ENCOURAGEMENT TODAY, CONQUERING DOUBT PART 36




Your Lord Christ Jesus. 



PANDEMIC DISEASE 



IN ENGLISH AND SPANIH

JESUS SAVES


10/16/20


How can I have victory in overcoming sin?


Christians should all have overcoming sin as one of our goals. Although we will never be perfectly victorious over sin in this life (1 John 1:8), we must recognize that overcoming sin is part of the battle which is the Christian life. God has not left us to battle sin on our own, however. He has given us clear instructions and several resources to aid in the struggle.


The first resource, and the most important, is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, without whom victory over sin is impossible. Not only must we have the presence of the Spirit, but we must also be "filled" with the Spirit in order to overcome sin (Ephesians 5:18-21). We should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess us fully and, in that sense, fill us. Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 1:13-14 state that He dwells within every believer, but He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and His activity within us can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When we allow this to happen, we do not experience the fullness of the Spirit's working and His power in and through us. Therefore, the presence and the filling of the Holy Spirit are essential to overcoming sin.


Another resource God has given to us to overcome sin and live for Him is the Word of God, which is sufficient to equip us for every good work and to make us "complete" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If it is able to make us complete, that would include the power to have victory over sin. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is living and powerful, able to penetrate straight to our hearts to root out and overcome the deepest sins of heart and attitude. Psalm 119:9 (NIV) refers to the power of the Word: "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word." Joshua 1:8 further exhorts "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."


The Bible will help us to overcome sin, but not if it sits on the shelf until Sunday. We are to memorize it, meditate on it, or apply it to our lives. When it comes to the Word of God, we can't simply take in just enough to keep us alive spiritually. We must ingest enough of it to be healthy, thriving Christians, which involves feeding on it and meditating on its truths enough to derive its spiritual nutrition. The Bible is an essential and major part of the armor that God gives us to fight our spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:12-18). Without it, we have no hope of overcoming sin.


Prayer is the third crucial resource in our battle against sin. If Jesus had to pray diligently to prepare for the ordeal He was about to suffer, how much more do we who are weak and sinful have to rely on prayer to overcome temptation? In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus exhorted the disciples to "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Matthew 26:41). When they failed to heed His warning, they fell into the sin of fear and unbelief (Mark 14:50). God has given us wonderful promises concerning prayer (Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 18:1-8; John 6:23-27; 1 John 5:14-15), and Paul includes prayer in his passage on preparing for spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer acknowledges that we recognize our own limitations and God's inexhaustible power and it allows us to tap into that power as we "approach God's throne of grace with confidence" (Hebrews 4:16 NIV) with our petitions and supplications.


A fourth resource in our war to conquer sin is the fellowship of other believers, particularly in the local church. Overcoming sin with the help and encouragement of others in love and good works (Hebrews 10:24) is much easier than going it alone. James tells us to confess our faults to one another (James 5:16) and pray for one another because just as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). There is strength and comfort to be found among a body of believers whose hearts are inclined toward God and one another (Ecclesiastes 4:11-12).


Accountability partners who can come alongside a struggling brother and render help in overcoming stubborn sins is another resource provided by the local church. Temptation is part of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 10:13), but God has promised not to test us beyond our ability to bear it and having an accountability partner or an accountability group can help us to overcome even the most stubborn of sins.


Sometimes victory over sin comes quickly; other times, victory comes more slowly. God has not left us helpless in our battle against sin. He has promised that as we make use of His resources, He will progressively bring about change in our lives. We can persevere in our efforts to overcome sin because we know that "The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.- Psalm 145:13" 



¿Cómo puedo tener victoria para vencer el pecado?

Los cristianos deberíamos tener la superación del pecado como uno de nuestros objetivos. Aunque nunca seremos victoriosos sobre el pecado en esta vida (1 Juan 1:8), debemos reconocer que vencer el pecado es parte de la batalla que hay la vida cristiana. Sin embargo, Dios no nos ha dejado pelear contra el pecado por nuestra cuenta. Él nos ha dado instrucciones claras y varios recursos para ayudarnos en la lucha. 


El primer recurso, y el más importante, es la presencia del Espíritu Santo en nuestros corazones, sin los cuales la victoria sobre el pecado es imposible. No solo debemos tener la presencia del Espíritu, sino que también debemos estar "llenos" del Espíritu para vencer el pecado (Efesios 5:18-21). Deberíamos estar tan completamente entregados al Espíritu Santo que Él nos puede poseer plenamente y, en ese sentido, llenarnos. Romanos 8:9 y Efesios 1:13-14 declaran que Él habita dentro de cada creyente, pero que Él puede estar afligido (Efesios 4:30), y Su actividad dentro de nosotros puede ser apagada (1 Tesalonicenses 5:19). Cuando permitimos que esto suceda, no experimentamos la plenitud de la obra del Espíritu y su poder en nosotros y a través de nosotros. Por lo tanto, la presencia y la llenura del Espíritu Santo son esenciales para vencer el pecado. 


Otro recurso que Dios nos ha dado para vencer el pecado y vivir para Él es la Palabra de Dios, que es suficiente para equiparnos para cada buena obra y para hacernos "completos" (2 Timoteo 3:16-17). Si es capaz de hacernos completos, eso incluiría el poder de tener victoria sobre el pecado. Hebreos 4:12 nos dice que la Palabra de Dios es viviente y poderosa, capaz de penetrar directamente en nuestros corazones para erradicar y superar los pecados más profundos del corazón y la actitud. El Salmo 119:9 (NVI) se refiere al poder de la Palabra: "¿Cómo puede un joven permanecer en el camino de la pureza? Vivir de acuerdo con tu palabra". Josué 1:8 además exhorta "Nunca se apartará de tu boca este libro de la ley, sino que de día y de noche meditarás en él, para que guardes y hagas conforme a todo lo que en él está escrito; porque entonces harás prosperar tu camino, y todo te saldrá bien.” 


La Biblia nos ayudará a vencer el pecado, pero no si se queda en el estante hasta el domingo. Debemos memorizarla, meditarla y aplicarla a nuestras vidas. Cuando se trata de la Palabra de Dios, no podemos simplemente acoplarnos lo suficiente para mantenernos vivos espiritualmente. Debemos ingerir lo suficiente para ser cristianos sanos y prósperos, lo que implica alimentarse de ella y meditar en sus verdades lo suficiente como para derivar su nutrición espiritual. La Biblia es una parte esencial y mayor de la armadura que Dios nos da para pelear nuestras batallas espirituales (Efesios 6:12-18). Sin ella, no tenemos esperanza de vencer el pecado. 


La oración es el tercer recurso crucial en nuestra batalla contra el pecado. Si Jesús tuvo que orar diligentemente para prepararse para la prueba que estaba a punto de sufrir, ¿cuánto más nosotros, los débiles y pecadores, tenemos que confiar en la oración para vencer la tentación? En el Jardín de Getsemaní, Jesús exhortó a los discípulos a "Velar y orar para que no caigas en tentación" (Mateo 26:41). Cuando dejaron de prestar atención a su advertencia, cayeron en el pecado del temor y la incredulidad (Marcos 14:50). Dios nos ha dado promesas maravillosas con respecto a la oración (Mateo 7:7-11, Lucas 18:1-8, Juan 6:23-27, 1 Juan 5:14-15), y Pablo incluye la oración en su pasaje sobre la preparación para la batalla espiritual en la vida (Efesios 6:18). La oración reconoce que reconocemos nuestras propias limitaciones y el poder inagotable de Dios y nos permite aprovechar ese poder cuando nos "acercamos al trono de gracia de Dios con confianza" (Hebreos 4:16 NVI) con nuestras peticiones y súplicas. 


Un cuarto recurso en nuestra guerra para vencer el pecado es la comunión de otros creyentes, particularmente en la iglesia local. Vencer el pecado con la ayuda y el aliento de otros en el amor y las buenas obras (Hebreos 10:24) es mucho más fácil que hacerlo solo. Santiago nos dice que confesemos nuestros defectos el uno al otro (Santiago 5:16) y oremos unos por los otros porque así como el hierro se afila con hierro, un hombre agudiza a otro (Proverbios 27:17). Hay fuerza y consuelo que se encuentran entre un grupo de creyentes cuyos corazones están inclinados hacia Dios y hacia los demás (Eclesiastés 4:11-12). 


Los socios de rendición de cuentas que pueden acompañar a un hermano que lucha y ayudar a superar los pecados obstinados es otro recurso proporcionado por la iglesia local. La tentación es parte de la vida cristiana (1 Corintios 10:13), pero Dios ha prometido no ponernos a prueba más allá de nuestra capacidad para soportarlo y tener un compañero de responsabilidad o un grupo de responsabilidad puede ayudarnos a vencer incluso los pecados más obstinados. 


A veces la victoria sobre el pecado llega rápidamente; otras veces, la victoria llega más lentamente. Dios no nos ha dejado impotentes en nuestra batalla contra el pecado. Él ha prometido que a medida que hagamos uso de Sus recursos, Él progresivamente traerá el cambio en nuestras vidas. Podemos perseverar en nuestros esfuerzos para vencer el pecado porque sabemos que


“Fiel es el SEÑOR en todas sus palabras y bondadoso en todas sus obras. Salmos 145: 13 "




10/14/20


Are all sins equal?


The realm of sin and forgiveness is confusing because, although Scripture doesn't specifically say so, it implies that there are two different realms. One is the on/off, binary realm of salvation. The other is the more nuanced realm of relationship.


In regards to salvation, all sins are equal. James 2:10-11 explains, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.' If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law." Disobeying one part of the law puts us in a state of having transgressed the law. If we lie, we're not only guilty of lying, we're guilty of the law as a whole. Romans 6:23 explains that the appropriate punishment for sin—any sin—is death. This is an on/off, either/or situation. Either we are guilty of disobeying the law or we are not. Every single thought or action motivated by selfishness or greed or anger is as condemning as any other. Fortunately, Jesus forgives every sin (1 John 1:9).


God does distinguish between sins, however. When Moses saw the Israelites worshiping the golden calf, he declared, "You have sinned a great sin" (Exodus 32:30). And Jesus' reaction to the adulterous women He encountered (John 4:4-42; 8:1-11) was much different from how He interacted with the Pharisees (Matthew 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Luke 3:7). He explains this in Matthew 23:23-24: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!"


We can also see a distinction in how God allows us to experience the earthly and relational repercussions of our sin. The desire for a friend's car may drive a wedge in a relationship, but not as much as the theft of that car. An angry thought may be quickly forgotten while murder leaves much deeper wounds. God's acknowledgement of this is seen in the laws He gave the Israelites. Transgressions had different punishments depending on how badly they injured relationships and the stability of Israel as a society.


Every sin condemns us equally, but every sin does not hurt others equally. Fortunately, God is more powerful than any sin. He can always forgive, and He can always heal relationships—with Himself and others.



¿Son iguales todos los pecados?


El reino del pecado y el perdón es confuso porque, aunque las Escrituras no lo dicen específicamente, implica que hay dos reinos diferentes. Uno es el reino on / off, binario de la salvación. El otro es el ámbito de relación más matizado. 


En cuanto a la salvación, todos los pecados son iguales. Santiago 2:10-11 explica: "Porque cualquiera que guardare toda la ley, pero ofendiere en un punto, se hace culpable de todos. Porque el que dijo: No cometerás adulterio, también ha dicho: No matarás. Ahora bien, si no cometes adulterio, pero matas, ya te has hecho transgresor de la ley.” Desobedecer una parte de la ley nos pone en un estado de haber transgredido la ley. Si mentimos, no solo somos culpables de mentir, somos culpables de la ley en general. Romanos 6:23 explica que el castigo apropiado por el pecado, cualquier pecado, es la muerte. Esta es una situación de on / off. O somos culpables de desobedecer la ley o no lo somos. Cada pensamiento o acción motivada por el egoísmo, la avaricia o la ira es tan condenatorio como cualquier otro. Afortunadamente, Jesús perdona todo pecado (1 Juan 1:9). 


Dios sí distingue entre los pecados, sin embargo. Cuando Moisés vio que los israelitas adoraban al becerro de oro, declaró: "Vosotros habéis cometido un gran pecado" (Éxodo 32:30). Y la reacción de Jesús a las mujeres adúlteras que encontró (Juan 4:4-42; 8:1-11) fue muy diferente de cómo él interactuó con los fariseos (Mateo 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Lucas 3:7). Él lo explica en Mateo 23:23-24 !Ay de vosotros, escribas y fariseos, hipócritas! porque diezmáis la menta y el eneldo y el comino, y dejáis lo más importante de la ley: la justicia, la misericordia y la fe. Esto era necesario hacer, sin dejar de hacer aquello. !!Guías ciegos, que coláis el mosquito, y tragáis el camello! 


También podemos ver una distinción en cómo Dios nos permite experimentar las repercusiones terrenales y relacionales de nuestro pecado. El deseo por el automóvil de un amigo puede abrir una brecha en una relación, pero no tanto como el robo de ese automóvil. Un pensamiento enojado puede olvidarse rápidamente mientras el asesinato deja heridas mucho más profundas. El reconocimiento de Dios de esto se ve en las leyes que les dio a los israelitas. Las transgresiones tenían diferentes castigos según la gravedad de las relaciones dañadas y la estabilidad de Israel como sociedad. 


Cada pecado nos condena por igual, pero cada pecado no perjudica a los demás por igual. Afortunadamente, Dios es más poderoso que cualquier pecado. Él siempre puede perdonar, y Él siempre puede sanar las relaciones, con Él mismo y con los demás. 




10/11/20


How can I know what is a sin and what isn't?


The Bible is clear on a great many sins. Proverbs 6:16-19 mentions pride, lying, and murder, among others. Galatians 5:19-21 adds sexual immorality, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, and jealousy. And 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 includes stealing, swindling, and drunkenness. But there are many more circumstances that are not as clear. Part of maturing as a Christian is recognizing that the freedom we receive in Christ comes with a responsibility to live as Christ. We are not children to be given a list of do's and don'ts and gold stars and check marks. We are adults, or we are to become adults (Hebrews 5:11-14), who live in Christ, motivated by love for God and others.


Romans 14 is a key passage on this subject. It starts by saying that outside of the basics, people will have different opinions about right and wrong, and neither side should judge the other. God has placed each individual in specific circumstances which may endorse different standards. There are tribes in South America where shirtless women are not considered nude. But a woman who displays her armpits is because she is exposing hair that developed during puberty. Women in that culture keep their arms down while others of us would require a shirt, but both actions are expressions of godly modesty. Verse 4 explains we are judged by God, and should be gentle with each other.


A sure sign that something is a sin is if it is not personally edifying. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV), Paul says, "'I have the right to do anything,' you say—but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything'—but I will not be mastered by anything." He would not be "mastered"—that is, he would not allow a gray area to become more important than his relationship with God. John Wesley's mother put it this way: "Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things, in short if anything increases the authority and the power of the flesh over the spirit, that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself."


In Romans 14, Paul details how our actions may affect others. Verse 15: "For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died." In all things, not just eating, we should consider what will edify those around us. We should not destroy the work of God for trivialities (vs. 20), but value others more than our own desires (Romans 15:1).


Romans 14:8 states, "For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's." Living to the Lord means obeying His commandments to love Him and love others. We are to live our lives in a constant state of love, and that is what determines our actions when the road is less clear. Everything we do should be driven by faith (vs. 23)—conviction or firm persuasion. If we are not completely convicted about the act itself, we should be governed by something we are convicted of—God wants us to love Him and love others. If the act in question does not meet those criteria, it should not be done.



¿Cómo puedo saber qué es pecado y qué no?


La Biblia es clara en muchos pecados. Proverbios 6:16-19 menciona el orgullo, la mentira y el asesinato, entre otros. Gálatas 5:19-21 agrega inmoralidad sexual, idolatría, brujería, odio y celos. Y 1 Corintios 6:9-10 incluye el robo, la estafa y la embriaguez. Pero hay muchas más circunstancias que no están tan claras. Parte de madurar como cristiano es reconocer que la libertad que recibimos en Cristo viene con la responsabilidad de vivir como Cristo. No somos niños para recibir una lista de qué hacer y qué no hacer, estrellas de oro y marcas de verificación. Somos adultos, o vamos a ser adultos (Hebreos 5:11-14), que vivimos en Cristo, motivados por el amor a Dios y a los demás. 


Romanos 14 es un pasaje clave sobre este tema. Comienza diciendo que, aparte de lo básico, las personas tendrán diferentes opiniones sobre lo que está bien y lo que está mal, y ninguna de las partes debe juzgar a la otra. Dios ha colocado a cada individuo en circunstancias específicas que pueden respaldar diferentes estándares. Hay tribus en América del Sur donde las mujeres sin camisa no se consideran desnudas. Pero una mujer que muestra sus axilas es porque está exponiendo el cabello que se desarrolló durante la pubertad. Las mujeres en esa cultura bajan los brazos mientras que otras necesitan una camisa, pero ambas acciones son expresiones de modestia piadosa. El versículo 4 explica que somos juzgados por Dios, y debemos ser amables unos con otros. 


Una señal segura de que algo es un pecado es si no es personalmente edificante. En 1 Corintios 6:12 (NVI), Pablo dice: "Tengo derecho a hacer cualquier cosa", dices, pero no todo es beneficioso. Tengo derecho a hacer cualquier cosa, pero no seré dominado por cualquier cosa." Él no sería "dominado", es decir, no permitiría que un área gris sea más importante que su relación con Dios. La madre de John Wesley lo expresó de esta manera: "Lo que debilita tu razonamiento, deteriora la ternura de tu conciencia, oscurece tu sentido de Dios o te quita tu gusto por las cosas espirituales, en resumen, si algo aumenta la autoridad y el poder de la carne sobre el espíritu, que para ti se convierte en pecado, por bueno que sea en sí mismo”. 


En Romanos 14, Pablo detalla cómo nuestras acciones pueden afectar a otros. Verso 15: "Porque si a tu hermano le duele lo que comes, ya no andas en amor. Con lo que comes, no destruyas a aquel por quien Cristo murió". En todas las cosas, no solo comiendo, deberíamos considerar qué edificará a quienes nos rodean. No debemos destruir la obra de Dios por trivialidades (vs. 20), sino valorar a los demás más que nuestros propios deseos (Romanos 15:1). 


Romanos 14:8 declara, "Pues si vivimos, para el Señor vivimos; y si morimos, para el Señor morimos. Así pues, sea que vivamos, o que muramos, del Señor somos." Vivir para el Señor significa obedecer sus mandamientos para amarlo y amar a los demás. Debemos vivir nuestras vidas en un estado constante de amor, y eso es lo que determina nuestras acciones cuando el camino está menos claro. Todo lo que hacemos debe ser impulsado por la fe (vs. 23) -convicción o persuasión firme. Si no estamos completamente convencidos por el acto mismo, debemos ser gobernados por algo de lo que estemos convencidos: Dios quiere que lo amemos y amemos a los demás. Si el acto en cuestión no cumple con esos criterios, no debería hacerse. 



10/10/20


Does my private, personal sin affect others?


Many believe that their personal sin is okay as long as it doesn't harm anyone else. "It doesn't affect anyone else, so what's the problem?" But how do we know that our sins don't hurt someone else? Who measures the effect of one's sin on others? The excuse that "I'm the only one affected" is often an attempt to justify private practices that cause immeasurable harm to other people.


No man is an island, and sin is never a strictly personal act. It always has an impact on the lives of others. When a parent sins, it affects a spouse, children, extended family, and each of the relationships connected to these people.


Sometimes, private sin seems to have no effect on others because no one knows about it—yet. Scripture warns, "be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). Private sin will become public sometime, reaping consequences beyond one's control. There are news stories every day involving those who thought their sin was hidden and were surprised to discover that transgression cannot be covered forever.


Another implication of private sin is that it produces guilt. Guilt, in turn, changes a person's private and public actions. Someone feeling guilt is more prone to stress, irritability, and suspicion. Unhealthy conditions such as sleeplessness and depression may manifest themselves, starting a chain reaction of damaging effects. Even if a person's sin remains undiscovered for a time, its impact on other areas of life will always have a negative bearing on others.


Living with hidden sin makes one dishonest. The heart is the "wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23 NIV), and dishonesty in the heart will affect the whole person. Deception of others is closely related to self-deception. Hawthorne said, "No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."


Of course, God sees everything we do. We cannot hide from Him. When we sin, even privately, it causes a breach in our relationship with Him. The first sin recorded in the Bible is a powerful example. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they hid from God (Genesis 3:8). Their fellowship with Him was broken. Once God confronted them, they chose to blame each other rather than confess their sin (Genesis 3:11-13). There were both spiritual and physical consequences for their actions, and those consequences continue today.


The way to deal with private sin is not to hide or deny it, but to end it. "Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). God is faithful and just to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9) and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can stand (1 Corinthians 10:13). We are called to resist temptation as Jesus did, by relying on the power of God's Word (Matthew 4:1-11).



¿Mi pecado personal y privado afecta a otros?


Muchos creen que su pecado personal está bien, siempre y cuando no dañe a nadie más. "No afecta a nadie más, ¿cuál es el problema?" ¿Pero cómo sabemos que nuestros pecados no lastiman a alguien más? ¿Quién mide el efecto del pecado en los demás? La excusa de que "yo soy el único afectado" a menudo es un intento de justificar las prácticas privadas que causan daños inconmensurables a otras personas. 


Ningún hombre es una isla, y el pecado nunca es un acto estrictamente personal. Siempre tiene un impacto en la vida de otros. Cuando un padre comete un pecado, afecta a su cónyuge, hijos, familia extensa y a cada una de las relaciones relacionadas con estas personas. 


A veces, el pecado privado parece no tener ningún efecto en los demás porque nadie lo sabe todavía. La Escritura advierte: " Y pueden estar seguros de que no escaparán de su pecado." (Números 32:23). El pecado privado se hará público en algún momento, cosechando consecuencias fuera del control de uno. Hay noticias cada día que involucran a aquellos que pensaron que su pecado estaba oculto y se sorprendieron al descubrir que la transgresión no puede cubrirse para siempre. 


Otra implicación del pecado privado es que produce culpa. La culpa, a su vez, cambia las acciones privadas y públicas de una persona. Alguien que se siente culpable es más propenso al estrés, la irritabilidad y la sospecha. Las condiciones no saludables como el insomnio y la depresión pueden manifestarse por sí mismas, comenzando una reacción en cadena de efectos dañinos. Incluso si el pecado de una persona permanece sin descubrir por un tiempo, su impacto en otras áreas de la vida siempre tendrá un impacto negativo en los demás. 


Vivir con el pecado oculto lo hace deshonesto. El corazón es la "fuente de la vida" (Proverbios 4:23 NVI), y la deshonestidad en el corazón afectará a toda la persona. El engaño de los demás está estrechamente relacionado con el autoengaño. Hawthorne dijo: "Ningún hombre durante un período considerable puede usar una cara para sí mismo y otra para la multitud, sin finalmente quedar desconcertado en cuanto a cuál puede ser la verdad". 


Por supuesto, Dios ve todo lo que hacemos. No podemos escondernos de Él. Cuando pecamos, incluso en privado, causa una brecha en nuestra relación con él. El primer pecado registrado en la Biblia es un poderoso ejemplo. Después de que Adán y Eva comieron la fruta prohibida, se escondieron de Dios (Génesis 3:8). Su comunión con Él estaba rota. Una vez que Dios los enfrentó, eligieron culparse mutuamente en lugar de confesar su pecado (Génesis 3:11-13). Hubo consecuencias espirituales y físicas por sus acciones, y esas consecuencias continúan hoy. 


La forma de lidiar con el pecado privado no es ocultarlo o negarlo, sino terminarlo. "El que encubre sus rebeliones no prosperará, pero el que las confiesa y las abandona obtendrá misericordia" (Proverbios 28:13). Dios es fiel y justo para perdonar nuestros pecados (1 Juan 1:9) y no permitirá que seamos tentados más allá de lo que podemos soportar (1 Corintios 10:13). Estamos llamados a resistir la tentación como lo hizo Jesús, confiando en el poder de la Palabra de Dios (Mateo 4:1-11). 




10/09/20


How can I have victory in overcoming sin?


Christians should all have overcoming sin as one of our goals. Although we will never be perfectly victorious over sin in this life (1 John 1:8), we must recognize that overcoming sin is part of the battle which is the Christian life. God has not left us to battle sin on our own, however. He has given us clear instructions and several resources to aid in the struggle.


The first resource, and the most important, is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, without whom victory over sin is impossible. Not only must we have the presence of the Spirit, but we must also be "filled" with the Spirit in order to overcome sin (Ephesians 5:18-21). We should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess us fully and, in that sense, fill us. Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 1:13-14 state that He dwells within every believer, but He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and His activity within us can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When we allow this to happen, we do not experience the fullness of the Spirit's working and His power in and through us. Therefore, the presence and the filling of the Holy Spirit are essential to overcoming sin.


Another resource God has given to us to overcome sin and live for Him is the Word of God, which is sufficient to equip us for every good work and to make us "complete" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If it is able to make us complete, that would include the power to have victory over sin. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is living and powerful, able to penetrate straight to our hearts to root out and overcome the deepest sins of heart and attitude. Psalm 119:9 (NIV) refers to the power of the Word: "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word." Joshua 1:8 further exhorts "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."


The Bible will help us to overcome sin, but not if it sits on the shelf until Sunday. We are to memorize it, meditate on it, or apply it to our lives. When it comes to the Word of God, we can't simply take in just enough to keep us alive spiritually. We must ingest enough of it to be healthy, thriving Christians, which involves feeding on it and meditating on its truths enough to derive its spiritual nutrition. The Bible is an essential and major part of the armor that God gives us to fight our spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:12-18). Without it, we have no hope of overcoming sin.


Prayer is the third crucial resource in our battle against sin. If Jesus had to pray diligently to prepare for the ordeal He was about to suffer, how much more do we who are weak and sinful have to rely on prayer to overcome temptation? In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus exhorted the disciples to "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Matthew 26:41). When they failed to heed His warning, they fell into the sin of fear and unbelief (Mark 14:50). God has given us wonderful promises concerning prayer (Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 18:1-8; John 6:23-27; 1 John 5:14-15), and Paul includes prayer in his passage on preparing for spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer acknowledges that we recognize our own limitations and God's inexhaustible power and it allows us to tap into that power as we "approach God's throne of grace with confidence" (Hebrews 4:16 NIV) with our petitions and supplications.


A fourth resource in our war to conquer sin is the fellowship of other believers, particularly in the local church. Overcoming sin with the help and encouragement of others in love and good works (Hebrews 10:24) is much easier than going it alone. James tells us to confess our faults to one another (James 5:16) and pray for one another because just as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). There is strength and comfort to be found among a body of believers whose hearts are inclined toward God and one another (Ecclesiastes 4:11-12).


Accountability partners who can come alongside a struggling brother and render help in overcoming stubborn sins is another resource provided by the local church. Temptation is part of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 10:13), but God has promised not to test us beyond our ability to bear it and having an accountability partner or an accountability group can help us to overcome even the most stubborn of sins.


Sometimes victory over sin comes quickly; other times, victory comes more slowly. God has not left us helpless in our battle against sin. He has promised that as we make use of His resources, He will progressively bring about change in our lives. We can persevere in our efforts to overcome sin because we know that "The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does" (Psalm 145:13b NIV).



¿Cómo puedo tener victoria para vencer el pecado?

Los cristianos deberíamos tener la superación del pecado como uno de nuestros objetivos. Aunque nunca seremos victoriosos sobre el pecado en esta vida (1 Juan 1:8), debemos reconocer que vencer el pecado es parte de la batalla que hay la vida cristiana. Sin embargo, Dios no nos ha dejado pelear contra el pecado por nuestra cuenta. Él nos ha dado instrucciones claras y varios recursos para ayudarnos en la lucha. 


El primer recurso, y el más importante, es la presencia del Espíritu Santo en nuestros corazones, sin los cuales la victoria sobre el pecado es imposible. No solo debemos tener la presencia del Espíritu, sino que también debemos estar "llenos" del Espíritu para vencer el pecado (Efesios 5:18-21). Deberíamos estar tan completamente entregados al Espíritu Santo que Él nos puede poseer plenamente y, en ese sentido, llenarnos. Romanos 8:9 y Efesios 1:13-14 declaran que Él habita dentro de cada creyente, pero que Él puede estar afligido (Efesios 4:30), y Su actividad dentro de nosotros puede ser apagada (1 Tesalonicenses 5:19). Cuando permitimos que esto suceda, no experimentamos la plenitud de la obra del Espíritu y su poder en nosotros y a través de nosotros. Por lo tanto, la presencia y la llenura del Espíritu Santo son esenciales para vencer el pecado. 


Otro recurso que Dios nos ha dado para vencer el pecado y vivir para Él es la Palabra de Dios, que es suficiente para equiparnos para cada buena obra y para hacernos "completos" (2 Timoteo 3:16-17). Si es capaz de hacernos completos, eso incluiría el poder de tener victoria sobre el pecado. Hebreos 4:12 nos dice que la Palabra de Dios es viviente y poderosa, capaz de penetrar directamente en nuestros corazones para erradicar y superar los pecados más profundos del corazón y la actitud. El Salmo 119:9 (NVI) se refiere al poder de la Palabra: "¿Cómo puede un joven permanecer en el camino de la pureza? Vivir de acuerdo con tu palabra". Josué 1:8 además exhorta "Nunca se apartará de tu boca este libro de la ley, sino que de día y de noche meditarás en él, para que guardes y hagas conforme a todo lo que en él está escrito; porque entonces harás prosperar tu camino, y todo te saldrá bien.” 


La Biblia nos ayudará a vencer el pecado, pero no si se queda en el estante hasta el domingo. Debemos memorizarla, meditarla y aplicarla a nuestras vidas. Cuando se trata de la Palabra de Dios, no podemos simplemente acoplarnos lo suficiente para mantenernos vivos espiritualmente. Debemos ingerir lo suficiente para ser cristianos sanos y prósperos, lo que implica alimentarse de ella y meditar en sus verdades lo suficiente como para derivar su nutrición espiritual. La Biblia es una parte esencial y mayor de la armadura que Dios nos da para pelear nuestras batallas espirituales (Efesios 6:12-18). Sin ella, no tenemos esperanza de vencer el pecado. 


La oración es el tercer recurso crucial en nuestra batalla contra el pecado. Si Jesús tuvo que orar diligentemente para prepararse para la prueba que estaba a punto de sufrir, ¿cuánto más nosotros, los débiles y pecadores, tenemos que confiar en la oración para vencer la tentación? En el Jardín de Getsemaní, Jesús exhortó a los discípulos a "Velar y orar para que no caigas en tentación" (Mateo 26:41). Cuando dejaron de prestar atención a su advertencia, cayeron en el pecado del temor y la incredulidad (Marcos 14:50). Dios nos ha dado promesas maravillosas con respecto a la oración (Mateo 7:7-11, Lucas 18:1-8, Juan 6:23-27, 1 Juan 5:14-15), y Pablo incluye la oración en su pasaje sobre la preparación para la batalla espiritual en la vida (Efesios 6:18). La oración reconoce que reconocemos nuestras propias limitaciones y el poder inagotable de Dios y nos permite aprovechar ese poder cuando nos "acercamos al trono de gracia de Dios con confianza" (Hebreos 4:16 NVI) con nuestras peticiones y súplicas. 


Un cuarto recurso en nuestra guerra para vencer el pecado es la comunión de otros creyentes, particularmente en la iglesia local. Vencer el pecado con la ayuda y el aliento de otros en el amor y las buenas obras (Hebreos 10:24) es mucho más fácil que hacerlo solo. Santiago nos dice que confesemos nuestros defectos el uno al otro (Santiago 5:16) y oremos unos por los otros porque así como el hierro se afila con hierro, un hombre agudiza a otro (Proverbios 27:17). Hay fuerza y consuelo que se encuentran entre un grupo de creyentes cuyos corazones están inclinados hacia Dios y hacia los demás (Eclesiastés 4:11-12). 


Los socios de rendición de cuentas que pueden acompañar a un hermano que lucha y ayudar a superar los pecados obstinados es otro recurso proporcionado por la iglesia local. La tentación es parte de la vida cristiana (1 Corintios 10:13), pero Dios ha prometido no ponernos a prueba más allá de nuestra capacidad para soportarlo y tener un compañero de responsabilidad o un grupo de responsabilidad puede ayudarnos a vencer incluso los pecados más obstinados. 


A veces la victoria sobre el pecado llega rápidamente; otras veces, la victoria llega más lentamente. Dios no nos ha dejado impotentes en nuestra batalla contra el pecado. Él ha prometido que a medida que hagamos uso de Sus recursos, Él progresivamente traerá el cambio en nuestras vidas. Podemos perseverar en nuestros esfuerzos para vencer el pecado porque sabemos que "Jehová es digno de confianza en todo lo que promete y fiel en todo lo que hace" (Salmo 145: 13b NVI). 



10/08/20


What is inherited sin?


All people have inherited a sin nature from the first humans, specifically from Adam. The key questions involved here include, "What is sin?" and "What does it mean to inherit sin?"


First, sin is defined as anything that falls short of God's perfect standard or glory. Romans 3:23 reads, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." It is also defined as breaking or transgressing the law of God, since John wrote, "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). 


Our sins include both sins of omission and sins of commission. Sins of omission are sins we commit due to our failure to do something we should. For example, instead of standing for something that is right, we remain silent. Sins of commission are sins we actively commit. When we tell a lie, we actively sin. Both types of sin fall short of God's glory.


Second, what does it mean to inherit sin? The word inherit refers to receiving something passed down from one generation to the next. In contrast to the idea that people are born neutral and without the stain of sin, Scripture indicates we are born with a sin nature that is inherited from our parents and their parents before them. 


Because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, sin has been an "inheritance" for all of their descendants. Romans 5:12 tells us, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." We inherit our sinful nature similar to the way we inherit our parent's physical characteristics. David wrote, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5).


As a result of inherited sin, we are sinful in nature and sinful in practice, both. We commit sins because we were born with the nature to do so. Very few would deny that people make mistakes in this life, yet many do not wish to accept the biblical view that people are born as sinners. Yet the best explanation for the universal practice of sin in our world is that it is part of our human nature. This does not excuse us from sin, but it does explain why we sin.


On a positive note, this problem of inherited sin has a solution. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15 that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." Though we may feel we are the worst sinner in the world, Jesus came to save us. To "save" us includes forgiving us from our sins. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7).


¿Qué es el pecado heredado?

Todas las personas han heredado una naturaleza de pecado de los primeros humanos, específicamente de Adán. Las preguntas clave involucradas aquí incluyen, "¿Qué es el pecado?" y "¿Qué significa heredar el pecado?" 

Primero, el pecado se define como cualquier cosa que no cumpla con el estándar o la gloria perfecta de Dios. Romanos 3:23 dice: "por cuanto todos pecaron, y están destituidos de la gloria de Dios". También se define como quebrantar o transgredir la ley de Dios, ya que Juan escribió: "Todo aquel que comete pecado, infringe también la ley; pues el pecado es infracción de la ley." (1 Juan 3:4). 

Nuestros pecados incluyen tanto pecados de omisión como pecados de comisión. Los pecados de omisión son pecados que cometemos debido a que no hacemos lo que deberíamos. Por ejemplo, en lugar de representar algo que es correcto, permanecemos en silencio. Los pecados de comisión son pecados que cometemos activamente. Cuando decimos una mentira, pecamos activamente. Ambos tipos de pecado no alcanzan la gloria de Dios. 

Segundo, ¿qué significa heredar el pecado? La palabra heredar se refiere a recibir algo transmitido de una generación a otra. En contraste con la idea de que las personas nacen neutrales y sin la mancha del pecado, las Escrituras indican que nacemos con una naturaleza de pecado heredada de nuestros padres y sus padres antes que ellos. 

Debido a la desobediencia de Adán y Eva, el pecado ha sido una "herencia" para todos sus descendientes. Romanos 5:12 nos dice: "Así que, así como el pecado vino al mundo por un hombre, y la muerte por el pecado, y así la muerte se extendió a todos los hombres, porque todos pecaron". Heredamos nuestra naturaleza pecaminosa similar a la forma en que heredamos las características físicas de nuestros padres. David escribió: "He aquí, fui engendrado en maldad, y en pecado me concibió mi madre" (Salmo 51:5). 

Como resultado del pecado heredado, somos pecaminosos en naturaleza y pecaminosos en la práctica, ambos. Cometemos pecados porque nacimos con la naturaleza para hacerlo. Muy pocos negarían que la gente comete errores en esta vida, sin embargo, muchos no desean aceptar la visión bíblica de que las personas nacen como pecadores. Sin embargo, la mejor explicación para la práctica universal del pecado en nuestro mundo es que es parte de nuestra naturaleza humana. Esto no nos excusa del pecado, pero sí explica por qué pecamos. 

En una nota positiva, este problema del pecado heredado tiene una solución. Pablo le dijo a Timoteo en 1 Timoteo 1:15 que "Cristo Jesús vino al mundo para salvar a los pecadores, de los cuales yo soy el primero". Aunque podemos sentir que somos el peor pecador del mundo, Jesús vino a salvarnos. "Salvarnos" incluye perdonarnos de nuestros pecados. "En él tenemos redención por su sangre, el perdón de los pecados según las riquezas de su gracia" (Efesios 1:7). 



10/07/20


The consequences of sin - What are they?


"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Sin is that which is opposed to God. It is rebellion against God's rule and results in separation from Him. Because God is life (He is the only eternally existent Being and therefore contains existence within Himself; see John 8:58; 14:16; and Exodus 3:14), the result of sin is lack of life – or death. Without Jesus, sin results in eternal death. However, sin has consequences beyond an eternity in hell. 


Those who have been saved in Christ are given eternal life (1 John 5:11-12), and this life begins now. The Christian is not merely given a ticket to heaven but is ushered into fullness of life (John 10:10). While on earth, we experience the true abundance of our lives in Christ only in part; the Christian life is a foretaste of what is to come (1 Corinthians 13:12). But, it is still a taste. There is still the experience of true life. Sin disrupts this. Even for a believer, sin results in symptoms of spiritual death. 


Though believers in Christ have been forgiven of their sins (2 Corinthians 5:21), they are still undergoing a process of sanctification. This means that we are forgiven and justified before God, yet still in the process of being made completely new in Christ. Though we are declared righteous, we do not always act righteously. Therefore, our sin still has an effect. Much like a parent still loves a disobedient child, God still loves us when we sin. If we have been saved, our sin does not threaten the security of our salvation. In fact, our salvation does not hinge on our righteousness; it is founded on the righteousness of Jesus. We were dead in our sins and totally unable to save ourselves; it was God's love for us that resulted in salvation (Romans 5:8; Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1-5). As believers we do not experience separation from God when we sin; however, we do experience a break in our relationship with Him. There is tension in our communion with Him. As a result, we may experience confusion, loneliness, guilt, purposelessness, or the like. This is what spiritual death feels like. For believers, this is not a permanent state. But it is a consequence of unconfessed sin. 


Sin also carries certain natural consequences with it. God's rule is designed to be for our good. He created us and knows us intimately. He knows what is good for us and what is not. He does not create rules or give commands simply so that we will obey Him. God does not need to engage in a power struggle for the sake of His ego. He knows He is in control and His rule is loving. This means that our rebellion against God is really rebellion against what is best for us. A parent knows that too much sugar will result in health problems for his child, and that a lack of sleep will result in crankiness. The parent does not limit candy or impose bed time just to control the child, but for the child's benefit. When the child disobeys, he or she suffers the natural consequences of engaging in destructive behavior. 


Sometimes sin also leads to the consequences imposed on us by society. Certain sins are illegal. When we are caught committing these sins, even if we repent and are restored to the experience of full life in God, we may suffer legal consequences. 


For believers, sin does not result in ultimate death. Our salvation is secure in Christ. We need not be "re-saved" when we sin. However, our sin does have consequences. When we sin we hurt both ourselves and God. We need to confess our sins, repent of our behaviors, and seek restoration with God. He promises to forgive (1 John 1:9; James 5:15-16). 



Las consecuencias del pecado - ¿Qué son?


"Porque la paga del pecado es muerte, pero la dádiva de Dios es vida eterna en Cristo Jesús, Señor nuestro" (Romanos 6:23). El pecado es lo que se opone a Dios. Es una rebelión contra el gobierno de Dios y resulta en separación de él. Como Dios es vida (Él es el único Ser que existe eternamente y, por lo tanto, contiene existencia dentro de Sí mismo, véase Juan 8:58; 14:16; y Éxodo 3:14), el resultado del pecado es la falta de vida, o la muerte. Sin Jesús, el pecado resulta en la muerte eterna. Sin embargo, el pecado tiene consecuencias más allá de una eternidad en el infierno. 


Aquellos que han sido salvos en Cristo reciben vida eterna (1 Juan 5:11-12), y esta vida comienza ahora. Al cristiano no se le da meramente un boleto al cielo, sino que se lo lleva a la plenitud de la vida (Juan 10:10). Mientras estamos en la tierra, experimentamos la verdadera abundancia de nuestras vidas en Cristo solo en parte; la vida cristiana es un anticipo de lo que está por venir (1 Corintios 13:12). Pero, todavía es un gusto. Todavía hay la experiencia de la vida verdadera. El pecado interrumpe esto. Incluso para un creyente, el pecado resulta en síntomas de muerte espiritual. 


Aunque los creyentes en Cristo han sido perdonados de sus pecados (2 Corintios 5:21), todavía están pasando por un proceso de santificación. Esto significa que somos perdonados y justificados ante Dios, y aún estamos en el proceso de ser completamente nuevos en Cristo. Aunque somos declarados justos, no siempre actuamos con rectitud. Por lo tanto, nuestro pecado todavía tiene un efecto. Al igual que un padre todavía ama a un niño desobediente, Dios todavía nos ama cuando pecamos. Si hemos sido salvados, nuestro pecado no amenaza la seguridad de nuestra salvación. De hecho, nuestra salvación no depende de nuestra justicia; está fundada en la justicia de Jesús. Estábamos muertos en nuestros pecados y totalmente incapaces de salvarnos a nosotros mismos; fue el amor de Dios por nosotros lo que resultó en la salvación (Romanos 5:8, Colosenses 2:13, Efesios 2:1-5). Como creyentes, no experimentamos la separación de Dios cuando pecamos; sin embargo, experimentamos un quiebre en nuestra relación con él. Hay tensión en nuestra comunión con Él. Como resultado, podemos experimentar confusión, soledad, culpa, falta de propósito o algo similar. Así es como se siente la muerte espiritual. Para los creyentes, este no es un estado permanente. Pero es una consecuencia del pecado no confesado. 


El pecado también conlleva ciertas consecuencias naturales. La regla de Dios está diseñada para nuestro bien. Él nos creó y nos conoce íntimamente. Él sabe lo que es bueno para nosotros y lo que no. Él no crea reglas ni da órdenes simplemente para que le obedezcamos. Dios no necesita involucrarse en una lucha de poder por el bien de su ego. Él sabe que Él tiene el control y que su gobierno es amoroso. Esto significa que nuestra rebelión contra Dios es realmente una rebelión contra lo que es mejor para nosotros. Un padre sabe que un exceso de azúcar provocará problemas de salud para su hijo, y que la falta de sueño provocará irritabilidad. El padre no limita los dulces o impone la hora de acostarse solo para controlar al niño, sino para el beneficio del niño. Cuando el niño desobedece, él o ella sufre las consecuencias naturales de participar en un comportamiento destructivo. 


A veces, el pecado también conduce a las consecuencias que nos impone la sociedad. Ciertos pecados son ilegales. Cuando somos atrapados cometiendo estos pecados, incluso si nos arrepentimos y somos restaurados a la experiencia de una vida plena en Dios, podemos sufrir consecuencias legales. 


Para los creyentes, el pecado no resulta en muerte definitiva. Nuestra salvación está segura en Cristo. No necesitamos ser "rescatados" cuando pecamos. Sin embargo, nuestro pecado tiene consecuencias. Cuando pecamos nos lastimamos a nosotros mismos y a Dios. Necesitamos confesar nuestros pecados, arrepentirnos de nuestros comportamientos y buscar la restauración con Dios. Él promete perdonar (1 Juan 1:9, Santiago 5:15-16) 




10/04/20


Is entire sanctification possible? Can Christians achieve sinless perfection in this life?


Many readers of the Bible have believed that a Christian can reach a point of sinless perfection in this life. This teaching is based on passages such as Matthew 5:48, "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Why would Jesus command perfection if it is impossible to be perfect? Does the Bible really teach that a Christian can live without sinning?


Not necessarily. A large part of the misunderstanding centers on the meaning of the word translated "perfect" in Matthew 5:48 and similar verses. The Greek word telios can mean "perfect," "complete," or "mature." Because translators do not want to give the wrong idea about God ("Be mature, as your heavenly Father is mature"), they typically translate the word as "perfect." However, the idea of maturity or completeness is much more fitting in this context and in the overall teachings of Scripture.


For example, James 1:4 tells Christians to become "perfect and complete"; however, James 3:2 says that all believers stumble "in many ways." Obviously, James 1:4 refers to being "mature and complete," not sinless.


This interpretation is strengthened by the apostle Paul's experience. If anyone could claim to live fully for Christ and to have reached sinless perfection, it was Paul. Yet he still struggled with sin: "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me" (Romans 7:15-20).


Paul, an apostle and mature believer, continued to sin ("the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing"). If sin was still a problem for Paul, why would we expect to reach a point of sinless perfection in this life? Are we greater than Paul?


On the positive side, the Bible promises a day when every believer will escape temptation and the struggle with sin. First John 3:2 says, "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." Becoming like Christ in His presence will include being free from sin and its effects in this life. Until then, our goal must be to grow in maturity and resist temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). The work God began in us will one day be finished (Philippians 1:6).



¿Es posible la santificación completa? ¿Pueden los cristianos alcanzar la perfección sin pecado en esta vida?


Muchos lectores de la Biblia han creído que un cristiano puede alcanzar un punto de perfección sin pecado en esta vida. Esta enseñanza se basa en pasajes como Mateo 5:48: "Por tanto, sean perfectos, así como su Padre celestial es perfecto". ¿Por qué Jesús nos daría la orden de ser perfectos si es imposible ser perfecto? ¿La Biblia realmente enseña que un cristiano puede vivir sin pecar? 


No necesariamente. Una gran parte de los malentendidos se centra en el significado de la palabra traducida como "perfecto" en Mateo 5:48 y versículos similares. La palabra griega telios puede significar "perfecto", "completo" o "maduro". Debido a que los traductores no quieren dar una idea equivocada acerca de Dios ("Sé maduro, ya que tu Padre celestial es maduro"), generalmente traducen la palabra como "perfecto". Sin embargo, la idea de madurez o integridad es mucho más adecuada en este contexto y en las enseñanzas generales de las Escrituras. 


Por ejemplo, Santiago 1: 4 les dice a los cristianos que se vuelvan "perfectos e íntegros"; sin embargo, Santiago 3: 2 dice que todos los creyentes “fallamos mucho". Obviamente, Santiago 1: 4 se refiere a ser "maduro y completo", y no a que no cometamos pecado. 


Esta interpretación se fortalece con la experiencia del apóstol Pablo. Si alguien podía pretender vivir plenamente para Cristo y haber alcanzado la perfección sin pecado, era Pablo. Sin embargo, todavía luchaba con el pecado: "No entiendo lo que me pasa, pues no hago lo que quiero, sino lo que aborrezco. Ahora bien, si hago lo que no quiero, estoy de acuerdo en que la ley es buena; pero, en ese caso, ya no soy yo quien lo lleva a cabo, sino el pecado que habita en mí. Yo sé que en mí, es decir, en mi naturaleza pecaminosa, nada bueno habita. Aunque deseo hacer lo bueno, no soy capaz de hacerlo. De hecho, no hago el bien que quiero, sino el mal que no quiero. Y, si hago lo que no quiero, ya no soy yo quien lo hace, sino el pecado que habita en mí."(Romanos 7: 15-20). 


Pablo, un apóstol y creyente maduro, continuó pecando ("… no hago el bien que quiero, sino el mal que no quiero.") Si el pecado todavía era un problema para Pablo, ¿por qué esperaríamos alcanzar un punto de perfección sin pecado en esta vida? ¿Somos mejores que Pablo? 


En el lado positivo, la Biblia promete un día en que cada creyente escapará de la tentación y la lucha contra el pecado. Primero Juan 3: 2 dice: "Ustedes no han sufrido ninguna tentación que no sea común al género humano. Pero Dios es fiel, y no permitirá que ustedes sean tentados más allá de lo que puedan aguantar. Más bien, cuando llegue la tentación, él les dará también una salida a fin de que puedan resistir." Llegar a ser como Cristo en su presencia incluirá estar libre del pecado y sus efectos en esta vida. Hasta entonces, nuestra meta debe ser crecer en madurez y resistir la tentación (1 Corintios 10:13). La obra que Dios comenzó en nosotros algún día se terminará (Filipenses 1: 6).




10/03/20


I'm struggling with sin. What's the key to victory?

While it may be difficult to isolate a single "key" to victory when struggling with sin, the Scriptures are certainly not silent on the subject. One key which may be said to contain all others is found in Galatians 5:16, in which the apostle Paul tells us, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." The Spirit is the Spirit of God and the desires of the flesh are the desires of our sinful nature. Now, before explaining what it means to walk by the Spirit, we must make it clear that walking by the Spirit is an activity exclusive to those who have been saved by Christ. A non-Christian cannot walk by the Spirit because they do not possess the Holy Spirit and do not understand the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). Only those who believe that Jesus is the Christ are born of the Spirit, sealed by the Spirit, and indwelt by the Spirit (John 3:1–15; Ephesians 1:13–14; Romans 8:9). We are not saved by overcoming our sin in our own strength, something which is impossible to do. We are saved by Jesus' payment for our sin, which we receive through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). Out of gratitude and love, we then fight against sin. Therefore, the first step to walking by the Spirit is to receive the Holy Spirit by believing in Jesus Christ. 

If you have yet to receive Christ, I pray you will do so now. Today is the day of salvation and we are not guaranteed tomorrow (2 Corinthians 6:2; James 4:14–15). Once you have received Christ, you will be a new creature with a new heart and new desires that will spring from the Spirit of God living in you (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ezekiel 36:26). Although sin will still reside in you, the Spirit of God will empower you to subdue sin so that it does not reign over you (Romans 6). The Spirit of God is infinitely stronger than our old sin nature, just as the Spirit is infinitely greater than the Devil (1 John 4:4). The Spirit of God in you will wage war against your old sin nature (Galatians 5:17). The key to victory over sin is to walk by the Spirit, yield to the Spirit, cooperate with the Spirit, and refrain from grieving the Spirit (Romans 6:12; 8:4; Philippians 2:12–13; Ephesians 4:30–32). 

So, what does it look like to walk by the Spirit? Walking by the Spirit looks like saying "no" to ungodliness (Titus 2:12) and refusing to participate in the works of the flesh (sin nature), which are described in Galatians 5:19–21. Although no Christian will be perfect in this struggle against sin this side of heaven, we are empowered by the Spirit to wage war against, and progressively mortify, the sin nature (Romans 8:13). This process is called sanctification, whereby the Spirit of God gradually conforms the believer in Christ to His likeness (Romans 8:29). The evidence of this process can be seen as a Christian increasingly demonstrates the "fruit" of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22–23, namely: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Finally, to walk by the Spirit, and therefore have victory over sin, we must concern ourselves with the same things as the Spirit. The Spirit is chiefly concerned with honoring and bringing glory to Christ (John 16:7–15). To be successful over sin, we must treasure and love Christ above all else (Matthew 13:45–46; 19:21–22; Luke 14:25–27). The Spirit of God also is concerned with prayer. The Spirit prays for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26). Likewise, if we are to be successful over sin, we must be people who pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The Spirit of God teaches and illuminates the Word of God to the minds of men and women (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 1:17–18). As such, we must be diligent in our study and application of the Word (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:22). The Spirit of God is concerned about the lost and therefore we must be partners with Him in the ministry of reconciliation, by spreading the good news about Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15; 2 Corinthians 5:18). Finally, the Spirit of God is concerned with building up the church and therefore we must be busily engaged in both fellowship (Acts 2:42) and serving the needs of the church with the gifts the Spirit has given to us (1 Corinthians 12). 

It is important to recognize that we cannot overcome sin on our own and we will continue to struggle with sin throughout our lifetimes. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:21—8:2, "So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." John reassures us that "if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). The battle against sin is real. But we are counted righteous in Christ and God is at work in us to help us live righteously. We can experience victory over sin in our daily lives when we walk by the Spirit.




10/02/20


How can I be sure that when I die I will go to heaven?


Can we really know for sure we will go to heaven when we die? The Bible says we can. In 1 John 5:13 we read, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." The question in this verse is whether we have truly believed in the Son of God. John 3:16 shares, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." If we do believe in Him, we can rest assured that we will enjoy eternity in heaven with Christ.


How do we know if we have believed in the Son of God? Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." This verse reveals the essentials necessary for believing in Jesus. First, we must believe Jesus is Lord. In other words, we accept Him as God's Son who came to earth as "God with us" (John 1:14). Second, we must believe Jesus rose from the dead. His power over death proved His teachings were true; He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).


When we believe in Him, we receive salvation as God's free gift of grace through faith: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our salvation is not based on our good works, therefore we cannot lose our salvation because of mistakes we make in seeking to live for Christ. John 14:3 even teaches that Jesus returned to heaven to prepare a place for us to live with Him forever: "if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."


Romans 8 speaks at length regarding the confidence we have as believers in Jesus about our eternal home in heaven. Its first verse notes, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." When we believe in Jesus as the risen Lord, we are no longer condemned before God. We are forgiven and will be accepted as part of God's family (John 1:12). By the end of Romans 8 we are promised, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).


Are you certain that you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord? If not, you can decide right now to trust in Him. There is no special prayer you must pray, but the following prayer can be used to help you take the important first step in believing in Jesus:


"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who lived a perfect life, died in my place, and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."



¿Cómo puedo estar seguro de que cuando muera iré al cielo?


¿Podemos saber con certeza que iremos al cielo cuando muramos? La Biblia dice que podemos. En 1 Juan 5:13 leemos, "Estas cosas os he escrito a vosotros que creéis en el nombre del Hijo de Dios, para que sepáis que tenéis vida eterna." La pregunta en este versículo es si realmente hemos creído en el Hijo de Dios. Juan 3:16 comparte, "Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, más tenga vida eterna". Si creemos en Él, podemos estar seguros de que disfrutaremos de la eternidad en el cielo con Cristo. 


¿Cómo sabemos si hemos creído en el Hijo de Dios? Romanos 10:9 dice: "si confiesas con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor y crees en tu corazón que Dios lo levantó de entre los muertos, serás salvo". Este versículo revela lo necesariamente esencial para creer en Jesús. Primero, debemos creer que Jesús es el Señor. En otras palabras, lo aceptamos como el Hijo de Dios que vino a la tierra como "Dios con nosotros" (Juan 1:14). Segundo, debemos creer que Jesús resucitó de entre los muertos. Su poder sobre la muerte demostró que Sus enseñanzas eran verdaderas; Él es el Rey de reyes y Señor de señores (Apocalipsis 19:16). 


Cuando creemos en Él, recibimos la salvación como el regalo gratuito de gracia de Dios por medio de la fe: "Porque por gracia has sido salvado por la fe. Y esto no es obra tuya, es don de Dios, no resultado de obras, para que nadie se jacte" (Efesios 2:8-9). Nuestra salvación no se basa en nuestras buenas obras, por lo tanto, no podemos perder nuestra salvación debido a los errores que cometemos al tratar de vivir para Cristo. Juan 14:3 incluso enseña que Jesús regresó al cielo para preparar un lugar para que vivamos con Él para siempre: "Y si me fuere y os preparare lugar, vendré otra vez, y os tomaré a mí mismo, para que donde yo estoy, vosotros también estéis.” 


Romanos 8 habla extensamente sobre la confianza que tenemos como creyentes en Jesús acerca de nuestro hogar eterno en el cielo. Su primer verso señala, "Ahora, pues, ninguna condenación hay para los que están en Cristo Jesús". Cuando creemos en Jesús como el Señor resucitado, ya no somos condenados ante Dios. Somos perdonados y seremos aceptados como parte de la familia de Dios (Juan 1:12). Al final de Romanos 8 se nos promete, "Por lo cual estoy seguro de que ni la muerte, ni la vida, ni ángeles, ni principados, ni potestades, ni lo presente, ni lo por venir, ni lo alto, ni lo profundo, ni ninguna otra cosa creada nos podrá separar del amor de Dios, que es en Cristo Jesús Señor nuestro." (Romanos 8:38-39). 


¿Estás seguro de que has puesto tu fe en Jesucristo como el Señor resucitado? Si no, puedes decidir ahora mismo confiar en Él. No hay una oración especial que debe orar, pero la siguiente oración puede usarse para ayudarle a dar el primer paso importante para creer en Jesús: 


"Dios mío, me doy cuenta de que soy un pecador y nunca podría llegar al cielo con mis buenas obras. Ahora mismo pongo mi fe en Jesucristo como el Hijo de Dios que vivió una vida perfecta, murió en mi lugar y resucitó de entre los muertos. Dame la vida eterna. Por favor, perdona mis pecados y ayúdame a vivir para ti. Gracias por aceptarme y darme la vida eterna”. 




10/01/20


Will God still forgive you if you keep committing the same sin?

Scripture is clear there is no limit to God's forgiveness. Psalm 103:12 in particular notes, "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." When a person repents, God completely removes our sins.

In 1 John 1:9 we are also promised, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Our role is to confess our sins. When we do, He forgives. Why? Because He is faithful and just. As 2 Timothy 2:13 teaches, "if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself."

Another powerful example is found in Matthew 18:21-22: "Then Peter came up and said to [Jesus], 'Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.'" Peter wanted to know the limit to forgiveness. Jesus answered in a way that made it clear there is no limit to forgiveness with God.

The apostle Paul was one of the greatest leaders of the early church. Yet he continued to struggle with sin as a believer. In Romans 7:18-20 he wrote, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me." We still sin as believers, yet we fight temptation and seek to do what is right.

Of course, God's unlimited forgiveness is not an excuse to continue sinning. Romans 5:20—6:4 makes this clear. Instead, His grace should cause us to devote our lives to Him in faithful service. The apostle Paul began his letters by referring to himself as a servant of Christ Jesus, as did many of the other New Testament writers. Even Jesus set the example of a servant by washing the feet of His disciples (John 13) and giving His life as a sacrifice for our sins.

In fact, Scripture is clear those who do not live a changed life and habitually continue in sin are not true believers: "Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother" (1 John 3:8-10). A person who does not seek to do what is right and does not love others proves he or she has not been changed by God's grace.



09/30/20


Does God forgive big sin? Will God forgive things like murder?

Many people believe God will only forgive some sins but not others. Yet 1 John 2:2 teaches, "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." Christ's death and resurrection are powerful enough to forgive any sin of any person. John 3:16 is clear, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." God can save any person and forgive anyone who believes in Him.

The Bible is filled with examples of God's forgiveness regarding sins people often think are too big to be forgiven. For example, Saul persecuted the early church, arrested Christians, and even approved of the murder of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 8:1). Yet God forgave his sins and this man later became known as Paul and wrote nearly half the books of the New Testament.

The criminal crucified next to Jesus on the cross is another important example. He was being put to death for his crimes, yet recognized Jesus and asked Him to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus answered, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).

Mary Magdalene, one of the early followers of Jesus and one of the women who first saw the risen Christ, was a woman who had been possessed by seven spirits (Luke 8:2). Some of those Peter preached to who became Christians were called those who were involved in the crucifixion of Jesus (Acts 2:36).

Peter, a leader among the early followers of Jesus, denied knowing Him three times on the night Jesus was arrested. Yet Jesus soon reaffirmed His love for Peter and challenged Him to serve in "feeding His sheep" (John 21:15-19). Despite every disciple abandoning Jesus on the night He was arrested, God continued to use His followers as those who led the early church (Acts 2).

But what about murder? Does God even forgive this sin? He did in the life of King David, a man who intentionally placed the husband of Bathsheba on the front lines for him to be killed (2 Samuel 12:13). There were still consequences for David's actions, but his sin was forgiven. Again, God's forgiveness is not limited by the size of the sin. He can forgive sins, whether we view them as large or small, when we ask for forgiveness and place our trust in Him. 

Ultimately, it is not the size of the sin that determines the forgiveness of sin but the size of God's love. He provided a perfect solution to sin through His Son Jesus Christ, offering salvation to all who believe in Him by faith.




09/29/20


Is forgiveness available for any and all of my sin? I have committed ____ sin. Will God forgive me?


Believers and non-believers alike are often under the impression that the Christian God forgives, but only up to a point. There are certain sins that we think are "too sinful" or "too bad" to be forgiven by God. Sometimes this mindset comes from a misunderstanding of Scripture, and other times it comes from an internal feeling on the part of the sinner. In either case, the Bible makes it very clear to the believer that there is literally no sin, including any sin committed before or after acknowledging Jesus as Lord, that will destroy our relationship with Him and place us outside His loving grace (Romans 8:38–39). 


The only sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin of unbelief—for obvious reasons. If you do not believe that you need to be forgiven, how can you receive forgiveness? If you do not believe that God exists, how can you have a relationship with Him? If you do not accept Jesus, who is the only way of salvation, as Savior, how can you be saved? Jesus mentioned the "unpardonable sin" which is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:22–30; Matthew 12:22–32) and indicates continued unbelief. The sin is unpardonable not because of a lack in God's love or ability, but because the pardon is unwelcomed by the unbeliever. 


Jesus' sacrifice is fully sufficient to cover any sin we commit. The doctrine of the atonement explains this. Hebrews 10:4–14 says, "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, 'Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, "Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book."' When he said above, 'You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings' (these are offered according to the law), then he added, 'Behold, I have come to do your will.' He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 


Sometimes, unbelievers resist relationship with God because they fear they will have to follow a list of laws as a kind of payment for the forgiveness God offers. Nothing could be further from the biblical doctrine of salvation. God desires truth in the inner man. He wants us to come into the light, and to be honest with Him and with ourselves (Psalm 51:6; 1 John 1:9). For all of us, this includes the acceptance of our inability to obey that list of laws, and the admittance of our inability to change ourselves, or even our inability to desire change in ourselves. It is simply impossible for us to earn God's forgiveness by anything we do (Romans 5:6–11; Ephesians 2:1–10). We do not serve a God that needs to be appeased with good works. Instead, God works to produce good things in us as we face the truth about ourselves, and depend on Him (Psalm 3:5–6; John 15:3–5; John 7:38; John 3:16–18; Ephesians 2:8–10). The forgiveness of salvation is completely apart from our works. Good works result from having been made new in Christ at salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and the continued work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts (Philippians 1:6; 2:12–13; Galatians 5:16–26). 


Once we have been saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus it can be easy to be trapped by the lie that God requires proof of salvation in exchange for forgiveness or in order to remain forgiven. For example, if a person struggles habitually with some addictive sin, like alcoholism or lust, they can be tempted to believe that God forgives them while they are doing well, but that they need to restore His forgiveness each time they fall into sin in order to stay saved. If the sin is habitual and a continual struggle, this pattern can lead the person to start thinking "maybe I'm not really saved after all, because wouldn't I have victory over this sin if I were?" It is good to examine oneself and be sure you really have placed your faith in Jesus and that you are actively seeking to follow Him. But the truth is that every believer struggles against sin. Even after salvation, we still have the flesh, which wars against the new, sanctified spirit within us. Even the Apostle Paul dealt with this (Romans 7:14–25). It does not preclude God's forgiveness. Forgiveness is a state of being, not a thing we have to access each time we sin. Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross was "once for all" (Romans 8:1; Hebrews 10:10). 


The distinction to be made is that of justification and sanctification. When we are saved, we are completely forgiven for every sin—past, present, and future. We are declared completely righteous before God. However, during this lifetime, we are being functionally made righteous. We become more like Jesus, and we sin less. We do still ask God to forgive our sins (1 John 1:8–9), but this is about spiritual growth and recognizing how our sins hurt the heart of God. It is not that we lose and regain salvation with each sin. And God is "faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). 


There is no sin that cannot be forgiven in Jesus. His work on the cross is fully sufficient. The price has been paid. Accept His wonderful gift today. 




¿Hay perdón disponible para todos y cada uno de mis pecados?


