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What Shall I do to Inherit Eternal Life

What Shall I do that I may Inherit Eternal Life

A Brief Study by Eugene Prewitt

I.                     I need salvation

II.                    God knew my need before I knew it.

A.                    So He was working for my salvation before I was.

B.                    I should know what He has already done.

1.                    He has paid for my sins.

2.                    He has provided a model for my life. 1jo 2:16

3.                    He has granted me an ongoing probation

i.                     Probation was forfeited in Eden.

ii.                    Probation is forfeited every time a man sins.

iii.                  On-going probation, then, is a very precious gift.

4.                    He has provided power for my needed change to holiness.

i.                     The gift of the Holy Scriptures

ii.                    The gift of the Holy Spirit

iii.                  The assistance of Holy Angels

iv.                   The faculties of conscience, reason, and judgment.

v.                    The faculties of desires, appetites, and passions.

vi.                   The faculty of imagination

vii.                 The faculty of faith and of the will

5.                    He has provided a setting conducive to spiritual growth and prosperity

i.                     The home

ii.                    The woods

iii.                  The garden

iv.                   Useful occupation

v.                    Sacred music

vi.                   Nutritious food

vii.                 Sabbath and rest

6.                    He has provided for us to become heirs and children of holy men

i.                     By the Law of Beholding

ii.                    To undo our inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil.

iii.                  Ultimately, becoming a child of the Holy Jesus, and heir

1.                    By the same Law of Beholding

2.                    By the means of Christ’s sacrifice

7.                    He has set in operation means to draw us to Himself.

i.                     The powers and faculties and settings already mentioned.

ii.                    A command to believers to share the truth with you.

1.                    Gifts to the church to facilitate its work of sharing

2.                    Power to give efficiency to the church in its work

III.                  I don’t deserve any of this work that God has been doing to serve me.

A.                    Therefore all these things are grace, gifts freely given to me while undeserving

B.                    These gifts are evidence regarding the character and power of God

IV.                  Satan knows that we need salvation

A.                    He has been working for 6000 years to make it difficult to be saved.

B.                    I should be aware of his devices and of what he has done

1.                    He accuses me of my sins.

2.                    He provides alternate models for my life

3.                    He seeks to end my probation through death or presumptuous hardening

4.                    He opposes Christ’s work with the power of his demonic hosts

i.                     He provides alternate sources of authority and comfort

ii.                    He provides alternate sources of spiritual power and miracles

iii.                  He habituates mankind to a perverted use their faculties

1.                    Using the law of beholding against us through a perverted imagination

2.                    Exalting our desires and appetites above the dictates of conscience

iv.                   He attacks the nucleus of the family and of its devotion

v.                    He promotes city-living

vi.                   He promotes artificial amusements and sports

vii.                 He promotes alternate music

viii.                He promotes an unhealthy lifestyle

ix.                   He promotes skepticism

x.                    He assails the church and its effectiveness in these same ways

C.                    My setting, then, is a Great Controversy between Christ and Satan

V.                    My Part (and His)

A.                    I respond to what Christ is doing for my salvation

1.                    With love for Him

i.                     Resulting from my understanding of Calvary or other evidence of God’s love

ii.                    Resulting from my meditation on the same

ii.                    Not with sentiment alone, but with love – the putting of other’s needs before one’s own

2.                    With faith in Him and in His Word

i.                     Moved by the love as directed by the faith I….

1.                    Avail myself of Christ’s provisions

i.                     Depending on God’s promises

ii.                    Depending on God’s power

iii.                  Asking for the Holy Spirit

2.                    Harmonize the use of my faculties with His intentions

ii.                    Which means obedience, for living faith works obedience

iii.                  Which means confession, for this has been commanded

iv.                   Which means repentance, for this has been commanded

3.                    My part is His Part. He works in me to love and believe, to will and to do, and grants me repentance.

4.                    My part is to will; His part is to empower. I may not feel his part, but I will experience it.

B.                    I hold on, endure, continue as I have started, with a faith that works by love

VI.                  The Results

A.                    I am declared Righteous

1.                    I am forgiven

2.                    God’s Word, declaring me “righteous”, recreates me and continues to work in me

B.                    The result of that miracle-working Word, as long as I endure, is growth in holiness

C.                    When my name comes up in the judgment above…

1.                    My sins are written there with the record of their forgiveness

2.                    Jesus confesses my name before the Father and before the angels

i.                     The latter witness that my works justify Christ’s declaration of my faith.

ii.                    The Former confirms Christ’s request and my sins are blotted out.

D.                   Whether living or dead, it is now in heaven as if I had never sinned.

1.                    If on earth I am alive, I am sealed. God declares to the angels that I am secure.

2.                    If on earth I am dead, I rest.

i.                     When resurrected I am given a new nature.

ii.                    I am secure.

