Riff's Christian Journal

A Layman's View Of Christian Theology

A Simple Example Of Election Salvation

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I was looking out of my office window one afternoon and I became fascinated by this man who was standing in the middle of the sidewalk trying to hand out a drink of water to any and everyone who went by him.

No one was interested and they all kept walking by him as if he really was not there. However, every so often someone would look up at and walk slowly over to him. I could see them talking and then the person would take the water, break out in a big grin and drink the rest of it. They would hug and the person went on their way with a grin as big as the Cheshire Cat ever had.

What in the world was going on? Why would everyone walk by except for an occasional seemingly interested person? Ummm, I wondered.

Then I was shaken back to reality when the boss walked in and gave me some more work to do. I finished the afternoon, forgetting about that man with the water.

At quitting time I walked outside and boy was it hot. I then remembered about the man with the water. Was he still there handing out his water, and should I, would I dare, stop and try some. I looked and, yes, he was still there.

As I started down the street I began to feel a little uneasy just thinking about taking something that looked like water from someone I didn’t know. I then decided that no matter how hot it was I was not going to take the water. In fact, I was not even going to look over at him; just walk on by.

The sidewalk was crowded and I stayed to the outside, next to the street, so that I would not even walk close to him.

I was looking down and trying to think about anything except water when I heard, “Glenn!”

That was my name. Who was it that was calling my name? I looked around and suddenly saw this man with the water looking my way with an interesting grin on his face. “Yes,” he said. “That was me, Glenn. I was calling your name. I was calling you.”

I slowly walked over to him and he said, “Would you not like to have a cool and refreshing drink of water on such a day as this?”

At this point a drink of water sounded great. “I sure do,” I said. “How much is it?” His answer was quite a surprise. “This water costs nothing. It is a gift just for you and for those to whom my father has chosen for me with which to share.” “You are one of those who are on his list.”

I took the glass and drank some of the water. Man, it tasted better than any water I ever had. I quickly found myself drinking the rest from the glass, and just like that, my thirst was gone. Not only that, but I found myself wanting to spend time with this man.

I have never been separated from Jesus since I took that drink. That is some water.

Of course this is just a story, a simple example of how “Election Salvation” works. What I do want to get across to you, the reason for this story, is that unless Jesus calls you by name to come drink of the water that He has to offer, like everyone else who walked by, you too will walk by.

You will always refuse, of your own free (but enslaved) will not to accept the offer of salvation from Jesus.

Only those who are on God’s list, that He created before the foundation of the world, will Jesus call. In fact, in John 6:44, Jesus basically said that “no one can come to me except that the Father who sent me draws them to me, and all whom He gives me will come to me.”

So, let me challenge you. Would you like a drink of the water that Jesus offers? Keep listening for you just might hear your name being called.

Election Salvation is simple. You only need to be called and so be saved. Is that “your” name I hear Jesus calling?

 

Written by Glenn Riffey

June 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Prayer – Training For Trust

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Do you believe in the sovereignty of God? If you do not believe that God sits on His throne in heaven and does what ever He wills among the inhabitants of the earth you will never have a successful prayer life.

In 1st Thessalonians 5 Paul writes:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Prayer is not giving long winded prayers like you may hear in church, nor is it reciting something from a book, pamphlet or a sheet of paper. Prayer actually is just talking with God.

You see, God already knows what we are going to say. He knows our needs, desires and wants. He knows what problems we are going to have and what blessings we will be given.

What God wants of us is for us to trust in Him no matter what our situation may be. We know that God works all things for our good because we love Him, and when we trust Him we can be as Paul writes in Philippians 4:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

You see, from the time we wake up until we go to bed at night, we should constantly be acknowledging, and talking with, God; asking for guidance, for wisdom, patience and understanding; and more importantly asking for the faith needed to trust in God no matter what are our circumstances or the situation in which we find ourselves.

When we can learn to trust in God in all things we can have the peace that He promises, and we can learn to be content, because of our trust in Him and, as long as we are constantly talking with God in prayer, our faith will be at the level needed to hold onto that trust.

God is sovereign and He is in control of all things. Our prayers, our talking with Him and acknowledging our dependency on Him no matter what are our circumstances, will keep us strong in our faith in Him and with strong faith comes deep trust in our Lord and Savior.

Only through constantly talking with God, praying without ceasing, will we ever gain the deep trust that our Father wants for us to have in Him.

Prayer truly is the training ground for gaining the deep trust in God that we need to face any situation that life can throw our way, and be able to have the peace that God has promised to all who love and obey Him.

How about you, how deep is your trust? Maybe you should look at your own prayer life and just start talking with God yourself. I know He would love to hear from you.

Written by Glenn Riffey

May 7, 2017 at 2:28 pm

The Risen Christ Affirms Christianity

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Do you know that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead that Christianity is a false religion?

Read the following verses from 1 Corinthians 15 and think about them…

14 if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is vain and your faith is also vain.

17 and if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile, you are still in your in you sins!