Tanto los creyentes como los no creyentes a menudo tienen la impresión de que el Dios cristiano perdona, pero solo hasta cierto punto. Hay ciertos pecados que creemos que son "demasiado pecaminosos" o "demasiado malos" para ser perdonados por Dios. Algunas veces esta mentalidad proviene de un malentendido de la Escritura, y otras veces proviene de un sentimiento interno por parte del pecador. En cualquier caso, la Biblia deja muy claro al creyente que literalmente no hay pecado, incluido cualquier pecado cometido antes o después de reconocer a Jesús como Señor, que destruya nuestra relación con Él y nos coloque fuera de Su gracia amorosa (Romanos 8: 38-39). 


El único pecado que no puede ser perdonado es el pecado de la incredulidad, por razones obvias. Si no cree que necesita ser perdonado, ¿cómo puede recibir el perdón? Si no crees que Dios existe, ¿cómo puedes tener una relación con Él? Si no acepta a Jesús, quien es el único camino de salvación, como Salvador, ¿cómo puede ser salvo? Jesús mencionó el "pecado imperdonable", que es una blasfemia contra el Espíritu Santo (Marcos 3: 22-30; Mateo 12: 22-32) e indica incredulidad continua. El pecado es imperdonable no por falta de amor o habilidad de Dios, sino porque el perdón no es bienvenido por el incrédulo. 


El sacrificio de Jesús es completamente suficiente para cubrir cualquier pecado que cometemos. La doctrina de la expiación explica esto. Hebreos 10: 4–14 dice: "[…] ya que es imposible que la sangre de los toros y de los machos cabríos quite los pecados. Por eso, al entrar en el mundo, Cristo dijo: «A ti no te complacen sacrificios ni ofrendas; en su lugar, me preparaste un cuerpo; no te agradaron ni holocaustos ni sacrificios por el pecado. Por eso dije: “Aquí me tienes —como el libro dice de mí—. He venido, oh Dios, a hacer tu voluntad”». Primero dijo: «Sacrificios y ofrendas, holocaustos y expiaciones no te complacen ni fueron de tu agrado» (a pesar de que la ley exigía que se ofrecieran). Luego añadió: «Aquí me tienes: He venido a hacer tu voluntad». Así quitó lo primero para establecer lo segundo. Y en virtud de esa voluntad somos santificados mediante el sacrificio del cuerpo de Jesucristo, ofrecido una vez y para siempre. Todo sacerdote celebra el culto día tras día ofreciendo repetidas veces los mismos sacrificios, que nunca pueden quitar los pecados. Pero este sacerdote, después de ofrecer por los pecados un solo sacrificio para siempre, se sentó a la derecha de Dios, en espera de que sus enemigos sean puestos por estrado de sus pies. Porque con un solo sacrificio ha hecho perfectos para siempre a los que está santificando." En 2 Corintios 5:21 dice: "Al que no cometió pecado alguno, por nosotros Dios lo trató como pecador, para que en él recibiéramos la justicia de Dios." 


A veces, los incrédulos se resisten a la relación con Dios porque temen tener que seguir una lista de leyes como una especie de pago por el perdón que Dios les ofrece. Nada podría estar más lejos de la doctrina bíblica de la salvación. Dios desea la verdad en el hombre interior. Él quiere que salgamos a la luz y que seamos honestos con Él y con nosotros mismos (Salmo 51: 6; 1 Juan 1: 9). Para todos nosotros, esto incluye la aceptación de nuestra incapacidad para obedecer esa lista de leyes, y la admisión de nuestra incapacidad para cambiarnos a nosotros mismos, o incluso nuestra incapacidad para desear un cambio en nosotros mismos. Es simplemente imposible para nosotros ganar el perdón de Dios por cualquier cosa que hagamos (Romanos 5: 6–11; Efesios 2: 1–10). No servimos a un Dios que necesita ser apaciguado con buenas obras. En cambio, Dios obra para producir cosas buenas en nosotros cuando enfrentamos la verdad sobre nosotros mismos y dependemos de Él (Salmo 3: 5–6; Juan 15: 3–5; Juan 7:38; Juan 3: 16–18; Efesios 2: 8-10). El perdón de la salvación está completamente separado de nuestras obras. Las buenas obras son el resultado de haber sido hechos nuevos en Cristo en la salvación (2 Corintios 5:17) y la obra continua del Espíritu Santo en nuestros corazones (Filipenses 1: 6; 2: 12-13; Gálatas 5: 16-26). 


Una vez que hemos sido salvados por la gracia de Dios a través de la fe en Jesús, puede ser fácil el quedar atrapado por la mentira de que Dios requiere prueba de salvación a cambio de perdón o para permanecer perdonado. Por ejemplo, si una persona lucha habitualmente con algún pecado adictivo, como el alcoholismo o la lujuria, puede tener la tentación de creer que Dios los perdona mientras lo están haciendo bien, pero que necesitan restaurar su perdón cada vez que caen en pecado para mantenerse salvos. Si el pecado es habitual y una lucha continua, este patrón puede llevar a la persona a comenzar a pensar: "Tal vez no soy realmente salvo después de todo porque ¿no tendría la victoria sobre este pecado si lo fuera?" Es bueno examinarse a sí mismo y asegurarse de que realmente ha depositado su fe en Jesús y que está buscando activamente seguirlo. Pero la verdad es que cada creyente lucha contra el pecado. Incluso después de la salvación, todavía tenemos la carne, que lucha contra el nuevo espíritu santificado dentro de nosotros. Incluso el apóstol Pablo tuvo que lidiar con esto (Romanos 7: 14-25). No excluye el perdón de Dios. El perdón es un estado de ser, no es algo a lo que tenemos que acceder cada vez que pecamos. El sacrificio de Jesús por nosotros en la cruz fue "una vez y para siempre." (Romanos 8: 1; Hebreos 10:10). 


La distinción que debe hacerse es la de justificación y santificación. Cuando somos salvos, somos completamente perdonados por cada pecado, pasado, presente y futuro. Somos declarados completamente justos ante Dios. Sin embargo, durante esta vida, estamos siendo funcionalmente justificados. Nos volvemos más como Jesús, y pecamos menos. Todavía le pedimos a Dios que perdone nuestros pecados (1 Juan 1: 8–9), pero se trata de crecimiento espiritual y de reconocer cómo nuestros pecados hieren el corazón de Dios. No es que perdamos y recuperemos la salvación con cada pecado. Y Dios es " fiel y justo, nos los perdonará y nos limpiará de toda maldad." (1 Juan 1: 9). 


No hay pecado que no pueda ser perdonado en Jesús. Su trabajo en la cruz es completamente suficiente. El precio ha sido pagado. Acepta su maravilloso regalo hoy. 





09/28/20 SPANISH BELOW


What is a seared conscience?

First Timothy 4:1-2 says, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared." What does it mean for a person to have a seared conscience?

The picture given by the apostle Paul is one in which a person's conscience or convictions have been desensitized. Through repeated exposure to evil, a person's sense of right and wrong can become numb to the point that a person can no longer easily distinguish between good and evil. 

Isaiah condemned his readers for this type of spiritual insensitivity, saying, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20). In Isaiah's case, this way of life would result in judgment to God's people (Isaiah 5:26-30).

In 1 Timothy 4, we see that "some will depart from the faith." This indicates that those who call themselves Christians or are at least associated with Christianity will leave it. Instead, they will be devoted to demonic and deceitful teachings that will come through insincere liars with a warped sense of morality. 

These words serve as a warning for believers in two ways. First, as believers we must develop a mind that is focused on the things of God rather than the ways of this world. This includes prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-2), growing in God's Word (Psalm 1:1-3), community with other believers (Hebrews 10:25), sharing the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20), and serving others in need (Acts 2:44-45).

Second, we are warned against following false teachings. Jude 1:3 also adds, "Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." We are to both live godly lives and stand against ungodly teaching. In 1 Timothy 1:3-4, Timothy was left at the church in Ephesus to keep people from teaching "any different doctrine" or unhealthy teaching. A vibrant Christian faith is one that is both growing in God's grace and defending against false teachings.

When we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8). Activities that move us away from God or desensitize our heart toward God should be removed. This can include how much television we watch or the kind of content we consume, books we read, the websites we view, or even video games we play. In this way, we will avoid a seared conscience and live in a way that pleases God and changes the lives of others.



¿Qué es una conciencia cauterizada?

1 Timoteo 4: 1-2 dice: "Pero el Espíritu dice claramente que en los postreros tiempos algunos apostatarán de la fe, escuchando a espíritus engañadores y a doctrinas de demonios; por la hipocresía de mentirosos que, teniendo cauterizada la conciencia […]". ¿Qué significa para una persona tener una conciencia cauterizada? 

La imagen dada por el apóstol Pablo es aquella en la que la conciencia o las convicciones de una persona han sido insensibilizadas. A través de la exposición repetida al mal, el sentido de lo correcto y lo incorrecto de una persona puede volverse insensible hasta el punto de que ya no puede distinguir fácilmente entre el bien y el mal. 

Isaías condenó a sus lectores por este tipo de insensibilidad espiritual, diciendo: "¡Ay de los que llaman a lo malo bueno y a lo bueno malo, que tienen las tinieblas por luz y la luz por tinieblas, que tienen lo amargo por dulce y lo dulce por amargo!" (Isaías 5:20). En el caso de Isaías, esta forma de vida resultaría en un juicio al pueblo de Dios (Isaías 5: 26-30). 

En 1 Timoteo 4, vemos que "algunos abandonarán la fe". Esto indica que aquellos que se hacen llamar cristianos o al menos están asociados con el cristianismo lo abandonarán. En cambio, se dedicarán a las enseñanzas demoníacas y engañosas que vendrán a través de mentirosos insinceros con un sentido retorcido de moralidad. 

Estas palabras sirven como advertencia para los creyentes de dos maneras. Primero, como creyentes debemos desarrollar una mente enfocada en las cosas de Dios en lugar de los caminos de este mundo. Esto incluye la oración (1 Timoteo 2: 1-2), crecer en la Palabra de Dios (Salmo 1: 1-3), la comunidad con otros creyentes (Hebreos 10:25), compartir el evangelio (Mateo 28: 18-20), y servir a otros en necesidad (Hechos 2: 44-45). 

Segundo, se nos advierte contra seguir falsas enseñanzas. Judas 1: 3 también agrega: "Queridos hermanos, he deseado intensamente escribirles acerca de la salvación que tenemos en común, y ahora siento la necesidad de hacerlo para rogarles que sigan luchando vigorosamente por la fe encomendada una vez por todas a los santos." Debemos vivir vidas piadosas y oponerse a la enseñanza impía. En 1 Timoteo 1: 3-4, Timoteo fue dejado en la iglesia en Éfeso para evitar que la gente enseñara "doctrinas falsas" o enseñanza no sana. Una fe cristiana vibrante es una que crece en la gracia de Dios y se defiende de las falsas enseñanzas. 

Cuando nos acercamos a Dios, Él se acerca a nosotros (Santiago 4: 8). Deben eliminarse las actividades que nos alejan de Dios o desensibilizan nuestro corazón hacia Dios. Esto puede incluir la cantidad de televisión que vemos o el tipo de contenido que consumimos, los libros que leemos, los sitios web que vemos o incluso los videojuegos que jugamos. De esta manera, evitaremos una conciencia cauterizada y viviremos de una manera que complace a Dios y cambia la vida de los demás. 



09/27/20


How can I clear my conscience?

The conscience is what God gave us so we know right from wrong. It is the part of us that is most like God (Genesis 3:22). When we say we want a clear conscience, we want purity, holiness, and absolution from the mistakes, or sins, we have made. 

The Good News is that God has provided a way for us to have just that. "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:19–22). 

When we try to create a clear conscience ourselves, we fail. We cannot become pure, nor remain pure, based on willpower, trying harder, or being good. Only God will separate us from our sin (Hebrews 8:12; Psalm 103:12). 

When we sin—fall short of God's absolute holiness or rebel against Him and His ways in our spirits—we are acting against God. Even when we hurt another person or cause harm to others, it is God who ultimately is offended because He created us to be in harmony with each other and with Him. 

Adam and Eve were the first humans and they sinned against God when they decided to disobey Him (Genesis 3:6). They were created to have a relationship with God and each other. So were we. But their sin got in the way, and so does ours. Adam and Eve passed down a sinful nature to all their descendants. We all disobey God and also experience separation from God and from one another. The Bible says that we are "dead" in our sins (Ephesians 2:1–3). There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. 

But God makes a way for us to be in a right relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:4–5). For Adam and Eve, God killed an innocent animal and made clothes for them (Genesis 3:21). They were covered physically and spiritually. This was a sort of preview of what God had in store for the rest of humanity. God promised a future Messiah who would redeem all of humanity (Genesis 3:15). 

Though men and women have devised various ways to atone for their mistakes, to be right before God—to clear their consciences—none work except the way God intends (John 14:6). He provides for us through the death of a perfect and innocent Being (Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 9:3; 1 Peter 1:18–19). That perfect sacrifice was His own Son, Jesus Christ, who is Messiah. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" John 3:16–17). 

Jesus went to the cross willingly, taking all of our sins with Him to atone for them (1 Peter 2:24). His death was the result of all of God's wrath against us and our sin (Isaiah 53:6; John 3:36). 

When we recognize the truth of who Jesus is and the truth of His sacrifice for us and accept it by faith to atone for our sins rather than pay for them ourselves in an eternity separated from God, then we can truly begin to pursue righteousness, purity, and a clear conscience (Romans 6:18). Of course, we will continue to fall short of the perfect fellowship God desires for us, but God took care of that, too. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). 

Our clear consciences come when we are in a right relationship with God. We must have faith that Jesus' sacrifice was for our own punishment and that He defeated even death by His resurrection from the dead. This puts us in a position to be in relationship with God. Then we grow in that fellowship with God—keeping our consciences clear, choosing to live for Him, seeking the things of God rather than of the world (Matthew 6:33), and continuing to confess our sins when we fall short, trusting that He is always faithful to forgive. A clear conscience is freedom. Jesus said, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). 



09/26/20


The dispensation of conscience – What is it?

Dispensationalism is a system of theology that organizes history into different periods, or "dispensations," of how God works. It is a way of looking at God's plan for specific periods in history to roll out the revelation of Himself and His desire for relationship with people. 

Of the classic seven dispensations, or ages, the dispensation of conscience (Genesis 3:23 to 8:19) is second after the dispensation of innocence (Genesis 1:27—3:19) in which God interacted with the first humans face to face. 

Each dispensation is said to have a six-part pattern. For the dispensation of conscience, the pattern is: 

Managers: Cain, Seth, and their families 
Time Period: Expulsion from the garden of Eden until the Flood, about 1,656 years 
Human Responsibility: Do good and offer blood sacrifices (Genesis 3:7, 22; 4:4) 
Failure: Wickedness (Genesis 6:5–6, 11, 12) 
Judgment: Worldwide Flood (Genesis 6:7, 13; 7:11–14) 
Grace: Noah and his family are saved (Genesis 6:8-9; 7:1; 8:1) 

The end of the first dispensation, that of innocence, came about when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. God then instituted conscience as a way humans could delineate between good and evil, choose good, and have a relationship with God through blood sacrifice (Genesis 4:4). Almost immediately, people chose evil. Cain killed Abel (Abel was the first person ever to die) because God accepted Abel's animal (blood) sacrifice but did not accept Cain's grain sacrifice. Cain had a choice, clearly communicated by God (Genesis 4:6–7), to choose good in obedience. Cain refused, expecting God to fall in line with his own ideas of how to have a relationship with Him. 

Mankind did not fare well, violating his conscience and failing to do what was right. Evidently God wanted to demonstrate to mankind that conscience cannot be our only guide. During the dispensation of conscience, only three people were declared righteous—Abel, Enoch, and Noah (Hebrews 11:2–7; Genesis 5:22–24; 6:8–9). Before the Flood, "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). 

Because Noah was righteous, God chose him to warn others as he built the ark for 120 years (Genesis 6:14–22; 2 Peter 2:5). None heeded. God righteously judged the sin of people and they suffered the consequences of their choices—but the human race also experienced God's mercy. God spared Noah and his family (Genesis 7:1; 8:1; Hebrews 11:7), showing how He could and would "rescue the godly" (2 Peter 2:4–10). A new dispensation began (that of government). 

Today, those who aren't in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ are ruled by their conscience (Romans 2:15). Just as Noah still needed God's rescue, so do we. The apostle Peter harkens back to Noah when he equates Noah's salvation, or rebirth, through the flood waters with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:18–21). We are baptized into the Holy Spirit when we come to faith in Jesus Christ. It is only by Him that we can be saved (Acts 4:12). 




09/25/20


What is the conscience?


The conscience is generally understood as the non-physical part of a person that determines right and wrong. The conscience is sometimes referred to as a "moral compass." The word conscience is used 28 times in the English Standard Version of the Bible. The Greek New Testament term translated "conscience" is suneidesis, meaning "moral consciousness or awareness." The conscience produces feelings of guilt when wrong is done and joy when good is done.


To live with a guilty conscience is to live in fear. "The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1). As the protagonist in Poe's "The Tell-tale Heart" found, a guilty conscience produces turmoil, anxiety, and restlessness of heart. Do what's right, the proverb says, and possess a lion's courage.


The apostle Paul lived with a good conscience: "Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day" (Acts 23:1). By Paul's own admission, keeping a clear conscience took careful attention and effort (Acts 24:16; see also Romans 9:1).


In Romans 2:14-15, Paul says that the conscience provides moral awareness of right and wrong even among unbelievers. "For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them."


When Paul commands believers to obey governing authorities, he appeals to the conscience: "one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience" (Romans 13:5). 


The conscience is mentioned eleven times in his letters to Corinth, usually concerning the issue of eating meat devoted to idols. In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul says, "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." Unfeigned love, which is the fulfillment of the Law, will be accompanied by a good conscience.


We have an important warning in 1 Timothy 4:2 that the conscience can be "seared." Hypocrisy, lies, and sinful living can numb the conscience. A person who damages his conscience loses the ability to discern right and wrong and habitually makes wrong choices.


The Christian is to have "a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame" (1 Peter 3:16). A healthy conscience, attuned to God's ways, is a blessing, and as we live our lives before God we can walk in the confidence that a good conscience affords.




¿Qué es la conciencia?


La conciencia generalmente se entiende como la parte no física de una persona que determina lo correcto y lo incorrecto. A la conciencia a veces se le conoce como una "brújula moral". La palabra conciencia se usa 28 veces en la Versión Estándar Inglesa de la Biblia. El término griego del Nuevo Testamento traducido como "conciencia" es suneidesis, que significa "conciencia moral". La conciencia produce sentimientos de culpa cuando se hace el mal y alegría cuando se hace el bien. 


Vivir con una conciencia culpable es vivir con miedo. " El malvado huye aunque nadie lo persiga; pero el justo vive confiado como un león." (Proverbios 28: 1). Como descubrió el protagonista de "El Corazón Delator" de Poe, una conciencia culpable produce confusión, ansiedad e inquietud de corazón. Haz lo correcto, dice el proverbio, y posee el coraje de un león. 


El apóstol Pablo vivía con una buena conciencia: " Hermanos, hasta hoy yo he actuado delante de Dios con toda buena conciencia. " (Hechos 23: 1). Por la propia admisión de Pablo, mantener la conciencia tranquila requirió atención y esfuerzo cuidadosos (Hechos 24:16, ver también Romanos 9: 1). 


En Romanos 2: 14-15, Pablo dice que la conciencia proporciona discernimiento moral de lo correcto y lo incorrecto incluso entre los incrédulos. " De hecho, cuando los gentiles, que no tienen la ley, cumplen por naturaleza lo que la ley exige, ellos son ley para sí mismos, aunque no tengan la ley. Estos muestran que llevan escrito en el corazón lo que la ley exige, como lo atestigua su conciencia, pues sus propios pensamientos algunas veces los acusan y otras veces los excusan." 


Cuando Pablo ordena a los creyentes obedecer a las autoridades que gobiernan, apela a la conciencia: "Así que es necesario someterse a las autoridades no solo para evitar el castigo, sino también por razones de conciencia." (Romanos 13: 5). 


La conciencia se menciona once veces en sus cartas a Corinto, generalmente sobre el tema de comer carne dedicada a ídolos. En 1 Timoteo 1: 5, Pablo dice: " Debes hacerlo así para que el amor brote de un corazón limpio, de una buena conciencia y de una fe sincera". El amor no fingido, que es el cumplimiento de la Ley, estará acompañado de una buena conciencia. 


Tenemos una advertencia importante en 1 Timoteo 4: 2 de que la conciencia puede ser "cauterizada". La hipocresía, las mentiras y la vida pecaminosa pueden adormecer la conciencia. Una persona que daña su conciencia pierde la capacidad de discernir entre lo correcto y lo incorrecto y habitualmente toma decisiones equivocadas. 


El cristiano debe tener "la conciencia limpia, para que los que hablan mal de la buena conducta de ustedes en Cristo se avergüencen de sus calumnias." (1 Pedro 3:16). Una conciencia sana, en sintonía con los caminos de Dios, es una bendición, y mientras vivimos nuestras vidas delante de Dios, podemos caminar con la confianza que nos brinda una buena conciencia. 






09/24/20


Spiritual death - what is it?

Death, according to dictionary definitions, is a cessation of vital functions or a lack of life. Spiritual death is our natural state prior to accepting Christ as our savior (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). It is a lack of spiritual life, an absence of proper spiritual functioning. God is the eternally existent One, the great "I AM" (Exodus 3:14); He is life. So, really, spiritual death is separation from God, who is life.  

Humans are raised from spiritual death by Jesus. Our Lord, being God incarnate, is associated with life numerous times throughout the New Testament. He is life and comes to give us life (John 1:4; 10:10; 11:25; 14:6; Acts 3:15). Paul says that, before we are saved, we are "dead" in our sins (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). When we lack Jesus, we lack life. Therefore we are dead.  

Dead people cannot help themselves. Life does not come from non- life. This is why salvation is all of grace. We are incapable of doing anything to save ourselves; only Jesus, the Author of Life, can save us (Ephesians 2:8-10). Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Man is sinful—spiritually dead—but God gives life.  

"How can an infant be born spiritually dead?" you might ask. Spiritual death became a reality for humanity after the Fall of Adam and Eve. God instructed Adam to refrain from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, warning that eating the fruit would result in death (Genesis 2:16-17). After Eve and Adam ate the fruit, however, they did not immediately experience physical death. Rather, their relationship with God was severed. They became aware of their nakedness, created clothes of leaves, and hid themselves from God in shame (Genesis 3:6-9). They were no longer functioning spiritually, but were spiritually dead. Romans 5:12 explains, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." The sin of Adam and Eve tainted all of humanity. We all have a sinful nature now. We are born separated from God (see Psalm 51:5). 

Even though we are born with a sinful nature and come into this world spiritually dead, we are also born with a longing for life. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, in part, "[God] has put eternity into man's heart." In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis writes,
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

Humans long for life. We have an innate something that knows there is more to this world than meets the eye. It impels our search for meaning in life. 

Those who are spiritually dead are oblivious to their state (2 Corinthians 4:4). They assume they can "eat, drink and be merry" (Luke 12:19 NIV), for physical life is all there is. In so doing, they fail to engage their inmost longings. They fail to recognize their sense of purposelessness, disconnectedness, and the fact that, apart from God, their pursuits do not provide fulfillment. The real danger is that, without the new life that Christ gives, the sinner's physical death will be followed by the second death (Revelation 20:14-15).

Even believers, who have spiritual life, sometimes fail to fully live it by rebelling through sin. The consequence of sin is spiritual death (Romans 6:23). When believers in Christ toy with sin, they experience the death-like symptoms of sin – a sense of distance from God. 

Spiritual death is a state of being alienated from God and therefore lacking His life. Believers have been given eternal life, which includes life "to the full" now (John 10:10 NIV). Jesus brings us from death into life, and believers remain in life. However, "whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him" (John 3:36). 

Spiritual death need not be a permanent state. Life awaits us. God is eager for all come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). To be rescued from spiritual death, we need only recognize our sinful state and call on the One who is capable to save. 





Muerte espiritual, ¿qué es eso?

La muerte, según las definiciones del diccionario, es el cese de las funciones vitales o la falta de vida. La muerte espiritual es nuestro estado natural antes de aceptar a Cristo como nuestro Salvador (Efesios 2:1, Colosenses 2:13). Es una falta de vida espiritual, una ausencia de funcionamiento espiritual apropiado. Dios es el Uno eternamente existente, el gran "YO SOY" (Éxodo 3:14); Él es la vida. Entonces, realmente, la muerte espiritual es la separación de Dios, quien es la vida. 

Los humanos son resucitados de la muerte espiritual por Jesús. Nuestro Señor, siendo Dios encarnado, está asociado con la vida en numerosas ocasiones a lo largo del Nuevo Testamento. Él es vida y viene a darnos vida (Juan 1:4; 10:10; 11:25; 14:6; Hechos 3:15). Pablo dice que, antes de ser salvos, estamos "muertos" en nuestros pecados (Efesios 2:1, Colosenses 2:13). Cuando nos falta Jesús, nos falta vida. Por lo tanto, estamos muertos. 

Los muertos no pueden ayudarse a sí mismos. La vida no proviene de la no vida. Esta es la razón por la cual la salvación es solo por gracia. Somos incapaces de hacer cualquier cosa para salvarnos a nosotros mismos; solo Jesús, el Autor de la Vida, puede salvarnos (Efesios 2:8-10). Romanos 6:23 dice: "Porque la paga del pecado es muerte, más la dádiva de Dios es vida eterna en Cristo Jesús, Señor nuestro". El hombre es pecador, espiritualmente muerto, pero Dios da vida. 

"¿Cómo puede un bebé nacer muerto espiritualmente?" podrías preguntarte. La muerte espiritual se convirtió en realidad para la humanidad después de la caída de Adán y Eva. Dios instruyó a Adán que se abstuviera de comer el fruto del árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal, advirtiendo que comer la fruta resultaría en la muerte (Génesis 2:16-17). Después de que Eva y Adán comieron la fruta, sin embargo, no experimentaron inmediatamente la muerte física. Más bien, su relación con Dios fue cortada. Se dieron cuenta de su desnudez, crearon ropas de hojas y se escondieron de Dios avergonzados (Génesis 3:6-9). Ya no estaban funcionando espiritualmente, sino que estaban espiritualmente muertos. Romanos 5:12 explica: "Así que, así como el pecado vino al mundo por un hombre, y la muerte por el pecado, y así la muerte se extendió a todos los hombres, porque todos pecaron". El pecado de Adán y Eva corrompió a toda la humanidad. Todos tenemos una naturaleza pecaminosa ahora. Nacemos separados de Dios (ver Salmos 51:5). 

Aunque nacemos con una naturaleza pecaminosa y venimos a este mundo muertos espiritualmente, también nacemos con un anhelo por la vida. Eclesiastés 3:11 dice, en parte, "[Dios] ha puesto la eternidad en el corazón del hombre". En The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis escribe: Los libros o la música en la que pensamos que se encontraba la belleza nos traicionarán si confiamos en ellos; no estaba en ellos, solo venía a través de ellos, y lo que los atravesaba era añoranza. Estas cosas, la belleza, el recuerdo de nuestro propio pasado, son buenas imágenes de lo que realmente deseamos; pero si se los confunde con la cosa misma, se convierten en ídolos mudos, rompiendo los corazones de sus adoradores. Porque ellos no son la cosa en sí misma; son solo el aroma de una flor que no hemos encontrado, el eco de una canción que no hemos escuchado, noticias de un país que nunca hemos visitado. 

Los humanos anhelan la vida. Tenemos algo innato que sabe que hay más en este mundo de lo que parece. Impulsa nuestra búsqueda de significado en la vida. 

Aquellos que están espiritualmente muertos son ajenos a su estado (2 Corintios 4:4). Suponen que pueden "comer, beber y ser felices" (Lucas 12:19 NVI), porque la vida física es todo lo que hay. Al hacerlo, no logran comprometer sus anhelos más íntimos. No reconocen su sentido de la falta de propósito, la desconexión y el hecho de que, aparte de Dios, sus actividades no proporcionan satisfacción. El peligro real es que, sin la nueva vida que Cristo da, la muerte física del pecador será seguida por la segunda muerte (Apocalipsis 20:14-15). 

Incluso los creyentes, que tienen vida espiritual, a veces no la viven completamente al rebelarse a través del pecado. La consecuencia del pecado es la muerte espiritual (Romanos 6:23). Cuando los creyentes en Cristo juegan con el pecado, experimentan los síntomas del pecado parecidos a la muerte, una sensación de distancia de Dios. 

La muerte espiritual es un estado de estar alejado de Dios y, por lo tanto, carecer de Su vida. A los creyentes se les ha dado la vida eterna, que incluye la vida "en plenitud" ahora (Juan 10:10 NVI). Jesús nos trae de la muerte a la vida, y los creyentes permanecen en la vida. Sin embargo, "el que no obedece al Hijo no verá la vida, sino que la ira de Dios permanece sobre él" (Juan 3:36). 

La muerte espiritual no necesita ser un estado permanente. La vida nos espera. Dios está ansioso por que todos vengan a Él (2 Pedro 3:9). Para ser rescatados de la muerte espiritual, solo necesitamos reconocer nuestro estado pecaminoso e invocar a Aquel que es capaz de salvar al Señor Jesucristo. 




09/23/20


How do I receive forgiveness from God?

All people have sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23) and stand in need of God's forgiveness. How do we receive forgiveness from God?

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the source of forgiveness of sins: "Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you" (Acts 13:38)

How can we be forgiven from our sins? First, we acknowledge we are sinners. First John 1:8 teaches, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Second, we confess our sins to God. First John 1:9 teaches, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." God desires to forgive us (2 Peter 3:9) and has made a way for us to be forgiven through Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

Third, we trust in Jesus Christ by faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." We do not earn forgiveness through our works. Instead, we believe in Jesus by faith and receive His free gift of eternal life.

How can you believe in Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness of sins? Romans 10:9 teaches, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Salvation happens when you believe Jesus is Lord and accept that He died for your sins and resurrected from the dead.

But what if you are already a Christian? Being a Christian is not a license to sin, but does mean that sins you commit after becoming a believer are also forgiven. But when Christians do sin, we should still confess those sins and turn from them. First John 1:9 applies to Christians, too. As Christians we are called to live righteously (John 14:15; 15:9-11; 1 Peter 1:13-16) for God and His purposes for our lives (Romans 12:1-2).

Do you want to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and receive His forgiveness and free gift of eternal life? You can do it now. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. However, the following prayer is one you can use to ask for forgiveness and accept salvation:

"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner in need of forgiveness. I can never make up for my sins against you through my own actions or reach heaven by my own good deeds. But you have provided a way for me to receive forgiveness. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who died for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."




09/22/20


How can I have a personal relationship with God?

In the beginning of human history, Adam and Eve enjoyed a personal relationship with God (Genesis 2). Yet because of sin this relationship was broken. All of humanity now has a sin nature and lives separated from God. Is there a way we can be forgiven of our sin and restored to personal relationship with God? Yes!

Many think of salvation, or accepting Jesus as Savior, as simply a way to get to heaven, which it is. However, salvation is so much more—it's how we can have a personal relationship with God. 

We begin our relationship with God by receiving His Son Jesus, believing that He is God and that He paid the penalty for our sins to restore us to relationship with Him (John 1:12; Romans 10:9). We accept Jesus' death as a substitution for the penalty we should have paid for sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Hebrews 10:10) and His resurrection as victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:54–57; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 54–57). When we do, we receive eternal life (John 3:16). This eternal life is not just about quantity, but about quality. What we receive from Jesus is not just heaven, but true life (John 10:10). First Peter 1:8 speaks to the joy of salvation: "Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory."

Once we begin a relationship with God, we are called to cultivate it. God's Spirit lives within us (John 14:15–17) and teaches us truth (John 16:13), grows us in the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, and peace for example; see Galatians 5:22–23), enables us to use our abilities to help others (Ephesians 2:10; 4:12–13), and causes us to live as salt and light in a world of darkness (Matthew 5:14–16). He helps us put sin to death and live the way God would have us live, rather than as slaves to sin (Romans 6:1–23; Philippians 2:12–13). A personal relationship with God changes our lives now and for the rest of eternity.

We start a personal relationship with God through faith. We are dead in our sin and only Christ can save us and restore us to fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:1–5; Colossians 2:13). Ephesians 2:8–10 teaches, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." We do not earn our relationship with God; we receive it as a free gift.

Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." God offers forgiveness and relationship; we just have to accept it. 

Are you willing to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and receive this free gift of eternal life? If so, you can do it right now. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. However, the following prayer is one you can use to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior:

"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who lived a perfect life, died, and rose from the dead to give me eternal life and invite me into personal relationship with you. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."




¿Cómo puedo tener una relación personal con Dios?

En el principio de la historia humana, Adán y Eva disfrutaban de una relación personal con Dios (Génesis 2). Pero, por culpa del pecado, esta relación se rompió. Ahora toda la humanidad tiene una naturaleza pecaminosa y vive apartada de Dios. ¿Existe una manera en la que podamos ser perdonados y restaurar nuestra relación con Dios? ¡Sí!

Muchos piensan en la salvación o aceptar a Jesús como Salvador, como una manera sencilla de llegar al Cielo, y lo es. Aun así, la salvación es mucho más – es como llegamos a tener una relación personal con Dios. 

Comenzamos nuestra relación con Dios al recibir a su Hijo Jesús, creer que es Dios y que pagó la pena por nuestros pecados para restaurarnos a una relación con Él (Juan 1:12; Romanos 10:9). Aceptamos la muerte de Jesús como un reemplazo por el castigo que nosotros deberíamos haber pagado por nuestro pecado (Romanos 3:23; 6:23; Hebreos 10:10) y Su resurrección como una victoria sobre el pecado y la muerte (1 Corintios 15:54-57; 1 Corintios 15:22, 54-57). Cuando lo hacemos, recibimos la vida eterna (Juan 3:16). Esta vida eterna no solo se refiere a la cantidad sino a la calidad. Lo que recibimos de Jesús no es solamente el Cielo, pero vida verdadera (Juan 10:10). 1 Pedro 1:8 habla del júbilo de la salvación: “Aunque no le ven ahora, creen en él y se alegran con un gozo indescriptible y glorioso.”  

Cuando comenzamos una relación con Dios, nos llama a cultivarla. El Espíritu de Dios vive dentro de nosotros (Juan 14:15-17) y nos enseña la verdad (Juan 16:13), nos hace crecer en el fruto del Espíritu (amor, júbilo, y paz; ver Gálatas 5:22-23), nos deja usar nuestras habilidades para ayudar a los demás (Efesios 2:10;4:12-13), y nos hace vivir como luz y sal en un mundo de tiniebla (Mateo 5:14-16). Una relación personal con Dios cambia nuestras vidas ahora y por toda la eternidad. 

Empezamos nuestra relación personal con Dios por medio de la fe. Estamos muertos en nuestros pecados y solo Cristo puede salvarnos y restaurarnos a comunión con Dios (Efesios 2:1-5; Colosenses 2:13). Efesios 2:8-9 enseña, “Porque por gracia ustedes han sido salvados mediante la fe; esto no procede de ustedes, sino que es el regalo de Dios, no por obras, para que nadie se jacte.” No nos ganamos nuestra relación con Dios; la recibimos como un regalo. 

Romanos 10:9 dice, “que si confiesas con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor, y crees en tu corazón que Dios lo resucitó de entre los muertos, serás salvo.” Dios ofrece el perdón y una relación; nosotros solo tenemos que aceptarlo. 

¿Estás dispuesto a poner tu fe en Jesucristo como tu Salvador y recibir este regalo de vida eterna? Si es así, puedes hacerlo ahora mismo. No existe una oración especial que se debe de hacer. Pero, puedes usar esta oración para aceptar a Jesucristo como tu Salvador: 

“Querido Dios, se que soy un pecador y jamás podré llegar al cielo por mis propias obras. Ahora mismo pongo mi fe en Jesucristo como Hijo de Dios que vivió una vida sin pecado, murió en mi lugar, y resucitó de la muerte para darme la vida eterna e invitarme a tener una relación personal contigo. Por favor perdona mis pecados y ayúdame a vivir por ti. Gracias por aceptarme y darme la vida eterna.” 




09/21/20


Can God save me?

Many people think they have done things so bad that God would never save them. Yet the Bible is clear that God can and will save anyone who comes to Him by faith. Jesus said in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." This "whoever" includes every person—even you.

In addition to being willing to save you, Jesus is the only One who can save you. In John 14:6 He taught, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." In Acts 4:12, the apostles affirmed Jesus as the only way to be saved: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

If God desires to save us and only He can save us, then how can we be saved? First, we must realize we need salvation. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and our sins deserve death (Romans 6:23). Our good works are not enough to make us right with God. Ephesians 2:8-9 teach, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Salvation is a free gift of God's grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

How do we place our faith in Jesus Christ? Romans 10:9 answers, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Salvation occurs when we accept Jesus as Lord and believe He rose again from the dead.

When we do, we can be confident that He will accept us. Romans 8:1 teaches, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." First John 5:13 adds that we can know for certain that we are saved and will spend eternity with the Lord when we die: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."

Have you been saved? If you have not or are uncertain if you have done so, you can decide right now to place your faith in Jesus Christ. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. Remember, salvation is a gift not based on anything we do. However, the following prayer is one you can use to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior:

"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. I know that you are willing to save me and that only you can save me. So right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who died to pay the penalty for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."



09/20/20


What is faith in Jesus? What does it mean to have faith in Jesus?

In order to understand what it means to have faith in Jesus, we must first understand the nature of faith itself. Faith contains three elements: knowledge, assent, and trust. 

Firstly, faith contains the element of knowledge. Faith must have content. There must be something or someone to have faith in. It is popular to say things like "have faith" or "believe" but these sayings are ambiguous, and even meaningless, until we define in what or whom we have faith. To have faith in Jesus, we must first have some knowledge about who He is. In order to have faith in Jesus we must know that He is the Christ, the promised Messiah, who came to earth to save His people from their sins (John 1:41; Matthew 1:21). We must believe that Jesus is God's only Son (John 3:16) who took on human flesh (John 1:14), lived a life of perfect loving obedience to God the Father (John 4:34; Hebrews 4:15), willingly sacrificed His life by dying on the cross for our sins (Philippians 2:8), rose triumphantly from the grave after three days (Matthew 12:40) and is now seated in heaven at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33) from whence He will return to judge the world (Acts 1:11; John 5:28–29) and to bring to glory all who eagerly await His coming (Colossians 3:4; Hebrews 9:28). Our knowledge of Jesus need not be exhaustive, nor can it be (Colossians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:9), in order for us to believe in Him. However, we do need to know some essential truths about who He is and what He has done (John 20:31). 

Secondly, faith contains the element of assent. To assent means to agree that the knowledge we have is true. Now, we may be tempted to stop here and think we have arrived at a complete definition of faith. However, having knowledge about who Jesus is and even assenting to that knowledge does not mean a person has faith IN Jesus. For example, the Devil and demons know who Jesus is and even acknowledge who He is (Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:24; James 2:19) but they do not believe IN Him, which brings us to the final element. 

Thirdly, faith contains the element of trust. To have faith in Jesus means to trust Him. To have faith in Jesus means to rely on Him and resign oneself to Him. Those who have faith in Jesus rely on Him as Savior (John 4:42; Titus 3:4) and resign themselves to Him as Lord (Romans 10:9). To trust in Jesus means to believe that His death was accepted by God as payment for your guilt and sin (Colossians 2:14), that His perfect life and righteousness has been credited to you on the basis of your faith in Him (Romans 3:21–22). To trust in Jesus is to believe that His teachings and promises are true and to resign ourselves to follow Him and live for Him (Matthew 10:37–39; 16:24–25; Romans 12:1; Philippians 1:21). 

A helpful analogy which sheds light on the difference between the second element of faith (assent) and the third element (trust) is as follows. If I were to show you a chair and ask you if you believe it would hold you, you may say you believe it would. You have assented. If I then ask you to sit in it and you do, you are trusting. You see the difference. Having faith in Jesus means not only agreeing with the fact that He can save, but trusting in Him that He both has and will save you. 

There are a couple things to remember about faith in Jesus that are vital to a humble recognition of God's work of grace in us and to a proper attitude of gratitude to Jesus Christ for who He is and what He has done. First, believing in Christ is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8; Acts 13:48) and not a reason for us to boast (1 Corinthians 4:7), as if we are better or smarter than others (1 Corinthians 1:26). If we indeed have faith in Jesus it is because God has given us the faith to believe. Secondly, it is Christ Himself, and not faith, that is the grounds for our salvation. Faith is merely the instrument through which we receive Jesus. Faith is akin to the tube which transports blood during a blood transfusion. It is the blood, not the tube, that saves the person's life. However, without the tube, the person would not receive the life-saving blood. Comparatively speaking, it is the blood of Jesus that saves us from our morbid sinful state (Ephesians 2:13; Romans 3:25; Colossians 1:20). Yet, faith is the instrument or means through which we receive Jesus and all His life-giving benefits (Romans 5:1–2; Galatians 2:20; John 3:15). 

If you have not yet put your trust in Jesus Christ and would like to, you can express your faith in Him by praying something like the following. The words of this prayer are not what will save you; this is simply a means of expressing your trust in Him. 

"Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and that apart from you I am deserving of eternal death. I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son, that He lived a perfect life, that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin, and that He rose again victorious over sin and death. I want to put my faith in Jesus today. I rely on Him alone for salvation. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for forgiving me and bringing me into relationship with you. Help me to grow closer to you and to live for you." 



¿Qué es la fe en Jesús?

Para entender lo que significa tener fe en Jesús, primero debemos entender la naturaleza de la fe misma. La fe contiene tres elementos: conocimiento, asentimiento y confianza. 

En primer lugar, la fe contiene el elemento del conocimiento. La fe debe tener contenido. Debe haber algo o alguien en quien tener fe. Es popular decir cosas como "tener fe" o "creer", pero estos dichos son ambiguos e incluso sin sentido, hasta que definimos en qué o en quién tenemos fe. Para tener fe en Jesús, primero debemos tener algún conocimiento acerca de quién es Él. A fin de que tengamos fe en Jesús, debemos saber que Él es el Cristo, el Mesías prometido, que vino a la tierra para salvar a su pueblo de sus pecados (Juan 1:41; Mateo 1:21). Debemos creer que Jesús es el único Hijo de Dios (Juan 3:16) que tomó carne humana (Juan 1:14), vivió una vida de perfecta obediencia amorosa a Dios Padre (Juan 4:34; Hebreos 4:15), sacrificó voluntariamente su vida al morir en la cruz por nuestros pecados (Filipenses 2: 8), resucitó triunfalmente de la tumba después de tres días (Mateo 12:40) y ahora está sentado en el cielo a la diestra de Dios (Hechos 2:33 ) de donde volverá para juzgar al mundo (Hechos 1:11; Juan 5: 28–29) y para glorificar a todos los que esperan ansiosamente su venida (Colosenses 3: 4; Hebreos 9:28). Nuestro conocimiento de Jesús no necesita ser completo, aunque no puede serlo (Colosenses 2: 3; 1 Corintios 13: 9), para que podamos creer en Él. Sin embargo, necesitamos saber algunas verdades esenciales sobre quién es Él y lo que ha hecho (Juan 20:31). 

En segundo lugar, la fe contiene el elemento de asentimiento. Asentir significa estar de acuerdo en que el conocimiento que tenemos es verdadero. Ahora, podemos sentir la tentación de detenernos aquí y pensar que hemos llegado a una definición completa de fe. Sin embargo, tener conocimiento sobre quién es Jesús e incluso asentir a ese conocimiento no significa que una persona tenga fe en Jesús. Por ejemplo, el Diablo y los demonios saben quién es Jesús e incluso reconocen quién es Él (Mateo 8:29; Marcos 1:24; Santiago 2:19) pero no creen en Él, lo que nos lleva al elemento final. 

En tercer lugar, la fe contiene el elemento de confianza. Tener fe en Jesús significa confiar en él. Tener fe en Jesús significa confiar en él y rendirse ante él. Aquellos que tienen fe en Jesús confían en él como Salvador (Juan 4:42; Tito 3: 4) y se rinden ante él como Señor (Romanos 10: 9). Confiar en Jesús significa creer que su muerte fue aceptada por Dios como pago por tu culpa y pecado (Colosenses 2:14), que su vida perfecta y su justicia te han sido acreditadas sobre la base de tu fe en él (Romanos 3: 21-22). Confiar en Jesús es creer que sus enseñanzas y promesas son verdaderas y debemos renunciar a nosotros mismos para seguirlo y vivir para él (Mateo 10: 37-39; 16: 24-25; Romanos 12: 1; 1:21). 

Una analogía útil que arroja luz sobre la diferencia entre el segundo elemento de fe (asentimiento) y el tercer elemento (confianza) es la siguiente. Si te mostrara una silla y te preguntara si crees que te sostendría, podrías decir que crees que sí. Has asentido. Si luego te pido que te sientes y lo haces, estás confiando. ¿Ves la diferencia? Tener fe en Jesús significa no solo estar de acuerdo con el hecho de que él puede salvar, sino confiar también que él te ha salvado y te salvará. 

Hay un par de cosas para recordar acerca de la fe en Jesús que son vitales para un humilde reconocimiento de la obra de gracia de Dios en nosotros y para una actitud adecuada de gratitud a Jesucristo por quién es y lo que ha hecho. Primero, el creer en Cristo es un regalo de Dios (Efesios 2: 8; Hechos 13:48) y no una razón para que nos jactemos (1 Corintios 4: 7), como si fuéramos mejores o más inteligentes que otros (1 Corintios 1: 26). Si realmente tenemos fe en Jesús es porque Dios nos ha dado la fe para creer. En segundo lugar, es Cristo mismo, y no la fe, el fundamento de nuestra salvación. La fe es simplemente el instrumento a través del cual recibimos a Jesús. La fe es similar al tubo que transporta sangre durante una transfusión de sangre. Es la sangre, no el tubo, lo que salva la vida de la persona. Sin embargo, sin el tubo, la persona no recibiría la sangre que salva vidas. Comparativamente hablando, es la sangre de Jesús la que nos salva de nuestro estado mórbido y pecaminoso (Efesios 2:13; Romanos 3:25; Colosenses 1:20). Sin embargo, la fe es el instrumento o medio a través del cual recibimos a Jesús y todos sus beneficios vivificantes (Romanos 5: 1–2; Gálatas 2:20; Juan 3:15). 

Si aún no has confiado en Jesucristo y te gustaría hacerlo, puedes expresar tu fe en él orando algo como lo siguiente. Las palabras de esta oración no son lo que te salvará; esto es simplemente un medio de expresar tu confianza en él. 

"Querido Dios, sé que soy un pecador y que, aparte de ti, merezco la muerte eterna. Creo que Jesucristo es tu Hijo, que vivió una vida perfecta, que murió en la cruz para pagar la pena por mi pecado, y que resucitó victorioso sobre el pecado y la muerte. Quiero poner mi fe en Jesús hoy. Confío solo en él para la salvación. Gracias por salvarme. Gracias por perdonarme y traerme a una relación contigo. Ayúdame a acercarme a ti y vivir para ti ".




09/19/20


What does it mean to trust in Jesus?

There are two basic levels to trusting Jesus. The first one is to trust in Jesus as the Son of God and the only way to salvation. Once you have put your faith in Jesus as Lord, the next level of trusting Jesus is to have total confidence in Him—in both His ways and His character. 

Jesus came to bring salvation to the world. We have access to forgiveness and right standing with God though the sacrifice of Jesus. He died and was raised back to life so that we may receive the free git of eternal life (John 3:16–18; 11:25). Once we have trusted in Jesus for salvation, the rest of our lives becomes a practice of trusting Him more and more each day and in every situation. How does this trust grow? Our trust in Jesus grows through our understanding of who He is through reading the Bible and our experiences walking with Him (2 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 8:28–30). 

Trust can grow through answered prayers or seeing God bless us above and beyond what we could have asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20—21). These moments are exciting ways to build trust, and we should celebrate them when they happen. 

Alternatively, and perhaps more commonly, trust in Jesus grows during seasons of trials. Even in the direst of circumstances we learn to trust that God is sovereign and has good in store. When we are tempted to fear or despair, we can say with the psalmist: "[The righteous] is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD" (Psalm 112:7). In difficulties, we learn to trust that He can bear our burdens: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28–30). When we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9–10; see also Psalm 28:7). 

When our trust is in Jesus, our souls find rest in Him: "The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:9–10; see also Philippians 4:6–7). Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus fills us with peace. The same Jesus that calmed the raging storm by saying, "Peace! Be still" (Mark 4:39) is the one who enables us to be at rest and at peace, even in the midst of life's storms: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you" (Isaiah 26:3; see also Psalm 37:5). 

Tests and trials are also a time when fear tries to creep in, and sometimes making the decision to trust God is a battle in and of itself. In Jesus' own words, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me" (John 14:1). When our faith is tested, it provides an opportunity for us to develop our perseverance and be compelled to faithful obedience and confidence in Jesus (John 14:15). James says: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2–4). The tests and trials that we endure are used by God to refine and purify us and build our faith and trust in Him (1 Peter 1:6–8). 

As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we will notice our faith and trust in Him growing stronger. In situations where we would have become overwhelmed at one point, we notice that they are not such a hurdle anymore. We build up strength through trusting in Jesus' strength: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:7–8). When we trust in Jesus, He helps us to trade in our anxiety for His peace and to bear godly fruit in all circumstances. 


09/18/20


What is the significance of the humanity of Jesus?


The humanity of Jesus is essential to the character of Jesus as the Christ. Second John 1:7 specifically states that those who deny the humanity of Jesus are false teachers: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist." Jesus is God in the flesh.


First John 4:1-3 instructs, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already." To fail to accept Jesus as fully human is to miss the true message of Jesus.


The humanity of Jesus is important because prophecy required a physical birth. The Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 had said, "a child is born." Galatians 4:4-5 says, "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."


Also, the Son of God entered the world fully human in order to experience the struggles of humanity. Without His humanity, Jesus could not have been tempted as we are (Matthew 4:1-10), nor could He experience human sadness, suffering, or pain.


Another important reason Jesus had to be fully human was that He had to die for the sins of humanity on the cross. If He did not have flesh and blood, then He could not shed His blood; He could not die. Without the death of Christ, there is no sacrifice for sins, and we are unforgiven (2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 9:22).


Related to the fact of His death is the fact of His resurrection. After His physical death, Jesus physically rose from the dead. If He had not died, then He certainly could not have resurrected. This teaching is essential to the Christian faith. Paul stated it in the strongest terms: "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ. . . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:14-15, 17).


Those who deny the humanity of Christ reject an essential doctrine of the Bible. A belief that Jesus was a spiritual being or that He only had the appearance of physicality negates the reality of His death and makes salvation impossible. Scripture proclaims that Jesus is both the Son of God and the Son of Man.



¿Cuál es el significado de la humanidad de Jesús?

La humanidad de Jesús es esencial para el carácter de Jesús como el Cristo. 2 Juan 1: 7 declara específicamente que aquellos que niegan la humanidad de Jesús son falsos maestros: "Es que han salido por el mundo muchos engañadores que no reconocen que Jesucristo ha venido en cuerpo humano. El que así actúa es el engañador y el anticristo." Jesús es Dios en la carne. 


1 Juan 4: 1-3 instruye: "Queridos hermanos, no crean a cualquiera que pretenda estar inspirado por el Espíritu, sino sométanlo a prueba para ver si es de Dios, porque han salido por el mundo muchos falsos profetas. En esto pueden discernir quién tiene el Espíritu de Dios: todo profeta que reconoce que Jesucristo ha venido en cuerpo humano es de Dios; todo profeta que no reconoce a Jesús no es de Dios, sino del anticristo. Ustedes han oído que este viene; en efecto, ya está en el mundo." Fallar en aceptar a Jesús como completamente humano es perder el verdadero mensaje de Jesús. 


La humanidad de Jesús es importante porque la profecía requiere un nacimiento físico. La profecía mesiánica de Isaías 9: 6 había dicho: "ha nacido un niño". Gálatas 4: 4-5 dice: "Pero, cuando se cumplió el plazo, Dios envió a su Hijo, nacido de una mujer, nacido bajo la ley, para rescatar a los que estaban bajo la ley, a fin de que fuéramos adoptados como hijos." 


Además, el Hijo de Dios entró en el mundo completamente humano para experimentar las luchas de la humanidad. Sin su humanidad, Jesús no podría haber sido tentado como nosotros (Mateo 4: 1-10), ni podría experimentar tristeza, sufrimiento o dolor humano. 


Otra razón importante por la que Jesús tuvo que ser completamente humano fue que tuvo que morir por los pecados de la humanidad en la cruz. Si él no tenía carne y sangre, entonces él no podría derramar su sangre; él no podía morir. Sin la muerte de Cristo, no hay sacrificio por los pecados, y no seríamos perdonados (2 Corintios 5: 7; Hebreos 9:22). 


Relacionado con el hecho de su muerte está el hecho de su resurrección. Después de su muerte física, Jesús resucitó físicamente de entre los muertos. Si no hubiera muerto, entonces ciertamente no podría haber resucitado. Esta enseñanza es esencial para la fe cristiana. Pablo lo expresó en los términos más firmes: "Y, si Cristo no ha resucitado, nuestra predicación no sirve para nada, como tampoco la fe de ustedes. Aún más, resultaríamos falsos testigos de Dios por haber testificado que Dios resucitó a Cristo, lo cual no habría sucedido si en verdad los muertos no resucitan […] Y, si Cristo no ha resucitado, la fe de ustedes es ilusoria y todavía están en sus pecados." (1 Corintios 15: 14-15, 17). 


Los que niegan la humanidad de Cristo rechazan una doctrina esencial de la Biblia. Una creencia de que Jesús era un ser espiritual o que solo tenía la apariencia de un cuerpo físico niega la realidad de su muerte y hace imposible la salvación. La Escritura proclama que Jesús es tanto el Hijo de Dios como el Hijo del Hombre. 




09/17/20

Is 'forgive and forget' a biblical concept?

The Bible does not use the phrase "forgive and forget" though it is often used in society. Depending on what one means by "forgive and forget," the phrase has some biblical support. 

The Bible certainly instructs us to forgive one another (e.g., Matthew 6:14; Ephesians 4:32). In fact, we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us (Matthew 6:12), even when someone sins against us many times (Matthew 18:22). And unwillingness to forgive someone hinders one's fellowship with God (Matthew 6:15). 

God says when He forgives that He "forgets" ("will not remember") our sins (Isaiah 43:25). While God is all-knowing and does not literally forget anything, the idea is that He no longer holds against us sins He has forgiven. We cannot simply decide to "forget" sins or erase them from our memory. In fact, in some cases it would be unwise or unsafe to do so.

Instead, when we forgive someone who has sinned against us, we choose to no longer hold the sin against them. We do not hold a grudge or seek revenge. But in some cases, we may need to no longer associate with a person or use precautions for safety reasons. We can choose to forgive while also not foolishly restoring trust to an unrepentant sinner.

Forgiving others who have sinned against us is a sign of spiritual maturity. Colossians 3:12–13 teaches, "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."

The way we forgive others should reflect how Christ has forgiven us: "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). How has Christ forgiven us? Completely and unconditionally. However, the forgiveness He offered was not easy. It came at the cost of His life on the cross for our sins.

Forgiving others also allows us to move forward in our own Christian life. Though not specifically talking about forgiveness, the words of Philippians 3:13–14 are helpful to consider, "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." We do not "forget" the sin, but we choose not to focus on past sin and press ahead to live God's calling for our lives, choosing to live for His glory. When we do, we show the example of Jesus and can greatly impact the lives of other people.


09/16/20

Is forgetting the past something the Bible instructs us to do?

Isaiah 43:18 instructs the reader to, "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old." Paul declares in Philippians 3:13, "one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead." Do these verses indicate that we should forget the past? 

In order to understand any verse in the Bible, a reader must look at it in the context where it is written as well as within the context of the Bible as a whole. While Isaiah 43:18 says, "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old," the next verse explains the reason why the Israelites were being told to do that. Isaiah 43:19 says, "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" The Israelites had certain expectations of God, what He would do, and how He works in the world. But their expectations were preventing them from seeing what God was actually doing in their midst and hindering them from comprehending what He had planned for their future. So rather than commanding the people to forget everything they had lived, experienced, and learned in the past, this command seems more about not allowing the past to hinder their ability to see God's work in the present nor to hinder their trust in His plan for the future. 

Likewise, Paul's example of "forgetting what lies behind" in Philippians 3:13 is directly tied to his "straining forward to what lies ahead." In Philippians 3:14 he expounds upon what lies ahead saying, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Paul recognizes that his prize will come in eternity on account of the saving work of Christ Jesus and not on account of his personal accolades or achievements. Those personal qualifications he outlined in Philippians 3:4–6 citing his Jewish heritage, personal piety, and renowned zeal. In Philippians 3:3 and 7 he states that he "put no confidence in the flesh… but whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ." Paul is not forgetting his past so much as he is choosing not to rely on his past for salvation or allow his past to prevent him from pursuing God's call on his life. 

In fact, when we look at the Bible as a whole, the reader is instructed many more times to "remember." Deuteronomy 5:15 says, "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm." The Psalmist in Psalm 77:11 declares, "I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old." Even in the New Testament Jesus Himself asks His disciples, "Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?" (Matthew 16:9). It is obvious that God expects us to remember the things He has done in our lives. 

Readers of the Bible are not instructed to only remember their personal experiences of God's work, but to pass down those memories to the next generation. Deuteronomy 32:7 says, "Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you." In the New Testament, we are exhorted to "remember the predictions of holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior" (2 Peter 3:2) and "remember … the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:17). Jesus told His disciples He would send the Holy Spirit in part to, "teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:26). In the New Testament we see many references to events that occurred in the Old Testament, both in the words of Jesus as well as the writing and preaching of the apostles—they were remembering. Certainly we are to regularly remember Jesus' work on the cross. Partaking in the Lord's Supper is a way in which we remember the work of Jesus and also look forward to His return (1 Corinthians 11:23–26). Our remembering should include God's deeds and words throughout the ages. 

But it is not just God's work in our own lives and throughout history that the Bible instructs us to remember. Ephesians 2:12 calls us to remember our hopeless situation before knowing Christ saying, "remember that you were at that time separated from Christ … having no hope and without God in the world." Moses even taught the Israelites in Deuteronomy 9:7 to, "Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness." Even the negative circumstances we have lived through should be held as precious memories showing how far God has brought us. Because Romans 8:1 explains, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," we can take to heart the words of Isaiah 54:4 to "Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;… for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth" even as we remember the negative things we have done or lived through. Interestingly, even as we are instructed to remember our sinful past, God assures us that He will not call our sins to His mind. In Isaiah 43:25 God clearly says, " I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins" (see also Jeremiah 31:34). 

Every instance of remembering, whether it be our hopeless past, our personal witness of God's good work, or the collective memory of God's work throughout history, is meant to draw us into a more intimate and trusting relationship with our heavenly Father. So, too, the commands to forget our shame, forget "the former things," and "forgetting what lies behind" are meant to spur us into a more trusting relationship to see what God is currently doing in our lives and what He might have in store for our future. When we rightly remember the past without allowing it to hinder our perception of God or our opinion of ourselves, only then can we truly know God and trust Him more fully. 

09/15/20

Why is there often so much suffering in death? Why do so many experience such suffering before death?

Many people suffer greatly before death. Why would God allow this to take place? In John 9:1-3, Jesus offered a response to partly address this issue: "As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.'" This man's suffering was not due to something he had done, but as part of God's ultimate plan for his life.

But why does God's sovereign plan for a person's life include suffering? Several possibilities exist. First, pain is part of the curse of sin in a fallen world. Following the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, sin and death entered humanity (Genesis 3:16-19).

Second, suffering sometimes comes as a result of the natural processes of human decay. While this does not explain why one person has more pain than another, it is clear that in the process of the human lifespan pain can occur when a person's life nears its end.

Third, suffering sometimes takes place as a consequence of the actions by the person or those around them. For example, the long-term impact of smoking can cause painful health problems years later. Even second-hand smoke can cause physical problems for non-smokers who live or spend significant time with those who smoke. In other cases, suffering due to one's actions is the result of sinful actions such as drunken driving or violence.

Fourth, God sometimes allows suffering as part of Christian maturity and witness. For example, the apostle Paul endured much suffering during his ministry (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). This was often not due to any fault of his own, but rather for living for Christ. In 2 Timothy 4:8 he shared, "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." On some occasions a person's suffering is used to bring others to faith in Christ or to strengthen one's own faith in a way only God understands.

The good news is that for the believer in Christ, suffering is only temporary. In eternity with the Lord, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4). Regardless of why suffering takes place in one's life, the believer can anticipate a future time when all pain is removed and perfect health is restored in the presence of the Lord.


09/14/20

What is a biblical perspective on suffering? What does the Bible say about suffering?

Many wonder how a loving God could allow such deep suffering in the world. The Bible addresses this issue head on. The Bible affirms God's love as well as the stark realities of suffering. It also tells us the way of salvation in Jesus Christ, who bore the punishment for sin and gives a future hope to all who put their faith in Him (John 3:16–18). Jesus also promised to be with His people through their earthly sufferings (John 16:33). God sees the sufferings of His children and enables us to bear up under them. He also redeems and uses our suffering for His good purposes (Romans 8:28). 

Ultimately, all suffering is a result of the fall which occurred at the dawn of creation when the first man and the first woman chose to disobey their creator, God (Genesis 2:16–17; 3:6). The result of their disobedience was pain, suffering, and death for all of humanity thenceforth (Genesis 3:16–19). The earth itself was cursed as a result of the fall (Romans 8:20–21). Now we are born into a hostile world and have an innate hostility toward God Himself (Colossians 1:21; Romans 8:7). This state of separation and alienation from God is perhaps the most painful suffering we can experience (Ephesians 2:12). But amazingly, graciously, lovingly, God did not leave us in such a painful state. Instead, He overcame the consequences of sin through His own suffering. God took on human flesh in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and suffered the punishment which is due us. He who was without sin suffered the guilt, pain, and humiliation of having the sins of the world placed on Himself (2 Corinthians 5:16–21).  

Those who put their faith in Jesus are no longer under the curse of sin. Yet we do still live in a sin-stained world and suffer the effects of sin. Sometimes our suffering is a result of our own sinfulness. Sometimes it is a result of others sinning against us. Most times, suffering is a result of sin in a more general sense. The world is simply not as it should be so things like health issues, relational strife, and natural disasters exist. Suffering can also be caused by spiritual warfare.  

Too, we can experience a type of suffering when we deny our sinful flesh and instead live in Christ's righteousness. In Matthew 16:24–25, "… Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.'" Paul wrote, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:1–2). Though we know that God's way is best, denying our sinful nature can mean suffering.  

As believers in Christ, we are called to suffer for Christ and for the gospel (Romans 8:17). Sometimes we suffer for our faith as a result of persecution. Second Timothy 3:12 says, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Jesus told His followers they would face tribulation in the world, but that they could have peace in Him because He has overcome (John 16:33). Our earthly suffering is temporal and cannot be compared with the transformation and joy we will experience for eternity in the world to come (2 Corinthians 4:17–18; Romans 8:18; 1 Peter 1:6; 5:10).  

Suffering for the believer is not only for eternity's sake but is purifying in this life as well. God often uses suffering as a tool in the believer's life to mold, sharpen, and strengthen us. Suffering can be the result of God's discipline, which He does out of love (Hebrews 12:6–11). It could also be the result of His pruning to make us more fruitful (John 15:2). God uses trials and tribulations to mold us into the image of His perfect Son, sharpen our focus, develop our character, and strengthen our faith in Him and His promises (James 1:2–4; 1 Peter 1:6–7). He also uses suffering to keep us from pride and self-sufficiency and cause us to rely upon Him and His grace, which is the source of true spiritual strength (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).  

Regardless of the specific cause of our suffering, our Lord and Savior can understand, empathize, and sympathize with our suffering (Hebrews 4:15). It is by Christ's suffering that we are saved (Isaiah 53:5–6). In Christ, we are given consistent access to the throne of God (Hebrews 4:15–16; 10:19–23). We can, like the psalmists, pour out our hearts to God (Psalm 62) and trust that He is intimately aware of our sufferings and with us in them (Psalm 56).  

