The Last Will Be First

So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

Matthew 20:16

The logic of God does not coincide with the human one. For us, the natural tendency is to prefer the order of the first to the last. Certainly many would be upset if someone jumps over their turn and everyone approves that the last one goes to the end of the line. But the Lord tells us the first will be last, and the last, first, contradicting completely the human preference. Before God, a Christian who has been converted for 50 years does not take advantage of who receives Jesus Christ in his heart on this day.

I believe that a biblical example of what the Lord says in Matthew 20:16 is the apostle Paul. Peter, John and the other apostles walked for three and a half years with Jesus Christ. They followed Him step by step during His earthly ministry and were His first disciples. Instead, Saul of Tarsus was originally a staunch persecutor of the Christians until he had a supernatural encounter with the Lord. Paul is a last apostle; but it is first among all of them as to the fruits which he gave in his ministry. Half of the New Testament came out of its pen.

Why does God put first those who came last? The answer is given in the second part of Matthew 20:16: For many are called, but few chosen. The Lord’s call to repent and follow Him is universal, but not all respond to that call. Many decide to ignore the call and continue on the path of perdition that marks the world. On the other hand, there are those who respond to the call to salvation, but do not respond to the call to service and prefer to continue fattening spiritually, but doing nothing else.

You could say that you have 30, 40 or 50 years in Christianity and religiously attend every service in the same church that you received the Lord Jesus. And if I asked you if you gave the gospel message to someone during all those years and you said no, would you feel ashamed to be placed in a last place and not be among the chosen ones? Would you be angry if you see that a man full of numerous sins who converted last month already see you preaching to people in the streets and is thinking to dedicate himself to pastor?

If it bothers you to see that former drug dealers, murderers, prostitutes, homosexuals, adulterers and rapists are ministers of the Word today, look at what it says 1 Corinthians 1:26-28, For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.

They will first those who respond to God: “Here I am, send me,” not those who think that it is their turn for seniority. It is impossible for God to choose to serve anyone who does not have a heart willing to deny himself, take up his cross every day and follow Him. To arrive last and to be called first by the Lord does not have to do with our merits or with our past. Of whom we are going to preach is of Jesus Christ, He is the true protagonist, is not our fame but His. It is not about us, it is about Him and nothing else. God bless you.

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Los Últimos Serán Primeros

Así, los primeros serán postreros, y los postreros, primeros; porque muchos son llamados, mas pocos escogidos.

Mateo 20:16

La lógica de Dios no coincide con la humana. Para nosotros, la tendencia natural es a preferir el orden del primero hasta el último. Ciertamente que muchos se molestarían si alguien salta por encima de su turno y todos aprueban que el último se vaya al final de la cola. Pero el Señor nos dice los primeros serán postreros, y los postreros, primeros, contradiciendo por completo la preferencia humana. Ante Dios, un cristiano que lleva 50 años de convertido no le lleva ventaja a quien recibe a Jesucristo en su corazón en este día.

Creo que un ejemplo bíblico de lo que dice el Señor en Mateo 20:16 es el apóstol Pablo. Pedro, Juan y los demás apóstoles anduvieron durante tres años y medio con Jesucristo. Le siguieron paso a paso durante Su ministerio terrenal y fueron Sus primeros discípulos. En cambio, Saulo de Tarso, originalmente fue un perseguidor acérrimo de los cristianos hasta que tuvo un encuentro sobrenatural con el Señor. Pablo es un apóstol postrero; pero es primero entre todos ellos en cuanto a los frutos que dio en su ministerio. La mitad del Nuevo Testamento salió de su pluma.

¿Por qué Dios coloca primero a los que llegaron de último? La respuesta la da la segunda parte de Mateo 20:16: porque muchos son llamados, mas pocos escogidos. El llamado del Señor a arrepentirnos y seguirlo es universal, pero no todos responden a ese llamado. Muchos deciden ignorar el llamado y continuar por el camino de perdición que les marca el mundo. Por otra parte, hay quienes responden al llamado a la salvación, pero no responden el llamado al servicio y prefieren seguir engordando espiritualmente, pero sin hacer nada más.

