Why Paul?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

“…Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth of Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Timothy 2:5c-7 KJV).

One of the greatest blunders of the professing Church is the assumption that Paul’s ministry was an extension of the twelve apostles’ ministry. Many verses, including today’s Scripture, prove Paul’s ministry is separate from the twelve apostles. “Why Paul?” is a simple question, an inquiry which, had Christendom first proposed and then answered using the Bible, would have prevented the Biblical confusion that pervades churches today.

Today’s Scripture—“Christ Jesus… gave himself a ransom for all—was not always true. In His earthly ministry, Jesus Himself claimed: “Even as the Son of man came… to give his life a ransom for many (Matthew 10:28). Is that a contradiction? NO! In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was sent to “save his people [Israel] from their sins” (Matthew 1:21; cf. John 1:11; Romans 15:8). Peter and the eleven preached this message in the early Acts period (Acts 2:36-38; Acts 3:19,24-26; Acts 4:10-12; Acts 5:31; et al.).

Why Paul? Carefully re-read today’s Scripture: “…Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto [To which] I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth of Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry that we learn that Christ died for all (Jew and Gentile). This was the special message (the Gospel of the Grace of God) that the ascended Lord Jesus Christ committed to Paul alone (Galatians 1:11,12; Titus 1:2,3; 2 Timothy 2:8). This is why God made Paul an apostle!

God had a special Gospel He wanted preached to us Gentiles, but He could not use the twelve apostles to preach it (they had to convert Israel first; Matthew 10:5-7). Paul is our apostle, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). Thus, his epistles testify, Christ died for all—including us Gentiles (today’s Scripture).

We With Patience Wait for It

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:25 KJV).

We live in this fallen world, an environment abounding with despair, disease, and death. But, as Christians, we have hope. We patiently wait for the day when we shall be eternally delivered from the presence of sin and its accompanying miseries.

Since we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God has spiritually redeemed us: our souls are no longer bound for hell because God has forgiven us our sins in Christ, and He has delivered us from the penalty of sin (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).

Spiritually, we are redeemed, but our physical bodies have yet to be redeemed. In the context of today’s Scripture (verses 18-24), the Apostle Paul discusses “the sufferings of this present time,” living in a world that is under the curse of sin (“the bondage of corruption” [verse 21] that God placed on creation in response to Adam’s sin [Genesis 3:16-19]).

Because of sin’s curse, every living creature suffers: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). But even we Christians suffer sin’s curse! “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (verse 23).

Thankfully, “For we are saved by hope” (verse 24a). This is not soul salvation, but salvation from despair and hopelessness. Yes, we suffer sickness and we will experience physical death (short of the rapture), but there is hope! At the rapture, we Christians will receive glorified physical bodies, bodies fashioned like unto Jesus Christ’s resurrected body, bodies that will be eternally delivered (“redeemed”) from sin, disease, and death (Philippians 3:20,21; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; Ephesians 4:30). The rapture is God’s method for healing in this the Dispensation of Grace: be not fooled by the “faith healers” of our day!

We join our Apostle in faith and hope, and declare (without sight; 2 Corinthians 5:7), “The rapture—we with patience wait for it!”

A Wall, a Walk, and a Win

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?” (Joshua 5:13,14 KJV).

God is going to give Joshua some strange, almost ridiculous, battle plans for overthrowing Jericho. Nevertheless, Israel’s victory is imminent… but not because she is strong.

The LORD tells Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho…. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat….” (Joshua 6:2-5).

Joshua then relays God’s instructions to Israel (verses 6,7). God’s Word sounds silly, but Israel, by faith, obeys Him. Jericho’s inhabitants watch (and probably laugh) as Israel peacefully and quietly walks around the city once a day for six days (verses 8-14). On the seventh day, they walk around the city seven times. After the priests blow trumpets, Joshua declares, “Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city” (verse 16). The Jews shout and “the wall fell down flat” (verse 20).

God taught Israel she did nothing to defeat Jericho—she had merely walked. It was His strength and brilliance that led to her victory!

Furthermore, no matter how silly God’s Word sounds, always believe and obey it.

The Greatest Hero

Monday, May 28, 2012

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (verses 14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name, which can be read here or watched here.

When Truth is Error #2

Sunday, May 27, 2012

“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16 KJV).

Being scriptural is not enough. To follow God’s will you must also be dispensational. All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us.

