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« Reply #7440 on: November 20, 2021, 09:29:16 AM »

Let God Be True

“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written. That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” (Romans 3:3-4)

Many Christians are so intimidated by the arrogant unbelief of the supposed intellectuals of the world that they either reject or compromise or ignore the difficult teachings of Scripture. This is a grievous mistake, for all of God’s “sayings” are “justified” and He will surely “overcome” all those who presume to “judge” Him and His Word.

The only reason to believe in evolution, for example, is the fact that most such intellectuals believe it. There is no real evidence, either in the Bible or in science, for evolution or any other form of unbelief, yet many professed believers in Christ seem to have “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43). Therefore they assume that God does not really mean what He says in His Word, thereby making faith in His Word “without effect.”

God’s truth is not determined, however, by taking a vote, or by the opinions of skeptics, or by metaphysical speculation. It is determined by God Himself and none other, “for the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4).

Therefore, as our text commands: “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” The very criterion of truth is the Word of God. It is good to explain God’s Word to those open to its truth, but never to explain it away by some compromising accommodation to current scientism. “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160). The Lord Jesus confessed, unreservedly, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and so should we. HMM
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« Reply #7441 on: November 21, 2021, 09:40:05 AM »

Global Conflict Centers on God's People

“God that made the world...hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” (Acts 17:24, 26)

The foundation for global conflict lies in God’s promise to Abraham: “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). The son of promise (Isaac) and the son of the bondwoman (Ishmael) are at the crux of the issue (Galatians 4:22-31). In eternity’s eyes, all the petty politics and power plays of the nations are “dust of the balance” (Isaiah 40:15).

Anyone familiar with biblical history will know that God dealt with the nations of the world as tools of influence, reward, and punishment to Israel. After Abraham generated the beginnings of Israel’s enemies through Ishmael, and Jacob began another line of enmity through Esau, the stories of the Canaanite conquest under Joshua and the subsequent 400 years of the time of the Judges relate the conflicts that culminated in the united kingdom under Saul, David, and Solomon.

Nearly half of the remaining Old Testament records the efforts by God to deal with Israel and Judah after the civil war begun by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. That concluded with the Assyrian captivity and disbursement of the northern 10 tribes and the 70-year captivity of Judah under Babylon.

The nearly two millennia from Abraham to the coming of the Messiah have been followed by two millennia of a spiritual “déjà vu” through the church the Lord Jesus started. God’s promise is that both Israel and the church will find satisfaction and success when He returns to finalize and fulfill the promise made to Abraham so long ago. HMM III
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« Reply #7442 on: November 22, 2021, 09:35:47 AM »

The Danger of Willful Sin

“Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” (Numbers 15:31)

Under the Mosaic law, there was ample provision for forgiveness of sins committed unintentionally. “If any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly...and it shall be forgiven him” (Numbers 15:27-28). However, as in our text, it was altogether different for one who deliberately disobeyed God’s law. One who would so despise God’s commandment was to be put to death.

In this Christian dispensation, many would say that this harshness of God’s law has been replaced by His love. There is abundant pardon for all, since Jesus died for all our sins. Now all we need is to confess our sins and He will forgive us (1 John 1:9). But, “if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins...He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God?” (Hebrews 10:26, 28-29).

Even assuming this warning applies specifically only to those who have willfully renounced faith in Christ, the question still remains whether one with true saving faith will willfully sin against the known will of God as revealed in His Word. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). Only God knows the heart, but those “Christians” who deliberately reject and disobey His Word should at least “examine [them]selves, whether [they] be in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). HMM
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« Reply #7443 on: November 23, 2021, 09:20:49 AM »

The Prosperity of the Ungodly

“Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” (Jeremiah 12:1)

One of the perennial theological problems is the apparent prosperity of the ungodly along with the suffering of the righteous. Why would God seem to endorse such a system?