VII.                 Conclusion

A.                    Conversion is simple. Take God at His Word and live as if that Word is true.

B.                    Conversion is simple. Love and fear God and keep His Commandments. This is your only duty.

C.                    Conversion is simple. Consider Jesus (and thus come to love and fear and obey Him).

D.                   Conversion is simple. Consider Jesus (and thus come to take Him at his Word.)

E.                    Conversion would be simple if there were no devil. But as he opposes Christ at every turn…

1.                    We must follow God’s Word earnestly and closely to be kept secure from unbelief

2.                    We must depend on God’s wisdom and power and righteousness to overcome the evil one.

3.                    Organizing our life in harmony with God’s plan of living greatly simplifies the process of holding on to our faith.

Introduction

All my adult life I have pursued one theme, one aim. I am interested only in accomplishments that will last forever.

Saved souls live forever. For this reason I ought to know what is involved in saving them. I ought to know how to explain the process to them. And often I am asked questions that, boiled down to their sticky concentrated form, amount to “How can I be saved? How can I know if I am converted? What must I do to be sure of eternal life?”

The answers to these questions are simple and concise. Yet they are often asked in contexts that complicate giving an answer. A concise answer, combined with two or three well-designed demonic misunderstandings can combine in the mind to create a fall answer. This is why the Bible is much longer than the three sentences it  might otherwise take to explain the way of salvation.

In this essay I will endeavor to retain simplicity of expression and brevity of explanation. I am aiming to make the way of salvation plain even to persons that have been very much duped by the most common tricks of the devil.

The essay follows an orderly development. I need  salvation. God knew my need before I knew it and began working to save me even before I was born. Satan hates me and has been working for thousands of years to make the way of life more difficult. The work of God and the work of Satan oppose each other, each seeking either my well being or my destruction – and much of their labor for or against me was done before I had any awareness.

How should I respond to God’s work in my behalf? With love, and faith, and endurance. And when I do I am declared righteous and made to be righteous. And when I endure to the end my destiny is made certain. The Judgment declares Christ’s righteousness in place of my defects and sins. In conclusion, the gospel and its application to the soul is simple, as simple as can be, to understand. But it is work, a great deal of work, to be faithful. It is enough to wear out any man that is not considering Jesus and thus being strengthened by His power for the task.

I Need Salvation

 

I am born into a big problem. First, I inherited many evil tendencies and many physical imperfections and many social inadequacies. Second, I grew up in a defective society. Family relations, national relations, social values, or the lack thereof, plague my growing up. I learn from family, from friends, from TV, from school, indeed, from many sources, to despise Divine counsel. And what is more, I have sinned. What one sin can do is apparent in Genesis. I have sinned more than once. So I am doomed and weakened and separated from God. I have bad habits that came from bad decisions. Some of these, like my temper and my appetite, were cultivated when I was an infant and became strong before my muscles did.

So I am thoroughly lost before the gospel works its miracle in my life.

God comments that even discipline is vain for the ills in my life. Pain cannot solve my problems.

Is 1:5-6  Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

No man responds to God’s invitations naturally. Rather, he is naturally inclined to ignore God’s wishes.

Ro 3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

 

And no obedience of today can ever atone for any obedience of yesterday. We ought to know this intuitively. If a man steals today the fact that he does not steal tomorrow cannot save him from prosecution. But we do not know it well. As the verse above states, “there is none that understandeth.”

I am mortal and my nature has been deranged by sin. The effect of this is that I thoroughly enjoy my worst habits. I delight in making light of God’s counsels. I naturally hate them and wish they would leave me to myself.

Pr 1:22  How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

Pr 1:29  For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

Pr 1:30  They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

All which problems make my case just about hopeless. I could, with propriety, just give up on having anything better than a painful and short existence. I could nearly justify suicide. There just is not sufficient light and hope to warrant breathing. I am promised that I will answer for my sins at the bar of God. And there I can muse with William Miller of old:

“Annihilation was a cold and chilling thought, and accountability was sure destruction to all. The heavens were as brass over my head, and the earth as iron under my feet. Eternity–what was it? And death–why was it? The more I reasoned, the further I was from demonstration. The more I thought, the more scattered were my conclusions. I tried to stop thinking, but my thoughts would not be controlled. I was truly wretched, but did not understand the cause. I murmured and complained, but knew not of whom. I knew that there was a wrong, but knew not how or where to find the right. I mourned, but without hope.” – GC 318:2.

God Knew my Need before I Knew I was Lost

 

So He was working for my salvation before I had any interest in it. In fact, He was working to secure my redemption before I was born. While I was growing up, a sinner from my earliest days, He was already working to win me.

Tit 1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;      

Ro 5:6-8  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

I should know what He has already done. This will inform me regarding what, if anything, remains to be accomplished.

First, He has paid for my sins. And Second, by the same spotless life that was sacrificed in my place, Christ has provided a model for me to follow.

