The Morphing of Turkey… Ezekiel 38 pt 3

Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:  And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.( Ezekiel 38:2-6)

In recent times, Turkey has been considered a success as a modern, progressive Muslim nation. The reforms of Ataturk have allowed for a near miraculous transformation of the “sick old man of Europe” into a pro Western, pro Israel, modern day constitutional, secular State, with a membership in NATO and a candidate for entry into the European Union.

But in very recent times the nation has been morphing back into a would be Caliphate with expansionist aims, and which increasingly rejects the West, menaces Europe and Israel, and which has open ambitions to unite the Muslim world, (Sunni and Shiite) to conquer Jerusalem.

On the one hand this transformation is a tragedy which has already created strife, bloodshed and caused much angst in the world.

On the other, this is obviously a Turkey which aligns closer to that which is described in the Biblical prophecies, and thus is a portent of the events leading to the second advent of our Messiah.

How did Turkey Morph into the Beast which we see arising in recent times? It has much to do with the rise of a Politician named Recep Tyyip Erdogan, a former mayor of Istanbul, who then became President ,and through political maneuvering, has assumed all of the powers of a virtual Sultan.The rest of this article is an excerpt from an earlier article I wrote, called “Erdogan and the Deep Things of Satan”

“By the end of the First World War, Turkey had lost her empire. That was when she came under new management, for the brilliant reformer Attaturk, i.e. Mustafa Kemal,  led an absolute  transformation of Turkey, Europeanizing her language, script and institutions and most importantly, marginalizing any influence Islam had once held on Turkish public life.To the chagrin of Sunnis across the globe, Attaturk disbanded the ancient Caliphate.

That means that 80 percent of all Muslims have virtually been without a unifying head, for the Caliphate was the combination religious, military and political headship of the Sunni world.

The world has been enjoying a respite, a hiatus from the organized oppression which the Caliphate once impressed upon it. Turkey was able to take her place among the civilized world(somewhat), and was a partner in Nato and ally of the US and Israel, and even considered for admission to the European Union.

Eventually it became evident that even with all of this reform, Turkey wasn’t welcome into Europe’s borderless Utopia.

In 2002 the Justice and Development political party of the former mayor of Istanbul swept into power and Turkey has begun to shift in an ominous direction, turning to an aggressive form of Turkish Islam.Under the direction of Recep Tayip Erdogan, many of Attaturk’s reforms are being sidestepped and even the military, which has been the guardian of Turkey’s secular status, has been purged and out maneuvered by Erdogan.

It would do those of us looking at the prophecies to take a closer look at this man, for there is a deeper, darker spirituality driving him than standard Sunni Islam(which is dark enough!).

Walid Shoebat, a former Palestinian terrorist who converted to Christ, and became a Christian evangelist, has noted that Erdogan has publicly declared his affiliation with Jalal, al-Din Rumi, a famous Sufi mystic, whose teaching give Muslims theological justification for proclaiming themselves God.

For example Shoebat quotes Rumi,

Remember the famous utterance of al-Hallaj, “I am God.” People think that to say “I am God” is a claim of great pretense and spiritual arrogance. It is actually a claim of extreme humility. “I am God” means “I do not exist.” He is all, everything is He, existence is God’s alone. I am without existence, pure non-existence. I am nothing.” “I am God” is not a claim of great pretension, it is a claim of extreme humility. There is more humility in this than any supposed claim to greatness, but people do not understand the inner meaning. When a man acknowledges his servitude to God, he is aware of his being a servant. He may see himself as a devoted servant of God, but he still sees himself and his own actions as apart from the one reality of God. He is not drowned in the Ocean of Divine Unity. Drowned is he in whom there is not separate motion or mobility. Drowned is he whose movement is the movement of the water. And so it is with the enlightenment ones, those who declares, “I am God.” Anyone who says “I am the servant of God” asserts the reality of two existences, one for himself and the other for God. But he who says “I am God” — and has realized the deepest levels of unity within his being — has seen through the illusion of his existence. He knows from the experience of unity that his own separate existence is nothing but an illusion. Knowing that, he casts its former selfhood upon the winds of oblivion. (Rumi, Hearts bear witness one to another, in The Complete Discourses of Jalal al-Din Rumi, discourse 11, p. 75, ed. Louis Rogers) Erdogan Reviving Religion of The AntiChrist

Shoebat has quoted Erdogan as praising Rumi and other Sufi mystics as well as the famous Midieval anti-Crusader, Kurdish general, Saladin. From the article above;

This is the first time in history that this connect was made and now, it is no surprise to us that this Wednesday, the president of Turkey, Erdogan, praised Rumi’s work, revealing that he himself is not only Sufi but that he also believes in Fana “the art annihilation and becoming God himself”. Why else would Erdogan praise Rumi’s work The Masnavi, saying “A work can live for more than seven centuries only if it is written with love”. The Masnavi is amongst Rumi’s most popular works, and it is in this very book that the idea of man becoming divine is adulated. He praises the Sufi declaration “I am the Truth!” saying, “Mansur’s ‘I am the Truth!’ was purest light” (Masnavi, 2.307, trans. Mojaddedi)(ibid)

People often think that Sufism is a peace loving , meditation cult aspect of Islam, and rather entertaining in practice, visitors to Turkey can see the “Whirling Dervishes”, Muslim mystics who put themselves in trances by spinning in groups in circle.But obviously being a part of pagan religion, there is a darker side to it, for all of the ‘gods’ of the nations are demons.

