He did the impossible. He defeated death on our behalf. Peter continues his Pentecost message by telling the throng that “Death Could Not Hold Him.” Neither will it hold His real followers.
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
Imagine that. He defeated death. One of the first sermons I ever remember hearing from my first pastor was entitled something along the lines of “Death Could Not Hold Him.” This man was a great preacher. He could paint a word story that kept us enthralled, filled with emoting and tone changes, teaching all the while. He made a man feel like he was there.
So one thinks about this tricky human condition called death. We seem somewhat invincible in our youth—working all day at hard physical toil, staying up late at night, always having so much energy, a few hours of sleep and we’re back at it. But then slowly but surely a few things start going south. The only thing to do is continue staying a step ahead of the grim reaper. We go from laughing in his face to eventually facing the fact that he will win. Facing this reality can be a killer.
But thanks to the Lord He saw a young man with a hungry heart longing for truth and presented an opportunity I did not mess up. Dodging a million bullets since—those unseen slugs that often otherwise find their mark— the Lord blessed with a never-say-die desire to keep moving forward. This comes only by His Holy Spirit. If you live for God you will get knocked down. You can either stay there or get back up. And this is not because death does not await, but because death will not win after all. Because my Father GOT BACK UP, I will too, and so will you if you put your trust in Him. In the meantime the victory comes by laughing death in the face anyway and trying to live absolutely as long as possible working and living for the Lord the whole way. My advice is quit thinking in terms of years remaining and start thinking in terms of decades remaining. More decades means having that many more opportunities to serve the Lord who saved us from death because He died in our place.
There was an old church song we sang in my rookie year that sums up what our attitude should be in this regard. It had a big impact on me because it wasn’t just a song but my life. It was called The Old Account. It featured these lyrics:
There was a time on earth when in the book of Heav’n
An old account was standing for sins yet unforgiv’n;
My name was at the top, and many things below—
I went unto the Keeper, and settled long ago.
Long ago, long ago,
Yes, the old account was settled long ago;
And the record’s clear today, for He washed my sins away,
When the old account was settled long ago.
The old account was large, and growing every day,
For I was always sinning, and never tried to pay;
But when I looked ahead, and saw such pain and woe,
I said that I would settle—I settled long ago.
Until one becomes a real Christian one will never know just exactly what the Lord did by becoming one of us. He actually risked everything. Now, stay with me here because this might get a tad deep. God wanted to ransom humanity. But it obviously could not involve coercion. Each person must decide on his own. But no one could ever defeat death because no one could live without sin. Once Adam released sin into the world all humans have become smitten with it, or might I say slapped upside the head. Someone would have to enter humanity and live a full life without ever committing even a single sin. Someone must be able to actually keep the Law of Moses without violation. You see where this is going.
And no, God didn’t spy His good young Son and tap him on the shoulder and tell Him to go. No father would ever do that to his son. A real father would always go in place of his son. The reality is that the Son did not exist until the Incarnation. There was no such “Eternal Son” in heaven. The only God there was God. And He would have to go Himself. But when He arrived on earth He would have to live a perfect life, something otherwise impossible for us mere mortals. Yet, if He had only sinned once, and it was certainly possible, the entire plan would have been wrecked. There would be no spotless Lamb of God to sacrifice. There would be no Blood of the Lamb to cleanse us of our sins. All humanity would be lost including the Lord Himself. And death would win. And the devil would win the universe.
The Good News is that the Lord did not sin. Not once. And because of that He confidently looked death square in the face with no fear. He would certainly die but would not stay dead. Why? Because “Death Could Not Hold Him.”
For many Christians, a probable majority, there is little or no self-identification with the Lord’s great sacrifice. His sacrifice may be acknowledged but that’s no good. It must be applied. And that can only happen if a person surrenders to Him completely, holding nothing back, and burning all bridges in the process. We must throw ourselves upon the altar of burnt offering and die in order to receive His help and be reborn. There is no other way. Halfway Christianity takes people all the way to hell.
“Your mission Jim, should you choose to accept it, is to get the big idea that God became a Man, lived a life of absolutely no sin, followed the path and plan perfectly, and then sacrificed it all for you. He knew He would be getting back up, but what He really wants is to see you get back up.”
