Tuesday 31 March 2015


Why call it 'good' when it is such a gloomy day to commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion?  

On Good Friday, we remember Christ who was crucified on the cross for the sins of man.
But why call it ‘good’? It’s because Christ’s death secured for us several benefits. Let’s meditate on all the good things that result from Jesus’ death on the cross.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103:1-5).

Christ not only forgave our sins and healed our diseases through His death. Through His resurrection, three days after His death, He defeated death, sin and the devil.

Death, where is thy sting?

The resurrection of Jesus is the epitome of hope. There is life after death for believers— everlasting life in heaven. Just as Jesus’ death is not final, physical death is not final for those who believe in Him.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). Can we think of any other promise that offers greater hope for a man when he passes through the valley of death?

Victory over sin

Believers were once spiritually dead. Like the rest of the world, we lived in sin, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world—and following the passionate desires of our sinful nature (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Christ’s resurrection enables believers to live a victorious life. Sin’s power over them has been broken.

How is this achieved? First, believers identify with the death of Christ by dying to sin, which is symbolised by the act of baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead, even so believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-11, Galatians 5:16). Set free from bondage to the inclinations of their sinful nature, they are able to resist Satan and no longer incur God’s wrath (Romans 8:1-2, James 4:7).

As long as we choose to walk by the spirit, die to self, lay our selfish desires at the foot of the cross, we will win the battle against the flesh. “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).

By choosing to ‘walk by the Spirit’, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). What are some of the practical steps involved? Draw near to God; be exposed to people and situations where God is glorified; pray in the Spirit; listen to uplifting messages; worship God; fellowship with other believers.

Satan defeated

Christ’s death at the cross also paved the way for the defeat of Satan. “The Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil” (1 John 3:8). Christ “disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities” and “shamed them publicly” by His victory over them at the cross (Colossians 2:15). Believers, now seated in the heavenly places next to Christ, rest in this exalted position of victory over the principalities and powers (Ephesians 2:6). The battle has already been won.

Now the task for believers is to enforce the victory that Christ has achieved for them at the cross. How do we enforce this victory? Through worship, waging warfare prayer, testimonies, proclaiming and affirming the truth, and commanding the evil spirits to leave by taking authority over them (Ephesians 6:10-11, Matthew 4:10, Mark 5:8, Revelation12:11).

Sin opens the door for satan and evil spirits to enter our lives. If we are tempted by the enemy, we are told to submit to God, resist in the Holy Spirit and the devil will flee (James 4:7). Jesus knew how to rebuke satan with the Word when He was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11). When satan puts negative, discouraging or destructive thoughts in our minds, it’s time to declare God’s word to counter his lies and demolish the strongholds the evil one has set up in our minds (2 Corinthians 10: 3-5). Not knowing the truth is disastrous. We have to be well-equipped with the Word.

Praise God that satan is already a defeated enemy. One day, Satan will finally be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

In summary, Christ’s death and resurrection accomplished for us five things:

  • Forgiveness of sins and restoration of our relationship with God (Romans 10: 9, 13)

  • Healing of diseases (Psalm 103:3)

  • Death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55, John 11:25)    

  • Victory over sin (Romans 8:1-2)

  • Defeat of satan (1 John 3:8, Colossians 2:15)

As we reflect on all the above this Easter, let’s learn to be grateful. May our lives be worthy in relation to what Christ has done for us.

Good Friday is indeed good for believers who know how to embrace the benefits Christ secured for all through His death. 



Just before dying, Christ cried out, “It is finished.” Don’t we feel inspired by his zeal and tenacity in fulfilling the task God the Father entrusted him?
What is the significance of Christ’s finished work in the life of believers?


Nine reasons why Christ came to this world


A clear understanding of the ongoing battle between the “old man” and “new man” is essential before we can walk in victory.

When satan puts negative, discouraging or destructive thoughts in our minds, it’s time to declare God’s word to counter his lies. Not knowing the truth is disastrous. Be prepared. Be equipped.


                                       For a quick overview: 

Monday 30 March 2015


What are the differences between the first and last Adams? Will we choose to be identified with the first or last Adam (Christ)?

Adam came from the dust of the earth. The last Adam, Christ, came down from heaven to earth and took the form of man.

Adam fell into sin in the garden of Eden. After a passionate struggle in the garden of Gethsemane, the last Adam chose the way of the cross, thus enabling man to be forgiven of their sins.

Adam listened to the voice of satan. The last Adam constantly listens to the Father’s voice before acting.

Adam was attracted by the forbidden fruit and fell because he took the path of least resistance. However, the last Adam, through prayer, resisted the temptation of putting His own comfort above God’s will. Though He feared death, He chose to be crucified for that was God’s way to save man from the penalty of sin (Matthew 26: 39).