Erdogan has a strange influence on those who come into contact with him, as evidenced by this testimony of a secular Turkish Media Mogul,

On May 15, the Turkish media were rocked by the words of the media mogul Ethem Sancak, who bluntly declared his love for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a TV interview. Sancak said, “While working on his campaign to get him elected prime minister, from my hometown Siirt, I met him. I saw his honesty and courage. I saw his opposition to oppression, his ability to protect the victim. The more I saw him, I feel in love [with him]. To be honest, during my days as a leftist, I could not understand the love between Mevlana [Jelaluddin Rumi, the poet] and [his companion and spiritual guide] Shams al-Tabrizi. As I got to know Erdogan, I realized that such a kind of divine love between two men is possible. When I [first] declared my love to him, I was already among the top 20 on the Forbes’ list. I did not need to wait for any favors by holding on to Erdogan’s coattails.”

Another thing about Erdogan that warrants attention is his adulation of the midieval Kurdish general, Saladin. Turkey has long suppressed and oppressed the Kurds, denying them a homeland .But Saladin, the Kurdish general is famous throughout the Muslim world for his prowess against the Crusaders and for retaking Jerusalem.

When Erdogan dedicated a new international airport in Turkey’s Kurdish region, Arab News reported Erdogan’s comments-

ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday opened a new airport in a restive eastern province dogged by a Kurdish separatist insurgency, naming the facility for a celebrated Muslim medieval leader of Kurdish origin…
They announced the airport would be named after Selaheddine Ayyubi to remember the 12th century founder of the Ayyubid dynasty who led Muslim resistance against Christian crusaders in the Middle East who sought to control Jerusalem.
Of Kurdish origin, he is known simply as Saladin and in Arabic as Salah ad-Din.
“We are naming this airport Selaheddine Ayyubi to send a message of solidarity and brotherhood and to say that Jerusalem belongs to Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Muslims forever.”

Walid Shoebat believes Erdogan wants to be the new Saladin, the modern “retaker” of Jerusalem, and the restorer of the Caliphate. Here Shoebat provides an excerpt of a translation of a speech Erdogan gave recently in which he pretty much proclaims it-

Erdogan says in this video: “Praise be to Allah the lord of the two worlds [this world and the underworld] where ownership belongs to Allah alone, victory is to Allah alone. He has no associates [denouncing the trinity]. In the pathway we came out asking Allah to strengthen our feet on the straight path …We have dressed up in our shrouds and are prepared to confront as did Sultan Alparslan We have believed as Sultan Saladin. That victory is not from the sword but comes from Allah. We have went to the path after we have burned the ships of return behind us as did the conquerer of Spain Tareq Benziad.”

Erdogan wants Italy and Spain. He wants to be Tariq Bin Ziad, the conqueror of Spain. He wants to be the tyrant Alp Arslan and Saladin. These are the Muslim leaders who fought against Christendom and he wants to be Saladin who conquered Jerusalem. He wants to be all in all. He wants to declare war on the strongest fortresses to advance his foreign God, Allah, through warfare.

Erdogan has recently reversed the century old canard, describing the aging Ottoman Empire as the “Sick old man” of Europe,in this Sputnik News article, Erdogan Blasts Europe As Sick Man

Erdogan has already stirred up a hornets’ nest over the referendum, which — if the outcome is positive — will give him huge new powers, by calling a series of demonstrations among Turkish citizens in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
“You have seen what happened in Europe. Why did they go crazy? Why did they go berserk? They saw what this system will bring to Turkey. Turkey is leaping, growing. This makes them go crazy.

“Europe will pay for what they have done. God willing, the question of the European Union will again be on the table after April 16. They said a century ago that we were the ‘sick man.’ Now they are the ‘sick man.’ Europe is collapsing,” he told a rally April 9, referring to the fact that 19th century politicians described the Ottoman Empire as the “sick man.”

This man sounds like a pretty good candidate for Anti-Christ. I am not proclaiming that He is, there is no need to, we will recognize the Anti-Christ as the one who cuts off the daily sacrifice of the restored Jewish temple worship soon to be unveiled. I don’t know who that will be but am sure he is on the scene. But Erdogan certainly, like the former President of the United States, Obama, exhibits several characteristics of the Anti-Christ. Come quickly Jesus! Maranatha!!”

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Turkey Leads the Siege…Ezekiel 38 pt 2

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:  And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. (Ezekiel 38:1-6)

There are two prominent nations involved in the final invasion and Siege of Israel, which take prominent leadership roles among the coalition. Turkey and Iran.

Both of these nations have undergone tremendous, ominous transformations in this, and the previous century, right before the world’s eyes., and to the terror of many in the world who understand the implications of these changes.

We will discuss in brief the recent history of Turkey first, then Iran in the next session.

For five centuries, after the fall of Constantinople , until relatively recently, Turkey was the seat of the Ottoman Empire, the world’s Muslim superstate which rules the Middle East, Much of eastern Europe, North Africa, as an expansionistic Empire.

Not that long ago the Ottoman Empire presented a constant and potent threat to Europe and the West in General, seeking access to invade Europe, exact tribute in the Mediterranean, enslaving Christians in the Balkans, raiding coastal towns for white slaves along the coasts of France, Italy, even England and Ireland, and into eastern Europe.

Eventually the Empire began to crumble, in bits and pieces at first, when Revolutions succeeded in the Balkans, Greece, and Cyprus, throwing off the Turkish yoke. But the Ottomans held the Middle East, including the Holy Land, and much of North Africa, until She took the German side in the First World War, and lost.

The Victorious French and British carved up the former Ottoman Empire, creating the modern Middle East, dividing up the land once held by Turkey, and creating new nations such as Jordan, Iraq, and Algeria.

