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Held In God's Hands Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 26, 2022 1:00 am

Held In God's Hands Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 26, 2022 1:00 am

The accusations you hear don’t have to have the last word. God’s love for you isn’t fickle. In the courtroom of guilt and shame, Christians can stand confidently against their accuser, Satan. The defending attorney, Jesus, is your Advocate. In this message, you’ll deepen your assurance of salvation based on three pillars from Scripture. When you’re uncertain of your standing with God, don’t speak for yourself—look to Jesus.  

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

When Babe Ruth pointed to center field, he knew where that ball was going. And Christians can know where they're going after death. That's because our assurance of salvation is built on three pillars in the Scriptures.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. We're in Romans 8 in a series on how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God. So far, Pastor Lutzer, you've told us about the plan of God and the pardon of God. Dave, as you know, I very much appreciate the opportunity to always explain the doctrine of salvation. No matter how often we hear it, we need to be reminded of the fact that God is very sovereign, but he loves to save sinners, even great sinners. Today, we're going to be talking about the pledge of God.

That is to say, the assurance that he gives us in his word that once we are his, we are his forever. I want to ask you a question. All those of you who are listening today, are you blessed as a result of this series of messages? Would you like to be able to share it with your friends? Listen to it over and over again.

You may have missed some of the messages. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to

That's, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the series of messages, how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God. And now let us listen. God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ is the one who died, yea, rather, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God the Father, and he intercedes for us. How shall we, as the accused, handle these accusations?

Shall we say, no, they aren't true? That, of course, is not even an option in this court. It may be in a Chicago courtroom. It may work for some aldermen. It may work for some members of Congress, but it doesn't work in the presence of God. The issue here is not truth.

The issue is justice. Well, then we can begin to minimize our sins and say, God, if you only understood, don't you realize I'm better than other people? Don't you realize I did try to serve you? Don't you remember I walked forward in a meeting? God, God, I did pray once.

Don't you remember during the war? Lord, what will I do? No. Satan has marched in, and he's winning the court case. If the defendant is wise, he will do the only thing that is wise to do, and that is to punt the ball to the defending attorney and say, Jesus, I can't handle this.

You handle it for me. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again and is even at the right hand of God the Father, reminding God the Father that salvation was purchased, that the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses from all sin, and that Jesus died for some messy and very ugly sins, and God the Father accepted the payment.

Justice has been satisfied, and the defendant is acquitted, and he can go free. Five bleeding wounds he bears received on Calvary. They pour effectual prayers.

They strongly plead for me. Forgive him. Oh, forgive, they cry, and let not that ransomed sinner die. This past week a man called me on the telephone, asked my advice regarding counseling a woman who had an affair, a Christian woman, now suddenly in the slew of despond and despair and depression.

Not all depression is because of sin and guilt, but a lot is. How do we as Christians handle it? I do not merely mean handle the outworking of reconciliation with her husband that is going to be very painful under any conditions. I'm talking about how do we handle it theologically so that this woman can look into God's face again and be cleansed and be redeemed. You see, on one level, as a Christian, she is as pure as Christ, clothed in his righteousness, even though a sinner. She needs to see that. If she does not see that, she will be driven into despair. On another level, she must also see that in experience she has sinned grievously, and she must ask forgiveness, not that she might again receive the holiness of God, which she now has as a free gift already, but that she might be reconciled to the Father, whom she has wounded so deeply through her sins.

You see, there is the objective. There's also the subjective cleansing, and the cleansing has to do with the purging of the conscience so that she not only is pure before God, but that she knows she is. She must be given hope to understand that no matter what the accusations are, if she looks to her defending attorney, the Lord Jesus Christ, God, the God of the universe, has pronounced her clean. Now who is it that shall declare her guilty if God has spoken?

Oh, I know she's in for some hard times in reconciliation with her husband because those sins run deep, but she needs to know that she is cleansed, washed, accepted. Who is he that condemns? Christ died, and God accepted that death as a sacrifice for sinners. And by the way, those of you who are troubled and hassled by a past that will not leave you, what you must sometimes do is to memorize these passages of Scripture and maybe even quote them out loud to the enemy of your souls who wants to keep you dragged down in guilt.

You must say to him, be gone, Satan, for it is written, who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? God has justified me. Who is he that condemneth?

Christ died. And you look to the redeeming Savior for your acceptance and for your forgiveness. The second pillar that goes down to bedrock is God justifying sinners. And they remain holy despite their sins, and even though their need for discipline and the need to be cleansed and to be forgiven subjectively, they remain holy in the sight of a God who has accepted them because of his Son. It is the pardon of God.

