Posts Tagged ‘deliverance’

The Deliverer

October 7th, 2016

The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins. (Romans 11:26-27, ESV)

Whenever people talk about sins and evil, most often we are referring to someone else. It is the typical thought from our all-too-human minds that evil comes form others, but we ourselves are pure and innocent.

Against such a backdrop of normal human thinking, the verse above stands out. It is different from how we usually think. Absent are the prejudices that our problems are caused by others. Here our need is identified.

The Lord promises deliverance from evil, and His deliverance will come through a specific Deliverer, namely the Messiah, but the nature of this deliverance is not merely to banish all of the bad people from the land, but to forgive sins as well. That means that God’s deliverance is a gracious deliverance.

The dividing matter is faith and the lack of it. Faith is the simplest thing in the world – it is simply trusting in Christ, that He is who He said He is, that His death was a substitutionary death for our sins, and He is risen from the dead, that He is Lord and Savior. But this faith is not something we can achieve all on our own. God must convict our hearts of our need and lead us into this faith experience.

The problem with the human heart is not merely that we are guilty of sin, but that this has resulted in a broken relationship with God, and that relationship must be mended before we are made right again. So God promises deliverance in a two-fold manner – to banish those who are evil, including the Evil One himself, but to also forgive and cleanse those who believe.

The verses above are promises for Israel, and in the context of Romans 9-11 the meaning is quite clear. That “A partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25). God has promised Israel deliverance and His gifts and callings are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). So He will fulfill His promises to them in the end times, when the current era of Gentile response is ended.

But it has meaning for us Gentiles as well, for it speaks also of our condition. We, like Israel, need both deliverance from evil and forgiveness. God promises this to us in Christ Jesus. Our response is to simply turn from sin and to turn to Christ in faith. It is that simple. And then we leave the other details in God’s strong and able hands. He is able to deliver and to forgive.

Have you trusted in Christ?

Daily Devotions , ,

Why I Believe in a Pre-tribulation Rapture

July 22nd, 2016

If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. (2 Peter 2:9)

This might sound like one of these posts where I delve into complex biblical arguments and optional interpretative matters. I will try to keep it simple. I’m just speaking from my heart on what I believe the Bible teaches about God rescuing the righteous.

A little biblical interpretation: Still I need to give a little scriptural background. A Pre-Tribulation rapture is based on a few scriptures and a basic scriptural principle: God’s deliverance of the godly.

The Rapture is the understanding of a literal fulfillment of the words of Christ: “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left” (Matt. 24:40-41). It is the understanding of the literal teaching of scripture that at the end of God’s redemptive plan for this earth, prior to the return of Christ, that God will suddenly and mysteriously remove the church from the earth. Paul also wrote on the subject:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

When will it happen? Two key scripture passages lend themselves to the interpretation that this shall be before the great Tribulation.

One is in Revelation: The interpretation of Revelation that divides it into three major sections based on Revelation 1:19: “Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.” The “things that you have seen” refers to chapter 1 and the vision of the Glorified Christ. The things “that are” refers to chapters 2 and 3 and is comprised of seven letters to seven churches, symbolizing all of the churches throughout the Church Age. The things “that are to take place after this” refers to chapters 4-22, which, I believe, unveils the future after the church is removed, as chapter four begins with the phrase “After these things,” which is the exact same wording from 1;19 in the original Greek, meta tauta.

One is in 1 Thessalonians 2:7: The entire teaching of 2 Thessalonians lays down this principle of God rescuing the godly. Chapter 1 expressly teaches that when the Lord returns he shall come in a spirit of godly vengeance on the ungodly. Chapter 2 mentions the Man of Lawlessness, also known as the Antichrist, who will rise to power near the end.

2:7, however, says, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.” Who is the one who restrains the rise of the Man of Lawlessness or the Antichrist? A pre-tribulation interpretation believes this is a reference to the church itself, that must be removed by the Rapture before the Antichrist will rise to power.

The principle of God rescuing the godly: Those teachings above, however, are matters of interpretation. Some Bible-believing Christians see it differently. But what we must all agree on is the principle of God rescuing the godly from trials. How it will be done is up to God and our various interpretations of scripture will not change God’s plans. But that it will be done is a matter of faith in which we must all share.

God rescues us in different ways:

  • He may deliver us from the situation itself, removing us from the danger, such as delivering Peter from prison, Acts 12:5-17.
  • He may deliver us by removing the danger from us, such as in Psalm 37:10, “In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.”
  • He may deliver us within the circumstance, such as delivering Paul and his companions from a shipwreck, Acts 27:13-44.
  • He may give us strength to endure the unendurable, such as prophesied in Isaiah 40:31: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” And such as Christ said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
  • He will eventually give us victory by removing us from this evil world through death or through the rapture, such as is taught in Philippians 1:21-23.

Trust in God’s deliverance. In your moment of need pray to him, cry out to him, and do not hesitate to ask for deliverance. Ask on the basis of his love and his grace. But trust that he will do it in his way and in his time. When you do not see the deliverance immediately, trust that he will then give you strength to endure the situation. Let it be a time of searching and exploring what he is teaching you through the difficulty. Often hardship is God’s means of teaching us, and our faith will be enriched through our endurance (Heb 12:4-11).

Dealing with Difficulties, Second Coming of Christ , ,