There would be no more Ottoman Empire, only Turkey , a defeated Empire, humiliated, backwards, and reduced to her present borders.

Two huge developments ensued in the wake of the death of the Ottoman Empire, one was somewhat positive the other, extremely negative.

The negative development was the postwar purge of the Turkish borders of Christians.

Three million Armenians, lived in Turkey, it was the first “Christian Kingdom” , the Armenian king having been converted  to Christ in the first century AD. The Armenian community had persevered in spite of centuries of imposed Dhimmi status, deprivation,various programs and impoverishment.

The genocide took place in two distinct phases. All of the able-bodied Armenian men were rounded up, either massacred outright, or conscripted into slave labor camps where many died. The second phase was a forced deportation march of the remaining Armenian population, women children, elderly, weak and sick, through the Syrian desert. a million Armenians died, countless others were raped, tortured and dispersed across the globe.

To this day the Turkish government denies the atrocity, and the lack of international indignation, literally encouraged Hitler in his genocidal quest to destroy Jews. When asked if he ever thought about history’s condemnation, Hitler replied, “No one said anything about the Armenians did they?”.

The Positive development in the modern world, was the near miraculous modernization of Turkey by Attaturk.

The Ottoman government collapsed and there was a brief Turkish War of Independence between a newly formed Turkish National Movement, and Armenian and Greek proxy forces of the victorious allies. Eventually a reasonable agreement was settled upon and the new Turkish Nationalist movement came to power, under the leadership of  “young Turks” led by Mustafa Kemal who came to be known as Ataturk-“Father of the Turks”.

Kemal concluded that Turkey needed to be modernized, and brought into the twentieth century. Thus he undertook a series of radical reforms which would transform Turkey into a modern European style state. Turkey would have a constitution, it would become a Republic, sovereignty would be invested in the State and not in any single ruler.

He changed the day of rest to Sunday, changed the calendar,

Perhaps the most astonishing reform was Kemal’s banishment of Islam from any role in shaping public policy, a kind of “Separation of Mosque and state”. Sheriot(Shariah) was revoked, religious schools were closed, public education was secularized, and perhaps most shockingly to Sunnis across the former Empire, the Caliphate was abolished and the Government was moved to Ankara.

The Caliphate is the central governing authority of the World’s Sunni Muslims, (which comprise 3/4s of the 1.7 billion Muslims of the World. It is more than a government however, it is the central juridicial, Religious and military authority of the Sunni world as well.

It was shortly after the banishment of the Caliphate occurred, a profound calamity to the Sunni world, an Egyptian group formed called the Muslim Brotherhood, which made the restoration of the Caliphate it’s priority. A tall order considering the weakness and disarray of the Muslim world and the seeming invincible strength of the Christian West.

Other reforms included clothing changes, women were no longer required to wear a veil, men were encouraged to dress in modern western clothing. The Fez was outlawed, and the veil was strongly discouraged, so great was the break from the past which the movement attempted.

Ataturk under-took national language reform replacing the former Persian,TurkishArabic language with a purer form of Turkic speech.  Even the national script was changed under his direction. Turkey adopted Latin script, which actually drastically  improved national literacy.

The Turkish military became a secularized national army in the western sense, and to it was vouchsafed by constitution the preservation of Turkey’s secular status.

Turkey emerged as a modern secular European State, a member of Nato, an Ally of the West throughout the cold war, a close friend of Israel,  and has been considered for inclusion into the European Union. Turkey has the world’s sixth largest military and the largest military in Europe.

She has maintained her secular status for almost a hundred years, the military stepping in when necessary to preserve Turkey’s republic from Islamists ,in 1960,1971, 1980, and 1997.

But recent events in Turkey portend a radical shift away from the successful secular hiatus Turkey and the world have enjoyed, and back into the heavily Islamic and Imperialistic   past which Turkey has only recently emerged from.

The world has been living in an anomaly; for the past century a huge menace to Western peace and stability has been vanquished. The menace which long threatened Europe and all of Christendom and which had a long string of uncontested victories has lately been put to rest, and forgotten.  But the Beast , as we will see, is awakening and Turkey has a prime role to play in the last days.

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The End of The World is a Siege of Israel and Jerusalem (Ezekiel 38 pt 1)

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:  And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.  Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. (Ezekiel 38:1-9)

2500 Years ago the Prophet Ezekiel saw the final conflict that Israel would face; an invasion of the land restored, by a superstate, a confederation of enemies heavily armed, and intent on spoil and slaughter.

The End of the World is revealed in many of its facets by many of the prophets of the Bible, and always it involves an invasion and a siege by a huge confederation of Gentile nations.

Zechariah saw it,

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of [b]drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”(Zechariah 12:2-4)

 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.(Zechariah 14:1-2)

So also did Joel and Micah,

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.( Joel 3:1-2)

Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. ( Micah 4:10-12)

In all of the visions of the Hebrew prophets, the final conflict of Israel, is a siege and invasion of the Holy Land by a confederation of many Gentile nations. Israel is isolated, divided, alienated and demonized, and eventually invaded by Gentile nations intent on destroying her.

There have been countless types of the end of the World in scripture, such as he invasion of the five Gentile Kings in Genesis 14, and the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacharib, and also the one of of Nebuchadnezzar. These happened in history they also but foreshadow the end of the world as well. The siege in 70 AD by the Romans also typified the end of the World, and Jesus description of final events is a dual prediction, in Matthew 24, of the siege of Titus and of the End of the Age.

