“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Written by Thomas Brooks: Thomas Brooks (1608–1680) was a Puritan pastor in London, England. He was also a Christian author of several much-appreciated books and articles. The following article is an excerpt from his collected works of six volumes published by the Banner of Truth Trust.
Christ, that only went to the price of souls, hath told us that one soul is of more worth than all the world. Christ left His Father’s bosom, and all the glory of heaven, for the good of souls; He assumed the nature of man for the happiness of the soul of man; He trode the wine-press of His Father’s wrath for souls; He wept for souls, He sweat for souls, He paid for souls, and He bled out His heartblood for souls. The soul is the breath of God, the beauty of man, the wonder of angels, and the envy of devils; it is of an angelical nature, it is a heavenly spark, a celestial plant, and of a divine offspring, it is a spiritual substance, capable of the knowledge of God, and of union with God, and of communion with God, and of an eternal fruition of God. There is nothing that can suit the soul below God, nor nothing that can satisfy the soul without God; the soul is so high and so noble a piece, that it scorns all the world in point of acceptation, justification, satisfaction, and salvation. What are all the riches of the East or West Indies? What are rocks of diamonds, or mountains of gold, or the price of Cleopatra’s draught, to the price that Christ laid down for souls? Christ made Himself an offering for sin, that souls might not be undone by sin; the Lord died that slaves may live, the Son dies that servants may live; the natural Son dies that adopted sons may live, the only begotten Son dies that bastards may live; yea, the Judge dies that malefactors may live. Ah, friends, as there was never sorrow like Christ’s sorrow, so there was never love like Christ’s love, and of all His love none to that of soul love. In a word, the spiritual enemies which daily war against the soul, the glorious angels which hourly guard the soul, and the precious ordinances which God hath appointed as means both to convert and to feed the soul, do all speak out the preciousness and excellency of the soul. There was once a great contest among some nations about Homer, an excellent poet—they severally pleaded their interest in him; and truly so it is this day about the soul of man: many lay claim to it,—sin lays claim to it, and the world lays claim to it, and Satan lays claim to it, and Christ and holiness lays claim to it, and oh that Christ and holiness might have it before all others! O sirs, there is no wisdom nor policy to that of securing our precious souls, for they are jewels of more worth than all the world! All the honours, riches, greatness, and glory of this world are but chips and pebbles to these glorious pearls; therefore, before all and above all other things, make sure work for your souls; if they are safe all is safe, but if they are lost all is lost. Other things cannot be made sure; riches cannot, for as they are lying, so they are flying vanities, they make themselves wings, and they fly away; honours cannot: Haman is feasted with the king one day, and made a feast for crows the next; Herod is one hour cried up for a god, and the next hour he is eaten of worms. Princes’ courts are very slippery: a man may quickly get a fall there, that may easily break both back and neck, as many in all ages have experienced; the applause and favour of creatures cannot, for many men’s favours are got with an apple, and lost with a nut. Judas his heart was hardly warmed with the high priest’s favour, before they shut their doors upon him, with a “What is that to us? Look thou to that” (Matthew 27:4–5). What is the favour of man but a blast, a sunshine-hour, a puff of wind, a magnum nihil, a great nothing? Who then would spend an hour’s time to secure it? Near and dear relations cannot, for the delight of Ezekiel’s eyes is taken away with a stroke (Ezekiel 24:16); and all Job’s children are snatched away in a day (Job 1:10).
O sirs, if the serious consideration of the preciousness and worth of your souls will not draw you out to study holiness, to love holiness, to prize holiness, and to press after holiness, what will? O sirs, it is only holiness that is the happiness of the soul, the safety and security of the soul, the prosperity and felicity of the soul, and the lustre and glory of the soul; and therefore why should you not labour, as for life, after this inestimable jewel, holiness? Oh, let the remembrance of the preciousness of your souls be an effectual means to draw you to hear that you may be holy, and to pray that you may be holy, and to read that you may be holy, and to mourn that you may be holy, and to sigh and groan after holiness, as after that which is the soul’s only happiness. O sirs, there is nothing below heaven so precious and noble as your souls; and therefore do not play the courtier with your souls. Now the courtier does all things late—he rises late, and dines late, and sups late, and repents late. Oh, do not poison your precious souls by gross enormities! Oh, do not starve your souls by the omission of religious duties! Oh, do not murder and damn your souls by turning your backs upon holy ordinances! I have read of a woman, who, when her house was on fire, so minded the saving of her goods, that she forgot her only child, and left it burning in the fire; at last, being minded of it, she cries out, “Oh, my child! oh, my poor child!” but all too late. So there are many men now so mad upon the world, and so bewitched with the world, that they never mind, they never regard their poor souls, till they come to fall under everlasting burnings, and then they cry out, Oh, our souls! oh, our poor souls! Oh that we had been wise for our souls! Oh that we had got holiness for our souls! Oh that we had made sure work for our souls! But all too late, all too late. The Lord make you wise to prevent soulburnings at last. If he be rather a monster than a man that feasts his slave but starves his wife, what shall we say of those that pamper their bodies but starve their souls, and that have threadbare souls under silk and satin clothes, and that please themselves with deformed souls under beautiful faces? Surely it had been good for these that they had never been born. All unholy persons will at last cry out, We have betrayed our immortal souls, we have lost a precious Father, we have lost a dear Redeemer, we have lost the company of glorious angels, we have lost the society of “the spirits of just men made perfect,” and we have lost all the pleasures and joys and delights that be at the right hand of the Most High! We have lost these, we have lost all these, and we have lost them for ever and ever: surely there is no hell to this hell! For a close of this direction, remember this, that as the soul is the life and excellency of the body, so holiness is the life and excellency of the soul, and as the body without the soul is dead, so the soul without holiness is dead.
We are instructed to “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8).
The great duty required of us here primarily entails our returning to God from our wandering away from Him. In Zechariah 1:3, the Lord declared unto Israel, “Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” Again, the Lord said in Malachi 3:7, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.”
He calls us to draw near to Him. Though He knows that we have turned away from Him, how lovingly and tenderly He calls us to stay near Him! Oh, the graciousness of this invitation! He is calling us to return to Him from our backsliding, cold indifference and meaningless formalism. He counsels us to live in His presence with ardent prayers and cheerful devotedness to Him, for “glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place” (1 Chronicles 16:27).
We must draw nigh to God with a firm resolution to seek Him. We must draw nigh unto Him with sincerity of heart to serve Him. We must desire close communion with our God that we may grow in our faith and knowledge of His goodness and His perfect will. We must stand by Him in obedience to do all His good pleasure.
If there is no close communion between God and you, it is your fault and not His. He is calling you to draw nigh unto Him. “Come,” He says. So, as Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
God gives you great encouragement to draw near unto Him, by assuring you that “he will draw nigh to you”. You are not asked to draw near to a God who is disinterested in you. He is most willing to have you and hold you close to Him. He will make you know His presence, His grace and His greatness. Turn to Him; He will meet you there. Call on Him in repentance and faith; He will answer you. He promises you that He will draw nigh unto you. If you seek Him, He will be found of you. As Hosea 6:1-2 says, “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” So, arise and return to the loving presence of your God. Say now, like the prodigal son, “I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:18).
It was also advised, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Have you noticed that here James calls his readers “sinners” and “double minded”? Who are they?
Among those who are gathered in the churches of Jesus Christ, there are those who continue to entangle themselves with sin. Sinners are those who transgress the righteous laws of God, and conduct themselves in a manner that is displeasing to God. The word “double minded” refers to those who are fickle-minded and unstable in their faith and devotion to God. The double-minded are those who vacillate between God and the world. Here James calls them all to repentance.
He tells them to “cleanse your hands” and “purify your hearts”. Both “cleanse “and “purify” are verbs that refer to ceremonial cleansing, a figure that spoke eloquently to Jewish as well as Gentile converts. Those words remind them of the need to put away their sins before they approach God, who is pure and holy. The words “hands” and “hearts” point them to their actions and affections. It is an indispensable requisite that we cease from our sinful actions and passions when we draw nigh unto God.
So David said, “I will wash mine hands in innocency; so will I compass thine altar, O LORD” (Psalm 26:6). The apostle Paul directs us in 1 Timothy 2:8, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” We must cease from everything unjust or cruel, and be free from the defilement of sin. He who serves the Lord cannot be a servant of sin. The worshippers of God must be pure-hearted, i.e. sincere and single-minded to please God. They must cease from everything worldly, carnal and displeasing to God.
