Remembering the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Sunday, September 11, 2011

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19 KJV).

It is difficult to fathom that today marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On that dreadful day, over 3,000 Americans perished. Amidst the heartache, I recall many preachers piously screaming, “God’s judgment and wrath has come on America!” God’s promise to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14 was flippantly quoted as though it were God’s message to America. Sinful men, not God, orchestrated the events of 9/11.

All nations, not just the United States, abound with greed, dishonesty, unbelief, violence, and fornication, and all are worthy of God’s wrath. However, today’s Scripture says that, in this the Dispensation of Grace, God is “not imputing [applying] their trespasses unto them.” Today, God’s attitude toward the world is “grace and peace,” not wrath and war. This is why Paul’s epistles open with “grace and peace.”

God in His grace is postponing His wrath (2 Peter 3:9), but the day is coming when this dispensation will conclude. Only then will God pour out His wrath on unbelieving mankind. Thankfully, we Christians will be raptured out before that period of wrath begins (1 Thessalonians 1:9,10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

Currently, God is not condemning the world for their sins. Rather He extends His grace to all the world through Jesus Christ, His shed blood, His death, His burial, and His resurrection (Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Through Christ’s shed blood, God in His grace offers His forgiveness to everyone (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). But, only when we trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour does God apply (“imputes”) His righteousness and salvation to us. How many of the 9/11 victims were ready to die? Few.  Do not put off salvation; you are not guaranteed tomorrow. Please trust in Jesus Christ today.

-IN MEMORIAM-
The victims of 9/11/2001

-IN DEDICATION-
All those affected by 9/11/2001

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study titled “September 11, 2001: The 10th Anniversary.” The Bible study can be read here.

Stiffnecked, Gainsaying, and Disobedient

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:21 KJV).

Israel was God’s chosen people in the earth but they were just as stubborn and rebellious as the pagan Gentiles described in Romans 1:18-32. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 65:2 (in which the LORD says): “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;”

Verse 3 continues, “A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;…” Israel ignored the LORD and preferred the Gentiles’ pagan gods! How sad.

For 40 years Moses led the nation Israel in the wilderness wanderings. Their murmuring and rebellion against the LORD caused Moses great distress (Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:1-4; et al.). The Bible describes Israel as “stiffnecked” (stubborn) eight times in the Old Testament (Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3,5; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6, 13; Deuteronomy 10:16; 2 Chronicles 30:8). Miraculously, God in His longsuffering tolerated the Jews.

Unfortunately, Israel acted no better in the New Testament. She refused to listen to her Messiah Jesus and His apostles. Ultimately, she killed her Messiah in disobedience (1 Peter 2:7,8). In Acts 7:51 the prophet Stephen tells Israel’s religious leaders: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” Did the Jews repent and obey God? No. They rebel and kill Stephen (verse 59)!

Before we condemn Israel for her wickedness, we need to understand we are just as much Adam’s physical descendants as they were. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Even as Christians, we rebel against God and His Word (see Romans chapter 7).

We too may be stiffnecked, gainsaying, and disobedient, but praise God for His longsuffering, grace, mercy, and forgiveness