You ARE Worthy

You ARE Worthy
Vol: 23 Issue: 18 Saturday, June 18, 2016

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

There is a lot a information packed into this single verse. To begin with, it says ‘for by grace you are saved THROUGH FAITH’ – let’s stop there for a second.

‘Grace’ (Gk charis) means benefit, favor or gift. It is from the word ‘grace’ that we get the word ‘gratitude’ or the sense of being grateful.

Note that grace alone does NOT save. Grace is both the extension of the gift and the gratitude of its recipient. To be grateful, one must first receive. While grace is extended to all mankind, not all mankind accepts it.

Not all mankind is grateful. Grace is extended to all, but salvation comes by faith. A simple concept, but many miss the big picture.

Let’s look at the next section of the verse, ‘And that not of yourselves’. What is not of ourselves? Grace? If it refers to grace, then the Lord has wasted words unnecessarily. Of course we can’t extend grace to ourselves! It is not only impossible, such an extension of grace would be meaningless. We haven’t the authority to save ourselves.

Read the verse again. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Since we already KNOW that grace ‘is not of ourselves’ that only leaves one other element that can be the ‘gift of God’ and that is saving faith.

So the Scriptures say that even the faith that saves us is a gift from God, and not something we conjure up as a result of our own works, ‘lest anyone should boast.’ This verse is the great equalizer of Christians.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)

We all come to the Cross the same way; recipients of God’s extension of grace, which we receive by a faith which is God-given. None of us has any reason to feel superior. If we are saved, it is because we were drawn of the Father to the Son.

“It is written in the Prophets, “And they shall all be taught of God.” Therefore everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:45)

Allow that to sink in. “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:16)

And again; “For many are called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

And again; “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

“Among whom are ye also the CALLED of Jesus Christ:” (Romans 1:6)

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the CALLED according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners encourages others to hope in His grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out.

It is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by His power. It was His purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of His will, and His Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our perseverance to holiness.

‘Holiness’ (Gk hagiasmos) means ‘purification’ which is a PROCESS, also accomplished by God through Jesus.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will PERFORM it UNTIL the day of Jesus Christ:” (Phillipians 1:6)

There are no Christians more deserving than others. Because you have not yet achieved the state of holiness others have does not mean you are less favored. We all come to the Cross equally lost, and we all came away equally saved.

Salvation is an eternal state for which each of us were chosen before the world began.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” Paul writes to Timothy, (2 Timothy 1:9)

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that CANNOT LIE, PROMISED before the world began. . .” (Titus 1:2)

We are eternally secure, because we are eternally saved, which was accomplished in the Mind of God when each of us was called — BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN!

Assessment:

Let’s bring it together. Nobody can come to Christ unless they are drawn by the Father, who provides us with both the extension of the offer of salvation and the faith necessary to receive it, a calling that was sealed in heaven before the world began, according to His purpose and grace.

Our salvation is immediate and eternal, but our purification is a process, which, having been begun in us at the moment of salvation, will be perform in us BY CHRIST until the day we stand before Him. Lest anyone should boast.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:23-24)

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Legalism runs counter to the clear teaching of Scripture. This is a very difficult doctrine to both teach and understand. It sounds like a license to sin. It is not.

It is an understanding that our relationship to Christ is unique — that God knows our hearts, and has already judged us accordingly. So that sin cannot reign supreme in our mortal body and thereby render us useless to our calling.

The most effective weapon we have in our war with the enemy is the knowledge that he cannot take away our salvation. There is never a time when we are unworthy to tell others of Jesus Christ.

Paul tells us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong IN THE LORD, and in the power of HIS might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)

Paul says we put on the ‘armor of God’ in a specific order. The certainty of the truth of Scripture, the breastplace of righteousness (imputed by Christ) the knowledge of the Gospel and the shield of faith. Our heads are protected by the ‘helmet of salvation’ – the certainty of our eternal salvation. These are all DEFENSIVE weapons.

Having secured our defense, we then take up our only offensive weapon, the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

If the enemy can convince us of our own personal unrighteousness (of which each of us is acutely aware) or cause us to doubt the truth of Scripture or of our faith (which is a gift from God, lest anyone should boast) or cause us to doubt our own salvation, then we will not be able to effectively wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

God chose each of us, and His plan is to use us to seek out those similarly chosen and introduce them to their Savior. That is our assignment on this earth. THAT is our ‘calling.’ To spread the Gospel.

That isn’t Calvinism — Calvinism teaches that because the Church was predestinated, we are under no obligation to lead people to Christ — God has already chosen them so He’ll sort it out.

There is a joke about the Calvinist who fell down the stairs, and remarked, “Thank God that’s over.”

Instead, the Scriptures teach that God foreknew who would be saved, therefore it is predestined. But God also knew who He selected to carry the Word to that person. And the enemy will work overtime to thwart God’s will by convincing us we are not worthy to carry it.

As Christians, we have an awesome responsibility before God. We have been assigned to seek out the lost and offer them the Gospel. To accomplish our mission, we need to be fully equipped for the task.

That is what eternal security is all about. Not a license to sin, but rather a certain knowledge that our sin is forgiven.

Jesus said of His sheep (the Church) “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

“Give” (Gk didōmi) means ‘to bestow’. It is a present-tense verb. The Scripture does NOT say, “I WILL give them eternal life,” it says it has already been bestowed upon us.

Jesus said that no man can pluck His sheep from His Hand. I am a man. If I can sin my way out of His gift of eternal life, it is neither eternal, nor is it a gift. It then becomes wages, dependent upon my works.

But the Scriptures say; “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

And since I, a man, can, by my works, undo His Word, it means His Word is not true.

Our works are the ‘fruits’ of our labor for Christ. Our labor is to lead others to Christ.

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” (1 Corinthians 3:10)

Our foundation is our salvation, but our obligation is to build upon that foundation by leading others to the Cornerstone of Life. But our individual salvation is already an accomplished fact.

When we stand before the Bema Seat of Christ, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)

The mission of the Omega Letter is to provide each one of us with the information necessary to equip us for the work of one on one evangelism.

Henry Ford once said, “I’d rather have one percent of the work of a hundred men, than 100% of the work of one man.” Ford was the father of mass production. In the time it takes for one man to build a single car, a hundred men can build a thousand cars.

Don’t let the enemy render you powerless. You ARE worthy, not because you are you, but because of Him Who made you worthy according to His will and by His own Hand.

“Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 19, 2006.

JesusLand, Gun Control and the Coming Prince

JesusLand, Gun Control and the Coming Prince
Vol: 23 Issue: 17 Friday, June 17, 2016

”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (US Constitution, 2nd Amendment, ratified December 15th, 1791)

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is apparently written in language so mysterious and sublime that it means something different to everybody who reads it.

Evidently, it also changes meaning as the clock ticks forward, since it continues to be interpreted and re-interpreted as if there were an ongoing contest for the most original interpretation of a sentence that, to the ignorant and uninitiated masses, seems to make perfect sense just the way it reads on the surface.

For about the first two hundred years of the Republic, the 2nd Amendment meant American citizens had a Constitutional right to keep and to bear arms.

And, for about the first two hundred years of the Republic, the 2nd Amendment functioned as it was intended.  It kept the government at bay.

