Saturday, December 15, 2012

Joy to the World: A Savior was Given

An evil, lost and dying world

It doesn't take a scientist to see what kind of world we all live in. There's too much evil around us that it can't be denied there is something wrong with all of us. We always get in each other's way and there seems to always be evil thoughts in a man's heart.

Tragedy strikes humanity every so often and today was not an exemption. The massacre of 27 people, 18 of which are small children in Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, Connecticut, leaves us bewildered of the evil that is among us. How can a person be so heartless? How can a person be so cruel? So depraved? 

Oftentimes, we look at tragic situations like this and condemn the acts of violence that lead to the loss of precious lives. Yet, we fail greatly to acknowledge that every single day, humanity showcases this heartlessness and cruelty and depravity in many other tragic areas. 

This same depravity rules in the lives of those who perform abortions; those who wreck havoc in families through divorce; those who disrespect another's heart by lusting and fornicating with them; those who abuse themselves with substances; those who gossip and destroy others by words; those who abuse others physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually; those who lie and cheat their way to the top; those who selfishly indulge their greed with unnecessary shopping sprees while others in the world starve to death; and the list can go on and on. 

These are realities that we deliberately ignore, as if they are not a problem to our society. This is our DEPRAVITY. We have all been living in this delusion of grandeur where we think of ourselves highly as we look down on those labeled as "criminals." We have this distorted reality of sin which makes us think there are lesser and/or greater degrees of sin in this life.

Our problem lies in the grass-root level of it all... and that is our sinful, carnal way of life. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) that:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"


The word desperate is defined as extreme, awful, and beyond hope! That defines our REALITY. God's Word speaks a great amount of Truth in Romans 3:10 when it tells us that, "THERE IS NONE righteous. No, NOT ONE!" God could not find a single heart, a single individual, a single human being who isn't depraved! 

ALL OF US, in the eyes of the Holy God, are sinners and as we live with hearts that are desperately wicked, there isn't really anything in us that seeks after God. How amazingly accurate God's Word describe humanity to be. His word saith in Romans chapter 3:

10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; 
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13Their throat is an open sepulchre; 
with their tongues they have used deceit; 
the poison of asps is under their lips:
14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17And the way of peace have they not known:
18There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Isn't this the reality of humanity? There is NO FEAR OF GOD before our eyes. We all have the audacity to live our lives in our own way, thinking that our way is right! We come up with depraved thoughts to try to convince ourselves that our choices lead to life. Oh, but God's Word just couldn't stop EXPOSING THE REAL DEAL with us!

"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, 
but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25)

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23)

"All we like sheep have gone astray; 
we have turned every one to his own way..." (Isaiah 53:6)

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; 
and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

Still think you are a "good" person? We won't even come close to PASSING the test if God's Law (the 10 commandments) are used to test us. Have we lied? Have we stolen anything (no matter how small it was)? Have we looked at another with lust? (That's the same as adultery in God's standard!) Have we dishonored our parents by disobeying them? Where do we stand when God uses HIS laws to see if we really can be considered "GOOD" in His eyes?

Reality is, WE DON'T STAND A CHANCE! God is a Holy God and He doesn't fool around like we do. When He demands holiness and righteousness, it is the perfect holiness and righteousness that is of Him! Unfortunately for us, there isn't anything we could ever do to attain THAT! No amount of religious practices, or practical prayers, or mystical experiences could wash us clean from the filth of our sins! No degree of piety nor amount of penance could clear our record before God. Remember Isaiah 64:6? Our righteousness are as FILTHY RAGS!!! We are enslaved to our sins and chained to death! What else can we do? Where do we go?

We need something else other than ourselves! 
We need... a Savior...

Joy to the World: A Savior was given

It is critical for each one of us to understand AND accept our depravity. This depravity places us in a tight situation with God because our depravity calls for His righteous judgment to fall upon us. 

The Bible is clear that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). We deserve an end to this depraved, sinful life and that is death. We all became destined for an eternal separation with God in hell (the second death, Revelation 20:14), because none of our filth, unrighteousness and depravity can come near the holy throne of God in heaven!

Our verdict? GUILTY. Our case? HOPELESS... 

But not UNTIL...

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son..." (John 3:16)

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)

"And this is the witness, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." (1 John 5:11)

God's Word tells us that because He does not want any to perish but for all of us to come to repentace, He sent His only begotten Son to save us from our sins! His precious Son because the sin-offering that we drastically needed in order to be saved. His precious Son, Jesus Christ, died a sinner's death (though He did not sin) in order to rise from the dead and bring us into new life for eternity!

What MUST WE DO TO BE SAVED? Well, it should begin by acknowledging our NEED for a Savior. We cannot fully embrace the work of Jesus and the gift of salvation which He offers us UNTIL WE COME FACE TO FACE WITH OUR DEPRAVITY! 

JESUS finished the work of salvation! He completed what God had demanded as payment for our sins! 

