Posts tagged Grace
So here we are at week two and I’m excited to dive into this week’s subject: sanctification. This is one aspect of the Gospel that has been burning like a bright light in me lately and is something that has become such an essential understanding in my walk with Christ. I’ve been so humbled by the Holy Spirit lately in my study of this and working out of it in my own life. It’s yet another big subject but here’s a few things I want to highlight and point out to you about sanctification.
And a quick note to everyone who reads my amateur posts: Thanks for reading. I know this isn’t the most sophisticated or the most cutting edge but thanks for reading as I’m figuring this stuff out along with everyone else.
Now, let’s sink in to sanctification.
Defining the terms.
Sanctification/sanctify/sanctified are some words you hear around churches that are sometimes spoken of but it’s one of those things that’s either assumed that everyone knows what it means, it’s misconstrued or it’s ignored. For a long time I had a basic understanding of the word as it somehow applied to me, the Holy Spirit was involved and it’s a good thing. Honestly, I didn’t know much more than that.
So what I’ll do now is give you a breakdown of the word and then we’ll discuss another definition according to Romans 15.
The straight-up breakdown of the word Sanctify is this:
Sanctify comes from two Latin words: sanctus which means holy, and ficare which means make.
So then, sanctify means ‘to make holy’.
Now I could go on for quite a bit about what the word holy means but I’ll make it quick and define it like this: being pure, as Jesus is pure; sinless, without blemish, clean, undefiled.
And we’ll leave it at that for now.
I think a good and simple definition of sanctification, according to Romans 15, is this: ‘obedience to Christ’. Now, for me, that’s not always the easiest thing to do in the world and I think I could probably say the same for you. Sometimes I find myself commiting the sin of all sins: putting things where God should be. Paul explains in Romans 1:21-25 that this is our sin beneath all sin. Putting creationwhere Creator should be. The word for this is idolatry; and it’s not just worshiping some little statue or wood carving, it’s worshiping anything but God. We often think that places of worship are ones that religious groups meet but in reality a movie theater can be a place of worship. So can a strip club you patron at or a soup kitchen you volunteer for. You can worship pretty much anywhere and you can just about worship anything but the question is what will you worship? What is worthy of your affection? You’re only here for moment and you don’t want to waste it, right? Perhaps we’ll discuss that more in a coming post in this series but for now let’s keep going deeper into sanctification. By now you’re probably asking the question..
Why is sanctification so important?
I think we Christians often times get very exasperated when people question why we do certain things. That is partially why I started these posts. I want you to really understand what has happened to you in a way that’s both easy to understand but difficult enough to challenge you to study it for yourself so that when that friend of yours that’s been coming with you to those Bible studies finally wants to talk about Jesus and how they can know Him, you’re a little more prepared on explaining a few things. You won’t have all the answers but you might help them get started on the journey towards those answers. With that said, let me tell you why I think Sanctification is great and really important.
- Sanctification is part of the Gospel.
Like all parts of the Gospel, it’s integral. One does not work without the other. They are all connected in such a way that if you displace one brick, the whole house comes down.
- Sanctification allows us to take up the Great Commission.
Being obedient means you will do what Jesus commanded us to do and continues to demand of us at the end of Matthew 28:19-20. The great commission is our goal as the Church, to preach the Gospel wherever we are. This means boldly proclaiming it to those who haven’t heard it’s message that there is freedom for those in Christ.
- Sanctification is an integral part of the greater works.
So if sanctification is of great importance for us in taking up the great commission I believe that being sanctified by the Holy Spirit is integrally part of the greater works that Jesus spoke of in John 14:12. Before Christ’s death all that the prophets and priests could speak of was a promised ransom of a coming Savior. But now as we all stand on the other side of the Cross we can speak of a King that has already shed His blood for us. Therefore the sanctifying of our souls by the Holy Spirit empowers us to go forth and proclaim this Gospel message to set the slaves free. Oh what a happy song it is that we can sing to this world, that there is hope worthy of your very life.
- We’re helpless without sanctification.
