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    D168 - To know God, we must be poor in spirit

    Matt 5:3; Matt 15:27; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:8; Luke 6:20; Luke 7:6-9; Luke 7:29-30; 39-47; Luke 15:17-21; Luke 18:13-14; Luke 23:40-43; John 4:29; John 9:34-40

    In the Beatitudes, the Lord started the conversation with these words – ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt 5:3, Luke 6:20).

    Poor in spirit is a quintessential component of being a Christian.

    What exactly is ‘poor in spirit’?

    Jesus had just asked Peter to drop the net on the other side. It resulted in a huge catch so much so that two boats were so full they began to sink. Peter turned to the Lord and exclaimed,

    ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord’ (Luke 5:8).

    Peter, instead of sensing a business opportunity, saw his own condition and the wretched sinner that he was.

    It was the same acknowledgement from the high ranking centurion who appealed to Jesus to heal his servant when he said,

    ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself further, for I am not worthy for you to come under my roof’ (Luke 7:6).

    Yet again, in Luke 18:13-14, Jesus showed two persons – one, a tax collector and the other a Pharisee – while the tax collector pleaded for God’s mercy, the Pharisee was rattling off his moral achievements.

    In Mark 2:17, Jesus explained what poor in spirit meant with these words,

    ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick.’

    Anyone who does not recognize his/ her own sinful condition will not be part of the kingdom of God. A believer must first be able to sense and see his/ her own wretched condition when compared to the righteousness of God. Only then do we reach out to Jesus. 

    The irony is, when we think we are righteous based on our moral ‘works’, then we are not. Rom 3:10 says,

    ‘As it is written: None is righteous, no not one.’

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    D169 - As long as we stumble in one (Mosaic) law, we are guilty of all

    James 2:10

    Rom 3:10 says that there is none righteous.

    James 2:10 makes it clear,

    ‘For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.’

    Quite simply, to pass under the Mosaic Covenant, we will need to be perfect.

    On a spotless white gown, one single black permanent stain, even if it is very small, would have rendered that pristine gown unacceptable. So it is the same with sin. As long as we stumble in one law, we are guilty of all. It is the standard expected by our examiner, God Almighty.

    There are many religions which believe that humans are born sinless but tainted by the world; it is the environment that is the cause.

    The Bible makes it clear that we are all born sinners (Rom 3:10). Everyone of us carries the sin gene in our DNA; it is a hereditary genetic disorder of our morals and death is the surest result of that condition (Rom 6:23).

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    D170 - Sin separates us from the kingdom of God and God himself

    Matt 18:3; Matt 5:29; Rom 3:23; Eph 2:12

    God abhors sin and we are separated from God because of our sins.

    Rom 3:23 explains it best when it said,

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

    It is the story of a single permanent black stain on a pristine and spotless white gown; one stain and the gown is completely ruin as it can no more be of the same value.

    See also D30- – Jesus became our perfect passover lamb.

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    D171 - Sin is a bondage and will ultimately leads us to hell

    John 8:34; Gal 5:1

    John 8:34 says,

    ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin.’

    We are either a slave of sin or a slave of righteousness (Rom 6:18). Sin is a bondage because we become captives of the devil (2 Tim 2:26). 

    Rom 6:23 says,

    ‘For the wages of sin is death.’

    Ultimately, sin leads us to an eternal damnation and separation from God and his glorious power (Matt 25:46, Rom 6:23, Matt 10:28, 2 Thes 1:9). And hell is real.

    That was why Jesus said in Luke 12:5,

    ‘Fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.’

    See also D14, God is to be feared.

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    D172 - Sin results in death

    Rom 5:12-15

    Rom 5:12 says,

    ‘Just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.’

    Through Adam, we inherited that one single gene of sin into our DNA. It is a genetic disease and ultimately, it leads to death (Rom 6:23). None of us will be able to escape from it.

    It is not the first death that we should fear but the second death – the lake of fire.