Suffering is a reality in our world. It's a reality caused by sin and a reality that breaks the heart of God. But suffering is not something we need to endure alone and not something without purpose. Christ is with us in our suffering. He also provides other Christians to walk beside us when we suffer (2 Corinthians 1:3–7; Galatians 6:2; Romans 12:15). Perhaps most encouraging, He provides hope. God promises an end to all pain and suffering for those who receive the salvation offer in His Son, Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:4). 



09/13/20

Is suffering for Christ always part of following Him?

The short answer to this question is: yes, suffering will always be a part of following Christ. Second Timothy 3:12 says that "all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Jesus was hated and suffered greatly, and as His followers, we will experience the same: "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you" (John 15:18). There are a couple different ways that we can expect to suffer for Christ. 

First, we can expect our worldly desires to suffer. When we become born again, our old self dies. We are "crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20). Crucifixion always results in death. Of course, Jesus died a physical death, but the crucifixion that we experience is a daily death to our old fleshly selves for the sake of daily life in Christ. We say no to sin so that we may say yes to Christ: "And he [Jesus] said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'" (Luke 9:23–25). Like Paul, we must get to the point that we consider the things of the world as "rubbish" for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:7–10). This does not mean that we cannot enjoy the natural pleasures of life, but it does mean that the things of this world will not be foremost. It also means we will deny the sinful so-called pleasures lauded by the world system. It does not feel natural for us to deny things like our personal quest for power or our appetite for abundant wealth or our urge to gossip; rather, putting the desires of our sinful nature to death feels like suffering. When we live surrendered to Christ, our fleshly comfort will suffer, but our spiritual life will flourish. 

Second, we can expect that we will suffer persecution from those who do not follow Christ. This type of suffering can come in a variety of forms and from several different spheres in our lives. For many, it is physical persecution like beatings or martyrdom. Others might be jailed for worshipping God or socially and financially ostracized from participation in their societies. In countries that practice religious freedom, followers of Christ will likely still be teased, belittled, or socially excluded in some way. We might suffer at the hands of a governmental institution, society at large, peers, and even relatives. Sadly, sometimes we might even suffer at the hands of other professing Christians. The early church experienced persecution, even death, at the hands of the religious leaders of the day (Acts 4:1–3; 5:40). God has standards of behavior that we as Christ-followers must live by. As we develop the discipline and devotion to following Christ in our own lives, it is inevitable that we will suffer the wrath and mistreatment of others. We cannot choose to please both God and the world: "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10; see also Luke 16:13; Romans 8:8). In as much as those in the world dislike the ways of God, they will dislike the ways we follow Him, and we will experience suffering as a result. 

The gospel is the good news of salvation, but it is also offensive to many because, as mentioned above, it disrupts our own fleshly comfort. Paul was persecuted and imprisoned many times for his faith and he died a martyr. He found contentment within the mistreatment, because he saw God as the greater treasure and the true source of his strength: "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10; see also 1 John 2:15–17). Jesus said that we are blessed when we are persecuted for His sake and that we will reap a heavenly reward (Matthew 5:10–12; see also Philippians 1:29). We are more blessed when we have God's favor rather than the world's favor. 

It is true that suffering is part of the life of a follower of Christ. But in Christ we know that our suffering is not in vain. When it is our sinful flesh that is suffering, we know we are being transformed into the image of Christ and we rejoice in His work in us (Philippians 2:12–13; 2 Corinthians 3:17–18). When we are suffering persecution from others, we rejoice that God can cause our suffering to work together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Romans 5:3–5 encourages, "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (See also James 1:2–4). Ultimately, we know that this world is not our true home (Philippians 3:20–21). One day there will be no more suffering (Revelation 21:4). As we await that day, we endure suffering patiently, entrusting ourselves to God and praying that many more will come to Him and receive salvation (2 Peter 3:9). 


09/12/20


“What is the Antichrist?"


First John 2:18 speaks of the Antichrist: “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” The specific term antichrist is used seven times in Scripture, twice here in 1 John 2:18 and also in 1 John 2:22; 4:3; and twice in 2 John 7. So, what is this Antichrist that the apostle John refers to?


The meaning of the term antichrist is simply “against Christ.” As the apostle John records in First and Second John, an antichrist denies the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22), does not acknowledge Jesus (1 John 4:3), and denies that Jesus came in the flesh (2 John 1:7). There have been many “antichrists,” as 1 John 2:18 states. But there is also coming the Antichrist.


Most Bible prophecy/eschatology experts believe the Antichrist will be the ultimate embodiment of what it means to be against Christ. In the end times/last hour, a man will arise to oppose Christ and His followers more than anyone else in history. Likely claiming to be the true Messiah, the Antichrist will seek world domination and will attempt to destroy all followers of Jesus Christ and the nation of Israel.


Other biblical references to the Antichrist include the following:


The imposing, boastful king of Daniel 7 who oppresses the Jews and tries to “change the set times and the laws” (verse 25).


The leader who establishes a 7-year covenant with Israel and then breaks it in Daniel 9.


The king who sets up the abomination of desolation in Mark 13:14 (cf. Daniel 9:27).


The man of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12.


The rider on a white horse (representing his claim to be a man of peace) in Revelation 6:2.


The first beast—the one from the sea—in Revelation 13. This beast receives power from the dragon (Satan) and speaks “proud words and blasphemies” (verse 5) and wages war against the saints (verse 7).


Thankfully, the Antichrist/beast, along with his false prophet, will be thrown into the lake of fire, where they will spend all eternity in torment (Revelation 19:20; 20:10).


What is the Antichrist? In summary, the Antichrist is the end-times false messiah who seeks, and likely achieves, world domination so that he can destroy Israel and all followers of Jesus Christ.




09/11/20


“Islamic antichrist? Will the antichrist be a Muslim?"


With the increasing tensions in the Middle East in recent years, the statements by Shiite Muslim extremists regarding the Twelfth Imam are causing many people to ask how Muslim prophecy relates to Bible prophecy. Specifically, many ask if an Islamic / Muslim antichrist is a probability. To answer, we must first find out who the Twelfth Imam is and what he is expected to do for Islam. Second, we must examine the statements by Shiite Muslims in relation to those hopes, and, third, we need to look to the Bible to shed light on the whole issue.


Within the Shiite branch of Islam, there have been twelve imams, or spiritual leaders appointed by Allah. These began with Imam Ali, cousin to Muhammad, who claimed prophetic succession after Muhammad’s death. Around AD 868, the Twelfth Imam, Abu al-Qasim Muhammad (or Muhammad al Mahdi), was born to the Eleventh Imam. Because his father was under intense persecution, the Mahdi was sent into hiding. About the age of 6, when his father was killed, he briefly came out of hiding but then disappeared again. It is said that the Mahdi has been hiding in caves ever since and will supernaturally return just before the day of judgment to eradicate all tyranny and oppression, bringing harmony and peace to the earth. He is the savior of the world in Shiite theology. According to one writer, Imam Mahdi will combine the dignity of Moses, the grace of Jesus, and the patience of Job in one perfect person.


The predictions about the Twelfth Imam have a striking similarity to Bible prophecies of the end times. According to Islamic prophecy, the Mahdi’s return will be preceded by a number of events during three years of horrendous world chaos, and he will rule over the Arabs and the world for seven years. His appearance will be accompanied by two resurrections, one of the wicked and one of the righteous. According to Shiite teachings, Jesus will accept the Mahdi’s leadership, and the two great branches of Abraham’s family will be reunited forever.


The former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a deeply committed Shiite and claims that he is to personally prepare the world for the coming Mahdi. In order for the world to be saved, it must be in a state of chaos and subjugation, and Ahmadinejad feels he was directed by Allah to pave the way for that. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly made statements about destroying the enemies of Islam. The Iranian President and his cabinet have supposedly signed a contract with al Mahdi in which they pledge themselves to his work. When asked directly by ABC reporter Ann Curry in September 2009 about his apocalyptic statements, Ahmadinejad said, “Imam ... will come with logic, with culture, with science. He will come so that there is no more war. No more enmity, hatred. No more conflict. He will call on everyone to enter a brotherly love. Of course, he will return with Jesus Christ. The two will come back together. And working together, they would fill this world with love.”


What does all this have to do with the Antichrist? According to Revelation 6:2 and Daniel 9:27, the Antichrist will pose as a man of peace, ready to set the world right. It is easy to see how the Antichrist, promising a false peace, could be welcomed by a world hungry for a ceasefire and security. Some may see him as the Mahdi, and others may see him as the Messiah. In fact, Jesus warned that the Antichrist would mimic the true Messiah and be accepted by those who rejected Christ (John 5:43).


There are a few other parallels between the Bible and Shiite theology that we should note. First, the Bible says that the tribulation will last for seven years, and Islam claims that the Twelfth Imam will rule the world for the same amount of time. Second, Muslims anticipate three years of chaos before the revealing of the Twelfth Imam, and the Bible speaks of three and a half years of tribulation before the Antichrist reveals his true nature by desecrating the Jewish temple. Third, the Bible describes the Antichrist as a deceiver who claims to bring peace but who actually brings widespread war; the expectation of the Twelfth Imam is that he will bring peace through massive war with the rest of the world.


Will the Antichrist be a Muslim? Only God knows. Are there connections between Islamic eschatology and Christian eschatology? There certainly seem to be direct correlations, though they are like reading the descriptions of a great battle, first from the perspective of the loser trying to save face, and then from the perspective of the victor. Of course, prophecies of the Twelfth Imam should not be considered equal to biblical prophecies. Only the Bible is the inspired Word of God; it’s possible to interpret some elements of Islamic eschatology in a way that agrees with Daniel and Revelation, but that does not lend any credence to the rest of Shiite theology.


Until we see the fulfillment of these things, we need to heed the words of 1 John 4:1–4, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”



"¿Anticristo islámico? ¿El Anticristo será musulmán?"

Con las crecientes tensiones en el Medio Oriente en años recientes, y particularmente con las declaraciones hechas por extremistas chiítas musulmanes en cuanto al Duodécimo Imán, mucha gente ha comenzado a preguntarse cómo se relaciona esto con las profecías bíblicas. Para responder, debemos saber primeramente quién es el Duodécimo Imán y qué es lo que se espera que haga por el Islam. Segundo, debemos examinar las declaraciones hechas por chiítas musulmanes en relación a esas esperanzas, y tercero; necesitamos consultar la Biblia para verter luz sobre todo este asunto. 


Dentro de la rama chiíta del Islam, ha habido doce Imanes, o líderes espirituales elegidos por Alá. Estos comenzaron con el Imán Alí, primo de Mahoma, quien reclamó la sucesión profética después de la muerte de Mahoma. Alrededor del 868 d.C., el Duodécimo Imán, Abu al-Qasim Muhammad (o Mahoma al Mahdi), nació del Undécimo Imán. Pero por haber estado su padre bajo una intensa persecución, el Mahdi fue enviado a ocultarse para su protección. Cerca de los seis años, él salió brevemente de su refugio cuando su padre fue muerto, pero volvió a ocultarse nuevamente. Se dice que desde entonces, ha estado ocultándose en cuevas, y que regresará de manera sobrenatural justo antes del día del juicio para erradicar toda la tiranía y la opresión, trayendo armonía y paz a la tierra. En la teología chiíta, él es el salvador del mundo. De acuerdo a un escritor, el Mahdi combinará la dignidad de Moisés, la gracia de Jesús, y la paciencia de Job en una persona perfecta. 


Las predicciones sobre el Duodécimo Imán tienen una sorprendente similitud con las profecías bíblicas del final de los tiempos. De acuerdo a la profecía islámica, el regreso del Mahdi será precedido por una serie de eventos durante un horrendo caos mundial que durará tres años, y gobernará sobre los árabes y sobre el mundo entero por siete años. Su aparición estará acompañada por dos resurrecciones, una de los impíos y otra de los justos. De acuerdo a las enseñanzas chiítas, el liderazgo del Mahdi será aceptado por Jesús, y las dos grandes ramas de la familia de Abraham quedarán reunidas para siempre. 


¿Cómo se relacionan con esto las declaraciones hechas por musulmanes chiítas, tales como las del presidente de Irán, Mahmud Ahmadineyad? Ahmdineyad es un chiíta profundamente comprometido, y afirma que él personalmente preparará al mundo para la llegada de Mahdi. A fin de que el mundo sea salvado, debe estar primero en un estado de caos y sometimiento, y Ahmadineyad siente que él fue dirigido por Alá para preparar el camino para ello. Ahmadineyad ha hecho repetidamente declaraciones acerca de destruir a los enemigos del Islam. Supuestamente, el presidente iraní y su gabinete, han firmado un contrato con al Mahdi, en el que se comprometen ellos mismos con su obra. Cuando fue cuestionado directamente por la reportera de la ABC, Ann Curry, en septiembre del 2009 acerca de estas declaraciones apocalípticas, Ahmadineyad dijo, “el Imán…. vendrá con lógica, con cultura y con ciencia. Él vendrá para que ya no haya más guerra. No más enemistad y odio. No más conflicto. Él invitará a todos a unirse en un amor fraternal. Desde luego, él regresará con Jesucristo. Los dos regresarán juntos. Y trabajando juntos, ellos llenarán este mundo con amor.”


¿Qué tiene que ver esto con el Anticristo? De acuerdo con 2 Tesalonicenses 2:3-4, habrá un “hombre de pecado” que se revelará en los últimos días, y quien se opondrá y se levantará contra todo lo que se llame Dios. En Daniel 7, leemos la visión de Daniel de las cuatro bestias, las cuales representan reinos que jugaron un papel importante en el plan profético de Dios. La cuarta bestia es descrita (v. 7-8) como espantosa y terrible y en gran manera fuerte, y diferente de aquellas que fueron antes de ella. También describe que tiene un “cuerno pequeño” que desarraiga a otros cuernos. Este cuerno pequeño a menudo es identificado como el Anticristo. En el verso 25, se le describe hablando “palabras contra el Altísimo, y a los santos del Altísimo quebrantará, y pensará en cambiar los tiempos y la ley; y serán entregados en su mano hasta tiempo, tiempos, y medio tiempo.” (3 ½ años). En Daniel 8, la visión del carnero y el macho cabrío identifica a un rey que se levantará en los últimos días (v.23-25), destruirá a mucha gente y se levantará contra Cristo, pero este rey será quebrantado. En Daniel 9:27 está profetizado que el “príncipe que había de venir” hará un pacto de 7 años con mucha gente y luego traerá mucha desolación. ¿Quién será este Anticristo? Nadie lo sabe con seguridad, pero se han dado muchas teorías, incluida la posibilidad de que él será un árabe. 


Independientemente de las diversas teorías, hay algunos paralelismos entre la Biblia y la teología chiíta que debemos considerar. Primero, la Biblia dice que el reinado del Anticristo gobernará al mundo por siete años, y el Islam asegura que el Duodécimo Imán gobernará al mundo por siete años. Segundo, los musulmanes anticipan tres años de caos antes de la revelación del Duodécimo Imán, y la Biblia habla de 3 ½ años de Tribulación antes que el Anticristo se revele a sí mismo al profanar el templo judío. Tercero, el Anticristo es descrito como un engañador que pretende traer la paz, pero quien en realidad ocasionará una guerra generalizada; la anticipación del Duodécimo Imán es que él traerá la paz a través de una guerra masiva con el resto del mundo. 


¿El Anticristo será un musulmán? Solo Dios lo sabe. ¿Hay conexiones entre la escatología islámica y la escatología cristiana? Ciertamente parece haber correlaciones directas, aunque son como leer descripciones de una gran batalla, primero desde la perspectiva del perdedor, tratando de salvar la cara, y luego desde la perspectiva del vencedor. Hasta que veamos el cumplimiento de estas cosas, necesitamos prestar atención a las palabras de 1 Juan 4:1-4, “Amados, no creáis a todo espíritu, sino probad los espíritus si son de Dios; porque muchos falsos profetas han salido por el mundo. En esto conoced el Espíritu de Dios: Todo espíritu que confiesa que Jesucristo ha venido en carne, es de Dios; y todo espíritu que no confiesa que Jesucristo ha venido en carne, no es de Dios; y este es el espíritu del anticristo, el cual vosotros habéis oído que viene, y que ahora ya está en el mundo. Hijitos, vosotros sois de Dios, y los habéis vencido; porque mayor es el que está en vosotros, que el que está en el mundo.”





09/10/20


“What is inaugurated eschatology?"


Inaugurated eschatology is a certain scheme of eschatology—the study of the latter days or the end times. Inaugurated eschatology basically says that the kingdom of God, as prophesied in Isaiah 35, began at the first coming of Jesus and is now here, although it will not be fully consummated until His second coming. Inaugurated eschatology is also sometimes referred to as a “partially realized eschatology” and is associated with the “already but not yet” concept.


Basically, inaugurated eschatology is the belief that we are now living in the end times (or latter days), which were inaugurated at the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. With the kingdom of God having been inaugurated by Jesus, the church has access to the kingdom promises right now. In contrast to this view is dispensational eschatology, which sees the kingdom of God as a separate, future era in which the promises made to Israel will be literally fulfilled on earth. Dispensationalism maintains a distinction between the New Testament church and Old Testament (and future-kingdom-era) Israel. Inaugurated eschatology blurs that line.


According to inaugurated eschatology, all the promises of the kingdom can be fulfilled in the church today. For example, Isaiah 35:5 makes the promise that, in the kingdom, “the eyes of the blind [will] be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” This promise can be claimed today, say promoters of the “already but not yet” concept, if we have faith to make the kingdom “break through” into our world. The reasoning is thus: Jesus is the King on the throne in heaven, and His kingdom has already been established, so the blind should see and the deaf should hear. Inaugurated eschatology is popular in the Charismatic movement, for it provides a basis for claiming miracles today.


Scripturally, there is a sense in which we are living in the end times, because the return of Christ is imminent. And there is a sense in which the kingdom is already in force. Colossians 3:1 says that believers “have been raised with Christ,” although, of course, this cannot be speaking of a physical, bodily resurrection yet. Paul must be speaking spiritually. One of the problems with inaugurated eschatology is that it tends to look for a present physical fulfillment of the kingdom promises made to Israel, when Jesus clearly said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).


Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, He did say that the kingdom of God was “near” (Matthew 4:17). But Israel rejected their King and, in so doing, rejected the kingdom. The kingdom years are now “on hold” as God works through the church, made of both Jew and Gentile. Once the church age has ended, God will again make Israel the focus of His work in the world. Jesus will return, Israel will receive their Messiah, and then the kingdom of God will come.



09/09/20


“What is the concept of 'already but not yet'?"


The theological concept of “already but not yet” holds that believers are actively taking part in the kingdom of God, although the kingdom will not reach its full expression until sometime in the future. We are “already” in the kingdom, but we do “not yet” see it in its glory. The “already but not yet” theology is related to kingdom theology or inaugurated eschatology.


The “already but not yet” paradigm was developed by Princeton theologian Gerhardus Vos early in the 20th century. In the 1950s George Eldon Ladd, a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, argued that there are two meanings to the kingdom of God: 1) God’s authority and right to rule and 2) the realm in which God exercises His authority. The kingdom, then, is described in Scripture both as a realm presently entered and as one entered in the future. Ladd concluded that the kingdom of God is both present and future.


The “already but not yet” theology is popular among the Charismatics, for whom it provides a theological framework for present-day miracles. “Already but not yet” is officially embraced by the Vineyard Church and underpins many of their teachings.


There is a sense in which God’s kingdom is already in force. Hebrews 2:8–9 says, “At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death” (ESV). In this passage, we have a “now” (we see Jesus crowned with glory), and we have a “not yet” (not everything has been subjected to Christ). Jesus is the King, but His kingdom is not yet of this world (see John 18:36).


Also, in 1 John 3:2, we read, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Again, we have a “now” (we are the children of God), and we have a “not yet” (our future state). We are children of the King, but we must wait to see exactly what that entails.


Add to this the facts that Romans 8:30 says we are “glorified” and Ephesians 2:6 says we are seated with Christ “in the heavenly realms” as if these were completed acts. We don’t feel very glorified, most of the time, and our surroundings do not much resemble “heavenly realms.” That’s because the present spiritual reality does not yet match up with the future, physical reality. One day, the two will be in sync.


So, there is a biblical basis for the “already but not yet” system of interpretation. The problem comes when this paradigm is used to justify the prosperity gospel, name-it-claim-it teachings, and other heresies. The idea behind these teachings is that Christ’s kingdom is in full operation and that prayer can make it “break through” into our world. Evangelism is thought to “advance the kingdom.” And people are told they never need be sick or poor because the riches of the kingdom are available to them right now.


The Bible never speaks of “advancing the kingdom,” however. The kingdom will come (Luke 11:2). We must receive the kingdom (Mark 10:15). And the kingdom is currently “not of this world” (John 18:36). Jesus’ parables of the kingdom picture it as yeast in dough and a tree growing. In other words, the kingdom is slowly working toward an ultimate fulfillment. It is not sporadically “breaking through” to bring us comfort in this world.


The King Himself offered the kingdom to the Jews of the first century, but they rejected it (Matthew 12:22–28). One day, when Jesus returns, He will establish His kingdom on earth and fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 51:3, “The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” Until then, Jesus is building His church (Matthew 16:18) and using us for the glory of His name.





09/08/20


“What is the Apocalypse?"


The word "apocalypse" comes from the Greek word apocalupsis which means "revealing, disclosure, to take off the cover." The book of Revelation is sometimes referred to as the "Apocalypse of John" because it is God's revealing of the end times to the apostle John. Further, the Greek word for "apocalypse" is the very first word in the Greek text of the book of Revelation. The phrase "apocalyptic literature" is used to describe the use of symbols, images, and numbers to depict future events. Outside of Revelation, examples of apocalyptic literature in the Bible are Daniel chapters 7"12, Isaiah chapters 24"27, Ezekiel chapters 37"41, and Zechariah chapters 9"12.


Why was apocalyptic literature written with such symbolism and imagery? The apocalyptic books were written when it was more prudent to disguise the message in images and symbolism than to give the message in plain language. Further, the symbolism created an element of mystery about details of time and place. The purpose of such symbolism, however, was not to cause confusion, but rather to instruct and encourage followers of God in difficult times. 


Beyond the specifically biblical meaning, the term "apocalypse" is often used to refer to the end times in general, or to the last end times events specifically. End-times events such as the second coming of Christ and the battle of Armageddon are sometimes referred to as the Apocalypse. The Apocalypse will be the ultimate revealing of God, His wrath, His justice, and, ultimately, His love. Jesus Christ is the supreme "apocalypse" of God, as He revealed God to us (John 14:9; Hebrews 1:2).




“¿Qué es el Apocalipsis?"

La palabra “Apocalipsis” viene de la palabra griega “apocalupsis” que significa “revelar, develar, quitar la cubierta”. El libro de Apocalipsis a veces es llamado “El Apocalipsis de Juan”, porque es Dios quien revela el final de los tiempos al apóstol Juan. Es más, la palabra griega para Apocalipsis es la primera palabra en el texto griego del libro de Apocalipsis. La frase “literatura apocalíptica” es usada para describir el uso de símbolos, imágenes y números para representar eventos futuros. Fuera del Apocalipsis, los ejemplos que tenemos de literatura apocalíptica en la Biblia, son Daniel capítulos 7–12, Isaías capítulos 24–27, Ezequiel capítulos 37–41, y Zacarías capítulos 9–12. 


¿Por qué la literatura apocalíptica se escribió con tales imágenes y simbolismos? Los libros apocalípticos fueron escritos cuando era más prudente disfrazar el mensaje en imágenes y simbolismos, que dar un mensaje en un lenguaje claro. Más aún, el simbolismo creó un elemento de misterio acerca de los detalles del tiempo y el lugar. Sin embargo, el propósito de tales simbolismos, no era causar confusión, sino más bien instruir y animar a los seguidores de Dios en tiempos difíciles. 


Más allá del significado bíblico específico, el término “apocalipsis” es frecuentemente usado para referirse al final de los tiempos en general, o a eventos específicos del final de los tiempos. Los eventos del final de los tiempos, tales como la Segunda Venida de Jesucristo y la batalla del Armagedón, se denominan a veces como el apocalipsis. El apocalipsis será la última revelación de Dios, de Su ira, Su justicia, y, por último, Su amor. Jesucristo es el supremo “Apocalipsis” de Dios, porque Él nos revela a Dios (Juan 14:9; Hebreos 1:2). 




09/07/20


“Have any aspects of end times prophecy been fulfilled?"


Revelation 4:1 introduces a section of Scripture that details “things which must be hereafter.” What follows are prophecies of the “end times.” We have not yet reached the tribulation, the revelation of the Antichrist, or other “end-time” events. What we do see is a “preparation” for those events.


Jesus said that the last days would be preceded by several things: many false Christs would come, deceiving many; we would “hear of wars and rumors of wars”; and there would be an increase in “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:5-8). Today’s news is full of false religions, warfare, and natural disasters. We know that events of the tribulation period will include all that Jesus predicted (Revelation 6:1-8); current events seem to be a build-up for greater trouble ahead.


Paul warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. “In later times, some will abandon the faith, and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and because of people who actively “oppose the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-9; also see 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The list of things people will be in the last days—lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power—(2 Timothy 3:1-2) seems to fit our modern age exactly.


Can there be any doubt that the prophecies concerning apostasy are being fulfilled? Our 21st-century world has embraced moral relativism, a philosophy which is tainting even the church. For example, many denominations are having a hard time defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, and many religious leaders today are openly supporting homosexuality. The Bible has become subordinate to the modern church’s quest for a more appealing “truth.” These are indeed “perilous times” spiritually.


The formation of the European Union—and the fact that we have a reunified Germany—is very interesting in light of biblical prophecy. The “ten toes” of Daniel 2:42 and the ten-horned beasts of Daniel 7:20 and Revelation 13:1 are references to a “revived” Roman Empire which will hold power before Christ returns. Although the precise political structure has yet to be formed, the pieces can be seen as falling into place.


In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state, and this, too, has ramifications for the student of Scripture. God promised Abram that his posterity would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel (Ezekiel 37). Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end-time prophecy, because of Israel’s prominence in eschatology (Daniel 10:14; 11:41; Revelation 11:8).


While there is no biblical proof that the things mentioned above are prophecy fulfilled, we can see how many of these events are similar to what the Bible describes. In any case, we are to be watching for prophecy fulfilled because Jesus told us that the day of the Lord—His return for His own—would come like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10), unexpected and unannounced. “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).




"¿Se han cumplido algunos aspectos de la profecía del final de los tiempos?"

Apocalipsis 4:1 introduce una sección en la Escritura donde se detallan “las cosas que sucederán después de estas.” Lo que le sigue, son profecías para “el final de los tiempos.” Aún no hemos llegado a la Tribulación, la revelación del Anticristo, u otros eventos del “final de los tiempos.” Lo que vemos es una “preparación” para esos eventos. 


Jesús dijo que los últimos días serían precedidos por varios sucesos: surgirán muchos falsos Cristos, que engañarán a muchos; “oiremos de guerras y rumores de guerras;” y habrá un incremento de “pestes, y hambres, y terremotos en diferentes lugares. Y todo esto será principio de dolores.” (Mateo 24:5-8). Las noticias actuales están llenas de falsas religiones, guerras, y desastres naturales. Sabemos que los eventos del período de la Tribulación incluirán todo lo que Jesús predijo (Apocalipsis 6:1-8). Los eventos actuales parecen ser el preámbulo de grandes problemas que se avecinan.


Pablo advirtió que en los últimos días habría un marcado incremento de falsas enseñanzas. “Pero el Espíritu dice claramente que en los postreros tiempos algunos apostatarán de la fe, escuchando a espíritus engañadores y a doctrinas de demonios.” (1 Timoteo 4:1). Los últimos días son descritos como “tiempos peligrosos” por la cada vez más creciente maldad en el hombre, y por la gente que activamente “se opone a la verdad” (2 Timoteo 3:1-9; ver también 2 Tesalonicenses 2:3). La lista de características que describen a la gente de los últimos días parece describir con exactitud nuestra edad moderna - “amadores de sí mismos, avaros, vanagloriosos, soberbios, blasfemos, desobedientes a los padres, ingratos, impíos, sin afecto natural, implacables, calumniadores, intemperantes, crueles, aborrecedores de lo bueno, traidores, impetuosos, infatuados, amadores de los deleites más que de Dios, que tendrán apariencia de piedad, pero negarán la eficacia de ella.” (2 Timoteo 3:1-2). 


¿Puede haber alguna duda de que las profecías concernientes a la apostasía se están cumpliendo? Nuestro mundo del siglo XXI ha adoptado el relativismo moral, una filosofía que está corrompiendo aún a las iglesias. Por ejemplo, muchas denominaciones están teniendo dificultades en definir si el matrimonio es algo entre un hombre y una mujer, y muchos líderes religiosos de la actualidad están apoyando abiertamente el homosexualismo. La Biblia ha sido subordinada a la búsqueda de la “verdad” de la iglesia moderna. En efecto, éstos son espiritualmente “tiempos peligrosos.” 


La formación de la Unión Europea – y el hecho de que tengamos una Alemania reunificada – resulta muy interesante a la luz de la profecía bíblica. Los diez “dedos de los pies” de Daniel 2:42 y las bestias con los diez cuernos de Daniel 7:20 y Apocalipsis 13:1, son referencias a un “revivido” Imperio Romano, el cual sustentará el poder antes del regreso de Cristo. Aunque la estructura política precisa aún no se haya formado, puede verse que las piezas están cayendo en su lugar. 


En 1948, Israel fue reconocido como un estado soberano, y esto, también, tiene ramificaciones para el estudiante de la Escritura. Dios prometió a Abraham que su descendencia tendría Canaán como una “heredad perpetua” (Génesis 17:8), y Ezequiel profetizó una resucitación física y espiritual de Israel (Ezequiel 37). El que Israel exista como nación en su propia tierra, es importante a la luz de la profecía del final de los tiempos, por la prominencia que tiene Israel en la escatología (Daniel 10:14; 11:41; Apocalipsis 11:8).


Mientras que no hay una prueba bíblica de que las cosas arriba mencionadas sean el cumplimiento específico de las profecías del final de los tiempos, sí podemos ver cómo muchos de estos eventos son similares a lo que la Biblia describe. En cualquier caso, debemos estar atentos a estas señales, porque Jesús nos dijo que el día del Señor – Su regreso por los Suyos – vendría como un ladrón en la noche (2 Pedro 3:10), inesperadamente y sin previo aviso. “Velad, pues, en todo tiempo orando que seáis tenidos por dignos de escapar de todas estas cosas que vendrán, y de estar en pie delante del Hijo del Hombre.” (Lucas 21:36).




09/06/20


What does it mean to be a true Christian?


A true Christian is nothing other than a real, authentic, actual Christian. The reason some people, including myself, will say or write "true Christian" or "true believer" is because there are people who pretend to be Christians but are not (Judas, for example; Matthew 26:25). There are also people who appear to be Christians and may believe themselves to be Christians but are deceived (Matthew 7:22–23). Many people have mistaken notions or ideas about what it means to be a Christian. The bottom line is that not all who profess to have faith in Christ possess faith in Christ. This is a surprising statement to many, and it should be a sober reminder to us who profess ourselves to be Christians to make our calling and election certain (2 Peter 1:10). So, what distinguishes a true Christian from a pretender? What separates sincere followers of Christ from hypocritical imposters? 


A true Christian is a person who has been born again (John 3:3–8). Only those who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God are actual Christians (Titus 3:4-7). Of course, this begs the question, "What does it mean to be born again?" The Apostle John answers this question in great detail in his first epistle. The following four marks will be present in all those who have been born again. Not all four marks will be present to the same degree, but they will all be present in some measure in all true Christians.


1) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) has been born of God, and is therefore a true Christian (1 John 5:1). Faith in Jesus Christ, who is both Lord and Savior, is the instrument through which we receive salvation. First John 5:4–5, says, "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" Ephesians 2:8–10 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."


2) Everyone who practices righteousness has been born of God (1 John 2:29). This is not self-righteousness or mere external civic righteousness, but righteousness that is a result of having been born again. Our good works do not save us, but they are the inevitable consequence of having been saved. True Christians are new creations and have new hearts and desires which cause them to pursue holiness and do good deeds out of love for God (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:12). As a good tree bears good fruit, a true Christian will bear good works to the glory of God (Matthew 7:15–20). 


3) Everyone who has been born of God will love God and love the brothers (1 John 3:14). By brothers, John means the church (i.e. fellow believers in Christ). Although a Christian is commanded to love all people, they will have a special affection for those who are believers (Galatians 6:10). Those who love God will love those who love God. There is a bond between true believers that runs deeper than blood (Mark 10:29–30). 


4) "Everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him" (1 John 5:18). This does not mean that Christians do not sin. They do. In fact, we are told that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8–9). What John is saying is that sin is not the dominant controlling influence in the life of a Christian. A true Christian cannot continue long in a pattern of sin without conviction from the Holy Spirit and/or God's loving discipline (Hebrews 12:5–11). No Christian is content and at peace with the remaining sin in their lives. Instead, it is seen as a great burden to them and the Spirit of God, who dwells within them, wages continuous war against the remaining sin nature (Galatians 5:16–25). 


In conclusion, a true Christian is someone who has been born again by the Spirit of God. They believe that Jesus is the Messiah, God in the flesh, come to earth to save those who believe in Him. As a result of being born again and given new hearts, a true Christian loves God and the church. A true Christian is not dominated and controlled by the sin nature, but wages war against sin with the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and pursues righteousness and holiness for the love and glory of God. 




09/05/20


How does someone become a Christian?


The word "Christian" comes from a Greek word that means "little Christ." So a Christian is a person who models his or her life after Jesus. Jesus' followers were first called Christians by people who were trying to describe the radical lifestyle changes evident in His disciples. Because the disciples were acting so much like Jesus, they were called "little Christs" (Acts 11:26).


But becoming a Christian is not about cleaning up our act or trying to be nicer. It begins with the recognition that we are sinful and cannot—even on our best day—be good enough to impress a holy God. Isaiah 64:6 says that our best deeds are like filthy rags to God. Our good can never outweigh our bad, because God is perfect and we are born sinners (Romans 5:12). Even one sin destroys perfection. When God created Adam and Eve, they were sinless. But when they chose to disobey God (Genesis 3:6), sin entered the world and corrupted everything.


Because of our sinful state, we are forever separated from the God who created us (Isaiah 59:2). Although He loves us, He is also perfectly just. Perfect justice cannot allow evil to go unpunished. The only righteous punishment for our rebellion against a holy God is eternal separation from Him in hell (Romans 6:23). 


However, because He loves us so much, He came to earth to take that punishment upon Himself. He came in the form of a baby named Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11). He lived the life we live—but without sin (Hebrews 4:15; John 8:29). He then offered Himself in our place (John 10:18). He took the punishment we deserve by being nailed to a cross. For the first time, He was separated from God and took upon His perfect body the sins of the whole world (Mark 15:34; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Because Jesus is holy, God accepted His sacrifice and raised Jesus from the dead after three days (John 20).


Jesus said that whoever believes in Him and the sacrifice He made on our behalf can be forgiven (John 3:15-18). But believing is more than mentally acknowledging the truth of what He did. Saving faith means we place our whole weight upon it.


For example, imagine that you are standing on the bank of the Grand Canyon. Spanning the canyon is a narrow suspension bridge. It dips low as it sways in the breeze and a few planks are missing. With you on the bank is the architect of that bridge. He holds the plans in his hands and assures you that this bridge is safe. You may agree wholeheartedly as you stand on the bank. You've heard of his reputation as an excellent architect and may truly believe that you trust him. But that is not faith. Faith is leaving the bank and stepping onto the bridge. You go from intellectual agreement to lifestyle faith. The moment you leave the bank, you have placed your whole life in his hands. And that is the difference between true Christians and those who profess to know Jesus because they believe all this about Him, go to church, or agree that the Bible is true.


Jesus paid our debt in full when He died and rose again. There is nothing we can do to add to it. However, He gives us free will to choose Him or reject His offer (John 1:10-12). He also warned us that it would not be easy to embrace the life of a follower (Matthew 7:14). We often prefer to remain on the bank and pretend we trust Him, but that is not the kind of believing He requires. 


A heart transformation must take place to make us Christians. Jesus called it being "born again" (John 3:3). He used the illustration of birth because we understand that when a baby is born, a new creature emerges that did not previously exist. Every live birth results in growth. In one year or five years, that baby will not look or act as it does the moment it is born. When we allow the Holy Spirit to "birth" us into God's family, we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus changes us from the inside out so that our desires, passions, and actions start to reflect His. We don't try to change to become acceptable to God; our lives change because our hearts have been born anew. He has adopted us and desires that we become more like Him (Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15). Because we love Him and have placed our lives in His hands, we want to do what pleases Him. 


Jesus warned that many would desire to come to Him, but would want to do so on their own terms (Luke 9:59-62, 13:23-24). Jesus' requirements are clear. In Luke 9:23 He said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (see also Matthew 16:24). Jesus also said, "Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:38). 


That cross means something must die or we won't be able to accept the offer of eternal life. We must be willing to die to our old ways of doing things, our sin, and our right to be our own boss. To embrace the new life He offers, we must be willing to let go of the old one we have clung to. To accept Jesus as Savior means we also accept Him as Lord (Romans 10:9-10). When we do, He forgives our sin, makes us holy before God, and promises us eternal life with Him. We will still mess up, but the power sin once had over us is broken. We can ask His forgiveness because we are His children. When we do, He removes that sin, cleanses our hearts, and helps us walk in fellowship with Him (1 John 1:9).


Are you ready to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and be born again? If so, follow through with the decision right now. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. However, the following prayer is an example of one you can use to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord:


"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and am separated from you with no hope of bridging the gap on my own. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who lived a perfect life, died for my sins, and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."



09/04/20


“If Jesus paid the price for our sin, why do we still suffer the consequences of our sin?"


The Bible gives the good news that Jesus paid the price for our sin (Ephesians 1:7), yet in many ways we still suffer the consequences of our sins. For example, a drug dealer may become a Christian in prison, but that doesn’t mean he will be released from prison the next day—he will still experience the consequences of his past sin. A born-again Christian who falls into adultery may lose his family, his career, etc.—even after he confesses and forsakes his sin, the consequences of his sin remain. Coming to Christ does not erase the temporaleffects of sin; rather, our salvation guarantees that we will not face the eternal consequences of sin.


The consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23a). As sinners, we deserve to be eternally separated from God and His holiness. On the cross Christ paid the penalty of our sin with His own blood. He who knew no sin was made to be sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). On the basis of Christ’s perfect sacrifice, those who believe are no longer under God’s condemnation (Romans 8:1).


It’s important to understand that, when the believer in Christ experiences consequences for sin, it is not because he is under God’s condemnation (Romans 8:1), His wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9), or His retribution (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Believers are under God’s grace (Romans 6:15). Jesus took the wrath of God upon Himself (Isaiah 53:10). Sin’s consequences still experienced by believers could be classified in one of these ways:


Universal consequences. Some of sin’s consequences are experienced perpetually by every human being on earth, because we are all children of Adam. We all have weeds growing in our gardens, we all face natural disasters, we all get sick and grow old, and we all eventually die physically (Romans 5:12). As sinners living in a sinful world, there’s no avoiding these consequences of original sin.


Natural consequences. We live in a world of cause and effect, where the law of sowing and reaping is in full effect. Some of sin’s consequences are built-in and practically guaranteed, no matter if the sinner is saved or unsaved. The Bible warns that sexual immorality is a sin committed against one’s own body (1 Corinthians 6:18). “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” (Proverbs 6:27). If you steal something, you should expect to get caught and face the natural consequences that follow the sin of theft. If you resist arrest when you get caught, you pile on more consequences. Sowing and reaping.


Instructional consequences. Very likely, God allows some of sin’s consequences to remain in our lives to teach us the heinous nature of sin and to remind us to depend upon God’s grace. Sin is a serious enough problem for God to have sent His Son into the world to die. We dare not take sin lightly. In the face of sin’s consequences, we humble ourselves and seek God’s kingdom and righteousness all the more (see Matthew 6:33). When Ananias and Sapphira were disciplined for their sin, it was instructive for the church: “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events” (Acts 5:11). See also 1 Corinthians 5:5 and 1 Timothy 1:20.


Disciplinary consequences. Some of sin’s consequences are the result of God’s treating us as a father should his children. There’s a difference between a penalty for sin and discipline for sin. As God’s children, we experience discipline designed to guide us back to the right path. “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (Hebrews 12:5–6; cf. Proverbs 3:11–12). Note how many of God’s children undergo discipline: “everyone” (Hebrews 12:8). We are all wayward at times. God’s purpose in allowing us to experience disciplinary consequences of sin, true to His nature, is perfect: “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).


The church of Corinth provides an example of Christians facing the disciplinary consequences of their sin: in partaking of the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner, they brought God’s displeasure: “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 11:30). We see similar disciplinary action taken in 2 Samuel 12. Even after David confessed his sin and was forgiven, God allowed certain consequences to befall David and his household (verses 11–14).


God allows us to experience some of the temporal consequences of sin to show His love for us. If God never disciplined His straying children, He would not be a good Father. If we were never disciplined or never suffered the consequences for our wrong action, we would never learn right from wrong. We tend to learn from our mistakes more readily than we learn from our successes.


Praise the Lord for His goodness. He allows us to experience the temporal consequences of sin (for our own good). But He has saved us from the eternal consequences of sin. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins so we will never experience the second death, which is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). Believers in Christ are promised that the curse and consequences of sin will be completely removed one day, and “nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isaiah 11:9).




“Si Jesús pagó el precio por nuestro pecado, ¿por qué todavía sufrimos las consecuencias de nuestro pecado?"

La Biblia da las buenas nuevas de que Jesús pagó el precio por nuestro pecado (Efesios 1:7), sin embargo, en muchas formas todavía sufrimos las consecuencias de nuestros pecados. Por ejemplo, un traficante de drogas puede llegar a ser cristiano en la cárcel, pero eso no significa que será puesto en libertad al día siguiente - seguirá experimentando las consecuencias de sus pecados pasados. Un cristiano nacido de nuevo que cae en el adulterio puede perder a su familia, su profesión, etc. - aún después de confesar y abandonar su pecado; las consecuencias de su pecado permanecen. El venir a Cristo no borra los efectos temporales del pecado; por el contrario, nuestra salvación garantiza que no enfrentaremos las consecuencias eternas del pecado. 


La consecuencia del pecado es la muerte (Romanos 6:23a). Como pecadores, merecemos estar eternamente separados de Dios y de Su santidad. En la cruz, Cristo pagó la pena de nuestro pecado con Su propia sangre. El que no conoció pecado fue hecho pecado por nosotros (2 Corintios 5:21). Sobre la base del sacrificio perfecto de Cristo, los que creen ya no están bajo la condenación de Dios (Romanos 8:1). 


Es importante entender que, cuando el creyente en Cristo experimenta las consecuencias por el pecado, no es porque esté bajo la condenación de Dios (Romanos 8:1), Su ira (1 Tesalonicenses 5:9), o Su retribución (2 Tesalonicenses 1:8). Los creyentes están bajo la gracia de Dios (Romanos 6:15). Jesús tomó la ira de Dios sobre sí mismo (Isaías 53:10). Las consecuencias del pecado que todavía experimentan los creyentes podrían clasificarse en una de estas maneras: 


Consecuencias universales. Algunas de las consecuencias del pecado se experimentan permanentemente por cada ser humano en la tierra, porque todos somos hijos de Adán. Todos tenemos malezas creciendo en nuestros jardines, todos nos enfrentamos a desastres naturales, todos nos enfermamos y envejecemos, y finalmente todos morimos físicamente (Romanos 5:12). Como pecadores que vivimos en un mundo pecaminoso, no podemos evitar estas consecuencias del pecado original. 


Consecuencias naturales. Vivimos en un mundo de causa y efecto, donde la ley de siembra y cosecha está en pleno efecto. Algunas de las consecuencias del pecado están incluidas y prácticamente garantizadas, no importa si el pecador es salvo o no. La Biblia advierte que la inmoralidad sexual es un pecado cometido contra el propio cuerpo (1 Corintios 6:18). "¿Tomará el hombre fuego en su seno sin que sus vestidos ardan?" (Proverbios 6:27). Si robas algo, debes esperar ser atrapado y enfrentar las consecuencias naturales después del pecado del robo. Si te resiste al arresto cuando te atrapan, acumularás más consecuencias. Sembrar y cosechar. 


Consecuencias para la enseñanza. Muy probablemente, Dios permite que algunas de las consecuencias del pecado permanezcan en nuestras vidas para enseñarnos la naturaleza atroz del pecado y para recordarnos que dependamos de la gracia de Dios. El pecado es un problema lo suficientemente serio como para que Dios haya enviado a su Hijo al mundo para morir. No nos atrevemos a tomar el pecado a la ligera. Ante las consecuencias del pecado, nos humillamos y buscamos el reino y la justicia de Dios mucho más (ver Mateo 6:33). Cuando Ananías y Safira fueron disciplinados por sus pecados, fue una lección para la iglesia: "Y vino gran temor sobre toda la iglesia, y sobre todos los que oyeron estas cosas" (Hechos 5:11). Ver también 1 Corintios 5:5 y 1 Timoteo 1:20. 


Consecuencias disciplinarias. Algunas de las consecuencias del pecado son el resultado de que Dios nos trata como un padre para con sus hijos. Hay una diferencia entre una pena por el pecado y la disciplina por el pecado. Como hijos de Dios, experimentamos la disciplina diseñada para guiarnos de regreso al camino correcto. "Hijo mío, no menosprecies la disciplina del Señor, ni desmayes cuando eres reprendido por él; porque el Señor al que ama, disciplina, y azota a todo el que recibe por hijo" (Hebreos 12:5-6; cf. Proverbios 3:11-12). Observa cuántos de los hijos de Dios se someten a la disciplina: "todos" (Hebreos 12:8). Todos somos caprichosos a veces. El propósito de Dios al permitirnos experimentar las consecuencias disciplinarias del pecado, fiel a Su naturaleza, es perfecto: "pero éste para lo que nos es provechoso, para que participemos de su santidad" (Hebreos 12:10). 


La iglesia de Corinto es un ejemplo de cristianos que sufren las consecuencias disciplinarias de su pecado: al participar de la mesa del Señor de una manera indigna, trajeron el disgusto de Dios: "Por lo cual hay muchos enfermos y debilitados entre vosotros, y muchos duermen" (1 Corintios 11:30). Vemos acciones disciplinarias similares en 2 Samuel 12. Aun después de que David confesó su pecado y fue perdonado, Dios permitió que David y su familia sufrieran ciertas consecuencias (versículos 11-14). 


Dios nos permite experimentar algunas de las consecuencias temporales del pecado para mostrarnos Su amor. Si Dios nunca disciplinara a Sus hijos descarriados, no sería un buen Padre. Si nunca fuéramos disciplinados ni sufriéramos las consecuencias de nuestras malas acciones, nunca aprenderíamos lo que es bueno y lo que es malo. Solemos aprender de nuestros errores más fácilmente que de nuestros éxitos. 


Alabado sea el Señor por Su bondad. Él nos permite experimentar las consecuencias temporales del pecado (para nuestro propio bien). Sin embargo, Él nos ha salvado de las consecuencias eternas del pecado. Jesús pagó la pena por nuestros pecados para que nunca experimentemos la segunda muerte, que es el lago de fuego (Apocalipsis 20:14). A los creyentes en Cristo se les promete que la maldición y las consecuencias del pecado un día serán removidas completamente, y "en todo mi monte santo no habrá nada que destruya o haga daño" (Isaías 11:9)





09/03/20


“What are the consequences of sin?"


The ultimate—and severest—consequence of sin is death. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This not only refers to physical death, but to eternal separation from God: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). This is the foremost consequence of man’s rebellion against God.


Yet many want to believe that God is so “loving” that He will overlook our “little faults,” “lapses” and “indiscretions.” Little white lies, cheating on the tax return, taking that pen when no one is looking, or secretly viewing pornography—these are peccadillos, not worthy of death, right? The problem is, sin is sin, big or small. Though God loves us, His holiness is such that He cannot live with evil. The prophet Habakkuk describes God this way: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13). God does not ignore our sin. On the contrary, “you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). Even those secret sins we hide in the recesses of our hearts will one day be brought to light: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).


Paul made it abundantly clear that sin has consequences: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). Paul then describes the end of those who indulge in sinful behavior: “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction” (Galatians 6:8). The phrase “sinful nature” refers to one’s unregenerate, shameless self. Though the sin nature may promise fulfillment, it can result in nothing but “destruction.”


Paul told the believers in Galatia that “the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other . . .” (Galatians 5:17). Then he lists the sordid works of the sin nature and specifies the ultimate consequence of such behavior: “Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (see Galatians 5:19-21). Those who live in debauchery and sin sow the seeds of destruction in their present-day life and forfeit any hope of eternal life.


The Bible describes those who choose to indulge in sin as being “darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:18-19). One of the consequences of sin, therefore, is more sin. There’s an insatiable “lust for more,” attended by a dulling of the conscience and a blindness to spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:14).


The consequence of suppressing the truth is that God gives the sinner over to “the sinful desires of their hearts,” “shameful lusts” and “a depraved mind” (Romans 1:24, 26, 28). This means that God may allow the sinner to serve as his own god and to reap the destruction of his body and soul. It is a fearful thing to be “given over” to our own destructive ways.


God has made it clear that “the soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4, NASB). Those who habitually live their lives outside of Christ, yet whose hearts have been convicted by the gospel of Christ, should follow the example of the first converts of the church: “They were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” The answer was simple yet profound: “Repent!” (Acts 2:37-38).


Jesus’ first words when He began His ministry were, “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). What is the good news? “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


The consequence of sin is death, but “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).





09/02/20


“What is prayer?"


The most basic definition of prayer is “talking to God.” Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection; it is direct address to God. It is the communication of the human soul with the Lord who created the soul. Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate his emotions and desires with God and to fellowship with God.


Prayer can be audible or silent, private or public, formal or informal. All prayer must be offered in faith (James 1:6), in the name of the Lord Jesus (John 16:23), and in the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). As the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia puts it, “Christian prayer in its full New Testament meaning is prayer addressed to God as Father, in the name of Christ as Mediator, and through the enabling grace of the indwelling Spirit” (“Prayer” by J. C. Lambert). The wicked have no desire to pray (Psalm 10:4), but the children of God have a natural desire to pray (Luke 11:1).


Prayer is described in the Bible as seeking God’s favor (Exodus 32:11), pouring out one’s soul to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:15), crying out to heaven (2 Chronicles 32:20), drawing near to God (Psalm 73:28, KJV), and kneeling before the Father (Ephesians 3:14).


Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7). Worry about nothing; pray about everything.


Everything? Yes, God wants us to talk with Him about everything. How often should we pray? The biblical answer is “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We should keep a running conversation going with God all day long. Some find the ACTS formula of prayer helpful, but there is really no special formula for how to pray in the Bible. We should just do it. We can pray under any and all circumstances. Prayer develops our relationship with God and demonstrates our trust and utter dependence upon Him.


Prayer is the Christian’s way of communicating with God. We pray to praise God and thank Him and tell Him how much we love Him. We pray to enjoy His presence and tell Him what is going on in our lives. We pray to make requests and seek guidance and ask for wisdom. God loves this exchange with His children, just as we love the exchange we have with our children. Fellowship with God is the heart of prayer. Too often we lose sight of how simple prayer is really supposed to be.


When we make petitions to God, we let God know exactly where we stand and what we would like to see happen. In our prayers, we must admit that God is greater than we are and ultimately knows what is best in any given situation (Romans 11:33–36). God is good and asks us to trust Him. In prayer, we say, essentially, “Not my will, but your will be done.” The key to answered prayer is praying according to the will of God and in accordance with His Word. Prayer is not seeking our own will but seeking to align ourselves with the will of God more fully (1 John 5:14–15; James 4:3).


The Bible contains many examples of prayer and plenty of exhortations to pray (see Luke 18:1; Romans 12:12; and Ephesians 6:18). God’s house is to be a house of prayer (Mark 11:17), and God’s people are to be people of prayer: “Dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 1:20–21).



“What are some different methods of Bible study?"


There are several different Bible study methods we can use to study in an organized or systematic way. For the purpose of this article, we will classify them into two broad categories: Book Studies and Topical Studies. Before discussing the different types of Bible study methods, it is important to recognize that all of them have certain things in common and must follow certain hermeneutic rules or principles in order to avoid misinterpreting what the Bible says. For example, whatever type of Bible study method we use, it is important that the study carefully takes into consideration the context of the subject or verse being studied, both within the immediate context of the chapter or book itself and within the overall context of the Bible. Our first goal must be to understand what the original or intended meaning of the passage is. In other words, what was the human author's intended meaning, and how would his original audience have understood what he wrote? This principle recognizes that the Bible was not written in a vacuum, but is an historical document written at a specific point in history with a specific audience in mind for a specific purpose. Once the true meaning of the passage is understood, then we should seek to understand how it applies to us today.


Book Studies: This Bible study method focuses either on a complete book in the Bible or specific part of a book, such as a specific chapter, a range of verses, or a single verse itself. With chapter and verse-by-verse methods and with the study of an overall book, the principles and goals are the same. For example, in order to do a thorough book study, we must necessarily also study the context of individual chapters and verses. Likewise, in order to correctly study a particular verse, we need to also study the overall message of the chapter and book that verse is found in. Of course, whether it is on the individual verse level, or a complete book study, we must always consider the overall context of the whole Bible as well.


Topical Studies: There are many varieties of topical studies that we can do. Some examples include biographical studies, where we study all the Bible says about particular person; word studies, where we study all the Bible says about a particular word or subject; and geographical studies, where we learn all we can about a particular town, country, or nation mentioned in the Bible. Topical studies are important for understanding all the Bible teaches on a particular subject or topic. We must be careful, though, that the conclusions drawn from a topical study do not come from taking verses out of their original context in order to imply a meaning that could not be supported by doing a verse study or book study. Topical studies are helpful in systematically organizing and understanding what the Bible teaches on specific subjects. 


In studying the Bible, it is really quite beneficial to use different Bible study methods at different times. Sometimes, we might want to devote extended time to do a book study while at other times we can benefit greatly from doing some type of topical study. Whichever type of study we are doing, we must follow these basic steps: 1-Observation-what does the Bible say? 2-Interpretation-What does the Bible mean? and 3-Application-How does this biblical truth apply to my life, or how is this passage relevant today? No matter what method of Bible study we do, we must be careful to rightly divide the Word of God so that we are workmen that need not be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15).




09/01/20


“How can I experience true intimacy with God?"


True intimacy with God is something that has been sought by Christians since Christ walked the earth. It is natural for Christians to long to experience the closeness of an intimate relationship with God. But true intimacy with God is not simply a feeling on a par with a romantic relationship. It goes much deeper than emotion, down to our very souls and reflected by our actions. “For the LORD detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence” (Proverbs 3:32). God cannot have an intimacy with evil or with disobedient Christians. True intimacy with God begins with drawing near to Him.


God will never draw near to those who do not draw near to Him, and the way we “draw near” is through righteousness. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). Certainly, God will never draw near in intimacy with the unrighteous, but those who have been cleansed by the blood of Christ and have received His righteousness at the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21) have the hope of intimacy with God. In fact, it is only those who have been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9) who have that hope, because Christ is the hope through which we draw near to God (Hebrews 7:19).


Jesus is, in fact, the model of intimacy with God because He and the Father are one (John 10:30), and no relationship can be closer than that oneness with the Father that Jesus experienced. His relationship with the Father was characterized by love and obedience. In love, Jesus came to earth to do His Father’s will. He did nothing on His own, but in all things did the will of His Father (John 5:30). This was most evident in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. Suffering the agony of anticipating what was to come, Jesus asked that the fate He was about to suffer might be removed from Him, but He ended the plea by saying, “Yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Here we see a perfect example of true intimacy reflected in obedience as Jesus yielded His will to that of His Father.


If we hope to attain true intimacy with God, Jesus must be our model. We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:10), and we prove our love for Him by obeying Him. Jesus told His followers, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). When we obey Him and keep what He has commanded, He promised that we will remain in His love, just as He remains in the love of the Father by doing the Father’s will (John 15:10). There can only be intimacy with God when we are in good fellowship with Him through obedience. Then we can know the joy and peace that comes from trusting Him and yielding to His will, just as Jesus did.



“Is it important for a Christian to have daily devotions?"


Daily devotions is a phrase used to denote the discipline of Bible reading and prayer with which Christians start or end their day. Bible reading in daily devotions can take the form of a structured study using a devotional book or a simple reading of certain passages. Some people like to read through the Bible in a year. Prayer in daily devotions can include any or all of the different types of prayer—praise, confession, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession. Some people use prayer lists for their daily devotions. Others prefer to pray as they read the Word in an interactive manner, listening for God speaking to them through the Bible passages and responding in prayer. Whatever the format of daily devotions, the important thing is that our daily devotions, as the name implies, be truly devoted to God and occur daily.


It is important to spend time with God in daily devotions. Why? Paul explains: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). The experience of having God’s light shine in our hearts comes in our times spent in the presence of God. Of course, this light comes only from knowing God through Christ. The marvelous treasure of the Holy Spirit is given to each Christian, and we need faith to believe and act upon that truth. In all reality, if we truly yearn to experience the light of our Lord, we will need to be with God every day.


Someone once said, “The gospel brings man to God; devotions keep him close to God.” The apostle James wrote, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). As the children of God seek a closer relationship with God, they will find God is closer than ever. In their daily devotions, Christians seek to draw close to God’s heart, understand more about Him, obey His commands, and hold on to His promises. The impure and double-minded will have no such yearning in their hearts. In fact, they will seek to separate themselves from God as much as possible.


In daily devotions, we want to draw near to God. The expression “draw near” was originally associated with the priesthood in Israel. Under the regulations of the Old Covenant, the priests represented the people before God. However, prior to approaching God’s presence, the priest had to be washed physically and be ceremonially clean. This meant he had to bathe, wear the proper garments, and offer the proper sacrifices. His own heart had to be right with God. Then he could “draw near” to God on the people’s behalf. In time, the concept of “drawing near” was applied to anyone who approached God’s presence in worship and prayer.


The sincere believer knows that God wants His people to draw near to Him with true and pure hearts, and that’s what daily devotions are all about. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). This verse applies the language of the Old Testament ceremonial system to us today. Just as those ancient priests prepared themselves to be near God, we also should prepare ourselves spiritually to worship Him, whether in formal worship or in our personal devotional times.


After salvation, the spiritual growth begins. The believer will, like Enoch, naturally want to walk with God (Genesis 5:22). He will, like Asaph, desire to be near God (Psalm 73:28). He will, like the disciples, yearn to pray effectively (Luke 11:1). In short, the child of God will want to find time for daily devotions.




08/31/20


“Will God forgive me?"


Are you feeling guilty and desperate? Mortified by some of the things you've done? Wondering if forgiveness is possible? The conviction of sin can bring us to a place of feeling helpless and hopeless. Our shame tempts us to think that no one, much less God, could forgive us. We might wonder how we can go on. What possible hope could there be?


Have you heard that God is a forgiving God? Have you heard about His great love? Let's start with the good news first: no one is beyond God's forgiveness. No matter what you have done, you have not out-sinned God's ability to forgive you.


The Bible tells us that all humans have sinned (Romans 3:23). Each of us is deserving of eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). No matter the sin—rape, murder, terrorism, adultery, theft, pride, gossip, jealousy, lying, not fully loving others, etc.—we deserve to be punished. It's an all-or-nothing scenario. God does not judge us on whether our "good" outweighs our "bad," but on whether we will accept His way of salvation.


"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:16–18, ESV).


God made a way of forgiveness, not just for some sin but for all of it. There is no sin that God cannot forgive. No matter what you've done, God will forgive you if you come to Him in faith.


There is only one way of forgiveness. God won't forgive you because you promise to do better next time or because you make amends or because you do good deeds. No, He will forgive you because Jesus paid the penalty for sin on your behalf.


Jesus was fully God and fully human. He was without sin and lived a perfect life. But He was crucified on the cross. He died a sinner's death. The Bible tells us, "For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV). Jesus took on our sin so that we wouldn't have to bear it. He did the work and paid the price so that we could receive forgiveness.


We know Jesus spoke truth and that His sacrifice on our behalves was effective because He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3–4, 20–22). Jesus died and was buried, but He was physically raised back to life. Jesus conquered sin and death. He made it possible for us not to be stuck in our sin and guilt and shame. He made a way for us to move past despair and into true life (John 10:10). He offers forgiveness to us if we will put our trust in Him.


Do you want to receive forgiveness from God today? There is no one prayer that will grant you this forgiveness. As has been explained, forgiveness is made possible through the work of Jesus Christ. But we can receive this forgiveness by asking God for it, in faith, through prayer. You might say something like this:


"God, I know that I have sinned against you. I know that I am deserving of being separated from you forever. I know that I can't possibly make it up to you or become righteous in myself. I need your forgiveness. You have provided a way. You sent your Son Jesus to live a perfect life, die, and rise back to life on my behalf. You have paid the price that I owed for sin so that I might be forgiven and enjoy fellowship with you. Please forgive me, God. I believe in you. Remove my guilt and bring me into new life in your Son. Thank you that I can trust that you will do this. Thank you for providing a way of forgiveness and for accepting me into your family. Amen."




“¿Me perdonará Dios? ¿Puede Dios perdonarme?"

 
¿Te sientes culpable y desesperado? ¿Humillado por algunas de las cosas que has hecho? ¿Te has preguntado si es posible el perdón? La convicción del pecado puede llevarnos al punto de sentirnos indefensos y desesperados. Nuestra vergüenza nos tienta a pensar que nadie, mucho menos Dios, podría perdonarnos. Podemos preguntarnos cómo podemos seguir adelante. ¿Cuál podría ser la posible esperanza?


¿Has oído que Dios es un Dios que perdona? ¿Has oído hablar de Su gran amor? Empecemos primero con las buenas nuevas: nadie se escapa del perdón de Dios. No importa lo que hayas hecho, no has sobrepasado la capacidad que tiene Dios para perdonarte.


La Biblia nos dice que todos los seres humanos han pecado (Romanos 3:23). Cada uno de nosotros merece una separación eterna de Dios (Romanos 6:23). No importa el pecado — violación, asesinato, terrorismo, adulterio, robo, orgullo, chismes, celos, mentiras, el no amar plenamente a los demás, etc. — merecemos ser castigados. Es un panorama de todo o nada. Dios no nos juzga dependiendo de si nuestras "buenas" acciones superan a las "malas", sino por el hecho de que aceptemos Su camino de salvación.


"Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna. Porque no envió Dios a su Hijo al mundo para condenar al mundo, sino para que el mundo sea salvo por él. El que en él cree, no es condenado; pero el que no cree, ya ha sido condenado, porque no ha creído en el nombre del unigénito Hijo de Dios" (Juan 3, 16-18).


Dios estableció un camino para el perdón, no sólo para algunos pecados sino para todos. No hay ningún pecado que Dios no pueda perdonar. No importa lo que hayas hecho, Dios te perdonará si te acercas a Él en fe.


Sólo hay una forma de perdón. Dios no te perdonará porque prometas mejorar la próxima vez, o porque rectifiques o hagas buenas obras. No, Él te perdonará porque Jesús pagó la pena por el pecado a favor tuyo.


Jesús era completamente Dios y completamente humano. No tenía pecado y vivió una vida perfecta. Sin embargo, fue crucificado en la cruz. Murió como un pecador. La Biblia nos dice: "Al que no conoció pecado, por nosotros lo hizo [Jesús] pecado, para que nosotros fuésemos hechos justicia de Dios en él" (2 Corintios 5:21). Jesús tomó nuestro pecado para que no tuviéramos que llevarlo. Hizo la obra y pagó el precio para que pudiéramos recibir el perdón.


Sabemos que Jesús habló la verdad y que Su sacrificio por nosotros fue efectivo ya que resucitó de la muerte (1 Corintios 15:3-4, 20-22). Jesús murió y fue enterrado, pero resucitó físicamente. Jesús conquistó el pecado y la muerte. Hizo todo lo posible para que no nos quedáramos atrapados en el pecado, la culpa y la vergüenza. Abrió una senda para que pasáramos de la desesperación a la vida verdadera (Juan 10:10). Él nos ofrece el perdón si ponemos nuestra confianza en Él.


