But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:17, ESV)
A believer in Jesus Christ must be humbled by the fact that the righteousness that he or she has received is because of the blood of Jesus at Calvary. When Jesus was crucified he was bleeding from the cross for you and for everyone in the world. Even as he was dead on the cross he continued to shed his blood.
But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. (John 19:33-34, KJV)
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 John 5:6, KJV)
In the Old Testament times there was the first covenant in which the sins of the people of Israel had to be covered up by the shedding of the blood of an animal. However, with the arrival of Jesus Christ came a new and better covenant in which he became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Let’s the whole of Hebrews 9 get a more clear understanding:
9 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:3-10)
All praise and glory to the Lord God Almighty the Father along with our Lord Jesus Christ in union with His Holy Spirit. None other is worthy of worship and adoration. To you be the praise forever. Amen.
A warning that Christians in this age still need to follow is that they keep away from idolatry. That means absolutely NO WORSHIP of idols. Anyone who indulges in this sin risks going to Hell and getting punished on Judgement day as well.
“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)
Even an image can be the same type of snare as an idol. The glory of God doesn’t dwell in idols and images. More so, false gods are an abomination to all those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus.
Now just because someone doesn’t have an actual idol doesn’t mean the temptation of idolatry is not there. Loving your car, bank balance, art collection and also your favourite celebrities more than God is the same as the vile sin of idolatry. You must never love your talents in anything more than God. In fact anything in your life that takes the place of God is idolatry. So get rid of every form of idolatry which is in your heart. The below verse confirms this:
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
A believer in God might wonder, why is this warning being given as I only worship the Lord God? To answer that, I’d say that anything that you love more than God is idolatry and in the end times idolatry will still be there so one must keep away from it. Even in the New Testament this wicked sin remains condemned forever. You can refer to the following verses:
- Little children, keep yourselves from idols.(1 John 5:21)
- Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.(1 Corinthians 10:7)
- Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.(1 Corinthians 10:14)
- But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works. (Revelation 2:20-22)
- The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. (Revelation 9:20)
- But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Also, the Anti Christ (also called as the Beast) and the false prophet who are opposed to the Lord God will use the image of the Beast to obtain adoration. The Holy Scripture’s openly curses and condemns those who worship the image of the Beast mentioned in Bible prophecy.
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (Revelation 14:9-11)
And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. (Revelation 19:20)
Right from Genesis to Revelation the Bible keeps warning us against being idolators. Even in the end times idolatry will still exist and the Devil will use it so that the Beast receives the worship that belongs to God alone. No wonder we are called to keep away from idols and images if we truly are to honour the Lord God of Heaven Earth.
Suggested prayer: O Lord God forgive me of any form of idolatry that I may have knowingly or unknowingly indulged in. To you belong all worship, glory and adoration and no other. Forgive me for every time when I loved my riches, talents, friends and relatives more than you. I ask pardon for every instance where I considered anything more important in my life than you the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Also, I repent of all worship and adoration of false idols and images that I gave homage to. I resolve to follow your Son Jesus Christ and believe in the Gospel. Cleanse me of my sins and lead me by your Holy Spirit everyday. Amen and Amen.
When you have Jesus Christ you have God our Father with you through Christ. Yes God is with you as promised in the scriptures. It was prophesied about Jesus being born of a virgin and its a sign from God himself.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Even the New Testament confirms this. Let’s read:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-23)
Though we normally don’t call Jesus as Immanuel (or Emmanuel, depending on the Bible version you use), our Lord Jesus is indeed the Immanuel of prophecy. I heard a few Christian songs and sermons which refer to Jesus as Immanuel. Now, there are many prophecies that attribute various titles to Jesus. However the titles are not his name, so sometimes title are not mentioned. To this effect, though Jesus is the Prince of Peace he was not actually named the Prince of Peace as that’s his title. In our prayers we generally say ‘Jesus let your Father’s will be done in our lives’ and rarely do we say ‘Prince of Peace let your Father’s will be done in our lives’. Suppose by God’s good graces you are ordained as the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ your name doesn’t become the Duke of Edinburgh unless you at birth were named so. (The current Duke of Edinburgh is Prince Phillip, I think)
The union of Jesus with God our Father was strong even during the time of Jesus on earth. This is because he came not on his own authority but because our God and Father in heaven had sent him here to do his holy will. No wonder he carried the presence of the Lord God our Father with him. No wonder he said “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14:6-11)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5,14)
Being able to introspect your own thoughts is vital to your existence and well-being. Without knowing your feelings or logic, you might otherwise be working aimlessly. Going aimlessly in life is not a good thing as you may miss out on your way.
