Sin = Death = Not Long Enough

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

“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 KJV).

A woman, commenting on her husband’s recent death, said they had been married 40 years, adding, “But it was not long enough. We could have gone another 20.” This dear lady, widowed and heartbroken, is just another victim of this sin-cursed world!

People who do not understand Bible truths try in vain to reconcile how a “loving” God can let life end in death. I remember one non-Christian lady asking after her father’s death, “What is the purpose of living if you die?” Friends, death is a thief. One spends his or her whole life amassing relationships, wealth, prestige, education, beauty, fame, and so on. Nevertheless, death will snatch it all away one day. Whether it takes a few decades or over a century, sin eventually produces death, and death instantaneously causes poverty. Professor and plowboy alike cannot escape death! Pope/preacher/priest and parishioner will all be placed in a casket! Prince and pauper alike go the grave! President and populace all wind up in the cemetery!

Today’s Scripture says this is the result of Adam’s sin, and certainly not in God’s design. Sin entered the world by one man—Adam. God did not initiate sin; Adam did. The Bible says death entered the world by sin. Wherever we find sin, we find death. Wherever we find death, we find sin. Until the Lord returns, that will always be a fact of life. In the meantime, we have the hope that physical death is not the end. For us in Christ, we have the assurance of eternal life now. Though our Christian loved ones have gone to heaven, they are still very much alive, to be seen again. The countless ages we will spend with them with our Saviour are infinitesimally longer than the few moments of our current separation.

Though “the wages of sin is death,” “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “Not long enough” because of sin does not compare to eternal life because of Jesus Christ our Lord! 🙂

Large Print #3

Monday, January 30, 2017

“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (Galatians 6:11 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us about the Apostle Paul?

Paul’s physical vision was greatly hindered. Consequently, he wrote in large, block letters (especially with Galatians). What caused his vision issues? Various explanations have been offered. Perhaps it was permanent damage caused by the bright glory of Jesus Christ that he saw in Acts 9:1-9. After all, he had spent the next three days blind! While God through believing Ananias miraculously restored Paul’s vision, there could have been lasting effects. Another idea was that Paul suffered chronic “conjunctivitis” (commonly called “pink eye,” “ophthalmia,” or eye inflammation). Yet another possibility is that his poor eyesight was the result of abuse, physical violence inflicted by ruthless unbelievers. While conducting his “Acts” ministry, performing miraculous demonstrations, Paul himself battled physical infirmities (Galatians 4:13-15; cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Regardless of why Paul had poor eyesight, the text of Galatians, likely his first epistle, was quite LARGE (today’s Scripture). It was not without benefit to the Galatians, saints caught in Satan’s snare (2 Timothy 2:26) and needing the Holy Spirit to send them a clear, attention-grabbing correction. Galatians’ GIANT letters screamed of Paul’s unique apostleship (1:1,11,12,16,17,19,22; 2:8; et cetera) and screamed of his special Gospel message (2:2,7,9,16,20,21; et cetera). “You are to follow Paul, not Moses!” “You are under Grace, not Law!” “Paul is not an extension of the 12 Apostles!” “Paul’s Gospel is your Gospel message!” “You are Gentiles in the Body of Christ, not members of the nation Israel!”

Saints, while neither time nor space permits us to discuss it in-depth, read the conclusion of Galatians (today’s Scripture to the end—only eight verses). You can see the Holy Spirit through Paul urging the Galatians one final time to leave the stipulations of the Mosaic Law, works-religion, and enjoy God’s grace, peace, and victory. Paul had limited physical sight, but this epistle to Galatia is a real “eye-opener,” giving great insight to us today, that we may have the same stunningly clear spiritual sight he had! (In one last twist of irony, people in religion today often enjoy physical sight, but are blind to the blatant teachings of Galatians.)

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who is the ‘child’ of Revelation 12:1-5?

Large Print #2

Sunday, January 29, 2017

“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (Galatians 6:11 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us about the Apostle Paul?

Paul usually employed a secretary to physically write his epistles; he would sign his name at the end as a sign of authority (see Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17). However, Galatians was unique. Its autograph—or original manuscript—was physically written entirely by Paul. The Apostle was in such a hurry to “sound the alarm” for the Galatians to beware of the doctrinal error besieging them. He had no time to wait for a secretary to come and assist! Since Paul penned Galatians entirely by himself, that original manuscript was exceptionally striking. It easily grabbed the attention of its readers.

In Galatians chapter 4, verses 13-15, we see the following: “[13] Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. [14] And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. [15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” These few verses actually allow us to learn about Paul the man. Doubtless, our beloved brother suffered severe vision problems. We can imagine his eyes straining to see to write. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit superintended, so that not a word or letter was lost as Galatians was literally drafted on papyrus.

Dear friends, had we seen the original manuscript of Galatians, the first thing to grab our attention would be its text. It would have been very large Greek letters. It would be no different from today’s large-print Bibles—whose fonts are designed for easy readability. However, in the case of Galatians, the words were not written large for the sake of visually-impaired readers. No, those large letters were for the benefit of the visually-impaired writer, so he could see exactly what he was penning. Then again, there is a strong indication that those large letters were written for the readers’ benefit as well….

Large Print #1

Saturday, January 28, 2017

“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (Galatians 6:11 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us about the Apostle Paul?

