Just As I Am #2

Thursday, July 20, 2017

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the second verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, and waiting not,
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

A preacher of the Gospel of the Grace of God must convey to unsaved people their total inability to do good works. Seeking boasting, the flesh loves to work—even appealing to the Bible for “validation.” “James chapter 2 says ‘faith without works is dead!’ There, preacher, the Scriptures tell me to work my way to Heaven!” Friends, James 1:1 says the whole Book is written to Israel’s 12 tribes scattered abroad. If we do not know what tribe we are from, then we have no business whatsoever claiming what belongs to the 12 tribes!

Once the Gospel of Grace is clearly presented, there is always that incessant, “But don’t I have to be good?” The sinner coming to faith in Christ, however, knows that no “good deeds” can please God because those “good deeds” are done in the flesh, apart from the Holy Spirit. God is not interested in a lost person performing because the only works he or she can produce is out of an evil heart. God must change the soul. No religious works will ever destroy our sin nature. However, Christ’s shed blood can pay for those sins, cleanse us inside, and give us a new identity. The Adamic identity gives way to the Christian identity: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

God told ancient Israel: “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Those animal sacrifices previewed Christ’s shed blood, which addresses and cleanses the sinful soul. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Whether concerning Israel or us, Christ’s blood—not our work—unites souls to God!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?

Just As I Am #1

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“Come unto me, all ye that labour 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 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the first verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Over the years, this beautiful hymn has been the (appropriate) background melody for Gospel invitations. Many a lost souls had heard the Bible verses read and preached, and they had possibly seen them on the printed page. Still, they resisted the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Pride was keeping them from coming to Jesus Christ by faith. They waited. How the preacher urged them not to delay—life was fleeting, they were dying, and Hell was waiting to receive their souls! The lyrics are spoken by a lost person who is finally coming to Christ as personal Saviour.

The sinner has come to recognize his or her sinful, lost, state, that that blood of Christ was shed for the forgiveness of their sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Many souls today are so blinded by works-religion they believe they are good enough for Heaven, that they do not need the atoning blood of Christ. They have been kind to others so frequently, they have prayed so fervently, they have attended church so faithfully, and they have “kept” the Law so diligently. Despite all of their busyness, they are just one breath away from a devil’s eternal hell!

As works-religion blinds precious souls today, so it did 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ walked this earth. He spoke to them in today’s Scripture. They were so weighed down with religious rules and regulations. He called to them, promising their souls rest. They were to come to Him and leave that old vain, weakly religion behind! How He is urging the lost people of the world today to come to Him and find rest for their souls!

Great Peace

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165 KJV).

“Friends” come and go. Spouses come and go. Health comes and goes. Financial stability comes and goes. Life comes and goes. Dear readers, sin divides, destroys, and dissolves what we hold close to us. Indeed, the human condition is fraught with uncertainties and losses of all kinds. However, the God of the Bible offers us stability. Provided that we rely on Him, nothing will “offend” us (cause us to stumble and fall).

As today’s Scripture says, God’s Word can impart internal strength unfathomable. Circumstances can and will change, but if there is spiritual stability inside our inner man, the Bible says we can endure the good and the bad. Quoting Philippians 4:11-13: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

It is a “learning” process—take note (verse 11)! We do not automatically feel content in times of trouble, no. When things are going well, there is no worry or bother. Yet, strangely, the Scriptures say we need to adopt that same attitude when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances. Rather than praying for God to remove the problems from our life, we can take advantage of those times and make them opportunities to rely more on our Heavenly Father than on ourselves.

Philippians 4:6,7 reminds us that we should pray in order to bring that Word of God into our experience: “[6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We have our problems, yea, but we have our Lord Jesus Christ… and we have His peace, too! 🙂

Special-edition Bible Q&A #400: “Must I be a ‘King James Bible, Pauline dispensationalist’ to have eternal life?

The True God Revealed

Monday, July 17, 2017

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 KJV).

Rest—and see the true God manifest!

Today’s Scripture sits in a prophetic psalm. We see God delivering Israel’s believing remnant from her enemies in the final days of the seven-year Tribulation, and God’s wrath manifested in nature: “[1] God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. [2] Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [3] Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

We see the establishment of God’s earthly kingdom, Him dwelling with Israel in the land of Palestine: [4] There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. [5] God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”

There is a flashback to Christ’s fiery wrath at His Second Coming: “[6] The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.” We see Him on the Earth once more, conquering His enemies and bringing in everlasting peace: “[7] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. [8] Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. [9] He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.”

