When there is enmity between two parties and one discovers that he cannot afford to wage war against the other, he would then send a mediator to negotiate the terms of peace. The terms of peace will be the layout of conditions to which the weaker party must subscribe, in order to avoid war or being destroyed by the stronger party. This body of text will discuss the terms of peace which God has laid down for us in order to be partakers of His Holiness and Kingdom. All scripture references will be based on the non copyrighted and unadulterated Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible.
The human race has entered into enmity with God through sin. We have become rebellious and have completely rejected the word of God and His holy laws. We owe to die and be cast into hell which is the perfect flaming justice of the true and holy God. The terms of dealing with sin are DEATH, as it is written:
- “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)
Every soul that committed a sin has to die. Since man began to sin, death came into the world and therefore everyone that is born of a woman must die. Death has been a fair end for all those who were born in sin (Psalm 51:5). All of them that are born are shaped and born in sin. If that was not true then little children wouldn’t die because only the soul that sins requires to die. The scripture proves to us that indeed we have all sinned and therefore fall short of the glory of God (Roman 3:23). This is a horrible position even to imagine, yet it remains true that we do not deserve to get to heaven or to behold the face of the holy God. Such knowledge has been placed within us and therefore the fear of death have found its place in our hearts because it is quite evident to us all that the worst is yet to come, once we crossover that river of death.
It appears that there is nothing we or anyone can do in order to change the fate of sinners which is hell fire. Though our situation is so grim, we must also know that God loved us and have proved His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. While we were in the filth our sins and while we were yet the enemies of God, Christ came to die for the ungodly.
- “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Rom 5:5-10)
The text above tells us that while we were yet without strength Christ died for the ungodly. The question is, if Christ died for us while we yet sinners, does it mean that everyone is saved? The answer is no because there would be no need for the gospel to be preached and for the churches to be established. There would be no need for anyone to be told to repent. This sacrifice of Christ doesn’t automatically cover everyone. If it was so then there would be not a single person in hell and the book of Revelation would read differently, since there would be no further need for the human beings to be informed of the lake of fire.
There are terms and conditions that need to be ascribed to in order for the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus to apply upon someone. These terms are God’s terms and no one can change or bypass them. They stand sure and must be adhered to. Many people miss these conditions and then assume that they would go to heaven because of the fact that God is love. They think that heaven is for all people that pray at night or think about God a day or two even though they are living in sin.
One of the Terms of Peace that has been laid down is that people must REPENT.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost… Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord… And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30)
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3, 5)
Repentance is a requirement for forgiveness. One must repent and not only so but must also forsake the sin and look unto God for forgiveness and salvation. True repentance comes from God. People must seek the Lord and ask for true repentance () which leads unto salvation because only God can grant such repentance as shown in Acts 5:31 and Acts 11:18.
The Second of the Terms of Peace is that people must believe on the Son of God!!
“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24) “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31)
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:37)
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)
“Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (Acts 19:4)
The Scriptures constantly tell us that we must believe on the Son of God in order to have eternal life. Jesus told Nicodemus that “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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 3:14-18) and John the Baptist also confirmed: “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:35-36)
To believe on the Son of God is a command from God (1 John 3:23). No one can get eternal life unless they believe on the Son of God. This means all the religions in the world no matter how much following they have managed to build, they will end up in hell unless they repent and believe on the name of the Son of God, whom God sent to the world so that the world might be save through Him. Jesus said, “He that believeth on him is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” So everyone who wants to be saved must believe on the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Third of the Terms of Peace is that one must be Born Again
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:3-6)
This is a condition many seem to ignore or make fun of while others claim to have experienced it and some seem to be quite unsure about it. Many preachers come with different views on the subject of being born again, and that is the reason why we should rely on the scriptures and hear what it has to say to us about being born again. The majority of the so called Christian churches do not teach on the subject because they don’t believe it or it goes against the tradition of the church and there it remains censored. This condition has to be met by everyone who wishes to see or to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says except a person be born again, the same will not see the kingdom of heaven and unless he be born of water and Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, who can argue with the words of the Lord Jesus amongst the churches of God? Only a fool would do such a thing. Jesus Christ the owner of both heaven and earth tells that the prerequisite for anyone to enter the kingdom of heaven is to be born again.
Being born again refers to the complete transformation and change that occurs at a heart level of human being. It is only possible by the workings of God alone. Paul writes, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Paul is describing that being born again is not possible outside the Lord Jesus Christ. He is telling us about a change that comes over those who come and dwell in Christ. To say that, “old things have passed away” does not only refer to the sin committed in the past but it talks about the person that enjoyed those sins. It talks about a new creature that only God can bring to existence. It is the creature that has a changed heart and mind. It is the creature that loves that which God loves and hates all such things as God hates. It is the fulfilment of the promise that was made through the prophet Ezekiel, saying:
- “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” (Ezekiel 11:19)… “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
It is God that changes a person and the first place where a change must begin is in the heart. God is able to change the heart. The heart is where all the actions of a man come from. It is also said of the heart by the wisest man in the bible that: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Whatsoever thing that is in the heart will always come out by the actions of the body or the speaking of the mouth. See also Matthew 12:34, Mark 7:18-23 and Luke 6:45. A sinner sins because it is his nature to do so and his heart is full of wickedness and deceit (Jeremiah 17:9) and it is therefore necessary that he be made into a new creature in order to qualify for entry into the kingdom of God.
The Fourth of the Terms of Peace is that people must FORSAKE ALL FOR CHRIST!
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-33)
This condition is the most difficult of all the conditions laid down. It requires that one be fully surrendered to God. It also demands that God be made a priority in all that pertains to the lives of those who say they love and serve God. No one can serve two masters and that is why a person must forsake all that which is of the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The bible tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, which means God Himself dwells in us. How can then God rule half the body and the devils take care of the other half? God is not looking for a share percentage of the man’s life but he asks for all or nothing. What? Have you not read how the master laid down these conditions, setting his foot down stating, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Is the Lord teaching us to hate our families and not to love them? Of course not, He is simply telling us that, if our love for Him does not exceed the love we have for our families and our own lives, then we are no worthy to be his disciples. If we had to choose between the Lord and our families, and we choose our families over the Lord, then we are not worthy of him. If we would choose to save our lives by means of denying Christ then we are not His. If we choose to compromise the word of Christ in order to gain worldly friends and increase our church attendances then we are not worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unless we deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily and follow Jesus Christ we would never be His disciples. One must completely die to self and be completely alive in Christ to be fit for Him. These are the condition laid down by the king and anyone that claim to be born again and yet have not subscribed to these terms of peace, the same is a liar and is yet awaiting to be saved.