Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 7:13 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Songs in the Night.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 21:1-8 (NASB). The First Things (vv. 1-4) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” When God created all things, there was no sin curse. Humans were in perfect relationship to God. But, then mankind (Adam and Eve) sinned against God, and now they knew sin, and thus God put a curse on them and on the earth, and he banished them from his presence. Since that time, all humankind has been born with sin natures, separated from God, and doomed to eternity in hell. So, God the Father sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to take on human form, to suffer like we suffer, and to be tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He also sent him to the earth to die on a cross for our sins. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. Amen! By God’s grace, via Jesus’ blood shed on the cross for our sins, through our faith in him, we can be forgiven of our sins, be made righteous in God’s sight, be restored to fellowship with God, and have the hope of eternal life with God, both now and forevermore. When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected of the Spirit of God with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:20-24). Peter said that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). Paul said that Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for Jesus who gave himself up for us (2 Co. 5:15). He also said that Jesus died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who walk (conduct our lives) no longer according to the flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit. And, John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue (persist) to walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (in living according to our sinful flesh), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). We will die, unless by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh (Ro. 8:1-14). Yet, many people on this earth do not yet know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. As well, many who claim to know him do not live like they have been set free from slavery to sin, but they are involved in addictive sinful behaviors, and have wandered off to follow after the gods of this world. So many people have been deceived by Satan’s lies, and have followed after the lies, instead of seeking the truth. So, God has planned a time at the end of time where he will judge his adulterous people and the people of this sinful world so that he can renew them and restore them to a right (correct) relationship with him (See: Rev. 2-3). Yet, God is not confined merely to these final years on the earth to discipline those he loves, for he does that on a consistent basis. One of the ways in which he disciplines is by exposing the people’s sins. I think here of this recent news event, whether real or orchestrated, I do not know, where a website provided for people to have extra-marital affairs has now been exposed. If this is real, it is certainly one way of disciplining the wayward in order to bring them to their senses, so that God can heal them. During this time of judgment, God’s people (the elect), who are living in spiritual adultery and self-indulgent behavior (See: Rev. 2-3), will lose their shirts, i.e. they will suffer great financial loss and loss of possessions. There will be consequences for their sinful behaviors, yet they will not be lost for eternity. God will change their hearts, they will repent of their sins, forsake their idols, and he will restore them to fellowship with him. When God completes his time of judgment on the people of this earth, through which time his church will be revived (made ready for her husband), and people from all nations, tribes, and languages will stream to Jesus Christ, he will roll up the heavens and the earth like a garment, and they will all be changed (See: Heb. 1:10-12). The curse of sin and death will be gone, and we will be in perfect relationship with God, like Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. There will be no more tears, no sin (hallelujah!), no pain and no death, for the old order of things (under the curse) will have passed away. Amen! And, Amen! Everything New (vv. 5-8) And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” I see here in this writing a sense of both present and future, i.e. of the time we still have on this earth, when we can come to the spring of living water, and when we can overcome, through faith in Jesus Christ, the temptations of our flesh, but also a promise of a future renewal of all things, when the old order of things will have passed away, and all things will become new. For us to come to Christ and to his salvation, we must thirst for him. We must realize our need of him and of his life-changing Spirit living within us, and we must desire that changed life, of the Spirit of God. We must turn from (repent of) our sins, be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and be given new lives in the Spirit to be lived for the glory of God, where we walk daily in fellowship with God in his holiness and righteousness. Yet, we can do none of this in our own flesh. There is nothing we can do to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We can never be good enough to win God’s approval. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ, and in what he did for us in dying for our sins, that we can be made righteous and have eternal life with God. Even the ability to repent and to believe and to walk in obedience to our Lord is of God, and can only be done in his power within us, as we cooperate with and participate with him in death to sin and living to righteousness. As well, we must be overcomers. True faith in Jesus Christ is continuous, persistent, enduring and lasts until the end. We are not saved based on past belief. Eternal life is only promised to those who believe (present tense) on Jesus Christ. There are many people who believe a person can pray a prayer to “receive” Christ, then live how they want, and still have eternal life guaranteed them, even if they deny Christ by their lives. This is not what the Bible teaches. Yet, I don’t believe scripture teaches sinless perfection, either, for we read in I Jn. 2 that these things were written that we might not sin, but if any of us do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who speaks to God in our defense. That is why we are being saved, being made holy, and being conformed into the likeness of Jesus, and why we must die daily to sin and self, because we are still a work in progress. Yet, for those who choose to continue (persist) in walking (conducting their lives) according to their sinful flesh (in darkness), they will not have eternal life, but they will die in their sins. So, if you think you have heaven guaranteed just because at some point in your life you made a decision to “receive” Christ, but you do not obey Christ, but you continue to go your own way, then think again, because your life depends on you walking in the truth. Songs in the Night / An Original Work / December 18, 2013 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, And the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84 Lord, I praise You forevermore. You, my Savior, I now adore. Hope in heaven awaiting me, Because You died at Calvary. I have been forgiven, And I’m bound for heaven. Jesus set me free from All my sin, I say. I will praise Him always! Lord, I love You for all You’ve done: Overcame death, my vict’ry won! Jesus saved me, and now I’m free! I rejoice in His love for me. I will walk in vict’ry! My sin is but hist’ry! I am free to please Him With my life today. I will love Him always! Lord, I thank You for giving me A new life bought at Calvary. Loving Jesus, I meet with Him. Tender mercies now flow within. Lord, I am so thankful; Through my Lord, I’m able To sit at His table; Fellowship with Him. I will thank Him always!