THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH SEEKERS
For Albert Einstein the answer to the question is there a God was a simple one, “There has to be a God,” he said, “because nothing creates nothing,” but as to the answer to the question, why is there evil in the world that was far more difficult. Albert could not reconcile the Judeo/Christian God of love with all the evil and suffering that exists in the world, and so it is with many today. Where does evil come from and why does a holy God permit evil to exist; these are two questions that should not be taken lightly, and a glib answer is certainly not worthy of such a weighty matter. I think that most would agree that not until problems surface in our lives do we give much consideration to finding the answers to the most important questions; for this reason God says in His word, “Sorrow is better than laughter, because sober reflection is good for the heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:3. If there were no problems in our lives would we care much about the origin of life, how to know God, how we should live, and is there a judgment to come? Would morality even be an issue if there were no death in the world? I can say unequivocally of this present generation there is far too little faith even in the existence of God let alone in a personal and loving God to consider the meaning of life. People love prosperity preachers who tell them how to have their best life now, but in reality sorrow is part of everyone’s life, and with no exceptions. A person who goes to church in order to ease their conscience, find comfort for a present sorrow, obtain hope in a present circumstance, or get pumped for a happy life is not seeking truth but something much more selfish. Any preaching that does not change the way people think is not good or Biblical; so on the one hand there is the quality of the messenger and his message and on the other the listener and his motive. We should first consider seriously whether or not we are seeking truth before we judge if what we hear is the truth. Ask yourself a couple of questions, do I desire truth for the truth’s sake or do I have an ulterior motive, and am I willing to negotiate the truth for a fantasy to make myself feel better even though it is not reality? Next it is important to judge whether or not we have a mind of our own or we have to follow the crowd; the masses are seldom right concerning the really important issues. Ask most people what is important in life and what will they tell you; in life the one who ends with the most toys wins; eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die; education will fix the world, and a host of other “truisms” that are anything but true. The truth is the one who ends with the most toys ends up dead and death is never a win; the one that eats, drinks, and is merry for tomorrow they die does not stop to count the cost of eternal judgment; the one who believes that education will fix the world has not considered that in the last and most educated century more than 2.3 billion people were murdered. The masses of men live for today and are not concerned about eternal matters, they deny the existence of the one true God by words and/or works, they are extremely nearsighted when it comes to suffering, and they care not for the truth when it has a cost. Put the thinking of the masses aside, the lies of false teachers, and the selfish motives of your own heart and consider the wisdom of the wisest man of all time according to God. “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity (a vapor, a passing breath) and striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14 “And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.” Ecclesiastes 1:17, 18 “I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself." And behold, it too was futility.” Ecclesiastes 2:1 “The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.” Ecclesiastes 2:14 “So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:17 “I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.” Ecclesiastes 3:14 “I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 5:10 All of the previous observations by Solomon have one thing in common; they consider all the ways of man in light of the undeniable truth that all life ends in death and it is death that makes all of life for man futile, vain, worthless, and senseless. The man who places all his hopes in this life will without a doubt be disappointed and he is also called a fool by God, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Again, some say there is a God but those words are meaningless if the person does not live accordingly. Therefore, in order to understand the truth, what it is, and how it functions one must first understand something about himself; we must understand that we are naturally given to fantasy, we avoid the truth because it hurts too much, we do not wish to look at the reality of death because we do not want to face it, we would rather imagine that we are going to live forever, and this we do even though we know all things die. Only when we face the reality of our own willful ignorance and our denial of the truth can we then hope to see the true truth, which leads us to the matter of evil.
THE TRUTH ABOUT EVIL
Evil is ubiquitous; there is not a place on earth where it cannot be found because it resides in the hearts of all men. Moral standards differ from person to person, some people would not hurt a fly, while others will kill their mother to get what they want, some people suck society dry of every resource they can for completely selfish purposes, while others give their lives to secure their nation from external evils, however, the Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. Some men do evil, feel guilty about it initially, rationalize their evil behavior, and become increasingly evil and desensitized to their evil as time passes; other men by following the good traits of their parents and/or peers establish good behavior, which they continue doing all their lives even though evil resides within their hearts. Evil can be clearly observed in the fact that finite men question the justice and love of the eternal God. We all begin as innocent and ignorant infants knowing nothing about the universe in which we live, and within just a few short years become critical of Almighty God. We can stand in pride if we so desire and think that we know better than God but in reality God knows infinitely more than we do and He has planned that the world work the way that it does at this point in time.
