Saturday, March 27, 2021

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do

How many times have we read these words from the mouth of Jesus as He was being nailed to that horrible cross?  And when we read those words, we think along these lines, “Oh my, He’s asking God to forgive those Roman soldiers who are nailing Him to the cross.”  We marvel at Jesus’ ability to even think about them when the nails are being driven through His wrists and feet; when the pain must have been excruciating, unlike anything any of us have ever experienced.  

As I was thinking about the coming “Good Friday” remembrance, it dawned on me, “Wait, how many times could these same words apply to me? To all those who have believed and received Christ as their Savior? To all of humanity?”

If we’re honest with ourselves, though we may be true believers in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we still choose to sin, on occasion. We get selfish; we get prideful; we seek payback against someone who has messed with us.  If we’re honest, those words can apply to all of us, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  

Yes, in the immediate context, Jesus is speaking of His executioners.  But let’s be real, when we are in “sin-mode,” that is, we’re acting totally self-centered or “human,” do we really know what we’re doing?  

One pastor defined sin as “temporary insanity.”  Think about that for a while. It makes sense because when we’re in our “right” mind, when we are walking by the Spirit, when we are plugged into our power Source, we would never do such a thing, or behave in such a manner. Ever heard someone say, “I can’t believe I did that?  What was I thinking?”

Jesus, in His Deity, is omniscient and knows all things; in His humanity, He experienced all things, except for sin (Hebrews 4:15).  He is able to relate to our weaknesses and, at the same time, He has the power and authority to forgive us all of our sins – past, present and even future. 

There has never been anyone like Him and there never, ever will be, no matter what the crowd may say. He is God, Incarnate (in the flesh); He came to reveal the Father’s love and compassion; He is “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and He is so because of His death and resurrection.  

An unknown author wrote the following:  
   “Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. 
   Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. 
   Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God.
   Buddha simply said, ‘I am a teacher in search of the truth.’
   Jesus said, ‘I am the Truth.’ 
   Confucius said, ‘I never claimed to be holy.’
   Jesus said, “Who convicts me of sin?”
   Mohammed said, ‘Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope.’
   Jesus said, ‘Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins.’”

As we prepare to celebrate His death and resurrection, let’s remember that we, who are born again, need His forgiveness, not for eternal life (that comes at the moment of true faith in Jesus), but to keep our relationship with God healthy and thriving.

As Paul reminds us in Romans 8:31-35, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also, with Him, freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”   The implied answer is, “no one and nothing” can separate us from the love of Christ; the love that He so clearly demonstrated on His cross at Calvary.

May the Lord bless you as you remember and celebrate our great, loving Savior, Jesus of Nazareth at this years celebration of resurrection Sunday.

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.



Monday, February 8, 2021

God Is Sovereign -- Believe It, or Not?

How do you respond to the phrase, “God is sovereign?”  Do you agree and submit to Him, or do you bristle and think, “That’s not fair!”

 

The truth is that God isthe supreme ruler of the universe (which He alone created) who brings about all things according to His desire, will and purposes.

 

God is sovereign and that will never change. The fact that He is sovereign cannot be denied by weak, puny, human beings who were created by the One and only Creator.  Whether some choose to acknowledge the truth of His sovereignty or not, quite honestly, is irrelevant!

 

·    Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things” (Ecclesiastes 11:5).

 

 

The dictionary definition of sovereign is: “self-governing, independent, possessing supreme power or authority.” At the end of the word “sovereign” is the word “reign.”  We say that a king “reigns.” That means he is the ruler, the one with the rightto make the rules. That describes God precisely!

 

“Sovereignty is a theological term that refers to the unlimited power of God, who has sovereign control over the affairs of nature and history (Is. 45:9–19; Rom. 8:18–39). The Bible declares that God is working out His sovereign plan of redemption for the world and that the conclusion is certain. Immediately after the Fall, He talked about the curse of human sin and specified the cure for it. To the serpent He said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). The whole redemptive story of the Bible is the fulfillment of this prophecy by the sovereign God, as Paul clearly teaches in Romans [Chapters] 8–11.