Me podrías decir que llevas 30, 40 ó 50 años en el cristianismo y asistes religiosamente a cada servicio en la misma iglesia que te convertiste. Y si te preguntara si le has dado el mensaje del evangelio a alguien durante todos esos años y me dijeras que no, ¿te sentirías avergonzado de ser colocado en un lugar postrero y no estar entre los escogidos? ¿Te enojaría si ves que un hombre lleno de numerosos pecados que se convirtió el mes pasado ya hasta lo ves predicándole a la gente en las calles y está pensando dedicarse a pastor?

Si te molesta ver que antiguos narcotraficantes, sicarios, prostitutas, homosexuales, adúlteros y violadores hoy son ministros de la Palabra, mira lo que dice 1 Corintios 1:26-28: Pues mirad, hermanos, vuestra vocación, que no sois muchos sabios según la carne, ni muchos poderosos, ni muchos nobles; sino que lo necio del mundo escogió Dios, para avergonzar a los sabios; y lo débil del mundo escogió Dios, para avergonzar a lo fuerte; y lo vil del mundo y lo menospreciado escogió Dios, y lo que no es, para deshacer lo que es, a fin de que nadie se jacte en Su presencia.

Serán primeros los que le respondan a Dios: “Heme aquí, envíame a mí,” no los que piensen que les toca ese turno por antigüedad. Es imposible que Dios escoja para servirle a quien no tenga un corazón dispuesto a negarse a sí mismo, tomar su cruz cada día y seguirle. Llegar postrero y ser llamado primero por el Señor no tiene que ver con nuestros méritos ni con nuestro pasado. De quien vamos a predicar es de Jesucristo, es Él el verdadero protagonista, no es nuestra fama sino la suya. No se trata de nosotros, se trata solamente de Él y nada más. Dios te bendiga.

Confidence toward God

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

1 John 3:21-22

In this life there is no more reliable being than our Heavenly Father. God will never fail us and all His promises are true and faithful. When we pray with faith, He has promised to grant our requests. But in addition to faith, there is another requirement to achieve such requests, our obedience. Just as a father or mother will not be motivated to please the requests of a disobedient son, let us not think that God, our Father, would do the opposite.

These two verses of the first letter of the apostle John have a lot of cloth to cut. The first thing is to meditate on this conditional: if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. How would our heart condemn us? Here John is not referring with the word heart to the organ that pumps blood but to our conscience. In that sense, if our conscience condemns us is because it is making us see that we do not act in the right way. When it comes to our relationship with God, our conscience tells us that we are failing.

Failure to God, disobedience to Him, diminishes our confidence in Him. And it is not because God is going to fail to fulfill His promises, but because we are aware that our acts are not pleasing to Him and, therefore, we may be unable to receive what we asked for. Will the character of God change due to our infidelity? In no way, the character of God is immutable and He will always be faithful. Our attitude is not to run from God when we realize that we fail, but to reconcile with Him confessing our sins.

God will never betray the trust we place in Him. And, like our loving Father, His desire is not to see us sad or in need, but to supply us with whatever we need. But we must understand that if we do not receive what we expect, before we become angry with God, it is better for us to review our conduct before Him and compare truthfully if we are as John tells us, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And again, if we are wrong, let us not justify ourselves, but let us acknowledge our guilt.

Now, it is possible that our conscience tells us that we are on the right path and yet we are not receiving what we ask of God in prayer. That should not undermine our trust in Him. The English preacher Matthew Henry (1662-1714) said, “Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the test of extraordinary graces. Sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions.” The silence of God can be motivated because we are being tested.

Our trust in God must remain unalterable, just as His faithfulness is unalterable. It does not matter if our petition is delayed for our sin or because of the trial. In each case, let’s do the right thing. If we have been disobedient, it is time to humble ourselves repentant before God and ask for forgiveness for our sins. If we are under trial, let us continue to pray in faith, trusting in Him, praising Him, worshiping Him, and giving thanks at all times. He is faithful and good all the time. He will never fail His promises. God bless you.