It has been this way for ages. Some 2,000 or more years before Christ, Job asked essentially the same question as did the prophet Jeremiah in our text above. “Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?...They spend their days in wealth, and...say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways” (Job 21:7, 13-14). Likewise, the psalmist Asaph complained, “I was envious... when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3).

The real solution to this paradox is not in this present world but in the world to come, where hell awaits the ungodly and heaven awaits those whom God has redeemed through faith in Christ. The fact that a man may prosper materially is not necessarily a measure of God’s approval. The previous economic boom in this country made many men very wealthy, and most of them seem either indifferent or hostile to God, but their wealth is very ephemeral. As David said in another psalm, “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not” (Psalm 37:35-36).

If God does give a few believers material wealth, it is so that they may use it for the Lord and for others, not to pamper themselves. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but...that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to [share]” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). HMM
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« Reply #7444 on: November 24, 2021, 10:05:50 AM »

Belief Systems Drive Global Events

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:16-17)

In the broadest sense, there are only two belief systems: theism and naturalism. One believes in supernatural influence on the affairs of men and as the foundation of purpose and order, the other does not. The vast majority of the world is theistic (though not creationist) in its worldview. Only the “civilized world” is arrogant enough to consciously exclude the supernatural from its thinking. But this is the key: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). This is why we are clearly told, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Underlying all, of course, is the great Adversary, who seeks to draw the worship of all men to himself and replace all “gods” as the god of this world. Satan is driven, like “a roaring lion,” to devour all who oppose him (1 Peter 5:8). The real war is a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12-13). President George W. Bush was correct when he insisted that the campaign against modern terrorism will be “unlike any other we have ever seen.” It will be worldwide in scope, transcultural in impact, and years in the execution.

Will terrorists be eliminated and evil conquered? Not until Jesus Christ sets up His millennial reign. But we can “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21), and we can “reign in life” (Romans 5:17). Freedom is administered through truth (John 8:32, 36), and Satan, when resisted in “the faith” (1 Peter 5:9), will “flee” (James 4:7). HMM III
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« Reply #7445 on: November 25, 2021, 09:29:40 AM »

Fullness of Blessing

“And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:29)

One beautiful characteristic of life in Christ is its fullness. Jesus Christ is Himself “the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:23), and He does everything to the full! When He fed the multitude, there were 12 baskets left over (John 6:13); when He brought in the miraculous catch of fishes, the nets were so full that they broke, and the boats so full they began to sink (Luke 5:6-7).

First of all, He gives fullness of grace. “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). Then comes fullness of joy and peace: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13).

It is then possible—in fact, we are commanded—to be “filled with the Spirit...making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19). Not only does the Holy Spirit indwell us, but so do the Father and the Son, by the Spirit. Jesus said: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). In this way, the triune God indwells us, and thereby we “know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that [we] might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

All the fullness of God! In Jesus Christ “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him” (Colossians 2:9-10), “for it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell” (Colossians 1:19). With the resources of such fullness of blessing available to us, we should be constantly growing “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). HMM
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« Reply #7446 on: November 26, 2021, 09:33:49 AM »

I Am Christ's Friend

“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:15)

Some things in Scripture are harder to understand and believe than others. Christ, the Sovereign Creator of all things, the offended Judge who declared the penalty for sin to be death, the One who willingly died to pay that penalty and redeem us from bondage to sin, now calls us His friends. Certainly we would like to consider Him our friend; but are we really His friends? If He were telling someone about His friends, would He include us? Somehow this seems too much—too good to be true; but He insists it is.

Actually, Christ said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16). We are His friends by conscious choice on His part, even though He knows more about our inward nature than we will admit to ourselves. He has demonstrated His friendship by the greatest act of love imaginable, when He voluntarily died to save us from our sins. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (v. 13). Furthermore, for His friends He promises, “Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (v. 16).

His love for us surpasses human love. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love” (v. 9) “that your joy might be full” (v. 11). He has “ordained” us as friends so that we “should go and bring forth fruit, and that [our] fruit should remain” (v. 16). What joy!

