Bethel Baptist Church – Texarkana
Most people can quote John 3:16, and many do so while missing many great truths from this simple verse. Of course the verse is often quoted to prove that salvation is totally by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. But even then, without a deep study into the wording of this verse, we miss the deepest points of it. In this short (we hope it’s short) article we will look at the word “gave.” “For God so loved, he gave . . . ” According to Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest, this is a “specialized word.” He says, “It denotes not merely a gift, but a gift which is given out of the spontaneous generosity of the giver’s heart, with no strings tied to it. The Greek word grace (charis) has the same root and the same meaning. Thus the word refers, not to an undertaking based upon terms of mutual agreement, but upon the free act of one who gives something, expecting no pay for it. This at once shows the difference between law and grace.” If God had intended for us to understand that our salvation is based upon a combination of works (law) and faith, He could have used a word which refers to an offer based upon the terms of a mutual agreement. If that were the case, God would have offered salvation based upon our performance of certain acts – totally void of faith. When it comes to salvation, faith and works are mutually exclusive. In Romans 4:1-5 Paul said, “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? (2) For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. (3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. (5) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” And then in Romans 11:6 he points out, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Furthermore, the verb is in the perfect tense which speaks of a past completed act having present results. In other words, “the past act of God giving the inheritance (salvation) on the basis of a promise (faith) has present results – present to Paul in his day, and to us in our day. God does not offer us salvation on any merit or goodness on our part. It is “out of the spontaneous generosity” of His great love and mercy for His fallen creation. “In my hand no price I bring. Simply to thy cross I cling.” (“Rock of Ages”)
No one can Ignore God and get away with it
2 Chronicles 33:1-202Ch 33:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:
2 But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
3 For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
4 Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.
5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
7 And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
8 Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.
9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
11 Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.
12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13 And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
14 Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.
15 And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.
16 And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.
17 Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only.
18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel.
19 His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.
20 So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
(KJV) Today’s devotional thought comes from the disobedience of Manasseh. God allowed him to rule in Jerusalem for 55 years. Most of his life was disobedient to God however verse 12 says that eventually he sought God. This is where we can see the saying “too little, too late.” King Manasseh of Judah stands as an example of what can happen when someone ignores God. Despite the example of his godly father Hezekiah, Manasseh abandoned the Lord and led his people into idolatry. He was deaf to God’s voice and carried on with this evil for quite a while. But in time God finally got his attention through a painful situation involving the Assyrian military. Humbled, Manasseh repented and began obeying the Lord instead of ignoring Him.
People all around us are disregarding God’s offer of salvation through faith in His Son. If we look at their lives, it may not seem that they are not facing any divine judgment, but we must remember that repercussions don’t always follow immediately. Ignoring the Lord is rebellion and idolatry in His eyes, and unless the offender turns to Him in humble repentance and faith, consequences will come.
Are you sensitive to God’s voice, or does He have to bring hardship and suffering into your life to get your attention? Disregarding Him is a serious matter, but God is merciful and responds to the cries of a truly repentant heart.
Remember dear friend it is only those who hear God that will make it to heaven. Are you one who is listening to God or are you defiant to Him.
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