For example, Mosaic Law-keeping is biblical (Exodus 20:1-17). But, to whom are these Scriptures written and spoken? The nation Israel—not us. Additionally, millions of precious souls are basing their salvation on what Jesus said in Matthew 19:17 (cf. James 2:24): “…but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” This is scriptural, but not dispensational: it was true for Israel, but it is error for us.

Friend, if you are basing your salvation on your works, you are going to hell. Following salvation verses that God spoke to someone else is error: God never gave them to you. If you want salvation from your sins and hell, you MUST go to Paul for God’s current plan of salvation. Our doctrine is found only in Paul’s epistles (Romans through Philemon) (Romans 11:13).

We are not under Israel’s works-religion (legalistic) economy. God has replaced Israel’s works-religion acceptance system (our performance) with something better: the grace-based acceptance system, what Jesus Christ did for us at Calvary’s cross. “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14b). In our dispensation, salvation is “to him that worketh not (Romans 4:5).

The Gospel that saves you today is not Acts 2:38 or 1 John 1:9, but 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day.”

James 5:14,15 is error for us to practice, but it is truth in Israel’s program. This includes Revelation 3:20, Hebrews 6:4-6, 1 John 2:27, Matthew 24:13, John 20:22,23, Acts 2:4, Matthew 6:9-13, and Mark 16:15-20—verses that Christendom steals from Israel’s program and (wrongly) practices today.

Dispensational Bible study is critical to your soul salvation, as well as to your Christian health. You MUST use God’s Word, God’s way (“rightly dividing the word of truth;” 2 Timothy 2:15), or you will make truth error (today’s Scripture)….

When Truth is Error

Saturday, May 26, 2012

“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16 KJV).

Did you know that you can quote Scripture and be outside of God’s will? Unfortunately, people have been doing it for millennia. Many “name and claim” Bible verses, only to end up confused and disappointed, sometimes spiritually destroyed, or even in hell. If “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33), how is this possible?

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If you refuse to obey this verse (like most of Christendom), you will automatically disobey today’s Scripture. When you do not rightly divide, separating Israel’s program from our program, you will not “shun profane and vain babblings.” This phony, empty chatter describes much of today’s “Christian” teaching and preaching!

All the Bible is true: “thy word is truth” (John 17:17). When we rightly divide the Word of Truth, we are separating truth from truth, not truth from error. For example, animal sacrifices were true for Israel, but they are not true for us. God’s instructions to build an ark were true for Noah; they are not true for us. When we steal Israel’s covenant promises and blessings and claim them for ourselves, we are not shunning profane and vain babblings as God instructed.

Trying to make God do something He is not doing today will only bring you misery. God promised Israel certain things that He has not promised us in this the Dispensation of Grace. We study the whole Bible, but we can only claim the promises found in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

If we fail to rightly divide the Bible, truth becomes error. We quote verses that are not for us to practice, and today’s Scripture says, “they [the profane and vain babblings] will increase unto more ungodliness.” Being scriptural, but not dispensational, is “ungodly!”

Beware! Be not like most of Christendom. Failure to study the Bible dispensationally will cause you great confusion and heartache that will only grow worse and worse.

His Word Was With Power

Friday, May 25, 2012

“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power” (Luke 4:32 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the Jews were amazed by the doctrine that our Lord Jesus Christ taught. They had never heard a Man speak with such wisdom and authority.

When Jesus Christ spoke, “his word was with power.” He never presented feel-good messages, nor did He teach “sermonettes for Christianettes,” as lukewarm Christendom does today. No, His very words reached down to the souls of His audience, exposing them to truth, and convicting them of their error: “For the word of God is quick [living, and life-giving], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

As Jesus Christ taught, He sounded unique. His voice and doctrine was authoritative, just as God’s voice should be. Psalm 29:4 says: “The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.” Today’s Scripture becomes apparently clear! These Jews knew that when Jesus spoke, it was the voice of their Creator God. It was the great I AM, Almighty JEHOVAH, speaking!

The King James Bible is unique in that linguists and literary scholars testify to its beautiful and majestic literary style. After all, it was translated when the English language was at its zenith (purest form), unlike modern versions, which are written during the period of the English language’s deterioration! Although many “Christians” criticize it, even lost (hell-bound) people recognize its excellence!

When you read your King James Bible, or hear it read, it sounds powerful and supreme. Contrariwise, modern English “bibles,” translated using varying degrees of dynamic equivalence (man’s interpretation), read like ordinary literature (unsurprisingly, for they all have man’s “wisdom”). This alone should cause us to doubt the veracity of modern “bibles.” Would God’s Word really sound like a newspaper or novel?

