People search for knowledge and insight, and/or spiritual experience, or peace and holiness and righteousness, or assurance and clarity, as the greatest spiritual attainments.
People might seek for these things in many ways, in many different places.
But the best thing anyone can possibly receive is UNION WITH GOD through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God is love.
Union with the God who is love is the greatest thing that can happen to anyone.
Union with God is joy unspeakable.
Union with God gives us the peace our souls crave.
The best possible thing for any human being is to live united with God our loving Father, in Christ our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, who indwells our spirit.
We receive EVERYTHING GOOD by God’s grace, through Jesus, by His death on the cross for all of our sins, through His burial, and through His resurrection.
We receive knowledge of the Gospel through the Scripture.
We receive salvation through believing in the Gospel of Jesus: 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
We receive perfect sanctification through believing in Jesus’ Gospel.
Jesus Himself IS our sanctification.
We receive experience of God through his Holy Spirit in our the intuition of our conscience of our spirit, through Jesus’ Gospel, because we have been crucified with Christ, we have been buried, and we have been raised to eternal life through His resurrection.
Though we still sin, God daily forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. God also tells us to confess our sins to one another. The forgiveness of God in the Lord’s Prayer is in the sense of daily practical fellowship, but we are forgiven for all our sins forever, past, present and future, in the moment of faith in Christ.
We are the holy children of God, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, indwelled by the Spirit of our Father.
When a person first comes to faith, he believes in Jesus, who died for all sins of everyone on the cross, was buried, and rose again on the third day.
And Paul the apostle tells us that Jesus, the Christ, did more than simply die for our sins.
Look deeper into what Jesus actually did for us.
The Bible tells us also that we were in Him in His death and resurrection, washing away all our sins past, present, and future, with His holy shed blood, and giving us a new life of eternal glory. (Galatians 2:20)
We receive this free gift forever and irrevocably in a moment of faith.
When we believe in Christ, in that moment, we repent or change our minds about unbelief about our sinfulness, and we change our minds in thinking that Jesus was just a man.
Repentance from sins and/or commitment and perseverance in holy living are not requirements ~for~ salvation. But they are the possible, but not required for salvation, natural outgrowth and working out of salvation. A holy life is God’s will for His children, made holy in Christ.
When we believe in Jesus, we are immediately spiritually baptized by the Holy Spirit into the death and resurrection of Christ. (This is not water baptism, but spiritual baptism.)
We are saved and preserved forever in Christ.
We are saved by sheer divine grace, there is no merit or worthiness in us.
The Bible says all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
Jesus is the infinite and eternal and unimaginable divine pinnacle of all spiritual desires, who dwells in glorious white light forever and ever.
Jesus is forever worshiped and glorified by the angels in Heaven and by the saints in Christ.
In Christ are ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Through Jesus we receive forgiveness of sins.
Through Jesus we receive union with God.
Through Jesus we are destined for Heaven.
Through Jesus we commune with God the Father, through His Holy Spirit in our spirits, forever loved and at peace.
EVERYTHING SPIRITUALLY GOOD is given to us in Jesus who is God incarnate in human flesh, who died for all of the sins of everyone on the cross, who was buried, and who rose again on the third day.
All to the glory of God my Savior. John 6:47.
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” –Jesus, in John 7:7
The world hates Jesus because Jesus represents to them a condemnation of their evil works.
The world wants a Jesus of their imagination. A Jesus that does not tell them that what they are doing is wrong or evil.
The favorite Bible verse of the sinner who does not want to turn from his or her evil ways is: “Don’t judge me.”
The world wants a Jesus who will not tell them that they are doing bad things.
That is not the Jesus of the Bible.
This is why there are false Christs.
People invent them.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
John 13:34 NKJV
Jesus is speaking these words. In the NKJV, above, this is a direct command from Jesus. Love others as Jesus has loved us. Immediately, we think, how are we going to be able to love others as Jesus loves us? Impossible. Well, right. Impossible, unless we are relying in God’s Spirit and His power, like a branch relies on the tree trunk (vine).
In the NIV, the verse is rendered, adding the word, “must.” As in, “so you -must- love one another.”
Must, or what? “Must,” or we aren’t saved? “Must,” or Jesus will no longer love us? “Must,” or there is some other threat?
That “must” is not in the original Greek, but was added in the bad translation of this verse.
The NIV is a very beautiful English rendering of the Bible, but it is verses like this that make using it very problematic, because it gives the wrong idea, or suggests the wrong idea.
A command was given by Jesus: love one another as I have loved you.
The concept of “must” is not in that verse, stated or implied, but was added presumably because of the Lordship salvation ideas of the translators.
Salvation is a free gift received by believing in Jesus as Savior (Ephesians 2:8,9). Lordship salvation false doctrine adds the wrong idea that obeying Jesus in acts of discipleship is part of what saves us. This is a false idea.
Adding anything to faith in Jesus for salvation is condemned in the strongest possible terms (two damnation curses) by the apostle Paul in Galatians chapter one verses eight and nine.
Spiritually, everything boils down to this: having faith in the God-man Jesus, crucified on the cross for all sins, and resurrected, for our salvation; loving God, and loving and forgiving others as yourself, as Jesus loves; believing and following the Word and Spirit as a redeemed child of God, by His grace; and eagerly looking forward to Jesus’ Return and Our Father’s promise of Heaven–our destiny.
Satan constantly bombards people’s minds with all kinds of lies straight from Hell, such as these:
“There is no Satan.”
“There is no Hell.”
“Hell is not forever.”
“Hell is a party and all your friends will be there.”
“Any suffering in Hell is minor.”
