HOW TO HAVE A TRACT MINISTRY

0 gospel

WHAT IS A TRACT?

A tract is a short, simple presentation of the gospel message, printed in convenient pocket size, designed for easy distribution and use. There is probably no easier, more convenient way to share the Good News of Jesus Christ than through the use of gospel tracts. Many people have been led to Christ in this way. Consider these features of such a ministry:

1. There is no certain time or amount of time required – just whenever the opportunity arises.
2. Tracts can be left anywhere or shared with almost anyone.
3. There are tracts for every occasion, for every need, and for every type of person.
4. Tracts can be distributed by anyone, regardless of age, sex, race, or education.
5. Tracts provide an easy way to “break the ice” or “open the door” to witness.
6. Tracts eliminate the problem of forgetfulness or uncertainty of what to say.
7. The message, since it is printed, can be taken home, re-read and studied.
8. Tracts can be passed along, and can, therefore, be used over and over again.
9. Tracts can be mass distributed easily.
10. Tracts are inexpensive and can be handed out liberally.

KEYS TO SUCCESS IN TRACT EVANGELISM

1. Success in witnessing is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. There is no substitute for prayer.
2. Always have a variety of tracts available and be prepared to use them.
3. Look for opportunities to use tracts. Take advantage of every situation.
4. As in all things, be pleasant and polite in representing the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Do not become discouraged if you see few decisions at first. Remember: “So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11. “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9. “One soweth, and another reapeth.” John 4:37.
6. Distribute tracts plentifully and persistently. “He who soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6.
7. Be sure to answer mail and telephone responses. Follow-up is an essential part of evangelism. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

HOW TO USE TRACTS

1. The preferred method is to personally hand a tract to a person and at the same time to witness with words like “May I share something with you?” or “Let me ask you just one question.” A few words of testimony may be helpful. Simply reading the tract to a person will often be the best approach.
Give tracts to friends and acquaintances everywhere; strangers in restaurants and grocery stores, bag boys and gas station attendants. Don’t forget the person on the bus or plane, the taxi driver, the parking lot attendant, and the mail carrier. Include also the bank teller and door-to-door salesman.
2. For one reason or another, it may not be possible to talk with a particular person. In such a case, just hand them a tract and ask them to read this special message at their own convenience.
3. Tracts can be handed out in shopping malls, parks, at sporting events and other places where people congregate.
4. Place tracts in all mail, including personal and business letters, bills, statements, bank deposits, greeting cards, and packages. Send them to persons known to be lost, those hospitalized and habitual church absentees. Also include people who have lost loved ones, newlyweds and new arrivals. Include God’s Word in every occasion.
REMEMBER OUR GOAL
Reach as many people as possible with the gospel, for “… repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations…” Luke 24:47. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17.
Many, many who would never attend church nor open the Bible, will, in fact, read a tract. They will thereby hear the Word of God, and many will be saved.

DID YOU KNOW THAT:

1. If one thousand people would each put out just fifty tracts per week, in one year over 2.6 million tracts would be distributed!
2. If one person would be saved for every one thousand tracts, 2600 souls would be won to Christ during that year!
3. Just minutes per day per person is required to hand out this many tracts!
“As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” John 20:21.

SUGGESTIONS FOR CONDUCTING A CHURCH OR GROUP TRACT MINISTRY

1. Elect a Director of Tract Evangelism to supervise the program.
2. Encourage workers to make definite commitments to this ministry.
3. Conduct initial training for all workers in how to witness with tracts.
4. Conduct regular prayer sessions for the program.
5. Obtain a wide variety of tract samples from different sources. There is a host of tracts for every occasion and every kind of spiritual need. Select appropriate tracts from among these and maintain sufficient quantity.
6. Set aside funds on a continuing basis, if possible, to assist in the ongoing expense of printing tracts or buying them.
7. Stamp all tracts with address and telephone number for follow-up.
8. Develop a follow-up, discipleship program for new Christians.
9. Acquire an attractive tract rack and place it in a heavy traffic area. Keep it well stocked.
10. Have periodic meetings of all workers to share results and experiences. Keep records of decisions made “for Christ”.

“Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38

(Written by Joe Segree)

NOTE: Dear friends, we wish to expand HEAVENLY REMNANT MINISTRIES, Lord willing, by distributing tracts to the Zulu people in the area in South Africa where we live. This will be our first step to bring the gospel to some of the poorest of the poor in our country.

We humbly ask for any donations, no matter how small, to enable us to start with this project. Should you feel led to donate, donations can be made to our PayPal account.

https://heavenlyremnantministries.blog/paypal-donations/?

THE REALITY OF GOD’S WRATH

0 0 WRATH

Psalm 7:11-13, “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.”

Many Christians are under the mistaken impression that God’s disposition toward sinful man changed when Christ came into the world. They think that God was wrathful, hateful, and judgmental in the Old Testament, but that He stopped being this way when Christ was born. This is an unbiblical view of God’s relationship to sinful humanity, and the only way to prove this is to show that God’s disposition is consistent throughout both Testaments of Scripture.