Originally, the Constitution was approved without a Bill of Rights, then sent to the states for ratification.  The states felt the Constitution, as written, failed to give enough protection to individual rights that they wanted specifically protected by amendment.

Among the rights the states sought to enshrine as Constitutionally-protected were the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to keep and bear arms.

The intent of the Bill of Rights was to protect individuals from government powers.  They were meant as a guarantee to the individual state governments as well as the American citizens that the Federal government would not try to take away the freedoms which many of them had so recently fought for.

Richard Henry Lee, the Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, noted at the time that,

“to preserve Liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”

James Madison said in the Federalist Papers that the 2nd Amendment preserves,

“the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Noah Webster observed that,

“before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”

Patrick Henry argued that the power to resist oppression rested entirely on the right to bear arms, saying,

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.”

It would seem, as I noted at the outset, that the 2nd Amendment was intended to mean pretty much what it says.  Indeed, our country was born when a group of colonists rose up in arms against British rule.

Guns empower the masses: they are the last line of defense for a citizenry confronted with an evil government.

The regimes of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s U.S.S.R. recognized this principle and seized all weapons, precluding any effectual resistance to their tyranny.  One need only read the newspapers in New York and Los Angeles to realize that even the innocent have cause to fear the police.

Communities around the country are justifiably hesitant to relinquish their weapons and be at the mercy of local law enforcement.  Law enforcement, by definition, is powerless to act until AFTER a crime has been committed.  Police can’t protect individuals, they can only prosecute after the fact.

(Which, in the case of murder, is of little consolation to the victim)

In countries like Canada and England that have imposed what amounts to a ban on private ownership of weapons, citizens are most vulnerable in their own homes.

Home invasions (burglaries) became the crime of choice among criminals who became the embodiment of the slogan, ‘when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.’

A 1998 study by the US Department of Justice found that there were 40 percent more muggings in England, and burglary rates were almost 100 percent higher than in the United States.

And, counter-intuitively, rates of crimes using handguns is on the rise.  In 1999-2000, crimes using handguns were at a seven year high.

Apparently, criminals were easily able to access guns, but law enforcement officers and law-abiding citizens were not allowed.  (When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns, remember?)

In America, burglars aren’t sure if homeowners are armed or not, but the odds favor there being at least one gun in the house.  So they avoid burglarizing occupied homes.  Only thirteen percent of US burglaries are against occupied homes.

In Canada, the overall burglary rate is higher than the American one, and a Canadian burglary is four times more likely to take place when the victims are home.

In Toronto, forty-four percent of burglaries were against occupied homes, and twenty-one percent involved a confrontation with the victim.

Most Canadian residential burglaries occur at night, while American burglars are known to prefer daytime entry to reduce the risk of an armed confrontation.

A 1982 British survey found fifty-nine percent of attempted burglaries in the UK involved an occupied home, prompting the Wall Street Journal to report that;

“Compared with London, New York is downright safe in one category: burglary.  In London, where many homes have been burglarized half a dozen times, and where psychologists specialize in treating children traumatized by such thefts, the rate is nearly twice as high as in the Big Apple.  And burglars here increasingly prefer striking when occupants are home, since alarms and locks tend to be disengaged and intruders have little to fear from unarmed residents.” ( WSJ, Apr. 19, 1994, page A1)

The London Sunday Times, pointing to Britain’s soaring burglary rate, calls Britain “a nation of thieves.”

In the Netherlands, forty-eight percent of residential burglaries involved an occupied home.

In the Republic of Ireland, criminologists report that burglars have little reluctance about attacking an occupied residence.

In America, burglars are reluctant to invade an occupied home because they might get shot.  One out of every 31 burglars gets shot.  That is about the equal to the burglar’s odds of being sent to prison.

Assuming that the threat of prison is a deterrent to burglary, as in Canada or Britain, it seems reasonable to conclude that the equally large risk of being shot provides an equally large deterrent.

In other words, private individuals with firearms in their homes double the deterrent effect that would exist if government-imposed punishment were the only deterrent.

On the other hand, Switzerland has few restrictions on who can own or carry a firearm.

As a consequence, Switzerland has some of the lowest crime rates in the world, despite very high levels of gun ownership.  Also, despite being sandwiched between two aggressive powers during World War II, the country remained untouched, largely due to the heavy rates of private gun ownership.

Hitler and Mussolini knew that the heavily armed Swiss population would defend itself fiercely, (something they didn’t fear from the French, for example)

But these facts seem to be as lost to gun control advocates as is the clear meaning of the 2nd amendment.  To them, being at the mercy of invaders, either foreign or domestic, is a small price to pay to get guns off the streets.

Most gun control advocates point to the recent upsurge in gun violence by children as an example of why guns need to be controlled.

The fact is the upsurge in gun violence among corresponds with the various successes enjoyed by gun control advocates.  There were more guns in circulation in America in previous generations, but far fewer gun deaths.  (The first federal regulation of firearms in America wasn’t introduced until 1934.)

Previous generations of Americans grew up with guns.  They were familiar objects around the house, like a shovel or a wrench.  There was nothing mysterious about them.  Kids knew better than to play with them.

Assessment:

Gun control advocates argue that the 2nd Amendment gives the right to keep and bear arms to a well regulated MILITIA, and not to the ‘people’.  According to this interpretation, the 2nd Amendment gives the government the right to keep and bear arms via the National Guard.

The silliness of this argument is obvious to anybody but a liberal or an activist judge.  Why would the government give itself the right to bear arms by Constitutional amendment, since the Constitution already gives it the right to do so in order to ‘provide for the common defense’?

But that has been the prevailing legal opinion since the passage of the Brady Bill.  That the right to bear arms is granted to the government via a ‘well-regulated militia’ by the 2nd Amendment.

According to Title 10 of the United States Code:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

In other words, the ‘militia’ and ‘the people’ mean the same thing.

Among the various documents and action plans uncovered among the terrorist camps in Afghanistan was a plan for suicide operatives to simply walk up to someone’s door and shoot whoever answers.

Another called for terrorist operatives to set up sniper posts in American cities simultaneously and starting picking off victims.

Both tactics have been used by Palestinian terrorists against Israeli settlements, but were seldom successful, since all Israeli settlers are armed to the teeth.

The terror threat facing the homeland prompted a reexamination of the gun control debate by the DoJ. IN 2004 they released a 103 page Memorandumm Opinion For the Attorney General” issued in August by Assistant Attorneys General Steven G. Bradbury, Howard C. Nielson, Jr. and C. Kevin Marshall.

They studied the history of anti-gun legislation and anti-gun court cases and reached the following conclusion:

“Our examination of the original meaning of the Amendment provides extensive reasons to conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, and no persuasive basis for either the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views.”

The memorandum was titled; “Whether the 2nd Amendment Secures an Individual Right” and conspicuously put the conclusion in the subtitle; “The Second Amendment secures a right of individuals generally, not a right of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militias.”

When I queried Google using the keywords ‘2nd Amendment’, there were only nine stories relating to the DoJ memo.  Of them, only one was in the national media. The Washington Times carried the story under the headline, “Gun group urges 2nd Amendment observance”. (since removed)

Other than that, the media seems to have spiked the story.  To the liberal left, gun control is more than an issue, it is a matter of doctrine.

