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.

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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.

Partakers of the Divine Nature

Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:3-8

As children of God we are partakers of His divine nature. That is part of the precious and very great promises mentioned by the apostle Peter. But if we are to participate in the divine nature, we must escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. We must act diligently in this regard. Instead of participating in the things of the world, our duty is to participate in the things of God. Peter mentions the things we must add to our faith: moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.

The Bible repeatedly reiterates the incompatibility between the things of God and those of the world. Those who have been touched by grace and become children of God cannot continue to participate in worldly things. It is not possible to be a simultaneous participant of the divine and worldly natures. It is written that the whole world is under the evil one, as children of light, we are called to be partakers of the light, not to be accomplices of the darkness. So the Christian must stand firm in the face of current world trends that are opposed to the Word of God.

In order to participate in the divine nature, it is necessary to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh. When we live in the Spirit, the result will be the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us what the fruit of the Spirit consists in, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Just by living in the Spirit, we have several things to add to participate in the divine nature.

As for moral excellence, kindness, goodness and gentleness are virtues that come within the package of the fruit of the Spirit. So we take several steps forward when we live in the Spirit to participate in the divine nature. And what about the others? How do we add knowledge, godliness and brotherly affection? The Spirit itself leads us to the knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ. John 14:26 says, But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, the Father will send Him in My name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

And among the things that the Lord Jesus Christ said and that the Holy Spirit will remind us is what it says in John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. This is brotherly affection. It will also remind us of the words of Matthew 25:34-40 so that we learn about compassion and godliness. God is Spirit, we live in the Spirit and we will be partakers of the divine nature. God bless you.

Good Stewards of the Grace of God

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 4:7-10

The apostle Peter begins by saying in 1 Peter 4: 7-10 that the end of all things is near. And verily the second coming of our Lord and the judgment of the nations are coming ever closer. But we will also be believers before the judgment seat of Christ where we will be evaluated as stewards of the grace of God. We must keep in mind that we are going to render an account of what we did with the gift received, if we have shared the grace, the gift of salvation with others, and we have been obedient to His words.

The second that Peter warns us is to be of sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Currently, we spend much more time using our smartphones than kneeling before the Lord. Generally we only remember that God exists when some catastrophe touches us closely. Many are more concerned about being connected to social networks or playing Pokémon Go than being in continuous tuning with the heavens. And if you are told that the end is near, then your greatest concern for prayer is for God to give us extra time.

The following that Peter says is becoming less and less common: Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. The Lord had already said that it would happen in the last times. According to Matthew 24:12, And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Today the love of many has cooled and very few are hospitable or try to help the brothers in need. It is more common to hear of Christians saying, “I will pray for you.” Having in their hands the way to help, they hide themselves in religious hypocrisy.

The final part of 1 Peter 4: 7-10 tells us, As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Not all of us have received the same gift, nor has God given the same revelation of His truth to all His servants. Pretending that the grace that God has placed individually in us is the only important thing for Him is, at the same time, to minimize human size to an infinite God and to raise our own value to the utmost.

The apostle Paul speaks very clearly in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. There are a diversity of gifts, ministries and operations within the body of Christ. They all come from God and all of them are equally important and have been given for the benefit of the church.

We are good stewards of the manifold grace of God when we use our gifts to minister to our brethren in the faith. In the same way, we must show meekness and humility, allowing us to minister for our fellows who have gifts different from ours. Otherwise, we would lose much of the multiform grace. God bless you.

The People of God

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; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10

Whoever has given his life to Jesus Christ, even if the world thinks otherwise, has become a very important person before God. Before the world, especially today, we may lack value; but to God we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people. Only these four characteristics of the believer are sufficient to feel less before the world and to walk in fulfillment of our purpose, to proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

The people of God today suffer, in almost all the nations of the earth, a veiled persecution that is seen as if it were to facilitate free thought and equal rights. The fear of God has been completely lost and there are those who dare to challenge God Himself and His Law. It is remarkable to see how the expressions of adoration of our Heavenly Father are limited and to mention the name of Jesus, while being tolerated and encourage behaviors that are contrary to what the Bible says.

And although the world sees the children of God as second class citizens, for Him we continue to be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people. As a chosen generation, it is an honorable distinction to know that God has set His eyes upon us among so many other inhabitants of this earth. Being a chosen means having excelled over likely candidates. And that choice had nothing to do with our merits, since in that we are equal to others, but God was pleased to choose us, so the glory is only His.

And we are chosen to hold a royal priesthood. We are priests of the Most High King and it is our duty to announce the virtues of our Lord and King. We are called to preach and spread the good news of the gospel to every creature to the last end of the earth. No matter what our preaching is, we do not have to change the message to please the world, we are a royal priesthood, priests of God, not of the world, so our message must conform to what God says not to what he wants to hear the world.

We are a holy nation and as such, we are set apart for God. We are not supposed to be contaminated with the things of the world. In the past, we were part of the darkness; but now we have been brought to light. Then we must walk according to what the Holy Word of God says not according to what they want to impose the fashions of the moment. We are called to give light to the world and not to join its darkness. If we please the world instead of God, we are denying our own essence as God’s people.

Finally, we are a people acquired by God, before we were slaves of sin and subject to the god of this world; but the Most High bought us for a high price and paid our ransom with the precious blood of His Son. If we are humiliated or are forced to accept worldly fashions, let us first think about the cross, the precious life that cost us our ransom, and let us say no to the things of the world. Let us live grateful for His infinite mercy. God bless you.

Humbled before God

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

James 4:8-10

There is no doubt that God is waiting for us at this time to humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge our sins. We cannot deny that the world is convulsed and misfortune can touch us. No country is exempt from a criminal mind carrying out a terrorist act that kills dozens of people and destroys monuments and symbolic places appreciated by its citizens. Our response to God for an event of this nature should not be one of pride and self-sufficiency, but humble ourselves and seek His face with all our hearts.

The book of Jonah can serve as an example for what James 4:8-10 says. Jonah 1:1-2, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” The prophet’s response, instead of fulfilling his mission, was to go the other way. Jonah 1:3 says, But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah was not an unbeliever but a servant of God acting double-minded. As he was not satisfied with the assignment, he preferred to ignore it and flee. Of course, it is impossible to flee from the presence of God. So the boat where Jonah went was caught by a great storm, he was thrown into the sea and was swallowed by a huge fish. All this can be read in the rest of Chapter 1 of his book. Inside the fish, Jonah reconsidered, acknowledged his sin, and prayed a beautiful prayer found in chapter 2 of his book. As a result, the prophet was able to escape unharmed from the entrails of the fish.

In chapter 3 of Jonah the prophet is seen fulfilling the mission entrusted. Jonah 3:1-4 says, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey[a] in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

The message of warning came to the inhabitants and king of the city, who took it very seriously. Jonah 3:5-9 says, So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

And here is God’s answer in Jonah 3:10, Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. 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.