My girlfriend wrote this when she was 10.

https://i0.wp.com/eugenieteasley.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/noah.jpg

Recently, my girlfriend stumbled upon an old piece of school work. The piece of work was done by her when she was a 10 year old. Now you may be wondering why I would put a piece of school work up on the Word to Life blog. Well I think if you read it, especially with the context of the release of the new Noah film, and the state of the worlds climate with the recent large amount of smog that hit the United Kingdom, I am sure you can see why this powerful piece written by a 10 year old is so poignant.

I do hope you appreciate some of the truths which fall from it, God created a masterpiece but through the sin of the first humans Adam and Eve we marred the broken world that we live in. God decided to try to stem the flow of the evil and trouble in the world through what he did at the time of Noah, I will leave this piece to talk for itself now:

‘Nature is the art of God’

-Dante

This is the motto that we should all live by. It says that we should respect Gods world. Like we respect Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. No one would drop rubbish on that if people lived on the amazing piece of art work which it is. But God is the greatest artist of all. So why should we spoil his creation. We are polluting the air and sea, we are destroying rain forests so one day we will starve and suffocate in our environment we call home. God creating earth has another similarity to the Mona Lisa, Leonardo first painted her without a smile so then he went through drastic measures to make her better so he gave her a smile, we can relate to these changes in the Bible, the story of Noah. God did not like one part of his creation, how bad people were. So he went to great lengths to get it right, even flooding the whole world saving only Noah and his family. Most of the famous art work of centuries ago that still ‘live’ today are priceless. The earth has been here for millions of years and it needs our respect as it is more than priceless.

Let me know what you thought of this piece of work.

I hope it has had an impact on you, as I felt it was thought provoking.

God bless
Gareth

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The “behind closed door” sin.

 

We live in the 21st century where pornography is at our fingertips. It can easily be obtained and watched by millions by using the Television but mostly due to the rapid expansion and accessibility of the internet. Now I know that pornography comes with a reputation and many people do not want to discuss it. But because of that it has pushed people underground, choosing not to admit if they have a problem with it. Hence the title the “behind closed door” sin.

  • Men are 543% more likely to look at porn than females.
  • Those who are politically more liberal are 19% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who have ever committed adultery are 218% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who have ever engaged in paid sex are 270% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who are happily married are 61% less likely to look at porn.
  • Those with teen children at home are 45% less likely to look at porn.
  • Regular church attenders are 26% less likely to look at porn than non-attenders, but those self-identified as “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.

Statistics from http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/02/19/pornography-statistics/

These statistics are mind boggling. We may also think that this is a problem for weirdo’s and teenagers. But the truth is that Pornography is an addictive problem. It is as addictive as drugs and like drugs it does not discriminate on who gets addictive, the rich the poor, the single the married, the adulterous and the “faithful”. Porn is an issue.

We have however already discussed that because of the taboo that comes with porn it has pushed people to go underground and not want to talk with people about it. One aspect of modern day life we haven’t looked at is the reality that now nearly everyone has a mobile phone with the ability to connect to the internet. This has opened up everyone to the danger of the temptation of Porn. It’s lure.

There is no such thing as free porn. I do not mean the financial side to porn, the adverts on the free websites bring revenue in, but the real cost I am talking about here is the cost of lives. Not only are porn actors often beaten and treated aggressively and often drugged to force them to have sex, but when you download a video, even one with no clear violent or aggressive actions, you have joined in with the shocking treatment of the actors. Normally safe sex is not carried out, so some girls are left pregnant or forced to have an abortion.

What is the cost of this sin on the viewer. Porn is a sin. Porn leads to other sins. Though the Bible does not discuss porn directly, but it discusses shocking things like porn. Fornications like porn.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reveller, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Paul says in the passage from Corinthians that Paul is urging the church in Corinth and us, to stay away from the problems of sexual sin. Porn is one of those sins. Because you are dealing with the people that make money from the immorality mentioned above. This means Paul says stay clear from porn. The way he finishes this passage of is a call to the church and us now. “purge the evil person from among you.” That is what we need to do. All of us. But if you have a problem with porn or sexual sin. Purge yourself. Clothe yourself in Christ. Protect yourself.