    Rev 20:15 says,

    ‘If anyone was found whose name was not written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’

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    D173 - Sin requires blood sacrifice

    Heb 9:7-22; Eph 1:7

    A blood sacrifice of animals is necessary for us to be cleansed. Heb 9:22 says,

    ‘All things are cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.’

    Eph 1:7 explains,

    ‘In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.’

    It is blood that cleanses us, without which there is no forgiveness of sins.

    See D30 – Jesus became our perfect sacrifice (passover lamb)

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    D174 - Salvation comes when we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord

    Mark 16:16; Luke 12:8-9; John 3:18; John 6:40; 1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:15; Jude 4; 2 Tim 2:12; Rom 10:9

    Mark 16:16 says,

    ‘Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.’

    Salvation comes when we believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. It is seen in John 3:18 and John 6:40.

    Salvation comes to him who is prepared to declare with their mouth that Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:9). We have to speak out that which is in our hearts.

    Luke 12:8-9 reports,

    ‘Everyone who confesses me before men, the Son of men will confess him also before the angels of God but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.’

    Finally, salvation also comes to him who is prepared to stand up for Jesus in the world. See also 2 Tim 2:12.

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    D175 - Salvation is a gift of God to everyone that believes in Jesus

    Rom 6:23; Eph 2:8-9

    Rom 6:23 reads,

    ‘For the wages of sin is death but the GIFT of GOD is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

    Eph 2:8-9 says,

    ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT of GOD, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.’

    Salvation is a gift of God to everyone who believes in Jesus. We cannot work toward our salvation like what religions suggest.

    Good works is the result of our salvation but not the reason to earn our salvation.

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    D179 - Our salvation is secured through the sealing of the Holy Spirit

    John 14:16-17; 1 Cor 3:16; Eph 1:13-14

    When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us (John 14:16-17). We are the temple of God in which the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Cor 3:16).

    And Eph 1:13-14 explains that we have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit which guarantees us that we are God’s possession; see also Eph 4:30.

    2 Cor 5:5 says that the seal becomes a pledge that we belong to God or you may say that the ‘seal’ represents a deposit that we belong to God.

    But does it mean that once we are saved, we are permanently saved? It does not seem that way.

    In Heb 6:4-6, the writer explained how someone might lose his/ her salvation as likened to a person who crucified the Son of God all over again. This person would have:

    1. Been ‘enlightened’ before,
    2. Tasted the ‘heavenly gift; and have shared in the Holy Spirit (Most likely a believer  who had experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit),
    3. Experienced the goodness of the Word of God (Most likely a believer who knew God’s word well),
    4. Realized the powers of the age to come (Most probably a believer who experienced the power of the Holy Spirit), and
    5. Then had fallen away.

    The concept of how a believer can be ‘unsealed’ is something which is beyond the scope of explanation here.

    Please see the following:

    1. S139 – Continuous sinning deliberately and wilfully even after knowing Jesus,
    2. S140 – Sell off our birthrights by disassociating with Jesus permanently,
    3. S141- Take on the mark of the beast (666).
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    D180 - Our salvation is our greatest gift

    Luke 10:20; Rom 6:23; 2 Cor 9:15; Eph 2:8

    Jesus sent out seventy-two of his disciples to perform great miracles across the land. They had just returned and were on a spiritual high because the power that they saw in Jesus were vested in them; (Luke 10:17 – ‘Even the demons are subject to us in your name!’). These were, without doubt, great achievements.

    Yet, astonishingly, Jesus reminded them what was more important – the fact that their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20); why? Because ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Rom 6:23) and heaven and hell are for real. Jesus said in Luke 10:20 – 

    ‘ do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’

    We can accomplish great feats – like becoming the President of a nation, inventing the first computer in the world, or climbing the world’s highest peak, but if our names are not written in heaven, all our works become meaningless and vanity. In Eccl 1:2, Solomon exclaimed, ‘Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.’

    Please also see D129, Some believers will be disheartened/ deceived and drop out.

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    D181 - Our freedom gained from salvation should not be an excuse to continue sinning

    Gal 5:13; 1 John 3:6-9; 1 John 1:6

    Gal 5:13 says,

    ‘For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.’