Confianza en Dios

Amados, si nuestro corazón no nos reprende, confianza tenemos en Dios; y cualquiera cosa que pidiéremos la recibiremos de Él, porque guardamos Sus mandamientos, y hacemos las cosas que son agradables delante de Él.

1 Juan 3:21-22

En esta vida no existe un ser más confiable que nuestro Padre Celestial. Dios no nos fallará nunca y todas Sus promesas son fieles y verdaderas. Cuando le oramos con fe, Él ha prometido conceder nuestras peticiones. Pero además de la fe, hay otro requisito para alcanzar ver hechas realidad tales peticiones, nuestra obediencia. De la misma manera que un padre o una madre no se sentirán motivados a complacer las peticiones de un hijo desobediente, no pensemos que Dios, nuestro Padre, haría lo contrario.

Estos dos versículos de la primera carta del apóstol Juan tienen mucha tela por donde cortar. Lo primero es meditar en este condicional: si nuestro corazón no nos reprende, confianza tenemos en Dios. ¿Cómo nos reprendería nuestro corazón? Aquí Juan no se está refiriendo con la palabra corazón al órgano que bombea la sangre sino a nuestra conciencia. En tal sentido, si nuestra conciencia nos reprende es porque nos está haciendo ver que no actuamos en la forma correcta. Tratándose de nuestra relación con Dios, nuestra conciencia nos dice que le estamos fallando.

Fallarle a Dios, entrar en desobediencia contra Él, disminuye nuestra confianza en Él. Y no es porque Dios va a incumplir Sus promesas, sino porque estamos conscientes de que nuestros actos no les son agradables y, por lo tanto, nos pudieran incapacitar de recibir lo que pedimos. ¿Va a cambiar el carácter de Dios por nuestra infidelidad? De ninguna manera, el carácter de Dios es inmutable y Él será siempre fiel. Nuestra actitud no es la de huir de Dios por darnos cuenta de que le fallamos, sino reconciliarnos con Él confesando nuestros pecados.

Dios jamás va a traicionar la confianza que depositamos en Él. Y, como nuestro Padre amoroso, Su deseo no es vernos tristes ni en necesidad, sino suplirnos todo lo que nos haga falta. Pero debemos entender que si no recibimos lo que esperamos, antes de enojarnos con Dios, es mejor que revisemos nuestra conducta frente a Él y comparar sinceramente si estamos como nos dice Juan: porque guardamos Sus mandamientos, y hacemos las cosas que son agradables delante de Él. Y de nuevo, si estamos mal, no nos justifiquemos, sino reconozcamos nuestra culpa.

Ahora bien, es posible que nuestra conciencia nos diga que andamos en el camino correcto y aun así no estamos recibiendo lo que le pedimos a Dios en oración. Eso tampoco debe minar nuestra confianza en Él. El predicador inglés Matthew Henry (1662-1714) dijo: “Las aflicciones extraordinarias no son siempre el castigo de los pecados extraordinarios, sino a veces la prueba de gracias extraordinarias. Las aflicciones santificadas son promociones espirituales. El silencio de Dios puede ser motivado porque estamos siendo sometidos a pruebas.

Nuestra confianza en Dios debe permanecer inalterable, de la misma manera que es inalterable Su fidelidad. No importa si se retarda en ser concedida nuestra petición por nuestro pecado o por causa de la prueba. En cada caso, hagamos lo correcto. Si hemos sido desobedientes, es tiempo de humillarnos arrepentidos delante de Dios y pedir perdón por nuestros pecados. Si estamos bajo la prueba, sigamos orando en fe, confiando en Él, alabándole, adorándole y dando gracias en todo tiempo. Él el fiel y bueno todo el tiempo. Jamás fallará a Sus promesas. Dios te bendiga.

