Tag Archives: faith

2 Thessalonians 1:6 – God will repay with tribulation those who trouble us

God has the prerogative to deal with those who trouble us. This verse tells us that He may bring tribulation to repay them for the trouble they give to us.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Rom 8:31. The God who made the heavens & the earth can mobilise every resource He owns to punish those who make trouble for us. This is comfort for those who are persecuted and bullied.

However, there are some important questions we need to first ask ourselves:

1) Is God pleased with me? Do I have unconfessed or secret sins that I am hiding?Am I His child, reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ?

2) Is He pleased with my actions & responses in the situation where my opponents “troubled me”?

3) What kind of response would God be pleased with?

To answer question 1, check out these articles:

Gospel of Grace, Naaman comes to faith in God

God does not tolerate secret sins

To answer questions 2 &3, consider what

1 Pet 2:19-21 has to say:

“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:”

In other words, if we seek God’s glory & obey Him in every situation, and we do not attempt to “justify” ourselves but totally leave it to Him for “vengeance” – we can be assured that God sees and in His good timing (which can be a long time in our measure), He will vindicate us and deal with our enemies according to His justice.

It takes great faith for us to remain silent when the natural reaction is to defend ourselves when we are “targetted” by our opponents. In fact, the world considers those who remain silent as being “weak”. But while the argument & fight goes on, there is a God sitting on the throne in heaven, seeing and watching all these. Only those with eyes of faith will be able to see & appreciate this, just like Stephen in Acts 7.

“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 . May God help us.

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What is the Gospel of Grace?

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

If you were to compare all the religions in this world, there are actually only 2 types:

1) Those that teach that Salvation comes by works, or

2) those that teach that Salvation is by grace.

Salvation by works means you get to heaven by your own merit. You discipline yourself by meditation, philosophy, yoga or other restrictions imposed by some human teaching. You do good works such as charity, financial contributions and other things that make you feel you can be accepted.

The reality is this…., if heaven can be attained by such means, I suggest to you that it is not worth going. Because you are going to find a lot of people there who are so proud of their achievements. Some of us may already feel embarrassed because we don’t even have the possessions that our neighbour has.

On the other hand, there is salvation by the free grace of God. Heaven is such a wonderful place because Jesus Christ – the God-Man who is without sin is there! And none of us sinful creatures deserve to be there! And if we ever get there, it is because God has graciously opened our eyes to see how unworthy we are. And in spite of our unworthiness, He paid the price required to bring us there. Jesus gave His life to pay for the sins that we have committed. (Check out this sermon to understand the required redemption for our sins). And He lived a sinless life – which is the requirement for anyone to get into heaven. And all these are accorded to us when we believe in Jesus Christ…..That’s grace – totally unmerited salvation! You can’t do anything to achieve it – it is totally a gift from God! This is the gospel of grace!

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

Ezra 8:31 – Trusting the means or the God who provided the means?

Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. Ezra 8:31

In Ezra 8:22, we read that Ezra did not ask the king for protective escorts on his journey back to Jerusalem. Instead he rallied all who travelled with him to fast & pray for God’s protection.

What if Ezra and those who traveled with him got ambushed? Would he be considered irresponsible for not asking the king for escorts? These escorts could well have prevented or soften the impact if they were attacked along the way. Since Ezra had direct access to the King, one could argue that this could be the very reason he was placed in such a position – so that he could help the people of God get the best support for their cause.

However, let us be mindful that when we have more dependence on human means, the less we tend to depend on God. There is a fine balance we need to establish – depending on God versus depending on the means He provides. Many times, God provides the means to help us through circumstances. Our problem is that we often appreciate the means so much that we forget the one who gave us the means. As such, when provided with the means, we ought to use it. But we ought to keep our eyes fixed on the one who provided the means. When we are not provided with the means, we ought to exercise faith in Him who provided us with the opportunity to trust Him instead of the means He provides.

God knows exactly what we need according to the measure of faith He has given us. Let us seek Him whatever our circumstances may be.

2 Chr 33:3 – Faith is not guaranteed in the family…

For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.  2 Chr 33:3

Hezekiah’s father (King Ahaz) did evil in God’s eyes. But Hezekiah did what was right in God’s eyes. However, Hezekiah’s son Mannesah initially did evil in God’s eyes. He raised the altars for the Baals and made wooden images, till he experienced affliction which turned him to God.

We observe 2 things here:

  1. There is no guarantee that our sons will follow after our footsteps no matter how good an example is set for them. Their hearts are in the hands of God. He needs to bestow grace to them so that they can be restrained from evil and do what pleases Him. So let us regularly commit our child to God in prayer – that He may be patient, kind and merciful to them and bestow to them the same mercies He bestowed to us.
  2. God preserved the Godly line of Kings through whom Christ came. A evil king in the form of King Ahaz will not affect God’s plan of redemption because it is of Him to show mercy. And Hezekiah was raised even in the family of ungodly King Ahaz.