Gun control is a front for the advancement of the socialist agenda.  Giving in to the idea that guns are dangerous concedes to the notion that it is better to let some lowlife steal your property, rape your wife, and beat you half to death than it is to expedite his passage into the next world.

(Your property was all gained at his expense anyway, so in a moral sense, he’s entitled to it as much as you are.)

That is the core of the socialist doctrine.  And it is the dominant worldview of most of the industrialized world.

But that worldview is changing, it would seem, in the newly discovered country of ‘JesusLand’.  The world is marching in one direction, but Red State America is beginning to turn itself around and march the other way, dragging the Blue States along, kicking and screaming all the way.

As a consequence, Red State America is now the only obstacle in the path of the globalist social engineers who are unwittingly, but eagerly, preparing the way for the antichrist.

Paul says that the ‘mystery of iniquity’ is already at work, but that the Restrainer will continue to restrain, ‘until He be taken out of the way’ at the Rapture.

Without the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit working through the indwelt Church, the Blue State Americans left behind after the Rapture will be only too happy to turn back around, throw away their guns, and defenselessly march in lockstep with their socialist cousins — straight into the waiting arms of the Beast.

“And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His Mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 21, 2004. (Updated for 2016 readership)

Featured Commentary: Church in the Tribulation ~ Alf Cengia

Islam’s Split Personality

Islam’s Split Personality
Vol: 23 Issue: 16 Thursday, June 16, 2016

Since September 11, there has been a concerted effort to present a new and improved Islam to the world. The moderate Muslim activists in the West avoid referring to teachings that may offend the Western citizen, such as the Islamic code of punishment.

They stress that they believe in Moses and Jesus. They refrain from calling Jews and Christians “infidels”, “Zionists” or “Crusaders”.

They use the term “Sunday School” in place of “Friday Class”, and they end their speeches with the Christian expression “may God bless you”.

Islam has two streams of theological thought; those based on Mohammed’s sayings in Mecca and those penned from Medina. Both eventually were brought together in the Koran, but reflect two entirely different worldviews.

The Meccan view is the ‘universalist’ view that holds that Islam, Christianity and Judaism all worship the same Deity and that we are all “People of the Book.”

The Medina view is the warlike, conquering Islam that is reflected in the Koran by verses such as, “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” [Sura 5.51]

Historians agree that there is a big difference between Mohammed’s religious teachings from Mecca and his teachings after his migration to Medina.

In Mecca Mohammed was weak, struggling to be accepted, often mocked at and ridiculed. He tried to appeal to the people of Mecca by being compassionate and loving. His teachings condemned violence, injustice, neglect of the poor.

However, after he moved to Medina and his followers grew in strength and number, he became a relentless warrior, intent on spreading his religion by the sword.

This change in Mohammed’s personality becomes apparent by comparing the Meccan and the Medinan suras. The following are some additional examples:

In Sura 73:10 God tells Mohammed to be patient with his opponents “Be patient with what they say, and part from them courteously.”

In Sura 2:191 God orders him to kill his opponents “Kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from wherever they drove you out…”

In Sura 2:256 Allah tells Mohammed not to impose Islam by force “There is no compulsion in religion.”

In verse 193 God tells him to kill whoever rejects Islam “Fight (kill) them until there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s.”

In Sura 29:46 Allah tells Mohammed to speak nicely to people of the Book (Christians and Jews) “Argue with people of the Book, other then evil doers, only by means of what are better! and say, we believe in what has been sent down to us and sent down to you. Our God is the same as your God, and we are surrendered to him.”

Then in Sura 9:29 Allah tells him to fight the people of the Book, “Fight those who do not believe in God and the last day…and fight People of the Book, who do not accept the religion of truth (Islam) until they pay tribute by hand, being inferior.”

To justify this sudden change in the Koran’s mood from peaceful to militant, conciliatory to confrontational, Mohammed claimed that it was Allah who told him so.

History demonstrates that what actually happened was that Mohammed grew strong in Medina — strong enough to move from being conciliatory in his religious approach to jihad.

Those who claim to be moderate followers of Islam are those who follow the Meccan Mohammed. The militants follow the Mohammed of Medina. 

Islam teaches love, temperance and moderation. It’s easy enough to prove. Just read the Koran. However, since few ever will, the American face of moderate Islam will read it to you, as is evidently the case with the Bush administration.

But the same Koran teaches jihad, death and destruction out of the same pages, and while the American face of moderate Islam will never read those to you, the militant Islamist reads them every single day.

Verses like the following:

Men are superior to women (Sura 2:228).

Women have half the rights of men: in court witness (Sura 2:282) and in inheritance (Sura 4:11).

A man may punish his wife by beating her (Sura 4:34).

A man may marry up to four wives at the same time (Sura 4:3).

A wife is a sex object for her husband (Sura 2:223).

Muslims must fight until their opponents submit to Islam (Sura 9:29).

A Muslim must not take a Jew or a a Christian for a friend (Sura 5:51).

A Muslim apostate must be killed (Sura 9:12).

Stealing is punished by the amputation of the hands (Sura 5:38).

Adultery is punished by public flogging (Sura 24:2).

Resisting Islam is punished by death, crucifixion or the cutting off of the hands and feet (Sura 5:33).

Fate decides everyone’s eternal destination (Sura 17:13).

Every Muslim will pass through Hell (Sura 19:71).

Heaven in Islam is the place where a Muslim will be reclining, eating meats and delicious fruits, drinking exquisite wines, and engaging in sex with virgins (Sura 55:54- 56) & (Sura 52:17,19).

You might notice I didn’t include a lot of the ‘moderate’ verses ‘proving’ the Koran presents Islam as a religion of peace and love.

That isn’t because they aren’t there. But they are rendered meaningless by the verses that teach the opposite.

Islamic apologists point to the warlike nature of the Old Testament and the seeming contradiction presented by the Prince of Peace in the New Testament.

But the Koran isn’t two separate religions based on two separate Dispensations of God, clearly divided by 400 years of silence followed by the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the life of Jesus Christ.

One has to be an Islamic scholar to separate the Meccan verses from the Medinan verses to know whether Allah wants them to be friends with Christians and Jews or to crucify them.

It is that split personality within Islam that separates the moderates from the militants. We are told that the moderates are in the majority, but all the evidence seems to indicate the exact opposite.

In any case, there are approaching two billion Muslims in the world — that is two thousand million, to put it more descriptively. If even ten percent of Islam follows the Mohammed of Medina, that’s 100 million militant Muslims.

That’s a lot, no matter how you interpret it.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 18, 2006.

Featured Commentary: God Keep Our Land, Glorious and Free ~ J.L. Robb

The Question Nobody is Asking

The Question Nobody is Asking
Vol: 23 Issue: 15 Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Bible has, over the past two thousand years, been subjected to every form of criticism; textual criticism, archeological or historical criticism, criticism of its form, authorship, and content, but has survived every effort to find even a single, documentable, provable mistake in its pages.

The Bible is the #1 best-seller in history.  It has been translated into 2,123 languages and dialects.  Nine out of every ten Americans own a Bible.

There are plenty of folks who claim they’ve found mistakes in the Bible, but the simple fact is this.  If somebody actually found a verifiable, provable error contained in Scripture, they have yet to demonstrate it.

