A Radical Change

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:9,10 KJV).

Genuine faith in Christ should produce good works!

Not long ago, a new Christian—just a few years old in the Lord—told me how people who knew him as a lost man can certainly see a difference in his lifestyle now. He did not elaborate on his former sins, and it was none of my business anyway, but even he sees the simple truth of Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

The Thessalonians of today’s Scripture were once pagan idolaters; however, Paul visited them in Acts chapter 17, preached the Gospel of Grace to them, and they passed from death to life. Such new life in Christ was to produce fruit. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 1:3: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;….” Interpreting this verse in light of today’s Scripture, we can recognize “work of faith” corresponds to “ye turned to God from idols,” “labour of love” is “serve the living and true God,” and “patience of hope” matches “wait for his Son from heaven.” Here are saints walking in their identity in Christ (Romans chapters 6-8), a rare occurrence in both the Bible and today.

Alas, then we encounter the Corinthians in the Bible record. Even a casual reading of Paul’s two epistles to Corinth leaves us with the impression these “Christians” are still unsaved and dead in trespasses and sins! No, as difficult as it seems, they are alive in Christ, possessors of eternal life: unfortunately, they have largely continued to live just like they were before they came to faith in Christ. Such an awful state of affairs besets the professing Body of Christ even now. We would do well to follow the “ensample” of the Thessalonians!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “If meat-eating occurred only after the Flood, who was eating the animal sacrifices prior?

When I Know Your State

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state (Philippians 2:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is an example of ancient “distance learning….”

Writing his Epistle to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul is in prison in Rome (cf. Philippians 1:7,13,14,16), over 600 miles (965 kilometers) to the east. There are no cell phones, computers, emails, text messages, social-media platforms, or television sets to instantly convey news among God’s people. Hence, one of Paul’s distresses was how to speedily learn of his converts’ progress—or lack thereof—in sound (grace) Bible doctrine (cf. Philippians 1:25-30).

After enumerating his various ministry difficulties (2 Corinthians 11:23-27), he added: “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (verse 28). Overseeing the Christian assemblies scattered throughout the Roman Empire was exhausting, particularly since false teachers lurked everywhere and sought to corrupt these new believers in Christ with legalistic doctrines: “Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:… For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter [Satan] have tempted you [with false doctrine and persecution!], and our labour be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:1,2,5).

Closing Colossians, chapter 4, Paul wrote: “[7] All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: [8] Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; [9] With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.” Tychicus and Onesimus would be the couriers, bringing this very Epistle to Colosse, informing the Colossians of Paul’s situation in Rome. Similarly, as today’s Scripture indicates (cf. verses 23,24), Paul would send Timothy to Philippi with news, and Timothy would report back to Paul. Paul intended to be released and visit Philippi, but it is unclear if that transpired. Epaphroditus was the courier of Philippians (2:25,28,29).

A Ready Writer

Monday, June 28, 2021

“The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it” (Psalm 68:11 KJV).

Dear brethren, only by God’s grace, I mark 15 years of writing ministry today!

A few weeks before my seventh birthday in the flesh, I trusted Jesus Christ alone as my personal Saviour. My family and I had been in and out of local denominational churches for many years, always fleeing some type of false teaching. That hectic routine went on for the first decade of my Christian life.

Fast-forward to my senior year in high school. With graduation approaching, I wondered what to do in life next. I suddenly began to have a renewed interest in the Bible. Out of church for a few years, my well-meaning mother bought me a “feel-good,” bestselling “Christian” book. (Only later would we learn just how corrupt it really was, and how it deceived us to our spiritual detriment!) I had always liked writing short stories and poems, and this book inspired me to write about spiritual matters. Those early rough-draft, experimental or practice “Bible” studies of mine spanned six months. On June 28, 2006, I began writing formal drafts. Although having a slightly better grasp of Scripture, I was still writing like a good denominationalist! One sincere relative suggested I enter seminary after high school. Looking back, I am ever so grateful to have declined the opportunity to attend Bible cemetery and experience further confusion.

Throughout 2007, the Lord used two faithful brothers in the grace ministry to teach my parents and I; we recovered ourselves out of the snare of the Devil (2 Timothy 2:24-26). By that time, I was several months into college, pursing a degree in Earth science, constantly fending off all the anti-Scriptural humanism bombarding my young, impressionable mind. With my dispensational Bible study underway, I was strengthened in the inner man, finally understanding and enjoying the Scriptures. No amount of intellectual persuasion—even nine years of it (!)—would move me from sound Bible doctrine!