"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4I have glorified thee on the earth:
I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." (John 17:1-4)

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished
and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30)

When something is FINISHED, it means it is DONE and whatever work that is that needed to be finished, it is finally OVER. Jesus paid the FULL price for sin when He died on that cross. He took the punishment for sin, or the wage of sin which is death! BUT, because He is the only begotten Son of God, WHO IS GOD Himself, He was buried for 3 days and on the third day ROSE FROM THE DEAD because death could not hold Him!!! Hallelujah!!!

THAT is His promise of eternal life. All that we have to do is to TRUST HIM and TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT that He has paid the price in FULL! What does God's Word say?

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Seems to be too simple, right? Unfortunately, though, that is the stumbling block of many people. So many want to give themselves that feeling of accomplishment and doing something for the sake of their own salvation so they get the "reward". 

The guilt of SIN in our lives is so heavy that many deceived hearts tend to want to do things ON THEIR OWN to really feel that they became good enough to appease God's righteous judgment. UNFORTUNATELY, though, GOD ONLY ACCEPTS THE ONE and ONLY WAY HE HIMSELF HAS GIVEN TO US! His only begotten Son died an undeserved death on the cross to save us from our sins and to save us from death... it's THE ONLY WAY. Jesus proclaimed that clearly! HE IS THE WAY...

This is why we need a good does of REALITY and a face to face session with our depravity and sin in order for us to realize WE NEED JESUS and WE CRITICALLY NEED WHAT HE ALONE HAD and CAN OFFER! Our sinfulness, filth and most of all our SELF-RELIANCE ought to bring us to our knees in Repentance to God as we grow that Godly sorrow that will plant the FEAR OF GOD in our lives!

Let's break it down to get to the bottom...
  • CONFESS--meaning, "acknowledge something to be TRUE"...
  • THE LORD--meaning, "one with considerable power and authority"...
  • JESUS--meaning, "who saves us from our sins"...


  • BELIEVE--meaning, "to accept something as TRUE"
  • THAT GOD--meaning, "the supreme, ultimate reality Being who is perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe."
  • RAISED --meaning, "moved above"
  • HIM --pertaining to JESUS CHRIST
  • FROM THE DEAD --meaning, "from having lost life; Not having the capacity to live."
We MUST accept the FACT that God supplied His only begotten Son to powerfully save us from sin and death by MOVING FROM THE STATE OF HAVING LOST ETERNAL LIFE, to MOVING ABOVE THAT BY LIVING FOREVER!

My question is simple... Since JESUS FINISHED THE WORK OF SALVATION for mankind, 

You must, beloved... for that is the ONLY TIME when you will achieve and understand the JOY that came when the Savior was given... 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Joy to the World: The Light Has Come!

Walking in darkness

I remember a time in the past when my little hometown in the Philippines would have regular schedules of a blackout. It became part of everybody's daily living when, on certain days of the week, the lights just won't turn on and entire neighborhoods would start the nights out really dark. 

There's nothing much that anybody can do in the dark. Even with the luxury of owning a source of emergency lighting such as some flashlights, rechargeable lamps (which is what we mostly used at home) and some candles, the dark will still pretty much debilitate us. It just wouldn't allow us to see as much as we need to, much more do what we're supposed to do.

The physiology of sight is a complicated thing, but the bottom line of it is that seeing will be impossible without the presence of light. The human eyes have to catch rays of light that are then absorbed by light receptors in the interior portions of the eye, which will then be processed by the brain into images that will eventually become clear pictures before us.

No matter how sensitive these eye receptors are and how complex their processes can be when it comes to interacting with the brain to form the picture, seeing is not possible if there isn't any ray of light to work on! When our eyes eventually become adjusted to seeing in a dark room (like in a theatre), it is solely because our light receptors in the eyes caught on some light rays. Without light, we are just as blind as a mole!

Can you imagine what it will be like if we never have a sun to light our days? Or if there was never a moon to shine light during the night? We would all be groping around for everything for sure if we never have any source of light!

Living in the dark

It is quite interesting that the Bible talks about the LIGHT that came into our dark world. Isaiah 9:2, prophesied this about the Messiah, who fulfilled it when he visited a certain town in Capernaum:

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." (KJB)

The prophet Isaiah spoke about those who are walking in darkness, and that they will see light. But take note that he spoke of a light that's not just any kind of light. He said that these people that walked in darkness have seen a GREAT light and that this light shined upon those that dwell in the land of the shadow of death!

There are two (2) things we can observe from Isaiah's prophecy about the people who will see a great light. These people:

  1. Walked in darkness
  2. Dwell in the land of the shadow of death
We ought to realize that these does not only describe those who were living in Capernaum. These description fits every human being on planet earth--in a SPIRITUAL SENSE! 

We ALL walk in spiritual darkness and we all dwell in the land of the shadow of death! When the fall of Adam happened, the Bible tells us that death became the consequence of that sin of disobedience and that death was passed on to ALL human beings because ALL HAVE SINNED (Romans 3:23)! 

