Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12)
If you selected the How to Crucify Self article from the Salvation article list, there is hope for you, since you are at least curious to know what you must do to be part of the First Fruits Rapture. You are here now to find out about the details of the self preparation required by God. If you believe the Bible teaches more than spirit salvation, then that is the open door for removing yourself from the throne of your life and placing Jesus on that throne. At this point, you are reaching out to open that door to your soul, so Jesus can rule in your life and make you part of His small, special group called the Bride of Christ. Whether you open that door fully and keep it open is up to you. Jesus is right now pleading with you to say yes to Him. He wants all Christians to be part of His bride, but few will actually commit themselves to this effort. Will you be one of His disciples? Will you be part of that elite group of His that will rule with Him in His millennium Kingdom?
This article will help you get started crucifying your sinful nature and having your life transformed by God into the person that He really wants you to be. This is not going to be easy; you will probably fail many times, however, the Holy Spirit will help you if you ask Him. As you mature in the faith, you will gradually discover that you can't stand the old selfish person that you used to be. You will feel anguish and grief at having committed all of the sins in your life. Even though you feel bad about your sins, you will feel even worse about all of those wasted years when you may have ignored God. You outwardly confessed that you were a Christian, but you did not take your faith home with you or to your place of employment. However, God is infinitely greater than our sins. He has provided a way to wipe away all tears of regret over our wasted lives. You can't go back and live your life all over from the beginning days of your Christian life, but you can start today to walk in the ways of Jesus.
If you do decide to walk with Jesus and follow His ways you will find that not only will you escape the humiliation of having most of your works burnt up at the Judgment Seat of Christ, you will also enjoy living life here and now! It is my belief that if you are a faithful follower of His now, that the review of and the burning of your sins will take place quickly, and that He will take more time reviewing your Bible study, your prayer and fellowship time with Him, your glorification of God, your service to God and to others and your humility.
My Fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ
When I first understood about the terror that will be felt by self-centered Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ, I also had great fear. Did I really want all of my life's works opened to God and all believers and the angels to know what I have done during my life? I would be standing in the very presence of Jesus, sitting on His judgment seat. I thought this must be the way the children of Israel felt at Mt. Sinai when God's presence in a cloud of smoke was at the top of the mountain when He gave the ten commandments to Moses (Exodus 20:18-21). They were all terrified! I would actually see the eyes of Jesus flaming with fire as my lies, envy, lust, complacency, laziness and other sins were made known and were burnt up in a large fireball. For me, there must be a way to reduce my embarrassment. Well there is. I can serve God now. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I can crucify my selfish and sinful personality and let Jesus' righteous works be part of my life. I needed to turn 180 degrees in my life; I needed to move straight towards Jesus.
The Holy Bible is the Key
I will describe how I am moving now to be the man that Jesus wants me to be. I am not there yet, but I am seeking to please Him. First, I am reading the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. As I read the verses I then ask myself, "what does that mean?" If I do not understand, I find other sources that explain the verses to me, such as books, articles on the Internet, and simply asking God by prayer. If there is a mature elder that knows the Bible well in your church, that person should be relied upon to explain scripture to you. Next, I try to apply the verses in my day to day contact with people. If I am driving to work and another driver cuts me off, do I grumble under my breath and swear at the guy, or do I pray for that person? Guess what Jesus said to do: "to pray for those who despitefully use you". The important idea about scripture is that it is to be used in our daily routines, not just read and put back on the shelf. If I have pride and say to myself, "I really am a good Christian" and see an act of terrorism on the evening news, and judge that person, I am wrong. If I say "look at that Muslim terrorist killing all those people in a suicide bombing. I would never do that." Instead of patting myself on the back, I should be praying for the radical elements of the Islamic people that they may have an opportunity to learn about the gentle loving ways of Jesus. Wouldn't that be more what Jesus would want me to do? I could give you many more examples drawn from the Bible, but you need to actually read it and to follow what God says for you to do. Finally, I am attending a bible study of the book of Revelation held each week. There the scripture is read, explained and discussed by about 15-20 people at each session.