You can see by these versus that Christianity depends on the fact that Jesus has been raised, bodily, from death and burial. So that we can read these versus, with certainty, also from 1 Corinthians.

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead…

Christianity is real. Salvation and forgiveness is offered because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and all who believes in and receives Jesus as Lord and Savior will be forgiven, and will be saved from facing the wrath of God on judgement day.

Christ is risen … He is risen indeed!

Written by Glenn Riffey

April 2, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Easy Way To Know God’s Will

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By being a true disciple of Jesus you can know what is the will of God for you in any situation. In Psalm 32: 8 God tells us this:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.”

God does this through His Word. As we read and study the Scriptures on a regular basis God will take what we learn and use that for instructions in living a life devoted to Him, and for guiding us in our daily life.

As God works in us He will let us know, by what we have learned through our study of His Word, what His will is for us in any situation where we seek His guidance. He will speak to us through an inner voice or by giving us peace that we have made a right decision.

By learning His Word, and in seeking His guidance on a regular basis, we can learn to recognize and know what is God’s will for us in any situation.

The “easy” secret to learning God’s will for us is to first read and know what is in God’s Word. How about you, do you really want to be instructed and taught by God?

By being in God’s Word on a regular basis you can be guided by, and know, what is God’s will for you.

God will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, and He will guide you according to His will, but only when you take the time to read and study His Word.

Only by knowing what is in God’s Word will you ever know the will of God, and have the faith needed to trust in Him for the outcome.

Written by Glenn Riffey

March 5, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Why A Christian Should Not Say “This” To A Non-Christian – Part II

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In Part I of this study the premise of it is that the one thing that a Christian should “not” say to a non-Christian is this, “God loves you just the way you are”. The reason that this statement should not be said is that God does not love us just the way we are. If He did, why would He command men everywhere to repent.

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,” Acts 17: 30

Think of that statement. God wants everyone to “repent”. In the Greek it means “to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction)” You see God does not love us as we are because we are walking in a way that is disobedient to the way that He does want us to be. We are seeking to do what we want and not what He knows is best for us, and the fact that we choose not to be obedient to Him and to do things our way is why He is angry with us.

God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7: 11

Jesus also said, “but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13: 3 & 5

The Apostle Paul also preached repentance as in Acts 20: 20, 2120 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So you see, God is angry with us and even as we saw in Psalm 5: 4, 5, He also hates they who do walk in disobedience to Him.

4.         For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with you.

5.         The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You “hate all” workers of iniquity.

Repenting of the way we are, the life we live, is a prime requisite for all who do not want to be cast into Hell and there spend eternity. For as Jesus said in Luke 12: 5

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

Jesus tells us to fear Him Who has the power to cast us into Hell and to repent or we, too, will all perish. Is that what you want? Do you now see that God does “not” love us as we are?

However, if you want proof of God’s love it is here in the command to “repent”. Think of this, if God does not really care about us, even in His anger and hatred, He would not give man a way for us to know and experience His love and it is in the word “repent”. To turn from what we are like to being the kind of person that He wants for us to be. But, there is a condition to this love and it is found only in Jesus.

You see, man must pay for the sins he has committed, and payment extends to all eternity. But, if we turn to and believe in the One Who has made a way for us to receive forgiveness for our sins, because He has paid the penalty for all who will be “forgiven”, we can receive this salvation from being found guilty and in not having to face the wrath of God that is to come. It is in the person and work of Jesus that this can be found.

In speaking of Jesus, the Apostle Paul said this in Acts 4: 12

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus is the only person that can provide the needed forgiveness for our sins and He is the only One Who can provide salvation from paying the penalty for our sins.

Repentance is just the first step. Unless one also believes in and receives Jesus as Lord and Savior then repentance alone will not save you. In John 3: 36 it is written:

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Repentance is where one starts. Having turned back towards God, to do His will, we need to obey, and are now able to do so, to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. In doing so we know that we are saved for it is only by God’s power are we able to do this.

Let me leave you with just a couple more verse. If you will do what it says it will be proof to you that you are not only forgiven for your sins but are now saved from facing the wrath of God. This verse is found in Romans 10: 9, 10, 13

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

And know this. In John 14: 21 & 23 Jesus tells us this…

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Would you also not want to know the love of God? Can you not repent of your sins and turn towards God and call upon Jesus for forgiveness? Would you not rather know and experience the love of God than to face His wrath? You can as God draws you to do so. By repenting of your sins, and in calling upon Jesus, you will be loved by God, and God will come and make His home with you.

It is a far better thing to do – to repent – and live with God than to refuse to do so and spend eternity in Hell. To repent is the beginning of knowing and experiencing God’s love. Will you not do so right now? Call upon Jesus and be saved and truly experience the love of God…

 

Written by Glenn Riffey

February 1, 2017 at 12:05 am

Why A Christian Should Not Say “This” To A Non-Christian

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We have all heard it before. It may have been in an evangelistic meeting, a bible study or even in a personal evangelistic encounter. The one thing that we hear the most at the beginning is that “God loves you just the way you are.”  But, does God really love the sinful person?

