The Deception of Once Saved Forever Saved – Part 1

We read concerning God’s word that “The entirety of Your word is truth…”(Psalm 119:160). When we neglect this profound truth and rather go for a couple of  verses that seem to support what we want to believe and build a doctrine out of them, while neglecting the entirety of what the Scriptures say on the subject, we enter into error. Similarly, there is no reason for us to be deceived by the erroneous doctrine of “once saved forever saved” if we make the decision to heed the advice of Jesus to simply know the Scriptures as we ought: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures…” (Matthew 22:29).

The Scriptures give us four basic truths, which when we know will give us no basis upon which to subscribe to the doctrine of eternal security irrespective of how we choose to live after we are saved, i.e. once saved forever saved.

Firstly, believing in Jesus and being saved by God’s grace (Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9) does not make us automatons or fools without a will or power to choose. We are not likened to unreasoning animals who act on instinct, having no will or power to choose after we are saved. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that the born again Christian is a fully cognitive being with the (i) will to choose to hear the Word of the Lord and abide by it or not (Revelation 2:29 ), (ii) the will and choice to allow Jesus to be involved in their daily affairs or keep Him out of their lives (Revelation 3:20; Revelation 3:15-16), (iii) will and choice to keep on deliberately sinning or not (Hebrews 10:26-31, 2 Peter 2:15, 20-22), and (iv) will and choice to continue to stay in the faith or depart from it through practising sin (1 Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 10:26-31, 2 Peter 2:20-22) or renouncing the faith (e.g. Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The Bible does not miss words on the fate of Christians who use their will to deliberately make a practice of sin: eternal damnation in the lake of fire, and a punishment far worse than if they had not known the faith at all than to have known it and depart from it. Just as the Scripture says: For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2”20-22) and   “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:26-31). If we are wise, we will run to the Lord in repentance when we fall instead of relying on the false hope of once saved forever saved.

Secondly, the Bible teaches that it is the spirit of the Christian that is born again (John 1:12-13 and John 3:5-6, Ephesians 4:24) not the flesh or body, which the Bible says is utterly sinful (Galatians 5:19-21) and wars against the spirit (Ephesians 5:17 ) and the soul (1 Peter 2:11). The Bible teaches that  when we come to Christ we crucify the flesh and its desires (Galatians 5:24), yet we  will still go ahead and fulfill the sinful desires of the flesh if we choose not to live by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16) or if we choose to sow to (obey) our flesh instead of the Spirit. Again the Bible, in admonishing Christians, is emphatic that  “…I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things, the deeds of the flesh,  will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). Where do you suppose you end up when you don’t inherit the kingdom of heaven? Again in admonishing Christians, the Scripture warns, “Galatians 6:8 – For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption (Greek phthora, which also means perishing, destruction, and eternal misery in hell). When you choose to come to terms with the reality that your born again spirit actually lives in a flesh, the wisdom of Paul, not the deceitfulness of once saved forever saved will be our guiding principle: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

When Paul admonished Christians that those who practice the deeds of the flesh will not enter the kingdom of God, He simply re-echoed the words of Jesus when He said  that those who have called on His name but practice lawlessness will not enter the kingdom of God. The Bible teaches that everyone who calls on Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:12 ). And Jesus Christ, Himself adds that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter (Matthew 7:21). Doubtless, there are many who have called on the name of the Lord and do call Him Lord. Yet Jesus warns that if we do all these and fail to follow God’s will we shall not enter the kingdom of God. Jesus went on to reveal to us what is definitely going to happen at the end of this age to affirm the truth that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter the kingdom of God:  “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:22-23).  The reason why Jesus asked these group of people to depart from Him was not because they lied to Him that they had used His name to prophesy and to cast out demons. But rather because they had been practising lawlessness. To practice lawlessness is simply to practice the deeds of the flesh. And we find Paul re-echoing the words of Jesus to the church that if we choose to live after our flesh we will have no part in the kingdom of heaven but in the eternal fire forever and forever (Galatians 5: 19-21, Galatians 6:8).

