This might be thought a strange question to ask the reader, as you are reading an article from a website dedicated to the promotion of the gospel of Christ: ‘God manifest in the flesh’. So your answer will be ‘Yes, of course’. But which God do you believe in? Is it the true and living God as revealed in the scriptures, or is it a God of your own imagination? ‘The former, of course!’ might be your slightly impatient reply.
The reason I ask these questions is that it is likely that you have never asked them of yourself, and that the possibility that you might actually believe in a God of your own imagination – though you go to church, profess to be a Christian, or might even be a preacher – has never crossed your mind. But we must question ourselves constantly in the way of faith, and in matters which concern eternity, for there is much deception abroad, and there are many who will be deceived to the very end, Matt. 7:21-23.
Further questions to be asked later will be: Do you believe in the Jesus of the scriptures? And, Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit? Now the reader will already suspect – as my site is called ‘separating gospel truths’ – that as we begin to answer these questions, many will have their ‘beliefs’ exposed as being false; proving that they actually do believe in a God of their own imagination.
Trust not thine own heart
As we address this subject there is one point to remember: the heart of man is ‘deceitful above all things’, Jer. 17:9: there is nothing in existence so deceitful as the human heart – our hearts. In fact, in the natural world the human heart is the only deceitful thing there is! All the corruption in the world has emanated from the deceitful, sinful heart of man. It is no wonder then that the wise man counselled: ‘He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool’, Prov. 28:26. This word ‘deceitful’ in scripture means crooked, inscrutable, even slippery. In fact, it is actually translated ‘crooked’ in Isaiah 40:4 – a wonderful promise when you think about it: ‘the crooked shall be made straight’: the totally opposite state.
In the dictionary ‘deceit’ is defined as ‘misrepresentation’; it is ‘a taking away’ of the truth and ‘by trickery’ replacing it with falsehood. Deceit is lying; it is to produce ‘a misleading appearance’. Is all this a true description of your own heart, and therefore life? Do you ever ‘pretend’? If you have been taught anything by God the Holy Spirit you will know from your own honest experience that your heart is always ready to lie to yourself; to twist the truth; to make yourself believe that you are better than you are; to deny any guilt that might point your way with an instant readiness to bring forward self-justification, even in the face of obvious contrary evidence, cp. Gen. 3:9-13.
So in the light of this grim truth, can it not be possible that our fallen minds have actually formed an understanding of a ‘God’ of our own imagination; one that is different in character to the true and living God? But you might say: But the God I believe in hears and answers my prayers; I love and worship him. Well that wouldn’t be too difficult in the light of the above, would it? I asked someone a while ago which Jesus she believed in, and she replied, ‘The one who gives me joy, peace, fulfilment and assurance’ – or words to that effect. But when I commented that that was all very nice, but had he also taught her his saving doctrine: ‘my doctrine’, as he called it, Deut. 32:2, John 7:16, cp. also Rom. 6:17, the conversation came to an abrupt end: ‘doctrine is divisive’. But your own deceitful heart – or Satan – can give you ‘joy, peace, fulfilment and assurance’. The scriptures say that ‘God is light’; but also that Satan can be manifest as ‘an angel of light’; so if you are ‘walking in the light’ in a Christian profession how do you know that the ‘light’ you walk by is heavenly rather than hellish light: you could be deceived, 2 Cor. 11:13-15.
Why do you think that the scriptures are full of exhortations and warnings to those who say they believe in God, or in Jesus, to watch and beware lest they be deceived; for there are in the churches many false professors, many blind guides, many blind followers of those guides; and, yes, many who will arrive on the day of judgment crying to Jesus ‘Lord, Lord!’ who will then be cast into the lake of fire because of their careless presumption, Matt. 15:14, 7:21-23.
Therefore, let us ‘examine ourselves’, our own beliefs and our own perceptions of who we think God is; and see if they match the scriptural revelation; for we must be right on this matter. The Lord Jesus said that ‘eternal life’ was to know ‘the only true God’; the one true God who exists in and of himself outside the realms of our deceitful imagination. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to seek to know him as he really is, and not how we would like him to be; for he is who he is regardless of how we might like to deceive ourselves to the contrary.
The Nature of God
The first thing to realise about God is that he is totally ‘other’ than ourselves: he is not like us. Nothing characterises the modern profession of fallen Christianity more than its ready familiarity with God: ‘You God.’ God is now become ‘one of us’. He has been brought down to our level: has been created in our own image – imagination; we walk with him and he walks with us in such a relaxed nonchalant manner that to many he is barely more than their ‘Buddy’: hands in pockets, mooching along life’s pathway, kicking stones, always ready for a friendly chat.
Yes, aided and abetted by modern slick ministries, and the superabundance of children’s and youth ministries – things alien to scripture and the doctrine of the gospel – God has been torn out of heaven and stripped of just about all his attributes and has now become little more than our ‘Daddy in the sky’, who smiles a lot, can be moved by a little bit of sentimentality – especially when we pray to him in soft tones, or beguile him with worship songs – and loves to give us nice things – like joy, peace, fulfilment and assurance – upon the merest asking for them. Add to this his apparent sense of humour and the often twinkle in his eye and all in all he is such an easy God to know and be with! And, oh, how he loves us! Loving, nice, kind and forgiving – especially when we nudge him with our elbow, and with a quick ‘sorry God’ when we’ve done something ‘wrong’. That’s the God of many today: viz. ‘the God of their own imagination’.
But to each of these ‘wicked God saith…thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set [all thy wickedness] in order before thine eyes’, Psalm 50:16-22; cp. also Prov. 1:20-31. Yes, the scriptures, not to mention the experience of all the true children of God, paint rather a different picture of the true and living God.
