Holy Priesthood

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:5

The subject of holiness has been put behind the curtain in modern preaching. Since holiness implies renunciation of the things of the world and withdrawal to God, there are preachers who fear to treat the subject in order not to offend their parishioners. That’s why they prefer to talk about things that are more pleasing to their ears. 1 Peter 2:5 compels us to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

A holy priesthood is opposed to the values ​​of the world because they oppose the values ​​of God. Therefore, as a holy priesthood, we should not only seek our own holiness, but should become the spokesman for it. It is impossible to be a part of a holy priesthood without preaching about sin, repentance, and holiness. The final times are approaching hopelessly and the ministers and servants of Jesus Christ are called to present these subjects to both the unbelieving and the sleeping church.

As a holy priesthood, we must preach by reminding everyone of what Hebrews 12:14 says, Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. This is a biblical preaching, which was presented by the apostles and all those who have adjusted to the Bible in all ages. For example, the English preacher John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) said, “We must be holy because this is the only sound proof that we have a saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Other servants of Jesus Christ have expressed themselves in similar terms. The American Jerry Bridges said, “Holiness implies more than mere actions. Our motivations must be holy, that is, they must spring from a desire to do something simply because it is the will of God.” Another American, Paul D. Washer, said, “The evidence of justification by faith is ongoing work of sanctification through the Holy Spirit.” Both coincide with what Ryle had said more than a century before.

Many are drawn to Christ with the idea that God has a “wonderful plan” for them. And they imagine that this plan of God implies making them prosperous and happy. Certainly the wonderful plan of God will give us untold treasures in the heavens and the joy of having eternal life with Him. The American Iain Duguid has said in this regard, “God’s ‘wonderful plan’ for our lives is not limited to take us to heaven; it also includes putting the heaven within us by reforming us into a holy people.”

And concerning Duguid, 1 Peter 2:9 says, But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. We are a royal and holy priesthood, we are a holy people, a holy nation. God did not rescue us from the slavery of sin, paying as high a price as the blood of His Son, for we may continue in the captivity of filth.

We are called to be holy. The American preacher Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963) once said: “The true Christian ideal is not to be happy, but to be holy.” Let us not deceive ourselves with the lies of the enemy and exercise our holy priesthood with dignity. God bless you.

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A Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5

All that says 1 Peter 1: 3-5 deserves the greatest attention on the part of the believer: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Let us meditate deeply on that living hope that awaits us.

Peter says first of all: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope. The living hope that awaits us is not something we have gained by ourselves. Nor does it come because we deserve it. It was the great mercy of God, who made us reborn for this hope. If He made us reborn, that is, being born again, it is because our first birth prevented us from having access to this hope. John 3:3 tells us, Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Living hope comes from what the apostle Peter says next, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The great difference between Christianity and human religions is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The leaders of the different world religions died and stayed in their graves; but Jesus rose from the dead and today is seated at the right hand of the Father and promised to return with glory and power to reign with those who have believed in Him. And because Christ is risen, who truly believes has that same living hope.

John 11:25-26 says, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Believing in Jesus Christ gives us the guarantee of resurrection to live eternally with Him. And that eternal life is the inheritance of which Peter speaks, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

That last time is ever closer, the glorious day of the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And it does not matter whether we are alive or not by then, because for every believer there is the living hope that tells us 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. God bless you.

The Prayer of Faith

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:15-16

The reason why many prayers do not receive the expected response is that they are not made with faith. James 5:15-16 tells us, And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. A prayer of faith is an effective prayer and is also a prayer of power. The power of the prayer of faith heals the sick and forgives the sins. But there is an important ingredient in this prayer, it is the recognition of our offenses.

Today many Christians think that the prayer of faith is one in which they shout, decree, declare positive words, and command with authority the demons to go out. I would not dare call that kind of prayer as of faith. The first is that it does not go according to what James 5:15-16 says. The second is that I find nowhere in the Bible that type of prayer, neither between the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament nor between the apostles or Jesus in the New Testament.

James mentions the word sin within what he defines the prayer of faith. And according to what is written, the prayer of faith not only saves the patient from his physical evil but from his spiritual evil, since it forgives his sins. No doubt many of our diseases have a spiritual origin; but not necessarily the kind of spiritual influence that many tend to believe. Although the enemy can certainly be behind our diseases, other times, the origin comes from our flesh and from our own sins.

We can never forget what Romans 3:23 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; which means that no one can fill his mouth saying that he is free from sin. And while we all know that the context of Romans 3:23 was directed toward unbelievers, it is equally true that believers will continue to receive temptations and are exposed to sin. And just as we confess our sins to salvation, if we fail now, we must become aware of God as well.

