Thursday 12 August 2021


Living positively in a difficult season of doom and gloom

In the current pandemic, fear and uncertainty abound. We are gripped by a sense of helplessnessand even hopelessness. Now, one and the half years on, the contagion continues to rage all over the world, one wave after another. With viral mutation and emergence of new variants, it seems as if there is no end in sight.       

The pandemic is part of the end-time cluster of earth-shaking calamities and trends which include pestilences, famines, earthquakes, wars, persecution, false prophets, deception, moral decadence, apostasy and man’s love of self, pleasure and money ... all of which are recorded in the Bible. And all this SHAKING is meant to wake us up spiritually.

As believers, we pray that God will keep us safe. We commit to Him all the days of our livesthat we will continue to serve, honour and glorify Him.

While we hold on to His promise in Psalm 91that He will protect us from the viruswe are not so foolhardy as to neglect safety measures (wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated enclosed places).

Firstly, we have to set our minds on things abovelive purposefully and intentionallymaking the best use of our limited time. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we know His will for our lives–what He wants us to do. Those who are led by the Spirit are children of God (Romans 8: 14).

Two things can derail our plans to live for God:

On one hand, we can indulge in wasteful living and the pleasures of the world. Since life can be so transient and uncertain, we might reason to ourselves: “Let’s eat, drink and be merry while we can.” Actually there is nothing wrong with enjoying God’s blessings provided  we are grateful to God and do not get carried away in the process.  All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify (1 Corinthians 10:23).

On the other hand, we can be consumed by worries and concerns that we become distracted from God’s calling for our lives. Everyone faces problems in life. That's not the issue. More importantly, how do we respond and who carries the burden? The trouble with us is, in our finite minds, God is too small. We can't let go and let God take over, can't cast our cares and concerns on Him.

Like wise stewards (Matt 25:14-30), we have to utilise our God-given talents and resources before it is too late. Some faithful believers have died, their lives cut short by the virus. However, they have gone home to a well-deserved place of rest and reward. Their lives reflect Paul’s motto in life: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Our lives need to be characterised by sobriety and self-control, not drunkenness, carousing and careless living. And that can only happen when we allow the Holy Spirit to take control of us.

When we realise we are spiritually weak, we are blessed in God’s eyes (Matthew 5:3). As such, we need to pray so that the things of the world and our fleshly desires will not prevail over our good intentions. The spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).

As we seek to live meaningful lives in this pandemic, may we reflect on the positive and negative themes found in the following passages. And may the Lord grant us wisdom and understanding (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Positive theme

So be very careful how you live. Do not live like people who aren’t wise. Live like people who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity. The days are evil. So don’t be foolish. Instead, understand what the Lord wants. Don’t fill yourself up with wine. Getting drunk will lead to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:15-18).

The end of all things is near. So be watchful and control yourselves. Then you may pray. Most of all, love one another deeply. Love erases many sins by forgiving them. Welcome others into your homes without complaining. God’s gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You should use it faithfully (1 Peter 4:7-10).

Negative theme

Be careful. If you aren’t, your hearts will be loaded down with wasteful living, drunkenness and the worries of life. Then the day the Son of Man returns will close on you like a trap. You will not be expecting it (Luke 21:34)

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear the message. But as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures (Luke 8:14).



What is its significance from a biblical viewpoint?


If we believers hold on to the promise in Psalm 91that God will absolutely protect us from the virusand neglect safety measures (wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated enclosed places), we are only being foolhardy.

Sunday 1 August 2021


It seems there is a comforting passage for believersthat none can snatch them out from God's hand (ie. they get to enjoy eternal security). Let's examine whether this is true or not. 

One of the favourite passages of many believers is found in John 10: 28-29 where Jesus says no one will be able to snatch believers out from the hand of God. The comforting thought, it seems, is that the eternal destiny of believers is secure because God is holding on to them so tightly that they can never fall away. Safe and secure always in the grip of God’s hand, you might say.

27 My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

(John 10:27-29)

Let’s examine the above passage more closely. People forget that this comforting promise found in verses 28 and 29 is preceded by verse 27 where Jesus sets out a condition: sheep (believers) must be obedient to the shepherd (Jesus) ie. know Him, listen to His voice and follow Him.

Thus the promise that God will hold on to believers’ hands (without letting them go) does not apply to backsliders, those who willfully choose to live in sin or depart from the faith (commit apostasy).

