According to Calvinism, God chose hell for most and help for few. While Scripture is clear that God is righteous and just if He sent everyone to hell, Scripture is equally clear that God does not claim to be merely just, but He is also inestimably kind and longsuffering.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
The call to be faithful concerns today only.
No one can live faithfully in the near or distant future. For example, one cannot walk in faith tomorrow, or even an hour from now, because faithfulness exists only in the moment.
One may desire to live out his life in faithfulness to God, and therefore concern himself with being faithful to grow today for today and tomorrow, but no one can be faithful tomorrow because faithfulness is accomplished in the present; when one is seen to be faithful tomorrow, tomorrow will be today.
Only God’s directions today that concern future opportunities, obligations, or trials can be objects of faithfulness because then God has made, at least, preparation for them a matter for the day.
For example, if God reveals today an opportunity or a future assignment that He has for you, then that becomes a matter of faithfulness for the moment.
“So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:6-8).
The greatness of loyalty is most clear in the storms of disloyalty.
Quotidian loyalty is characteristic of many good times, but great loyalty alone survives and shines during the dark tempest of disloyalty. For it is in the gales of disloyalty by those in whom you placed your trust that the genuine loyalty of nobles rescues you from the avalanche of despair resulting from isolation, loss of camaraderie and support that is unleashed by the disloyalist.
“And He answered, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me’” (Matthew 26:23).
The future belongs to God, and we are not God.
Yet how quick we are to guarantee the future.
People frequently speak about the future with certainty, but God rarely discloses our personal future. When we speak about the future with phrases like “I will never” or “This will never” or other such phrases of future certainty, we are pridefully blind to the actual uncertainty of our future and our limited ability to change it. Speaking with certainty about the future seeks to elevate us to godhood and eliminate the walk of faith, neither of which is possible.
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).
Sincere requests for forgiveness, which is evidenced in words and actions, is all that is needed to be saved and forgiven by God.
Christians should require nothing more to forgive their offenders, for to do so is to dishonor grace.
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit” (1 Peter 3:8).
Giving thanks to God without the omnipresent conjunction “but.” Rare!
It is easy to give thanks to God because it is right, and we have so many things to be thankful for as long as we do not have to be unguardedly thankful.
Try naming everything that you are thankful for with regard to your job, spouse, house, day, etc., and then stop. You will find it more difficult than you may have thought it would be. We seem ever so prone to give thanks only if we can take a breath before reciting our woes.
I love my children and I am thankful for the following reasons. STOP RIGHT THERE! Now you have a new level of thanksgiving, which is rare indeed.
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
We should not come to Scripture to find a verse that seems to support an idea drawn from the wisdom of the world, but labor in the Word of God to build Christ’s church with the wisdom of God. At times, someone will quip that he is only interested in going to heaven and is not looking for rewards. However, it will be a tragically sad day for a Christian to stand before His Lord Jesus with no rewards for faithfully obeying Christ’s Word, using the gifts he has been given, or sacrificing in even the smallest of ways to help build that for which Christ gave His life.
“But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward” 1 Corinthians 3:10b-14.
Some believe that prayer is seeking to pray what God has already determined for you, but the Scripture is clear that while God has predetermined many things, He sovereignly chose to predetermine not to predetermine everything, but to incorporate the prayers of His people into the outcome.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Anyone can rebuke a Christian for his or her sin, but it takes a mature spiritual Christian to give godly rebuke with a heart for restoration. A true heart for the restoration of a brother includes a willingness to be intimately involved in the process and a keen awareness of one’s own propensity to be overtaken by sin.
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
The familiarity with sin, human need, and tragedies can transform compassion into cold conversations. For example, the forty-year war in this country to end legalized abortion, which has taken the lives of fifty million innocent babies and wounded an inestimable amount of relatives and friends can seem so uncorrectable that Christian compassion, which requires involvement, can degrade into little more than concerned conversations.
Do not everything, but by all means do something!
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35).