Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bible Study - Unvarnished (4) - One Great Savior - Romans 5:6-11 - September 25, 2016

Bible Study – Unvarnished (4) – One Great Savior – September 25, 2016

This lesson four (4) in our series entitled “Unvarnished Truth: Life’s Greatest Story.”

Our focus scripture is Romans 5:6-11.

GOD offers us hope and forgiveness through JESUS CHRIST.

In last week’s lesson, we learned that all humans are sinners. There is nothing anyone can do to earn salvation. But GOD in HIS wisdom has a plan for man or woman to be redeemed but it would cost the physical life of HIS, sinless, only Son, JESUS.

We learned about the word “propitiation” which the shed blood of JESUS provides a covering such that sinful man or woman can come to GOD. Before JESUS gave HIS life on the cross, that covering was the shed blood of animals which was a temporary place holder until JESUS paid the sin debt, in full, for all who will place their faith in JESUS.

Romans 5:1-5: (Lead-in)

Faith Triumphs

1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Who else in the Bible was declared righteous by faith?

Genesis 15:6:

6 Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.

Galatians 3:6:

6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness,

2 Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,

4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.

5 This hope does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

These verses reveal the benefits of salvation. Our focus scripture reveals the source of salvation.

Let’s read Romans 5:6-8:

Those Declared Righteous Are Reconciled

6 For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly.

The Apostle Paul used the word “helpless.” All people are “helpless” to earn their way to heaven. GOD had a redemptive plan but GOD did not execute HIS plan until just the precise moment. JESUS gave HIS life for the ungodly. HIS shed blood covered those who placed their faith in GOD in the Old Testament, as well as, covers all until the end of the age. JESUS gave HIS physical life by the shedding of HIS blood to break the sin barrier between GOD and mankind.

The shed blood of JESUS broke the sin barrier but each person must choose to accept what JESUS did by faith.

1 Peter 3:18-19: (Looking back to those who died before JESUS died.)

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—

It is believed that the time between JESUS’ death on the cross and HIS resurrection that HE went to the places where those who had died were kept. HE announced that HE was the promised Messiah and those in Paradise went to heaven. Other Bible scholars proclaim that CHRIST went to Hades and claim victory over sin and death. One day we will know the truth.

Let’s continue with our focus scripture:

7 For rarely will someone die for a just person-though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die.

The Apostle Paul seems to pause and ask his readers to stop and ponder what JESUS did for those who will place their faith in HIM. Just think for a minute, is it normal for a person to give his or her life for someone? It is possible, if that person is your child, spouse or close friend but for a complete stranger to do so? I don’t think so. But consider this ---

8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

Consider the fact that JESUS gave HIS life for all sinners who will place their faith in HIM. That is the height of love for you. Not only did HE give HIS life for you but all who place their faith in HIM. There is more as we read on --

Let’s read Romans 5:9:

9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.

Those who place their faith in JESUS are declared righteous. When a person places his or her faith in CHRIST he or she is justified (justification – just-as-if-I-never-sinned). The process of transformation begins (sanctification – to be set aside for GOD’S purpose) which means he or she is being made into the image of JESUS and continues until he or she is perfected at death which is Glorification – crowning glory.

How does this take place? It is through faith in JESUS. Why? It is to escape the wrath of GOD at judgment day. Sin separates every person from GOD. That is why every person must be reconciled with GOD. GOD knows that and HE made the plan for redemption by HIS grace. Grace equals love.

Do you remember 2 Corinthians 5:17-21?

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

18 Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

19 that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ's behalf, "Be reconciled to God."

21 He (GOD) made the One (JESUS) who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Let’s read Romans 5:10-11:

10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, [then how] much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

Consider what being reconciled to GOD means. It means that your relationship with GOD is restored as if you never sinned. Yet, we know we sin. First John 1:8-9 reveals to us:

8 If we say, "We have no sin," we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Christians sin and we have to confess and repent of our sins. GOD cleanses and restores. Christians live under GOD’S grace. The key is that you belong to GOD through faith in JESUS.

