Thursday, December 31, 2015

                  ANOTHER NEW YEAR:
Time For Change
                                                 by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
     Another year has come and gone. The old calendar has been replaced with a new one. All of us are one year older! And for some, there is sadness because loved ones or friends are gone, leaving emptiness, pain and grief!
    These are realities we cannot change since we live in an imperfect world. We are saddled with the unyielding ‘Second Law of Thermodynamics’ (aging), and the harsh cycle of birth, life and death! Each one has an allotted time here, and then we are forced to move on. Some go submissively and others leave kicking and screaming! But, all must go!
     The human story is one of tragedy, because that was not in the original plan. Adam and Eve were made in the Creator’s image and likeness. Like the Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - we are spirit, soul and body! God’s original plan - before we messed up - was that mankind would live forever in a state of innocence, purity and immortality. And in fellowship with our Maker!
Satan and Sin had changed all that!
Adam and Eve’s rebellion, disobedience and their damning decision to believe Satan’s lies, plunged the human race into a downward spiral. Gone were the innocence, purity and sense of belonging. Their communion with our Heavenly Father was destroyed, as God’s laws of ‘sin and death’ brought instant judgment!
     Man became a vagabond in league with Satan, the ‘cosmic liar’! Too late, Adam and Eve realized their tragic mistake. They had blown it. They were guilty. The die had been cast. The crushing reality was immediately recognized!
Everything had radically changed! Paradise was lost. Eternal life was now only a memory. The seeds of rebellion had brought an instant harvest of sin, torment, lust, hatred, greed, fear and death?
Our first parents were driven out. A cherubim - an angelic being - stood at the entrance of the Garden of Eden, with a flaming sword to keep them from the tree of life, lest they eat from it and live forever in their sins!
     God had warned Adam and Eve: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die”. (Gen. 2:16-17)
     The literal Hebrew states: “in dying thou shalt die”, meaning: “The process of dying will immediately begin, causing eventual death”! And since that day, every baby has been born with the ‘process of death’ in its body!
     But wait, all is not lost! God in His great wisdom and mercy had already devised a plan to redeem the human race. He would send a ‘Deliverer’ to rescue us all! He would send His own Son to redeem us by meeting the 'Demands of Divine Justice' and save us from the devil’s evil grasp!
     The first to hear of His holy plan was ‘the deceiver himself’. Addressing Satan, the Almighty decreed: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman (Eve), and between thy seed (Satan’s people) and HER SEED (Christ), it shall bruise thy head.
     The Messiah would Conquor Satan - through His death for our sins - thereby Satan could only “bruise His heel”, because Jesus rose from the dead with great power!
    All through the Bible we read of fathers begetting sons. Here we read of the “seed of the woman”, not the seed of the man! Why is this? Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit, without the aid of a human father! A young Jewess named Mary (heb. Miryam) bore the Messiah, Who would die for the sins of the world!
     Seven hundred years earlier, Isaiah prophesied, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel - God with us”. (Isaiah 7:14) St. Paul - the learned Jew - inspired by the Holy Spirit writes: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold all things become new”. (2 Cor. 5:17)
     If anyone should know, it was St. Paul. He was a radical Pharisee who believed it was God’s will to kill Christians. He was responsible for the imprisonment and murder of ‘maaminims’ - believers in Jesus, including Stephen!
     When Jesus Christ appeared to him - in a blinding light - on the ‘Damascus Road’, he was gloriously converted and BORN AGAIN! Our Lord Jesus declared, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee: Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. (John 3:3, 7)
The Bible says: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”. (Acts 16:1): “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”.
Please make this vital decision, NOW. Receive Jesus Christ and you will then “pass from death unto life”. (1 John 3:14; 5: 11-12). You will become a child of God. (Rom.8: 14-17).
You may say, “Are you absolutely sure of this?” Yes, we have the Word of God on it. Here it is: “For when we were yet without strength (hopeless), in due time Christ died for the ungodly. But God commendeth His love to us, in that, while we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by His BLOOD, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His LIFE.” (Rom.5: 6,8-10). Amen.