Over half of the Book of Acts (chapters 13-28) documents the efforts the Holy Spirit wrought through Paul the Apostle. Paul’s ministry during that time abounded with various and sundry miracles. We read of his first miracle in chapter 13—the temporary blinding of a satanically-inspired Jew (picturing sinful Israel’s temporary blindness during our current Dispensation of Grace). Chapters 14, 16, 19, 20, and 28 highlight some of his other major miracles—bodily healings, exorcisms, at least one man being raised from the dead, Paul surviving a venomous snake bite, and so on. The Epistle to the Galatians, including today’s Scripture, was likely Paul’s earliest Book. It not only vehemently defends his unique apostleship (separate and distinct from the 12 Apostles), but also underscores his unique message (grace as opposed to law/legalism).

In the opening 10 verses of Galatians, we grasp the epistle’s purpose and urgency. (Please read them in your own Bible.) False teachers have surreptitiously entered the grace churches of Galatia (central Turkey); they are using the Bible (Law of Moses), but not rightly dividing it. They are mixing Law and Grace, and thereby deceiving the Galatian saints. Hence, instead of employing a secretary (or amanuensis—see Romans 16:22), Paul himself is hurriedly penning Galatians. He must warn the brethren to immediately cease from fellowshipping with doctrinal perverts!

The Apostle writes in today’s Scripture that he has composed “how large a letter.” Yet, when we examine Galatians, in English, it only has 3,098 words and six chapters and 149 verses (King James Bible). Ephesians is approximately the same length, yet it is never called “large.” In fact, the Book of 2 Corinthians is nearly double that, yet never referred to as “large.” The Books of Romans and 1 Corinthians, each weighing in at nearly 9,500 English words, are enormous, but Scripture never calls them “large” either. What made Galatians such a “large” letter? An additional question we pose is—could the Holy Spirit have had a secret reason for it being “large” in that sense?

Please take some moments to think about it!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are ‘the princes of this world’ of 1 Corinthians 2:6-8?

Eager to Preach, Eager to Leave!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:2-4 KJV).

One is ready to preach—the other is ready to leave!

Recently, I saw a man sitting and reading his Bible. I walked over, introduced myself, shook his hand, and sat down beside him. I began to ask him some questions to get a sense of his spiritual understanding. Although not talkative, he permitted me to share verses with him. Suddenly, we were interrupted, distracted, and a pressing matter forced him to temporarily leave. I told him we could talk some more when he returned. Eventually, he did come back to the room where I was, but no longer with a Bible in hand. Also, he did not approach me. (I had already decided not to engage in any further dialog unless he initiated it.)

The above scenario, while terrible, has repeated itself millions of times throughout the centuries. People have read the Bible, appeared to be genuine Scripture readers, sounding like Christians, but really having no interest in hearing the things of God. They would rather keep their worthless church traditions, preconceived ideas, and age-old superstitions. While we cannot read hearts, God can and does. We can fool a preacher into thinking we love the Bible (as that man did with me), but God is never fooled by anyone. He knows who is a member of the Church the Body of Christ, and who is simply a church member. He knows who has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, and who was baptized simply into water.

Saints, we should do our very best to preach a clear Gospel message and teach plainly the rightly divided Scriptures. Still, some people will object. They want religion, not Bible. They want themselves, not Christ. They want fables, not truth. We need to respect their wishes. If they do not want the truth, then they should be left in error!

The Daysman #5

Thursday, January 26, 2017

“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 betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33 KJV).

What is a “daysman?” Who is it?

Sacred Scripture could not be clearer when it says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5,6). Apart from Jesus Christ’s crosswork on Calvary, we have no access to God. Therefore, for us to appeal to some other “mediator” is to have no mediator whatsoever! Such an outcome will be worse than had we not approached God at all.

Dear friends, there will come a day when Christ-rejecters will stand before the God-Man they ignored. He will be their Judge, ready to punish them for their evil. It would have been far better for them not to know about Him, than for to know about Him and instead appeal to “patron saints” and “Mother Mary.” He will not take it lightly that they counted His perfect sacrifice at Calvary as insufficient, lacking in some way, needing supplemental enhancements. That they had the audacity to substitute the favor He offered them freely, with “good” works they and others did to merit that favor! We shudder to think of that dreadful day when He pronounces upon them those terrible words found in Matthew 25:41: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!”

The Bible says God wants His Son, Jesus Christ, to have the “preeminence in all things” (Colossians 1:18). He is the central figure in creation, and He will not share His mediatorship with anyone. For which reason, no room is left for distracting characters such as “Mother Mary,” “Father Joseph,” “Saint” Jude, “Saint” Francis of Assisi, “Saint” Teresa, et cetera. All the religious speculation aside, friends, the Scriptures say we Christians are accepted in the beloved [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). God has bestowed upon us divine favor because of the Lord Jesus. He is enough for us, and we are enough in Him. After all, He is the Daysman!”

The Daysman #4

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

“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 betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33 KJV).

What is a “daysman?” Who is it?

Hebrews chapter 10 talks about how Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on Calvary fulfilled the type depicted in Judaism’s animal sacrifices. God became a Man that He might have blood to shed and pay for man’s sins: “[4] For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. [5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he [Jesus] saith [to the Father], Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

If Jesus Christ, by virtue of His crosswork, is the one mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), then there is no more need for other good works to please God. What have “patron saints” done to merit God’s favor that Jesus Christ has not already done? If they were human like we are—and they were—they failed God just as much as we do. What advantage do they have that we do not? The answer is no advantage. The fellowship that God the Son has with God the Father is the same relationship all we Christians have with Him: “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We cannot get any closer to God, gain any more access to God, than what we already have by virtue of our position in Christ!

We “give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20) because we are approaching God according to Christ’s merits not our own or someone else’s merits. Whenever we must seek help from some other person to access God, we are saying that the cross is not enough….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘the foolishness of God’ in 1 Corinthians 1:25?