Jesus also warned of it;

 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:20-24)

Ezekiel identifies the final invaders by Nation,

Gog is a title for an individual person, a Prince, (Chief Prince of Magog) . Gog stands as the representative head of Heathendom in it’s opposition to God, as Pharaoh, Caesar, Agag were in their day.

Magog, Meshec, Tubal, Gomer, and the “house of Togarmah”, are Sons of Japheth, who settled in the territory, now named Turkey.

Persia, Ethiopia and Libya, are modern Iran, Somalia and Sudan, and Libya.

There will be “Many others with them” as well.

This confederation has one thing in common; Islam. They are all Muslim nations. The eradication of Israel is an intrinsic tenant of Islam. The resurrection and ongoing existence of Israel is an affront to the Muslim world. In more than one Hadith, the “Prophecy of the Rock and the Tree” is cited;

Over the years MEMRI TV has translated many sermons citing this hadith. The hadith, “The Prophecy of the Rock and the Tree,” appears in the Muslim [d. 875 CE], the Al-Tirmidhi [d. 892 CE], and the Ibn Hanbal [d. 855 CE] compilations of hadiths, and a shorter version of the hadith appears in the Bukhari [d. 870 CE] compilation.

The longer version states that on Judgment Day, the Muslims will fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees. Then the rocks and the trees will speak, calling upon the Muslims: “Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill them.” The hadith goes on to say that all trees will act this way, except for one tree – the gharqad tree, which is therefore defined as “one of the trees of the Jews.”–-memri-clips-and-reports

It is of curious interest tome, that among the final combatants, seeking to wipe out Israel, the Arabs are conspicuously absent. In fact the Prophecy goes on to say, that at the onset of the invasion, “Sheba and Dedan” raise an objection to it, (perhaps in the UN?). Sheba and Dedan are provinces on the Arabian Peninsula.

“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” Ezekiel 38

“The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye traveling companies of Dedanim. “The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. “For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: “And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it” (Isa. 21:13-17).

Sheba and Dedan are Grandchildren of Abraham, Cedar is descended from Ishmael.

Just this week Israel signed a peace treaty with the United Arab Emirates, the Saudis are sure to follow. Egypt had already made peace with Israel in the days of Sadat Syria and Lebanon are currently being gutted, Iraq has been destroyed, for all practical purposes, thus the near neighbors of Israel , are not part of this invasion, rather is it is the wider Muslim world which participates.

The last thing any of us would have expected over the last forty plus years of bitter enmity, would be that the Arab world would seek peace with Israel. This is a measure of how deeply they fear their Sunni brothers, the Turks, and their Shiite fellow Mohammedans, Iran.

The stage is being set for the fulfillment of prophecy and the long dreaded day of the LORD. I pray you will make your peace with God wale there is time- Jesus died for your sins, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be Saved”.

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The Psychology of godlessness… Romans series

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

The Gospel doesn’t begin with man and his need for salvation, it begins with God, His Glory and His wrath against sin.

The apostle tells us that the wrath of God; that is His ceaseless, active and fierce opposition to everything that is wrong, evil, perverse or false, is being revealed from heaven  against man every single day.

The way God’s wrath is daily being revealed is in the steady degeneration of society, the “giving over”of society  to ever grosser and more degrading forms of sin.The moral and social self-destruction that we are seeing today is an ominous manifestation of the Wrath of God. Abortion, homosexuality, the culture of death, and Nihilism are what God has given our generation over to, by allowing the natural restraints to these, to be removed.

God’s wrath is directed specifically against two categories of evil; the unrighteousness and ungodliness of men.

Unrighteousness refers to the sin of those who won’t live according to God’s holy standards for man.The Ten Commandments tell us what is right, “Righteous” as far as our relationship to God and man.

Ungodliness refers to those who have no reverence for God whatsoever. The ungodly are those who have ignored God entirely and live Life as though there were no God.

Romans 1:18-31 is a divine analysis of   the psychology of the godless. It outlines the way the Divine  Wrath works its way out in  the degeneration of ungodly societies. This is an amazingly relevant chapter to our modern situation.

The ungodly are not ignorant of God. Wrath is being revealed against them because they suppress truth that they do know, refusing to accept their accountability to God.This is what makes the ungodly culpable.

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed itunto them.Romans 1:20

And 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 1:28)

God has shown every person enough knowledge of Himself to make them inexcusable in the day of judgment. The things of God are “manifested in them”, no matter who they are.Final judgment will be on the basis of light spurned.

What is the truth that the ungodly suppress in unrighteousness, thus exposing them to judgment? There are at least three aspects of truth discussed here,

*The Truth that we are created beings, made and sustained by  a personal God.Everyone knows they were created, and not self made, we are manifestly  dependant creatures.

And by that knowledge ,people deeply know that there is something special about man. Although they may not grasp the teaching about Man made in the Image of God- all men know that man is not mere animal. Animals do not hold funerals.

But acknowledging our creation has implications. If I was created by a personal being,higher and greater than I, than I owe that being an accountability, I have a duty to worship Him, I am not autonomous, I owe my next breath to such a Creator.

* They suppress the truth that we have all broken a moral code. Everybody knows there is such a thing as sin, there is a right and a wrong, and furthermore they know that they themselves have done wrong. The conscience , though often misinformed, is a universal witness to this fact.

Even a person who decries any belief in sin or commandments  of any God, knows when wrong is done to them, and resents it. All men have moral motions, they judge right and wrong of themselves and others all day long. They appeal to conscience, and to intangibles such as Justice, Equity and so forth.

The universal idea of a right and wrong implies a fixed standard. Ungodly man doesn’t want to admit what He knows in his heart, that ours is a moral universe, and furthermore all know that they fail even to live up to their own ideals.