I will leave you with one of my favorite sayings of the Lord Jesus that perfectly typifies His powerful no fear approach to His coming death. He always knew what would happen. It was why He came. That didn’t make it any easier but that much more difficult. How many of us guys, if we knew the death we were about to die, would stick with the plan? But not only did He stick with the plan, He slammed death, hell, and the grave as wimps! He called them out for the lowdown disgusting sorry idiots they are and was even willing to let them hit Him first with their best shot. And boy howdy, did they ever comply. Even then, though, it was not enough. They knew the stakes. They had their opportunity. And they failed. They failed because He was too much Man for them. They simply did not understand who they were messing with.
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up!” [John 2:19] 
© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Those in high positions of authority are not revealing all they know. Others in lesser positions may be clueless but will dutifully comply with the agenda and continue to drive the panic.
BOY HOWDY, THIS GOT UGLY QUICK
From the beginning, back in early January or so, there were a few rational people who saw what was happening, as the few often do, and began warning against the warning. Since then both sides have ramped up their rhetoric, though the rational voice has been completely deluged by now. Once the major media gets on board and begins relentlessly driving the narrative it is case closed. That’s because the majority of Americans are addicted to the major media and treat it like God.
You might have heard me say this before a time or two, but this phenomenon is not unlike what goes on in many churches, in that members have knee jerk reactions in times of such trouble to seek out their leaders and abide by their pronouncements. Mainline Christianity is thus no different than the mainstream media, in that they all say the same thing, never tell their people to not honor them as difference makers, but accept their middle man role and dole out the advice, which not surprisingly sounds exactly like the government’s advice.
I was at the grocery store late last week. It’s a big store, and relatively new. There were loaded and semi-loaded shopping carts and shoppers waiting in a ridiculously long line that snaked all the way along the main drag checkout area to the far end and down an aisle. It was probably that way on the other side of the store also. I had never seen such before in that store. And when a store has about thirty or so check out stands that says something. I didn’t notice how many were actually in operation but it appeared to be most.
While finding my place in line, almost halfway down a central aisle, still somewhat amazed, I did what I always do. I tried striking up a conversation with the man in front of me but he wasn’t very talkative. Another middle-aged woman came by, with a small child, and a young man in a wheel chair with a leg injury. They asked if this was the line. They had to cut across from their direction. I said yeah and she, with a big smile and jovial attitude, and a slight incredulous manner, dutifully lined up behind me. As we got closer to the front of the store the line parted in two, one for shoppers with lesser items. And we waited, and shuffled along. I’m sure many of you have experienced the same thing by now.
I was successful in this particular line in finding someone to discuss the situation with, and we carried on a conversation the rest of the way to the checkouts. Our theme, of course, was this strange happening and the current crisis which suddenly jumped out of nowhere but without what one would normally associate with such a crisis. There were not thousands dead, for example. Not even hundreds. At that time, across the entire country, there were about fifty and most of them were in one specific location in one state.
But the authorities continued saying it was about to get much worse. By that time a national panic was in the works. It was not based on reality, however, but on projected reality. I was not thinking there was not a potential crisis but that the crisis continued to appear overblown. Those voices I told you about back in January, who were saying the crisis showed all the signs of being manufactured? Well, they continued on, some with greater fervor, trying their best to tell the truth of the matter. But as always, you had to search for them. The mainstream media was now in lockstep, all saying the same thing, that the end of the world as we know it is upon us, and for all of you out there who are unprepared, well, you better hunker down, bunker or not.
Even the President was reluctant to get on board. He knew the entire thing was fishy, apparently, but was soon forced to go along. Again, I am not saying there is not a real danger here, but only that it’s been blown entirely out of proportion. Nevertheless, national fear has now set it. It is being taken advantage of to drive an agenda. I tried to warn you with my latest posts. You can gain a lot by reading them. You will have greater understanding of how this crisis was planned and carried out. You may figure out who’s driving it and for what reasons. It gives the PTB a good look into the present American psyche. And it lets them know who the lemmings are.
WHAT ABOUT GOD?
Meanwhile, for all real Christians out there, those who actually follow the Lord Jesus, especially those who have been around a while and are mature disciples, what is presently occurring is not so earth-shattering. They have already been through much worse. When whatever crises that happened to them took place, it wasn’t national news. No one except a very few knew about those occasions. They had to weather the storm though, and do their best to overcome and survive. The world at large didn’t care. It didn’t know. These were private struggles. But the Lord came through for each and every one. He made a way where there was absolutely no other way. They learned all the more to live by faith in their Savior who loves them, and trust Him. They have confidence in Him. They know He does what He says. They learned to not give in to fear and panic, especially when it regards a largely manufactured crisis.