Think about this. If you are a non-Christian and you hear someone say that “God loves you”, would you not be happy to hear that? Of course you would. So, if you then are told that you need to come to Jesus and be saved your first thought might be … Saved? … Saved from what? … And why?

This is why a Christian should never tell a non-Christian that God loves Him. The fact is that God does “not” love the non-Christian. In Psalm 5: 4, 5 we read:

4.         For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with you.

5.         The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You “hate all” workers of iniquity.

Basically the word iniquity means “sinful”. Who is it among us that are without sin? The answer is no one is without sin. We are all sinful people. Not only is God not pleased with they who are not disciples of Jesus, He hates them as well; not just their sin but “them” the non-Christian.

There are other verses in the bible that explain this, and many more that say specifically who it is that God does love, and we may look at them in a later post.

Because we stand in a sinful state before God He demands from us that we pay the penalty for the sins we have committed; having been found guilty for not being obedient to His holy Law that He has given to us to follow.

You see, God is a holy God; perfect in every way. He expects from us to be perfect as well, but we are not perfect. We are workers of iniquity, doing what we want and not what God wants. We always seek to do our will and we do not want the things of God. We are actually hostile, or enemies, to God. In short, we have offended this holy God and in His justice He demands retribution because of it. This is what angers Him and why it is that He hates they who do offend Him.

However, even in our sinfulness, being enemies of God, we are given an opportunity to make amends to God for our sins. For God knows that we are acting in ignorance to what we are doing. That is why God tells us in Acts 17: 30 the following:

30.      Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

So, even though God does not love us in our sinful state, He does give us a chance to turn from our sinful activities and come back to Him so that we can know His love. But, before we can do that, we need to know what the consequences are for our sinfulness, and what needs to be done in order not to be found guilty for our sins on the coming judgement day.

Sinful man does not know that God has a hatred for him, and that he already stands condemned before Him. The unsaved person needs to be told about this and be given the chance to repent for his sins, and be told in Whom it is that he must believe in order to receive forgiveness. 

In our next message we will look at what the two choices are for the sinful person, and why we must, by faith, believe in Jesus in order to receive forgiveness for our sinful life and be brought into the family of God where we can know and truly experience the love of God.

 

Written by Glenn Riffey

January 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm

And We Knew Him Not

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It is that time of the year again. It is the Christmas season and in the midst of all of the glitter, decorations and materialism some find time to recognize the coming birth of Jesus. Each year, though, it seems that the babe in a manger plays a smaller role in the season as more and more people see this time of the year less as celebrating the birth of Jesus and more as a time for spending money, giving gifts, and most importantly – gift receiving. However, it has been this way from the very start.

Yes, it is the time for celebrating the birth of Jesus but so few people actually know who Jesus is. There are, as it seems, even some who call themselves Christians who know or really care about Jesus other than the fact that He is the babe in a manger; with shepherds on the hillside and three Wise Men  coming from the East to worship Him.

Like I said, though, this is the way it has been ever since Jesus was born. In the Gospel of John 1: 1 – 3 & 10 God tells us the following:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

Can you imagine it? If we would be truthful, however, we would all admit that we would have been the same. We would not have recognized the Creator of all things. That God came down to be with us and to show us our sinfulness, and how it has separated us from Him. He came to remove that wall of separation so that we could have fellowship with Him and to be forgiven for our sins, and we would have none of it.

We like our sin. We do not want to change, and we want to keep what we have and not care about the babe in the manger after He is grown. We do not want to see that He is the One Who is offering Himself to be the one to bring us back to God. Our sinfulness will not let us, even today, see that Jesus is the Creator of all things. That He is the one who has given us life and breath and all things to enjoy in grateful praise to Christ our King.

The One Who laid out the universe and created man in His image, however, still calls out to us today to come to Him. Not just to see Him as the babe in a manger but to see Him as He really is – The Creator who has made all things, and to know that without Him nothing was made that was made. He is still in the world today, in His people, and the world still does not know Him.

The offer of salvation, of being forgiven for our sins and to submit to Him as Lord, and to believe in Him and to receive Him as the only One who can save us from the coming wrath of God is still being held out to us by Jesus. Only He can forgive our sins. Only Jesus can offer us eternal life in Heaven.

Now is the time to see Jesus as God, not just as a babe in a manger. Now is the time to come to Him, to see Him as Lord and to ask Him for forgiveness for our sins, and to believe in your heart that He was raised from the dead and so be saved from the wrath to come. Then will you be able to see Jesus for who He really is; as the Creator of all things and worship Him and Him alone as the one Who has made all things. For Jesus, as He was in the beginning, Who was the Word and, as the Word, is God.

For when one recognizes Jesus as the Creator, and to know Him as our Lord and Savior – as God, is what makes Christmas truly “Merry”…..

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will…

Written by Glenn Riffey

December 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm