The world judges, but God saves.

The world sees things in a different way than God does.  Often what the world describes as serious failures, God loves to save, to confound unbelievers.  Let us look at some examples of people who apparently messed up, but their lives were changed by Jesus.

#  Biblical examples of people who messed up 

  • Abraham.  Twice he used his wife to save his own skin when he was afraid – the servants of the ruler took Sarai into the king’s harem1(God saved her both times). Yet God called Abraham his friend.  He believed God and the promised son was born.
  • Moses.  He was discouraged because his people would not believe he came to save them.  His defence on behalf of an Israelite was a failure, and he had to flee the country to save his life.  In Midian he looked after sheep and had mostly sheep to talk to for 40 years.  Then God called him and he, with the help of God, freed the Israelites from slavery. 2
  • King David.  He was a successful soldier and loved the Lord, but he messed up when he seduced the wife of his trusted soldier, Uriah.  When his attempt to hide it failed, he had her husband killed.  His punishment caused devastation in his family.  He repented and God used him mightily to prepare the temple worship and gather material for the construction of the temple by his son Solomon. 3
  • Paul.  He was the bright Pharisee who killed Christians and thought he did God a favour.  God called him in a somewhat unconventional way, and he did great things in Jesus’ name. 4
  • Peter.  Jesus warned him that he would betray Him.  What did he do?  Betrayed Him three times.  Yet Jesus restored him and he became a powerful witness for His Master. 5

So the list goes on.

#  What about Jesus?

His leaders, the high priest, rabbis and teachers of the law hated Him. 6  The Romans thought Him of so little consequence, they mostly ignored Him.  People saw His apparently frugal life without a house, horse or smart clothes.  He walked on foot and was asked to leave a place more than once. 7  On the Cross it looked as if He had missed His entire calling.

#  What did God do to Jesus?  

Scripture says it all, ‘God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ 8   The Cross made the difference.  That suffering on our behalf gave Him the honoured position at God’s right hand in glory, honour, majesty, adoration, veneration and praise. 9  He is endowed with all titles and honour that can be given.  Myriads of angels care for Him and billions of people He saved, love and adore Him.  Why?  Because He did what His Father asked Him to do. 10

#  What does the example of Jesus teach us?

The Cross makes the difference.  The Cross produces ‘successes.’  As Jesus is with God, so those who made mistakes and repented, will be with God eternally. 11

#  Remember: The Blood of Jesus has no barriers.

  • The blood of Jesus dripping from the Cross is colour blind, gender blind, status blind.  To understand the wide range of Jesus’ blood, look at the Israelites when God killed the first born of the Egyptians.  They were commanded to smear the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their houses to escape the death of their first born. 12
  • They were from different tribes, of which Jacob gave different prophecies. 13  The Levites were specially called to care for God’s tabernacle.  There were leaders, elders, young men, old men, women and children.
  • Who was excluded?  Only those who refused to paint the blood on their door frames.  For the rest, they were all saved by the powerful hand of God, led through the Red Sea and to the border of the promised land.

#  Conclusion

The Blood of the Saviour saves all people who want to be saved.  It has no favourites.14  Anyone who applies the blood of Jesus on the doorposts of his or her heart is welcomed in God’s Kingdom.  That is the glory of our King.  He calls the ordinary to serve the Extraordinary.  In that process the ordinary also become extraordinary.

References

  1. Genesis 12:10-20; 20:1-17
  2. Exodus 2-6
  3. 2 Samuel 11; 1 Chronicles 28-29
  4. Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-19
  5. Luke 22:31-34; 54-62
  6. Mark 10:33-34; 11:18
  7. Luke 4:14-30; Mark 5:1-17
  8. Acts 2:36
  9. Acts 7:55-56
  10. Luke 22:42
  11. Revelation 21:3-4; 22:4,9
  12. Exodus 12:12-13
  13. Genesis 49
  14. Romans 2:11

4 Important classes of books

Four classes of books have been produced in the course of history.  They are:

1.  Human books

These are solely the product of man and have many varied topics.  Countless millions of different kinds of books have been written and will still be written.  They come and go, age, become updated or irrelevant, become lost, et cetera.

2.  God’s Book, Scripture 

Only one of its kind has appeared.

  • It is a book with God as its Author and man who wrote down the words of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit.  That makes it an altogether supernatural book.
  • Genesis, the first book, was written about 1,500 BC and the last book, Revelation, before 100 AD.
  • It is an altogether amazing book because it is loved by millions and hated by millions.
  • It has changed the course of history, and the lives of billions of people the last 2,000 years.
  • It is a book that many governments across the ages have tried to destroy.  Yet it is still around and still invites peoples and nations to listen to God’s call.
  • It reveals things nobody has ever thought of – an eternal God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who plan an eternal country on the new heaven and earth.  And… they invite all who wish to join them.

3. Nature’s books of life 

  • These are books that you cannot see with the naked eye.  But since the development of strong microscopes, scientists discovered these genetic books.  It is the DNA, the genetic recipe in the cells of all life forms on earth, like people, animals, birds, insects, plants and grasses.
  • The more scientists research the genetic code the more complexity it reveals.
  • These books have an intelligent source, but it is not humans.  No man wrote them.
  • They are a once off event that happened right at the beginning of creation and they are the work of God alone.  They were not written on paper, but in the cells of living organisms.