Thirdly, the third pillar is the pledge of God, the pledge of God. Now Paul becomes very realistic. He does not become like some preachers painting a very rosy picture of the Christian life and saying, now if you believe you're going to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, and that all of your life you're going to have a beautiful path with flowers on both sides.

No. He says, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Verse 35. And then he lists seven things that Christians often have thought separated them from the love of Christ. You and I know, and we probably have been there ourselves, where there are those who simply say, God doesn't love me anymore. And we ask, and it's one of these seven things. I don't know what else there could be among them that could separate us from the love of God that we might think would separate us from his love if it's not one of these seven. Shall tribulation?

Well, let me ask you, how was this past week? You say, well, it was so filled with tribulation, I don't think God was on my side anymore. Well, Paul says tribulation is not going to separate you from the love of Christ. Well, you say, what about distress? You say, well, I always was told that Christians never have distress. They just go to heaven every evening and return again in the morning, and they walk with such uninterrupted victory that there is no distress. Well, I want you to know today, Christians have distress. Paul says, though, if you have it, this is one thing that won't separate you from the love of Christ. Persecution. In the ancient times, Christians were marched to the lions, they cried to God, they pled with God for forgiveness, and the lions came and devoured them. There was no deliverance.

Did that separate them from the love of Christ? Paul says, no, no, it'll take something else, maybe, but not that. What about famine? So the economic plan in the United States doesn't work. We go into another recession.

The economy unravels and there's nakedness, that's another one, poverty, peril. That won't separate us from the love of Christ. Well, what about death itself? If somebody takes a sword to you, and here in this church, as you know, we've had several families who have lost teenagers through drive-by shootings.

The boys have been gunned down on the streets of this great city. Will that separate you from the love of Christ? Will a sword do it?

Will a gun do it? No, no, no. In fact, he quotes from the Psalms, for thy sake we are being put to death all day long. We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. That was true in the Old Testament.

It's true today. Persecution, difficulty, death, despair, ill health has always plagued the people of God, just as it has plagued those who are not the people of God. Paul says that these things will not separate us from the love of Christ.

And then just in case there's some enterprising person who says, I think Paul missed something, Paul says I want you to know that I'm going to cover everything. But in all these things we are overwhelmingly conquerors through him who loved us, for I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels, well, we wouldn't expect them to separate us from the love of God, but what about principalities? What about the demons?

They would love to separate us from the love of God for sure. Nor things present. Well, he could imagine somebody says, well, you know, this was ancient. This is 2,000 years ago. So Paul says, nor things to come, things that will exist in the 20th century or the 21st, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, and Paul says for those of you who want a closed case, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I get the impression that Paul wanted to leave with us the general idea that if you're a believer, you'll never be separated from the love of Christ. Period.

Period. And if you think that this kind of teaching was unique to the apostle Paul, Jesus taught it as well. Today we have emphasized the three pillars that Paul puts in the ground here. He says the plan of God is to save those whom he foreknew and he will save them, despite the difficulties along the way. And then he goes on to say the pardon of God is such that God's elects stand justified in his sight, despite their sinfulness and despite their distress and weaknesses. And then Paul says we have the pledge of God that nothing shall separate us from God's love.

Period. You say, well, that's what Paul taught. Did Jesus agree with him? Did Jesus agree with the apostle Paul?

Well, the answer is yes. Turn to John 10 for just a moment. John chapter 10, where Jesus is talking about his sheep. And what he wants to make plain is that his sheep will never perish. In fact, it would be embarrassing if his sheep were to perish. You know, if you were given 100 sheep in the morning and you returned later on with 95 in the afternoon, you would be a laughing stock among shepherds. They would say, you know, what kind of a shepherd is going to lose some sheep?

Now just comment on this. Verse 27, my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give eternal life to them and they shall never perish and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. Somebody says, oh, yes, but we can snatch ourselves out of his hand. It's not quite that easy, my dear friend, because we are not only in his hand, the Bible says we are his hand.

It's not that simple. 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. Jesus said, if you can't trust my hand, at least trust the hand of my father.

And what you have in this passage is hands in harmony. You have the son's hand, you have the father's hand, and the sheep are in those hands clasped together. And at the end of the day, the shepherd brings all the sheep home. What would you think of a shepherd who returned home with 95 after being given a hundred and then said, well, you know, you just don't understand how stubborn these sheep are. You know, if you knew how stubborn these sheep are, they find all kinds of false paths that they take. What was I supposed to do?

