Willfully Ignorant!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:5,6 KJV).

Ignorance is not a sin; willful ignorance is!

Recently, I attempted to teach a professing Christian lady quite steeped in her religious tradition. After I explained how she had not been taught the truth, I believe (for just a few seconds) she saw in her heart the plain facts of Scripture we discussed. Immediately, however, she shut out that light. She said the Bible was “complicated,” “hard to follow” here. Basically, refusing to forsake her warped theology, she dismissed Scripture as “confusing.” Frankly, I let her have her ignorance. When she stopped the conversation, so did I. She was clearly deceived, but willfully ignorant. Nothing more could be done for her. We changed subjects.

Later, I spoke with two other professing Christian women. One dear soul, certainly unsaved, had no interest whatsoever in hearing how to have her sins forgiven, a right standing before God, and an eternal home in Heaven. She told me not to speak about that to her anymore (and I have not!). The other woman, allegedly a believer in the Gospel of Grace, did not care about sound Bible doctrine. She was “too busy” with other issues—evidently “more important” ones. That evening, I talked with a Christian brother whom I have known for some years. As I offered Biblical insight concerning the anxieties and troubles bothering him, he expressed disagreement with the verses. Decades of religious tradition had gripped him tightly, and he had gripped it tightly too!! (He then hung up the phone!)

Similarly, in today’s Scripture, deniers of God’s wrath deliberately ignored His truth. He had judged the world with the Great Flood that destroyed nearly all Earth’s biosphere. They merely had to read and believe the preserved record of Genesis chapters 6-8, but they refused and claimed obliviousness! Dear friends, may we not follow their example. To be unskilled in the Word of Righteousness is one thing; to be firmly uninformed, fervidly declining to learn the truth, is entirely different!

Filthiness and Foolishness!

Friday, October 19, 2018

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6 KJV).

Human nature, often assumed to generate only “worldly sins,” is actually composed of two extremes. Yes, we are naturally inclined to lasciviousness, dirty sins, wild living (what the religious crowd “shuns” and “condemns”). However, a more serious (but seemingly innocuous) vulnerability exists within us.

We are also inherently ascetic, self-disciplined, strict. Religion—offering our works to please God—actually leads to greater evil. Self-righteousness attempts to replace God’s righteousness (cf. Romans 10:1-3). Mankind believes he can substitute his “goodness” for God’s and God will supposedly be none the wiser. We can indeed fool other people but God looks beyond outward appearances. He sees our intentions, heart attitude (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:9,10). We really want Him to let us into Heaven, not solely because of Jesus Christ’s work, but rather because of our work. God sees it as foolishness!

God considers all human nature wicked. Thus, He deems all (not some) of its works unacceptable. Whether in religion or non-religion, man is constantly striving to replace God’s efforts with his, God’s ideas with his, God’s objectives with his. Almighty God will not overlook it: He will not alter His plan of salvation simply because we want Him. He will forgive us all our sins and save us unto eternal life, and then He will do good works in and through us. It is not to be confused with religion—us doing good works to gain forgiveness and eternal life. From all outward appearance, what God produces in and through people is identical to what religion produces in and through people. Nevertheless, God sees the difference inside.

When God the Holy Spirit comments on human “goodness,” His inspired Word calls it “but dung” (Philippians 3:8). How flattering! Notice today’s Scripture—“all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” The Hebrew root employed implies the monthly courses of a woman’s menstrual flux. “Filthy rags” is literally “menstruous cloths” (“sanitary pads” in modern English). Dirty, soiled! (Consult Leviticus 15:33, Leviticus 20:18, and Isaiah 30:22.) Again, from God’s vantage point, human “goodness” is filthiness!

A Tattered Book

Thursday, October 18, 2018

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end” (Psalm 119:33 KJV).

Today, my primary print Bible turns 15 years old!

I am looking at it now. Its pages are stained with oil from my fingers. The margins have brief notes scribbled on them. Its ragged cover finally fell off recently—but I glued it back together. Highlighter colors decorate its pages. I have memorized its layout, where verses and passages sit on the sheets. Pages have been folded, torn, and wrinkled. Dear brethren, my (and your) spiritual growth came at its expense. It has truly become my “best friend,” having been useful in writing thousands of Bible studies over all these years.

When my parents purchased it for me, this King James Bible meant little to me. I had been saved for about eight years, but I was still extremely denominational in my Christian understanding and practice. For the first few years I owned it, I read a verse or two a night. There was no serious Bible study. How shallow I was—how ignorant I was! When two dear brothers in Christ shared dispensational Bible study with me over 10 years ago, the “Old Book” became a “New Book”… and now it has literally become (physically) an “old” Book! As God’s Word worked in me, I desired to enter the ministry. With all these years passing, the Holy Scriptures have become more and more understandable and enjoyable. Of course, the more reading and studying I have done, the more worn-out the pages have become. However, it may have another 15 years of use left!!

Human nature is independent—especially of God. It is defiant, unwilling to listen to Divine instruction. “I will believe what I want!” “Let me be my own person!” “I will do it my way!” Contrariwise, today’s Scripture is the attitude of the believer in the God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ. A believer submits to God’s authority, words, and direction: “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (verse 34). Brethren, let us allow the Holy Spirit to teach us His words, the way of His statutes, that we keep it unto the end, too! 🙂

Why Death Loses

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV).

