By Benjamin H. Liles
Instead of starting the way I always have I wanted to share my heart. I know, right? As if I don't already do that. But I want to be frank, open, and truly candid here. I sometimes question whether or not I am truly saved. I don't want this to be the reason you question your salvation, but this is me being honest with all of you. You all read these articles. You see me put up my life, sort of. There is a version of the truth in what I post up. But there comes a time where the utmost honesty, actually being truly vulnerable has to take precedence.
Paul tells the church at Corinth, "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them,
and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore come out from among them
and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And: “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:12-18, Paul quotes Exodus 29, 45-46 as his argument in verse 16)
I may and may not take time off from this blog. I enjoy writing too much anymore. i enjoy sharing my life, my joys, my pains, and all with everyone of you. True and authentic Christianity calls for all of us to uphold one another with songs, with encouragement and admonishment when needed. I wanted to take this small break off Ezekiel to apologize if anything has come across sanctimonious and too pious. What I want more than anything is to be totally real and honest.
So what does this have to do with what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18? I won't deny that Christ is at work in and through my life. I question whether it's enough to keep from sinning. I keep doing a lot of things that cause harm, more so than I believe I do any good. I want to give all of you what I know is true, what is noble, what is right, and what is pure. But how do I do that when I have issues with self-control and anger?
My wife, Tanya, she has been nothing but a wonderful help and true love of mine since we married. She told me last night, even while we were arguing, my fault to be honest, "Choosing to be offended is a choice. I refuse to allow an offense to send me to hell." Yes, babe, I heard you. I can quote you on that from memory. I'm truly sorry, if I haven't said it last night. Thing is everyone, when I say this, I feel like a fraud. I need your prayers. I want s strong, vibrant, and healthy ministry. I do what I do out of an extreme love to and for the man who died in my place almost two thousand years ago.
I can't turn back time and fix the things I have done so wrong. But I figure if I work this out here and now; to get it down and out, there is a way in terms of memorializing this event that I can move forward, honestly, and allow Christ my Savior to finally become Lord of my life. I want to take a look at a word in Exodus 29:46. I'm going to tell you all my secret as to how I study, and to figure out what it is God shows me. Here it is: I use biblegateway and biblehub. If you type in Exodus 29:46 in a searchg bar on the site, where it says, "Enter Reference or Keyword" it will take you to multiple ways, all different in which Exodus 29:46 is rendered. Okay, there's a bar with "Parallel, Sermons, Topics...Hebrew."
If you click on that tab, Hebrew, it takes you to a concordance. Those numbers you see, the 3045, 3588, 589 - we're looking for 3068, Yahweh. The English is "the LORD." We translate God's actual name as LORD to denote how holy He truly is. When Moses wrote down what God was telling him to write, Moses chose a version of what God told him what to tell the children of Israel: "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation" (Exodus 3:14-15, Holman Christian Standard).
The word Yahweh, which in the Hebrew language is pronounced "yeh-ho-vaw" comes from a root word, havah. Havah, in English, means "to become" the short definition is "get." I think we have all heard the question "How was God made?" I pose this question, "Who else could reveal Himself to mankind but God?" If we made God, then the Hebraic text of the Old Testament and the New Testament is totally falsified. Work with me here on this. I'm wanting to show you something spectacular. Jesus Christ tells us plainly, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30, Berean Study). Now, let's think on this: Jesus Christ descends from the tribe of Judah of Israel, whose name had been Jacob. If we make the claim God is nothing but a fake, then the claim Christ makes and His sacrifice at the cross makes no sense. Does that hold up? Let's see.
We're told in John's gospel account how Christ came to be: "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. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:1-5, New King James). If we keep following the line of thinking that if God and Christ are liars and fakes, then what does that do to the gospel message? It falls flat, even though we have verified first hand witnesses who sat there with Jesus, watched Him die in our place. He took our punishment for the sins Adam and Eve made, more specifically Adam since he was not deceived (see 1 Timothy 2:14).
So, if this argument I pose, and it's not a new line of thinking in the least bit, it's an ongoing debate as to whether or not God actually exists. So, if according to Paul, John, Matthew, Mark, Luke and other's accounts aren't true either, then what is salvation worth? What is the point of the gospel message? John tells us, in John 1:5, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." The word for "comprehend" is the Greek word κατέλαβεν. It is pronounced "kat-al-am-ban'-o" and it means "seize tight hold of, arrest, catch, capture, overtake, appropriate."
Literally, what John is saying about Jesus Christ is that the powers of darkness cannot and will not forcibly lay a hold of the light, namely Jesus Christ. So, again, is Christ lying? Are the apostles who worked so hard for and gave up their lives for the testimony we read lying as well as to what happened? If this is the case then at best God is a myth. BUT -- I want you to think on this. Does it make sense to come up with such a convincing and hurtful myth such as God, when there is so much death, pestilence, misery, suffering and all it entails if God does NOT exist?
The system this world operates on, the system the powers of this world govern on, they don't understand God's intentions. No one can. Job basically talked to God; rather God spoke to Job. And job was far more righteous according to his faith than anyone who ever lived, except of course Jesus Christ. Think on it. I mean ruminate. You know how a chicken is basted before cooking it to such sheer perfection that it is saturated in the marinade?
Paul tells us, just as plainly as John does: "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). My sinful nature cannot compete with the saving grace God has given me though His Son Jesus Christ. I have a choice. I made it. I believe Jesus Christ is MY LORD and Savior. He is. That's His name. Jesus is a different derivative of God's name. He may be holy where I cannot expressly invoke His holy and precious name, but Christ, that is to say "the Messiah" died in my place. God paved a way for someone like me, like you, to have undeniable access to Him. But it means we change ourselves over. Either we accept Him and his word: Jesus Christ, or we remain in our sins and die in them.
I know how the story ends. The Light conquers, no, wait; it overcomes the Darkness. These are the words of One who is just and true, "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21, New American Standard). I am tired of hurting. I'm also tired of hurting those I love. I am putting off all things that separate me fully from God and His love. His word is true. He is the truth. The liar will burn in Hell in utter torment for as long as God allows it. I stand on Him and His word. I have read a lot. I love to read. And I know this much, God You are able when You say it is done, You will accomplish what You have said in Your word.
I want everyone who reads my words to know I am done being separated, having done nothing with my life without God. I lay down all my pride, all of who I am, what I've known, the things I've done so that Christ can live in me. I want Him preached and fully known to the end of this world. I want the powers that hold mankind back from seeing its greatest ability to be put on notice: your days are numbered with Christ. He has already won. I declare my victory in Him who died while I was still a sinner. I put my faith in the arms of the man who calmed the storms over Galilee. I know my Savior loves, that He lives, and that He is the Lamb who was slain at the foundation of this planet (see Revelation 13:8). I am now no longer under the penalty of death, but will give my life up for my fellow man for their salvation in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, I end this on that note. Thank You Jesus for who You are. I know I don't deserve what You have done for me. The pierce in Your side You took after you breathed Your last? You took that for me. The nails You took on the cross? You set a thief free that day. The nails You took in your ankles? You took that and carried me into the arms of God so I wouldn't run away any longer. Thank You. I love You for loving me first. Thank You God for sending Your Son to be that last sacrifice so no more sacrifices needed to be made. I sacrifice myself right back, so that others may know Your name: Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, who was and is and is yet to come back. In Jesus Christ's holy and precious name. Amen.
The night is nearly over; the day has drawn near. So let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. ~ Romans 13:12, Berean Study
Don't participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. ~ Ephesians 5:11, Holman Christian Standard