ThoughtShades FrameWork

Essays, Themes, Opinions

Constructs, Practical Ideas, Applications

Poetry, Impression Writing

Sermons, Devotions

Personal Revelations, Illustrations

Viewpoint: Politics, Contemporary Issues, Editorials


Choice Offerings by Others

Powered by Squarespace
« Bread for Betrayal | Main | Script for Personal Liberation »

Moment of Mercy

Are We Coming to the End of the Age of Grace? 

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”  Luke 21:28 

Church, get ready.  As time goes on, the cost of being a Christian is going up.  Sheep will be divided from the goats, real saints from the sunshine patriots, and truth from falsehood.  We have been living in a cozy, comfortable bubble.  In the world at large, our convictions have gone unchallenged, our doctrines undisturbed and our lifestyle tolerated.  Change is coming. We will not be ignored by the world much longer. Enemies of the cross are moving into the power and control rooms of our society. Bible prophecy warns us that we are on a narrowing pathway to the end time and the fulfillment of all things.  

One of these prophecies concerns a very interesting gap of time that appears between 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. (Daniel 9:24-27)  After this gap will be a final seventieth week (week of seven years, not days). This leads up to the second coming of the Messiah.  The first sixty-nine weeks terminated with the first coming of Messiah. The seventieth week will terminate with His second coming.  The times of the Gentiles will then be over, signaling the end of the Age of Grace.  (Luke 21:24).  When the door in heaven opens to receive the church, the door to grace will close on earth.

Yes, people scoff when they hear “the end of the world.”  But, we cannot dismiss the parables of Christ which foretell this very thing.  In Matthew 13:39-40, Jesus describes a scene which he declares is the end of the world.   “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.”  Neither can we deny the event of the rapture.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

Other events of the end of time establish the church in heaven, the judgment seat of Christ, the marriage supper of the Lamb, the church as the Bride of Christ, the Great Tribulation on earth, and the revelation of the Antichrist.  As we march toward the fulfillment of these events, we are given signs and indications along the way. Just as a house is not built without excavation and a foundation, these last days will not come upon us without a period of preparation  It will not be business as usual. The balance of power is shifting in America and the world.

In the world, China and India are steadily gaining geopolitical power. The price of gasoline will continue to climb as we compete with these nations for oil. The encroaching influence of radical Islam is a worldwide phenomenon.  In America, freedom continues to erode. In fact, freedom itself is being redefined as a concept. Reams of legislation designed to strip us of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right to bear arms are now in the hopper. All of this is in the name of diversity, tolerance and minority rights.

History is full of examples of tyrannical governments persecuting Christians. Some think that if we just do our own thing while our country falls into the depths of anti-Christ paganism, they will leave us alone. We must not be blind as we go about our daily lives, or be so taken with temporal things that we render ourselves incapable of seeing the spiritual battle at hand. All around us we see the increase in anti-Christian behavior.  The only group of people that it is found acceptable to speak against are Christians. The spirit of anti-Christ is growing in America while at the same time there is a call for “understanding” when it comes to every other religion imaginable.

Look at this is a critical statement made by Jesus: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19).  This is now reality.  After a constant barrage of Christian-intolerant teaching in the public school system, academia and media/entertainment establishments, Bible believers are now seen as narrow minded fools. An increased drumbeat for “hate speech” legislation may now be heard. This legislation is a precursor to fully outlawed Christian speech. The day is almost here when we cannot speak against homosexuality, abortion and same-sex marriage.  No public stand against sin will go unpenalized.

According to Christian minister and author, David Berman, there will be an increase of the following:  We will be called the worst vile names. We will be marginalized and seen as holding back “progressive ideas.” We will be persecuted physically for our stand. The government will try to increase its authority over our children. Parents who stand for their faith and teach it to their children will be accused of child abuse. There will be increased employment discrimination. Tax exempt status will be threatened based on a church preaching so called “hate speech.” There will be government regulation of churches and Christian schools. Confiscation of church property with bogus eminent domain claims will happen.  There will be selective application of the law without due process.