First of all he is not like us at all; for ‘God is a spirit’, John 4:24; he is not a man, Num. 23:19. We, on the other hand, are flesh and blood; we are of the earth, earthy, 1 Cor. 15:47, and we are of time: the whole realm of our existence is bound within time; but God is eternal, so his natural habitation is wholly outside of ours. Indeed, God created time! ‘All things were made by him’, John 1:3. And as God is the creator of ‘all things’, then he himself was not created. Our lives began in our mother’s womb, but God had no beginning. He is the Great Beginning of all things: the Cause of it all. We cannot grasp the concept of eternity because we can only think and reason with finite minds based in time; but eternity is outside of time and does not have a beginning, an ending, nor a yesterday, tomorrow or a next year.
Therefore God in his very situation is someone we just cannot understand. As his very realm of existence is different to ours, then how can we understand him! There is a great gulf fixed between the natural realm of God and our sphere of existence; and as that is the case then it is impossible for either, naturally speaking, to cross into the other’s realm. No, God is not like us, for, firstly, he just does not dwell in the same state as we do.
But, secondly, God is not like us in his character. For God is Holy. What does this oft-repeated but little-understood word really mean? Well, its fundamental meaning underlines our first point: God is ‘separate’. To be holy is to be separate. The word ‘sanctified’, which means to be made holy, describes something which has been ‘set apart’ as holy for God’s service. The vessels in the temple were set apart for that specific purpose, and God’s people are also ‘sanctified in Christ Jesus’: set apart from the rest of humanity for the service of God – not for the service of themselves. So God, in his very nature is Holy. As well as one who dwells in a place apart from us: eternity; his very Person in that separated state is separate from ours. God is Holy, we are sinful: absolute and opposite states.
God’s holiness also suggests his Purity, his intrinsic perfection. God is perfect in his very being. God is not tainted by sin in any way; therefore he has never experienced the way in which sin works in the mind, will or affections. God does not know, and cannot begin to imagine, what it must be like to have a sinful nature, nor how sins can be conceived or committed. God is not and cannot be tempted by sin, or to sin. Within God’s nature there is no latent root of deviousness or deceit to be found. God cannot lie. Man was once innocent of sin, and that within himself; but it could never be said of man that he could not sin, because he did! But God cannot sin.
Yes, God in his very nature is different to us in that he is Holy, Perfect and Pure. And because God is all these things then he cannot dwell with those who are not the same. Sin cannot dwell with him; sinners cannot approach unto him, 1 Tim. 6:15,16; sinners cannot even be heard by him, John 9:31; sinners have no access to God whatsoever because he is Holy. The moment Satan conceived the thought in his heart that he would ascend and be like the most high God, God cast him out of heaven: the very moment: the very milli-billi-second! (Here we are, trying to introduce the language of time into eternity!) Why? Because God is absolutely holy – well, holiness can only exist as an absolute.
Now is this the God you believe in? If you call yourself a Christian, has there ever been a time when you’ve known that God was altogether other than you in his very state and nature? Or have you, from the first time you began to consider him, been beguiled into thinking that ‘love’ was his only attribute, and therefore found it relatively easy and straightforward to gain access into his presence and ‘receive’ his salvation? If that is the case then you don’t know him to this day, and your deceitful heart has been working tirelessly to keep you in the dark. No. All those who know God truthfully and savingly – a knowledge only to be found ‘in Christ’ – have first known God to be separate from them: remote, distant, and therefore inaccessible because of the distinct natures of both.
All those who have sought the Lord have experienced the impossibility of ever finding him because they know that he is so far above them. What a sense of despair they have felt in their seeking after One who not only dwells on a plane totally outside of theirs, but who is in his very nature absolutely separate from them. Nevertheless, see Psalm 113.
The next attribute of God to consider is that he is Good: ‘there is none good but one, that is, God’, Matt. 19:17. The word good is such a commonly used word today; and as such its meaning has become so diminished: ‘Have you had a good day?’ And I imagine that when many people think of God as ‘good’ then all they really mean is that he is ‘just such a great person to know’; the same as they would describe someone who is always ‘the life and soul of the party’: ‘Yeah, God is so good, he really makes us feel good… Hey, wasn’t it a great worship service! Good music! Great atmosphere! Praise the Lord! Anyway, got to go; there’s such a good show on TV tonight.’
But this isn’t the ‘good’ of the Psalmist’s description of his God: ‘Thou art good, and doest good’, Ps. 119:68. (Oh, ‘remove far from me vanity and lies!’) God is Good. How this word needs to be re-established and elevated again to its rightful definition. God is not only good, but he is all there is that is good. As the one supreme, perfect, holy, and sin-free Being, then it follows that he must be good. Goodness is purity; it is righteousness; it is beauty; it is equity; it is justice. God is whole; he is unspotted; untainted. God is complete, and settled; he lacks nothing; is never diminished; has no need to change: he cannot change. God is not – and never has been – immature, liable, or equivocal. God in his nature, to the unfathomable depth of his being, is Good. There is no darkness in him; there is no shadow cast by his turning; there is no propensity in him to moodiness, volatility, or ill-temper. God is not carnal; neither is he ever reactionary. God is constant, immutable, and full of equanimity. God is good… I’m struggling to describe the indescribable.
God is Just. Indeed, his holiness predicates his justice. God is good, therefore God is righteous: he cannot be anything other. ‘Thou art good, and doest good.’ God is holy, good and just not only in his being, but in his doing also. His works emanate from his Person. As he is, so will he do. In fact it can be said that God is bound to do good because his nature demands it. As God cannot deny himself, then he cannot act contrary to the attributes of his own Person. So everything that God wills, purposes and does is righteous and just. God is never unfair, biased, partial or unjust in his judgments; all his works are according to truth and righteousness, Rev. 16:7. If God is just, then he will act justly: ‘The LORD cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity – uprightness’, Ps. 98:9.
How different he is to us! We are unrighteous, selfish, unjust, partial, biased, inconsistent, lenient on self but not on others. Judge righteous judgment? – John 7:24 – not if we can help it! Now, do you still want God to be like you? And, Do you still believe in God? The true God? Is your ‘faith’ wavering? Do you like the idea that God will judge you according to the attributes of his Person and not in the way that you judge yourselves? I once wrote a small tract entitled ‘Who is your God?’ in which I said this:
‘So many people today are heard to say, ‘O my God!’ that it always make me feel like replying, ‘Well, who is your God?’ – you say ‘my’ God after all. Is it yourself? Most people’s god is their self. Do you live for self: to please self; to satisfy self; to promote self; to portray self in a good light? Do most of your desires centre upon Me, Myself, and I? Then You are your God.