While there are clever and articulate Bible-haters who have dedicated their entire lives to disputing Scripture, not one of them has made it into the history books as the one who disproved the foundational text of Judeo-Christianity.

Instead, they generally find themselves on the list of folks who take the more difficult parts of Scripture that they don’t understand and call them ‘errors’.

And despite the Bible’s record for being 100% accurate in every area in which its accuracy can be measured, there is no shortage of folks willing to step up to the plate, put their reputations on the line, and announce that they, of all the skeptics that have lived in the past two thousand years, have discovered ‘evidence’ the Bible contains mistakes.

Entire organizations and groups have been created for the express purpose of disproving the accuracy of Scripture, from avowed atheists to ‘professing Christians’ like the self-appointed members of the ‘Jesus Seminar’ who vote on which quotes attributed to Jesus were actually spoken by Him.

As an example, the Jesus Seminar’s theologians once considered Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer and concluded that the only words of that prayer actually spoken by Jesus were ‘Our Father’.  (They say the rest was added later.)

Christians are used to seeing the world twist and pervert the Bible, deny its Authorship, question its teachings and condemn it as ‘hate literature.’  There are entire collegiate-level curriculums exclusively devoted to Biblical criticism.

Even the phrase, ‘Biblical criticism’ refers to anyone who takes a position, pro or con, on the accuracy of Scripture.  Although almost 90% of Americans identify themselves as ‘Christian,’ Bible critics are among America’s most respected thinkers.

Critics of the Koran are among America’s loneliest.

Assessment:

Ever notice that other religious books, like the Hindu Upanishads, the writings of Buddha or Zoroaster, and, most particularly, the Koran, are never subjected to a scholarly analysis of their historical or textual accuracy?

Well, maybe ‘never’ is a strong word, but I can’t think of any famous Koran critics.

The Angel Gabriel is said to have told Mohammed: “This book is not to be questioned.” That is an article of faith among Muslims — subjecting the Koran to the same kind of textual criticism given the Bible would be suicide for a Muslim.

Questioning the Koran isn’t a popular enterprise among non-Muslims, either. It’s a great way to wake up one morning to discover you are dead.

The Arab scholar, Suliman Bashear, argued that Islam developed over time as a religion rather than emerging suddenly.  His students in the University of Nablus threw him out the window as a result.

Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” resulted in a fatwa because it was thought to mock Mohammed.  Islamic scholar Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed because his works were said to be ‘irreligious.’

One scholar of Semitic languages, writing under the pseudo-name Christopher Luxenberg, published a criticism of the Koran in which he claims the text is both mistranslated and misread.

His work involving the analysis of the earliest copies of the Koran led him to the conclusion that parts of the Koran came from preexisting Aramaic texts.  These, he says, were misinterpreted by later Islamic scholars who composed the Koran as it is circulated today.

The classic example of this relates to the virgins supposedly awaiting loyal Muslim martyrs. Rather than ‘virgins,’ Luxenberg observes that in the original text, the Koran actually promises “white raisins” of crystal clarity.

This, one would think, would be a verse carefully scrutinized by Islamists.  Especially those Islamofascists planning to blow themselves up.  Who would want to commit suicide in exchange for a box of transparent raisins?

Those Semitic scholars who dare to voice an opinion are unanimous in their contention that there is no historical evidence of the existence of the Koran prior to 691 AD, about sixty years after Mohammed’s death. Much of what is known of Mohammed is based on texts that were written 300 years after his death.

John Wansbrough of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London says the text of the Koran now used appears to have been a composite of different texts complied over perhaps hundreds of years.  It appears to academicians to have continued to evolve until the end of the seventh century.

There are three schools of thought about who actually wrote the Koran and how it was assembled.  The first school of thought maintains Mohammed wrote the Koran.  The second says the Koran was simply assembled from notes left behind after the prophet’s death.

(It is a matter of accepted historical fact that Mohammed was illiterate. Illiterate men don’t leave behind notes so copious that, assembled together, they could form a six hundred page book.)

The third school of thought maintains that Mohammed dictated the Koran to a trusted [unknown] aide who faithfully transcribed the words of the prophet.

The Koran itself is more accurately an Arab commentary on the Bible, of which the Koran claims to be the final testament.

However, the Koran contradicts both the Old and New Testaments in both spirit and substance.  So Islam claims that the original Bible was changed by the Jews.

A complete copy of the Book of Isaiah was unearthed in 1948 at Qumran as part of the larger collection known as the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’.  Although the exact age of the document is unknown, what is unquestionable is the fact it lay hidden (and untampered with) since at least AD 70 — five hundred years before Mohammed.

The Isaiah Scroll is now on display at the ‘Dome of the Tablets’ in Israel.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  Scholars universally agree that the 2000 year old scroll is identical to the Book of Isaiah in a modern Bible.

Christianity welcomes, even invites textual criticism of the Scriptures.  Each effort merely serves to confirm the Bible’s Divine Authorship.  And, logically speaking, who would want to trust their eternity to a God Who might not be real?  (If the Bible wasn’t true, I know that I’d want to know about it).

But examining the Koran for accuracy and textual consistency is not just unpopular, it is dangerous to the point of being deadly.

If it is true, then what is there to fear?

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on June 12, 2012.

The Culture of Death

The Culture of Death
Vol: 23 Issue: 14 Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Much has been written regarding the true nature of Islam, especially since 9/11. Until the attacks, most Americans knew little or nothing about it and what they did know was probably incorrect.

One of the major failings of the Bush administration has been to minimize Islam’s role in the war against terror, repeating the mantra that “Islam is a religion of peace hijacked by a few murderers” instead of investigating its core teachings first.

Before a gathering of ambassadors in the East Room on the 1st anniversary of the Iraq War, Bush noted; “On a tape claiming responsibility for the atrocities in Madrid, a man is heard to say, ‘We choose death, while you choose life’.”

But not once in the speech did he mention the reason for the terror. The reason is Islam itself. It is Islam that requires all faithful Muslims to conquer the world for Islam, either by voluntary conversion or submission under the sword.

Islam is first of all at war with itself, and secondarily with the rest of the world.

Within Islam are two major sects, the Sunnis and the Shia. Sunnis claim Islam descended directly from Mohammed, while the Shia say the true succession of Islam came through Ali, married to the prophet’s daughter, Fatima.

The eight-year-war between Iran and Iraq during the 1980’s was essentially a war between Sunni Islam and the Shia Republic of Iran. When US forces got inside Iraq, they found hundreds of mass graves containing the bodies of tens of thousands of Shi’ite Iraqis murdered by Saddam’s Sunni-dominated military.

Judaism, and by extension, Christianity, claim their spiritual heritage is descended from Abraham, through the line of Isaac and Jacob.

Islam claims its heritage through Abraham’s elder son, Ishmael. Of Ishmael, Genesis 16:12 tells us, “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

Islam is a religion born out of blood and the sword, not peace. The secular Muslim scholar Ibn Warraq, author of ‘Why I Am Not a Muslim’ and ‘The Quest for the Historical Muhammed’, points out that, from the approved holy books on the life of Mohammed that the prophet and his band of followers participated in 80 political assassinations in their consolidation of power.