It is good that you can’t find any hand sanitizer anywhere. People know what they need. It is good that the nation is being instructed to wash their hands. Really? That says a lot, that the people of a nation this large and influential doesn’t even know they should wash their hands. A hundred and fifty years ago, no one knew germs existed. They never made the connection between unsanitary practices and conditions with disease and illness, or on some occasions, general pandemics. And then America apparently forgot this knowledge. And America continued to slip headlong into the worst social practices ever when very few understood or cared that such behavior has a massive downside. When the majority practices such the end of that nation is in sight.
So this, again, is a test, on several levels. Doing one’s best to stay away from the virus is good. Taking all the proper precautions is good. Those who do the best in this regard will have the better chance. Maybe this will help the country turn the corner. Maybe Americans will discover that proper sanitation actually works. Maybe they will learn to be more disciplined regarding how they protect their bodies, what they put into their bodies, and what they engage in with their bodies. Maybe more people will get the big idea that the Lord’s instructions along these lines are there to protect us.
But I’ll believe when I see it. I have been teaching whoever might listen about all of these things for several decades now, and have only seen things get worse overall, though there does exist a percentage of the country that pays close attention to healthy lifestyles and nutrition. Most people prefer ignorance and apathy. This makes them easily led. They are then taken advantage of and steered into whatever thinking is desired at the time. They become dense to the truth they need. They make the mistake of being led by the wrong leaders. These wrong leaders, whether civil or religious, don’t really care about people but only their own interests and agendas. When I see it among Christians, however, it is most disconcerting. People think they are escaping an evil world and joining Christianity but are unaware they are often only jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak. And then they continue to be misled.
Those who refuse anything less than the full truth never stay in a place where they discover the full truth does not exist. They move on. They continue seeking. Perhaps this is why all the spiritual greats mentioned in the Word of God were relatively obscure in their times and associated with only a relative few, especially the Master Himself. Not only did few follow Him, He suffered terribly by this world’s leaders, most of whom never knew Him or appreciated Him.
My advice at this time is the same for any other time: Seek the Lord. None of this is any surprise to Him. And carry on in your work. Never trust those who merely talk the talk but rarely or never walk the walk. You will be led astray. Rather, seek the One who has already walked it out and will even walk a mile with you, or a hundred, or a million.
You can trust a Man who gives His life so you can live.
2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Whatever this actually is—a pandemic, yet another disease scare, a hoax, a biowarfare attack, or a government response test—the REAL pandemic remains unacknowledged.
It’s getting worse. The infection rate continues to rage and rise, in some places exponentially. The worst perpetrators thereof are either too preoccupied to notice or care, or owe their lives to practices which make them vulnerable. If they stop they lose everything and their kingdoms crumble. They built their lives on dirt foundations with no escape hatch and could lose their existence of error when the big one hits. Many are so tied-in to a lesser-based life they will never get free without major disruptions from which they may never recover.
Yet there has always been a way out. Most humans see it, though, as too way out. Their social credibility suffers at the prospect of embracing it. Thus, those with the most invested in the fake world have the most to lose in leaving it, and choose a temp existence over long-term reality. This is why the Master opined on this quizzical matter by saying the worst are often first, in that they are less invested and more free to enter. Their baggage is the kind happily left behind. And besides, they’ve usually been treated like outskirts scum by the success party and denied membership since their résumés don’t add up. But the Master’s door is always open.
The rich man faithless deniers do anything they want with access to anything money can buy but will end up in the hot place with Mr. Dives craving a mere rain drop on their desert palates to no avail, while all the poor little faithful formerly sore-ridden Lazarus’ hang out safely in Abraham’s comfy air-conditioned crash pad. This reversal of fortunes is really cool when you think about it and does justice proud. It proves once again that playing by the rules of a dog-eat-dog world will get you a dead dog death in the long run regardless of manifold plaques on your wall and trophies in your case. None of those sorts of things are transferable to the great beyond.
Therefore, this latest scare we must beware means more effort wasted on things that don’t matter and playing right into the hands of the unseen gear grinders always coming up with more dastardly plans to insure their control and lessen yours. If you can’t see through it you must clean your windshield, change your perspective, and try harder to focus. Maybe take off those dark shades that look so cool. And don’t trust the ones the Master instructed us not to trust but trust Him.
Only He has the cure for the real pandemic.
© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
A Christian can determine how much love and respect he has for the Lord Jesus by whether or not he actually believes this statement and is willing to apply it.
And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26]
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” [Mark 10:27]
But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” [Luke 18:27]
I KNOW GOD LOVES ME ‘CAUSE I’M RICH
Many Jews of the Lord’s time believed prosperity was a sign of God’s approval. The Sadducees were certainly well off. The Pharisees were lovers of money. Accordingly, those without such prosperity, though otherwise hard workers and sincere commandment keepers, were undoubtedly looked upon by more than a few as essentially forsaken or rejected of God. They were seen, even among themselves, as somehow falling short due to some unknown inexpressible inherent weakness. They likely believed that God knew something about them or their character that excluded them from His greater blessings.
This is why the Lord’s disciples were shocked at His teaching regarding the rich:
And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” [Matthew 19:23-25]
THE RICH YOUNG RULER
There is a man referred to in Scripture as “the rich young ruler.” But don’t go searching for this particular collection of terms because you will not find it. It does not exist. The phrase appears nowhere in the New Testament. It is actually a descriptive compilation using separate single words from three different passages in three different gospel accounts which were later conformed into a whole, likely by preachers and Bible expositors.
In the gospel of Matthew, this individual is referred to directly as “someone” and “the young man.” He is referred to by implication as “a rich man.” In the Matthew narrative it says he was one who owned much property. In Mark he is called “a man” and by implication “wealthy” and “a rich man.” Mark also says he was one who owned much property. In Luke the man is referred to as a “ruler” and by implication “wealthy” and “a rich man.” He is also said in the narrative to be extremely rich.
So here we see an overall synopsis of a nameless historical character who unknowingly in his time provided a teaching example for all time. He became the subject of an object lesson that is still used today to present an eternal truth relative to everyone: Will we trade what we consider riches for a walk with the Lord? Will we take the chance? Will we risk everything? Those who do have satisfied themselves, at least to some degree, that all things truly are possible with God. In other words,
They know that whatever they must surrender of this world to make the transformation to spiritual life simply does not matter and they would do it anyway regardless of what their new future may be.
They know what the Lord has done in bringing them into the light and adopting them as His children, and that their life has changed dramatically for the better.
They know as well that the Lord will provide spiritual riches far more valuable than whatever they surrendered.
They also know He will bless them with compensation of a material or monetary nature necessary for sustaining one’s life in this world.
(As an illustration, I will quote George Bailey from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, when he finds out that Clarence the angel has no money: “Ah, well, it comes in pretty handy down here, bub!”)
The English word “ruler” is from the Greek word archon. Generally, this is one who has rule over others in either the religious or civil realms. The members of the Sanhedrin or synagogue officials were referred to as archons, as were civil magistrates and judges. Beyond these there were also men of wealth and influence known by this term. Scripture is not definitive on what kind of ruler the young man was but it appears clear that he had inherited great wealth from his father who must have been a significant individual. Hence, the young archon felt responsible not only for what he possessed and his own reputation but that of his father as well, who had undoubtedly worked very hard to attain his possessions and place in life.
Yet we also know that this “rich young ruler” had spiritual things on his mind. Something had been nagging at him. From his demeanor there was no doubt he respected his father but he also had little or no input into the creation of the wealth he now possessed. He was grateful but he wanted something more. He knew there must be more. He had heard about this new prophet called Jesus and made it a point to address Him when he discovered the Lord was near.
In the narrative we find that the man was raised well in that he knew the Law of Moses and kept it from his youth. Why could he not be satisfied? He was rich, a man of honor, from a good family, and respected the commandments of God. Why would he ever ask the following question: “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18). Had he not already fulfilled what the Law required? There is something missing here, and it is indicative of a person who is dutiful and respectful of God, his family tradition, and his culture, but is otherwise empty on the inside. His spirit is crying out for more, for spiritual sustenance, and his heart for something beyond the wealth of material and social benefits.
When I was a young man my friends and I, though not Christians at the time or familiar with Scripture, would discuss such topics as wealth and social structure. We were raised on the lower end of middle class. We were not against wealth necessarily but could certainly see the adverse effect it had on people. In general, people with money appeared arrogant. They saw themselves as better than others. I was on a spiritual quest then and was searching for truth. Consequently, I was not as concerned with giving myself over to the acquisition of wealth and position. We worked. We earned money. But it wasn’t an obsession. I knew there had to be more. We talked about the concept of either owning stuff or stuff owning us.