Finally, we see Jesus Christ exalted among the nations, proving Himself to be very God and their “gods” but worthless, dead idols. The reader is urged to simply rest and contemplate who is God and who is not: “[10] Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Israel’s believing remnant replies, repeating verse 7 and concluding the psalm: “[11] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

The Love of the Truth

Sunday, July 16, 2017

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 KJV).

What is “the love of the truth?”

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The “love of the truth” in today’s Scripture is the love of God manifested in the truth of God, and the truth of God is the Word of God (particularly the Gospel of Grace). The people in today’s Scripture rejected God’s love to them as He offered it to them in the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ. That is, they “believed not the truth” (verse 12), and “the truth” is the Gospel mentioned in chapter 1.

Chapter 1 already said: “[7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:….” Those individuals consumed in the fiery wrath at Christ’s Second Coming, God had a controversy with them. They did not have an intimate relationship with Him. Why did they lack that personal bond with Him? They “obey[ed] not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our Gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works (Ephesians 2:8,9). These people refused to come God’s way, so they will not be saved from God’s judgment (short-term, the Antichrist’s deception [today’s Scripture]; ultimately, hell and the lake of fire).

Returning to chapter 2, we see their punishment for their receiving not the love of the truth, that they might be saved: “[11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” They rejected God’s love manifested in the truth, so He has given them over to the lie that the Antichrist is the true Christ.

Educate the Children

Saturday, July 15, 2017

“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:18,19 KJV).

If children are untaught in Scripture, the parents (especially the father) are usually to blame!

Someone recently told me of a certain unruly, indecent young woman in her “Christian” family. When it was suggested that her father get involved, the woman told me that the mother “wore the pants in the family.” The young woman’s father is actually “scared of” the mother, and he will not reprimand his daughter “for fear of” his wife (her mother). Such a sad predicament, and very common!

As our “rotted” society demonstrates, most fathers have failed in their duties at home. Perhaps they are hard workers, good providers. The Bible does say: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). However, according to the Bible, fathers—not mothers—are to be the primary Bible teachers of their children: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Husbands are to be the Bible teachers of their wives: “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:35). Furthermore, God commands the husband to be the spiritual leader of the marriage, as Ephesians 5:23,24 instructs: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

To the men reading this, if you care about your family, my friends, you will heed these Scriptures!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Jesus Christ ‘raised again?’ Why ‘again?’

Go Not Aside from Any Words

Friday, July 14, 2017

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them (Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV).

Plain and simple!

Those outside the Christian community tell us there is no right or wrong, that everything is relative (“you have your truth, I have mine, so let us agree to disagree,” et cetera). We expect this from people without a Bible: having no absolute standard of rightness, they cannot gauge other systems with it. What is strange is when “Christian” (?) people suggest, “Why cannot we all just get along? Why nitpick about doctrine? As long as we believe in Jesus, is that not enough?”

JEHOVAH God expressly warned the nation Israel in today’s Scripture. In verses 1-14, He told Israel that He would bless her if she obeyed all of His laws. Verses 15-68 are a very thorough listing of the horrible curses to befall Israel if she drifts from His “words.” Today’s Scripture is very strict. There is no loose, “Do the best you can,” “As long as you obey most of My commandments,” or “Just believe in Me and I will bless you.” All the words of the LORD are important. They were not to deviate at all from anything that He specified—particular doctrines mattered because specific words mattered. Any departure from those very words constituted idolatry (worshipping something other than the one true God).

Study Israel’s history from that time forward. She forgot the divine words but kept the religious rituals, rites, and ceremonies. For instance, 15 centuries after today’s Scripture, Jesus constantly corrected Israel’s religious leaders for being ignorant of the Bible. “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures…” (Matthew 22:29). “Have ye not read so much as this…?” (Luke 6:3). If the leaders did not know anything, what about the commoners? “[The religious leaders] be blind leaders of the blind(Matthew 15:14). Equally “blind!”

The professing “Church” finds itself in such a pitiful dilemma today. There is a nice outward form—beautiful music, elaborate prayers, costly vessels, state-of-the-art auditoriums, and so on—but how we do not know the words of God. Like Israel of old, we have wafted right and left!