Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Assurance of Salvation

Sadly, there are many Christians who are taught that we can not be sure of our Salvation.
They are told that we can not actually know about our eternal home until after we die.
This is not true! We can know that we are saved, and we can know where we stand with God.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. - John 10:28-29

This verse is extremely clear on the matter of eternal life. When we accept Christ as our Saviour, we are given an eternal security. Nothing we do can separate us from the Love of God, because as Christians, we are His children. He no longer judges us according to our sin, but rather when He looks upon us, He see's the Blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. "He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." -Psalm 103:10 Only our fellowship with God is affected by sin, but never our salvation.

Some will refute this by saying it gives us a "license to sin". Do not be wavered by their false doctrine. We have eternal security, and no sin can remove the Blood. This is not a license to sin and live as the world, and live like the "old man". "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." - 2 Corinthians 5:17

On the contrary, the Bible clearly teaches us not to use our liberty, or our freedom and security, as an occasion to the flesh. We should never take the attitude of, "Oh well, I'll go to heaven anyways!"
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." -Galatians 5:13

Let no man tell you that you must work to remain saved, or that you must "keep yourself in Christ". We work for the Lord, because we love the Lord and are thankful for Him.
We do not work to keep our salvation or to avoid falling from grace.

The relationship between God and His children is best explained by comparing it to the relationship between an Earthly father and son. "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" -Hebrews 12:9 In the relationship between a Father and Son, their relationship does not end. A Father never stops being a Father, and the Son never stops being a son. There may be times when the son is disobedient to his father, and they lose fellowship... so it is with God. When we sin we must judge ourselves according to the Bible and turn from that sin in order to regain right fellowship, just as we must apologize to others in order to remain in good terms. But we by no means lose our Father. The thought is inconceivable.

-Deborah Newby

Monday, June 13, 2011

Advice from Proverbs 31.

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands,
to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good,
obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. -Titus 2:4-5

Upon first reading this section of the verse, a lady may wonder why God would include such a seemingly obvious statement. There is however perfectly good reason, and the good Lord knew what we would need to hear. In a world where marriage has become flippant, and divorce prevalent... it's hard to know what the true foundations of marriage are. Sometimes the lines between Biblical truth and "worldly wisdom" are blurred. It can be hard to for us to discern what God wants. So, what does the Bible teach about marriage and loving our husbands?

The Proverbs 31 woman is the most used reference when discussing a woman's role in marriage -- and for good reason. We can learn a vast number of things from her example. Reading through these passages will, without a doubt, stir a sense of conviction in our hearts. There will always be areas in our lives that could use some cleaning up, so let's strive to be like these Godly examples given to us. I've noticed that many times when considering Godly womanhood, we are hit with a rush of doubt and worthlessness.
"You are much too wicked to consider being virtuous."
"Don't try to be Godly, you'll be a hypocrite."
"You are tainted, and can never be a good wife."
These kinds of thoughts are rubbish. I don't care what a woman has done in her life, she can be a Godly woman by the grace of God. So let's look at some verses in Proverbs 31.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. -vs 13

A Godly wife gives 100% of herself to her family and home. A woman will be a tremendous blessing to her husband if she sets her mind to keeping her home in order and serves the needs of her family. This is not a degrading thing. The world paints "housewives" as stupid, uneducated, and lazy. The Bible paints these women as strong and honourable. Whose opinion will we concern ourselves with?

She riseth also while it is yet night... -vs 15

A Godly wife puts the needs of her family and home before her needs. In the verse given, for example, she does not lie in bed all day or skip making a meal for her family. She rises out of bed and attends to what needs done regardless of her own wishes. By doing so she provides provision and safety. As a husband, to live in a home with a selfless wife must be a blessing. For man to "safely trust in her" is what God intended.

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor... -vs 20

Let's look at this verse from a different angle than the obvious. Yes, it is good that she is charitable. But how will this benefit her marriage? It will benefit her marriage because she is setting a good example for her children, and possibly even for her husband. I have ofter heard the wife and mother referred to as the Holy Spirit of the Home. By serving others, she may guide her children and others that she influences to do the same. This will in turn lead her children on Biblical paths. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. "

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. -vs 23

We can take this verse to mean that her husband has a good reputation. He is well known and respected by those around him. A wife can play a huge role in the reputation of her husband.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." If a woman constantly runs to her friends or fellow church members to complain about her husband, she will eventually wear away at his honour. If she always has something to nag about, if she constantly corrects him, if she laughs at him... She can quite easily cause others to lose respect for him. A wife should be very careful how she handles her words concerning her husband. She should always be open and honest with him, but use discernment. May I add, I believe it is a good idea for a wife to plant small seeds of praise about her husband everywhere she goes. Not so much that it drives people crazy... but just enough for others to see that her husband is respectable.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
-vs 30

This is, in my opinion, one of the most important verses in the Bible about Godly marriage. A woman's walk with the Lord will be directly reflected in her life with her husband. If she works to keep a good relationship with the Lord, she will become a spiritual counterpart for her husband. Most women meet their husbands physical needs, a few women meet the emotional needs of their husband, but a great few meet his spiritual needs. This is the truest meaning of being a Helpmeet and a Godly wife. It's good to keep the home and raise Godly children. It's good if you can provide meals and a haven from the world within your home. But what will stand throughout, and what will matter in the end, is the role of God in a marriage. Those who are married, strive to be a Godly wife. Those who are still unmarried, pray that God will mold you into a lady that He can use to bring honour to His name.