Talking to and Walking with God
Prayer is now an important part of my life. For me, the example of Daniel is an excellent way to pray. He decided to pray to God three times a day. He lived in the city of Babylon and bowed toward Jerusalem when he prayed. He was very humble and relied completely upon God to carry him through the day. Daily Daniel prayed and confessed his sins to God. He also gave God the glory when God helped him interpret the King's dreams described in the book of Daniel. Later in the book of Daniel an angel of God told him that he was "highly esteemed" by God. Note that his prayers to God and confession of his sins were the key factors in Daniel's keeping his faith in God under very trying circumstances. It is so important to pray several times during the day, because God very much desires your prayers. He already knows your needs, but you show your faith and trust in Him by lifting up your needs to Him. Prayer should be more than just asking God for things you need and for healings of body and mind. It should also be to thank Him for the many good things He has given you and to let Him know that you desire His company and appreciate the honor of being able to talk directly to Him. This is part of the fellowship that we have with God. You should also give praise to God for the wonderful things He does in your lives and in the lives of other believers. Praise is simply recognizing God's extraordinary character, His wonderful creation of the universe and sending His son, Jesus, to take on our sins on the cross. This is the way we walk with God. We let Him know that He is very special to us and that our ability to pray and praise Him directly is a top joy and priority in our lives. Please pray to God and just lift up your needs to Him. Also let Him know how special He is in your life. Finally, don't forget to describe your faults to God and that you are truly sorry for having committed sins during the day.
Enoch walked with God as was described in Genesis (Genesis 5:22-24). No details were given of this walk other than "Enoch walked with God." At the time before the flood, little scripture was available. Enoch probably heard from his parents and grandparents about God creating the universe, the earth, plants, animals and mankind. He also heard about the fall of Adam, Eve and the rest of their descendants. Enoch surely heard about the story of Cain and Abel and the first murder, as well as God making Cain a wanderer. In addition, God reached out to and talked to Enoch several times during his lifetime and Enoch apparently responded to God's overtures of love and forgiveness. I believe that God looked into Enoch's heart and saw that he would be open to a much more substantial relationship than had been before with any other human. If you read the early Genesis scriptures, most verses just said who begat who. Wasn't that sad? Especially when you see later when true believers such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel and David respond to God's overtures of fellowship and love. Well, Enoch did fully respond to God and God appreciated his fellowship very much. Note that Enoch did not die. God simply took him to heaven. That type of relation is what God wants with you. He wants that relationship right now. You just have to respond to His calling you to walk with Him. You listen to His calling by reading the Holy Bible. He will also call you by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is in your life from day one as a believer. What you do with the Holy Spirit determines whether you have this walk or not. If you decide in your heart that you desire to have this walk, it will happen. God will gladly come in the open door of your heart and be with you the rest of your life. Once this fellowship starts, you will find that it is the high point of your life. When I get on my knees and bow to God's presence, my life is so lifted up that I almost feel high. You can have this relationship if you want it. All you have to do is to ask Him and He will respond. Just believe that He will do His part (James 1:5-8). Don't wait. Pray your own prayer to God right now! He greatly desires to have fellowship with you.
Lord God almighty, I want to walk with you and to crucify my carnal human nature. I want evil in my life to now cease and to gain my soul salvation by doing Your will. I want my life to reflect the power and love of Jesus by greatly resisting sin and to accomplishing the righteousness that you want me to pursue. By faith I will walk with You for the rest of my life. My life I commit to you for I am not my own for I belong to You. Use me to glorify Your name, for Your ways are perfect. Thank You for saving my soul. Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
What this living for God is showing Him is that you really appreciate and are grateful to Jesus for dying on the cross for you, for paying for and washing away all your sins. You let God know by your righteous and holy living that you recognize that He has the right to be the King of your life. You recognize that by dying to self (by refraining from sinning and being righteous) you are being prepared for great honors as a leader in the Kingdom. Remember that all leaders of industry and government need and receive a great amount of training, and they will be better leaders because of sound, thorough training. It is the same for believers. Just consider that living for Jesus is a form of training for you so you can rule with Him in the Kingdom. God is doing you a great favor by giving you the opportunity to serve Him now. Wouldn't it be much better to volunteer to serve Him now, to get that Godly experience you need now, instead of having to go through part of the tribulation and receiving substantial harassment, torture and possibly death at the hands of Antichrist?
I fail God. I am ashamed to let you know that I sin several times a day, and I really regret it. Wouldn't it be wonderful that if God would take away our sinful human nature and replace it with a sinless human nature? Well, He doesn't do that when you become a Christian (ie, the day your spirit is saved). It would be too easy. God has allowed my sinless spirit to reside alongside my carnal human nature. What a mess, what a turmoil I am in at times. I make wrong decisions at times. I do sin against God and against my fellow man. I am disgusted with myself at times during the day. What a miserable creature I am. Some days I have to confess to God that I have sinned because I judge another person, by thinking "how stupid is that person"; by admiring myself and thinking how smart I am. When I get back on track by listening to Jesus and by admitting my sin, my guilt is taken away by the Holy Spirit. I then see that that person I was looking down on was really quite valuable.