The Lord understood right away what the problem was. This is what that young man so long ago was going through. In his heart of hearts he wanted to follow the Lord. But with all of his wealth, obligations, and upper class authority over others he knew he could not. The simple solution then, was for him to just get rid of all his stuff, surrender his social status, and quit living for this temporary world. These things were holding him back! They were keeping him from going where he wanted to go and being what he wanted to be.
“One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” [Luke 18:22]
Think about that. Would you rather have the world’s temporary treasure or treasure in heaven? If you lived back then and were given a direct invitation from THE LORD JESUS to come and follow Him and hang out with them and do all the fun stuff they were doing, would you do it? Could anything possibly be better?
But the wealthy young archon could not. He couldn’t do it. And this is the test.
EXCUSES AD INFINITUM
“He would have to give up everything!” And I answer that by saying that everyone who comes to the Lord has to give up everything. And whatever one must surrender is relative to one’s station in life. There is always a great cost because one must give his or her entire heart.
“But what about making up for all one has surrendered or lost!” Well, I say, the Lord makes provision for that. He said as much in the same passages:
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” [Matthew 19:29]
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Mark 10:29-30]
And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Luke 18:29-30] 
If the young man had actually done it, if he had chucked it all in and threw in his lot with the Lord, the Lord would certainly have taken care of him. The cries of his heart would have been answered. Whatever he needed concerning the good things of this world the Lord would have given him. He would be rid of the monetary, family, and social obligations keeping him from a higher call. He would have activated his faith, trust, and confidence in the Lord. This in turn would have opened up a door to an entirely new life previously thought to be something that did not or could not ever exist. He would have entered into the glorious kingdom of heaven on earth. His heart would have been filled to overflowing with pure joy. Most importantly, he would have had a King who loved him.
And he would have seen that all things are indeed possible with God.
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Many Christians continue to erroneously paint the entire country with a very broad brush. They could not be more wrong. Good is actually overcoming evil.
In my last post six days ago I revealed the truth of Selective Judgment. Regarding the bold, unapologetic political moves of the abortion industry last week, I asked the question: Is Selective Judgment Looming? The very next day judgment descended.
A prominent state governor was exposed for being a hypocrite. Earlier last week he spoke in no uncertain terms about actually killing a baby that had just been born. On Friday, the day after my last post, a huge news story broke that served to expose the depravity of the abortion industry. Since then the mainstream media is doing all it can to reverse the process. This story, however, is not going away. It was featured prominently in the President’s State of the Union message last night. Ungodly practices are being exposed and condemned and the people who support such practices will no longer be able to hide.
This is proof that America still has a moral conscience and that millions of Americans are good people living right and honoring the Lord. This is why Christians must stop insisting that God hates America and is bringing judgment. For example, there are Christians who actually support the idea of any number of doomsday scenarios, such as God allowing America to be struck with nuclear missiles. They talk about how depraved the country has become and that America must be severely punished. This perspective could not be more asinine and short sighted.
WHAT HAPPENED TO MY PRIOR POST?
I’m not sure what happened to my traffic last Thursday but my post Re: Legal Baby Killing—Is Selective Judgment Looming? was effectively invisible. My post before that had received exceptional traffic. It appears as though many of you may not have known I posted anything at all last week. I wonder sometimes about the usual censorship suspects. I know the mainstream media always fights to ban Pro-Life news or anything that shines a light on the evil of abortion. Perhaps something of that sort is at play here. Whatever the case, the Lord is on the side of righteousness.
Also, regarding The Notorious RBG, who has been missing in action for over six weeks, there was at last a claimed reported sighting the other day at a concert venue. But strangely enough, there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever. In a world of ubiquitous cell phones, this is curious. I waited until last night to see if she would show up at the State of the Union. She didn’t.
THE FUTURE OF AMERICA
Many of us have children and grandchildren. We would like them to live in a great country. We would like them to be blessed. But the forces of anti-America have become so powerful they render such desires as evil. They hate the idea of America being great. Where the hell did these people come from? Why are they here?
I assure you that the Lord Jesus is here to love us and save us, not condemn us. He has no plans to destroy America.
He knows people usually end up destroying themselves without His intervention. It is His intervention that He cares about. He wants to save us, help us, and bless us. That’s what the Good News is all about. As Christians, we are supposed to be telling everyone the Good News, not that God is going to get you.
