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“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

St. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11 cf. Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22). And yet many would set aside Jesus and His redemptive work and build upon another foundation – whether that be the foundation of good works, human will, sovereign election, or manmade traditions.

The religious leaders of the Jews sought to build on their system of temple worship and obedience to the laws of Moses and to the traditions of the elders. Thus, when Jesus came preaching repentance and faith in Him and His redemptive work for pardon and life everlasting, the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus and even had Him crucified.

Strangely enough, even today in so-called “Christian” churches, Jesus and salvation through faith alone in his shed blood are often set aside and replaced with other foundations for faith. It may be our obedience to certain commandments, our decision to follow Christ, our level of devotion to Him, or observing certain church rites and ceremonies.

Simply preaching Jesus and salvation for the sake of His innocent sufferings and death on the cross for the sins of the world often gets in the way of man-made doctrines and traditions. So, rather than preaching Christ alone and salvation through faith in His name, religious leaders often hold up human traditions, specific prayers or forms of worship, and good works as a means to obtain salvation. They reject the Jesus of the Bible and His exclusive claims to be the only way to the Father and seek to be acceptable to God in other ways.

But the truth is that there is only one way of salvation. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

To set aside this foundation is to reject the only way of salvation and forfeit the eternal life God offers and gives to those who place their faith in His Son. To trust in Christ Jesus and His sacrifice for sins is to have forgiveness and life everlasting; to reject Him or trust in anything else besides Him results in condemnation for sin and eternal death and damnation (cf. John 3:18,36; 8:24).

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). And the apostle John writes: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12).

It’s really that simple. We can be justified and acceptable to God in only one way: through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world!

O precious Savior Jesus, graciously keep us trusting in You alone for the forgiveness of all our sins and for life everlasting, for in You we have eternal salvation and apart from You we are lost forever and under the wrath of God. We ask this for the sake of Your innocent sufferings and death in our stead. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.” 1 John 2:24-26 (Read v. 18-29)

False teachers and erring churches and organizations are all around us in this world that would lead us to reject all or parts of the Bible, God’s unerring Word, and weaken or destroy our faith in Christ Jesus.

Many would lead us to believe that Jesus is not the LORD God in human flesh come into this world to redeem fallen mankind. They deny the deity or sometimes the humanity of Christ and cast doubt upon the sufficiency of His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all.

St. Paul wrote and encouraged Timothy, in the face of persecution and suffering, and with false teachers at work to turn people away from Christ and the true doctrine, to continue in that doctrine which he had learned from the Holy Scriptures.

He wrote in 2 Timothy 3:13-17: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

So also the Apostle John writes to his hearers: “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”

John urged his hearers to continue in that truth they were taught by him and by the other apostles, in the beginning. They were to let what they heard, in the beginning, remain in them. They were not to turn aside and accept the doctrines of those who denied the deity or the humanity of Christ Jesus but to hold fast to the truth that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son” (John 3:16), born of the Virgin Mary and made true man, that He might take our place under the law and fulfill all righteousness for us and that He might bear on the cross the just condemnation for our sins and the sins of the whole world and rise again on the third day. Cf. Gal. 4:4-5.

John urged his hearers to hear God’s Word, confess their sins and hold fast in faith to Him whose blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7-9). He urged them to continue to trust in Christ Jesus, who shed His blood on the cross as the propitiating sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).

And, indeed, if they continued in the truth of God’s Word, taught and revealed to them by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures, if they held fast in faith to Christ Jesus, they would also be abiding in the Father. Apart from Jesus, no one can know the Father or come to Him. In Jesus, we also have and abide in fellowship with the Father. Cf. 1 John 1:5ff.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him” (John 14:6-7).

And what has God promised to all who trust in the Son? Life everlasting!

Again, Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24); and “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life … He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16,18).

And so, in the face of false doctrine and erring beliefs, ridicule and persecution, remember the truths you learned from the Holy Scriptures and continue to trust and believe them. God’s Word is “a lamp unto [our] feet, and a light unto [our] path” (Psalm 119:105).

Hold fast to the Christ Jesus of the Bible and take comfort in His atoning sacrifice and the forgiveness He has won for you. Abide in Him, for God has promised us eternal life in Jesus’ name!

John wrote toward the close of this letter: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:11-12).

The Apostle Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, also testified, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

O Comforter and Anointing from above, keep us in the true faith, that truth we learned from the Holy Scriptures, that we may continue to trust in the Son, Jesus Christ, and His blood shed for us on the cross, unto life everlasting. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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And hereby we know that we know Him: if we keep His commandments. He that saith, “I know Him,” and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith that he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6

Many claim to be Christians and followers of Jesus Christ – to “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7) – but not all who make such claims really know and trust in Jesus. Some are hypocrites, and some deceive themselves into thinking they are Christians when, in fact, they are impenitent and do not really look in faith to Jesus and His blood, shed on the cross, for cleansing and everlasting life.

God’s Word teaches us that we can see whether we truly know and trust in Christ Jesus as our Savior from sin by our attitude toward Jesus’ Word and commandments.

John writes in 1 John 2:3-5: “And hereby we know that we know Him: if we keep His commandments. He that saith, ‘I know Him,’ and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.”

The one who knows and trusts in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins and life everlasting will, as a fruit of genuine repentance and faith in Christ, gladly and willingly obey His commandments. This desire to obey God’s Word is evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit and of the new nature created in believers, a nature that loves God and desires to serve Him.