There should be a response on our part to His friendship. Almost as a self-evident fact, He states, “Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you” (v. 14), among other things, “that ye love one another” (v. 17). How can we do less? JDM
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« Reply #7447 on: November 27, 2021, 01:39:08 PM »

The Devil Never Rests

“And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:7)

This remarkable scene in heaven provides a striking picture of Satanic activity. The devil, in his opposition to God and His program of salvation, evidently never rests. He is not omnipresent like God because he is a finite, though very powerful and brilliant, created being. To accomplish his goal, therefore, he is never at rest but keeps going from place to place and working deception after deception, bringing everyone he can under his influence.

Therefore, God urgently warns us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The same is true of the demonic spirits who have followed the devil in his rebellion against God. They never rest until they can take possession of some person’s body and mind and then control that person’s behavior. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out” (Matthew 12:43-44).

This restlessness that characterizes the devil and his demons often also manifests itself in the unsaved, and this will be the ultimate state of those who yield to the pressures of these evil spirits. “They have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:11).

True rest of soul is found only in Christ, with His forgiveness, cleansing, and guidance: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). HMM
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« Reply #7448 on: November 28, 2021, 09:37:27 AM »

The Intercessor

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

When we pray for others, we not only are helping to assure a good life for ourselves—as our text indicates—but, more importantly, we are thereby becoming more like Christ. On the cross itself, “he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Since His return to heaven, He has been continually occupied with His ministry of intercession. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).

Not only is our resurrected, glorified Savior perpetually interceding for us in heaven, but also the indwelling Holy Spirit is praying for us here. “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit [Himself] maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

Now if both God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are always interceding for us before God the Father, we surely ought to be willing to spend time in prayer for others down here—not only for our loved ones, but even for those who have hurt us. Jesus said, “Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

May God help us to be faithful in this vital ministry of intercession. HMM
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« Reply #7449 on: November 29, 2021, 09:14:16 AM »

Works of Darkness

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

What are these “works of darkness” that we must avoid? Some of these works are enumerated in Romans 13:12-13: “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness...not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” A Christian is thus to “cast off” all such works of darkness from his or her own life, to “have no fellowship” with those who practice them, and even to openly “reprove them.”

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19). Such works of darkness stem directly from a denial of God as sovereign: “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God...and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). This darkening of the heart is soon followed by a darkening of the life: “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness... Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:24, 28).

In these days of moral confusion, with attitudes and actions once outlawed by society now being defended and favored (e.g., sexual promiscuity and perversion), and with once-honored attributes now ridiculed (e.g., chastity, spirituality), there are great pressures on Christians to compromise with these works of darkness. God and His standards do not change, however, and He still expects us to shun and reprove them. HMM
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« Reply #7450 on: November 30, 2021, 09:27:35 AM »

The People Said, “Amen”

“Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 106:48)

Many is the speaker who, after he has made some point that he considers especially good, will then say: “And all the people said, ‘Amen’” (meaning “that’s right!”).

It is interesting to note the biblical examples of such a demonstration. There are 16 times in which this or a similar statement occurs in the Bible—all in the Old Testament. Twelve of these are found in Deuteronomy 27:14-26 with the people so responding after the pronouncement of a “curse” on those who commit various sins. The last curse is as follows: “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen” (v. 26) in agreement with the judgment.

King David described his thanksgiving for the return of the Ark of the Covenant with “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD” (1 Chronicles 16:36). When Jerusalem’s wall restoration was being delayed and Nehemiah had to rebuke some of his people for their covetousness, threatening God’s judgment on them if they did not repent, then “all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise” (Nehemiah 5:13). After the wall was finished, as Ezra read the Scriptures to the people, “Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen” (Nehemiah 8:6). The final such reference is in our text.

