Welcome to ITH Bible Blog Page. This page is here for us to share studies and thoughts related specifically to the truths concerning the Godhead doctrine and God’s Appointed Times doctrine. Please feel free to place comments and short studies on these the topics on this site as we explore these important truths together.
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I am often amazed by the concept that obedience is the same as legalism. As I have shared my convictions that we must keep the law of God including the statutes and judgments as shared in leviticus 23, and that His law must be written in our hearts and practiced in our lives, often the cry goes out “LEGALISM”. Soon my words and indeed my very intentions are likened to being a Pharisee. I believe a short look at this might be worthwhile. I believe the fundamental problem is in trying to answer two questions with one answer.
I have found that there are two very important questions that a follower of Jehovah must ask and, indeed, understand the answers. We, as human beings, like simplicity for the most part. In matters of salvation we want one question and one answer. The truth is not complicated so let’s look at the two aspects of salvation. The first question to my understanding is “how am I saved?” The Bible is simple in its answer.
“And [the jailer] brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Act 16:30-31) Jesus tells us this as well! “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”(John 6:28-29)
We clearly see the truth in the scriptures above and many other places in the Bible also tell us that our salvation comes from Christ. We are justified by His life and death and are resurrected with Him into life. This is the answer to the first question. How am I saved? It is by faith in the only begotten Son of God who has redeemed me back into favor with the Father!
Many leave the issue here and thus cheap grace finds its footing. We must ask the second question. Now that I am saved by faith in the Son of God, what does this love and salvation require of me? Though my salvation cannot come from anything I do, what does the Lord expect and require of those who accept this free gift of salvation?
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)
Like in the parables seen above, once we have found that great treasure of salvation in Jesus, we must leave behind the old life. In each story above, both had to sell and leave behind what they had before, in order to purchase the new. This is the answer to that second question. In our life without Christ, we did not love Him or want to keep His commandments. In our new life Christ says to us, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Legalism is a doctrine that teaches that keeping the commandments of God earns a person the right to go to heaven. This is a false doctrine. But those who keep the commandments out of love for the Father and Son do so because they are saved and are jealous for the character of their Father, not in order to be saved. So next time you are defending God’s law and you are accused of being a legalist, simply tell them you love the law because it reveals the character of your heavenly Father and His Son who have given all for you. Tell them that you keep it because God who you loves you with an everlasting love has asked you to. Then, perhaps, they in turn will ask themselves, “What is the real reason why I don’t keep God’s commandments?”!
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.” (Psalm 119:165-168)
Jesus not only gave all for us in dying for our sins but He also lived a sanctified life to be our example of how to live our lives attached to our heavenly Father through Him. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)
So in conclusion, there are two things we must remember. Our salvation is from God alone and when we accept that salvation, we will want to keep His law out of love for Him. If we do not want to keep His law, then perhaps we are not living in the grace of His salvation after all.
“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.” (Psalm 119:114-117)
As time is progressing and the end time events are upon us, we find that the predictions foretold in scripture are coming true around us. Every wind of doctrine is blowing. About us we see ministries springing up all over who claim to be presenting truth. Many will have a lot of truth in them mixed with error. How is one to tell which ones to trust or support? The obvious first answer is whether the doctrines they present agree with scripture. But there is much debate as to how people choose to understand the word of God.
Thus we must also look the fruits and characters of those who claim to be preaching the word. Perhaps the biggest indicator of falsehood and false teachers is when we see greed and malice reflecting from ministries who claim to be bearers of truth. These fruits are never from the spirit of God but emanate from the spirit of the great deceiver. I recently shared a couple of prophetic charts on our web ministry that were passed on to us by email from a friend. A few weeks later, we were attacked by a web ministry who we had never heard of who said the material was theirs and accused us of stealing it and thus preventing them from selling them. We of course immediately removed the material but sadly this reflected the spirit of the other ministry as one desiring gain or profit from their materials.
The great truth and good news of the gospel is that salvation is a free gift of Jesus Christ to humanity. He did not seek gain but gave all, even His life to save all who would come to him. That is why our ministry has never asked for any funds to share and spread the truth. We have always offered our materials free to anyone who asks. We have always allowed God to provide funds as He sees fit. This ministry has been supported in this way for over 16 years. God is not poor and does not need our money to fund His work. He needs our hearts and our willingness to freely work for Him in spreading the truth to a sin sick world. So as you work for God and seek to spread the gospel of salvation and the three angel’s messages, rely upon God to provide all your needs and beware ministries that seek to profit from the free gift of salvation offered to mankind.
As I watched the news this week, I once again realized that we as planet are perhaps only moments away from facing another world war. Our planet is a tinder box that is ready to burst into flames with strike of a single political match. Precious to me is the promise given in the word of God.
LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. (Isa 26:12)
War! Its curse has been with us since the beginning. Indeed the origins of war go all the way back to Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven. From the very beginning the fact has been undeniable. Rebellion against God leads to war. When man fell and joined Lucifer in his rebellion, the seeds of that rebellion are born into each of us. With that fallen nature comes selfishness which leads to conflict and indeed war.
Throughout time there have been men who have tried to bring peace to our fallen world but it has never lasted. The problem is in our very nature. But there is a solution. The Bible states that great peace have they who love God’s law. But how can we love a law that fights against our nature? The answer is seen in the promise above. God has ordained peace for us by promising to work inside us and change our characters. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
Our hope lies in the word and principle that war hates, surrender! We much each day surrender ourselves to our heavenly Father and His Son. Through the Spirit of Jesus working in our lives, the principles of our fallen nature will no longer rule us. True peace comes from being sanctified by Christ.
“”True sanctification comes through the working out of the principle of love. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.” 1John 4:16. The life of him in whose heart Christ abides will reveal practical godliness. The character will be purified, elevated, ennobled, and glorified. Pure doctrine will blend with works of righteousness; heavenly precepts will mingle with holy practices.” AA 560
Soon war, pain, and death will pass away. The God who works this miracle in us will so bring peace back by creating a new earth for all who love Him and keep His law written upon their hearts.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of Godis with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them,and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said,Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me,Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Rev 21:1-5)
Psalm 9:9 – The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Does it seem that everything about us shows that trouble is quickly coming upon our world? Perhaps everything is ok for you right now. But what if it’s not ok tomorrow? Some of you may even now feel distressed or burdened down with the cares of this life.
With the economy in trouble and the world in turmoil you cannot know for certainty that things will be ok tomorrow. You may wake up and find that what you thought was secure is no longer secure or even gone. What if your money becomes worthless and food and gas have become so expensive or rare that you can no longer get them? What if war and strife threaten everything you have? What if panic seizes everyone and society breaks down? What will you do then?
For all who will face these inevitable events as we near the end of this earth’s history, there is an answer. There is a place to go and hide. There is place of safety for those who are oppressed and scared. Those who choose to go there will be protected and provided for.
What’s best is that it isn’t somewhere far away. It’s not a place that is hard to find. It’s readily accessible to every man, woman, and child on this earth. It’s in the arms of God that we can find this refuge. As we learn to trust God and lean into His everlasting arms of love, we find a place to hide, a place of refuge in times of trouble. This place is ruled by our Heavenly Father with love and is provided for each of us through His Son Jesus. Together they can hide you securely in their bountiful love and grace. Nothing can separate you from them or force you from this place of safety.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39
Even now They wait for you with open arms. So do not fear for tomorrow. Find your refuge and strength in the arms of God.
Just a note of how much we miss Wayne and Laura. We wish them the best and pray that God will richly bless them as they move on with helping to care for his parents. We look forward to their visits and hope they know that they will always be part of our spiritual family both here on earth and also in heaven.