I have asked God to reach into His treasury and to give me humility, holiness and righteousness so that I will not have any desire to sin. I do believe that I will sin less because of this prayer to God. However, I will sin (all sin, see 1 John 1:8) in the future even when God does give me some of His holiness and righteousness. I have to moment by moment effect the power of the Holy Spirit to not sin. I must decide between self gratification and acting the way Jesus would want me to act. It's a constant struggle. Praise be to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit for helping me fight the good fight that I might come out victorious over my depraved human character! I do see some improvement in my life. I want to be a better person and to walk even closer to Jesus. It will happen because I greatly desire a more righteous life. God has placed this desire into my life. Thanks be to Him! If you also have this desire to fulfill righteousness and humility, you can also be a disciple of Jesus.
A Commitment to God
You must find the resolve in your life to admit to yourself and to God that you are a sinner and that you will fail Jesus at times in your life. You must also resolve to confess your sins every day to God and to ask Him to give you the strength to resist sinning when the temptations/challenges happen again in the future, for they will arise. You must resolve to totally rely upon God for forgiveness and to refresh your soul, mind and spirit when you do sin. To God be the glory, for He will help you, He will lift you up and put you back on the straight and narrow path of righteousness. But you must be willing and resolved to have this attitude of relying on God the rest of your life. Be honest with God. You can't ever deceive Him. He knows everything, period!
God expects your reasonable service (Romans 12:1). If you are walking with Him, He will let you know somehow that He has a job of service right here and now for you. He will prepare you for any opportunity for service that He might present to you. We don't know how long before Jesus returns, but we know it has to be soon. But as long as you are living on the face of the earth, God expects, even demands that you serve Him:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service.
Paul shows us how to avoid being condemned at the Judgment seat of Christ:
If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (1 Cor 11:31).
We should review with God in humble prayer that we are wrong when we sin and that we have absolutely no excuse that we committed the sin. Now this is my judgment of my sins and is expressed as a prayer to God:
Eric's Repentance Prayer. Lord I have sinned against you and that I know that my sin has hurt You, and has made you ashamed of me. I do not deserve to be a part of Your family. I deserve to be cast into the lake of fire and to be punished forever; I deserve nothing but contempt from You. I am sorry for sinning against you. Please have mercy on me and forgive me of my sin. Please accept my deepest apology. Please redeem me from my sin and restore me in right relationship to You. Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
Note that if we judge ourselves, when we sin, that Jesus will not judge us at the Judgment seat of Christ. If we are not judged, then we will receive no sentence from Jesus, i.e., we will not be condemned. I counsel you to judge your actions, your attitude, the way you think, the way you respect and follow God and the way you treat other people. At this moment pray to our God and tell Him that you are judging yourself for your sins and your failings. Ask Him to help you change your attitude and let Him know that you will be following Him from now on.
Want to know why David had such a deep and faithful walk with God? Just read Psalm 51. David was willing to admit that he sinned against God and that he was willing to judge himself. Note that part of David's prayer was for restoration back to fellowship with God. David was then given an invitation to serve God after he recognized that he had failed Him.
The Path to Righteousness
I've put together several steps to show you what you must do to crucify your carnal nature and walk with Jesus. This will insure the salvation of your soul. Before you start the walk on the "straight and narrow", you need a vision of what is to come. If you have a good idea of the blessings of living forever with God, you can make up your mind if you really want to follow Him in this life.
The vision. This life is the testing ground for your faith in Jesus. However, it is not the end. The pain we have crucifying the carnal self is extremely difficult, but by doing so we can partake of the rich blessings of an eternity sitting with Christ on His throne in perfect peace and joy. When you are experiencing temptation and pain in this life keep in mind that you will inherit a sinless holy and righteous nature for eternity. There will be no sickness, no sorrow, no pain of any kind, no self-centeredness, no one will make fun of you or want to hurt you. You will walk on streets of gold in the New Jerusalem. You will experience an environment that will be perfect. You will never get cold or hot. You will be walking with God and seeing His face. You will never sin! You will be able to ask questions of God and He will gladly respond to you. Just read the last few chapters of Revelation. Finally, you will escape the terrors and trials of the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation because you will already have been tested by God and prove worthy to be part of His kingdom. We praise and thank God for His mercies.
