Posts Tagged ‘singing on the journey home’

Reflections on Greencastle: a Royal Medieval Castle – and Mankind’s Need through the Centuries

August 9, 2019

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I have felt led to produce some tracts on themes of historical interest to give out in the areas where they are situated. The following, written about the lovely ancient Greencastle in Co. Down, is one of those…
Greencastle, like most ancient castles and fortifications throughout Ireland has a colourful history spanning the centuries. Built in the 13th century by Hugh de Lacy in the 1230’s, it guarded the entrance to Carlingford Lough in medieval times. Lying close to the tiny village of Greencastle which now hosts a ferry transporting visitors to and from Greenore in the Republic of Ireland, many famous names in history are associated with it. Hugh de Lacey, John de Courcey, Edward Bruce, Sir Nicholas Bagnall and Oliver Cromwell are just some of those names.
Today the little hamlet of Greencastle, the green pastures and the familiar sight of the castle are somehow comforting to me in a world that is changing too quickly… and not always for the better.
The familiar coastline here and the nostalgic scene of Greencastle surrounded by green pastures, reminds me of childhood days and carefree walks along the sandy shore from Cranfield to visit this beautiful old castle. I am reminded of shared experiences with loved ones who are long since gone…
What stories the stones of Greencastle could tell me if they could speak and yet the ancient battles and human drama associated with it have long since faded into the misty oblivion of historical records. But of course not all historical records can be trusted because of the very nature of mankind…
Yes, famous people down through the centuries of Greencastle’s existence have come and gone. It has been said that human nature is the same in every era. Indeed it is true to say that…. “there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1v9)
Mankind’s need of a Saviour is the same today as it was in 1230. Well over a thousand years before the first stone was laid in Greencastle, the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to give His life for you and me and every other person who was ever born into this world. “And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)
Some day, as His Word says, He will return. “Surely I come quickly,” the last recorded words of Jesus tell us in Revelation 22v20. Are you ready for His return – or for the moment when you will depart this life? The Bible assures us that we can be ready – and that we can know that we are ready. We cannot have this assurance in our hearts because of all the good works that we have accomplished. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2v8&9) It is after we trust Him as Saviour that our good works are evidence of a new life begun in Him.
We must firstly acknowledge our sin, repent of it and put our trust in the all atoning sacrifice, once for all, of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, for He has paid the price for our sins. “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10v17&18)
God is no respecter of persons and the famous people connected with Greencastle, like all of mankind had to die and face judgement: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9v27&28)
Even the ancient solid stones of Greencastle will some day be no more for the Bible tells us that this old world will soon pass away and that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21v1).
But repentance and simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood at Calvary will stand the test of time and eternity. He longs for you to put your trust in Him alone today, so that you may be ready for that great Accounting Day when the “small and great” (Revelation 20v12) stand before God. May you know the wonderful joy, peace and assurance in your heart of the knowledge of sins forgiven and the promise of a Home in Heaven.

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Soon we’ll gather by His Throne

July 20, 2019

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“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6v11) These words were written of the days of Noah, just prior to God’s command to him to build an ark. Today we have all the technology available to let us know just how corrupt, violent, twisted and evil this present world has become and some of it is quite frankly… the subject of nightmares. I am aware, yes, I pray for people, yes – but I don’t dwell on the horrific things that are taking place or I find myself getting more and more depressed at the very thought of it. We read that Lot was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.” (2Peter 2v7)

Today Jesus is “our Ark.” To those who will still listen – and yes, I believe there are some; cast all your burdens, sins, and despair upon the One who loved you so much that He gave His very life for you. Take refuge in the Ark that saves you now and grants you peace and safety from the wrath which inevitably is going to fall upon this old world.

Jesus said: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24v37) The rainbow is a sign to us that the Lord will never flood the world again “but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” (2Peter 3v10&11)

Just last night I was alone and feeling despondent when I reflected on certain news events. I felt the Lord showing me the reality that He was coming again – perhaps soon and that His people must “work for the night is coming…” He also gave me the words of this little poem – a challenge to the unsaved and encouraging for the Christian.