    1 John 1:6 says,

    ‘If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.’

    Believers cannot walk and live in darkness once we know the truth. And the ‘darkness’ is described as ‘continuing in sin.’

    1 John 3:6-9 is quite clear,

    ‘No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him …. Whoever makes a practice of sinning (NB: ‘practice’ = ‘continuous’ or ‘unrepentant’) is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.’

    All religions, except Christianity, attribute good works as the way to salvation. In fact, it was the same for Christians for a long while until when Martin Luther discovered the error of the Catholic Church, nailed his ninety-five theses on the door of a chapel in Wittenberg, Germany and started the Protestant Reformation.

    See D175 – Salvation is the gift of God to everyone that believes in Jesus.

    The Bible made that clear. It does not mean that Christians do not do good works but that good works is the natural outflow of who we are.

    Christians are not saved by good works but saved for good works.

    Continuous sinning without repentance and other incidents seem to be able to render us ‘unchristianed’. Please see S138 to S145 on Unpardonable sins for more information.

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    D182 - Christians are not under the law of Moses

    Acts 15:5-11; Rom 10:4; Rom 2:12-15; Gal 2:16; Gal 3:13

    In Acts 15, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas were confronted by the issue of circumcision because ‘some of the sect of the Pharisees’ had believed that it was necessary for the new Gentile Christians to be circumcised. Hence, they referred back to the Council of Jerusalem for advice (Acts 15:2).

    The Apostle Peter then stood up and put the issue to rest in Acts 15:10 when he said,

    ‘Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the (new) disciples a yoke (also termed as the law of Moses as in Acts 15:5) which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe we are saved through the grace (Greek word is charis and it means a gift/ unmerited favor) of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.’

    In Rom 10:4, Paul explained,

    ‘Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.’

    The Gentiles obviously never knew the law of Moses but the Apostle Paul clarified that Gentiles have their God’s in-built conscience which effectively meant that it rendered them without excuses too (Rom 2:12-15).

    Christians are free from the Mosaic Law but are now under the law of Christ (Gal 3:13). Paul, for example, called the observation of ‘days and months and seasons and years’ those beggarly elements of bondage (Gal 4:9-10). In Gal 5:1, he went further and declared:

    ‘For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (bondage).’

    In Col 2:20-23 (NLT), Paul declared them as ‘human teachings’ and ‘may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.’

    Instead of looking at the negative on what we should not be doing, Christians have been directed to the positive on the amount of faith that we are placing on our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Gal 2:16 explains that

    ‘We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ’ because ‘by works of the law no one will be justified.’

    Luke 16:16 explains –

    The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces (comes forward violently and aggressively) his way into it.

    It is about our faith in Jesus. Does it mean that we can go on sinning? In Rom 6:1-2, Paul answered this question:

    What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

    To understand the elements of sins defined within the context of the New Testament, please go here.

    See also –

    1. D186 – Faith in God is the currency of the kingdom,
    2. D187 – Faith in God pleases him, and
    3. D188 – Our growth is measured by our faith in God.

    Hence, some issues pale into insignificance –

    1. Observance of the Sabbath,
    2. Types of food to eat or not to eat,
    3. Celebration of certain festivals, and even
    4. The version of the Bible (for e.g. KJV, NIV, ESV) to use.

    Please see

    • B243, Do not argue over non-essential doctrines, and
    • D249 – Church traditions are special but they are only shadows of things to come.
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    D183 - God gives people plenty of time to repent

    2 Peter 3:9; Rev 2:21

    2 Peter 3:9 says,

    ‘The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’

    Life should never be taken for granted but most of us do. Like the case of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, the Father is always looking for the return of his wayward children. We will be given enough time to make our choices because life is a long journey.

    Jesus made it clear to the church of Thyatira (one of the seven churches in Revelation) in Rev 2:21

    ‘I gave her time to repent.’ 

    That was why Jesus said in Luke 12:5,

    ‘Fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.’

    See also D14, God is to be feared.

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