Archive for category Sacrifice
We all love Santa Claus, don’t we? Especially if he gives gifts to us or our kids! But did you know that while this fun tradition is good in a sense, it has also concealed the truth behind Christmas to an extent. Christmas is not about Santa. It’s about Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind. While the gifts that Santa gives to kids are perishable, the gift of salvation that God gives through Jesus is everlasting. Here are some interesting facts about Jesus and the Bible:
- There are 332 prophecies in the Bible about Jesus Christ.
- These include his virgin birth, his birthplace, how he was wrapped as a baby (in a white cloth meant to wrap dead bodies – ‘Kafan’ in Urdu – because he came to die for us), his sinless life, the exact day of his entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey, his death on the Cross, burial in a rich man’s tomb, resurrection, ascension to Heaven and even his return for the battle at Armageddon.
- All of these have come true so far. His return is expected too, as all other prophecies till the present time have been fulfilled.
- The Bible contains 8,000 promises.
- 27% of the Bible is prophetic – meaning, that 27% (8,352) of all (31,124) its verses give a total of 1,817 prophecies, all of which have come true so far.
- The Bible predicted thousands of years ago that the nation of Israel would be re-established exactly on 14th May, 1948 and also that it would regain Jerusalem precisely in 1967.
- The principle of quarantine to prevent the spread of contagious diseases was discovered from the Bible.
- The Bible mentioned thousands of years ago, that the Earth is suspended in outer space – long before Columbus discovered this and Copernicus “formulated a heliocentric model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center”!*
- The Bible mentioned thousands of years ago, that the stars in space are innumerable, even though this was discovered by Galileo only a few centuries ago. Until then, people used to believe that there were only a thousand odd stars in the universe!
- This same Bible says that all humans have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. But as we ourselves sinned, we cannot pay the price required for the forgiveness of our sins. If we die in our sins, God would have no option but to send us to hell for eternity, because he is a just God (perfect judge). So if we were to get to Heaven where God lives, someone had to pay the price on our behalf. As no one else was worthy, God sent His only begotten Son Jesus as a human being, letting him die on the Cross to pay our penalty and then God raised him from the dead back to life, 3 days later. He has not died since then – he is alive and in Heaven right now. He ascended to Heaven 40 days after his resurrection from the dead.
- God worked out this plan for our salvation because He is a just God, yet a loving God. He had to punish sin while leaving the way open for the sinner to be set free. And that salvation plan is found in Jesus.
- Jesus is the only person in history so far who has met all the criteria required for a sacrificial Saviour: first-born male, without sin or defect, sacrificed on the Jewish ‘Passover’ festival day (Good Friday)…
- The Bible also says that if you confess that you too have sinned, that you cannot save yourself and ask Jesus to save you, he will really save you (your spirit – atma – rooh). His blood will wash away your sin. All you need to do is pray a simple prayer for salvation with a true repentant heart, accepting him as your only Saviour and Lord. Click here to see what that prayer is.
* Source: Wikipedia
If you are to trust your family’s future into the hands of an insurance company, which one would you choose – one that does not have any record of honouring any claim, or one which has honoured a claim in the past – just as it had promised? Of course, the latter! Now if you are to trust your eternal destiny into the hands of someone, then into whose hands would you trust it? Someone who has never come as a human being and understood your pain? Someone who died and you have never heard of them after that? Or into the hands of someone who died, rose again from the dead and has not died again – and thereby fulfilled hundreds of prophecies and promises? Again, of course the latter!
Well, my friend, the only real historical person who fits in that category is Jesus Christ. I am not trying to convert your religion. Christianity is not a religion. Jesus’ biggest enemies were the religious leaders of his day. It’s not a question of “my god is bigger than your god” – it’s a question of where you want to spend eternity. I urge you that you study the material I am linking to below, and thoughtfully consider praying the salvation prayer – knowing that you will be accountable before God for praying or not praying it. Jesus asked his followers only to preach the Gospel (Good News of forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God in Heaven – all for free!). He did not ask us to convert anybody.