It is impossible to pretend to deceive God. We may be leading a double life before others; but God knows very well what we do behind the scenes. Being a child of God makes us a friend of what our Father loves and an enemy of what He hates. Sin is incompatible with God, therefore, it is impossible to remain faithful to God as we commune with the things of the world. For our prayer to be considered of faith and efficacious, we must irrevocably renounce sin and embrace holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

The result of this change in our lives and in our way of praying will be remarkable. James says it this way: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. The power of this prayer has no limits. The sick will be healed, the blind will see, the dead will rise. That is the power of prayer that our Lord Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us. Let us learn to pray in the right way and the prodigies, miracles and signs of those who believe will follow us. God bless you.

Patience and Prayer

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

James 5:7-8

Those of us who are waiting for the glorious coming of our Lord are aware that we do not have a date. It is written that only the Father knows the day and the hour, so no one can say when it will be. The same could be today in a few days, months or years. In that sense, we should not be anxious, but clothed with patience and watching over in prayer. Let’s be ready for that great day as if it were to happen tonight; but without despair. It is clear that time only runs in one direction, and that moment is getting closer and closer.

How should our patience be? James puts it this way: See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. It is likely that for those of us who have always lived in cities we find it difficult to understand the patience of farmers until they can harvest the fruit of the land. The agricultural process occurs for a period of time that can take from several months to several years, depending on the type of plant that has been planted.

In any case, even before depositing the seed in the soil, the farmer must prepare the land in order to condition it for sowing. Not all seeds are fertile, hence it is necessary to select them. Then a whole series of stages of caring for the plant is planted, which includes applying fertilizers, pesticides and adequate water, pruning the leaves so that the plant grows in the right direction and produces the desired fruit. As the farmer waits for the fruit, his financial resources are likely to be scarce.

At the end, when the abundant harvest arrives, the farmer will receive the joy of having in his hands the fruit of his patience. Likewise, believers who await the glorious coming of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, when we see Him descend from the clouds with His holy angels, we can say that it was worth having the patience to see such a great moment. And just as the farmer spent time to watch over the well-being of his field, believers should spend time watching in prayer until Christ comes.

In the natural, the farmer does not always reach what he expected. It happens sometimes that, even though he puts all his effort to obtain the fruit of his work, events that are beyond his control could prevent him. Nature can act against the farmer, either by a drought, excessive rain or pests that destroy his plantation. Even the fruit may not be of adequate size or its quality is poor, which causes its price in the market to decrease and this man stop winning and even lose what he invested.

However, in the spiritual, our waiting for the coming of Christ will not bring losses. No matter what happens in the natural world or the spiritual hosts of evil oppose. The Lord will come without a doubt, at the right time, which we do not know; but of which there is no doubt. Let us wait for Him with patience and watching in prayer, for He will come as a thief in the night and the great moment draws nearer and nearer. God bless you.

God Gives Grace to the Humble

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6

We are living in very difficult times. Every day, the news is not pleasant. In many parts of the world, terrorist acts, natural disasters and politico-social conflicts are increasingly common. Before such news many people say that God has left us and that is why such things happen. The truth is that what happens in the world is not the fault of God but of ourselves. And our attitude to these tragic events must be to humble ourselves before God and ask for forgiveness for our sins. No doubt God will give grace to the humble.

There are two characteristics of the time in which we live, both sin and pride have increased to a high degree. Today, humanity considers acceptable behaviors that are in clear contradiction to what God condemns in His Word. There are even those who claim that the Bible should be “updated” to modern times to exclude from the list of sins all that is now lawful in the world. And if some brave preacher tries to confront sin, they consider him an anachronistic and outdated being, a legalist who does not fit the present time.

On the other hand, when some catastrophe touches them closely, there are those who vaguely remember God and ask for help, prayer for God to have mercy; but at no time do they humble themselves and acknowledge that they have failed Him. On the contrary, once the crisis is over, everyone returns to their old practice and forgets that God exists. And I’m not just talking about ungodly people who do not know God, many who call themselves Christians act in the same way.

What is the answer that God expects of us when He confronts us with our sin? The very Word of God gives us the key in 2 Chronicles 7:14, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Although it sounds uncomfortable to many, we have sinned, we are at fault with God and the warnings He sends us is not to pray for mercy but for repentance.

Will there be someone who does not need to bow their heads before God? Of course not! Even we who are made children of God cannot do it. On the contrary, Christians themselves should be the first to pray, seeking the face of God, leaving behind the evil path of false doctrines, face to face, humbled before Him. And our prayer must continue to intercede for the repentance of those who do not know God, that the Holy Spirit may convince them of their own sins and turn to Him.

To arrive before God with a prayer full of pride, decreeing, declaring and ordering as if we were the bosses of God, is not the right attitude to reach the favor of our Father. This is not biblical prayer. Neither Moses, nor David, nor Paul, nor even Jesus prayed that way. In Psalm 51:17 the Scripture says, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, these, O God, You will not despise. Let us humble ourselves before God and we will not only reach His favor, His forgiveness and His mercy, but He will give grace in us to those who reject Him so that we may intercede for His salvation. God bless you.

