The year which is now ended has seen a series of human tragedies.
Wouldn't it be useful to ask why?
There is a great principle of God, revealed in His Word, the Bible: when we do not listen to what God says in His Word, in His goodness, He speaks in fine by circumstances!
Whether we are talking about pandemics, global warming, tornadoes, tragic floods, etc. ... God reminds mankind that, although many want to deny His existence, He is the Creator and that "for this thing is from Him"!
The quotation at the beginning "Remember your creator ..." reminds us first of all that there is a God who created all things, and also man to whom he gave a living soul, which means that it cannot be annihilated! If the body can be reduced to ashes, the living soul does not die! It is eternal!
It is important to ask the following questions: where, in what circumstances, in what company, will you spend eternity? God answers these questions very clearly in his Word (the Bible):
● Either in the second death! That is, dead as far as God is concerned, but alive, far from God in the company of Satan and his angels. This is the sentence that will be pronounced on every man because of the acts that God calls "sins", acts that man produces by opposing the will of his Creator!
● Either in eternal life! This is the case with all those who have seen themselves in their sins, lost, in anguish of having to appear before this Judge, who can only pronounce the sentence of the second death! But God has come to them, showing them what He has done in the person of Jesus! And He freely offers life, eternal life (in the presence of God and the Lord Jesus) to those who recognise themselves as lost and believe what God says about the work of the cross!
God's goal is that "all men be saved"! Saved from the second death!
Because the circumstances are so important, I will not be making greetings in the traditional form found on cards sold at the turn of the year.
In general, I would like to express my wish that you, who are reading these lines and who possess the divine and eternal life, may live hours of gladness in the fellowship with your Lord, going through with Him the inevitably difficult circumstances that will arise in the course of this new year! May you too, following the example of the Thessalonians, who turned from idols to God, await his Son, the Lord Jesus, from the heavens, whom God raised from among the dead, and who delivers us from the coming wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1 v.9-10)
Most of the readers of these pages have been baptised, and therefore profess to be Christians, and are part of the "house of God", which has become a "great house", in which there are souls who are born again and others who are not, as is emphasised in the parable of the ten virgins: the five wise ones represent those among the Christians who are born again, and the five foolish ones those who are not. The 10 are Christians who all profess Christianity.
Worried about your eternal future, in case you have not been born again, or have the false illusion of being born again, allow me to address this message of good wishes to you by showing how I, as well as all authentic Christians, have been able to receive this divine and eternal life from the hand of God! If you do not have it, He wants to give it to you, for He says in His Word: "... God our Saviour ... will have all men to be saved ..." (1 Timothy 2 v.3-4)! And if you don't have the certainty of being saved, God wants to give you that certainty too, if you are truly born again.
Since God will have all men to be saved, it is obvious that no one can say that it is because God did not elect him that he remains doubtful about God and His Word!
God does not request anything from you, he wants to give you everything!
The real reason why you do not have this divine and eternal life is not that you are not chosen, it is that you resist the work of the Holy Spirit! You are resisting him, either in part or completely!
No doubt you are familiar with the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13 v.3-9 & 18-23), which describes how the Holy Spirit works to ensure that you are in the required and also sufficient condition to receive the Word which will then produce divine and eternal life in you, as it has done for all authentic Christians since the day of Pentecost (The Acts 2)!
The meaning of the parable of the Sower may be summarised as follows. The Sower is the person of the Lord Jesus, manifested through one of his servants. The Sower encounters different kinds of ground. These fields represent the state of your heart, not your emotions or your affections, God does not ask you to have emotions towards him, it is what happens in the deepest secret of yourself, where only God sees! The "ploughman" who works the ground that is your heart is the Holy Spirit! The different qualities of ground are described: very hard as this ground is, along a path, hardened by many passages of things other than the plough of the "ploughman", the next two grounds have let the plough pass through to a certain extent, but there remain either stones or the roots of brambles and thorns, and the last land is one where the "ploughman" has not encountered any obstacle to do his work completely. Thus the different states of the land encountered, the different states of the deepest secret of man, are not natural states of the heart, one of which would be better than the other, but the state of the heart following the passage of the ploughman's plough, according to whether that heart resists the work of the "Ploughman" or not!