I just let them wander according to their own free will. They didn't want to come to the sheepfold at night. We'd say, friend, look for another job.

Do something else. Your calling lies in another direction. Shepherds bring sheep home. And it is unthinkable that those sheep that are a gift from God the Father to the son, those whom thou has given me, that in the end, God would say, well, some are missing, but you just don't understand how stubborn they were.

They will arrive. What about Ted Turner? In a continuation of the quote with which I began, he said, the business of Jesus Christ dying on a cross for sinners is weird stuff, man, he said. You see, it is possible for people to pray, to even generally believe, to even emotionally have an experience and not be genuinely one of God's sheep. You say, well, how then do we know that we are one of God's sheep?

How do we know if our faith is real faith? The answer to that is come back next Sunday. That's what I'm preaching on. That's what the whole deal is.

That's what the whole deal is. Because there is a false faith, but we can also know that we have a true faith. And as many as received him to those he gives the authority to become the children of God and they become his children forever. Now you say, well, I can't wait till next week.

Well, that's all right. Even now, if you are here today and do not know Christ as savior and you look to him and you say, Jesus, I transfer all of my trust to you as best I know, I cleave to you alone to receive the gift of eternal life, you can be saved. Yes, my friend, if you are a believer, you are held in God's hands and when it comes time to die, despite the doubts and the darkness, God's sheep will make it all the way home.

And if you will, let us pray. Our Father, we do want to thank you today that long before we were born, we were already special to you. The Bible says that we were loved in Christ, we were chosen in Christ, we were foreknown and we've been in your mind for all of eternity and it overwhelms us to think of it. We will be in your mind for eternity to come and it's all by grace and you did it for people who are so overwhelmingly unworthy that all that they could do throughout all of eternity is sing your praise.

We thank you. Thank you today that we are held in hands that are much stronger than we are. And now before I close this prayer, perhaps you don't know where you stand in your relationship with God. Would you at this moment say, Lord Jesus, just save me?

Depend wholly on him. Seek him because it may well be that he is seeking for you. Father, let no one leave here today without a recognition and a solid conviction that they belong to you. We pray in Jesus' name.

Amen. Well, this is Pastor Lutzer. Of course, whenever we speak about the grace of God, it's easy to be misunderstood because there are some people who think that when you teach grace, you give people a license to sin. But of course that's not the case.

We do rejoice in the grace of God because it is given freely to sinners and it changes our hearts. Let me ask you a question. Have you been blessed as a result of these messages? Maybe you haven't been able to listen to all of them and you can have them in permanent form. Then you can listen to them again and again, share them with your friends.

For a gift of any amount, this series can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Now, perhaps I gave you that information too quickly. I hope that you have time to pick up a pencil because I'm going to repeat it. It's very important that you have these messages how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God. Go to or you can call us right now at 1-888-218-9337.

Thanks in advance for helping us because together we are making a difference. Ask for the sermon series, How You Can Spend Eternity with God. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life.

A passage in Mark chapter 3 has caused many to fear for their eternal futures. Ray Gene listens to Running to Win and has this question, What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? At one time when I was a teenager, I felt I had blasphemed the Holy Spirit and now I wonder if I'm able to be saved.

Ray Gene, hear this from my heart to yours. We've all been where you are. I remember as a teenager I had some horrible thoughts and I thought for sure I blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

The good news is I didn't and the good news is you didn't either. The blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is the sin that the nation Israel committed when they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They committed the sin of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Now, there is such a thing as a blasphemy against the Spirit. There is a derivative kind of sin and that is somebody who hardens his heart against God.

They become absolutely hard. They want nothing to do with God. They've stifled the work of the Holy Spirit and they can't be saved because they don't want to believe and nor can they believe. But you are different. You're different because you wrote to me and you asked about the question because you are concerned. Ray Gene, if you want to believe on Jesus, you believe. You trust. Come to him. Come to him with your doubts. Come to him with your conscience that troubles you and receive the gift of eternal life that Jesus Christ died to give to those who would trust him. You have not committed this sin.

Move on from here. Thank you, Ray Gene, for sharing your concern. Pastor Lutzer, thank you for your answer.

If you'd like to hear your question answered, you can. Just go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60614. Believers in Christ look forward to a certain home in heaven, and this outlook turns their inward look to an upward look, a look full of promise and hope. This hope is something we can share with all who ask us why we have that hope. Next time on Running to Win, Erwin Lutzer begins the final message in a series on how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God. Plan to join us then as we hear, Knowing for Sure. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-17 16:43:49 / 2023-06-17 16:52:25 / 9

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