GRIEF

Can an all-sufficient and all-powerful God suffer or experience grief? While we must affirm that the God of the Scriptures is self-determining (i.e. His disposition and actions are not governed by the disposition and actions of others) and immutable in His perfections (i.e. His nature does not change), we must equally hold to the truth that He is not apathetic or unmoved by His creature’s response to Him. When the Scriptures speak about God’s grief, it is always in the context of man’s sin. God grieves over the sin and rebellion of His creatures. This grief is the result of the offensiveness of sin to His holiness and of the destruction, misery, and loss that it brings upon His creation.

Genesis 6:6, “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

Isaiah 63:10, “But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, And He fought against them.

Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

WRATH OR ANGER

When the holiness, justice, and love of God meet the depravity, injustice, and lovelessness of man, the inevitable result is divine anger and indignation, or the wrath of God. The word translated wrath in the Old Testament comes from three Hebrew words: qetsep (wrath, anger, indignation); hema (wrath, anger, disgust, displeasure, fury, rage, heat, poison); and ’aph which literally means nostril or nose. The word came to denote anger in that the flaring of the nostrils is a sign of anger. In the New Testament, the word wrath is translated from two Greek words, orge (wrath, anger) and thumos (anger, indignation, passion, rage, wrath). In the Scriptures, divine wrath refers to God’s holy displeasure and righteous indignation directed toward the sinner and his sin.

In speaking of the wrath of God, it is important to understand that His wrath is not an uncontrollable, irrational, or selfish emotion, but it is both the result of His holiness, righteousness, and love and also a necessary element of His government. Because of who God is, He must react adversely to sin. God is holy, therefore He is repulsed by evil and breaks fellowship with the wicked. God is love and zealously loves all that is good. Such intense love for righteousness manifests itself in an equally intense hatred of all that is evil. God is righteous, therefore He must judge wickedness and condemn it. In His holiness, righteousness, and love, God hates sin and comes with terrible and often violent wrath against it. If man is an object of God’s wrath, it is because he has chosen to challenge God’s sovereignty, has violated His holy will, has become a fountain of sin, and has exposed himself to judgment.

Today, many reject the doctrine of divine wrath or any similar teaching that would even suggest that a loving, merciful God could be wrathful or that He would manifest such wrath in the judgment and condemnation of the sinner.

They argue that such ideas are nothing more than the erroneous conclusions of primitive men who saw God as hostile, vengeful, and even cruel. As Christians, we should reject any doctrine that would portray God as cruel or ignore His compassion. Nevertheless, we must not forsake the Scriptures’ clear teaching on the doctrine of divine wrath and punishment—there are more references in the Scriptures with regard to the anger and wrath of God than there are to His love, kindness, and compassion. God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness, and yet He will punish the unrepentant sinner with a view to administering justice among His creatures and vindicating His holy Name.

Before we proceed any further in our study of the wrath of God, it is extremely important that we understand the holy and righteous nature of God’s wrath. Though man’s wrath is often the result of sinful passions, the wrath of God is a manifestation of His righteousness and holiness.

Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness”

Exodus 15:7, “And in the greatness of Your excellence, You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble.”

Nahum 1:2, “God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; The Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies”

Romans 3:5, “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.)”

Jeremiah 10:10, “But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.”

Colossians 3:5-6, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience”

It is clear from the Scriptures that God is not only a God of love and mercy, but of wrath and vengeance. In His holiness, righteousness, and love, God hates sin and comes with terrible and often violent vengeance against it. If man challenges God’s sovereignty and violates His will, then he will expose himself to His wrath.

Even though the reality of the wrath of God is undeniable, we should also understand that He is merciful. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23), but will delay His wrath and give the sinner ample opportunity to turn away from his sin. Nevertheless, those who continue in rebellion will most certainly face the wrath of God.

HATRED

Closely related to the wrath or anger of God is His hatred. Words that are often used in association with God’s hatred are abhor, detest, loathe, etc. Many object to any teaching about the hatred of God on the false assumption that God cannot hate because “God is love” (I John 4:8). While the love of God is a reality that goes beyond comprehension, it is important to see that the love of God is the very reason for His hatred. We should not say, “God is love, and therefore He cannot hate,” but rather, “God is love, and therefore He must hate.” If a person truly loves life, acknowledges it sanctity, and cherishes all children as a gift from God, then they must hate abortion. It is impossible to passionately and purely love children and yet be neutral toward that which destroys them in the womb. In the same way, if God loves with the greatest intensity all that is upright and good, then He must with equal intensity hate all that is perverse and evil.

The Scriptures teach us that God not only hates sin, but that His hatred is directed toward those who practice sin. We have been taught that God loves the sinner and hates the sin, but such teaching is a denial of the Scriptures that clearly declare that God not only hates iniquity, but that He hates “all who do iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). We must understand that it is impossible to separate the sin from the sinner. God does not punish sin, but He punishes the sinner. It is not sin that is condemned to hell, but the man who practices it.