Soon we’ll gather by His Throne

Soon the night of sorrow

Will take its wings and fly.

Soon the Son of Morning

Will beckon us on high.

 

Away away from darkness,

From sickness, pain and grief;

Oh sinner come to love and life

To pardon and relief!

 

Soon the saved will meet their own,

Who left them long ago,

Soon they’ll gather by God’s Throne,

Where the crystal waters flow.

 

© Elizabeth Burke 2019

 

 

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21v4)

“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 14v3)

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24v44)

“One for Sorrow”… Reflections on Superstition

July 6, 2019

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I’m not sure about other nations as regards this, but the Irish, I feel, are generally a very superstitious nation. I remember a Christian telling me that she had once struggled with that little rhythm about Magpies… “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl – and four for a boy…” To see one magpie, for her, was something which had the potential to ruin her complete day!

Car registrations here have even been dictated by superstition, with number “13” being viewed as a number which brings “bad luck.” In the Republic of Ireland the registration starts with a number, then the first (and sometimes last) letters of the county where the car was registered and finally the year. All was fine with this new registration system until we reached the year “2013”… In 2012 a Meath car could have a registration of “12MH….” But once the year 2013 arrived, the numbers were swiftly changed to “131” or “132.” From that moment on, number “1” was added to each forthcoming year and if the car was registered in the second half of the year a “2” was added. It is incredible, to say the least, that an entire car registration system in a country has been dictated by superstition, as it was felt that no one would buy a “2013” car!

The list of superstitions is endless really… from “Friday 13th” to breaking mirrors and “7 years bad luck,” to a “lucky rabbit’s foot” to the belief that “bad luck comes in threes.” A black cat crossing the road in front of you is supposed to be “lucky,” but if that cat changes its mind and decides to walk back again, that is most “unlucky.” It is usually wiser not to walk under a ladder (for obvious reasons) but not to do so because of superstition is so wrong.

The Greeks, like the Irish, often have many religious icons dangling around in their cars – something which is supposed to give an aura of “protection” for the driver and his passengers. I recall being a passenger in a Greek taxi which flew around “hairpin” bends at a speed which made me feel sick as I looked down on the occasional wreck of an old car which had gone over the cliffs. Those beads and icons dangling from the mirror did nothing to allay my fears… No, I prayed to my living God and Saviour for protection.

Spiritually speaking, I have seen people in chains of anxiety because of superstition; Roman Catholicism, I believe, breeds superstition, blending as it does with whatever Pagan system was prevalent in the particular part of the world where it unfortunately came to have a presence.

The phenomenon of “moving statues” has attracted huge numbers of people to a certain area of Ireland over the years and throughout the world Catholicism has benefited financially from “apparitions of the Virgin Mary” supposedly appearing here and there.

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious…” (Acts 17v22) Today, as in Paul’s day, many worship “they know not what.”

And today, as in Paul’s day, the risen Saviour wants to free mankind from the shackles of superstitious thought which can often dictate the very nature of their daily lives.

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17v30&31)

The devil is indeed a “hard taskmaster,” seeking to fill his subjects with superstition, worry and obsessive compulsive disorders relating to old traditional beliefs.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8v36)

Oh the freedom, liberty and joy that we can find in Him as Lord and Saviour!

Eternity – A Message for Everyone

June 11, 2019

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In recent times I’ve had an urgent sense that I must make the most of the time that the Lord gives me and not waste it. I believe that even in the midst of turmoil in our lives, we can use these experiences to reach others. The Lord expects us to take care of loved ones and He also knows that we need rest but the Christian must make the most of his allotted span, in using the resources and talents that He has given each one of us to reach others. At the end of the day we really don’t know how long the remainder of our lives will be. Life is so short but eternity is, well, forever. There are so many distractions in the era in which we live – for everyone.