Here are eleven steps I am using to work out the salvation of my soul. Perhaps the ideas that God has shown me can be helpful to you in crucifying your carnal nature.
1. You should start your walk on the "straight and narrow" by lifting up prayers to God for His help. By showing that you are serious about this journey, and want Him walking beside you, God will help you. This is a prayer that God earnestly seeks from you. I ask Him several times a day to help me. You cannot succeed without God's help:
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing.
2. Confession of your sins each day of your life will show God that you are truly sorry for any evil that you commit during the day. This is showing your humility and thus recognizing that God is the source of your salvation, not yourself. There should be anguish in your heart for the sins you commit and a longing to not sin and to go forward to behave with a Christian attitude. Don't wait several days, weeks or years before you confess a sin. Confess your sin to God immediately! Go back in the past and remember as many of the sins you have committed as you can. Then confess to God that you were wrong, that you committed each sin and to ask Him to forgive you. For sins you can't remember or weren't aware of, simply confess that you committed sins you have since forgotten. If you do this confession, God will remove your guilt. He will help you to have more resistance when you are tempted to sin. After you confess all sins, don't continue to think about them or let them fill you with guilt. God will forget that you have committed sins in the past and so should you. The starting point is that we must recognize that we sin and that we are willing to judge ourselves for the sins we commit. Here is the scripture:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
3. Prayers of forgiveness of others is also very important. You may have been hurt by one or more people in the past, or you may experience pain from someone right now, today. When you forgive others of their sins against you, you are walking very close to God. If you have great hurts from someone, please lift this pain in the form of a prayer up to God. Let Him know that you are forgiving this person of their sin against you. For sins of the past that have been committed against you, lift each one up to prayer to God and just tell Him that the sin hurt you so badly that you are having a tough time letting it go. Ask for God to help you forgive. To forgive sins against you, especially very painful ones is one of the most difficult things you will ever do in this life. However, Jesus forgives us of all sins we commit, so should we also forgive all sins against us.
4. Read the Holy Bible daily. In the scripture, God speaks and we listen. This is how He shows us how He hates evil and loves righteousness. The Bible describes God's love for us and the weapons we have available for us in pursuing righteousness. It will take several readings of the Bible to more fully understand God's ways, but perseverance is just one of the Godly characteristics that He will give you as you walk further down the straight and narrow path. Start by reading Genesis. This book shows us how sin got started and how God dealt with it in the early history of mankind. Then go on to the New Testament and read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Next, go back and read Exodus in the Old Testament. After this start, let the Lord lead you as to the order of the books you will read. You should also be part of a Bible study at your church and/or in your home. Don't be afraid to ask questions about particular verses. Others in the study group will be glad to help you understand the Holy Scripture. The Holy Scriptures increase our faith (2 Tim 3:15). Faith in God is so important, because if you believe that God will answer your prayers, it will happen:
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
5. Begin a fellowship with God. As you read and understand the Bible more and more, you should start to sense the presence of God in your life. God simply wants to be appreciated by you and walk beside you in quiet moments away from all distractions. During these times of fellowship I simply let Him know how important He is to me. I recognize His infinite power and might and that He has a specific plan for redeeming me. God is showing me His loving holy character, and because of this, I can absolutely trust Him in guiding me. God is not only infinitely powerful, but also infinitely sensitive and patiently listens to every word of prayer I lift up to Him. These quiet times with God are when I praise Him and give thanks to Him for His presence in my life. Finally, I tell Him that I love Him and recognize that He is the most important person in my life. This is my walk with God. Here are some suggestions for improving your prayer life and your fellowship with God: Prayer: a hands-on Workbook.
6. Prayers of petition to God are very important. Although God knows everything, He expects believers to lift up every need to Him. Be persistent. Keep mentioning the needs of yourself, friends and family. God will come through if your prayers are in line with His will.
7. Fellowship with other believers is energizing to the believer. This can be as part of a Bible study at church or in your home. Make sure that you let your brothers and sisters in Christ know that you care for them.
8. Your enthusiastic service to God and others is very important. You should enjoy the job that God has given you to do. Whether it is as a pastor or deacon, or as a person that simply mows the church lawn, or works in the kitchen, do your job with joy and love. God will recognize this and bless you. Remember that the servant of all will be the person that rules with Christ in His kingdom (Mark 10:43-45).