So remember, God has given you a free volition. He has not given you the right to make the wrong choice, but He has given you the power to make the wrong choice or the correct choice. Just like how we have the power to abide by the law of the land or to break it, but we do not have the right to break it. So, then…
A couple of months ago, I had been to my native state of Gujarat, where I became – sort of – a Christian persecuted. I gave some gospel tracts to Hindus. Their response wasn’t bad on my face. But when I came back to my hometown, I learned that there was a small verbal fight over the issue. I had given one tract to my relative’s maid. First she asked for our pastor’s phone number saying she wanted prayer. The next day though, her husband came and fought with my relatives. In fact, another relative of mine took my evangelism negatively and said that they could inform the police and get me arrested for trying to convert people’s religion! A brother-in-Christ later advised me that on every tract, you should print words like “We are not trying to convert your religion. Jesus did not come to (start or) establish a religion. Whether to believe in this message or not is your decision.”
Of course, Jesus says in the Bible that people would hate his followers. But what I found surprising was that this actually happens here in India even though we are a secular country. We aren’t theocratic – Hindu like Nepal or Islamic like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc.
A missionary pastor later advised me to abstain from handing out gospel tracts in that state as people there think differently than people in my hometown. Missionary pastors really have it tough and often risk death when, ironically, they are really trying to set people free from the clutches of sin, sickness, death etc.
It would be interesting to learn if you have ever been a Christian persecuted for preaching the gospel (even soft persecution – like just handing out tracts or praying for people…). Share your experiences in the comments here. God bless you!
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
Today I want to start a series on one of the most controversial topics in the Church – whether or not healing is in the atonement of Christ. To start with, re-look the above verses and study them. In fact, from my study of the Bible (and indeed of life) so far, I have come to the conclusion that healing is in the atonement. Let me explain why I think so…
Note: This is not a discussion about whether or not the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still in operation. This series deals primarily with whether bodily and soul-level healing are the (new) birth right of every born again child of God.
We have been bought with a price. The first part of this verse says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. By all accounts, it means our physical body and not the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is in us – God gave Him to us. So we do not belong to ourselves. We are purchased with a price. If our body were not purchased with a price, how could it be God’s property? It would still have to be Satan’s property or our own. But it is God’s property. Next point… If the body is the temple, can sickness dwell in the house of God? Jesus said:
“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” Matthew 21:13
So clearly, sickness (symbolic thief) does not have a right to dwell in the temple of God. What should you do if you spot a thief where he should not be? Evict him, or call the police and throw (cast) him out. Well, then, if there is sickness in the body or mind of a born again Christian, it needs to be thrown out in the name of Jesus Christ or have the police (pastor, elders etc.) cast it out through prayer and/or commands, again in Jesus’ name.
And if you think sickness – a state of ‘less than perfect, divine health’ – can legally be in a believer’s body (other than as a result of sin), it means imperfections can be tolerated in the house of God. Then even a handicapped lamb (or a sinful Jesus) could be offered as a sacrifice in the temple. Then the very basis of our Christian faith would be voided! People would say, “Why get cleansed of sin – you would anyway make it to heaven!” So if you believe that bodily healing is not in the atonement, do you know what it implies?
Ahead in the series, we will look at other sensitive issues like:
- Does God sometimes allow sickness to come upon believers for His glory?
- If Jesus is not the answer to our sicknesses (that is, if Jesus is not enough to heal us), should we worship another ‘god’ to get healed?
- Is sickness totally unconnected to sin (despite being the result of sin)?
- Are medicines to be avoided if you believe in diving healing (consult your doctor!)?
What has been your experience? What do you think? And what do you think the Bible says? Keep visiting this site. I would love to hear from you!
“Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.” (Ps. 118:27)
I was watching Daystar the other day when Pastor Tom Deuschle began preaching on crucifying the flesh. In the Old Testament days, he said, there were hooks that would bind the flesh of the sacrificed animal to the altar.
The altar speaks of God, The flesh speaks of worldly desires that consist of lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. (1 John 2:15-17)) With so much of stress-inducing factors around us and temptation to consume in the hope of being ‘happy’, people miss out on real joy (read Happiness vs Joy). True joy comes from crucifying the flesh and being in communion with God. And the key to communion with God is to be rooted in His Word. His Word is the hook that binds us to Him. The flesh is naturally inclined to get swayed away from God. But the Bible helps us stay centred in God.
Unlike the sacrificed animal flesh, our flesh has life in it. Keeping it hooked requires an act of will. Standing on the promises of God’s Word is the surest way to bring our flesh into subjection to our will and in line with God’s Word. The Bible holds the key. God has magnified His Word above all His name. (Psalm 138:2) Praise the LORD!