Peace with God

     Most of us have a problem. We hope that if we do the best we can,
everything will turn out all right. But much of the time we are not doing our
best, and we wonder if our lives are pleasing to God. And who is God, what is
He like, and what does He expect from us? In every age God has talked with
His servants. God spoke these words to the prophet Isaiah: "Thus says the
LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb, I am the LORD
who made all things, who stretched out the heavens by Myself, who spread
abroad the earth . . . There is no other God besides Me, a just and righteous
God and Savior. I have sworn by Myself . . . that unto Me every knee shall
bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance."

     Some say, "When I see God, I will fear Him." But you cannot look at Him
and live. To His prophets, God has revealed that He must dwell in thick
darkness until Judgment Day, because His glory is so brilliant and so
consuming that no man can see Him and live. Your God, so great in power and
so utterly holy, has commanded: "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God
am holy."

     God judges you by His Holy Law: You are a criminal if He is not first in
your life, if you make pleasure or money your idol, swear or curse with His
Holy Name, dishonor your parents, murder, hate others, lust, commit sexual
uncleanness, steal, lie, or if you even desire another's belongings. To those
who lie, God asks: "Whom did you fear more than Me that you should tell
lies?" And just one offense makes you worthy of eternal death.

     Through His prophets, God has revealed that He will raise and judge all
the dead on the Last Day (Judgment Day): "And many of those who sleep in the
dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and
everlasting contempt." "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with
every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil." "The wicked
shall be turned into Hell, and all nations that forget God." But "those who
turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever."

     God demands holiness. But we have all sinned. In His love for a doomed
humanity, God promised the prophets of old that He would send the Messiah
(the Christ of God) to save us from our sins and give us the Spirit of His
holiness. He would come with miracles: "Then blind eyes shall be opened, and
deaf ears shall be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and
the tongue of the dumb shall sing." He would suffer and die for our sins:
"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our
iniquities. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to
his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the punishment of us all. For He
was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My
people, He was stricken."

     To those who trust in Him, God promises: "Behold, as the waters are poured
out on dry ground and spread over the dry soil, so will I give the Spirit of
My holiness . . . And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in
My statutes."

     And the Messiah would be the first to rise from the dead. Through the
prophet David, the Messiah speaks: "My body shall rest in hope for You (God)
will not leave My soul in death, nor let Your Holy One undergo decay. The
Lord said to Me, You are My Son; today I have begotten You (from the dead)."
And God would exalt the Messiah to His right hand to share His throne until
all His enemies were defeated.

     In the fullness of time, the angel of the Lord proclaimed Jesus as the long
awaited Messiah. The following account demonstrates Jesus Christ's power
over death: Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, died. Coming to the weeping
sister of Lazarus, Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever
trustingly believes in Me, even if he die, yet shall he live." On coming to
the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus ordered the mourners to roll the stone from the
entrance. Then Jesus prayed and called out, "Lazarus, come forth!" Lazarus,
bound in grave clothes, walked out. John, who records this miracle and many
others, tells us, "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the
Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing (fully trusting) in Him
you may have life in His Name."

     But the world does not love holiness, and even after His many mighty
miracles, Jesus was condemned to die and was nailed to a wooden cross. Three
days after His death and burial, a mighty earthquake shook the earth as He
rose from the dead. Coming to His disciples, Jesus told them that He had been
given all power in heaven and on earth. He then commissioned them to go and
make disciples of all nations. And He made this promise: "And lo, I am with
you always, even to the end of time." After instructing His disciples about
the kingdom of God for forty days, during which time He was seen by over five
hundred people, Jesus ascended to God's right hand.

     On the day of Pentecost, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on His disciples
in fulfillment of prophecy. (Joel 2:28-32) Speaking to the crowd which
gathered when the Spirit rejoiced through the disciples in other languages,
Peter spoke of Jesus' resurrection, His exaltation to the right hand of God,
and His pouring out of the Spirit as convincing proof that God had "made Him
both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus Whom you crucified." And we are all guilty
of crucifying Him for it was our sins that nailed Him to the cross, and it was
for our sins He died.

     To escape God's wrath and find forgiveness, Peter declares that you must,
"Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of
your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise
of the Holy Spirit is to you and your children and to all those in distant
times and places, even to as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself."

     Repenting is so changing your mind and purpose with regard to sin that you
turn from sin to God with a steadfast desire to live a holy life pleasing to
Him. In baptism you give witness to your identification with Jesus in His
death, burial, and resurrection and to that surrender by which you become His
possession.

     Believing in Jesus as Lord, King, Messiah, and Savior is being so
persuaded by these truths that you now place your full confidence, trust, and
reliance in Jesus Christ. It means giving yourself up to Him by taking
yourself out of your own care and keeping, and entrusting yourself into His
care and keeping. And it means clinging steadfastly to Him as your only hope
of eternal life.

     If you have sincerely repented and now want to follow Jesus as your Lord
and Savior, read the New Testament, pray over its message, and obey the Lord
as He speaks to you. Acts 2:47 tells us that in the days following the day of
Pentecost, “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Therefore it is vital for you to find a congregation of believers where the
Bible is believed, preached, and practiced, and where the Lord is worshipped
and obeyed. Ask the Lord to lead you to His choice of a congregation for you.