People on public transport used to be receptive years ago, when you struck up a conversation with them, with the intention of being a witness; but now the majority have their earphones on. Earphones or not, you can still offer an individual a tract though and if he doesn’t want it he will invariably shake his head vehemently in refusal or perhaps just glare at you or simply ignore you. Sometimes though, even the simple gesture of offering the tract in itself will speak to someone or perhaps they may get a glimpse of one word on that tract which could change their lives here and their eternal destination forever.

Just recently I came across this interesting true little story from long ago…

“On the Hudson River, a man, in indignation tore up the tract which was handed to him, and pitched it into the river. But one of the pieces was blown back, and fell on his coat sleeve. That piece contained the one word, ETERNITY, by means of which he was at once aroused to his godless condition, and led to “seek the Lord while he may be found.” (Isaiah 55v6) Truly “the wind bloweth where it listeth.”

To the Christian… go in His strength this day, for we cannot depend on our own, looking to Him for direction and wisdom in all that we undertake.

To those who do not know Him, seek the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near, for He has said “My spirit shall not always strive with man…” (Genesis 6v3)

 

Loved ones with the Lord… Remembering my Mother Today

May 27, 2019

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My mother was born 90 years ago today, on 27th May 1929 and she and my Dad were married on her 23rd birthday, in 1952. Every day since she went home to be with the Lord in December 2014, how I have missed her loving presence! Unfortunately a whole way of life also passed for us after her departure…

She had deep concern for our welfare and took a special interest in all of our accomplishments. My daughter who has recently gone through so much, was able to make a lovely little cake at the weekend, decorating it with seasonal fruit. I know that Mum (to whom she was so close) would have found it delicious. Having a sense of humour, she would also have laughed at our cat eyeing it with longing! But she now resides in heavenly realms and “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1Corinthians 2v9)

I miss the old days and I still mourn my parents’ passing but I know that they would want me to grow in their Master and be a witness for Him for the rest of my life here, even under the circumstances in which we have found ourselves in of late. In the knowledge that my parents would want all of their loved ones here below following their Lord and Saviour, He gave me these words one day…

 

Loved ones with the Lord

No wave from the window

No greeting at the door

No loving voice of welcome

Out the hallway anymore.

 

No smile of tender care

No outstretched mother’s arms

No reassuring hug

To comfort our alarms.

 

Gone the laughter and the warmth

Gone the tales they loved to tell.

Gone the softness of her touch,

Gone the voice we loved so well.

 

Gone the scripture from the wall,

Gone the hours of fervent prayer,

Gone the faith that once held sway,

Gone the Bible by his chair.

 

Gone the pain that gave them grief,

Gone the heartache and the woe,

Gone from here to Paradise,

Gone where tears will never flow.

 

But never gone their Master’s love,

Never gone His love for thee,

And while thy life is ebbing in,

Yet still He whispers: “Follow me.”

 

© Elizabeth Burke

The Danger of Bridges – Old and New

May 7, 2019

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Ireland is full of bridges; some are small and not very high, gently curving over shallow rivers and ravines in the countryside; others are like the bridge over the River Boyne near Drogheda which spans 230 metres of the motorway between Dublin and Belfast. Some bridges are rustic, others functional but one of the most beautiful I know is the “Craigmore Viaduct” with its eighteen arches near Newry railway station, its construction ending in the year 1852.

I sometimes have concerns about certain bridges I know, because perhaps they have never been checked!  The little local one which is familiar to me was most likely built many years ago – but how safe is it when a great truck comes thundering over it? As I recently waded through the wild garlic and the shallow bubbling river underneath it, I could hear traffic above my head. I also sometimes wonder when I drive, take a train (or even walk) over a bridge, how reliable it is and indeed sometimes it is the new bridges we have to be concerned about…

These thoughts on bridges came into my mind recently on reading another true little story from my very old book: “A Thousand Tales worth Telling,” It is entitled: “A Startling Sight…”

“A horseman road across a dangerous bridge one dark night; and on reviewing the place next day, he fell into a swoon when he became sensible of the danger which, by the darkness of the night, was hidden from him. If unsaved men and women could only see how near they are to a lost eternity, how they would “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3v7; Revelation 6v16)… to the mighty Saviour of sinners.”