If we follow biblical precedent, therefore, whenever God’s Word is read to a congregation, either in denunciation of sin or thanksgiving for blessing and revival, or simply in praising the Lord for His eternal goodness, it is appropriate for the people to respond with a heartfelt “Amen!” HMM
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« Reply #7451 on: December 01, 2021, 09:32:16 AM »

Love from the Beginning

“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” (1 John 3:11)

The pungent phrase “from the beginning” occurs no less than nine times in the first three chapters of the little epistle of 1 John. Thus, while in one sense Christ’s command to love one another was a new commandment, in another sense it has been with us from the very beginning of the world. “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning” (1 John 2:7).

The first verses of John’s epistle show that this beginning is the same beginning in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1: “That which was from the beginning,...of the Word of life;...that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us” (1 John 1:1-2). Note also 1 John 2:13: “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning” (see also 1 John 2:14).

“Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1 John 2:24). This is an eternal commandment, for “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and “love is of God” (1 John 4:7). In the upper room, Jesus prayed to the Father: “Father... thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world...And I have declared unto them thy name...that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them” (John 17:24, 26).

Love, therefore, has been at the center of God’s plan from the beginning, but a new pattern and measure of that love was given us by Christ. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). HMM
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« Reply #7452 on: December 02, 2021, 09:11:16 AM »

Help Me, O Lord

“Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy: That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.” (Psalm 109:26-27)

There is disagreement as to the proper interpretation of this psalm of David. Its center section (vv. 6-20) consists of a strong denunciation and curse, while the beginning and ending sections petition God for judgment and deliverance (vv. 1-5, 21-31).

Most hold that David is speaking in both sections. If so, it is a bitter and vindictive spirit finding vent. “Let Satan stand at his right hand....let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few....Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg:...Let the extortioner catch all that he hath....Let there be none to extend mercy unto him” (vv. 6-12).

Others would claim that David is quoting the curse of his enemy directed toward him and point to the use of the singular personal pronouns “he,” “his,” and “him” used 30 times in 15 verses. Indeed, if this is the proper interpretation, the psalm becomes the plea of a persecuted man of God who entrusts his enemies’ judgment entirely to the Lord. “But do thou for me, Oh GOD the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me....I became also a reproach unto them....Let them curse....I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul” (Psalm 109:21-22, 25, 28, 30-31).

Like his master who had come after him, “when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). JDM
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« Reply #7453 on: December 03, 2021, 08:39:56 AM »

God's Shining Face

“The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.” (Numbers 6:25)

This request is part of the well-known Mosaic benediction for the children of Israel (Numbers 6:24-27). The first occurrence in verb form of the word “shine” is in this verse, although in the noun form, translated as “light,” it appears in the third verse of the Bible when God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).

True light comes only from God, since “God is light” (1 John 1:5). As the world depends on the sunshine for its physical life, so we continually must receive the Son’s shining in our hearts to sustain our spiritual life.

It is noteworthy that the prayer of our text occurs seven other times in the Scriptures. These are as follows:

“Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake” (Psalm 31:16); “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah” (Psalm 67:1); “Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:19; also vv. 3, 7); “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes” (Psalm 119:135); “O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake” (Daniel 9:17).

Since God, in His omnipotence, dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16), He shines on us for salvation, spiritual illumination, and daily guidance only through His Son, the Word made flesh, for “in him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #7454 on: December 04, 2021, 03:52:43 AM »

Salvation vs. Assurance of Salvation

“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 John 2:5)

The New Testament is emphatically clear that we are saved entirely by the grace of God through faith in Christ. “For by grace are ye saved through faith;...it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

But how can we know for sure that our professed faith in Christ is genuine and we are really saved? Many who claim to be Christians are not truly saved, for Christ said: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Now, note that John’s main purpose in writing his gospel was to win people to saving faith in Christ. “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). Then the ultimate purpose of his first epistle was to assure them they were saved. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

Thus, we can not only have salvation but also assurance of salvation if we love and guard His Word, seek to keep His commandments, and love all others of like precious faith. Finally, we have the indwelling witness of the Spirit. “Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:24). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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