The pastor of the previous President wanted God to damn America. That’s one of the most asinine messages to ever come forth from a pulpit. Such people are raving lunatics. The current President wants to make America great again, and for that he and his supporters are pummeled on a daily basis. By such behavior and rhetoric they are only hastening their own demise. Their treachery is being exposed. They are being outed for what they are.
The same is true for the all the fake Christians who incorrectly see God as a destroyer of worlds. In reality, if He is forced to bring judgment, He does it selectively. One can read about this throughout the entire Old Testament. One can also see such judgment as it happened in the first century. When the forces of evil reach a place of such concentrated power that they defy the possibility of any societal corrective against their evil, and vast numbers of innocent people are being greatly harmed, something must be done to stop them. Otherwise they will eventually eliminate the righteous. Thus, the Lord fights on the side of goodness and supports those on the righteous side of battle for the sake of saving those who want to be saved and appreciate His great salvation.
“He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” [John 12:45-48]
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
About a decade and a half ago there was a Christian conference relatively close by and would take place in just a few days. It featured a man I’d seen on television countless times. I made it a point to be there.
His name is Hugh Ross. In 1986 he started a ministry called Reasons To Believe, “Where Science and Faith Converge.” I encourage you to visit this website and look around.
As a young man he began looking for spiritual truth and, like so many of us with a hunger for God, began searching world religions. When he began his research into Christianity he was immediately struck by what he found in the first chapter of Genesis—it made perfect sense from a scientific point of view. He was amazed by the accuracy. He soon became a Christian. He also eventually became an astrophysicist.
I planned on getting there early with hopes of meeting Mr. Ross. I walked into a relatively mid-sized conference facility about the size of a very large classroom. There were many people milling about as new arrivals wandered in. I took a seat on the front row. At some point Hugh Ross walked in and went up to the front. He gave an informal talk and said we would wait a little longer until everybody arrived, and then sat down a couple of seats from me.
People who know me very well know I pray about everything, and I pray about everything in the context of God’s will, knowing for a fact that God’s will is always the best. A person can never do better than the will of God. Well, on the way over I had asked the Lord if it would be okay if I could talk to this man. Then when I got there the man sits down two seats over. No one approached him. I didn’t waste any time introducing myself and we began a brief discussion.
Hugh Ross is not a young earth creationist. For this reason alone many Christians don’t like him. Some see him as a heretic. It does not matter how well he explains everything from both a purely Biblical perspective and from pure science, many Christians judge him right off the bat as soon as they find out he doesn’t believe the Universe was created about 4000BC.
We had a great talk. I was trying to shed light on the nature of God and how the Bible clearly states that the Lord Jesus is the Creator though so many Christians recoil at that fact. He agreed. We spent most of the conversation, however, discussing young earth versus old earth creationism.
Hugh Ross is a solid Christian. He believes the Bible is the absolute Word of God. He makes an excellent case both Biblically and scientifically why young earth creationism is lacking. He is a very gracious man but has certainly seen his share of Christian persecution (that is, persecution from Christians). Then he said something very profound. Remember, this is a very brilliant man who loves the Lord Jesus with all his heart. He lives to serve Him. He is low key, humble, relaxed, and the very opposite of professorial.
We were discussing why so many Christians can’t see eye to eye on the creation issue. I have also faced many fights in this area even though most of the time I really don’t have a dog in that fight. Why can’t the young-earthers, who have traditionally composed the much greater percentage of creationists, find it in their heart to fellowship with those with a different perspective? Why can’t they honor the beliefs of others? Hugh answered my question perfectly:
“Because they see it as a salvation issue.”
I was somewhat taken aback and went silent for a few seconds. I was thinking. “Of course. I knew this, or I should have, and I have certainly applied this to other Christian doctrines and beliefs.” But still, in that moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It is why so many Christians favor separation over unity. It is why there are approximately four billion Christian denominations. The separatist Christians believe EVERYTHING is a salvation issue.
Though I always spend much more time in study and research than the average Christian, I am almost always forced to prove everything. This is impossible, of course. When Christians believe they have all the light and truth on an issue, they become not only dogmatic but very judgmental. They close their eyes and ears. Those who do the larger work and pay the greater price know the truth, however. They work very hard to see an issue from as many perspectives as possible. Those who rarely or never do the work usually only believe something because that is what they have been told. They can only see it one way.