What does Jesus say on this topic, well Jesus goes along the line of purging yourself. Jesus says:

Matthew 18:7-9

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the fire of hell.

Jesus is saying here basically, if you have a problem with porn or any sin, put barriers up. If you are in a situation where you often use your phone to watch porn, get a phone which can’t connect to the internet. If you have a problem viewing porn on your laptop put rigorous security settings on, or use covenant eyes to let friends know if you are tempted to look at porn. If you are married, talk about the problem with your partner. If you struggle look to them to help you get through it. Pray on it, talk. Do not let it become your secret. Something you do behind closed doors. Be open about the problem like any other sin. You need to fight it. With the help of Christ you can fight it.

If you would like to discuss this further please comment below or follow the link to the Facebook page and send a message to me on there. Complete confidentially.

I hope this helped.

God bless.

Gareth.

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The great act of forgiveness.

 

Ever done something you were ashamed of? I mean something you were really ashamed of?

We have all done something wrong, this includes things like ignoring or disrespecting parents or teachers to lying, stealing to the extreme of murder and adultery and using drugs.

We have all done something bad, something which hurt somebody.

Whenever we do something bad, we always hurt someone, maybe not always directly, but when we do wrong someone always gets hurt, even if that person is ourselves.

Did it hurt someone? Has that someone forgiven you?

It’s so much harder to forgive someone when they have hurt you, when we have been hurt we realise how hard it is to forgive. But when you hurt someone and you are truly sorry we seek that persons forgiveness. From that forgiveness you know you can move on.

The Bible calls this Sin.

The Bible mentions sin a lot. Sin is the reason there is a barrier between us and God. Why so many things go wrong in the world. Why relationships fail, why there is war. Sin is the problem.

We have all done something bad in the eyes of God, were imperfect.

We all sin, we have all done wrong. “All fall short of the glory of God.” You make think, “I’m good, I haven’t killed anyone, stolen anything.” But Sin does not just mean the really bad things, it doesn’t just mean crimes. It means anything that is going against God.

We have all hurt God by doing this.

Once again, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. We all sin, and when we sin it hurts God. Like we do with friends and family, we do to God. We hurt Him. We should seek to find forgiveness for the things we do against God.

But God, He forgives.

You may think God won’t forgive me, He knows how bad I am. Why would He. He is just like everyone else. But He isn’t! God forgives!

He saw all the sin of the world, all the wrongs that we commit.

God has seen all the sins we have committed and knows we will sin again. He does not turn his back though. Like people think he has. Why has he not done anything about it?

Instead of anger he showed love, instead of Wrath He showed mercy.

God could have shown anger, He could have wiped us out. That’s what He did in Genesis, only saving Noah and his family. But He didn’t. He Loved us. He could have come through full of wrath, like he showed to the Egyptians in Exodus. But God didn’t He showed mercy.

How did He show this love and mercy?

He did it by sending His only son, Jesus. He sent Him to die. To die in our place for our sins. For the sins which we commit. For when we hurt God. God placed the blame on Jesus. He showed love by not sparing even His own son to die for us. He showed mercy by forgiving all those who believe and trust in Jesus.

That’s great, but what does it mean?

It means if you trust in Jesus, if you believe that He came and died for you, that you are forgiven. You are free from the power sin. It doesn’t mean you won’t sin but the power and punishment of sin has no power over you. This is because of Jesus’ death, because of His sacrifice you are innocent.

What do I do then?

Give your life to Jesus. Pray to Him in faith. Admit your sin to Him. Meet with His people, your brothers and sisters, The Church. Grow in your relationship with Him. As a forgiven innocent redeemed person. Live a new way. His way. The way of Jesus Christ.

God bless,

Gareth

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I want to tear my hair out!

We all have bad days. Some worse than others. But there is nothing worse than having a problem resting on your shoulders, making you worry, stressing you out. You lie awake a night wondering what you should do. Sometimes stress and anxiety may been seen as something that you don’t discuss with faith, maybe you even feel embarrassed that you are stressed. In this post we are going to look at what Christianity has to say about Stress and anxiety.