To be continued.

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
May 7, 2019

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The Timing of God

Habakuk 2:3 says “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. By this Scripture, we are taught a valuable lesson about God’s character. Indeed His promises are true (2 Corinthians 1:20 ) yet they do not manifest randomly. They only come to pass at the time He has set. We cannot make them come to pass a day faster than the appointed time God has set, but we can surely delay them (Neville Johnson) or prevent ourselves from ever possessing them through unbelief and disobedience to God. If you understand that you have no control over the exact time a promise of God is supposed to manifest, why worry about what hasn’t yet shown up if you are walking in obedience to God? This is a place where the genuineness of your faith is tested.

It was said of Zechariah and Elizabeth that “They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years (Luke 1:6-7). It wasn’t because of Zechariah’s or Elizabeth’s sin that they had no child then. We were told as far as God was concerned they were righteous and blameless before Him. Neither are we told they were under the devil’s curse or bondage. Rather, by the words of the angel Gabriel who appeared to Zechariah, we are told his prayer had actually been heard, and God had prepared for him a son with the name with which he was to be called (Luke 1:8-17), and the words of the promise “will be fulfilled in their proper time”(Luke 1:19-20). By now, both Zechariah and Elizabeth were advanced in years, and it is possible that they had been praying since their youthful days for a child. We can also learn a principle in the Bible that when we are walking with God, the longer it takes for us to inherit His promise may be because of the greatness of what God is preparing for us (e.g. Romans 1:13). We can see this play out in the life of Zechariah and his wife. The child they were to give birth to was to be great in the sight of God, and will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in  his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15), an experience not common to all men.  The child was going to be a national asset to the whole of Israel to turn many of them back to the Lord their God (Luke 1:16). He was to go as a forerunner before the Messiah, Jesus, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17). In the words of Jesus Christ, “I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John… (Luke 7:28)”.

Zechariah knew none of these although they were walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord until they were well advanced in age and naturally impossible for them to have any issue. But we have their experience for our learning, as the Scriptures say, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). If they made it, then we have no excuse. Again we are given this counsel, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:11-12).

Had Zechariah and his wife chosen to doubt God all those years and thereby walk in hopelessness and complain or grumble against God,  they would have only prolonged the timing of their blessing or would never have inherited it (see Numbers 14, Hebrews 3:16- 19). This is also a lesson for us. So Jesus has taught us this way, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). At the time we pray and ask God for what we need, we are to believe at that very moment that we have received what have asked from God. This is the part we have to play. And God’s part is to make sure that we have the manifestation of what we believe that we have received from Him. If we will be faithful to play our part, He is all the more faithful to play His part because He CANNOT lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18, Isaiah 55:11).

If we truly believe, then our period of waiting until we see the physical manifestation of our promise will be filled with praise to God for what we believe that we have received, which will be manifested in its proper time. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay (Habakuk 2:3).

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
April 28, 2019

The Lord’s Prayer Is Not Outmoded – Part 8

In this manner pray For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen (Matthew 6:9-13).

Psalm 29:2 teaches us the following “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness”. As we  declare “for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, we partake of the blessedness of ascribing glory and worship to God. We join in with the host of heaven in the declaration, “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen(Revelation 7:12). This is in agreement with what the new covenant teaches us to do: “…worship God” (Revelation 22:9), giving us no basis upon which we may forbid Christians from praying so.

There is no kingdom without a king and a domain of authority. Even so, as we declare that the kingdom belongs to God, we acknowledge our God as the King of kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16; Deuteronomy 10:17), unto whom belongs ALL power and authority (Matthew 28:18; Psalm 62:11). As we declare the supremacy and power of our God in praise and in worship, we can expect to walk in His manifest presence with His power and authority, for the Lord inhabits the praises of His people (cf. Psalm 22:3).

