As I write this blog, I still remember those days when I was bound by sin few years back. I wish I could tell that those were the days of innocence, when I did not know what was right and wrong. But, I am still today ashamed to think of those days, because I knew what I was doing. But even those days, when I was feeling disgusted at myself, there were times when I realized that the LORD still loved me. But instead of running into His wide-opened arms, I shrunk back.
But one July 17th morning, as I was singing my morning devotional song, the Spirit of the Lord moved me to sing a Tamil Christian song in which one of the line is from Psalm 16:10.
For You will not abandon me to Sheol. – Psalm 16:10 (HCSB)
As I started to sing the song, I got stuck at that particular line. I was singing just that one line for nearly five minutes, I was unable to move to the next song or even next line. Suddenly the Lord opened my eyes and made me see myself in the Light of His Word. If I was disgusted with myself before, now I abhorred myself completely. And the Lord broke my heart and with tears in my eyes, that morning, I pleaded only one thing from our LORD: please do not abandon me to Sheol, O Lord. I kept singing that song. By that evening, the Lord broke the bondage of that particular sin in my life and delivered me from going to the pit.
And I remember that very night, when I sat there to pray, I was too stunned about my utter stupidity. It took few days for me to realize in what precarious position my soul was in. It took me more than few weeks to realize what great mercies and grace that the Lord had showered on me on that day.
On that night, on July 17th, I started to write in my diary about what I had done and how the Lord saved me in His grace and all I could utter where the words of Balaam.
The utterance of him
who hears the words of God,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
who falls down, with eyes wide open…
– Numbers 24:4 (NKJV)
It was during that time the LORD made me realize that I needed more spiritual support to proceed further and it was then I thought of writing a blog. For whenever I start writing a blog, I remember that these are utterances of him, who fell down with eyes wide open… though he was hearing the words of God, and was seeing the vision of the Almighty. It makes me realize every time I blog, that I am standing only because of the grace of the Lord. If not for His grace, I would be falling down, with my eyes wide open.
O my Father in heaven, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for providing Your Spirit, Who convicted me of my sin, Who broke my stubborn heart. I thank You, especially for the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ. It is His blood that cleansed me of my sins. It is His blood that gives me the strength to face my accuser. It is the faith of Your Son which is the Shield by which I am extinguishing the burning arrows of the evil one. Thank You, Father. Help me to grow more in Your grace. Through Your Son and my Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. – Romans 5:20
Many years back, I was talking to a pastor and when we were talking about the grace of God, he looked straight at me and made a startling statement: “Patrick, I care a lot about my congregation. I don’t want them to go to eternal damnation. So, I never preach them about grace.”
Okay, “startling” is a mild word to express what I felt. Even today, when I think about it, I am not sure if I know the exact word to express how I feel about this statement. Preaching Christ without any mention of grace, at least IMHO, is an impossible task. And isn’t it by grace, we receive salvation?
Anyways, I asked him to explain and he used the above verse, Romans 5:20, to explain why Christian preachers must not speak about grace. Apparently, there are certain “Christian” preachers who say that since grace abounds much more than sin, it is okay for a Christian to continue sinning. Actually there are some preachers who encourage their church members to sin more, so that the grace of our Lord abounds much more. So, this pastor hates the concept of grace, since it leads to a sinful life, and hence does not preach about grace.
Honestly, it left me at a loss of words. Later I came to know about the false doctrine of “hyper-grace”, but that was the first time, I have ever heard that the grace of our Lord was being abused to continue in sin. It is wrong, but it is also wrong not to teach about grace. All both the preachers have to do is to read further. Because the first two verses of the 6th chapter in the Epistle to Romans clearly contradicts the “hyper-grace” doctrine.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? – Romans 6:1-2
If a Christian received the grace of the Lord at Calvary, when he or she realized that while grace is freely given, it cost our Saviour Jesus Christ so much suffering, then they will not continue to sin. Let us go back to Calvary. Let us look at the sufferings and afflictions of our Lord and let us grow in the true grace of our Redeemer, so that we live a holy life – by His grace. Amen.
There are so many things in the Bible that are so misunderstood. It comes because of ignorance and most importantly, taking a Biblical verse out of context. And one of the important things that is so misunderstood is the grace of God.
Let me explain that by something that happened when I was a kid. I was raised Roman Catholic. When I was 10 years old, they had decided its time for me to have my first confession and my first communion. A priest came and we were there, some eager boys, listening carefully about confession. The priest explained how first of all, we needed to repent for our sins and then only we have to go to confession booth. After some 30 minutes of explanation, the priest wanted to make sure whether we have to understood the concept of confession. So, he asked, “So, if you want to go to the confession, what is the first thing we need to do?” I was an eager kid and I raised my hand immediately, shouting, “Father, Father, I know the answer.” The priest was very pleased with my eagerness and allowed me to answer that question – except I don’t think he was ready for the answer I had in mind. My answer was, “If we have to go to the confession, the first thing we have to do is SIN.” (DISCLAIMER: I am not a Roman Catholic anymore. I am a Christian. I do believe in confessing my sins to the LORD Almighty and repenting, but not to a priest and then telling 10 Our Father in Heavens and 20 Hail Mary’s.)
Unfortunately this is the attitude today with some Christians who have misunderstood one of the most beautiful verses in the Scriptures.
Where sin increased, God’s grace increased even more. When we sinned, the LORD’s grace increased much more so that our sins are forgiven. It is such a beautiful verse and has provided comfort to millions of sinners and made them into saints. But then, suddenly people started taking it out of context and started arguing something like this. So, if I sin more, then the grace of the LORD will increase, right? So, I can sin more and more, so that the grace of the Lord will increase further more.