9. Make friends with your neighbors and co-workers. Be supportive when your neighbors have sorrows or difficulties and be joyful when they have successes. They will be observing your character first before they are willing to listen to your testimony of faith. Be patient. Wait for them to ask you why you are so supportive to them and why your life has peace in it. Of course, your loving character is a result of being a child of God.
10. Be watching and praying for Jesus' return. You will be constantly praying that Jesus will count you worthy to be a member of the First Fruits Rapture. Because you are watching, your attitude and actions will reflect that your mind is on walking the righteous walk so that you will be part of the millennium kingdom of Christ.
11. Don't waste time. Time is very short until the Return of Jesus Christ for His Bride, the Church of Philadelphia. All Christians should be listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and be doing those things that God wants us to do. We should not fill our lives with unproductive activities, especially television.
Scripture to Read and Obey
Are you willing to learn more about God and will you consider obeying the commands from Him in the Holy Bible? Here are several verses that should encourage you to walk with Jesus. If you read and meditate on these verses from scripture, Jesus will be pleased and you will start the walk with God. If you take the next step and obey these scriptures, you will be crucifying self and receiving blessings from God that will be priceless in this life and the life to come.
The best way to read and understand scripture is to read the complete chapter. Even better is to read and re-read the complete book from beginning to end. The above verses are given as starting points to putting off the old self, putting on the new self and to walking with Jesus. There are many chapters in the New Testament that encourage us to live righteously for God. If there are so many, shouldn't this be an indicator from God that living for Him is very important?
When You are Alone
One thing God requires in a faithful believer is consistency. He wants you to be faithful when you are around other believers, your fellow workers at your job, around your family, when you are out shopping, when you are mowing the lawn and even when you are alone, by yourself. He wants you to be faithful 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365/366 days a year.
Sometimes you are alone. You may be on a business trip, driving to work or at home or in a motel room by yourself. This is the time that your true character shows itself. When you think no one will see, you may be tempted to rebel against God and to sin against Him. You may be tempted to view pornography on the Internet, to curse if one of your projects goes wrong, to open up that alcohol bottle, or to just sit down and watch television all day. You may have a strong urge to sin when you are by yourself, when no one will see you, but remember, God knows every action you do, think or say.
When you have time alone, you should be worshipping God and strengthening your ties to Him. Here are some suggestions for avoiding sinning against our Heavenly Father and God:
Living the righteous life for Jesus is so important. To be a ruler with Christ in His millennium Kingdom you have no choice but to avoid evil. Below, I have included verses from Galatians and I Corinthians that describe in detail sins that you must not commit. If you are committing any of these sins, you will not be included as a member of the First Fruits rapture or rule with Jesus in His Kingdom. If you are committing any of these sins, it is a strong indicator that you have not fully committed yourself to crucifying your carnal nature and turning your life over to Jesus for His service.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-2)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)
In the Book of Galatians Paul states the works of the flesh nature:
1. Adultery: The figurative meaning is given here, since the literal meaning of adultery and fornication is the same. Figuratively, adultery means idolatry, which is placing anything before God.
2. Fornication: Literally fornication refers to illicit sex and includes adultery, incest and homosexuality.
3. Uncleanness: Physical or moral impurity. It refers to Christians who are not confessing their sins regularly.
4. Lasciviousness: Rebellious or resistant to authority. It refers to Christians who are not living in obedience to the Word of God.
5. Idolatry: Image worship or the worshipping of other gods.
6. Witchcraft: The use or sale of drugs. Also, refers to giving heed to seducing demons.
7. Hatred: Enmity or hatred of fellow Christians.
8. Variance: Contentious or quarrelsome with fellow Christians.
9. Emulations: Being envious or jealous of fellow Christians.
10. Wrath: To be angry or have wrath toward fellow Christians.
11. Strife: To provoke or strive against fellow Christians. To be uncooperative.
12. Seditions: To create divisions or dissensions among fellow believers. To be a divisive Christian.
13. Heresies: To follow ones own tenets or traditions that are opposed to the Word of God.
14. Envyings: To have ill-will or to be spiteful towards fellow Christians.
15. Murders: Literally means to slay or murder someone else. Murder sometime happens when ill-will, anger or spitefulness are carried to the extreme.
16. Drunkenness: To be intoxicated or controlled by alcohol. The Christian is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and not by alcohol.