The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17), and it is this kingdom, which God has translated us into (Colossians 1:13). Even so, when we declare unto God that the kingdom is His, we should always be reminded of the life God has called us to: one of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Declaring to our Father that the kingdom is His should also be a constant reminder to us of our place and in this present world. We are aliens and strangers in this world (1 Peter 2:11) and citizens of  heaven (Philippians 3:20). These come with their distinct responsibilities: aliens and strangers are commanded to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11) and citizens of heaven should live awaiting the return of our saviour Jesus (Philippians 3:20). Ascribing the Kingdom to God should make us kingdom-of-God minded.

Our God is the only Sovereign (1 Timothy 6:15) and “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to you. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom, and you are exalted as head over all’ (1 Chronicles 29:11). The Scriptures teach us to decree  a thing and it will be established unto you (Job 22:28). Jesus also taught us that “ for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say… and nothing will be impossible to you (Matthew 17:20). As we declare God’s power and glory, we shall be established in and walk in His power and glory all the days of our lives.

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
April 8, 2019.

 

Epilogue:

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

If you do not know the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour, this is the time to surrender your life to God, and accept Jesus as your Saviour. This is the only way to eternal life and salvation from hell and eternal torments when this life is over. You can pray this prayer sincerely from your heart to receive Jesus as your Saviour: “I come to you God in Jesus name and surrender my life unto you. I repent of my sins and I ask that You forgive me of all my sins. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and I believe with my heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead. I thank you God for saving me, in Jesus name, Amen”. If you sincerely prayed this prayer, be assured that you are saved, for the Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13, Romans 10:10, Acts 16:31). Find a Bible believing church to attend so that you can be discipled to grow in the ways of God. You can also email me (kwadwo.omari@gmail.com) and I will be happy to grow together with you in Christ.

The Lord’s Prayer Is Not Outmoded – Part 7

In this manner pray…  deliver us from evil…(Matthew 6:9-13). 

1 John 5:19 says “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness”. The Greek word translated wickedness, i.e. “poneros”, also refers to evil. As the systems of the world continue under the sway of evil and wickedness, and we are in this world although not of this world, Jesus instructs us to pray to our Father to deliver us from evil.

Jesus Himself prayed this for His disciples: “I do not ask that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from evil” (John 17:15). Paul followed this example when he made this request from the church: “And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men…” (2 Thessalonians 3:2). Evil men orchestrate evil. Even so, when Paul asked the church to pray for deliverance form wicked and evil men, he simply requested for prayer to God to deliver them from evil, just as Jesus taught us to pray. So then, there is no evidence from the Bible upon which we may conclude that praying to God to deliver us from evil is no longer valid in the new covenant. The New Testament teaches the church to pray so.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 that “…Each day has enough trouble (evil) of its own.Although Jesus used this statement in teaching us not to worry about tomorrow, He also revealed an important truth that each single day has enough evil to offer. Therefore, it is wisdom for us to pray to God to deliver us from evil at the start of each day. Again,  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). If we have all these to deal with, then it is again wisdom for us to commit ourselves unto our faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19) by calling on Him to deliver us from evil, for by the arm of flesh shall no man prevail (1 Samuel 2:9; Zechariah 4:6 ).

It is naivete on our part to think that we are liked by everyone. Jesus said that His disciples will be hated on account of Him (Matthew 10:22) and warned that “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you” (Luke 6:26).  Some of the evil we would have to deal with are those subtle ones that may come from places we would never have expected. As the Bible says “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend (Psalm 55:12-13) and “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me” (Psalm 41:9). One of the primary ways we save ourselves from being blindsided by these evils is to heed Jesus’ instruction to pray to the Father to deliver us from evil.

In the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1) and there shall be multiplication of wickedness (Matthew 24:12). If the saints who lived before us entrusted themselves to God  to deliver them form the evil in their day, how much more should we pray in like manner, upon whom the end of the age with its culmination of evil has fallen. And we can be assured that when we pray thus the Lord will hear us because  it’s His will for us to pray so and to deliver us from every evil (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3).

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
April 1, 2019.