-Deborah Newby

Christ and the Church.

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it..." -Eph 5:22-25

Before we begin, we must rid ourselves of the idea that the "church" mentioned here is a brick building with pews. It is every born-again believer. "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." -Romans 12:5

Man-- Christ
Wife-- Church

Just as the church submits themselves unto Jesus Christ, so is the wife to be submissive to her husband. This does not imply that she has no opinion or that she is given no regard. Does the church not pray and make their request know to God? Do we not lay all of our cares out before the Lord? It is the same with man and wife. The wife may freely and honestly give her heart-felt opinion to her husband. But --the stopping point for many women-- she lies the final decision in the hands of her husband. Just as when the Church prays to Christ, the final choice is in the hands of the Lord. Furthermore, when Christ does not hearken to the opinion of the Church or the Christian, the Christian does not rebel from Christ, or become angry with Him. This is also the way wives are intended to react when their husbands make choices
contrary to their advice.

Just as Christ is the provider for His church, so is the man the main provider for his home. As the Church gives of herself to serve Christ, so does the wife give of herself to serve her husband. The Lord may call a member of the church to do some particular work or service. That Christian will never be settled and content until they have followed the command of the Lord. This reflects perfectly in marriage. A wife may be asked of her husband to do some work or service. This could be anything from simply keeping the home, to possibly teaching a Sunday School class. If a woman refuses to obey her husband, she will never be content. She may temporarily please her flesh, but there will never be a true sense of Godly marriage.

If you will read verse 25: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it..." This is often the verse put in bold and underlined font by the feminist. I do not mean to belittle the roles of men in marriage. In fact, the man's role is the most challenging. When these roles are played out, and when the symbolism of Christ and His church is understood, it is a beautiful thing. It is not a man running a hate-filled dictatorship within the home. Nor is it a feminist, bossy wife taking charge over the life of her husband.

It is Christ and the Church.
Guidance and Submission.
Provision and Service.

-Deborah Newby

Modesty and Purity.

As Christians, we are ambassadors. We represent a foreign land. This is extremely important for us to remember in our day to day life. Our conduct before the world could literally determine whether or not someone will be exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We declare hope to a lost and dying world, that is God’s will. Sometimes what we see as the most trivial of matters (such as clothing and dress standards) can have a tremendous impact on those around us. I do not write this as if modesty and purity are simple matters -- for they are not. But they are indeed worthwhile and Godly pursuits.

Reasons not to dress modestly:

To show those that are lost how holy you are.
We as a whole are a fallen people. Our natural tendencies are to be prideful and arrogant. As Christian ladies, we must defend against pride. If we dress differently simply for the sake of being different, we are in vain. If we want to dress differently merely to stand out, we are not humble. If anything for God is done out of show for others, we have our reward. If public notice is our goal, we may as well wear nothing.

To impress other Christians.
Dressing modestly and desiring to lead a pure life is a conviction given from God to those that are born again. Nothing should be done simply because a certain preachers wife wrote about it, or because a fellow church member does it, or even because of this article. All things we do for God should be lead by Him, and impressed upon us by Him. The goal of modesty and purity is to please God, not other Christians.

To have a better standing with God.
It is extremely easy to try and show God lists of all of the good things we do. We try to make ourselves feel better by showing Him all of our accomplishments and our standards… But God sees the whole of our hearts. He knows our darkest secrets and our most disgusting sins. A pure life is pursued out of love and humility towards God. If we try to have high standards simply to impress God, it will not do. All of our righteousness is all together vanity to Him.

Reasons to dress modestly:

For those around you.
We as Christians have an obligation to express to those around us that we are saved by the grace of God. It needs to be obvious which team we are on. When a lost person looks at a Christian lady, they should know that something is different. They should see Jesus Christ, and not the world. In many situations, we are the only “Jesus” a person may see. The witness and Godly influence that is cast on others by a modest and chaste lifestyle is an overwhelming reason to be such. Be modest for the sake of others.

For your future spouse:
To be immodest and unchaste in your daily life leaves you overexposed, lewd, and with little respect from others. This robs marriage of it’s sanctification and beauty. Your future spouse is worth a sacrifice. If your body is shared with everyone, you are left with very little that is special and reserved for your husband. Marriage is beautiful, it is holy, and it is one of the sweetest things this life can offer…It should not be undermined by a lack of virtue.

Mainly, above all, for God:
Jesus Christ loves His children with a love that is beyond all comprehension. He cares deeply for His own, and He knows what we need to be told and reminded. God’s word commands that women dress modestly, and not without reason. God knows our innermost heart and He knows what will cause us to stumble and fall to sin. The God who saved you is worth every last sacrifice you can offer Him. Be willing to be different for His sake. To fight against God and to see how far you can skew His word is a grave error. Hold nothing of yourself back from God.

Modesty and purity can be intimidating subjects for the Christian lady to think about. They are not traits found in us naturally. Purity is the opposite of what our flesh seeks out. But with God nothing is impossible -- nothing. He can take the lowest of women and dress her in jewels. The most polluted can wear a white robe. The Blood of Jesus Christ allows us to be pure and holy women of God…let’s embrace it.

-Deborah Newby