The hearts of men cannot be judged properly by the circumstance they are experiencing at any given time, Jesus said of those who want to follow Him,
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 5:45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:44, 45
In this life good and evil befalls both the righteous and the unrighteous, (I have not clarified who is righteous) therefore, it is impossible to know who is who by circumstances, and to focus on what is fair is also an exercise in futility. Fair is not the issue at hand because harsh consequences befall all men in an evil world and there is no way of judging why some live very pain filled lives when compared to others who live the highlife. Some live the “good life” and others suffer terribly but in the end all die; so one fate befalls all people so far as the end of this earthly life is concerned. God is holy, therefore, He has woven evil consequences into an evil world, He has done this for many reasons and the least of which is to warn men about the coming judgment of their souls. The all important question that needs to be answered by each one of us is not, why is the world so unfair but how will it work out for me in the judgment?
The important truth to know is that evil exists in the world and that it resides in the hearts of all men, as stated before, “For all have sinned…” All men experience hardships, broken relationships, sickness, personal loss, the death of friends and family, and most importantly we all die. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death…” and so death gives us the answer to the question, “are we guilty enough before God to be punished?”, and the answer is yes. Why do we die? Because we sin, dishonor, rebel, and deny God’s existence by our self-centered behavior. Ask yourself this question, “Does God’s will always supersede my own?” If the answer is not a resounding yes, you are guilty enough to go into eternal punishment. The issue at hand is not petty thefts, white lies, sins that hurt no one but ourselves, but every sin that is done from a proud heart that says in effect, “I do not care about God, what He wills, why He created me, but only that I get my way and if not God can drop dead.” Every sin that proceeds from a heart that says such things, no matter how small it may seem to be, is evil enough to deserve God’s just punishment; and all people possess that kind of a sinful heart, and as a result bear the consequences of death.
There is a spiritual death that all men experience because of sin, which is alienation from the life of God and results in blindness to the existence of the one true God, which is why people worship false gods. In such a state of death a person can know facts about God but they do not know Him, which is why prayer is cold, callous, and lacking the warmth that only comes through friendship. There is also a physical death, which results in the separation of the soul from the body; the body departs to a place of torment, which the Bible calls hell, there to await the final judgment. There is eternal death, which awaits all men that have not come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; eternal death begins after the final judgment, when men are made to see clearly the reason for their punishment, the reality of their sin, and the perfect justice of God.
If you are not convinced as to the evil state of your own soul ask yourself this question “Is it possible for me to completely forgive others for the harm they inflict upon me?” Think of all the aggravating little things that happen in the course of a day and how you react to them, someone cuts you off while driving, a coworker make a spiteful remark about your work performance, a family member talks bad about you behind your back and then denies it, etc. How long does it take for you to stop thinking about how you’ve been mistreated, wronged, and the meanness of the other person? And can you completely put it all behind you and never bring it up again – even in your own mind?
God says through the writer to the Hebrews, “Your sins and evil deeds I will remember no more,” which is a quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34. Are you on a par with God? If God were to judge you by the standard He lives up to, how would it work out for you? Do you really think that God will judge mankind by the standards that sinful men set and would you want to live in a universe with those standards? If you think you don’t know what such a universe would look like just look around you!
The truth about evil is that it exists and everyone knows it; even in this post modern society where people believe in the subjectivity of truth and morals let evil come upon them and they will cry for justice like everyone else. It is easy to sweep away evil in our conversation but it is extremely difficult to do so in the face of harm inflicted upon loved ones, women, and children. It takes a very hard and insensitive conscience to dismiss evil when you stand over the body of a child crushed under a building destroyed by a terrorist’s bomb.
The Bible does not present God as One who sweeps sin and evil under the proverbial rug, in fact, it has much to say about God’s justice that emanates from His perfect righteousness; the end result of God’s justice is the penalty of sin, which the Bible calls the wrath of God. It is important to understand that the Bible does not present righteousness as something external to God or something that God conforms to; righteousness originates in God. God is the source of all things and that includes morality, the problem is that as a fallen human race we are too proud to acknowledge God as the all-powerful, supreme, and all-knowing creator of all things. It is first necessary to correct our proud and sinful condition with repentance.
“Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” Acts 2:38a
Only when we are willing to see the truth about our evil hearts and the righteous wrath of God that hangs over us like a watching judge ready to lower the gavel against us, will we then be able to acknowledge the truth about ungodly and godly sorrow.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SORROW
Because we live in a fallen world we all experience pain and the sorrow that it produces, and the questions I want to answer in regard to our sorrow are these, to what end and for what purpose is our sorrow? With these questions in mind let us consider four kinds of sorrow characterized in the Bible: 1) Synthetic Sorrow, 2) Suicidal Sorrow, and 3) Sincere Sorrow, 4) God’s Sorrow.
Just below the surface synthetic sorrow is not real, it is exemplified in Saul, the first king of Israel, who when confronted by Samuel the prophet for having disobeyed the Lord by sparing the best of the Amalakites and not destroying them totally responded in a dishonest manner. At first he told Samuel that he was obedient but it was because of fear of the people that he disobeyed, so not only was he insincere but he also contradicted himself. When caught in his own lie he confessed that he sinned, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord” 1 Samuel 15:24, 25. Saul’s worship was as insincere as his sorrow; he was no doubt sorry that he got caught, but he justified himself by shifting the blame to the people he had authority over, and then without any inward reflection over what he had done wanted instant pardon. Such sorrow can be painful but it is in no way godly.
Another kind of sorrow noted of in the bible is suicidal because the possessor chooses to check out of his circumstances, which can be done in various ways. This sorrow is best exemplified in Judas Iscariot the infamous disciple of Jesus, who upon betraying the Son of God felt sorrow for what he had done and went out and hanged himself. The only thoughts in Judas mind that are given to us are found in Matthew’s Gospel,
“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 27:4 saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!" 27:5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself” 23-25.
We are told that Judas saw that he was condemned, but we are not told by whom, was he condemned by the disciples as they peered at him while Jesus was beaten and taken from them by force? Most likely it was the voice of his own conscience crying from within that told Judas that he had sinned against the most innocent blood of all. The conscience is given by God to warn us that we are doing wrong; we can only wonder in the three previous years how many warnings Judas received from his own conscience as he pilfered money from a poor band of men and women who followed Jesus and called him friend. The only answer that his hardened heart could devise for his act of betrayal was suicide; Judas did not receive the love that Christ offered him for three years and as a result he could not and would not repent of his dastardly deed in a godly way. In the mind of Judas there was no escape for what he had done, not even in the manner of King Saul, the only recourse left to him to relieve his pain, or so he thought, was to end his life. The Scriptures, however, tells us of a far better way to clear our conscience.
Up to this point, we have not considered any good thing produced in the hearts of men as a result of the first two types of sorrow; there is, however, associated with the third kind of sorrow the outworking of God’s love and mercy that produces in the believer gentleness, a hunger for what is right, mercy, purity of heart, peacemaking, and a willingness to suffer in order to see God’s kingdom built. The person who possesses these attributes Jesus called blessed during His famous Sermon on the Mount, and only those who possesses such characteristics in their fullness will live in His coming kingdom, which will endure forever. The third kind of sorrow is sincere because the possessor takes full responsibility for his/her sins, and acknowledges that life in a fallen world is the result of every man’s sins, including his own. When I see a dear lying dead by the side of the road I cannot help but think that it is my sin (in an indirect way) that caused its death, as the Scripture says,
“For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now” Romans 8:22.
In this suffering I sorrow, and such a sorrow can only be produced by God; this sorrow is best exemplified in the story of Peter, the Lord’s leading disciple. Like Judas Peter was weak when Jesus needed him be strong; Jesus asked Peter to pray with Him as He agonized in the garden. Later that night Peter forsook and denied Christ, he cursed and said he did not know him, but unlike Judas he went out and wept violently and grieved over his evil deeds, he repented of the evil in his heart, and once again looked in faith to Christ for his salvation. A true Christian can deny Christ, but his actions, attitudes, and words will always become very grievous to him and by the grace of God he will mourn over them to the point of repentance.
The first attitude necessary according to Jesus for blessing is poverty, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Why poverty? Because only the poor ask for a hand out, the rich have need of nothing; because only the poor receive the transforming love of God, the rich seek a way out by their own means even when there is none; and only the poor can experience godly sorrow, the rich either do nothing wrong (in their own mind) or they check out in one way or another.
When God created all things He did so knowing full well what it would cost Him to make His creation complete in Christ. Nowhere can we observe (in a very limited way) the cost of God’s love illustrated better than at the cross and the time leading up to it. Just prior to Jesus’ arrest and trial He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, where we read in the Bible,
“And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.”
