We Are STILL Ambassadors for Christ

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV).

Today, arC Ministries celebrates its fifth anniversary….

Five years ago, arC Ministries began as a Facebook and a Myspace Bible study group. Over the past half-decade, we have met countless individuals from all walks of life, and we have learned quite a bit from conversing with them (hopefully, the vice versa is also true!).

Our original mission statement was, “To equip ambassadors, and to encourage others to become ambassadors.” We share God’s will: “to have all men saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). There is great confusion as to what soul salvation is and how to receive it, but there is an equal amount of perplexity as to what the Bible’s truth even is regarding those who are saved. Our goal in proclaiming the Gospel of Grace is show the lost world how to be saved and have forgiveness of sins, for God’s glory. Our goal in teaching the Bible dispensationally is to allow you, the saints, to reach spiritual maturity, for God’s glory.

Here is a brief description of our ministry: our written Bible studies, which go back to 2006, laid the foundation for a newspaper ministry (letters to the editor and finally a weekly column). The newspaper ministry, having been cancelled over a year ago, served as a “stepping stone” to establishing this very devotionals blog. These devotionals are now forming the foundation for larger Bible studies, including whole Bible book commentaries. The Bible book commentaries and the devotionals have now become the foundation for a King James Study Bible, which we will publish eventually.

Saints, God has left us “ambassadors” in this foreign land, Earth, but only temporarily. Our time is short, and we will not be ambassadors here forever, so let us invest in the things of God while we still can. This lost and dying world, and our deceived Christian brethren, need to hear God’s truth, and they need to hear it from us!

You can watch our special anniversary Bible study here and/or read it here.

We Troublemakers Are Grace Partakers #6

Monday, July 30, 2012

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9 KJV).

By God’s grace, we troublemakers can partake of the results of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary.

From today’s Scripture to verse 20, God’s Word proved that we are all sinners, offensive to God’s righteous standards (particularly, the Ten Commandments). The Mosaic Law was given “that the offence might abound” (Romans 5:20a): the Law clearly identifies and condemns man’s sins. Israel mistakenly believed the Mosaic Law would prove their “righteousness” (Deuteronomy 6:24,25)—it proved their unrighteousness, as it does ours, and proved God’s righteousness!

Romans 3:21ff. teaches that today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not demanding we keep any laws to gain His acceptance or forgiveness: the Dispensation of Law demonstrated that we sinners cannot measure up to His righteousness. So, God nailed the Mosaic Law that condemned us, on Calvary’s cross (Colossians 2:14), and replaced Israel’s performance-based acceptance system (Law) with His Jesus-based acceptance system (Grace)! “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:24).

Verses 26-28 conclude: “To declare, I say, at this time his [God’s] righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

We are justified by faith without works because Jesus Christ already worked for our salvation. We cannot boast that we worked for heaven; we can only brag that we could not work for heaven! Jesus Christ is well pleasing to God (Matthew 3:17), so when we trust His finished crosswork as the “propitiation,” the fully satisfying payment for our sins, God “accept[s] us in the beloved [in Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). Our sins and our “righteousness” are not the issue: Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice for our sins and His righteousness are!

Indeed, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20b). 🙂

We Troublemakers Are Grace Partakers #5

Sunday, July 29, 2012

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9 KJV).

The dispensational change from Law to Grace demonstrates our faithlessness and Christ’s faithfulness….

Verses 22-25a explain: “…[T]he righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood….”

We are all equally sinners, all “fallen short of the glory of God”“there is no difference.” Accordingly, we can all be “made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21)—again, “there is no difference.” God can declare us righteous (positionally) in Christ. We can be justified “freely,” no cost to us, because God’s grace is what He did for us (we sinners can do nothing for Him)! What did He do for us? Christ’s shed blood paid for our sins in full (the “redemption” of Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14). God the Father set forth His Son Jesus Christ as “a propitiation,” literally “an appeasement,” a fully satisfying payment to mollify His wrath against our sins. “Jesus… by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).

On Calvary’s cross, Father God made Christ’s “soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10). Christ was “made sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus “was made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). God forsook Christ and literally offered His soul (Psalm 22:1)!!! Oh, the spiritual, let alone physical, torment that Christ suffered on Calvary, we sinners should endure that forever in the lake of fire. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, suffered the eternal wrath of God His Father, for us sinful sons of Adam.

God looked down through time and saw us troublemakers, and in His grace, made a provision for our souls’ salvation: He offered His only begotten Son.

We Troublemakers Are Grace Partakers #4

Saturday, July 28, 2012

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9 KJV).

The Apostle Paul delivered such awful news in verses 10-20, in order to present the good news, the Gospel of the Grace of God.