During the 8th century, Islam conquered a wide swath of territory from the Arabian Peninsula all the way to the Iberian Peninsula, which it called “Andalusia.” Today, it is called ‘Spain’.

To Muslims this entire area is called “Dar al Islam” which means, the Zone of Submission. It is a received doctrine of the Koran that no part of the Dar al-Islam ever can be ceded permanently to the infidel. The Moors were kicked out of the Andalusian caliphate in 1493 by the Spanish Reconquest. But Islam has a long memory.

On Oct. 7, 2001, the day the United States began bombing Afghanistan, bin Laden appeared in a videotape, stating, “Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of al-Andalus would be repeated.”

While areas conquered by Islam are known as Dar al Islam, areas unconquered by Islam also have an Islamic religious name; “Dar al-Harb” or, the Zone of War. Islam demands an armed struggle to bring the rest of the world under the Dar al Islam, offering conversion or the sword. That is a basic principle of the ‘religion of peace’.

We get our word ‘assassin’ from a twelve century Islamic forerunner of Osama bin-Laden named Hasan-i Sabbah. His terrorist group was called ‘the Ismalis’ and al-Qaeda’s secret society was modeled on i-Sabbah’s.

Called the “Old Man in the Mountain” he attracted hundreds of young men by offering training in religious doctrine, devotional discipline and terrorism. i-Sabba singled out for attack those rulers he judged to have been corrupted by power and luxury or who, in his view, were insufficiently dedicated to the principles of Islam.

His followers would steal into palaces in the dead of night and slit the throats of their victims, knowing they would be caught and killed. This disadvantage was offset by a carefully taught theological conviction that, when slain, they would be rewarded instantly with the joys of paradise. These terrorists were called assassins, the Hashishiyyin, because they used hashhish to bolster their courage.

According to accounts brought back by the Crusaders, the Old Man in the Mountain had such control over his followers that he would amuse and terrorize visitors to his castle by ordering a few of his young men to jump off a cliff to demonstrate that they would obey his slightest whim.

Islam is first and foremost, a culture of death. Attorney General John Ashcroft once famously observed that, “Islam is a religion in which God expects your son to die for him. Christianity is a religion in which God sent His Son to die for you.”

Assessment:

The efforts by the Bush administration to separate Islam from terrorism is understandable, given that there are 1.9 billion Muslims in the world and we don’t want to have to fight all of them at once. I don’t for one second believe that Bush believes Islam, at its core, is a religion of peace.

He has advisors, among whom is presumably John Ashcroft, who clearly DOES understand Islam’s true nature.

Disconnecting Islam from terrorism is deemed by the administration to be a political necessity, but it is wrongly being applied to a wartime scenario. The Clinton administration did exactly the same thing, appeasing Islam to the degree that it invaded Serbia in 1999 to install an Islamist government in Kosovo. It treated terrorism as a law enforcement problem, instead of a military one. It didn’t bring peace, either to America or to Kosovo.

It is unlikely that the current administration’s efforts to pretend Islam is a religion of peace hijacked by a few terrorists will bring peace, either. While Crusader America is absent from the prophetic record, the Bible mentions Islam for the first time all the way back in Genesis.

And Daniel says of the antichrist that, while he (the antichrist) personally has no regard for any god himself, “in his estate shall he honour the god of forces: and a god WHOM HIS FATHERS KNEW NOT shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.” (Daniel 11:38, emphasis mine)

In his efforts to settle the ongoing conflict between the Arabs and Jews over Israel, Daniel says the antichrist will ally himself with the forces of Islam;

“Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall DIVIDE THE LAND FOR GAIN.” (Daniel 11:39)

Europe is already attempting to insinuate itself into the Arab-Israeli ‘peace process’ and its anti-Israeli bias is the subject of endless secular commentaries and analyses. Islam has a role to play in the last days, as does Europe. America does not.

It is hard to view the whole picture without feeling a bit like a purveyor of gloom and doom. It looks like the writing may truly be on the wall for America sometime within the next few years, both from the predictions of the Holy Writ, and from the headlines of the daily news.

But it is NOT ‘gloom and doom’ — it is proof positive that what appears to be chaos and terror from the perspective of the world, is actually a Divine Plan that has been in motion since Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Jacob. The fact the Plan is coming to fruition in our day means that the Lord of Hosts remains firmly in control of human events. The Bible painstakingly records the details of our current geopolitical world for a purpose.

So that, when we see these things beginning to come to pass, we can have assurance that the same God Who promised chaos and judgment to the world promised He would return for His Church.

“For this we say unto you BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:15-17)

What terrifies the world, is, for the Church, the Promise of the Blessed Hope.

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on March 30, 2004.

Featured Commentary: Secrets of the Third Commandment ~ Wendy Wippel

Secular Humanism and the ”Death” of God

Secular Humanism and the ”Death” of God
Vol: 23 Issue: 13 Monday, June 13, 2016

Secular Humanism is a religion — the Supreme Court says so. In 1947, Harold Rafton wrote the following definition of a secular humanist:

“I propose to meet the issue squarely…by fostering humanism, a rationalistic religion based on science, centered on man, rejecting supernaturalism but retaining our cherished moral values.” (“Released Time and Democracy” The Humanist Spring 1947 pg 294 cited in “Understanding the Times” David A. Noebel, Harvest House Publishers)

“The American Humanist Association “certifies humanist counselors who enjoy the same legal status as ordained priests, pastors and rabbis.”” (“Understanding the Times” David A. Noebel, Harvest House Publishers)

Humanism is not only accepted as a religion with full religious 501(c)(3) tax exemptions, but the Supreme Court upheld Daniel Seeger’s right to claim conscientious objector status exempting him from military service because of his religious beliefs. His ‘religious belief’ cited before the court was secular humanism.

Secular humanism is the only religious belief that can legally be taught in American schools. The slippery slope of Constitutional interpretation that reads ‘freedom of religion’ (a phrase not found anywhere in the US Constitution) as meaning ‘freedom from religion’ began with the case of McCollum v the Board of Education.

Humanist teachers recognize the potential for converts among the young and impressionable minds of students. They are careful to disguise their religious beliefs as ‘science’ teaching the ‘theory’ of evolution as ‘fact’ despite the total absence of any conclusive evidence to support it.

In 1948, the theory of evolution received two major boosts. The first was the introduction of the ‘Big Bang Theory’ that provided a pseudo-scientific explanation for the origin of the universe. Prior to the development of the so called ‘Big Bang’, evolutionists still had a major unexplained problem. Although they came up with explanations for the earth; (a spinning ball of magnetically charged particles that stuck together was one such;) and for life on earth (evolution or ‘natural selection’) there was still no explanation for where the universe itself came from — apart from an Intelligent Creator.

Still, there remained another problem. How to get this new ‘scientific’ information before the young impressionable students in American schools. Many students still believed in God, and often the school day began with a prayer to Him. Educators were faced with the problem of officially acknowledging a Creator at 9 am, then trashing Him for the rest of the school day.

The Supreme Court settled that issue in a decision entitled McCollum v. Board of Education, 1948, and further established it as a matter of law in the case of Zorach v. Clauson, 1952. They found in public schools a period of silence may be observed in which children may pray if they wish, but the schools may not conduct devotional exercises, compose prayers, read the Bible, or otherwise enter the field of religious instruction.