 

The Lord’s Prayer Is Not Outmoded – Part 6

In this manner pray… “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil…(Matthew 6:9-13).

In James 1:13, the Bible says “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. Also in Matthew 4:1, the Bible says  “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil”. By these verses, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that God tempts no one; it is the devil who does the tempting.

Even so, no where in the Bible has it been said or suggested that the Spirit of God leading Jesus up to be tempted by the devil was an Old Testament trait of God or His Spirit. God actually declares of Himself that “For I am the Lord, I change not “ (Malachi 3:6); He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore, to claim that the prayer above only reflects an Old Testament attribute of God, so that we do not have to pray it in the New Testament, has no basis in the Bible. As we examine the New Testament, we will see the great need to pray this prayer, exactly as Jesus taught us to pray.

The Greek word translated “lead” in the prayer above is “eisphero”, which also means to bring to or bring into. It is also worth noting that, Jesus when He taught His disciples to pray for God not to to lead them into temptation had Himself, not long ago, been permitted by God to be tempted by the devil. This wasn’t a mere enticement to sin but like Job, the devil had been granted permission from God to bring Jesus into the full weight of temptation. And Jesus was tempted in every way a person could be tempted (1 John 2:16) yet sinned not (Hebrews 4:15). We may think we are immune to every form of temptation but the Scriptures warns us that “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Already, the Scriptures also say to Christians that “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). Therefore, it is wisdom for us to pray to God not to bring us into those situations where we may yield to sin – although we may often cry to Him to bring us into those very places.

We may all have prayed to God earnestly about certain things we wanted, which seemed right and good to us but God withheld from us. Many good people may have passed on to glory and we struggle to understand why. Many of these things, may simply be God’s answer to our prayer not to bring us into temptation. For many of the things we wanted, if we had attained unto them would be the very temptation that would have led us away from God. And some, if they have lived only a day longer, may have encountered the temptation by which they would have been separated from God forever. Just as the Scriptures say “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12)”, and “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil” (Isaiah 57:1). When we pray “and do not lead us into temptation”, we pray for God’s divine intervention into those seemingly good things by which we may be led astray, even before we encounter those things and pray to God for them. It’s our cry for God’s mercy.

The Bible teaches us, Christians, to know both the kindness and severity of God (Romans 11:22). We are deceived if we only know just His kindness or severity. He is perfectly kind and perfectly severe  all of the time. God Himself has declared that if any man decides to continue in sin without repentance, He will eventually bring them to a place where they will be of a reprobate and depraved mind (Romans 1:28). When your mind becomes reprobate, you will eat every bait of temptation the devil throws at you, and this will be God’s judgement on you for destruction. Again, in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, God Himself warns that for those who do not believe His truth and do not receive the love of His truth but take pleasure in wickedness, He Himself will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false in order that they may be judged. When God gives a man this deluding influence because of their will to to reject God’s truth and the love of His truth, there would not be a temptation they will not be subject to to their own eternal ruin.

So, Jesus has taught us to pray to God not to lead us into temptation. To pray thus,  is our surrender to God and holy determination to stay on the path of righteousness all the days of our lives so that we are not counted among those who are given up by God to every kind of temptation to their own destruction.

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
March 24, 2019.

The Lord’s Prayer Is Not Outmoded – Part 6

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12).

Here, Jesus teaches us to pray to God for forgiveness and adds an important lesson: we are forgiven by God when we forgive others. Jesus stressed all this important lesson when He said “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). Again, when Jesus gave the parable of the servant who had mercy withdrawn from him because he refused to forgive his fellow servant, Jesus added that “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35). Jesus was particular about drawing our attention to the truth that we determine whether we receive forgiveness or not from God by how we choose to treat those who offend or wrong us. By Him teaching us to pray thus, we are reminded of our need to ask God for His forgiveness as well as an indispensable key we need in order to receive God’s forgiveness – we forgiving others.

