I Have My Beliefs

Occasionally, when attempting to witness to someone and explain a truth from Scripture, the person will respond with; I don’t believe you have to do this or that, I have my own beliefs.

Really? Then you don’t believe God? Is that what you are saying?

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:1-8)

Jesus (God) speaking……”I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.  Believest thou this?”  John 11:25&26

let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…


When Jesus began His ministry, He instructed His listeners to repent. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17

Why did He command us* to repent? Because the kingdom of heaven was and is at hand. The kingdom of heaven is His. Jesus is its King. Where the king is, the subjects of His kingdom submit to His authority.**

So, how are we to enter the kingdom? Jesus speaking unto Nicodemus, one of the Jewish religious leaders; Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

How are we to be born again? Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. I Peter 1:23

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

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13

To repent means to change one’s mind.

Will you?

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

*When Jesus instructed His listeners to repent in the Gospels, He was preaching to Israel. After Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection, the apostle Peter preaching at Pentecost also commanded ”the house of Israel” to repent (Acts 2:36-39). Peter repeats the Lord’s desire for individual souls in his second epistle: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. II Peter 3:9

**Messiah Jesus to Israel: Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you – Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words? John 5:45-47

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31

Jesus has been addressing the covetousness of the Pharisees. Verses 13 & 14; ”Ye cannot serve God and mammon (money). And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him (Jesus). And He said unto them, Ye are they who justify yourselves before men: but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men (the love of money) is abomination in the sight of God.” The NKJV wording is; ”Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money,…..”.

In contrast Hebrews 13:5 says, ”Let your conversation (manner of life) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” To be content with God’s presence in our lives is to be delivered from a multitude of transgressions.

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

What a contrast! Here was the rich man living in luxury and thought by the Pharisees to be experiencing the blessing of God as evidenced by his prosperity. On the other hand here was the repulsive and pitiful beggar who was thought by the Pharisees to be outside of the realm of God’s blessing. Who hath sinned, they asked Jesus at another time, that this man was born blind? No doubt they were thinking the same about Lazarus.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

What a rebuke! What a shock! The beggar died and was carried into Abraham’s bosom, into paradise/heaven! The bosom is the area in the front of the body between the arms, so to recline in the bosom was said of one who when reclining at table, his head covered the bosom of the one next to him. This was a place of blessedness with another. Embracing a loved one. What closeness, what bond, what affection, what love! For Lazarus with Abraham it was a place of honor. Such is so of the Lord’s eternal and essential relation with the Father, in all its blessedness and affection as intimated in the phrase, “The Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father” (John1:18). [1]

Then comes the shocking reality for the Pharisees. The rich man dies, he is buried, he is in hell. Not just the grave or the place of the dead, but in the torment and fire of hell.

See the blog article entitled, Where is Hell?

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Hell did not refine the rich man. He was still arrogant and condescending, ……send Lazarus he cried!

The rich man cried for mercy, but it was too late. Oh that he had cried out to God while he was still in this life! The Psalmist writes; In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me! (Psalm 120:1)

And again the Psalmist cries out:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:1-17

Oh, that the rich man had cried out to God sooner!

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

No purgatory! Read it again. ”….they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us.” The practice of doing penance and providing indulgences is a doctrine of the Church at Rome, but it is not from the Bible. This practice was designed for control and for revenue. If there is no traversing the great gulf between Hades and Paradise, then the ticket that was purchased to get out of purgatory is no good. What is the difference between the teaching of penance and the Biblical doctrine of repentance?

See the blog article entitled What’s the Difference?

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

This paragraph is for those who may have a loved one in hell. Where ever my loved one is that is where I want to be, are the words of a woman whom I had known since grade school. I just want to be with my husband, or my wife, or my child! No you don’t! If your loved one is in hell, they are trying to wave you off. If they could get a message to you, it would be to turn back, turn around, go the other way!

Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

Moses and the prophets is a reference to the Old Testament Scripture. You must be saved the same way the OT saint was saved. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:6

And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he (
Abraham) said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Experience never saved anyone.

For by grace (God’s enabling) are ye saved through faith (a firm conviction or persuasion based on hearing the Word of God); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…

The bottom line is that neither Lazarus nor the rich man had any merit of their own, period. The difference between them is that the rich man thought that he had merit and was depending on it. That is commonly referred to as self-justification. Lazarus apparently believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

A Former Addict’s Testimony

The following is a testimony from Priya, a former addict, who gave her life to Christ at the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago:

I know for a fact that it wasn’t me. I had tried before and had been to rehab before. In the back of our minds, we always think it is just about willpower to stop using, but its not about stopping; its about inviting and accepting the power of God, and the only way to do that is through Jesus. Through His compassion and love, He can save us.

PGM News – June 2023 Edition

But as many as received him (Messiah Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John1:12 & 13

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17

Are you an addict to sin?

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36

God’s salvation, by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, delivers from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and one day from the very presence of sin.

Free indeed!

…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…