That was interpreted to mean acknowledging any Divine Hand in the creation of the Universe or its contents was “entering the field of religious instruction.”

It is interesting to note than in 1948, when God was still allowed to enter the classroom, the American students were among the best educated in the world. We now sit dead last. SAT scores fell so low the Supreme Court ruled the grading system “unconstitutional.” Students were ordered to be graded on a sliding curve.

The very next year, SAT scores skyrocketed! An educational miracle! On the other hand, American students rank #1 in self esteem! As David Barton put it in a lecture last year, “We may be stupid, but we feel good about it.”

Also, in 1948, the number one student problem cited by teachers was talking in class, closely followed by children chewing gum in class. Today, it’s guns in the classroom, followed closely by assault on teachers.

Evolution – A New Religion

The very word ‘theory’ means “An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture” but it is illegal in the United States to teach any other explanation dealing with the origins of life. Even the ‘abrupt appearance’ theory, without the mention of God is forbidden, despite the fact the abrupt appearance theory has far fewer flaws than does evolution.

For example, a belief in ‘scientific evolution’ requires a suspension of the provable, immutable natural law known as the “2nd Law of Thermodynamics.” The laws of thermodynamics can no more be repealed than can the law of gravity, yet our children are taught one has no bearing on the other.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics incorporates the law of ‘entropy’ — the measurable, systematic breakdown of all things into their component elements.

In other words, the fact everything ages, and everything breaks down with age. Even communications. The concept of entropy also plays an important part in the modern discipline of information theory, in which it denotes the tendency of communications to become confused by noise or static. The American mathematician Claude E. Shannon first used the term for this purpose in 1948.

Entropy is a natural law that can be observed, without scientific instruments or double-talk. A beautifully landscaped park, left untended, becomes an overgrowth of weeds. A new car left parked and untended gets rusty and falls apart. A baby becomes an old person and dies.

Everything decays, eventually. Even earth’s orbit around the sun has a measurable decay factor — yet evolution teaches that — with the addition of a billion or so years, the exact opposite happens! Evolution is a made-up explanation, constantly under revision, to explain the unexplainable — apart from the existence of God.

“When you see these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

The Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 9, 2004.

Featured Commentary: Why the Holy Spirit is the Restrainer ~ Pete Garcia

The Power of One

The Power of One
Vol: 23 Issue: 11 Saturday, June 11, 2016

”And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; or the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The purpose of the Omega Letter is slightly different than that of most website ministries, in that the main focus of our attention isn’t to attract the lost.

Instead we target those already saved by grace in an effort to provide them (you) with the tools you need to be more effective in your own evangelistic efforts. There isn’t a lot of milk in the contents of the Omega Letter — this is a diet for meat-eaters only.

Note the purpose of each of the offices of the early Church. Paul outlines the job of the Apostles to seed the Churches, prophets to announce its arrival, evangelists to take the fight to the enemy, and pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints.

All offices aim for the same ultimate objective, the edification of the Body of Christ. Webster’s defines ‘edification’ as follows:

(1) The act of edifying, or the state of being edified; a building up, especially in a moral or spiritual sense; moral, intellectual, or spiritual improvement; instruction. (source: brainyencylopedia.com)

There are certain members of the Body that are assigned to ‘capture new ground from the enemy’ — these are ‘evangelists’. They are good at leading people to Christ.

They can take the battle right up to the devil’s camp and set free the captives of darkness. They are the front line men of the Kingdom and their job is to capture the “gates of the enemy”.

Because they are fighting against spiritual powers, the evangelist is a man of power in the Holy Spirit. We are not fighting with flesh and blood, but against “principalities and powers” (Ephesians 6:12-13). The evangelist must know how to fight with Spiritual weapons from God.

The work of the evangelist includes showing others how to overcome the enemy. A part of his ministry is to convict the believers and move them to action in the battle for the souls of mankind.

The evangelist is the man of war in the Kingdom of God. The evangelist is one who is not afraid to associate with those who are in most need of the healing power of God.

Jesus said,

“They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:12-13)

The most powerful evangelists are not necessarily the Billy Graham’s of this world who lead massive world-wide crusades. Consider this: Billy Graham’s crusades have, according to the encyclopedia, reached live audiences of 210 million people in 185 countries. He has led hundreds of thousands of people to make personal decisions to accept Christ into their lives, this being the main thrust of his ministry.

Many of his sermons center on the topic “Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation”. He has often advised US presidents and continues to be listed as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World” in Gallup Polls. (source: brainyencylopedia.com)

There aren’t very many people in this world who haven’t at least HEARD of Billy Graham, even if they haven’t heard him preach. Now, imagine Billy Graham, standing before the Bema Seat, surrounded by the millions he led to Christ, as he accepts his reward. Wow!

BUT, who is Mordechai Ham? Most of us may not ever have heard of him, but he is a legend in heaven. Because standing in FRONT of Billy Graham is Mordechai Ham, the man who led Billy Graham — and by extension, Billy Graham’s millions — to Christ back in 1934.

Such is the power of one evangelist who is faithful to his calling. That power belongs to each of us who are faithful to the truth and prepared to share Christ with the skeptic.

That is why the Omega Letter touches on such a wide range of topics, like politics, social issuesand international affairs, instead of focusing exclusively on theology.

Each of us has, at one time or another, overheard someone, upon hearing of yet another murderous mother, homicidal husband or the latest wartime atrocity and exclaiming; “I don’t know what this world is coming to.”

We do. And it is our job to seize that opportunity as the Lord puts it before us. Many of you have been called to the ministry of the evangelist, whether you know it or not, or you would not be subscribers to the Omega Letter.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

It is the Power of One that can dispel the clouds of confusion that blind the eyes of the lost.

Jesus, the Great Physician and First Evangelist, outlined our mission for the last days in unmistakable terms, saying,

“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

We are the ‘watchmen on the wall’ for the last days, and it is incumbent upon us to be able to discern the truth and sound the alarm.

It is a grave responsibility —

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)

Every person we meet in the course of a day has an eternal destiny. Either that person will spend eternity in heaven in the presence of Christ, or they will be cast into a Christless eternity ‘where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ — “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,” a destiny so certain that Jesus repeated it three times (Mark 9:44,46,48).

It was the Power of One, manifested through Mordechai Ham, that resulted in the millions of decisions for Christ over the lifetime of Billy Graham’s ministry.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2nd Timothy 1:7)

We have that Power of One through the One Who indwells us. But it is up to us to exercise it.

Instead of praying that the Lord will send forth laborers to His Harvest, pray to be one of the laborers that are to be sent.

You may not be the next Billy Graham. Instead, you may be blessed to be the next Mordechai Ham.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on August 1, 2004.

Keeping The Faith

Keeping The Faith
Vol: 23 Issue: 10 Friday, June 10, 2016

Today’s Omega Letter isn’t for everybody.  If things are going fine in your Christian life, your faith is strong, and you are confident of your standing before God, then maybe you can skip this one.  You probably won’t relate to it anyway.

But if you sometimes lay awake at night wondering if maybe you really aren’t good enough to be saved, or maybe you’ve misunderstood something and maybe you really aren’t saved, then you might want to read on.