When souls travel through life in spiritual darkness they are truly unaware of the great danger they are in. Which “bridge” are you using to span the great divide? There are many bridges which mankind may put their trust in – from the bridge of humanism and the many other thousands of dangerous bridges, each one the name of a different system of belief. Some bridges are old, some are modern, while some get a minimum amount of traffic and some have a massive amount of traffic. People think that by using their particular “bridge” (whether it is used by the multitudes or by the few) they will land safely on the “good” shore of eternity. How safe is our “bridge?” This is the vital question. Surely all bridges need to be checked….

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” (1Timothy 2v5&6) Jesus is the only Mediator – the only Bridge, spiritually speaking, Who can span the great divide between God and mankind. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4v12)

This is the only Bridge we can put our trust in, His great love spanning the great divide – that no other person or philosophy could ever adequately fill. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10v12)

His will is that you put your trust in this “one sacrifice for sins for ever” and have faith in Him alone; the One whose dying love spanned that great divide between God and men. He loves you and wants you to know that all other “bridges” have shaky foundations and will someday crumble and fall but Jesus Christ, praise His Name, is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever,” (Hebrews 13v8) and we can trust in Him alone to take us safely over. Praise God, “I won’t have to cross Jordan alone…. Jesus died for my sins to atone.”

Sing Praises to thy Lord and King: Thoughts on Traditional Hymns

April 25, 2019

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Having returned from more hospital treatment we heard our robin friend singing his little heart out behind our home – and my daughter got a lovely photograph of him! If there is anything I love to hear… it is birdsong. How they love to praise their Creator – and how their song can cheer the weary soul! Around here we have chaffinches, bullfinches, blue tits, great tits, wrens, greenfinches, goldfinches, blackbirds, gold crests, sparrows, swallows, swifts, robins and of course birds of prey like buzzards and long-eared owls. Starlings, curlews, pheasants, crows, jackdaws, pigeons and magpies, although sometimes noisy or with their own peculiar plaintive call, have their songs too!

The Lord wants mankind to praise Him too and it is true that many beautiful hymns have been written to His glory and for the extension of His Kingdom over the centuries. However, for a number of years now I have noted a departure from the traditional hymn, with all its depth and sincere exaltation of the risen Saviour. Not everyone is aware of this, as they may worship in a fellowship or church where traditional hymns are always sung – but these are rare nowadays.

Unfortunately the traditional hymn, rich in doctrine and divine truth, has been discarded in many places, in favour of modern choruses with little depth. What is worse, sometimes their words are far from the truth…

“You’re the Lord of every man…” “Really?” I thought, as I heard these words sung recently. Someone told me once that he felt that some modern choruses were like “the vain repetition of the heathen” and sadly I was inclined to agree with him.

Of course mankind can only truly praise the Lord in song when he owns Him as Lord and Saviour. How many have sat in congregations over the years singing words which did not at all apply to their own spiritual state? Only those who have true communion and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ can sing out the beautiful words of hymn writers like Frances J. Crosby. Somehow, I feel that only those who know Him as Saviour can truly appreciate and are especially touched by something as simple as a little member of His creation singing sweetly to his heart’s content.

Rich are the moments of blessing

Jesus my Saviour bestows;

Pure is the well of salvation

Fresh from His mercy that flows.

 

Ev…er He walketh beside me,

Bright…ly His sunshine appears,

Spreading a beautiful rainbow

Over the valley of tears.

 

Rich are the moments of blessing,

Lovely, and hallow’d, and sweet,

When from my labour at noon-tide

Calmly I rest at His feet.

 

Why should I ever grow weary?

Why should I faint by the way?

Has He not promised to give me

Strength for the toils of the day?

 

Tho’ by the mist and the shadow

Sometimes my sky may be dim,

Rich are the moments of blessing

Spent in communion with Him.