Being reconciled to GOD through the death of JESUS is essential but how much more there is to the death of JESUS. Consider JESUS’ resurrection.  “Saved by HIS life” refers to HIS resurrected life. GOD demonstrated by the resurrection of JESUS that JESUS’ death paid the debt for sin, in full, and that HIS death conquered both sin and eternal death. The resurrection of JESUS guarantees that all who place their faith in HIM will be forgiven for their sins and are born into GOD’S family and will receive their New Glorified Resurrected bodies at the second coming of JESUS.

Thus the last statement “saved by HIS life,” refers to HIS resurrected life. Our path to GOD is through faith in JESUS. Now that is Good News!

Christians do not serve a dead Savior but a living Savior who intercedes for them when they sin.

11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The shed blood of JESUS reconciles sinners with GOD. Each person must choose whether or not to accept this open opportunity to place his or her faith in JESUS. Those who do are redeemed from the consequences of sin, which is eternal death. Those who place their faith in JESUS have been justified, made righteous, received eternal life, born-Spiritually into GOD’S family as HIS Son or Daughter, with the right to call GOD Daddy, citizenship in Heaven, sanctified and awaiting glorification.

This is the Good News! Have you accepted JESUS as your Savior? HE gave HIS life just for you. If you have not by faith asked JESUS to forgive you for your sins and asked HIM to come into your life as your Savior, why not? Keep in mind the words that JESUS spoke to the Apostle Thomas in John 14:6:

6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Now is your opportunity to accept JESUS as your Savior. Why wait?


Friday, September 16, 2016

Bible Study - Unvarnished (3) - One Great Problem - Romans 3:9-12, 19-20, 23 - September 18, 2016

Bible Study – Unvarnished (3) – One Great Problem – September 18, 2016

This is lesson three (3) in our series entitled “Unvarnished Truth: Life’s Greatest Story.”

Our focus scripture is Romans 3:9-12, 19-20, 23.

Without CHRIST, we are condemned forever.

As you recall, the Apostle Paul wrote Romans. Paul had never visited Rome but he planned to visit at some point. It is thought that his letter to the Christians in Rome was his way of introducing himself to his fellow Christians in Rome and making known to them his understanding of the gospel of CHRIST.

He made an assertion that concerned the Christian Jews. Paul stated that no one is righteous before GOD. All are condemned. The Christian Jews took issue with that assertion because many Jews relied upon their ancestral heritage as GOD’S chosen people to be in right standing with GOD.

I do not hear as much today as I did years ago that many people consider themselves Christians because their parents are Christian. Sorry, but every person has to come to a saving knowledge of CHRIST individually.

Paul planned to visit the Christians in Rome, which he did but as a prisoner. Consider the hand of GOD in Paul’s life. Paul wrote this detailed treatise regarding the Christian message of salvation. We study it today and are blessed and guided by it as we ponder and probe the depths of the gospel. The one great problem that must be dealt with all humans is sin. Original sin must be dealt with because all have sinned and fallen short of GOD’S righteousness.  Let’s explore!

Let’s read Romans 3:1-8: (Background)

Paul Answers an Objection:

Some were teaching that in order for a person to become a Christian he or she had to first become a Jew and the males had to be circumcised according to Jewish law. Those touting such a doctrine were referred to as Judaizers. The Apostle Paul was setting the record straight that a person did not have to go through the ritual of Judaism before becoming a Christian.  Being a Jew had no advantage over being a Gentile except the Jew was conscience of the law and what the law required. Let’s explore!

1 So what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?

2 Considerable in every way. First, they were entrusted with the spoken words of God.

GOD entrusted HIS spoken Word to the Israelite's and covenanted with them on Mount Sinai – Old Testament. GOD chose them to be HIS people and in turn the Israelite's chose GOD, thus the covenant was made.

