Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
Q. Where is the inheritance? A. Inheritance kept in heaven. (1 Peter 1:4)
Q. What kind of an inheritance is it? A. Inheritance never perishes, spoils or fades. (1 Peter 1:4)
Q. For whom is the inheritance? A. For those who are called and sanctified.
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15) Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.(Acts 20:32)
Q. How do you receive the inheritance? A. By faith and obedience By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8)
Q. What's the guarantee for the inheritance? A. The Holy Spirit. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Q. What's the inheritance? A. Eternal Home: I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2) Eternal Life, Eternal Joy, Eternal Peace, Eternal Strength: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4) Eternal fellowship with God: No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22: 3, 4)
I was pondering how much a change the Holy Spirit brings in our lives once we come to Christ and submit to the Word Of God. While in college, there was a time when bad language and coarse jesting dominated my life, perhaps not when with family, but when with friends and colleagues. It became a way of life, so as to say, for the company was so. But when I accepted Jesus as Savior, things started changing. The Spirit of God used the Word to cleanse me and the words that came to my mouth were filtered before they were uttered.
Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:24)
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)
and a few more guided me in the right path regarding this.
James, the writer of the epistle by his name, writes....
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
The Lord watches over you; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.... (Psalm 121:5)
When Abraham stayed in Gerar, he said of his wife Sarah, "She is my sister." So Abimelech, king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman." Abimelech had no bodily relations with her, so he said, "Lord, I am innocent. The man told me she was his sister and she said, 'he is my brother', 'I have done this with a clear conscience'." Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die."
Abimelech and his men were very afraid. When Abimelech confronted Abraham as to why he had lied to him, Abraham replied, "I said to myself, 'I see no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. Moreover, she is my sister as we have the same father."
"Then Abimelech brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. And Abimelech said, "My land is before you; live wherever you like." To Sarah he (with some sarcasm) said, "I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated."
Abraham and Sarah had their limitations and short comings. They harbored fears. They tried to rely on half truths to protect themselves. Yet God was watching over them for their good. Things could have gone wrong very easily, but God was in control of the situation here, for Abraham. As he told Abimelech, "I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her."
God is watching over us too,...and at all times. He is there to intervene on our behalf in all situations of our lives. But let us not rely on half truths for our safety. The one who has called us in to the fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ is faithful. Let us look to him each day and sing what the Psalmist sang, "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.(Psalm 121:2)
So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. (Isaiah 28:16)
Stone....Tested stone....Precious cornerstone......None other than Jesus Christ, who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father. What a great privilege it is to serve the living God.
The prophet writes..... the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. The NKJV says....... Whoever believes will not act hastily.
For whatever reason it be, those who wait on the Lord will be rewarded eventually. Waiting on the Lord is very important for every believer.
The Psalmist David sings..... In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.(Psalm 5:3)
The Apostle James writes.... As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11)
Let us then wait upon the Lord for all our needs, for he who has called us is faithful and he will never leave us nor forsake us. He will answer our prayers.
Reading about William Tyndale recently, I realized that many are the heroes of the Christian faith, some among them martyrs, who have paid the price for the translation, printing and publication of the Bible in English. Tyndale, called by some as "The father of the English Bible", underwent immense persecution, imprisonment and finally was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536 for translating the Bible in to English.
At a time when Bible translation was prohibited by the church, he had a burning desire to make available the Bible in English, so that the commoner in England could easily read it. Educated in Oxford and Cambridge, he could speak seven languages and was good at Hebrew and Greek. He traveled to Hamburg, Germany and worked on the New Testament and got it printed in Cologne, but the press was raided; he however escaped with the printed pages to the city Worms where the New Testament was soon published. Around 6000 copies were published and smuggled to England. King Henry VIII was furious. Some bishops burnt the bibles, others bought them to destroy them. Another called it the "Testament of the Antichrist."
Tyndale hid in Antwerp and began translating the Old Testament while the King's soldiers searched England and Europe for him. Finally, Henry Phillips, an Englishman, who befriended him, betrayed his trust and Tyndale was captured by soldiers. On October 6, 1536 he killed by strangling and burning. Some say, his last prayer was "Lord, open the eyes of the King of England." Around 3 years later, King Henry VIII ordered every church in England to make a copy of the English Bible available to its worshipers. Around 90% of the King James Version and 75% of the Revised Standard Version are from the Bible translated into English by William Tyndale.
I believe when he was burnt at the stake, Jesus was welcoming him in heaven saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21)
An old pastor used to visit my clinic in Kerala, India, a few years back. He was in his nineties, short, bald and very frail. It was on the insistence of his children that he used to come for check ups. The moment he stepped in to the clinic, I knew he was there, because he always had a song in his mouth regarding the Lord Jesus Christ. Most of his songs were regarding eternal life and life with Jesus in heaven. It seemed that he was already living in heaven though on earth. Hope and confidence ++. Not that he was in the best of health, yet the praises were flowing. I marveled at his love for the Lord. Later, one day, his son, also a pastor, called me to tell me that his father had passed away, the previous night. He continued, "Last night, my father called us as a family to his bedside and told us that his time was up and he was ready to meet his Savior. He spoke of angels coming to take him and breathed his last with a smile on his face." I was at his funeral and testified regarding my observance of this holy servant of God. Praise God for such confidence, such hope........
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. (2 Corinthians 5:1)
Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" The Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. (Genesis 4:9, 10)
The first murder on earth had taken place and the Lord was watching it all. Cain had killed his brother Abel because he was jealous and angry that God had looked with favor only on his brother's offering and not on his. Though warned by God, Cain in his anger took his brother's life. Sin had mastered him and he buried his dead brother in the ground.
When God questioned him regarding the whereabouts of his brother, he replied, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
God rebuked him and punished him. A curse was upon him that his tilling of the ground would be unfruitful and that he would be a vagabond.
How true then, what the Psalmist sings.....
The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face. (Psalm 11:4-7)
The Apostle John exhorts us in this manner.....
Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. (1 John 3:12)
John goes 1 step ahead and writes.....
Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. (1 John 3:15)
Great advice to all of us, who are believers in Jesus Christ.