There is a small problem with this. It just means two things. First of all, it tells that we are reading the Bible with a very wrong mindset. If we think that there could be a verse that could be used as an excuse to lead a sinful life, that means clearly that we are reading the Holy Bible with the wrong attitude. It is called the HOLY Bible for a reason. It is the Word of the LORD, the Most Holy, Holy, Holy God. So, when someone puts such an argument with a verse taken out of context, it just shows that they have no or little understanding of the nature of our God.
Second, it also shows that we have not read the Bible properly. Just two verses later, the Spirit of God gives the answer for this question through Apostle Paul in very clear terms. Paul asks this very question in Romans 6:1.
Then, he goes on to answer that question in a very emphatic manner.
God forbid! How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein? – Romans 6:2 (KJV 21)
Yes, dear friend, when we sinned not knowing of the Holiness of the LORD Almighty, His grace increased more and our sins were forgiven. Now, by His grace, we are dead to sin, so, may God forbid, let us not sin anymore. May the LORD, in His grace, help us overcome the temptations. Amen.
|Philippians 1:6“… being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
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YHWH Shammah – the LORD is there. Yes, the LORD is with us always. Though we believe this, there are times in our life, where we are very sure that the LORD will not be and cannot be with us. And we all have such moments – when we sin… how can the Most Holy God be with us, when we sin? At those moments, we are very sure that the LORD has left us.
I want to clarify two things before I go further. One, I am not saying that you can keep on sinning and the LORD will be always with you… no, sir, no . All I am saying is that when we fall, the LORD does not leave us nor forsake us, because it is during that time, we need Him more than ever. That’s why our LORD Jesus Christ said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17 (NIV). So, the point I want to make is even when we fail, Jesus Christ does not fail us. Again, I am not saying that we can continue to sin. The second point I want to clarify is I am writing the testimony of someone I know very well. It may contain certain details that you may not like. But I think it is necessary those details are here, because it will help you in understanding the Name of our LORD, YHWH Shammah.
In Psalm 139:8, the Psalmist makes a claim. Even if I make my bed in the depths, my LORD, You are there with me. The Psalmist is not claiming that even if he is dead… he is talking about Sheol, the place where sinners reside. He is not talking about being tricked by others to sin… he says, even if I make my bed… that means, he knows that this is not the place to be… still he goes ahead and makes his bed… but the LORD Most High, who resides in Heaven, comes down to the depths of this world, amidst sinners, to rescue you and me.
Yes, when we are cornered by the temptations of the world, when we fail miserably, take heart, dear child of God, our LORD will come down to rescue us. YHWH Shammah, the LORD will be there with you and me, not to see us perish in the temptations of this world, but to rescue us from the fiery furnace of the temptation. Let me illustrate this with a testimony from a friend of mine. And, before God, I am not making up this testimony, nor my friend was lying about this.
Many years back, this friend was undergoing a really really bad time in his life. Everything around him was falling apart. He became sick and it really affected his health. He had problems with his parents, had trouble in his job and he was looking for someone to comfort him. And he went back to a girl who he left before. She is a piece of work. She had had more lovers than I can count and that is in just 3 years. And there was a time she had three lovers at the same time. But my friend didn’t care. He just wanted to get back with someone. I met him after a long time after this and was pleasantly surprised to see that he is doing okay, got healthy, everything was going fine and he is back with the LORD. I asked him what happened. And here is what he said.
“I asked that girl to visit me during Christmas break and she came. Since I was living in a studio then, I had only one bed and she said that it is okay for us to share. Since it was really cold, I said it is fine and made the bed. I was sleeping on one side and she was on the other side of the bed, with lots of space between us. So, I didn’t think that anything wrong would happen.
(NOTE: Making the bed in depths, as the Psalmist said… if you know someone is sinning, pray for them, show them the love of God, that is direct them to the Cross, but never ever think that nothing will happen if you are alone with them… you will be tainted for the rest of your life. Run like Joseph ran – probably with the clothes on – Patric.)
After sometime, I felt some movement and realized that her hand was on me and she was cuddling. I thought it was because of the cold… and it took me few minutes to realize that she was not wearing any clothes at all and that she was not cuddling. (NOTE: I will not say anymore on this, as this blog is meant to edify you, not titillate) And, for one second, I thought that probably she is the life partner meant for me and that the LORD has sent her my way (Yeah, really, people can get really stupid when they are falling head down in to the depths of adultery).
I finally decided to give in to the temptation when I heard a choir singing an old Tamil song: சத்துரு சோதித்திட தேவ உத்தரவுடன் வருவான்; ஆனால் இயேசு கைவிடார், தானாய் வந்து இரட்சிப்பார். (The meaning of those lyrics is: devil will come your way to tempt you with the permission of God; but Jesus will not forsake you, HE will come on His own to save you.) When I heard those words, I really thought I am hallucinating, so I opened my eyes and looked around, yet I could hear those words again and again. That’s when I realized that it was not the LORD who sent her, but devil brought her there. I overcame the temptation and I asked her to leave the very next day. If the LORD did not help me, I don’t know what would happened to my soul.”
Now, I am not at all suggesting that you do the same and surely, Jesus would come and help you… no, please, no. My advice is run for your life before getting into such a situation. But what amazed me is even in such a disgusting situation, the LORD came to save my friend’s soul.
Dear child of God, you are very precious to Jesus Christ. HE gave His life for you, He shed even His last drop of blood for you… and when temptation overpowers you, when you think you have no strength to overcome sin, remember that the LORD is with you there to save you… to save you from the temptations of this world, to save you from the power of sin. YHWH Shammah is here with you now… don’t despair, don’t be afraid. The LORD our God is mighty to save you. The LORD our God loves you so much. That’s why the LORD our God will be with you – YHWH Shammah. Amen.
|Ephesians 1:7“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”
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