Adam broke God’s law. The last Adam fulfilled the requirements of the law (Matthew 5:17).

Adam’s sin cut off man’s relationship with God. The last Adam granted to man direct access to God’s throne (Hebrews 4:16).

Because of Adam, we bear the image of the man of the dust. Because of the last Adam, we can now bear the image of the man of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:49, 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Through his disobedience, Adam brought the curse of sin to all men—death (Genesis 3:19). Through His obedience, the last Adam defeated death and satan and enabled man to overcome sin (1 Corinthians 15:55, Colossians 2:15, 1 John 3:8, Romans 8:1-3).

Through Adam, paradise was lost. Man was prevented from entering the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). Through the last Adam, paradise will be restored when the new heaven and new earth become manifest (Revelation 21:1).

At creation, Adam became a living being. After His resurrection, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. His Spirit now lives within believers. And, one day, believers will be raised again from the dead through His resurrection power (1 Corinthians 15: 45).

The first Adam was sinful by nature and self-centred. The last Adam is sinless and adopts the attitude of a humble servant (Mark 10:45, Philippians 2:5-8).

Through Adam, we lost what was rightfully ours to satan, the ruler of this world (Genesis 1:28, John 12:31). Through the last Adam, we gain entrance into the kingdom of God with all its glorious riches (Ephesians 1:18).

Adam through his sin sent men to everlasting damnation after death without any hope (Romans 6:23). The last Adam gave man the hope of living eternally in fellowship with God, even after death (John 11: 25).

Having noted the differences between the two Adams, which Adam will we choose to be identified with?  http://bit.ly/1awc42C

“The first man, Adam, became a living person. But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit”(1 Corinthians 15:45).


Christ not only forgave our sins and healed our diseases by dying at the cross. Through His resurrection, He defeated death, sin and the devil.

‘It is finished’ reminds us of the completion of a specific mission. Christ accomplished the work that the Father had set for Him. Christ was so focused and passionate about doing the will of the Father that food was low in his priority list. Do we have such zeal and tenacity?


Sin is like a beast crouching at the door, waiting to pounce upon us. “Taming the beast” involves learning how to control our emotions—such as anger—and impulses—such as unbridled sexual desire. By doing so, we do not give satan any opportunity to destroy us.

A clear understanding of the ongoing battle between the “old man” and “new man” is essential before we can walk in victory.

Friday 27 March 2015


God in His sovereignty may choose us but that's only part of the equation. What else is needed?

God’s sovereign election has to be matched by human responsibility.

Paul told the Gentiles not to be proud or complacent that they have been chosen (God's sovereignty) over the Jews. It's because the latter rejected God. The Gentiles have to realise there is a condition to be met if they want to remain in God's favour (human responsibility). Otherwise, they too will be cut off (Romans 11: 17-22).

Note the condition for remaining in God’s favour (eternal security): 
"Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off" (Romans 11:22).

The position of these two groups in God's eyes is reversible. Gentiles can be the objects of God’s sternness and Jews can be the object of God’s grace (and vice versa). It all depends on how each group live out their lives (human responsibility).

It is a doctrinal error to emphasise the love of God over the justice of God. Both are attributes of God of equal standing. Furthermore, God is impartial in His dealings with people, whatever their ethnic group.

The above is a parallel to the teaching found in Philippians 2: 12-13 and Ephesians 2:8-10 that there is always God's part and our part in our Christian walk.

To say that God will keep believers eternally secure (and ignore our part) is to detract from this paradox of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.

We like to harp on the fact that God keeps us in the faith: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24).

But we tend to downplay personal responsibility though it is clearly stated: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 1:20-21).

What God has done, we certainly cannot do. He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we can be forgiven when we place our trust in Him. Now He asks us to do what He will not do for us: Seek His will and do it.

God in His sovereignty chose Paul, a great persecutor of the church, to be His instrument to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul cannot claim any merit for being God’s chosen one. But he certainly lived up to his heavenly calling after the life-changing power encounter with God (Acts 26:19).

It does not necessarily mean that believers who are chosen, called and endowed with great gifts and power will remain in God's favour and finally enjoy heavenly bliss. The giftings may be manifest to others but the favour of God may have departed because of sins like pride, immorality, entrapment by riches (Romans 11:29, Matthew 7:21-23, Ezekiel 18:26).

Starting out well cannot be equated with ending well. That is why personal responsibility is important. Even the apostle Paul has to exercise discipline in order to complete the spiritual race so as not to be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9: 24-27).

We can choose to bask in the sunshine of God's election, sovereignty and Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS). But we should not stay there forever and be complacent. Or else we may get heatstroke, sunburn or, worse, skin cancer.

In conclusion, we need to have a balanced view when we consider the sticky subject of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

The apostle Paul personified these seemingly contradictory elements. He set the example for us to follow. God sovereignly chose Paul and he fulfilled his calling, fully obedient to the heavenly vision.

Paul declared before King Agrippa: “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19).

Would the impact and growth of the early church ever be the same if it not been for Paul's faithfulness in fulfilling his heavenly vision?

Would New Testament  teachings ever be the same if it not been for Paul's faithfulness in obeying God’s call? 

That is why being chosen alone is not enough. Personal responsibility, faithfulness and obedience matter. 


Many believers focus on the privileges of being a Christian and forget that there are conditions attached to the blessings.

When we have a God-inspired vision like apostle Paul, we can live purposefully—by design and not by default.

Salvation can be seen as a beautiful garden patch God gave to us without us having to work for it. But what do we do with this undeserved gift?

Paul referring to the Jews (natural olive branches) and Gentiles (wild olive branches):
If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
(Romans 11: 17-21)

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
(Romans 11:22)

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
(Philippians 2: 12-13)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:8-10)

Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
(Acts 26:19)

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
(Romans 11:29)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
(Matthew 7:21-23)

When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die.
(Ezekiel 18:26)

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
(1 Corinthians 9: 24-27)

Wednesday 25 March 2015


Will there come a time when many believers lose faith in God?

Many will lose faith in God during these perilous and tumultuous end times. Is this is a fact or a figment of someone’s imagination? Let’s explore the biblical basis for the great falling away.

Some will give up on their faith because of intense persecution while others will become victims of deception. Furthermore, the prevailing climate of lawlessness and wickedness makes it difficult—even for fervent believers—to stand firm in their faith (Matthew 24: 9-13).

“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24: 9-13).

It is predicted that before Jesus comes again, two important events must take place. First, many will give up on their faith (apostasy). Second, the man of lawlessness (antichrist) will be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Now why does this verse (2 Thessalonians 2:3) mention these two events (in red) side by side? It is no coincidence, I believe. For the answer, we will have to turn to Revelation.

The antichrist will unleash his wrath on believers in the Great Tribulation. Many will have to choose between their allegiance to God or their survival. Why? Because no one can buy or sell unless they receive the antichrist’s ordained mark of the beast, a sign which when received would mean everlasting damnation for believers. Pushed to the brink for the sake of self-preservation, many believers will give up on God and allow the mark of the beast on themselves—never mind the eternal consequences (Revelation13:16-17, Revelation 14: 9-10).

Now we can see why, when the antichrist appears, the faith of believers’ will be put to a degree of testing that's unprecedented. Many Christians whose life is akin to a walk in the park will then have to contend with a marathon. Those who complain when the weather turns slightly hot find themselves thrown into the furnace of testing.

If they choose God and refuse the mark, they might die of starvation or get killed by the antichrist. Conversely, if they choose survival by taking the mark, it will lead them down the path of everlasting damnation. But many whose faith is not strong enough will choose the latter. They would rather give up on God. That’s why there will be such a great falling away from the faith.

From a human point of view, God may seem sadistic to allow the antichrist to persecute believersjust as He allowed satan to afflict Job or Paul. But it is His will to put us through fiery ordeals to test whether our faith is genuine (1 Peter 1:6-7).

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

What other references allude to the fact that there will be a great falling away?

  • Peter warns us that many will be deceived by false teachers who sow destructive heresies (2 Peter 2: 1-2).

  • Paul tells us that in the end times people will become more ungodly and self-centred, holding a form of religion but denying its power. And, because of increasing lawlessness, persecution and deception, many will drift away from the faith (2 Timothy 3: 1-8, 12-13).

  • Paul also charged young Timothy to preach sound doctrine because the end times is characterised by backslidden people with itching ears who love soothing and comforting messages from “feel good” teachers (2 Timothy 4: 3-4).

  • Jesus laments the fact that so few have faith just before His return (Luke 18: 8).

  • In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, has it ever occurred to you that out of the ten virgins—who are all believers—only half made it eventually to heaven? Isn’t the 50% “passing rate” a terrifying prospect?

  • While we are still on this subject of low “passing rate”, let’s consider these two references: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:18).

  • Other references reinforce the possibility of apostasy and its dreaded consequence: Believers, though they have been enlightened once upon a time, may fall away and lose their salvation (Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:20).

When the crunch comes, what we believe will be put to the test. It is your choice as a believer to come to your own conclusion.

Never mind what the “feel good” teachers tell you about Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS). Or what the pre-tribulation rapture adherents say, “Believers won’t have to go through the Great Tribulation.”

As for me, I have come to the conclusion that OSAS is a lie. We need to persevere till the end to be saved. 

