how many seeds you have planted.

As for people, "falling away," that's impossible. Either a person is saved or he isn't! The verse I believe you're referring to talks about falling away from GRACE (back into law). No scripture supports the idea that someone can become unsaved after being born again (in fact, the Bible teaches the opposite). And THANK GOD it isn't up to us to keep ourselves saved!! "Therefore [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him." Heb. 7:25a

It is Jesus who saves us and it is Jesus who keeps us saved!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon, I hope you didn't mis-understand what I was trying to convey to Hartdawg. And hartdawg I meant no offense, really. I am not God and God has not conferred with me on this matter - I was just trying to offer what I see in Scripture which is THE FINAL AUTHORITY (2 Timothy 3:16).

Anon - I agree that we are allowed to approach God with our heartfelt pleas and petitions and I agree that David is one of the best examples of this in his Psalms. It is for that reason that David is one of my favorite "characters" in the Old Testament - I love how he had learned to pray and fellowship with God. But I only took exception to the words hartdawg used that gave me some concern; such as "He is useless" in the day to day, and how he "cussed" God over his friend, and his "feelings' that God was passive and inactive. I have read the Old Testament and while I claim no photographic memory I am unaware of anytime that David or any other person of the Old Testament (who was trying to be God honoring that is) who approached God with anything less than respect and awe as they understood Who was being addressed. Yes they brought heartfelt, soul searching petitions to God in their times of great anquish and sorrow but I don't recall where they were allowed to question God's Supreme Authority or to raise their fist (so to speak) in God's face in any form of disrespect. And if they did God was very clear and adamant and forceful in His response to any such disrespect. I think of Job who did get dangerously close to disrepect and God was forceful in dealing with it. I also think of Jonah who was clearly upset with God's mercy, yet even in his anger I see that Jonah remembered to recount that God was gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love (Jonah 4:1-2). And when God demonstrated his mercy with the vine and worm, Jonah was asked if he was still angry. It seems to me he was careful to say yes I am angry enough to die (Jonah 4:9). I don't see a disrespectful attitude to God in the form of who do you think you are, - which is kinda what I sensed in hartdawgs posting, and forgive me hartdawg if that is not what you meant.

And, as you yourself said "always remember that our faith is based on TRUTH (on a person--Jesus Christ) and not on how we feel at the moment!!" I tried to say the same thing to encourage hartdawg to carefully watch his feelings which come and go with the wind (but perhaps I am less eloquent with words).

I am fully aware that I am not the final judge and hartdawg does not have to please me or adhere to my thoughts. I was simply offering this one man's opinion and I would encourage hartdawg to test any blog comment against Scripture (mine, yours, Nathans and Dr. Reagan's for that matter etc.).

And I really wasn't trying to be judgemental to hartdawg, I was just concerned with what I perceived as disrespect to our God and Father. And I feel that worship and wisdom begins with a proper respect and fear of who God really is - so I just wanted to share my thoughts, nothing more and nothing less. I am simply one who is trying to work out my salvation with fear and trembling as I realize I serve Holy, Rightous God. And He is a God who does not need one tiny scrap of my feeble defense in His favor - He is God and I am not.

Oh, by the way anon. I totally agree about the falling away not being possible for the true believer. Those who appear to fall away were never saved - well said. I know this to be true and have heard this my entire life but it is nonetheless a huge encouragement for believers that nothing can take us from our Loving Fathers hand (John 10:25-30). Something we need to remember when trials come our way.

Hartdawg, again my apologies if I came across as over the top. Remember God is on His throne and He has it all under control.

Rob from Alabama

Anonymous said...

Hey, Rob from Alabama . . .

I'm sorry if I misconstrued your words in any way. Like you, I was trying to give hartdawg some encouragement.

It's just that I've found such freedom in the grace of God, and I want all my brothers and sisters in Christ to experience it. God isn't angry with us, and we as believers can't make Him angry at us. God knew every sin we would commit and He nailed them all to the cross, so Jesus has dealt with ALL of our sins (He's taken them away), and He's dealt with God's anger about ALL of our sins. Certainly, God is grieved when we are flesh-walking because it hurts US, but He's never angry with His children. And my faith, my salvation, my identity, and my works here on Earth are all from Jesus. He does it all! I can take a "Sabbath rest" in Him, go about my day in trust, and know that He is living His life through me!