¿Quieres recibir hoy el perdón de Dios? No hay una sola oración que te conceda este perdón. Como se ha explicado, el perdón es posible gracias a la obra de Jesucristo. Sin embargo, podemos recibir este perdón pidiéndoselo a Dios, en fe, por medio de la oración. Podrías decir algo como esto:


"Dios, sé que he pecado contra ti. Sé que merezco estar separado de ti para siempre. Sé que no puedo hacer nada para remediarlo o para justificarme a mí mismo. Necesito tu perdón. Tú has provisto un camino. Enviaste a tu Hijo Jesús para vivir una vida perfecta, morir y resucitar por mí. Has pagado el precio que yo debía por el pecado para que pudiera ser perdonado y disfrutar de la comunión contigo. Por favor, perdóname, Dios. Creo en ti. Quita mi culpa y tráeme a una nueva vida en tu Hijo. Gracias porque puedo confiar en que lo harás. Gracias por ofrecerme una manera para perdonarme y por aceptarme en tu familia. Amén".


Si has hecho esta oración y verdaderamente creído en tu corazón, estás perdonado. Has sido hecho nuevo en Jesús (2 Corintios 5:17) y te has convertido en un hijo de Dios (Juan 1:12-13). Da gracias a Dios por liberarte de la carga de la culpa y la desesperación.





08/30/20


 “What is the way of salvation?"


Are you hungry? Not physically hungry, but do you have a hunger for something more in life? Is there something deep inside of you that never seems to be satisfied? If so, Jesus is the way! Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).


Are you confused? Can you never seem to find a path or purpose in life? Does it seem like someone has turned out the lights and you cannot find the switch? If so, Jesus is the way of salvation! Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).


Do you ever feel like you are locked out of life? Have you tried so many doors, only to find that what is behind them is empty and meaningless? Are you looking for an entrance into a fulfilling life? If so, Jesus is the way of salvation! Jesus declared, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).


Do other people always let you down? Have your relationships been shallow and empty? Does it seem like everyone is trying to take advantage of you? If so, Jesus is the way! Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:11, 14).


Do you wonder what happens after this life? Are you tired of living your life for things that only rot or rust? Do you sometimes doubt whether life has any meaning? Do you want to live after you die? If so, Jesus is the way of salvation! Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).


What is the way? What is the truth? What is the life? Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).


The hunger that you feel is a spiritual hunger, and can only be filled by Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can lift the darkness. Jesus is the door to a satisfying life. Jesus is the friend and shepherd that you have been looking for. Jesus is the life—in this world and the next. Jesus is the way of salvation!


The reason you feel hungry, the reason you seem to be lost in darkness, the reason you cannot find meaning in life, is that you are separated from God. The Bible tells us that we have all sinned, and are therefore separated from God (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23). The void you feel in your heart is God missing from your life. We were created to have a relationship with God. Because of our sin, we are separated from that relationship. Even worse, our sin will cause us to be separated from God for all of eternity, in this life and the next (Romans 6:23; John 3:36).


How can this problem be solved? Jesus is the way of salvation! Jesus took our sin upon Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died in our place (Romans 5:8), taking the punishment that we deserve. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, proving His victory over sin and death (Romans 6:4-5). Why did He do it? Jesus answered that question Himself: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus died so that we could live. If we place our faith in Jesus, trusting His death as the payment for our sins, all of our sins are forgiven and washed away. We will then have our spiritual hunger satisfied. The lights will be turned on. We will have access to a fulfilling life. We will know our true best friend and good shepherd. We will know that we will have life after we die—a resurrected life in heaven for eternity with Jesus!


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please click on the "I have accepted Christ today" button below.





"¿Cuál es el plan de Salvación?"

¿Está hambriento? No físicamente hambriento, ¿pero tiene usted un deseo de algo más en la vida? ¿Hay algo profundo en su interior, que parece nunca estar satisfecho? Si es así, ¡Jesús es el camino! Jesús dijo, "Yo soy el pan de vida; el que a mí viene, nunca tendrá hambre; y el que en mí cree, no tendrá sed jamás" (Juan 6:35).


¿Está usted confundido? ¿Nunca puede encontrar un sendero o propósito en la vida? ¿Parece como que alguien ha apagado las luces y usted no puede encontrar el interruptor? Si es así, ¡Jesús es el camino! Jesús proclamó, "Yo soy la luz del mundo; el que me sigue, no andará en tinieblas, sino que tendrá la luz de la vida" (Juan 8:12).


¿Alguna vez ha sentido, como que le han cerrado la puerta de la vida? ¿Ha intentado abrir muchas puertas, solamente para encontrar que detrás de ellas todo está vacío y sin sentido? ¿Está buscando una entrada a una vida plena? Si es así, ¡Jesús es el camino! Jesús declaró, "Yo soy la puerta; el que por mí entrare, será salvo; y entrará, y saldrá, y hallará pastos" (Juan 10:9).


¿Otras personas siempre lo defraudan? ¿Sus relaciones han sido superficiales y vacías? ¿Parece como que todos están tratando de sacar provecho de usted? Si es así, ¡Jesús es el camino! Jesús dijo, "Yo soy el buen pastor; el buen pastor su vida da por las ovejas…yo soy el buen pastor; y conozco mis ovejas, y las mías me conocen" (Juan 10:11,14).


¿Se ha preguntado qué sucede después de la vida? ¿Está cansado de vivir su vida por las cosas que solamente corrompen y corroen? ¿Alguna vez duda de que la vida tenga algún significado? ¿Quiere usted vivir después de que muera? Si es así, ¡Jesús es el camino! Jesús declaró, "Yo soy la resurrección y la vida; el que cree en mí, aunque esté muerto, vivirá. Y todo aquel que vive y cree en mí, no morirá eternamente" (Juan 11:25-26).


¿Cuál es el camino' ¿Cuál es la verdad? ¿Cuál es la vida? Jesús contestó, "Yo soy el camino, y la verdad, y la vida; nadie viene al Padre, sino por mí" (Juan 14:6).


El hambre que usted siente, es un hambre espiritual, y solamente puede ser saciada por Jesús. Jesús es el único que puede disipar la oscuridad. Jesús es la puerta a una vida satisfactoria. Jesús es el amigo y el pastor que usted ha buscado. Jesús es la vida – en este mundo y en el próximo. ¡Jesús es el camino de la salvación!


La razón por la que se siente hambriento, la razón por la que parece estar perdido en la oscuridad, la razón por la que no puede encontrar significado en la vida, es que usted está separado de Dios. La Biblia nos dice que todos hemos pecado, y por tanto estamos separados de Dios (Eclesiastés 7:20; Romanos 3:23). El vacío que siente en su corazón es por la ausencia de Dios en su vida. Fuimos creados para tener una relación con Dios. A causa de nuestro pecado, estamos separados de esa relación. Aún peor, nuestro pecado puede hacer que quedemos separados de Dios por toda la eternidad — en esta vida y en la que viene (Romanos 6:23; Juan 3:36).


¿Cómo se puede resolver este problema? ¡Jesús es el camino! Jesús, por nosotros, fue hecho pecado (2 Corintios 5:21). Jesús murió en nuestro lugar (Romanos 5:8), tomando el castigo que merecíamos. Tres días después, Jesús resucitó, demostrando Su victoria sobre el pecado y la muerte (Romanos 6:4-5). ¿Por qué lo hizo? Dios mismo contestó esa pregunta, "Nadie tiene mayor amor que este, que uno ponga su vida por sus amigos" (Juan 15:13). Jesús murió a fin de que nosotros pudiéramos vivir. Si ponemos nuestra fe en Jesús, confiando en Su muerte como el pago por nuestros pecados, entonces todos nuestros pecados son perdonados y lavados. Y así nuestra hambre espiritual será satisfecha. Las luces se encenderán. Tendremos acceso a una vida plena. Conoceremos a nuestro mejor amigo y buen pastor. Sabremos que tendremos vida después de morir – ¡una vida resucitada con Jesús en el cielo por la eternidad!


"Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna" (Juan 3:16).






08/29/20


“Do you have eternal life?"


The Bible presents a clear path to eternal life. First, we must recognize that we have sinned against God: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We have all done things that are displeasing to God, which makes us deserving of punishment. Since all our sins are ultimately against an eternal God, only an eternal punishment is sufficient. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).


Two more frame 


However, Jesus Christ, the sinless (1 Peter 2:22), eternal Son of God became a man (John 1:1,14) and died to pay our penalty. "God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ died on the cross (John 19:31-42), taking the punishment that we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). Three days later He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), proving His victory over sin and death. "In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).


By faith, we must change our mindset regarding Christ - who He is, what He did, and why - for salvation (Acts 3:19)."If we place our faith in Him, trusting His death on the cross to pay for our sins, we will be forgiven and receive the promise of eternal life in heaven. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). Faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the cross is the only true path to eternal life! "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).



"¿Tiene Ud. Vida Eterna?"

La Biblia presenta un camino claro hacia la vida eterna. Primero, debemos reconocer que hemos pecado contra Dios. En las Sagradas Escrituras leemos en Romanos capítulo 3 y el versículo 23: "Por cuanto todos pecaron, y están destituidos de la gloria de Dios". Todos hemos hecho cosas que desagradan a Dios, las cuales nos hacen merecedores del castigo. Puesto que todos nuestros pecados son, en última instancia, contra un Dios eterno, sólo un castigo eterno es suficiente. Pero, en Romanos capítulo 6 y el versículo 23 leemos, "Porque la paga del pecado es muerte, más la dádiva de Dios es vida eterna en Cristo Jesús Señor Nuestro".


Lea dos mas y regocije 


Sin embargo, Jesucristo, aquel que no pecó (1 Pedro 2:22), el Hijo eterno de Dios se hizo hombre (Juan 1:1,14) y murió para pagar nuestro castigo. En Romanos 5:8 leemos: "Mas Dios muestra su amor para con nosotros, en que siendo aún pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros". Jesucristo murió en la cruz (Juan 19:31-42), llevando el castigo que merecíamos (2 Corintios 5:21). Tres días más tarde resucitó de entre los muertos, demostrando Su victoria sobre el pecado y la muerte (1 de Corintios 15:1-4). Y en 1 de Pedro capítulo 1 versículo 3, leemos: "Que según su gran misericordia nos hizo renacer para una esperanza viva, por la resurrección de Jesucristo de los muertos".


Por fe, debemos cambiar nuestra forma de pensar con respecto a Cristo para la salvación: quién es, qué hizo, y por qué (Hechos 3:19). Si ponemos nuestra fe en Él, confiando en que Su muerte en la cruz fue el pago por nuestros pecados, seremos perdonados y recibiremos la promesa de la vida eterna en el cielo. En Juan 3:16 leemos: "Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, más tenga vida eterna". En Romanos 10:9 leemos: "Si confesares con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor, y creyeres en tu corazón que Dios le levantó de los muertos, serás salvo". ¡Solamente la fe en la obra completa de Cristo en la cruz es el único camino verdadero hacia la vida eterna! En Efesios 2:8-9 leemos: "Porque por gracia sois salvos por medio de la fe; y esto no de vosotros, pues es don de Dios; no por obras, para que nadie se gloríe".



08/28/20


“What does it mean to be free from sin?"


Proverbs 20:9 asks the question "Who can say, 'I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin'?" (NLT). We can all identify with that. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we still sin. So why does Romans 6:18 say, "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness"? Is this a contradiction?


Sin can be defined as "any thought, action, or attitude that falls short of God's holiness" (Romans 3:23). Sin has many layers. There are specific actions or thoughts which are sinful. Murder, adultery, and theft are sins (Exodus 20:1–17). Even the desire to commit murder, adultery, and theft are sins (Matthew 5:21, 28). But sin goes deeper than that. We commit sins because we are sinners. Since Adam first sinned in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17; 3:17–19), every person born has inherited a sin nature from him (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; 5:12). We cannot help but sin because it is our nature to do so. A bird does not have to be taught how to build a nest and keep her eggs warm. It is her nature to do so. A child does not have to be taught to be selfish and demanding. That comes naturally.


However, we were not created to be sinful. We were designed by God in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Humanity is His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 8:4–6). We were designed to live in fellowship with our Creator. But because of sin, we cannot enter His presence (Habakkuk 1:13). When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself all the sin of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:2). By taking the punishment for our sin, He cancelled the debt that each of us owes God (Colossians 2:14). He also reversed the curse of our old natures, which keeps us enslaved to sinful passions and desires (Galatians 3:10, 13). Before a person meets Christ, he or she is enslaved by that sin nature (Romans 7:25; 2 Peter 2:19). At the moment of conversion, we are given a new nature that has been freed from sin (Romans 6:18; 8:2). The entire chapter of Romans 6 explains this in detail. Verse 14 says, "For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace."


To be free from sin means that those who have made Jesus the Lord of their lives are no longer enslaved by sin. We have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to live victoriously over sin (1 Corinthians 15:56–67; Romans 8:37). Just like we once followed fleshly desires, those who are "in Christ Jesus" now follow the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:24). Because we live in a fallen world and are still fleshly creatures, we will still sin (1 John 1:9; 2:1; Romans 7:21–22). But those who follow Christ do not make sin a lifestyle choice (1 John 2:1–6; 3:6–10; Romans 6:2).


Those who have been born again (John 3:3) have received a new nature. Whereas the old nature drew us toward self-pleasure, the new nature tugs us toward holiness (2 Corinthians 5:17). To be free from sin means it no longer wields the power it once did. The stranglehold of selfishness, greed, and lust has been broken. Freedom from sin allows us to offer ourselves as willing slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ, who continues to work in us to make us more like Him (Romans 6:18; 8:29; Philippians 2:13).



"¿Qué significa ser libre del pecado?"


Proverbios 20: 9 hace la pregunta "¿Quién puede decir:" He limpiado mi corazón; soy puro y libre de pecado "? 


Todos podemos identificarnos con eso. Si somos honestos con nosotros mismos, sabemos que todavía pecamos. Entonces, ¿por qué Romanos 6:18 dice: "Han sido liberados del pecado y se han convertido en esclavos de la justicia"? ¿Es esto una contradicción? 


 El pecado se puede definir como "cualquier pensamiento, acción o actitud que no alcanza la santidad de Dios" (Romanos 3:23). El pecado tiene muchas capas. Hay acciones o pensamientos específicos que son pecaminosos. El asesinato, el adulterio y el robo son pecados (Éxodo 20: 1–17). Incluso el deseo de cometer asesinato, adulterio y robo son pecados (Mateo 5:21, 28). Pero el pecado va más profundo que eso. 


Cometemos pecados porque somos pecadores. Desde que Adán pecó por primera vez en el Jardín del Edén (Génesis 2:17; 3: 17–19), toda persona nacida ha heredado de él una naturaleza pecaminosa (Salmo 51: 5; Romanos 3:23; 5:12). 


No podemos evitar pecar porque nuestra naturaleza es hacerlo. No es necesario enseñarle a un pájaro cómo construir un nido y mantener sus huevos calientes. Es su naturaleza hacerlo. Un niño no tiene que ser enseñado a ser egoísta y exigente. Eso viene naturalmente.


Sin embargo, no fuimos creados para ser pecaminosos. Fuimos diseñados por Dios a su propia imagen (Génesis 1:27). 


La humanidad es su obra maestra (Efesios 2:10; Salmo 8: 4–6). Fuimos diseñados para vivir en comunión con nuestro Creador. Pero debido al pecado, no podemos entrar en su presencia (Habacuc 1:13). Cuando Jesús murió en la cruz, tomó sobre sí todo el pecado del mundo (2 Corintios 5:21; 1 Juan 2: 2). Al tomar el castigo por nuestro pecado, canceló la deuda que cada uno de nosotros le debemos a Dios (Colosenses 2:14). 


También revirtió la maldición de nuestras viejas naturalezas, lo que nos mantiene esclavos de pasiones y deseos pecaminosos (Gálatas 3:10, 13). 


Antes de que una persona se encuentre con Cristo, él o ella están esclavizados por esa naturaleza pecaminosa (Romanos 7:25; 2 Pedro 2:19). En el momento de la conversión, se nos da una nueva naturaleza que ha sido liberada del pecado (Romanos 6:18; 8: 2). Todo el capítulo de Romanos 6 explica esto en detalle. El versículo 14 dice: "Porque el pecado ya no será tu señor, porque no estás bajo la ley, sino bajo la gracia". 


 Estar libre del pecado significa que aquellos que han hecho de Jesús el Señor de sus vidas ya no están esclavizados por el pecado. Tenemos el poder, por medio del Espíritu Santo, para vivir victoriosamente sobre el pecado (1 Corintios 15: 56–67; Romanos 8:37). Al igual que una vez seguimos los deseos carnales, los que están "en Cristo Jesús" ahora siguen al Espíritu Santo (Romanos 8:14; Gálatas 5:24). Debido a que vivimos en un mundo caído y todavía somos criaturas carnales, todavía pecaremos (1 Juan 1: 9; 2: 1; Romanos 7: 21–22). Pero aquellos que siguen a Cristo no hacen del pecado una opción de estilo de vida (1 Juan 2: 1–6; 3: 6–10; Romanos 6: 2). 


 Los que han nacido de nuevo (Juan 3: 3) han recibido una nueva naturaleza. Mientras que la vieja naturaleza nos atrajo hacia el placer propio, la nueva naturaleza nos arrastra hacia la santidad (2 Corintios 5:17). 


Estar libre del pecado significa que ya no ejerce el poder que una vez tuvo. El dominio del egoísmo, la codicia y la lujuria se ha roto. La libertad del pecado nos permite ofrecernos como esclavos voluntarios del Señor Jesucristo, quien continúa trabajando en nosotros para hacernos más como Él (Romanos 6:18; 8:29; Filipenses 2:13).



08/27/20


Is there one true church? Which one is it?


When a person asks, "Which church is the true church?" he or she is often asking which denomination is correct. Is the true church Baptist? Episcopalian? Pentecostal? It's a good question, but it's important to understand that the church is not a visible building or organization. Rather, the true church is the family of all those who have faith in Jesus Christ and are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3).


The New Testament defines the church in two distinct ways. First, the church comprises all believers. This is often called the universal church. Second, the New Testament also uses the word church in the sense of a local group of believers who meet together to worship God. For example, there is the church at Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1), and the church which met in Nympha's house (Colossians 4:15). Together, saved members of local churches are part of the universal church.


The wide variety of churches today can make sorting out the truth difficult. The Roman Catholic Church claims to be the only true church. So does the Mormon Church. Protestants reject those claims of exclusivity and view the church as all people who have faith in Jesus Christ. Even among Protestant denominations, there is diversity regarding beliefs and practices. 


Does any one church or denomination possess all the truth in every detail? Probably not. But there are churches which have more of the truth than others. The Word of God is the basis for evaluation of any church or church group. Do the church's teachings show fidelity to Scripture? Do the church's leaders meet the requirements of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1? Does the pastor "hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine" (Titus 1:9)? Are the church's members devoted to the Word, to "the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42)? If these questions can be answered "yes," then the church is most likely a "true" one.


Of course, being a member of a Bible-teaching local church is important (Hebrews 10:25). But more important than joining a church is knowing you are born again (2 Corinthians 13:5). No church can save you. Only Jesus saves, by grace through faith in His death and resurrection (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:9-10).


¿Hay una iglesia verdadera?

Cuando una persona pregunta: "¿Cuál iglesia es la verdadera iglesia?" él o ella a menudo pregunta qué denominación es la correcta. ¿Es la iglesia Bautista, Episcopal, o Pentecostal verdadera? Es una buena pregunta, pero es importante entender que la iglesia no es un edificio u organización visible. Más bien, la verdadera iglesia es la familia de todos aquellos que tienen fe en Jesucristo y nacen de nuevo por el poder del Espíritu Santo (Juan 3:3). 


El Nuevo Testamento define a la iglesia de dos maneras distintas. Primero, la iglesia comprende a todos los creyentes. Esto a menudo se llama la iglesia universal. Segundo, el Nuevo Testamento también usa la palabra iglesia en el sentido de un grupo local de creyentes que se reúnen para adorar a Dios. Por ejemplo, está la iglesia en Jerusalén (Hechos 8:1), la iglesia en Éfeso (Apocalipsis 2:1) y la iglesia que se reunió en la casa de Ninfas (Colosenses 4:15). Juntos, los miembros salvos de las iglesias locales son parte de la iglesia universal. 


La gran variedad de iglesias de hoy puede dificultar la solución de la verdad. La Iglesia Católica Romana dice ser la única iglesia verdadera. Lo mismo ocurre con la Iglesia Mormona. Los protestantes rechazan esos reclamos de exclusividad y ven a la iglesia como todas las personas que tienen fe en Jesucristo. Incluso entre las denominaciones protestantes, hay diversidad con respecto a las creencias y prácticas. 


¿Alguna iglesia o denominación posee toda la verdad en cada detalle? Probablemente no. Pero hay iglesias que tienen más de la verdad que otras. La Palabra de Dios es la base para la evaluación de cualquier iglesia o grupo de iglesias. ¿Las enseñanzas de la iglesia muestran fidelidad a las Escrituras? ¿Los líderes de la iglesia cumplen con los requisitos de 1 Timoteo 3 y Tito 1? ¿El pastor "se mantiene firme en la palabra fidedigna tal como se enseñó, para que pueda dar instrucción en sana doctrina" (Tito 1:9)? ¿Los miembros de la iglesia están dedicados a la Palabra, a "la comunión, al partimiento del pan y a las oraciones" (Hechos 2:42)? Si estas preguntas se pueden responder "sí", entonces la iglesia probablemente sea "verdadera". 


Por supuesto, ser miembro de una iglesia local que enseña la Biblia es importante (Hebreos 10:25). Pero más importante que unirse a una iglesia es saber que has nacido de nuevo (2 Corintios 13:5). Ninguna iglesia puede salvarte. Solo Jesús salva, por gracia a través de la fe en su muerte y resurrección (Efesios 2:8-9, Romanos 10:9-10). 




08/26/20


What was God's purpose in establishing the church?


The church is the body of Christ—a group of people unified (Ephesians 4:1-3) under Christ, who represent and reflect Him to the world (1 Corinthians 12:12-17). The purpose of the church is to join people of different backgrounds and talents and provide them training and opportunities for God's work. It accomplishes this both internally, within the body, and externally, in the world.


Acts 2:42 explains the internal function of the church: "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." Jesus entrusted the church with the task to teach the body sound doctrine. There are many influences in the world that claim to have the truth, but God entrusted His word to the church (Ephesians 4:14). Still, knowledge of doctrine is useless if it isn't used (1 Corinthians 13:2): "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV). Sound teaching leads to spiritual maturity which leads to building up the body of Christ.


The purpose of the church is also to provide a place to "break bread." Often, this means just eating together and living life together (Acts 2:42). Formally, we break bread at the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The practice of the Lord's Supper unifies us as it reminds us that we are all saved by Christ's sacrifice. Practically, it also provides an opportunity to reconcile differences and right wrongs as we examine our interactions with fellow believers (1 Corinthians 11:27-28).


The natural result of sound teaching and a unified body is that the members of the church will take care of each other. The most powerful way to care for others is to pray for them (Acts 2:42). Just as the early church prayed for each other (Acts 12:5; Philippians 1:3-4), so we should bring each others' needs before God (Philippians 4:6-7). Within the church we are also called to show honor (Romans 12:10), compassion (Ephesians 4:32), encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11), and love (1 John 3:11). And we are to meet each others' practical needs. James 1:27 says, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." One of the primary purposes of the church is to provide for the needs of its members (Acts 20:34-35; Romans 15:26).


Externally, the purpose of the church is to fulfill the Great Commission as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:18-20. There is no nobler purpose for the church than to introduce others to Christ. We do this in part by making sure we faithfully represent Him and become who He has called us to be. Philippians 2:15 exhorts us to be "blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation." Whether we witness to people in our neighborhoods or send others to foreign lands, the church is called to manifest the Holy Spirit in us by embodying Jesus' character and telling others about Him.


The purpose of the church is to be the believer's spiritual family. It is through the church that God takes people with different personalities and gifts, unifies them as a single body, and equips them to care for each other and reach the world. We were not meant to live the Christian life alone; surrounded by the biblical teaching and loving community of the church, together we find our own purpose in life.


¿Cuál fue el propósito de Dios al establecer la iglesia?

La iglesia es el cuerpo de Cristo, un grupo de personas unificadas (Efesios 4:1-3) bajo Cristo, que lo representan y lo reflejan al mundo (1 Corintios 12:12-17). El propósito de la iglesia es unir a personas de diferentes orígenes y talentos y proporcionarles capacitación y oportunidades para el trabajo de Dios. Lo logra tanto internamente, dentro del cuerpo, como externamente, en el mundo. 


Hechos 2:42 explica la función interna de la iglesia: "Y perseveraban en la doctrina de los apóstoles, en la comunión unos con otros, en el partimiento del pan y en las oraciones." Jesús confió a la iglesia la tarea de enseñarle al cuerpo la sana doctrina. Hay muchas influencias en el mundo que dicen tener la verdad, pero Dios confió su palabra a la iglesia (Efesios 4:14). Aun así, el conocimiento de la doctrina es inútil si no se usa (1 Corintios 13:2) "Él mismo constituyó a unos, apóstoles; a otros, profetas; a otros, evangelistas; y a otros, pastores y maestros, a fin de capacitar al pueblo de Dios para la obra de servicio, para edificar el cuerpo de Cristo. De este modo, todos llegaremos a la unidad de la fe y del conocimiento del Hijo de Dios, a una humanidad perfecta que se conforme a la plena estatura de Cristo."(Efesios 4:11-13 NVI). La enseñanza sana conduce a la madurez espiritual que a su vez conduce a la edificación del cuerpo de Cristo. 


El propósito de la iglesia también es proporcionar un lugar para "partir el pan". A menudo, esto significa comer juntos y vivir juntos (Hechos 2:42). Formalmente, partimos el pan en la Cena del Señor (1 Corintios 11:23-26). La práctica de la Cena del Señor nos unifica, ya que nos recuerda que todos somos salvos por el sacrificio de Cristo. Prácticamente, también brinda una oportunidad para reconciliar las diferencias y corregir errores a medida que examinamos nuestras interacciones con otros creyentes (1 Corintios 11:27-28). 


El resultado natural de una enseñanza sólida y un cuerpo unificado es que los miembros de la iglesia se cuidarán unos a otros. La manera más poderosa de cuidar a los demás es orar por ellos (Hechos 2:42). Así como la iglesia primitiva oró el uno por el otro (Hechos 12:5, Filipenses 1:3-4), entonces debemos traer las necesidades de los demás a Dios (Filipenses 4:6-7). Dentro de la iglesia también estamos llamados a mostrar honor (Romanos 12:10), compasión (Efesios 4:32), aliento (1 Tesalonicenses 5:11) y amor (1 Juan 3:11). Y debemos satisfacer las necesidades prácticas de los demás. Santiago 1:27 dice: "La religión pura y sin mácula delante de Dios el Padre es esta: Visitar a los huérfanos y a las viudas en sus tribulaciones, y guardarse sin mancha del mundo." Uno de los principales propósitos de la iglesia es satisfacer las necesidades de sus miembros (Hechos 20:34-35, Romanos 15:26). 


Externamente, el propósito de la iglesia es cumplir la Gran Comisión como lo ordenó Jesús en Mateo 28:18-20. No hay un propósito más noble para la iglesia que presentarle a otros a Cristo. Hacemos esto en parte asegurándonos de representarlo fielmente y convertirnos en lo que Él nos ha llamado a ser. Filipenses 2:15 nos exhorta a ser "irreprensibles y sencillos, hijos de Dios sin mancha en medio de una generación maligna y perversa". Ya sea que testifiquemos a las personas en nuestros vecindarios o enviemos a otros a tierras extranjeras, la iglesia está llamada a manifestar el Espíritu Santo en nosotros personificando el carácter de Jesús y contándoles a los demás acerca de él. 


El propósito de la iglesia es ser la familia espiritual del creyente. Es a través de la iglesia que Dios toma a las personas con diferentes personalidades y dones, los unifica como un único cuerpo y los equipa para que se cuiden unos a otros y lleguen al mundo. No fuimos destinados a vivir la vida cristiana solos; juntos encontramos nuestro propio propósito en la vida rodeados por la enseñanza bíblica y la comunidad amorosa de la iglesia. 




08/25/20


What is the universal church and how is it different from the local church?


The English word "church" comes from the Greek adjective kyriakon which means "of the Lord." Culturally, it referred to groups of Christ-followers or homes where they met, but in the Bible, the word is translated as the possessive "Lord's" and never refers to people or a group. Instead, 1 Corinthians 11:20 uses it to refer to the "Lord's Supper", and Revelation 1:10 uses to it identify the "Lord's day". The word in the Bible most often translated as "church" is the Greek ekklesia, which means any gathering of people. When Jesus said, "…on this rock I will build my church…" (Matthew 16:18), He was actually saying He would build His gathering of people.


The Greek ekklesia is used interchangeably of both local congregations and the body of believers as a whole. The difference is found in the context.


Local church


Often in the Bible "church" refers to a local congregation of believers.


Revelation 2—3: In the letters to the churches, the comments are addressed to specific churches in identified towns.


Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2: Whenever a church is mentioned in affiliation with someone's home, it refers to a local congregation.


Acts 8:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; etc.: When a church is identified with a city or a region, the word refers to local bodies of believers within that region.


"Church" is used the same way today. The local church is a specific body that meets in a designated place and can be comprised of believers and regularly attending non-believers. Our duties to the local church include regular attendance, respect for the leadership, and financial support. It is important for a believer to attend a local church because that is where biblical teaching, serving, and spiritual growth most often occur. The local church is also known as the "church family."


Universal church


At other times, "church" in the Bible means the group consisting of every Christ-follower.


Matthew 16:18; Acts 9:31; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18: In reference to Jesus' church, this includes all believers everywhere.


Acts 8:3; 1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Philippians 3:6: When Paul persecuted the "church," he persecuted believers wherever he could find them from Jerusalem (Acts 8:1) to Damascus (Acts 9:1-20).


1 Corinthians 5:12; 10:32; 12:28; 14:12; Ephesians 5:23-24; 1 Timothy 3:5, 7, 15: When Paul gives instruction to "the church," he is often referring to the body of believers as a whole.


Today, we have the same distinction. The church universal includes every believer in the world, no matter what denomination, and excludes every non-believer even if they go to a Bible-teaching church. Our responsibilities to the universal church include prayer, support, and not causing division because of minor theological differences. It's important to note that the church universal may include individuals who go to local congregations that do not teach the true gospel.


The "church," whether local or universal, is a group of people seeking God. At no time in the Bible does "church" refer to a building. Despite the money, time, and attention we pay to structures, the true church is people.


¿Qué es la iglesia universal y cómo es diferente de la iglesia local?

La palabra española "Iglesia" en inglés “Church” proviene del adjetivo griego kyriakon que significa "del Señor". Culturalmente, se refería a grupos de seguidores de Cristo u hogares donde se reunían, pero en la Biblia, la palabra se traduce como el posesivo "del Señor" y nunca se refiere a personas o un grupo. En cambio, 1 Corintios 11:20 lo usa para referirse a la "Cena del Señor", y Apocalipsis 1:10 lo usa para identificar el "día del Señor". La palabra en la Biblia más a menudo traducida como "iglesia" es la ekklesia en griego, que significa cualquier reunión de personas. Cuando Jesús dijo, "... sobre esta roca edificaré mi iglesia..." (Mateo 16:18), Él realmente estaba diciendo que edificaría su reunión de personas. 


La ekklesia griega se usa indistintamente tanto de las congregaciones locales como del cuerpo de creyentes en general. La diferencia se encuentra en el contexto. 


Iglesia local


A menudo, en la Biblia, "iglesia" se refiere a una congregación local de creyentes. 


Apocalipsis 2-3: En las cartas a las iglesias, los comentarios se dirigen a iglesias específicas en ciudades identificadas. 


Romanos 16:5; 1 Corintios 16:19; Colosenses 4:15; Filemón 1:2: Cada vez que se menciona una iglesia en afiliación con el hogar de alguien, se refiere a una congregación local. 


Hechos 8:1; 1 Corintios 1:2; 2 Corintios 1:1; Gálatas 1:2; etc. Cuando una iglesia se identifica con una ciudad o región, la palabra se refiere a cuerpos locales de creyentes dentro de esa región. 


"Iglesia" se usa de la misma manera hoy. La iglesia local es un cuerpo específico que se reúne en un lugar designado y puede estar compuesto por creyentes y asistir regularmente a no creyentes. Nuestras obligaciones con la iglesia local incluyen asistencia regular, respeto por el liderazgo y apoyo financiero. Es importante que un creyente asista a una iglesia local porque es allí donde la enseñanza bíblica, el servicio y el crecimiento espiritual ocurren con mayor frecuencia. La iglesia local también se conoce como la "familia de la iglesia".


Iglesia universal


En otros momentos, "iglesia" en la Biblia significa el grupo que consiste en cada seguidor de Cristo. 


Mateo 16:18; Hechos 9:31; Efesios 1:22-23; Colosenses 1:18. En referencia a la iglesia de Jesús, esto incluye a todos los creyentes en todas partes. 


Hechos 8:3; 1 Corintios 15:9; Gálatas 1:13; Filipenses 3:6, cuando Pablo persiguió a la "iglesia", persiguió a los creyentes dondequiera que los pudiera encontrar desde Jerusalén (Hechos 8:1) a Damasco (Hechos 9:1-20). 


1 Corintios 5:12; 10:32; 12:28; 14:12; Efesios 5:23-24; 1 Timoteo 3:5, 7, 15, cuando Pablo da instrucciones a "la iglesia", a menudo se refiere al cuerpo de creyentes como un todo. 


Hoy, tenemos la misma distinción. La iglesia universal incluye a todos los creyentes en el mundo, sin importar su denominación, y excluye a todos los no creyentes, incluso si van a una iglesia que enseña la Biblia. Nuestras responsabilidades con la iglesia universal incluyen oración, apoyo y no causar división debido a diferencias teológicas menores. Es importante notar que la iglesia universal puede incluir individuos que van a congregaciones locales que no enseñan el verdadero evangelio. 


La "iglesia", ya sea local o universal, es un grupo de personas que busca a Dios. En ningún momento en la Biblia, "iglesia" se refiere a un edificio. A pesar del dinero, el tiempo y la atención que prestamos a las estructuras, la verdadera iglesia es la gente. 



08/24/20


 "What is justification? What does it mean to be justified?"


Simply put, to justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God. Justification is God's declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous, based on Christ's righteousness being imputed to the accounts of those who receive Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Though justification as a principle is found throughout Scripture, the main passage describing justification in relation to believers is Romans 3:21-26: "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished"he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."


We are justified, declared righteous, at the moment of our salvation. Justification does not make us righteous, but rather pronounces us righteous. Our righteousness comes from placing our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice covers our sin, allowing God to see us as perfect and unblemished. Because as believers we are in Christ, God sees Christ's own righteousness when He looks at us. This meets God's demands for perfection; thus, He declares us righteous"He justifies us.


Romans 5:18-19 sums it up well: "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." It is because of justification that the peace of God can rule in our lives. It is because of justification that believers can have assurance of salvation. It is the fact of justification that enables God to begin the process of sanctification'the process by which God makes us in reality what we already are positionally. "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).



 "¿Qué es justificación?"

En pocas palabras, justificar es declarar justo; hacerlo a uno justo con Dios. La justificación, es Dios declarando justos a aquellos que reciben a Cristo, basándose en que la justicia de Cristo es imputada a la cuenta de aquellos que lo reciben (2 Corintios 5:21). Aunque la justificación, como un principio, se encuentra a través de toda la Escritura, el pasaje más importante que describe la justificación en relación a los creyentes está en Romanos 3:21-26: “Pero ahora, aparte de la ley, se ha manifestado la justicia de Dios, testificada por la ley y por los profetas; la justicia de Dios por medio de la fe en Jesucristo, para todos los que creen en Él. Porque no hay diferencia, por cuanto todos pecaron, y están destituidos de la gloria de Dios, siendo justificados gratuitamente por su gracia, mediante la redención que es en Cristo Jesús, a quien Dios puso como propiciación por medio de la fe en su sangre, para manifestar su justicia, a causa de haber pasado por alto, en su paciencia, los pecados pasados, con la mira de manifestar en este tiempo su justicia, a fin de que Él sea el justo, y el que justifica al que es de la fe en Jesús". 


Somos justificados, declarados justos, al momento de nuestra salvación. La justificación no nos hace justos, sino más bien declara nuestra justificación. Nuestra justificación procede de poner nuestra fe en la obra consumada de Jesucristo. Su sacrificio cubre nuestro pecado, permitiendo que, a través de Él, Dios nos vea como perfectos y sin culpa. Puesto que somos creyentes en Cristo, Dios ve la propia justicia de Cristo cuando nos mira. Esto satisface las demandas de perfección de Dios; así que, de esta manera, Él nos declara justos – Él nos justifica. 


Romanos 5:18-19 lo resume bien: “Así que, como por la transgresión de uno vino la condenación a todos los hombres, de la misma manera por la justicia de uno vino a todos los hombres la justificación de vida. Porque así como por la desobediencia de un hombre los muchos fueron constituidos pecadores, así también por la obediencia de uno, los muchos serán constituidos justos”. “Justificados, pues, por la fe, tenemos paz para con Dios por medio de nuestro Señor Jesucristo” (Romanos 5:1). Es por la justificación que la paz de Dios puede reinar en nuestras vidas. Es por el HECHO de la justificación, que los creyentes pueden tener la seguridad de la salvación. Es el HECHO de la justificación, lo que permite que Dios inicie el proceso de santificación – el proceso de Dios haciendo realidad en nosotros, lo que ya somos posicionalmente. 





08/23/20


“What is sanctification? What is the definition of Christian sanctification?"


Sanctification is God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 4:3). The word sanctification is related to the word saint; both words have to do with holiness. To “sanctify” something is to set it apart for special use; to “sanctify” a person is to make him holy.


Jesus had a lot to say about sanctification in John 17. In verse 16 the Lord says, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it,” and this is before His request: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (verse 17). In Christian theology, sanctification is a state of separation unto God; all believers enter into this state when they are born of God: “You are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30, ESV). The sanctification mentioned in this verse is a once-for-ever separation of believers unto God. It is a work God performs, an intricate part of our salvation and our connection with Christ (Hebrews 10:10). Theologians sometimes refer to this state of holiness before God as “positional” sanctification; it is the same as justification.


While we are positionally holy (“set free from every sin” by the blood of Christ, Acts 13:39), we know that we still sin (1 John 1:10). That’s why the Bible also refers to sanctification as a practical experience of our separation unto God. “Progressive” or “experiential” sanctification, as it is sometimes called, is the effect of obedience to the Word of God in one’s life. It is the same as growing in the Lord (2 Peter 3:18) or spiritual maturity. God started the work of making us like Christ, and He is continuing it (Philippians 1:6). This type of sanctification is to be pursued by the believer earnestly (1 Peter 1:15; Hebrews 12:14) and is effected by the application of the Word (John 17:17). Progressive sanctification has in view the setting apart of believers for the purpose for which they are sent into the world: “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:18–19). That Jesus set Himself apart for God’s purpose is both the basis and the condition of our being set apart (see John 10:36). We are sanctified and sent because Jesus was. Our Lord’s sanctification is the pattern of and power for our own. The sending and the sanctifying are inseparable. On this account we are called “saints” (hagioi in the Greek), or “sanctified ones.” Prior to salvation, our behavior bore witness to our standing in the world in separation from God, but now our behavior should bear witness to our standing before God in separation from the world. Little by little, every day, “those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14, ESV) are becoming more like Christ.


There is a third sense in which the word sanctification is used in Scripture—a “complete” or “ultimate” sanctification. This is the same as glorification. Paul prays in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (ESV). Paul speaks of Christ as “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) and links the glorious appearing of Christ to our personal glorification: “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). This glorified state will be our ultimate separation from sin, a total sanctification in every regard. “We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).


To summarize, “sanctification” is a translation of the Greek word hagiasmos, meaning “holiness” or “a separation.” In the past, God granted us justification, a once-for-all, positional holiness in Christ. Now, God guides us to maturity, a practical, progressive holiness. In the future, God will give us glorification, a permanent, ultimate holiness. These three phases of sanctification separate the believer from the penalty of sin (justification), the power of sin (maturity), and the presence of sin (glorification).



 "¿Qué es la santificación? ¿Cuál es la definición de la santificación cristiana?"

Jesús tenía mucho que decir acerca de la santificación en Juan 17. En el verso 16, el Señor dice, “No son del mundo, como tampoco yo soy del mundo.” Y esto está antes de Su petición: “Santifícalos en tu verdad; tu palabra es verdad.” La santificación es un estado de separación para Dios. Todos los creyentes entran en este estado cuando son nacidos de Dios: “Mas por Él estáis vosotros en Cristo Jesús, el cual nos ha sido hecho por Dios sabiduría, justificación, santificación y redención.” (1 Corintios 1:30). Esta es una separación definitiva, eternamente apartados para Dios. Es una parte intrínseca de nuestra salvación, nuestra conexión con Cristo (Hebreos 10:10)


La santificación también se refiere a la experiencia práctica de esta separación en Dios, siendo el resultado de la obediencia a la Palabra de Dios en la vida de uno, y ha de ser buscada fervientemente por el creyente (1 Pedro 1:15 y Hebreos 12:14). Así como el Señor oró en Juan 17, la santificación comprende la separación de los creyentes para el propósito por el cual fueron enviados al mundo: “Como tú me enviaste al mundo, así yo los he enviado al mundo. Y por ellos yo me santifico a mí mismo, para que también ellos sean santificados en la verdad.” (v. 18,19). Que Él mismo haya sido apartado para el propósito por el cual fue enviado, es tanto la base como la condición de nuestra separación por la cual somos enviados (Juan 10:36). Su santificación es el modelo y el poder para el nuestro. El que envío y la santificación son inseparables. Por esta causa los creyentes son llamados santos, hagios en el griego: “los santificados.” Mientras que anteriormente su comportamiento daba testimonio de su posición en el mundo, separados de Dios, ahora su comportamiento debe dar testimonio de su posición ante Dios y su separación del mundo. 


Hay un sentido más que comprende la palabra “santificación” en la Escritura. Pablo ora en 1 Tesalonicenses 5:23, “Y el mismo Dios de paz os santifique por completo; y todo vuestro ser, espíritu, alma y cuerpo, sea guardado irreprensible para la venida de nuestro Señor Jesucristo.” Pablo también escribe en Colosenses 1:5, “la esperanza que os está guardada en los cielos, de la cual ya habéis oído por la palabra verdadera del evangelio.” Posteriormente habla del mismo Cristo como “la esperanza de gloria” (Colosenses 1:27) y luego menciona el hecho de esa esperanza cuando dice, “Cuando Cristo, vuestra vida, se manifieste, entonces vosotros también seréis manifestados con Él en gloria.” (Colosenses 3:4). Este estado glorificado será nuestra separación última del pecado, la satisfacción plena en todo aspecto. “Amados, ahora somos hijos de Dios, y aún no se ha manifestado lo que hemos de ser; pero sabemos que cuando Él se manifieste, seremos semejantes a Él, porque le veremos tal como Él es.” (I Juan 3:2)


En resumen, la santificación es sinónimo de santidad, la palabra griega para ambos significa “una separación.” Primero, una separación posicional definitiva en Cristo al momento de nuestra salvación. Segundo, una santidad práctica progresiva en la vida de un creyente mientras aguarda el regreso de Cristo. Y finalmente, una separación eterna del pecado cuando lleguemos al cielo.




08/22/20


"Is God's love conditional or unconditional?"


God’s love for mankind, as described in the Bible, is clearly unconditional in that His love is expressed toward the objects of His love despite their disposition toward Him. In other words, God loves without placing any conditions on the loved ones; He loves because it is His nature to love (1 John 4:8). That love moves Him toward benevolent action: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).


The unconditional nature of God’s love is most clearly seen in the gospel. The gospel message is basically a story of divine rescue. As God considered the plight of His rebellious people, He determined to save them from their sin, and this determination was based on His love (Ephesians 1:4–5). Listen to the apostle Paul’s words from his letter to the Romans:


“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6–8).


Reading through the book of Romans, we learn that we are alienated from God due to our sin. We are at enmity with God, and His wrath is being revealed against the ungodly for their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18–20). We reject God, and God gives us over to our sin. We also learn that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and that none of us seek God; none of us do what is right before His eyes (Romans 3:10–18).


Despite the hostility and enmity we have toward God (for which God would be perfectly just to utterly destroy us), God revealed His love toward us in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, as the propitiation (the appeasement of God’s righteous wrath) for our sins. God did not wait for us to better ourselves as a condition of atoning for our sin. Rather, God condescended to become a man and live among His people (John 1:14). God experienced our humanity—everything it means to be a human being—and then offered Himself willingly as a substitutionary atonement for our sin.


This divine rescue, based on unconditional love, resulted in a gracious act of self-sacrifice. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). That is precisely what God, in Christ, has done. The unconditional nature of God’s love is made clear in other passages of Scripture:


“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4–5).


"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:9–10).


It is important to note that God’s love is a love that initiates; it is never a response. That is precisely what makes it unconditional. If God’s love were conditional, then we would have to do something to earn or merit it. We would have to somehow appease His wrath or cleanse ourselves of sin before God would be able to love us. But that is not the biblical message. The biblical message—the gospel—is that God, motivated by love, moved unconditionally to save His people from their sin.


Also important is the fact that God’s unconditional love does not mean that everyone will be saved (see Matthew 25:46). Nor does it mean that God will never discipline His children. To ignore God’s merciful love, to reject the Savior who bought us (2 Peter 2:1), is to subject ourselves to God’s wrath for eternity (Romans 1:18), not His love. For a child of God to willfully disobey God is to invite the Father’s correction (Hebrews 12:5–11).


Does God love everyone? Yes, He shows mercy and kindness to all. In that sense His love is unconditional. Does God love Christians in a different way than He loves non-Christians? Yes. Because believers have exercised faith in God’s Son, they are saved. The unconditional, merciful love God has for everyone should bring us to faith, receiving with gratefulness the conditional, covenant love He grants those who receive Jesus as their Savior.



"¿Es el amor de Dios condicional o incondicional?"

El amor de Dios, como se describe en la Biblia, es claramente incondicional en cuanto a que su amor se expresa hacia los objetos de su amor (es decir, su pueblo), a pesar de la disposición del pueblo hacia Él. En otras palabras, Dios ama porque su naturaleza es amar (1 Juan 4:8), y ese amor lo mueve hacia una acción bondadosa. La naturaleza incondicional del amor de Dios se ve con mayor claridad en el evangelio. El mensaje del evangelio es básicamente una historia de rescate divino. Puesto que Dios considera el sufrimiento de su pueblo rebelde, determina salvarlo de sus pecados, y esta determinación se basa en su amor (Efesios 1:4-5). Escuche las palabras del apóstol Pablo en su carta a los romanos:


“Porque Cristo, cuando aún éramos débiles, a su tiempo murió por los impíos. Ciertamente, apenas morirá alguno por un justo; con todo, pudiera ser que alguno osara morir por el bueno. Mas Dios muestra su amor para con nosotros, en que siendo aún pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros” (Romanos 5:6-8).


Leyendo el libro de Romanos, aprendemos que estamos separados de Dios por causa de nuestro pecado. Estamos en enemistad con Dios y su ira se revela contra los impíos por su iniquidad (Romanos 1:18-20). Rechazamos a Dios y Él nos entrega a nuestro pecado. También aprendemos que todos hemos pecado y estamos destituidos de la gloria de Dios (Romanos 3:23), y que ninguno de nosotros busca a Dios, ninguno de nosotros hace lo que es correcto delante de sus ojos (Romanos 3:10-18).


A pesar de esta maldad y enemistad que tenemos hacia Dios (razón por la cual sería perfectamente justo si Dios nos destruye por completo), Él revela su amor hacia nosotros entregando a su Hijo Jesucristo como la propiciación (es decir, el aplacar la justa ira de Dios) por nuestros pecados. Dios no esperó a que nosotros mejoráramos como una condición para la expiación de nuestros pecados. Más bien, Dios fue condescendiente para tomar forma de hombre y vivir entre su pueblo (Juan 1:14). Dios experimentó nuestra humanidad — todo lo que significa tener una condición humana y luego se ofreció a sí mismo de manera voluntaria, como una expiación sustituta por nuestros pecados.


Este rescate divino resultó en un acto bondadoso de auto-sacrificio, como lo dice Jesús en el evangelio de Juan: "Nadie tiene mayor amor que este, que uno ponga su vida por sus amigos" (Juan 15:13). Eso es precisamente lo que Dios, en Cristo, ha hecho. La naturaleza incondicional del amor de Dios se hace evidente en otros dos pasajes de las Escrituras:


"Pero Dios, que es rico en misericordia, por su gran amor con que nos amó, aun estando nosotros muertos en pecados, nos dio vida juntamente con Cristo (por gracia sois salvos)" (Efesios 2:4-5).


"En esto se mostró el amor de Dios para con nosotros, en que Dios envió a su Hijo unigénito al mundo, para que vivamos por Él. En esto consiste el amor: no en que nosotros hayamos amado a Dios, sino en que Él nos amó a nosotros, y envió a su Hijo en propiciación por nuestros pecados" (1 Juan 4:9-10).


Es importante señalar que el amor de Dios es un amor que toma la iniciativa; nunca es una respuesta. Eso es precisamente lo que hace que sea incondicional. Si el amor de Dios fuera condicional, entonces tendríamos que hacer algo para ganarlo o merecerlo; de alguna manera tendríamos que aplacar su ira y limpiarnos de nuestros pecados antes que Dios fuera capaz de amarnos. Pero ese no es el mensaje bíblico. El mensaje bíblico — el evangelio ¬— es que Dios, motivado por el amor, se conmovió incondicionalmente para salvar a su pueblo de sus pecados. 




08/21/20


“What is holy laughter?"


The term "holy laughter" was coined to describe a phenomenon during which a person laughs uncontrollably, presumably as a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit's joy. It is characterized by peals of uncontrollable laughter, sometimes accompanied by swooning or falling down to the floor. Firsthand accounts from those who have had this experience vary somewhat, but all seem to believe it to be a sign of a "blessing" or "anointing" of the Holy Spirit.


The experience of holy laughter is, by nature, a subjective one. Therefore, in an effort to find the truth of the matter, we must try to be objective. When our definition of truth depends upon our experience of the world, we are a very short way from becoming entirely relative in our thinking. In short, feelings do not tell us what is true. Feelings are not bad, and sometimes our feelings are aligned with scriptural truth. However, they are more often aligned with our sin nature. The fickle nature of the heart makes it a very unreliable compass. "The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). This deceitful-heart principle is specifically applicable to the phenomenon known as "holy laughter." There is no doubt that people have indeed begun to laugh uncontrollably at revival meetings. That is a fact. But what does it really mean? 


Laughter is addressed a number of times in the Bible. Often it is used to describe a mocking or scornful response, as was the case with Abraham and Sarah who laughed when God told them they would bear a child in their old age. Some verses use it as a sign of derision (Psalm 59:8; Psalm 80:6; Proverbs 1:26), and still others make pointed statements about the nature of laughter itself. Solomon, for example, made the following observation in Ecclesiastes 2:2: "I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?’" He then goes on to say, in 7:3, "Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy." Proverbs 14:13 says the reverse: "Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief." Both of these verses are true: a sad person may laugh to cover his sadness, and a person may cry although he is inwardly happy. So, not only does emotion fail to give us truth, but we also see that laughter is not always indicative of joy. It can mean anger, sadness, or derision. Likewise, the lack of laughter does not automatically mean sadness. Laughter is clearly subjective. 


The most convincing scriptural argument against what is called "holy laughter" is found in Galatians 5:22-23. It says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." If self-control is a fruit of the Spirit of God, how can uncontrollable laughter also be a fruit of His Spirit? Revival leaders claim that being filled with the Spirit means that we are sort of "tossed about" by His whims. But the idea that God would make people act drunk or laugh uncontrollably or make animal noises as a result of the Spirit's anointing is directly opposed to the way the Spirit acts, according to Galatians 5:22-23. The Spirit described in Galatians 5 is one who promotes self-control within us, not the opposite. Finally, there was no one in the Bible more filled with the Holy Spirit than Jesus, and not once does the Bible ever record Him laughing.


In light of these things, it is profitable to take a look at the following passage from 1 Corinthians 14, where Paul talks about speaking in tongues: "But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?" (v.6).


"For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air” (vv. 8-9). 


"What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God" (vv. 26-28). 


"...for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints" (v. 33).


In those days, many people in the churches were speaking in languages that were unrecognizable to others, and, therefore, Paul says they were useless in the church because the speaker could not edify others with his speech. The same could be applied to holy laughter. What does it profit (Paul asks) unless we speak to one another with revelation, teaching, knowledge and truth? Again, he says, "Let all things be done for edification." He caps off his argument by saying, "God is not a God of confusion, but of peace," which makes it clear that he does not want the atmosphere within the church to be one of confusion and meaninglessness, but one of knowledge and edification.


It seems, from what Paul is saying, that which is called "holy laughter" would fall under the category of what is "not edifying" to the body of Christ, and should therefore be avoided. We have recognized that a) laughter is an unreliable emotional response; b) it can be a sign of several different emotions; and c) it does not accomplish anything useful. Furthermore, uncontrollable spasms of emotion are contrary to the nature of the Holy Spirit. It is advisable, therefore, not to look to "holy laughter" as a means of growing nearer to God or as a means of experiencing His Spirit.




“¿Qué es la risa santa?"

El término "risa santa" fue creado para describir un fenómeno durante el cual una persona se ríe en forma descontrolada, presumiblemente como resultado de estar llena del gozo del Espíritu Santo. Se caracteriza por carcajadas incontrolables, a veces acompañadas por desmayos o caídas al piso. Los relatos de primera mano de aquellos que han tenido esta experiencia varían un poco, pero todos parecen creer que es una señal de una 'bendición' o 'unción' del Espíritu Santo. 


La experiencia de la risa santa es, por naturaleza, subjetiva. Por lo tanto, en un esfuerzo por encontrar la verdad del asunto, debemos ser objetivos. Cuando nuestra definición de la verdad depende de nuestra experiencia del mundo, estamos cercanos a convertirnos en ser totalmente relativos en nuestro pensamiento. En resume, los sentimientos no nos dicen lo que es cierto. Los sentimientos no son malos, y a veces nuestros sentimientos están alineados con la verdad bíblica. Sin embargo, más a menudo están alineados con nuestra naturaleza pecaminosa. La naturaleza cambiante del corazón lo hace una brújula muy poco fiable. "Engañoso es el corazón más que todas las cosas, y perverso; ¿quién lo conocerá?" (Jeremías 17:9). Este principio del corazón engañoso es específicamente aplicable al fenómeno conocido como la "risa santa". No hay ninguna duda de que la gente ha empezado a reírse incontrolablemente en las reuniones de avivamiento. Es un hecho. Pero ¿qué significa realmente? 


Se aborda el tema de la risa varias veces en la Biblia. A menudo se utiliza para describir una respuesta burlona o despectiva, como fue el caso de Abraham y Sara que se reían cuando Dios les dijo que podrían tener a un hijo en su vejez. Algunos versículos lo usan como un signo de burla (Salmo 59:8; Salmo 80:6; Proverbios 1:26), y aún otros hacen acentuadas declaraciones acerca de la naturaleza de la risa misma. Salomón, por ejemplo, hizo la siguiente observación en Eclesiastés 2:2, "A la risa dije: Enloqueces; y al placer: ¿De qué sirve esto?" Luego él dice en 7:3, "Mejor es el pesar que la risa; porque con la tristeza del rostro se enmendará el corazón". Proverbios 14:13 dice lo contrario: "Aun en la risa tendrá dolor el corazón; Y el término de la alegría es congoja". Ambos versículos son verdaderos: una persona triste puede reír para cubrir su tristeza, y una persona puede llorar, aunque está feliz por dentro. Así, la emoción no sólo falla en dar la verdad, sino que también vemos que la risa no siempre es indicativa de la alegría, pero puede significar enojo, tristeza o burla. Asimismo, la falta de la risa no significa tristeza automáticamente. La risa es una experiencia subjetiva. 


El argumento más convincente de las Escrituras contra lo que se llama la 'risa santa' se encuentra en Gálatas 5:22-23. Dice, "Mas el fruto del Espíritu es amor, gozo, paz, paciencia, benignidad, bondad, fe, mansedumbre, templanza; contra tales cosas no hay ley". Si el dominio propio es un fruto del Espíritu de Dios, ¿cómo puede la incontrolable risa ser también fruto de Su Espíritu? Los líderes de avivamiento afirman que ser 'lleno' del Espíritu significa ser de alguna manera 'sacudido' por Sus caprichos. Pero la idea de que Dios haría que la gente actuara como borrachos o reírse incontrolablemente o hacer ruidos de animales como resultado de la unción del Espíritu se opone directamente a la forma que actúa el Espíritu, según Gálatas 5:22-23. El Espíritu que se describe en Gálatas 5 es uno que promueve el autocontrol dentro de nosotros, no lo contrario. Finalmente, no había nadie en la Biblia más llena del Espíritu Santo que Jesús, y ni una sola vez la Biblia le registra riendo. 


A la luz de estas cosas, es provechoso echar un vistazo al siguiente pasaje de 1 Corintios 14, donde Pablo habla acerca de hablar en lenguas. 


"Ahora pues, hermanos, si yo voy a vosotros hablando en lenguas, ¿qué os aprovechará, si no os hablare con revelación, o con ciencia, o con profecía, o con doctrina?" (v.6) 


Y si la trompeta diere sonido incierto, ¿quién se preparará para la batalla? Así también vosotros, si por la lengua no diereis palabra bien comprensible, ¿cómo se entenderá lo que decís? Porque hablaréis al aire.” (vv.8-9) 


"¿Qué hay, pues, hermanos? Cuando os reunís, cada uno de vosotros tiene salmo, tiene doctrina, tiene lengua, tiene revelación, tiene interpretación. Hágase todo para edificación. Si habla alguno en lengua extraña, sea esto por dos, o a lo más tres, y por turno; y uno interprete. Y si no hay intérprete, calle en la iglesia, y hable para sí mismo y para Dios" (vv.26-28) 


"…pues Dios no es Dios de confusión, sino de paz. Como en todas las iglesias de los santos" (v.33) 


En esos días, mucha gente en las iglesias estaba hablando en lenguas que eran irreconocibles a los demás, y, por lo tanto, Pablo dice que eran inútiles en la iglesia porque el orador no podía edificar a otros con su discurso. Lo mismo podría aplicarse a la risa santa. "¿Qué hay, pues, hermanos? Cuando os reunís, cada uno de vosotros tiene salmo, tiene doctrina, tiene lengua, tiene revelación, tiene interpretación". Otra vez, dice: "Hágase todo para edificación'. Él termina su argumento diciendo, "Dios no es Dios de confusión, sino de paz", que resulta claro que no quiere que el ambiente dentro de la iglesia sea uno de confusión y falta de significado, sino de conocimiento y edificación. 


Parece, de lo que Pablo está diciendo, que lo que se llama la 'risa santa' caería bajo la categoría de lo que es 'no edificante' al cuerpo de Cristo y por lo tanto debe evitarse. Hemos reconocido que a) la risa es una respuesta emocional poco confiable; b) puede ser un signo de varias emociones diferentes; y c) no logra nada útil. Además, los espasmos incontrolables de emoción son contrarias a la naturaleza del Espíritu Santo. Es aconsejable, por lo tanto, no mirar a la "risa santa" como un medio de acercarnos a Dios o como un medio de experimentar Su Espíritu. 





08/20/20



Is pleading the blood of Jesus biblical? 


“Pleading the blood of Jesus” in prayer is a teaching common in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. When people speak of “pleading the blood of Jesus in prayer,” they are referring to the practice of claiming the power of Christ over any and every problem by using the phrase “I plead the blood of Jesus over _______.” People fill in the blank with whatever they want: “I plead the blood of Jesus over my family/job/thoughts/illness.”


“Pleading the blood of Jesus” has no clear basis in Scripture. No one in the Bible ever “pleads the blood” of Christ. Those who “plead the blood” often do so as if there were something magical in those words or as if by using them their prayer is somehow more powerful. This teaching is born from a misguided view of prayer that prayer is a way of manipulating God to get what we want rather than praying for His will to be done. The whole Word of Faith movement, which teaches pleading the blood, is founded on the false teaching that faith is a force and that, if we pray with enough faith, God guarantees us health, wealth, and happiness.


Those who teach the value of pleading the blood of Jesus usually point to the Passover as support of their practice. (It is quite common for Pentecostalism to base its doctrines on Old Testament examples.) Just as the blood of the Paschal lamb protected the Israelites from the angel of death and led to their deliverance from slavery, so the blood of Jesus can protect and deliver Christians today, if they apply, or “plead,” it.


Those who plead the blood of Jesus often do so in the context of seeking victory over demons. Pleading the blood of Jesus is a way of taking up the authority of Christ over the spirit world and announcing to the forces of darkness that they are powerless. Some base this aspect of pleading the blood on Revelation 12:11, “They triumphed over [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”


Again, there is no example in the Bible of anyone “pleading the blood,” so in that sense it is not expressly biblical. The phrase the blood of Christ in the New Testament is often used as a metonymy meaning “the death of Christ.” The blood/death of Christ forgives our sin, reconciles us with God, guarantees our inheritance in heaven, etc. Should a Christian be aware of all that the blood/death of Christ has accomplished for us? Absolutely. Should a believer be thankful for the blood/death of Christ? Of course, and expressing that thanks is good. Does a believer need to remind God of the blood/death of Christ every time he prays? Not according to the Bible. Do the words “I plead the blood of Jesus” give our prayers an extra kick? No, that’s more superstition than biblical prayer. Pleading the blood of Christ is not needed to defeat Satan. He has already been defeated, and, if we are born again, Satan has no power over us other than what God allows for His purpose and glory. We have already been “delivered” (past tense) from the power of darkness and “translated” (past tense) into the kingdom of God’s Son (Colossians 1:13). No need to continually plead the blood.


Rather than “pleading the blood” of Christ for protection or power, Christians should obey the command in James 4:7, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The Bible gives us numerous instructions in victorious living in Christ, and pleading the blood of Jesus is not one of them. We have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, and now He is our High Priest and mediator who “always lives to make intercession” for us (Hebrews 7:25). As His sheep we are already under His protection; we simply need to live day by day trusting in Him for what He has already promised and provided.



“¿Es bíblico reclamar la sangre de Jesús?"

“Reclamar la sangre de Jesús" en oración es una enseñanza que puede atribuirse a algunos de los primeros líderes del Movimiento de la Palabra de Fe. Cuando la gente habla de "reclamar la sangre de Jesús en oración" se refieren a la práctica de "reclamar" el poder de Cristo sobre cualquier y todo problema mediante el uso de la frase "Reclamo la sangre de Jesús sobre _________." 


"Reclamar la sangre de Jesús" no tiene fundamento alguno en las Escrituras. Nadie en la Biblia "reclama la sangre" de Cristo jamás. Aquellos que "reclaman la sangre" lo hacen como si había algo mágico en esas palabras o como si al usarlas su oración es de alguna manera más potente. Esta enseñanza nace de la visión equivocada y herética de la oración que dice que la oración es realmente nada más que una forma de manipular a Dios para obtener lo que queremos nosotros en vez de orar que se haga Su voluntad. Todo el Movimiento de la Palabra de Fe se basa en la falsa enseñanza de que la fe es una fuerza y si oramos con suficiente fe, Dios nos garantiza salud, riqueza y felicidad y nos librará de cada problema y cada situación. En este punto de vista, Dios es simplemente una manera de conseguir lo que queremos en lugar de ser el Creador santo, soberano, perfecto y justo que la Biblia revela que es. 


Aquellos que enseñan esta falsedad de la Palabra de Fe tienen una vista exaltada del hombre y nuestro "derecho" a reclamar lo que queremos y hacer que Dios responda en la manera que queremos. Esto está en oposición a la verdadera fe bíblica ejemplificada en la vida de Pablo y su enfoque al sufrimiento y pruebas. Pablo escribió en 2 Timoteo que "…todos los que quieren vivir piadosamente en Cristo Jesús padecerán persecución" (2 Timoteo 3:12). Pero la Palabra de Fe enseña que si sufrimos o estamos enfermos o luchamos con el pecado, es porque no tenemos suficiente fe o que no estamos declarando la sangre de Jesús para reclamar lo que es legítimamente nuestro. Pero no vemos a Pablo declarando la sangre de Cristo o reclamando lo que es "legítimamente suyo" cuando se enfrentó a pruebas y persecución. En cambio, vemos su fe inquebrantable en Cristo sin importar la situación: "porque yo sé a quién he creído, y estoy seguro que es poderoso para guardar mi depósito para aquel día" (2 Timoteo 1:12). 


