How to Get to Heaven from Your Current Location

MapQuest® is an ingenious website that many have probably used at one time or another.  Simply type in where you live and where you want to go and, voila!  It gives you step-by-step directions to your final destination.  Of course, it cannot give you directions on How to Get to Heaven from Your Current Location.  Only the Word of God can give us these instructions.

The year leading up to the conversion of George Whitefield, the famous English Evangelist, is a good example of how God will have nothing to do with good works or acts of self-denial for the salvation of a lost soul.  Both are repulsive in His sight.  Shortly after entering his third year at Oxford, young Whitefield underwent a spiritual crisis.  It was said of him:

“The life of God in his own soul was what he craved and must have—but how to obtain it!  The thought of his sins caused him to sweat and groan.  He shunned all company, wandering the fields and woods, deep in prayer—sometimes lying all night upon the freezing ground.  He wore the shabbiest of clothing; his only fare [meals], dry bread and tea.  In time even his prayers seemed to become sinful.”  (George Whitefield and the Great Evangelical Awakening by Anthony Beaurepaire, The Protestant Truth Society, London, England, Pg. 13).

It wasn’t until Mr. Whitefield came to the end of himself that he began to reflect on his reading of Christian literature, how it was “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.”  With the burden of his sin greater than he could bear, he turned to Christ, the great Sin-Bearer, and was gloriously saved by the grace of God.  In his own words, he gave this touching account of his conversion:

“God was pleased at length to remove the heavy load, to enable me to lay hold on His dear Son by living faith…Oh, with what joy, joy unspeakable, even joy that was full of, and great with glory, and my soul was filled when the weight of sin went off, and an abiding sense of the pardoning love of God and a full assurance of faith broke upon my disconsolate soul!”1

Perhaps you are like Mr. Whitefield prior to his conversion, trying to find acceptance with God apart from Christ.  Your defense may be, “I’m not so bad.  After all, I’ve never murdered anyone,” as if God will accept you because you never committed the act of murder.  But which sin is worse, murder or lying?  According to Proverbs 6:16,17, lying is the greater violation of the two in the sight of God—because lying leads to murder!  We need to remember and remember well, all sin has eternal consequences for those who reject Christ as their Savior.

Perhaps your pursuit of God has taken you down the path of religious rituals.  Surely here you will find favor with God!  Interestingly, it is in this area that Satan has done his most effective work to blind men to the light of the glorious gospel.  He uses religion!  If men think their religious service will gain them acceptance with God, he has accomplished his purpose to keep them eternally damned.

Here is a short list of religious practices that men do, hoping to earn their way to heaven: church attendance, water baptism, first communion, confirmation, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, responsive readings, doing the sign of the Cross, confessing and receiving forgiveness of their sins from a priest, etc.  Before his conversion to Christ, Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church, visited Rome, where he climbed the steps of Scala Santa on his knees.  The Scala Santa is believed to be the stairway the Lord ascended to reach Pilate’s Judgment Hall on the day of His crucifixion.  The Catholic Church supposedly had it brought from Jerusalem to Rome.

As a Roman Catholic, at the time, Luther believed such acts of self-sacrifice would increase his chances of entering heaven.  But it wasn’t long thereafter, in a monastery at Wittenberg, he saw things in a whole new light.  As Luther was reading Romans 1:17, where it states, “The just shall live by faith,” he paused a moment, and then it suddenly dawned on him that salvation was by faith.  Up to that point he had tried to earn his salvation through religious observances, but never felt he had done enough.  Now, for the first time, he saw that a lost soul is declared eternally righteous by God through faith on the basis of the finished work of Christ.  He was delivered from the bondage of his sins and indescribable joy flooded his heart.  So dramatic was the change in his life that Luther went on to be the spark that ignited the great Reformation.

If you would like to get to heaven from your current location, simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  We want you to know that God loves you and Christ died for your sins (Rom. 5:8).  You see, the day Christ died at Calvary, He wasn’t dying for His sins.  He knew no sin.  Instead, He was dying for the sins of the world—my sins and your sins.  God has made a provision for all, but to receive the benefit of this provision you must believe that Christ died personally for you and rose again (I Cor. 15:3,4; I Thes. 4:14).  Salvation is in a person, and that person is the Lord Jesus Christ!  He alone can save you from your sins!

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The Gospel of Salvation

The Word of God teaches, “The wages of sin is death.”  When Christ stepped across the stars into this world of sin and woe, death was powerless over Him.  Christ knew no sin!  He was the sinless, spotless Lamb of God; therefore death could not lay its icy grip upon His shoulder.

Tell me then, how is it that, at the end of His earthly ministry, He’s suffering and dying in shame and disgrace?  You see, Christ wasn’t dying for His sins, for He knew no sin (II Cor. 5:21; I John 3:5).  He was dying for your sins and my sins upon that cruel tree.  Our sins and iniquities were laid upon Him that He might redeem us back to God through His precious blood.