17. Revellings: Loud and noisy partying without restraint or discipline (i.e., revelry).
If you have been committing any of the above sins mentioned in the above verses, my advice is to repent right now. You must turn away from these sins and completely turn your life over to Jesus Christ. Remember, you cannot live the righteous life without the Holy Spirit of God ruling in your life. By turning to Jesus Christ in faith, you can overcome any addictions that might be a part of your life. You must ask God for His forgiveness of the sins you are committing. You must then ask Him to give you the strength to overcome your sins and you must believe that God will say "yes" to your request for righteousness.
Repentance Prayer of a Pastor. Lord God Almighty, I have been willfully committing one of the sins mentioned in Galatians: heresy. I have included in my sermons ideas about humanism. I have told my congregation that they are so important and that they need to feel good all the time about themselves. I have not discussed that they need to repent of their self-centered ways and follow Jesus in their home life and at their work place. I need to prepare them for Jesus' second coming and how to start and finish the walk of righteousness. Lord forgive me of this sin and help me to understand and to lead my flock in the ways of Jesus. Give me the strength and courage to do Your will. Thank you Heavenly Father for your forgiveness and help. Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
Repentance Prayer of a Church Member. God the Father and Jesus my Savior--I have been reading the Bible very little and have not prayed for the strength to follow You. However, after You have called me to read about the failings of the Churches in the Book of Revelation, I realize that I am guilty of arrogance and self-deception by actually believing that I am exactly the Christian that God the Father wants me to be. Although I have a wonderful family, an abundance of the world's goods, live in a nice house, drive a nice car, have a good paying job and attend a large, beautiful church, I am spiritually bankrupt because I have very few good works to show You. I am sorry for my sins and now repent and humbly turn to You for forgiveness and would like to follow You now and for the rest of my life. Please have mercy on me, forgive me of my sins and guide me in accomplishing all the righteousness You want me to start and finish. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will remove from my life all arrogance, hypocrisy, greed and self indulgence. I now greatly desire to have a humble spirit and a close, personal walk with You and want to enthusiastically praise and love You forever. I will read and meditate on the Holy Scripture and show enthusiasm for all of Your commandments and will confess my sins and my failings to You every day. With joy, I will follow through with all righteousness that You have prepared for me to accomplish. I will continually be praying and watching for the Return of Jesus. I open my heart, mind and soul to You. Through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.
Repentance Prayer of a Deacon. I come before you O Lord in Heaven and admit that I have not encouraged my flock members to follow You in righteousness. I have been involved mainly in church administration and meetings that decide whether our church should purchase more property, expand the sanctuary and what color paint should go in the church offices. I should be regularly visiting my flock and fellowshipping with and encouraging them to live their lives in submission to You. I should be praying daily for my flock, my Pastor and the rest of the church members. I should also be following You in my personal worship including reading the Bible, praising You and walking with You at my work and when I am at home with my family. Forgive me of my sin and help me to become a deacon that puts service to You first in my life. Through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.
The above prayers are given as examples for you. You know if you are commiting any serious and addictive sins and if you are, you should confess them to Almighty God today, at this very moment. Do not delay, because it will be easier for you right now than it will be in the future. If you do repent, when tempted later to return to your sin, the Holy Spirit will prick your conscience to let you know that He expects you to say no to committing the sin.
The Holy Spirit does not force you to say no to sin or to say yes to righteousness. He speaks to you in a very low-key and gentle loving voice. Be sure to listen carefully to His direction and to do what God commands you to do. God is very patient with His children. However, when He has had enough of our rebellion He will discipline us and we may not like what happens to us. You have been warned.
Here is the scripture from Hebrews 12:5-6 (KJV):
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Now, all sin should be avoided by Christians and any sin of any kind is extremely bad for us. However, Paul has placed an emphasis on avoiding the sins listed in the above scripture, so let us follow the admonition God has inspired him to write.
The fear of The Lord is extremely important to the believer in Christ. I suggest that you read: The Judgment Seat of Christ to more fully understand the judgment and censure that you will experience if you are not following Jesus and the praise, peace, joy and reward you will receive if you are following Him in every phase of your life.
You Reap What You Sow
Suffering Brings Glory
We will have to stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account of our life's works. This accounting will include any good deeds you may have performed for God. For these righteous works, Jesus will praise you and give you a reward.
This judgment will also include accounting for any sins we may have committed while in this life. These are two kinds of sins: 1) Sins of commission, such as adultery, lying and complaining. 2) Sins of omission, such as avoiding a righteous work you know that God wants you to perform.