What does it mean when the Scriptures declare that God hates sinners? The following should be considered:

First, Webster defines hate as a feeling of extreme enmity toward someone, to regard another with active hostility, or to have a strong aversion toward another: to detest, loathe, bhor, or abominate. Although these are hard words, most, if not all, are used in the Scripture to describe God’s relationship to sin and the sinner.

Secondly, we must understand that God’s hatred exists in perfect harmony with His other attributes. Unlike man, God’s hatred is never the result of some weakness or defect in His character—there are none. Rather, God’s hatred is holy, just, and a result of His love.

Thirdly, we must understand that God’s hatred is not a denial of His love. Psalm 5:5 is not a denial of John 3:16 or Matthew 5:44-45. Although God’s wrath abides upon the sinner, although He is angry with the wicked every day, and although He hates all who do iniquity, His love is of such a nature that He is able to love those who are the very objects of His hatred and work on their behalf for their salvation.

Fourthly, although God is longsuffering toward the objects of His hatred and holds out to them the offer of salvation, there will come a time when He will withdraw His offer, and reconciliation will no longer be possible. Sinful men should consider this truth with fear and trembling.

ENMITY

We often hear about sinful man’s unceasing war against God, but little is taught about God’s unceasing war against the wicked. The hostility between God and the sinner is not one-sided, but mutual. The Scriptures clearly teach that God considers the sinner to be His enemy and has declared war upon him. The sinner’s only hope is to drop his weapon and lift the white flag of surrender before it is forever too late. This is the clear teaching of Scripture.

VENGEANCE

Closely related to the wrath of God is His vengeance. In the Scriptures, the desire for vengeance is often presented as a vice of wicked men (Leviticus 19:18; I Samuel 25:25, 30-33). Therefore, it is difficult for us to understand how a holy and loving God could be a God of Vengeance. What we must understand is that God’s vengeance is always motivated by His zeal for holiness and justice.

Today, many reject the doctrine of divine vengeance or any teaching that would even suggest that a loving and merciful God could be vengeful. They would argue that such ideas are nothing more than the erroneous conclusions of primitive men who saw God as hostile and cruel. As Christians, we should reject any doctrine that would portray God as cruel or ignore His compassion. Nevertheless, we must not forsake the Scripture’s clear teaching on the doctrine of divine vengeance either. God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness, but He is also just. He will punish the sinner with the purpose of vindicating His Name and administering justice among His creatures. In light of man’s sin, God is right to avenge Himself. Three times in the book of Jeremiah, God asks, “Shall I not punish them for these things? On a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself ?” (5:9, 29; 9:9).

(SOURCE: THE TRUTH ABOUT MAN – PAUL WASHER)

NOTE: Dear friends, it is the time of the year where we need to renew our WordPress subscription fees for the Heavenly Remnant blog. The annual fee amounts to USD139 and currently we are out of pocket.
In addition, we wish to expand the ministry, Lord willing, and to distribute tracts to the Zulu people in the area in South Africa where we live.
We humbly ask for any donations, no matter how small. Should you feel led to donate, donations can be made to our PayPal account.
https://heavenlyremnantministries.blog/paypal-donations/?

SIN IS …

0 0 FALL OF ADAM

THE SINFULNESS OF SIN

To understand man’s personal participation in Adam’s rebellion, we must have a correct understanding of the nature or character of sin. Several prominent attributes and manifestations of sin are revealed in the Scriptures.

Sin is much more than an error in moral judgment, even much more than disobedience to some impersonal law. Sin is a crime against the person of God. We live in a world and worship in churches that, for the most part, no longer understand the heinous nature of sin, and so we must endeavor to rediscover what has been lost. Our understanding of God and of the greatness of our salvation in Christ depends upon it.

SIN IS… ALWAYS AGAINST GOD

Sin is always first and foremost against God and an affront to His person. To disobey a divine command is to clench the fist and shake it in the face the One who gives life to and rules over all men. Today, if people speak of sin at all, they speak of sin against man, or sin against society, or even sin against nature, but rarely do we hear of sin against God. A person is thought to be good because they have good relations with their fellowman, even though they live in total disregard for God and His will. People often ask how God can judge an atheist who is a good man, but they ask this because they are blind to the fact that a man cannot be good if he denies his Creator and renders nothing to the One who gives him all good things.

The Scriptures record that King David lied to his people, committed adultery, and even orchestrated the murder of an innocent man (II Samuel 11-12). And yet when confronted with his sins, he cried out to God, “Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:4). David knew that all sin is first and foremost sin against God. Until one understands this truth, one can never understand the heinous nature of sin.