Pablo dijo, "he aprendido a contentarme, cualquiera que sea mi situación. Sé vivir humildemente, y sé tener abundancia; en todo y por todo estoy enseñado, así para estar saciado como para tener hambre, así para tener abundancia como para padecer necesidad. Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece" (Filipenses 4:11-13). La fe de Pablo estaba en Cristo solamente y él pudo decir con convicción, "Y el Señor me librará de toda obra mala, y me preservará para su reino celestial. A Él sea gloria por los siglos de los siglos. Amén" (2 Timoteo 4:18). 


"Reclamar la sangre", como se practica comúnmente tiene más en común con el misticismo — recitando una fórmula mágica y esperando que funcione — que con la oración bíblica. Decir ciertas palabras no hace nuestras oraciones mágicamente más poderosas. Además, "reclamar la sangre" de Cristo no es necesario para derrotar a Satanás. Él ya ha sido derrotado, y si verdaderamente nacemos de nuevo, Satanás no tiene poder sobre nosotros excepto el que Dios permite por Su propósito y gloria. Colosenses 1:12-13 lo deja muy claro: "el cual nos ha librado de la potestad de las tinieblas, y trasladado al reino de su amado Hijo, en quien tenemos redención por su sangre, el perdón de pecados".


En lugar de "reclamar la sangre" de Cristo para protección o poder, los cristianos deben obedecer el mandato en Santiago 4:7, "Someteos, pues, a Dios; resistid al diablo, y huirá de vosotros". En lugar de practicar un modelo antibíblico de oración, debemos seguir los preceptos simples de la Escritura— llevando una vida pura ante Dios, y llevando cautivo todos nuestros pensamientos para evitar dar lugar al pecado, confesando nuestros pecados cuando fallamos en los dos primeros preceptos, y revestirnos de toda la armadura de Dios como se describe en Efesios 6:13-17. 


La Biblia nos da numerosas instrucciones para llevar la vida victoriosa en Cristo, y reclamando "la sangre de Jesús" no es una de ellas. Hemos sido limpiados por la sangre de Cristo, y Él es nuestro Sumo Sacerdote y mediador que "vive siempre para interceder" por nosotros (Hebreos 7:25). Como Sus ovejas ya estamos bajo Su protección; simplemente tenemos que vivir día a día confiando en Él para experimentar lo que Él ya ha prometido y provisto. 




08/19/20


How can I walk in the Spirit?


Galatians 5:16 teaches, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." What does it mean to walk by or in the Spirit? 


Romans 8:3-5 helps to answer this question, stating, "For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit" (emphasis added). In contrast with those who live by the flesh or human sinful nature, believers are called to live by the Spirit and the ways of God.


Part of the idea of walking in the Spirit is to set our minds on the things of the Spirit. This includes ending sinful practices (Romans 8:13), being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14), knowing the Father through Jesus (Romans 8:15), and prayer (Romans 8:26). A person committed to holy living, fellowship with God, and an intimate prayer life is the kind of person who is walking in the Spirit.


Again, Galatians 5:16 contrasts walking by the Spirit with gratifying the desires of the flesh. To walk by the Spirit, then, is to turn from sin and walk with God in holy living. There is a clear command to turn from the flesh and to pursue the fruit of the Spirit. This includes, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).


Further, walking in the Spirit involves "keep[ing] in step with the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). This includes, "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another" (Galatians 5:26). In other words, an additional mark of walking in the Spirit is loving others. Instead of conceit, provoking, and envy, we are called to humility, encouragement, and love.


In fact, the first verse of the next chapter reveals the extent to which this love must grow: "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted" (Galatians 6:1-2). Walking in the Spirit involves loving others to the extent of helping other people out of sin. This includes carefully watching one's own life to avoid falling to temptation. 


Finally, in Galatians 6:16 Paul notes, "And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God." He called for peace and mercy upon those who would walk according to God's ways. We are to walk in the Spirit, helping others in need, and receive peace and mercy in the process.



¿Cómo puedo andar en el Espíritu?


Gálatas 5:16 enseña: "Así que les digo: Vivan por el Espíritu, y no seguirán los deseos de la naturaleza pecaminosa." ¿Qué significa caminar por o en el Espíritu? 


Romanos 8: 3-5 ayuda a responder esta pregunta al decir: "En efecto, la ley no pudo liberarnos porque la naturaleza pecaminosa anuló su poder; por eso Dios envió a su propio Hijo en condición semejante a nuestra condición de pecadores, para que se ofreciera en sacrificio por el pecado. Así condenó Dios al pecado en la naturaleza humana, a fin de que las justas demandas de la ley se cumplieran en nosotros, que no vivimos según la naturaleza pecaminosa, sino según el Espíritu. Los que viven conforme a la naturaleza pecaminosa fijan la mente en los deseos de tal naturaleza; en cambio, los que viven conforme al Espíritu fijan la mente en los deseos del Espíritu."En contraste con aquellos que viven por la carne o la naturaleza humana pecaminosa, los creyentes están llamados a vivir por el Espíritu y los caminos de Dios. 


Parte de la idea de caminar en el Espíritu es poner nuestras mentes en las cosas del Espíritu. Esto incluye terminar con las prácticas pecaminosas (Romanos 8:13), ser guiado por el Espíritu (Romanos 8:14), conocer al Padre a través de Jesús (Romanos 8:15) y orar (Romanos 8:26). Una persona comprometida con la vida santa, la comunión con Dios y una vida íntima de oración es la clase de persona que camina en el Espíritu. 


Una vez más, Gálatas 5:16 contrasta el caminar por el Espíritu con la satisfacción de los deseos de la carne. Caminar por el Espíritu, entonces, es apartarse del pecado y caminar con Dios en una vida santa. Hay un claro mandato de apartarse de la carne y de ir tras el fruto del Espíritu. Esto incluye, "amor, alegría, paz, paciencia, amabilidad, bondad, fidelidad, humildad y dominio propio. No hay ley que condene estas cosas." (Gálatas 5: 22-23). 


Además, caminar en el Espíritu implica que "andemos guiados por el Espíritu." (Gálatas 5:25). Esto incluye: "No nos hagamos vanagloriosos, irritándonos unos a otros, envidiándonos unos a otros." (Gálatas 5:26-RVR1960). En otras palabras, una marca adicional de caminar en el Espíritu es amar a los demás. En lugar de vanagloria, irritación y envidia, estamos llamados a la humildad, entregar aliento y al amor. 


De hecho, el primer versículo del siguiente capítulo revela hasta qué punto debe crecer este amor: "Hermanos, si alguien es sorprendido en pecado, ustedes que son espirituales deben restaurarlo con una actitud humilde. Pero cuídese cada uno, porque también puede ser tentado. Ayúdense unos a otros a llevar sus cargas, y así cumplirán la ley de Cristo. "(Gálatas 6: 1-2). Caminar en el Espíritu implica amar a los demás hasta el punto de ayudar a otras personas a salir del pecado. Esto incluye observar cuidadosamente la propia vida para evitar caer en la tentación. 


Finalmente, en Gálatas 6:16, Pablo señala: "Paz y misericordia desciendan sobre todos los que siguen esta norma, y sobre el Israel de Dios." Él llamó paz y misericordia sobre aquellos que caminaran según los caminos de Dios. Debemos caminar en el Espíritu, ayudar a los que padezcan necesidades y recibir paz y misericordia en el proceso. 



08/18/20


Is God pleased by blind faith?


Blind faith is trusting in something without any evidence. It has been described as a leap in the dark, a giving over of oneself to something despite a solid foundation. God does not expect us to have this type of faith.


God has revealed Himself to us. Romans 1:20 says, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." God is evident in creation. It may take faith to believe that God is Creator, but that faith is far from blind. 


God has also revealed Himself through Scripture. In the Bible we read of God speaking to the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament. His manifest presence was with the Israelites (Exodus 13:21; Exodus 33:7-11). He gave us Scripture that we might come to know Him and trust Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 


The greatest revelation of God is Jesus Christ. He is God Incarnate, the Word made flesh (John 1:1-5; 14). Jesus reveals to us the glory and character of God. Because He rose from the dead, His message is validated. 


We, of course, also use the tools of science, archaeology, history, literary criticism, personal experience, and similar methods. These things give us evidence of the existence of God and of His character.


Therefore, our faith is not blind. We are called to love God with all of our minds (Luke 10:27). He does not expect us to blindly leap in the dark, but to understand His revelations and to take calculated steps of faith. We are to search the Scriptures and spend time getting to know God (1 Timothy 4:13-16). Yes, we do exercise faith. There are some things we will simply not understand (Isaiah 55:8-9; Psalm 139:6; 1 Corinthians 13:9-12). Even so, we can know that our faith is built on a solid foundation. It is based on God's revelation of Himself and our understanding of that revelation. It is trusting and it is faith, but it is far from blind. 




¿A Dios le complace la fe ciega?

La fe ciega es confiar en algo sin ninguna evidencia. Se ha descrito como un salto en la oscuridad, una entrega a algo a pesar de no tener una base sólida. Dios no espera que tengamos este tipo de fe. 


Dios se ha revelado a nosotros mismos. Romanos 1:20 dice: "Porque desde la creación del mundo las cualidades invisibles de Dios, es decir, su eterno poder y su naturaleza divina, se perciben claramente a través de lo que él creó, de modo que nadie tiene excusa." Dios es evidente en la creación. Puede requerir fe creer que Dios es el Creador, pero esta fe está lejos de ser ciega. 


Dios también se ha revelado a través de las Escrituras. En la Biblia leemos acerca de Dios hablando a los patriarcas y profetas del Antiguo Testamento. Su presencia se manifestó con los israelitas (Éxodo 13:21; Éxodo 33: 7-11). Él nos dio las Escrituras para que podamos conocerlo y confiar en Él (2 Timoteo 3: 16-17). 


La mayor revelación de Dios es Jesucristo. Él es Dios encarnado, el Verbo hecho carne (Juan 1: 1-5; 14). Jesús nos revela la gloria y el carácter de Dios. Su mensaje fue validado debido a que resucitó de entre los muertos. 


Nosotros, por supuesto, también usamos las herramientas de la ciencia, la arqueología, la historia, la crítica literaria, la experiencia personal y métodos similares. Estas cosas nos dan evidencia de la existencia de Dios y de su carácter. 


Por lo tanto, nuestra fe no es ciega. Estamos llamados a amar a Dios con toda nuestra mente (Lucas 10:27). Él no espera que saltemos a ciegas en la oscuridad, sino que comprendamos Sus revelaciones y tomemos pasos calculados de fe. Debemos buscar en las Escrituras y dedicar tiempo a conocer a Dios (1 Timoteo 4: 13-16). Sí, como cristianos ejercemos fe, pero hay algunas cosas que simplemente no entenderemos (Isaías 55: 8-9; Salmo 139: 6; 1 Corintios 13: 9-12). Aun así, podemos saber que nuestra fe está construida sobre una base sólida. Se basa en la revelación de Dios de sí mismo y en nuestra comprensión de esa revelación. Implica confiar y tener fe, pero está lejos de ser ciega. 





08/15/20


“What does the Bible say about being a godly man?"


The Bible is a handbook for anyone who desires to be a godly man or woman. God created man and woman after His own image (Genesis 1:27), and part of being in His image is that we are to reflect His character. However, sin marred that image in us and distorted that character (Romans 5:12). God’s choice of Abraham to be the father of a new nation (Genesis 17:5–8) was made, in part, to establish a people group through which He could once again see His character reflected (Leviticus 26:11–12). Reflecting the heart, wisdom, and nature of God is the goal of everyone who seeks to be a godly man or woman.


The first step in becoming a godly man is to surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Anyone can learn rules, follow laws, and judge themselves harshly. Many false religions require that of their subjects. But we cannot become godly without the Holy Spirit empowering us to do so (Acts 1:8). Godliness is more than external behaviors; it is the continual seeking after God’s heart (Isaiah 55:6–7). The term godly refers to having an inward devotion for God that is outwardly displayed. So a godly man is one who has received Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as payment for His own sin and has accepted the righteousness purchased for him there (2 Corinthians 5:21). By faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, the godly man has declared Jesus the Lord of his life, and his heart is set toward obedience (Romans 10:9–10).


With God’s Spirit inside him (1 Corinthians 6:19–20), the godly man is able to understand the deep things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9–10). He begins to see life differently. Life is no longer about pleasing himself but about pleasing his Lord (Romans 13:12–14; Hebrews 12:28). The godly man knows he will still stumble as he strives toward holiness (James 3:2), but his goal is to be holy as His Lord is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He learns early that his fleshly attempts at holiness only result in pride and failure. The godly man learns that, as he surrenders his will to the Holy Spirit and relies upon Him for strength to overcome temptation, he can withstand more temptation and accomplish greater eternal goals than he ever thought possible (Philippians 4:13).


A godly man is one who has died to his flesh (Galatians 5:24). This does not mean he no longer faces temptation. It means that, when he is tempted, the decision about whether to give in has already been made. He relies on the power of the Holy Spirit to help him say “no” to his flesh and “yes” to the Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:13; Galatians 5:16). As he regularly opposes sin, he finds that his spirit grows stronger and temptation becomes easier to resist (Hebrews 10:23).


The godly man:

• repents when he sins (1 John 1:9)

• considers himself dead to sin but alive to God (Romans 6:1–4, 11)

• seeks to remain humble rather than exalt himself (Proverbs 27:2)

• is a servant rather than demanding that he be served (Mark 10:45)

• leads by example (1 Timothy 4:12)

• (if married) loves his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25)

• lives in sexual purity, honoring God with his body (1 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 12:1–2)

• seeks to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Act 13:52; Galatians 5:25)

• desires to please the Lord more than himself (2 Corinthians 5:9)

• bears fruit for the kingdom of God (John 15:5–8)


A godly man is not a perfect man. We will never reach perfection until we are in the physical presence of Jesus (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2). But the godly man embraces his manhood and knows that Jesus, not the world, has set the standard for what it means to be a real man. So he strives daily to model his life after Jesus. He does not excuse the sins and weaknesses he finds in himself but continually surrenders those areas to God and asks for His help in overcoming them (Romans 6:11–14). Regardless of physical appearance, social status, or economic standing, any man can be a godly man if he loves God with all his heart and seeks to obey Him in every area of his life (Luke 10:27; Galatians 2:20).




08/14/20


 "When, why, and how does the Lord God discipline us when we sin?"

The Lord's discipline is an often-ignored fact of life for believers. We often complain about our circumstances without realizing that they are the consequences of our own sin and are a part of the Lord's loving and gracious discipline for that sin. This self-centered ignorance can contribute to the formation of habitual sin in a believer's life, incurring even greater discipline.

Discipline is not to be confused with cold-hearted punishment. The Lord's discipline is a response of His love for us and His desire for each of us to be holy. "My son, do not despise the LORd's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in" (Proverbs 3:11-12; see also Hebrews 12:5-11). God will use testing, trials, and various predicaments to bring us back to Himself in repentance. The result of His discipline is a stronger faith and a renewed relationship with God (James 1:2-4), not to mention destroying the hold that particular sin had over us.

The Lord's discipline works for our own good, that He might be glorified with our lives. He wants us to exhibit lives of holiness, lives that reflect the new nature that God has given us: "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy"" (1 Peter 1:15-16).

08/13/20

What is the significance of the humanity of Jesus?

The humanity of Jesus is essential to the character of Jesus as the Christ. Second John 1:7 specifically states that those who deny the humanity of Jesus are false teachers: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist." Jesus is God in the flesh.

First John 4:1-3 instructs, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already." To fail to accept Jesus as fully human is to miss the true message of Jesus.

The humanity of Jesus is important because prophecy required a physical birth. The Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 had said, "a child is born." Galatians 4:4-5 says, "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."

Also, the Son of God entered the world fully human in order to experience the struggles of humanity. Without His humanity, Jesus could not have been tempted as we are (Matthew 4:1-10), nor could He experience human sadness, suffering, or pain.

Another important reason Jesus had to be fully human was that He had to die for the sins of humanity on the cross. If He did not have flesh and blood, then He could not shed His blood; He could not die. Without the death of Christ, there is no sacrifice for sins, and we are unforgiven (2 Corinthians 5:7Hebrews 9:22).

Related to the fact of His death is the fact of His resurrection. After His physical death, Jesus physically rose from the dead. If He had not died, then He certainly could not have resurrected. This teaching is essential to the Christian faith. Paul stated it in the strongest terms: "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ. . . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:14-1517).

Those who deny the humanity of Christ reject an essential doctrine of the Bible. A belief that Jesus was a spiritual being or that He only had the appearance of physicality negates the reality of His death and makes salvation impossible. Scripture proclaims that Jesus is both the Son of God and the Son of Man.

¿Cuál es el significado de la humanidad de Jesús?

La humanidad de Jesús es esencial para el carácter de Jesús como el Cristo. 2 Juan 1: 7 declara específicamente que aquellos que niegan la humanidad de Jesús son falsos maestros: "Es que han salido por el mundo muchos engañadores que no reconocen que Jesucristo ha venido en cuerpo humano. El que así actúa es el engañador y el anticristo." Jesús es Dios en la carne. 

1 Juan 4: 1-3 instruye: "Queridos hermanos, no crean a cualquiera que pretenda estar inspirado por el Espíritu, sino sométanlo a prueba para ver si es de Dios, porque han salido por el mundo muchos falsos profetas. En esto pueden discernir quién tiene el Espíritu de Dios: todo profeta que reconoce que Jesucristo ha venido en cuerpo humano es de Dios; todo profeta que no reconoce a Jesús no es de Dios, sino del anticristo. Ustedes han oído que este viene; en efecto, ya está en el mundo." Fallar en aceptar a Jesús como completamente humano es perder el verdadero mensaje de Jesús. 

La humanidad de Jesús es importante porque la profecía requiere un nacimiento físico. La profecía mesiánica de Isaías 9: 6 había dicho: "ha nacido un niño". Gálatas 4: 4-5 dice: "Pero, cuando se cumplió el plazo, Dios envió a su Hijo, nacido de una mujer, nacido bajo la ley, para rescatar a los que estaban bajo la ley, a fin de que fuéramos adoptados como hijos." 

Además, el Hijo de Dios entró en el mundo completamente humano para experimentar las luchas de la humanidad. Sin su humanidad, Jesús no podría haber sido tentado como nosotros (Mateo 4: 1-10), ni podría experimentar tristeza, sufrimiento o dolor humano. 

Otra razón importante por la que Jesús tuvo que ser completamente humano fue que tuvo que morir por los pecados de la humanidad en la cruz. Si él no tenía carne y sangre, entonces él no podría derramar su sangre; él no podía morir. Sin la muerte de Cristo, no hay sacrificio por los pecados, y no seríamos perdonados (2 Corintios 5: 7; Hebreos 9:22). 

Relacionado con el hecho de su muerte está el hecho de su resurrección. Después de su muerte física, Jesús resucitó físicamente de entre los muertos. Si no hubiera muerto, entonces ciertamente no podría haber resucitado. Esta enseñanza es esencial para la fe cristiana. Pablo lo expresó en los términos más firmes: "Y, si Cristo no ha resucitado, nuestra predicación no sirve para nada, como tampoco la fe de ustedes. Aún más, resultaríamos falsos testigos de Dios por haber testificado que Dios resucitó a Cristo, lo cual no habría sucedido si en verdad los muertos no resucitan […] Y, si Cristo no ha resucitado, la fe de ustedes es ilusoria y todavía están en sus pecados." (1 Corintios 15: 14-15, 17). 

Los que niegan la humanidad de Cristo rechazan una doctrina esencial de la Biblia. Una creencia de que Jesús era un ser espiritual o que solo tenía la apariencia de un cuerpo físico niega la realidad de su muerte y hace imposible la salvación. La Escritura proclama que Jesús es tanto el Hijo de Dios como el Hijo del Hombre. 



08/12/20

Who is Jesus Christ?

Other than the most hardened skeptics, everyone agrees that Jesus Christ actually existed and walked the earth some 2000 years ago. Many believe He was a prophet, a good man, and also a great moral teacher. But, in the Bible we discover that Jesus Christ was far more than a good man, prophet, or teacher. What C.S. Lewis pointed out in his book Mere Christianity, a lot of people still say today, "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God."

C.S. Lewis demonstrates the illogic of this standpoint by pointing out what Jesus said about Himself. If we don't believe what Jesus said, He was a lunatic or a liar. If either one of those are true, we have to even reject the prophet, teacher, and good man option. So, either Jesus Christ is God in human form as He claimed, or else the man Jesus was crazy or a liar. People in His day who refused to believe tried to shut Him up, too. They spit at Him, slapped His face, and said He was crazy. He no longer walks physically upon the earth among us, but we also spit, slap and ascribe lunacy to Him when we refuse to believe He is the Son of God, the Savior of all who will believe.

Jesus claimed to be God. In John 10:30 we read that He said, "I and the Father are one." Some would say, "Now that's crazy!" The Jews called it blasphemy. "The Jews answered him, 'It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.'" (John 10:33). Jesus did not attempt to correct their understanding of what He said, demonstrating that they had understood Him correctly. Jesus had previously made another clear statement, recorded in John 8:58-59, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." In that instance, the Jews tried to stone Him as well. They clearly understand that Jesus was using the "I Am" as an Old Testament title for God (see Exodus 3:14).

In John 1:1 we read, "the Word was God." Then in John 1:14 the Apostle John writes, "the Word became flesh" obviously meaning Jesus was God in the flesh. Later, the Apostle Thomas comes to the same realization and proclaims to Jesus, "My Lord, and my God!" (John 20:28). In Titus 2:13, the Apostle Paul calls Jesus "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." The Apostle Peter said the same, "our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1).

Why did God take on human form in the person of Jesus Christ? Our sin is ultimately committed against an infinite and eternal God, making it worthy of an infinite and eternal penalty - eternal death. Only God could pay such a penalty. God became a human being, in the person of Jesus Christ, so He could die in our place, paying the full penalty for our sin, thus providing salvation to all who receive Him (John 1:12). Because Jesus is God, He could proclaim, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).




¿Quién es Jesucristo?

Aparte de los escépticos más empedernidos, todos coinciden en que en realidad Jesucristo existió y estuvo en la tierra hace unos 2000 años. Muchos creen que fue un profeta, un buen hombre, y también un gran maestro moral. Pero, en la Biblia descubrimos que Jesucristo era mucho más que un buen hombre, profeta o maestro. Lo que C.S. Lewis señaló en su libro Mero Cristianismo, mucha gente sigue diciendo hoy: “Estoy listo para aceptar a Jesús como un gran maestro moral, pero no acepto su afirmación de ser Dios.”

C.S. Lewis demuestra la falta de lógica de este punto de vista al señalar lo que dijo Jesús acerca de sí mismo. Si no creemos lo que dijo Jesús, Él era un lunático o un mentiroso. Si cualquiera de esas son verdad, tenemos que rechazar las opciones incluso de sea profeta, maestro u hombre bueno. Así que, o Jesucristo es Dios en forma humana, como había afirmado, o de lo contrario el hombre Jesús era loco o un mentiroso. La gente en su día que se negaron a creer trataron de callarlo, también. Le escupieron, le dieron bofetadas, y dijeron que estaba loco. Él ya no camina físicamente sobre la tierra entre nosotros, pero también le escupimos, lo golpeamos y le atribuimos la locura a Él cuando nos negamos a creer que Él es el Hijo de Dios, el Salvador de todos los que creen.

Jesús afirmó ser Dios. En Juan 10:30 leemos que Él dijo, “El Padre y yo somos uno.” Algunos dirán, “¡Eso es una locura!” Los judíos dijeron que era blasfemia. Los judíos le respondieron, “No te apedreamos por ninguna de ellas (obras) sino por blasfemia; porque tú, siendo hombre, te haces pasar por Dios.” (Juan 10:33). Jesús no trató de corregir su comprensión de lo que dijo, lo que demuestra que ellos lo habían entendido bien. Antes Jesús había hecho otra declaración clara, registrada en Juan 8:58-59: “Ciertamente les aseguro que, antes de que Abraham naciera, ¡yo soy!” En esa instancia, los judíos trataron de apedrearlo también. Ellos entienden claramente que Jesús estaba usando el “Yo Soy” como título del Antiguo Testamento para Dios (véase Éxodo 3:14).

En Juan 1:1, leemos: “el Verbo era Dios.” Luego, en Juan 1:14 el apóstol Juan escribe: “el Verbo se hizo carne”, obviamente, indicando que Jesús era Dios en la carne. Más tarde, el apóstol Tomás llega a la misma conclusión y proclama a Jesús: “¡Señor mío, y Dios mío!” (Juan 20:28). En Tito 2:13, el apóstol Pablo llama a Jesús “nuestro gran Dios y Salvador Jesucristo.” El apóstol Pedro dijo lo mismo, “nuestro Dios y Salvador Jesucristo” (2 Pedro 1:1).

¿Por qué Dios tomó forma humana en la persona de Jesucristo? Nuestro pecado es cometido en última instancia contra un Dios infinito y eterno, por lo que es digno de un castigo infinito y eterno - la muerte eterna. Sólo Dios podría pagar esa pena. Dios tomó forma humana, en la persona de Jesucristo, para que pudiera morir en nuestro lugar, pagando plenamente el castigo por nuestro pecado, proporcionando así la salvación a todos los que lo reciben (Juan 1:12). Porque Jesús es Dios, Él pudo proclamar: “Yo soy el camino, la verdad y la vida. Nadie llega al Padre sino por mí.” (Juan 14:6)

¿Quién es Jesucristo? Dios en forma humana.




08/11/30


What is faith in Jesus? What does it mean to have faith in Jesus?


In order to understand what it means to have faith in Jesus, we must first understand the nature of faith itself. Faith contains three elements: knowledge, assent, and trust. 


Firstly, faith contains the element of knowledge. Faith must have content. There must be something or someone to have faith in. It is popular to say things like "have faith" or "believe" but these sayings are ambiguous, and even meaningless, until we define in what or whom we have faith. To have faith in Jesus, we must first have some knowledge about who He is. In order to have faith in Jesus we must know that He is the Christ, the promised Messiah, who came to earth to save His people from their sins (John 1:41Matthew 1:21). We must believe that Jesus is God's only Son (John 3:16) who took on human flesh (John 1:14), lived a life of perfect loving obedience to God the Father (John 4:34Hebrews 4:15), willingly sacrificed His life by dying on the cross for our sins (Philippians 2:8), rose triumphantly from the grave after three days (Matthew 12:40) and is now seated in heaven at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33) from whence He will return to judge the world (Acts 1:11John 5:28–29) and to bring to glory all who eagerly await His coming (Colossians 3:4Hebrews 9:28). Our knowledge of Jesus need not be exhaustive, nor can it be (Colossians 2:31 Corinthians 13:9), in order for us to believe in Him. However, we do need to know some essential truths about who He is and what He has done (John 20:31). 


Secondly, faith contains the element of assent. To assent means to agree that the knowledge we have is true. Now, we may be tempted to stop here and think we have arrived at a complete definition of faith. However, having knowledge about who Jesus is and even assenting to that knowledge does not mean a person has faith IN Jesus. For example, the Devil and demons know who Jesus is and even acknowledge who He is (Matthew 8:29Mark 1:24James 2:19) but they do not believe IN Him, which brings us to the final element. 


Thirdly, faith contains the element of trust. To have faith in Jesus means to trust Him. To have faith in Jesus means to rely on Him and resign oneself to Him. Those who have faith in Jesus rely on Him as Savior (John 4:42Titus 3:4) and resign themselves to Him as Lord (Romans 10:9). To trust in Jesus means to believe that His death was accepted by God as payment for your guilt and sin (Colossians 2:14), that His perfect life and righteousness has been credited to you on the basis of your faith in Him (Romans 3:21–22). To trust in Jesus is to believe that His teachings and promises are true and to resign ourselves to follow Him and live for Him (Matthew 10:37–3916:24–25Romans 12:1Philippians 1:21). 


A helpful analogy which sheds light on the difference between the second element of faith (assent) and the third element (trust) is as follows. If I were to show you a chair and ask you if you believe it would hold you, you may say you believe it would. You have assented. If I then ask you to sit in it and you do, you are trusting. You see the difference. Having faith in Jesus means not only agreeing with the fact that He can save, but trusting in Him that He both has and will save you. 


There are a couple things to remember about faith in Jesus that are vital to a humble recognition of God's work of grace in us and to a proper attitude of gratitude to Jesus Christ for who He is and what He has done. First, believing in Christ is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8Acts 13:48) and not a reason for us to boast (1 Corinthians 4:7), as if we are better or smarter than others (1 Corinthians 1:26). If we indeed have faith in Jesus it is because God has given us the faith to believe. Secondly, it is Christ Himself, and not faith, that is the grounds for our salvation. Faith is merely the instrument through which we receive Jesus. Faith is akin to the tube which transports blood during a blood transfusion. It is the blood, not the tube, that saves the person's life. However, without the tube, the person would not receive the life-saving blood. Comparatively speaking, it is the blood of Jesus that saves us from our morbid sinful state (Ephesians 2:13Romans 3:25Colossians 1:20). Yet, faith is the instrument or means through which we receive Jesus and all His life-giving benefits (Romans 5:1–2Galatians 2:20John 3:15). 


If you have not yet put your trust in Jesus Christ and would like to, you can express your faith in Him by praying something like the following. The words of this prayer are not what will save you; this is simply a means of expressing your trust in Him. 


"Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and that apart from you I am deserving of eternal death. I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son, that He lived a perfect life, that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin, and that He rose again victorious over sin and death. I want to put my faith in Jesus today. I rely on Him alone for salvation. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for forgiving me and bringing me into relationship with you. Help me to grow closer to you and to live for you." 




¿Qué es la fe en Jesús?


Para entender lo que significa tener fe en Jesús, primero debemos entender la naturaleza de la fe misma. La fe contiene tres elementos: conocimiento, asentimiento y confianza. 


En primer lugar, la fe contiene el elemento del conocimiento. La fe debe tener contenido. Debe haber algo o alguien en quien tener fe. Es popular decir cosas como "tener fe" o "creer", pero estos dichos son ambiguos e incluso sin sentido, hasta que definimos en qué o en quién tenemos fe. Para tener fe en Jesús, primero debemos tener algún conocimiento acerca de quién es Él. A fin de que tengamos fe en Jesús, debemos saber que Él es el Cristo, el Mesías prometido, que vino a la tierra para salvar a su pueblo de sus pecados (Juan 1:41; Mateo 1:21). Debemos creer que Jesús es el único Hijo de Dios (Juan 3:16) que tomó carne humana (Juan 1:14), vivió una vida de perfecta obediencia amorosa a Dios Padre (Juan 4:34; Hebreos 4:15), sacrificó voluntariamente su vida al morir en la cruz por nuestros pecados (Filipenses 2: 8), resucitó triunfalmente de la tumba después de tres días (Mateo 12:40) y ahora está sentado en el cielo a la diestra de Dios (Hechos 2:33 ) de donde volverá para juzgar al mundo (Hechos 1:11; Juan 5: 28–29) y para glorificar a todos los que esperan ansiosamente su venida (Colosenses 3: 4; Hebreos 9:28). Nuestro conocimiento de Jesús no necesita ser completo, aunque no puede serlo (Colosenses 2: 3; 1 Corintios 13: 9), para que podamos creer en Él. Sin embargo, necesitamos saber algunas verdades esenciales sobre quién es Él y lo que ha hecho (Juan 20:31). 


En segundo lugar, la fe contiene el elemento de asentimiento. Asentir significa estar de acuerdo en que el conocimiento que tenemos es verdadero. Ahora, podemos sentir la tentación de detenernos aquí y pensar que hemos llegado a una definición completa de fe. Sin embargo, tener conocimiento sobre quién es Jesús e incluso asentir a ese conocimiento no significa que una persona tenga fe en Jesús. Por ejemplo, el Diablo y los demonios saben quién es Jesús e incluso reconocen quién es Él (Mateo 8:29; Marcos 1:24; Santiago 2:19) pero no creen en Él, lo que nos lleva al elemento final. 


En tercer lugar, la fe contiene el elemento de confianza. Tener fe en Jesús significa confiar en él. Tener fe en Jesús significa confiar en él y rendirse ante él. Aquellos que tienen fe en Jesús confían en él como Salvador (Juan 4:42; Tito 3: 4) y se rinden ante él como Señor (Romanos 10: 9). Confiar en Jesús significa creer que su muerte fue aceptada por Dios como pago por tu culpa y pecado (Colosenses 2:14), que su vida perfecta y su justicia te han sido acreditadas sobre la base de tu fe en él (Romanos 3: 21-22). Confiar en Jesús es creer que sus enseñanzas y promesas son verdaderas y debemos renunciar a nosotros mismos para seguirlo y vivir para él (Mateo 10: 37-39; 16: 24-25; Romanos 12: 1; 1:21). 


Una analogía útil que arroja luz sobre la diferencia entre el segundo elemento de fe (asentimiento) y el tercer elemento (confianza) es la siguiente. Si te mostrara una silla y te preguntara si crees que te sostendría, podrías decir que crees que sí. Has asentido. Si luego te pido que te sientes y lo haces, estás confiando. ¿Ves la diferencia? Tener fe en Jesús significa no solo estar de acuerdo con el hecho de que él puede salvar, sino confiar también que él te ha salvado y te salvará. 


Hay un par de cosas para recordar acerca de la fe en Jesús que son vitales para un humilde reconocimiento de la obra de gracia de Dios en nosotros y para una actitud adecuada de gratitud a Jesucristo por quién es y lo que ha hecho. Primero, el creer en Cristo es un regalo de Dios (Efesios 2: 8; Hechos 13:48) y no una razón para que nos jactemos (1 Corintios 4: 7), como si fuéramos mejores o más inteligentes que otros (1 Corintios 1: 26). Si realmente tenemos fe en Jesús es porque Dios nos ha dado la fe para creer. En segundo lugar, es Cristo mismo, y no la fe, el fundamento de nuestra salvación. La fe es simplemente el instrumento a través del cual recibimos a Jesús. La fe es similar al tubo que transporta sangre durante una transfusión de sangre. Es la sangre, no el tubo, lo que salva la vida de la persona. Sin embargo, sin el tubo, la persona no recibiría la sangre que salva vidas. Comparativamente hablando, es la sangre de Jesús la que nos salva de nuestro estado mórbido y pecaminoso (Efesios 2:13; Romanos 3:25; Colosenses 1:20). Sin embargo, la fe es el instrumento o medio a través del cual recibimos a Jesús y todos sus beneficios vivificantes (Romanos 5: 1–2; Gálatas 2:20; Juan 3:15). 


Si aún no has confiado en Jesucristo y te gustaría hacerlo, puedes expresar tu fe en él orando algo como lo siguiente. Las palabras de esta oración no son lo que te salvará; esto es simplemente un medio de expresar tu confianza en él. 


"Querido Dios, sé que soy un pecador y que, aparte de ti, merezco la muerte eterna. Creo que Jesucristo es tu Hijo, que vivió una vida perfecta, que murió en la cruz para pagar la pena por mi pecado, y que resucitó victorioso sobre el pecado y la muerte. Quiero poner mi fe en Jesús hoy. Confío solo en él para la salvación. Gracias por salvarme. Gracias por perdonarme y traerme a una relación contigo. Ayúdame a acercarme a ti y vivir para ti ".





08/10/20


What is sanctification?


Many Christians refer to a progression of justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification refers to the fact that believers have been deemed legally righteous. With Christ's death and resurrection, our sin was forgiven and we are now pure before God (2 Corinthians 5:21Romans 5:1Romans 6). While we know that our salvation is complete, there are still aspects of our salvation that are being worked out. We are righteous, and we are also becoming righteous. This "becoming righteous" is referred to as sanctification. Sanctification is where our present realities fall in line with our eternal status.


In one sense, the Christian life is all about sanctification. Christ is finishing the good work that He began in us (Philippians 1:6). We are continually learning to follow God's ways and discard our sinful natures (Ephesians 4:22-24Colossians 3:5-17). Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called" (Ephesians 4:1). We have been declared holy and now attempt to live holy lives (Matthew 5:48). As Christians, we are to cooperate with God's work in us. He refines and prunes us (Zechariah 13:9Malachi 3:2Isaiah 48:101 Peter 1:7John 15:2), and sanctification is one name for that work. 


Glorification is our eternal state. The legal reality of our justification and the physical reality of our sanctification now match up. In glorification we are with Christ and made completely perfect (1 John 3:2Colossians 1:27Colossians 3:4).


¿Qué es la sanctificación según la Biblia?


Muchos Cristianos se refieren a una progresión de justificación, santificación y glorificación. La Justificación se refiere al hecho de que creyentes han sido declarados legalmente justos. Con la muerte de Cristo y su resurrección, nuestros pecados fueron perdonados y ahora somos puros ante Dios (2 Corintios 5:21; Romanos 5:1; Romanos 6). Mientras sabemos que nuestra salvación está completa, siguen partes de nuestra salvación que se están ajustando. Somos justos y también nos estamos volviendo justos. Esto de “volviéndonos justos” se refiere a la santificación. La santificación es donde nuestras realidades actuales se ordenan con nuestro estatus eterno. 


De una manera, la vida Cristiana se trata toda de la santificación. Cristo está terminando el trabajo que empezó dentro de nosotros (Filipenses 1:6). Estamos continuamente aprendiendo a seguir los caminos de Dios y deshacernos de nuestra naturaleza pecaminosa (Efesios 4:22-24; Colosenses 3:5-17). Pablo le escribió a la iglesia en Éfeso, “Por eso yo, que estoy preso por la causa del Señor, les ruego que vivan de una manera digna del llamamiento que han recibido” (Efesios 4:1). Hemos sido declarados santos y ahora intentamos vivir vidas santas (Mateo 5:48). Como Cristianos, debemos cooperar con el trabajo de Dios dentro de nosotros. Nos refina y nos poda (Zacarías 13:9; Malaquías 3:2; Isaías 48:10; 1 Pedro 1:7; Juan 15:2), y la santificación es el nombre de ese trabajo. 


La glorificación es nuestro estado eterno. La realidad legal de nuestra justificación y la realidad física de nuestra santificación se están alineando. En la glorificación, estamos con Cristo y estamos hechos completamente perfectos (1 Juan 3:2; Colosenses 1:27; Colosenses 3:4). 




08/09/20


“How are we to live our lives in light of Christ’s return?"


Answer: We believe that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent, that is, His return could occur at any moment. We, with the apostle Paul, look for “the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Knowing that the Lord could come back today, some are tempted to stop what they are doing and just “wait” for Him.


However, there is a big difference between knowing that Jesus could return today and knowing that He will return today. Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour” (Matthew 24:36). The time of His coming is something God has not revealed to anyone, and so, until He calls us to Himself, we should continue serving Him. In Jesus’ parable of the ten talents, the departing king instructs his servants to “occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13 KJV).


The return of Christ is always presented in Scripture as a great motivation to action, not as a reason to cease from action. In 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul wraps up his teaching on the rapture by saying, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Paul concludes a lesson on Christ’s coming with these words: “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” To retreat and “hold the fort” was never Jesus’ intention for us. Instead, we work while we can. “Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4).


The apostles lived and served with the idea that Jesus could return within their lifetime; what if they had ceased from their labors and just “waited”? They would have been in disobedience to Christ’s command to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15), and the gospel would not have been spread. The apostles understood that Jesus’ imminent return meant they must busy themselves with God’s work. They lived life to the fullest, as if every day were their last. We, too, should view every day as a gift and use it to glorify God.




“¿Cómo debemos vivir nuestras vidas a la luz del regreso de Cristo?"


Creemos que el regreso de Cristo es inminente, es decir, Su regreso puede ocurrir en cualquier momento. Nosotros, con el apóstol Pablo, buscamos “la esperanza bienaventurada y la manifestación gloriosa de nuestro gran Dios y Salvador Jesucristo” (Tito 2:13). Sabiendo que el Señor puede regresar hoy, algunos son tentados a dejar lo que estén haciendo y sólo “esperar” Por Él. 


Sin embargo, hay una gran diferencia entre saber que Jesús podría regresar hoy y saber que Él regresará hoy. Jesús dijo, “Nadie sabe el día ni la hora” (Mateo 24:36). El tiempo de Su venida es algo que Dios no ha revelado a nadie, y así, hasta que Él nos llame a Sí mismo, debemos continuar sirviéndole. En la parábola de Jesús de los diez talentos, el rey que estaba por ausentarse, instruye a sus siervos: “Negociad, entre tanto que vengo” (Lucas 19:13). 


El regreso de Cristo siempre se presenta en la Escritura como una gran motivación para actuar, no como una razón para dejar de hacerlo. En 1 Corintios 15, Pablo resume su enseñanza sobre el arrebatamiento diciendo, “Así que… estad firmes y constantes, creciendo en la obra del Señor siempre, sabiendo que vuestro trabajo en el Señor no es en vano” (Verso 58). En 1 Tesalonicenses 5, Pablo concluye una lección sobre la venida de Cristo con estas palabras; “Por tanto, no durmamos como los demás, sino velemos y seamos sobrios” (Verso 6). Retroceder y “cuidar el puesto” nunca fue la intención de Jesús para nosotros. En vez de eso, trabajemos mientras podamos. “…la noche viene, cuando nadie puede trabajar” (Juan 9:4). 


Los apóstoles vivieron y sirvieron con la idea de que Jesús podría regresar durante el término de sus vidas; ¿qué hubiera sucedido si hubieran dejado de trabajar y sólo hubieran “esperado”? Hubieran estado en desobediencia a la Gran Comisión de “ir por todo el mundo y predicad el evangelio a toda criatura” (Marcos 16:15), y el evangelio nunca habría sido esparcido. Los apóstoles entendieron que el regreso inminente de Jesús significaba que ellos debían ocuparse de la obra de Dios. Ellos vivieron la vida al máximo, como si cada día fuera el último. Nosotros, como ellos, debemos ver cada día como un regalo y usarlo para glorificar a Dios. 



08/08/20


Question: "What is the Tribulation? How do we know the Tribulation will last seven years?"


Answer: The tribulation is a future seven-year period of time when God will finish His discipline of Israel and finalize His judgment of the unbelieving world. The church, made up of all who have trusted in the person and work of the Lord Jesus to save them from being punished for sin, will not be present during the tribulation. The church will be removed from the earth in an event known as the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). The church is saved from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Throughout Scripture, the tribulation is referred to by other names such as the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6-9; Joel 1:15; 2:1-31; 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2); trouble or tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30; Zephaniah 1:1); the great tribulation, which refers to the more intense second half of the seven-year period (Matthew 24:21); time or day of trouble (Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah 1:15); time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).


An understanding of Daniel 9:24-27 is necessary in order to understand the purpose and time of the tribulation. This passage speaks of 70 weeks that have been declared against "your people." Daniel's people are the Jews, the nation of Israel, and Daniel 9:24 speaks of a period of time that God has given "to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy." God declares that "seventy sevens" will fulfill all these things. This is 70 sevens of years, or 490 years. (Some translations refer to 70 weeks of years.) This is confirmed by another part of this passage in Daniel. In verses 25 and 26, Daniel is told that the Messiah will be cut off after "seven sevens and sixty-two sevens" (69 total), beginning with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. In other words, 69 sevens of years (483 years) after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, the Messiah will be cut off. Biblical historians confirm that 483 years passed from the time of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the time when Jesus was crucified. Most Christian scholars, regardless of their view of eschatology (future things/events), have the above understanding of Daniel's 70 sevens.


With 483 years having passed from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the cutting off of the Messiah, this leaves one seven-year period to be fulfilled in terms of Daniel 9:24: "to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy." This final seven-year period is known as the tribulation period"it is a time when God finishes judging Israel for its sin.


Daniel 9:27 gives a few highlights of the seven-year tribulation period: "He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." The person of whom this verse speaks is the person Jesus calls the "abomination that causes desolation" (Matthew 24:15) and is called "the beast" in Revelation 13. Daniel 9:27 says that the beast will make a covenant for seven years, but in the middle of this week (3 1/2 years into the tribulation), he will break the covenant, putting a stop to sacrifice. Revelation 13 explains that the beast will place an image of himself in the temple and require the world to worship him. Revelation 13:5 says that this will go on for 42 months, which is 3 1/2 years. Since Daniel 9:27 says that this will happen in the middle of the week, and Revelation 13:5 says that the beast will do this for a period of 42 months, it is easy to see that the total length of time is 84 months or seven years. Also see Daniel 7:25, where the "time, times, and half a time" (time=1 year; times=2 years; half a time=1/2 year; total of 3 1/2 years) also refers to "great tribulation," the last half of the seven-year tribulation period when the beast will be in power.


For further references about the tribulation, see Revelation 11:2-3, which speaks of 1260 days and 42 months, and Daniel 12:11-12, which speaks of 1290 days and 1335 days. These days have a reference to the midpoint of the tribulation. The additional days in Daniel 12 may include the time at the end for the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46) and time for the setting up of Christ's millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:4-6).

In summary, the Tribulation is the 7-year time period in the end times in which humanity's decadence and depravity will reach its fullness, with God judging accordingly.



“¿Qué es la Tribulación? ¿Cómo sabemos que la Tribulación durará siete años?"


La tribulación es un período de tiempo futuro de 7 años, cuando Dios terminará con Su disciplina a Israel y ejecutará Su juicio sobre el mundo incrédulo. La iglesia, formada por todos los que han confiado en la Persona y la obra del Señor Jesús para salvarse de ser castigados por el pecado, no estarán presentes durante la tribulación. La iglesia será sacada de la tierra en un evento conocido como el arrebatamiento (1 Tesalonicenses 4:13-18; 1 Corintios 15:51-53). La iglesia es salvada de la ira venidera (1 Tesalonicenses 5:9). A través de la Escritura, se utilizan otros nombres con referencia a la tribulación, tales como: 


1) El día de Jehová (Isaías 2:12; 13:6,9; Joel 1:15; 2:1-31; 3:14; 1 Tesalonicenses 5:2) 

2) Angustia o tribulación (Deuteronomio 4:30; Sofonías 1:15) 

3) La gran tribulación, que se refiere a la más intensa segunda mitad del período de los 7 años (Mateo 24:21) 

4) Tiempo o día de angustia (Daniel 12:1; Sofonías 1:15) 

5) Tiempo de angustia para Jacob (Jeremías 30:7) 


Es necesaria la comprensión de Daniel 9:24-27 para entender el propósito y tiempo de la tribulación. Este pasaje en Daniel habla de 70 semanas que están determinadas sobre “tu pueblo”. El “pueblo” en este texto son los judíos, la nación de Israel. Daniel 9:24 habla de un período de tiempo que Dios ha determinado para: “terminar la prevaricación, y poner fin al pecado, y expiar la iniquidad, para traer la justicia perdurable y sellar la visión y la profecía, y ungir al Santo de los santos”. Dios declara que “70 semanas” darán cumplimiento a estos hechos. Es importante entender que cuando se habla de “70 semanas” no se está hablando de una semana como la conocemos (7 días). Este período del cual Dios habla, es realmente 70 septenios de años, o sea 490 años. Esto está confirmado por otra porción de este pasaje de Daniel. En los versos 25 y 26, se le dice a Daniel que “se quitará la vida al Mesías” en “7 semanas y 62 semanas” (69 semanas en total) comenzando con el decreto de la reconstrucción de Jerusalén. En otras palabras, el Mesías será quitado 69 septenios de años (483 años) después del decreto de la reconstrucción de Jerusalén. Los historiadores bíblicos confirman que transcurrieron 483 años desde el tiempo en que fue decretada la reconstrucción de Jerusalén, al tiempo que Jesús fue crucificado. La mayoría de los eruditos cristianos, a pesar de sus puntos de vista escatológicos (eventos / cosas futuras), comparten esta opinión sobre las 70 semanas de Daniel. 


Con los 483 años transcurridos desde el decreto para la reconstrucción de Jerusalén a la muerte del Mesías, esto nos deja 1 septenio (7 años) para el cumplimiento de lo descrito en Daniel 9:24 “... para terminar la prevaricación, y poner fin al pecado, y expiar la iniquidad, para traer la justicia perdurable y sellar la visión y la profecía, y ungir al Santo de los santos”. Este período final de los 7 años es conocido como el período de la tribulación, que es el tiempo cuando Dios terminará de juzgar a Israel por su pecado. 


Daniel 9:27 da un poco de luz sobre el período de los 7 años de tribulación. Daniel 9:27 dice, “Y por otra semana confirmará el pacto con muchos; a la mitad de la semana hará cesar el sacrificio y la ofrenda. Después con la muchedumbre de las abominaciones vendrá el desolador, hasta que venga la consumación, y lo que está determinado se derrame sobre el desolador”. La persona de quien se habla en este versículo, es la misma persona a quien Jesús llama “la abominación desoladora” (Mateo 24:15) y en Apocalipsis 13 es llamada “la bestia”. Daniel 9:27 dice que la bestia hará un pacto por una semana (7 años), pero que a la mitad de la semana (3 ½ años dentro de la tribulación), él romperá el pacto, poniendo fin al sacrificio. Apocalipsis 13 explica que la bestia colocará una imagen de él mismo en el templo y demandará que el mundo la adore. Apocalipsis 13:5 dice que esto sucederá por 42 meses, que son 3 ½ años. Puesto que Daniel 9:27 dice que esto sucederá a la mitad de la semana, y Apocalipsis 13:5 dice que la bestia hará esto por un período de 42 meses, es fácil ver que la duración total es de 84 meses o sea 7 años. Ver también Daniel 7:25 donde el “tiempo, y tiempos, y medio tiempo” (tiempo = 1 año; tiempos = 2 años; medio tiempo = ½ año; hacen un total de 3 años ½) también se refiere a la “gran tribulación”, la última mitad de los 7 años del período de la tribulación cuando la “abominación desoladora” (la bestia) estará en el poder. 


Para futuras referencias acerca de la tribulación, ver Apocalipsis 11:2-3 donde se habla de 1,260 días y 42 meses, y Daniel 12:11-12 donde se habla de 1290 días y 1,335 días, todo lo cual hace referencia al punto intermedio de la tribulación. Los días adicionales en Daniel 12 pueden incluir el lapso final para el juicio de las naciones (Mateo 25:31-46) y el tiempo para que Cristo establezca Su Reino Milenial (Apocalipsis 20:4-6). 



08/07/20


“¿What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?"


The rapture and the second coming of Christ are often confused. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a scripture verse is referring to the rapture or the second coming. However, in studying end-times Bible prophecy, it is very important to differentiate between the two.


The rapture is when Jesus Christ returns to remove the church (all believers in Christ) from the earth. The rapture is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. Believers who have died will have their bodies resurrected and, along with believers who are still living, will meet the Lord in the air. This will all occur in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye. The second coming is when Jesus returns to defeat the Antichrist, destroy evil, and establish His millennial kingdom. The second coming is described in Revelation 19:11-16.


The important differences between the rapture and second coming are as follows:


1) At the rapture, believers meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the second coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth (Revelation 19:14).


2) The second coming occurs after the great and terrible tribulation (Revelation chapters 6–19). The rapture occurs before the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9Revelation 3:10).


3) The rapture is the removal of believers from the earth as an act of deliverance (1 Thessalonians 4:13-175:9). The second coming includes the removal of unbelievers as an act of judgment (Matthew 24:40-41).


4) The rapture will be secret and instant (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The second coming will be visible to all (Revelation 1:7Matthew 24:29-30).


5) The second coming of Christ will not occur until after certain other end-times events take place (2 Thessalonians 2:4Matthew 24:15-30; Revelation chapters 6–18). The rapture is imminent; it could take place at any moment (Titus 2:131 Thessalonians 4:13-181 Corinthians 15:50-54).


Why is it important to keep the rapture and the second coming distinct?


1) If the rapture and the second coming are the same event, believers will have to go through the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9Revelation 3:10).


2) If the rapture and the second coming are the same event, the return of Christ is not imminent—there are many things which must occur before He can return (Matthew 24:4-30).


3) In describing the tribulation period, Revelation chapters 6–19 nowhere mentions the church. During the tribulation—also called “the time of trouble for Jacob” (Jeremiah 30:7)—God will again turn His primary attention to Israel (Romans 11:17-31).


The rapture and second coming are similar but separate events. Both involve Jesus returning. Both are end-times events. However, it is crucially important to recognize the differences. In summary, the rapture is the return of Christ in the clouds to remove all believers from the earth before the time of God’s wrath. The second coming is the return of Christ to the earth to bring the tribulation to an end and to defeat the Antichrist and his evil world empire.



“¿Cuál es la diferencia entre el Arrebatamiento y la Segunda Venida?"


El Arrebatamiento y la Segunda Venida de Cristo con frecuencia son confundidos. A veces es difícil determinar si un versículo de las Escrituras se está refiriendo al Arrebatamiento o a la Segunda Venida de Jesucristo. Sin embargo, al estudiar la profecía bíblica sobre los últimos tiempos, es muy importante diferenciar entre estas dos. 


El Arrebatamiento es cuando Jesucristo regrese para llevarse a Su iglesia (todos los creyentes en Cristo) de la tierra. El Arrebatamiento se describe en 1 Tesalonicenses 4:13-18 y 1 Corintios 15:50-54. Los creyentes que hayan muerto tendrán sus cuerpos resucitados, y junto con los creyentes que aún vivan, se encontrarán con el Señor en el aire. Esto ocurrirá en un momento, en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. La Segunda Venida es cuando Jesucristo regrese para vencer al anticristo, destruir el mal, y establecer Su Reino Milenial. La Segunda Venida se describe en Apocalipsis 19:11-16. 


Las diferencias importantes entre el Arrebatamiento y la Segunda Venida son las siguientes: 


(1) En el Arrebatamiento, los creyentes se encontrarán con el Señor en el aire (1 Tesalonicenses 4:17). En la Segunda Venida, los creyentes regresarán con el Señor a la tierra (Apocalipsis 19:14). 


(2) La Segunda Venida ocurre después de la grande y terrible Tribulación (Apocalipsis capítulos 6-19). El Arrebatamiento ocurre antes de la Tribulación (1 Tesalonicenses 5:9; Apocalipsis 3:10). 


(3) El Arrebatamiento es el traslado de los creyentes de la tierra, como un acto de liberación (1 Tesalonicenses 4:13-17; 5:9). La Segunda Venida incluye el quitar a los incrédulos como un acto de juicio (Mateo 24:40-41). 


(4) El Arrebatamiento será “secreto” e instantáneo (1 Corintios 15:50-54). La Segunda Venida será visible para todos (Apocalipsis 1:7; Mateo 24:29-30). 


(5) La Segunda Venida de Cristo no ocurrirá hasta después de que ciertos otros eventos del fin de los tiempos tengan lugar (2 Tesalonicenses 2:4; Mateo 24:15-30; Apocalipsis capítulos 6-18). El Arrebatamiento es inminente y puede suceder en cualquier momento (Tito 2:13; 1 Tesalonicenses 4:13-18; 1 Corintios 15:50-54). 


¿Por qué es importante observar la diferencia entre el Arrebatamiento y la Segunda Venida de Cristo? 


(1) Si el Arrebatamiento y la Segunda Venida fueran un mismo evento, los creyentes tendrían que pasar por la Tribulación (1 Tesalonicenses 5:9; Apocalipsis 3:10). 


(2) Si el Arrebatamiento y la Segunda Venida fueran un mismo evento, el regreso de Cristo no es inminente…. Hay muchas cosas que deben ocurrir antes que Él pueda regresar a la tierra (Mateo 24:4-30). 


(3) Al describir el período de la Tribulación, los capítulos 6-19 del Apocalipsis en ninguna parte mencionan a la iglesia. Durante la Tribulación – también llamada “el tiempo de angustia para Jacob” (Jeremías 30:7) – Dios dirigirá nuevamente Su principal atención sobre Israel (Romanos 11:17-31). 


El Arrebatamiento y la Segunda Venida de Jesucristo son eventos similares pero separados. Los dos implican el regreso de Jesús. Ambos son eventos del fin de los tiempos. Sin embargo, es de crucial importancia reconocer las diferencias. En resumen, el Arrebatamiento es el regreso de Cristo en las nubes para trasladar a todos los creyentes de la tierra antes del tiempo de la ira de Dios. La Segunda Venida es el regreso de Cristo a la tierra, para poner fin a la Tribulación y para vencer al anticristo y su malvado imperio mundial. 




08/06/20


"To whom are we to pray, the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit?"


All prayer should be directed to our triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible allows for prayer to one or all three, because all three are one. To the Father we pray with the psalmist, “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray” (Psalm 5:2). To the Lord Jesus, we pray as to the Father because they are equal. Prayer to one member of the Trinity is prayer to all. Stephen, as he was being martyred, prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). We are also to pray in the name of Christ. Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to always give “thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Jesus assured His disciples that whatever they asked in His name—meaning in His will—would be granted (John 15:16; 16:23).


We are told to pray in the Spirit and in His power. The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we do not know how or what to ask for (Romans 8:26; Jude 20). Perhaps the best way to understand the role of the Trinity in prayer is that we pray to the Father, through (or in the name of) the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. All three are active participants in the believer’s prayer. 


Equally important is whom we are not to pray to. Some non-Christian religions encourage their adherents to pray to a pantheon of gods, dead relatives, saints, and spirits. Roman Catholics are taught to pray to Mary and various saints. Such prayers are not scriptural and are, in fact, an insult to our heavenly Father. To understand why, we need only look at the nature of prayer. Prayer has several elements, and if we look at just two of them—praise and thanksgiving—we can see that prayer is, at its very core, worship. When we praise God, we are worshiping Him for His attributes and His work in our lives. When we offer prayers of thanksgiving, we are worshiping His goodness, mercy, and loving-kindness to us. Worship gives glory to God, the only One who deserves to be glorified. The problem with praying to anyone other than God is that He will not share His glory. In fact, praying to anyone or anything other than God is idolatry. “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8).


Other elements of prayer such as repentance, confession, and petition are also forms of worship. We repent knowing that God is a forgiving and loving God and He has provided a means of forgiveness in the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. We confess our sins because we know “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) and we worship Him for it. We come to Him with our petitions and intercessions because we know He loves us and hears us, and we worship Him for His mercy and kindness in being willing to hear and answer. When we consider all this, it is easy to see that praying to someone other than our triune God is unthinkable because prayer is a form of worship, and worship is reserved for God and God alone. Whom are we to pray to? The answer is God. Praying to God, and God alone, is far more important than to which Person of the Trinity we address our prayers.



“¿A Quién debemos orar; al Padre, al Hijo, o al Espíritu Santo?"

Toda oración debe ser dirigida a nuestro trino Dios––Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo. La Biblia enseña que podemos orarle a uno o a los tres, porque los tres son Uno. Oramos al Padre con el salmista, “Está atento a la voz de mi clamor, Rey mío y Dios mío, porque a Ti oraré” (Salmos 5:2). Al Señor Jesucristo, oramos como al Padre, porque ellos son iguales. El orar a un miembro de la Trinidad, es orarle a todos. Esteban, mientras era martirizado, oraba, “Señor Jesús, recibe mi espíritu” (Hechos 7:59). También oramos en el nombre de Cristo. Pablo exhortaba a los creyentes efesios a darle “…gracias por todo al Dios y Padre, en el nombre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo” (Efesios 5:20). Jesús les aseguró a Sus discípulos que cualquier cosa que pidieran en Su nombre –significando en Su voluntad– les sería concedida (Juan 15:16; 16:23). De manera similar, se nos dice que oremos al Espíritu Santo y en Su poder. El Espíritu nos ayuda a orar, cuando no sabemos cómo o qué pedir (Romanos 8:26; Judas 1:20). Tal vez la mejor manera de entender el papel de la Trinidad en la oración, es que oramos al Padre, a través del Hijo, por el poder del Espíritu Santo. Los Tres son Participantes activos en la oración del creyente. 


Igualmente importante es saber a quién no debemos orar. Algunas religiones no cristianas animan a sus miembros a orar a un panteón de dioses, familiares muertos, santos, y espíritus. Los católicos romanos son enseñados a rezar a María y a varios santos.. Tales oraciones no son bíblicas, y son de hecho, un insulto a nuestro Padre celestial. Para entender el por qué, sólo tenemos que ver la naturaleza de la oración. La oración tiene varios elementos, y si miramos sólo a dos de ellos –alabanza y acción de gracias–, podemos decir que esa oración es, en su esencia misma, adoración. Cuando alabamos a Dios, estamos adorándolo por Sus atributos y Su obra en nuestras vidas. Cuando ofrecemos oraciones de acción de gracias, estamos adorando Su bondad, misericordia, y amoroso cuidado de nosotros. La adoración da gloria a Dios, el Único que merece ser glorificado. El problema con la oración a cualquier otro que no sea Dios, es que Él es un Dios celoso y ha declarado que Él no compartirá Su gloria con nadie. De hecho, el hacerlo resulta ser nada menos que idolatría. “Yo Jehová; este es mi nombre; y a otro no daré mi gloria, ni mi alabanza a esculturas” (Isaías 42:8). 


Otros elementos que están en la oración tales como el arrepentimiento, confesión y petición, también son formas de adoración. Nos arrepentimos sabiendo que Dios es un Dios amoroso y perdonador, que Él ha provisto un medio de perdón en el sacrificio de Su Hijo en la cruz. Confesamos nuestros pecados, porque sabemos que “Él es fiel y justo para perdonar nuestros pecados, y limpiarnos de toda maldad” (1 Juan 1:9) y lo adoramos por ello. Venimos a Él con nuestras peticiones e intercesiones, porque sabemos que Él nos ama y nos escucha, y lo adoramos por Su misericordia y bondad al estar dispuesto a escuchar y responder. Cuando consideramos todo esto, es fácil ver que el orar a alguien más que no sea al Dios trino, es impensable, porque la oración es una forma de adoración, y la adoración es reservada para Dios y Dios solamente. ¿A quién debemos orar? La respuesta es Dios. Orar a Dios, y sólo a Dios, es mucho más importante que a qué Persona de la Trinidad dirigimos nuestras oraciones. 





08/05/20


Question: "How can I have my prayers answered by God?"


Answer: Many people believe answered prayer is God granting a prayer request that is offered to Him. If a prayer request is not granted, it is understood as an "unanswered" prayer. However, this is an incorrect understanding of prayer. God answers every prayer that is lifted to Him. Sometimes God answers "no" or "wait." God only promises to grant our prayers when we ask according to His will. "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us"whatever we ask"we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15).


What does it mean to pray according to God's will? Praying according to God's will is praying for things that honor and glorify God and/or praying for what the Bible clearly reveals God's will to be. If we pray for something that is not honoring to God or not God's will for our lives, God will not give what we ask for. How can we know what God's will is? God promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it. James 1:5 proclaims, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." A good place to start is 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24, which outlines many things that are God's will for us. The better we understand God's Word, the better we will know what to pray for (John 15:7). The better we know what to pray for, the more often God will answer "yes" to our requests.



“¿Cómo puedo hacer que Dios responda a mis oraciones?"

Mucha gente cree que una “oración es contestada” cuando Dios accede a una petición de oración ofrecida a Él. Si la petición de oración no es concedida, con frecuencia se entiende como una oración “no contestada”. Sin embargo, esto es una comprensión incorrecta de la oración. Dios responde a cada oración que es elevada hacia Él. Lo que debemos recordar es que algunas veces Dios responde “no” o “espera”. Dios sólo promete concedernos nuestras oraciones cuando le pedimos de acuerdo a Su voluntad. 1 Juan 5:14-15 nos dice; “Y esta es la confianza que tenemos en Él, que si pedimos alguna cosa conforme a Su voluntad, Él nos oye. Y si sabemos que Él nos oye en cualquiera cosa que pidamos, sabemos que tenemos las peticiones que le hayamos hecho”. 


¿Qué significa pedir de acuerdo a Su voluntad? Orar de acuerdo a la voluntad de Dios es orar por cosas que traerán honra y gloria a Dios y/u orar por cosas que la Biblia revela claramente que es la voluntad de Dios. Si oramos por algo que no es para honrar a Dios, o que no es la voluntad de Dios para nuestras vidas, Dios no nos dará lo que le pedimos. ¿Cómo sabemos cuál es la voluntad de Dios? Dios promete que nos dará sabiduría cuando se la pidamos. Santiago 1:5 dice; “Y si alguno de vosotros tiene falta de sabiduría, pídala a Dios, el cual da a todos abundantemente y sin reproche, y le será dada”. Un buen lugar para empezar es 1 Tesalonicenses 5:12-24, que describe muchas cosas que son la voluntad de Dios para con nosotros. Entre más entendamos la Palabra de Dios, mejor sabremos por lo que debemos orar (Juan 15:7). Entre más sepamos por lo que debemos orar, más a menudo Dios responderá “si” a nuestras peticiones. 