But first lets define stress and look at some statistics. Stress as defined by Anxiety UK:

The word stress is usually used to describe the feelings that people experience when the demands made on them are greater than their ability to cope. At such times people can often feel overloaded, under tremendous pressure and very tense or emotional. Stress affects everyone, young and old.

http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/about-anxiety/stress/

Here are some statistics on Stress and Anxiety taken from http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/anxiety/anxiety/anxiety-facts-and-statistics.html

  • Anxiety affects around 16% of the population at any one time.
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (see Types of Anxiety) affects 2-5% of people but accounts for 30% of the mental health problems in people seen by GPs (Source: Department of Work and Pensions).
  • In our Uncovered report we found that 67% of the British population state that money worries cause them anxiety.
  • 34% of the UK population agreed that they use alcohol for this purpose. Broken down, this relates to 37% of men and 30% of women admitting that they are likely to turn to alcohol to cope with low mood, anxiety or depression.

http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/anxiety/anxiety/anxiety-facts-and-statistics.html

So as we can see from the statistics that stress and anxiety are a big issue in a busy modern day way of living. We have family commitments, work takes up more and more of our time and with the frailty of our economic system, we have financial concerns on top of that. 

the world would say go on holiday, have a break go for a spa weekend. But at the end of the holiday and the spa, the financial worries are still there, the only thing that has happened is that you have been distracted from them.

So what does Christianity have to say to stress.

First off God takes stress seriously. Secondly if you are suffering from stress you are not sinning, it is not a sin to be stressed. Finally God is not ashamed of you and he hasn’t turned his back on you. With this in mind lets see what the gracious loving God of the Bible has to say about stress.

Stress is never mentioned by name in the Bible, but the effects of anxiety are. Jesus talks about it. The worries that lead to stress, the worries which keep you up at night. Jesus says:

 

 

Matthew 6:34 (ESV)

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

 

Jesus says here that you should expect to have anxieties, that we will encounter them. That we should not trouble ourselves with more than we can handle. We tend to in our busy lives try to solve all our problems in one day. Because of this self induced pressure with unrealistic personal deadlines.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

 

So you may be thinking well what can God do?

Clearly nothing, apart from telling us not to worry.

 

Well not quite. Jesus also says:

 

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

28 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

This may leave you confused, especially as a believer struggling with stress, you may be thinking “I believe, why is my burden still there?”  But I ask you the question, have you given your worries to God? Have you trusted that Jesus will deal with it? This is a difficult thing to do. But worthwhile. On the road to becoming more Christ-like, we want to do what Christ did and give your problems over to God. Jesus prays continually for guidance and intervention from The Father. If Jesus did, why cant we? Is your problem to big for God to handle? Give it over to God to trust that he will equip you to get through the problem and that he will take the stress away.

 

Giving your problems over to God may not immediately solve your problems and worries. What then do you do as you are lay in bed at night awake?

 

Focus on our great hope.

 

Having given your problem over to God, think of the future hope that you have through Christ.

 

 

 

Revelation 21:3-4 (ESV)

3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 

The great hope that we have in Christ is that all of the worries that you have now. All the problems, financial, emotional, family. All those problems will be gone. No more tears shed. No more pain.

 

There is hope in Christ.

 

In these uncertain times, of worry and stress. Take comfort in Christ. Take comfort in the hope.

I do hope this helped.

God bless.

Gareth.

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The greatest Christmas present.

 

 

 

It’s Christmas time again, it comes around every year, shops are packed with people, Christmas music playing everywhere and TV channels taken up mostly with Christmas films. Then someone comes along and makes a video or writes a blog saying:

Put Christ back into Christmas.

Save Christmas!

In this post I am, in a way, asking for those things… but I am not here to attack the commercialisation of Christmas. Instead, I will try to make clear some truths about Christmas. That, yes indeed we want Christ back in Christmas, but not just little baby Jesus meek and mild. We need to think of Jesus as Lord and saviour, King of kings.

