Understanding Your Apostle Paul

Friday, May 20, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand your Apostle Paul?

“Who is your Apostle?” Had the professing church correctly answered that question through these last 2,000 years, Christianity’s testimony would be far more potent because we would actually know God’s will better than the world knows Satan’s policy of evil. Alas, the average church member is totally unable to discern and combat bad doctrine—and it is not God’s fault!

Regarding what the Bible titles “time past,” God was forming the nation Israel, distinguishing the world between “circumcision” (Jew) and “uncircumcision” (non-Jew, Gentile). “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:…” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Yet, in “but now,” God has erected a new arrangement: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (verse 13). Today, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—all can come to God by faith in Christ’s finished crosswork alone and join the Church the Body of Christ.

In the context of today’s Scripture, we learn: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:….” Here is Paul’s ministry, the Lord sending this man to notify us of the dispensational change from “time past” to “but now” (Acts 26:16-18). We therefore see God’s current operations are confined to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Appealing to other Scriptures to find God’s will for today is how Christendom has failed miserably in using God’s Word God’s way—and look at the disastrous results!

A Higher Education: It Is Up to You!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 KJV).

Sixteen years ago today, I graduated high school. Consequently, we dedicate this devotional to high school students who are nearing graduation.

Are you about to graduate high school? What would God have you do afterward? Go to college? Trade school? Something else? What career should you pursue? If you do plan on education after high school, where should you attend school? These are tough questions, and while God’s Word does not answer them, you can make decisions that conform to sound Bible doctrine—that is God’s will.

In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages downcast Timothy. Timothy was considerably younger than the Apostle Paul. Older people who are teaching false doctrine are intimidating young Timothy: “Tim, you are too young to teach God’s Word. Let us handle it.” Young Timothy conceded, became silent, and allowed the (“older and wiser”) false teachers to continue teaching their damnable heresies (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 1:5-8). Paul replied, “Timothy, Speak up! Let no man despise thy youth!”

Christian youth can be just as effectual in their station in life as Christian adults. The lost world is watching us Christians, and we need to be sure that our actions are in accordance with the sound Bible doctrine we claim to believe (lest we be guilty of confusing the already-puzzled unbelievers). Whether “young or old,” our speech, our lifestyle, our acts of love, our determination, our belief in sound Bible doctrine, and our separation from that which God hates, is the way we communicate to the lost world God’s Word and its preeminence in our lives and hearts (today’s Scripture).

Above all, dear graduates, whatever you do post-graduation, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). After all, it really is not your life—it is Christ’s life in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4), so He alone deserves the glory! 🙂

*Based on a Bible study by the same name, which can be read here. Also, see the study “The Spirit-Filled Student.”

By the way, you may also be interested in reading this archived special-edition study about my own college experience.

Understanding Right Division

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand right division?

Observe professing “Christianity.” For decades and centuries, literally tens of thousands of denominations, sects, and cults have tirelessly vied for the title of “the church Jesus founded.” Any appeal to the Holy Bible to settle disputes appears hopeless, for they all cite their “proof-texts” or favorite verses with which they have thoroughly familiarized themselves. Someone of a world religion or no religion is far too disinclined to ever associate with any of these “Christian” institutions. “If this chaos is ‘following Jesus,’ I will gladly die a pagan!”

Heaven, if the name means anything, is totally unlike Earth. Surely, God Himself can and will resolve the religious confusion around us. How will He do it? Why, today’s Scripture is surely the solution. Once we eliminate the “man-pleasing,” we can see what is God-pleasing. The way we have God’s approval is “study… rightly dividing the word of truth.” Compare two simple passages. The Apostle Peter preached in Acts 3:21: “[Jesus Christ] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 16:25,26: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

Scripture is divided into “prophecy” (what God spoke by His prophets since the world began—that which is outside of Paul’s epistles or doctrinal letters, Romans through Philemon) and “mystery” (what God did not speak by His prophets since the world began but has now revealed through Paul’s epistles). “Mystery” truth is what God Himself is doing today in “but now;” if we want to learn God’s will for us, let us hear mystery truth. If we are patterning our lives after something else, including prophetic truth, we are outside of God’s will.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus Christ Himself never water baptize anyone?

Understanding the Right Bible

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand the right Bible?

Ministries and churches have statements of faith invariably declaring they believe “the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word.” Yet (contrary to how impressive that sounds), preachers, teachers, and seminary professors usually have another (private!) view. Ask them to show you that “perfect Bible” they claim to “love,” “believe,” and “defend.” Hear their dreadful reply. “No, my perfect Bible disappeared when the original manuscripts disintegrated over 1,500 years ago! All we have now are error-filled copies and flawed translations!” Of course, this is not their public admission. They conceal their real beliefs by carefully wording it as “the inspired, inerrant Word of God in the autographs or original manuscripts.”