Without the Holy Spirit working on the inside of us to make us more like Jesus then how shall we do these greater things? How shall we do mighty exploits for God? Shall we lean on ourselves? We, who are prone to forget the Gospel? Certainly not. But with the power of almighty God living on the inside of us? What He has commanded us to do becomes possible. As St. Augustine says, “Give what you command, and command what you will.” Meaning that we ask God to give to us what He has commanded, and even as He commands it as such, He also wills it to be so.
- Sanctification humbles us.
Knowing that we are a work in progress means we may have great compassion for those who are struggling in sin. When your brother falls it doesn’t mean you look down at him but you extend your hands in help and prayer, knowing that you both have your pitfalls but through Christ you may overcome them all. What an encouragement!
How can we be sanctified?
I really love quotes and phrases. Sometimes remembering a phrase or two can really get an idea stuck into your mind a lot easier than perhaps a whole book about the subject. But one small phrase may become your life’s motto. One of my favorite quotes is a paraphrase of Romans 8:13 by a Scottish preacher that lived during the 1600’s.
Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.
As Christians, being made new creations in Christ, we loathe sin. It tastes like hate and smells like slavery. Yet, here we are. Human beings that are prone to forget the Gospel and place some thing where Jesus should be. So how will we ever kill our sin? How can we become more like Jesus? Is it by doing something? By using our faith? By not doing certain things? Truly, the short answer to this question is: by the grace of God. But I think it always good and right to go deeper on such things if we can.
One of my favorite definitions of sanctification is from John Piper. He explains it as such.
Sanctification happens when the gospel preached and the Spirit poured out meet with power in the human heart.
So then when we are being made Holy this happens by listening, remembering, reading, discussing and praying through the Gospel and as that happens God is pouring out His Holy Spirit in such a way that He is empowering us that we may overcome our flesh in such a glorious way that slowly we are being changed from the inside out in such an effortless way that when we look back at our lives in Christ we can see the amazingly good and gracious hand of God moving in our hearts so that we are reminded that this was not us but the Holy Spirit coming into our lives with great power. Such great power that sin in our life is being killed in a way that we could never have done alone. That is amazing! That God knows our weakness and gladly beckons us to lean on Him. He knows that what he commands of us is impossible without Him and so He has made a way for us! This is the Gospel. This is what Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection are all about.
So here’s some practical things the Scriptures tell us are things that we, as followers of Jesus, want to do.
If there is one thing I’m sure of it is this: I benefit more from reading the Bible for 10 minutes in the morning than reading a whole theology book for the rest of the day. Sure theology books are fun to read (at least for me) and help you understand the Scriptures and I am a big fan of them, but there is nothing quite like directly reading the inspired word of the True God. Make sure you always have time during the day that you are disciplining yourself to the reading of the Scriptures and not just the latest and greatest from the Christian Bookstore (which is not to be discounted, either).
One thing that I love doing is reading through a chapter or two of an epistle or a passage in the Gospels and simply pray through the verses. Starting at the beginning of a chapter and when I feel inclined, stopping and praying over what I just read. Perhaps they are not applicable to your life at that very moment but it’s also a great way to remember where friends, family members or others you know may be in need of prayer.
It’s always a great thing when you have good Christian friends with whom you can get together with or give a call too and just talk about Jesus. Or perhaps a Biblical principle that you aren’t understanding or having trouble submitting to. I’m very glad to know good friends whom pray for me and speak into my life in such a way that we can converse openly about Jesus and humbly point out to the other person areas which they might be in sin. Not in a way of condemnation but in a way that points them back to Jesus.
Humbly sharing the Gospel with those who have not heard it reminds us of why we so desperately need Jesus. As we explain the Creator, God and His character and show them their need and the answer to their problem being Jesus, we find ourselves built up in our own faith in Christ. Not only has this message of Grace saved me personally but it’s also saving people globally. Sharing reminds us to be thankful for those who shared with us. To our parents who introduced us to the Gospel or that friend who kept pestering us until we finally went to church or that preacher that told us that there was a way out; a trapdoor in a world full of misery.
“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.” (Matthew 27:27-31 ESV)
In 1989 photographer Andres Serrano debuted a collection of his known as Piss Christ. Piss Christ featured a depiction of a crucifix hanging on the cross submerged in a vial of urine. Serrano’s art was well received and even won a tax funded award of $15,000. Though the art was controversial there were no riots, and no deaths because of it. Given the recent attacks on U.S. Embassies by people outraged over a negative depiction of Mohammed it is important to realize why Christians do not act out in such a way when our Savior is mocked. Truthfully we must turn to the example of Christ in how to deal with mockery and I hope this article glorifies Jesus over Mohammed.
A Personal Jesus
Jesus came as a real man. Jesus opens up for the opportunity to be mocked. Jesus predicted he would be mocked in Psalms 22 “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” (Psalm 22:7-8 ESV) How can Christ be mocked if he is all powerful? And why wouldn’t God crush all who mocked him? The truth is God suffered mockery in order to complete redemption. Let’s say the richest man in the world payed the debt owed by the worst criminal. Some may admire him, but if it cost that rich man everything people would doubt his decision and may indeed end up mocking him. It makes no sense to the rulers of this world for a high man to make himself low, or for the strong man to make himself weak.
In this way Islam reflects some of the main tenets of this world: if you are strong and you lose strength there is something wrong. In contradiction to this Christ says that the strong man is made weak, and the high man is made low. He himself, the best man, the true God, laid his life down on the cross. Christ’s sacrifice was made once for sinners who would believe, and now those who do believe are made strong and high. Yet in their holiness and power, they are again called to follow their Savior and glorify the Father through the Spirit by laying down their strength and power to serve others, love their neighbor, and baptize disciples.
If Christ had not become man and lived a man’s life the example of what it would look like to lay down your life would not be reflected in Christianity, but because we have heard with our own ears the intent of the Savior in glorifying the Father in humility we can indeed complete that task through our belief, faith and repentance. (more…)
Wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death? – Romans 7:24, ESV
Since the beginning of the year the Lord has really put Romans 7 on my heart in such a way that in everyday life I find myself thinking on this passage and it’s implications. I wanted to share a few observations the Spirit has revealed regarding this text that they may help you.
The Direction of the Sins of Christians is Christ
Set aside those who would call themselves Christians and let us focus on those who are truly saved. Those who are truly saved still sin. This sin is because of our flesh. The flesh is that part of us which is still human. This is reflected in Romans 7 as Paul contends that the law is holy, but finds us sinful. God is holy, his law is just, and it finds us in guilt. What can a Christian hope to do with the guilt that God has heaped upon us by our own sin? We have to conclude that we are wretched and unsalvageable. Then comes Christ and the full glory of God was crucified on the cross and then rose on the third day so that we might believe. Therefore the sin of the Christian calls not to their guilt, for the guilt of the Christian was put on the lamb as he was slaughtered, and instead points to Christ. The holiness of the law is reflected in God’s wrath on the son because of the sin of the believer. (more…)
“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” Mark 7:8, ESV
“But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?’” Galatians 2:14, ESV
As a younger man I find that when I talk to people who are younger most of the unbiblical traditionalism they see is in the rear view. It’s behind them with their parents or grandparents and their churches. Organ music, older translations, and wearing a suit to church are all considered to be forms of judgementalism which when used for evil is something to be run from. I have attended many churches which have told me that they were not like my last church because they weren’t harmful to my faith and were rather there for me. Traditionalism and hypocrisy is a sin, and the bible does recognize that those who appear to be most devoted can actually be traditionalistic hypocrites, but the scripture also seems to indicate that if we run from tradition to more tradition and not the cross of Christ that we can just as easily fall into sin as those we view as traditionalistic. This is a warning to my generation which is up and coming in church. If we go from tradition to tradition we have neglected the faith and should suffer as hypocrites.
When Christ walked the earth his most vocal critiques were Pharisees who were misled by their passion for godless tradition and sinful hearts into killing Christ. Traditionalism has at it’s heart man. When man is justified by man’s works then man is worshipping himself. A traditionalistic person will replace their love of God with love of self. Traditionalism does not bow to scripture but rather sets it’s own course. Traditionalism leads away from Christ to pride or despair. Pride if one feels as though one can truly find salvation in self, or despair if one feels as though there is no hope to find salvation because it can’t possibly come from self.
Characteristically traditionalism is considered to be cultural. Old churches which use hymnals, don’t have electric guitars or Facebook pages, where preachers are stern about sin could be considered traditionalist by the larger community or even other believers. The solution presented by some is to create an alternative community that looks like the world around them, does not call out Christians on their sinful behavior in humility, and spend large money on advertising and reaching people. The problem is that this is not enough.
Years after Christ died Cephas (Peter) was the head of the church in Jerusalem when he was approached by an upstart evangelist named Paul (formerly Saul). Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, calls Cephas out on his traditionalism. Cephas had just started the church of Jerusalem, he had grown large, and he had led the church into traditionalism. Cephas’ traditionalists were called the “circumcision party” because of their requirement that Gentiles who came to believe in Christ should be circumcised to be Christians. Paul calls out Cephas for his hypocrisy and tells him to repent. So where had Cephas, with his new systems, new church, and new ideas gone away from the gospel? Traditionalism. (more…)
“And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.” (Mark 1:19-20, ESV)
John the beloved lived a life customary of that of a Christian. He suffered greatly, but was also blessed in his ministry. John began his spiritual journey on a harbor in Galilee and finished his journey in Ephesus, the same place that was written to by Paul in the book Ephesians. It is believed that John was one of the youngest disciples, and that he was also one of the disciples that was the closest to Jesus. John wrote five of the sixty-six books of the bible. He wrote one gospel, the epistles, and Revelation, the book of the bible describes the full glory of Jesus and things that are to come. John the beloved was the first living man to see Jesus both fully crucified, and fully basking in heavenly glory. In essence, John lived a full life.
John the Disciple
John’s gospel is unique. John places a great deal of emphasis on the personality and feelings of Jesus. John includes narratives such as the “wine into water” miracle that is not found in any other gospel. John’s relationship to Jesus is one of friendship. This gave him a unique view into what Jesus felt and why He reacted how He did.
John learned a lot from Jesus. He passed out bread and fishes that had miraculously been multiplied to feed the multitudes. He saw Jairus’s daughter raised from the dead. He feel asleep in the garden of Gethsemane. While it cannot be proven by scripture, most biblical scholars agree that John was one of the disciples who went to check the empty tomb. John was instructed by Jesus, led by Jesus, and loved on by Jesus.
John’s book emphasis love between believers. On top of correcting different churches doctrine, John also emphasized that a community of believers was essential to a Christian’s spiritual prosperity. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John all emphasize different themes of Christian community.
The last book that John was inspired to write told the end of the story. Revelation is a prophecy about how the story of humanity will end. John was the very first living man to see Jesus in all of His glory. John saw the beast, the angels, the saints singing and praising the Lord. He saw all that would happen, and that in the end, how all the believers would go to be with the Lord.
What does your relationship with Jesus look like?
John enjoyed physical community and interaction with Jesus Christ. To John Jesus was the Savior, but He was also a compassionate and loving friend. John and Jesus ate together, walked together, joked together, and worked together. John served the Lord Jesus Christ, but he also played and hung out with Jesus. A funny, if not extremely corny, Youtube video is “Jesus Is My Friend.” This entire song is dedicated to the fact that Jesus is my friend, and that I have a friend in Jesus.
Is Jesus your friend, or is He a tyrant that you fear will strike you with a lightening bolt the next time you sin? Friends rarely, if ever, strike friends with lightening bolts. As John has recorded, there is an eternity of suffering awaiting those who do not repent of their sins. The people who do not repent are not friends of Jesus. They are His sworn enemies. Yet, those who repent of their sins become friends of Jesus, and while they should respect His power, they should not fear that He will smite them from the face of the earth.