4. God’s Book of Life 

This book comes from God alone.  No human has anything to do with it.  Yet it is about humans and it is important, very important.  In it are the names of all those who will be part of the Bride of Christ, the children of the glorious Father.  How do we know about this book?  Scripture reveals it:

  • God and Moses talked about it.  When the Israelites made a golden calf and worshipped it while Moses was on the mountain with God, God was very angry.  Moses pleaded with God on their behalf.  In desperation he said, ‘But now, please forgive their sin – but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.’  God’s reply was, ‘Whoever has sinned against me I blot out of my book.…’ 1  
  • Malachi mentions it.  The people complained that those who challenge God escape and the arrogant are called ‘blessed.’  “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.  A scroll of His remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honoured His name.  ‘They will be mine,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘in the day when I make up my treasured possession.’” 2
  • Paul wrote about it.  He says in Philippians 4:3: ‘Yes, and I ask you, loyal yoke-fellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the Gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.’
  • Jesus promised. ‘He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white, for they are worthy.  I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and His angels.’ 3 

#  Facts about this specific book of life 

  • It is a very old book.  Revelation 17:8 says, ‘The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished….’   So God has been compiling His book since the creation of the world.  That makes it the oldest book of all times.  
  • It is an important book.  And how important it is!  One shudders about the implications of this specific book, ‘If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ 4   But before you deride God as a tyrant, please remember: God never judges without an escape route.  For example,  
  • Before the world wide flood in Noah’s time, God told Noah to construct the Ark to escape the watery death.  Other people laughed at Noah and his family instead of entering the ark.
  • Jesus is our Ark to save us from eternal punishment.  He didn’t exclude anybody when He shed His blood on the Cross.  The wages of sin is death, but Jesus paid the death penalty for all people.   Yet if a person rejects Jesus’ death on his behalf and wants to pay the death penalty him – or herself, God is powerless to do anything about it.

#  The devil’s war against the Book

There is a relentless war against God’s Word.  It is because the Word of God shows you how to get your name written in God’s Book.  The strategy of the devil is to get a person to sin.  That is what God said to Moses, ”Whoever has sinned against me I blot out of my book….’ 5  Sin is easy to define:

  • In Genesis 2:16-17 God commanded Adam, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’  If you open your Bible at Genesis 3, you see that opposite God’s words, ‘you will surely die,’ the serpent tells Eve, ‘You will not surely die.’ (bold ours)  He told her precisely the opposite of what God said.  She had a free will and could choose whom to obey.  When she disobeyed God and obeyed that ancient serpent, the devil or Satan, sin and death came into the world.  Therefore, sin = disobedience to God.  The devil still uses exactly the same strategy.
  • If one wants to know what sin is, the Bible explains it in great detail.  So nobody will ever have the privilege to pretend that he doesn’t know what God wants, or what sin is.
  • God makes provision for those who do not have a Bible: ‘Indeed, when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.’ 6

Conclusion 

God is a God of books.  His own book of life is the most important.  He gave us His other book, Scripture, to make sure our names are written in the book of life, so that we will one day enjoy eternal life with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

References

  1. Exodus 32:32,33
  2. Malachi 3:14-17
  3. Revelation 3:5
  4. Revelation 20:15
  5. Exodus 32:32,33
  6. Romans 2:14,15

Where to find answers to the ultimate questions of life

There is one special book, a once off edition, that not only changed the world, but daily changes the lives of thousands of people.  It is because it answers the ultimate questions of life that puzzle everyone.  It’s a book that eventually leads to wealth and happiness, far above what this world can offer.  It is the Word of God, the Scriptures – what is written about God and His plan for man.  Sometimes it’s good to remind yourself of the basics.  That’s why we thought a few quotations from a man who devoted his life to God will not be out of place.

#  Quotations from David Pawson

The following are from David Pawson’s book, Unlocking the Bible, An unique overview of the Bible.1

  • The Bible is not one book, but ‘many.’ 
  • The word Biblia comes from Latin, meaning ‘library.’
  • It is a unique book since it is history written from God’s point of view.
  • It has 66 books, and is different from any book of history in that it starts earlier and finishes later. 
  • Its first book, Genesis, starts at the beginning of the universe, and its last, Revelation, describes the end of this age, and beyond. 
  • A political history or a physical history of the universe has a focus determined by human interest, but in the Bible God selects what is important to Him.

‘There are essentially two main themes in the Bible: what has gone wrong with our world, and how it can be put right.  Most agree that our world is not a good place to live in, that something has gone terribly wrong.  The book of Genesis tells us exactly what the problem is, while the rest of the Bible tells us how God is going to put it right by rescuing sinful humanity from itself.’

‘The 66 books of the Bible form part of one great drama – what we might call the drama of redemption.  The book of Genesis is vital because it introduces us to the stage, the cast and the plot of this great drama.  Moreover, without the first few chapters of Genesis, the rest of the bible would make little sense.’ 

‘The book of Genesis (meaning ‘Origins’ or ‘Beginnings’) not only deals with origins, it also deals with the ultimate questions of life:

  • Where did our universe come from? 
  • Why are we here? 
  • Why do we have to die?’ (bold not in original text)

‘It is immediately obvious that these questions cannot be answered by any human being. 

  • Historians record what people have seen or experienced in the past. 
  • Scientists observe what is observable now and suggest how things may have begun.  But neither group can tell us why it all began and whether the universe as it exists now has any meaning. 
  • Philosophers can only guess at the answers.  They speculate about the origin of evil and why there is so much suffering in the world, but they do not actually know. 

The only person who could really answer these questions for us is God Himself.’ 

#  Our Comments

We agree with what David Pawson says about the Bible.  Especially that the Bible is history from God’s point of view.  Also that Genesis is foundational to understand God’s plan for man.  We trust that you are blessed by his comments about our wonderful book.

#  Conclusion

Scripture is the Book of all books.  There is none like it, none will ever be produced like it.  It is unique and magnificent!  No wonder it says, ‘…For you [God] have exalted above all things your name and your word.’ 2

References

  1. David Pawson, Unlocking the Bible, An unique overview of the Bible, Collins, 2003, p 19-21
  2. Psalm 138:2b