Incredibly, they have been taught not to believe the Bible. They have been trained to reduce the Scriptures to just an ordinary Book that had no Holy Spirit watching over it. Consequently, they belittle whomever actually does believe in perfect Bible that we can hold and read today. Scholars will not submit to a perfect Bible in existence now, because then will be rendered pointless their work in retranslating, discussing variant readings, and so on. A settled, final Bible is their enemy! Here is the culmination of the Roman Catholic Church’s 500-year-long, Counter-Reformation efforts to shift Protestants from an authoritative Bible. Rome cleverly “fills the void” with skeptical teachers, weak retranslations, and worthless church traditions.

Knowing God promised to preserve His words (today’s Scripture) through a multiplicity of manuscript copies (Deuteronomy 17:18-20, for example), and understanding He is the Creator of human languages (which do not limit Him at all—Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-11), He could and did certainly furnish us with a perfect Bible in English. Unashamedly, we believe and use the Authorized Version King James Bible as the correct, infallible translation of the Old Testament Hebrew Masoretic Text and the New Testament Greek Textus Receptus (Received Text). If we are labeled an “old-fashioned, narrow-minded, King James cult,” so be it. At least we actually possess what we claim to believe in—unlike those who hide behind a nonexistent “authority” (missing original Bible manuscripts). We seek God’s approval (2 Timothy 2:15), not man’s (John 12:42,43). (Or, at any rate, that is the way it should be.)

Understanding Jesus Christ

Monday, May 16, 2022

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,…” (John 1:1,14 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand the Lord Jesus Christ?

Approximately 3,500 years ago, Satan was permitted to torment Job. Suffering immeasurable pain, Job blamed God. He declared: “For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman [mediator, arbitrator] betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33). Job longed for someone to serve as an umpire between himself and “distant” God. That mediator could take Job by the hand and take God by the hand, and join them in unbroken fellowship. Job assumed this was the only way God would be appeased and his afflictions would subside.

Today’s Scripture, penned some 15 centuries after Job’s ordeal, explains the “daysman” finally arrived. The second Member of the Godhead, God the Son Himself, took on human flesh. At the Incarnation, it was humanity added to Deity, the only combination that would form a Person who was able and willing to reunite sinful man with holy God. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;…” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12).

As sinners, we need more than just another philosopher or religious teacher to tell us “how to do right.” We need a Saviour who will make us right, a Mediator who will declare us righteous! Here is the ministry of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is an exclusivist message, for here is the “one [!] mediator between God and men.” “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Understanding Your Purpose

Sunday, May 15, 2022

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” (Ephesians 1:9,10 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand your purpose?

As human society continues spiraling downward and away from the truths of the Creation Week in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, it becomes increasingly ignorant of just why we are here. Prevailing thought today is that the heavens and the earth originated from some still inexplicable, random interaction of natural laws 14 billion years ago. Life is but an accident, meaningless. Our world is “unplanned.” We are just “highly evolved animals.” It is this depreciating of human life that has contributed to abortion on-demand, environmentalism, suicide, tyranny, violence, bloodshed, and all the other tragedies preventing the human race from ever enjoying real (!) progress (!).

If there is no God, no higher power of any kind, and we exist “just by chance,” then there really is no incentive for us to do right. Our accomplishments—no matter how grand—will all count for nothing because there is no one to make a final, decisive evaluation of them. Life is worthless, with no eternal significance. It makes no difference what we do. “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). This is precisely where natural-man thinking gets us, and exactly where human society is at this very moment, self-destructing because it is too prideful to come by faith to its Creator and submit to His plan for the heaven and the earth (Romans 1:18-32)!

Today’s Scripture explains that Father God has one overall aim for the heaven and the earth. Why do they exist? Why do we exist? No matter what sinful mankind purposes to do or actually does, God will ultimately exalt the Lord Jesus Christ in both realms. We can participate by faith—or not. Regardless, the life of Christ will fill the entire universe one day and He will be glorified throughout the endless ages to come. In that day, creatures with eternal life will finally bring to pass the Creator’s original objective!

Understanding God

Saturday, May 14, 2022

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand God?

Honestly, we all desire to do what we want to do and believe what we want to believe. For proof, we simply look around at this crazy world in motion. Everyone cries out in unison, “I am my own authority!” While we may not do it audibly, we do it internally and silently. For example, there are over 4,200 religions—an estimated 38,000 denominations in “Christianity” alone. Resolving these theological disputes is hopeless because they all believe they are right. It has been inquired, “Why can’t we all just get along?” There have been more than 1,800 wars in just these last 20 centuries. Someone somewhere has constantly been striving to take over someone else, somewhere else, steal from them what they want, do with or to them what they want. “I want my way and I will do whatever it takes to get it!” Newer generations are even more aggressive in this regard.