SIN IS… FAILURE TO LOVE GOD

The greatest of all sins is the violation of the greatest of all commands: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:28-30). Christ declared, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Therefore, all disobedience is a demonstration of our lack of love toward God. For this reason, when the apostle Paul sought to prove the depravity of mankind in the first three chapters of the book of Romans, he referred to Adam’s race as “haters of God” (Romans 1:30). No greater indictment could be made against fallen man. Not loving God is at the very heart of all rebellion. It should also be noted that a man might be very religious and conscientious of divine law and duty and yet be a terrible sinner before God, if his obedience is prompted by anything other than love for God.

SIN IS… FAILURE TO GLORIFY GOD

The Scriptures declare that man was created for the glory of God and that all that man does, even the most menial tasks of eating and drinking, should be done for God’s glory (I Corinthians 10:31). For man to glorify God is for him to esteem the supremacy and worth of God above all things, to take joy in God and be satisfied in Him above all things, and to live before God with the reverence, gratitude, and worship that is due Him.

Sin is the very opposite of glorifying God. When man sins he becomes the opposite of what he was created to be. A sinful man is a creature who has dislocated himself and perverted the very reason for his existence. He has replaced God with self and God’s will with self-will. The apostle Paul writes that “though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God” (Romans 1:21) and that “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:25). Sin’s roots go much deeper than what is seen on the surface: it is man’s refusal to acknowledge God’s right as God. It is man’s determination to set himself above his Creator, usurp His throne, and steal His glory. Sin is fundamentally a refusal to glorify God as God, and it manifests itself anytime that man seeks his own glory above God’s.

SIN IS… GODLESS AND UNGODLY

The word godlessness denotes a refusal to acknowledge God as God, a desire to live a ‘godless’ existence, free from His sovereignty and law. The word ungodliness denotes a refusal to be conformed to the character and will of God, a desire for moral depravity rather than likeness to God. It has been said that the greatest compliment that may be paid to another person is to desire to be with them and be like them. Sin reveals an inward desire to live without God and to be unlike God. This is a great affront to Him!

SIN IS… REBELLION AND INSUBORDINATION

In I Samuel 15:23, the Scriptures declare: “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.” The word rebellion is translated from the Hebrew word meri, which means contentious, rebellious, or disobedient toward. The word insubordination is translated from the Hebrew word patsar, which literally means to press or to push. It denotes one that is pushy, insolent, arrogant, and presumptuous. There are no small sins, because all sin is rebellion and insubordination. According to I Samuel 15:23, to practice any form of rebellion is as evil as partaking in a pagan or demonic ritual, and to practice any form of insubordination is as evil as partaking in gross iniquity or rendering worship to a false god.

SIN IS… LAWLESSNESS

In I John 3:4, the Scriptures declare, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” The word lawlessness is translated from the Greek word anomia [a, without, no + nomos, law]. To practice lawlessness is to live without law or as though God had never revealed His will to mankind. A person may practice lawlessness by openly defying the rule and law of God, or by simply being unconcerned and willingly ignorant. In either case, the person is showing contempt for God and His law. The abominable nature of practicing lawlessness is seen in the fact that the Antichrist is referred to as the “man of lawlessness” (II Thessalonians 2:3).

SIN IS… TREACHERY

The word treachery denotes a deceitful and unfaithful act against another. Throughout the Scriptures, treachery is seen as an aspect belonging to all sin (Ezekiel 18:24), whether it be in rebellion (Isaiah 48:8), in forsaking the true God for idols (I Chronicles 5:25), or in any form of apostasy or turning away from God (Psalm 78:57). All sin is a betrayal of the One who created us and lovingly sustains our lives.

SIN IS… AN ABOMINATION

If only one thing could be said about sin, it should be said that above all things sin is an abomination to God. An abomination before the Lord is a foul, disgusting thing. It is detestable and loathsome to God and an object of His hatred (Proverbs 6:16). In the Scriptures, all sin is an abomination and to sin is to act abominably (Ezekiel 16:52). Proverbs 28:9 declares that “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.” Similarly, Proverbs 15:8-9 declares that “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord” and that “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.” All idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:25) and any unjust act (Deuteronomy 25:16) is an abomination before the Lord, as well as any person who is devious (Proverbs 3:32; 15:26), a liar (Proverbs 12:22), perverse in heart (Proverbs 11:20), or proud in heart (Proverbs 16:5). In Revelation 21:8, 27, the Scriptures conclude with the warning that the abominable and those who practice abominations will suffer eternal punishment.

SIN IS… MISSING THE MARK

The most common Hebrew word for sin is chata, which means miss the mark, miss the way, or go wrong. In Judges 20:16, we read that the men of Benjamin could “sling a stone at a hair and not miss [chata],” and in Proverbs 19:2 we read, “He who hurries his footsteps errs” or “misses the way [chata].” In the New Testament, the most common Greek word for sin is hamartano, which may also be translated miss the mark, err, be mistaken, or wander from the path. According to the Scriptures, the mark or goal toward which man is to aim is the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Any thought, word, or deed that does not have the glory of God as its chief end is sin. It is important to note that sin [chata or hamartano] is never seen as an innocent mistake or honest error, rather it is always a willful act of disobedience resulting from man’s moral corruption and rebellion against God.