What is the "Ploughman’s" work, the Holy Spirit’s work?
This work consists in convincing man, in the deepest and most secret part of himself, that in the moral state in which he naturally finds himself, he has no other perspective than, not only to die physically, but also to know the second death, following the judgement which will be pronounced, at the great white throne, at the time of the resurrection of the dead, because contrary to what your natural heart may be telling you even now, there is indeed a resurrection for all! The second death consists in living far from God, in hell with the Devil and his angels, in eternal regret for having resisted God, in the person of the Holy Spirit and here is this passage from the Word:
"... I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, ...
… I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is that of life. And the dead were judged out of the things written in the books according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged each according to their works: and death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20 v.11-15)
Good ground has the necessary qualities so that when the "Sower" places the "Seed", i.e. the Word of God, on it, it will produce divine and eternal life!
The apparent 'life' produced in grounds 2 & 3!
In the ground that has remained rocky (2) and where the roots of the brambles and thorns have not been removed (3), we see a certain effect, a certain influence of the Word, but this apparent life is not the life that God gives, it is not divine and eternal.
It is a "religious joy" that the natural religious heart loves! A "God of love" is sung of, but not known in his holiness, the conviction of being eternally lost, as found in the "good ground" is absent. This is the case of the 2nd ground.
It is the same for the 3rd one, there is such an attachment to the world, that what looks like life, is quickly choked as soon as roots produce stems, which choke this appearance of life (it is neither eternal, nor divine)!
In this state, the final result is the same as for the 1st ground.
If you are in this state, do not resist the "ploughing" of the Holy Spirit any longer, and understand that it ends also into this second death described in Revelation 20!
The anguish of the heart that has become good ground
The soul that no longer resists the "ploughing" of the Holy Spirit, in front of this future that is this second death, is then in extreme distress!
The Holy Spirit shows her that God does not want and cannot receive anything from her! Anything she can do, has no entry with God!
All prayers formulated with the best intentions are not received from God. No apparent "confession", no apparent "repentance" which is basically just a simple regret for having done wrong, thus leading to the second death, while imagining that one could have avoided this second death, by doing things to please God. This is impossible for man in his natural state!
God does not ask you to repent, He knows you are incapable of doing so, but He Himself will give you the means to do so, because there must be repentance!
You would like to go to God, but your conscience shows you that this is impossible, and God does not let you come to him in this state. He acts towards you as he did towards Adam in Eden:
“... Jehovah Elohim … And he drove out Man; and he set the Cherubim, and the flame of the flashing sword, toward the east of the garden of Eden, to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3 v.23-24)
Perhaps you are in this distress?
So don't resist any longer, don't try anything, because you can't get out of this distress! God Himself, seeing that the ground "ploughed" by the Holy Spirit is good ground, then comes to you, requesting nothing from you, He shows you what He has done in the Person of Christ on the cross!
It is God who comes to you by making you read John 3
“Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except anyone be born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be born being old? … Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except anyone be born of water and of Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. … ye should be born anew. …
… as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, thus must the Son of man be lifted up, that everyone who believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.” (John 3 v.3-16)
So God Himself comes to you, and in this passage from John 3, He tells you not what you should do, but what He did in the Person of the Lord Jesus: "... as Moses lifted up the serpent ..." image of the need for Jesus, “the Son of man” to be “lifted up ”, on the cross, to be forsaken by God as He bore your sins and entered death in your place!
So there is nothing to do but BELIEVE, to have FAITH in what God says and has done!
He wants to save you, to give you life, and this without doing anything other than believing that He gave His only Son, to give you divine and eternal life!
How to does this life manifest itself?
As a new born child, if it lives, must breathe (for if it does not breathe, it shows that it does not have life). The same is true for who just born again, the divine life in him is manifested first of all, without which life is not present, through repentance, and the object of repentance is the confession of sins!
This is how God gives you the means to do what He requires and commands, namely, "all men … to repent" (Acts 17 v.30)!
When there is no repentance according to God, it is because the soul is in the state of rocky ground or containing the roots of brambles and thorns. Then there is no life, and without divine life, it is not possible to repent!