What should our response be? “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matthew 5:11.)  The time is near when standing for truth may cost you privilege, friendship, money, job, property, status and quite possibly your very life. Unless we as a nation have a revival through repentance, the future will not be Christian-friendly in America.

I am compelled to sound the alarm.  As the Apostle writes, if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will show up battle-ready?  When the Lamb becomes the Lion, when the Savior becomes the Judge, when the throne room of grace becomes the court room of eternal justice, a seismic shift will change the message of grace which the church now preaches. 

The most moving photograph in my possession depicts a scene which took place moments before the Berlin Wall officially shut off the escape route to freedom from East Berlin into the West.  A guard, anxiously looking around, spread the strands of barbed wire for a child to join his family in the West.  I call it the “Moment of Mercy” picture. Today, the church, as ambassadors for Christ, holds back the judgment of the end times, desperately hoping that more souls will be saved.  At some point, however, the barbed wire will close and the opportunity for grace will disappear.  Salvation is time-sensitive. “Today is the day of salvation; now is the accepted time.” 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

The ACLU and true liberals will defend against encroachment of the government on free speech. It isn't the government who is persecuting Christians in America; it is Christians who are blaspheming the name of Christ, that have caused the backlash, and unfortunately, there are some truly gentle Christ-followers who suffer the knee-jerk response from popular culture that has tired of the hypocrisy of the "Christian" churches who are not based in Christ at all. One would think by its name that a Christian church would exist that actually is founded on what Christ himself said was the foundation of the Law and the Prophets, and which he said he did not come to destroy, but to fulfill with his death, and told his followers to expect the same -- "take up your cross and follow me."

The true church of Christ:

(1) Obeys all that Jesus commanded, as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:20 (the churches trumpet 28:19, but don't read it in the context of 28:20)
(2) Understands that Matthew 28:20 and Matthew 5:19 are instructions to the followers of Christ who seek to enter the kingdom of heaven
(3) Understands that if we are warned against teaching against even the LEAST of the commandments he commands us to keep, that we should ask Jesus what the greatest are and then reads Matthew 28:36-40
(4) Proclaims and lives the Foundation of the Church of Christ, for Jesus himself said in Matthew 28:40, "On these two commandments depend all The Law and the Prophets."
(5) Understands that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them, and that they will nothing passes from the Law until "heaven and earth pass away", i.e., they were not abolished when Jesus died...
(6) ...And yet understands that the Law IS indeed abolished in the death of Jesus on the cross, but that in the Age of Grace (and this is idea has been inverted by Satan), WE are the BODY of CHRIST on the cross with him, for Jesus said, "take up your cross and follow me" not as an empty statement, nor did he say, "you will indeed drink from my cup [yes that he cup he asked God to let pass from him] and be baptized [buried with him, as Paul tells us] with the baptism with which I am baptized" not as empty words, but his words are spirit and they are life.
(7) And thus actually ministers to people through the death on the cross, a death they SHARE with CHRIST, who died guiltless, so likewise preaches that we will be persecuted and sinned against, even killed, and yet we will that no one should perish, but that all (particularly those who sin against us) would come to repentance, so teaches the members of his body to say as the head of the body said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"
(8) And thus reads afresh Matthew 5:40 and Matthew 5:39, and realizes how utterly ridiculous they are to the world, and yet LIVES through them, and in so doing, both receives and gives the remission of sins through this baptism of death with Christ, understanding afresh what Jesus meant in Matthew 6:12 and Matthew 6:14-15: "and forgive us our debts, as we also HAVE FORGIVEN our debtors... ", for, "if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" and thus works out our own salvation with fear and trembling by realizing that the remission of sins for which we are baptized is first those we remit to others, and THEN we receive the remission of ours in that same moment, through the POWER of the Holy Ghost which is given to use as a gift because we have LOVED our neighbor as ourself in that act of forgiveness, and in so doing have LOVED GOD, because we have earnest sought to accomplish his WILL, that NONE SHOULD PERISH, but that ALL would come to repentance.