Of course, as John wrote in the first chapter (1 John 1:5-10), believers are not without sin in this world and cannot claim to be sinless and holy of themselves, for they still have their old sinful nature inherited from Adam which balks at and resists living in accord with the Word of God.

Nevertheless, believers can see evidence of their regeneration in their new-found love for God and their fellow believers and in their desire to keep the words and commandments of Jesus. Those who come to know the great love of God in sending His Son to suffer and die for our sins and the sins of the world are moved to love Him in return for providing salvation for us lost sinners. Cf. 1 John 4:9-10; James 2:14ff.

If we continue to trust in Jesus as our Savior – if we acknowledge our sinfulness and look to Jesus’ shed blood for pardon and life everlasting (1 John 1:8 – 2:2) – we will, as a fruit of that faith seek to conform our lives to His. We will seek to live and conduct ourselves as Jesus did in this world – in obedience to God the Father, with the utmost respect for God’s Word, and with love toward lost sinners.

Our catechism teaches this same truth in regard to examining one’s self before partaking of the Lord’s Supper: “How should he who would eat this bread and drink this cup examine himself? He should examine: 1. whether he truly repent of his sins; 2. whether he believe in Jesus Christ; 3. whether he have the good and earnest purpose with the aid of God the Holy Ghost henceforth to mend his sinful life” (A Short Exposition of Dr. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, CPH, 1912, Q. 348).

St. John writes in 1 John 2:6: “He that saith that he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” Cf. Rom. 8:29; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:15.

So, walking “in the light as He is in the light” is not to pretend to be without sin or to try and merit God’s grace and favor by our own life and works. Rather, it is to acknowledge and confess our sins (agreeing with God about our sinfulness and the judgment we justly deserve) and to look in faith to Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all that we might receive God’s pardon and forgiveness and be counted righteous and holy in His sight. And, where there is genuine repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, there will follow the sincere purpose and desire to conform all our thoughts, desires, words and actions to His Word and His commandments.

God, grant to us such repentance and true faith in Christ Jesus – that we “walk in the light as He is in the light”!

Jesus, our Savior, You have redeemed me and all mankind from sin by Your atoning sacrifice on the cross, and You have graciously brought me to know Your great love and mercy toward me through the preaching of the Gospel. Grant that I grow ever deeper in the knowledge of You and of Your love for me and all believers, and so move me to love You in return and gladly obey Your commandments. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the 21st Century King James Version (KJ21), copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc.]

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“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Life in this world is full of trouble and heartache. In addition to the sickness, pain and death that all face, there is the persecution and suffering that those who follow Christ Jesus can expect in this world from those who continue in impenitence and rebellion against the LORD God who created and redeemed them.

Before His betrayal, arrest and crucifixion, Jesus attempted to prepare His disciples for what lay ahead. They were about to witness His passion and death on the cross, and all would look hopeless to them because of their unbelief and hardness of heart.

Though they would see Him again, alive from the dead, He would no longer be present with them in the same manner as He had been over the months and years before (cf. John 16:19-20). And they too would suffer much from the enemies of Christ as they proclaimed His Word and Doctrine in the world (cf. John 16:1-5).

Jesus did not want His disciples’ faith to be shaken and destroyed by what was to come. He wanted them to continue to trust in Him and have peace in Him. Jesus warned His followers ahead of time so that, when all these things came to pass, they would hold fast to Him with the confidence that in Him they had forgiveness and in Him they had life everlasting in the mansions of His Father’s house (cf. John 14:1-6).

These words of comfort are for you and me too as we face tribulation and suffering in this world. We will face hardships and trouble. As Paul wrote, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). We should expect no less as we follow Christ and bear witness to the truth of His Word.

But though we must endure tribulation in this world, we can have peace in Christ Jesus. He has redeemed us from sin and death by His own innocent sufferings and death in our stead and He has risen again in victory. Through faith in Him, we too have the victory. In Him we have pardon and peace – forgiveness for all our sins. In Him we have the assurance that we too shall be raised up unto life everlasting.

In the world, we shall have tribulation. Being a Christian and follower of Jesus will not bring us a life of ease and worldly peace, but we have peace in Jesus. We can be of good cheer whatever comes our way because Jesus, our Savior, has overcome the world. In Him we have the final victory. In Him we have the everlasting joys of heaven!

Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Dearest Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of life You won for me by Your innocent sufferings and death in my stead. Graciously keep me in Your peace. Grant that I hold fast to You and Your Word and trust in You for pardon and life everlasting. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“Thus saith the LORD: ‘Stand ye in the highways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.’” Jeremiah 6:16

New is not necessarily better. Though the common consensus may be to walk in new paths and to consider new ways, God Himself says we should ask for the old paths – the good way of faith on which the saints before us have trod, and walk therein.

In other words, we should seek the ways of God as set forth in His ancient Word, the Bible, and walk in them. We should acknowledge that God’s Word is right in all things and we are the ones who have been wrong. And our hope should be placed in the promises of God – given from the very beginning – the promises offering salvation in Jesus, the Messiah and Savior, and for the sake of His innocent sufferings and death in our stead!

Seek the old paths. Listen to God’s ancient Word which will never become outdated and will never pass away, and ye shall find rest for your souls – rest in Christ Jesus!

Jesus Himself said, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

O LORD God, grant me the wisdom to ask for the old paths – to read and heed the ancient and inspired words of Scripture that I might acknowledge my sins and place my faith and confidence in the sacrifice of the Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the 21st Century King James Version (KJ21), Copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc.]

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