Jesus wants to see you grow in your faith. He will instruct you like a good friend will. He will encourage you when you are weak, but discipline you when you do not recognize your error. John got this level of personal treatment physically, but we today experience that level of friendship through the Holy Spirit.
The enemies of the Lord rage and they do so in vain. David was probably writing about a literal enemy, however the enemies of the Lord include all of those who would want to distort God’s gospel. These people are not necessarily held in derision by the Lord, they just labor in vain. The Lord laughs at their feeble efforts to crush him. Imagine a single electron who got the idea to kill an elephant. Such an effort would be in vain. That electron could do no more to injure the elephant than you or I could do to injure or hurt God. Let this be a warning to those of us who are headed into stations of leadership and responsibility: the Lord holds in derision those who try to destroy him or his church and he pours his wrath out on them.
When David wrote Psalm 2 chances are that he was talking about a specific enemy. Whether it be the house of Saul, the nations around Israel, or even in his own house there were many people who wanted to see the mission of the Lord stopped. God laughs at them according to verse four. The will of the Lord is accomplished no matter what. Those who try to thwart his will ultimately become a part of it by giving him glory in feeling his wrath over sin. God has made his decision, his will is set, his king is decided.
David was the king referenced in verse six, but there was a greater king who came. Jesus came in the line of David to fulfill what the house of David could not do. This was achieving glory for the nation of Israel. Such glory was given to the son from the Father after the Son lived the perfect life, was crucified, and rose on the third day. Now those who try to stop the mission of Christ are laughed at by God. The early church was persecuted, and because they were persecuted they dispersed, and because they dispersed more people heard the word and were saved. God got the last laugh.
Psalm 2 ends in a warning:
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(Psalm 2:10-12 ESV)
Those of you who are young and are deciding what to do with your life understand this: those who try to attack the mission of God are laughed at, held in derision, and then put under wrath. Come to God in humility, repent of sin, and take refuge in him.
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
(Proverbs 1:22 ESV)
Proverbs is commonly called the book of knowledge or the book of wisdom. In truth Proverbs is a part of a collection of books that are known as the “wisdom literature” of the bible. This part of the scripture focuses on the practical nature of the Word of God. Proverbs itself gets very specific and almost comical in discussing many aspects of life. Proverbs is, in and of itself a very practical book that focuses on the glory of God found in everyday life as well as larger concepts. Proverbs 1 talks about the nature of wisdom. Proverbs 1:20-33 talks about wisdom as if it is a woman on the side of the road, a good woman who is full of virtue. True biblical wisdom is the ministry of the Spirit and is not hard to find when one’s heart is opened to it.
When I first became a Christian I podcasted and read a lot, however the scripture was not my friend. I thought that it was too intimidating or hard to understand until I started reading it. Of course there were parts that were difficult to understand and even harder to read. However what I found was that the wisdom of the scirptures was not hard to mine. I didn’t have to apply myself to deep devotionals to understand even the lightest concepts.
When Christ left earth he promised us that we would not be alone. Rather that he would send us a gift to help us. “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49 ESV) This power from on high is the Holy Spirit illuminates scripture in a supernatural way. “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. We have the mind of Christ and therefore we can understand.
Of course it’s not just that we can understand, its that understanding is calling out to us. It’s a free gift. It’s well advertised. Christian, if you love Christ, please get wisdom! Don’t just sit there in complacency, rather pursue God’s grace and hope. If you are not a Christian please don’t be too surprised when the things of God do not make sense, rather come to Christ and repent of your sins.