Faith is at once as simple as a recipe for boiling water and as complicated as a recipe for coq au vin.  It really depends on how many ingredients you think necessary.

For some, faith means, “Jesus said it, I believe it and that settles it.”  That pretty much sums up their Christianity. They don’t feel the need to examine their faith on a regular basis, or in some cases, at all.

I know of people who never go to church and never talk about Jesus and who live life pretty much the same as if they had never heard of Him. You wouldn’t know that they were Christians unless you brought the subject up.

But when the subject comes up, some seem to be more at peace with their salvation than many serious, mature and dedicated Christians that are constantly worried about losing their salvation.

Do you not know people like that?  Are they really saved?  They think they are.  Although a lot of Christians I know would say they are not.

Conversely, I know many mature, well-studied, serious and dedicated Christians that are constantly reexamining their faith and never completely sure if it measures up.  For them, faith is a deeply complicated subject that involves all kinds of additional steps and supportmechanisms.

Do you not know people like that, too?

The writer of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1

When you go to work on Monday, it is because you expect a paycheck on Friday.  The paycheck is the substance of things hoped for, and the fact you show up on the job is the evidence that you’re expecting to be paid.

If you didn’t have faith that there’d be a payday, then your lack of faith would be evident when you didn’t show up.  

This is where faith and works get confused. You don’t go to the job in order to have faith in your boss.  You go to the job BECAUSE you have faith in your boss.  

That is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote; “The just shall live by faith.”  They don’t live by faith because they are just.  They are just because they live by faith.  It is faith that justifies. 

But faith in what?

Assessment:

 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

Have you ever wondered if you were losing your faith? (If not, then why are you still here? Itold you this one isn’t for you.)

The first question to be asked and answered is so simple as to often be ignored.  Where did you put it?

Is your faith in your ability to keep the Word?  If so, then your faith is in yourself – no wonder you waver so much.

Is it in your pastor or Bible teacher? That’s a pretty dangerous place to put it, since he is, by definition, a prime target on the enemy hit list. 

You would be surprised how many prominent Christian leaders suffer faith crises – especially the ones that seem to have it the most together.The more prominent or effective the teacher, the more intensely the enemy focuses his attack. 

Look at how many prominent men of faith have fallen — and fallen hard — from Jimmy Swaggart to Ted Haggard. Are they lost now?  Were they ever really saved?  

Think of how that affected their followers: Was I following a false doctrine?  Am I now?  

Paul says that a man is “justified by faith.”  What does that mean?  Faith in Jesus?  What doesthat mean?  Does faith mean simply believing that He lived and died and was resurrected on the third day? 

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

So clearly, faith isn’t the same as simply believing.  Satan believes

If your faith is in the indwelling Holy Spirit to keep you from sin, then what does it mean when you do sin? (for you certainly will.)   Is the Holy Spirit faithless?  Or are you?  If you are faithless, then how can you be saved? 

If your faith is in Jesus Christ’s Promise that “him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” well, that sounds too easy to be true sometimes, doesn’t it? Especially when there are so many others all around you that don’t seem to have the same struggles that you do.  

That by itself is enough to cause a major faith crisis.  Here you are, struggling through, knowing how many times you fall in the course of a single day, while other Christians seem to have it nailed. 

I’m not going to soothe you by telling you that you’re doing it right.  Or that you can’t do better.  Or that you shouldn’t do better. Because you likely aren’t, probably can, and certainly should.

But if your faith is in your ability to perform, then no wonder you question it.  That is why salvation is by faith that, by the grace of God, Jesus did it all — because you can’t do any of it.  

Salvation is about having faith that you can trust the promises of God. Faith that He will perform them, not faith that you will.   

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

Those are both pretty much unambiguous, black-and-white statements.  How much faith must one have to be saved? How faithful must one be to stay saved? Jesus said faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountains. 

Can you move mountains?

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on March 26, 2011.

Featured Commentary: Coexistence and the Gospel ~ Alf Cengia

Never Again — Until Next Time

Never Again — Until Next Time
Vol: 23 Issue: 9 Thursday, June 9, 2016

History records the main reason that the Jews decided, after almost two millennia after being exiled, that the continued survival of the Jewish race required their return to their ancestral homeland.

Israel’s Founding Fathers summed the reason up in two words: “Never again!”

“Never again!” is so indelibly linked to the Holocaust and the attempted destruction of the Jewish people that the phrase has become a synonym for unimpeded genocide.

It was the slogan of Kofi Annan’s observance of the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, during which the ruling Rwanda Hutu tribe set out to exterminate their traditional enemies, the Tutsi tribe.

When the bloodletting was finally exhausted, almost a million Tutsis had been slaughtered, in full view of the United Nations.

At the time, Kofi Annan was the head of UN peacekeeping operations, including the one in Rwanda that he ordered out of the country — after ten Belgian peacekeepers were killed in an attack.

According to a 1998 article in the New Yorker magazine, Kofi Annan was told by the commander of peacekeeping forces in Rwanda of a plan by the then-government of Rwanda to exterminate the Tutsis, some three months BEFORE the slaughter began.

After the deaths of the Belgian peacekeepers, the magazine reported that Annan gave orders not to intervene.  Full details of the commander’s cable were reportedly forwarded to the American, French and Belgian ambassadors in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, the day after the report was sent to New York.

On the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan slaughter, Kofi Annan, then-UN Secretary-General, designated April 7 as the “International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.” Kofi urged the world to set aside a ‘moment of silence’ so that “such a tragedy can never happen again.”

At the time of Kofi’s ‘never again speech’ in 2004, at least THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND people had already been butchered at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Sudan’s Janjaweed Militia while the world did nothing.

In 2005, after almost a half-millon deaths, the UN finally brokered a deal that separated the Islamic north from the mainly Christian south.  More than two MILLION people have been slaughtered since. And the slaughter continues.

That is what ‘never again’ means to the world community.  It means ‘never again’ — until next time, after which the UN will dedicate an ‘annual’ moment of silence and reflection that will be observed exactly once.

Assessment:

Israel was founded also on the ‘never again’ principle, which means something different to Israelis than it does to the rest of the world.

For two millennia, Jews were systematically rounded up and slaughtered in regional pogroms — but it wasn’t until the rise of Adolf Hitler that the wholesale slaughter of Jews threatened to wipe them from the face of the earth.

The Jews who survived the world’s acquiescence to their slaughter declared that ‘never again’ would they trust the world community to ensure their survival.

Adolf Hitler had clearly and unambiguously outlined his planned extermination of the Jewish people some twenty years before in his political manifesto, “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”).  And, while part of the world sat idly by (and the rest helped) Hitler imposed his ‘Final Solution to the Question of the Jewish People’ on almost six million of them.

THAT is what ‘never again’ means.  Israel’s foundational principle is that it would never again entrust its survival to global good will.

Israel’s establishment as a Jewish State was an indictment to the world community that let the Holocaust happen, despite Hitler’s having made his intentions perfectly clear — and that it would never happen again because Israel wouldn’t let it.

The establishment of Israel prevented the wholesale slaughter of Jews under the principle of collective security, but ‘collective’ has become a two-edged sword.