To make a claim of eternal security for all believers is too far fetched. The verse John 10:27 tells us God is faithful in keeping believers eternally secure only if they keep their side of the bargain ie. continue to be obedient and follow Him.

Being fixated on the promise of eternal security in John 10:28-29 without considering the preceding verse, John 10:27, is commiting a grave error of interpretation.

A similar error in interpretation is found in another passage, John 6:37-40:

37 Everything that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I certainly will not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of everything that He has given Me I will lose nothing, but will raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”  

(John 6:37-40)

The presumption about eternal security is found in John 6:39 where Jesus says that He will raise all those whom His Father has given to Him on the last day when He (Christ) returns.

But before we quickly jump to such a conclusion, we should also consider John 6:37—the one who comes to Me I will not cast out. (This means those who choose to depart from the faith are excluded from the blessing of being raised in future). We should also consider John 6:40 where Jesus says He will raise up on the last day those who believe in Him.   

Thus, only those who would come to God and believe in Him will  get to enjoy the privilege of being saved (raised up in glory on the last day). 

Notice that there are at least three different types of responses by people:

  • Those who believe and know that Christ is the Holy One of God ie. genuine believers (John 6:69).
  • Those men, like Nicodemus, who has great interest in the kingdom but are held back by their will. They seem so close to the kingdom, yet are so far from it (John 3: 5-10).
  • Those who have been called once upon a time but later betray or renounce God, like Judas (John 6:64; John 6:71).

Judas was chosen by God to be one of the 12 disciples. Will he be raised on the last day according to John 6:39? By no means! He sold his soul for money and he will go to the place of eternal torment, showing the fallacy of the principle that God's choosing is all that matters. The human will plays a most important part in determining our eternal destiny apart from the fact that it is God who initially chooses man. God predestines believers to be saved but He alone does not predetermine the outcome. Man is a free moral agent.  ** He can decide to go to heaven or hell, even after having being chosen by God. 

Also people like to welcome the promise of eternal life is found in John 3:16 but tend to forget the warning found in John 3:36. Anyway, it isn't strange that believers love promises but like to downplay warnings. 

God is sovereign in that He not only chose men that they might be saved but He also gave them a free will to accept or reject His offer of forgiveness. **

In the three instances above—John chapter 10, John chapter 6 and John chapter 3 —we realise that, once we have already decided that eternal security is the truth, it is so easy to pick one verse or two verses to support this erroneous doctrine (eisegesis) without considering the relevant passage from which these isolated verses are plucked out. It is so easy to jump to wrong conclusions without studying the verse or verses in its proper context. Indeed, great is the need to see how isolated verses fit into the bigger scheme of things in a particular passage.

Just as a few swallows do not make a summer, a few isolated verses do not make a doctrine.

The purposes of this post are manifold:

  • 1.    For proper interpretation of scriptures, we must study the verses in the context of the relevant passage.
  • 2.    The practice of using  isolated verses to support our preconceived ideas or premises (eisegesis) is dangerous.
  • 3.    Eternal security, upheld by many illustrious personalities with a string of theological degrees under their belt, is a heresy. Apart from being erroneous, it is also dangerous as it breeds complacency.
  • 4.    You are invited to study the three passages for yourself, like a Berean, to determine whether my assertions above is true or not. I welcome you to do so and correct me if I am wrong. The passages are found in John 10:27-29; John 6:37-40; John 3:16 and John 3:36

5.    From the three passages, the conclusions are as follows: 1. God only promises to tenaciously hold on to the hand of obedient followers who listen to His commands. 2. Jesus will only raise up on the last day (when He returns) those who come to Him and believe in Him. 3. Those who profess to be believers but do not obey God will be condemned.



The ability to choose is God’s precious and gracious gift to us. Even after we have become believers, we can choose between pleasing self or obeying God. We can choose between good and evil. Thus, all believers are free moral agents.

Freedom of choice is something that remains with us even after we have become believers. God does not turn us into robots or automatons.

To reiterate, though our ‘spirit man’ has been made new at conversion (2 Corinthians 5:17), our will remains neutral. Whether they are men or angels, all of God’s creation can choose to obey Him or rebel against Him. This freedom of choice comes with a catch. Those who rebel against His authority will be held accountable. They will have to face judgment eventually (Jude 1:5-7).

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire (Jude 1:5-7).




Some compare the Christian life to a walk in the park—everything is by faith. You just have to believe in what Jesus has done for you and, voila, everything God promises is yours. Anything more than that smacks of self-effort, pride and legalism.