08/04/20


“How can we recognize the voice of God?"


This question has been asked by countless people throughout the ages. Samuel heard the voice of God, but did not recognize it until he was instructed by Eli (1 Samuel 3:1–10). Gideon had a physical revelation from God, and he still doubted what he had heard to the point of asking for a sign, not once, but three times (Judges 6:17–22,36–40). When we are listening for God’s voice, how can we know that He is the one speaking? First of all, we have something that Gideon and Samuel did not. We have the complete Bible, the inspired Word of God, to read, study, and meditate on. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). When we have a question about a certain topic or decision in our lives, we should see what the Bible has to say about it. God will never lead us contrary to what He has taught in His Word (Titus 1:2).


To hear God's voice we must belong to God. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those who hear God’s voice are those who belong to Him—those who have been saved by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. These are the sheep who hear and recognize His voice, because they know Him as their Shepherd. If we are to recognize God’s voice, we must belong to Him.


We hear His voice when we spend time in Bible study and quiet contemplation of His Word. The more time we spend intimately with God and His Word, the easier it is to recognize His voice and His leading in our lives. Employees at a bank are trained to recognize counterfeits by studying genuine money so closely that it is easy to spot a fake. We should be so familiar with God’s Word that when someone speaks error to us, it is clear that it is not of God.


While God could speak audibly to people today, He speaks primarily through His written Word. Sometimes God’s leading can come through the Holy Spirit, through our consciences, through circumstances, and through the exhortations of other people. By comparing what we hear to the truth of Scripture, we can learn to recognize God’s voice.



“¿Cómo podemos reconocer la voz de Dios?"

Esta pregunta ha sido hecha por muchísima gente a través de todos los tiempos. Samuel escuchó la voz de Dios, pero no la reconoció hasta que fue instruido por Elí (1 Samuel 3:1-10). Gedeón tuvo una revelación física de Dios y aún así dudaba de lo que había escuchado, hasta el punto de pedir una señal, no una vez, sino tres veces (Jueces 6: 17-22 y 36-40). Cuando escuchamos la voz de Dios, ¿cómo sabemos que es Él quien habla? Primero que nada, nosotros tenemos algo que ni Gedeón ni Samuel tenían. Tenemos la Biblia completa, la inspirada Palabra de Dios para leerla, estudiarla y meditarla. “Toda la Escritura es inspirada por Dios, y útil para enseñar, para redargüir, para corregir, para instruir en justicia, a fin de que el hombre de Dios sea perfecto, enteramente preparado para toda buena obra” (2 Timoteo 3:16-17). ¿Tienes una pregunta acerca de algún tema o decisión en tu vida? Ve lo que dice la Biblia acerca de ello. Dios jamás te guiará o dirigirá contrariamente a lo que Él ha pensado o prometido en Su Palabra (Tito 1:2). 


Para escuchar la voz de Dios, debemos pertenecer a Dios. Jesús dijo, “Mis ovejas oyen mi voz, y Yo las conozco, y me siguen” (Juan 10:27). Aquellos que escuchan la voz de Dios son aquellos que le pertenecen, aquellos que han sido salvos por Su gracia a través de la fe en el Señor Jesús. Estas son las ovejas que oyen y reconocen Su voz, porque le conocen como su Pastor. Si queremos reconocer la voz de Dios, debemos pertenecerle a Él. 


Escuchamos Su voz cuando pasamos un tiempo de calidad diariamente en oración, estudio de la Biblia, y quieta contemplación de Su Palabra. Mientras más tiempo pases en intimidad con Dios y Su Palabra, te será más fácil reconocer Su voz y Su guía en tu vida. Los empleados en el banco están entrenados para reconocer falsificaciones mediante el minucioso estudio de los billetes genuinos, así es fácil reconocer los falsos. Debemos estar tan familiarizados con la Palabra de Dios, que cuando alguien nos hable una mentira, podamos tener claridad que no es de Dios. 


Mientras que Dios puede y habla audiblemente a la gente hoy en día, Él habla primeramente a través de Su Palabra; pero a veces también a través del Espíritu Santo a nuestras conciencias, a través de circunstancias, y a través de la exhortación de otras personas. Al comparar lo que escuchamos a la verdad de las Escrituras, podemos aprender a reconocer Su voz. 




08/03/20


When, why, and how does the Lord God discipline us when we sin? -


“When, why, and how does the Lord God discipline us when we sin?"


Answer: The Lord's discipline is an often-ignored fact of life for believers. We often complain about our circumstances without realizing that they are the consequences of our own sin and are a part of the Lord's loving and gracious discipline for that sin. This self-centered ignorance can contribute to the formation of habitual sin in a believer's life, incurring even greater discipline.


Discipline is not to be confused with cold-hearted punishment. The Lord's discipline is a response of His love for us and His desire for each of us to be holy. "My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in" 


Proverbs 3:11-12; 11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 

12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. 


See

Hebrews 12:5-11


God will use testing, trials, and various predicaments to bring us back to Himself in repentance. The result of His discipline is a stronger faith and a renewed relationship with God 


James 1:2-4

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


not to mention destroying the hold that particular sin had over us.


The Lord's discipline works for our own good, that He might be glorified with our lives. He wants us to exhibit lives of holiness, lives that reflect the new nature that God has given us: "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy"" (1 Peter 1:15-16).


15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,

16 since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." - 1 Peter 1:15-16



"¿Cuándo, por qué, y cómo nos disciplina Dios, cuando pecamos?"

La disciplina del Señor es un hecho con frecuencia ignorado en la vida de los creyentes. Frecuentemente lamentamos nuestras circunstancias sin darnos cuenta de que éstas son las consecuencias de nuestro propio pecado, y que son parte de la gracia y amorosa disciplina del Señor por ese pecado. Esta ignorancia ego-centrista puede contribuir a la formación de hábitos pecaminosos en la vida del creyente, incurriendo entonces en la necesidad de una disciplina aún mayor. 


La disciplina no debe confundirse con un castigo emanado de la dureza del corazón. La disciplina del Señor es una respuesta de Su amor por nosotros, y Su deseo de que cada uno de nosotros sea santo. “No menosprecies, hijo mío, el castigo de Jehová, ni te fatigues de Su corrección; porque Jehová al que ama castiga, como el padre al hijo a quien quiere” 


Proverbios 3:11-12;

11 No menosprecies, hijo mío, el castigo de Jehová, Ni te fatigues de su corrección; 12 Porque Jehová al que ama castiga, Como el padre al hijo a quien quiere.


ver también Hebreos 12:5-11. 


Dios usará pruebas, sufrimientos, y varios predicamentos para traernos arrepentidos, de regreso a Él. El resultado de esta disciplina es una fe reforzada, y una relación con Dios renovada (Santiago 1:2-4), sin mencionar la destrucción del poder que ese pecado en particular tenía sobre nosotros. 


La disciplina del Señor obra para nuestro propio bien, para que Él pueda ser glorificado en nuestras vidas. Él quiere que exhibamos vidas de santidad, vidas que reflejen la nueva naturaleza que Dios nos ha dado: “…como hijos obedientes, no os conforméis a los deseos que antes teníais estando en vuestra ignorancia; sino, como Aquel que os llamó es santo, sed también vosotros santos en toda vuestra manera de vivir; porque escrito está: Sed santos, porque Yo soy santo” (1 Pedro 1:14-16). 


1 Pedro 1:14-16

14 como hijos obedientes, no os conforméis a los deseos que antes teníais estando en vuestra ignorancia;

15 sino, como aquel que os llamó es santo, sed también vosotros santos en toda vuestra manera de vivir;

16 porque escrito está: Sed santos, porque Yo soy santo.





08/02/20


Is there really an afterlife?


Mankind has always been concerned with—and developed numerous theories about—the afterlife. Something within us rebels against the idea that existence ends with the grave. Funerals and memorial services always address the afterlife, complete with euphemisms to describe what happens after life on earth is over. The dead are said to have 'gone on' or 'passed over' or some such phrase. What they have gone on to is often alluded to, and always in positive terms, but frequently not explained in authoritative terms. We all like to think we are headed for something pleasant and positive after we die, but many of us just aren't sure what it is. 


The afterlife is the ultimate mystery, that "undiscovered country from who bourn no traveller returns," as Shakespeare put it. But one traveller has returned from the undiscovered country, one who has gone through to the other side and come back to tell us what to expect. He alone possesses the authority and knowledge to tell everyone the truth about the afterlife. Not only that, but He alone holds the key to unlock the door to the afterlife we all seek—heaven. That person is Jesus Christ who died, was buried, came back to life, and was seen by hundreds of reliable witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).


Jesus is the sole authority and witness who is able to answer the question, "Is there really an afterlife?" And Christ, whose truthfulness and integrity are unquestioned even by those who deny His deity, makes three basic statements about the subject of life after death. There is an afterlife, there are only two alternatives as to where we spend the afterlife, and there is a way to ensure a positive experience after death. 


First, Christ taught that there is an afterlife in a number of biblical passages, including an encounter with the Sadducees who denied the teaching of resurrection. He reminded them that their own Scriptures affirm that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mark 12:24-27). Jesus clearly told them that those who have died centuries before are very much alive with God at that moment, although they do not marry, becoming instead as the angels. Later, Jesus comforts His disciples (and us) with the hope of being with Him in Heaven: "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going" (John 14:1-4). 


Having established the existence of an afterlife, Jesus also speaks authoritatively about the two destinies awaiting every person that dies: one with God and one without God. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus Jesus describes these two destinations. "The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side" (Luke 16:22–23). One aspect of the story worth noting is that there is no intermediate state for those who die; they go directly to their eternal destiny. As the writer of Hebrews says, "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).


Jesus stated the matter simply when He said, "these [unbelievers] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:46). Clearly there are two destinations for man after death. One is in the Father's house with Christ, the other in a place of torment, a place of "outer darkness" where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:1222:1325:30). There is no mistaking Jesus' words and meaning. 


Now that we have established the existence of an afterlife and the inevitability of going to one place or the other, what determines our eternal destination? Jesus is equally clear on that subject. The destination for all men is determined by whether they have faith in God and what they do with respect to Christ. Jesus had much to say on this subject, with perhaps the most succinct and to the point statement found in John 3:14-18: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." 


For those who repent of sin and put their faith in Christ as their Savior from sin and Lord of their lives, the afterlife will consist of an eternity spent with God. But for those who reject Him as the only means of salvation (John 14:6), hell and outer darkness away from God's presence is their destiny. There is no middle ground, no intermediate state, no testing ground, and no second chance. As life on this earth ends, life in one place or the other begins and it is so for every human being. The apostle Paul rejoiced in this fact, saying "When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'" (1 Corinthians 15:54–55). For those who spend eternity in heaven with God, death has no hold. It is merely the entrance to an eternity of bliss in the presence of Christ, the One who opened heaven's door for us.



¿Hay realmente vida después de la muerte?


La humanidad siempre se ha preocupado -y ha desarrollado numerosas teorías sobre- el más allá. Algo dentro de nosotros se rebela contra la idea de que la existencia termina con la tumba. Los funerales y los servicios conmemorativos siempre se dirigen a la vida después de la muerte, y se completan con eufemismos para describir lo que sucede después de que termina la vida en la tierra. Se dice que los muertos 'partieron' o 'fallecieron' o alguna frase similar. A lo que se han referido a menudo se alude, y siempre en términos positivos, pero con frecuencia no se explica en términos autoritativos. A todos nos gusta pensar que nos dirigimos a algo agradable y positivo después de morir, pero muchos de nosotros simplemente no estamos seguros de qué se trata. 


La vida después de la muerte es el misterio supremo, ese "país por descubrir de cuyo destino el viajero no regresa", como lo expresó Shakespeare. Pero un viajero ha regresado del país no descubierto, uno que ha pasado al otro lado y vuelve para decirnos qué esperar. Solo él posee la autoridad y el conocimiento para decirles a todos la verdad sobre la vida futura. No solo eso, sino que solo Él tiene la llave para abrir la puerta a la otra vida que todos buscamos: el cielo. Esa persona es Jesucristo quien murió, fue sepultado, volvió a la vida y fue visto por cientos de testigos confiables (1 Corintios 15:3-8). 


Jesús es la única autoridad y testigo que puede responder la pregunta: "¿Existe realmente vida después de la muerte?" Y Cristo, cuya veracidad e integridad no son cuestionadas ni siquiera por aquellos que niegan su deidad, hace tres afirmaciones básicas sobre el tema de la vida después de la muerte. Hay vida después de la muerte, solo hay dos alternativas en cuanto a dónde pasamos la otra vida, y hay una manera de asegurar una experiencia positiva después de la muerte. 


Primero, Cristo enseñó que hay vida después de la muerte en varios pasajes bíblicos, incluido un encuentro con los saduceos que negaron la enseñanza de la resurrección. Les recordó que sus propias Escrituras afirman que Dios no es el Dios de los muertos, sino de los vivos (Marcos 12:24-27). Jesús claramente les dijo que aquellos que han muerto siglos antes están muy vivos con Dios en ese momento, aunque no se casan, llegando a ser en cambio como los ángeles. Más tarde, Jesús consuela a sus discípulos (y a nosotros) con la esperanza de estar con Él en el Cielo: "No se turbe vuestro corazón; creéis en Dios, creed también en mí. En la casa de mi Padre muchas moradas hay; si así no fuera, yo os lo hubiera dicho; voy, pues, a preparar lugar para vosotros. Y si me fuere y os preparare lugar, vendré otra vez, y os tomaré a mí mismo, para que donde yo estoy, vosotros también estéis. Y sabéis a dónde voy, y sabéis el camino." (Juan 14:1-4). 


Habiendo establecido la existencia de una vida después de la muerte, Jesús también habla con autoridad sobre los dos destinos que aguardan a cada persona que muere: una con Dios y otra sin Dios. En la parábola del hombre rico y Lázaro Jesús describe estos dos destinos. "El hombre pobre murió y fue llevado por los ángeles al lado de Abraham. El hombre rico también murió y fue sepultado, y en el Hades, estando en tormento, alzó sus ojos y vio a Abraham lejos y a Lázaro a su lado" (Lucas 16:22-23). Un aspecto de la historia que vale la pena señalar es que no hay un estado intermedio para los que mueren; van directamente a su destino eterno. Como dice el escritor de Hebreos, "está establecido que el hombre muera una sola vez, y después viene el juicio" (Hebreos 9:27). 


Jesús declaró el asunto simplemente cuando dijo: "estos [incrédulos] se irán al castigo eterno, pero los justos a la vida eterna" (Mateo 25:46). Claramente hay dos destinos para el hombre después de la muerte. Uno está en la casa del Padre con Cristo, el otro en un lugar de tormento, un lugar de "las tinieblas de fuera" donde hay "llanto y crujir de dientes" (Mateo 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). No hay duda de las palabras y el significado de Jesús. 


Ahora que hemos establecido la existencia de una vida futura y la inevitabilidad de ir a un lugar u otro, ¿qué determina nuestro destino eterno? Jesús es igualmente claro en ese tema. El destino para todos los hombres está determinado por si tienen fe en Dios y lo que hacen con respecto a Cristo. Jesús tenía mucho que decir sobre este tema, quizás con la afirmación más sucinta y precisa que se encuentra en Juan 3:14-18: "Y como Moisés levantó la serpiente en el desierto, así es necesario que el Hijo del Hombre sea levantado, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, más tenga vida eterna Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, más tenga vida eterna. Porque no envió Dios a su Hijo al mundo para condenar al mundo, sino para que el mundo sea salvo por él. El que en él cree, no es condenado; pero el que no cree, ya ha sido condenado, porque no ha creído en el nombre del unigénito Hijo de Dios”. 


Para aquellos que se arrepienten del pecado y ponen su fe en Cristo como su Salvador y Señor de sus vidas, la otra vida consistirá en una eternidad con Dios. Pero para aquellos que lo rechazan como el único medio de salvación (Juan 14:6), el infierno y la oscuridad exterior lejos de la presencia de Dios es su destino. No hay un terreno intermedio, no hay un estado intermedio, no hay terreno de prueba, y no hay una segunda oportunidad. A medida que la vida en esta tierra termina, comienza la vida en un lugar u otro y así es para cada ser humano. El apóstol Pablo se regocijó en este hecho, diciendo: "Y cuando esto corruptible se haya vestido de incorrupción, y esto mortal se haya vestido de inmortalidad, entonces se cumplirá la palabra que está escrita: Sorbida es la muerte en victoria. ¿Dónde está, oh muerte, tu aguijón? ¿Dónde, oh sepulcro, tu victoria?" (1 Corintios 15:54-55). Para aquellos que pasan la eternidad en el cielo con Dios, la muerte no tiene cabida. Es simplemente la entrada a una eternidad de bienaventuranza en la presencia de Cristo, el que abrió la puerta del cielo para nosotros. 




08/01/20


Is the concept of purgatory biblical?


The Catholic tradition of purgatory teaches that, upon death, many souls enter a spiritual realm between heaven and hell during which their sins are dealt with until they are prepared to enter heaven. It is a place where sin is "purged" before a person can enter heaven. Furthermore, Catholic tradition encourages the living to do works on behalf of the dead in order to improve the situation of those in purgatory. But what does the Bible say about purgatory?


The Catholic tradition of purgatory teaches that, upon death, many souls enter a spiritual realm between heaven and hell during which their sins are dealt with until they are prepared to enter heaven. It is a place where sin is "purged" before a person can enter heaven. Furthermore, Catholic tradition encourages the living to do works on behalf of the dead in order to improve the situation of those in purgatory. But what does the Bible say about purgatory?


First, it must be clearly noted that the Bible does not teach purgatory. Catholic theologians typically refer to a book in the Apocrypha to support their belief in purgatory. In the Apocrypha, the book of 2 Maccabees states,


"Making a gathering . . . sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead). And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins" (2 Maccabees 12:43-46).


From this, Catholic doctrine teaches that prayers for the dead were offered before the time of Jesus to improve the condition of the soul. While it may be true that some people offered prayers for the dead, the fact remains that the source is a book not included in the Protestant Bible. Neither Jesus nor the apostles ever spoke of the Apocrypha as Scripture or mentioned purgatory.


Belief in purgatory arose within the church at least as early as the fourth century, with some accepting and others rejecting the concept. However, the Council of Trent in in 1563 mentioned the doctrine of purgatory as already being universally accepted within the church. While it may or may not have been universally accepted, it is clear that purgatory was commonly discussed and accepted by many at this time.


A look at the New Testament reveals a very different perspective regarding the afterlife. First, Jesus spoke very clearly of only two choices in the afterlife in Luke 16:19-31. There we find that a certain rich man had died as an unbeliever and was "in torment" (Luke 16:23). Jesus made it clear that the afterlife offers two options, and that both heaven and hell are eternal.


Matthew 7:13-14 also notes, "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Again, only two options are provided. There is no third option.


The end of the Bible also makes clear God's plan for the end of time. Revelation 20:12-15 says,


"And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."


Once again, only two choices exist—heaven or hell (here called the lake of fire). Purgatory is an extra-biblical teaching developed beyond what Jesus and the apostles presented in the Bible. As such, it lacks biblical authority and is to be rejected. While the idea of a "middle ground" may find historical support in other places or seem sensible to many, the fact is that it is not supported by the Bible—the very book that forms the basis for Christian belief. Believers are not called to offer prayers or works on behalf of the dead. The dead's eternity has already been decided. Instead, we must seek to grow in Christ and share Him with others.



¿Es bíblico el concepto del purgatorio?


La tradición católica del purgatorio enseña que, tras la muerte, muchas almas entran en un reino espiritual entre el cielo y el infierno durante el cual se expían sus pecados hasta que están preparados para entrar en el cielo. Es un lugar donde el pecado es "purgado" antes de que una persona pueda entrar al cielo. Además, la tradición católica alienta a los vivos a hacer obras en nombre de los muertos para mejorar la situación de aquellos en el purgatorio. Pero, ¿qué dice la Biblia sobre el purgatorio? 


Primero, debe notarse claramente que la Biblia no enseña nada sobre el purgatorio. Los teólogos católicos generalmente se refieren a un libro en los apócrifos para apoyar su creencia en el purgatorio. En los Apócrifos, el libro de 2 Macabeos dice: 


"Después de haber reunido entre sus hombres cerca de 2.000 dracmas, las mandó a Jerusalén para ofrecer un sacrificio por el pecado, obrando muy hermosa y noblemente, pensando en la resurrección. Pues de no esperar que los soldados caídos resucitarían, habría sido superfluo y necio rogar por los muertos; mas si consideraba que una magnífica recompensa está reservada a los que duermen piadosamente, era un pensamiento santo y piadoso. Por eso mandó hacer este sacrificio expiatorio en favor de los muertos, para que quedaran liberados del pecado." (II Macabeos 12:43-46 - Biblia Católica de Jerusalén Online). A partir de esto, la doctrina católica enseña que las oraciones por los muertos se ofrecían antes del tiempo de Jesús para mejorar la condición del alma. Si bien puede ser cierto que algunas personas ofrecieron oraciones por los muertos, el hecho es que la fuente es un libro no incluido en la Biblia protestante. Ni Jesús ni los apóstoles hablaron de los Apócrifos como Escritura o mencionaron el purgatorio. 


La creencia en el purgatorio surgió dentro de la iglesia al menos ya en el siglo IV, y algunos aceptaron y otros rechazaron el concepto. Sin embargo, el Concilio de Trento en 1563 mencionó que la doctrina del purgatorio ya era universalmente aceptada dentro de la iglesia. Si bien puede o no haber sido aceptado universalmente, está claro que el purgatorio fue comúnmente discutido y aceptado por muchos en este momento. 


Una mirada al Nuevo Testamento revela una perspectiva muy diferente con respecto al más allá. Primero, Jesús habló muy claramente de solo dos opciones en la otra vida en Lucas 16: 19-31. Allí encontramos que cierto hombre rico había muerto como incrédulo y estaba "atormentado" (Lucas 16:23). Jesús dejó en claro que la otra vida ofrece dos opciones, y que tanto el cielo como el infierno son eternos. 


Mateo 7: 13-14 también señala: "Entren por la puerta estrecha. Porque es ancha la puerta y espacioso el camino que conduce a la destrucción, y muchos entran por ella. Pero estrecha es la puerta y angosto el camino que conduce a la vida, y son pocos los que la encuentran." Nuevamente, solo se proporcionan dos opciones. No hay una tercera opción. 


El final de la Biblia también deja en claro el plan de Dios para el fin de los tiempos. Apocalipsis 20: 12-15 dice: 


"Vi también a los muertos, grandes y pequeños, de pie delante del trono. Se abrieron unos libros, y luego otro, que es el libro de la vida. Los muertos fueron juzgados según lo que habían hecho, conforme a lo que estaba escrito en los libros. El mar devolvió sus muertos; la muerte y el infierno[a] devolvieron los suyos; y cada uno fue juzgado según lo que había hecho. La muerte y el infierno fueron arrojados al lago de fuego. Este lago de fuego es la muerte segunda. Aquel cuyo nombre no estaba escrito en el libro de la vida era arrojado al lago de fuego." 


Una vez más, solo existen dos opciones: el cielo o el infierno (aquí llamado el lago de fuego). El purgatorio es una enseñanza extrabíblica desarrollada más allá de lo que Jesús y los apóstoles presentaron en la Biblia. Como tal, carece de autoridad bíblica y debe ser rechazado. Si bien la idea de un "punto intermedio" puede encontrar apoyo histórico en otros lugares o parecer razonable para muchos, el hecho es que no está respaldada por la Biblia, el libro que es el fundamento para la creencia cristiana. Los creyentes no están llamados a ofrecer oraciones u obras en nombre de los muertos. La eternidad de los muertos ya ha sido decidida. En cambio, debemos buscar crecer en Cristo y compartirlo con los demás. 




07/31/20

"What signs indicate that the end times are approaching?"


Matthew 24:5–8 gives us some important clues for discerning the approach of the end times: “Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 


Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” An increase in false messiahs, an increase in warfare, and increases in famines, plagues, and natural disasters—these are signs of the end times. In this passage, though, we are given a warning: we are not to be deceived, because these events are only the beginning of birth pains; the end is still to come.


Some interpreters point to every earthquake, every political upheaval, and every attack on Israel as a sure sign that the end times are rapidly approaching. While the events may signal the approach of the last days, they are not necessarily indicators that the end times have arrived. The apostle Paul warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. 


“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and people who actively “oppose the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1–9; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:3).


Other possible signs would include a rebuilding of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, increased hostility toward Israel, and advances toward a one-world government. The most prominent sign of the end times, however, is the nation of Israel. In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state, essentially for the first time since AD 70. 


God promised Abraham that his posterity would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel (Ezekiel 37). Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end-times prophecy because of Israel’s prominence in eschatology (Daniel 10:14; 11:41; Revelation 11:8).


With these signs in mind, we can be wise and discerning in regard to the expectation of the end times. We should not, however, interpret any of these singular events as a clear indication of the soon arrival of the end times. God has given us enough information that we can be prepared, and that is what we are called to be as our hearts cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).





“¿Cuáles son las señales del fin de los tiempos?"



Mateo 24:5-8 nos da importantes pistas para que podamos discernir la aproximación del fin de los tiempos, “Porque vendrán muchos en mi nombre, diciendo; Yo soy el Cristo; y a muchos engañarán. Y oiréis de guerras y rumores de guerras; mirad que no os turbéis, porque es necesario que todo esto acontezca; pero aún no es el fin. 


Porque se levantará nación contra nación, y reino contra reino; y habrá pestes, y hambres, y terremotos en diferentes lugares. Y todo esto será principio de dolores”. Un incremento en falsos Mesías, un incremento en guerras, un incremento en hambrunas, plagas y desastres naturales – estos acontecimientos son “señales” del fin de los tiempos. 


Aún en este pasaje, estamos siendo advertidos; no debemos dejarnos engañar (Mateo 24:4), porque estos eventos son sólo el principio de los dolores de parto (Mateo 24:8). El fin está aún por venir (Mateo 24:6). 


Muchos intérpretes señalan cada terremoto, cada conmoción política, y cada ataque sobre Israel como una señal segura de que el fin de los tiempos se acerca rápidamente. Mientras que estos eventos son señales de que el fin de los tiempos se aproxima, no son necesariamente indicadores de que el final ha llegado. 


El apóstol Pablo advierte que en los últimos días habrá un marcado incremento de falsas enseñanzas. “Pero el Espíritu dice claramente que en los postreros tiempos algunos apostatarán de la fe, escuchando a espíritus engañadores y a doctrinas de demonios” (1 Timoteo 4:1). Los últimos días son descritos como “tiempos peligrosos” por el incremento en el carácter maligno del hombre y las personas que conscientemente “resistirán la verdad” (2 Timoteo 3:1-9; 4:3-4, ver también 2 Tesalonicenses 2:3). 


Otras posibles señales incluyen la reconstrucción del templo judío en Jerusalén, un incremento en la hostilidad hacia Israel, y avances encaminados a un gobierno mundial. La señal más prominente del fin de los tiempos, sin embargo, es la nación de Israel. En 1948, Israel fue reconocido como un estado soberano por primera vez desde el año 70 d.C. 


Dios prometió a Abraham que su descendencia poseería la tierra de Canaán como “heredad perpetua” (Génesis 17:8), y Ezequiel profetizó una resurrección física y espiritual de Israel (Ezequiel 37). El tener a Israel como nación en su propia tierra, es importante a la luz de la profecía del fin de los tiempos, por la prominencia de Israel dentro de la escatología (Daniel 10:14, 11:41; Apocalipsis 11:8). 


Con estas señales en mente, podemos ser sabios y tener discernimiento con respecto a la expectativa del fin de los tiempos. Sin embargo, no debemos de ninguna manera interpretar ninguno de estos eventos singulares como una clara indicación de la pronta llegada del fin. Dios nos ha dado suficiente información para que podamos estar preparados, y a eso es a lo que estamos llamados. 



07/30/20


"How can I have assurance of my salvation?"


Answer: Many followers of Jesus Christ look for the assurance of salvation in the wrong places. We tend to seek assurance of salvation in the things God is doing in our lives, in our spiritual growth, in the good works and obedience to God’s Word that is evident in our Christian walk. While these things can be evidence of salvation, they are not what we should base the assurance of our salvation on. Rather, we should find the assurance of our salvation in the objective truth of God’s Word. We should have confident trust that we are saved based on the promises God has declared, not because of our subjective experiences.


How can you have assurance of salvation? Consider 1 John 5:11–13: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Who is it that has the Son? It is those who have believed in Him (John 1:12). If you have Jesus, you have life. Not temporary life, but eternal.


God wants us to have assurance of our salvation. We should not live our Christian lives wondering and worrying each day whether or not we are truly saved. That is why the Bible makes the plan of salvation so clear. Believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Acts 16:31). “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Have you repented? Do you believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins and rose again from the dead (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21)? Do you trust Him alone for salvation? If your answer to these questions is “yes,” you are saved! Assurance means freedom from doubt. By taking God’s Word to heart, you can have no doubt about the reality of your eternal salvation.


Jesus Himself assures those who believe in Him: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29). Eternal life is just that—eternal. There is no one, not even yourself, who can take Christ’s God-given gift of salvation away from you.


Take joy in what God’s Word is saying to you: instead of doubting, we can live with confidence! We can have the assurance from Christ’s own Word that our salvation will never be in question. Our assurance of salvation is based on the perfect and complete salvation God has provided for us through Jesus Christ.



“¿Cómo puedo tener la seguridad de mi Salvación?"


Muchos seguidores de Jesucristo buscan la seguridad de la salvación en los lugares equivocados. Tendemos a buscar la seguridad de la salvación en las cosas que Dios está haciendo en nuestras vidas, en nuestro crecimiento espiritual, en las buenas obras y en la obediencia a la Palabra de Dios que es evidente en nuestro caminar cristiano. Aunque estas cosas pueden ser evidencia de la salvación, no son las cosas en las cuales debemos basar la seguridad de nuestra salvación. Más bien, debemos encontrar la seguridad de nuestra salvación en la verdad objetiva de la Palabra de Dios. Debemos tener confianza en que somos salvos basados en las promesas que Dios ha declarado, no por nuestras experiencias subjetivas. 


¿Cómo puedes estar seguro de ser salvo? Considera 1 Juan 5:11-13 “Y este es el testimonio: que Dios nos ha dado vida eterna; y esta vida está en Su Hijo. El que tiene al Hijo, tiene la vida; el que no tiene al Hijo de Dios no tiene la vida. Estas cosas os he escrito a vosotros que creéis en el nombre del Hijo de Dios, para que sepáis que tenéis vida eterna, y para que creáis en el nombre del Hijo de Dios”. ¿Quién es quien tiene al Hijo? Aquellos que han creído en Él y lo han recibido (Juan 1:12). Si tienes a Jesús, tienes la vida. La vida eterna; no temporal, sino eterna. 


Dios quiere que tengamos la seguridad de nuestra salvación. No podemos vivir nuestra vida cristiana dudando y preocupándonos cada día por saber si realmente somos o no salvos. Esto es por lo que la Biblia hace tan claro el plan de salvación. “... cree en el Señor Jesucristo, y serás salvo...” (Juan 3:16; Hechos 16:31). “Si confesares con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor, y creyeres en tu corazón que Dios le levantó de los muertos, serás salvo” (Romanos 10:9). ¿Te has arrepentido de tus pecados? ¿Crees que Jesús es el Salvador, que Él murió para pagar el castigo por tus pecados y resucitó de entre los muertos? (Romanos 5:8; 2 Corintios 5:21). ¿Estás confiando solamente en Él para tu salvación? Si tu respuesta es sí, ¡entonces eres salvo! La seguridad significa “no tener nada de duda”. Al creer la Palabra de Dios de corazón, puedes estar completamente seguro acerca de la realidad de tu eterna salvación. 


Jesús mismo declara esto acerca de aquellos que creen en Él: “Y yo les doy vida eterna; y no perecerán jamás, ni nadie las arrebatará de mi mano. Mi Padre que me las dio, es mayor que todos, y nadie las puede arrebatar de la mano de mi Padre”. (Juan 10:28-29). La vida eterna es justo eso – eterna. No hay nadie, ni siquiera tú mismo, que pueda quitarte este regalo de Dios en Cristo, que es la salvación. 


Gózate en lo que la Palabra de Dios te dice: Al hacer eso en lugar de dudar, ¡podemos vivir con confianza! Podemos tener la seguridad de la propia Palabra de Cristo, de que nuestra salvación nunca estará en duda. Nuestra seguridad de salvación se basa en la salvación perfecta y completa que Dios nos ha dado a través de Jesucristo. 



07/29/20 


“What is unrepentance? What does it mean to be unrepentant?"


An unrepentant person knows that he or she has sinned and refuses to ask God for forgiveness or turn away from the sin. The unrepentant show no remorse for their wrongdoing and don’t feel the need to change. Unrepentance is the sin of willfully remaining sinful.


Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. Repentance leads to life (Acts 11:18), and it is a necessary part of salvation. God commands everyone to repent and have faith in Christ (Acts 2:38; 17:30; 20:21). Unrepentance is therefore a serious sin with dire consequences. The unrepentant live in a state of disobedience to God, unheeding of His gracious call. The unrepentant remain unsaved until they turn from their sin and embrace Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.


King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1). To be stiff-necked is to have a stubborn, obstinate spirit that makes one unresponsive to God’s guidance or correction. The stiff-necked are, by definition, unrepentant.


The apostle Paul warned of the consequences of unrepentance: “Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil” (Romans 2:5–9; cf. Psalm 62:12). There is a judgment coming. The results of righteousness will be beautiful, but the consequences of unrepentance will be harsh.


The book of Revelation shows how inured to sin the sinner can be. During the tribulation, after three different judgments of God, the wicked will remain unrepentant, despite their great suffering (Revelation 9:20–21; 16:8–11). The tragedy is that, even as some people are experiencing the horrendous consequences of their sin, they will continue in their state of unrepentance.


Is there such a thing as an unrepentant Christian? Biblically, to become a Christian, one must repent and believe; a believer in Christ is one who has repented of sin. What, then, of professed believers who live in unrepentant sin? Most likely, they are not saved; they are mere professors, with no work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. The apostle John states it bluntly: “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth” (1 John 1:6). The other possibility is that people claiming to be saved yet living in unrepentant sin are saved but acting in disobedience—in which case their unrepentance is a temporary hardness of heart, and God’s discipline will eventually restore them to fellowship (see 1 Corinthians 5:1–5).


The unrepentant sinner needs to hear the good news of God’s salvation. God’s goodness leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4), and He is a God of forbearance and longsuffering. Christians should confess their own sins, pray for the unrepentant, and evangelize the unsaved: “Opponents [of the truth] must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25–26).




“¿Qué es el arrepentimiento? ¿Qué significa ser impenitente? 


Una persona no arrepentida sabe que él o ella ha pecado y se niega a pedirle perdón a Dios o alejarse del pecado. Los impenitentes no muestran remordimiento por sus malas acciones y no sienten la necesidad de cambiar. La falta de arrepentimiento es el pecado de permanecer deliberadamente pecaminoso. 


El arrepentimiento es un cambio de mentalidad que resulta en un cambio de acción. El arrepentimiento conduce a la vida (Hechos 11:18), y es una parte necesaria de la salvación. Dios ordena a todos arrepentirse y tener fe en Cristo (Hechos 2:38; 17:30; 20:21). La falta de arrepentimiento es, por lo tanto, un pecado grave con graves consecuencias. Los impenitentes viven en un estado de desobediencia a Dios, sin prestar atención a su llamado de gracia. Los no arrepentidos permanecen sin ser salvos hasta que se apartan de su pecado y abrazan el sacrificio de Cristo en la cruz. 






El rey Salomón, el hombre más sabio que jamás haya vivido, escribió: "Quien permanezca con el cuello rígido después de muchas reprimendas será repentinamente destruido, sin remedio" (Proverbios 29: 1). Tener el cuello rígido es tener un espíritu obstinado y obstinado que hace que uno no responda a la guía o corrección de Dios. Los de cuello rígido son, por definición, impenitentes.


El apóstol Pablo advirtió sobre las consecuencias del arrepentimiento: “Debido a tu terquedad y tu corazón arrepentido, estás acumulando ira contra ti mismo para el día de la ira de Dios, cuando su justo juicio será revelado. Dios "le pagará a cada persona de acuerdo con lo que ha hecho". A aquellos que persisten en hacer el bien buscan la gloria, el honor y la inmortalidad, les dará vida eterna. Pero para aquellos que se buscan a sí mismos y que rechazan la verdad y siguen el mal, habrá ira y enojo. Habrá problemas y angustia para cada ser humano que hace el mal ”(Romanos 2: 5–9; cf. Salmo 62: 12). Se acerca un juicio. Los resultados de la justicia serán hermosos, pero las consecuencias de no arrepentirse  serán duras. 


El libro de Apocalipsis muestra cuán acostumbrado al pecado puede ser el pecador. Durante la tribulación, después de tres juicios diferentes de Dios, los malvados permanecerán impenitentes, a pesar de su gran sufrimiento (Apocalipsis 9: 20–21; 16: 8–11). La tragedia es que, aunque algunas personas estén experimentando las horrendas consecuencias de su pecado, continuarán en su estado de arrepentimiento. 


¿Existe un cristiano impenitente? Bíblicamente, para convertirse en cristiano, uno debe arrepentirse y creer; Un creyente en Cristo es uno que se ha arrepentido del pecado. ¿Qué sucede, entonces, con los creyentes profesos que viven en pecado no arrepentido? Lo más probable es que no se guarden; son meros profesores, sin obra del Espíritu Santo en sus corazones. El apóstol Juan lo dice sin rodeos: "Si afirmamos tener comunión con él y, sin embargo, caminar en la oscuridad, mentimos y no vivimos la verdad" (1 Juan 1: 6). La otra posibilidad es que las personas que afirman ser salvas pero que viven en un pecado no arrepentido son salvas pero actúan en desobediencia, en cuyo caso su arrepentimiento es una dureza temporal de corazón, y la disciplina de Dios eventualmente los restaurará a la comunión (ver 1 Corintios 5: 1). –5).


El pecador impenitente necesita escuchar las buenas nuevas de la salvación de Dios. La bondad de Dios lleva a las personas al arrepentimiento (Romanos 2: 4), y Él es un Dios de paciencia y paciencia. Los cristianos deben confesar sus propios pecados, orar por los que no se arrepienten y evangelizar a los no salvos: "Los opositores [de la verdad] deben ser amablemente instruidos, con la esperanza de que Dios les conceda el arrepentimiento que los lleve al conocimiento de la verdad, y que ellos volverá a sus sentidos y escapará de la trampa del demonio, que los ha llevado cautivos para hacer su voluntad ”(2 Timoteo 2: 25–26).



07/28/20


How can I accept Jesus as my personal savior?


Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior involves an understanding of who Jesus is, what a Savior is, and what it means to accept Jesus as Savior.


Jesus Christ is often noted as a good person, yet the Bible declares He is much more. He is God in human form who came to live on earth (John 1:1). He lived, taught, performed miracles, suffered, died, and resurrected from the dead to prove He is Lord. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 the apostle Paul shared, "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures."


A Savior is a rescuer, redeemer, or one who saves someone else. Jesus is Savior of the world in every aspect of this word. Jesus rescues us from sin and eternal punishment when we trust in Him by faith. He is a redeemer because He paid the cost of our sins through His death on the cross. He can save us because He has the power to forgive sins and the desire to save those who trust in Him.


To accept Jesus as your personal Savior is to acknowledge who Jesus is in your own life. It is to believe in Him. John 1:12 says: "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 3:16 adds, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."



¿Cómo puedo aceptar a Jesús como mi salvador personal?


Aceptar a Jesús como su Salvador personal implica comprender quién es Jesús, qué es un Salvador y lo que significa aceptar a Jesús como Salvador. 


Jesucristo es a menudo conocido como una buena persona, pero la Biblia declara que Él es mucho más. Él es Dios en forma humana que vino a vivir en la tierra (Juan 1: 1). Vivió, enseñó, realizó milagros, sufrió, murió y resucitó de entre los muertos para demostrar que Él es el Señor. En 1 Corintios 15: 3-4, el apóstol Pablo compartió: "Porque ante todo les transmití a ustedes lo que yo mismo recibí: que Cristo murió por nuestros pecados según las Escrituras, que fue sepultado, que resucitó al tercer día según las Escrituras".


Un Salvador es un rescatador, redentor o alguien que salva a alguien más. Jesús es el Salvador del mundo en todos los aspectos de esta palabra. Jesús nos rescata del pecado y del castigo eterno cuando confiamos en Él por fe. Él es un redentor porque pagó el costo de nuestros pecados a través de su muerte en la cruz. Él puede salvarnos porque tiene el poder de perdonar pecados y el deseo de salvar a quienes confían en Él. 


Aceptar a Jesús como su Salvador personal es reconocer quién es Jesús en su propia vida. Es creer en Él. Juan 1:12 dice: "Mas a cuantos lo recibieron, a los que creen en su nombre, les dio el derecho de ser hijos de Dios." Juan 3:16 agrega: "Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna." 


¿Estás dispuesto a depositar tu fe en Jesucristo como tu Salvador y recibir este regalo gratuito de vida eterna? Si es así, tome la decisión ahora mismo. No hay una oración especial que deba realizar para hacerlo. Sin embargo, la siguiente oración es una que puede usar para aceptar a Jesucristo como su Salvador: 


"Querido Dios, me doy cuenta de que soy un pecador y que nunca podría alcanzar el cielo por mis buenas obras. En este momento pongo mi fe en Jesucristo como el Hijo de Dios que murió por mis pecados y resucitó de los muertos para darme vida eterna. Por favor perdóname mis pecados y ayúdame a vivir para ti. Gracias por aceptarme y darme la vida eterna ".



07/26/20


What is sin?


Sin is a difficult topic to discuss theologically because the same word in English refers to several different states. In its most basic form, sin is a transgression of law and rebellion against God. Sin is any action that harms the relationship we have with God and/or another person. It is choosing to act in a way that pulls us away from God. He designed us to respond to Him in a way that is in agreement with His nature. Sin breaks that connection, refuses that gift, and rejects God.


Sin entered the world when Adam ate from the tree God had prohibited. We are now spiritually sinful because of the "sin nature" we inherited from Adam. We are born with the nature of sin and a natural tendency to sin. We are born with the inclination to reject God. Because of our identity as descendents of Adam, we also carry "imputed sin." This is a financial or legal term meaning taking something that belongs to someone and crediting it to another's account. It is almost like being a fan of a certain team because they are the only team in town. We are identified with that team, which in our case is sin. Of course, sin is also each individual action which is counter to God's law.


Sin can manifest in many different ways. The Hebrew 'awon means an iniquity or malevolent unfairness (1 Samuel 20:1). Rasha' infers restlessness or something that is out of control (Isaiah 57:21). Chata' is the most commonly heard definition. It means missing the mark or straying off course (Judges 20:16). 'Abar means to transgress or to go beyond that which is sanctioned (Judges 2:20). In the New Testament, the Greek hamartia is similar to the Hebrew chata' but it goes further. It is not only "missing the mark," but also the inner compulsion or nature that induced the offense (Romans 6:1). Similarly, it can be an organized power that deliberately sets about causing a person or group to fall into sin (Romans 6:12).


Since all sin is the rejection of God, His authority, and His preference, sin automatically excludes us from His presence. But forgivness of sin, as well as grace and peace and eternal life in paradise are only found in God. Freedom from the grasp of sin is only found in God. Our inherited sin nature, our imputed sin, and our every little choice definitively separate us from God. Fortunately, Jesus' sacrifice covers all sins. Instead of Adam's imputed sin, we receive Christ's imputed righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21)—we choose another team to identify with. As the Holy Spirit indwells us, the sin nature loses its grasp, and we are no longer its slave. And when we commit individual acts of sin, we are authorized to approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), knowing that coming to God and confessing our sins will allow us to renew our relationship with Him.



¿Qué es el pecado?


El pecado es un tema difícil de discutir teológicamente porque la misma palabra en inglés se refiere a varios estados diferentes. En su forma más básica, el pecado es una transgresión de la ley y una rebelión contra Dios. El pecado es cualquier acción que daña la relación que tenemos con Dios y / o con otra persona. Es elegir actuar de una manera que nos aleje de Dios. Él nos diseñó para responderle de una manera que esté de acuerdo con Su naturaleza. El pecado rompe esa conexión, rechaza ese don y rechaza a Dios. 


El pecado entró al mundo cuando Adán comió del árbol que Dios había prohibido. Ahora somos espiritualmente pecadores debido a la "naturaleza del pecado" que heredamos de Adán. Nacemos con la naturaleza del pecado y una tendencia natural al pecado. Nacemos con la inclinación de rechazar a Dios. Debido a nuestra identidad como descendientes de Adán, también llevamos el "pecado imputado". Este es un término financiero o legal que significa tomar algo que le pertenece a alguien y acreditarlo a la cuenta de otra persona. Es casi como ser un fan de cierto equipo porque es el único equipo en la ciudad. Estamos identificados con ese equipo, que en nuestro caso es pecado. Por supuesto, el pecado es también cada acción individual que es contraria a la ley de Dios. 


El pecado puede manifestarse de muchas maneras diferentes. El hebreo 'awon significa una iniquidad o una injusticia malévola (1 Samuel 20:1). Rasha 'infiere inquietud o algo que está fuera de control (Isaías 57:21). Chata 'es la definición más comúnmente escuchada. Significa perder la marca o desviarse del curso (Jueces 20:16). 'Abar significa transgredir o ir más allá de lo sancionado (Jueces 2:20). En el Nuevo Testamento, el hamartia griego es similar al hebreo chata 'pero va más allá. No solo es "perder la marca", sino también la compulsión interna o la naturaleza que indujo la ofensa (Romanos 6:1). De manera similar, puede ser un poder organizado que deliberadamente se propone causar que una persona o grupo caiga en pecado (Romanos 6:12). 


Como todo pecado es el rechazo de Dios, su autoridad y su preferencia, el pecado automáticamente nos excluye de su presencia. Pero el perdón del pecado, así como la gracia y la paz y la vida eterna en el paraíso, solo se encuentran en Dios. La libertad de la comprensión del pecado solo se encuentra en Dios. Nuestra naturaleza pecaminosa heredada, nuestro pecado imputado y cada una de nuestras pequeñas elecciones nos separan definitivamente de Dios. Afortunadamente, el sacrificio de Jesús cubre todos los pecados. En lugar del pecado imputado de Adán, recibimos la justicia imputada de Cristo (2 Corintios 5:21). Escogemos otro equipo con el que identificarnos. A medida que el Espíritu Santo mora en nosotros, la naturaleza del pecado pierde su comprensión, y ya no somos su esclavo. Y cuando cometemos actos individuales de pecado, estamos autorizados a acercarnos al trono de la gracia con confianza (Hebreos 4:16), sabiendo que venir a Dios y confesar nuestros pecados nos permitirá renovar nuestra relación con él. 




07/25/20


Are we all born sinners?


We are all born sinners. From the moment we enter this world until our final breath, we have a sinful nature. It does not matter whether one is a child or an adult, a "good" person or a "bad" one, all of us are sinners. To sin is to fall short of God's perfect standards or to go against His laws. All humans have a natural tendency to go against the things of God, as is made obvious in something as small as our natural tendency toward selfishness. Due to our sin, we are all separated from God and deserving of His punishment (Romans 3:236:23Ephesians 2:1–5). 


Our sin nature is inherited from Adam (Romans 5:121 Corinthians 15:21–22). When God created Adam and Eve, He made them in His own image and without sin (Genesis 1:26–27). However, they had the ability to make their own decisions and they chose to disobey God (Genesis 3). By disobeying God, they sinned and became sinful in nature. Their children inherited this sinful nature and their children and so forth. All of humanity descends from Adam and Eve; therefore all of humanity inherits a sinful nature or is born as sinners. Romans 5:12 explains, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." 


Our sin nature is a part of us from birth (Psalm 58:3Proverbs 22:15); we are born sinners. Even before we are conscious of sin it influences our bodies and our actions. King David wrote, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5). Children have a natural inclination to act selfishly and must be taught to share and put others first. In addition, our bodies are already imperfect at birth and easily broken—a result of living in a fallen world due to sin in a general sense. 


Our sin nature is not something we can overcome on our own. Although people can do good things, they are not inherently good in nature. They will never be able to do enough good works to atone for their sin, nor can they stop sinning simply by their own will power. Writing to the church in Ephesus, Paul describes the state of humanity without Christ, "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind" (Ephesians 2:1–3). 


But there is hope! Jesus Christ has overcome sin. Jesus was fully human and fully God. It seems that the sin nature is passed down from generation to generation through the father; the virgin birth meant Jesus did not receive a sin nature. Jesus became a perfect man, living a perfect life without sinning. By sacrificing His life on the cross, He atoned for both our sinful nature and our sinful actions. Therefore, "For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17). Just as Adam's sin spread sin throughout the world, Jesus' sacrifice defeated all sin. 


In this life we will always have a sinful nature. However, there are at least three promises for those who choose to commit their lives to Jesus. First, their sin is not counted against them; in Christ we are completely forgiven (1 Corinthians 6:112 Corinthians 5:21). Second, they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to withstand the temptation to sin and Jesus will work to transform their hearts so that they will become more like Him in nature (1 Corinthians 10:132 Corinthians 5:17Philippians 1:62:12–13). Finally, one day they will be reunited with God in heaven and will be forever free of sin (Revelation 21—22). In Jesus we need no longer be separated from God. We are not bound to our birth as sinners, but can become children of God: "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12–13). 



¿Nacemos todos en pecado?


Todos nacemos en pecado. Desde el momento en que entramos en este mundo hasta nuestro aliento final, tenemos una naturaleza pecaminosa. No importa si uno es un niño o un adulto, una persona "buena" o una "mala", todos somos pecadores. Pecar es no cumplir con los estándares perfectos de Dios o ir en contra de sus leyes. Todos los humanos tienen una tendencia natural a ir en contra de las cosas de Dios, como se hace evidente en algo tan pequeño como nuestra tendencia natural hacia el egoísmo. Debido a nuestro pecado, todos estamos separados de Dios y merecemos su castigo (Romanos 3:23; 6:23; Efesios 2: 1–5). 


Nuestra naturaleza de pecado es heredada de Adán (Romanos 5:12; 1 Corintios 15: 21–22). Cuando Dios creó a Adán y Eva, los hizo a su propia imagen y sin pecado (Génesis 1: 26–27). Sin embargo, tenían la capacidad de tomar sus propias decisiones y decidieron desobedecer a Dios (Génesis 3). Al desobedecer a Dios, pecaron y se volvieron pecaminosos por naturaleza. Sus hijos heredaron esta naturaleza pecaminosa, los hijos de sus hijos y así sucesivamente. Toda la humanidad desciende de Adán y Eva, por lo tanto, toda la humanidad hereda una naturaleza pecaminosa o nace como pecadores. Romanos 5:12 explica: "Por medio de un solo hombre el pecado entró en el mundo, y por medio del pecado entró la muerte; fue así como la muerte pasó a toda la humanidad, porque todos pecaron." 


Nuestra naturaleza de pecado es parte de nosotros desde el nacimiento (Salmo 58: 3; Proverbios 22:15); nacemos en pecado. Incluso antes de que seamos conscientes del pecado, influye en nuestros cuerpos y nuestras acciones. El rey David escribió: "Yo sé que soy malo de nacimiento; pecador me concibió mi madre." (Salmo 51: 5). Los niños tienen una inclinación natural a actuar egoístamente y se les debe enseñar a compartir y poner a los demás primero. Además, nuestros cuerpos ya son imperfectos al nacer y vulnerables, como resultado de vivir en un mundo caído debido al pecado. 


Nuestra naturaleza pecaminosa no es algo que podamos vencer por nuestra cuenta. Aunque las personas pueden hacer cosas buenas, no son inherentemente buenas por naturaleza. Nunca podrán hacer suficientes buenas obras para expiar su pecado, ni pueden dejar de pecar simplemente por su propia fuerza de voluntad. Escribiendo a la iglesia en Éfeso, Pablo describe el estado de la humanidad sin Cristo: "En otro tiempo ustedes estaban muertos en sus transgresiones y pecados, en los cuales andaban conforme a los poderes de este mundo. Se conducían según el que gobierna las tinieblas, según el espíritu que ahora ejerce su poder en los que viven en la desobediencia. En ese tiempo también todos nosotros vivíamos como ellos, impulsados por nuestros deseos pecaminosos, siguiendo nuestra propia voluntad y nuestros propósitos. Como los demás, éramos por naturaleza objeto de la ira de Dios." (Efesios 2: 1–3). 


¡Pero hay esperanza! Jesucristo ha vencido el pecado. Jesús era completamente humano y completamente Dios. Al parecer la naturaleza pecaminosa se transmite de generación en generación a través del padre, por lo tanto, el nacimiento virginal significaba que Jesús no recibió una naturaleza pecadora. Jesús se convirtió en un hombre perfecto, viviendo una vida perfecta sin pecar. Al sacrificar su vida en la cruz, expió tanto nuestra naturaleza pecaminosa como nuestras acciones pecaminosas. Por lo tanto, "[…] si por la transgresión de un solo hombre reinó la muerte, con mayor razón los que reciben en abundancia la gracia y el don de la justicia reinarán en vida por medio de un solo hombre, Jesucristo." (Romanos 5:17) Así como el pecado de Adán extendió el pecado por todo el mundo, el sacrificio de Jesús derrotó a todo pecado. 


En esta vida siempre tendremos una naturaleza pecaminosa. Sin embargo, hay al menos tres promesas para aquellos que eligen entregar sus vidas a Jesús. Primero, su pecado no se cuenta en su contra; en Cristo somos completamente perdonados (1 Corintios 6:11; 2 Corintios 5:21). Segundo, serán fortalecidos por el Espíritu Santo para resistir la tentación de pecar y Jesús obrará para transformar sus corazones para que se asemejen más a Él (1 Corintios 10:13, 2 Corintios 5:17; Filipenses 1: 6; 2: 12-13). Finalmente, un día se reencontrarán con Dios en el cielo y estarán para siempre libres de pecado (Apocalipsis 21—22). En Jesús ya no necesitamos estar separados de Dios. No estamos obligados a nuestro nacimiento como pecadores, sino que podemos convertirnos en hijos de Dios: "Mas a cuantos lo recibieron, a los que creen en su nombre, les dio el derecho de ser hijos de Dios. Estos no nacen de la sangre, ni por deseos naturales, ni por voluntad humana, sino que nacen de Dios."(Juan 1: 12-13). 



07/24/20


How does a person love Jesus? What does it mean to love Jesus?


To love Jesus means, first of all, to receive Him (John 1:12–13). Receiving Jesus is not something that comes naturally to anyone (1 Corinthians 2:14). In fact, the Scripture describes humans as born in sin and naturally hostile to God (Psalm 51:5; Colossians 1:21). It is only when we are born again (regenerated) by the Spirit of God that our disposition toward Jesus changes (John 3:3–5). The Holy Spirit overcomes our inborn resistance to God and draws us to Jesus (John 6:44). The Spirit removes our metaphorical heart of stone and replaces it with a heart that loves Jesus (Ezekiel 11:19; 2 Corinthians 5:17–18). The Spirit of God opens our eyes to behold the beauty of Jesus and opens our ears to hear and receive the good news concerning Jesus (Acts 26:18). It is God Himself who makes us spiritually alive and grants us the repentance and faith needed to embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:4–10; 2 Timothy 2:25). We receive Jesus by believing in Him and trusting that He died for our sins. The first step in loving Jesus is receiving Him as Lord and Savior. 


Jesus said that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends (John 15:13). Jesus did this and more by dying for us while we were still His enemies in order to make us His friends (Romans 5:8). Much of what it means to love Jesus comes from understanding and appreciating what Jesus has done and is doing for us. We love Jesus because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). As we grow in our knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for us, our love for Christ will continually increase (2 Peter 3:18; Colossians 1:10). 


To love Jesus means to treasure Him above all things and all people (Luke 14:26; 16:13). The person that loves Jesus values Him more than anything and anyone. The disciple of Jesus must be willing to give up anything and everything, even his or her own life, in service to Him. To live for Jesus must be our greatest purpose, to be in His presence our greatest joy (Philippians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:8). 


To love Jesus means to keep His commandments (John 14:15). His commands are not burdensome but light (1 John 5:3). For what He commands He also gives the power to perform. Jesus has sent us the Holy Spirit to teach, remind, lead, comfort, indwell, and empower us to obey His commands (John 14:15–17). By extension, we are commanded to obey the apostles' teachings as they were commissioned by Jesus Himself to teach with His authority. By obeying the commands of Jesus, we demonstrate that we love Him. 


When we fail to keep Jesus' commands, we are to confess our sins and thank God for the forgiveness that we have through Jesus' sacrificial death (1 John 1:9). For Jesus is the propitiation for our sin, as well as our advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1; 4:10). Because Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, we will live eternally in His presence, enjoying and praising Him forever (Revelation 21:3, 22–26). This, too, is what it means to love Jesus. 





¿Cómo una persona ama a Jesús?


Amar a Jesús significa, en primer lugar, recibirlo (Juan 1: 12-13). Recibir a Jesús no es algo que le llegue naturalmente a nadie (1 Corintios 2:14). De hecho, la Escritura describe a los humanos como nacidos en pecado y naturalmente hostiles a Dios (Salmo 51: 5; Colosenses 1:21). Es solo cuando nacemos de nuevo (regenerados) por el Espíritu de Dios que nuestra disposición hacia Jesús cambia (Juan 3: 3–5). El Espíritu Santo vence nuestra resistencia innata a Dios y nos atrae a Jesús (Juan 6:44). El Espíritu quita nuestro corazón metafórico de piedra y lo reemplaza con un corazón que ama a Jesús (Ezequiel 11:19; 2 Corintios 5: 17-18). El Espíritu de Dios abre nuestros ojos para contemplar la belleza de Jesús y abre nuestros oídos para escuchar y recibir las buenas nuevas acerca de Jesús (Hechos 26:18). Es Dios mismo quien nos hace espiritualmente vivos y nos otorga el arrepentimiento y la fe necesarios para abrazar a Jesús como nuestro Señor y Salvador (Efesios 2: 4–10; 2 Timoteo 2:25). Recibimos a Jesús creyendo en Él y confiando en que murió por nuestros pecados. El primer paso para amar a Jesús es recibirlo como Señor y Salvador. 


Jesús dijo que no hay mayor amor que dar tu vida por tus amigos (Juan 15:13). Jesús hizo esto y más al morir por nosotros mientras aún éramos sus enemigos para hacernos sus amigos (Romanos 5: 8). Mucho de lo que significa amar a Jesús proviene de comprender y apreciar lo que Jesús ha hecho y está haciendo por nosotros. Amamos a Jesús porque Él nos amó primero (1 Juan 4:19). A medida que crecemos en nuestro conocimiento de quién es Jesús y lo que Él ha logrado por nosotros, nuestro amor por Cristo aumentará continuamente (2 Pedro 3:18; Colosenses 1:10). 


Amar a Jesús significa atesorarlo por encima de todas las cosas y de todas las personas (Lucas 14:26; 16:13). La persona que ama a Jesús lo valora más que a nada ni a nadie. El discípulo de Jesús debe estar dispuesto a renunciar a todo, incluso a su propia vida, al servicio de él. Vivir para Jesús debe ser nuestro mayor propósito, estar en su presencia nuestro mayor gozo (Filipenses 1:21; 2 Corintios 5: 8). 


Amar a Jesús significa guardar Sus mandamientos (Juan 14:15). Sus mandamientos no son gravosos sino ligeros (1 Juan 5: 3). Es Dios mismo quien también nos otorga el poder de obedecer lo que Él ordena. Jesús nos ha enviado el Espíritu Santo para enseñar, recordar, guiar, consolar, morar y capacitarnos para obedecer sus mandamientos (Juan 14: 15-17). Por extensión, se nos ordena obedecer las enseñanzas de los apóstoles, ya que Jesús mismo les encargó que enseñaran con su autoridad. Al obedecer los mandamientos de Jesús, demostramos que lo amamos. 


Cuando no cumplimos con los mandamientos de Jesús, debemos confesar nuestros pecados y agradecer a Dios por el perdón que tenemos a través de la muerte sacrificial de Jesús (1 Juan 1: 9). Porque Jesús es la propiciación por nuestro pecado, así como nuestro abogado ante el Padre (1 Juan 2: 1; 4:10). Debido a que Jesús murió por nuestros pecados y resucitó de entre los muertos, viviremos eternamente en Su presencia, disfrutando y alabándolo para siempre (Apocalipsis 21: 3, 22–26). Esto también es lo que significa amar a Jesús. 




07/21/20

“What is the meaning of Christian redemption?"


Everyone is in need of redemption. Our natural condition was characterized by guilt: "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Christ's redemption has freed us from guilt, being "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus' (Romans 3:24).


The benefits of redemption include eternal life (Revelation 5:9-10), forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), righteousness (Romans 5:17), freedom from the law's curse (Galatians 3:13), adoption into God's family (Galatians 4:5), deliverance from sin's bondage (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18), peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). To be redeemed, then, is to be forgiven, holy, justified, free, adopted, and reconciled. See also Psalm 130:7-8; Luke 2:38; and Acts 20:28.


The word redeem means "to buy out." The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slave's freedom. The application of this term to Christ's death on the cross is quite telling. If we are "redeemed," then our prior condition was one of slavery. God has purchased our freedom, and we are no longer in bondage to sin or to the Old Testament law. This metaphorical use of "redemption" is the teaching of Galatians 3:13 and 4:5.


Related to the Christian concept of redemption is the word ransom. Jesus paid the price for our release from sin and its punishment (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). His death was in exchange for our life. In fact, Scripture is quite clear that redemption is only possible "through His blood," that is, by His death (Colossians 1:14).


The streets of heaven will be filled with former captives who, through no merit of their own, find themselves redeemed, forgiven, and free. Slaves to sin have become saints. No wonder we will sing a new song"a song of praise to the Redeemer who was slain (Revelation 5:9). We were slaves to sin, condemned to eternal separation from God. Jesus paid the price to redeem us, resulting in our freedom from slavery to sin and our rescue from the eternal consequences of that sin.



“¿Qué significa la redención cristiana?"

Todos necesitan de la redención. Nuestra condición natural se caracterizó por la culpa: “Por cuanto todos pecaron, y están destituidos de la gloria de Dios”. La redención de Cristo nos ha librado de la culpa: “siendo justificados gratuitamente por su gracia, mediante la redención que es en Cristo Jesús” (Romanos 3:24). 


Los beneficios de la redención incluyen la vida eterna (Apocalipsis 5:9-10), el perdón de los pecados (Efesios 1:7), la justificación (Romanos 5:17), libertad de la maldición de la ley (Gálatas 3:13), adopción dentro de la familia de Dios (Gálatas 4:5), liberación de la esclavitud del pecado (Tito 2:14; 1 Pedro 1:14-18), paz con Dios (Colosenses 1:18-20), y la morada permanente del Espíritu Santo (1 Corintios 6:19-20). Entonces, ser redimido es ser perdonado, santificado, justificado, bendecido, liberado, adoptado y reconciliado. (Ver también Salmos 130:7-8; Lucas 2:38; y Hechos 20:28). 


La palabra redimir significa “comprar”. El término era usado específicamente con referencia al pago de la libertad de un esclavo. La aplicación de este término a la muerte de Cristo en la cruz, significa exactamente eso. Si somos “redimidos,” entonces nuestra condición previa era la de esclavitud. Dios ha pagado nuestra libertad, y ya no estamos bajo la esclavitud del pecado o de la ley del Antiguo Testamento. Este uso metafórico de la “redención” es la enseñanza de Gálatas 3:13 y 4:5. 


La palabra rescate está relacionada con el concepto cristiano de la redención. Jesús pagó el precio de nuestra liberación del pecado y sus consecuencias (Mateo 20:28; 1 Timoteo 2:6). Su muerte fue ofrecida a cambio de nuestra vida. De hecho, la Escritura dice claramente que la redención sólo es posible “a través de Su sangre”, esto es, por Su muerte (Colosenses 1:14). 