* Finally the truth that there will be some kind of a final judgment, is deeply imbedded in every man’s heart, though he attempts to suppress it in various ways. Final judgment actually dignifies man, because it implies that the choices we make in this life are of eternal significance.

Paul cries out to a society similar to our own, denying self-evident truth, festering under the wrath of God,rotting in the corruption that God had given them over to,

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.(Romans 1:29-31)

The sinner knows or has known something of God. They resist the knowledge of at least three things; that there is a God who is the Creator of all things, and that there is a moral code that they have failed to live up to, and finally that they are liable to a judgment, an accountability to God, at some point at the end of their life.

The reason these are universally held beliefs is because they are the general revelation of the God who made all men.It is the suppression of these “self-evident” truths, that has and will bring further wrath and Judgment from God. In other words, it’s not what we don’t know that is a problem, it’s what man does know and refuses to accept , that will be the problem.

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The Hurricane (and it’s lessons) …Cedar Rapids

I have lived most of my life in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Cedar Rapids is as about as Midwestern as you can get. Situated in lush, verdant Eastern Iowa, along the Cedar River. The people are known for a hard work ethic, mostly responsible, sober minded, with midwestern sensibilities, many are church goers, and generally a conservative outlook on life for the most part. (Obviously the toxic culture is eating away from all of that here as everywhere else).

Every Summer in Iowa, there are often severe thunderstorms, and even tornadoes, as the arctic fronts from Canada sweep down the natural funnel formed by America’s two North/South Mountain Ranges, (The Rockies to the West, and the Allegheny to the East), forming something called “Tornado Alley”. Tornadoes form when Arctic air confronts the hot updrafts from the gulf of Mexico.

Midwesterners are not unfamiliar with clearing up the devastation and debris of Tornadoes every year, that is just part of living in this part of the country.

What happened last Monday was not a tornado, it was an inland Hurricane! Straight line winds, in unrelenting gusts up to 120 miles per hour! Not for the ten frantic minutes or so that tornadoes usually wreak their damage, these winds raged on for a good forty-five minutes to an hour!

I have been through many tornado storms, and even cleaned up the dairy farm of a family who went to our church, after it was hit by a tornado. It looked like a bomb went off, as we picked up shattered pieces of buildings, metal sheeting wrapped around the trees, (One was twice wrapped around a tree by the wind, I have no idea how that happened).

The buildings were ruined. Windows, doors, and massive limbs and trunks of once stately trees, lay about as if they were the remains of a Civil War battlefield. A line of older trees had lined the long driveway leading up to the farm, and at about twenty feet up, they were snapped off all along the line, as if a giant skill saw ripped up through the line.

This is the power of a tornado. We are all familiar with it, and most Midwesterners have at one time or another seen a bright day turn black. (or even an eerie pale green) and had to wait out these storms in a basement somewhere, praying for them to end.

But as a lifelong Iowan, I have never seen such a storm as what I witnessed last week. We saw (from our basement vantage point) huge and massive trees snapped off at the ground and tossed by the strait line howling winds as if a child had thrown a feather in the breeze. A drive through Cedar Rapids after the storm showed thirty or forty foot Oak or Maple Trees knocked over, pulled up by the roots and in some cases the ball of the tree that was normally underground, upended along wth the concrete sidewalks which once went along side of it, and the ground like a disturbed carpet, still covering the ball of the tree, only now on it’s side.

Transformers were exploding, power lines were snapped off, Billboards set in Concrete and held up by iron girders, were flattened to the ground, as were huge traffic lights, street lights, company signs, Trees and even some buildings. Roofs were ripped off of houses, and in many cases Brick facades and even brick walls were stripped off of buildings.

Google Cedar Rapids, destruction, Dericho, and you will begin to see the monumental destruction which occurred across the whole Midwest, from somewhere in Nebraska, straight across to Ohio, a stretch of about a thousand miles.

We have to ask, if we have any spiritual sensitivity at all, “What is God saying to us in this storm?”. God speaks through things like this. He speaks through ordinary natural events, but this one is extra-ordinary. I learned a new word, “Derricho”. I had never heard it before, but a Derricho is a Land hurricane.

God Is telling us, These are the Last days…

Hurricanes usually occur along coasts or out at sea, but we just experienced one two thousand miles inland in any direction.

Jesus said the last days would be characterized by many unusual natural disasters.

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.(Luke 21:25-26)

I live on ten acres, with my family. On one end is a building and parking lot for our church fellowship, and I live on the back end. Thankfully God spared us, our house and family, none were hurt, and for this we praise God.

I did lose seven huge trees. We are currently in the process of cleaning them up, as is our entire city. I planted most of those trees myself, (well alright, I did it with my Sons). One of them I plucked out of the swampy ditch along the highway and transplanted it as a little sapling, not even as round as may little finger. It grew to over thirty feet tall, and I have to admit I loved it, and the other trees I planted. We delighted in the growth, the shade, the thought that something so weak and frail could grow into something so majestic and beautiful.

There is a special joy in growing things, and participation in cultivation of life. Like those trees, many a pastor has labored among God’s church, working with other dedicated ones to unite the body, to center everything around Christ, to facilitate regular worship and prayer, teaching, fellowship and even sacrifice. It doesn’t come automatically.

A wind can come and really test all of that, a wind of doctrine, or immorality, perhaps a tornado of avarice, or enmity, jealousy, party Spirit, eventually a hurricane will come, the final testing of all that has been planted, watered, nurtured, cried over and prayed for… only that which is truly rooted in Jesus, (Love and loyalty to Jesus) will stand.