Heb 2:9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

1Pe 2:21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

1Jo 2:6  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Lu 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

When Adam was expelled from the Garden of Eden, he left behind an opportunity to prove himself loyal and true to his Creator. The tree in the midst of the garden had been a test and he had been, as it were, on probation. Once fallen, his probation violated, he was barred from the Tree of Life.

Yet Christ has extended probation to us. He has redeemed us from Adam disgraceful fall. Though already fallen and guilty we have been granted a future judgment. By making the judgment future (rather than immediate) God has given us the gift of a probationary life. He has given us hope. See Tit 1:2 above and:

He 9:27-28  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

On-going probation, then, is a very precious gift. When a man sins this gift becomes most valuable. It postpones his judgment and gives him time to conform to God’s requirements.

Another thing God has provided is power for my needed change to holiness. This power was provided before I ever sought help. The mighty creative power of God has been placed in written form, in the Holy Scriptures. This is incomprehensibly good news.

And the fullness of the power of God has been granted to men in the work of the Holy Spirit. This power works for our salvation even before our birth, impressing and moving parents and grandparents, church members and others to act in such a way as to smooth our path to heaven. And this power may indwell even infants as it moved John the Baptist in his mother’s womb. Lu 1:41, 44.

The Power of God’s Spirit is accompanied by the power of hundreds of millions of Holy Angels. These have been commissioned to aid us.

Heb 1:14  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

The Faculties of the Mind

 

Beside these mighty influences, the Scriptures, the Spirit, and the angelic host, God has fashioned mankind with powerful faculties ingeniously equipped to bring us to Him. The faculties of conscience, reason, and judgment have been given to act as a cabinet serves a president. They give direction. And the first of these is susceptible to direct communication from heaven. These higher powers of the mind are called, in scripture, the “inner man” and they have been fashioned to “delight in the Law of God.”

Ro 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Built to serve the mind in an entirely different capacity, the lower powers of desires (including our appetites and passions) were crafted to create a hungering and thirsting after righteousness that only the gospel could satisfy. Man was made to desire wisdom, power, beauty, wealth, development, intimacy and health. These boons, all resting in the gifts of the gospel, have been designed to draw men heavenward.

The imagination, created by God as an image to His power to see the past and the future, allows men to benefit from scenes far in the past, far in the future, and even scenes at a great distance. This faculty, the mind’s eye, may picture Jesus on Calvary, Jesus in the Judgment, Jesus returning to earth. As if man was omnipresent, his faculty of imagination allows him to rise above his circumstances to place his mind in heavenly places or wretchedly in hollows ones.

To our race God has entrusted a free will. This faculty, combined in every man with a measure of freely given faith, governs the soul. Made impervious to Satan’s attacks, this fortress is capable of choosing the right even when it is utterly incapable of performing the same. When used in the way intended by the Creator, as a servant of faith, the will becomes endued with God’s power and becomes indomitable.

Ro 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

God’s Gift of a Setting Conducive to Growth

Fashioned after God’s wisdom, the Garden of Eden lacked nothing that would promote the spiritual life of Adam and Eve. The setting God provided, so conducive to spiritual growth, has been granted in principle to every man that will avail himself of it.

Part of that setting we call the “home.” Family, functioning in God’s order, with a priest and with a  family altar, with love blended with discipline, with security and well-placed intimacy, is a most precious gift. It points many souls heavenward before they are even able to reason from right to wrong.

Nature, with her woods and hills and flowers and their lowly inhabitants, the birds and small animals, bears testimony to her Creator.  She is a preaching gift uninhibited by human laws and national traditions. There is no place where her voice has not sounded.

Ps 19:3-4  There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

As God’s place of chosen interaction with nature, the garden was one of the first gifts to men. Agriculture was intended to promote man’s spiritual life and to afford him a lesson-book purposed by heaven to teach him most essential lessons.

Not that every man was to be a farmer by trade. While all might cultivate a small plot of ground, God gave the race a larger variety of occupations. Useful work puts the breaks on societies downward slide. Where men are gainfully employed crime diminishes and taverns languish.

And the hours of work, with hours of recreation and family time, have been joined to hours of devotion by the heavenly gift of music. Existing before the earth’s creation, this powerful medium can communicate spiritual power, courage, wisdom and contrition. It serves its highest purposes when promoting a holiness that praises God.

Fruits, grains, nuts, and eventually, vegetables have been given to mankind to build up a healthy functioning body. When unencumbered with sickness or disease, the human frame provides a setting for the faculties of the mind to serve the soul well.

And the setting given to men has been crowned with the gift of rest. Sabbath comes to us from Eden unchanged by the fall. As a sign of God’s Creative Power and of “sanctification” this Holy Day was given to make holy men.