3 What then? If some did not believe, will their unbelief cancel God's faithfulness?

Rejection of GOD by some does not cancel GOD’S eternal covenant as Paul states in the next verse.

4 Absolutely not! God must be true, but everyone is a liar, as it is written: That You may be justified in Your words and triumph when You judge.
Self justification is a lie and will not get a person to heaven or avoid the judgment of GOD.

5 But if our unrighteousness highlights God's righteousness, what are we to say? I use a human argument: Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath?

6 Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world?

7 But if by my lie God's truth is amplified to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?

8 And why not say, just as some people slanderously claim we say, "Let us do evil so that good may come"? Their condemnation is deserved!

Some people claim that the more evil we do, more grace will abound. This is total nonsense. Those who state such nonsense deserve condemnation. GOD will judge those who sin whether Jew or Gentile.

Let’s read Romans 3:9-12:

The Whole World Guilty before God

9 What then? Are we any better? Not at all! For we have previously charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin,

Are Jews more favored by GOD? NO! Why? Paul answers the question in verse 10.

10 as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one;

The very best in us as humans is not enough to make us righteous before GOD. That leaves all humans in a helpless state. So what is the answer? Paul responds using the authority of scripture “as it is written.”

Two resources on this are:

(1) Herschel Hobbs Commentary, fall 2016, page 29, published by LifeWay, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0175:

[As it is written emphasizes the authority of the words. This was more than Paul’s opinion or even traditional teaching. This was divine revelation. The full collection of passages, mostly from Psalms and Isaiah, continues through verse 18. The quotations may have come from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. Therefore the wording may vary some from the Old Testament passage in our English Bibles. Some interpreters think the verses had originally been collected by Jewish rabbis to point out the unrighteousness of the Gentiles. If so, Paul turned the tables by using them against the very people who considered themselves righteous.]

(2)  In the Advanced Bible Study, fall 2016, page36, published by LifeWay, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0175. Dr. John Dent wrote:

[Although Paul answered the questions What then? and Are we any better? in verse 9, he supported his answer in verses 10-18 by stringing together a series of seven Old Testament quotations. These come from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament (in this order: Pss.14:1-3; 53:1-3; 5:9; 140:3; 10:7; Isa. 59:7-8; Ps. 36:1) with the usual it is written as the introduction.]

11 there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.
People in general fail to see the need for GOD and as a result they do not make an effort to seek GOD. Ignorance is bliss but eternity is a reality.

12 All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one.

13 Their throat is an open grave; they deceive with their tongues. Vipers' venom is under their lips.

14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths,

17 and the path of peace they have not known.

18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Humanity is cruel and does not seek or honor GOD. That is human nature because of original sin handed down from our human ancestors, Adam and Eve. Obeying the law or the very best human effort is not good enough for any person to earn the righteousness GOD requires.

We read in Isaiah 64:6:

6 All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind. (KJV)

The very best in us as humans is like filthy garments.

Humans are left helpless and hopeless without GOD’S provision of grace. GOD’S grace can only be obtained by a person placing his or her faith in JESUS and HIS passion.

The proof that JESUS is the only acceptable sinless sacrifice to conquer both sin and eternal death by the shed blood of JESUS is GOD’S resurrection of JESUS from the physically dead. At the resurrection of JESUS, JESUS received HIS New Glorified body to demonstrate that all who place their faith in HIM will also receive their New Glorified resurrected bodies after the second coming of JESUS. Until then Christians will have a special body suitable for heaven and will dwell in heaven until they follow CHRIST to earth at HIS second coming.

JESUS said it best in John 14:6:

6 Jesus told him (Thomas), "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

 Let’s read Romans 3:19-20:

19 Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God's judgment.

The law has no power to save a person from sin and eternal death. There is no point in trying to use the law to make you justified before GOD. All of the world will be judged by GOD. Is there no hope? Let’s keep reading.

20 For no flesh will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, for through the law [comes] the knowledge of sin.