We find the Holy Spirit reminding us of  the reality of this truth after the death and resurrection of Jesus: “For the one who has shown no mercy will be judged without mercy”(James 2:13). This is just a direct quote of what Jesus taught: “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7) – for the apostles only preached Jesus Christ; they did not go about contradicting Him (Acts 5:42). To refuse to forgive others is to choose to show no mercy, and for those who choose to show no mercy God declares that His judgement will be merciless towards them.  It’s mercy that triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). Even so, when God withdraws His mercy from us, our sins remain and we become unclean and defiled (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:1). And nothing unclean will enter His kingdom (Revelation 21:27).

Thus, we can see  that the notion of God’s love and forgiveness being so great and not like man’s to such an extent that God will still  forgive us even when we don’t forgive is in stark contrast to what His word says and contrary to the character of God revealed to us in the Scriptures. To say so is to say that God’s love is so big such that disobeying Him and thereby continuing in sin counts for nothing before Him because of His great love. However, the Lord has warned that the disobedient and unmerciful, even among His people,  become object of His wrath  and will not inherit the kingdom of God (Romans 1:18-32; 1 Samuel 15:23, Galatians 5:19-21). We do not come to God by how we think He ought to be. We know Him by the revelation of Himself given to us in His word.

For the unbeliever, it is not merely their refusal to forgive, which  make them stand condemned before God. Their unforgiveness is a natural consequence of their unregenerate spirit and sinful nature. But for the believer, the Bible says God’s very love has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) so that we are able and have been commanded to forgive just as God has forgiven us in Christ (Colossians 3:13). If we could not forgive just as God Himself forgives us, then God would have been unjust to expect us to do what we could not. But as the Bible teaches, righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14 ). Therefore, to refuse to forgive, as a child of God, is a deliberate choice of your will to hold unto offence rather than obey God’s word and exercise His love in your heart to forgive. This is a place we should never want to be because unforgiveness will cost you your place in the kingdom of heaven.

Not only are we to forgive others to be forgiven but Jesus also taught us to ask for God’s forgiveness for our own sins. So John in His epistle again reminded us of what Jesus taught:  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Therefore there is no reason for anyone to yield to the suggestion that confessing our sins to God is no more needed under the New Covenant. The Greek rendering of this text literally say that provided you confess your sin to God He will forgive you. In other words,  in order to be forgiven, you must confess your sins to God. We therefore invalidate this verse and fight against the very thing it is meant to teach us when we grossly misread it in the following manner: “before we confess our sins, God is faithful to have already forgiven us”. The Scriptures only mean what they say, not what we think they should say or what we want them to say. So we are given this admonition, “Every word of God is flawless… Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar (Proverbs 30:5-6).

1 John 1:7 also says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin”. And when you read just two verses below in the same chapter,  the Scriptures teach us how the blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sins: “if we confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9)”. God is light and His word is light (1 John 1:5, John 1:1; Psalm 119:105 ). To walk in the light is simply to walk in the light of His Word. This is to walk in obedience to God.  Even so,  if we indeed walk in the light, we shall not neglect to confess our sins to God as He instructs us. The very refusal to confess our sins to God  is our direct refusal to walk in the light, and embrace darkness and sin thereby. How can we choose to neglect the way God shows us to receive His  forgiveness and expect to receive it in the way we choose? How could we be so deceived to love to hold on to our sins to our own doom rather than simply confessing them to God and receiving His forgiveness?! As the Bible teaches, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces (repentance) them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

We all stumble in many ways (James 3:2). Therefore,  to pray just as Jesus taught us – “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12) – and to forgive just us God has forgiven us is not an option or an Old Testament Law but indispensable truths we need to abide by to keep walking in the light under the New Covenant.

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
March 11, 2019.

The Lord’s Prayer Is Not Outmoded – Part 5

In this manner, therefore, pray: …Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:9-11)

Here in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to ask God for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Jesus again emphasized this truth when He said “Ask, and it shall be given you” (Matthew 7:7). Later on, James in His epistle noted that the failure to pray what Jesus taught is the reason for lack among believers: “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2).  In this way, the Scriptures affirm the need we have to pray “give us this day our daily bread” in the new covenant.