(F. J. Crosby)

Neither Saint nor Sinner

April 18, 2019

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St. Peter’s old tin country Church of Ireland, beside a river and the picturesque area of Laragh in south Monaghan was probably originally built around the same era as a very old book I’ve been reading was published. Memories of walking down the steps here reminded me of a certain true little story. I was given “One Thousand Tales worth Telling” (well over 100 years old) as a gift and find its true, very short stories just fascinating as each one has an associated scripture text. In these days of ecumenism, secularism and apostasy, it is rare to hear the gospel preached from the pulpits of established churches but on occasions it has been – and a silence has fallen on the congregation when the spirit of the Lord is there. However, not everyone is pleased with such sermons, which tell individuals of their need for salvation…

I quote this simple little story, an example of one of these true “1,000 Tales Worth Telling…”

Neither Saint nor Sinner

“Coming down the steps from the kirk, a neighbour asked an old lady how she liked the sermon by the strange minister from a distance. “Indeed,” said she, “I didn’t like him a bit! He talked all morning to one class of folks called saints, and to another called sinners, and he hadn’t a word for a decent, respectable body like me.” How many like her are neither “lost and on the way to Hell” nor “saved and on the way to Heaven.” Yet each of us are either one or the other. (Joshua 24v15; John 3v36; Rev. 20v15 & 22v11). The great question to settle is… Which is it?”

Clearly the preacher in this instance used his opportunity to relay a message to both the saved and the lost. How often have we heard a gospel message for the unsaved – but nothing to encourage growth in the believer, or indeed vice versa! Also, how difficult it is to reach “the respectable” – the law-abiding church goer, who may even be a Sunday school teacher or indeed an established church “reverend.”

Praise God, He has given His children the power of prayer and faith, in the knowledge that the Lord’s convicting voice can speak to such people. We cannot make them see their need – but He can.

“He revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.” (Daniel 2v22)

We should never view “the respectable” as lost causes who will never see their need of a Saviour. Only the Lord knows the innermost thoughts of those people and will work to draw each one to Himself. As His ambassadors, we should never be afraid to be a witness to “respectable bodies” – and pray fervently for them also.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8v26)

 

I Can Do All Things through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me (Philippians 4v13)

April 10, 2019

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Yes, I can; I can drive many miles through heavy city traffic, I can pray while someone I love is going through procedures and treatments – and I can trust the Lord each day for whatever it may bring. He is my strength and my shield through all the changing scenes of life. What is more – He can assist me to be a witness and a comfort to those I come in contact with in that place. Someday I will understand why certain things happen but for the moment I walk by faith, His thousands of promises filling my heart. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34v17)

If all of my life had been filled with joy, good days and laughter, how could I empathise with those who are suffering? I would nod as they tell me of their troubles and try to understand but no one can even start to understand unless they have been there.

Jesus walked this earth and understands – and His timing is perfect, as regards the people we meet, seemingly by chance. But it is never by chance, as I have discovered this very day. He gave me the words for the little tract: “Words of Love, Hope & Comfort Especially for You” over a year ago (29th January 2018) and He has assisted me to give copies to people as He directs. Yes, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me… including having the courage to speak to others. I “test the waters” first, as not everyone wants to speak. A smile, a comment, a friendly two-way conversation and then, in the Lord’s strength, showing them that you understand, you care – and what the Source of your own strength is. Only He can give us real love and compassion for others.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2Corinthians 1v3&4)

No, nothing is by chance. Ultimately, as soldiers in the Lord’s army, we are placed strategically in certain places and at certain times – to reach certain souls. And I firmly believe that we will meet some souls that we have spoken to some beautiful day in Heaven.

There are times when my heart is heavy but I turn and place my burdens on the God of all comfort, for His ways are perfect and I know that no matter what happens in this scene of time to His children… “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30v5)

Thoughts on the Kings of Israel and Judah – and Eternal Security

April 3, 2019

As I approach the end of 2nd Chronicles in my daily reading, it is interesting to note the behaviour of each king from the beginning of his reign until the end – which is usually marked by his death. Some kings (like Joash) start off well and please the Lord. We are told that “Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Je-hoi-a-da the priest.” (2Chronicles 24v2)

However, after the death of the priest we learn that the princes of Judah “made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.” (Verse 17) Listening to man, I feel, was the downfall of Joash for after all the good he had accomplished in repairing the house of the Lord, after the death of Je-hoi-a-da, he turned to idolatry. As a result he would not listen to Zechariah, the son of the priest whom we are told had “the Spirit of God.” He said “because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.” (Verse 20) Sadly Zechariah was stoned to death for merely warning Joash of the wrath to come – and it did come, in the form of an attack from the Syrians. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16v7). When we read about the lives of the kings, we can see that the reverse is also true.