No human will be justified in GOD’S sight by following the law. So of what value is the law? The law makes us conscious of our sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us of how far short we, as humans, fail to meet the law and the Spirit of the Law. There is the letter of the law and then there is the Spirit of the law. All the law does is to reveal the fact that we as humans break GOD’S laws. It is GOD Who pleads with our spirit to draw us to HIM. We either accept and seek HIM or reject and suffer the consequences.  

JESUS addressed this in Matthew 5:28:

28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So what is Paul building toward? Let’s read on.

Let’s read Romans 3:23:

God's Righteousness through Faith

21 But now, apart from the law, God's righteousness has been revealed-attested by the Law and the Prophets

If no human can be justified or made righteous by obeying the law does that mean all humans are domed? The law reveals that no human can do all that the law requires or measure up to what GOD has revealed through the Prophets but GOD has revealed hope for those who place their faith in HIS promised Messiah, JESUS The CHRIST.

22 -that is, God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction.

All are sinners and in need of redemption from sin and eternal death.

23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Through faith in JESUS, GOD’S grace comes into effect. GOD declares that all who place their faith in JESUS are redeemed from sin and eternal death. How does that work?

25 God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.

Paul used the word “propitiation.” Propitiation is a powerful word which describes how GOD Who is Holy and Righteous can have an intimate relationship with sinful humans. Sin has to be dealt with in order for this to take place.

The shed blood of JESUS covers over the sins of all who place their faith in JESUS. This redemption occurred when JESUS gave HIS sinless, physical life on the cross. This covering of sin by HIS shed blood for those who come to GOD through faith in JESUS allows GOD to maintain HIS Holiness and righteousness without being made unholy by association with sin. That is the blood of JESUS cleanses those who ask JESUS to forgive them of their sins and for JESUS to come into their lives. When a person makes that decision a miracle takes place and he or she experiences the miracle of rebirth in his or her spirit. This rebirth changes the person’s spirit to Spirit because he or she is born into GOD’S family as HIS Son or Daughter with all the rights and privileges of being the Child of GOD. GOD’S divine Spirit/Sperm unites with the human spirit and Spiritual conception takes place. Those born-again in their spirit are made righteous, thus the human spirit becomes Spirit. Now that is something to ponder! Let’s read on.

26 He presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.

Paul puts a finer point on this in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21:

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

21 He (GOD) made the One (JESUS) who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we (All who place their faith in HIM) might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Why don’t we, as Christians, live as children of GOD? I think, it is because it sounds too good to be true. That is our problem.

Okay, if that is true I will test GOD. That is our first mistake. We can test GOD but with the right attitude toward learning more about HIM and in an effort to build our intimate, personal, loving relationship with HIM. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to get to know GOD. Not just know about GOD but to get to really know HIM personally. But step one is to acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of salvation. Blessings!!!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Bible Study - Unvarnished (2) - One Great Purpose - Isaiah 43:1-7 - September 11, 2016

Bible Study – Unvarnished (2) – One Great Purpose – September 11, 2016

This is lesson two (2) in our series entitled “Unvarnished Truth: Life’s Greatest Story.”

Our focus scripture is Isaiah 43:1-7.

We were created to glorify GOD and enjoy HIM forever.

On page 25 of the Hershel Hobbs Commentary, fall 2016, published by LifeWay, One LifeWay Plaza. Nashville, TN 37234-0175 the following statements regarding Isaiah 43:5-7 which I think we can ponder as we begin our study:
-         The LORD is active in the course of human history to accomplish HIS purpose.
-         The LORD cannot be limited by such things as geographic boundaries, national policies, or international politics.
-         The LORD is moving human history toward the fulfillment of HIS Holy purpose.
-         All who profess the LORD as their LORD are to bring glory to HIS name.

Let’s explore!

Let’s read Isaiah 43:1-2:

Restoration of Israel

1 Now this is what the Lord says- the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel- "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.