“There is no afterlife.”
“Heaven is a fantasy not a reality.”
“There is no God. God is just a silly childish idea in your mind like the Tooth Fairy.”
“There is no God.”
“You are God.”
“Life is common in the universe.” (This from “scientists” who purportedly rely on ‘evidence’ in their profession.)
“There is no evidence of ‘design’ that God created the universe.”
“All life evolved from a common ancestor that arose from the cosmic soup billions of years ago.” (Used to be ‘millions’ of years ago.)
“We are entering the Next Ice Age.” (1980s)
“The earth is warming up dangerously.” (2000s)
(In contrast to God’s clear statement in Genesis that there would always be seasons of cold and heat until the end.)
“There is no absolute morality–no good and evil.”
“People are naturally ‘good.’”
“There is no ultimate meaning to anything.”
“Whatever you believe is true for you.” (Unless you believe the doctrines of Christianity.)
“There are many groups of people older than the people mentioned in Genesis.”
“Christians are incapable of rationality.”
(The world’s new definition of “tolerate” is *to not disagree* with anything that attacks God and His Word.)
“God goes by many names–every other “God” out there is the same as the Christian God: Allah, Buddha, Krishna, etc. …”
“All religions are equally effective to save your soul.”
“The Bible is just a bunch of myths that ignorant and uneducated people believe.”
“Jesus was just a man.”
“Jesus’ bones are buried over in the Holy Land.” (director James Cameron.)
“Jesus never said all these things that are attributed to Him in the Bible.”
“The historical reality of Jesus is nil. He never existed. He is just a myth.”
“You are a good person. You don’t need Jesus to forgive your “sins.”
“Jesus never rose from the dead.”
“There is no such thing as sin or evil.”
“All sins are the same in degree of wrongness.”
“The Bible is just the words of men.”
“The Bible has been vastly altered since it was first written.”
“Science has proven the Bible wrong.”
“Women are the same as men.”
“Women can be pastors.”
“A woman has the right to end her pregnancy.”
“Homosexuality is normal. Practicing homosexuality is something to be proud about and to celebrate.”
“Science conflicts with the Bible.”
“The universe is billions of years old.” (The Bible genealogies and recorded lifespans indicate about 6,000 years.)
“Your lifelong discipleship good works are part of your ~justification~. They are necessary for your salvation.” (Wrong. Salvation is a free gift to those who believe in the God-man Jesus who died on the cross for all sins and rose again on the third day. (1st Corinthians 14:1-4) )
What I am about to say is not an exaggeration, nor is it a poetic flourish. This is something to live by daily and to absolutely never forget. This is the most important lesson I have ever learned (and am still learning).
The greatest pain and suffering, by far, that I have ever experienced, has come from unforgiveness, resentment, hatred, and unresolved anger.
Jesus was not kidding when He said that if you do not forgive others their sins against you that God will not forgive ~your~ sins, and that He will send the ~torturers~ against you. (The torturers are not men in black masks holding swords in dungeons, but depressing, despairing, painful, terrifying emotions and destructive effects in your life.)
This does not mean that a believer in Jesus is not saved if he does not forgive, but that he will receive the same kind of judgment and punishment and torment from God in his soul that he is giving to others in his mind.
Here are part of the verses of the story Jesus told, in Matthew 18:28-35:
But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.
Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
Forgiving others ~completely~ is the key that unlocks the door out of the worst mental and emotional prison there is. Not forgiving others their sins against you, ~no matter how painful and severe or evil or unjust those sins and abuses were~, is the most destructive force, no exaggeration, in anyone’s life, that I have ever seen. I can think of ten people I’ve known, right off the top of my head, whose lives seem ruled by, and ruined by: resentment, anger, hate and unforgiveness.
The anger that comes from not forgiving others (especially not forgiving those who have severely abused you ~or people like them~) can cause depression, inner chaos and painful thoughts and emotions, random angers, wanting to get rid of friends who do you wrong, suicidal thoughts, despair of life, general negativity, overeating, obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, emotional pain and emptiness, relationship problems, domestic abuse, violence, stress!, health problems, spiritual problems; terrifying, excruciating emotional pain, and probably many other things.
One of the worst things about unforgiveness is that the pain and problems keep coming back if you forget this lesson and start hating and wanting revenge again (what you and I foolishly and sinfully call, “justice”). My opinion is that ~most~ people in therapists’ and psychiatrists’ offices are there because they do not have the emotional freedom that forgiveness could provide
~in a moment~.
(And forgiveness is a continually daily repeated thing, for new offenses, and for old offenses newly remembered.) It is easy to forget this lesson, and to start hating again. Lives are literally destroyed by unforgiveness.
Lives are healed and prospered by forgiveness.
Forgiveness is ~love~.
First Note: You do not have to stay around or in relationships with destructive or unloving people.
Second Note: Our hatred and vengeance is sinful, whereas God’s hatred and vengeance is pure and good, because it is ~righteous~ (holy) judgment against sin.
God dealt with all sin by having His Son tortured and killed on the cross, once for all, for the just payment and forgiveness of ~all~ sins of ~all~ people. Believe in Him and be forgiven of your sins, saved forever, given a new life, filled with His Spirit, and destined for Heaven–irrevocably and permanently.
Pray for and give gifts to those who hurt you, whom you forgive, as Jesus commands you to do. Give good for evil, not evil for evil. Overcome evil with good. We all need Jesus’ help and love and power and wisdom and comfort to forgive. Ask the Holy Spirit for help and for the ability to forgive. Forgiving must be 100% toward everyone, for everything they have ever done to you, and everything everyone continues to do to you, for you to really live