These wonderful presents – home, nature, agriculture, useful work, sacred music, healthy food, and rest – form a setting that makes holy living comparatively easy, almost natural. They were given to us before we were seeking for them and constitute an important part of the Mighty Power acting in our behalf.

Inheritance

Satan’s effort to assure that I inherit a very degenerate set of morals is more than matched by Christ’s gift of inheritance. But this takes a little thinking to understand.

How do we inherit the characteristics of our parents? Clinically, we might answer “by genetics.” And, truthfully, this is how we inherit physical characteristics. But when we speak of moral characteristics, this is only half of the story. These are inherited by two means: genetics and infant observation. Children observe the behavior of their parents and are molded into the same image by what they see and hear. This is one of the laws of heredity – the law of beholding.

And this is why the Bible has more chapters about Abraham than about all the holy men before him combined. We are to become children of Abraham. In fact, we are to become children of Israel and children of Levi. By the use of the imagination combined with the Holy Scripture we may observe their spiritual victories and be changed into their image. We may become like them in character – and this is what it means to be a spiritual child – to acquire their moral character. In the case of the Jewish leaders, Jesus affirmed that they had inherited genetic material from Abraham, but denied that they were his children.

John 8:37-40  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

The law of beholding allows us, even late in life, to undo our inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil. It is a gift from heaven of most precious proportions. Ultimately, we become a child of our Holy Jesus by this same means. In particular, our continual consideration of Jesus and his sacrifice for us softens and subdues our hearts, inspires reciprocal love, and strengthens us for moral battles.

He 12:2-3  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

1Jo 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.

Isa 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Mic 7:7 Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

Zec 12:10  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Joh 6:40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

2Co 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Operation of Christ’s Church for our Salvation

In addition to the wonderful setting provided for our spiritual advancement, and to the incredible faculties built into our nature, God has set in operation a church to draw us to Himself.

Believers have been commanded to share the truth with the lost. And they have been given spiritual gifts to facilitate their work in saving me. God has filled the work of his consecrated workmen with Divine power, giving them efficiency in their attempts to reach me.

Ro 10:14-15  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Mt 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Mt 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mt 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

1Co 12:28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Grace

I don’t deserve any of this work that God has been doing to serve me and to save me. Therefore all these things are grace – gifts freely given to me while undeserving. These gifts, themselves, provide evidence the very best of God’s character and of His power to Save.

So the amount of power and wisdom invested in my salvation before I took any interest in the same has been immense. I, I did not deserve a chance, much less a helping hand. But what have I been given? Grace upon grace, power added to power, gifts and pledges and provisions and invitations. My salvation has occupied the attention of the universe’s greatest intelligences. Why? Because Jesus deserves that level of attention and grace came this way – God gives me, at Christ’s request, what the Lord Jesus deserves.

Eph 4:7  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

The Complicating Factor – Satan

Satan is the reason that I need salvation in the first place. It is no wonder that his continued existence complicates what might otherwise be a simple process. He has been working for 6000 years to make it difficult to be saved. I should be aware of his devices and of what he has done.

But it is one of my operating principles not to give honor to my enemy.  I will only note briefly his wicked activities that tend to darken pilgrims’ paths.

First, he accuses me of my sins. The Bible titles him “the accuser of the brethren.”

Re 12:10  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

If it was only in heaven that he accuses me nothing would be harmed, for my Savior hushes him up there. (small pun intended).

Zec 3:2  And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

But Satan accuses me…to me and to other persons. This confuses the otherwise straightforward issue of confession and repentance. The Holy Spirit works to convict me of sins that I have yet to confess and put away. Satan harasses me with sins already forgiven. The Holy Spirit works to convict me of my need of the hope God offers. Satan harasses me with doubts that my sinfulness allows for any hope. And while my mind is unaccustomed to discern between these two spirits I may be overwhelmed with thoughts of my sins. But Satan does not do the work of God’s Spirit. With many he seeks to belittle real and evil transgressions of the law as unworthy of notice, as not needful of repentance and confession.

The evil one’s second trap has been to provide alternate models for my life. Rather that Christ and holy men of old, Satan has exalted military heroes, men of wealth, men of might and of sporting ability, child prodigies, musicians, prominent uncles and wayward older siblings. These and others he has sought to thrust into my channel of attention and to thus eclipse the bright creative light shining through scripture biographies.

And he tries to kill me.

The gift of a life-long probation Satan seeks to minimize my shortening my life. Whether by violence or by ill health or by reckless amusements or by inciting to presumptuous sin, he seeks to cut off my opportunities.

A fourth method of his work is to rally his demonic hosts to do his bidding everywhere he can not be. These evil angels work together (doubtfully in good order and without bickering) to foist all manner of malicious ideas on mankind.

They work especially diligently to establish alternate sources of authority. The Living Word of God they fear. In its place they suggest the manipulatible sources of the church fathers. Or they put forward as unassailable the might of modern science. Or they suggest that truth is wholly unattainable, or that everyone is right. They exalt man’s reason as sufficient to guide him. Or they suggest that breaking from tradition is arrogant and selfish.