SIN IS… TRESPASSING THE BOUNDARY

The word transgress is translated from the Hebrew word abar which means cross, pass over, pass through, or bypass. To transgress God’s command is to go beyond what is permitted by God’s commands. It is to ignore the restrictions imposed upon us by God’s law and to run beyond its fence. In the New Testament, the word transgress is translated from the Greek word parabaino, which means go by the side of, go past, pass over, or step over. In Matthew 15:2-3 is found an excellent example of parabaino: The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples break [parabaino] the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” And Jesus answered them, “Why do you yourselves transgress [parabaino] the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”

(SOURCE: THE TRUTH ABOUT MAN – PAUL WASHER)

NOTE: Dear friends, it is the time of the year where we need to renew our WordPress subscription fees for the Heavenly Remnant blog. The annual fee amounts to USD139 and currently we are out of pocket.
In addition, we wish to expand the ministry, Lord willing, and to distribute tracts to the Zulu people in the area in South Africa where we live.
We humbly ask for any donations, no matter how small. Should you feel led to donate, donations can be made to our PayPal account.
https://heavenlyremnantministries.blog/paypal-donations/?

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FALL OF ADAM

0 0 FALL OF ADAM 2

BACKGROUND

The Scriptural account of the fall provides an adequate explanation of man’s present fallen state and the evil that surrounds us. It is also upon this dark background that the bright glories of God’s mercy and grace appear. Only to the degree that we understand the tragedy of Adam and his condemnation can we comprehend something of the glories of Christ and His Gospel.

In any study of the fall, we are faced with some of the most important and complex theological questions in all of Scripture: the origin of evil, the nature of human freedom, the sovereignty of God, and His eternal purpose. Although what we know about these issues will always be mingled with a certain degree of mystery, it is necessary that we endeavour to know what we can. We will address the following questions below:

Did God ordain the fall?

What is God’s eternal purpose in the fall?

The Scriptures affirm that the fall was not due to any fault of the Creator. All God’s works are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), He cannot be tempted by sin (James 1:13), nor does He tempt others with sin (James 1:13). The blame for the fall rests squarely upon the shoulders of Adam. As Ecclesiastes 7:29 declares, “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”

This truth presents one of the greatest theological problems in all the Scriptures: how is it possible that a creature created in the image of God came to choose evil and sin? Adam and Eve had a true inclination toward good, and there was nothing corrupt or evil in them to which temptation might appeal. How such righteous beings could choose evil over good, and choose the words of a serpent over the commands of their Creator, is beyond human comprehension.

There have been numerous attempts throughout history to explain the fall of Adam, but none of them is without its limitations. We must therefore be content with the simple truth of Scripture that although God made man righteous and holy, he was finite and mutable (i.e. subject to change) and capable of making a choice contrary to the will of God.

DID GOD ORDAIN THE FALL?

The word ordain means to put in order, arrange, or appoint. To ask if God ordained the fall is to ask if He put it in order, arranged it, or appointed that it to occur. Other words that carry similar meaning are: “decree,” “predetermine,” and “predestine.” Did God determine beforehand or decree that the fall should occur? The answer to this question is “yes,” but we must be very careful that we understand what this does and does not mean.

God’s ordaining of the fall does not mean that He forced Satan to tempt our first parents, or that He coerced them to disregard His command. What God’s creatures did, they did willingly. God is holy, just, and good. He does not sin, cannot be tempted by sin, and He does not tempt anyone to sin.

God’s ordaining of the fall does mean that it was certain to happen. It was God’s will that Adam be tested, and it was God’s will to let Adam both stand and fall alone without the divine aid which could have kept him from falling. God could have hindered Satan from laying the temptation before Eve, or in the face of such temptation He could have given Adam special sustaining grace to enable him to triumph over it. From the testimony of the Scriptures, we understand that He did not.

God’s ordaining of the fall also means that it was a part of His eternal plan. Before the foundation of the world, before the creation of Adam and Eve and the serpent that tempted them, before the existence of any garden or tree, God ordained the fall for His glory and the greater good of His creation. He did not merely permit our first parents to be tempted and then wait to react to whatever choice they made. He did not merely look through the corridors of time and see the fall. Rather, the fall was a part of God’s eternal plan and He predetermined or predestined that it should and would happen.

At this point a very important question arises:

“Is God the author of sin?”

