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Here’s a Free Gift July 25, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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As a retired pastor I am still amazed at the number of people who came forward week after week repenting of sins and seeking salvation.  It was often the same people week after week.  No matter how much I preached it, no matter how much I taught it, so many never seemed grasp the idea that the cleansing of sins, salvation, and righteousness are free gifts given to us by our Father. 

People would cry, “I’ve been seeking after God for years.  I’ve laid at the altar and pleaded over and over for God to guide me, to save me, to help me, and nothing happened.  I leave the altar the same poor sinner as when I went up there.”  

My heart breaks for any and all who labor under such beggarly results. 

My mind would scream as my voice would say, “Salvation is a gift.  It isn’t necessary for you to go anywhere to get it.  You can find it anywhere.  It isn’t what you do, it’s what Jesus has done.  All there is to getting saved and to becoming a child of God is to receive something for free.  You can’t earn it by doing anything.” 

Most of us have been taught and have accepted that it was all about giving up, surrendering, and confessing sins.  It isn’t.  It is receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior and confessing Him as our Lord.  

I have had people say, “It can’t be that simple.” 

It is that simple.  It’s free and it’s available to everyone, everywhere, at all times. 

Some have asked, “But don’t we have to do something about our sins?” 

No, He has done everything that ever could be done.  And this isn’t some new teaching or revelation.  Our Father God told us about it through His prophet Isaiah long ago, “We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.  And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.” 

This is speaking about all of us.  We have all gone our own way, done what we wanted without any reference to what God wanted us to do.  We were stubborn and willful yet the Father laid the penalty for all that on Jesus.  Notice there was nothing we had to do to save or help ourselves. 

So how do we get from knowing this in our heads to having this become life in our hearts?  John tells us, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” 

Once again we do nothing except receive a free gift. 

John also tells us “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  This is the Father giving His Son Jesus as our substitute, as our Savior and all He asks is that we accept Him for what He said He is.  There is nothing for us to do except believe that He paid the debt owed for our sin and that He rose from the Dead to bring us life.  Or as Paul put it, “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” 

God delivered Jesus to pay the punishment for our sins and He was raised from the dead when He had paid the full measure, and all we have to do is accept that.  We don’t have to do anything to earn what He has already paid for. 

Paul sums it all up well in the next verse when he says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Now besides salvation we have peace.  There is nothing standing between us and God we are at peace and still there is nothing for us to do is there? 

Paul tells us as clearly as can be how this all comes about and what the result is when he says, “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.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 

Look at that a little closer: when we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord that should be the end of us going our own way and doing our own thing.  If you’re anything like I was before I did this that shouldn’t be too hard considering where our own choices and our own things have brought us.  In other words if I relinquish being the Lord of my life and give that place to Jesus I will no longer be separated from God and I will become His child, a member of His family with all the rights and responsibilities that means. 

If we do this what does the Word say?  It says that we will be saved.  When does it say we will be saved?  It happens as soon as we believe.  This isn’t pie-in-the-sky.  This is here and now reality.  What does the Word say we are when we believe?  It says we are now children of God.  Does that mean now or someday way over there in the future when we get to heaven?  No it says we have it now even if we don’t know fully what that means.  Or, as John put it, “now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 

How do we know all this is true?  How do we know that as soon as we confess and believe we are born again into a new life right here right now?  John tells us, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”  

Having learned this do you believe in the Name of Jesus? 

If you do then you have eternal life.  Eternal life is the nature of God.  That means you now have the nature of God.  You are no longer a fallen sinner who needs to beg forgiveness you are filled with the very nature of God.  Peter put it very clearly when he said, “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  That corruption is spiritual death and we have escaped it by receiving the divine nature: eternal life. 

So don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to get good enough to get saved, or to see your life change. None of us could ever be that good.  It isn’t about what we do.  It’s about what He has done.  It isn’t about who we are. It’s all about who He is.  He paid the price.  He purchased the freedom of all humans from the grip of Satan, and he extends that freely to all who believe He is who He said He is, that He rose from the dead and that He is the Savior of all who believe in Him. 

Come on.  It’s free and it’s yours for the taking.  Why wait another moment.   You can have it right here right now.  Confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and it’s yours. 

Got it?  Done it? Now tell someone.  Shout it from the rooftops you are a child of God living an eternal life in fellowship with our Father.  Welcome to the family. 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

It Takes Faith to Be an Atheist July 18, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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I once had enough faith in myself to believe there was no God.  I had enough of that self-centered faith to believe the entire universe sprang from a Big Bang.  I could believe that Big Bang came from an unbelievably dense unbelievably small point that for some unexplained reason suddenly exploded.  I could believe that after the explosion this unbelievably dense unbelievably small point expanded into everything that is.  I could believe that everything that is now expanding would eventually stop expanding and then contract back into that unbelievably dense unbelievably small point that would then eventually explode again and the entire process would happen again over and over from eternity to eternity.  Yes, I had enough self-centered faith to believe all that.