What if a Christian is walking in all the light he has? What if he loves the Lord? Must he also be absolutely perfectly right in every doctrine taught by a particular denomination or pastor or single believer in order to be saved? Are Catholics saved? Are Protestants? Are Pentecostals? In all actuality we have millions of distinct beliefs within Christianity in general and there is no possible way anyone can believe it all. Much of it is contradictory. Much of it comes forth from people who insist they are right and never budge. What is being preached on one side of town is often the very opposite of that which is preached on the other. There is no way both can be right. But both can be wrong.
This is why I always make my final and only appeal to authority to the Lord Jesus. It is only His curriculum that is perfect and it must be His entire curriculum that we learn and live by. Not everything in His teachings, however, is a salvation issue. We should never, ever be divided as a result of such. If two Christians believe the Lord Jesus CREATED the universe but differ on how He did it or how long it took, that’s okay. Both of these Christians can still be saved. Besides, we were not there. We don’t know exactly how He did it.
The Lord came across this problem often and just as often He had to do some rebuking. His greatest rebukes were always for the hard core religionists who refused to see anything other than the way they saw it and would disfellowship a person in a heartbeat for not seeing it their way. What we should be doing is working harder and studying more and praying more and fasting more instead of thinking we’ve cornered the market on truth.
I found out later that evening that Hugh Ross and I did not believe everything the same way. But it didn’t matter. Wherever we differed on beliefs, they were not salvation issues. I’ll never forget that brief though deep discussion we had. He was humble enough and approachable enough to give me a few minutes of his time right before he was to give a major talk to so many of his ministry’s supporters.
Please readers, keep up all the great work. Keep doing your study and research. Keep reading the Word. But most of all, knowing we are all at different spiritual places based on our discipleship and knowledge level, let us not make everything a salvation issue and thus a disfellowship issue. The Lord only has ONE community. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters with regard to who is in it and who isn’t is His. Let us all try to keep the salvation issues among the salvation issues, such as the simple teaching that decides salvation as quoted here:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. [Ephesians 2:8-22] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
RECOMMENDED READING FROM MY FRIEND LISA:
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. [1Peter 1:17-19]
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” [1John 1:29]
THE SIN DISEASE
The Lord always warns us. He warns us repeatedly. He has warned us all from the very beginning. His is a heart of mercy.
He tries to explain to us the nature of sin. He attempts to explain how and why sin works, and why every human being is stricken with the disease from birth, though one must reach an age of accountability before personal responsibility for sin kicks in.
Most sinners do not necessarily have an agenda against God, I don’t think, but are rebels against Him nonetheless. Yet, there are people on this planet who certainly have an agenda against Him and His pure teachings, who hate Him, and who fight against Him every day.
Their focus, like the focus of all sinners in general, is SELF. Hence, the reason for sin is nothing more than pure selfishness and what can be gained for self through any means, including the violation of any and all moral restraints. Moral restraints, however, are not simply the result of what many people see as arbitrary rules created out of thin air.
Regardless of the various forms of moral restraints and statutes in this world, and chosen or accepted guidelines by which to live, there is one very personal, genuine, legitimate warning mechanism given to each and every human being designed to alert us and govern personal conduct.
We call it the Conscience.
For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. [Romans 2:12-16]
Therefore, we have no excuse, and will never have any excuse, and all those who die as sinners in an unrepentant state will have a record of sin when they go before the Lord at the judgment.
Each individual record of sin could have been expunged prior to physical death.
Everyone is given that opportunity. Even those who have never heard of the Lord Jesus or heard the Gospel have an opportunity to repent due to their convicting conscience that warns of sin and reveals good and evil.
Therefore, when sinners die they will be judged appropriately. There will be a clear, exhaustive record of everything ever done in one’s life including the committing of every single sin—a multitude of sins, and the record will show that they liked it—they enjoyed their sin or at least certainly made compromises toward it instead of standing against it.
Would that it could be that all unrepentant sinners sinned only against themselves and never harmed another. But it is obvious that sin affects other people, and some sins greatly affect other people, and some sins affect great numbers of people.
None of this had to be. None of it was written in stone. All sin is due to wrong choices. We learn, then, if we are to advance in life and grow morally, to cease from wrong choices. This is what childhood and pre-adulthood is for.
Whoever goes down the path toward moral righteousness, however, eventually figures out that human strength and human will alone will not get the job done. We need a higher power. Temptation is too strong. The power of sin has too great a hold on us. There must also be a way to clear our existing sin record and give us our release. This is why the search for truth always ends successfully when one chooses the Lord Jesus. The human conscience helps us in this process. Those who never grow up, however, who never seek to overcome sin and temptation, never cease from sinning.