It is hypocrisy to come to God with hands and hearts that are impure. Jesus cited Isaiah in Matthew 15:8-9, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me”. In Matthew 23, Jesus repeatedly condemned the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders. He did not mince His words: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” He then rebuked them sharply, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matthew 23:26). Let us serve Him in sincerity and holiness.
A church’s God-given mission on earth is to preach the Gospel of Christ, that sinners may be saved and brought to the church for their spiritual growth. A church that is not committed to doing the Gospel-work has no right to exist, and it shall soon weaken and die off.
Preaching Christ is particularly important to the church that seeks true biblical growth. All its members must engage in soul-winning ministry, because it is the work that the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus, has given them to do. Jesus defined His work thus: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Then, He told His disciples that “as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21b). Hence every faithful church member, who goes about doing the will of his Saviour and Lord, must be mindful to do the work of soul-winning, which Christ has given to us to fulfil.
The apostle Paul is a fine example to all of us in the work of the Gospel. While writing to Timothy, he wrote how he had dedicated himself to be a soul-winner for the Lord – “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). He then urged Timothy, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).
Evangelism must be the primary purpose of the local church, and is one of the major reasons for which it exists. God’s work in this day and age centres in the local church, and God’s concern has always been to reach out in love to a lost and dying world with the good news of eternal life. Evangelism should be at the top of the list of our church’s ministries. All our leaders and members must be involved in evangelism. Evangelism is not an option for the local church; it is a command. Jesus said, “…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8)!
Evangelism is not a system or a programme, but a personal involvement in the lives of people to help them know the things they need to know and believe on Christ in order to be saved. Evangelism involves the message, as well as the presence and conduct of the messenger. “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27a). Scripture insists “that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life…” (Philippians 2:15-16a).
As the saying goes, many people talk a lot about evangelism, but not many are doing it. Much time and effort are put into many different plans and programmes, but it seems that evangelism is still one of our neglected areas of ministry. There are two basic principles that should give us a starting point for an understanding of evangelism. First, the local church is central to God’s plan for ministry in this age. This means that biblical evangelism centres in the local church, and the ministry of the local church must focus on evangelism. Second, it is the responsibility of all leaders to be involved in training others in ministry and leadership. This would place great emphasis on the responsibility of the church and its leaders to train and equip its members to do the work of the ministry (cf. Ephesians 4).
In Gethsemane, let all of us make special efforts to be ready to do the work of evangelism. I urge you in the Lord, dear reader, to dedicate yourself with all your heart, that you may be a joyful soul-winner for our glorious Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
A church that is dedicated to the work of evangelism will bring unbounded joy to its leaders and Christians everywhere. As a result, an evangelistic church will bring glory to the Lord. “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; … For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, 8).
Beloved, our initial enthusiasm to spread the Gospel should not die off. We should always be committed to do the work of evangelism. Let us not allow difficulties or lethargy hinder our involvement in this God-given duty. How wonderful it will be if our church receives from the Lord a similar commendation as the church in Thessalonica had received from the apostle Paul!
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! …So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:13-17).
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundational principle of a genuine and triumphant spiritual life. No spiritual realities promised in the Bible – holiness, knowledge, power, courage, fruitfulness, etc. – can ever be experienced without an abiding faith in Christ. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Jesus denounced those who refused to put their faith in Him, even though He had taught them the divine truths and done many miracles that proved His divinity. He chided them, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?…” (Matthew 17:17). He disapprovingly asked His disciples (being frightened by a great storm of wind, where the waves beat into the ship), “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
While Jesus reprimanded people who lacked faith or had little faith, He commended those who expressed extraordinary faith. He told the centurion who exhibited extraordinary faith in His power to heal his servant who was sick with palsy, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10). When a woman, “which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment” (Matthew 9:20) for healing, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole” (Matthew 9:22). To the two blind men who “followed him, crying, and saying, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us” (Matthew 9:27), He responded with the words: “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). That’s not all. Hear the words of Jesus to the woman of Canaan, who sought deliverance for her daughter who was “grievously vexed with a devil” (Matthew 15:22): “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matthew 15:28). Whoever came to Jesus with a prayer of faith received not only answers to his / her prayer, but also His commendation.
Like the apostles who said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5), we too must pray that our faith will steadfastly grow. An increase of faith is greatly to be desired by all Christians. We enjoy “boldness and access” to God “with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:12). Paul reminds all Christians that it is “by faith ye stand” (2 Corinthians 1:24b). Daily spiritual joy and hope are gained as “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Victories in spiritual battles belong to those who take “the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16). Indeed, “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4b). Thus, we can be sure of a life that is steadfast and sanctified, successful and safeguarded for the glory of God – “the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38).
Scripture tells us that the ancient spiritual heroes “through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:33-34). The stories of the valiant deeds of God’s servants who exercised their faith in God’s Word are strewn all over the pages of the Scriptures.
Consider a few examples of the valiant men of God who gained great victories through faith:
So also, by faith, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Samuel, David and many more did great things in their generations.
My beloved brethren, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2a). “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Hebrews 10:23).
Faith shall make us a people of great spiritual conquests and accomplishments. Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20). The “mountain-moving” faith is not faith in oneself, much less faith in faith, but faith in God. It is not faith itself – no matter how great – that moves mountains, but the God in whom the faith is grounded. Faith has only as much power as its object. If we persist in prayer with faith, we will receive God’s promised forgiveness, peace, joy, freedom, guidance, fruitfulness, protection, wisdom, victory over sin and trials, and countless other blessings.
What does Paul mean by the statement in 1 Corinthians 6:19 – “ye are not your own”?
It is instructive to note that even those who claim that “I am my own” are bound by circumstances, relationships, etc. No one is entirely free. Hence, none is fully independent in his decisions, speech and actions. One may differ from certain people, but others will influence or affect him.
The principle that the apostle Paul emphasises here is that every Christian belongs entirely to God. His soul and body are not his own, but God’s. This is one of the most elementary principles of Christian thought and life. The essence of Christianity is a voluntary surrender of will and life to Christ. No Christian should claim that he is the master of his own life, even though everyone naturally wants to think that he is his own master.
Christians are not their own. Christians are the Lord’s purchased possession. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). The divine possession of every Christian is a real, permanent, and blessed truth. If we could only realise it more!
To be mindful that we are not ours, but the Lord’s is not some dangerous fanaticism. It is a calm and dignified assurance within our souls that strengthens us to live consciously with holy and glorious aspirations. What strength and beauty it would give to our life!
When Christians appreciates this truth, they yield their hearts to Christ! Then their thoughts are not their own, but are subject to the Lord who redeemed them for Himself. Their abilities, time and resources are not theirs, but are to be consecrated to Him who is their Saviour and Lord.
Christianity is violated and demeaned when those who claim to be Christians refuse to yield their souls and bodies entirely to their Saviour and Lord. The Apostle asked, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). As Christians, our bodies are not our own to use in any way that would defy or displease the Lord who owns them entirely.
Paul emphasises that Christians are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who has made their body His residence. So Paul called them to abstain from sexual sins, that their body be kept sanctified as the temple of the Holy Spirit who indwells them. Committing fornication is as disgusting as committing sexual sins in a worship sanctuary. Whenever sexual immorality is committed by believers, abomination is committed within God’s sanctuary. Every sin committed in a Christian’s body is a defiling act within the temple of God. Christians’ bodies are God’s temple, reserved for His praise and purposes. Our bodies, therefore, have one supreme purpose: to glorify God. “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13b).
The sense of Divine ownership, rather than self-ownership, is the inspiration of all Christian virtues, aspirations, motivations, dignity and strength. Imagine the sanctity of the temple of old, about which it is said that “the glory of the Lord had filled the house” (1 Kg 8:11). Are we not also blessed with such a higher sanctity in our bodies because of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit? Shall not “Holiness unto the Lord” also be our motto because we are His?
An Email from Pr Sujith Samuel
I thank God for His special help and strength upon you in preaching five sermons on the theme, “Shepherding in the Spirit”, during the Online Pastors’ Conference (June 25-26, 2020). I also praise God for bringing many participants from India, China and Southeast Asian countries (Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, etc.), including the preachers of our church from Singapore and the missionaries from the Philippines.