Truth be told, none of us are God. Sure, we pretend to be gods, but it is simply a fantasy. We may even imagine “there is no God,” but that is just our attempt to evade responsibility for our actions. However we arrived here, there is something or someone greater than us that brought about our existence. In Psalm 100:3, we read: “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves….” Yet, our sinful nature inside rebels against that truth, as Romans chapter 1 declares: “[21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,… [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

In contrast to us, mere mortal creatures, whether we like it or not, the Creator God has always existed and will always exist. He is the Final Authority.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘secondary separation?’ Should we Bible believers practice it?

333’s 4000th – To Keep That Good Thing

Friday, May 13, 2022

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us (2 Timothy 1:13,14 KJV).

Saints, only by God’s grace, for 4,000 days now, we have striven “to keep that good thing!”

Paul the Apostle wrote in 1 Timothy 6:20,21: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee.” Now, re-read today’s Scripture. In this second and final epistle, or formal doctrinal letter, to Timothy; Paul issued some parting instructions that we would do well to note. (Had the Church the Body of Christ actually obeyed these directions 2,000 years ago, there would be far less doctrinal error plaguing us right now!)

“Thing which was committed unto thee” and “that which is committed to thy trust” is the translation of “parakatatheken,” a compound Greek word composed of “para” (“with,” “alongside”) and “katatithemi” (“to place down”). The Lord Jesus Christ through Paul left with Timothy—and all other members of the Body of Christ—the principles of grace that are in effect today in the mystery program. If Timothy drew from the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, he would “keep” (guard from perversion or disrespect) that sacred deposit. Timothy was exhorted to be strict in his “holding fast” of sound Bible doctrine, not drifting around or “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). As the professing church continues to slip into more and more apostasy, darkness, and immaturity—and the Grace Movement itself is no exception—it is now more important than ever for us to be careful here at “333 Words of Grace.”

Dear brethren, over the course of 4,000 (!) daily devotionals now, we have followed the Lord’s instructions through Paul, making dispensational Bible truths plain to those interested in doing God’s will today. With that, we open our ninth 500-devotional unit. Thank you for your prayer and financial support, and now (only by God’s grace) we grow even more in sound Bible doctrine.

***NOTE: All former devotionals are archived here.***

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #4

Thursday, May 12, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

God is neither “asleep” nor “on vacation;” He is quite alive and alert. Are we? He does care, having appointed a day when He will lift the curse of sin, restore creation to its original state, punish evil, and cause righteousness to prevail in the Earth. That is Christ’s glorious Second Coming of Revelation chapter 20. However, the prophetic program to which all these events belong is momentarily suspended.

The Apostle Peter himself ultimately realized that in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack [lazy, inattentive] concerning his promise [coming in wrath], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul (see verses 15,16); we should ascertain it too. God’s wrath is delayed because the Dispensation of Grace has interrupted prophecy, thereby allowing people to come to faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork alone, before that wrath does fall. Saul of Tarsus himself experienced that truth firsthand in Acts chapter 9 (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12-17).

Why does God not hurry up and accomplish His will in the Earth by judging sin now? He is forming the Church the Body of Christ, His heavenly people. Indeed, this world is a mess (Genesis chapter 3! Romans chapter 1! Romans chapter 8!)—and it will only worsen because it is headed for the Tribulation or Daniel’s 70th Week. Israel’s national restoration is delayed, for God is doing something amongst the Gentiles through Paul’s ministry (Romans 9–11); this parallels the LORD waiting to redeem Israel from Egypt until He had wrought a work with Gentile Pharaoh (cf. Romans 9:17,18). By faith, brethren, we see the Lord administering the mystery program, knowing full well the prophetic program will resume when “grace and peace” finishes!

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #3

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

John the Baptist prophesied: “the wrath to come… every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire…. he shall baptize you… with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor… he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7,10-12; cf. Luke 3:7,9,16-17). Messiah (Jesus) would judge and destroy unbelievers in His fiery wrath!

Yet, as it turned out, wicked King Herod Antipas imprisoned John. With Herod unpunished, John spent many months incarcerated and eventually questioned if Jesus really was Messiah after all (Matthew 11:2-6; Luke 7:18-23). John was finally beheaded. The Lord Himself preached wrath was on its way (Matthew 13:24-30,36-42), before Israel killed Him. In early Acts, this fiery judgment was the Apostle Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:34-36). Even Stephen, just before his murder, saw Jesus Christ standing at the Father’s right hand, ready to return in wrath (Acts 7:55,56; cf. Psalm 110:1).

As aged, dying Peter pens his second epistle, over 30 years have passed since Christ’s earthly ministry. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? (2 Peter 3:3,4). The mockers inquire most arrogantly, “Where is that so-called ‘wrath’ to punish us, Peter, that all you ‘believers’ have been warning about for the last three decades? It was all a lie! We have gotten away with our unbelief and other sins!”

So, what of that Divine wrath? It has been 2,000 years now—and still nothing. Rest assured, God is at work, temporarily doing something else….