As discussed earlier in this article, any sins that you confess to God during this life will not be judged by Him. These confessed sins will still be destroyed in the fire of Christ's righteous judgment. However, you will not have to admit to Him that you committed these sins, because you have already confessed them to Him while in this life (I John 1:9). Any unconfessed sins will be brought up by Christ in your judgment and you will have to admit to Him that you committed these sins and admit that you were wrong. This will be very embarassing if we do not daily confess all of our sins to God.
Confession of sins is a righteous work that God expects out of us. However, it would be much better for us, even in this life, if we would expend a great effort in avoiding sin in our lives because our sin can cause great difficulties in our life, even if we confess all of our sins to God. Here is the verse:
(Gal 6:7-8 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
God wants us to avoid sin in our life because He knows that sin can tear us apart, physically or mentally. Here are some examples:
You know that drinking alcoholic beverages can make you drunk, can break up a martial relationship, and can even make you sick. If you confess to God that you drink alcohol, He will forgive you but you might still have to live with the results of your obsessive alcohol consumption such as cirrhosis of the liver.
Viewing pornography or having an extra-marital affair can lure you away from a normal, healthy relationship with your spouse. It can even break up a marriage. Again, confession of this sin will be forgiven by Jesus. However, you will still have guilt because of this unrighteous work. You may or may not be able to resume a holy relationship with your spouse, even after confession of your sin.
If God wants you to do some kind of service for Him and you simply refuse or ignore Him, He may decide to strike you with a disease or injury, or you may lose your job or He may even take your life. If you confess this sin and then decide to follow Him from then on, He may restore you to a close walk with Him. However, He may not, because God does what He wants to do. You could miss out on rewards and the fruit of the Spirit because you have not done a righteous work He commanded you to do. Read the Book of Jonah to see what happened to Jonah when he disobeyed God after He commanded him to go and preach the message of repentance to the residents of Nineveh.
If we serve God, we will reap rewards both in this life and in eternity. This is crucifying self and living for God. This is NOT MOCKING God, since this is being obedient to Him. This is pleasing Him and we are so much better off by simply following Him with love and enthusiasm.
God's scripture never fails. If we commit sin we are disobeying or mocking God, and it will always come back to effect us, sometimes in a destructive manner. We need to constantly be on guard to avoid sin and to joyfully serve God by performing any righteous works He prepares for us to accomplish.
With the help of the Holy Spirit a faithful Christian can produce a harvest of rewards from the good works that he sows. If you are reading and obeying the Holy Bible, praying and serving God with the best of your abilities, then He will be pleased with you. These good works will produce holy fruit that will last forever. These works will be the gold, silver and precious stones that will easily come through the fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ. If you are faithful to Jesus in your thoughts, words and actions, you will be praised by Him and you will then reap the salvation of your soul. You will have a position of honor in the millennium Kingdom and in eternity, ruling with Jesus in both Heaven and on the earth.
The Conscience can be Seared
(James 1:15 KJV) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
The unpardonable sin is discussed in detail in the article The Unpardonable Sin. Briefly, a mature Christian can serve God, be filled with the Holy Spirit and do good works in the power of the Holy Spirit. If for some reason, this faithful Christian then turns his back on Christ and wants nothing to do with Him, this person has committed the unpardonable sin and cannot be brought back into service and fellowship with God in this life. His conscience is then seared and God will not even attempt to bring him back by allowing him to repent of his sins.
If you are a faithful Christian and are worried that you have committed the "unpardonable sin", then you most certainly have not committed this sin and it is still possible that you can resume a righteous walk with God. You should first repent of your sin and confess it to God (I John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.) and then resume praying, reading the Holy Bible, having a fellowship with other Christians and then resume doing righteous works for God.
If you have committed the unpardonable sin, then you won't even think about Jesus, prayer, reading the Holy Bible or doing any righteous work. Your conscience has been seared and God will not bring you back into fellowship with Him in this life. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, you will have to account to Him for your failures and it will be a most painful time viewing His holy face and hearing that He is most displeased with your works during your time on the earth. You will still go to Heaven and have fellowship with God, but you will lose all rewards in the Millennium Kingdom and in Eternity.
If you are still involved with many sins in your life and want to renew your fellowship and walk with Jesus, I encourage you to reread this article and follow the suggestions that I have presented to you and make the effort to repent and turn your life over to Christ for service for Him. God will restore you if you are sorry for your sins and want to live for Jesus and not for yourself.