There are other kings who started off well in their reign but something then happened to mar their relationship with the Lord. Certainly David walked perfectly with the Lord “save in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” David and some other kings are greatly repentant and restored in their walk with the Lord but there are kings (like Ahaz) who from start to finish are steeped in idolatry and never got right with God at any time during their reign.

We are not told either way whether Joash (who died at the hands of his servants after being attacked by the Syrians) found peace with God in his final hours. It saddens me to think that all the good that he had previously accomplished in repairing the house of God would be vanquished by his later actions.

In Ezekiel 18v24 we read: “When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.”

By the same token… “if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” (Verse 21)

“Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal?” (Verse 25)

Today there is a doctrine permeating many churches globally and the ways of this doctrine are not equal. It holds that an individual can commit his life to the Lord and then enjoy the position of unconditional eternal security, no matter what sin or degradation he descends to in the present or future – even if he never repents of it. While some preachers promise their congregation “liberty,” they simultaneously tell them that they “are slaves to sin.” Indeed I have heard these very words uttered from the pulpit. We have to ask ourselves, did the Lord suffer and die so that those who commit their lives to Him should be “slaves to sin?”

In 2Peter 2v19-22, we read… “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment, delivered unto them.”

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” Here we learn that it is indeed possible to fall way.

Like the kings of the Old Testament, some of whom walked with the Lord for a while and then fell away, Revelation 2 has a message for certain churches or categories of Christian…. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Verse 4&5)

Thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden the devil uttered those words…”Yea, hath God said…?”(Genesis 3v1) He assures Eve… “Ye shall not surely die.” (Verse 4) And he still utters them today. But today, praise God, there is eternal security for the believer who rests in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. We are told “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1John 2v1) Note, it is not when we sin.

Something else has never changed since the Garden of Eden… God never has taken away the free will of mankind. Unlike mindless robots, invented to perform certain duties, the Lord wants nothing but our wholehearted and sincere love for Him, His ways and His Word. He never forces His way into our lives and He never drives us on that narrow road. The Shepherd ever leads us. By faith we trust Him and we follow Him by faith all the way. Our security is sure in Him, as long as we desire His Presence in our lives, obey His Word and follow the Shepherd. We are exhorted to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12v14)

Yes, of course “backsliders” can be restored. The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of those who die spiritually (Ezekiel 18v32) and is long suffering to us-word, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3v9) But I believe that there is a point at which this may not be possible and certainly if someone remains in unrepentant sin, he will die in his sin.

There is a dangerous doctrine which states that “God doesn’t see my sin – He looks at Jesus and I am forgiven.” Where in scripture does it say this? Sadly, this idea may leave people with the notion that they have no need to repent of sin. Another well-known statement I have heard is that “when we trust the Lord to save us, all our sins are forgiven: past, present and future.” Again, there is no scripture to back the latter. Yes, past sins are forgiven when we repent of them. However, no sin is forgiven until it is repented of, whether the person concerned is a professing Christian or not – for God’s ways are equal.

The vast majority of evangelical Christian churches and fellowships in the Republic of Ireland adhere to the doctrine of unconditional eternal security and some would even go as far as to say that the Lord Jesus Christ only died for certain people.

His creation is precious in His sight. He died for them all – not just “the elect” (another subject which I have touched on briefly and will do so again) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)

Praise God His atonement is not limited – and neither is His mercy. It is His will that souls are not led astray into a false sense of security, in which they think that they do not have to get right with Him, concerning many serious issues and even deep sin in their lives. There is a reckoning day coming and His message to all is… “Cast away from you all your transgressions; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezekiel 18v31&32)