     "And afterward, God says, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh. And
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see
visions, and your old men shall have visions during sleep. And also upon My
men-servants, and upon My maid-servants, in those days, I will pour out of My
Spirit . . . And it shall be that everyone who shall call on the Name of the
LORD (with worship, love, and adoration) shall be saved." Joel 2:28-32

     "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that
whoever believes (places their trust) in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life." John 3:16


                                  UNDER SEALED ORDERS

Note: Navy ships often sail under sealed orders. Before leaving port, the captain is
given an envelope. After the vessel embarks, he opens it. It contains only longitude
and latitude coordinates. The captain sails to this nautical intersection, then radios
the commander for his next instructions. He doesn't know his destination, but follows
orders from point to point.
    The sight of two naval officers entering the Mission Church in Calcutta during the
Second World War was so unusual that it attracted every eye. Only front seats were
vacant, but the uniformed men marched unhesitatingly forward and sat down.
    After the service, the minister asked those who wished to accept Christ to come
forward and pray for salvation. The two officers instantly knelt and began praying
earnestly. Evidently they knew what they were doing, and meant business.
    When they stopped praying, the pastor asked, "Is there anyone who wishes to
testify that God has heard his prayer?"
    Immediately the Senior Officer (the Captain of the ship) arose, saying: "Friends,
I am the commander of a vessel which has just reached Calcutta. One of our sailors,
whom we call Buddy, is a Christian. He never hesitates to talk to officers or men
about Christ, and spends much time praying for their salvation. We used to think
him crazy, and we made fun of him--even though we had genuine respect for him.
    "Recently we were in the Bay of Bengal, headed for an unknown destination. At a
designated spot, I was to open my sealed orders. The Japanese were destroying
shipping in the Bay of Bengal and were threatening Calcutta, and no one knew where
they would strike next.
    "One day Buddy was praying for his shipmates, and had a vision while praying: In the
vision, he saw a Japanese bomber flying from the east. It flew right over us and
dropped a bomb. Our ship blew up with all on board.
    "In an agony, Buddy continued to plead, "Oh, God, you cannot allow the ship to sink
now with my mates unsaved. I've prayed for them, and you must hear my prayer, for
your Word promises it!"
    "While praying, Buddy seemed to hear a voice: 'If you will persuade the Captain to
stop the ship, I'll save it.'
    " 'But, Lord, he will not listen to me. He will think I'm crazy.'
    " 'Get the Captain to stop the ship, and I'll save it,' the voice seemed to persist.
    " 'Lord, please save us anyway. You know the Captain is under orders not to
stop the ship. He would never listen to me.'
    "''Persuade the Captain to stop the ship, and I'll save it,' was the only reply Buddy
got. Reluctantly, he decided to see me.
    "Getting permission, he came to the bridge. After saluting, he said, 'Sir, you know
that I am a Christian, don't you?'
    "'Why Buddy, what's the matter with you? We all know you are a Christian.' 'But,
Sir, you know I'm a real Christian, don't you? You know I always tell the truth and
act my religion, don't you?' 'Out with it, Buddy--what do you want? I know you
never lie.'
    "Then Buddy told me of his vision, and pleaded with me to stop the ship.
    "'Why, Buddy,' I said, 'that's impossible. My oath as an officer, my sealed orders --
why! It is unthinkable!'
    "He argued with me passionately, and I must confess I was terribly impressed, but
my orders gave me no alternative.
    "Finally Buddy said, "Well, Sir, if a Japanese plane comes toward the ship, will you
stop the ship? If you stop the ship, God will save it.'
    " 'I can't promise, Buddy,' I said as I dismissed him, 'but I will keep it under
consideration.'
    "Hardly had he gone before a plane was reported on the horizon. A few minutes
later, we saw it was a Japanese bomber.
    "I gave orders immediately to reverse the engines, and come to a dead stop. I
knew the ship would be a 'sitting duck' out there in the ocean, but something in my
heart told me to obey God rather than my superiors.
    "This ship had hardly ceased moving when out of nowhere a mist began to gather,
and an impenetrable fog surrounded us. You know what a miracle that is at this time
of the year, in the Bay of Bengal, where there is never a trace of fog.
    "We heard the plane droning towards us, then passing directly overhead, and then
disappearing toward the west. When the sound had ceased, the cloud lifted, and my
fellow-officer and I dropped to our knees and promised that if God brought us safely
to land, the first thing we would do would be to go directly to a church and accept
Christ as our Saviour, and give our lives to Him. That is why we came here tonight."

    My missionary friend is still in touch with that Captain, and knows he has been true
to his word. He has had to suffer; for his wife turned against him because he became
a Christian. (Reported by Emma Morris, the friend of the missionary in touch with the
Captain of the ship.)

    Dear Reader, If you are still traveling on life's treacherous sea without Christ, will
you be wise, as was this Captain, and take heed to God's warning and provision of
escape from the judgment to come? Here is God's message to you: "There is none
righteous, no, not one: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
(Romans 3:10,23)
    "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
    "For He (God) made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us--Who bore our sins in His own
body on the tree," (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24)
    "The blood of Jesus Christ, His (God's) Son, cleanses us from all sin." (l John 1:7)
   "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18)
    "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, reveling, and such like: of
the which I tell you . . . that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of
God." (Galatians 5:19-21)
    "For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men." (Romans 1:18)
    "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the
remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)
    "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness." (l John 1:9)

(This article was originally published by the Pilgrim Tract Society, Randleman,
NC 27317)




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