To ask God for our daily bread is to ask for our provision. God is not oblivious of our needs. Even so, after Jesus mentioned that God knows our needs before we ask Him, He went on in the same discourse to teach that we ask Him for the very things we need (Matthew 6:8, 11). This is because our Father desires to communicate and build a relationship with His children. He is not an absentee Father who only provides for His children and stays out of their lives but One who has opened His arms for us to come to Him with our desires.

In Matthew 15:21-28, we learn that healing is the Children’s bread. Thus, asking God for our daily bread should always remind us of the covenant of healing we have with God in Christ (Matthew 8:17, 1 Peter 2:24). Because we have access to our daily bread in Christ, we should be confident of God’s willingness to grant us healing when we ask Him, should sickness attempt to attack.

In Exodus 16:4, God told Moses that the reason for providing them manna or bread (Psalm 105:40) and requiring them to gather enough for each day was to test them to see if they will follow His instructions. We are also told that the things that existed in the Old Covenant were only a shadow of the real things that were to come in Christ (Hebrews 10:1, Colossians 2:17). Many years later, when Jesus Christ, the Word, came to the earth, He affirmed that He was the bread that came down from heaven (John 6:41). Even so, as we pray and ask God for our daily bread, this should be a reminder for us to always seek the Bread (the Word) He has given us from heaven daily. This is a way God tests us to see if we will follow His instructions or not.

To be continued.

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
February 26, 2019.

The Lord’s Prayer Is Not Outmoded – Part 4

In this manner, therefore, pray: …Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10)

In 1 Timothy 2:4, we learn that it is God’s will that everyone be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. However, we read from the Scriptures that there will be those who will refuse to love the truth and thus not be saved (2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12) and will suffer eternal damnation in everlasting fire (Matthew 25:31-46, Rev 20:11-15). Similarly, it is God’s will that the sick be healed (Matthew 8:17, 1 Peter 2:24; James 5:15; Exodus 23:25). But if we should fail to accept God as our Healer and refuse to appropriate by faith the blessing of healing He has given us in Christ, we could needlessly die should we fall sick (see 2 Chronicles 16:12-13). And this has sadly been the fate of many. From this, the Bible makes it clear that God’s will for our lives (families, cities or nations) isn’t always going to be done just because it is His will. We must desire His will and want it enough to engage Him to see it come to pass. And this is something we must do daily. This is because God did not create us as automatons but as beings with the freedom and power to choose (Deuteronomy 30:19) and He does not violate our will. Being born again does not cause you to lose the freedom and power to choose. Therefore, as long as we live, we will daily have to make the choice to follow God’s will, our will or the devil’s.  So, Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done.

We find the early church resorting to the will of God when they encountered a difficult situation. In Acts 21:4, the Bible says, “After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through [the] Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem”. In this verse, the Holy Spirit admonished Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem through the disciples. However, Paul had earlier resolved to go to Jerusalem and will not be persuaded to do otherwise. Now, the Spirit of God is not the author of confusion, and He does not contradict Himself. Therefore, when we read that “Paul had resolved in [the] spirit to go to Jerusalem” (Acts 19:21), it couldn’t have possibly been the Holy Spirit telling him to do so but he rather resolving in his spirit to do so. Again, the Prophet Agabus came and told Paul of what hardship awaited him should he go to Jerusalem, although Agabus missed out on some of the details (Acts 21:10-11; 27-40). When those with Paul heard what the Prophet said, they begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem but Paul firmly refused (Acts 21:10-13). So they said “The will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:14). And this is exactly what Jesus taught us to pray.