The LORD Gives and The Lord Takes away, Blessed be the name of the LORD!

But when God blew his wind, they all fell down. He graciously preserved our lives this time, but shouldn’t we fear Him who has such power?

As I drove through our little city, and saw such devastation, and the people just standing there that first day, looking at it. Trees leaning on partially crushed roofs, caused cars, huge setons of sod and root upended by fallen trees, an privacy fences utterly blown apart, everywhere.

I realized anew, as I looked at the now opened view of people’s yards, the ‘American Dream’. That is the idea that anyone willing to work hard, can build their own little sanctuary; a comfortable home, a walled off piece of property, a swimming pool, a well tended hedge or garden, by which to end a day in a place of peace and beauty. This is very similar to the vision of the good life as envisioned by the Prophets of the Bible,”Every man under his own vine, every man under his fig tree”.

There is nothing wrong with that, I think it a beautiful ideal, partially realized by so many here.

But God blew His wind and tore much of it apart. Swimming pools and grills and lawn chairs and deck furniture, torn up and laid open as wooden fence pieces lay scattered in every direction.

A Sanctuary is only valid if God is there in the midst of it. Without God in our lives, nothing is sacred. All false Edens will come apart, especially in the pressures of the last days.

The Lesson We learned From our Chickens …

On the day that the storm suddenly broke in on us, our grandchildren ran out to try and round up the 16 chickens and get them into the coop, ( the one my Son in law Matt built). Have you ever tried to round up frantic chickens while the wind is blowing and the thunder is starting? We could only get four of them into the coop, the other twelve would just have to fend for themselves, but we would pray for them.

While we were in the basement watching the scariest storm we had ever seen, just out our basement window, there were constant prayers going up for those wayward chickens,(who wouldn’t go into the coop). When the storm stopped, we saw that the coop itself had been blown over on its side and even had been rolled.

How would we break it to our dear grandchildren, that the chickens had died?

We opened the overturned coop to find four badly frightened hens clustered together, but unhurt. Then as the winds died down the 12 other chickens began to emerge from the tall grass, clucking and pecking as they came! How we all praised God for answering prayer.

Is there a lesson in this folksy story?

I think so, to him who has ears to hear. God is faithful. He cares, even about little things. Jesus told us that a bird cannot fall out of a tree without God taking note of it, and that we are worth far more than many birds.

A storm is brewing spiritually, breaking soon on all of the world. As my little grandchildren prayed for those chickens, we must pray for our loved ones, especially those who have left church, and are out in the elements of this world.

Faithful ministers have long been trying to gather people into the fellowship… the church… but in this individualistic, self oriented culture, it is very difficult to gather people, as difficult as herding chickens or perhaps even more. A Chicken coop isn’t an exciting or entertaining place to be, but it is a place where Chickens can ride out a storm.

Public worship, Bible teaching, admonition, correction and instruction in righteousness are not what this generation thinks is exciting, stimulating or even entertaining, thus people think nothing of blowing off church.

Church is despised and ill thought of in our toxic culture, even among many who profess to be Christians. There is a crisis of authority as well, everyone is their own expert, and do not want to let Pastors and Shepherds truly be Shepherds. God meant for his people to be church, we are sheep, we are to remain in fellowship, especially when the Storm hits full. But there are some who we will just have to pray for, that in God’s mercy they will see, and make it through the Storm, sheerly through grace. God is good.

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…But now… Righteousness as a gift

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:(Romans 3;21-24)

Man is fallen. All of us are under a sentence of condemnation, according to the Gospel as explained in the letter to the Romans. All of us have committed that primal sin, the rejection of God’s glory. We have all made substitute gods , seeking beauty and meaning in that which is not God.

There are no exceptions, not even Israel. The chosen and priviliged people of God are under the indictement, that declares “There is none righteous ,no not one!”.This is a quotation from the Psalms, and adressed to Israel. Paul is telling Israel, that her own scripture indicts her just as much as it does everyone else!

If we are not outright atheists, who among us has never been guilty of practical atheism? That is, who hasn’t been guilty of living as if there were no God, or as if He had no say over us? Didn’t God declare  to Israel, “When I called none answered” ?

The condemnation of sin has been painstakingly revealed to be universal, all of us are under sin, all of us are under wrath, all of us deserve to die, we have all forfeited our very right to behold God’s glory, to dwell in God’s universe.And there can not be any excuse, all excuses will fall flat on the day of judgment, For every mouth will be stopped on that day . 

All seems hopeless, for there can be no human solution. There isn’t anyone qualified to redeem themselves in the sight of God, let alone anyone else.Man is not only lost, he is helpless, “by the deeds of the law is no flesh justified in his sight”.

So many are utterly oblivious to the problem. They don’t see what the big problem is. They can’t appreciate the enormity of sin, and the majesty of the person they have sinned against.

I liken these to a man who went to visit a wealthy friend. He walked into his office and saw a Ming Vase, worth two million dollars. Before His friend could caution him, he reached out to touch it, and clumsily knocked it over, breaking it into pieces. “Don’t worry,” he quickly assured his horror-stricken friend, “I saw one just like it at K-Mart, I’ll replace it immediately!”.

We have broken the law of a Holy God! We have shattered the Image of God! By our sins, we have spit in the face of the God who lovingly created us, and we are going to make up for it, by trying to be better people??!

Even if we could start at some point, to do right, how would that make up for all of the earlier transgressions? This is a moral universe, Justice must be upheld, wrong has to be answered for. Offended holiness has to be satisfied.

