Your Soul

What Will You Do With Your Soul?

There comes a point in everyone’s life that we must decide what we are going to do about our spiritual status. God has placed before every responsible person the choice of whether or not we will be saved or lost in eternity. Satan and the world have done an excellent job of convincing people that they either have no choice in the matter or that they have plenty of time to decide the outcome. Many have decided to follow the erroneous teachings of men, and not God, in how one is saved and how one should live and worship God (Matthew 15:3–9).

soul

What Will You Do With Your Soul?

God loves every soul and does not wish for anyone to be lost (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4). He has extended His grace through His Son to every man (Titus 2:11); no one is excluded. Jesus invites all men to come to Him and receive the spiritual blessings of peace, rest, salvation, and eternal life (Matthew 11:28–30). But all of this must be done on God’s terms and not our own.

The apostle Paul said that knowing the terror of the Lord those who preach the gospel do so with the intent to persuade men to make a choice about their salvation (2 Corinthians 5:11). We know there is power in the Word of God and it accomplishes that which God intends (i.e. that we make a choice, Isaiah 55:11). On the first Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus the gospel was preached and 3,000 souls chose to obey God (Acts 2:37–41). Sadly many others that day chose to reject the grace offered to them. The days and weeks that followed would see others make the best decision of their lives and obey God and He added them to the church (Acts 2:47). In Acts 7 Stephen preached the Good News and the hearts of those who heard him were hardened by that truth and they killed the messenger. The book of Acts is replete with accounts of those who chose to obey and those who chose to reject the great salvation of God.

The Hebrew writer asks a great, hypothetical, question when he wrote, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews 2:3–4). The fact is that those who reject God, Jesus Christ, and His word will be judged (John 12:48). The disobedient will incur upon themselves the wrath of God (Hebrews 5:8–9) and will be lost in eternity (Matthew 25:46).

So in the inspired words of Joshua, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). What will you do with your soul? It is entirely up to you now! God did His part in fulfilling His promise to send a Savior and make a way of reconciliation. Now it is up to each of us to either accept the gift by being obedient and faithful or reject it for Satan’s lies and the love of this world. You cannot have it both ways (Matthew 12:30). It is time for each of us to decide to work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12). Want to know more? We would love to study with you and help you know the Lord’s way. Today is the day (2 Corinthians 6:2).

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Habakkuk and Faith

“The Just Shall Live by His Faith” (Habakkuk 2:4)

In the face of impending destruction by the Chaldeans, the prophet Habakkuk questioned how God could use an unrighteous people to destroy a more righteous nation: Why, LORD, do you hold your peace “when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13).

Habakkuk

Habakkuk

Part of the answer to this question is to be found in God’s purposes for the faithful.  God seeks to correct them (Habakkuk 1:12), and refine them as silver or gold (Ezekiel 20:18-22, Zechariah 13:9, Malachi 3:3).  Part of the answer to this question is to be found in God’s purposes for the wicked.  He will bring them to ultimate punishment (Habakkuk 2).

However, the answer to this question is also found in the attitude of the individual.  The world’s collapsing around us need not be regarded as God’s personal judgment upon the individual.  To the contrary, adversity provides opportunity for God’s people to shine forth.  Difficult circumstances are what just men make of them.  And faith is the tool by which one can make difficulties turn out well.  Under occasions of distress, and in the face of wicked men, “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

This sentiment uttered by Habakkuk is echoed in the New Testament in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38.  The single theme that runs through the threads of these contexts is that external circumstances do not dictate the faithfulness of God’s people.  Whether those circumstances concern the fragile relationship of Jews and Gentiles (Romans), the subversive teaching of Judaizing teachers (Galatians), or the threat of persecution by Jewish friends and family (Hebrews) – regardless the circumstances, “the just shall live by his faith.”

“Faith” in these passages is not merely the personal beliefs of the individual.  It includes such.  However, in order to have beliefs, one must have something to believe.  The individual places his faith in God’s message (Romans 10:17), and the message of God can always be believed and obeyed by the individual.  Traditions cease; laws change; nations fall, and friends fail, but God does not change (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8), and His word endures (Matthew 24:35).  So long as the world stands, the individual will always have the opportunity to respond to God’s word in faith, and in so responding, he will live therein – “the just shall live by his faith.”

In so responding to God’s word, the individual proves his own character.  He proves himself to be just/righteous.  This righteousness, however, is not of his design; it is of God.  He submits to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3), and he becomes what God wants him to be (Colossians 3:10).  In so submitting, the individual finds his own salvation (Romans 1:16), and he finds the abundant life (John 10:10).  It is a life worth living precisely because it is founded upon that Eternal Rock (Matthew 16:18, 1 Corinthians 3:11), “and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 9:33).  “The just shall live by his faith.”

The concern of God’s people (Christians today) has never been, is not, and will never be, to bring a person to verbally utter some “magic” formula of words in absentia of a transformed life.  The “sinner’s prayer” and all other alleged incantations for salvation, are wholly devoid of the kind of faith God desires us to have, because they are not based upon the scriptural premise, “The just shall live by his faith.”  This issue of the Christian Worker concerns gaining a broader concept of “faith” than is popularly held in society today.  It is our prayer that in studying this material you will so deepen your understanding of the topic so that you may be among those just who live by your faith.

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Examining Halloween

Reflections on Halloween

What should be the Christian’s observance of Halloween? I would like to offer a few reflections. Personally, I feel about this as I do most other holidays—Christians are to use discretion.

halloween

Use Discretion when Considering Halloween.

Knowledge of the background of this holiday is indeed helpful and eye-opening. As are most holidays, its roots are in paganism—“Hallow’s Eve” is the day before “All Saint’s Day” (November 1). In 608 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine appeased the majority of the heathen people he conquered by combining their pagan ritual of Samhain Day with All Saint’s Day. Thus, on this particular evening (October 31), Samhain would return with the spirits of the dead to abuse (trick) them unless they were appeased (or treated).

Now, one could go to one extreme and say that because of such, one should not observe such at all, which would be fine by me, as long as he or she did not try to bind that on others. Yet, I do not believe that a six-year-old girl, dressed as a princess, knocking on doors and saying, “Trick or Treat!” is participating in that which the Bible forbids—witchcraft and idolatry (cf. Gal. 5:19-21). In fact, I believe this may be an innocent means of the observance of this holiday without participating in its pagan roots.

Nevertheless, the other extreme would be allowing our children (and adults for that matter) to participate in such by sinful ways—destructive vandalism, violent acts of bullying and dabbling in Satanism and occultism on their most holy day.

Therefore, the Christian’s observance of Halloween can be as a Christian observes other holidays, such as Christmas and Easter—exchanging gifts or hiding eggs are not sinful observances of these holidays either, although one may abuse such observances by taking extremes or binding their opinion upon others. Therefore, we need to balance ourselves in the way we live and the positions we take.

Allow me to make several more points in this article. Parents ought to be careful in the costume they allow their children to wear. A Christian family ought not to have a desire to wear any costume that celebrates Satanism, because other costumes are just as fun while not leaning in this direction that leads to occultism.

In First Corinthians 8-10, the apostle Paul regulates such things as freedom, responsibility and purity, especially with the illustration of eating meats that the citizens of Corinth had sacrificed to idols prior to selling them in the market. He states that knowledgeable Christians who know that idols are not really gods would not sin by so eating, but warns not to offend the weak faith of the newly converted. Therefore, this example may be profitable by application to the observance of this holiday that has roots in paganism. The knowledgeable one may observe such with a clear conscience, but one whose faith is weaker might not want to do so if such would bother his or her conscience (cf. Rom. 14:23).

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