The story of redemption from Genesis to Revelation is possible only because the sovereign God loves the created world, fallen though it is, and is able to do something about it. Without the sovereign love of the Father, ministered to us through the Son and the Holy Spirit, there would be no real human freedom and no hope of everlasting life” (Ronald F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, and R. K. Harrison, Thomas Nelson Publishers, eds., Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1995).

 

Here are only but a few verses to read and consider. There are hundreds more:

·    Deuteronomy 10:14.  Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.”

 

·    2 Samuel 7:22.  Therefore you are great, O Lord[sovereign]God, for there is none like you! There is no God besides you! What we have heard is true!”  

 

·    1 Chronicles 29:11-12. “O Lord God of our father Israel, you deserve praise forevermore! 11O Lord, you are great, mighty, majestic, magnificent, glorious, and sovereignover all the sky and earth! You have dominion and exalt yourself as the ruler of all. 12You are the source of wealth and honor; you rule over all. You possess strength and might to magnify and give strength to all.  

 

·    1 Samuel 2:6-8. “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7 The Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.  8 He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He set the world on them.”  

 

·    Psalm 50:10-11. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.  11 I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.”

 

·    Psalm 22:27-28. All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. 28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations.”

 

·    Romans 13:1. “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”

 

As you consider the sovereignty of God from these above verses, what do you think could stop God’s plans from being carried out in this world, or in your life, or in the life of someone you love?

 

Nothing can stop God! He will accomplish everything according to His will and purposes.  We may not understand it, but who are we to question the One who gives and sustains our very lives?  Our very next breath is purely a gift from Him.  

 

 

Theologians, generally, have three views of God’s Sovereignty:  

1.  Meticulous Sovereignty:  Everything that happens happens because God, who is the ultimate First Cause in all things, caused it to happen.

 

2.  Providential Sovereignty:  Everything that happens happens either because God caused it to happen, or He allowed it to happen.  He is sometimes the First Cause of the event and sometimes He utilizes secondary causes.

 

3.  Providential Oversight: Everything that happens happens because God allowed it to happen. 

 

These are here to give you something to think about as you form your view of God’s sovereignty.

 

 

For each individual:

·     God Himself told us, in many places in the Bible, that He created everything. God is sovereign—the king—over the universe, over the earth, over all the creatures on the earth, and over every human being. If you create something, do you have the right to make the rules concerning how your creation should live and work? God is the sovereign ruler of His creation. He rules it with supreme authority and power.

 

·    If God is the sovereign ruler of His creation, that means He is the sovereign ruler of all of us. Adding together God’s sovereignty with His great love, as expressed through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, should give us a great sense security and confidence.

 

·    We need to think of Him as our sovereign King and be willing to respect and obey Him. We can trust His care for His creation, including all of us. 

 

·    If you believe and continually remember the truth that the God of the Bible is sovereign, how might that influence the way you live your life, the way you connect with others, the way you share the Gospel with family and friends?

 

 

For world events:

·    As we watch the events of the world unfold before our eyes, remember, God is Sovereign and He is working out all things according to His sovereign plan for His creation and His people.  

 

·    The God of the Bible is the sovereign ruler of His creation. He rules it with supreme authority and power and no person, no political party, no style of human government will ever change that truth.

 

·    Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court, 6 and he said, “O Lord, the God of our fathers, art Thou not God in the heavens? And art Thou not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee” (2 Chronicles 20:5-6).

 

 

If you really want an excellent understanding of God’s sovereignty and power, sometime this week read Job chapters 38 – 41 all at one time.  Be prepared to be humbled. 

 

 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and your families.  

 

 

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Are We There Yet?

Ever hear those words before?  Usually when we’re driving toward an anticipated vacation location, someone in the car will ask, “Are we there yet?” (usually one of the children).  We may only have been driving for thirty minutes or so, but the excitement of arriving at the campground, hotel, or relatives’ home can be tremendous.  

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that this past year, 2020, has been a year like no other in most of our lifetimes.  Many of the events seem to be pointing us toward a cataclysmic culmination of our world, as we know it.  Many are wondering if we are at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, as described in the Scriptures.  