This question can and should be answered with a strong negative. God is not the author of sin, nor does He coerce men to sin against Him. Although He predetermined that the fall should and would happen, He also predetermined that it should happen through the willing actions of Satan, Adam, and Eve. Although our finite minds cannot fully comprehend how God can be absolutely sovereign over every event of history and over every individual act without destroying individual freedom, the Scriptures abound with examples that demonstrate this to be true. Joseph was sold into slavery as a result of the willful sin of his brothers, and yet when the final story was told, Joseph declared, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20). The Son of God was crucified as a result of man’s willful sin and hostility toward God, and yet God had ordained or predetermined the death of Christ before the foundation of the world. In the Scriptures we read:

“… this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” -Acts 2:23

“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.” -Acts 4:27-28

From the Scriptures, we see that God does ordain or predetermine an event to occur and yet brings it to pass through the willful sin of men. He does this without being the author of their sin or coercing them to do that which is against their will. Godless men willfully nailed Jesus Christ to the cross and were responsible for their actions, but the entire event was according to the predetermined plan of God. The fall of Satan, and the later fall of the human race through Adam and Eve, were the results of their own sin for which they alone were responsible, and yet the events came to pass according to the ordained, predetermined, predestined plan of God. God has decreed a great eternal purpose for His creation and has ordained every event of history by which that purpose is being fulfilled. Nothing, not even the fall of man or the death of God’s Son, occurs apart from the sovereign decree of God.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For “who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?” Or “who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” -Romans 11:33-36

“… In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will….” -Ephesians 1:10-11

WHAT IS GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE IN THE FALL?

Having demonstrated that the fall was the result of the creature’s willful disobedience and yet also according to the eternal purpose of God, it is now necessary that we endeavor to know that eternal purpose. In light of the evil and suffering that has resulted from the fall, it may seem difficult to accept that there can be any good purpose in it. Nevertheless, God’s Word assures us that there is such a purpose.

We know from the Scriptures that the creation of the universe, the fall of man, the nation of Israel, the cross of Christ, the Church, and the judgment of the nations have one great and final purpose. It is that the fullness of God’s attributes be revealed to His creation and that all creation know Him, glorify Him, and fully enjoy Him as God.

 THE FULL REVELATION OF GOD ’S ATTRIBUTES

God created the universe to be a theatre upon which He might display the infinite glory and worth of His being and attributes, that He might be fully known, worshipped, and enjoyed by His creation. It has been said by many that the fall of man is the pitch-black sky upon which the stars of God’s attributes shine with the greatest intensity of glory. It is only through the fall and the advent of evil that the fullness of God’s character may truly be known.

When the Christian worships God, what are the attributes that seem most dear to him? Are they not God’s mercy, grace, and unconditional love? Are these not the divine attributes most exalted in all the great hymns of the Church? Yet how could these attributes be known except through the fall of man?

Unconditional love can only be manifest upon men who do not meet the conditions. Mercy can only be poured forth from the throne of God upon men who deserve condemnation. Grace can only be granted to men who have done nothing to earn it. Our fallenness is our doing, for which we are obliged to take full responsibility. Yet it is through the dark theatre of our fallenness that the grace and mercy of God takes the centre stage and shine forth upon an audience of both men and angels. It is in the salvation of fallen man that the wisdom, grace, and mercy of God are revealed, not only to man but also to every created being in heaven, earth, and hell.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” -Ephesians 2:4-7

“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 3:8-10

THE FULL REVELATION OF THE GLORIES OF CHRIST

The greatest work of God is the death and resurrection of the Son of God for the salvation of God’s people. However, if man had not fallen there would have been no Calvary and no Savior. The very thing that most explains God (John 1:18), draws us to Him (John 12:32), and causes us to love Him (I John 4:10, 19) would be gone.

What would take its place? What other means could have been used to demonstrate the immeasurable mercies of God? Christ crucified is the great theme of every worthy Christian hymn, sermon, conversation, and thought. Without the fall, redemption would be unknown to us. We would be like the angels, longing to look upon something that we would never and could never experience (I Peter 1:12).

It is wrong, and near blasphemy, to even hint that the cross of Christ was a mere Plan “B” that was employed only because of Adam’s wrong choice in the garden. The cross is the main event to which every other work of God’s providence points. All things stand in its shadow. In one sense, the cross was necessary because of the fall, but in another sense, the fall was necessary so that the glories of God in the cross of Christ might be made fully known.

THE FULL REVELATION OF THE CREATURE’S DEPENDENCE

One of the most awe-inspiring and humbling truths about God is that He is absolutely free from any need or dependence (Acts 17:24-25). His existence, the fulfillment of His will, and His happiness or good pleasure do not depend upon anyone or anything outside of Himself. He is the only being who is truly self-existent, self-sustaining, self-sufficient, independent, and free. All other beings derive their life and blessedness from God, but God finds all that is necessary for His own existence and perfect happiness in Himself (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 36:9).