Behold, the deathblow to death!

Secular scientists claim “natural selection” (the heart of evolutionary theory) is nature’s mysterious method of “selecting” against weak and sickly traits while simultaneously ensuring beneficial characteristics are passed on to offspring. Organisms, if they do not adapt to their environments, die (making reproduction impossible). (On a larger scale, such vague genetic “selections” allegedly originated Earth’s millions of species of life over four billion years.) Since natural resources are limited, not all members of all species can survive anyway. Death is therefore viewed as advantageous: it eliminates the bad, that the good may have a chance to exist and thrive.

Indeed, it makes perfect sense in the lost person’s mind, but we with spiritual eyes simply cannot agree that death is suitable. Romans 5:12 declares: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:….” Originally, immediately after Creation, sin and death were nonexistent on planet Earth. It was not until Adam, the first man, intentionally followed Satan did our world (and human race) fall. Death made its grand entrance all those millennia ago… and has been stealing from us ever since!!

If death were “natural”—God’s intention from the very beginning—then He would have no reason whatsoever to abolish it with resurrection! Today’s Scripture in context: “[53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Death loses simply because the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected and won, thereby giving us the victory too!

Bible Q&A 545: “O ye of little faith?

When Death Loses

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54 KJV).

Friends, it (unfortunately) appears that death wins, does it not? Loved ones leave us; we leave them. Yet, God’s Word speaks of the day when, “Death is swallowed up in victory….”

Isaiah 25:8 prophesies of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” The Lord GOD—Father God—will wipe away all tears from their faces via bodily resurrection. Shortly after Christ’s Second Coming, He will physically resurrect the saints of the ages in Israel’s program (Revelation 20:1-6).

When describing our resurrection at the Rapture, the catching away of the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul quoted Isaiah. While Isaiah 25:8 is not fulfilled at the Rapture, our resurrection is similar to the believers’ resurrection that will transpire after the Second Coming to establish God’s earthly kingdom.

Today’s Scripture in context: “[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

“[55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

The Ark of the Covenant

Monday, October 15, 2018

Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

Why did the Ark of the Covenant (box, casket) contain these items?

  1. Golden pot of manna — Israel, just out of Egyptian bondage, complains that they have nothing to eat in the wilderness. Whining that the LORD God has delivered them just to starve them to death, they desire to return to Egypt! In His providence, God rains down bread from Heaven. He commands that a sample of this manna be stored in the Ark as a memorial (Exodus 16:1-36, particularly verses 32-34).
  2. Aaron’s rod that budded — A certain segment of Jews rebel against Moses and Aaron, God’s leaders of Israel (Numbers 16:1-50). So as to prove Aaron is His high priest, God assigns an almond rod to each tribe. Levi’s rod bearing Aaron’s name (Aaron is of the tribe of Levi) blossoms and bears almonds, signifying that Aaron is the genuine priest (Numbers 17:1-13, especially verses 10-11).
  3. Two tables of stone — These are God’s codified 10 Commandments, the result of Israel wanting works-religion, a performance-based acceptance system, instead of remaining with grace (God’s gifts to them simply offered out of His benevolence). Such cold, dead, rocky slates are the heart of the Old Covenant, whose demanding laws expose Israel’s sin problem (Deuteronomy 10:1-5, particularly verse 5).

Friend, did you notice the recurring idea? Are all mementos of specific times in Israel’s history when she rebelled (sinned) against JEHOVAH God. They were kept in the Ark, whose lid was the Mercy Seat. Above it was the Shekinah glory, God’s presence, between the cherubim (Exodus 25:10-22). On the Mercy Seat—on the annual Day of Atonement—Israel’s high priest sprinkled the bullock’s blood (Leviticus 16:2,14).

What was literally between God’s presence and Israel’s sin (the broken commandments, her never-ending rebellion) was shed blood. They could not see it, but, looking back, we can. Shed blood—namely, Christ’s (future) finished crosswork on Calvary—was keeping a holy, offended God from consuming sinful Israel all those 1,500 years (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:14,15)!!

Refuge! #7

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

To spare Israel absolute annihilation, God graciously provided a loophole in the Mosaic Law. If one ignorantly killed another, the slayer could flee to a city of refuge and escape the avenging relative’s hand. The deceased person’s relative could not harm him in that special city.

Similarly, prophetically, the Antichrist is the avenger of blood, coming to punish national Israel for rejecting her Messiah (Jesus Christ) (Isaiah 10:5,6; John 5:43). Thankfully, individual Jews can flee to a (figurative) “city of refuge.” The Little Flock will survive God’s judgment: membership therein (via water baptism) is protection from “the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:1-12; 1 Peter 3:20,21).

Throughout early Acts, God the Holy Spirit constantly indicted Israel for killing her Messiah. They were worthy of His wrath! However, He downgraded the charge from murder to manslaughter. Israel was spiritually ignorant when she crucified Jesus, thus allowing her opportunity to flee to refuge—Israel’s believing remnant. In Acts chapters 2-5, Israel was offered a renewed opportunity of repentance.

“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:18-20). Believing Jews in Israel’s kingdom program have “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Having trusted Jesus as Messiah, they will enter His earthly kingdom when He returns to redeem them nationally at His Second Coming (cf. Hebrews 12:25-29).

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God (Zechariah 13:9).