Las calles del cielo estarán llenas de ex-cautivos, quienes, por ningún mérito propio, se encuentran redimidos, perdonados y libres. Los esclavos del pecado son convertidos en santos. No sorprende que cantan un nuevo cántico—un cántico de alabanza al Redentor que fue inmolado (Apocalipsis 5:9). Nosotros éramos esclavos del pecado, condenados a una separación eterna de Dios. Jesús pagó el precio para redimirnos, resultando en nuestra liberación de la esclavitud del pecado, y nuestro rescate de las consecuencias eternas de ese pecado. 




07/20/20


“How can I overcome my fear of the end of days?"


The best way to overcome a fear of the end of days is to be spiritually prepared for it. First and foremost, you must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in order to have eternal life (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10). Only through Him can you receive forgiveness of sin and have eternity with God. If God is your Father, there’s really nothing to worry about (Luke 12:32).


Second, every Christian should live a life worthy of the calling we have in Christ. Ephesians 4:1-3 teaches, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Knowing Christ and walking in His will go a long way towards diminishing fear of any kind.


Third, Christians are told what will happen in the end, and it’s encouraging. First Thessalonians 4:13-18 notes, 


But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.


Rather than fear the future, we are called to anticipate the future with joy. Why? In Christ, we will be “caught up” to meet Him and we “will always be with the Lord.”


Further, Scripture says we do not need to fear Judgment Day: “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:17-18).


The apostle Peter reveals that, even if our future holds suffering, we need not fear: “But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed” (1 Peter 3:14). Peter and many other early believers endured much hardship and even death because of their faith in Christ. Suffering is not to be feared; it is a blessing when it is borne for the name of Jesus.


Those who do not know Christ do not have the promise of peace for the future. For them, there is a real concern because they have not settled the issue of where they will spend eternity. Those who do know Christ do not fear the end of days. Instead, we strive to live a life worthy of our calling, live with confidence, suffer patiently, anticipate Jesus’ return, and rest in the knowledge that our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15).



“¿Cómo puedo vencer mi temor del fin del mundo?"

Jesús dijo que el fin del mundo incluirá algunos acontecimientos aterradores; a decir verdad, "desfalleciendo los hombres por el temor y la expectación de las cosas que sobrevendrán en la tierra" (Lucas 21:26). Hoy en día, algunas personas están llenas de temor, pensando en lo que sucederá. Sin embargo, el Señor no quiere que tengamos temor: "No temáis, manada pequeña, porque a vuestro Padre le ha placido daros el reino" (Lucas 12:32).


La mejor forma de vencer el temor del fin del mundo, es estar espiritualmente preparado. En primer lugar, hay que tener una relación personal con Jesucristo para tener vida eterna (Juan 3:16; Romanos 10:9-10). Sólo a través de Él se puede recibir el perdón por los pecados y tener eternidad con Dios. Si Dios es su Padre y Jesús es su Señor, no hay nada de qué preocuparse (Filipenses 4:7).


En segundo lugar, cada cristiano debe vivir una vida digna del llamado que tenemos en Cristo Jesús. Efesios 4:1¬–3 enseña, “andéis como es digno de la vocación con que fuisteis llamados, con toda humildad y mansedumbre, soportándoos con paciencia los unos a los otros en amor, solícitos en guardar la unidad del Espíritu en el vínculo de la paz”. Conocer a Cristo y caminar en Su voluntad, ayudará en gran medida a menguar cualquier temor 


Tercero, a los cristianos se les promete la liberación de parte de Dios, y esto es alentador. 1 Tesalonicenses 4:13-18, señala,


Tampoco queremos, hermanos, que ignoréis acerca de los que duermen, para que no os entristezcáis como los otros que no tienen esperanza. Porque si creemos que Jesús murió y resucitó, así también traerá Dios con Jesús a los que durmieron en él. Por lo cual os decimos esto en palabra del Señor: que nosotros que vivimos, que habremos quedado hasta la venida del Señor, no precederemos a los que durmieron. Porque el Señor mismo con voz de mando, con voz de arcángel, y con trompeta de Dios, descenderá del cielo; y los muertos en Cristo resucitarán primero. Luego nosotros los que vivimos, los que hayamos quedado, seremos arrebatados juntamente con ellos en las nubes para recibir al Señor en el aire, y así estaremos siempre con el Señor. Por tanto, alentaos los unos a los otros con estas palabras.


En vez de temer por el futuro, vamos a esperarlo con gozo. Aquellos que están en Cristo serán "arrebatados" para reunirse con Él, y "estarán con el Señor por siempre".


Además, la Biblia dice que no debemos temer el día del juicio final: “En esto se ha perfeccionado el amor en nosotros, para que tengamos confianza en el día del juicio; pues como él es, así somos nosotros en este mundo. En el amor no hay temor, sino que el perfecto amor echa fuera el temor; porque el temor lleva en sí castigo. De donde el que teme, no ha sido perfeccionado en el amor” (1 Juan 4:17–18).


Aquellos que no conocen a Cristo, no tienen la promesa de paz para el futuro. Para los incrédulos, existe una genuina preocupación porque no han solucionado el tema de dónde van a pasar la eternidad. Los incrédulos no serán llevados en el rapto y experimentarán la Tribulación; sin duda, ellos tienen temor de algo. Los creyentes no le temen al fin del mundo. Por el contrario, se esfuerzan por vivir una vida digna del llamado, esperando la segunda venida de Jesús, y descansan en el conocimiento que nuestros tiempos están en Sus manos (Salmo 31:15). 




07/19/20 



Does the Bible teach eternal security?


Eternal security is the Christian teaching that a person who comes to genuine faith in Jesus Christ can never lose his or her salvation. Is this what the Bible teaches?


Several New Testament passages provide information to help answer this question. 


In John 6:37-40 Jesus teaches, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."


Here Jesus makes several specific promises regarding those who follow Him. He teaches He will never cast them out, will lose nothing of all that God the Father has given Him, and will raise up every person who has believed in Him on the last day. Jesus very clearly stated that every person who genuinely comes to faith in Him will be with Him for eternity.


Jesus also teaches in John 10:27-29, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." Here we find Jesus promising to give His followers eternal life and declaring that no one will be able to take them from His hand.


Romans 8 is an entire chapter devoted to the theme of verse 1: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Many aspects of eternal security are then mentioned throughout the chapter, concluding with Romans 8:38-39, which promise, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." There is no power that can separate a believer in Jesus from Him.


While some argue that there are other biblical passages referring to a believer losing his or her faith in Jesus, the consistent message of in the Bible about the issue is that a person who has truly believed in Jesus as Lord cannot lose his or her salvation. There are other explanations for such troublesome passages. 



¿Enseña la Biblia la seguridad eterna?


La seguridad eterna es la enseñanza cristiana de que una persona que llega a una fe genuina en Jesucristo nunca puede perder su salvación. ¿Es esto lo que la Biblia enseña? 


Varios pasajes del Nuevo Testamento proporcionan información para ayudar a responder esta pregunta. 


En Juan 6: 37-40, Jesús enseña: "Todos los que el Padre me da vendrán a mí; y al que a mí viene, no lo rechazo. Porque he bajado del cielo no para hacer mi voluntad, sino la del que me envió. Y esta es la voluntad del que me envió: que yo no pierda nada de lo que él me ha dado, sino que lo resucite en el día final. Porque la voluntad de mi Padre es que todo el que reconozca al Hijo y crea en él tenga vida eterna, y yo lo resucitaré en el día final." 


Aquí Jesús hace varias promesas específicas con respecto a aquellos que lo siguen. Él enseña que nunca los echará, no perderá nada de todo lo que Dios el Padre le ha dado, y levantará a toda persona que haya creído en Él en el último día. Jesús dijo muy claramente que toda persona que genuinamente tenga fe en Él estará con Él por la eternidad. 


Jesús también enseña en Juan 10: 27-29: "Mis ovejas oyen mi voz; yo las conozco y ellas me siguen. Yo les doy vida eterna, y nunca perecerán, ni nadie podrá arrebatármelas de la mano. Mi Padre, que me las ha dado, es más grande que todos; y de la mano del Padre nadie las puede arrebatar." Aquí encontramos a Jesús prometiendo dar a sus seguidores vida eterna y declarando que nadie podrá quitárselos de su mano. 


Romanos 8 es un capítulo completo dedicado al tema del versículo 1: "Por lo tanto, ya no hay ninguna condenación para los que están unidos a Cristo Jesús". Muchos aspectos de la seguridad eterna se mencionan a lo largo del capítulo, concluyendo con Romanos 8: 38-39, que promete: "Pues estoy convencido de que ni la muerte ni la vida, ni los ángeles ni los demonios, ni lo presente ni lo por venir, ni los poderes, ni lo alto ni lo profundo, ni cosa alguna en toda la creación podrá apartarnos del amor que Dios nos ha manifestado en Cristo Jesús nuestro Señor." No hay poder que pueda separar a un creyente en Jesús de Él. 


Mientras que algunos sostienen que hay otros pasajes bíblicos que se refieren a un creyente que pierde su fe en Jesús, el mensaje consistente de la Biblia sobre el tema es que una persona que realmente ha creído en Jesús como Señor no puede perder su salvación. Hay otras explicaciones para pasajes tan problemáticos. 




07/18/20  


How does the Holy Spirit seal us? What is the seal of the Holy Spirit?


(Rejoice and do not doubt your salvation, with this you give honor and glory to God. He gave his only begotten Son to save you. God has known from eternity past.  This is a humiliating thought, which provokes joy and desire to love God).


In biblical times, a seal was a guarantee. Ephesians 1:13-14 shares regarding the Holy Spirit, "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." According to this passage, the seal of the Holy Spirit takes place at the point of salvation. It is a promise or guarantee of the Christian's future, eternal inheritance with Jesus Christ.


The Greek word translated as "seal" is shragizo that means "to set a seal upon, mark with a seal." A seal could be used to guarantee a document or letter (Esther 3:12), indicate ownership (Song of Songs 8:6), or protect against tampering (Matthew 27:66Revelation 5:1). The Holy Spirit is our seal in every sense of this word.


First, the Holy Spirit in the believer's life helps to guarantee he or she is a child of God. Romans 8:16 shares, "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."


Second, the seal of the Holy Spirit serves as a mark that we truly belong to Christ. Romans 8:9-10 teaches, "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness." First Corinthians 6:19-20 also notes, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."


Third, the seal of the Holy Spirit helps protect against tampering or attack. Romans 8:13declares, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." In a very real sense, God's Spirit protects us and guarantees our eternity with the Lord.


At what point does the sealing of the Holy Spirit take place? It takes place when a person believes the gospel (Ephesians 1:13John 7:37-39). At that point, God's seal offers the promise of eternal life (John 3:16) because of salvation based on God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).


The seal of the Holy Spirit offers a wonderful glimpse of God's role in salvation. When we receive salvation in Christ, we are given a guarantee, exchange our ownership for His, and are protected against forces of evil. This seal should provide wonderful encouragement for the believer against the spiritual battles in this life (Ephesians 6:12) and anticipation for the life to come.



¿Cómo nos sella el Espíritu Santo?


(Regocíjate y no dudes de tu salvación, con esto le das honra y gloria a Dios.  El entregó a su Hijo Unigénito para salvarte.  El té conoce desde la eternidad pasada.  Este es un pensamiento humillante, que provoca gozo y deseo de amar a Dios). 


En la época de la Biblia, un sello era una garantía. Efesios 1:13-14 comparte sobre el Espíritu Santo, “En él también ustedes, cuando oyeron el mensaje de la verdad, el evangelio que les trajo la salvación, y lo creyeron, fueron marcados con el sello que es el Espíritu Santo prometido. Éste garantiza nuestra herencia hasta que llegue la redención final del pueblo adquirido por Dios, para alabanza de su gloria.”. Según este pasaje, el sello del Espíritu Santo sucede en el momento de la salvación. Es una promesa o garantía del futuro del Cristiano, herencia eterna con Jesucristo. 


En primer lugar, el Espíritu Santo en la vida del creyente ayuda a garantizar que el o ella es un hijo de Dios. Romanos 8:16 comparte, “El Espíritu mismo le asegura a nuestro espíritu que somos hijos de Dios.”.


En segundo lugar, el sello del Espíritu Santo sirve como una maraca de que de veras pertenecemos a Cristo. Romanos 8:9-10 enseña, “Sin embargo, ustedes no viven según la naturaleza pecaminosa sino según el Espíritu, si es que el Espíritu de Dios vive en ustedes. Y si alguno no tiene el Espíritu de Cristo, no es de Cristo. Pero si Cristo está en ustedes, el cuerpo está muerto a causa del pecado, pero el Espíritu que está en ustedes es vida a causa de la justicia.”. 1 Corintios 6:19-20 también dice, “¿Acaso no saben que su cuerpo es templo del Espíritu Santo, quien está en ustedes y al que han recibido de parte de Dios? Ustedes no son sus propios dueños; fueron comprados por un precio. Por tanto, honren con su cuerpo a Dios.”.


En tercer lugar, el sello del Espíritu Santo ayuda a proteger contra ataques o manipulaciones. Romanos 8:13 declara, “Porque si ustedes viven conforme a ella, morirán; pero si por medio del Espíritu dan muerte a los malos hábitos del cuerpo, vivirán.”. En un sentido muy verdadero, el Espíritu de Dios nos protege y nos garantiza la eternidad con nuestro Señor. 


¿A qué punto ocurre el acto de ser sellado del Espíritu Santo? Sucede cuando uno cree en el evangelio (Efesios 1:13; Juan 7:37-39). En aquel instante, el sello de Dios ofrece la promesa de vida eterna (Juan 3:16) porque la salvación está basada sobre la gracia de Dios mediante la fe en Jesucristo (Efesios 2:8-9).


El sello del Espíritu Santo ofrece un vistazo maravilloso del papel de Dios en la salvación. Cuando recibimos la salvación en Cristo, nos dan una garantía, cambiamos nuestra posesión por la Suya, y somos protegidos contra las fuerzas de la maldad. Este sello debería dar apoyo maravilloso al creyente contra sus batallas espirituales en su vida (Efesios 6:12) y anticipación para la vida que sigue.




07/17/20  


“Is it possible for a person's name to be erased from the Book of Life?"


Revelation 22:19 says, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (KJV). This verse is usually involved in the debate concerning eternal security. Does Revelation 22:19 mean that, after a person’s name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, it can at some time in the future be erased? In other words, can a Christian lose his salvation?


First, Scripture is clear that a true believer is kept secure by the power of God, sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30), and of all those whom the Father has given to the Son, He will lose none of them (John 6:39). 


(EMBED IN YOUR THOUGHTS, GOD’S PROMISE, “He will lose none of them”)


The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand” (John 10:28–29b). Salvation is God’s work, not ours (Titus 3:5), and it is His power that keeps us.


If the “anyone” referred to in Revelation 22:19 are not believers, who are they? In other words, who might want to either add to or take away from the words of the Bible? Most likely, this tampering with God’s Word would be done not by true believers but by those who only profess to be Christians and who suppose that their names are in the Book of Life. Generally speaking, the two main groups who have traditionally tampered with the God’s revelation are pseudo-Christian cults and those who hold to very liberal theological beliefs. Many cults and theological liberals claim the name of Christ as their own, but they are not “born again”—the definitive biblical term for a Christian.


The Bible cites several examples of those who thought they were believers, but whose profession was proven to be false. In John 15, Jesus refers to them as branches that did not remain in Him, the true Vine, and therefore did not produce any fruit. We know they are false because “by their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16, 20); true disciples will exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit who resides within them (Galatians 5:22). In 2 Peter 2:22, false professors are dogs returning to their own vomit and a sow who “after washing herself returns to wallow in the mire” (ESV). The barren branch, the dog, and the pig are all symbols of those who profess to have salvation, but who have nothing more than their own righteousness to rely upon, not the righteousness of Christ that truly saves. It is doubtful that those who have repented of their sin and been born again would willingly tamper with God’s Word in this way—adding to it or taking from it. Purposefully corrupting God’s Word reveals a lack of faith.


There is another important consideration about the meaning of Revelation 22:19, and it involves translation. No early Greek manuscript even mentions the “book of life”; instead, every Greek manuscript has “tree of life.” Here is how Revelation 22:19 reads and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. -


The KJV stands nearly alone in translating it as the “book” of life. The error arose when Erasmus, in compiling his Greek text, was forced to translate the last six verses of Revelation from the Latin Vulgate into Greek. The “tree” became a “book” because a scribe had accidentally replaced the Latin lingo (“tree”) with libro (“book”). All translations that follow the Textus Receptus, such as the KJV, thus incorrectly say “book” instead of “tree” of life.


Arguing for the “tree of life” translation instead of the “book of life” translation are two other verses in the same chapter: Revelation 22:2 and 14. Both mention the “tree of life” and the “city” together, the same as verse 19 does. Also, the word portion or share is significant. The one who corrupts the Word of God will be deprived of access to the tree of life, despite whatever claim he thinks he has to that fruit.


Revelation 3:5 is another verse that impacts this issue. “He who overcomes . . . I will never blot out his name from the book of life.” The “overcomer” mentioned in this letter to Sardis is the Christian. Compare this with 1 John 5:4: “Everyone who is born of God overcomes the world.” And verse 5: “Who is he that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (See also 1 John 2:13.) All believers are “overcomers” in that they have been granted victory over the sin and unbelief of the world.


Some people see in Revelation 3:5 the picture of God’s pen poised, ready to strike out the name of any Christian who sins. They read into it something like this: “If you mess up and don’t win the victory, then you’re going to lose your salvation! In fact, I will erase your name from the Book of Life!” But this is NOT what the verse says. Jesus is giving a promise here, not a warning.


Never does Scripture say that God erases a believer’s name from the Lamb's Book of Life—there is never even a warning that He is contemplating it! The wonderful promise of Revelation 3:5 is that Jesus will NOT erase one’s name. Speaking to the “overcomers”—all those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb—Jesus gives His word that He will not delete their names. He affirms that, once a name is there, it is there forever. This is based on the faithfulness of God.


The promise of Revelation 3:5 is directed to believers, who are secure in their salvation. In contrast, the warning of Revelation 22:19 is directed to unbelievers, who, rather than change their hearts toward God, attempt to change God’s Word to suit themselves. Such people will not eat of the tree of life.




“¿Es posible que el nombre de una persona sea borrado del Libro de la Vida?"

Apocalipsis 22:19 dice, “Y si alguno quitare de las palabras del libro de esta profecía, Dios quitará su parte del libro de la vida, y de la santa ciudad y de las cosas que están escritas en este libro.” Este verso generalmente forma parte del debate concerniente a la seguridad eterna. ¿Apocalipsis 22:19 significa que, después de que el nombre de una persona es escrito en el Libro de la Vida del Cordero, puede en algún momento ser borrado en el futuro? En otras palabras ¿puede un cristiano perder su salvación? 


En primer lugar, la Escritura es clara en que la seguridad de un verdadero creyente es mantenida por el poder de Dios, sellado para el día de la redención (Efesios 4:30), y de todos aquellos que el Padre le ha dado al Hijo, Él no perderá a ninguno (Juan 6:39). 


(GRABEN EN SUS PENSAMIENTOS, LA PROMESA DE DIOS: "No perderá ninguno de ellos")


El Señor Jesucristo proclamó, “y yo les doy vida eterna; y no perecerán jamás, ni nadie las arrebatará de mi mano. Mi Padre que me las dio, es mayor que todos, y nadie las puede arrebatar de la mano de mi Padre.” (Juan 10:28-29). La salvación es obra de Dios, no nuestra (Tito 3:5), y es Su poder el que nos guarda. 


Si el “alguno” al que se refiere Apocalipsis 22:19 no son creyentes, entonces ¿quiénes son? En otras palabras, ¿quién podría querer añadir o quitar palabras de la Biblia? Es muy probable que esta alteración de la Palabra de Dios sería hecha, no por verdaderos creyentes, sino por aquellos que solo profesan ser cristianos, y quienes suponen que sus nombres están en el Libro de la Vida. Hablando en términos generales, los dos principales grupos que tradicionalmente han alterado el Apocalipsis, son las sectas pseudo-cristianas, y aquellos que se apoyan en creencias teológicas muy liberales. Muchas sectas y teólogos liberales, proclaman el nombre de Cristo como propio, pero no son nacidos de nuevo – que es el término bíblico definitivo para un cristiano. 


La Biblia cita varios ejemplos de aquellos que pensaron que eran creyentes, pero cuya profesión probó ser falsa. En Juan 15, Jesús se refiere a ellos como pámpanos que no permanecen en Él, la Vid verdadera, y por lo tanto, no producen fruto alguno. Sabemos que son falsos porque “por sus frutos los conoceréis.” (Mateo 7:16, 20). Los verdaderos discípulos exhibirán el fruto del Espíritu Santo que mora en ellos (Gálatas 5:22). En 2 Pedro 2:22, los falsos maestros son como perros que vuelven a su vómito y como la “puerca lavada que vuelve a revolcarse en el cieno.” La rama seca, el perro, y el cerdo, son todos símbolos de aquellos que profesan tener la salvación, pero que no tienen más que su propia justicia en qué apoyarse, no en la justicia de Cristo que es la que realmente salva. 


Es difícil que aquellos que se han arrepentido de sus pecados y han nacido de nuevo, estuvieran dispuestos a alterar la Palabra de Dios de esta manera – añadiéndole o quitando de ella. Desde luego, reconocemos que gente buena ha tenido sinceras diferencias en el área de la crítica textual. Pero puede ser demostrado, que tanto sectarios como liberales, repetidamente han hecho ambas cosas - “añadir” y “quitar” palabras. Por tanto, podemos entender la advertencia de Dios en Apocalipsis 22:19 de esta manera: cualquiera que manipule este mensaje crucial, encontrará que Dios no escribió su nombre en el Libro de la Vida, se le negará el acceso a la Ciudad Santa, y perderá cualquier expectativa de las cosas buenas que Él promete a Sus santos en este libro. 


Desde un punto de vista puramente lógico, ¿por qué un Dios soberano y omnisciente – quien desde el principio sabe lo que acontecerá (Isaías 46:10) – escribiría un nombre en el Libro de la Vida, sabiendo que tendrá que borrarlo cuando esa persona eventualmente apostate y niegue la fe? Además, leyendo esta advertencia dentro del contexto del párrafo en el cual aparece (Apocalipsis 22:6-19), claramente muestra que Dios permanece consistente: solo aquellos que han tomado en cuenta Sus advertencias, se han arrepentido, y han nacido de nuevo, tendrán toda buena expectativa futura en la eternidad. Todos los demás, tristemente, tienen un terrible y aterrador futuro esperándolos. 


Apocalipsis 3:5 es otro verso que impacta este hecho. “El que venciere…. no borraré su nombre del libro de la vida.” El “vencedor” mencionado en esta carta a Sardis es el cristiano. Comparen esto con 1 Juan 5:4: “Porque todo el que es nacido de Dios vence al mundo.” Y el verso 5: “¿Quién es el que vence al mundo, sino el que cree que Jesús es el Hijo de Dios?” (Ver también 1 Juan 2:13) Todos los creyentes son “vencedores” en que se les ha dado la victoria sobre el pecado y la incredulidad del mundo. 


Algunas personas ven en Apocalipsis 3:5 e imaginan la pluma de Dios preparada, lista para tachar el nombre de cualquier cristiano que peca. Ellos leen aquí algo como: -“¡Si fracasas y no ganas la victoria, entonces vas a perder tu salvación! ¡De hecho, borraré tu nombre del Libro de la Vida!”- Pero esto NO es lo que dice el verso. Jesús está dando aquí una promesa, no una advertencia. 


La Escritura nunca dice que Dios borra el nombre de un creyente del Libro de la Vida. ¡No hay siquiera una advertencia de que Él lo esté contemplando! La maravillosa promesa de Apocalipsis 3:5 es que Jesús NO borrará el nombre de uno. Hablando a los “vencedores” – todos aquellos redimidos por la sangre del Cordero – Jesús les da Su palabra, de que no borrará sus nombres. Él afirma que una vez que un nombre está ahí, se quedará ahí para siempre. Esto está basado en la fidelidad de Dios. 


La promesa de Apocalipsis 3:5 está dirigida a los creyentes, que están seguros en su salvación. En contraste, la advertencia de Apocalipsis 22:19 está dirigida a los no creyentes, quienes, en vez de cambiar sus corazones hacia Dios, intentan cambiar la Palabra de Dios a su conveniencia.




07/16/20  


What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and when does someone receive it?


In short, we receive the Holy Spirit when we receive Christ as Lord and Savior. Paul says in Romans: "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him" (Romans 8:9). 


In another epistle, the Apostle states: "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13–14). So there is no gap between belief in Christ and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.


However, it should be noted that some have tried to teach what is called the "doctrine of subsequence" or "second work of grace," which states that Christians receive some of the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation and then what is called the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" at some time afterwards. A careful examination of Scripture shows this position to be incorrect.


First, the phrase "baptism of the Holy Spirit" appears nowhere in Scripture. Moreover, there is no place in Scripture where the Holy Spirit does the baptizing. Instead, the Bible clearly portrays Christ as the baptizer: "I [John the Baptist] baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11). 


Second, while those supporting the teaching of subsequence point to specific episodes in Acts as proof that a secondary baptism occurs among all believers, closer inspection of both the texts and the historical background of the book undoes their position. 


In Acts 2, a subsequent baptism with the Holy Spirit is certainly seen; however, this is in keeping with Jesus' previous promise to the disciples in Acts 1:5: "you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." This occurred on Pentecost and was a predominantly Jewish event that inaugurated the Church age. 


In Acts 8, the Samaritans, a race deeply despised by the Jews, were added to the Church. While a subsequent baptism with the Holy Spirit is present in the text, the reasons for it are quite evident. It was important for the Jews to see and experience the fact that the Samaritans were included in the Church, and it was important for the Samaritans to know that the Jewish apostles were the channels of divine truth and that they were to be under apostolic authority.


In Acts 10, the Gentiles—Cornelius and those who were with him—were added to the Church. However, it should be noted that a subsequent baptism does not occur; rather, belief and the baptism with the Spirit occur at the same time.


Such is also the case in Acts 19 with a group of those who had only been exposed to John the Baptist's repentance teaching but nothing more. Belief in Christ and the baptism with the Spirit again occur simultaneously.


It is important to remember that the genre of Acts is that of historical narrative where Luke is recording an important time of historical spiritual transition. Therefore, a distinction must be made between what is descriptive in Acts vs. what is prescriptive. As one theologian has said, "We must not make the tragic mistake of teaching the experience of the apostles, but rather we must experience the teaching of the apostles." 


To be baptized with the Holy Spirit means that Christ places the new believer into the unity of His body and connects him/her with everyone else who also believes in Christ. Baptism with the Spirit makes all believers one. Of this, Paul says, "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:13). 


We must not miss the significance of the past tense expression "were all baptized." There is no state of limbo where a person is saved but not a part of the body of Christ.


While the Scripture never commands Christians to be baptized by, with, or of the Holy Spirit, it does charge them to be filled with the Spirit: "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). But as for the initial gift of the Holy Spirit, that happens at one, and only one, time—at the time of salvation: "There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:4–5).




¿Qué es el bautismo del Espíritu Santo y cuando lo recibe uno?


En pocas palabras, recibimos al Espíritu Santo cuando recibimos a Cristo como Señor y Salvador. Pablo dice en Romanos: “Sin embargo, ustedes no viven según la naturaleza pecaminosa sino según el Espíritu, si es que el Espíritu de Dios vive en ustedes. Y si alguno no tiene el Espíritu de Cristo, no es de Cristo” (Romanos 8:9).


En otra epístola, el Apóstol dice: “En él también ustedes, cuando oyeron el mensaje de la verdad, el evangelio que les trajo la salvación y lo creyeron, fueron marcados con el sello que es el Espíritu Santo prometido. Éste garantiza nuestra herencia hasta que llegue la redención final del pueblo adquirido por Dios, para alabanza de su gloria” (Efesios 1:13-14). Entonces no hay un intervalo entre creer en Cristo y recibir el Espíritu Santo. 


Aun así, se debe hablar del hecho que algunos han tratado de enseñar lo que se llama “la doctrina de la subsecuencia” o “segundo trabajo de la gracia”, que dicen que Cristianos reciben una parte del Espíritu Santo al momento de la salvación y luego lo que llaman el “bautismo del Espíritu Santo” más tarde. Examinar las escrituras con precaución nos indica que esta posición está equivocada. 


En primer lugar, la frase “bautismo del Espíritu Santo” no aparece en ninguna parte en las Escrituras. Además, no existe ningún lugar en las Escrituras en el que es el Espíritu Santo quien está bautizando. En lugar, la Biblia claramente representa a Cristo como el que bautiza: “»Yo los bautizo a ustedes con agua para que se arrepientan. Pero el que viene después de mí es más poderoso que yo, y ni siquiera merezco llevarle las sandalias. Él los bautizará con el Espíritu Santo y con fuego” (Mateo 3:11).


En segundo lugar, mientras aquellos que apoyan la enseñanza de la subsecuencia señalan algunos episodios en Hechos como sus pruebas que un segundo bautismo ocurre en la vida de todos los creyentes, al analizar las escrituras y el antecedente histórico del libro vemos que no tienen razón. 


En Hechos 2, un bautismo subsecuente con el Espíritu Santo está claramente presentado; aun así, esto fue parte de la promesa previa de Jesús a sus discípulos en Hechos 1:5: “Juan bautizó con agua, pero dentro de pocos días ustedes serán bautizados con el Espíritu Santo.” Esto ocurrió en Pentecostés y fue predominantemente un evento Judío que presentó la época de la Iglesia. 


En Hechos 8, los Samaritanos, una raza extremamente despreciada por los Judíos, fueron añadidos a la Iglesia. Mientras un bautismo subsecuente con el Espíritu Santo está en el texto, las razones son evidentes. Era importante que los Judíos vieran y vivieran el hecho que los Samaritanos fueron incluidos a la Iglesia, y era importante que los Samaritanos supieran que los Apóstoles Judíos eran los canales de la verdad divina y que tenían autoridad Apostólica.


En Hechos 10, los Gentiles – Cornelio y aquellos que estaban con él – fueron agregados a la Iglesia. Pero, noten que un bautismo subsecuente no ocurre; en lugar, creer y el bautismo con el Espíritu ocurren a la misma vez. 


Es igual en Hechos 19 con un grupo de los que solamente habían oído la predicación del arrepentimiento de Juan el Bautista. Creer en Cristo y el bautismo con el Espíritu ocurren a la misma vez. 


Es importante recordar qué tipo de libro es Hechos, es un narrativo histórico en el que Lucas está anotando un tiempo importante de la transición espiritual histórica. Entonces, una distinción se debe hacer entre lo que es descriptivo en Hechos y lo que es prescriptivo. Como dijo un Teólogo, “No debemos cometer el grave error de enseñar las experiencias de los apóstoles, sino debemos experimentar las enseñanzas de los apóstoles.”


Ser bautizado con el Espíritu Santo significa que Cristo mete al nuevo creyente en la unificación de Su cuerpo y lo conecta con todos los demás que también creen en Cristo. El bautismo con el espíritu unifica a todos los creyentes. Sobre esto, Pablo dice, “Todos fuimos bautizados por un solo Espíritu para constituir un solo cuerpo —ya seamos judíos o gentiles, esclavos o libres—, y a todos se nos dio a beber de un mismo Espíritu”(1 Corintios 12:13).


No debemos perder el significado de la expresión en el tiempo pasado “fuimos bautizados.” No existe una estado de limbo donde una persona es salva pero no es parte del cuerpo de Cristo.


Mientras las Escrituras nunca ordenan que los Cristianos sean bautizados con, por medio o de el Espíritu Santo, sí les ordena de ser llenados con el Espíritu: “No se embriaguen con vino, que lleva al desenfreno. Al contrario, sean llenos del Espíritu” (Efesios 5:18). Pero en cuanto al regalo inicial del Espíritu Santo, eso sucede en un momento, y solo uno, en el momento de la salvación: “Hay un solo cuerpo y un solo Espíritu, así como también fueron llamados a una sola esperanza; un solo Señor, una sola fe, un solo bautismo” (Efesios 4:4-5).



07/15/20  


Yesterday you read


What is Christian redemption? What does it mean to be redeemed?


Be blessed today to learn 


How does the Holy Spirit seal us? What is the seal of the Holy Spirit?


(Rejoice and do not doubt your salvation, with this you give honor and glory to God. He gave his only begotten Son to save you. God has known from eternity past.  This is a humiliating thought, which provokes joy and desire to love God).


In biblical times, a seal was a guarantee. Ephesians 1:13-14 shares regarding the Holy Spirit, "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." According to this passage, the seal of the Holy Spirit takes place at the point of salvation. It is a promise or guarantee of the Christian's future, eternal inheritance with Jesus Christ.


The Greek word translated as "seal" is shragizo that means "to set a seal upon, mark with a seal." A seal could be used to guarantee a document or letter (Esther 3:12), indicate ownership (Song of Songs 8:6), or protect against tampering (Matthew 27:66Revelation 5:1). The Holy Spirit is our seal in every sense of this word.


First, the Holy Spirit in the believer's life helps to guarantee he or she is a child of God. Romans 8:16 shares, "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."


Second, the seal of the Holy Spirit serves as a mark that we truly belong to Christ. Romans 8:9-10 teaches, "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness." First Corinthians 6:19-20 also notes, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."


Third, the seal of the Holy Spirit helps protect against tampering or attack. Romans 8:13declares, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." In a very real sense, God's Spirit protects us and guarantees our eternity with the Lord.


At what point does the sealing of the Holy Spirit take place? It takes place when a person believes the gospel (Ephesians 1:13John 7:37-39). At that point, God's seal offers the promise of eternal life (John 3:16) because of salvation based on God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).


The seal of the Holy Spirit offers a wonderful glimpse of God's role in salvation. When we receive salvation in Christ, we are given a guarantee, exchange our ownership for His, and are protected against forces of evil. This seal should provide wonderful encouragement for the believer against the spiritual battles in this life (Ephesians 6:12) and anticipation for the life to come.



Ayer estudiaron 


¿Qué es la redención cristiana?


Sea bendecido o bendecida cuando aprendas 


¿Cómo nos sella el Espíritu Santo?


(Regocíjate y no dudes de tu salvación, con esto le das honra y gloria a Dios.  El entregó a su Hijo Unigénito para salvarte.  El té conoce desde la eternidad pasada.  Este es un pensamiento humillante, que provoca gozo y deseo de amar a Dios). 


En la época de la Biblia, un sello era una garantía. Efesios 1:13-14 comparte sobre el Espíritu Santo, “En él también ustedes, cuando oyeron el mensaje de la verdad, el evangelio que les trajo la salvación, y lo creyeron, fueron marcados con el sello que es el Espíritu Santo prometido. Éste garantiza nuestra herencia hasta que llegue la redención final del pueblo adquirido por Dios, para alabanza de su gloria.”. Según este pasaje, el sello del Espíritu Santo sucede en el momento de la salvación. Es una promesa o garantía del futuro del Cristiano, herencia eterna con Jesucristo. 


En primer lugar, el Espíritu Santo en la vida del creyente ayuda a garantizar que el o ella es un hijo de Dios. Romanos 8:16 comparte, “El Espíritu mismo le asegura a nuestro espíritu que somos hijos de Dios.”.


En segundo lugar, el sello del Espíritu Santo sirve como una maraca de que de veras pertenecemos a Cristo. Romanos 8:9-10 enseña, “Sin embargo, ustedes no viven según la naturaleza pecaminosa sino según el Espíritu, si es que el Espíritu de Dios vive en ustedes. Y si alguno no tiene el Espíritu de Cristo, no es de Cristo. Pero si Cristo está en ustedes, el cuerpo está muerto a causa del pecado, pero el Espíritu que está en ustedes es vida a causa de la justicia.”. 1 Corintios 6:19-20 también dice, “¿Acaso no saben que su cuerpo es templo del Espíritu Santo, quien está en ustedes y al que han recibido de parte de Dios? Ustedes no son sus propios dueños; fueron comprados por un precio. Por tanto, honren con su cuerpo a Dios.”.


En tercer lugar, el sello del Espíritu Santo ayuda a proteger contra ataques o manipulaciones. Romanos 8:13 declara, “Porque si ustedes viven conforme a ella, morirán; pero si por medio del Espíritu dan muerte a los malos hábitos del cuerpo, vivirán.”. En un sentido muy verdadero, el Espíritu de Dios nos protege y nos garantiza la eternidad con nuestro Señor. 


¿A qué punto ocurre el acto de ser sellado del Espíritu Santo? Sucede cuando uno cree en el evangelio (Efesios 1:13; Juan 7:37-39). En aquel instante, el sello de Dios ofrece la promesa de vida eterna (Juan 3:16) porque la salvación está basada sobre la gracia de Dios mediante la fe en Jesucristo (Efesios 2:8-9).


El sello del Espíritu Santo ofrece un vistazo maravilloso del papel de Dios en la salvación. Cuando recibimos la salvación en Cristo, nos dan una garantía, cambiamos nuestra posesión por la Suya, y somos protegidos contra las fuerzas de la maldad. Este sello debería dar apoyo maravilloso al creyente contra sus batallas espirituales en su vida (Efesios 6:12) y anticipación para la vida que sigue.




07/14/20  


What is Christian redemption? What does it mean to be redeemed?


Redemption is a biblical word that means "a purchase" or "a ransom." Historically, redemption was used in reference to the purchase of a slave's freedom. A slave was "redeemed" when the price was paid for his freedom. God spoke of Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt in this way: "I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment" (Exodus 6:6). The use of redemption in the New Testament includes this same idea. Every person is a slave to sin; only through the price Jesus paid on the cross is a sinful person redeemed from sin and death.


In Scripture, it is clear every person stands in need of redemption. Why? Because every person has sinned (Romans 3:23). The following verse then reveals we are "justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). Hebrews 9:15says that Jesus "is the mediator of a new covenant . . . since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant."


Redemption provides several benefits for the believer: eternal life (Revelation 5:9-10), forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7), a right relationship with God (Romans 5:17), peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20), the Holy Spirit to live within (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and adoption into God's family (Galatians 4:5). Titus 2:13-14 says Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession."


When we are redeemed, we become different people. When God redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt, He made them a new nation and gave them a new land. Likewise, the Christian has a new identity in Christ. No longer is the Christian a captive to sin and death. Instead, he has become a citizen of God's kingdom. Christians now live in anticipation of our eternal home with our heavenly Father.


God wants us to see Him as the One who redeems (Isaiah 43:1444:62449:7). Just as Boaz was the kinsman-redeemer of Ruth (Ruth 3:9), Jesus redeems us (Galatians 3:13). Jesus paid a high price for our redemption, the ultimate sacrifice of His own life to free us from sin.



¿Qué es la redención cristiana?


Redención es una palabra bíblica que significa "una compra" o "un rescate". Históricamente, la redención se usó en referencia a la compra de la libertad de un esclavo. Un esclavo era "redimido" cuando se pagaba el precio por su libertad. Dios habló de la liberación de Israel de la esclavitud en Egipto de esta manera: "Yo soy JEHOVÁ; y yo os sacaré de debajo de las tareas pesadas de Egipto, y os libraré de su servidumbre, y os redimiré con brazo extendido, y con juicios grandes" (Éxodo 6: 6-RVR). 


El uso de la redención en el Nuevo Testamento incluye esta misma idea. Toda persona es esclava del pecado; solo a través del precio que Jesús pagó en la cruz una persona pecadora es redimida del pecado y la muerte. 


En las Escrituras, está claro que cada persona necesita redención. ¿Por qué? Porque toda persona ha pecado (Romanos 3:23). El siguiente versículo revela que "[…] por su gracia son justificados gratuitamente mediante la redención que Cristo Jesús efectuó." (Romanos 3:24). 


Hebreos 9:15 dice que "Cristo es mediador de un nuevo pacto, [...] él ha muerto para liberarlos de los pecados cometidos bajo el primer pacto." 


La redención proporciona varios beneficios para el creyente: vida eterna (Apocalipsis 5: 9-10), perdón de pecados (Efesios 1: 7), reconciliación con Dios (Romanos 5:17), paz con Dios (Colosenses 1: 18- 20), residencia del Espíritu Santo en nosotros (1 Corintios 6: 19-20), y la adopción en la familia de Dios (Gálatas 4: 5). Tito 2: 13-14 dice que Jesús "se entregó por nosotros para rescatarnos de toda maldad y purificar para sí un pueblo elegido, dedicado a hacer el bien." 


Cuando somos redimidos, nos convertimos en personas diferentes. Cuando Dios redimió a Israel de la esclavitud en Egipto, los convirtió en una nueva nación y les dio una nueva tierra. Del mismo modo, el cristiano tiene una nueva identidad en Cristo. El cristiano ya no es cautivo del pecado y la muerte. En cambio, se ha convertido en ciudadano del reino de Dios. Los cristianos ahora vivimos anticipando nuestro hogar eterno con nuestro Padre celestial. 


Dios quiere que lo veamos como el que redime (Isaías 43:14; 44: 6, 24; 49: 7). Así como Booz fue el pariente redentor de Rut (Rut 3: 9), Jesús nos redime (Gálatas 3:13). Jesús pagó un alto precio por nuestra redención, el sacrificio último de su propia vida para liberarnos del pecado.




07/13/20  


What is the Truth about salvation?


During one of the sham trials Jesus was subjected to before He was crucified, Pontius Pilate asked Him, "What is truth?" (John 18:38). 


Pilate asked the question mockingly. Pilate did not really care what the truth was and would not have believed it if Jesus had revealed it to him. But Pilate's question is one that we must all wrestle with. What is the Truth about salvation? What is the truth about God? What is the truth about Jesus? 


To ignore these questions is foolish. To be misled on these questions is dangerous. To have the true answers to these truth questions is crucial.


With this lesson you will understand your salvation. While there are many other important truths in the Christian faith, knowing and understanding the truth about salvation is the most important, as it determines where we will spend eternity. Listed below are truths from various areas of the Christian faith as they relate to salvation.


The truth about God

God exists (Psalm 14:1). God created the universe and everything in it, including humanity (Genesis 1:1). God is all-powerful (Job 42:2), all-knowing (1 John 3:20), infinite, and eternal (Psalm 90:2). God is absolutely holy and free from sin (Isaiah 6:3). God is absolutely just and will not allow evil to go unpunished. God is merciful, gracious, and loving (1 John 4:8).


The truth about humanity

God created us to have a personal relationship with Him. God created us with the ability to choose good and evil, and we chose evil. We have all sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin, we deserve death, not just physical death, but eternal death, because our sin is ultimately against an eternal God (Romans 6:23). There is absolutely nothing we can do to rectify our relationship with God on our own (Romans 3:10-18).


The truth about Jesus Christ

Knowing that humanity cannot achieve its own salvation, God took on human form in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14). God literally became a human being and walked this planet for approximately 33 years, teaching the truth, performing miracles, and living a sinless life. Just as humanity rejects God, so we also rejected God incarnate. Jesus was mercilessly beaten and then crucified (Matthew 27). Jesus willingly sacrificed His life for ours and died on the cross (John 19). Since He was God, His death carried an infinite and eternal value, paying the infinite and eternal price our sins demand (2 Corinthians 5:21). Three days after He died, Jesus was resurrected, demonstrating that His death had sufficiently paid the price for sin (1 Corinthians 16).


The truth about salvation

Because of the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our sins can be forgiven. God offers us salvation, deliverance, redemption, and forgiveness. The only requirement God demands is that we receive the gift of salvation that He offers us through Jesus Christ (John 3:16). All we have to do is accept it, by faith, trusting in Jesus' sacrifice alone to cover our sins. When we receive salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, our relationship with God is restored and we are promised an eternal home in heaven (Matthew 25:46).


Are you ready and willing to accept these truths? If so, place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Recognize that you have sinned and are worthy of death. Thank God for providing for your salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Trust the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the means of your salvation. Recognize that nothing can now separate you from God's love (Romans 8:38-39) and that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).


What is the Truth about salvation? There are many truths, and many of them are very important. But, there is only one Truth, and that is Jesus Christ. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).




¿Cuál es la verdad sobre la salvación?


Durante uno de los juicios falsos a los que Jesús fue sometido antes de ser crucificado, Pilato le preguntó, “Qué es la verdad?” (Juan 18:38). Pilato hizo esta pregunta burlándose. En realidad a Pilato no le interesaba lo que era la verdad, y no lo hubiera creído si Jesús se lo hubiese revelado. Pero la pregunta de Pilato es una con la que todos debemos luchar. ¿Cuál es la verdad sobre la salvación? ¿Cuál es la verdad sobre Dios? ¿Cuál es la verdad sobre Jesús? Ignorar estas preguntas sería tonto. Ser engañado sobre esta pregunta es peligroso. Tener las respuestas verdaderas a estas preguntas de la verdad es sumamente importante.


Propósito de este estudio es que entiendas es la salvación. Aunque hayan muchas otras verdades importantes en la fe Cristiana, saber y entender la verdad sobre la salvación es la más importante, ya que decide donde estarás por toda la eternidad. Debajo hay una lista de verdades de varias áreas de la fe Cristiana con respecto a la salvación.


La verdad sobre Dios

Dios existe (Salmos 14:1). Dios creó el universo y todo en ello, incluso la humanidad (Génesis 1:1). Dios es todo poderoso (Job 42:2), omnisciente (sabe todo) (1 Juan 3:20), infinito, y eterno (Salmos 90:2). Dios es absolutamente santo y sin pecado (Isaías 6:3). Dios es absolutamente justo y no permitirá ningún mal sin ser castigado. Dios es misericordioso, lleno de gracia, y amoroso (1 Juan 4:8).


La verdad sobre la humanidad

Dios nos creó para tener una relación personal con Él. Dios nos creó con la habilidad de decidir el bien o el mal, y escogimos el mal. Todos hemos pecado y estamos destituidos de la gloria de Dios (Romanos 3:23). Por causa de nuestro pecado, merecemos la muerte, no solamente una muerte física, sino eterna, porque nuestro pecado es al final de todo, contra un Dios eterno (Romanos 6:23). No hay absolutamente nada que podemos hacer por nuestra cuenta para remediar nuestra relación con Dios (Romanos 3:10-18).


La verdad sobre Jesucristo

Sabiendo que la humanidad no puede lograr su propia salvación, Dios tomó forma humana en la persona de Jesucristo (Juan 1:1,14). Dios se convirtió literalmente en un ser humano y caminó este planeta por alrededor de 33 años, enseñando la verdad, haciendo milagros, teniendo una vida sin pecado. Así como la humanidad rechaza a Dios, entonces nosotros también, hemos rechazado a Dios encarnado. Jesús fue golpeado sin piedad y luego crucificado (Mateo 27). Jesús voluntariamente sacrificó su vida por la nuestra y murió en la cruz (Juan 19). Como Él era Dios, su muerte llevaba un valor eterno e infinito, pagando el precio eterno e infinito que nuestros pecados exigen (2 Corintios 5:21).


Tres días después de morir, Jesús resucitó , demostrando que su muerte había completamente pagado el precio del pecado (1 Corintios 16).


La verdad sobre la Salvación

Debido al sacrificio perfecto y completo de Jesucristo, nuestros pecados pueden ser perdonados. Dios nos ofrece la salvación, la liberación, y el perdón. La única cosa que Dios requiere de nosotros es recibir este regalo de salvación que nos ofrece por medio de Jesucristo (Juan 3:16). La única cosa que tenemos que hacer es recibirlo, por medio de la fe, fiarnos solamente en el sacrificio de Jesús para cubrir nuestros pecados. Cuando recibimos la salvación por medio de la fe en Jesucristo, nuestra relación con Dios es restaurada y nos promete una hogar eterno en el Paraíso (Mateo 25:46).


¿Estás listo y dispuesto para aceptar estas verdades? Si es así, pon tu fe en Jesucristo como tu salvador. Reconoce que has pecado y que mereces morir. Dale gracias a Dios por proveer por tu salvación por medio de la muerte y resurrección de Jesucristo. Fíate del sacrificio perfecto y completo de Jesucristo como la vía de tu salvación. Reconoce que ya nada puede separarte del amor de Dios (Romanos 8:38-39) y que Él nunca te dejará ni te desamparará (Hebreos 13:5).


¿Cuál es la verdad sobre la salvación? Existen muchas verdades, y muchas de ellas son muy importantes. Pero solo hay una Verdad, y esa es Jesucristo. “Yo soy el camino, y la verdad, y la vida. Nadie viene al Padre, sino por mí“ (Juan 14:6).


¿Has, por medio de la llamada de Dios, aceptado estas verdades que has leído hoy? 




07/12/20  


"What is the true gospel?"


The true gospel is the good news that God saves sinners. Man is by nature sinful and separated from God with no hope of remedying that situation. But God, by His power, provided the means of man's redemption in the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ. 


The word "gospel" literally means "good news." But to truly comprehend how good this news is, we must first understand the bad news. As a result of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6), every part of man"his mind, will, emotions and flesh"have been corrupted by sin. Because of man's sinful nature, he does not and cannot seek God. He has no desire to come to God and, in fact, his mind is hostile toward God (Romans 8:7). God has declared that man's sin dooms him to an eternity in hell, separated from God. It is in hell that man pays the penalty of sin against a holy and righteous God. This would be bad news indeed if there were no remedy. 


But in the gospel, God, in His mercy, has provided that remedy, a substitute for us"Jesus Christ"who came to pay the penalty for our sin by His sacrifice on the cross. This is the essence of the gospel which Paul preached to the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 15:2-4, he explains the three elements of the gospel"the death, burial and resurrection of Christ on our behalf. Our old nature died with Christ on the cross and was buried with Him. Then we were resurrected with Him to a new life (Romans 6:4-8). Paul tells us to "hold firmly" to this true gospel, the only one which saves. Believing in any other gospel is to believe in vain. In Romans 1:16-17, Paul also declares that the true gospel is the "power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" by which he means that salvation is not achieved by man's efforts, but by the grace of God through the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).


Because of the gospel, through the power of God, those who believe in Christ (Romans 10:9) are not just saved from hell. We are, in fact, given a completely new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) with a changed heart and a new desire, will, and attitude that are manifested in good works. This is the fruit the Holy Spirit produces in us by His power. Works are never the means of salvation, but they are the proof of it (Ephesians 2:10). Those who are saved by the power of God will always show the evidence of salvation by a changed life.




“¿Qué es el verdadero Evangelio?"

El verdadero Evangelio son las buenas noticias de que Dios salva a los pecadores. El hombre es pecador por naturaleza y está separado de Dios sin esperanza alguna de remediar tal situación. Pero Dios ha provisto los medios para la redención del hombre; en la muerte, sepultura y resurrección del Salvador, Jesucristo. 


La palabra “evangelio” significa literalmente “buenas nuevas.” Pero para comprender verdaderamente que tan buenas son estas noticias, debemos entender primeramente las malas noticias. Como resultado de la caída del hombre en el Jardín del Edén (Génesis 3:6), cada parte del hombre – su mente, voluntad, emociones y carne – han sido contaminadas por el pecado. Por la naturaleza pecadora del hombre, él no busca ni puede buscar a Dios. Él no tiene el deseo de venir a Dios y, de hecho, su mente mantiene una hostilidad hacia Dios (Romanos 8:7). Dios ha declarado que el pecado del hombre lo condena a una eternidad en el infierno, separado de Él. Es en el infierno donde el hombre paga el castigo por pecar contra un Dios santo y justo. Ciertamente estas serían malas noticias, si no existiera un remedio. 


Pero en el Evangelio, Dios, en Su misericordia, ha provisto ese remedio, un sustituto para nosotros – Jesucristo – quien vino a pagar el castigo por nuestro pecado, mediante Su sacrificio en la cruz. Esta es la esencia del Evangelio que Pablo predicaba a los corintios. En 1 Corintios 15:2-4, él explica los tres elementos del Evangelio – la muerte, sepultura, y resurrección de Cristo a nuestro favor. Nuestra vieja naturaleza murió con Cristo en la cruz y fue sepultada con Él. Entonces nosotros fuimos resucitados con Él a una nueva vida (Romanos 6:4-8). Pablo nos dice que nos “sujetemos firmemente” a este verdadero Evangelio, el único que salva. Creer en cualquier otro evangelio es creer en vano. En Romanos 1:16-17, Pablo también declara que el verdadero Evangelio “Es poder de Dios para salvación a todo aquel que cree,” con lo cual él nos dice que la salvación no se logra mediante el esfuerzo del hombre, sino por la gracia de Dios a través del don de la fe (Efesios 2:8-9).


Mediante el Evangelio, a través del poder de Dios, aquellos que creen en Cristo (Romanos 10:9) no solo son salvados del infierno. De hecho, nos es dada toda una nueva naturaleza (2 Corintios 5:17) con un corazón cambiado y un nuevo deseo, voluntad, y actitud que son manifestados en buenas obras. Este es el fruto que el Espíritu Santo produce en nosotros por Su poder. Las obras nunca son los medios para la salvación, pero sí son la prueba de ella (Efesios 2:10). Aquellos que son salvados por el poder de Dios, siempre mostrarán la evidencia de la salvación por medio de una vida transformada.




07/11/20  


Why won't being a good person get me to heaven?


Many believe that if they try hard in this life to do good, that God will accept them into heaven when they die. Yet the Bible makes clear that getting into heaven is not something we can accomplish in our own power. Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly teach, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Being saved from sin and receiving eternal life cannot take place by our works. Getting into heaven requires faith in Jesus Christ.


Why is getting into heaven based on faith? Heaven is a perfect place that is free from sin. Yet every person except Jesus has sinned. Romans 3:23 teaches, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Ecclesiastes 7:20 adds, "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins." No matter how hard you may try, even one sin is enough to keep you from heaven unless you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ.


The good news of the Bible is that, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). He knew we would each fail, sin, and lack the ability to enter heaven apart from Him. He died in our place, offering Himself as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) that would allow us access to heaven by faith in Him.


Can anyone come to faith in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life? Yes! In John 3:16 Jesus promised, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." This "whoever" includes you.


How can a person place his or her faith in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life in heaven? Romans 10:9 answers, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Salvation occurs when we accept Jesus as Lord and believe He rose again from the dead.


When we do, we can be confident that He will accept us. Romans 8:1 teaches, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." First John 5:13 adds that we can know for certain that we are saved and will spend eternity with the Lord when we die: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."


Have you been trusting in your own efforts and goodness to receive eternal life? Today, you can place your faith in Jesus and know for certain you will have eternal life.



¿Por qué ser una buena persona no me llevará al cielo?


Muchos creen que si se esfuerzan a hacer el bien en esta vida, Dios les concederá la entrada al paraíso cuando se mueran. Pero la Biblia dice claramente que nuestra entrada al Paraíso no depende de algo que hacemos por nuestra propia cuenta. Efesios 2:8-9 enseña, “Porque por gracia han sido salvados mediante la fe; esto no procede de ustedes, sino que es el regalo de Dios, no por obras, para que nadie se jacte.” Ser salvado del pecado y recibir la vida eterna no puede suceder por medio de nuestras obras. La entrada al Paraíso requiere fe en Jesucristo. 


¿Por qué la entrada al Paraíso depende de la fe? El Paraíso es un lugar perfecto en el que no hay pecado. Aún así todos menos Jesús ha pecado. Romanos 3:23 enseña, “pues todos han pecado y están privados de la gloria de Dios.” Eclesiastés 7:20 añade, “No hay en la tierra nadie tan justo que haga el bien y nunca peque.” No importa cuanto te esfuerces, solo necesitas un pecado para que no puedas entrar al Paraíso, a menos que hayas puesto tu fe en Jesucristo. 


La buena noticia de la Biblia es que, “cuando todavía éramos pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros” (Romanos 5:8). Él sabía que todos hubiéramos fracasado, pecado, y sin la posibilidad de poder entrar al Paraíso sin Él. Él murió en nuestro lugar, ofreciéndose como el camino, la verdad y la vida (Juan 14:6) que nos daría acceso al Paraíso mediante la fe en Él. 


¿Puede cualquiera llegar a creer en Jesucristo y recibir la vida eterna? ¡Sí! En Juan 3:16Jesús prometió, “Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.” “Todo el que cree” te incluye a ti. 


¿Cómo puede uno poner su fe en Jesucristo y recibir la vida eterna en el Paraíso? Romanos 10:9 responde, “si confiesas con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor, y crees en tu corazón que Dios lo levantó de entre los muertos, serás salvo.” La salvación ocurre cuando aceptamos a Jesús como Señor y creemos que resucitó de entre los muertos.


Cuando lo hacemos, podemos confiar que nos aceptará. Romanos 8:1 enseña, “Por lo tanto, ya no hay ninguna condenación para los que están unidos a Cristo Jesús” 1 Juan 5:13 añade que podemos saber con certeza que estamos salvados y que pasaremos la eternidad con nuestro Señor cuando moriremos: “Les escribo estas cosas a ustedes, que creen en el nombre del Hijo de Dios, para que sepan que tienen vida eterna.” 


¿Has estado fiándote de tu propio esfuerzo y bondad para recibir la vida eterna? Hoy puedes poner tu fe en Jesús y saber con certeza que tendrás la vida eterna.





07/10/20  


How can I get right with God?


When people say they would like to "get right with God," they usually mean they desire to stop some kind of wrong behavior and begin living for Him. In order to get right with God, however, a person must realize what is actually wrong.


The barrier that keeps us from being right with God is sin. Romans 3:23 teaches, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This sin separates us from God: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). The only solution is to receive eternal life from Jesus Christ.


How can you receive eternal life? Jesus taught that eternal life comes by faith: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). You must believe in Jesus to escape death and the punishment for your sins and have eternal life in heaven with Jesus.


What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Romans 10:9 shares, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." First, you must believe Jesus is Lord. Second, you must accept that Jesus literally rose again from the dead. He defeated death to prove His power as God's Son and offer eternal life to you.


Jesus shared a powerful example of His love in the account of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The son had left his father and wasted his inheritance. His only means of survival was working with livestock. He even craved the food the pigs ate. At his lowest point he decided to return home and ask his father if he could work as a servant. As he returned, his father saw him in the distance. The father ran to him, hugged him, and declared a celebration in the son's honor, saying, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:24).


Today Jesus offers the same love this father offered to his lost son. If you will turn to Jesus, He will accept you and celebrate your decision to believe in Him.


There is no special prayer you must say to get right with God. However, if you would like to accept Jesus as your Savior and know for certain you have eternal life, you can tell God with a prayer similar to this:


"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who took the punishment for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life and restore me to rightness with you. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."




¿Cómo puedo hacer las paces con Dios?


Cuando las personas dicen que les gustaría " hacer las paces con Dios", generalmente quieren decir que desean detener algún tipo de comportamiento incorrecto y comenzar a vivir para Él. Sin embargo, para hacer las paces con Dios, una persona debe darse cuenta de lo que realmente está mal. 


La barrera que nos impide hacer las paces con Dios es el pecado. Romanos 3:23 enseña, "Todos han pecado y están privados de la gloria de Dios". Este pecado nos separa de Dios: "Porque la paga del pecado es muerte, mientras que la dádiva de Dios es vida eterna en Cristo Jesús, nuestro Señor." (Romanos 6:23). La única solución es recibir la vida eterna de Jesucristo. 


¿Cómo puedes recibir la vida eterna? Jesús enseñó que la vida eterna viene por fe: "Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna." (Juan 3:16). Debes creer en Jesús para escapar de la muerte y el castigo por tus pecados y tener vida eterna en el cielo con Jesús. 


¿Qué significa creer en Jesús? Romanos 10: 9 comparte: "Si confiesas con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor y crees en tu corazón que Dios lo levantó de entre los muertos, serás salvo." Primero, debes creer que Jesús es el Señor. Segundo, debes aceptar que Jesús literalmente resucitó de entre los muertos. Él venció a la muerte para probar su poder como el Hijo de Dios y ofrecerte vida eterna. 


Jesús compartió un poderoso ejemplo de su amor en el relato del hijo pródigo en Lucas 15. El hijo dejó a su padre y desperdició su herencia. Su único medio de supervivencia era trabajar con ganado. Incluso ansiaba la comida que comían los cerdos. En su punto más bajo, decidió regresar a casa y preguntarle a su padre si podía trabajar como sirviente. Cuando regresó, su padre lo vio a lo lejos. El padre corrió hacia él, lo abrazó y declaró una celebración en honor del hijo, diciendo: "Porque este hijo mío estaba muerto, pero ahora ha vuelto a la vida; se había perdido, pero ya lo hemos encontrado”. " (Lucas 15:24). 


Hoy Jesús ofrece el mismo amor que este padre ofreció a su hijo perdido. Si te vuelves a Jesús, él te aceptará y celebrará tu decisión de creer en él. 


No hay una oración especial que debes decir para estar bien con Dios. Sin embargo, si deseas aceptar a Jesús como tu Salvador y saber con certeza que tienes vida eterna, puedes hacer una oración a Dios similar a esta: 


"Querido Dios, me doy cuenta de que soy un pecador y que nunca podría alcanzar el cielo por mis buenas obras. En este momento pongo mi fe en Jesucristo como el Hijo de Dios, quien recibió el castigo por mis pecados y resucitó de los muertos para darme vida eterna. Restáurame a una relación correcta contigo. Por favor, perdona mis pecados y ayúdame a vivir para ti. Gracias por aceptarme y darme la vida eterna ".




07/09/20  FACEBOOK 


Is it possible for a person to believe in some way and yet not be saved?


Salvation is by God's grace and is received through faith. Faith implies not only intellectual assent, but action. The illustration of a chair is commonly used. To truly have faith in a chair, one must sit in it. A person can "believe" that the chair will support their weight. They may even recognize they have a need to be supported by the chair. But they do not exercise faith until they actually sit in the chair. Similarly, a person can "believe" in some senses of the word without actually being saved. 


James 2:19 says, "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!" Believing that God exists is not saving faith. To be saved, a person must acknowledge that it is the God of the Bible who exists, that we have all sinned and are deserving of punishment (Romans 3:23; 6:23), that we cannot save ourselves (Ephesians 2:8–9), and that the only means of salvation is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The fact of the existence of God is evident to everyone (Romans 1:20). Acknowledging this fact is not sufficient for salvation. 


What about someone who "believes" in Jesus? Admitting that Jesus was a good teacher or even a prophet is not saving faith. We must acknowledge that Jesus is God in human flesh, lived a perfect life, died in our place, and rose again from the dead to conquer death and sin and offer the gift of salvation. In Matthew 7:21–23 Jesus, said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'" Some have erroneously used this passage to suggest that salvation can be lost. Jesus is not saying that we must work to maintain salvation or that we can lose salvation. These are people that Jesus never knew. People may pay lip-service to Jesus or even be involved in ministry without actually knowing Him. They appear to acknowledge Jesus and yet have no relationship with Him. They have not been born again. 


Jesus also talked about those who may initially respond positively to the gospel, and yet never really be saved. The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 talks about this. We see one example in Judas, who was a disciple of Jesus and yet betrayed Him. Judas appeared to follow Jesus, yet he ultimately did not truly believe Him. In John 6 we learn about people who had followed Jesus and listened to His teachings, but Jesus knew that some of them didn't believe, and many then turned away from Him. 


Salvation is by God's grace alone and received through faith. Faith implies some action on our part, it is a reliance on God. Belief unto salvation is a belief that transforms us. It isn't an intellectual agreement only, but a recognition of our hopelessness apart from God and His gracious offer to save us. Then we act on that belief by putting our faith in Jesus. As a result, we are born again, invited into relationship with God, and our lives are changed. 




¿Es posible que una persona crea de alguna manera y sin embargo no se salve? 


 La salvación es por la gracia de Dios y se recibe a través de la fe. La fe implica no solo asentimiento intelectual, sino acción. La ilustración de una silla se usa comúnmente. Para tener verdadera fe en una silla, uno debe sentarse en ella. Una persona puede "creer" que la silla soportará su peso. Incluso pueden reconocer que necesitan ser apoyados por la silla. Pero no ejercen fe hasta que realmente se sientan en la silla. Del mismo modo, una persona puede "creer" en algunos sentidos de la palabra sin ser salvada. 