These sources of authority they oppose to Holy Scripture. To the comforting work of the Bible and of the Comforter they exalt escapism. From novels to DVD’s, from music to extreme sports, from drugs to masturbation to alcoholism, they open doors that bring cheap comfort by means of distraction or grogginess. They provide eight inches depth of sand for the ostrich.

The true power placed in God’s church they obscure as they did Moses’ miracle rod-serpent. False charisma in the churches, supernatural experiences in non-Christian religions, and the creative genius of natural selection slither everywhere hardening the hearts of modern Pharaohs.

But they work more particularly to pervert the habitual use of the mental faculties. Imagination is subjected to serve the carnal lusts or to entertain dreamy fantasies, or otherwise to assist the false comforts/escapes already named. Desires and appetites are encouraged in their clamors. (“Just do it.” “Want it? Get it.” “Indulge yourself.” Etc.) And reason and conscience, the rightful managers of the soul, are thus made to act as spectators of a life being wasted.

Where the Holy Christ blessed mankind with family, the evil one has cursed mankind with a society-wide apathy towards divorce. Popular teachers have inveighed against corporal punishment. (That means they have said spanking is bad.) Women have been led to take the lead in spiritual things and men to be passive. Children have been grouped, at Satan’s suggesting, in such a way that they are each other’s teachers – the more perverted ones taking the lead in teaching. Step families, over-busy fathers, single-parent homes, and even same-sex unions have each played their part in displacing God’s intention of a spiritual, loving, stable family.

The garden and the beauties of nature Satan has sought to make inaccessible by building cities. The first human seed “of the serpent” built the first city, “Chanock” just outside of Eden. Gen 4:16-17.

The city environment designed by him keeps noise and pollution ever present. It glorifies the alternate mentors and life-styles already mentioned. And the lack of physical employment in the open air has helped cultivate a competing love of amusement and sports. Music on the corners, on the radios, in the I-pods, at the schools, in the stores, and every where else is of an alternate (not to be read “alternative” as a genre) to the beautiful and calming sounds of nature. “Good music is like the singing of the birds, soft and melodious.” This Satan knows. And this he seeks to counteract.

He has arranged that man’s chief aim in life is some variety of a sedentary job. The leaders of society, except at the highest levels, are pudgy. Health is further threatened by man’s eating habits. Downtown grocery stores appear to contain isles of oil, sugar, white flour combined in hundreds of combinations (with food colorings and preservatives). 24% of the United States population still smokes. (And higher percentages exist throughout most of the world.)

Voltaire’s spiritual descendants, such as Richard Dawkins, have made open attacks on the Christian religion. The most popular magazines, even in Christian homes, breed skepticism. When in 2006 National Geographic featured an article on Charles Darwin it was to refute challenges to his theory. And the greatest promoters of modern infidelity are those with access to the children in their elementary years – the public schools, the internet, and television.

Satan’s devices work best when unsuspected. The Christian Church, placed on earth to promote the salvation of individuals, would necessarily find it in her list of things to do to expose him. The powers granted her would make short work of the assignment. And for this reason, beside spite to Christ, Satan has attacked the church. Part of her has been lulled to sleep. Another part has been roused to espouse Satan’s own worldly agenda as a means of converting the unchurched. Another part has been poisoned with bitterness. And nearly all parts share this: They stand unconverted – and thus robbed of the Spirit’s power, of spiritual gifts, of Biblical understanding, of courage, even of holiness.

In summary, Satan has taken from men what God has given to men. And this has made the way of salvation difficult for millions. A simple restoration of Eden’s gifts would prepare a great many of these for the truths of the gospel. Such a restoration the devil opposes.

Christ proposes the restoration. And thus the setting of my struggle for life is a Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.

My Part (and His)

This essay is titled “What shall I do?” All the introductory material shared thus far has failed to address question. And the answer is so simple that Ellen White wrote:

     We find this is the great want of the soul–something that the needy, longing soul can grasp, something easy to be understood. The great reason why many do not lay hold of this truth is that it is so easy. They think they must do some great thing, and that God expects them to go through some wonderful process in order to be converted, but when we present the truth as it is, in its beautiful simplicity, they stand amazed. “Is that all?” they inquire.  

     We need to make the way of life just as clear as it is in Jesus, that all may see the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Simply to take God at His word seems so easy they hardly dare accept it. {10MR 195}

My part is to respond, in a certain way, to what Christ is doing for my salvation.

I am to respond to the evidences of His love, especially as manifest in the death of my Savior.  My understanding of that unspeakable gift ought to rouse a reciprocal love in my heart. Then, after knowing and understanding something of Calvary, my meditations on the theme are to continue to renew my affections and to promote contrition.