In the most picturesque way God revealed to us the agony of Christ as the source of true life, for as rain falls down upon the ground with life-giving water, even so, the Son of God is pictured as watering the ground with His own life-giving blood. The Bible says in Leviticus 17:11 that the life is in the blood, and Christ’s sweat was like drops of life falling to the ground; the agony that caused Him to sweat was His having to become the sacrificial lamb, so that, the sins of His people might be placed upon Him, so that, His righteousness would be placed upon them. Why the substitution?
God planned to make man in His image, that is, man would be like God, one with God, an exact representation of God and yet not God and fully aware that He is not God, otherwise he would commit idolatry and sin. For the answer to this dilemma God predestined the fall and salvation in Christ (Ephesians 1) at the cost of His only begotten Son, and even though the work of salvation was accomplished in three hours upon the cross, His role as High Priest and intercessor for His people is eternal; that is love and holiness. God will not have sin in His universe and so He had to secure man in the holiness that exists in Christ; man had to become one with Christ, devoted to Christ, and united to Christ. In union with Christ there is the shared love of the Father and the Son, their devotion to each other, their reverence, respect for each other, and a share in their glory.
The cost for this share in God was the Son of God. God is holy and therefore hates and abhors sin and yet of Him we are told,
“He who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
If you want to relate in a minuscule way how Christ felt about putting on our sin just think how you would feel to become a cancer, cow manure, or leprosy, but even in that illustration there is no awareness of evil, which was the greatest concern for Christ. Christ became the very thing He hates and detests the most so that we could be free of sin, its bondage, blindness, and behavior.
Furthermore, what God did in taking on our sin He did as He hung upon the cross when the world went completely dark and Jesus was cast out of God’s presence and endured the just punishment for all those for whom He died. Christ suffered an eternity of punishment in just three hours upon the cross, an accomplishment in itself that only God could bring to pass. Every sin in thought, motive, action, and word was placed upon the Son of God, with all the presence that a guilty conscience can produce, and the wrath that a Holy God can impart. Only the person that accepts man’s evil rebellion, God’s justifiable wrath, and His plan of salvation can also believe in God’s sacrificial and benevolent love, which leads us to the truth about the love of God.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LOVE OF GOD
If you made it this far and survived the doctrine of evil, the wrath of God, and godly sorrow you probably have serious reservations about God’s love. You may be thinking in your mind, what kind of a plan could possibly be good enough to warrant such suffering for thousands of years and then punishment by God’s wrath for eternity? In order to accept the truth about such an emotionally charged problem, one would have to be willing to step outside themselves momentarily, put on another person’s proverbial shoes, and see things from another point of view, that is – God’s vantage point.
The first and most important truth that a truth seeker needs to consider is that God is not like men.
"God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19
There is an infinite distance between the ways of men in general and Almighty God; this truth is difficult to see in this present world where man is the center of attention, error is an intricate part of our lives, unfaithfulness is as common as a blade of grass, and enemies as prevalent as there are people. Furthermore, there is an equally infinite distance between the way we love each other and God loves us. We are always selfish in our love, we love those who love us and hate those who hate us, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with right and wrong. Two brothers can get on each other’s nerves simply because they do things differently, how they spend their time, choose their friends, and treat their parents, and all their lives be rivals and antagonistic to one another. God is not petty, never majors on the minors, but to the contrary there are no minors with God; He alone is triumphant in all He does. If a person proves himself to be truly giving, unselfish, and altruistic in this world he is elevated to the status of hero and goes down in history as something quite unique, and that he is. Many people do kind things for others, but most people do not live their lives for others, sell all they have and give it to feed the poor, or forsake their careers in order to help as many as they can; this world is just not filled with that kind of benevolent people.
Unlike man God needs nothing and no one; He is never alone or lonely. God is three and yet one; God is referred to in the Bible distinctly as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each one is a distinct person and yet there is one God. The Father loves the Son and determined to make Him the head of all creation; the Son loves the Father and has submitted to His will and to give Himself for His chosen people throughout eternity; the Holy Spirit works along with the Father and the Son in the work of creation and salvation, He inspired the written word, and gave glory to the Father and the Son. Hence, in the Godhead there is perfect love and unity and at the same time a selfless devotion to the other persons of the Trinity.