Santiago 2:19 dice: "19 Tú crees que Dios es uno; bien haces. También los demonios creen, y tiemblan." Creer que Dios existe no es fe salvadora. Para ser salvo, una persona debe reconocer que es el Dios de la Biblia quien existe, que todos hemos pecado y merecemos castigo (Romanos 3:23; 6:23), que no podemos salvarnos a nosotros mismos (Efesios 2: 8 –9), y que el único medio de salvación es a través de Jesucristo (Juan 14: 6; Hechos 4:12). El hecho de la existencia de Dios es evidente para todos (Romanos 1:20). Reconocer este hecho no es suficiente para la salvación. 


 ¿Qué pasa con alguien que "cree" en Jesús? Admitir que Jesús fue un buen maestro o incluso un profeta no es fe salvadora. Debemos reconocer que Jesús es Dios en carne humana, vivió una vida perfecta, murió en nuestro lugar y resucitó de entre los muertos para conquistar la muerte y el pecado y ofrecer el regalo de la salvación. En Mateo 7: 21–23, Jesús dijo: "No todos los que me dicen 'Señor, Señor' entrarán en el reino de los cielos, sino el que hace la voluntad de mi Padre que está en los cielos. 


Ese día muchos me dirán: 'Señor, Señor, ¿no profetizamos en tu nombre, y echamos fuera demonios en tu nombre, y hicimos muchas obras poderosas en tu nombre?' Y luego les declararé: 'Nunca te conocí; apártate de mí, trabajadores de la anarquía' ". Algunos han usado erróneamente este pasaje para sugerir que la salvación puede perderse. Jesús no está diciendo que debemos trabajar para mantener la salvación o que podemos perder la salvación. Estas son personas que Jesús nunca conoció. Las personas pueden hacerle bromas a Jesús o incluso participar en el ministerio sin conocerlo realmente. Parecen reconocer a Jesús y, sin embargo, no tienen relación con él. No han nacido de nuevo.


Jesús también habló acerca de aquellos que inicialmente pueden responder positivamente al evangelio y, sin embargo, nunca se salvan realmente. La parábola del sembrador en Mateo 13 habla de esto. Vemos un ejemplo en Judas, quien fue discípulo de Jesús y, sin embargo, lo traicionó. Judas pareció seguir a Jesús, pero finalmente no le creyó realmente. En Juan 6 aprendemos acerca de las personas que habían seguido a Jesús y escuchado sus enseñanzas, pero Jesús sabía que algunos de ellos no creían, y muchos luego se alejaron de Él. 


 La salvación es solo por la gracia de Dios y recibida a través de la fe. La fe implica alguna acción de nuestra parte, es una dependencia de Dios. Creer en la salvación es una creencia que nos transforma. No es solo un acuerdo intelectual, sino un reconocimiento de nuestra desesperanza aparte de Dios y su generosa oferta para salvarnos. Luego actuamos sobre esa creencia al poner nuestra fe en Jesús. Como resultado, nacemos de nuevo, somos invitados a una relación con Dios, y nuestras vidas cambian.




07/08/20  


“If you doubt your salvation, does that mean you are not truly saved?"


Most believers, at one time or another, have doubted their salvation. There can be several causes of doubt, some valid and some not. If you doubt your salvation, there are some steps you can take to find reassurance, dispel the doubts, and rest in the promises of God.


First, it is good to know that whether or not you have doubts is not what determines your salvation. Some genuine believers struggle with doubt, while some unbelievers who presume to be saved never have a doubting moment (and they will have a rude awakening someday—see Matthew 7:21–23). So it is not automatic that the presence of doubt indicates a lack of salvation, or that the absence of doubt attests to salvation.


One reason people doubt their salvation is the presence of sin in their lives. Hebrews 12:1 speaks of “sin that so easily entangles.” Many true Christians struggle against “besetting,” that is, habitual sins, and this may cause them to doubt their salvation. It is important here to recognize that, despite the Christian’s being a new creation in Christ, everyone still sins. “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). No one reaches a state of sinless perfection in this world. The difference for the believer is the attitude toward sin and the response to it. As Adrian Rogers said, “Before I got saved I was running to sin; now I am running from it. And if I fail, I turn right around and start running away again”


It is also important to know that the presence of sin in one’s life can be a sign that you are not saved. The Bible is clear that willful, unrepentant sin is an indicator of an untransformed heart (see 1 John 3:6, 9; Romans 6:1–2). If you are living a lifestyle that the Bible condemns as sinful, then there is a spiritual problem. Do Christians sin? Yes. Do they willfully continue in sin? No.


If you doubt your salvation because of sin in your life, then confess the sin to God and ask for His forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. Then take steps to not repeat the sin: “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8, NLT). The very fact that you recognize sin and struggle against it in your own life is proof that the Holy Spirit is at work. Cooperate with what He is doing.


Another reason people doubt their salvation is the absence of godly works in their lives. The Christian life involves more than turning from sin; it includes doing good. Jesus said that “every good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:17), and Paul wrote, “Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14). There are some who inspect the “fruit” of their own lives, find it lacking, and wonder if they are truly saved. Their mistrust that they are a “good tree” could be because 1) they have set a higher standard for themselves than God has, minimizing what God is doing through them; 2) they are foolishly measuring themselves against others and their fruit (see 2 Corinthians 10:12); 3) they are being lax in their pursuit of good works; or 4) they are not saved and therefore do not have the motivating love of Christ.


If you doubt your salvation because of a lack of good works, then confess the sin of omission to God and ask for His forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. Then it is time to “stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Timothy 1:6, NKJV). There’s plenty of work to do for the kingdom (Luke 10:2), and the Bible gives plenty of direction about the will of God, generally, for Christians. Be careful not to set up false performance standards or compare your good deeds with others’. Ask God what He would have you do, and do that.


Some people, especially those who were saved at a very young age, doubt their salvation because they don’t remember their conversion very well, and they wonder if the decision they made as a child was genuine. Such feelings are common in adults who were saved as children. In such cases, it is good to review the promises of God and remember that Jesus invites children to come to Him (Mark 10:14). Salvation is based on the grace of God and faith in Christ, not our knowledge, wisdom, or sophistication (Ephesians 2:8–9). Jesus promised that those who are His will “never perish” (John 10:28). If doubts persist about the genuineness of your childhood conversion, make sure of your faith. Regardless of what you did as a child, do you believe now that Jesus died for your sins and rose again? Are you placing your faith in Him alone?


Another reason for the presence of doubt concerning salvation is persistent guilt over past sins. We all have regrets about past misdeeds, and we all have a spiritual enemy that the Bible calls “the accuser” (Revelation 12:10). The combination of regrets and accusations can spur much doubt. Fortunately, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). If you doubt your salvation because of guilty feelings, then ask yourself, “Were those sins over which I feel guilty confessed to God?” If so, then know this: God has removed that sin from you “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). This promise stands forever: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).


Sometimes, doubting is a good thing. Doubt can, like pain, alert us to a problem that needs addressed. We are to test ourselves to be sure that we are “in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Be sure that you are born again. If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, then you have eternal life, and God wants you to be confident of your salvation (Romans 8:38–39; 1 John 5:13).





Si dudas de tu salvación, ¿quiere decir que realmente no eres salvo?



Todos tenemos dudas ocasionales. Ya sea que tengas dudas o no, eso no es lo que determina si eres un cristiano. Aún cuando un creyente sea infiel, Dios es fiel (2 Timoteo 2:13). Dios quiere que estemos seguros y confiados de nuestra salvación (Romanos 8:38-39; 1 Juan 5:13). Dios promete que todos los que creen en Jesucristo serán salvos (Juan 3:16; Romanos 10:9-10). Todos hemos pecado y estamos destituidos de la gloria de Dios (Romanos 3:23). Como resultado, merecemos la muerte y una eternidad apartados de Dios (Romanos 6:23). Pero Dios nos amó tanto como para morir en nuestro lugar, tomando sobre Él el castigo que todos merecíamos (Romanos 5:8). Como resultado, todos aquellos que creen están salvados y eternamente seguros. 


Algunas veces dudar es algo bueno. Pablo nos dice en 2 Corintios 13:5, “Examinaos a vosotros mismos si estáis en la fe.” Debemos probarnos a nosotros mismos de estar seguros de que Jesús sea verdaderamente nuestro Salvador, y el Espíritu Santo verdaderamente esté en nosotros. Si Él lo está, entonces de ninguna manera podemos perder la salvación que Cristo ha obtenido para nosotros (Romanos 8:38-39). Si no lo está, entonces tal vez el Espíritu Santo está convenciéndonos de pecado y guiándonos al arrepentimiento para ser reconciliados con Dios a través de Cristo. La seguridad de nuestra salvación proviene del conocimiento de que una vez que estamos en Cristo, estamos eternamente seguros. Pero la genuina fe salvadora es evidenciada por sus obras (Santiago 2:14-26), y el fruto del Espíritu en nosotros (Gálatas 5:22). La falta de esta evidencia puede ser a veces la causa de nuestras dudas. 


¿Has puesto tu fe en Cristo? Si la respuesta es sí, entonces desecha tus dudas y confía en Dios. Si conoces a Jesús como tu Salvador, ¡sin duda alguna eres salvo! Si la respuesta es no, entonces ¡cree en el Señor Jesucristo y serás salvo!




07/07/20  


“What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?"


Many understand the term repentance to mean “a turning from sin.” Regretting sin and turning from it is related to repentance, but it is not the precise meaning of the word. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8–14; Acts 3:19). In summarizing his ministry, Paul declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20). The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.


What, then, is the connection between repentance and salvation? The book of Acts especially focuses on repentance in regard to salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). To repent, in relation to salvation, is to change your mind in regard to sin and Jesus Christ. In Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), he concludes with a call for the people to repent (Acts 2:38). Repent from what? Peter is calling the people who rejected Jesus (Acts 2:36) to change their minds about that sin and to change their minds about Christ Himself, recognizing that He is indeed “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter is calling the people to change their minds, to abhor their past rejection of Christ, and to embrace faith in Him as both Messiah and Savior.


Repentance involves recognizing that you have thought wrongly in the past and determining to think rightly in the future. The repentant person has “second thoughts” about the mindset he formerly embraced. There is a change of disposition and a new way of thinking about God, about sin, about holiness, and about doing God’s will. True repentance is prompted by “godly sorrow,” and it “leads to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10).


Repentance and faith can be understood as two sides of the same coin. It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about your sin and about who Jesus is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ.


Repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation. No one can repent and come to God unless God pulls that person to Himself (John 6:44). Repentance is something God gives—it is only possible because of His grace (Acts 5:31; 11:18). No one can repent unless God grants repentance. All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), as does His kindness (Romans 2:4).


While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. It is impossible to truly change your mind without that causing a change in action. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. That is why John the Baptist called people to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). A person who has truly repented of his sin and exercised faith in Christ will give evidence of a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:19–23; James 2:14–26).


To see what repentance looks like in real life, all we need to do is turn to the story of Zacchaeus. Here was a man who cheated and stole and lived lavishly on his ill-gotten gains—until he met Jesus. At that point he had a radical change of mind: “Look, Lord!” said Zacchaeus. “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8). Jesus happily proclaimed that salvation had come to Zacchaeus’s house, and that even the tax collector was now “a son of Abraham” (verse 9)—a reference to Zacchaeus’s faith. The cheat became a philanthropist; the thief made restitution. That’s repentance, coupled with faith in Christ.


Repentance, properly defined, is necessary for salvation. Biblical repentance is changing your mind about your sin—no longer is sin something to toy with; it is something to be forsaken as we “flee from the coming wrath” (Matthew 3:7). It is also changing your mind about Jesus Christ—no longer is He to be mocked, discounted, or ignored; He is the Savior to be clung to; He is the Lord to be worshiped and adored.




“¿Qué es el arrepentimiento y es éste necesario para la salvación?"


Muchos entienden el término “arrepentimiento” como “volverse del pecado”. Esta no es la definición bíblica del arrepentimiento. En la Biblia, la palabra “arrepentirse” significa “cambiar tu mente”. La Biblia también nos dice que el verdadero arrepentimiento tendrá como resultado un cambio de conducta (Lucas 3:8-14; Hechos 3:19). Hechos 26:20 declara, “sino que anuncié......, que se arrepintiesen y se convirtiesen a Dios, haciendo obras dignas de arrepentimiento”. La completa definición bíblica del arrepentimiento, es cambiar de mentalidad, que resulta en un cambio de acciones y actitudes. 


¿Cuál es entonces la conexión entre el arrepentimiento y la salvación? El Libro de Los Hechos parece enfocarse especialmente en el arrepentimiento con respecto a la salvación. (Hechos 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). El arrepentimiento, relacionado con la salvación, es cambiar tu parecer respecto a Jesucristo. En el sermón de Pedro en el día de Pentecostés (Hechos capítulo 2), él concluye con un llamado a la gente a arrepentirse (Hechos 2:38). ¿Arrepentirse de qué? Pedro está llamando a la gente que rechazaba a Jesús (Hechos 2:36), para que cambiaran su idea acerca de Él, que reconocieran que Él es verdaderamente “Señor y Cristo” (Hechos 2:36). Pedro está exhortando a la gente a cambiar su mentalidad del rechazo a Cristo como el Mesías, a la fe en Él como Mesías y Salvador. 


El arrepentimiento y la fe pueden ser entendidos como “dos lados de la misma moneda”. Es imposible poner tu fe en Jesucristo como el Salvador, sin primeramente cambiar tu mentalidad acerca de quién es Él, y lo que Él ha hecho. Ya sea el arrepentirse de un rechazo obstinado, o arrepentirse de ignorancia y desinterés – es un cambio de mentalidad. El arrepentimiento bíblico, en relación con la salvación, es cambiar tu mentalidad del rechazo a Cristo a la fe en Cristo. 


Es crucialmente importante que entendamos que el arrepentimiento no es una obra que hagamos para ganar la salvación. Nadie puede arrepentirse y venir a Dios, a menos que Dios atraiga a esa persona hacia Él (Juan 6:44). Hechos 5:31 y 11:17 indican que el arrepentimiento es algo que da Dios – sólo es posible por Su gracia. Nadie puede arrepentirse a menos que Dios le conceda el arrepentimiento. Toda la salvación, incluyendo el arrepentimiento y la fe, es el resultado de Dios acercándonos, abriendo nuestros ojos, y cambiando nuestros corazones. La paciencia de Dios nos conduce al arrepentimiento (2 Pedro 3:9), como lo hace Su bondad (Romanos 2:4). 


Mientras que el arrepentimiento no es una obra que gana la salvación, el arrepentimiento para salvación da como resultado las obras. Es imposible verdadera y totalmente cambiar tu mentalidad sin que esto cause un cambio en tus actos. En la Biblia, el arrepentimiento resulta en un cambio de conducta. Esta es la razón por la que Juan el Bautista exhortaba a la gente con estas palabras, “Haced, pues, frutos dignos de arrepentimiento” (Mateo 3:8). Una persona que verdaderamente se ha arrepentido y ha pasado de rechazar a Cristo a la fe en Cristo, lo hará evidente por un cambio en su vida (2 Corintios 5:17; Gálatas 5:19-23; Santiago 2:14-26). 


El arrepentimiento, propiamente definido, es necesario para la salvación. El arrepentimiento bíblico es cambiar tu parecer acerca de Jesucristo y volverte a Dios en fe para salvación (Hechos 3:19). Volverse del pecado no es la definición del arrepentimiento, pero es uno de los resultados de la fe genuina basada en el arrepentimiento respecto al Señor Jesucristo. 




07/06/20  


"How can I have assurance of my salvation?"


Answer: Many followers of Jesus Christ look for the assurance of salvation in the wrong places. We tend to seek assurance of salvation in the things God is doing in our lives, in our spiritual growth, in the good works and obedience to God’s Word that is evident in our Christian walk. While these things can be evidence of salvation, they are not what we should base the assurance of our salvation on. Rather, we should find the assurance of our salvation in the objective truth of God’s Word. We should have confident trust that we are saved based on the promises God has declared, not because of our subjective experiences.


How can you have assurance of salvation? Consider 1 John 5:11–13: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Who is it that has the Son? It is those who have believed in Him (John 1:12). If you have Jesus, you have life. Not temporary life, but eternal.


God wants us to have assurance of our salvation. We should not live our Christian lives wondering and worrying each day whether or not we are truly saved. That is why the Bible makes the plan of salvation so clear. Believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Acts 16:31). “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Have you repented? Do you believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins and rose again from the dead (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21)? Do you trust Him alone for salvation? If your answer to these questions is “yes,” you are saved! Assurance means freedom from doubt. By taking God’s Word to heart, you can have no doubt about the reality of your eternal salvation.


Jesus Himself assures those who believe in Him: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29). Eternal life is just that—eternal. There is no one, not even yourself, who can take Christ’s God-given gift of salvation away from you.


Take joy in what God’s Word is saying to you: instead of doubting, we can live with confidence! We can have the assurance from Christ’s own Word that our salvation will never be in question. Our assurance of salvation is based on the perfect and complete salvation God has provided for us through Jesus Christ.




“¿Cómo puedo tener la seguridad de mi Salvación?"


Muchos seguidores de Jesucristo buscan la seguridad de la salvación en los lugares equivocados. Tendemos a buscar la seguridad de la salvación en las cosas que Dios está haciendo en nuestras vidas, en nuestro crecimiento espiritual, en las buenas obras y en la obediencia a la Palabra de Dios que es evidente en nuestro caminar cristiano. Aunque estas cosas pueden ser evidencia de la salvación, no son las cosas en las cuales debemos basar la seguridad de nuestra salvación. Más bien, debemos encontrar la seguridad de nuestra salvación en la verdad objetiva de la Palabra de Dios. Debemos tener confianza en que somos salvos basados en las promesas que Dios ha declarado, no por nuestras experiencias subjetivas. 


¿Cómo puedes estar seguro de ser salvo? Considera 1 Juan 5:11-13 “Y este es el testimonio: que Dios nos ha dado vida eterna; y esta vida está en Su Hijo. El que tiene al Hijo, tiene la vida; el que no tiene al Hijo de Dios no tiene la vida. Estas cosas os he escrito a vosotros que creéis en el nombre del Hijo de Dios, para que sepáis que tenéis vida eterna, y para que creáis en el nombre del Hijo de Dios”. ¿Quién es quien tiene al Hijo? Aquellos que han creído en Él y lo han recibido (Juan 1:12). Si tienes a Jesús, tienes la vida. La vida eterna; no temporal, sino eterna. 


Dios quiere que tengamos la seguridad de nuestra salvación. No podemos vivir nuestra vida cristiana dudando y preocupándonos cada día por saber si realmente somos o no salvos. Esto es por lo que la Biblia hace tan claro el plan de salvación. “... cree en el Señor Jesucristo, y serás salvo...” (Juan 3:16; Hechos 16:31). “Si confesares con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor, y creyeres en tu corazón que Dios le levantó de los muertos, serás salvo” (Romanos 10:9). ¿Te has arrepentido de tus pecados? ¿Crees que Jesús es el Salvador, que Él murió para pagar el castigo por tus pecados y resucitó de entre los muertos? (Romanos 5:8; 2 Corintios 5:21). ¿Estás confiando solamente en Él para tu salvación? Si tu respuesta es sí, ¡entonces eres salvo! La seguridad significa “no tener nada de duda”. Al creer la Palabra de Dios de corazón, puedes estar completamente seguro acerca de la realidad de tu eterna salvación. 


Jesús mismo declara esto acerca de aquellos que creen en Él: “Y yo les doy vida eterna; y no perecerán jamás, ni nadie las arrebatará de mi mano. Mi Padre que me las dio, es mayor que todos, y nadie las puede arrebatar de la mano de mi Padre”. (Juan 10:28-29). La vida eterna es justo eso – eterna. No hay nadie, ni siquiera tú mismo, que pueda quitarte este regalo de Dios en Cristo, que es la salvación. 


Gózate en lo que la Palabra de Dios te dice: Al hacer eso en lugar de dudar, ¡podemos vivir con confianza! Podemos tener la seguridad de la propia Palabra de Cristo, de que nuestra salvación nunca estará en duda. Nuestra seguridad de salvación se basa en la salvación perfecta y completa que Dios nos ha dado a través de Jesucristo. 




07/05/20  


"What if I don't feel saved?"


This is an all-too-common question among Christians. Many people doubt their salvation because of feelings or the lack of them. The Bible has much to say about salvation, but nothing to say about “feeling saved.” Salvation is a process by which the sinner is delivered from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment against sin (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). Specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that achieved our salvation (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:7). 


Our part in the salvation process is that we are saved by faith. First, we must hear the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:13). Then, we must believe—fully trust the Lord Jesus (Romans 1:16) and His sacrifice alone. We have no confidence in works of the flesh to achieve salvation. This faith—which is a gift from God, not something we produce on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9)—involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin and Christ (Acts 3:19), and calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-10, 13). Salvation results in a changed life as we begin to live as the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). 


We live in a feeling-oriented society and, sadly, that has spilled over into the church. But feelings are unreliable. Emotions are untrustworthy. They ebb and flow like the tides of the sea that bring in all kinds of seaweed and debris and deposit them on the shore, then go back out, eroding the ground we stand on and washing it out to sea. Such is the state of those whose emotions rule their lives. The simplest circumstances—a headache, a cloudy day, a word thoughtlessly spoken by a friend—can erode our confidence and send us “out to sea” in a fit of despair. Doubt and discouragement, particularly about the Christian life, are the inevitable result of trying to interpret our feelings as though they were truth. They are not. 


But the Christian who is forewarned and well armed is a person not governed by feelings but by the truth he knows. He does not rely on his feelings to prove anything to him. Relying on feelings is precisely the error most people make in life. They are so introspective that they become preoccupied with themselves, constantly analyzing their own feelings. They will continually question their relationship with God. “Do I really love God?” “Does He really love me?” “Am I good enough?” What we need to do is stop thinking about ourselves and focusing on our feelings and instead redirect our focus to God and the truth we know about Him from His Word.


When we are controlled by subjective feelings centered on ourselves rather than by objective truth centered on God, we live in a constant state of defeat. Objective truth centers on the great doctrines of the faith and their relevance to life: the sovereignty of God, the high priestly intercession of Christ, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of eternal glory. Understanding these great truths, centering our thoughts on them, and rehearsing them in our minds will enable us to reason from truth in all of life’s trials, and our faith will be strong and vital. Reasoning from what we feel about ourselves—rather than what we know about God—is the sure path to spiritual defeat. The Christian life is one of death to self and rising to “walk in the newness of life” (Romans 6:4), and that new life is characterized by thoughts about Him who saved us, not thoughts about the feelings of the dead flesh that has been crucified with Christ. When we are continually thinking about ourselves and our feelings, we are essentially obsessing about a corpse, full of rottenness and death.


God promised to save us if we come to Him in faith. He never promised that we would feelsaved.



“¿Qué pasa si no me siento salvado?"

Esta es una pregunta tan-común entre los cristianos. Mucha gente duda de su salvación por los sentimientos o la ausencia de ellos. La Biblia tiene mucho que decir acerca de la salvación, pero nada que decir acerca de “sentirse salvado.” La salvación es un proceso por medio del cual el pecador es librado de la “ira,” esto es, del juicio de Dios contra el pecado (Romanos 5:9; 1 Tesalonicenses 5:9). Específicamente, fue la muerte de Jesús en la cruz, y Su subsecuente resurrección lo que logró nuestra salvación (Romanos 5:10; Efesios 1:7).


Nuestra parte en el proceso de salvación, es que somos salvados por fe. Primero, debemos escuchar el Evangelio – las buenas nuevas de la muerte y resurrección de Cristo (Efesios 1:13). Luego debemos creer – confiar única y totalmente en el Señor Jesucristo (Romanos 1:16) y Su sacrificio. No confiamos en las obras de la carne para alcanzar la salvación. Esta fe – la cual es un don de Dios, no es algo que produzcamos por nosotros mismos (Efesios 2:8-9) – involucra arrepentimiento, un cambio de mentalidad acerca del pecado y Cristo (Hechos 3:19), e invocar el nombre del Señor (Romanos 10:9-10, 13). La salvación resulta en una vida transformada, a medida que comenzamos a vivir como una nueva creación (2 Corintios 5:17). 


Vivimos en una sociedad orientada a las emociones, y lamentablemente, eso se ha extendido a la iglesia. Pero los sentimientos no son confiables. Las emociones no son confiables. Éstas fluyen hacia arriba y hacia abajo, como las mareas en el mar, que arrastran todo tipo de algas marinas y escombros que son depositados en la orilla, para luego volver a salir, erosionando el terreno donde nos encontramos y arrastrándolo nuevamente mar adentro. Tal es el estado de aquellos cuyas emociones gobiernan sus vidas. Las circunstancias más simples – una jaqueca, un día nublado, una palabra irreflexiva dicha por un amigo – pueden erosionar nuestra confianza y llevarnos “mar adentro” en un arrebato de desesperación. La duda y el desánimo, particularmente acerca de la vida cristiana, son el inevitable resultado al tratar de interpretar nuestros sentimientos, como si éstos fueran confiables. No lo son. 


Pero el cristiano que está prevenido y bien armado, es una persona que no se rige por sentimientos, sino por la verdad que conoce. Él no se basa en sus sentimientos para probar nada. Depender de los sentimientos es precisamente el error que la mayoría de la gente comete en la vida. Ellos son tan introspectivos, que se obsesionan con ellos mismos, analizando constantemente sus propios sentimientos. Éstos son aquellos que están continuamente cuestionando su relación con Dios. “¿Realmente amo a Dios?” “¿Realmente Él me ama?” “¿Soy lo suficientemente bueno?” Lo que realmente necesitamos hacer es dejar de pensar en nosotros mismos, de concentrarnos en nuestros sentimientos, y redirigir nuestra atención hacia Dios y la verdad que conocemos acerca de Él por medio de Su Palabra. 


Cuando somos controlados por sentimientos subjetivos centrados en nosotros mismos, en vez de por una verdad objetiva centrada en Dios, vivimos en un constante estado de derrota. La verdad objetiva se centra en las grandes doctrinas de la fe y su relevancia para la vida: la soberanía de Dios, la intercesión de sumo-sacerdote de Cristo, la promesa del Espíritu Santo, y la esperanza de la gloria eterna. Entendiendo estas grandes verdades, centrando nuestros pensamientos en ellas, y repasándolas en nuestra mente, nos permitirá razonar a partir de la verdad, en todas las pruebas de la vida, y nuestra fe será fuerte y vital. Razonando sobre lo que sentimos acerca de nosotros mismos – en vez de lo que sabemos acerca de Dios – es el camino más seguro para la derrota espiritual. La vida cristiana es morir a uno mismo y levantarnos para “andar en una nueva vida” (Romanos 6:4), y esa nueva vida está caracterizada por pensamientos acerca de Aquel que nos salvó, no pensamientos acerca de sentimientos de la carne muerta que ha sido crucificada con Cristo. Cuando estamos pensando continuamente en nosotros mismos y nuestros sentimientos, estamos esencialmente obsesionados acerca de un cadáver, lleno de podredumbre y muerte. 




07/04/20  FACEBOOK 


What is sanctification?


Many Christians refer to a progression of justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification refers to the fact that believers have been deemed legally righteous. With Christ's death and resurrection, our sin was forgiven and we are now pure before God (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:1; Romans 6). While we know that our salvation is complete, there are still aspects of our salvation that are being worked out. We are righteous, and we are also becoming righteous. This "becoming righteous" is referred to as sanctification. Sanctification is where our present realities fall in line with our eternal status.


In one sense, the Christian life is all about sanctification. Christ is finishing the good work that He began in us (Philippians 1:6). We are continually learning to follow God's ways and discard our sinful natures (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:5-17). Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called" (Ephesians 4:1). We have been declared holy and now attempt to live holy lives (Matthew 5:48). As Christians, we are to cooperate with God's work in us. He refines and prunes us (Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:2; Isaiah 48:10; 1 Peter 1:7; John 15:2), and sanctification is one name for that work. 


Glorification is our eternal state. The legal reality of our justification and the physical reality of our sanctification now match up. In glorification we are with Christ and made completely perfect (1 John 3:2; Colossians 1:27; Colossians 3:4).


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¿Qué es la sanctificación según la Biblia?


Muchos Cristianos se refieren a una progresión de justificación, santificación y glorificación. La Justificación se refiere al hecho de que creyentes han sido declarados legalmente justos. Con la muerte de Cristo y su resurrección, nuestros pecados fueron perdonados y ahora somos puros ante Dios (2 Corintios 5:21; Romanos 5:1; Romanos 6). Mientras sabemos que nuestra salvación está completa, siguen partes de nuestra salvación que se están ajustando. Somos justos y también nos estamos volviendo justos. Esto de “volviéndonos justos” se refiere a la santificación. La santificación es donde nuestras realidades actuales se ordenan con nuestro estatus eterno. 


De una manera, la vida Cristiana se trata toda de la santificación. Cristo está terminando el trabajo que empezó dentro de nosotros (Filipenses 1:6). Estamos continuamente aprendiendo a seguir los caminos de Dios y deshacernos de nuestra naturaleza pecaminosa (Efesios 4:22-24; Colosenses 3:5-17). Pablo le escribió a la iglesia en Éfeso, “Por eso yo, que estoy preso por la causa del Señor, les ruego que vivan de una manera digna del llamamiento que han recibido” (Efesios 4:1). Hemos sido declarados santos y ahora intentamos vivir vidas santas (Mateo 5:48). Como Cristianos, debemos cooperar con el trabajo de Dios dentro de nosotros. Nos refina y nos poda (Zacarías 13:9; Malaquías 3:2; Isaías 48:10; 1 Pedro 1:7; Juan 15:2), y la santificación es el nombre de ese trabajo. 


La glorificación es nuestro estado eterno. La realidad legal de nuestra justificación y la realidad física de nuestra santificación se están alineando. En la glorificación, estamos con Cristo y estamos hechos completamente perfectos (1 Juan 3:2; Colosenses 1:27; Colosenses 3:4). 




07/03/20  


Why are Christians encouraged to have daily devotions or quiet times?


Daily devotions or quiet times are time spent each day dedicated to relating with God. When people speak of daily devotions, they are usually referring to a time of reading their Bible, doing a Bible study, or reading a devotional book, accompanied by a time of prayer. Some may simply pray. Some also include musical worship. No matter the format of a daily devotional time, it is important. 


God desires relationship with us. He created us and has redeemed us for this very purpose. Jesus, prior to His crucifixion, prayed, "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). First John 4:8 tells us that God is love. The love of God is sometimes described as that of a father and child or of a married couple. These relationships are intimate. Intimacy takes time to build. We spend time – daily if possible – with those we love. This time is meant to further our knowledge of one another as well as give us enjoyment. 


Scripture also describes God as our master. Servants (or employees) must spend time with their employers in order to know the employer's will. When we spend daily devotional time with God, we submit our will to His. It is in that time that we surrender our lives to God. We surrender not just the overall trajectory of our lives, but each day. God is in the details of our lives (Matthew 6:25-33). He cares about the details of each day with the love of a father or spouse and also with the interest of a master. We seek to further God's kingdom. Coming to Him each day is one way to know which direction to move. 


Daily devotions help us learn truth. When we spend time in God's Word, we gain wisdom and understanding. It has been said that the best way to recognize a counterfeit is to study the real thing. Satan is the "father of lies" (John 8:44). If we are not steeped in God's truth, we are more easily duped. When we know the truth, we experience freedom (John 8:32).


Daily spending time with God is a way to worship Him. Time is a limited resource. What we spend our time on is an indication of what we value. When we spend time with God, we demonstrate that we value Him. We claim that He is worthy of attention and of praise.


God is our refuge (Psalm 46). Life is often chaotic and confusing. When it is, we run to God. If we desire to truly find rest and safety in God, it is helpful to know Him well. Such deep knowledge comes from daily time spent with Him. Sometimes the best way to use a refuge is to go there before things get messy. 


Daily devotions is a spiritual discipline that helps us get to know God, that ensures we stay connected to Him (John 15:1-8), that teaches us truth, that provides a place for worship, and that functions as a daily shelter in the midst of the storms of life



¿Por qué se alienta a los cristianos a tener un devocional diario o tiempo personal con Dios?




Un devocional diario o tiempo personal con Dios es el tiempo dedicado a relacionarse con Dios todos los días. Cuando las personas hablan del devocional diario, generalmente se refieren a un momento en que leen su Biblia, hacen un estudio bíblico o leen un libro devocional, acompañado de un tiempo de oración. Algunos simplemente oran. Algunos también incluyen un culto musical. Sin importar el formato de un tiempo devocional diario, este es importante. Dios desea una relación con nosotros. Él nos creó y nos redimió para este mismo propósito. Jesús, antes de su crucifixión, oró: "Padre, quiero que los que me has dado estén conmigo donde yo estoy. Que vean mi gloria, la gloria que me has dado porque me amaste desde antes de la creación del mundo."(Juan 17:24) Primera de Juan 4: 8 nos dice que Dios es amor. El amor de Dios a veces se describe como el de un padre y un hijo o de una pareja casada. Estas relaciones son íntimas. La intimidad toma tiempo para construir. Pasamos tiempo, a diario, si es posible, con los que amamos. Este tiempo está destinado a aumentar nuestro conocimiento el uno del otro, así como a darnos gozo. 


La Escritura también describe a Dios como nuestro dueño. Los servidores (o empleados) deben pasar tiempo con sus empleadores para conocer la voluntad del empleador. Cuando pasamos un tiempo devocional diario con Dios, sometemos nuestra voluntad a la suya. Es en ese momento que rendimos nuestras vidas a Dios. Nos rendimos no solo por la trayectoria general de nuestras vidas, sino cada día. Dios está en los detalles de nuestras vidas (Mateo 6: 25-33). Se preocupa por los detalles de cada día con el amor de un padre o cónyuge y también con el interés de un maestro. Buscamos promover el reino de Dios. Venir a Él todos los días es una forma de saber qué dirección seguir. 


Las devociones diarias nos ayudan a aprender la verdad. Cuando pasamos tiempo en la Palabra de Dios, obtenemos sabiduría y comprensión. Se ha dicho que la mejor manera de reconocer una falsificación es estudiar el objeto real. Satanás es el "padre de las mentiras" (Juan 8:44). Si no estamos empapados en la verdad de Dios, somos más fácilmente engañados. Cuando conocemos la verdad, experimentamos la libertad (Juan 8:32). 


Pasar tiempo todos los días con Dios es una forma de adorarlo. El tiempo es un recurso limitado. En lo que pasamos nuestro tiempo es una indicación de lo que valoramos. Cuando pasamos tiempo con Dios, demostramos que lo valoramos. Afirmamos que Él es digno de atención y de alabanza. 


Dios es nuestro refugio (Salmo 46). La vida es a menudo caótica y confusa. Cuando es así, corremos hacia Dios. Si deseamos encontrar verdaderamente descanso y seguridad en Dios, es útil conocerlo bien. Tal conocimiento profundo proviene del tiempo diario pasado con Él. A veces, la mejor manera de usar un refugio es ir allí antes de que las cosas se compliquen. 


La devoción diaria es una disciplina espiritual que nos ayuda a conocer a Dios, que nos asegura que estamos conectados con Él (Juan 15: 1-8), que nos enseña la verdad, que proporciona un lugar para la adoración, y que funciona como un refugio diario en medio de las tormentas de la vida. 




07/01/20

“What does it mean to be free from sin?"


Proverbs 20:9 asks the question "Who can say, 'I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin'?" (NLT). We can all identify with that. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we still sin. So why does Romans 6:18 say, "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness"? Is this a contradiction?


Sin can be defined as "any thought, action, or attitude that falls short of God's holiness" (Romans 3:23). Sin has many layers. There are specific actions or thoughts which are sinful. Murder, adultery, and theft are sins (Exodus 20:1–17). Even the desire to commit murder, adultery, and theft are sins (Matthew 5:21, 28). But sin goes deeper than that. We commit sins because we are sinners. Since Adam first sinned in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17; 3:17–19), every person born has inherited a sin nature from him (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; 5:12). We cannot help but sin because it is our nature to do so. A bird does not have to be taught how to build a nest and keep her eggs warm. It is her nature to do so. A child does not have to be taught to be selfish and demanding. That comes naturally.


However, we were not created to be sinful. We were designed by God in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Humanity is His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 8:4–6). We were designed to live in fellowship with our Creator. But because of sin, we cannot enter His presence (Habakkuk 1:13). When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself all the sin of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:2). By taking the punishment for our sin, He cancelled the debt that each of us owes God (Colossians 2:14). He also reversed the curse of our old natures, which keeps us enslaved to sinful passions and desires (Galatians 3:10, 13). Before a person meets Christ, he or she is enslaved by that sin nature (Romans 7:25; 2 Peter 2:19). At the moment of conversion, we are given a new nature that has been freed from sin (Romans 6:18; 8:2). The entire chapter of Romans 6 explains this in detail. Verse 14 says, "For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace."


To be free from sin means that those who have made Jesus the Lord of their lives are no longer enslaved by sin. We have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to live victoriously over sin (1 Corinthians 15:56–67; Romans 8:37). Just like we once followed fleshly desires, those who are "in Christ Jesus" now follow the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:24). Because we live in a fallen world and are still fleshly creatures, we will still sin (1 John 1:9; 2:1; Romans 7:21–22). But those who follow Christ do not make sin a lifestyle choice (1 John 2:1–6; 3:6–10; Romans 6:2).


Those who have been born again (John 3:3) have received a new nature. Whereas the old nature drew us toward self-pleasure, the new nature tugs us toward holiness (2 Corinthians 5:17). To be free from sin means it no longer wields the power it once did. The stranglehold of selfishness, greed, and lust has been broken. Freedom from sin allows us to offer ourselves as willing slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ, who continues to work in us to make us more like Him (Romans 6:18; 8:29; Philippians 2:13).



"¿Qué significa ser libre del pecado?"


Proverbios 20: 9 hace la pregunta "¿Quién puede decir:" He limpiado mi corazón; soy puro y libre de pecado "? 


Todos podemos identificarnos con eso. Si somos honestos con nosotros mismos, sabemos que todavía pecamos. Entonces, ¿por qué Romanos 6:18 dice: "Han sido liberados del pecado y se han convertido en esclavos de la justicia"? ¿Es esto una contradicción? 


 El pecado se puede definir como "cualquier pensamiento, acción o actitud que no alcanza la santidad de Dios" (Romanos 3:23). El pecado tiene muchas capas. Hay acciones o pensamientos específicos que son pecaminosos. El asesinato, el adulterio y el robo son pecados (Éxodo 20: 1–17). Incluso el deseo de cometer asesinato, adulterio y robo son pecados (Mateo 5:21, 28). Pero el pecado va más profundo que eso. 


Cometemos pecados porque somos pecadores. Desde que Adán pecó por primera vez en el Jardín del Edén (Génesis 2:17; 3: 17–19), toda persona nacida ha heredado de él una naturaleza pecaminosa (Salmo 51: 5; Romanos 3:23; 5:12). 


No podemos evitar pecar porque nuestra naturaleza es hacerlo. No es necesario enseñarle a un pájaro cómo construir un nido y mantener sus huevos calientes. Es su naturaleza hacerlo. Un niño no tiene que ser enseñado a ser egoísta y exigente. Eso viene naturalmente.


Sin embargo, no fuimos creados para ser pecaminosos. Fuimos diseñados por Dios a su propia imagen (Génesis 1:27). 


La humanidad es su obra maestra (Efesios 2:10; Salmo 8: 4–6). Fuimos diseñados para vivir en comunión con nuestro Creador. Pero debido al pecado, no podemos entrar en su presencia (Habacuc 1:13). Cuando Jesús murió en la cruz, tomó sobre sí todo el pecado del mundo (2 Corintios 5:21; 1 Juan 2: 2). Al tomar el castigo por nuestro pecado, canceló la deuda que cada uno de nosotros le debemos a Dios (Colosenses 2:14). 


También revirtió la maldición de nuestras viejas naturalezas, lo que nos mantiene esclavos de pasiones y deseos pecaminosos (Gálatas 3:10, 13). 


Antes de que una persona se encuentre con Cristo, él o ella están esclavizados por esa naturaleza pecaminosa (Romanos 7:25; 2 Pedro 2:19). En el momento de la conversión, se nos da una nueva naturaleza que ha sido liberada del pecado (Romanos 6:18; 8: 2). Todo el capítulo de Romanos 6 explica esto en detalle. El versículo 14 dice: "Porque el pecado ya no será tu señor, porque no estás bajo la ley, sino bajo la gracia". 


 Estar libre del pecado significa que aquellos que han hecho de Jesús el Señor de sus vidas ya no están esclavizados por el pecado. Tenemos el poder, por medio del Espíritu Santo, para vivir victoriosamente sobre el pecado (1 Corintios 15: 56–67; Romanos 8:37). Al igual que una vez seguimos los deseos carnales, los que están "en Cristo Jesús" ahora siguen al Espíritu Santo (Romanos 8:14; Gálatas 5:24). Debido a que vivimos en un mundo caído y todavía somos criaturas carnales, todavía pecaremos (1 Juan 1: 9; 2: 1; Romanos 7: 21–22). Pero aquellos que siguen a Cristo no hacen del pecado una opción de estilo de vida (1 Juan 2: 1–6; 3: 6–10; Romanos 6: 2). 


 Los que han nacido de nuevo (Juan 3: 3) han recibido una nueva naturaleza. Mientras que la vieja naturaleza nos atrajo hacia el placer propio, la nueva naturaleza nos arrastra hacia la santidad (2 Corintios 5:17). 


Estar libre del pecado significa que ya no ejerce el poder que una vez tuvo. El dominio del egoísmo, la codicia y la lujuria se ha roto. La libertad del pecado nos permite ofrecernos como esclavos voluntarios del Señor Jesucristo, quien continúa trabajando en nosotros para hacernos más como Él (Romanos 6:18; 8:29; Filipenses 2:13).




06/30/20  


“What does it mean to be free from sin?"


Proverbs 20:9 asks the question "Who can say, 'I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin'?" (NLT). We can all identify with that. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we still sin. So why does Romans 6:18 say, "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness"? Is this a contradiction?


Sin can be defined as "any thought, action, or attitude that falls short of God's holiness" (Romans 3:23). Sin has many layers. There are specific actions or thoughts which are sinful. Murder, adultery, and theft are sins (Exodus 20:1–17). Even the desire to commit murder, adultery, and theft are sins (Matthew 5:21, 28). But sin goes deeper than that. We commit sins because we are sinners. Since Adam first sinned in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17; 3:17–19), every person born has inherited a sin nature from him (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; 5:12). We cannot help but sin because it is our nature to do so. A bird does not have to be taught how to build a nest and keep her eggs warm. It is her nature to do so. A child does not have to be taught to be selfish and demanding. That comes naturally.


However, we were not created to be sinful. We were designed by God in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Humanity is His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 8:4–6). We were designed to live in fellowship with our Creator. But because of sin, we cannot enter His presence (Habakkuk 1:13). When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself all the sin of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:2). By taking the punishment for our sin, He cancelled the debt that each of us owes God (Colossians 2:14). He also reversed the curse of our old natures, which keeps us enslaved to sinful passions and desires (Galatians 3:10, 13). Before a person meets Christ, he or she is enslaved by that sin nature (Romans 7:25; 2 Peter 2:19). At the moment of conversion, we are given a new nature that has been freed from sin (Romans 6:18; 8:2). The entire chapter of Romans 6 explains this in detail. Verse 14 says, "For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace."


To be free from sin means that those who have made Jesus the Lord of their lives are no longer enslaved by sin. We have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to live victoriously over sin (1 Corinthians 15:56–67; Romans 8:37). Just like we once followed fleshly desires, those who are "in Christ Jesus" now follow the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:24). Because we live in a fallen world and are still fleshly creatures, we will still sin (1 John 1:9; 2:1; Romans 7:21–22). But those who follow Christ do not make sin a lifestyle choice (1 John 2:1–6; 3:6–10; Romans 6:2).


Those who have been born again (John 3:3) have received a new nature. Whereas the old nature drew us toward self-pleasure, the new nature tugs us toward holiness (2 Corinthians 5:17). To be free from sin means it no longer wields the power it once did. The stranglehold of selfishness, greed, and lust has been broken. Freedom from sin allows us to offer ourselves as willing slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ, who continues to work in us to make us more like Him (Romans 6:18; 8:29; Philippians 2:13).



"¿Qué significa ser libre del pecado?"


Proverbios 20: 9 hace la pregunta "¿Quién puede decir:" He limpiado mi corazón; soy puro y libre de pecado "? 


Todos podemos identificarnos con eso. Si somos honestos con nosotros mismos, sabemos que todavía pecamos. Entonces, ¿por qué Romanos 6:18 dice: "Han sido liberados del pecado y se han convertido en esclavos de la justicia"? ¿Es esto una contradicción? 


 El pecado se puede definir como "cualquier pensamiento, acción o actitud que no alcanza la santidad de Dios" (Romanos 3:23). El pecado tiene muchas capas. Hay acciones o pensamientos específicos que son pecaminosos. El asesinato, el adulterio y el robo son pecados (Éxodo 20: 1–17). Incluso el deseo de cometer asesinato, adulterio y robo son pecados (Mateo 5:21, 28). Pero el pecado va más profundo que eso. 


Cometemos pecados porque somos pecadores. Desde que Adán pecó por primera vez en el Jardín del Edén (Génesis 2:17; 3: 17–19), toda persona nacida ha heredado de él una naturaleza pecaminosa (Salmo 51: 5; Romanos 3:23; 5:12). 


No podemos evitar pecar porque nuestra naturaleza es hacerlo. No es necesario enseñarle a un pájaro cómo construir un nido y mantener sus huevos calientes. Es su naturaleza hacerlo. Un niño no tiene que ser enseñado a ser egoísta y exigente. Eso viene naturalmente.


Sin embargo, no fuimos creados para ser pecaminosos. Fuimos diseñados por Dios a su propia imagen (Génesis 1:27). 


La humanidad es su obra maestra (Efesios 2:10; Salmo 8: 4–6). Fuimos diseñados para vivir en comunión con nuestro Creador. Pero debido al pecado, no podemos entrar en su presencia (Habacuc 1:13). Cuando Jesús murió en la cruz, tomó sobre sí todo el pecado del mundo (2 Corintios 5:21; 1 Juan 2: 2). Al tomar el castigo por nuestro pecado, canceló la deuda que cada uno de nosotros le debemos a Dios (Colosenses 2:14). 


También revirtió la maldición de nuestras viejas naturalezas, lo que nos mantiene esclavos de pasiones y deseos pecaminosos (Gálatas 3:10, 13). 


Antes de que una persona se encuentre con Cristo, él o ella están esclavizados por esa naturaleza pecaminosa (Romanos 7:25; 2 Pedro 2:19). En el momento de la conversión, se nos da una nueva naturaleza que ha sido liberada del pecado (Romanos 6:18; 8: 2). Todo el capítulo de Romanos 6 explica esto en detalle. El versículo 14 dice: "Porque el pecado ya no será tu señor, porque no estás bajo la ley, sino bajo la gracia". 


 Estar libre del pecado significa que aquellos que han hecho de Jesús el Señor de sus vidas ya no están esclavizados por el pecado. Tenemos el poder, por medio del Espíritu Santo, para vivir victoriosamente sobre el pecado (1 Corintios 15: 56–67; Romanos 8:37). Al igual que una vez seguimos los deseos carnales, los que están "en Cristo Jesús" ahora siguen al Espíritu Santo (Romanos 8:14; Gálatas 5:24). Debido a que vivimos en un mundo caído y todavía somos criaturas carnales, todavía pecaremos (1 Juan 1: 9; 2: 1; Romanos 7: 21–22). Pero aquellos que siguen a Cristo no hacen del pecado una opción de estilo de vida (1 Juan 2: 1–6; 3: 6–10; Romanos 6: 2). 


 Los que han nacido de nuevo (Juan 3: 3) han recibido una nueva naturaleza. Mientras que la vieja naturaleza nos atrajo hacia el placer propio, la nueva naturaleza nos arrastra hacia la santidad (2 Corintios 5:17). 


Estar libre del pecado significa que ya no ejerce el poder que una vez tuvo. El dominio del egoísmo, la codicia y la lujuria se ha roto. La libertad del pecado nos permite ofrecernos como esclavos voluntarios del Señor Jesucristo, quien continúa trabajando en nosotros para hacernos más como Él (Romanos 6:18; 8:29; Filipenses 2:13).




06/29/20  


“What does the Bible say about Christian character?"


Character is defined as strength of moral fiber. A.W. Tozer described character as “the excellence of moral beings.” As the excellence of gold is its purity and the excellence of art is its beauty, so the excellence of man is his character. Persons of character are noted for their honesty, ethics, and charity. Descriptions such as “man of principle” and “woman of integrity” are assertions of character. A lack of character is moral deficiency, and persons lacking character tend to behave dishonestly, unethically, and uncharitably. 


A person’s character is the sum of his or her disposition, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions. It is good to remember that character is gauged by general tendencies, not on the basis of a few isolated actions. We must look at the whole life. For example, King David was a man of good character (1 Samuel 13:14) although he sinned on occasion (2 Samuel 11). And although King Ahab may have acted nobly once (1 Kings 22:35), he was still a man of overall bad character (1 Kings 16:33). Several people in the Bible are described as having noble character: Ruth (Ruth 3:11), Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), David (Psalm 78:72), and Job (Job 2:3). These individuals’ lives were distinguished by persistent moral virtue.


Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), and that godly choice was an important step in formulating an unassailable integrity in the young man’s life. Character, in turn, influences our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3a). Character will help us weather the storms of life and keep us from sin (Proverbs 10:9a). 


It is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3). Godly character is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification. Character in the believer is a consistent manifestation of Jesus in his life. It is the purity of heart that God gives becoming purity in action. God sometimes uses trials to strengthen character: “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). The Lord is pleased when His children grow in character. “You test the heart and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17; see also Psalm 15:1-2).


We can develop character by controlling our thoughts (Philippians 4:8), practicing Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-6), guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:18-20), and keeping good company (1 Corinthians 15:33). Men and women of character will set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all (Titus 2:7-8).




"¿Qué dice la Biblia sobre el carácter cristiano?"


El carácter se define como la fuerza de la fibra moral. A.W. Tozer describió al personaje como "la excelencia de los seres morales". Como la excelencia del oro es su pureza y la excelencia del arte es su belleza, la excelencia del hombre es su carácter. Las personas de carácter se caracterizan por su honestidad, ética y caridad. Las descripciones como "hombre de principio" y "mujer de integridad" son afirmaciones de carácter. La falta de carácter es una deficiencia moral, y las personas que carecen de carácter tienden a comportarse de manera deshonesta, poco ética y poco caritativa. 


El carácter de una persona es la suma de su disposición, pensamientos, intenciones, deseos y acciones. Es bueno recordar que el carácter se mide por tendencias generales, no en base a algunas acciones aisladas. Debemos mirar toda la vida. Por ejemplo, el rey David era un hombre de buen carácter (1 Samuel 13:14) aunque en ocasiones pecó (2 Samuel 11). 


Y aunque el Rey Acab pudo haber actuado noble una vez (1 Reyes 22:35), todavía era un hombre de mal carácter en general (1 Reyes 16:33). Se describe que varias personas en la Biblia tienen un carácter noble: Rut (Rut 3:11), Hanani (Nehemías 7: 2), David (Salmo 78:72) y Job (Job 2: 3). La vida de estos individuos se distinguió por la persistente virtud moral. 


El carácter está influenciado y desarrollado por nuestras elecciones. Daniel "resolvió no contaminarse" en Babilonia (Daniel 1: 8), y esa elección piadosa fue un paso importante para formular una integridad inexpugnable en la vida del joven. 


El carácter, a su vez, influye en nuestras elecciones. "La integridad de los rectos los guía" (Proverbios 11: 3a). El carácter nos ayudará a capear las tormentas de la vida y nos protegerá del pecado (Proverbios 10: 9a).


El propósito del Señor es desarrollar el carácter dentro de nosotros. “El crisol para plata y el horno para oro, pero el SEÑOR prueba el corazón” (Proverbios 17: 3). El carácter piadoso es el resultado de la obra de santificación del Espíritu Santo. El carácter en el creyente es una manifestación constante de Jesús en su vida. 


Es la pureza de corazón que Dios da a la pureza en acción. Dios a veces usa pruebas para fortalecer el carácter: “también nos regocijamos en nuestros sufrimientos, porque sabemos que el sufrimiento produce perseverancia; perseverancia, carácter; y carácter, esperanza ”(Romanos 5: 3-4). El Señor se complace cuando sus hijos crecen en carácter. “Pruebas el corazón y estás satisfecho con la integridad” (1 Crónicas 29:17; ver también Salmo 15: 1-2). 


Podemos desarrollar el carácter controlando nuestros pensamientos (Filipenses 4: 8), practicando las virtudes cristianas (2 Pedro 1: 5-6), cuidando nuestros corazones (Proverbios 4:23; Mateo 15: 18-20) y manteniendo una buena compañía ( 1 Corintios 15:33). Los hombres y mujeres con carácter darán un buen ejemplo a los demás, y su reputación piadosa será evidente para todos (Tito 2: 7-8).




06/28/20  


“How can I become more like Christ?"


God's desire for all who know Him is for us to become more like Christ. We do this by first growing in our knowledge of Christ. It stands to reason that we cannot grow to be like someone we don't know. The deeper our knowledge of Christ, the deeper our understanding of Him, and the more like Him we become. Among other reasons, we are to know and understand Christ so that we will be secure in the faith.


The Apostle Paul reiterates this truth in Ephesians 4:14-16: "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." This fact is repeated once more in 2 Peter 3:17-18: "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." These passages show us that growing in the knowledge of Christ will preserve us from faith-destroying error.


Of course, knowledge alone will not produce a Christlike character. The knowledge we gain from God's Word must impact our hearts and convict us of the need to obey what we have learned. Romans 12:1-2 tells us emphatically that the process of filling our minds with the knowledge of God not only brings us closer to Christlikeness, but obedience to that knowledge aligns us with the perfect will of God: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God"this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is"his good, pleasing and perfect will."


The natural consequence of knowing and obeying God is that He becomes greater and greater, while we become less and less as we yield control of our lives to Him. Just as John the Baptist knew that "[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30), so the Christian grows to reflect more of Christ and less of his own nature. Luke sums it up best when he describes what Jesus told His disciples: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it" (Luke 9:23-24). The cross was an instrument of death, and Jesus encourages us to take up our cross in order to put to death our old sin nature upon it. God wants us to forget about this world and all its temporary pleasures and be obedient to His Word. Jesus is the living Word (John 1:1), and the Bible is God's written Word. Therefore, conforming to the Word of God is conforming to Christ.


It is important to realize that becoming more like Christ starts by receiving Him as Savior from our sins. Then we grow in our knowledge of God by reading the Bible daily, studying it, and being obedient to what it says. This process causes us to grow and occurs over an entire lifetime in Christ. Only when we have entered Heaven for eternity with God does this process reach its culmination.



"¿Cómo puedo ser más semejante a Cristo?"

Ser cada vez más semejante a Cristo es el deseo de cada creyente, y es alentador saber que Dios tiene el mismo deseo para nosotros. De hecho, la Biblia dice que Dios "predestinó [los creyentes] para que fuesen hechos conformes a la imagen de su Hijo." (Romanos 8:29). Haciéndonos semejantes a Cristo es la obra de Dios, y lo verá cumplirse hasta el final (Filipenses 1:6).


Sin embargo, el hecho de que Dios nos transforme en semejanza a Cristo no significa que podamos sentarnos y ser llevados al cielo "en camas florecientes de facilidad." El proceso exige nuestra cooperación voluntaria con el Espíritu Santo. Llegar a ser más como Cristo requiere tanto el poder divino como el cumplimiento de las responsabilidades humanas.


Hay tres cosas que contribuyen a ser más como Cristo: nuestra entrega a Dios, nuestra libertad del pecado y nuestro crecimiento espiritual.


1) Ser cada vez más semejantes a Cristo es el resultado de la entrega a Dios. Romanos 12:1-2 dice que nuestro culto racional implica una auto dedicación total a Dios. Ofrecemos nuestros cuerpos como "sacrificios vivos", y nuestras mentes son renovadas y transformadas.


Cuando Jesús dijo: "Sígueme", Leví dejó inmediatamente sus mesas de dinero (Marcos 2:14); así todos rendimos voluntariamente todo lo que tenemos a fin de seguir al Señor. Como dijo Juan el Bautista, "Es necesario que él crezca, pero que yo mengüe."(Juan 3:30), por lo que nos enfocamos más y más sobre Jesús y Su gloria, perdiéndonos en Su voluntad.


2) Ser cada vez más semejantes a Cristo es el resultado de la libertad del pecado. Puesto que Jesús vivió una vida sin pecado, cuanto más nos consideramos "muertos al pecado" (Romanos 6:11) y vivimos una vida de pureza, más como Jesús seremos. Al ofrecernos a Dios, el pecado ya no es nuestro maestro, y nosotros estamos más claramente identificados con Cristo (Romanos 6:1-14).


Jesús nos invita a seguirlo, y tenemos Su ejemplo de obediencia (Juan 15:10), amor sacrificial (Juan 15:12-13) y sufrimiento paciente (1 Pedro 2:19-23). También tenemos el ejemplo de los apóstoles, quienes modelaron a Cristo (1 Corintios 11:1).


Cuando se trata de restringir el pecado en nuestras vidas, tenemos la ayuda divina: Alabado sea el Señor por la Palabra de Dios (Salmo 119:11), la intercesión de Cristo (Romanos 8:34; Hebreos 7:25) y el poder del Espíritu quien mora en nosotros (Romanos 8:4; Gálatas 5:16).


3) Ser cada vez más semejantes a Cristo es el resultado del crecimiento cristiano. Cuando primero somos salvos, somos inmaduros en la sabiduría y el conocimiento, e inexpertos en la gracia y el amor. Pero luego crecemos. En cada una de estas cosas, nuestra responsabilidad es llegar a ser más fuertes y más como Cristo. "Creced en la gracia y el conocimiento de nuestro Señor y Salvador Jesucristo." (2 Pedro 3:18). "Y el Señor os haga crecer y abundar en amor unos para con otros y para con todos…" (1 Tesalonicenses 3:12).


Ahora mismo, Dios trabaja en nosotros: "Por tanto, nosotros todos, mirando a cara descubierta como en un espejo la gloria del Señor, somos transformados de gloria en gloria en la misma imagen, como por el Espíritu del Señor.” (2 Corintios 3:18). Un día, sin embargo, el proceso será completo: "cuando él se manifieste, seremos semejantes a él, porque le veremos tal como él es. " (1 Juan 3:2). La promesa de ser plenamente semejantes a Cristo en el futuro es en sí misma una motivación para llegar a ser más como Cristo ahora: "Y todo aquel que tiene esta esperanza en él, se purifica a sí mismo, así como él es puro." (1 Juan 3:3). 




06/27/20  


“What is the key to truly experiencing God?"


Although extremely popular in Christian circles, the concept of “experiencing God” is not explicitly found in Scripture. There are numerous commands in Scripture regarding how we are to relate to God, but experiencing Him is not one of them. We are to love God with all our hearts (Deuteronomy 6:5), obey God (Deuteronomy 27:10; 1 John 5:2), trust God (John 14:1), fear God (Ecclesiastes 12:13; 1 Peter 2:17), etc. But nowhere does the Bible tell us to “experience God.” The dictionary definition of experience as a verb is “1) to participate in or undergo, 2) to be emotionally or aesthetically moved by, or 3) to learn by experience.”


What, then is meant by experiencing God, and how do we go about it? If we begin with the dictionary definitions of experience, put them together, and apply them to our relationship to God, we come up with something like “participating in the nature of God, being moved by Him, and learning of Him by familiarity.”


Before we can participate in God in any way, we have to fully come to terms with two inner conflicts. First, each of us is a hopeless sinner in a pit from which we cannot escape by our own efforts (Romans 3:12). Second, nothing we do on our own is acceptable to Almighty God—not giving our money to the poor, not volunteer work at the hospital, not church attendance, nothing (Isaiah 64:6). Scripture tells us that, in order to resolve these conflicts, we have to receive Jesus Christ in our heart as our Lord and Savior and turn our lives over to Him. Only then are our words and acts acceptable to God (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). So the first key to experiencing God is to be a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), and that is done only through faith in the shed blood of Christ on the cross for our sin.


The second part of our definition of experiencing God is being moved by Him. The movement of God in the soul of man is one function of the Holy Spirit. From the very beginning of creation, when the Spirit of God “moved on the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2), to the movement of the Spirit in the hearts of unbelievers, drawing them to Christ, the Spirit is actively involved in moving us. We are moved by God in His drawing us to faith (John 6:44); the Spirit moves in our hearts to convict us of sin and our need for the Savior (John 16:7–9), and within believers, He directs, guides, comforts, and influences us, as well as produces in us the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). In addition, the Spirit moved the authors of all 66 books of the Bible to record exactly what He breathed into their hearts and minds (2 Peter 1:21), and through the Scriptures, He moves within us to testify to our spirits that we are His children (Romans 8:16).


The third part of experiencing God is the lifelong process of learning of Him, becoming so intimately acquainted with Him that we joyfully yield our lives to Him because we have come to know Him and trust Him completely. This involves coming to understand that He is faithful, good, holy, just, unchanging, omnipotent, and sovereign over all circumstances. One very joyous part of experiencing God is the intimate knowledge of His love. The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8, emphasis added). As we experience His love, we can begin to share our Christian love with others, regardless of circumstances, and this in turn will produce more and more love as others experience His love through us.


The key to experiencing God, then, is not expecting an “experience” or an emotional lift. Rather, it is a lifelong process of belonging to Him through Christ, being moved by the Holy Spirit by whom we are sanctified, and growing in the knowledge of Him.




“¿Cuál es la clave para experimentar verdaderamente a Dios?"

Aunque es extremadamente popular en círculos cristianos, el concepto de "experimentar a Dios" no se encuentra claramente en las escrituras. Hay muchísimos mandatos en las escrituras acerca de cómo nos relacionamos con Dios, sin embargo el experimentar a Dios no es uno de ellos. Debemos amar a Dios con todo nuestro corazón (Deuteronomio 6:5), obedecer a Dios (Deuteronomio 27:10; 1 Juan 5:2), confiar en Dios (Juan 14:1), tener temor a Dios (Eclesiastés 12:13; 1 Pedro 2:17), etc. En ninguna parte la biblia nos dice que "experimentemos a Dios". La definición que encontramos en el diccionario del verbo experimentar es "1) participar en o someterse a, 2) estar emocionalmente o estéticamente movido por, o 3) aprender por la experiencia".


¿Qué se entiende entonces por experimentar a Dios, y cómo vamos a hacerlo? Si comenzamos con las definiciones del diccionario de la palabra experimentar, colocándolas juntas y aplicándolas a nuestra relación con Dios, nos encontramos con algo como "participando en la naturaleza de Dios, siendo movidos por él, y aprendiendo de él por la familiaridad".


Antes de que podamos participar en Dios en cualquier manera, tenemos que llegar a un acuerdo completo con dos conflictos interiores. En primer lugar, cada uno de nosotros es un pecador desesperado en un pozo del que no podemos escapar por nuestros propios esfuerzos (Romanos 3:12). En segundo lugar, nada de lo que hagamos por nuestra propia cuenta es aceptable para el Dios todopoderoso, ni siquiera el dar nuestro dinero a los pobres, ni el trabajo voluntario, ni la asistencia a la iglesia, nada en absoluto (Isaías 64:6). Las escrituras nos dicen que, para resolver estos conflictos, tenemos que recibir a Jesucristo en nuestro corazón como nuestro señor y salvador y entregarle nuestras vidas. Solo en ese momento nuestras palabras y nuestros actos son aceptables a Dios (2 Corintios 12:9-10). Entonces, la primera clave para experimentar a Dios es ser "partícipe de la naturaleza divina" (2 Pedro 1:4), y eso sólo se hace por medio de la fe en la sangre que Cristo derramó en la cruz por nuestros pecados.


La segunda parte de nuestra definición respecto a experimentar a Dios es el ser movidos por él. El movimiento de Dios en el alma del hombre es una función del Espíritu Santo. Desde el comienzo de la creación, cuando el Espíritu de Dios "se movía sobre la faz de las aguas" (Génesis 1:2), hasta el movimiento del Espíritu Santo en los corazones de los incrédulos, llevándolos a Cristo, el Espíritu está activamente involucrado moviéndose en nuestras vidas. Somos movidos por Dios desde el momento en que nos atrae a la fe (Juan 6:44); el Espíritu se mueve en nuestros corazones para convencernos de pecado y de