 

Let’s take a brief look at both the “Rapture” and the “Second Coming.”  It won’t be and exhaustive study, as it would take many, many articles to do that type of study.  But I will give some excellent resources to help you with your own study of this fascinating aspect of future events that the Bible tells us about.

 

There are two prophetic events, described in Scripture, that the Church has been waiting for, literally, since the time of Jesus’ ascension back to heaven:  (1) the Rapture, or the “catching away” of the Church (the Bride of Christ) up to heaven to be with the Lord; and (2) the Great Tribulation, the outpouring of God’s wrath and judgment upon the earth’s inhabitants, (following the Rapture) for those who have rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ.  

 

Here is a chart that will be helpful in keeping these two events separated with clarity:

 

Rapture

Second Coming

Christ comes for His own:

 (John 14:3; 1 Thes. 5:28; 2 Thes. 2:1).

Christ comes with His own: (1 Thes. 3:13; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:14-ff).

Christ comes in the air: (1 Thes. 4:17).

Christ comes to the earth: (Zec. 14:4; Acts 1:11).

Christ claims His bride: (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

Christ comes with His bride: (Rev. 19:6-14.)

Removal of believers: (1 Thes. 4:17).

Manifestation of Christ: (Mal. 4:2).

Only His own see Him: (1 Thes. 4:13-18).

Every eye shall see Him: (Rev. 1:7).

Tribulation begins: (2 Thes. 1:6-9).

Millennial Kingdom begins: (Rev. 20:1-ff).

The saved are delivered from wrath:           (1 Thes. 1:10; 1 Thes. 5:9).

The unsaved experience the wrath of God: 

(Rev. 6:12-17).

No prophetic signs precede rapture:

(1 Thes. 5:1-3).

Prophetic signs precede Second Coming: 

(Luke 21:11, Luke 21:15). 

Focus is on the Lord and the Church: (1Thes. 4:13-18).

Focus is Israel and the kingdom: (Matt. 24:14). 

World is deceived: (2 Thes. 2:3-12).

Satan is bound so he cannot deceive: 

(Rev. 20:1-ff).

Believers depart the earth: 

(1 Thes. 4:15-17). 

Unbelievers are taken away from the earth:

 (Matt. 24:37-41). 

Unbelievers remain on earth.

Believers remain on earth: (Matt. 25:34). 

No mention of establishing Christ’s Kingdom on earth.

Christ has come to set up His Kingdom on earth: (Matt. 25:31, Matt. 25:34). 

Christians taken to the Father’s house: (John 14:1-3).

Resurrected saints do not see the Father’s house: (Rev. 20:4-ff).

Imminent: could happen at any moment.

Cannot occur for at least 7 years. 

Precedes the career of the man of sin: (2 Thes. 2:1-3).

Terminates the career of the man of sin: (Rev. 19:20-ff).

 

 

This article is only meant to show the differences between the “catching away” (Rapture) of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ to the earth. Here is a list of resources that will further explain the details of both of these prophetic events still to come in world history:  

·     The Rapture Questionby John F. Walvoord

·     The Moody Handbookof Theology by Paul Enns

·     Major Bible Themesby Lewiis Sperry Chafer, revised by John F. Walvoord

·     Things to Comeby J. Dwight Pentecost 

·     There are others but these are a few of my favorites

 

As the events of this past week, month and year have unfolded, try to keep in mind that Jesus IS coming back for His bride, the Church.  That includes every person who has believed and received Christ as their personal Savior.  The Church will not go through the Great Tribulation.  Jesus loves His bride and she is safe from judgment because He paid the price for all our sins.  

 

His second coming will be at the end of the Great Tribulation.  He will come at the end to rule and reign as King of kings, from Jerusalem.  He will lock Satan up so the he will not have influence on humanity for 1000 years. Jesus will rule on the earth for 1000 years (the Millennium).  At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released to try to defeat Jesus but He will cast him into the Lake of Fire forever.  

 

Then, a new heavens and a new earth will come and there will be peaceful life with God and His people forever and ever, without sin, suffering, sorrow, pain or evil of any kind. Won’t that be wonderful!

 

As Dr. Mal Couch used to say about the rapture, “Perhaps today!”  

 

Maranatha!  Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

 

 

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.