‘But who are you, really? And what are you? Do you know yourself? What is sin? Do you associate yourself with sin, or are you perfect? You say, I am not perfect. Do you love others at all times even if it means sometimes denying yourself? No, not always. Perhaps rarely.
‘Are you ever proud? Thinking yourself better than others? Is yours a humble existence with only thought for the good of others? No? Then by your own admission your god is imperfect, often unloving, proud, and quite selfish. I say, what a god to have!
‘Are you able to save your own soul and assure yourself of safety when you die? – for you must die. You cannot. Then what hope can your god give regarding your eternal state? Does it know? Has it any power? No. Then you are a miserable god, totally bound up with self, and all your ‘hope’ is to be found only in this dying world; therefore you are, actually, without hope.’
The next thing to assert about the true and living God is that he is Almighty: Omnipotent. Isn’t it amazing how often you hear people add this word when they utter ‘God’ as an expletive. Well, he is Almighty. God is all powerful. How could anyone less be the Original Creator! I believe this is why people are driven to create: whether it be in art, literature or music; they want to ‘originate’ something new because they want to ‘be as God’, Gen. 3:5. But it is all vanity, Eccl. 1:9-11, and very often self-destructive, as the lives of many of them have shown.
As Creator God has formed all things. We have already seen that he created time, but that within time he has created all the ‘natural laws’ which exist for the continuation of the physical universe. What amazing vast and intricate design manifests itself in the world at large, and in organisms in particular: only those blinded by unbelief cannot see the creative and orderly Hand of the Almighty behind all these things.
God is Almighty in that he merely has to ‘speak, and it is done’: ‘And God said… and it came to pass.’ But his power does not end there. For he continues to uphold all things by the word of his power; he sustains his creation although it has now been corrupted by sin. But can sin ultimately hinder or overturn the purpose of God for his creation? How can it if he is All mighty? This very attribute of his Person necessarily forbids his defeat or undoing in anything. Again we must understand that we are in the realm of the Absolute: All mighty is an absolute. Therefore he is God indeed.
And so we arrive at this supreme truth about God: that he is God indeed. This was the thought which set me upon this subject in the first place; and which caused me to ask the original question: Do you believe in God? Many say they believe in God, but when pressed to describe him it is soon evident that they do not believe in, and cannot accept a God who is God indeed. But if you think about it, God cannot exist as anything other than Absolute God. God by definition is God indeed. He is Almighty. To be God he must be the Absolute, Almighty, First Cause, and Sustainer of all things; he could not exist as God otherwise. We cannot allow a semi-powerful God, neither can we countenance a merely ceremonial sovereign; the whole idea is self-contradictory. Unless God is all powerful; unless he is in total and absolute control of all things; unless he reigns as a ready, present, interested Sovereign; then he cannot be God.
This point above all others is that which will separate most of those who say they believe in God but who don’t actually: that God is Sovereign. He reigns over all things as King of heaven and earth. Everything is in his hand; all circumstances are his to move; all hearts are his to turn; all lives – whether they be the lives of the elect or the reprobate – are his to take and use for whatever purpose he sees fit; all things happen under his control and for the ultimate working out of his purposes. ‘The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein’, Ps. 24:1. Which means that you, the reader, are but clay in the hands of the heavenly Potter; and that your life is being worked out for the end to which God purposed it. These things must be true if God is God indeed.
In saying that, two characters immediately come to mind: Pharaoh and the Apostle Paul. Of both it could be said – and Paul says it specifically of himself – that ‘When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb’, Gal. 1:15. Of Pharaoh God said, ‘Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up’: that is, raised him up from his mother’s womb, Rom. 9:17. But the similarity between the two ends there. For Paul was born and raised up to be called by the grace of God, and to receive the revelation of His Son in him; whereas Pharaoh was raised up by God to be hardened against His commandments; to be an object by which God’s power would be seen; not His saving power but His Sovereign destroying power; and that through his disobedience, rebellion and stubbornness against the LORD, the fear of the LORD would come upon men and nations for years and centuries to come, cp. Joshua 2:9-11, 1 Sam. 4:7,8.
Now. Do you still believe in God? Is this the God you like the sound of? No? Well, what does it matter what you like the sound of! for this is the God revealed in the scriptures: the only true and living God. All other gods are but figments of man’s corrupt imagination. A God who is not absolutely sovereign is no God at all. To be God, he must reign. The almighty God is one who works, controls, purposes, initiates, reasons, commands, and judges: ‘But our God,’ says the psalmist, ‘is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased’. Meanwhile, the gods which men make – either literally or in their own corrupt and superstitious imaginations – are only like unto them: dead! Ps. 115:2-8.
Just listen to the testimony of one who had built a great image for men to fall down before and worship, but who was then humbled into the dust before the one true and living God: thus said Nebuchadnezzar: ‘I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?… Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase’, Daniel 4:34-37.
Again, is this your God? Look at all those absolutes used of the King of heaven by this once heathen king: ‘an everlasting dominion’; ‘all the inhabitants of the earth’; ‘as nothing’; ‘and none can stay his hand’; ‘all whose works are truth’. Being brought to these realisations caused Nebuchadnezzar’s ‘reason to return unto him’. And no wonder! And if the reader rejects these definitions of the true God then what state is your ‘reason’ in, and what really is your experience of him? It is therefore unreasonable – and indeed, foolish – to believe and accept God to be anything other than God indeed.
But consider further Nebuchadnezzar’s description of God which he had received by experience and revelation: He had a ‘dominion’ which was not primarily over time, and his kingdom overarched all generations of men on earth. Nebuchadnezzar had had a dominion, but it was only temporary, and lasted only in his own generation. Whereas the earthly king may have counted many of his own subjects as nothing under his rule, and that he could impose his will upon them to a degree, yet his power to carry out his will was not absolute, as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego proved; yet compared to the King of heaven his rule was as nothing; for ‘He [indeed] doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?’