The Seed of God

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

1 John 3:9

Many Christians are proud to be called children of God. And I have heard some people express their pride in feeling princes as sons of the King of kings. They also feel entitled to be rich by being heirs of the owner of gold, silver and everything that exists. But God is also holy and His holiness is incompatible with sin. It is not in vain that 1 John 3:9 says, Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

If the seed of God abides in us, we must prove it with our dedication to what represents our Father and not to what represents the world. Today, many churches have stopped discussing the issue of sin. Sometimes that omission is due to the fact that today’s society has redefined sin to exclude certain practices that have been legalized almost everywhere in the world. Since it is now lawful to sin, to preach against sin is an illegal action, which in some cases includes the jail for the preacher.

Is there any difference with the past? Of course not, the apostles and many other servants throughout history have been imprisoned and even executed for preaching against sinful practices, calling repentance and conversion to Jesus Christ. None of this should come as a surprise to us because that is something that the Lord Himself had warned us in Matthew 24:9, Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

As Christians, we must take into account that the sin that once dominated us must now give way to holiness. The great English preacher Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The new birth has disqualified us to contentment with the world.” Being content with the world is the same as being partakers of the things the world loves, many of which, although human laws authorize them, God continues to call them in His Holy Word with the qualification of sins.

Sadly, what the American preacher Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963) said is a stark reality, “A whole generation of new Christians have risen up believing that it is possible to ‘accept’ Christ without leaving the world.” And again, if they do not leave the world, it is obvious that they will continue practicing the things of the world, and of course, sin is one of them. The correct attitude must be what John R. Stott (1921-2011) says, “The sin and the son of God are incompatible. Occasionally they may be found; but they cannot live together in harmony.”

It is time for rising preachers who remind Christians that they are the seed of God to live in holiness, not to continue living with and consent to sin. It is very true what the American pastor Paul D. Washer says, “A true Christian will be sensitive to sin in his life which will lead to genuine rupture and confession, but people who say they are Christians and are not sensitive to sin, this will not lead them to confession, a person who is that way is not a Christian.” We will prove that we are God’s seed by abiding in Him and renouncing sin altogether. God bless you.

La Simiente de Dios

Todo aquel que es nacido de Dios, no practica el pecado, porque la simiente de Dios permanece en él; y no puede pecar, porque es nacido de Dios.

1 Juan 3:9

Muchos cristianos se sienten orgullosos de ser llamados hijos de Dios. Y he escuchado a algunos manifestar ese orgullo al sentirse príncipes por ser hijos del Rey de reyes. También se sienten con derecho a ser ricos por ser herederos del dueño del oro, la plata y todo lo que existe. Pero Dios también es Santo y Su santidad es incompatible con el pecado. No en vano dice 1 Juan 3:9: Todo aquel que es nacido de Dios, no practica el pecado, porque la simiente de Dios permanece en él; y no puede pecar, porque es nacido de Dios.

Si la simiente de Dios permanece en nosotros, debemos de demostrarlo con nuestra dedicación a lo que representa a nuestro Padre y no a lo que representa al mundo. Hoy día, muchas iglesias han dejado de tratar el tema del pecado. Algunas veces esa omisión se debe a que la sociedad actual ha redefinido al pecado para excluir ciertas prácticas que han sido legalizadas en casi todo el mundo. Dado que ahora es legal pecar, predicar en contra del pecado es una acción ilegal, lo cual, en ciertos casos incluye la cárcel para el predicador.

¿Existe alguna diferencia con el pasado? Claro que no, los apóstoles y muchos otros siervos a lo largo de la historia han sido encarcelados y hasta ejecutados por predicar contra las prácticas pecaminosas, llamar al arrepentimiento y la conversión a Jesucristo. Nada de eso debe llegar a sorprendernos porque eso es algo que el propio Señor nos había advertido en Mateo 24:9: Entonces os entregarán a tribulación, y os matarán, y seréis aborrecidos de todas las gentes por causa de mi nombre.