Most of the pastors who attended the last Pastors’ meeting (in June 2019) here in Vizag, India, were not able to make it for this meeting. They live and serve beyond the bounds of the city. The network coverage is not good in those areas. So, they could not get into the online meeting.
However, there were many new participants from other areas of India in last week’s Online Pastors’ Conference. From their feedback that I’ve received, I would like you to know that they were much blessed from the five teaching sessions that you have conducted. The “Question & Answer” session was beneficial to them to clarify their doubts on the topic of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in and through His servants. Some participants have requested for the recordings of all those sessions. I would like to thank you for your plans to make them available; for those recordings will undoubtedly benefit them, especially those who could not hear them.
I thank God for the help offered by Bro Lijoy George, Bro Cornelius Koshy, Bro Mathew Peh, Bro Norefel Resuma, etc. for all the efforts they have put in to ensure that the online meetings were smoothly conducted. May the Lord bless all those who helped in organising this conference.
Please continue to pray for the work here in Vizag and its surroundings. Students are preparing to come back and resume their studies in GBI. We are still not sure whether students from far will be able to return to GBI for the new semester. Meanwhile, some renovation works are being done in our rented premises to enlarge the meeting area to receive more students and also to ensure social distancing. If the Lord permits, the renovation will be completed soon, and the premises will be ready for worship service, classes, etc.
I am delighted to know that the church in Singapore had been given permission to conduct Holy Communion service in Gethsemane Media Centre. May the Lord, in His good time, open the doors of His house for regular worship, prayer, fellowship meetings, etc.
Remembering all of you in my prayers,
If you have been following the Lord Jesus, having trusted Him as your Saviour and Lord, then heaven is prepared for you. Jesus said, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:26). Later He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
The day before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). How remarkable is it that Jesus’ greatest desire concerning His people is that they will share His celestial glory for all eternity! He eagerly awaits our arrival in heaven to welcome us to heaven’s pure and perfect joys.
However, Christians of our times, generally, seem to have lost the excitement about the glory of heaven. Their hearts relentlessly pursue earthly affluence, success, pleasures, and prosperity. Their lives are so dedicated to their academic excellence, career goals, business success, vacation plans, etc. that the notion of “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come” (1 Tim 6:19) is viewed as an unwanted distraction. To them, the appeals from Scripture that they ought to prepare themselves to eventually leave this earth by laying up treasures in heaven, are unwelcome intrusions into their busy lives. They disdain and set aside the biblical counsels to live every day with heaven in view. They think that living for heaven while on earth is an enormous waste of their time and energy. When such Christians lose their focus on heaven, they become self-indulgent and self-centred, materialistic and worldly, spiritually weak and lethargic.
All genuine Christians must remind themselves that they are “strangers and pilgrims” (1 Peter 2:11; cf. Heb. 11:13), and that their citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). This world is not the Christians’ real home. Like the ancient heroes of faith, we too must confess that “here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). Godly men in the Bible longed for heaven, and expressed their earnest expectation of the coming glory with the LORD in heaven:
Like those saints who declared their enthusiasm and hope of heaven, we too should sing and declare our longing for heaven, and live with great anticipation for heaven’s glory. Let us rejoice that we are called to be heirs of the eternal celestial glory. As Jesus told the disciples, let us “rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20; cf. Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). As noted earlier, their citizenship is there (Phil. 3:20). We are promised “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4). Our eternal reward is there. In Luke 6:23, Jesus said, “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven”. Our greatest impetus to be in heaven is the rich fellowship that we will have with our wonderful Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the glory of heaven.
If the church loses its heavenly-mindedness, it will become a worldly, carnal, and spiritually lethargic church. Such a worldly-minded church will be disobedient to the Lord and be ungodly in its pursuits. So brethren, let us take heed to the Lord’s command to all His followers, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). “If ye then be risen with Christ,” Paul wrote, “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
Revelation 20:14-15: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
This is a description of what follows the final Great White Throne Judgment. All the wicked dead shall be brought to life again and be judged according to their works by the Lord who sits upon the Throne. According to the previous verse, Revelation 20:13, “the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” The mention of “the sea” giving up its dead makes it clear that regardless of how far a body has disintegrated, it will nevertheless be resurrected for this judgment. The physical bodies of the unsaved will be joined with their souls; then they will be cast into “the lake of fire”!
The phrase “lake of fire” occurs only in Revelation – and that for a total of five times (19:20; 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8). In our text, the casting of the wicked dead into the lake of fire is referred to as “the second death”. It does not denote, as some erroneously taught, annihilation or complete destruction of a person. According to their teaching, the soul and body of the wicked will be completely destroyed, such that they will not suffer the eternal torment in hell or the lake of fire. That teaching of annihilation is unscriptural.
The lake of fire is the place where the wicked will suffer eternally the torments of hell. It is the place in which the wicked spend eternity in torment. John the Baptiser associated hell with “unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17). Jesus referred to hell as “everlasting fire” (Matthew 18:8), and “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46). He also described hell as “the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43b-44; cf. 9:45b-46, 48). This is the place where Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet will also be cast into forever. Revelation 20:10 says, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” The epistle of Jude also testifies to the eternality of the hell-fire, which is reserved for the unrepentant wicked. In fact, hell’s torment is referred to by Jude as “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7).
It is declared in Revelation 20:15, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” This divine declaration about those whom God will cast into the lake of fire, the place of eternal torment, is sure to happen.
Let not the strident voices of the unbelieving ones – that God will not cast anyone into eternal hell – ever cause us to doubt the certainty of His judgment, which is mentioned so clearly here. God will execute the judgment of the unrepentant and the unredeemed, just as He has said here.
We are told that “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” The word “whosoever” means all persons, irrespective of their ranks, worldly achievements, age or social status. It is an all-encompassing word. The only group of people who will be delivered from the lake of fire will be those whose names are “found written in the book of life”. Kings, princes, statesmen, judges, philosophers, religious men, rich men, poor men, the young, the aged, as long as their names are not found written in the book of life, will be doomed to the lake of fire for eternal punishment!
In the New Testament, “the book of life” is the sacred register of all those who are saved (cf. Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 22:19). This book belongs to Christ, the Lamb who was slain for the redemption of the people whose names are written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (cf. Revelation 13:8b; 17:8b). At the last judgment, everyone not listed in the book of life is consigned to the fiery lake (Revelation 20:12, 15)!
How can you know whether your name is written in the book of life? If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be an overcomer of sins and trials by His grace, you can be assured that your name is in the book of life. In Revelation 3:5, Jesus said, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” He will never blot out the names of those who have trusted Him for the forgiveness of their sins. The comfort of the believers is that their names are recorded in the book of life, and that they shall remain secure in the possession of the Lamb who was slain for them.
Those who repent from their sins and trust in Christ do not have to fear the eternal hell. For in Revelation 20:6, it is said concerning the believers that “on such the second death hath no power”.
But all those who are not found in the Book of Life will be doomed to an eternal punishment in the lake of fire!
While rebuking the unbelief of the Jews, Jesus said to them that “…many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). The Lord means not only those who are geographically far away from Israel, but also those who have been far away spiritually, like the Gentiles, will become heirs of His kingdom by faith in the Gospel. What a grand, glorious prophecy was that! It is His plan to draw many from the Gentile world that lay in spiritual darkness and alienation from Him into His glorious kingdom.
That prophecy has been steadily worked out through His faithful servants since He uttered those words. Jesus also said how God would gather a great multitude from all the corners of the world at His coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory – “he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31).
To bring all His people into His kingdom, He tells His servants, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). Jesus wants us to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Every faithful church and every genuine Christian cannot lose this perspective that Jesus has placed before His followers.
We have a great vision and responsibility from the Lord concerning global evangelism. Like the apostles and all the faithful, fervent Christians of yesteryears, we must press forward to spread the Word all around the world. We should spare no effort in the work of the world evangelisation.
We must be ready to thrust forward when God opens the doors of the Gospel for us, and prepares us with convictions and capabilities to do whatever He would lead us for the extension of His kingdom. We must believe that His purposes shall not fail. And when He bids us do His will, we must count it a great privilege and honour to give all that He requires of us, knowing that we are given the honour to be part of His great plan for the redemption of a people whom He wants us to reach for His name’s sake.