Hartdawg, my prayer for you is that you will trust in the all-sufficient Christ in you and rest in Him.

Meanwhile, God is working mightily in the world. Perhaps the birth pangs of disaster will correspond with new spiritual births worldwide (as people cry out for help and find Him)!

We usually end with "Come quickly, Lord Jesus," but sometimes I say "Tarry, Lord Jesus--and save many more souls!"

hartdawg said...

hey rob
i was in no way offended. as for being honest with god he knows how i feel anyway so to deny those feelings wont do any good. generally i am open and honest with god for EVERYTHING. look at elijah peter... too often we fail to see exactly how human bible charecters are. there are no good guys and bad guys just bad guys and jesus. i FIRMLY believe the answer to this and many of all your struggles is 1.a basic understanding that god IS good. we say it but do we truly comprehend it? and 2get to know jesus all over again

hartdawg said...

oh one more thing, i dont want to get to theological, i have nothing but respect for this blog but since it came up as for people falling away its all about the roots. hebrews was written to immature christians and the parable of the sower will back this up. say a person comes to christ he is saved but if he doesnt take roots, never goes to church gets into a community... he is suceptable to fall away BUT if he plants himself takes roots... the danger of him falling away dont exist. i deal with people who very recently if ever came to christ. i may be mistaken but i dont think so

Anonymous said...

hartdawg - I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on the subjects at hand. I just can't go there. I hope this doesn't make me Pharaseical (?sp) but it seems to me that we in the church have diluted who God truly is and this is a huge concern for me. I think especially that we Americans have such a strong desire to reject all worldly, occupational, marital, familial, governmental and all other authorities in our quest for "freedom" and that we have allowed that concept into our church and our theology. ***** I am not suggesting that you personally are rejecting God's authority, hang in there with me while I try to explain my comment *******.

Since sin entered the world Satan has been trying with all his might to deceive us with more lies, to get us futher from God and His Truth. Nothing new there. But, for the modern church it seems to me that an old deception has been trotted out as a "new and better" idea. Since Satan couldn't convince us that God didn't even exist he thought he could dilute who God really is and still deceive us into the same lie - which is we can replace God and His authority with ourselves and our authority. This really began in earnest in the 196o's when there was an explosion of counter-culture in America, which was a rebellion against "the man" and "authority" and against traditional morality rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition. And since then it seems we have have also felt that Christ and the Church needed to be re-invented to a degree, that God and the church should be more "user friendly". Specifically, Christian leaders have wanted us to focus only on the love of God and the mercy of GOd because surely that would help people come to Him for their salvation. They have wanted to do away with all the authority, respect, awe, and judgemental aspects of God because that just isn't "cool" in a society dashing headlong into social and moral anarchy. Pehaps they felt they could get many of the lost in the door of the church with the ideas and slogans of love and kind words,deeds and with hip songs and teachings. Then once there the teachers and preacher could begin to teach the harder things about God and Christ, to bring them to a deeper faith. But, just the opposite has happened - we the believers have dropped down into their version of God rather than us bringing them up to a more proper understanding of Him. It's an age old problem and it is really reflected in the old saying that it is easier to bring/tear someone down than to bring/lift someone up.

I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that (1) God is Love, a love we can't fully comprehend in our human and finite brains; (2) that God is mercy because He allowed His Son to die on the cross as a substitute for mankind so that we wouldn't have to face His judgement; (3) that God is Grace because not only did He forgive us but He went a lot further by calling us His children and by allowing us access back into His kingdom (see Parable of the Prodigal Son). Let's be honest - God could have said OK I will forgive you because I can't stand to see my Creation suffer, buuuutttt sorry you messed up too bad, you must suffer the consequences now of your disobedience -- so there is no way I will allow you back into my kingdom. But praise God for His Mercy and Grace to us!!!!!!!!