Our very nature, let alone our deeds, condemns us. Furthermore, the Ten Commandments prove our sins offend God (who cannot even look upon sin without exacting punishment at some point). Yes, all of mankind is worthy of God’s wrath, a terrifying everlasting lake of fire and brimstone. What horrible news! “But,” verses 21 and 22 are the first glance of the ray of hope, God’s grace: But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”

“The law and the prophets” “witnessed” that mankind could never measure up to God’s holy demands. The Law could never help mankind keep it; it could only demonstrate that he could not keep it. “But now,” in our Dispensation of Grace, God has provided us a way to obtain the righteousness the Mosaic Law demanded… without us having to keep the Law. We can be “made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of this dispensational change (Law to Grace), God is “manifesting” His righteousness (His standard of rightness) “without the law.”

By the “faith of (not ‘in’ as modern “bibles” suggest) Christ,” God is offering every single person (“unto all”) salvation from his or her sin and sins. But, this salvation is not imputed (applied) to that person until he or she trusts alone in Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary as the sufficient payment for their sins (“upon all them that believe”). Today, the horrible sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary demonstrates that we could never be fit for heaven through religious ceremonies or self-reformation.

It would take God Almighty to pay for our sins….

We Troublemakers Are Grace Partakers #3

Friday, July 27, 2012

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9 KJV).

The verdict is in: Mankind is—guilty, guilty, GUILTY!

On the surface, mankind appears amicable, but peel away the attractive veneer—the ideologies of formalism (the elaborate religious ceremonies that seem godly) and self-reformation (“turning over a new leaf”)—to discover that mankind is a monster. Even the nicest person is potentially capable of doing the vilest of acts, in a moment’s notice.

After describing wicked mankind (verses 10-18), the Holy Spirit, through the pen of the Apostle Paul, summarizes God’s case against mankind: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his [God’s] sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (verses 19,20).

Why did God give the Ten Commandments? To demonstrate our worthiness to enter heaven, as many assume? NO! “The law is the knowledge of sin”—the Law proves God is just in damning us sinners to hellfire (1 Timothy 1:8-10)! The Ten Commandments, first given to Israel, actually condemn us all, Jews and Gentiles, as sinners (spiritually, we have “minus righteousness”).

We need to be honest with ourselves (our flesh abhors that!). There is nothing good in any of us: “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:” (Romans 5:12). Our basic problem is not that we commit sins, but rather that we have a sin nature, “desperately wicked hearts” (Jeremiah 17:9), an inherent predisposition that causes us to gravitate toward those sinful acts. We naturally follow our father Adam, federal head of mankind: we deliberately ignore God’s Word and do whatever we want (1 Timothy 2:14). “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6ab).

But….

We Troublemakers Are Grace Partakers #2

Thursday, July 26, 2012

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9 KJV).

God’s Word proceeds to describe mankind, exposing him as the bestial creature that he naturally is….

In verses 10-12 Paul quotes Psalm 14:1-3 (Psalm 53:1-3). From verses 13-18, he continues to quote the Old Testament to describe mankind as wicked:

  • Romans 3:13: “Their throat is an open sepulchre [tomb]; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [snakes, vipers] is under their lips:” (Psalm 5:9: “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.” Psalm 140:3: “They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.”) Mankind is a liar!
  • Romans 3:14: “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:” (Psalm 10:7: “[The wicked, verse 2] His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.”) Mankind is a sly blasphemer who is angry with God!
  • Romans 3:15: “Their feet are swift to shed blood:” (Proverbs 1:16: “For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.” Isaiah 59:7a: “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood:…”) Mankind is a murderer!
  • Romans 3:16: “Destruction and misery are in their ways:” (Isaiah 59:7bc: “…their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.”) Mankind destroys everything he touches and produces misery!
  • Romans 3:17: “And the way of peace have they not known:” (Isaiah 59:8: “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.”) Sinful mankind enjoys fighting (James 4:1)!
  • Romans 3:18: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Psalm 36:1: “The transgression of the wicked saith within his heart, there is no fear of God before his eyes.”) Mankind is haughty and irreverent!

Frankly, we humans are troublemakers!

We Troublemakers Are Grace Partakers #1

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9 KJV).

Watch your local news, surf the internet, browse the bookstore, and stroll down the street, and you will conclude that mankind, other than Satan, is God’s most troublesome creature.

A Christian brother once told me, “God should have had nothing to do with us. He should have just gotten rid of us all.” Amen to that! Originally, God placed mankind on the earth to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26,28). The human race has certainly multiplied…and because of that, so have the world’s problems! Rather than ruling earth for God’s glory, mankind has governed earth for himself.

Let us notice the verses following today’s Scripture: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).

The Apostle Paul is quoting the Old Testament. Read Psalm 14:1-3: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalm 53:1-3 reads very similar).

Today’s Scripture is actually part of a large passage of God’s Word (Romans 1:17–3:20) that indicts and condemns man as the foolish, selfish, sinful brute that he is. Frankly, in God’s mind, there are no “good” sinners or “bad” sinners, only sinners. There are no “good” troublemakers or “bad” troublemakers, only troublemakers.