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You Be the Defendant

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From the “Bible Facts” Newspaper Articles, by Ian Kurylyk, January 2013

"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12).

“You be the judge” may well summarize the responsibilities each of us now face as we sit in the driver’s seat of our lives.  But the time will come when the judgment will be all God’s and we will take the place of defendants.

This is a rudimentary fact of theology.  Just as God is revealed to us in the Bible as omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and infinite in all His attributes, so He is the Judge of all judges.  “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world…” (Acts 17:31a).

The Book of Romans in the New Testament was written with the tremendous system of Roman laws as its backdrop.  Thinking in legal terms helps us understand our relationship to the Creator.  Words familiar to their justice system are used like “condemnation” (the guilty verdict), and “justification” (the judge’s declaration that the defendant is righteous).  These are applied in the Bible to a man’s standing, not before a Roman judge, but before God.

The consciousness of this is largely lost today.  We live in a society that has rejected Bible Christianity and largely embraced secular humanism as its religion.  So no thought is given to the law of God, the consequences of human sin, or the fact that God is judge.

Nevertheless, God challenges us, as stewards of our own souls, to put life in perspective by contemplating our place as defendants before God the judge.  What will I say?  What will I plead when my life is reviewed?  What will be my punishment?

The solution to our problem as guilty law breakers before God is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He offers pardon now on the basis of His suffering the penalty for our sins on the cross.  The resurrected Lord invites you to receive Him as personal Lord and Saviour and so settle your sin problem out of court.  Those who do will never have to stand in the terrible judgment spoken of in Revelation 20.  “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them … And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11, 15).

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You Be The Judge

Bible Facts | Uncategorized

From the “Bible Facts” Newspaper Column, by Ian Kurylyk, January 2013

"Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right" (Luke 12:57)?

While God is the Supreme Court, He has made us like lower courts that must pass judgments on things that have to do with our lives and relationship to Him.  We cannot escape this stewardship.

We must sort through the evidences and witnesses, and even lies, that we encounter and come to conclusions of truth.  It is absolutely critical that we be right.  God says to every individual He has brought into being; I am putting you over the matters of your life and your soul.  You must sit in judgment over many matters that have to do with your present life and with the world to come.  There are many decisions to be made, many conclusions, many choices, many judgments.  You be the judge.  You will live or die by what you decide.

The most important verdicts to be rendered have to do with our worship life.  Does God exist?  Who is He?  What is He like and how may I be accepted by Him?  How do I solve my sin problem?  What is the way of salvation?

Many “outsource” these fundamental decisions.  I’ve had people tell me, “I leave that to the wife”.  Some rest entirely on the opinion of scientists and the theory of evolution.  Others trust the matter to a clergy figure, or the consensus of their friends, or  public opinion, or a media figure or some panel of experts.  None of these must answer to God for you.  You alone will be held responsible for your personal choices.

Could you imagine a person finding a website with a name like TRUST ME.com and sending all his passwords, PIN codes, credit card numbers, and personal identity information to them for safe keeping?  But many people have the same naive approach to where they will spend eternity.

God has provided sufficient witnesses to enable us to come to right judgments if we will only have honest hearts and go to Him to find the answers.  It is my absolute conviction that the essence of finding the truth is to come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ as Personal Saviour from sin.

There is a Part II to this study.  It looks ahead to the day of God’s judgment and is called “You Be The Defendant”.  One day You will.

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Yes and Amen Christianity

From the “Bible Facts” Newspaper Column, by Ian Kurylyk, August 2012

Bible Facts | Uncategorized
"But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay" (II Corinthians 1:18)

The Apostle Paul had had to change his plans that he made about visiting the church at Corinth.  There were people there that were only too glad to turn it into an opportunity to criticize him.  Oh, with Paul its yes, yes, and then its no, no, they would say.

Paul responded to this accusation of instability by reminding them of the character of the message he had brought to them when he came to Corinth preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  (Our word toward you was not yea and nay.)

This is a warning of a kind of Christianity that has no absolute promises.  It tells folk they might get to heaven, but there are no certainties – no promises.  Or it teaches of a salvation that is yes (yea) today, but you could lose tomorrow (nay).

Paul preached salvation through Christ and it was a message of certainty.  To trust Him is an absolute yes.  “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea” (II Corinthians 1:19).  How could anyone be content with a “yes and no” or “maybe” message of eternal life?  How can anybody face eternity without finding a sure way of salvation?

