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I saw an inscription in a Church building which says “Jesus is coming soon, run for your life”, it was boldly written and projected that it can even confuse people into thinking it is the name of the Church. Yet, the name of this Church says something like “God’s Beautiful Grace”. At first, I thought the contractor of the building was responsible for that inscription, I thought the Church would ask that such thing be removed from the walls of the Church but it was kept there and even projected through the social media. Look at that? Jesus is coming soon! Run for your life! To whom shall we run to? Is Jesus that scary? This tells you what they teach in that Church!
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When I was much younger, I get scared if a preacher talks about the coming of Jesus or the judgment day. I remember a preacher, who said he bought a handkerchief, the seller mistakenly gave him two and he left without knowing. On his way, God spoke to him and said “do you know if you die now, you will go straight to hell?” He inquired to know why and he was told he took two handkerchiefs instead of one. He also said that God told him any known or unknown sin that isn’t individually confessed will send people to hell. He said God told him there are special places in hell designed for believers who committed one sin or another and he said those special places are even hotter because believer who committed sin will receive much more punishment. And he quoted a place in the Bible and said that judgment will start from the Church. Amazing! I will be using that same place he quoted to teach us the truth of God’s word. I am not here to criticize anybody but with due respect, anyone who preaches such message needs to resign, sit down and learn.

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Now, what is really the true state of believers in God’s salvation plans? In just one word, the believer in Christ Jesus is saved! How saved? VERY SAVED! James 2:12-13 says “speak and act as people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment”

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The above verse we read have often been misunderstood and misquoted by some religious folks because we read it with an already preconceived idea that has been popular. First, when we consider the words one after the other, we will understand that James wasn’t saying anything different from what Paul had always written concerning our place in Christ as saved people. He said “speak and act AS people WHO will be JUDGED by the LAW that SETS us FREE”, James was simply saying in other words “there is a way people who will be judged by the law that sets free behave, act that way”. It is like saying to people; you are holy, so act holy! Now, he said we will be judged by the law that sets free and not the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses doesn’t set free, it is the LAW OF SIN AND DEATH and so it cannot also be the law that sets free! Romans 8:2 say “for the law of the Spirit, which brings us life in union with Christ Jesus, has set me free from the law of sin and death.” This means, the law of liberty or the law that sets free works in union with Christ and sets people free from the Law of Moses which brings death and condemnation. That is why Jesus said in John 3:17, 18 “for God did not send His Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior. Those who believe in the Son are not judged.” Jesus came to set people free and not to condemn people, the law that sets free works in union with Christ. What is that law that sets free? The law that set of liberty states “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. While the Law of Moses was saying “a soul that sin shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20) the law of liberty is saying “a soul that believes in Jesus shall live!” (John 3:16). Now, this is the law James wrote that the believer will be judged with! In order words, the believers’ place has already been decided. The law that sets free can only do one thing, freedom! So, anyone who is judged by the law of liberty is at liberty and anyone who will be judged with the law of sin and death is already dead! However, whosoever is in Christ is free indeed! Romans 6:14 say “sin must not be your master; for you do not live under the law but under grace”, this is exactly what James was saying too! Sin cannot be a master or rule over someone who has submitted to God’s grace. Many will argue that we are giving people license to sin but this is just the Bible! 

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Back to what James said in his writing, he continued in verse 13 which is where many gets confused, he wrote “for God will not show mercy when He judges people who has not been merciful”. This gets more interesting, how can we say that in Christ we have been set free and say again that God will not be merciful to those who are not merciful? First, remember that James asked that believers live as those who shall be judged by the law of liberty. Jesus said in John 13:34 “and now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.” This is how believers are meant to live, to love one another! Truth is that any genuine believer in Christ lives in love, they may at times have those urge to hate certain people but they are not perpetual haters! Jesus said He already loved us, not because we love others! But then, because He loves us regardless of what we did and do, we need to show that love to one another regardless of what of they did or do. When we live that way, the world will know that we are the disciples of Jesus. With this in mind, you will understand that James was saying “based on human merit, God is not supposed to be merciful to the unmerciful. If we were to be judged by the law of sin and death, God will not be merciful on our wickedness.” Do you think I am forcing words out of James mouth? Do you think the above interpretation I gave that place doesn’t carry the wholesome truth of what James was saying? Don’t worry, you will understand it by the time you are done reading. James wasn’t teaching something different from what Paul preached, He wasn’t teaching something different from what Jesus taught. Many believers’ argue that James wrote certain things in the Bible out of immaturity in the word! That is not true! That lie is the devil’s subtle way of getting certain people to believe that the Bible isn’t a writing inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is perfect without flaws, there may be little misuse of words in translation but the message of the Bible was not and cannot be distorted. God had His own way of preserving His words as written down by men. For James to have admitted that we are people of liberty, he was putting up a balance by saying something like “your freedom in Christ is more reason to live wonderful lives. You are free to live and love like Christ because if you were to be under the law of Moses, you would be struggling to be merciful for God will judge the unmerciful mercilessly in the view of the Mosaic laws…” are you getting something now? The last statement in verse 13 of James 2 concludes the whole matter and stamps this wholesome truth as AUTHENTIC! It says “…but mercy triumphs over judgment”. Now do you see that? James who said God will be unmerciful to the unmerciful is also saying that God’s mercy overrides judgment! His mercy is superior to judgment. God is not an unstable high sensitive being who can’t be stable with His decisions! James was only trying to communicate that if we were to be judged based on who we were, God wouldn’t be merciful to us but because we are will be judged by the law that sets free, God remains merciful to the last! His mercy overrides judgment. However, His mercy can only be received. He doesn’t force it on people but allows people to be convinced and reach out to receive His mercy! That is why John 1:16 says “whosoever believes shall not perish.” We receive God’s mercy by believing and accepting His gift of salvation.

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Now that you have understood James position on being eternally secured in Christ, you cannot be tossed around by people who don’t know how to handle the word of God. You act holy because you are holy; you love people because God loves you. If in the time of the law, people struggle to appear merciful, now that you have been set free, you shouldn’t struggle to love people for it is a part of you; this is what James was communicating. 

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Let me show you something in 1 John 4:17-18 “Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on judgment day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s. There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid because fear has to do with punishment”. We are courageous about the judgment day; we shall not appear before God in fear but in joy because our life on this earth is as perfect and beautiful as Christ’s life. Because we are loved by God, no man can threaten us and make us shake and tremble in fear of punishment. We are so glad that Jesus loves us. That reminds me of how we used to sing it as Children “I am so glad that Jesus loves me” and after a while, the same person who taught us that song would threaten us with hell. We know better now!

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The message of the second coming of Christ shouldn’t scare believers in Christ; it should be a comfort to us. These things called ‘endtime’ message which cause people to panic and live in fear aren’t from God. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “…those who have died believing in Christ will rise to life first; then we who are living at that time will be gathered up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. So then, encourage one another with these words.” I don’t need to start explaining it word after word again. Who are those that will be with Christ? It is those who believe in Him for there are no other criteria for qualification. The last word there says we should encourage one another with these words. So, when we are gathered as believers, we don’t scare ourselves by saying “Jesus is coming soon, run for your life!” but rather we encourage one another saying “Jesus is coming soon and we shall be with Him even as we have always been in Him”. Glory to Jesus!

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Has this blessed your life?

Why not share with other people to liberate them from the bondage of religion and ignorance! Jesus is Lord!

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God bless you!

#GracefulGeorge

*All Bible quotations used here is based on the Good News Bible, 1994 edition.

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