Not only are we to pray for God’s will to be done, but we have also been commanded in the New Testament to always invoke the will of God in our conversation and manner of living. James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that”. Again, the Bible teaches us that we should be transformed by renewing our minds so that we can know what the will of God is (Romans 12:2), for it is foolishness not to understand the will of God (Ephesians 5:17). How much more foolish will it be if we refuse to dwell in God’s will? Therefore, Jesus has shown us the way of wisdom: “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven…thy will be done one earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
February 3, 2019.

 

IMPORTANT: If you do not know the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour, this is the time to surrender your life to God, and accept Jesus as your Saviour. This is the way to eternal life and salvation from hell and eternal torments when this life is over. You can pray this prayer sincerely from your heart to receive Jesus as your Saviour: “I come to you God in Jesus name and surrender my life unto you. I repent of my sins and I ask that You forgive me of all my sins. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and I believe with my heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead. I thank you God for saving me, in Jesus name, Amen”. If you sincerely prayed this prayer, be assured that you are saved, for the Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13, Romans 10:10, Acts 16:31). Find a Bible believing church to attend so that you can be discipled to grow in the ways of God. You can also email me (kwadwo.omari@gmail.com) and I will be happy to grow together with you in Christ.

The Lord’s Prayer is not Outmoded – Part 3

In this manner, therefore, pray: …Thy Kingdom Come…(Matthew 6:9-10)

Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we will only be spiritually translated into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13) while we continue to live on this earth with satan being the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). To suggest this is all there is to the kingdom of God, which was promised to come, is to only tell a part of the truth, which in turn leads to error. Rather, Jesus after His death and resurrection revealed that there is soon coming a time when He will physically return to this very earth as a King to literally establish His Kingdom on this very earth for a thousand years (read Revelation 20). At that time, satan would be bound for a thousand years so that he can no longer deceive the nations (Revelation 20:1-3). And Jesus and His faithful saints, resurrected and those who will experience no death,  will rule this very earth with a rod of iron for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6; Revelation 2:26-27).

After the thousand years is over, the Scriptures teach that God will literally fulfill His promise recorded in 2 Corinthians 6:16 to dwell and walk among His people in His coming kingdom. Not just God dwelling among Christians through His Spirit indwelling us, but He literally walking among His people face to face in His coming kingdom which He will establish on a new earth. This what the Scriptures say, “When the thousand years are completed… Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death… I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple… and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life… There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads (Revelation 20:7; Revelation 21:1-4, 22,27; Rev 22:3-4).

At present, the resurrection of the dead hasn’t happened yet. Consequently, Jesus hasn’t returned to the earth to literally establish His kingdom on the earth, and satan still remains the god of this world. In addition, the earth since creation has not passed away, the seas still exist, sinners and the unrighteous do abound, and death hasn’t ceased on the earth. Therefore, to suggest that there is no kingdom of God to come with the death and resurrection of Jesus is to err. On the contrary, we find the apostles in their epistles teaching us to look for and hasten the coming of God’s kingdom and also teaching us to declare for God’s kingdom to come.  In 2 Peter 3, while Peter taught on the coming of  the coming of the Lord, He warned thus, “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:12-13). The Scriptures teach that the coming of the Lord is associated with the coming of His Kingdom (see Revelation 20-22, 2 Peter 3). Even so, to look for and hasten the coming of the Lord thorough righteous and holy living (2 Peter 3:11) is to look for and hasten the coming of the kingdom of God.  In Revelation 22, we are told that the Holy Spirit Himself calls forth for the Lord and thereby His kingdom to come, and the bride of Christ does likewise. Those who hear the revelation/testimony of Jesus are also commanded to do same: “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come” (Revelation 22:17). We find John the Apostle declaring the same thing, “Even so Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). And Paul did same when He said Maranatha – Our Lord, come! (1 Corinthians 16:22).

To call forth for the Lord and thus His kingdom to come is to talk to God, not man. To talk to God is to pray.  In this way, we see the apostles simply obeying Jesus, and praying for His kingdom to come, the Holy Spirit also calling on the bride of Christ to do likewise, just as Jesus taught in the Lord’s prayer. We have every obligation to do same in obedience to Jesus and the Spirit of God.