No. Here is the King of kings; the only sovereign in the history of time and eternity who constantly exercises absolute power and authority over his subjects, his enemies, and over all the kings of the earth. His rule is unhindered and unhinderable. Who can stay his hand? Who can change his mind? Who can overcome him, outwit him, or cheat his purposes? The earth and all things therein is his own creation: it belongs to him; and all his purposes regarding it were worked out before it came into being. Do you think God ‘makes things up as he goes along’? adapting his plans and thoughts according to changed or ‘unforeseen circumstances’? The very creation of the world and of all men in it was according to his already settled purpose!
Paul in his doctrine speaks of this ‘eternal purpose’, Eph. 3:11. Can ‘time’, a created thing, hinder the purpose formed in eternity, and for eternity? But time was created as a canvas upon which to work out his purposes. Although eternal purposes are for eternity, yet it was God’s plan to work them out in time: therefore time was created – see Revelation 4:11, where the words ‘for thy pleasure’ mean ‘according to thy will’. So time was created merely to serve God’s purposes. Then the eternal purpose does not find its ultimate fulfilment in time: time was never meant to be an end in itself: all is for eternity and for the glory of the eternal God.
What a blow all this is for us, creatures of time, who can only think in the realm of time; for we like to think that time, being our natural state, is the ultimate state, the be-all and end-all of everything; but that is because we are so self-centred, and like to believe the lie that we are becoming like gods; but God, not us, is the Supreme Being above all: his is the creation, his is the purpose, and his will be all the glory: not in time only, but in eternity. If we think otherwise then we know and perceive nothing of the nature and character of God; and we don’t believe in God.
God’s Sovereign Salvation
Which leads us to a consideration of God’s sovereignty in relation to the salvation of men – and we will ask the two other questions regarding the Lord Jesus and the Holy Ghost in this context specifically. There may be some who will allow God to be God indeed up to this point, but who then will overthrow all their ‘belief’ in a Sovereign God when it touches their beloved idol ‘free will.’ ‘Yes, God is in control of everything; everything apart from my ability to choose or reject salvation.’ ‘Yes, God is sovereign, but he is not ‘unfair’ to save some and not give everyone else the ‘chance’ to be saved as well.’ I knew a man once – an AV reading man as well – who said to me, ‘If election is true, then God is a monster’.
Free will can be traced back to the Garden of Eden, to ‘ye shall be as gods’. In effect what the serpent said to Eve in Genesis 3 was, ‘Go on, exercise your own will – it is free after all – and eat of the fruit. I know that God commanded you shouldn’t but, ultimately, he is not going to stop you, is he? I mean, you can actually reach out and take it with your hand and put it into your mouth, can’t you? Why doesn’t God want you to have it? So that he can keep you from being like himself; he’s restraining you; depriving you of reaching your potential as a human being: to be like him! But why should he be God alone? Why can’t you ascend, as it were, to his throne and be like him? Why should you stay in ignorance of all that knowledge – that wisdom and illumination – which the eating of this one simple tree would bring you? Why should you be subordinate to a God who delights to restrict you and keep you in servitude under his rule? Go on, exercise that will of yours, take control of your life and set yourself free!’
And thus suitably beguiled – ‘when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise’ – Eve exercised her free will and disobeyed God, and encouraged her husband to do the same; who then plunged the whole of his posterity not into wisdom, liberty and godhood, but into darkness, bondage, sin and death: while retaining his free will? Hardly!
A belief in free will and therefore a denial of the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation, is what ultimately exposes the unbelievers: those who don’t actually believe in God. Jonah was a man who mistakenly thought that he could exercise some sort of free will in disobeying the LORD’s command; until he found himself in the most hopeless of situations inside the fish. And then what was he brought to confess? ‘Salvation is of the LORD’ – absolutely; and if it wasn’t then Jonah’s days were ended. But it was not until he was brought to this confession that the LORD then ‘spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land’, proving Jonah’s statement, Jonah 2.
When Jonah said ‘Salvation is of the LORD’, that word ‘of’ was loaded with wonderful meaning. ‘Of’ means, by, through, because of, emanates from, is the prerogative of, only comes by, is the sovereign choice of, the LORD. And let not anyone forget it. The LORD would not speak to the fish for Jonah’s salvation until this truth was declared and hoped upon by the helpless and will-less prophet. To believe in God truly, is to believe very specifically about not only his state, his person, and his character, but also his omnipotent power to save. The true and living God cannot exist other than as absolute Saviour; one who not only reigns supreme in heaven and on earth, but who reigns in the lives of men – whether they be his people to save or not. He will save – only – his people from their sins; and none can stay his hand in this or in anything else he has purposed to do. (Ah! To write these same wonderful things, to me indeed is not grievous!)
Do you think that creatures of time – and fallen creatures at that – can hinder, frustrate, overturn, or have any say whatsoever in the fulfilling of the saving purposes of the one true eternal Sovereign? If salvation is of the LORD and is according to his ‘eternal purpose’, then what input can a merely created creature of time have? Those whom the Lord saves are recipients of salvation – it comes to them as a sovereignly bestowed free gift. In the realm of grace gifts are freely bestowed not offered. God is not a heavenly touter of salvation. To the free willer God is nothing more than a hopeful hawker, knocking on the door of people’s hearts hoping that they will open to him and buy his salvation, albeit ‘without money and without price’, as they still might like to quote. But the Almighty, Sovereign is none of these things; yet this is the God of the many today. Therefore, I say, the churches seem to be full of people who don’t believe in God at all.
So they are yet lost, regardless of their Christian profession. The god they believe in, though they think they get all their ‘knowledge’ of him from the Bible, is nothing but a figment of their own darkened imaginations, born out of the deceit of their own hearts. It’s no wonder they so readily profess a love for their god, for he is like unto them; and as they willingly follow the lie that they can be as God, then it is proved that they love themselves more than anything or anyone else. And if this applies to the reader then you are your own God. Therefore far from being a follower of God, or a disciple of Jesus, you actually serve Satan, you believe and love his lies, and are a child of wrath: the wrath of God abideth upon you even as you sit in your pew, read your Bible, say your prayers, or engage in worship; all your religion is vanity and lies. In fact, you are the true ‘atheist’: the one ‘without God’.