BUT - as God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow His other attributes still apply even after the Cross. Remember Christ Himself said He came to fulfill the Law not abolish or replace it, so we can't disregard God's revelation of Himself in the OT. To do so would not allow us to see God for who He truly is. He is Holy (set apart) and can't be in the presence of sin. He is jealous and demands that we put nothing or noone above Him. He is righteous and demands that we live according to the Laws He has given us. AND He is going to come in judgement on this world. THese are just a few things I think we Christians have forgotten or have wanted to overlook because we don't want to think of God as anything other than as a kind, generous, patient grandfatherly type of God. But this attitude has robbed us of a proper view of Him. So, as I said at the top I just can't allow myself to go to a place where I would allow that we can approach God with anything, anything other than fear, respect and a view of His awesomeness. Yes, yes a thousand times yes, you can have questions and feelings as we all do, and yes God knows you have such feelings but when we approach the throne of God for fellowship and worship we cannot do so with a belligerent, arrogant attitude as if we come before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Great I Am and demand that he explain Himself to us. I once heard someone take that attitude and they said that when they got to Heaven they would march right up and demand God give an account for why He allowed something to happen that this person couldn't understand. And to bring it full circle I think this thinking is widespread and is result of a rejection of God's authority and lack of teaching who God is. Again I am not suggesting you have this attitude, I just get concerned because you stated that you "cussed' God and that you felt God is useless in the day to day living. And I was and still am under the impression that you feel justified in bringing such an attitude directly before God and it seems this is as if you are demanding that God satisfy your desires and that He explain Himself to you. If you meant no disrespect to God, great and I apologize for being wrong on this score (I make many mistakes daily and mis-judgements - just ask my kids), but as I said at the beginning I caution that this line of thinking seems a thin line easily crossed and dangerous ground to stand on before God.

And I'm sure you are tired of my ramblings right now so I will only encourage you to re-read the parable of the Sower. I agree with anon that the Scriptures are very clear that if you are truly saved you cannot unsave yourself by your "falling away". To be able to unsave yourself must logically mean that you can save yourself and we know that is a lie straight from the pits of Hell. Only Christ can bring salvation and there is nothing you or I, Satan or this world can do to take a child of God from the Mighty Hand of God.

One last time, Let's agree to disagree hartdawg. None of us in our fallen world have all the answers to all the details of life or God (and as a pastor friend used to say - if we could completely understand God and His ways He would not be a God worthy of our worship) so I will say let's leave our theological and philisophical discussion at the base of God's throne and leave them there for Him to sort out and allow Him to lead us to His truth.

Sorry for being long winded and may God richly bless you - Rob from Alabama

Joe in Phx, AZ said...

Nathan - all I can say is Amen and Maranatha!

Carter said...

Great article Nathan and very much needed!

It is definitely easy to be to get side tracked by the world and all its lures, especially for the youth. My heart groans for them the most, because they are being taught lies in school and threaten daily to follow main stream world views to get a good grade. There being told “if it feels good do it”, “follow your instincts”, or “follow your heart”. They might as well say follow your flesh! TV is the same way. For a young person without the guidance of the Holy Spirit or a God fearing parent doesn’t stand a chance in our school systems today. I plead for the blood of Jesus for all my children and the youth that we are losing to the world! Satan is trying to steal them, but JESUS is greater than he that is in the world!!!! Amen!!!

God bless you Hartdawg be an over comer in Christ for He has put us here in such a time as this. Spread the good news and teach the youth. Lead by example. Run the race to win. Don’t given to your thoughts when Satan throws those fiery darts. Capture them and rebuke the Devil in the name of JESUS!

Love in Christ,
David in KY

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous who responded to Rob, I have to disagree with you on several of your points. However, that's way off topic. Let me just say that though God hasn't changed and never will, the way we as believers relate to Him has changed. We no longer relate to Him in fear, afraid of his judgment and anger. He is neither angry with us, nor will He judge us. But, of course, He will judge those who refuse His Son, and for them I pray that God will save their souls!

And, by the way, we are no longer called to "obey the Law (or laws)." That system was done away with for believers by the new covenant of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add to that last post: Do a search of 101 lies taught in church every Sunday. It's an eye-opener!!

Anonymous said...


I know we have gotten off the articles intent but on the issues at hand I think I am trying to say the same thing as you but yet I still agree and disagree - and it may just be semantics. I agree that we as Christians will not be judged and condemned for our sins in the same way as those who have rejected Christ. My sins have been removed as far as east is from west because of the blood of Jesus - once and for all. However I disagree in the sense that Believers can and will still have some discipline (and discipline is handed out as a form of judgement against wrong doing) if we fail to obey the commands of our Father in Heaven (Heb 12:5-12, 1 Cor 11:32, Rev 3:19).