Bible Christianity is based on an absolute promise.  “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (II Corinthians 1:20).  The Scriptures contain many  promises of God.  The way to make God’s promise of eternal life yours for sure, and for good, is to believe in His Son.  It is through Him salvation is made personal.  The promises of God are not “yes and no” in Jesus Christ but are “yes and amen”.  The matter of the welfare of your soul is settled in the Saviour.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

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Time

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From the “Bible Facts” Newpaper Articles by Ian Kuryyk, November 2012

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14).

In the very first verse of the Bible we read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”.  God’s original creative act brought into existence space, matter, and time.

Mankind is subject to time as part of the limitations placed on all created beings.  We accomplish work by effort over time.  God can do whatever He ordains by His infinite power without any such restriction.  Before sin came into the world time was a blessing entirely, as it gave opportunity to mankind to accomplish their purposes.

When sin came and the curse fell on the creation, time became, in one sense, a great enemy.  The death sentence that fell on this world of sin works now largely by the passage of time.  The sure ticking of the clock ratchets every soul closer and closer to the grave and to eternity.  Every good thing of this life is subject to the erosion and ultimate loss brought by time.

The Bible challenges us to stop and reflect on the brevity of life, since we go through our daily routines with our noses so close to the earth we seldom lift our heads to thoughtfully reflect on the clock’s moving hands.  James says our life is like a vapour, like the steam that appears briefly over the top of our coffee cups and then is gone.  The truth of this is harder and harder to avoid as the years pass, the flower of youth fades, and we see the preceding generation go to what the Bible calls their “long home”.

Time can still be a blessing when we pay heed to what the Word of God has to say about its proper usage.  The first lesson for all is to seize the moment of opportunity given by God’s grace.  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2b).  The wise man realizes that God makes a bona fide offer of salvation in the present time to all who will trust His Son Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.  God does not promise us a single day more in which we could claim the benefit.  “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).

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Bible Facts Hell

The Great Gulf Fixed

Bible Facts | Hell

From the “Bible Facts” Newspaper Column, February 2013

"And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence" (Luke 16:26)

In Luke 16 Jesus pulled back the curtain to the next world and told of what awaited two men after death.  One poor man named Lazarus went to a place of comfort where Abraham also was.  

His rich neighbour died and went to the fire and torment of hell.  From there he begged Abraham to send Lazarus over and give him relief by a little water on his tongue.  There are some important  lessons in Abraham’s answer quoted above about a “great gulf fixed”.

1. Every man has one of two possible destinations after this life.

2. These places are worlds apart with absolutely no movement between them.

3. Our present state of wealth and well being is of little importance compared with these matters of eternity.  Lazarus was a beggar but prepared for the next life.  The rich man failed to.

4. The two men set forth the basic two-fold classification of human beings in this world.  There is a great gulf spiritually between people now, depending on their relationship to Jesus Christ.

5. Since all are sinners and equally lost to begin with, Lazarus must have experienced God’s salvation to become part of the family of God before he died.  The rich man did not.

6. The great gulf spiritually, then, can be crossed now.  It is only “fixed” after death.  Now is the time of opportunity.  Once in hell or in heaven, there will be no change in estate for all eternity.

7. Death comes to the saved and unsaved.  What matters is what comes after.

We today have no excuse.  God has warned us of the danger facing us all by way of these two examples.  He has also made a provision for us so we can be ready to die with confidence as to where we are going like Lazarus.

The way of salvation is simple.  God’s Son has paid the price for our sins by His death on the cross.  Those who turn from sin and receive the resurrected Lord and Saviour are made His children and promised a home in heaven.

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Bible Facts Heaven

Heaven

Bible Facts | Heaven

From the “Bible Facts” Newspaper Column, By Ian Kurylyk, March 2013

"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 12:43).

The word Gospel means good news.  One of the things that makes the news good is the promise of God that those who believe in His Son can look forward to paradise in the next world.  We could roughly group the Bible’s teachings about heaven into three areas.

First, we learn that heaven is difficult for us to conceive of who are used to this present world under the curse of sin.  “But as it is written, 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” (I Corinthians 2:9).

Even the Apostle Paul confessed in I Corinthians 13:12 that we see through a glass darkly.  And Abraham and the Patriarchs, who had set their eyes upon heaven throughout their earthly pilgrimage, did not have a close-up vision of what awaited them.  “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).

Second, we learn certain facts are discernible enough for anyone to realize the desirability of that destination.  “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 21:4).  “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Third, there are some insights into heaven that can only be experienced by those who have received Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour.  The Holy Spirit of God is called the “earnest” (which means down payment) of our inheritance in Christ.  Through Him the Christian gets foretastes of Heaven and its deepest blessings in his present spiritual life.  “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).