This is where free will finally leads: to atheism. ‘I shall be as God; therefore I am God. My salvation is in my own hands; I can choose; I have chosen; therefore I have ascended to the heights of heaven; have sat upon the throne of God; and have judged and decided upon my own eternal destiny.’ This is the fruit of the ‘gospel’ of the many in the professing Christian church today – regardless of how ‘reformed’ some of them pretend to be – and it is their condemnation.
‘God manifest in the flesh’
Now we can come to our second question: Do you believe in the Jesus of the scriptures? The Lord Jesus in his doctrine left us in no doubt as to who he was in his Person: ‘Before Abraham was, I am’, John 8:58.
Throughout the gospel of John we read the words of the Saviour concerning himself which commence, ‘I am…’ : 6:35, 8:12, 10:9, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1. The word translated ‘am’ also means, ‘exist’, ‘have been’, and implies ‘remain’. Therefore these two words are a very definite declaration that Jesus of Nazareth identified his very Person to be that of God: the ‘self-existent’ one; at least, this is what the Jews that heard him understood him to mean. God had told Moses at the burning bush that his name was ‘I AM THAT I AM’, Ex. 3:14, so they knew that any one who used the same words in declaring about himself would necessarily be making himself equal with God. Jesus declared ‘I am’, and the Jews took up stones to stone him, because ‘thou, being a man, makest thyself God.’ This was blasphemy to their ears; they could not deny his works, nor fail to marvel at his doctrine; and some were even willing to acknowledge that, indeed, ‘thou art a teacher come from God’, and that God was with him, John 3:2; but they hated his declaration of his very Person, that ‘I and my Father are one.’ The word translated ‘one’ in this verse means ‘one in essence’; in effect what Jesus was saying regarding himself and the Father was, We ‘are’; We ‘have our being’; not that we are just ‘of one and the same mind’, as if we simply agree on everything; but more, in our very nature, we are ‘one’, John 10:30-33.
So when Jesus stated that ‘before Abraham was, I am’, he was declaring that ‘before Abraham was born and existed, I existed already, for in my divine nature I have always been in existence, I am equal with God, I am God.’ Hebrews 1:3 speaks of the Son’s ‘express image’ of the Person of God; of his literal ‘character’. Thus John referred to the Son as ‘the true God’, 1 John 5:20; and calling Jesus ‘the Word’ he could write, ‘And the Word was God’, John 1:1; while the psalmist declared of him, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever’, Psalm 45:6, Heb. 1:8.
In the Garden of Gethsemane at his arrest Jesus again declared ‘I am’, although in the Authorised Version – in answering the questions put to him – he is given to reply, ‘I am he’, the word ‘he’ being in italics, showing that it was not in the original Greek, John 18:4-8. It is no wonder then that ‘as soon as he had said unto them, I am, they went backward, and fell to the ground’. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, is the eternally begotten Son of God: after all, an ‘everlasting Father’ can only be such if his Son is likewise ‘everlasting’, cp. Is. 9:6; he is God in the flesh: ‘And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us’, John 1:14; and in so doing was named ‘Emmanuel, God with us’, Matt. 1:23, Is. 7:14.
Furthermore the one who declares ‘I am’ can never be anything else; that is, he cannot be ‘I am’ at one point and not at another; he cannot be ‘I am’ while in glory, but lose his character when ‘limited’ to being ‘manifest in the flesh.’ The eternal Son remained God while in the flesh: fully God; it was his humility and submission to the will of the Father which found him ‘in fashion as a man’; and it was only as he became a man that he could then say, ‘My Father is greater than I’, John 14:28 – context, Jehovah’s Witnesses, context. Jesus veiled his glory; in the Godhead he made himself of no reputation, took upon him the form of a servant, and as a result was made in the likeness of men, Phil. 2:5-11. The Jews did not think there was much ‘glory’ in him as they secured his execution; hanging upon the cross he was ‘accursed’, Gal. 3:13, but he remained fully God, as well as being fully man, although he had done no sin, and known no sin; having always been, in his very nature, without sin.
Hebrews 13:8 sums up the Lord’s Person in one clear statement: ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’. Once again the original language is enlightening. The word translated ‘same’ indicates ‘self’, as in ‘himself’, or ‘myself’; so the Lord Jesus is ‘himself yesterday, and to day, and for ever.’ A person can change his state, his appearance, or his habitation, but he can never change his basic character, his own ‘self’; so it was with Jesus Christ the Lord of glory.
The Saviour declared, ‘If ye believe not that I am (he), ye shall die in your sins’, John. 8:23,24. It is the work of the Spirit of God to reveal the Person of Jesus Christ to us, and in us, Gal. 1:15,16; to bring us to acknowledge him, believe on him, and worship him as the eternal Son of God – and therefore, as God the Son, cp. Acts 9:17-20. If we deny his Person then he will not receive us, for ‘he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’, Heb. 11:6; see also John 4:21-26, 9:35-38.
Again, thus far, many who ‘believe in Jesus’ would say ‘amen’ to the above. But as the Lord Jesus is fully God then he possesses all the attributes of God: so he too is Holy, Good, Just, and Sovereign. One of the great perversions of those who actually believe in a Jesus of their own imagination, is to sentimentalise the Saviour: to portray him as little more than a kindly cuddly man, always smiling, sitting in green meadows on sunny days, surrounded by daisies and skipping lambs; sitting children on his knee, stroking them on the head and saying, ‘There, there; never mind that you are sometimes naughty, we’ll just overlook it, because I love you.’ (‘Naughty’ is another word that has been weakened and toned down from its original weighty meaning: cp. Prov. 6:12, 11:6, James 1:21.)