Sin alienated us (humankind) from God and our spiritual understanding is darkened because of the sin that is in us (Ephesians 4:18)! Paul even added that there is this "blindness of the heart" in people! 

Like in Isaiah's prophecy, God's Word rings true to all of us as we ALL walk in darkness spiritually and that we dwell in this land of the shadow of death! Isn't death a reality to all of us? Isn't death like a shadow to every one of us living on this earth? Death is a shadow as it follows our every move. Death is inevitable!!! This is our reality. 

There isn't really any hope in the above situation. We ALL have sinned, says the Word of God and death is upon us all. We are SPIRITUALLY in DARKNESS because there isn't any LIFE IN US ANYMORE because of sin's consequence. Technically, we are already dead IN our sins! 

Just like in the physiology of sight, we cannot really SEE OUR REALITY because of our spiritual darkness. UNLESS there be a ray of Light to shine upon us, we are good as dead and hopeless as can be. We just CANNOT HELP OUR OWN SELVES!

The Light has come!

How wonderful it is to read the Bible and be made aware of the consistency of Truth in ALL of God's Word. 1 John 1:5 tells us this:

"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, 
that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

God is light. The apostle John made sure we get this message right! God's Word has made it clear that we are all living in darkness and dwelling in the land of the shadow of death, but there IS hope...

"1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
4In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

We just got reminded that we are all living in darkness and that death is a reality to us all because of our sins. In the end, we really deserve the fullness of DEATH as the book of Revelation calls the lake of fire, the SECOND DEATH. But now we read that GOD IS LIGHT and IN HIM WAS LIFE! 

Isn't it amazing that the two main things that are a reality in our lives, God used to be the platform for our HOPE and SALVATION?

  • We are living in darkness --> GOD IS LIGHT and HE IS THE LIGHT OF MEN!
  • We dwell in the land of the shadow of death --> IN HIM WAS LIFE and the life WAS HE LIGHT OF MEN!
The promised Messiah came in the form of God's only begotten Son. He was the Word that John spoke about and He was the LIGHT that was prophesied in the past. 

JESUS CHRIST is the ONLY HOPE and SALVATION for ALL OF US who are in utter darkness.

Joy to the World, the LIGHT has come!

What an AMAZING Creator God! In our depravity and sinfulness, He has provided a way to give us eternal life (John 3:16). In our utter blindness and spiritual darkness, He provided THE LIGHT! In the midst of our dwelling in the land of the shadow of death, He provided LIFE! God indeed does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). He is not willing that any should perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)!!!

What an AMAZING REALITY!!! What a WONDERFUL TRUTH that is! It surely and truly IS JOY TO OUR WORLD which is engulfed in darkness and sin, 
because LIGHT has come!

Reality Check

One thing has to be placed into consideration, though, because we have been living in darkness for so long. HOW SHOULD WE REACT TO THIS LIGHT that has come upon us? We need to ask ourselves this question because, just as eyes that had been used to the dark for so long are adamant to come to the light; and just as any bright light exposes everything that is hidden in the dark, JESUS, who is the Light of the World will do the same to us in our spiritual darkness!

"19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (John 3:19-21, KJB)

Jesus' own words will serve as our warning. Light indeed has come to our world, BUT we are sinful people and our deeds are evil. NONE OF US doeth good, according to Psalm 14:3! None of us understands and none of us seeks God, says Romans 3! 

John acknowledged this fact in John 1:5, "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. We all are unrighteous and all of our secret deeds are evil. The dark conceals all this and DOES NOT ALLOW US TO SEE. We are not aware of this depravity and NEED FOR A SAVIOR until we come to the Light to shine upon us!

Jesus bids all to COME TO HIM. He will not force you to follow Him. It has to be YOUR OWN PERSONAL CHOICE to come to His Light and be EXPOSED FOR WHO YOU REALLY ARE BEFORE HIM.

The LIGHT OF JESUS will expose who we really are--sinful, depraved, spiritually blind, technically dead. The more we come near the Light, the more our evil deeds become manifest before our eyes, and the more the REAL PICTURE OF OUR LIVES come into view. 

Are we scared to come to the Light? Are we scared to have our evil deeds exposed? Are we too comfortable in the darkness of our sins? WE MUST COME TO THE LIGHT in order for us to be redeemed!


JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD and IN HIM IS LIFE. We cannot continue to live in the dark if we truly want to have LIFE and LIGHT in our world. We cannot continue to convince ourselves that we can attain righteousness and heaven with our own attempts at being good. 


Will you come to the Light today, beloved? Let HIM open your understanding and shine HIS LIGHT upon you today. Let HIM show you your TOTAL depravity and sinfulness. And let that lead you to a godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Let HIS LIGHT SHINE SO BRIGHTLY IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU WILL NOT WANT TO GO BACK INTO UTTER DARKNESS AND LIVE IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

Repent... turn from your sins... turn to the LIGHT... and follow HIM ALONE!


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