I also agree that through Christ we realize we cannot be saved by our reliance on and obedience of the Law, by our own striving. Praise the Lord that I have been saved through FAITH by His Grace for I am a Law Breaker of the first order. Yet, it also seems to me that if we do love God the Father and if we have taken Christ as our Savior (He redeemed us from sin - he saved us) and Lord (He therefore is master of and in our lives) then we should want to and strive to fulfill the Law (1 Jn 2:3-6, 1 Jn 5:2-3, Acts 26:20). We should want to walk as Jesus walked (1 Jn 2:6). And how did Jesus walk - He Himself said He came to fulfill the Law not abolish it. In a nutshell the Law is about how we are to relate to God and how we relate to fellow man. And Jesus was sinless - He loved God and He properly worhipped and obeyed His Heavenly Father, he was obedient unto the Cross - and He properly loved and had compassion on those around Him, He taught and healed. I think that is why Paul said that "The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Gal. 5:14)

Perhaps we are saying the same thing and the forum of a blog makes it difficult for a proper exchange of ideas and words. It is hard to ascertain the spirit in which the words are offered. You may not think so by what I have said here but I do have a great passion and compassion for people coming to know Christ. I do not beat them on the head with the Law. I thank you for your words, perhaps I need to be reminded that I should be even more loving and gracious to those around me.

I am well aware of God's mercy and grace and it is in only in the light of this that I want to be pleasing to my Father in how I think, speak and act in this world, and yet I am so fallible. I have no intent of altering Christ's own words; when asked what the greatest commandment was He simply replied "Love the Lord your God with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" and when he added the second like it "Love your neighbor as yourself". (Matt 22:38)

Trying to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2 12-13) - Rob from Alabama

hartdawg said...

rob from alabama
i am not even sure i disagree with you as for approaching god let me be clear on this; do i think he is useless? NO but i feel that way at times. as for praying then cussing, i dont endorse it i just recorded it. he knows i feel that in my heart and hiding it dont do good. as for falling away, i am indicisive at this point so maybe we disagree maybe not but you dont seem pharisitical to me. i will definately reread the parable of the sower and hebrews tho
god bless

Anonymous said...

Rob from Alabama,

Thank you for your gracious words. We agree on many many things. A few things we don't agree on (or as you say, maybe it's semantics), and that is absolutely fine! We are still brother and sister in Christ 'cause we both believe the essentials of salvation!!

I agree with you: We can't keep the Law; however, whereas you seem to be saying we should try to keep the Law, I believe that our relationship to the Law (or laws or even commandments) has ended (Rom. 10:4). Paul discusses this in Romans 7:1-6 where he says, essentially, that we have a new husband (grace, which is Jesus) and we have "died to the Law." If we go back to the Law, we have committed spiritual adultery.

Consider carefully Gal. 3:24-25 which says that the Law was the "tutor" that led us to Christ, but now that we've found Christ, we no longer need the Law! Also consider that Rom. 5:20, Rom. 7:8 and I Cor. 15:56 all say that trying to keep the Law CAUSES people to sin! Why is this? It's because "trying to keep the Law" always always always is self-effort (i.e., flesh-walking). We are relying on our own resources to maintain an outward behavior, which is why "works" is directly in opposition to faith.

So, does that mean believers don't have any kind of standards? Of course not! We have the PERSON of Jesus Christ (via the Holy Spirit) living inside of us, and God has changed us so that His commandments are written on our hearts and minds (Heb. 8:10). In addition, God has changed our "want to." Consider how you reacted to sin B.C. (before Christ) and how you react to sin now. My bet is that B.C., sin didn't bother you much (after all, it was your nature to sin). However, after accepting Christ, you are probably now grieved when you sin. That's evidence of the new creation in you--a desire to walk righteously.

Based on all those truths, I no longer try to keep the Law or laws or commandments; instead, I trust the Christ living in me to live out those commandments/laws moment-by-moment. It's not by my TRYING that I am able to keep the Law (in fact, that's a guaranteed way to FAIL). Rather, it is by my TRUSTING Christ to live His life in and through me. It is in this way that believers are able to go above and beyond the Law.

Wish there was a better place for us to discuss topics like this.