And it is going to be a post-tribulation pre-wrath rapture, meaning that believers will have to brace themselves for the Great Tribulation. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you see it), I am going against the grain of popular teaching. 

In conclusion, many believers will fall away during these end times because of various factors: persecution, deception, lawlessness, sin, complacency and lack of preparation. http://goo.gl/VfeRxa

And that brings us to the million dollar question: How are we going to prepare ourselves so that we remain strong in the faith and not give up when the going gets tough? And, believe me, it is going to get really tough.

On a more optimistic note, however, here are two posts to help us discover:

Friday 20 March 2015


On-stage superstars are often idolised by many for the wrong reasons. Similarly, we can also worship God for the wrong reasons when we merely see Him as a superstar who dishes out blessings, healing and solves our problems. 

As a baby boomer, I used to read books that emphasised the cost of discipleship written by authors such as A. W. Tozer, Thomas A’ Kempis, George Verwer.

But today, many books—and preachers as well—are of a different genre. They proclaim the message that we can come to God for all the goodies we need in life at little cost to us. Some of these “feel good” messages are akin to motivational talks found in sales seminars.

This trend isn’t really surprising as the apostle Paul warned long ago there will come a time when believers prefer pleasant and soothing messages over challenging ones. And, certainly, there are many modern-day preachers who are only too willing to meet their needs.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Let’s look into the type of messages believers would prefer today.
  • We want to embrace Jesus Christ superstar who dishes out blessings, healing and solves our problems. But we are not keen to follow the crucified Christ, take up the cross or emulate His humility and servanthood. **
  • We’d rather ask how much God can do for us rather than how much we need to do to please Him. http://bit.ly/1yGV0CE
  • We would rather harp on the beauty of His saving grace, how the blood of Christ avails for us as believers. But we choose to downplay human responsibility.
  • We would rather avoid topics such as confession, the need to repent and turn from our wicked ways. After all, as some preachers say, God sees us as morally perfect because of His imputed righteousness. Therefore, we should completely banish (get rid of) sin consciousness from our lives.

In these perilous end times when the prevailing trend is to overemphasise God’s grace and downplay the cross and self-denial in the believer’s life, there is a great need to address a serious imbalance.

Of course, it is much easier for preachers to play to the gallery and tell the audience what their itching ears would like to hear. Such a practice is more likely to draw the crowd and cause church coffers to swell. After all, as some would say, aren’t we supposed to be more “seeker sensitive”? (That I would agree, too, if truth is not watered down).

Preachers who belabour the theme of the cross and self-denial run the risk of being unpopular. They may even have to worry about dwindling income or the prospect of being relieved of their posts if they are employed.

However, Jesus’ challenge to every believer rings as loud and clear today as it did 2000 years ago: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

                                                  Make a choice at the crossroad of life                        
When Jesus miraculously fed the multitude, they seemed appreciative of what He did (John 6: 5-14). But they were following Him primarily because He could fill their stomachs (John 6: 26). Later, when challenged by Jesus’ hard sayings, they no longer followed Him (John 6: 66).

Truth often cuts; truth may hurt. But it is better to allow it to deal with us now than on judgment day when the opportunity for repentance is over (Hebrews 9:27).

Preaching a soft and easy, diluted, false gospel that merely blesses people but fails to emphasise the cross not only leads people astray but produce weak believers who won’t be able to endure the tests, trials and tribulations of these perilous end times.

Hearing and believing the message once upon a time is not enough; we must endure till the end. It is not enough just to start off well and then fizzle out in the spiritual race. http://bit.ly/1CGv1hz

In conclusion, on-stage superstars are often idolised by many for the wrong reasons. Similarly, we can also worship God for the wrong reasons when we merely see Him as a superstar who dishes out blessings, healing and solves our problems. 

 "Faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy."  – A. W. Tozer

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
 – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Cost of Discipleship”                                                                   


Harbouring an image of God that is attractive and agreeable has its dangers. We all love a God whose image fits our expectation of a benevolent being. We prefer preachers who portray God as loving and forgiving, patient with our sins and deficiencies rather than those who dwell on judgment.

If Jesus were preaching today, would He place consumer expectation and drawing a crowd as top priorities? Or would He value truth above all?

Prosperity is a blessing. God wants to bless us with material wealth. But we must not be mesmerised by money to the extent it becomes our idol.

How to distinguish between the important, non-negotiable characteristics of a disciple and the less significant traits

Some people only want to hear things that are pleasant and soothing. Anything that brings pain is rejected. They would rather listen to comforting lies than harsh truths.


You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he didJesus crucified.
(1 Corinthians 2: 1-2)

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”
(Luke 9:23)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:5-8)

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:45)


                                       For a quick overview: http://bit.ly/1ijiXHp