Now God turns to a lost and dying world with the good news of Calvary.  Simply believe that Christ died for your sins personally, and rose again the third day, and God will wonderfully save you from the wrath to come, according to the riches of His grace.  Do you know the joy of sins forgiven?  If not, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:13; I Cor. 15:3,4).

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Ashamed

Some time ago, we noticed in the fly-leaf of a young man’s Bible, a list of autographs of “great” preachers.  At the top of the page, one had been scratched out with a penknife.  Our curiosity aroused, we asked him what had happened.

“That was Pastor J. C. O’Hair’s signature,” he answered.

“And you scratched it out!”

“Yes,” he replied, “these other men would never sign with his name there!”

This young man’s heart had once been thrilled with the gospel of the grace of God and the truth of the mystery, but before a few “great” preachers, he had become ashamed of the one whom God had used to open these truths to him.

Popular opinion!  What a powerful enemy to the truth!

Little wonder that some faint-hearted Christians should be ashamed of those who boldly proclaim the mystery when we realize there was danger that even godly young Timothy might be ashamed of Paul!  Let us who mean to be faithful, however, remember that the words of Paul to Timothy are also the Word of God to us:

“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (II Tim. 1:8).

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Even If…

When the Babylonian multitudes prostrated themselves in worship before the golden god which Nebuchadnezzar had erected, three young Hebrews refused to bow and remained standing, erect and alone.

When called before Nebuchadnezzar to answer for their impudence and threatened with death in a fiery furnace, they answered:

“Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us…But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:17,18).

This is the stand every believer should take for God and His truth.  He is able to deliver us from persecution if we stand true, but even if He doesn’t see fit to do this, we should still stand alone if necessary, for the light He has given us on His Word.

Many have suffered temporary loss of standing for their convictions.  Hebrews 11 lists among the heroes of faith some who were “tortured, not accepting deliverance,” and others who suffered “trial of cruel mockings and scourgings…bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented” (Heb. 11:35-37).

But we read that these all “obtained a good report” before God and looked forward to “a better resurrection” (vv. 35,39).

As the apostasy rises all about us and those who stand for God’s truth are often ridiculed and despised, may God give us the grace to stand true regardless of the cost, remembering that any sufferings for Christ are only temporal while the rewards will be eternal.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Why the Hush?

“And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

“And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known” (Mark 3:11,12).

Have you ever wondered why the Lord did not want these “unclean spirits” to make Him known?  We believe it was because He didn’t want the likes of them telling others about Him.  That is, He knew that the testimony of such sinful, unclean creatures would hurt Him, not help Him.  He already had enough people thinking He was “in cahoots” with devils (Matt. 12:22-24).  If people heard devils testify of Him, well, that wasn’t exactly the kind of testimony He needed!

We often wonder if the Lord feels the same way today when instead of unclean spirits, unclean believers testify to others about Him.  We’re not suggesting that only saints who get straight “A”s in conduct should be allowed to witness, for none of us is perfect.  Nor are we saying that God can’t use the testimony of sinful men, for if He can use Balaam’s donkey to speak His words, He can certainly use carnal believers.  But we can’t help but think that if God “had His druthers,” He’d much rather use a saint who has purged himself of uncleanness and is “meet for the Master’s use” (II Tim. 2:21).

We believe the same principle applies when it comes to pointing people to Paul as our apostle.  In Acts 16:16, “a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination” followed Paul, saying:

“These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

“And this did she many days.  But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her” (v. 17,18).

 

What the devil was saying was true, of course, but that didn’t stop Paul from hushing the testimony being offered by such a questionable source.  And so when we as grace believers try to convince our brethren that Paul alone is the servant of God that shows unto us the way of salvation in this dispensation, our testimony will be received much more readily if our lives “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:10).  Anything less would cause Paul, if he were here to see it, to be as grieved with us as he was with the damsel possessed with the spirit of divination.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Be Strong in the Lord

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).

As Paul begins to close the letter to the Ephesians, he addresses the spiritual warfare of the Body of Christ.  Paul’s instruction is for us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”  In this spiritual battle, we need spiritual strength.  As we are on the Lord’s side, Paul points us to the Lord Almighty, from Whom we are to get our strength.  In this epistle, Paul has been showing believers that we are “in Christ,” in perfect, eternal union with Him.  Being in Christ, we find that His life is our life and His power is our power.  We, the Body, draw the strength and power for living the Christian life from our living Head.

“What is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead…” (Eph. 1:19,20).

Being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might has to do with living by faith in the resurrection life and power which resides in every believer through Christ.  The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power we’re to use to stand in this spiritual battle.  The strength of the Christian life is dependence on God.  So Paul points the Church to be “strong in the Lord,” to depend upon Him.