I will base a lot of this post around the verse:

 
 
1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost

 

Yes Jesus did come as a baby but we cannot and should not stray away or dwell on that which will take us from the real reason of Jesus’ coming and that he was to be a sacrifice, as a sacrifice for our sins, so that in his coming he would save all those who trust in him. We must remember this “oh so familiar story” of a child being born in Bethlehem but see it as the coming of a king, The King of Kings, the coming of The Lord of the Earth, the one who would come and save all those who believe in him. We must stick to this, we must not stray or focus for too long on little baby Jesus, but see what this whole event points to…

It points to the child who is a king.

It points to a child who will become a sacrifice.

If you are reading this and you are a non believer you may be sat there wondering, “What is this guy going on about?” But I am saying that to a non -believer Christmas is a time of a hope, that because we are all sinners and we all mess up, that God did not just sit back and watch us destroy ourselves but instead gave us hope.

Hope in Christ…

 

Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This child mentioned in this passage is the hope of our salvation, this child is Jesus, prophesised 400 years before Jesus was born. At Christmas time, at the time of Jesus’ birth he had the expectation of being the messiah/ the saviour resting on his shoulders. 33 years later at the cross Jesus has the sins of the whole world upon his shoulders. So that all those who trust in him will be saved. God gave this the greatest Christmas present, this amazing gift of mercy and forgiveness out of love for us.

 

John 3:16 (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

So to sum up if you are a believer reading this, stay steadfast and firm to this truth, that Jesus’ coming was the beginning on the steps towards salvation. But don’t sit back this Christmas, tell people about God’s greatest gift, this Christmas share this gift with others, tell others of the love that Christ has for them. If you are a non-believer reading this, please trust in the hope found in Jesus, trust that in him your sins are forgiven. In Jesus you are saved.

Trust the hope of Christ this Christmas.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Gareth

 

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I Could Do A Better Job Than That!

We can not avoid in the news today yet another disaster. Another killing. Another case of child abduction or abuse. This can and does put people off the idea of God. It is easy when you see these things to wonder “if there is a God, why is he idly  watching by? letting these things happen?”

The answer to this is Sin.

The effect of sin is bigger than the damage it has on humans, but also its impact on creation. We live in a fallen world. A world which could be perfect but because of sin is marred.

So where did this all start then, well in Genesis 3.

 

Genesis 3: 17-19

17And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

In this passage then the key verses are 17-18. Because of the sin of taking from the tree of knowledge which God told Adam and Eve to not take from, God cuts them off from all the potential knowledge and power of the tree but also because of their sin informs them that certain things will not work in creation as well as they had done before “The Fall”. When God created the world he declared it good having made it perfect. But now, “Post Fall” the world is not so good, the word used in verse 17 “Cursed” meant the ground was now not considered good but instead fallen, broken.

The way to imagine all this is that now the world is sick from sin. It needs to be given a cure to the disease of sin.

Sin is the cause of all the pain and suffering, all the natural disasters, Pre-fall there is no sign of hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis and suffering and death. It is only after sin entered the world that the world becomes broken, becomes fallen and imperfect. Soon following the first sin is the first murder, so powerful is influence of sin.

So the reason for all the shocking things that we see on the news are because of the fallen world we live in, because of the sin of our first parents Adam and Eve.

But does this mean God has done nothing about it?

No… Quite the opposite.

 

 

Romans 8: 18-23

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

 

God had a plan. A rescue plan for creation and for us. One in which he would give his only son up for us and creation.  God saw the effect and damage that sin had on the world. To tackle the infection of Sin, God sent his only son to be a sacrifice for our sins. He came to make us and the world right with him. Jesus came to take away the power of sin by dying on our behalf.

Jesus came to make us and creation righteous. Righteous meaning right with God.

In the passage above we see that as we look and long for the return of Christ, the one who has taken the punishment for our sins, so does creation, it “waits with eager longing”. Creation looks for a release from the bondage of sin just as much as we do.

Does all this mean then that as soon as you become a Christian there is no suffering in your life and in the world around you. Well no. Until Christ returns again there will be death, and there will be natural disasters and famine. But when Christ comes again and we are taken to Heaven we will be in a place of no more tears and no more sorrow. 