Ro 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1Jo 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Lu 7:47  Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

2Co 5:14  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

2Co 5:15  And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Zec 12:10  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

1Jo 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.

Jas 2:5  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

Joh 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Heb 12:2-4  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

My response is one of love and not merely one of sentiment. Love puts the needs of others before one’s own. Jesus put my need before his own. I respond by putting the needs of his beloved human family before my own. This love is accounted by Him as if lavished directly on his person.

Mt 25:37-40  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

1Jo 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Eze 33:31  And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

My response is to be one of faith.

This is not, truly, a distinct response from my response of love. Faith and love go together (See Eph 1:15; 3:17; 6:23; Col 1:4; 1Th 1:3; 5:8; 1Ti 1:14;2Ti 1:13; Tit 3:15; Phm 1:5; Jam 2:5.) The one is the will, the other the motive force. Faith works by love.

In view of Christ’s gift for me my love is roused to choose allegiance, to live by His word. This choice is faith. In the Old Testament it is described as loving obedience (See Ex 20:6; De 5:10; 7:9; 11:1, 22; 19:9; Jos 22:5; Da 9:4; Jo 14:15; 15:10;1Jo 5:2-3). In the New Testament it is described as faith working by love.

Ga 5:6  For in Jesus Christ . . . faith which worketh by love [avails].

Deut 30:14-20  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: … I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days:

Ro 10:8-10  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

My response of loving faith must seek direction in God’s Word. If I love him, I will obey Him. If I will obey Him, I must know his will. These two ideas together produce a third: If I love Him, I will love the truth.

Loving the truth is the way that I find direction for the power provided by my love. Love moves me. Faith directs me. Faith ties me, and my salvation, firmly to scripture. Faith, another word for “obeying the truth”, deepens the love that moves it. In short, love and faith cultivate each other in my heart.

Ro 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

2Th 2:10 [Men] perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Moved by the love as directed by faith in God’s Word, I avail myself of Christ’s wonderful provisions. This is how the work He has long been doing for my salvation becomes effective in changing my life:

1.         I avail myself of God’s promises. The Word becomes a treasure-store of creative power. Love for Christ moves me to depend on his mighty words in my day-to-day living. I read, claim, and am transformed by the “precious promises.” 2Pe 1:4.

2.         I avail myself of God’s power. I invite the Holy Spirit to live a holy life in me; to teach and guide me. I cultivate continual reference to and dependence on God’s Spirit.

Love and faith, not without my willful cooperation, reorganize my faculties to harmonize with God’s revealed will. My desires are removed from the throne. My conscience is crowned. My imagination is brought into captivity and made to serve its original holy purpose of mediation on redemptive themes.

When conscience, reason, and judgment are at the helm, the Spirit working through the first of them, I am obedient. Living faith works obedience.

Faith and love produce intelligent confession. They seek to compare themselves to the scripture standard and so know, Biblically, what to confess. Faith prevents them from both cherishing guilt over sins previously confessed and also from cherishing false assurance in relation to sins not yet confessed.

So faith and love move me to repentance.

My part is also God’s part. He is the one that gives me the gift of repentance. He is the one that, by the Spirit, works in me “to will and to do”, to love and to obey. His is the power that makes the promises effective.

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Ac 5:31  Him [Christ] hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Joe 2:11  And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

In other words, no part of my salvation is done alone by me. Besides the tremendous volume of work done on my behalf without my cooperation, there is a great deal of work to be done in my behalf with my cooperation.

My part is to will, his part is to empower. I may not feel his part, but I will experience it. That is the meaning of the phrase “I live, yet not I, [it is] Christ….”

Ga 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

My part is to endure. His part is to motivate my endurance with thoughts of his love and sacrifice and faithfulness. My part is to pay attention to those things, to think on them. His part is to transform me while I gaze, with spiritual eyes, on my Savior.

Heb 12:2-3  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Heb 11:27  By faith [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Faith, working with my imagination, allows me to scan the ages, to see my future reward, to visualize the ongoing judgment, to see the stories told in Scripture. That is how we see well enough to walk spiritually.

2Co 5:7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

The Results

Ultimately, the result of God’s great work and my enduring faith is salvation. But the meaning of salvation, and the process by which I receive it, are both worth considering. There is much more to redemption than many suppose.

First, I am declared righteous. God says “Eugene Prewitt is righteous.” Since God cannot lie, and since His Word is creative, when God says “that man is righteous”, however unrighteous he may have been, he becomes righteous.

Tit 1:2  God, that cannot lie, promised [eternal life] before the world began.

Ro 4:21-24  [Abraham was] fully persuaded that, what [God] had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Ro 4:5  But to him that . . . believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

It is “faith” that is counted as “righteousness” with God. This is deep. Faith, living by every Word of God, allows Christ to live in my heart. And when He dwells there, He works in me both to will and to do his Good pleasure.