The Age of Grace is not the age in which we are forgiven of our sins, THEN we forgive others of theirs after following church rules and standards of "holiness", but the Age of Grace is the age when we have FAITH that GOD will justify the UNGODLY, US, if we first demonstrate our faith in this truth by ABIDING IN THE SON, whose Spirit is Truth, and who IS LOVE, and loving our neighbor as ourself in service of loving God and wanting to fulfill his will, by forgiving the unworthy of their sins against us.

That is the true church of God, and the gates of hell CANNOT prevail against it, because no government can even understand such a concept of loving its enemies, but all states war and "defend" their own interests in the normal way of the world, but the followers of Christ pick up their crosses and with love, as Stephen did when he was stoned to death unjustly, take on the sins of world, as the body of Christ, smitten, flogged, crucified -- and knowing that this is the only way we can fulfill the will of God in a world of sin.

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia


All straw men arguments. Persecution against Christians does exist and is growing stronger. I do not condone any wrongdoing on the part of Christians or non-Christians. I am a pre-trib believer and affirm the doctrines of the UPCI.


January 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Jordan


I'm not sure based on the brevity of your post what you mean by "all straw men arguments."

There no errors (sins) that arise spontaneously in a vacuum; when the church has error, can the world be expected to be free of error?

The fact is, the churches do not preach the message of Christ, and actually defy Jesus' commandment in Matthew 28:20 and are thus those whom Jesus describes in Matthew 5:19 -- because if they aren't teaching Matthew 5:40 (and they are not), and they are not teaching Matthew 5:39 (and they are not), then they cannot be fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, because Jesus told us to teach followers to obey ALL that Jesus commanded.

Jesus couldn't have made it plainer when he said, "take up your cross and follow me", but this is not the message of the churches; they are fundamentally not teaching the most critical aspect of the gospel.

Jesus couldn't have made it plainer when he said, "LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself; upon these hang all the law and the prophets."

Yet, I have yet to go to a church where I asked, "how am I saved?" and they answered me with the words that Jesus said are the basis of the entire law and prophets, not one jot or tittle of which shall pass until heaven and earth pass away and all is fulfilled. All is not fulfilled while salvation is still available -- so why is that churches don't understand salvation to be the fulfillment of the greatest commandments?

Perhaps I wrongly placed the emphasis on the church-goers, when it is church leadership who has failed the church-goers but not teaching them the Gospel.

Salvation is something we must work out "with fear and trembling", every day of our walk.

Every day, we are to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Every day, we are to pray, "Our Father who art in heaven.. thy kingdom done, thy will [that none should perish] be done, on Earth, as it is in heaven.... forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us", and then we are not to complain and fight against those who persecute us, but we are to (1) not resist evil, but BLESS those who persecute us, and (2) REJOICE when we are persecuted for righteousness sake.

Acts 2:38 is even not understood correctly -- it is not a one-time event for a believer, but a recurring event. There is a ceremonial aspect that is only done once, to be sure, but we know that physical water immersion need not be performed every time the Spirit reveals to us some area in which we still fall short and need repentance.

"Repent, and be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Whose sins are remitted when we are baptized?
Not ours alone, but it is a picture of the sins we remit against those who trespass against us, because while God's love is unconditional, forgiveness of sins is not -- it is conditional, as Jesus told us so: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Thus:

(1) Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins
(2) Our sins are forgiven by God only if we forgive men their sins against us

= (a) The sins remitted are simultaneously those against us, which we forgive + (b) those sins we have committed against God and others

But (a) and (b) are inextricably linked -- one does not happen without the other, but they are connected together through time

But if you look again closely, (a) + (b) CASCADES... because if we remit the sins of those who sin against us, if they but take the Love we have extended to them from God in forgiving their wrongs against us, and in turn extend it to those against who sin against them....

we start a LOVE/FORGIVENESS chain.

This is the economy of Love, which explodes by the power of the Holy Ghost until "Thy Will Be Done" -- and his will is that NONE should perish.

"Thy will be done!"

January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>