To the unbelieving and disobedient Jews, Jesus said, “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). May we never be a spiritually barren people, lest the Lord’s judgment be upon us for wasting the opportunities and resources (which He has graciously afforded us) for selfish and worldly purposes. Instead of being accursed for wilful barrenness, may we expect His blessing as we yield our all to serve Him and be fruitful. May we be warned: when He looks for the fruit in us, if we are found to be like the fruitless fig tree, He will pronounce His curse upon us (cf. Matthew 21:19)!
A sacred compulsion is laid upon our hearts by our great Saviour and Lord. May the persistent love of our Lord work through us to call sinners from eternal damnation, and out of their guilt, shame, misery into His kingdom of light. One day soon, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). The Biblical vision that compels us forward in the global expansion of our church ministry is: “for all nations shall come and worship before thee” (Revelation 15:4). Indeed, “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee” (Psalm 22:27). Let us not hesitate to continue to give ourselves to the redemption of sinners, so that worship of the LORD may arise all around the world.
Let every child of God yield to the Spirit’s leading in his or her heart concerning the part He wants us to contribute in the global Gospel outreach. Continue to pray earnestly for all our preachers and missionaries, mission churches, the Bible Witness magazine, web-radio, internet ministry, media ministry, Gethsemane Bible Institutes, and for all the local evangelistic efforts through TGCM, the campus ministries, Lions Home for the Elders, door-to-door evangelism, etc.
There are three areas that the Board of Elders would like to call for your continued support.
Let us pray earnestly for the above needs, and support with whatever the Lord help us to give.
Thank you for hosting the Online Bible Conference – our first. We enjoyed the solid spiritual feeding – underscoring the focus on God’s Word, biblical truths and doctrines as the basis of our faith. Obeying God and doing what is right and pleasing to God will enable us to have a good conscience. The Conference makes us more aware of the spiritual warfare we are constantly battling in. With ever so subtle and destructive an enemy as Satan, there is the real need to put on the full armour of God as a soldier for Christ. Just as Paul discipled Timothy, it is so important to continue the teaching and discipling of our younger generation in sound biblical truths and doctrines so that they can, in turn, teach and disciple faithful men. Our thanks to Pastor Koshy and the team who co-laboured with him.
We are very blessed by the messages which expounded on the theme: “Holding Faith and a Good Conscience”. Sound biblical doctrines as the foundation of our true faith, as well as teaching and passing these truths on to faithful men with the charge of safeguarding the truths / doctrines without compromising or taking God’s Word lightly. Good warning and timely reminder!
The Online Bible Conference certainly spurred me to be conscientious and intentional about my sanctification! I would like to thank Pastor Koshy for his courage and conviction to preach, with firmness and love, this urgent, “unappetising” truth that believers (myself included) need to hear. Amid our daily pursuits and responsibilities, it is easy to slip into longer work hours and put God in second place – when He deserves our first love, with no other gods before Him!
Thank God for another opportunity given to us to receive God’s truth through the Online Bible Conference.
It was a timely reminder to us concerning “Holding Faith and a Good Conscience” (1 Tim 1:19), that we may wage a good warfare against the world and Satan. We need to nourish ourselves in the Word of God so that we can be good soldiers of the Lord Jesus. Thank God that when we are equipped with His Word and live with a good conscience, we can be overcomers, just as Christ who overcame the world (John 16:33). Praise the LORD!
Our Lord has been very merciful – as we wait upon Him in our chambers, within shut doors, “until the indignation be overpast” (Isa 26:20). He has not forsaken us but has tenderly visited us to feed us with the Written Word. I found that staying at home for the study on the theme of ‘Holding Faith and a Good Conscience’ in this period of ‘Circuit Breaker’ afforded us an ideal setting, possibly more conducive than having it in a resort. To “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim 4:13b) at this time was nothing short of a blessing, and it showed how God’s Providence continues to be upon His people in love.
Knowing that the greatest enemy in the spiritual warfare is myself – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life – I pray for daily grace and mercies to “exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16); to submit to the King’s servants through whom His charge is ministered to my soul; to love, cherish and pray for the many witnesses with whom I have received the words of faith; to not abandon ship based on hasty presumption; to revisit and hold “the things that (I have) heard” (2 Tim 2:2a) with a humble, teachable and peaceable spirit; as well as to strengthen my spiritual sensitivities and powers against my unseen enemy, lest I be lifted up in pride and be made shipwreck to the shame of my Saviour’s name.
Praise the Lord for laying the burden in the hearts of Pastor Koshy and his team to organise the GBPC’s Online Bible Conference, and for His grace in bringing it to fruition. I have been very blessed by the 5 days of Singspiration, Morning Devotions and Theme Messages. I thank God for granting wisdom to Pastor Koshy in explaining and expounding His Word so clearly, showing how “holding faith, and a good conscience” is necessary to being a good Christian and minister. I am brought to remembrance the need to be nourished up and grounded in the Bible, and to be committed to an unwavering devotion to God’s Word. Indeed, every aspect of a genuine believer’s life must be guided by the Word of God so that he may live a life of purity for His glory. I am also reminded of the unceasing spiritual warfare I am engaged in on many fronts, and thus the need to be geared up with the armour of God to fight a good warfare.
May God help us to remember what we have learnt through this Conference, and enable us to remain steadfast, persevering in “holding faith, and a good conscience” till we can say, like the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
All praise and thanks be unto our God Almighty for enabling us to participate in the Online Bible Conference. What an opportunity it was for all of us to receive spiritual nourishment from His precious WORD! The main messages based on 1 Timothy 1:19, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”, were very edifying. I thank God for blessing Pastor Koshy to deliver God’s Word faithfully to exhort us to live an obedient and godly life all through our life on earth.
I have been convicted of my many sins from which I must repent and seek God. I acknowledge my lack of obedience and diligence, which have fragmented / shipwrecked my life in some areas. I pray the Lord to teach me to be a better Christian, bearing a good testimony, especially to my loved ones at home. Being a retiree, I hope to use my time to continue with the study of His Word and to serve the Lord in the church.
I am happy that I have learned many spiritual truths, particularly regarding (i) what ‘holding faith’ means, (ii) what a good conscience is, and (iii) what it means by “some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”. I put my trust in my God, my King and my Saviour, that He will enable me to be diligent to hold fast my faith and have a good conscience.
I also give thanks to God for our preachers – Ho Kee How, Jeremiah Sim, Daniel Lim and Samson Hutagalung – who preached God’s Word in the morning devotions, and for our church elders who led the Singspiration sessions and prayer. Thanks also to our Pr Kelvin, Pr Jeremiah, Bro Cornelius and Sis Luan Kheng for teaching the children participants.
I would like to thank my brethren in GBPC Online Bible Conference Committee for their heartiest service to the Lord with their time and efforts in managing registration, logistics and monitoring of our daily meeting times, operating Zoom conferencing, etc. “Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness” (Psalm 150:2). All glory to God.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
It is amazing how the mighty hand of the Lord works upon His people. I praise and thank God for the zealous labour of our church, led by our devoted Pastor Koshy, elders, deacons, preachers and brethren to organise a well-coordinated Online Bible Conference in a very short time. Despite the unprecedented pandemic we are facing, our God brought about so much good through the faithful preaching of God’s Word to the rest of the world. May the Lord continue to bless and use them mightily for His glory.
The purpose of the Conference has been well served. Many of our relatives in the Philippines were able to join freely. We were very delighted that my parents, parents-in-law, siblings, nephews and nieces participated in the Conference. They were very enthusiastic about listening to the exhortation of the Scriptures (even though the internet connection was unstable in their place). We pray that the Holy Spirit would lead them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and that they will worship and walk with the Lord with gladness, and enjoy Him forever.
Praise God for enabling and sustaining Pastor Koshy as he expounded the Scripture portion of 1 Timothy 1:19, on the theme: “Holding Faith and a Good Conscience”. Not to mention how the Lord helped everyone to persevere in studying the Scriptures. I thank God for the week-long programme, which provided abundant spiritual blessings, including the respective sessions of “Singspiration and Prayer” led by our dedicated elders, which cheered our hearts and prepared us for the Morning Devotions by our faithful preachers. Likewise, the “Bible Trivia” sessions during the Fellowship Time in the afternoon, conducted by our kind brethren, refreshed our memory concerning the biblical events and GBPC’s history. It reminded me of how wonderful the Lord is in preserving and nurturing our church till this day.