In other words, persons with faith really do work righteousness.

Heb 11:33  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Jas 2:18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

But the ellipsis in Romans 4:5, if filled in, reads “But to him that worketh not, but believeth….”

Why is this? When God declares me to be righteous, the perfect life of Jesus is credited to my account. His death for my sins is honored by giving Him the right to give me life for his righteousness. His right to forgive me this way is not based on any good thing I have done or ever will do. His right to declare me righteous is based on His work.

So though I speak about “my part” in the plan of redemption, I never mean that God owes me. No good thing that Jesus does through me ever atones for one of my sins. I am not employed in weaving my own robe of self-forgiveness.

When God forgives me, by saying “he is righteous,” His creative word does miracles.

One miracle is instantaneous. I am strengthened by God’s Spirit in my “inner man” so that God may live through me. In a moment I become a channel for Divinity, a partaker of the Divine Nature by depending on God’s promises (i.e., by faith.)

Eph 3:16-17  [I pray] that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

This is the “new birth”, and “conversion.” Both are metaphors for the miracle of a reordered mind, a supernatural presence in the heart, and all that these two changes bring with them.

Another miracle is ongoing. Like the seeds that germinate every spring since that powerful Word said “be fruitful and multiply”, my life is continually growing in holiness as long as I hold on to my faith. When God says “he is righteous” His Word goes on a mission. It does not return to God until it accomplishes what He sent it to do.

Heb 10:36  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Mt 10:22  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Is 55:10-11  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

When my name comes up in the judgment my sins are found recorded along with a record of their forgiveness. Jesus confesses my name before the Father and before the elect angels. That latter witness that my works justify Christ’s declaration of my faith. The Former confirms Christ’s right to grant me His righteousness in place of my sins. My sins are blotted from the record.

Da 7:10  A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

Re3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Ac 3:19  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Whether I am living or deceased, it is now in heaven as if I had never sinned. Not that anyone in heaven is confused about the topic. All know that I richly deserved to die for my sins. But all are satisfied to have my sins blotted out and to welcome me through the pearly gates.

If I am dead, I rest until the resurrection of the just. At that point I am given a new nature. I am saved and secure. There is still a great deal more to the plan of redemption, but for the purpose of this article, that is the end of the story.

If I am alive, I receive the seal of God and eventually hear those words “let him that is holy be holy still.” I am secure and await the last Trump to change my nature and to clothe me with the gift of immortality.

Conclusion

Conversion is simple. Take God at His Word and live as if that Word is true.

Conversion is simple. Love and fear God and keep His Commandments. This is your only duty.

Conversion is simple. Consider Jesus (and thus come to love and to fear and to obey Him.)

Conversion is simple. Consider Jesus (and thus come to take Him at his Word.)

Salvation would be simple if there were no devil. Be as he opposes Christ at every turn,  we must follow God’s Word earnestly, closely, to be kept secure from unbelief. We must depend on God’s wisdom and power and righteousness to overcome the evil one.

Organizing our life in harmony with God’s plan of living greatly simplifies the process of holding on to our faith.

For the Word Document Click here: What_Shall_I_do_that_I_may_Inherit_Eternal_Life

(6) Comments

  1. WHAT CAN I DO TO NOT BE SAVED?

    What can you do to not be saved? In order to not be saved, all you have to do is ignore the New Covenant terms for pardon.

    The following are some of the ways you cannot be saved under the New Covenant.

    1. You cannot be saved by a whirlwind.

    2 Kings 1-11 And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven…..11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

    You cannot be saved by a whirlwind under the New Covenant terms of pardon.

    2. You cannot be saved by works of love and faith.

    Luke 7:44-50 ……47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; ….50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

    The woman had her sins forgiven because she washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, kissed His feet, and anointed His feet with perfume. She loved much and had faith. Men today cannot be saved by works of love and faith. That is not the terms of forgiveness under the New Covenant.

    3. You cannot be saved by the publican parable.

    Luke 18:9-14 …..But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    Men today cannot be justified like the publican. The publican did not confess that Jesus was resurrected from the grave. There is no evidence the publican even believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Simply saying a humble prayer to God does save anyone. The publicans were Jewish tax collectors. Saying the prayer of a Jewish tax collector is not the terms of forgiveness under the New Testament.

    4. You cannot be saved under the Judaizer’s salvation plan.

    Galatians 5:1-5…..3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

    You cannot be saved by blending Christianity and the Laws of Moses. That is against the terms of pardon under the New Covenant.

    5. You cannot be saved like the thief on the cross.

    The thief believed that Jesus was the Christ.(Luke 23:39)
    The thief feared God.(Luke 23:40)
    The thief asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. (Luke 23:42)
    Was thief saved? Yes.