Perhaps you are not sure that you are born again
You have allowed yourself to be ploughed by the Holy Spirit, and you have realised your state of perdition, as described above for the "good ground", you believe what God says in John 3, but you do not feel that you have this life, and you hear many preachers who preach these emotions! These preachers preach an adulterated gospel, a gospel that has the effect of leaving souls on rocky ground or containing the roots of briers and thorns! The effects are great external demonstrations impressive to the human senses, namely the promise of material prosperity, as the "prosperity gospel"! What God abhors!
But the Lord Jesus asks you the following question: "Would it be insufficient in your eyes, what I have done for you on the cross, that you would want to feel things in you? I hope you will say with me: "No, Lord, I don't want to feel anything, I believe without reservation that what you have done for me, offering yourself to God, is perfectly sufficient! For it is precisely because of my search for feelings, and to deliver me from them and from the yoke of many other bondages of my natural heart, that you have done this redemption work"!
Do not look for these feelings, what your "I" produces, but look for the blessed relationship, the fellowship with the Lord Jesus and with your heavenly Father, in this you will find true gladness! Then you will not remain insensitive, but this sensitivity is not the object of gladness!
God created time, as he created space.
If God is infinite and timeless, the sphere in which we live as creatures is limited in both time and space.
It is the mind of man that wants to imagine that space is infinite and that time has no beginning and no end. And he tries to demonstrate this and convince himself and others of this! But what can a fish in a bowl know about the oceans? Man refuses to believe in this limit, because he knows that if there is a limit, there is also a God outside this limit, and that in this case he will have to appear before this great white throne, to then know eternity, but that of the second death!
God's grace also has a limit, time is running out, and soon it will be too late for anyone who has known what God has done in the person of the Lord Jesus and has not believed, having resisted the "ploughing" of the Holy Spirit!
If you were not born again, my wishes for you are that you stop resisting the Holy Spirit, and, realising your state deserving to the second death, you accept, by simply believing, what God gives you, without requesting anything from you! And so may the wishes I express to those who possess this divine and eternal life, also be for you.
Dear friend, brother or sister in Christ, you who possess that life which is both divine and eternal, whose sphere of existence is no longer the first creation, but the new one, whose foundations are those laid by the cross, the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, where everything is of God, I wish you precious moments of fellowship with the Lord Jesus.
You may be wondering how to be in fellowship with the Lord, because you find many obstacles in yourself or in what surrounds you that you cannot overcome.
The Lord Jesus gives the answer in the Gospel according to John, where He says "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him.” (John 6 v.56). Did you notice that the Lord uses the same expression as for the new birth, "Who so eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life" (John 6 v.54)? This means that we must constantly return to the moral place where we received divine life, so that we can have fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and so be kept from all that the flesh produces in us and from all the attractiveness of what surrounds us in this world! It is therefore by returning to the moral place where, at the time of our conversion, the effect on us was, that we have crucified the flesh: "... they that are of the Christ have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts." (Galatians 5 v.24). It will follow: " If we live by the Spirit, let us walk also by the Spirit." (Galatians 5 v.25)! If "the flesh" is the power of the "old man", "the Spirit" is the power of the "new man"!
The year which just starts will not be free of difficulties and trials, for this moral world in which we live bodily will remain what it is, the domain of Satan! I would not wish that we be spared these trials, but rather that we go through them with the Lord Jesus, as He Himself went through this earth! His gladness lay in His fellowship with the Father, so He enjoyed the peace of God, His peace! May our true gladness be thus in the enjoyment of the peace of God, which was His peace: “I give my peace to you...” (John 14 v.27). May His joy also be fulfilled in us, as the Lord said of us to His Father: "... that they may have my joy fulfilled in them." (John 17:13). This peace and joy, which was His, do not depend on the difficulties we face, however painful they may be, but on our fellowship with Him, because Jesus, seated in heaven, in His office as High Priest, invites us to approach us "to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable help." (Hebrews 4:16).
I wish you all the best in this new year, which has just begun with an accent of grace.
“For yet a very little while he that comes will come, and will not delay.” (Hebrews 10 v.37)
“... I come quickly. Amen; come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22 v.20)