 

 

Revelation 21:1-4

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

This glorious picture of what life will be like when Christ returns, shows us that there is hope. There is hope and an end to suffering. We know that through Christ and only through Christ can the world be healed more importantly only through Christ can we be forgiven “healed” of our sin.

God bless.

G.

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Salvations Certainty

1 Peter 1: 10-12 (ESV)

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and enquired carefully, 11 enquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Do any of you remember the game show, Catchphrase? In this great fun program the contestants competed to guess what the caption is for the picture on the screen, when they got one right they had to choose a block to get rid of to try to work out what the main caption is, but things needed to be revealed piece by piece. In the same way that is what Peter is going on about in this passage in terms of Salvation.

Our first thing to notice is how our Salvation was prophesied.  We are going to look at verse 10:

1 Peter 1: 10-12 (ESV)

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and enquired carefully,

The prophets Peter is talking about here, are the Prophets of the Old Testament, this is your Isiah, Daniels, Micah, Zechariah. All the prophets that were talking of a grace that was coming, well that grace that came was Jesus and his sacrifice. And that grace fell on every generation from his resurrection. The Old Testament is useful to see how our sovereign God has had the plan of our rescue in the works for a long time, since the fall. How speaking through the prophets he assured the People of God that a work of grace greater than any other was coming. So what the Old Testament prophets and people did as it says at the end of verse 10 is they “Searched intently and with the greatest care….” They and others began to search and wait for the saviour, prophesied in the scriptures.

That’s where we move on to our second point to notice.

What would this salvation look like? We see in verse 11 the checklist of what they should expect from this salvation and Saviour this checklist included suffering, glory, grace extending worldwide. Look at Verse 11

1 Peter 1: 10-12 (ESV)

11 enquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

The problem that a lot of Old Testament prophets had and in fact a problem that existed right until Jesus came and still to this day, this idea of a suffering servant that would be glorious. We have prophets saying he will come on clouds in glory but then others saying he will beaten beyond recognition. How could a saviour be like this? The Old Testament writers and people were looking for the time and context in which the saviour would come, people stepped up claiming they were the messiah, but none stood the Test. Then in the small town of Bethlehem was born Jesus, Both fulfilments of prophecy, who came and died, which everyone probably thought that meant Jesus was just like all the others failed, but going back to our old testament checklist we find Jesus ticking the boxes, he came and suffered on the Cross, he received glory by having risen from the dead, he was ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. And finally Jesus commissioned the disciples to go to all people in Acts having been equipped by the Holy Spirit.

So having worked on what this Salvation would look like, let’s look at our final point.

Salvation Revealed. We have seen today how the old testament prophets spoke of Jesus’ coming, but looking at verse 12 we see some thought provoking sentences:

1 Peter 1: 10-12 (ESV)

12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

The coming messiah was revealed to the prophets but not for their gain but ours, so that we would see how God has worked for our Salvation from the beginning as we have already seen. But now we see how the same Holy Spirit which inspired the Old Testament writers of Jesus’ coming is the same one that spoke through the New Testament books too, that reveal the salvation, the gospels, the epistles the pastorals. And even through the preaching that we have heard, this means one thing, having had this Salvation revealed to us we need to go out and tell others of this salvation, that if it is God’s will they might respond, and know of the salvation of Jesus. What has been revealed to us through scripture alone is an amazing act of grace and love, something which at the end of Verse 12 says “Even Angels long to look into these things” the angels wish they knew of the freedom of salvation that we find in Christ. Which shows that even heavenly creatures do not know the power of this grace that we find in the rescue from sin.

To sum this up then, we have covered quite a lot, in three verses, but what should we take from all this, well confidence and assurance. Confidence that from the beginning God has had a plan, and to encourage us he spoke through the Old Testament prophets, revealing parts of his plan. Assurance, because the Spirit with which God revealed his plan in the Old Testament, he did the same in the New Testament, in telling the true story of how it happened. But the main thing I want you to take away, is that final point that we need to go out tell people about the salvation through Jesus, and trust that God by his Holy Spirit will reveal this salvation to them.