    The thief did not believe in his heart that Jesus was raised from the dead by God the Father.(Romans 10:9)
    The thief was not baptized in water. (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Peter 3:21)

    If you believe you can be saved like the thief, then you have to believe you can be saved without being baptized in water, and that you can be saved without believing in your heart that God resurrected Jesus from the grave

    The thief died under the old covenant and got a direct pardon from Jesus. Men, today, are living under the New Covenant. You cannot be nailed to the cross today and get a direct pardon from Jesus. Jesus is not on the cross He has been raised from the dead by God the Father.

    6. You cannot be saved like Enoch.

    Genesis 5:24 Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took him.

    Enoch did not believe Jesus was the Son of God. Was Enoch saved?Yes.
    Enoch did not confess that God raised Jesus from the dead. Was Enoch saved? Yes.
    Enoch did not believe that Jesus shed His blood on the cross so he could have his sins washed away.. Was Enoch saved? Yes.
    Enoch was not baptized in water. He was not immersed for the forgiveness of his sins. Was Enoch saved? Yes.
    Was Enoch born of the Spirit? No. The Holy Spirit of promise was not given until the Day of Pentecost. Was Enoch saved? Yes.

    Can men today be saved like Enoch? Absolutely not. Men, today, can only be saved by meeting the terms of pardon under the New Covenant, also know as the New Testament.

    7. You cannot be saved like the paralytic.

    Luke 5:18-20 And some men were carrying on a bed a man who paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and set him down in front of Him. 19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

    Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic because of the faith of friends. Can men today be saved like the paralytic? No, they cannot.

    The paralytic was saved without personal faith.
    The paralytic was saved without repenting.
    The paralytic was saved without confessing Jesus as the Son of God.
    The paralytic was saved without being baptized.
    The paralytic was saved without believing that God raised Jesus from the dead.
    The paralytic was saved without confessing Jesus as Lord and Christ.
    The paralytic was saved before the New Covenant was available.

    TO BE SAVED TODAY MEN HAVE TO MEET THE TERMS OF PARDON UNDER THE NEW COVENANT.

    The New Covenant was not in effect until Jesus died. The birth of the church of Christ was the Day of Pentecost.

    Hebrews 9:15-17 For this reason He is the mediator of the new covenant, so that , since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who lives made it.

    The apostle Peter told all men how to be saved under the New Covenant. (Acts 2:22-41)

    NEW COVENANT TERMS FOR PARDON.

    FAITH: John 3:16
    REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Luke 24:47
    CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37
    WATER BAPTISM: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:20-21, Acts 22:16, Colossians 2:12-13, Titus 3:5, John 3:5, Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3-7

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>> steve finnell a christian view

    • Dear Steve,

      Your writing shows a good knowledge of Bible stories, but not of the New Covenant. While the New Covenant was ratified only by Christ’s death, its terms embrace men from Adam’s time to ours. Jesus was, as you know, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

      So a man living by faith, as did Abraham, was justified by faith just as you and I may be when we live by faith. This is the logic of Romans 4:17-22, would you not agree?

      And living by faith makes us the recipients of God’s free gift of pardon. The pure Righteousness of Jesus covers our life.

      Practically, that means that all these men you mention were saved by faith. And like you and I, they were obligated to confess and repent as part of the life of faith. They were even obliged to show their confidence in a future Saviuor’s death (by sacrifice) as you and I are obliged to trust in that death as a historical event.

      And according to Romans 2:12-16, when Jesus judges the secrets of men according to Paul’s gospel, there will be men saved by Jesus and by His blood, who knew little or anything about Him. They submitted to His Spirit and are acknowledged as having the New Covenant law in their hearts.

      That, of course, is a key component of the New Covenant every time it is mentioned as such in the Bible.

      Be faithful,

      Eugene

      • How do i truly repent, confess, and ask for forgiveness? I was reading steps to christ and i was stuck on repentance for i fear that i dont understand fully

        • Dear Charles,
          I regret sincerely that I am only seeing this six months after you wrote it. But here is my simple answer: the book you were reading has what you need. And to be particular, when you choose to turn away from sin and to put your will on Christ’s side, that choosing is your part of repentance. God’s part is a gift and will never be lacking when we do our part. He longs to give us sorrow for sin. Nevertheless, when we turn from sin (when we repent) we must believe that God hears and respects our confession, even if we feel nothing at all. Repentance isn’t a feeling, it is a choice.
          Be faithful,

          Eugene

  2. Hello Eugene. I believe i did the presumptuous sin, before i did the sin, i thought to myself its ok God will forgive me, and did the sin. ive been in worry since and wondering if im no longer able to have salvation?

    • Charles, I just sent you an email. I did not read your message until today, six months after you wrote it. But I once believed I had committed the unpardonable sin. And I was wrong. The Promise of Isaiah 44:2-3 helped me much. God will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground. It is Satan that would frighten us with thoughts that those who come to Jesus might be cast away because of something that they said or did earlier in life.

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