No, this modern saviour has become one who is no longer concerned with our sins because ‘he died for them’ on the cross all those years ago, and so they’re all ‘gone and forgotten’. So, now, as long as we have ‘let him into our hearts’, ‘believe in him’ and ‘love’ him, then we can basically live as we please; so long as we go to church regularly, read our Bibles – have our quiet time – and try to live the best we can for Jesus, then he will accept us, be pleased with us, and will patiently overlook our shortcomings – things that don’t really bother us, or him, seeing he is so kind and loving. Thus the hideous caricature of the Lord of glory which many hold in their deceitful imaginations.
But the Lord Jesus Christ is Holy; he is Righteousness; he is separate from sinners in his Person; and he awaits the commandment of his Father to come again in power and great glory to usher in the day of judgment, when he will divide mankind into just two groups: one on either side of his judgment seat; those on the right being his elect, and those on the left being the reprobate. He will address the former as ‘ye blessed of my Father’ and welcome them into the joy of their Lord – as this blessing was ‘prepared for them from the foundation of the world’; but upon the latter he will vent his holy and just wrath – ‘the wrath of the Lamb’ – for their rebellion, disobedience, and sin; and will cast them into the lake of fire, there to experience everlasting torment – He will do it: ‘Depart from me…’ Meek and mild now?
But the point to emphasise here is that amongst that latter group of people will be many who have ‘believed in him’ in this life, but who never once conceived of him as having wrath, Psalm 2:12, and that after his ‘wonderful work on the cross’ would ever exercise wrath; but they have forgotten, or conveniently overlooked the testimony of Matthew 3:7, John 3:36, Romans 2:5-9, Ephesians 5:6, and especially of Revelation 6:12-17.
But let us not be in any doubt but that this is ‘willing ignorance’ on their part, 2 Peter 3:3-7. They just will not submit to the revelation of scripture and the apostles’ doctrine regarding the holiness of the character of the Son of God. This is because they have no knowledge or experience – are ignorant – of the sinfulness of sin, or of His hatred of, and offence at it. Subsequently they do not hate, and never have hated sin in themselves; it does not trouble them; it has never been felt as a barrier between them and their ‘saviour’. Consequently they’ve never needed the true Saviour. No, as those who have met their Jesus standing with beaming face and open arms at the opening of the wide gate; and having experienced a quiet moment there of ‘sorrow’ for their sins, and an asking for forgiveness, their saviour has instantly and with no hesitation – ‘say no more’ – taken them in and set them upon their broad way of forgiveness, love, fellowship, worship and doing; and the radiant light at the end of the way – for they are fully assured that they can see it already – is the light which surely emanates from the pearly gates themselves.
But they believe in another Jesus; and unless they repent and seek with all their being – striving to enter – a knowledge of the true Lord of glory, then very soon they will realise that what I have written here is not just a sarcastic rant against ‘poor people who don’t know any better because they don’t get the proper teaching’; but is a condemnation of those who will not submit to the plain teaching of those scriptures they hold so casually in their hands. There is not one man, woman, youth or child in this country today who will be without excuse on the day of judgment; for we each have easy access to the scriptures in our own language. The Authorised Version is readily available to be read by all; it being the one version which gives the fullest revelation of the Person and coming wrath of the Son of God. But then, not everyone who reads even it possesses a true saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus; for there are many readers even of the AV which pervert the truth.
Although the truth is written on the page of scripture it is the Spirit which is needed to reveal saving knowledge of Christ. The Bible on its own is but a book – ‘the letter’, 2 Cor. 3:6 – it is words on the page; but with divine revelation the scriptures open up to be those which are able to make one wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Then seek after that revelation and that faith, reader; seek it with all your heart.
Furthermore it has to be stressed that as the Lord Jesus is God then he too is Sovereign. His salvation is for all those chosen in him in the eternal purpose of grace. As those who were born in sin, who grew quickly to prove that they were dead in trespasses and in sins, and who thus lived their lives as willing ‘servants of sin’, how else could they ever be saved. Naturally they were dead to God, and therefore dead to spiritual life. Those who say they believe in Jesus but deny his absolute sovereignty in salvation betray not only their ignorance of the Person of God – as shown earlier – but also their ignorance of what it really means to be ‘dead’ in sins, Eph. 2:5. I know they believe it because it says it in the Bible, but that ‘letter’ or academic belief is not saving faith. If a person thinks that he has the choice or the option to believe from the will of his firstborn nature; and if he thinks that Jesus is just waiting patiently outside ‘the door of his heart’, hoping that he might let Him in; then that person is not dead according to his own understanding. No, he has some trace of life in him, enough at least to approach God, or Jesus, with a request for salvation based on the wonderful ‘gospel offer’ he has heard about.
But a dead man has no life – by definition; and therefore if he is ever to be saved then someone who has life – who is ‘the life’ – must come and save him, despite himself. And as that is the case then the one who saves must have before-determined to save him, and sovereignly save him, because the dead soul is in no state to request it. Only a living person can decide anything on behalf of a dead person. Corpses can never be consulted on anything.
So Jesus’ sovereignty in the work of salvation is total: he shall save his people from their sins because he has purposed to do so; it is the only reason he came! The book of life – wherein is written the names of the elect – is, after all, called the Lamb’s book. Jesus said his purpose for coming was to seek and to save that which was lost; and one only seeks for a predetermined and preknown thing. And how many of these will he lose because their free will to reject his salvation proved stronger than his power to save them? NONE! As he said, ‘All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out… and I will raise him up at the last day’, John 6:37-40. ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand’, John 10:27,28. These are statements of pure fact; there is nothing negotiable here: no maybes or perhapses. In fact there isn’t any hint in the Saviour’s doctrine of the saved being consulted at all. Christ comes, and saves his people for ‘Salvation is of the LORD’.