Here we are, dear brethren, now 15 years into the writing ministry. Thousands of daily devotionals, hundreds of Bible question-and-answer articles, and an upcoming grace study Bible have resulted. I still have so much more to learn about Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, so onward we go to further maturity in grace (Philippians 3:12-15)! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘sottish’ mean?

Confession Confusion #7

Sunday, June 27, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Contrary to popular belief, 1 John 1:9 is not written to any believers—Messianic Jews (Israel’s Little Flock) or the Church the Body of Christ. It is a Gospel invitation to unsaved Israelites in the prophetic program. Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), never once taught in Romans through Philemon daily confession of sins was victorious Christian living. Whether Roman Catholic auricular confession to a priest, or Protestant confession directly to God, it is legalism (bastardized Judaism!) and not Christianity!

Through confession of sins, lost Israel expressed her understanding of the Law’s purpose: “We cannot be God’s people through our own efforts. Having been persistently idolatrous, we confess our violation of the righteous standards of the Law!” Once Israel sees that, she is delivered from all five courses of judgment (redeemed from the Old Covenant), Jesus Christ returns to ratify the New Covenant, and He founds God’s earthly kingdom promised to their father Abraham!

Brethren, we must “rightly divide the word of truth” concerning this and all other doctrines (2 Timothy 2:15). It is ever so important to distinguish between Law and Grace, Israel and the Body of Christ, prophecy and mystery, Earth and Heaven. Our relationship with God depends entirely on Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary. Either He took care of our sins (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 1:14; Colossians 2:13; Colossians 3:13), or not! Having trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God will not “impute” any trespasses unto us (Romans 4:6-8).

Christ’s shed blood cleanses us from all sin… all unrighteousness” only once, whether believing Israel or the Body of Christ (1 John 1:7,9). We have permanent, total, perpetual fellowship with God—regardless of our performance. Confession of sins merely repeats what Calvary already took care of! We have already declared our guilt and admitted our sin problem by trusting the fact Jesus died for our sins, so it makes no sense to keep bringing up the past. Christ paid for all our sins at Calvary; leave them there and mature in grace, brethren (Titus 2:11-15)! 🙂

Confession Confusion #6

Saturday, June 26, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

By the time of John the Baptist’s ministry and Christ’s earthly ministry, national Israel is still apostate (refusing God’s Word) but a believing remnant (the Little Flock) is confessing their sins and their forefathers’ sins. Recall Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:5. Ever since Moses 16 centuries prior, Israel has failed to “do” “all that the LORD hath spoken” (Exodus 19:1-8). The Jews have been habitually idolatrous, violating their agreement with JEHOVAH God at Sinai. Experiencing the fifth course of judgment or chastisement (Leviticus 26:40-46), they must confess their sins so as to be delivered into God’s earthly kingdom and enjoy the Abrahamic Covenant! Yet, as previously noted, religious Israelites refuse to learn the lesson of the Law of Moses (see their sin problem). Regarding all other Jews “sinners,” they believe they have no sins to confess and thus refuse John’s water baptism (Matthew 3:7-9; Luke 3:7,8; Luke 7:29,30; cf. Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32).

Today’s Scripture addresses these Jews who suppose themselves to be sinless, “good enough” in their works-religion: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:7-10). First John 1:9 is written to unbelievers in Israel! Now, look at 1 John 2:12: “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Here is Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock.

Having now established the context of 1 John 1:9, let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Confession Confusion #5

Friday, June 25, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Obeying Leviticus 26:40-42, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah all confessed sins in light of the Babylonian Captivity. “And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O LORD, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;…. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;…” (Daniel 9:4,20).

“O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this…. Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore…. Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange [pagan/heathen/idolatrous] wives” (Ezra 9:15; 10:1,11).

“Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned (Nehemiah 1:6). “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God” (Nehemiah 9:2,3).

Hence, John the Baptist’s converts were also confessing their sins….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘surfeiting?’

Confession Confusion #4

Thursday, June 24, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Continue reading Leviticus chapter 26, the fifth course of chastisement commencing: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. [29] And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. [30] And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. [31] And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [32] And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. [33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”

When Israel finds herself under Gentile dominion and dispersed throughout foreign lands (Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities circa 700/600 B.C.), God tells her how to be restored to Him: “[40] If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; [41] And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: [42] Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”

Confession of sins is Israel’s admission of guilt of breaking the Old Covenant, worshipping and serving idols. Once she humbles herself and acknowledges her sin problem (learning the lesson of the Law of Moses), then God by His grace delivers her into the New Covenant….

Confession Confusion #3

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

In Leviticus chapter 16, we find Aaron, Israel’s first High Priest, receiving elaborate instructions from the LORD concerning the annual Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Verse 21 orders him: “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:….” Again, pay attention to the fact this is the Law of Moses in effect. We dare not fail to remember it!

Romans 3:20 says: “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.” We compare that to Galatians 3:19: “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions,….” The Law of Moses has one chief purpose: it is the standard by which sin is identified. Any failure, small or great, to measure up to the Law is what God calls sin. Each and every year, each and every day, He had Israel offering animal and other sacrifices to remind her people of their inability to obey Him in every point. That arrangement of labeling sin continued for 1,600 years.

Moreover, a complex system of blessings and curses came with that aforementioned Old Covenant. If Israel obeyed the Law, God abundantly blessed her; conversely, if she disobeyed, He profusely cursed her. Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28 are those explicit promises and warnings. In the Leviticus passage, we see five successive rounds or phases of punishments designed to bring wayward Israel back to the LORD. These chastisements or judgments ended up spanning several centuries. By the time of Matthew through John, Christ’s earthly ministry, all five stages of curses are running. To (!) be (!) restored (!) to (!) God (!), Israel (!) must (!) confess (!) her (!) sins (!)….

Bible Q&A #850: “Why did Paul label the Athenians ‘too superstitious?’

Confession Confusion #2

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Confession of sins first appears in Scripture in Leviticus 5:5,6: “And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.” We would do well to note the Law of Moses is in effect here. (Later, we will return to Moses and the Law.)

In addition to ripping 1 John 1:9 from its context, members of Christendom have also been trained to seize upon four other primary passages. The first two concern John the Baptist’s ministry. “And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins (Matthew 3:6). “And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins(Mark 1:5). This is where denominational people really get into trouble! They wrongly believe Christianity started here… and nothing could be further from the truth.

Moreover, we have been erroneously indoctrinated into searching the Book of Psalms for victorious Christian living. After all, did not King David write the following in Psalm 32:5? I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” Was it not King Solomon who penned this in Proverbs 28:13? “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

See, it is so easy to quote a verse here and quote a verse there, and seem to be correct. However, before (!) we claim verses as our own, we had better understand their dispensational setting, or we will surely wind up in spiritual darkness….

Confession Confusion #1

Monday, June 21, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Today’s Scripture is one of those numerous verses that has been so perverted through the centuries. It has become an absolute, total burden to millions upon millions upon millions of precious souls. Like nearly every other “Christian” (?) group, the denomination in which I grew up had my family and I practicing 1 John 1:9 on a daily basis. My parents and I had trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, and we were told to confess our sins at the end of every day to “restore fellowship with the Lord.” We were led to believe we would thus obtain God’s forgiveness and relieve ourselves of guilt. If we failed to confess a sin, however, He would be angry and hold it against us—perhaps even going so far as punishing us with sickness, financial loss, et cetera. I can still remember night after night of lying in bed, about to fall asleep, enumerating sins.

One day, well over a decade ago, Father God used some faithful Berean Bible students to share with us the Holy Scriptures rightly divided. Ever since, we have been “recovering denominationalists”—still purging ourselves of all the traditions of men we heard for years and years. One of the first doctrines we got straight and now comprehend with immense clarity is 1 John 1:9 and confession of sins. To say the least, it was a revolutionary, liberating transformation we are still enjoying today.

Dear friend, the key to understanding and enjoying the Bible is 2 Timothy 2:15, and never forget it! “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Would you like to see 1 John 1:9 in “HD”—high definition? Are you willing to part with your preconceived notions and stand on the pure Word of God? In our upcoming studies, we must cut through the static of religious tradition to forever rid ourselves of confession confusion….