2 I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and [when you pass] through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.

First notice “the LORD” in verse one. This means “Yahweh” the Hebrew personal, covenant name for GOD. When GOD enters into a covenant with HIS chosen HE upholds HIS covenant.

We need to keep in mind that GOD is speaking through HIS servant Isaiah.

The LORD/Yahweh, the covenant name for GOD says:

 – The One Who created you, Jacob. Created carries the idea of producing something from nothing and GOD is always the subject.

 – The One Who formed you, Israel. Formed carries the idea of “squeezing into shape.”

Jacob means “trickster” and Israel means “wrestled with GOD.” The same Jacob who wrestled with GOD was redeemed from his old life and transformed to walk in his new life with GOD. Salvation came to Jacob as he wrestled with GOD. All humans wrestle with GOD in an effort to get to know HIM and understand HIM. Once they come to GOD, they go through that struggle to understand GOD and their role in HIS plans and purpose for them. When we struggle with GOD and yield to HIM, we also have a name change from slave to sin and eternal death to Christian through redemption by the shed blood of The Lamb, JESUS.

Once we have a name change the indwelling Holy Spirit begins HIS work to shape us or squeeze us into the plan and purpose for our lives according to GOD’S plans and purpose for us.

Once GOD has redeemed us, we belong to HIM. HE bought us with a price from the slave block of sin and eternal death. GOD has set us free from the shackles that bind us and sets us free to obediently serve HIM as led by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20:

19 Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

20 for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
JESUS gave HIS life to purchase or redeem every human who will place their faith in HIM.

Being redeemed by GOD has covenant benefits which GOD reveals in verse 2:

2 I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and [when you pass] through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.
What does it mean, as GOD’S child, to be in covenant with GOD? It means HIS covenant is eternal just as HE is eternal.

Life is not trouble free even as children of GOD. We live in a world governed by “good and evil.” GOD established HIS redemptive plan in this imperfect world to give humans a second opportunity to choose HIM and receive eternal life instead of eternal death. GOD covenants with all who become HIS children through the miracle of rebirth in their spirit when they place their faith in JESUS.

Notice the words “when you pass” and “when you walk” through the issues of life, they will not consume you because GOD will be with you.” It does not mean GOD’S people will not face the issues of life but when they do GOD will be at their side going through them with them.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28-30:

28 We know that (GOD is in) all things work(ing) together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

Every human ever to be born is predestined by GOD but the freewill of all humans will determine whether or not every human will choose to be redeemed by GOD through faith in JESUS. GOD is in all things to bring about the salvation/redemption of every human from sin and eternal death but unfortunately not all will choose salvation according to GOD’S plan. All who choose JESUS as their Savior, GOD covenants with them because they have become HIS children.    

Waters represent power which can be destructive, useful or cleansing. Fire can also be destructive, useful or cleansing. When we embrace GOD and covenant with HIM through faith in JESUS, GOD turns sure destruction into sure redemption and usefulness. You are precious to GOD and GOD does not make junk.

Let’s read Isaiah 43:3-4:

3 For I the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior, give Egypt as a ransom for you, Cush and Seba in your place.

“For” in verse 3 connects to verses 1 and 2. GOD created, redeemed and knows us. Because of this, a unique relationship is open to all who seek a relationship with HIM. There are five titles GOD reveals:

-         I, Yahweh (Covenant name), your GOD, The Holy One of Israel and your Savior.

GOD The One True GOD, The covenant GOD of Israel, your Savior seeks to have a relationship with you. It is your choice to have a relationship with HIM. Before CHRIST, King David expressed these words after he sinned with Bathsheba in Psalm 51:16-17:

16 You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering.

17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

Going through the rituals of sacrifice is inadequate to remove sin without a change in our hearts. It is like putting a band-aid on cancer and expecting a cure. When we view sin as GOD views it, we are broken and realize that only HE can cleanse us, redeem us and restore us. Since the passion of CHRIST, JESUS is the perfect, sinless sacrifice Who cleanses all who place their faith in HIM and makes them whole before GOD.