I pray that our church will be found faithful and steadfast until the day of Christ’s return. Thank God also for the passionate labour of our sisters and Children’s Choir. I rejoiced as I listened to their joyful singing of “Thank you, Lord” and “Bringing in the Sheaves”. Indeed, our salvation is so rich and free! Those songs gave us comfort that despite the hard work, heavy burdens and tears during the planting of the Gospel seed, we shall reap the fruit of our labour as people come to the Lord for eternal life.
Indeed, as I am being nourished and equipped with the great truths of the Bible, I also desire to walk worthy of God as I exercise my faith and grow spiritually. I pray that by God’s grace and wisdom, I will submit and obey His “charge” with a good conscience. May the Lord teach me to relate to my husband with a humble and submissive heart as his godly wife and good helpmate (though not an easy task for me). As a mother, I pray the Lord will strengthen me in this God-given role to raise my son according to His sovereign purpose. “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). May the Lord bless my husband and me as we minister to the spiritual needs of our son and cultivate him for the Master’s use. Also, I am greatly thankful to God for providing us with Gethsemane Children’s Ministry, where God’s Word is faithfully and lovingly taught for the care of our children. Finally, I thank God for preserving our family by leading us to Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church, which has been a true vessel of God for our spiritual growth. I pray that my family shall be joyfully committed to carrying out the sovereign will of our great King in our lives (cf. Luke 22:42), lest we be made shipwreck, engulfed by our sin and unfaithfulness. May our Almighty Lord keep and preserve us in His most loving hand, and His glory be exalted in our life. Amen.
I am thankful to God, who has helped my family to ‘co-host’ the recent Online Bible Conference in our home. I thank God for Andronicus and Dorcas who handled the technical aspects ‘behind Pastor’ in the confines of our flat. I thank God that amid this busy schedule of the Online Conference, He has enabled Dorcas not to miss any message, though she was busy working on her final submissions of the last year of her musical studies.
Praise God also for all who have a part in handling the administrative, technical, organisational aspects of the Conference. Indeed, thanks to God for giving grace to Cornelius (amongst other teachers) to teach the children; for all our elders who chaired and prayed for God’s blessings upon all the meetings; for all the singers who laboured to pre-record the hymns to guide us in our singing, as well as all who have mixed those individual recordings of the brethren to make them into congregational singing; and for all our devotional speakers who have delivered to us the infallible Word of God. Last but not least, I thank God for using Pastor to preach on the topic, “Holding Faith, and a Good Conscience”, taken from 1Tim 1:19 – “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”. Below, I share an excerpt of Pastor’s messages – (i) to remind participants what have been expounded to us from the Word, and (ii) to benefit those who could not participate in the Conference.
The theme of the Conference encapsulates a genuine Christian’s life and ministry. The word “faith” here means the whole Bible, not just the act of believing. Pastor exhorted us that our lives must hold forth the Bible (“faith”). We must not only learn the biblical doctrines but live by them. When our desires, thoughts and motivations are biblical, we will have a good conscience before God and man. Thus, we can live in the strength of a good testimony borne out of faith and a good conscience. We then become like the one who builds his house upon the rock: strong, happy, calm and without fear amidst all the temptations and trials of life.
“Holding faith, and a good conscience” was mentioned by the apostle Paul in connection to a Christian’s responsibility to “war a good warfare” (1 Tim 1:18). Christians are God’s soldiers in the spiritual battle against Satan and his minions’ attack on His kingdom. To equip us against these formidable enemies, who are mightier than us, God has provided us with “the whole armour of God”. This potent spiritual arsenal for every Christian’s use is the Word of God. All of God’s truths, wise counsels and commands are our aid in the battle. The royal command from the KING eternal (1 Tim 1:17) is to fight this noble war for Him. Hence, as soldiers, we have a great responsibility to remain loyal to Him. Nothing should deter us from His charge to fight a good fight of faith. We must bravely march onward through all trials of life, enduring hardness, undeterred and undistracted. We cannot retreat but fight on. Then we’ll have victory over the Satanic foes.
Our conscience will accuse us if our outward religion is without inward faith in all that God has charged us in His Word. A soldier of Christ cannot abandon God’s call. He must not quit where the Lord has appointed him unless the divine providence transfers him to another area of service. We do well to bear in mind that we are not called to serve among a group of holy angels, but among sinners in this terrible world of satanic ambushes. But God will give us the grace to fulfil our responsibility to fight a good warfare, not a weak one. Then our fight will end well, and finally, we can echo Paul’s words: “I have fought a good fight” (2 Tim 4:7)!
No Christian knows fully the vastness of his work, but as he moves forward, defeating all enemies, it slowly comes to full light. Ministry is a service for the King and His Kingdom which has no end. So, everyone in the church must be dedicated to his King’s cause with reverence and fidelity. Why do we insist on right doctrine? Because right doctrine drops “as the rain” and “as the showers upon the grass” (cf. Deut. 32:2), transforming Christians to live a godly and pure life which pleases God. Even preachers must renew their mind constantly and nourish up continually on right doctrine to be able to “put the brethren in remembrance of these things” (cf. 1 Tim. 4:6).
There are many fronts to a Christian’s warfare, of which I will only mention two.
Firstly, false doctrine by brethren or teachers. They are licentious seducers, fun-loving at the expense of Christ, bringing us back into the bondage of sin. Paul has cautioned us against them in the following verses: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:13-14); “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts” (2 Tim 3:6).
Secondly, Satan and demonic hosts. 1 Cor 7:5 counsels regarding husband and wife relationship: “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” Furthermore, 1 Tim 5:14 advises young unmarried ladies: “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully”, which unfortunately, some did not take heed – “For some are already turned aside after Satan” (1 Tim 5:15). In this regard, we read of Paul chastising so-called believers, by leaving them to Satan because they had gone after Satan (1 Tim 1:20). This means that no ministerial attention would be offered to that person, as a form of chastisement. The church needs to take disciplinary action against those who unrepentantly walk in defiance of His truth and holiness. Otherwise, their ill influence would cause terrible shipwreck to others in the congregation concerning faith and good conscience.
What are the dangers of not holding faith and a good conscience? The enemy may take advantage of the soldiers, who have slept instead of keeping watch, to tarnish the testimony, unity and faithfulness of the church. They may become spiritually lethargic, disappointing the church amidst her battle!
I, for one, have been greatly blessed by the sermons and exhortations heard during the Online Bible Conference. The precious lessons I received were edifying to me. To know and see that I am not alone in this spiritual battle enables me to stand up together with brothers and sisters of like-minded faith. I praise the Lord for the singing of hymns and for the faithful preaching of God’s Word.
I thank Rev Koshy, the elders, deacons and preachers for sharing the Word and guiding us in the ‘Singspiration’ sessions. I also would like to thank those who worked behind the scenes – brothers and sisters who laboured to organise this Online Conference.
May God bless us all!
We are members of Bethel BP Church in Melbourne. We just want to praise the Lord and thank Pastor Koshy for the messages on ‘Holding Faith, and a Good Conscience’ during the Online Bible Conference of GBPC. We are blessed. God bless you all.
All glory to God for the Online Bible Conference! I would like to praise and thank God that my family and I were able to participate in the conference, which I have been longing to participate after having been blessed by the last Missionary Conference held here in Cebu. Thank God my daughter was invited so that we could join in and have the blessed opportunity to learn on the theme, “Holding Faith and a Good Conscience”.
I thank God for Pr Kee How’s reminder that our life-long enemy is pride, so we need to maintain a humble heart all through our lives. I thank God for Pr Jeremiah’s encouragement of our need to draw closer to God and abide in His dwelling. I thank God also for Pr Daniel’s exhortation on Psalm 23, which reminded me that we lack nothing, and hence we must rejoice always in all circumstances. Prise God for Pastor Koshy’s exhortations which reminded us that we are charged to be our King’s soldiers. What a privileged responsibility this is indeed He has put upon us! May we always remain responsible as God’s people in doctrine, godliness, holiness and ministry.
We were exhorted that as individuals and as a family, we need every jot and tittle of God’s Word to overcome our enemies – our flesh, world, false teachers and Satan. We are so vulnerable to worldliness, but as soldiers of Christ, we must fight a good fight of faith and keep a good conscience, which God sees more than any man.