Our King James Bible is unparalleled: its language is authoritative and majestic. What do we expect? After all, God’s Word is “with power.”

Vengeance Belongeth Unto the Lord #4

Thursday, May 24, 2012

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19 KJV).

Injustices abound. The wicked are applauded and often go unpunished while the righteous (God’s people) are despised and penalized. As the cliché goes, “God never sleeps.” All wrongs will be righted one day (today’s Scripture).

When the Lord Jesus Christ went to Calvary’s cross, He purchased our salvation. There, He suffered God’s eternal wrath against our sin: “He became sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Isaiah 53:10; Matthew 26:46; Galatians 3:13). Once we trust Christ Jesus alone as our personal Saviour, Christ’s finished crosswork for our sins is applied (imputed) to us, and we will never suffer God’s wrath (Christ suffered that wrath for us).

However, those who physically die without having trusted Christ will remain forever dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23): physical and spiritual death. Thus, they must pay for those sins by suffering the eternal wrath of God against sin (the everlasting lake of fire; the “second [or spiritual] death” [Revelation 21:8]).

For the past 2,000 years, God has been offering the world His grace and peace. But, when this the Dispensation of Grace ends (at the rapture), God “shall speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure” (Psalm 2:5). During that seven-year Tribulation—“the day of the LORD’s vengeance (Isaiah 34:8), “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2), and “the days of vengeance (Luke 21:22)—our wicked world will finally experience God’s righteous wrath. According to 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Christ’s Second Coming will conclude those seven years, and fire will further execute vengeance on God’s enemies (Christ-rejecters).

“God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked…” (Nahum 1:2,3).

Indeed, “vengeance belongeth unto the Lord….”

Vengeance Belongeth Unto the Lord #3

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19 KJV).

In the biblical words of a bygone preacher, “Payday, someday!”

Today’s Scripture and its context (verses 17-21) explain that whenever God’s righteousness is offended (sinned against), His justice enforces appropriate punishment (His wrath). Thus, we need not retaliate when people mistreat us. Those sins will either be dealt with at Christ’s cross (if these people trust Christ or have trusted Christ), or if they do not trust Christ, they will suffer for those deeds forever in the lake of fire.

According to 2 Thessalonians 1:4-9, the believers in Thessalonica endured persecutions and tribulations (sound familiar?). Notice the comfort the Apostle Paul gave them: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” (verses 6-9).

To “recompense” means, “to pay back in kind.” When Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming, He will pay back His (and thus, our) enemies. A literal fire will precede Him, and it will consume them. This is the wrath mentioned in today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 3:7-12; Luke 3:16,17; Psalm 2:4,5).

But, notice that fire will then give way to “everlasting destruction” (this is when these people die, and go to hell and, ultimately, the lake of fire). The lake of fire is where God’s wrath against sin is eternally poured out on those who chose to reject Christ and remain dead in their sins (“them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”).

For sinners, “Payday someday.” Either at Christ’s cross… or the lake of fire….

Vengeance Belongeth Unto the Lord #2

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture explains that God Himself will ultimately take vengeance on those who harm us. Its context explains how it is our responsibility as Christians to let God’s grace teach us how to handle that mistreatment.

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (verse 17). When people do us wrong, our flesh wants to retaliate, to get even, but God’s Word exhorts us to “recompense to no man evil for evil.” (Note: Please understand that God instituted government, and He encourages us to seek legal intervention in severe cases of wrongdoing [Romans 13:1-5]).

As Christians living in a fallen (corrupted) creation, we will suffer abuse and injustice. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (verse 18). Because of sin, unity and peace are not always possible. But, it is our responsibility to get along with others as best as we can (without compromising God’s Word, of course).

When someone does offend us, grace teaches us that God will ultimately exact vengeance on the guilty (today’s Scripture). “Therefore [consequently] if thine enemy hunger, feed him: if he thirst, give him drink: for in doing so thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (verses 20,21; cf. Proverbs 25:21,22; Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27,28).

We can let evil “overcome” (defeat) us (grudges, bitterness, et cetera), or we can defeat evil by doing good to those who have harmed us (especially if they are Christians; Galatians 6:10). “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). We need not repay evil for evil: by faith, we send that mistreatment to Christ’s cross, we forgive it, and we move on (lest it be a hindrance).

Beloved, we need not avenge ourselves, for “vengeance belongeth unto the Lord.”