But there are some other people who also deny the Person and power of the Lord Jesus: and they are those who seem to love and wallow in their unbelief (although the apostle is far less accommodating of such a state, referring to it as having ‘an evil heart of unbelief’, Heb. 3:12). This may seem strange to some, but there are such people. These are they who are riddled with false humility: they are so ‘small’ in their own eyes. Yes, they say they believe in the sovereignty of God and in the blood of Christ to save: and they will even go so far as to say that Jesus is ‘mighty to save’… except them of course; because their unbelief is far too strong, and their ‘sinfulness’ – although they are actually ignorant of their true sinnership – is far too utter for the Lord to save them; no, they are so poor, so nothing, so humble, that salvation is not, and can never be for them. I have written at length of these in my ‘Contentions…’; but suffice it to say here that the Jesus they profess to preach is not the Almighty Sovereign whose name means Saviour!
So the Lord Jesus, ‘God manifest in the flesh’, is the only way to the Father: access to God is only by and through him. Above we stated the impossibility of God and men, naturally speaking, crossing into the other’s realm of existence: God dwelling in eternity and man bound only in time. But something supernatural has happened to which the phrase ‘God manifest in the flesh’ bears witness. God the Son ‘came’ into time from eternity – an absolute miracle! – to reconcile men unto God. Paul makes the stupendous statement to the Corinthians that ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world’ – Gentiles as well as Jews – ‘unto himself’ in his work upon the cross, 2 Cor. 5:19. ‘God sent forth his Son’, Gal. 4:4, out of eternity into time ‘to redeem them that were under the law, that they might receive the adoption of sons’, verse 5; that they might become the sons of God!
The great ‘I am’ came into time to save his people from their sins, to be made sin for them, to seek and to save them that were lost, to reveal the Father to them, and to bring many sons unto glory in him. He came as their substitute – ‘Behold, the Lamb of God’! – to die for them, as them; to rise from the dead as them; to ascend into heaven as them, and to sit at the right hand of God as them; a work so intimately associated with them that it was counted as though they actually went through the whole of it themselves – except that he did it for them! Nevertheless they are counted by God as having been crucified with Christ, and raised and seated together with him in heavenly places, Gal. 2:20, Col. 3:1-3, Eph. 2:4-6.
Therefore God comes into time, and men – naturally impossible reconciliation! – men are raised to dwell in eternity in the blessed presence of God; and obviously – as we have stated elsewhere – they are then no longer called sinners; but being in Christ they are saints! This all happened two thousand years ago when Christ finished the work; from then on they were called saints in the estimation of God; and as such when they are born into this world and at length begin to come under conviction of sin; when they are born again of the Spirit of God, and begin to call upon the name of the Lord for salvation – already believing that he can save them if he will; then they show by this spiritual communication with God that they are no longer sinners – for we have already seen that ‘God heareth not sinners’ – but saints: children of God calling to their Father by that faith he has already given them. Presently when he gives them the knowledge of salvation and the forgiveness of sins by the blood of Christ, then they begin to experience the joy and assurance of salvation: but in actual fact they were saved at the cross, cp. Rev. 1:5, Acts 20:28.
So this experience of theirs has been that of ‘calling’: a calling which actually follows, or flows from, salvation; as Paul wrote, ‘who hath saved us [at the cross] and [subsequently] called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began’, 2 Tim. 1:9. So if we have been, or are being, called then we are already saved; and if we are called then we know our election of God: ‘give diligence to make your calling and [therefore] election sure’, 2 Peter 1:10.
This is all called, ‘the grace of God that bringeth salvation’: ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Oh, glorious truth! What liberty, praise, worship and thanksgiving flows from salvation by Jesus Christ!
The Holy Ghost
That the Holy Ghost is God is shown in his co-equality with the Father and the Son in that the disciples were to baptise ‘in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’, Matt. 28:19. The important word to note here is ‘name’, not names: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have one and the same ‘name’. There is a great mystery in the nature of the Godhead; though there is only one God yet within the Godhead there are these three distinct Persons.
This was first indicated – though not as yet fully manifested – in Genesis 1:1: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’. Here, as in the whole of this chapter, the word translated ‘God’, although a singular word, has within it the indication of plurality. It is like our words ‘congregation’, ‘multitude’ or ‘company’: each is a singular word but each can only exist if more than one person is present. So with Genesis 1:1. The word is elohim not el – the basic word for God, or a god; and although ‘elohim’ denotes plurality – and it is translated ‘gods’ in many instances, cp. Ex. 20:3 – it remains a singular word. Here in Genesis 1:1 it could not be translated ‘gods’ because the subject is singular: verse 31: ‘And God saw every thing that he had made…’, not ‘that they had made’.
Immediately some might say, But hold on, what about verse 26, ‘And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness…’ surely there are gods here? No. This is a proof of what we have just pointed out from verse one, that within the one God there are Persons – not yet revealed in Genesis but known from the revelation of the rest of the scriptures – for in the following verse, 27, we read, ‘So God – elohim – created man in his – not their – image.’
Now, in the new covenant day, the ‘us’ of Genesis 1:26 has been revealed as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, or Spirit. We have already seen that the Lord Jesus betrayed the attributes of deity – he was ‘one’ with the Father: the great ‘I AM’. And so too with the Holy Spirit. Among many references to his deity three spring readily to mind from the Book of Acts. Firstly in chapter 1 Peter speaks of a ‘scripture… which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake…’, verse 16. Later the same apostle wrote that ‘the prophesy of the scripture’ came as ‘holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost’, 2 Peter 1:20,21; and David was one such prophet: cp. Mark 12:35-37. Therefore when Paul wrote that ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God…’, 2 Tim. 3:16; and as David spoke and wrote as he was being moved by the Holy Ghost, then it follows that the Holy Ghost must be God.
Secondly, in Acts 5 we read the account of the lying and death of Ananias and Sapphira his wife; during which Peter clearly said to the man, ‘Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost… thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God’, verses 3,4. Clear enough? Not clear in the Jehovah’s Witness’ New World Translation though; for they have ‘reworded’ these verses to hide the Person and deity of the Spirit – to their own condemnation.
Thirdly, in Acts 13:1-4 we read of Barnabas and Saul being separated by the Holy Ghost ‘for the work whereunto I have called them… So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost…’ But Paul in Ephesians 3:7 says that he was made a minister ‘according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power’.