Indeed, God is my Mighty Warrior. Every time I am tried by the enemy and his wiles, the true doctrines of God will be my whole armour. By God’s grace, I am always reminded that the Lord Jesus had overcome the world, and so by His strength, wisdom and grace, I must remain faithful with a good conscience.
“Thank you” to Pastor Koshy and the GBPC family. All thanks and glory to our only wise God through our Lord Jesus Christ!
I thank God for the spiritual refreshing from God’s Word shared by Pastor Koshy. It came into my heart causing a lot of self-examination. I’m renewed in my spirit before the Lord to fight a good warfare for His kingdom. Once again, thank you Pastor Koshy for your labour of love!
I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity and privilege to attend the Online Bible Conference. Even though I was only able to attend the last two days, I was greatly blessed by the messages of the preachers during the morning devotions and the main messages on “Holding Faith and a Good Conscience” by Pastor Koshy. I was also blessed during the “Q & A” session, wherein God has reminded me again to be vigilant in my Christian walk and to be more fervent in my service to Him by doing His will in my life for His glory.
I also thank God that my daughter was able to attend the children’s programme in their separate break-out sessions. She was quite shy because it was her first time fellowshipping in such a manner with believers from other countries. But I know she was blessed because she was taking notes of the lessons for the children. Indeed, while we are hindered from gathering together physically to worship our one and true living God during this time of pandemic, He has opened doors wherein we can honour and glorify Him through the opportunities provided by modern technologies. God’s ways are truly higher than our ways. May God continue to pour His grace and mercies towards His people, and may He continue to bless Pastor Koshy and GBPC, Singapore.
All glory to our Almighty God and our Saviour Jesus Christ!
“Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?” (Jeremiah 23:23).
Amid the “circuit breaker” period, which prohibited our physical gathering for studying His Word, I thank God that He still desires to have His Word being ministered to us. I am grateful for His provision of an online video conference, by which people from the four corners of the earth could participate in our church’s Online Bible Conference to feast on His words and have fellowship with one another.
It had been my long-time desire to bring my parents to Singapore so that they may witness the fellowship in our church and also experience the blessing of listening to the faithful preaching of God’s Word by our pastor and preachers. However, due to my mother’s illness, it did not materialise as planned. But as Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Indeed, Jesus is sovereign. He provided a great opportunity through the Online Bible Conference for them to join and rejoice with us in His Word from their home in Montalban, Manila, the Philippines. I was delighted when I heard from my mother that my father (a Seventh-Day Adventist) also listened to the preaching every day of the conference. May God grant them repentance of heart and faith to come to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are also now listening to the proclamation of the Word of God via GBPC online Worship Service, Bible Study and various Fellowship programmes.
I thank God for our elders who led us in the singspiration and prayers, and for our preachers who brought the morning devotions to us alongside Pastor Koshy’s ministering of God’s Word on the theme of the conference. Likewise, praise God for the collective, humble labour of our church leaders and brethren to spread the Word throughout the world, in obedience to Christ’s command – “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). God willing, next year, I hope that we can have the previously planned GBPC Missionary Conference. May the Word of God spread continuously throughout all nations.
Finally, I rejoice and praise God for His wisdom and strength bestowed on Pastor Koshy, who laboured to exhort us from the Scriptures based on 1 Timothy 1:18-20. The messages on the theme “Holding Faith, and a Good Conscience ” revitalised my spirit to be armed with the Word of God, that my faith may increase day by day and that I may serve Him with a good conscience. In so doing, may I gratefully execute the charge given unto me by the Lord. Indeed, this sojourn on earth will not be smooth as there will be many battles against the flesh, world, false doctrines and Satan. But I am trusting our Almighty God to keep me moving forward to victory.
I fervently prayed to our Almighty King of kings and Lord of lords to strengthen my family and me by His mercy and abounding grace (cf. 1 Timothy 1:14), especially in our weakness – that we may not retreat during our spiritual battle and suffer “shipwreck”, but will serve Him as a strong troop of soldiers, who faithfully obey His command. As a family, may the Lord help us to fight a good fight of faith for His wondrous glory. Amen.
I wish to thank and congratulate Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church for conducting the Online Bible Conference successfully. There was good team work and co-ordination.
The topic “Holding Faith and a Good Conscience”, taken from 1 Timothy 1:19, is very relevant to any believer who wants to live a godly Christian life. I liken “holding faith” and “a good conscience” to the two flukes (two pointed ends) of a strong anchor that catch on the seabed to prevent the ship from drifting amidst violent storms or strong currents. It would do well for every believer to have an anchor that embodies the truths contained in the Bible. Obeying these truths would be conducive for his conscience (which serves to warn and judge him) to be sensitive to and be guided by God. The Christian’s life and ministry are often beset with difficulties, warfare, temptations and afflictions. These spiritual “sea billows” cannot wreck the Christian ship that is securely anchored. A shipwrecked “vessel” is a dishonour to God.
During the messages, I picked up a moving sub-topic, that is, the loving concern of the apostle Paul for his protege, Timothy. I would call him Mentor Pastor – he assiduously guided Timothy in setting up a God-fearing church in Ephesus that fought against false doctrines. He charged the young pastor, whom he adoringly called “my dearly beloved son”, to protect public worship of his church. Further to it, Paul, like a Master Teacher, imparted his experience and spiritual knowledge to develop mature leadership in his disciple. It would serve anyone well, who desires to be a mentor to any young believer or a Christian worker, to emulate the apostle Paul. He seriously discharged his God-given assignment to nurture his charge adequately.
The apostle Paul’s last testimony – “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7) – should stir us to fight a good fight of faith, and finish our race unashamedly, ending at heaven’s gate which is our finishing line.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul … More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7a, 10, 11).
The Lord be praised for the recent Online Bible Conference. The Bible Conference was a time of spiritual nourishment and showers of blessings. It was a time where the Word of God comes very vivid and alive. Truly, the Word of God has converted my soul. It has made me alive again pertaining to all spiritual things, concerning my relationship with God and my service to Him. The Word of God indeed is the believer’s and minister’s treasure!
Praise the Lord for His blessing of wisdom upon Pastor Koshy, whereby the Lord has mightily used him to preach and expound with much clarity for my understanding. Every session is a great expectation of receiving of blessings, and every closing of a session a looking forward to another for the learning of God’s Word. Never before was the Word of God more desired in my life.
Each session was also filled with “point-blank” reproofs. These have unsettled and humbled me much. I thank God for such corrections which will equip me and enable me to strengthen my love for the Lord and be zealous in my service to Him.
Thank God also for the opportunity to see old and new faces of brethren. It was a blessed time catching up and fellowshipping with the brethren. Praise the Lord for the morning devotion speakers. Thank God for wisdom in the preaching of God’s Word. Thank God also for the brethren who worked behind the scenes in overseeing the whole Online Bible Conference, that we may have a seamless time of learning God’s Word through the internet. Praise God for the life of Pastor Koshy, who labours selflessly and untiringly in preaching, that every Word of God would not return unto Him void.
I am looking forward to share all the sessions of the preaching of God’s Word to the brethren in Bogo and San Antonio churches in the proper time. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. To God alone be the glory!
I praise the Lord for the opportunity to attend the Online Bible Conference (May 18-22, 2020). The Bible Conference came in a very peculiar time and situation, but it came in a very timely and appropriate manner. By God’s providence, the Bible Conference was what I needed. Truly “God is great, God is good”, as the line of a hymn goes.
Thank God for the spiritual blessings that I received through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word through Pastor Koshy. It was a great opportunity for learning His Word and for spiritual exercise of my soul. It greatly strengthened my faith in and love to the Lord. It has also renewed in me a desire for joyful and zealous service to the Lord.
Thank God for the morning devotion speakers, Pr Kee How, Pr Jeremiah, Pr Daniel Lim and Pr Samson, who preached to us God’s Word with all faithfulness. Thank God for Eld. Mah, Eld. Choy, Eld. Ng and Eld. Lee who chaired the meetings, and for grace and strength upon them. Praise the Lord for all the brethren who worked behind the scenes in making the Conference so accessible and smooth-flowing. I rejoiced in the occasions when we could see the brethren and fellowship with them, rendering us opportunities for catching up with one another virtually. Above all, I thank God for His grace and mercy upon Pastor Koshy in faithfully preaching the Word of God with wisdom from above, that we may be richly blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.