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:16)
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)
When doing good for others you need to question yourself within. It’s all between yourself. So be honest with yourself. You can do this as per your convenience but its best done daily. Avoid doing this legalistically but do it freely as that’s where the maximum benefit lies.
You might not actually need to ask yourself, all of them daily but it in the beginning please go through them all. Later you might realize you need only about five to ten. It’s all about doing right rather than making this a guilt it. No way are these questions to induce guilt but in fact these are to encourage you to be on the right track. So now let’s get acquainted with the questions when doing good for others:
- Does it benefit the souls of those I help?
- Does it contribute to the physical well-being of others?
- Do I feel pretentious when doing good?
- Do I communicate Christ in my actions?
- Is the love of Jesus there in me?
- Am I working out of love and respect or out of compulsion?
- Am I looking for praises of men or just want to do good because its good?
- Does fear of judgement form the basis of my motivation to do good?
- Do I balance my family life and my good works?
- Am I doing good works to make up for my sins or do I hold on to the fact that Jesus forgives freely those who repent and come to him?
- Am I trying to earn the grace of God by doing good works or am I aware that the grace of God can only be given by him but never earned by us?
- Am I walking in line with the teachings of the Gospel or going contrary to it?
- Is it all about me or is it about glorifying God?
- Where am I going long-term with my good works?
- Do my good works make me reduce my focus on praying?
- What is my motivation when I tell others about my good works?
- Do I feel like giving up in face of challenges? If yes, then why?
- Can I try a new good work that I never did earlier?
- Can I improvise on the good works that I’m already doing?
- Can I inspire others to do good works?
- Earning the grace of God
- The enabling grace of God
- Legalism as a counterfeit discipline
- Don’t take a guilt trip
Is there another book greater than the Bible? No, but the Bible speaks of a great book both in the Old and New Testaments. While the Bible is the written word of God that no one must add or subtract from, the Book of Life still gets updated by the Lord Jesus. Now the Book of Life is a record of all those righteous before the Lord God who will not be punished in the Final Judgement and will therefore escape it. The Book of life and the Bible do NOT compete with each other but rather they complement each other. The main difference is that the Bible teaches us the principles of the Christian faith while the Book of Life is the record of those who are faithful to the Lord God.
The church in the current age must keep reminding itself that the Book of Life is to be held with great honor. I’m surprised that not many people in the church are aware of it. If you honor the teachings of the Bible then you automatically honor the Book of Life, even if you never knew of it’s existence till now. There’s nothing too mysterious about this. All you need to do is to search for it in the Bible.
Is the Book of Life a new teaching?
No, as the Book of Life has been mentioned even in the Old Testament. Let’s read the following:
So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. (Exodus 32:31-33)
For they persecute him whom you have struck down, and they recount the pain of those you have wounded. Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous. (Psalm 69: 26-28)
The Lord God records the life and struggles of his people in the Book of Life. He remembers them all.
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. (Malachi 3:16)
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16)
Jesus himself spoke of the Book of Life even when he was on his mission on Earth and also later he spoke of it in heaven.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20)
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)
The context of the Book of Life is related to being faithful to God despite the tribulations of life.
At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)
The Book of Life is linked to prophecy and the Final Judgement
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. (Revelation 17:8)
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 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. (Revelation 20:11-15)
Only those who have their names written in the Book of Life will be allowed in the new Jerusalem of the future, which is the inheritance of those who believe in the Lord God.
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)
Those who add or remove from the Scriptures are warned very clearly about their status in the Book of Life.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 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. (Revelation 22:18-19)
What to do so that one’s name always remains in the Book of Life?
You need to believe in the Lord Jesus and repent of your sins if you still into sinning. Romans 6:23 says that; For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)
You need to realize that you can either remain in Christ or remain in sin but never be in both. Ephesians 5:5 says that; For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
You cannot earn the grace of God, you simply need to believe in the Lord Jesus for your salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that; 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.