To the keepers of this site, if you have any suggestions for other Christian sites where we can interact about non-prophecy things, that would be a wonderful and welcome addition to Lamb and Lion!

Nathan Jones said...

I've set up a Facebook group called Christ in Prophecy for just such a purpose. It's not fully released yet, but you're welcome to give it a dry run for me.

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree that Jesus longs for others to come into the Kingdom before He returns, but I think it is a big mistake for Christians to believe that "it's the other guy" that Jesus is waiting on. The truth is, Jesus is only going to come for a church that is without spot or wrinkle and that would disqualify most of us who call Him Lord and Savior. He is waiting on the church to recognize all the areas of their lives where they are unclean and get a move on towards holiness: Without holiness we will not see the Lord.

The book of Revelation was not written for the non-believer. It was written for the beleiver who may call Jesus Savior and may even call Him Lord, but who have failed to MAKE Him Lord in truth. I encourage all who claim to be of the household of faith - myself included - to ask God to reveal to them even their hidden sins and then be persistent in working out their salvation with fear and trembling as befits overcomers. Then Jesus can come because He will have a bride worth coming for.



Anonymous said...

Kim, if it's up to us to get ourselves cleaned up before Jesus comes for us, then he's never coming because WE CAN'T CLEAN OURSELVES UP and make ourselves holy. But thank God, that's what the cross is all about--Jesus is the one who has already made us holy. Notice that Paul addresses believers as "Saints"--even those wayward Corinthians, and a saint is someone who is holy, righteous, and acceptable to God!! Check out II Cor. 5:21, where we are called "the righteousness of God" and Eph. 1:3-7 where believers are called "holy and blameless before Him" (just to cite a few). Praise God, it's not up to me to "clean up my act!" He has done it for me already--He's made me a new creation in Christ Jesus by giving me a new nature (crucifying my old nature at the cross--see Rom. 6:6 in KJV). Consider that we now have a nature to which God can join His nature (II Peter 1:4). Jesus said it best when He said you can't add new wine to old wine skins. And God has changed our "wine skins" so that we can accept the wine of the new covenant--that is, grace (i.e., Christ does it ALL).

And lastly, look at Titus 1:11-12 to see what Paul says motivates us to live sensibly, righteously, and godly (in other words, to live like who we really are--SAINTS who are holy, blameless, and acceptable to God)!

Anonymous said...


Yep, semantics and maybe a little perception of words. When I was in graduate school my professor who oversaw my research said I had a problem with being too verbose and I admit I have trouble expressing my thoughts at times in a clear way (couldn't tell huh). I do think we are saying the same thing in slightly different ways and our perception and order of words has clouded our understanding of each other. You nailed it on the head and you said what I believe in a better, clearer way and I am with you brother/sister -- "I trust the Christ living in me to live out those commandments/laws moment-by-moment......Rather, it is by my TRUSTING Christ to live His life in and through me. It is in this way that believers are able to go above and beyond the Law". Christ has indeed written the law in our hearts and we are not bound by them for our salvation, we have freedom in Christ not the Law. The commandments are still there, and it is the One True and Living God, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, that will lead us in our daily lives as we learn to walk as Jesus walked (1Jn 2:6).

I will try the facebook mentioned later. Thank you, I enjoy the discussions with kind and patient fellow believers - it is a joy and an encouragement as we all can learn something new as Christians. I have been a believer for 35 years and I am constantly reminded how much I have yet to learn (of course), but I feel God wants and expects us to seek Him with our soul and our intellect (1 Jn 4:1) so we are not blown astray by every foolish doctrine Satan throws to deceive us. Our God is amazingly Awesome and He has given us an eternity in fellowship and worship AND an eternity to learn just how Mighty, Awesome, Omnipotent He truly is.

Rob from Alabama

hartdawg said...

hello everyone!
these were great discussions, even tho we dont agree on everything lets win the lost to jesus as fervently as we can, thats the purpose of this post. rob from alabama, i enjoyed sharing thoughts with you. when i approach god i want to have my issues resolved and heart changed. i still dont know where i stand on eternal security but it dont have anything to do with works. roots yes works no. maybe he'll come today. meantime i'll walk this lonesome valley with his hand in mine

Anonymous said...

Spot on I feel exactly the same, 100% of the whole of it.