And there is another reference we could point to. In 1 Corinthians Paul said that he and Apollos were ‘labourers together with God’, 3:4-10; while in Acts 16:6,7 it is evident that the One who was with Paul in his journeys: leading and commanding him where, and where not to go, was ‘the Holy Ghost… the Spirit’.
But a clear testimony to the deity of the Spirit of God is that he is called the Holy Ghost. This means that the very nature and character of the Spirit is Holiness; and we have seen that there is only one Being who is intrinsically Holy – God himself. This is wonderfully declared in the realms of glory by the seraphims in Isaiah 6:3, and by the four beasts in Revelation 4:8, who say continually of the Almighty, of the LORD, of the true Jehovah: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’ Why? Because here are three Persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Now, do you believe in the deity of the Holy Ghost? But to many who profess to believe in the Spirit of God their ‘free will’ throws out completely his omnipotence and his sovereignty. As they demean – blaspheme – the Lord Jesus by saying that he has ‘done all he can’ to save us, and now it is up to us to reach out, take and receive his offered salvation; so they blaspheme the Holy Ghost when they infer that he too can only go so far in his conviction and persuasion of a sinner to ‘accept Jesus’, before it is left to the sovereign rebel to take the ultimate step of self-generated faith to procure his own salvation.
Here we have the Arminian’s ‘Spirit’ revealed: hard working, tireless in his efforts, using every argument, every form of persuasion, every means he can think of to try and ‘win’ a soul for Christ; but not sovereign; not able actually to save; he sometimes loses his catch even though he is totally exhausted in his trying to get them to ‘commit’. So when he’s done all that he possibly can then it’s just ‘fingers crossed’, ‘touch wood’, and ‘hope against hope’ that the sinner might finally ‘choose Christ’.
This is God the Holy Spirit, is it? Often defeated in his desire to save, is he? This blasphemous doctrine of the great mass of modern Christianity will not be forgiven; no, not in this world, neither in the world to come, according to the doctrine of God the Son, Matt. 12:32. Every one who preaches that God the Holy Ghost is not sovereign – because man is sovereign in his responsibility to make his own decision – is a liar; and those who believe what these preachers tell them believe a lie; and those who think that they actually please the Spirit in yielding to his persuasions are totally deceived, and hold a lie in their right hands. But remember, ‘all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death’, Rev. 21:8, 22:15.
But no. God the Holy Spirit has come into the world with the specific purpose of carrying out his work of bringing all those for whom Christ died to faith. He has come to apply the salvation Christ wrought and accomplished – ‘It is finished’ – upon the cross to and in his people. The justification which Christ procured in the shedding of his blood – even the very righteousness of God itself – which was then counted as ‘unto all…’, is now applied to God-given faith by the Spirit: ‘…and upon all them that believe’, Rom. 3:22.
And in this great work of the Spirit he teaches these people all things necessary to salvation, testifying of Christ as the only Saviour, and guiding them into all truth as a body of gathered saints, ‘for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me:’ saith Christ, not ‘glorify the decision maker’; ‘for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you’, John 14:26, 15:26, 16:13,14. Which is all called in the apostles’ doctrine, being ‘born again of the Spirit’, John 3:3-8; experiencing ‘sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth’, 2 Thes. 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2; ‘obeying the truth through the Spirit’, 1 Peter 1:22, and receiving the witness of the Spirit with our spirits that we are the children of God, Rom. 8:16.
Thereafter the Spirit will abide with us for ever. So we will live in the Spirit, will be led of the Spirit, and will walk in the Spirit. The Spirit will draw alongside as the great Comforter, helping our infirmities and interceding for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, and according to the will of God, when we find that we know not what to pray for as we ought. We will sow to the Spirit and shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Having been baptized by the Spirit into one body we will be filled with the Spirit; and the fruit of the Spirit – his fruit – will appear in us.
All in all, we will glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit, will bear testimony to an unbelieving world that there is a God who saves; that there is a Saviour who is alive, and that there is a judgment to come after which the meek will inherit the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Make no mistake: God the Holy Ghost is determined, and is able, to bring all these things about in and for his people – and none will be able to stay his hand.
Who is thy God?
So, now, in the light of all the above: Do you believe in God? – are you ‘alive unto God’? Do you believe in God the Father, in God the Son, in God the Holy Ghost? Do you bow to his Sovereignty? Are you vile before his Holiness? Are you corrupt before his Righteousness? Are you dependant upon his mercy? Have you been born again of his Spirit? Have you been saved – rescued – by his grace? Was that salvation received according to his will not yours? Are you kept by his sustaining and upholding hand and power? Is your only commandment his living – spoken – word? Is your only hope the blood of Christ which he reveals in his gospel as the only way of salvation? Do you put your hand over your mouth and abandon your thoughts in submission to his mind, his will, and his leading? Is your only and continual prayer, ‘Nevertheless not my will, but thine be done’ in every situation, and to whatever cost? Have all your desires, ambitions and hopes: your very life and existence in this world, been cast down at the feet of the Almighty Sovereign, to be trampled under foot by him, thrown out and nailed to the cross? Are you willing to live or to die; to be used and abused by whoever for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s; to ‘suffer the loss of all things for Christ’; to be counted by men, and neighbours, and family, ‘as the filth of the world’, and as ‘the offscouring of all things’, if it be the will of God?
Yes? Can you answer ‘yes’ to all these things?
Then it is likely that you do believe in God. And you will probably know by now that there are less of you in this generation than you once imagined.
Now when the time comes when your answering ‘yes’ to these questions will be put to the ultimate test – for ‘great tribulation’ is nearer than many think – then I’m afraid that your testimony will then likely be ‘and they all forsook me and fled’; and ‘no man stood by me’; BUT, until the end of ‘those days’, ‘notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me’; and therefore, you will ‘endure to the end’, ‘as seeing him who is invisible’; who will receive you at his coming with these words, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’
This is the coming turbulent but final triumphant end of all those who truly do ‘believe in God’.