This was originally published in March 2010 and was meant to be part of a ten part series. However only four were published, so now we are returning to finish was we started.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (1 Timothy 4:7, NIV)
Paul had an amazing life. He went all over most of the Roman empire, preaching and ministering to people. He wrote a large part of the new testament and is credited with bringing the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul actually started his religious career a Pharisee, who went from town to town in ancient Israel stirring up hate against the Christians in that town. As a matter of fact the bible tells the story of Stephen, a young man who was killed for his faith. The bible says that a man named Saul held the coats of the men so they would not get in the way as they stoned Stephen. Then that man Saul went on his way to Damascus, where Jesus met him on the road and struck him blind. He continued along his way to Damascus and prayed and fasted for three days until Jesus sent a man named Ananias to pray for him and remove the scales from his eyes. From that point on Paul traveled around the world preaching Jesus.
It was never easy for Paul though. Starting his ministry was difficult, considering that his reputation for killing Christians was well known. It is never recorded that he was slow or cautious in speech, and it got him in a lot of trouble. Paul had to be lowered down the wall of the first city that he is recorded to have ministered to. They wanted to kill him. Paul had several ships sink out from under him. Paul was deserted by most of his friends. He was bitten by a poisonous snake. He was flogged, beaten, spit upon, and insulted by members of his own country. Paul never had it easy. He was always working, always traveling, always giving of himself to the people that needed the gospel in their lives.
What was it about Paul that made him so impactful and so successful? He persevered, kept the faith, and loved Jesus his whole life. Paul remained humble, he never took things to seriously. It is never recorded that he railed against anyone who beat or whipped him. Paul just kept going, he never slowed down. He always kept his eyes focused on Jesus, and he understood that true contentment and joy were only found in Him.
This book is a transcription of a series of lectures given by Dr. D.A. Carson during a Resurgence conference. It is a book on the life of Christ. It is reminiscent of a series of lectures and reads like a series of lectures, however it is an incredible resource on the power of the cross of Jesus Christ and different perspectives that Christ gives us on scripture.
Buy or Rent: This is a good one to own. Carson is a brilliant writer and has a great mind on scripture.
Who is D.A. Carson? D.A. Carson is a research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, in Deerfield, Illinois. He is from Canada and loves Jesus. He is former pastor and is now a theologian. His background in ministry and his current theological endeavors gives him an incredible perspective and ability to teach the bible to intellectuals and lay people.
Some people store up treasures for themselves on this earth through the church. They will put an unrighteous tax on their parishioners and make themselves rich. This is not what happened in the early church. In 1 Corinthians Paul exhorts the Corinthians to give money to the church in Jerusalem, not so that the church in Jerusalem could be rich but so that they would avoid poverty in the ancient sense. The difference between poverty then and poverty now is like the difference between poverty in the United States and poverty in India. Christ preached to the low and the church was composed of the lowest for the most part.
Persecution did not make the situation any better. At the beginning of the Nazi persecution the first step was to seize their assets and businesses. Imagine then the horror of what happened when these impoverished Christians had their lives taken away. If they had jobs they lost them. If they had unbelieving friends they were rejected. If they had unbelieving family they were rejected. This was the lot of the believer, and Peter, the author of 1 Peter, through the understanding of the Holy Spirit. This is why he begins his letter by reminding those who are being persecuted of the hope that they have in Christ for a better day.
Some Christians are so focused on the present that they lose their focus on heaven. This is easy to do in the American church because Americans have it remarkably well. We are blessed to live in a free society, which is incredibly rich and well off. Our diseases are not born of poverty they are born of wealth. We have heart disease, not small pox. Persecution is not a problem for the church in America, so when we think of heaven we are prone to think of earth.
However heaven is much better than earth. We have a limited scope because we believe we have reached a societal high in this country. We believe that we are at an apex. This was the opposite of how the early church had it. They had no great society in which to place their faith, and their faith in Christ had cost them a lot, so then why should they persevere? Why would they keep going?
The truth is that for all the graces our society has, it holds nothing to what God promises us in his word. Our pleasures will pass on, but 1 Peter 1:4 assures us that the graces God reflects to us will not. His heavens will go on forever, even when Western Civilization’s glories have all gone away. You cannot count on things that perish, you have to follow the word of God into an imperishable paradise. This is a paradise that is not earthly, and will cost you everything that you have on this earth.