Rich in Faith

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

James 2:5

It is curious that in the last decades has unleashed a wave of new “believers” who walk more in search of riches than the face of God. And the most curious thing is that one of the names of that movement has to do with faith. And I wonder, faith in what or in whom? What is that faith for? Faith for the eternal promises or only for the temporal ones? It is good to meditate on what James tells us. 2:5, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

When someone posts social media on a Bible verse about God’s promises, immediately dozens of people like “Like” or respond with an amen. However, when the published verse confronts us, it tells us to turn away from sin or live in holiness, the people who react are only a few. And most likely some of those who react will do so to say that we do not judge or that we must respect the thought of others.

Some time ago, I made a Facebook link to one of my YouTube videos in which I talked about the false servants of Jesus Christ. A sister in the faith, whom I know and have a great deal of appreciation, corrected me harshly even going so far as to tell me to focus and better listen to my call. My last reply to the sister was that what I had published was precisely my call and that in that I was fully focused without deviating to things contrary to biblical truths.

I agree with the one hundred percent expressed by the American pastor Paul D. Washer: “Today in the churches speak of money, cars, houses, clothes, fame … Is not it enough that Christ died for us? What does it matter if we are poor all our lives! What does it matter if we suffer for Him all our lives! Christ died for me, that’s enough, I’m going to serve Him, I’m going to worship Him, I’m going to work for His Kingdom. Christ died for us, we do not need another motivation!” The best thing God has to give us are not the ephemeral riches but the salvation of our soul.

Our motivation to seek God should not be for the earthly things that someday will disappear or leave our hands. As James 2:5 says: God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him. The Kingdom of God is not of this world, therefore those riches are not the money, the cars, the houses nor the jewels that we can see but imperishable and incorruptible treasures. It is foolish to settle for what we believe to be good and lose the best of everything.

James does not say that God has chosen the rich but the poor of this world. The rich feel confident; but the security of the most disadvantaged is not placed in material goods but only in faith. Because as 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, For we walk by faith, not by sight. It is time for those who claim to love God, love Him for who He is, not for what He can give us here and now. Our greatest treasures must be safe in the heavens and not based on this earth where everything is uncertain and perishable. And that great treasure is the inheritance of our Heavenly Father, the owner of everything, he wants to give us everything. God bless you.

Doers of the Work

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:25

There is something to be noted, the works we do, do not make us worthy of salvation because it is obtained by grace, as a gift from God. But once we are saved, we must become doers of the work, doers of the Word, living according to what is written in it. Grace is not a license to sin but a safe-conduct to be doers of works worthy of repentance.

Today many who call themselves Christians do not feel compelled to obey the Law of God because they think that grace is sufficient and they are already saved and have nothing more to do. This thought is a product of the wrong teaching of many churches. Although works do not serve us for salvation, being saved and not observing what God commands is a mockery of the blood shed on the cross by Jesus Christ.

The English pastor Maurice Roberts (1938- ) said, “Although we are justified and saved only by faith, we do not persevere for eternal life only by faith. We must cooperate through obedience to His written Word and daily implore His gracious grace.” Three centuries before Roberts said this, another Englishman, William Jenkyn (1613-1685), had said, “We are not justified in doing good Works, but when we are justified then we do good.”

Doing the work is a logical and direct consequence of having been saved and justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It would be an act of supreme betrayal to the God who forgave us of our sins by continuing to sin. On the contrary, now, through His Spirit we are enabled to do good.

The words another countryman and Jenkyn’s contemporary said are not wasted. The Englishman Richard Baxter (1615-1691) said, “If you have a better master than you had before, now you must work harder than you did before. Will they not serve God more zeal than they served the devil? Will they not strive harder for the salvation of their souls than they do to condemn them? Have they no more zeal for good than they had in evil? If you are true believers, you now have a reserved hope in the heavens; deal with it, in the way worldly people go after the world.”

Another aspect of doing the work is service. The Lord Jesus Christ himself said it in Matthew 23:11, But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. In that sense, let us look at what the Irish preacher Frederick Leahy (1922-2006) said, “It is not an insignificant comment to say that we are ‘saved to serve.’ Without service to God and to others through evangelism and Christian compassion, the Christian’s life would soon be self-centered and introverted.”

The Christian life is not to be carried out in a selfish way. We are called to serve both brothers in the faith and those who are not yet touched by grace. That was the Lord’s command in Matthew 10:8: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. I close with what American pastor Phineas F. Bresee (1838-1915) said, “We are indebted to every man to give him the gospel in the same measure we have received.” God bless you.