This is the teaching of Romans 1-3. It is designed to smash humanistic nonsense about the ‘goodness of all men’, so that we might look outside of ourselves for the answer. We see the same teaching in vision form in Revelation chapter five;

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.(Revelation 5)

The gloom departs with the introduction of these two words, But Now…

Now, A right standing with God is revealed without law keeping, although as Paul will show us, the Law of God and the prophets anticipated it. 

God has provided an answer, a righteous way to receive sinners, a Holy way to redeem us, all in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus God’s Holiness and justice is satisfied, He has “by no means cleared the guilty” punishing us in Him.

This righteousness is the gift of God for everyone, “unto all”,but is only applicable by faith,”and upon all who believe”, for as we have seen, as far as Divine justice and human sin is concerned, there is no difference, between Jew and Gentile.

All of us have sinned, and all of us can be saved, but on God’s glorious terms, not our own. more on this soon…

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Righteousness; What God Requires, He Also Provides…Romans

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for therein the righteousness of God is revealed…Romans 1:16

The book of Romans is unique among the epistles in that it isn’t polemic, that is it isn’t trying to refute any error. Romans is therefore  a clear rendering of the Gospel of salvation . Paul calls it the “Gospel of God” , and takes us from the bankruptcy of Jew and Gentile to the glorification of man and creation, all realised by the gospel.

Paul begins with the declaration that in the Gospel, “the Righteousness of God is revealed”. In order to appreciate and grow in the gospel, a thorough grounding in the teaching of Romans is necessary, and for that to happen, the meaning and use of the term “Righteousness” has to be defined. Biblically, there are several possible definitions;

Righteousness, dikiaosune – refers to uprightness of conduct, equity of character. It means to have all good qualities in perfection.

Righteousness- can also mean uprightness, rectitude,  conformity to God’s standards.

Righteousness- is also a status- Right-Standing- being “in the right”,”Right with” a law , authority or person in authority.

The Beginning of the Gospel in Romans is an emphasis on the bad news first. God is a Holy God and can only accept perfect Righteousness from man. There is a saying that illustrates this and is quite profound

“The Righteousness that He (God) requires , is the Righteousness that His Righteousness requires Him to Require.”

Furthermore we are warned of the coming day of Judgment, in which the standard will be absolute Righteousness and Truth. At the great accounting God will require perfect Righteousness of each person.

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;Who will render to every man according to his deeds…(Romans 2:5-6).

This is the bad news, that we are all on our way to a Judgment of our lives by a Holy God who can accept nothing less than absolute Righteousness from those whom He made in His Image. Eternal, happy Fellowship with Him requires total Righteousness and we have none to offer Him. We have not been morally upright, we have not conformed to God’s standards, by our sins we have forfeited the right to dwell in God’s universe. What are we going to do?

God himself offers to us the answer. Romans declares that it is Jesus,

…Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:25

Jesus is the offering God made unto Himself. God has “set him forth” as the ‘satisfaction ‘ offering, His life offered to God for us satisfies the requirements of the Righteous nature of God, the broken law of God, the offended Holiness of God. By the resurrection God testified that He is satisfied in the offering of Jesus.

In short, here is the Gospel ; A Righteous God, has made a righteous way to cleanse and renew unrighteous sinners, by exchange. In God’s plan, Jesus assumed our unrighteousness before God, and was judged with our judgment, so that we could be given his righteousness as a gift. As Paul put it,

For He hath made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him.(2 Cor 5:21) 

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Two Simultaneous Realities… Romans 3

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:23-24)

The subject of Romans chapter three has been thus far,  AllAll of us are under a Divine sentence of condemnation,  All of us like sheep have gone astray from God.  There are no exceptions, not even  Israel,  All of us have defected from God.

Yet to that same ALL,  God has provided a gift,  even the very Righteousness that He demands of us, in the person of Jesus Christ.  The gift is “Unto all ,  but only “upon all who believe”.

The text literally reads, “For all have sinned and are coming short of the glory of God”.

There is an up to this moment dimension to it. Indeed,  I have sinned and even now up to this very moment,  in thought, attitude,  motive,  etc,  I am coming short of the Glory of God that I was created to reflect.

This is because sin is more than a mere act- it is a state of being. Breaking God’s laws is sin, but so is “the plowing of the wicked“, as Proverbs testifies.

A high look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked is sin . (Proverbs 21:4)

Romans 3:23 is true of All of us,  it describes our current earthly situation. What am I to do about my moment by moment sin,  my continuous falling short of God’s glory?

In Romans 3;24,God has provided an existential answer to the sad reality that I have sinned and am currently falling short right up to this moment of God’s glory.

The same subject,  ALL,  are currently being justified (moment by moment) before God, through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This said to be done by God as an expression of His grace,  He didn’t have to do this, He did does it for us freely.

For every second that I live my life on earth, continuously falling short of God’s glory, Jesus in heaven is continuously justifying me before God, making up for every shortfall, failure and transgression. Sin is a status that is existential,  but even more so is redemption.

Moment by moment Jesus saves me. He represents me before God, He has offered himself as my Righteousness before God. His death on the tree satisfied the Righteous requirements of the broken law of God, the offended Holiness of God, he answered for the shattered Image of God by dying my death.