Before salvation, Paul says we are “without strength” (Rom. 5:6).  We are weak and absolutely unable to please God or save ourselves.  Salvation is only through trusting Christ, and by Him alone we have victory over sin’s penalty and punishment.  After trusting Christ as our Savior, we are still weak in ourselves, and in the Christian life our sufficiency must be of God (II Cor. 3:5).  Victory over sin’s power in our lives occurs the same way we are saved from sin’s penalty, by wholly trusting Christ and Him alone.  His strength is more than sufficient for the battle, and we are guaranteed victory over anything Satan throws at us when we turn to our Lord (Phil. 4:13).

The question was asked in a Sunday School class: “How can we defeat Satan?”  One little girl answered, “Let Jesus answer the door when Satan starts knocking.”  To be instructed to be “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” tells us that our might is not strong enough for us to be able to stand in this spiritual battle, and it tells us that we face an enemy much stronger than we are apart from Christ.  Therefore we need the infinite power of our Lord in this spiritual battle, and we appropriate that strength by yielding to the indwelling Spirit, through prayer and dependence on God, and by knowledge of, faith in, and obedience to His Word, rightly divided (cf. Eph. 6:17,18).

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Capitalizing on Confusion

Depending on when your monthly Searchlight arrives, the Mayan calendar deadline for the end of the world has either come and gone, or else it is looming in the imminent future.  All the hoopla that surrounded this gloomy prediction got me to wondering if there might not be some way that Christians could capitalize on yet another failed non-Biblical prophetic expectation.  After all, last year when the Rapture failed to take place on the date designated by a popular radio Bible teacher, God’s people were able to take advantage of this by pointing out that, when it comes to the Second Coming of Christ, the Bible says that “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matt. 24:36).  Those that knew the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming were also able to point out that the date of the former is just as unsearchable in Scripture as that of the latter.  Surely there has to be a way to similarly benefit from the failure of the Mayan calendar disaster as well.

I wonder if what we are looking for might be found in Isaiah 41:21-24.  There, God Almighty thunders forth a challenge to all the false gods of the nations, daring them to “produce your cause,” that is, to produce “strong reasons” why anyone should believe they are God.  If you are wondering what kind of reasons He had in mind, the Lord went on to say, “let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen

“Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods….”

This challenge went unanswered in Isaiah’s day, of course, for only the God of the Bible knows the future, something He has proved over and over again in Scripture, and something that the failed predictions of others serve to magnify.

With all this in mind, why not put together a short mental list of fulfilled Bible prophecies, and mark Isaiah 41 in your Bible?  That way when the subject of the Mayan calendar comes up the day after the December 21st deadline (as you know it will!), you can capitalize on the biggest non-story of the year by reminding people that the challenge of Isaiah 41 has still gone unanswered, and that the God of the Bible is still the only God worthy of worship.  Let’s determine to be ready to offer “a word in season” (Isa. 50:4) to all who are disillusioned by the gods of the nations, and are in desperate need of the God who sent His Son to die for their sins.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Catch the Wave

As I write these words, the cause of Christ has suffered yet another embarrassing setback, as yet another prediction for the Rapture has come and gone without fulfillment.  The damage that has been done is far too extensive to fully document in this brief space, but you’ve all heard the stories.  The faith of sincere believers has been shaken.  Some who spent their life savings to warn the world of the end are now left to pick up the pieces of their shattered financial lives.  And since the media referred to the man who made this prediction as a “Bible scholar,” unbelievers now have yet another reason to scoff at Christianity, laugh at the Bible and Bible teachers, and dismiss anyone who tries to share anything from the Bible with them.

In the past, those who have tried and failed to date the Lord’s coming have sought to account for their failure in two ways.  Some have explained that the date they set was accurate, but that the Lord’s coming was a “spiritual” coming.  Others have scrambled to cover themselves by admitting to a miscalculation, and setting yet another date.  The Bible teacher behind this latest debacle has resorted to both excuses, and now warns that the end will come in October.

Thankfully, we serve a God who proved He can bring good out of bad when He took the worst thing that ever happened, the crucifixion of Christ, and turned it into the best thing that ever happened, the salvation of our souls.  And so we trust that you will join us in prayer that the disillusioned followers of this discredited ministry will now begin to question its leader, and that grace believers everywhere will be able to use this sad event to lead these brethren to an understanding of the truth.

There is something we can learn from all this.  Christians who believed that the Lord was coming on May 21st were spurred to live for Him as never before, enthusiastically telling their friends and loved ones to be ready.  While this failed prediction has no doubt left some questioning if the Rapture will come at all, we who “love His appearing” still believe that we should be “looking for that blessed hope” (II Tim. 4:8; Titus 2:13).  With that in mind, may each of us catch the wave of this misguided enthusiasm, and may His coming find us all busily redeeming whatever time we have left in the service of the Christ that loved us, and gave Himself for us.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.