If you continue to commit the same serious and addictive sins over and over and if you do not confess these sins to God and ask His forgiveness, there is a possibility that your conscience can become seared. This is such a serious condition that you may not even care if you sin and your conscience may not tell you when you do something wrong. It is then too late to repent and return to fellowship with God. Let me say that if you understand what I am saying right now, and care about being faithful to God then your conscience has not been seared. In fact, if your conscience has been seared, you will not have any interest at all in reading articles such as this one, praying, reading the Holy Bible or accomplishing good works.
Jesus suffered, all of the apostles and disciples suffered, the faithful prophets, priests, kings and shepherds of the Old Testament era suffered because they were faithful to God. Christ lets us know by 2Timothy 2:12 that suffering is something that we should expect:
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (KJV)
If we endure, we shall also reign with him: if we shall deny him, he also will deny us: (ASV)
These tests listed below are certainly not all we could come up with if we thought about it for awhile, but here are some sufferings that you could possibly endure during your lifetime:
Any Christians that are not participating in some kinds of suffering for Jesus will not be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture. The denial mentioned in 2 Tim 2:12 is the denying of being obedient to any commandments from the Holy Bible or righteous deeds that Jesus prepares for us to accomplish. The denying by Jesus will be the denying of any unfaithful Christian to be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture. This is the unfaithful Christian that will be required to undergo 3 1/2 years of persecution by the Antichrist during the first half of the Tribulation. Jesus could also deny any rewards that He would like to give us. He can't because we said no to the righteous works we know that we should have done. We will be required to account to Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ for any righteous works that were assigned to us, but we did not accomplish.
These sufferings are different for each Christian. God is so wise, He places in your path exactly the sufferings and testing that He knows you need to experience to become a more faithful follower of His. When these tests come up, just remember that you need to respond to the tests just like Jesus would respond. To know how to respond, you need to read the four Gospels and see what Jesus did when his trials came up. You should also read the Book of Acts and the epistles of Paul to see what he did when encountering his trials and how he responded to them. When you are experiencing this suffering, remember to ask for God's help and then thank Him for the test and the victory you have over this trial. You have this victory because the Holy Spirit is in your life and encouraging you while underdoing this test.
We should be denying our sinful nature by avoiding sin and by accomplishing righteous works for Christ. This is a form of suffering for God. If you are allowing the Holy Spirit to help you deny the cravings of the flesh nature, you will be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture.
Some Indicators You are Crucifying Self
In Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV) Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
If the Holy Spirit is producing in you all of the the wonderful Godly characteristics listed above, this is strong evidence that you are following Jesus at home, at church and at your work. The fruit of the Spirit is explained in more detail in the article: The Philadelphia Christian.
What Will You Do With This Message?
You've heard my story about following God. Your trials and temptations will undoubtedly be different from mine. However, God knows your character and will not place a test that is greater than you can overcome with His help (I Cor 10:13).
If you have read this article and say to yourself "That's fine, it makes sense, but I just don't want to take the time to follow God fully at this point in my life. I've got too much on my plate, or my job is demanding me work 60 hours a week, or I belong to the golf club and need to get on the green at least twice a week, etc.". Or perhaps you think to yourself, "the writer doesn't know what he is talking about. My minister says that all Christians will be raptured before the tribulation starts. So I can just continue living my life as I always have. I go to church once a week, hear an uplifting sermon of encouragement, then go home. That's all I need to do. The tribulation will not effect me at all."
Remember what God says: "you can be tested now voluntarily, or I will test you in the tribulation." If you are an unenthusiastic, lazy Christian you will be tested in the tribulation. If this happens, try to remember the Bible verses and ideas presented to you in articles on this website. He will help you through that very difficult time of testing in your life. Here's an article that describes the testing you will experience during the first half of the Tribulation and suggestions for improving your faith in Jesus Christ: Christians Left Behind.
The thoughts in this article are simply my own. They are how I am working out the salvation of my soul. I am not doing this work by myself, rather the Holy Spirit of God is helping me to accomplish whatever righteousness God has commanded. By faith in Jesus, by believing that He will provide the strength to overcome my sinful nature I am improving in my walk with Him. I am continuing to watch for His return and praying that I will be counted as worthy to be a member of the Church of Philadelphia and to be taken to Heaven when Jesus initiates the First Fruits Rapture. I am praying that I will be worthy to stand before Jesus and to be judged as a wise and faithful servant of His. I counsel you to also have this desire in your heart so you can also rule and reign with Him!
Galatians 2:20 - I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.