But His life before God as our High Priest also saves us, in this moment by moment sense. These are the simultaneous realities Paul reveals in his gospel,

1) The Earthly reality; Yes I have sinned against God, and even up till now I am coming short of God’s glory,

2) The heavenly reality ;Nonetheless I, and all who believe and have received the redemption of Jesus, are constantly and currently being justified before God by Jesus himself

As the chorus so beautifully puts it,”He is all my righteousness, I stand complete in Him, and worship Him…”. And Paul again, in I Corinthians 1:30 tells us, :

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, andrighteousness and sanctification, and redemption,so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”(I Corinthians 1:30)

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The Love Of God … Romans 5

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.(Romans 5:6-10)

I have come to realize that my deepest need, spiritually, is twofold. First of all I see that my need is salvation, justification of life, forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God. The gospel of the Holiness and Love of God as outlined in Romans 1-4 is the answer to that need. Jesus is that answer.

Secondly, having been saved, I need to stay saved. I need to remain in Jesus, to grow as a christian, to “continue in the Love of God” no matter what comes. Romans 5 shows us that in this need also, The Love of God as revealed in Jesus alone  is the answer. I have proven myself all too ready to defect.

Behold in Romans 5 one of the most profound passages in all of scripture, for it expounds the love of God ,

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.(Romans 5:6)

Realise what this verse is revealing to us, understand it and let God’s love infuse your soul.

While we were without strength…in other words when we were utterly helpless. In the incarnation, God did something for us that we could never do for ourselves. When we realize our own inability and spiritual bankruptcy, the Love of God staggers us.

In Due time...God saw our need and was moved toward us, to send His Son. Jesus came at a set and predetermined time, planned  before the foundation of the world. God knew what you and I would do, He made provision for it before the world began.

Christ died for the ungodly…Jesus did what had to be done to procure our justification, he died the shameful death on the cross as our substitute, this is the proof of God’s love.

Who are the ungodly? God created us to bear His Image, but we shattered the Image of God, by our sin and defection from Him. Did God create us to be petty?Lustful? Hateful or envious? These are the perversion of the Image of God, this is ungodliness.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,Christ died for us…

Who would do that for we, the ungodly, marred and misshapen by sin,haters of God and enemies of all that is good and true? Yet Jesus died for us, and as the apostle John tells us

The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world…(I John 4:14)

God’s salvation is a whole package. The ground of justification is Jesus ‘ death on the cross, His blood and his life of perfect obedience. The cross of Jesus was enough to justify us, how much more shall He by His life, be able to complete the work begun in us, sancitifying and even glorifying us?

All is dependant upon Him. Doesn’t His very blood wash away our sin and commend us to God, and is it not absolute proof of God’s love for us, even while we were sinful enemies of God ? Then how much more shall He be able to “save us to the uttermost” by his life?

For what Jesus is doing now, is as significant as what He did when He died on the cross, as far as our salvation is concerned.If we were totally dependent on Jesus to justify us in the first place, we are certainly no less utterly dependent on Him to keep us until the end.

What is Jesus currently doing? He is saving us to the uttermost by his ongoing life and ministry as a priest. Keeping us in the Love of God, making up for our shortfalls, cleansing us from all sin and unrighteousness, in short, continuously saving us by His life!

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.(Hebrews 7:25)

This is the Holy logic of Divine love, it is the calculus of the Saviour and of the Father who sent the Son . If He loved us then…than how much more now that we have believed on Him? God’s love as revealed in Jesus never decreases, it only increases.

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God Loves Sinners Before They Are Saved!

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. ( Romans 5:11)

Romans chapter Five is one of those places in the Bible which “established (me) in Righteousness”(Isaiah 54).

I had a very finely tuned conscience, I was keenly aware of the “sinfulness of (my) sin” and needed constant reinforcement of the assurance of salvation. I needed to know that in spite of my sins, I was right with God.

How can a righteous and Holy God accept a grievous sinner such as myself? How can He go on loving me, who stumbles, falters and falls daily as his disciple?

But here in Romans we learn that God loved us, before we were saved and before he brought us into his family. Though We were enemies, estranged from God himself, haters of God and all that is truly Holy, God set his Love upon us.

If God loved us when we were at our worst, How much more does He love us since we have been reconciled to Him through the death of his Son?

The LORD doesn’t wait for us to clean up our lives, or even to turn to Him, in order to love us. God’s love took the initiative, He loved us in our unsaved conditioned, and sent His Son to Redeem us!

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5: 8-9)

If God could love me while I was an estranged enemy from Him, running from him, cursing and rejecting Him, How Much More does He love you and I who have accepted the justification which he purchased for us by His blood?

God loves You! It is no wonder, that often with trembling lips and upraised hands we sing “Amazing Love, How Can it be, that thou my God shouldst die for me?”. Another hymn that brings to us the astounding truth, “Oh How He loves you and me, Oh how He loves you and ME! He gave his life, what more could He give, Oh how He loves you, Oh How he loves me, Oh How he loves you and Me!”.

In the logic of Romans 5, if God could love us in our miserable, fallen state, what of those of us, who have accepted his offer of salvation? Even in spite of our constant false starts, lapses and stumbling steps, does He love us less now or More?

Ephesians 2 expresses a similar thought,

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (Ephesians 2:1-4)

What a dismal picture of our true condition! Dead, rotting in sn and lust, slaves to the enemy of God, Satan, on a well oiled path, (the course of this God rejecting World), and even liable to the Wrath of the Holy God, which is sure to come upon the world, and rightly so…

BUT GOD… (so rich in mercy) …It staggers us, that God could love us so, in that state of rebellion and estrangement, when we were unholy, ungodly, unrighteous, BUT GOD… think about it and rejoice!

FOR THE GREAT LOVE WHEREWITH HE HATH LOVED US… did that love come before or after you were born again? It preceded it.

God knew we would fall from the very foundation of the world, and made the provision, which his Righteousness would require. God loved us…God loves us…God will always love us, in Jesus.

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