All glory be unto God!
We are so glad that we could get to see the Gethsemaneans during the Online Bible Conference!
We are very grateful to Pastor Koshy for we have been so blessed by all the valuable lessons that have been faithfully taught during the Bible Conference. We have also been much blessed by all the Sunday sermons, prayer meetings, Bible studies and various fellowship group messages. By the grace and mercy of God, our hearts were convicted, reprimanded and at the same time encouraged and strengthened by the power of His Word.
We also learned a lot from the morning devotions led by the preachers of Gethsemane. We also like to thank the Session and the committee that helped in the organisation of the Conference. Their labour of love and effort have made this Conference possible.
All praise and glory be to God.
Isaiah 55:8-9; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Once again, we have been reminded and comforted of this great and wonderful truth about God – that His ways are higher than ours and so are His thoughts!
Just when everyone thought that everything is reduced to the minimum and that the ministry of the Word is hindered by this global crisis on Covid-19, the Lord has opened wide a great door of opportunity for His people to be “gathered together” before Him in this Online Bible Conference!
I praise and thank God that my family can join the Bible Conference and be “one” with all of you our brethren in Singapore, and the rest from all over the world.
It’s such a great joy to worship the Lord together though we are miles apart from one another. Likewise, it’s such a great blessing to study and learn God’s Word from Pastor Koshy. Add to it, the blessing of having fellowship with one another.
Together with my family, we rejoice together with you all for the blessed Online Bible Conference. Praise God for the brethren serving and labouring hard on and off the camera. Thank you, Pastor, for the faithful teaching and preaching of the Word!
All glory be to God!
We praise God for the technologies that have paved the way for the thoughts / plans (which God has planted in the church leadership’s minds) for this Bible Conference to be materialised. We have been truly edified and nourished up in the Word during these 5 days of Bible Conference. Earlier this year, when we learnt that the Missionary Conference-cum-Church Camp (supposed to be held in June) was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were saddened.
However, the Lord had other plans for us – and not least that the conference this year would be held in a very unique format!
We thank God for using our Pastor to teach us many lessons in this conference. We benefited much from his teaching on the theme of “Holding faith, and a good conscience”, taken from the theme verses, 1 Timothy 1:18-20. Here’s a summary of what we learnt:
Those are just a few of the lessons we learnt from the theme messages, not forgetting the morning devotions preached by Pr Kee How, Pr Jeremiah, Pr Daniel and Pr Samson. We also learnt precious lessons from their expositions of the Bible.
We thank God for the singing of the hymns, and for the fellowship with the saints from various nations. We enjoyed the games section, and thank the Lord for those who organised them.
We also thank God for the worship chairmen – Elder Mah, Elder Choy, Elder Francis, Elder Ng. We thank God for Dn Boon Siang, who was one of the administrators. We further thank God for the conference committee, who worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the conference. Praise God for their efforts – may the Lord bless them.
We thank God for granting us a place that is quiet and free from distractions, to sit through the sermons. All glory be to God. It is our prayer that we will be able to meet physically soon.
Thank God for enabling Pastor Koshy to exhort us so thoroughly on the various aspects of holding faith, and a good conscience, and for teaching us regarding our dutiful responses as a result. As a sinner saved by grace, I need to be a soldier fully armed with the armour of God, ready to fight the spiritual warfare lest I failed my King and ended up being “shipwrecked”! I know I am not alone in this battle because I have a good King who will stand by me and I can have the victory if I am committed and faithful to Him.
I am very thankful for the many spiritual lessons I have learnt from this year’s Online Bible Conference. The messages have helped me to realise it is important for me to hold on to “faith, and a good conscience”, from conversion till I reach home to be with the Lord.
At conversion, not only is my soul saved but my conscience is transformed too. As a young convert, I find that my conscience is weak to rely upon. This weakness can be overcome by prayer, Bible study and consistent obedience. The problem is to recognise it, for the solution is plain and simple. We often blame other things – environment, education, friends, etc. But these are just excuses. The Lord desires to strengthen and build up our weak conscience. A good conscience is God’s desire for every born-again believer. The upkeep of a good conscience must be continually pursued as I am instructed more perfectly in the will of God. The Holy Spirit dwelling in me works through my conscience to guide me in His truth and righteousness. When I learn the will of God as revealed in Scripture, I will be more careful, conscientious, dependable and usable in the kingdom of God.
I thank God for helping me to be part of our GBPC’s Online Bible Conference (beginning last Monday evening till Friday afternoon), even though I could only join part-time for the main messages. I’ve learned much from God’s Word concerning “holding faith and a good conscience”. Our faith in His Word is our greatest strength in our lives, so that we can face all the temptations and trials that challenge us. May the Lord help us as we now face the Covid-19 pandemic, and all the problems that come with it. We must strengthen our faith in our God and live for Him.
I thank the Lord for enabling me to be able to join Gethsemane BP Church’s Online Bible Conference during the lockdown in Singapore. I have never attended any Bible Conference before as I had not been walking close with God. I thank the Lord for leading me to TGCM, and it helped me to walk closer to God.
This Bible Conference helped me to know the truths of the Bible more in depth. I have been so moved that I looked forward to every day of the Bible Conference.
Thank the Lord for all the hymns and the morning devotions given by the different preachers each morning.
To God be the glory. Amen.
I would like to give thanks for all those who have worked so tirelessly to make this Online Bible Conference possible. Thank God for allowing everything to come to pass! Through the messages, I have been both admonished and encouraged. I pray that the Lord will help me to be more diligent in setting aside the distractions of the world and worries of life, and focus more on the study of His Word so that I can be more sensitive to the leading of His Spirit in my life. I am so weak but thank God for His grace! I trust that He can and will help me walk closer to Him so that I can shine brighter for Him.
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:9-11).
I thank God for the Online Bible Conference, even on the theme: “Holding Faith, and a Good Conscience”. While I had previously learned, by the grace of God, that every one of our actions impacts the church, I’ve now been brought to a greater reality about the implications of holding faith and a good conscience in my personal responsibility to God and to the church.
It behoves me to resist the world, the flesh, the devil, and many other fronts as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, warring a good warfare – not just publicly but also privately, lest I should make shipwreck of myself and others around me. Furthermore, this was emphasised not only for the leaders of the church, but also for each and every member of the church, that all may see the great importance of the “charge” to hold faith and a good conscience. The terrible idea that such a charge is only for eminent men of the church is quickly driven out when we understand clearly that this charge was given to the church. Therefore every member, from the greatest to the smallest, from the oldest to the youngest, is responsible to hold faith and a good conscience. Thank God also for showing me the connection between the “faith” (the Word of God) and a “good conscience” (which we hold before God first and then to man), lest any should say that one can exist without the other, and fall into great error. Apart from the theme messages, I also thank God for His Word expounded through the morning messages, drawing us to be aware of our pride, to bless the Lord who blesses us, to serve the Lord with gladness, and to be restored to God who lovingly calls us to Him.
Apart from God’s Word which was clearly expounded, I join many others who thank God for the organisation and hard work of many behind the scenes, whether they are working on the streaming, the administration, the singspiration, the preaching, or even prayer to support the hands of those who labour, so that God’s Word may be clearly and smoothly streamed over the Internet. I thank God also to know and to see the sincere desire of Christians around the world to come and listen to the Word, and I thank God for such peculiar circumstances that made it possible for the Word to be spread around the world. Thank God for allowing us the pleasure to see one another, albeit virtually.
May God be pleased to use His Word preached mightily in the hearts of His people, that every one of His saints may be revived and renewed in love to God, and may those who have backslidden or fallen away be rebuked to turn back and seek Him once again. May God be pleased to cause His truth to continue to remain in my heart, that I would not only hear but also do them – not just like a flash of fire that dies off with the end of the conference, but as a continued flame for the Lord. Amen.
Praise the Lord for His leading of my family to the GBPC’s Online Bible Conference. I thank the Lord for the edification we received from the messages in the Conference. The messages also addressed issues that were in my heart. It was truly a blessed Bible Conference. With the blessings received, I will also sign up for the GBI-Online.
Thank God for all your labour of love in helping us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus. May God grant us grace, that we might “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).