The existence of the universe requires not only the initial act of creation but also the continued power of God to sustain it (Hebrews 1:3). If He were to withdraw His power for even one moment, all would turn to chaos and destruction. This same truth may be applied to the character of moral beings, whether angels or men. Adam in paradise and Satan in heaven, although created righteous and holy, could not stand apart from the sustaining grace of an Almighty God. How much less are we able to stand and how much more quickly would we fall apart from the same sustaining grace? The fall, therefore, provides the greatest example of our constant need for God. If we cannot continue our existence beyond our next breath except for God’s preservation, how much less are we able to maintain any semblance of righteousness before Him apart from His grace (John 15:4-5; Philippians 2:12-13)?

(SOURCE: THE TRUTH ABOUT MAN – PAUL WASHER)

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OUR CHRISTIANS DUTIES CAN’T SAVE US

salvation

Christians are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone and we cannot save ourselves by our works. Neither can we maintain our salvation by works, or even the duties set out in the New testament, let alone the Mosiac Law. Still, this does not mean that we can keep on sinning. As a matter of fact, the commandments are now written in our hearts and real reborn Christians bear fruit. Unfortunately, we are still unable to uphold all of the duties we have as Christians because of the sinful nature of our flesh.

Once we have a proper look at our duties toward God and one’s fellow human being, and even towards ourselves, we realize that it is impossible to save oneself or maintain one’s own salvation through works.

Hampton Keathley III compiled a list of duties toward God and one’s fellow human being.

The following is a list of “positive” duties toward God:

(1) Trust Him (Mark 11:22; John 14:1, ASV; Heb 11:6). (2) Love Him and seek to know Him better (1 John 5:2; Phil 3:10, 15; Jas 4:8). (3) Be thankful to Him; worship and praise Him (John 4:23; Col 3:15; Heb 13:15.) (4) Serve Him (Rom 12:6-8, 11; 1 Cor 15:58). (5) Pray to Him (Luke 18:1; Rom 12:12; Eph 6:18; Phil 4:6; Col 4:2; 1 Tim 2:2). (6) Live in accordance with His will (Rom 12:1; Heb 13:21; Jas 4:7). (7) Walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 25; Eph 5:18). (8) Hold fast to sound doctrine and contend for the faith (2 Tim 1:13; Heb 13:9; Jude 3). (9) Witness for Christ (John 15:27; Acts 1:8; 1 Pet 3:15). (10) Do everything as unto Him (1 Cor 10:31; Eph 6:7-8; Col 3:17,23-24). (11) Be diligent in devotion and study of His Word (John 5:39; Col 3:16; 2 Tim 2:15; Jas 4:8; 1 Pet 2:2).

The following is a list of “negative” duties towards God:

(1) Do not have idols (1 Cor 10:7, 14; Eph 5:3; Phil 3:19; Col 3:5; 1 Tim 6:17; Heb 13:15; 1 John 5:21). (2) Do not receive false teachers (2 John 10). (3) Do not mock or speak against God (Gal 6:7; Col 3:8).

The following is a list of “positive” duties towards one’s fellow human being:

(1) Love all, especially our brethren (John 15:17; Rom 12:10; 1 Cor 16:14; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:23; 4:7 {1 John 4:7}). (2) Be sympathetic and compassionate (Eph 4:32; Phil 2:4; Col 3:12). (3) Forgive and forbear (Rom 12:19; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13). (4) Deal honestly and fairly (Rom 12:17b; 13:7 {Rom 13:7}; 13:13 {Rom 13:13}; 1 Thess 4:12; Jas 2:1). (5) Do good to all and help all (Rom 12:13; Gal 6:2, 10; 1 Thess 5:15; Titus 3:1; Heb 13:16; Jas 4:17; 3 John 11). (6) Tell the truth (Eph 4:25). (7) Be courteous and live peaceably with all (Rom 12:18; 1 Pet 2:17; 3:8 {1 Pet 3:8}). (8) Treat others as we would like for them to treat us (Luke 6:31; Rom 12:17a). (9) Provide a good example for others (1 Cor 8:9, 13; Phil 2:15). (10) Urge other believers to good works and seek to restore backsliders (Gal 6:1; Heb 10:24).

The following is a list of “negative” duties towards one’s fellow human being:

(1) Do not lie or bear false witness (Eph 4:25; Col 3:9; Titus 2:3). (2) Do not steal (Eph 4:28; 1 Pet 4:15). (3) Do not murder (1 Pet 4:15). (4) Do not commit adultery or fornication (1 Cor 6:18; 1 Thess 4:13). (5) Do not judge others or speak evil of them (Rom 14:13; Titus 3:2; Jas 4:11; cf. John 7:24). (6) Do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever (2 Cor 6:14). (7) Do not have fellowship with professing Christians who live in scandalous sin (1 Cor 5:11; 2 Thess 3:14). (8) Do not go to law with other believers (1 Cor 6). (9) Do not glory in men (1 Cor 3:21). (10) Avoid troublemakers and useless disputes (Rom 16:17; 2 Tim 2:23; Titus 3:12). (11) Do not have unpaid debts (Rom 13:8).