The Israelites were in exile and GOD had to give a ransom for them – Egypt, Cush (the upper region of the Nile or Ethiopia) and Seba (parts of Arabia). In a broader sense, it was a reminder of GOD’S deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage and ultimately points to the time when CHRIST will gather all of GOD’S people when CHRIST returns to rule upon earth.

JESUS paid the price by HIS shed blood to ransom all who place their faith in HIM from the ravages of sin and eternal death.

Why was GOD giving the Israelites this message of hope? Let’s read on.  

4 Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and I love you, I will give human beings in your place, and peoples in place of your life.

Did you know that you are “precious” to GOD and that GOD loves you? Well, HE does. Of course, this was reassurance to the Jews exiled in Babylon to give them hope of their return to Jerusalem. GOD had punished them for disobedience. In essence, count it all joy when we are punished by GOD. 

Sounds strange doesn’t it? If GOD did not love HIS children, those who placed their faith in HIM at one time, HE would not need to discipline us. So when we are punished by GOD, we know that HE loves us because at one time we placed our faith in HIM (Old Testament) and JESUS (New Testament.)

GOD made a covenant with the Israelites in the Old Testament and made a new covenant with all people who place their faith in JESUS, The Messiah, as revealed in the New Testament. When we respond to GOD by faith in JESUS, we honor GOD and GOD honors us. GOD loves us, HIS children, unconditionally, warts and all. What is the result? Let’s read on.

5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west.

As GOD’S children, when we are in the dark, we are to practice what we learn in the light. GOD will restore Jerusalem by bringing HIS chosen from all parts of the earth. HE did then as recorded in the Old Testament as an example to us today. There will be a time when every knee will bow and honor JESUS as LORD. HE will establish HIS Kingdom upon earth after the second coming of JESUS The CHRIST.

Let’s read Isaiah 43:5-7:

6 I will say to the north: Give [them] up! and to the south: Do not hold [them] back! Bring My sons from far away, and My daughters from the ends of the earth-

7 everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him."

In verse 6, GOD refers to “MY sons” and MY daughters” to indicate that salvation is not tied to gender but all, who by faith acknowledge HIM as their Savior. As a result, JESUS purchased or redeemed them by HIS shed blood and they belong to HIM. GOD formed us and made us to glorify HIM by being in an intimate personal, loving relationship with HIM through faith in JESUS. Thus our purpose in life.

The Bible gives a picture of GOD revealing Himself to us. HE began with a chosen people group, the Israelites. HE performed miracles as HE led them to make Himself known to them. HE warned them when they were going astray. When they did not repent and come back to HIM, HE allowed what HE had told them would happen to them to take place. They would repent and HE would restore. Read GOD’S Word and you will see how GOD said what HE means and means what HE says. HE has not changed. HIS Word is still relevant today.

It is clear, GOD loves every person who ever will live upon earth, even the little conceived child that is never birthed. John 3:14-18 says it best:

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man (JESUS) must be lifted up,

15 so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.

16 "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

GOD loves you and sent HIS Only SON to give HIS life for you. Will you accept this free gift of salvation? It is simple but vital for you to become GOD’S child through the miracle of rebirth in your spirit. The union of HIS Spirit with your spirit results in your spirit being transformed to Spirit, which will live eternally with GOD. When a born-again believer’s physical body dies, his or her born-again Spirit goes immediately to Heaven and is with GOD until JESUS returns to earth the second time. At that time all who are in CHRIST will receive their New Glorified bodies for eternity. Your Glorified body will be like JESUS’ Glorified body. The indwelling Holy Spirit confirms this after we ask JESUS, by faith, to forgive us for our sins and to come into our lives. Now is your opportunity to receive CHRIST as your Savior. Do not delay. Blessings!!!