They have decided to bypass their conscience.
REJECTING THE SACRIFICE LAMB
Human beings do have an amazing capacity for sin and keeping stone-faced about it, and refusing to do something about it, even though their individual consciences are warning them loudly and continuously. But the reason they refuse to address it is because they have rejected the only cure—they refuse to surrender to the Lord Jesus so He can help them. They have thus learned that their chosen cures don’t work so they quit trying and give in to being what they are.
What a conundrum this is, that a perfect cure is always available but for most it is always rejected. Why? —Selfishness—which returns us once again to the reason for sin:
Their focus, like the focus of all sinners in general, is SELF. Hence, the reason for sin is nothing more than pure selfishness and what can be gained for self through any means, including the violation of any and all moral restraints.
If one builds one’s life on sin and constructs a framework of sin that keeps one’s life together, it is only a matter of time before such a weak and ridiculous foundation and structure is revealed.
What to do?
ATTACKING SIN AS ONE’S MORTAL ENEMY
The best thing to do about sin is deal with it… NOW. The Lord told us how. If one’s conscience is doing its convicting work, it is a great sign. It means one’s conscience is alive and well.
Sinning is bad, but refusing to repent for sin is worse. Again, the best thing to do is simply surrender to the Lord Jesus, admit that one is a sinner, that one is stricken with the sin disease (the worst of all diseases), that one is tired of fighting against conviction, that one is tired of feeling spiritually dirty, that one wants to be whole again, and healthy, and happy, and FREE, and begin attacking sin as one’s mortal enemy.
It is obviously better to do it now than attempt it after death, when it will be absolutely impossible. One cannot repent after death. Those who say one can are not telling the truth. The Lord Jesus never taught such a lie. The time to repent is NOW.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [Philippians 2:12-13]
At this very moment there are uncounted millions of souls in the unknown geographic location of dead unrepentant sinners who are waiting for trial, tormented each second by what could have been.
Though they had the incredible opportunity of a wonderful and loving defense attorney while alive, they rejected His counsel.
They died in sin. They know it. They knew it then. They have no chance. They will be found guilty. Each of them, and all those who are added to them as time goes on, wasted their life. They traded eternal life with the Lord Jesus in heaven for this temporary world and for very temporary self-rule.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:36-38]
They are as much alive and conscious at this moment, though in a different state, as they always were. However, their fates are sealed. Repentance and getting right with God is no longer an option.
You know what else? Even if the option existed, because they had repeatedly rejected the Sacrifice Lamb during their earthly sojourn, it appears readily apparent that NOT A SINGLE ONE WOULD EVER REPENT IF GIVEN ONE FINAL CHANCE.
Their desire is not to get right with God.
It is only to escape the restriction of their incarceration.
Focusing on SELF promotes sin and destruction.
Focusing on the Lord Jesus and others promotes love, salvation, and spiritual freedom.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” [Galatians 5:13-14] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
Sometimes I wonder why the whole world isn’t lined up to receive the one thing that cures their eternal ills and reconciles them with God.
Though living a real Christian life is not easy, living in a cold, hard world is significantly more difficult and often impossible. We were designed to live for God and with God. We were created to be with Him, not apart from Him, and not lost on some weird avenue leading nowhere but down. Everything about the Lord is upward, and positive. He lifts spirits, He blesses with joy and peace, and He makes a place for the lonely and alone:
A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land. [Psalm 68:5-6]
Grace is not about deserving anything. It is by perfect definition a pure gift—a gift inspired and motivated by pure love. The Lord is out to get us. He wants us for Himself. His desire is to smother us with love and affection, make our backs strong and straight, light up our faces with the joy of His Spirit, and bless us abundantly. But He also knows we can only handle so much blessing. Too much at any given time and He might spoil us, something He will never do. In the meantime, though our trials and times of testing and growth may be severe, such in no way must ever question or diminish the full measure of His love and grace. As He Himself, these things are eternal. They are gifts to be accepted that He will only give and never, ever take back. Falling away from God and going into a world of sin, however major or minor, is purely our decision. It is never His. Though He often grieves for lost souls who refuse His grace, He also respects their choices.
And though He is a mighty Warrior and powerful in all respects, the Lord Jesus has a tender heart of love. He extends a hand of grace toward you this day.
…For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. [Romans 3:23-26] 
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.