To be continued…

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
January 28, 2019.

The Lord’s Prayer Is Not Outmoded – Part 2

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name… (Matthew 6:9-10)

Jesus taught us to call God our Heavenly Father and hallow His name when we pray. Calling God Father is is not an exclusive Old Testament privilege. On the contrary, it is foundational in Christianity. We read in John 1:12 concerning believers in Jesus that “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name”. If we are children or offspring of God, then God is certainly our Father. Romans 8:15 also adds that “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Thus, when we call God our Father in the new covenant, we simply acknowledge the relationship Jesus has brought us into by His death and resurrection. We have been made children and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19; Romans 8:29).

God declares of Himself that “Heaven is my throne”(Isaiah 66:1)”. This has not changed with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (e.g. see Revelation chapters 4-5, 15-22). The Hebrew word translated throne  is “kicce”, which also refers to a seat of honour, royal dignity, authority, and power. Even so when we call God our Heavenly Father, we acknowledge Him as our Father who is King, and has all power and authority, and is honored above all. None of these has changed with the coming of the New Testament. Jesus also invoked the name “your Heavenly Father” when He showed us God’s great care for us and His power to give us His Holy Spirit, every good gift, and supply all our needs (see Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13, Matthew 6:8, Matthew 6:24-33). So we can see that when Paul wrote “God shall supply all your needs”(Philippians 4:19), he, by the Holy Spirit, iterated what Jesus showed us about God when He revealed Him to us as our Heavenly Father (cf. Matthew 11:27).

Jesus also taught us to declare to our Heavenly Father that “hallowed be Your name”. When we hallow (Greek: hagiazo) the name of God, we acknowledge and honor His name as holy and venerable. This is also to glorify the name of God. Hallowing or glorifying God’s name did not end with the old covenant. In the book of Revelation, written years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we read that Christians who will be victorious in the end times and will not receive the mark of the beast will glorify the name of God in heaven: Then I saw another sign in heaven…And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty;….Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy….(Revelation 15:1-4). There is nothing more New Testament than being part of the overcomers in the last days who will hallow the name of God in heaven. The names of God are not just His titles. They are expressions or attributes  of His character and Himself. Therefore when we hallow the names of God we simply worship Him; calling Him holy, honoring Him, and venerating Him. This is what goes on before the throne of God in heaven (Rev 4:8-10) and this is what New Testament Christians do (Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:9; Revelation 15:1-4).

Again the Bible says in Philemon 6: “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus”. Even so, as believers in Jesus Christ, when we hallow the name of our Heavenly Father and call Him Jehovah Rophe, we honour and acknowledge Him as our Healer, and also acknowledge the covenant and blessing of healing He has given us in the New Testament (1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:4-5). When we do so, our faith becomes effective and we are able to walk in healing and health (cf. Philemon 6-8). And we are blessed in the same manner when we hallow His name and acknowledge Him as Jehovah Shalom – the God of Peace (Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20), Jehovah Tsidkenu – God our Righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:10-12), Jehovah M’Kadesh – God our Sanctifier (Ephesians 4:24; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Cor 6 14:-7:1), and Jehovah Jireh – God our provider (Philippians 4:19).

Kwadwo Omari, PhD
January 15, 2019.

 

IMPORTANT: If you do not know the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour, this is the time to surrender your life to God, and accept Jesus as your Saviour. This is the way to eternal life and salvation from hell and eternal torments when this life is over. You can pray this prayer sincerely from your heart to receive Jesus as your Saviour: “I come to you God in Jesus name and surrender my life unto you. I repent of my sins and I ask that You forgive me of all my sins. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and I believe with my heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead. I thank you God for saving me, in Jesus name, Amen”. If you sincerely prayed this prayer, be assured that you are saved, for the Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13, Romans 10:10, Acts 16:31). Find a Bible believing church to attend so that you can be discipled to grow in the ways of God. You can also email me (kwadwo.omari@gmail.com) and I will be happy to grow together with you in Christ.