I blindly accepted what scientist told me was verifiable evidence that all this was physically true.  I never once asked myself any of these obvious questions: How could anyone possibly know that this had ever happened before?   How could anyone possibly know that it would happen again?  How could anyone possibly know where the unbelievably dense unbelievably small point came from?   Or better yet, what made this self-existing unbelievably dense unbelievably small point explode?

Without asking any of these important questions I could believe all that without ever contemplating the fact that chaos breeds chaos it does not breed the complex organization that we observe in reality from atom to Adam.  Or, as the Second Law of Thermodynamics puts it the entropy of any isolated system always increases.

In other words, the odds of a tornado hitting a junk yard and leaving a fully assembled 747 in its wake are less than zero.  And to have order come from chaos on a universal scale would mean that that would have to happen billions upon billions of times.  Which flies in the face of something I learned back during the Hippie commune days, no matter how many times you multiply zero it is still zero.

But I had faith!  Without blinking an eye I was proud to strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.  Everything came from one itsy bitsy piece of who knows what that existed from eternity to eternity exploding into everything and the shrinking back to an itsy bitsy piece of who knows what over and over.  Sure that made sense but a loving God who created everything that was too far out to believe.

Jesus tells us that we have to come to the end of ourselves if we want to walk with Him.  We have to realize that anyone who intends to come with Him has to let Him lead.  We’re not in the driver’s seat; He is.  We shouldn’t run from suffering we should embrace it.  Follow Him and He’ll show us how. Self-help is no help at all.  Self-sacrifice is the way, His way, to finding ourselves, our true self.  What kind of deal is it to get everything we want but lose ourselves?  What could we ever trade our soul for?  He said those who seek to hold on to everything will lose everything and those who let go of everything will gain everything.

When I first started trying to live this kind of life I thought of it as learning to walk backwards because it was the opposite of everything I had ever been taught on how to succeed.

When some people see another walking in faith following Christ sacrificing themselves for others they say, “Wow!  They have such great faith.”

To be sure to follow Jesus takes faith but even that faith is a gift from God.  God gives each of us a measure of faith and we should think seriously about that and follow that faith into the good works He’s given us to do.

So while it takes God given faith to follow Jesus it takes faith in ourselves to be an atheist.  I praise God that in my life the faith gift of God overwhelmed my own faith in me.   When I look at all the dead ends my choices led me to and compare that to the fulfilling and joyful life I have found following Him and I can see that He has a better way.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

The Meaning of The Book of Revelation July 11, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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A twisted mess of conflicting desires.  We want what we want until we get it than we wonder why we wanted it to begin with.  So often the wanting is much more fulfilling than the getting because the having is always transitory and the losing is inevitable.

Does that about sum up your experience in the world?  It does mine until I met Jesus and committed my life to Him.  The answer never quite fit the question.  Or was it that the question never quite fit the answer.  Either way I always ended up half way home half of the time standing on a cold corner waiting to die alone.

I was always asking, “What’s it all about?”  Everything seemed so senseless.  You work hard all your life and then you die with no U-Haul behind the hearse and no pockets in the shroud.  As they used to say in the old neighborhood, “Life’s a bitch and then you die.”

Once I gave my life to Jesus things changed.  Hope was birthed in my life and joy filled my heart.  Along the way I found two things that didn’t fit the mold of the having not fulfilling the expectation of the wanting.  Giving my life to Jesus has proven to be much more than I ever could have expected.  And the gift of my wife and the life we have together in Christ grows deeper each day and is better than I ever dreamed possible.

But as to the “What’s it all about?” question God did not leave us without an answer.  Many seek it in the Book of Revelation.  I have found it there and I want to share it with all who can receive it.

In the Sci-Fi classic “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” the mice ask the ultimate question, “What is the meaning to life, the universe, and everything?”  Although an enormous supercomputer named Deep Thought over a period of 7.5 million years eventually comes up with the answer, “42” it somehow leaves everyone a bit unsatisfied.

In real life there is an answer to this ultimate question.  His name is Jesus.

It is only through my hope in Him that I can walk through this hopeless world.  It is only through my joy in Him that I can face the sorrow of knowing that everything in this world that isn’t in Him is meaningless.  Life in this world is a race around a circle looking for a point.  You’re young forever until you’re old.  Almost everyone says, “If I would have known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself” but few ever do even after they know this truth. The young disregard the old and the old disrespect the young.  One hand washes another yet neither hand is ever clean.

The religions of this world seek to make us gods.  The religion of God seeks to make us Gods’.  We cannot possess that which we do not have and that which does not have us seeks to possess us.  We enter this world lost and God wants us to find Him so that we can find ourselves in Him.  What is the sound of one hand clapping?  It is the sound of fingers slapping the heel of our hand.  What is the answer to the unanswerable question?  It’s found in my exegesis of the entire book of Revelation in one sentence.

Jesus is God, God wins in the end, and no matter how bad it gets we should pray, “Even so come Lord Jesus.”

There you go.  That’s it.  In other words, “Know Jesus and know peace or, no Jesus and no peace.  Every one of us gets to choose for ourselves and in the perfect economy of God through His perfect justice each of us gets what we choose.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

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