Therefore, God is always completely content and in need of nothing or no one. To believe that the trinity is true according to the Bible one only need read the introductions and salutations to the New Testament books, there you will see Father, Son and Holy Spirit referred to as three separate persons of the one God. Therefore, the God who created all things had absolutely no need of anything He created; He did not need you and He did not need me, but He created us completely out of His own loving heart and benevolent Spirit. Furthermore, all the grief that God experienced since the beginning of the world because man sinned, He need never feel. Here is the dilemma, God does all things well, He does nothing half-fast so to speak, and He planned to make man in His own image, to reveal His glory in and to man, so that he could understand it. Now, if you think that it is easy, simple, and there should be no need of pain for God to reproduce Himself in His creation, then maybe you should be God. However, since none of us are God we all need to take God at His word concerning the things that He says about Himself and His plan in creation. God had to make man devoted to Himself alone because equal devotion to any other is idolatry and sin; God had to make man love Him with all His mind, heart, soul, and strength because love for another is idolatry and sin; God had to make man fully dependent upon Him with a faith that is unshakeable and eternally secure because dependence upon any other is idolatry and sin. Do you see the dilemma?
The answer to the dilemma was the sacrifice of Christ. The creation had to put on Christ and by identification with Him, in an intimate and loving union become one with God, so that man could and would think, will, and feel as Christ, who is God and man. Such identification is clearly revealed throughout Holy Scripture, but is nowhere more clearly declared than in Jesus’ High Priestly prayer recorded in John 17; I will give just a few excerpts.
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” John 17:3.
To know God in this way is to know Him personally, not just to know facts about Him, but to have personal knowledge of Him, to be friends and not hostile to Him, which is only made possible through the sufferings of Christ.
“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth”
To sanctify is to be set apart for a holy purpose, so what Christ said is this, I set myself apart for the holy purpose of God, which is to make a people set apart for the same holy purpose. Here in lies the identification I speak of, Christ is making a people one with Himself, so that they may live in God, His truth, holiness, goodness, humility and all His glorious attributes. There has always been a holy unity between the Father and the Son, and it is this unity that is created in a people that Christ has saved by His eternal sacrifice,
“I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity,” John 17: 23.
Just as the Son dwells in His people, the Father dwells in the Son, so that God’s people may be perfected in Divine unity. To be in Christ is like being in a house, it’s a place to take up residence, find security, rest, and a place to call your own. To be in Christ is to call Him your own, make Him your own, or rather to be made His own by His will. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" John 12:32. It is the love of Christ that draws men to Him, and in that love there is rebirth, repentance, God given faith, and a holy union between God and men. The love of God undoes the evils of this present world by creating in men a holy union with God and between each other.
“Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are” John 17:11.
What makes the world the way it is? Each man goes his own way without concern for others, he looks out for himself and his own, and there is an unholy selfishness in the world to mass proportions and even within individual families. God set out to undo all selfishness, self-centeredness, and hatred of men by sending Christ into the world who Himself lived completely unselfish, unto the Father’s will, and for His glory and pleasure. When Christ died He took the evil of men into the grave and when He rose from the dead He brought up from the grave His own devotion to and union with the Father God, which is imparted to His people. In this union with His people the last part of verse 11 is fulfilled, “that they may be one even as We are.” The name that God keeps his people in is the name Lord; at the name of Jesus, which is Lord, every knee shall bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. When all men bow to the same Lord and fulfill all the same loving decrees, commands, and desires then they are one. When I live to love the Lord, and obey only Him and if you do the same then and only then are we in agreement, herein is divine and human unity fulfilled in the same person – Jesus Christ. If all of this is hard to swallow you need a God given faith.
THE TRUTH ABOUT FAITH
Saving faith is the act of taking God at His word, or believing that God is good and all men are evil by rejecting Him, and then comes the really difficult part of the good news message; all men are under the condemnation of God but He chose to redeem some out of mercy, which means those who get into heaven do so by grace and not their own good works.
Furthermore, those who suffer under God’s wrath are left to do so by His will, so that, God shows mercy on whom He will and He condemns whom He will and faith accepts that truth as right. God is right in condemning some, just as He would be completely justified if He were to condemn all because all of us are guilty enough to be condemned.
“What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 9:23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.”
Romans 9:22, 23
Godly faith does not question what God does, in other words, faith does not deny that God is God but submits with full humility to his sovereign will. By faith saved people see God as He is through self revelation in His holy Word, and they can believe exactly how God reveals Himself because saved people have come to believe in Him on a personal basis. When a person is born again his spirit is brought back to life and by that life he believes in cooperation with God who has become believable, intimate, and literally larger than life.
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5
“And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:28, 29
“that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:22-24
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 1:23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”
1 Peter 1:22, 23
Do you have saving faith?