Como cristianos debemos de tener en cuenta de que el pecado que antes nos dominó debe de cederle el paso ahora a la santidad. El gran predicador inglés Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) dijo: El nuevo nacimiento nos ha descalificado para el contentamiento con el mundo.” Tener contentamiento con el mundo es lo mismo que ser partícipes de las cosas que el mundo ama, muchas de las cuales, aunque las leyes humanas las autoricen, Dios continúa llamándole es Su Santa Palabra con el calificativo de pecados.

Lamentablemente, lo que dijo el predicador norteamericano Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963) es una cruda realidad: “Una generación entera de nuevos cristianos se ha levantado creyendo que es posible ‘aceptar’ a Cristo sin dejar el mundo.” Y de nuevo, si no dejan al mundo, es obvio que continuarán practicando las cosas del mundo, y por supuesto, el pecado es una de ellas. La actitud correcta debe ser lo que dice John R. Stott (1921-2011): “El pecado y el hijo de Dios son incompatibles. Ocasionalmente pueden encontrarse; pero no pueden vivir juntos en armonía.”

Es hora de que se levanten predicadores que les recuerden a los cristianos que son la simiente de Dios para vivir en santidad, no para continuar conviviendo con y consintiendo el pecado. Es muy cierto lo que dice el pastor norteamericano Paul D. Washer: “Un verdadero cristiano será sensible al pecado en su vida lo que les llevará a la ruptura y la confesión genuina, pero las personas que dicen que son cristianos y no son sensibles al pecado, esto no les llevará a la confesión, una persona que es de esa manera no es cristiana. Demostremos que somos simiente de Dios permaneciendo en Él y renunciando por completo al pecado. Dios te bendiga.

Waiting for New Heavens s and New Earth

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.

2 Peter 3:13-14

The day of the triumphant return of our Lord Jesus Christ should be the most earnest yearning of every Christian. Instead of asking God to fix things in this corrupt world, the believer should pray for the second coming of the Lord to materialize soon. We have the promise of new heavens and new earth, so why do we cling so much to the old? So our attitude should focus on preparing to receive Him as Peter says: in peace, without spot and blameless.

At present, the world suffers convulsions. Every day, the news tells us about conflicts, natural disasters and diseases. Almost every continent has some form of violence, whether it be war, gangs, drug trafficking, terrorism or common crime. Almost every day earthquakes of appreciable magnitude occur in different parts of the world. Elsewhere, storms or droughts put the population at risk. The emergence of potential epidemic outbreaks such as Ebola or Zika also cause alarm among the world’s population.

Added to all this are the social inequalities that exist between rich and poor countries or between different ethnic groups in the same country. And many claim to curb injustice in the world. In that sense, they make an effort to improve or demand that the conditions of the planet in which we live are improved. Whoever has not placed his trust in God probably does not know that there is something different and better. Then you can understand the concern of these people about it because their only hope is what they know.

Even unbelievers turn to believers to pray to God in moments of crisis. What I find inconsistent is the position of many Christians to follow the game of who is responsible for things to go wrong. Why pray for things to be settled in a world that is dominated by the evil one? Why establish friendship with the world when that means to be an enemy of God? It is written that all these things would pass. The people of the world may be scared; but Christians had already been warned about it.

Let us not fall into the trap of the enemy, time is over, let’s watch and pray in the right way, which is according to the will of God. Let us pray, first of all, that those who do not know the good news of the gospel will repent of their sins and receive in their hearts Jesus Christ. Let us pray that God will allow us to stay away from the things of the world and live in holiness to prepare for the glorious coming of our Savior and King. Let us pray for Him to come back soon and let’s watch while we wait for him.

The injustices of this world will not end as long as the evil one dominates. The only way to stop his dominion is when the King of kings and Lord of lords comes. Let’s understand that once and for all. Let us remember this great promise: new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. And in the new heavens and the new earth will reign righteousness because the righteous King, the King of glory will rule with His saints. May that be our focus from now on and until He returns triumphant and victorious. God bless you.