Jews were slaughtered indiscriminately throughout history, but the Jewish people survived, mainly because they were scattered throughout the world.

The Diaspora that ended the existence of the Jewish state in AD 70 also prevented the concentration of Jews in one place where they could be annihilated.

Israel’s re-establishment in 1948 brought them all back into one place at precisely the moment in history when it is possible to annihilate the tiny Jewish state in a single, blinding, nuclear flash.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously observed during the Yom Kippur War that, “the Arabs can fight, and lose, and return to fight another day. Israel can only lose once.”

In 1973, it was a rallying cry. Hitler’s successors see it as a battle strategy.

Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani outlined it recently, telling the world that, “the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.”

Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made it clear that his goal is the annihilation of Israel, an event that he described as Israel ‘being eliminated by one storm’.

Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani made global headlines with his declaration:

“We have announced that wherever [in Iran] America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel.”

Noted Charles Krauthammer,

“The logic is impeccable, the intention clear: A nuclear attack would effectively destroy tiny Israel, while any retaliation launched by a dying Israel would have no major effect on an Islamic civilization of a billion people stretching from Mauritania to Indonesia.”

When viewed through the prism of Bible prophecy, things continue to develop precisely as outlined some twenty-five hundred years ago — without deviating one iota from the original script.

We find Russia, Iran and the Islamic world on one side; Israel (and the ‘Christian Crusaders’) on the other.  The United Nations has already established a precedent for sitting on its hands in the face of slow, systematic, genocide. Iran is talking about genocide in ‘one storm’.  Iran’s goal is the destruction of Israel.

“Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal . . . Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them . . . Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. . . ” (Ezekiel 38:2,3,5)

“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (38:13)

“And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (Ezekiel 38:22)

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

Note: Today’s OL is an update of a column first published in 2004.  I’ve managed to damage my shoulder somehow and found it exceptionally difficult this morning to type with my arm in a sling.  About the best I could manage was an update. 

But what I find interesting about the situation is that if I hadn’t mentioned that this column was seven years old, I don’t think you’d be able to tell.

I believe the reason for that is found in 2 Peter 3:9 where Peter reminds us that the Lord hasn’t forgotten His Promise, but is instead waiting until the very last person has a chance to accept or reject the Gospel before coming for His Church.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

I believe that we are in something of a “holding pattern” until the Lord has given everybody their chance — and the fact this column is still relevant seven years after the fact supports that contention.  We’re still holding now.

The Lord is not “slack” — He isn’t late.  We Christians often ask, “How long, Lord?” — but the answer (and the solution) is right before us. 

Q.  How long, Lord?  A. Until everybody has heard the Gospel.

Whose job is that?

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 5, 2006.

Featured Commentary: Why Does Islam Deride Christians and Jews? ~ J.L. Robb

Grace and Guilt

Grace and Guilt
Vol: 23 Issue: 8 Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Grace is one of those Divine topics that is so deep and wide and endless that there can never be enough said about it.  It is so complex in its simplicity that a full understanding of it probably cannot be had this side of heaven.

Grace is easier to define by what it is not than by what it is.  Grace is not mercy or love.  In Ephesians 2:4-6 three doctrines are outlined in their individual and specific understandings; grace, mercy, and love. 

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

God is rich in mercy.  He loves us with great love.  But we are not saved by mercy or love.  One can extend mercy without extending grace. 

We are not saved by His love.  If we know anything from Scripture about man’s relationship with God, it is this: God loves all sinners.  Not all sinners are or will be saved.

Addressing mercy first, one could define Divine mercy as God’s compassion, which moved Him to provide a Savior in the first place.  If God could save a single soul on the basis of His mercy alone, then every soul could be saved on that basis.   In that case, Christ’s death was unnecessary.

As for God’s love, it is reflective of God’s infinite character. It is the motivating purpose behind all that God does on man’s behalf.  The Bible says that there is joy in heaven at the salvation of one sinner.

But God’s infinite character is that of holy and righteous love and since sin is an offense before Him, God cannot save a soul without first making a way to satisfy the claims that Divine righteousness makes against the sinner.

One of the dumber arguments often used by atheists to question the existence of God is the question of God’s omnipotence.  “If God can do anything, can He make a rock so big He can’t lift it?”  It is a stupid question but you’d be surprised how many people actually try to answer it. 

The atheist is trying to get the believer to admit that there are some things that even God can’t do. 

But the fact is, there are things that even God can’t do.  God cannot sin.  God cannot compromise justice.  God cannot abandon His holy nature.  And so, until Divine justice is satisfied, God’s infinite love cannot realize its desire.

Mercy and love are what grace are not.  Grace is what God is free to do on behalf of the lost after Christ satisfied the judicial requirements by paying the penalty for sin.

Although the holy demands of justice were satisfied by the sacrificial execution of Christ, the love of God can never be satisfied until He has done all that He can for the one that accepts Christ’s judgment on their behalf.

What is the greatest thing that God could do for you, a sinner?  How about elevating you to be conformed to the image of the Son of God?

Love and mercy represent the whys of salvation, but not the how.  

Since grace only represents what God can and will do for those who trust in His Savior, it must function independently of all human effort or cooperation.  Grace demands nothing beyond confidence in God’s ability to save.

Grace provides the only mechanism whereby men can be saved God’s mercy and love are not enough. God’s mercy and love were every bit as much in operation before I was saved as after.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

This is the second most difficult part of the salvation process.   If I’ve been pardoned, why do I still feel guilty?   You can tell me I’m no longer guilty all day long, but I was with me. I know better.  And I’m not much at self-deception.

I was guilty of sin before I was saved.  Some of those sins haunt me still.  And if I remain on this earth, I will be guilty of sin again. 

The guilt is real.  I know it.  So does the enemy – it is one of his most effective weapons against believers.

“Maybe you’re saved by grace, but you’re guilty. You don’t deserve salvation.” 

What makes it so effective is that it is true. Sin is rebellion against God and His authority.  Jesus may have paid for my sins at Calvary, but He wasn’t guilty of them.  I was. 

The Divine disposition of guilt is one of the greatest triumphs of grace. Note that there are two aspects to the concept of ‘guilt’.

The first aspect is personal guilt.  Personal guilt is nothing more than the historical record of your sins.  You committed them alone.  That fact will never change.   Not here and now.  Not in the hereafter.

You are personally guilty.  God didn’t make you do it.  Satan didn’t make you do it. You alone are guilty.  Personal guilt is non-transferable.  That’s why you still feel guilty even though you know that you are saved.

The second aspect is that of judicial guilt.  This is guilt as an obligation to justice. Judicial guilt is transferable – one can be personally guilty but if someone else pays the penalty due, then the law has no further claim.

The Lord Jesus offered Himself as a substitute to bear the obligation demanded of the world by Divine justice.   We need only acknowledge and stand before God under the terms of His provision of grace.

It is by faith that I recognize my judicial guilt and by faith accept that my salvation is by grace, a gift of God and not of works, lest any should boast.

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, hisfaith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)

That is what our faith is in – not our ability to stay saved, but His ability to keep us — by His grace.

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
The Father He spake, and His will it was done;
Great price of my pardon, His own precious Son;
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Your sins ARE all pardoned.  Your guilt IS all gone.  It cannot work any other way.

Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 22, 2010