I was supposed to fly into Singapore from the Philippines for the Missionary Conference in June. I looked forward to it with much excitement. But as the days drew nearer, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the flights were cancelled, and that dimmed my hope of attending the Missionary Conference. It affected everyone and brought terrible uncertainty, anxiety, and downright fear to our hearts. Surely, the words of Christ must dwell in us at such times.
We give all praise to the Lord for the wisdom, enablement, and provisions that He has so graciously bestowed upon Pastor Koshy, the elders, deacons and the all the administrators who worked and collaborated fervently to organise the Online Bible Conference amidst the shutdown caused by the pandemic. Praise the Lord for bringing us to Gethsemane BP Church. I thank God for the faithful preaching of God’s Word (which is the supreme and final authority of our faith and life). By the grace of God, this Conference has been a way of spreading godly and profound teachings by our faithful church leaders. We have had participants not only from Singapore, but also across South East Asia and even from Germany, Australia, India, US, China and so forth. This online conference was accomplished because God has been good and gracious to us.
I praise God also for the opportunity to have fellowship with so many of His saints, even if it’s with a simple “Hi” and “Hello” through the zoom session. It gives us motivation, encouragement and edification during all the fellowship sessions. Truly, I thank God for the modern internet technology (Zoom Video Conferencing), which gives me a chance to “view” our brethren through their video frames, as well as those who laboured to spread God’s holy Word through the media.
I must say watching the children, who participated in the Online Bible Conference singing and praising God, was both humbling and rejoicing to my heart. God is indeed nurturing the spirit and character of a new generation for the future of His church. I pray that they will receive and pass on the Word of God faithfully to another generation, like Apostle Paul who expected Timothy to teach God’s Word to another faithful group.
Lastly, thank God for the faithful leaders who led us during the ‘Singspiration and Prayer’ sessions, and also for Pastor Koshy who expounded God’s Word from 1 Timothy 1:19 – “holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”. A very timely reminder that we must gear up and fight a good warfare, especially in these days when we are facing many ‘battles’ in our minds, and in our houses, that we may avoid the “shipwreck” of our faith. May we not be easily overtaken by false teachings in the internet and social media. A good soldier must obey the charge of his King to avoid the doctrines of the devil. My sincerest prayer is that I will grow closer to God, and serve Him with clean hands and a pure heart, and rely on the Holy Spirit to live a life that glorifies God. I look forward to the day, God willing, when my husband and I can serve God together as a family in His church, with much joy in the Lord.
Thank you very much for the many uplifting and encouraging messages on “Holding Faith and a Good Conscience”. I’m tremendously blessed and “recharged” listening to the biblical charge – concerning our commitment to our King, His people and our warfare against spiritual shipwreck – being expounded to us daily during the Online Bible Conference. I pray that we will not be hearers only, but also doers of God’s Word. May God help us.
I thank God for the wonderful time of studying God’s Word and fellowship with our church brethren (which we have missed since the start of the “circuit-breaker” in Singapore), and also with brethren from around the world. It was disappointing that we had to cancel the previously planned Missionary Conference in June 2020. So, it was great to have this unexpected Online Bible Conference during this time of lockdown in Singapore. Praise the Lord for all who have served Him by organising, preparing and handling this Conference so meticulously and efficiently. I am also thankful for the good attendance and for all the participants, including the less IT-savvy, who have embraced this new online video conferencing with enthusiasm.
Praise the Lord for the messages taught by Pastor and the preachers, reminding us to examine ourselves, to be soldiers of Christ, to fight a good fight of faith. All glory to the Lord!
I want to thank the Lord for helping Pastor Koshy to deliver God’s Word during the Online Bible Conference, as well as in the Bible Study during SIT Campus Ministry on Friday afternoons (3- 4pm). I have learnt a lot the past few days!
I would like to praise the Lord and express my thanks to Pastor Koshy, the preachers, elders, deacons and all who were involved in organising the Online Bible Conference. It was such a blessed time of singing, worshipping, fellowship and studying God’s Word throughout the 5 days of conference. I rejoiced to see the warm and friendly faces of many familiar brethren.
By God’s grace, I received with joy the teachings provided through this conference. I have learnt much about the importance of “holding faith and a good conscience”. The exhortations have also struck within me a godly fear and a keener awareness of my lacklustre attitude in the study of God’s Word and in my daily Christian living. I was particularly taken aback that I knew so little about God’s Word, and how vulnerable I am to the attacks of the devil. And all this is because I have not been diligent in studying and meditating on His Word daily, and in spending more time with my Lord in my quiet time. I thank God again for teaching me as to what my duty / responsibility is to my God, my church, my family and to all whom God has placed in my life. May I submit more to His will, wait on Him, and be a good testimony for His glory.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12: 6-7). These two verses sum up my response to the lessons I learnt in the Online Bible Conference. May the Lord help me in “holding faith, and a good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:19). And may His Words stay with all of us.
A major subject that the apostle Paul teaches in Romans 8 is the Holy Spirit’s work in every Christian’s life. The Holy Spirit is mentioned nearly twenty times in chapter 8 of Romans. Therein, Paul explained certain important works of the Spirit in every Christian’s life. Thus, it provides us with a treasure trove of theological, spiritual and practical truths concerning the Spirit’s work in a Christian’s life. It is amazingly enriching and inspiring to all who seek their spiritual growth.
In a Christian’s life, the Spirit’s influence is essential to all that he ought to be as a godly person to glorify God. He is the Source, Enabler and Securer of our spiritual life. True believers serve God, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). It is the Holy Spirit, who ultimately will bring every believer to eternal glory in the presence of God.
In Romans 8:1-4, Paul wrote, “1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Everyone in Christ Jesus has been liberated from the divine condemnation and the subjugating power of the carnal passions of the flesh. He is now characterised by a new life that is “after the Spirit”. The spiritual freedom from sin and condemnation sets him forward to live according to the direction of the Holy Spirit, who now dwells in him. Such an individual’s life is no more anchored on his fleshly or carnal desires. His passion for living is as the Holy Spirit guides him. So, it is said in verses 1 and 4, that Christians “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. In fact, a Christian’s life is a life in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit!
Paul testified concerning his own Christian life in verse 2, that it is a life directed by the Spirit – “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Here, Paul uses the term “law” in the sense of “governing operation” or “effectual working”, and not the Mosaic Law or other divine commandments. The effectual working of the Holy Spirit (“the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”) grants to every Christian the power to break free from the bondage of sin, guilt and condemnation (“the law of sin and death”). When a person experiences the saving work of Christ through the Holy Spirit, he is endued with a newness under the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit.
Paul also said that such a renewed spiritual life was “what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh” (v. 3a). In verse 3, “the law” refers to the Moral Law of God (i.e. the Ten Commandments). In other words, a godly life, as taught by the Law of God, was not possible because he was kept weak by his carnal nature (“flesh”). Man’s sinful corruption made the Law powerless to save him. The Law could only condemn man for all his sins. But God worked out the sinful man’s deliverance from the miserable bondage of sin and condemnation by “sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”. By Jesus’ death on the cross, our sin and its condemnation had been removed. Jesus bore the fury of God’s wrath that was against our sin, and thus He broke sin’s power over all those who would come to Him with faith. Jesus’ death was “for sin” and it “condemned sin in the flesh”. Whereas sin once condemned the believer, now Christ condemns sin, delivering the believer from sin’s power and penalty!
The freedom from sin and condemnation which Jesus has secured for the believer results in a life of righteousness. So Paul said in verse 4, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Once a person trusts in Jesus for deliverance from sin and judgment, he is freed from the slavery of sin and empowered through the Holy Spirit to live a life of sanctification. Every true Christian is under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and hence will possess the divinely imparted ability to live righteously. It does not mean he will be utterly free from temptations of the flesh and its influence. But he will be empowered to overcome such attempts of the flesh by the working of the Holy Spirit. God does not redeem men in order that they may continue sinning, but in order that they may begin to live righteously by having the requirement of the Law fulfilled in them.
God has made available the Holy Spirit and His empowerment to all Christians so that they “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. Without exception, every Christian can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit to live a righteous life. The word “walk” is used figuratively to refer to a habitual way of life or a lifestyle. A Christian’s habit is to walk in the Spirit and not after the sinful passions of his flesh. Because every true believer is indwelt by the Spirit, every true believer will produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). A true believer, whether young or old, immature or mature, has the influence and the enablement of the Spirit to live a biblical, righteous life.