What is the importance of the number 144?

number 144Numbers play a significant part in understanding the book of Revelation, but can you explain what the importance is of number 144? For example 144,000 Jewish virgin saints, and 144 cubits as the length of the New Jerusalem

The meaning of the number 12 in Scripture is God’s perfect rule through human agency or government. We see that meaning reflected in 12 apostles and 12 tribes of Israel. Furthermore in Hebrew, to double a number implies added emphasis (i.e., 12×2=24) and to multiply a number indicates the highest emphasis (i.e., 12×12=144). We see this rule at work in places like Matthew 18: number 144 Continue reading

Salvation Am I Truly Saved?

salvation am i truly savedDo you tend to get confused about how salvation works? You know it’s not based on works, but at times you’re not so sure you are saved. Do you tend to feel like you’re not “good enough” or maybe deep in your heart your faith may not be true? Is there a way of knowing if God’s salvation am I truly saved or not? Is it normal to feel unsure?

First, to answer the question of how salvation works, let’s begin with a clear and concise explanation of the salvation God has made available to men and women. According to Scripture, salvation from the penalty for sin is made possible by our faith in the work of Christ. Who atoned for our sin by His death on the cross in our place. All that God requires as payment for our sin was accomplished by Jesus on the cross.

Therefore, our personal works play no part in our salvation. We can add nothing to the accomplishments of Christ on the cross, and therefore only by faith in His work may we be saved. Our faith is in the sufficiency of Christ’s work and the truth of His claims to be the Son of God, and our faith takes the place of relying on our personal works of righteousness. This is the heart of the Gospel.  Salvation Am I Truly Saved

If you believe that Jesus is the Lord, the Son of God and that His death and resurrection is proof of His claims, then the Bible commands you to confess this belief and receive water baptism as a sign of your faith. Having made this confession, the Bible says you will be saved. The word of God leaves no doubt or question concerning this outcome. The moment of your faith is the moment of your salvation, by faith you have already been saved! Consider the following statements from Scripture:  Salvation Am I Truly Saved

Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Ephesians 2:4-7 (NKJV)

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV)

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.    Salvation Am I Truly Saved

The Bible testifies that those who confess faith in Christ receive a down-payment on their eternal inheritance, which is the Holy Spirit taking up residence in our hearts. This down-payment is God’s pledge to us that the work He has begun through our faith He promises He will bring to completion in the day of our resurrection, as Paul says:

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

AM I SAVED?

Regarding your concerns of not being saved, rest assured that such doubts and feelings are normal for Christians. The enemy delights to bring doubts to our mind and to cause us to wonder if we are “good enough.” The irony is that we aren’t good enough to be saved! We never were. We don’t merit the salvation we have received, and we can never allow ourselves to think that we “deserved” God’s grace. Grace, by definition, is not deserved or earned.

Furthermore, our faith is a gift of God. It did not depend on our own resolve or determination to believe. The Bible says our belief is a gift from God, as Paul explains:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Finally, John wrote to those who have the Spirit and know the truth of the Gospel to address this very doubt of whether we are truly saved.  He said:

1 John 3:23-24 (NKJV)

23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave [a]us commandment.

The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error

24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him. And by this, we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

1 John 4:4-8 (NKJV)

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this, we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Knowing God Through Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:13-15 (NKJV)

13 By this, we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

John wrote to assure the church that we can know for certain we are God’s children by our post-salvation experiences, especially by our awareness that the Spirit has come to dwell in us through the changes we witness in our life. Among other changes, John mentions that we will enjoy fellowship with other believers, we will feel separated from the world of unbelievers, we will begin to love one another with God’s sacrificial love, and we will grow to abide in Christ (i.e., depend on Him and follow Him).

More than anything else, John says we have the assurance of salvation simply by the certainty of our confession. Whoever confesses (i.e., gives a truthful testimony) that Jesus is the Son of God is saved, John reiterates.  Salvation Am I Truly Saved

In our experience, only Christians spend time worrying about whether they are truly saved. Unbelievers aren’t troubled by thoughts or worries of not having salvation in Christ, because they are unfamiliar with God’s grace and therefore they cannot know what they do not have. In a sense, only those who have come to know the grace of God will worry over the prospect of not having it. For many Christians, these concerns simply testify to a relationship with Christ.

The process of maturing in our walk of faith is a process of moving beyond these doubts and questions and taking hold of our salvation and pursuing maturity in our witness and understanding of God. The writer of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 6:17-18 (NKJV)

17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

God has sworn by His own name that His purposes and promises are unchangeable (immutable) so that we who have been saved would have the confidence to take hold of the hope set before us. Having taken hold of that hope, we will be encouraged to walk in faith not looking back in doubt. This is the upward call of Christ, as Paul calls it:.

Philippians 3:12-14  (NKJV)

Pressing Toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already attained (obtained) or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

By your confession of faith in Jesus Christ, be encouraged to take heart that you know the Lord and that your worries are natural and shared by many Christians at various times. Your worries testify to the Spirit working in your heart convicting you of sin and preparing you for a life of holiness in serving the Lord. Move beyond your doubts and begin to ask how you can better serve the Lord Who saved you. Glory be to God!

 

 

 

“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”

 

 

Parables of The Talents & Minas & Eternal Rewards

Eternal RewardsThe parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 and the parable of the Minas in Luke 19 seem so similar, and yet many details don’t line up. Are they teaching about the same thing or different things about Eternal Rewards?

(This post is part of a series on Eternal Rewards.)

Both the parable of the Talents and the parable of the Minas teach that believers (i.e., the slaves) are called to serve Christ (i.e., the master) in His absence, and upon His return, Jesus will reward us. As you observed, the parables are not identical, because they are teaching two different aspects of the Kingdom reward system. Continue reading

Explain the “5 Crowns” described in the Bible?

5 crownsDo we receive 5 Crowns in Heaven? Are these “Crowns” our eternal reward for our service to Christ?

(This is part of our series on Eternal Rewards.)

 

Scripture describes our eternal rewards in terms of inheritance and responsibility. These rewards are symbolized in Scripture as crowns. Since we do not receive our actual rewards, it seems we are awarded crowns as tokens of our reward for the time we spend in the throne room awaiting Christ’s Second Coming to earth to establish His Kingdom. The Bible says these crowns will be our badges of honor reflecting glory upon Christ, Who worked through us to achieve the good works if our life. We will acknowledge His sovereignty by casting our crowns at His feet while we worship Him in Heaven:   5 crowns Continue reading