The following is a list of “positive” duties towards one self:

(1) Be holy (1 Pet 1:15; 2:11 {1 Pet 2:11}; 2 Pet 3:1). (2) Cling to the good and do good to all (Rom 12:9; 1 Thess 5:15). (3) Study the Word of God and meditate on sacred things (1 Thess 4:11; 2 Tim 2:15). (4) Grow spiritually (2 Pet 3:18). (5) Concentrate on the Word of God (Phil 4:8). (6) Think soberly of yourself (Rom 12:3). (7) Be ambitious in the right way (1 Cor 12:31; 14:1 {1 Cor 14:1}; 2 Cor 5:4). (8) Be content with what God gives you (Heb 13:5). (9) Rejoice in the Lord (Rom 12:12; Phil 3:1; 4:4 {Phil 4:4}; 1 Thess 5:16). (10) Live in light of the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor 9:24). (11) Judge yourself and confess sins to God (1 Cor 11:31; 2 Cor 13:5; 1 John 1:9). (12) Conserve time for good purposes (Eph 5:11; Col 4:5). (13) Cultivate your mind (1 Pet 1:13). (14) Do useful work (Eph 4:28; 2 Thess 3:12). (15) Keep your body clean and in good health (1 Cor 6:15; 6:19, 20 {1 Cor 6}; 10:31 {1 Cor 10:31}; Rom 12:1).

The following is a list of “negative” duties towards one self:

(1) Abhor evil (Rom 12:9; 1 Thess 5:22). (2) Avoid pride (Rom 12:3; Jas 4:10; 1 Pet 5:6). (3) Do not conform to or love the world (Rom 12:2; 1 John 2:15). (4) Do not fellowship with evil (Eph 5:11). (5) Do not sin through anger (Eph 4:26). (6) Do not worry (Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:7; 1 John 14:1,27). (7) Do not be lazy (Rom 12:1). (8) Do not use filthy speech (Eph 4:29; 5:4 {Eph 5:4}). (9) Do not become drunk (Eph 5:18). (10) Do not complain (1 Cor 10:10; Phil 2:14).

REWARDS FOR THE FAITHFUL SERVANTS

a crown

The New Testament focuses on five specific rewards, sometimes called crowns, that the faithful will receive at the judgment seat. These crowns represent the kinds of conduct and service that the Lord will reward.

  1. THE INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN (1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27, KJV)

The reward for those who consistently practice self-discipline and self-control is the crown that will not fade away.

  1. THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (2 TIMOTHY 4:8)

The crown of righteousness is the reward for those who eagerly look for the Lord’s coming and live a righteous life in view of this fact.

  1. THE CROWN OF LIFE (JAMES 1:12; REVELATION 2:10)

The sufferer’s crown is given to those who faithfully endure and persevere under the trials and tests of life.

  1. THE CROWN OF REJOICING (1 THESSALONIANS 2:19, KJV)

The soul winner’s crown is given to those who win people for Christ.

  1. THE CROWN OF GLORY (1 PETER 5:1-4)

The shepherd’s crown will be given to those pastors, elders, and church leaders who lovingly, graciously, faithfully shepherd and oversee God’s people.

ONCE SAVED – ALWAYS SAVED … OR NOT?

Once saved always saved

We are in a relationship with God and therefore, salvation is more than saying a prayer or “making a decision” for Christ. Salvation is a sovereign act of God whereby an unregenerate sinner is washed, renewed, and born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3; Titus 3:5). God gives the forgiven sinner a new heart and puts a new spirit within him (Ezekiel 36:26). The Spirit will cause the saved person to walk in obedience to God’s Word (Ezekiel 36:26–27; James 2:26).

Romans 8:30 declares, “And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” Once a person is justified, his salvation is guaranteed.

John 3:15 states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but can lose it tomorrow, then it was never “eternal” at all. Hence, if you lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

Scripture says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).

If we couldn’t have saved ourselves through works, then we are also unable to maintain our own salvation through works and it would mean that we are fallen from the grace that saved us.

Does the saved sin? Of course, we do because we are still in battle with our sinful flesh. The difference, however, is that we are no longer slaves to wilful sinning (Romans 6:6). Paul gives a good description of our battle in Romans 7:15-20. “Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

As a result of being a new person, we also bear fruit. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:8)

If a person therefore continuously bears bad fruit, the question should be asked whether such a person was saved in the first place.

There are two judgements. The Bema seat judgement for believers after the rapture, and the White Throne judgement after the Millennial reign of Christ.

Regarding the Bema seat judgement, Paul says: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what we have done whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). The Bible says that God will reward the actions of believers. “and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely You will reward each person according to what He has done” (Psalm 62:12). Jesus also said; “For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what He has done” (Matthew 16:27). Paul wrote: “Knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free” (Ephesians 6:8).

The Bible gives us even more assurance, as it says: “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12).

Not everyone will receive the same reward. At the judgment seat of Christ, there will be those who suffer loss. “If anyone’s work is burned, they will suffer loss; but they themselves will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).