Downward, Not Upward!

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 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. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:20-23 KJV).

Are we ascending the evolutionary ladder? No, and our experience shows us today’s Scripture is as true as ever.

Younger generations have been—and are still being—indoctrinated with the idea that mankind is becoming more “enlightened” as the years pass. We are allegedly moving away from the “primitive ignorance” of our ancestors to an increasingly “refined” outlook that will result in a perfect society. Humanism, also called “secular humanism,” is the belief that man’s thoughts and efforts are superior to the will of any “god,” and utopia will transpire only when we put forth the effort.

Supposedly, all we need to do is control our sin, and the world will become a happy, peaceful place. Post-Millennialists, for example, assume they can bring in God’s kingdom on Earth—and do it without God too! Confiscate all weapons, and war will cease. Pass enough legislation, and criminals will behave. Experiment adequately, and we will eliminate all disease. “We do not need any god! We can be good on our own! We can solve our problems without any ‘higher power!’” This is self-deception. Some 6,000 years of human history reveal we have yet to “be good”—and none of us can truthfully say we can manage sin individually, let alone address the world’s sins collectively. How can we ever admit this, though? In denial, we just strive a bit harder as we plead for another chance.

If ever our species was languishing in spiritual darkness, it is today, so, Saints, let us get out there and impart “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” so it can “shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4)! There is no victory over sin if there is no life of Jesus Christ.

*Dear readers, only by God’s grace, we now close 11 full years of daily studies here at “333 Words of Grace!”

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What are ‘collops?’ and “What is a ‘servitor?’

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 30, 2022

“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” (Colossians 2:14,15).

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 “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘in array’ mean?” and “What does ‘environ’ mean?

Teach Your Children #3

Sunday, May 29, 2022

“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV).

If single-parent homes are a calamity, “no-parent” homes are even more catastrophic!

Contrary to popular belief, the greatest gift that parents could ever (!!) provide their kids is not substantial bank accounts, expansive properties, lavish mansions, or even good genes. While wonderful to have, and there is nothing wrong in possessing them if we do not confound them with Almighty God, the fact of the matter is that they are all temporary. Inflation and irresponsibility diminish funds, taxes and upkeep make real estate a burden, buildings deteriorate with age and so require daily maintenance, and even the “best” DNA can be traced back to Adam (sin and ultimate death).

Long after Mom and Dad are gone (no longer there to advise), and their children remain, what will those younger generations do with their chronic sin problem? Have they ever been taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, how He paid for their sins in full at Calvary, and how the only way they can have victory over sin is by placing their faith in Him alone? Will they have a final authority, something solid and certain on which to build their lives? Have they ever been encouraged to read, study, and trust the Holy Bible rightly divided? Are they proficient in the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, the principles of grace living? Or, like so many billions now, will they drift from this group to that group, aimlessly and hopelessly floating on that vast sea of error, struggling in vain to fill that God-shaped vacuum in their heart, to eternally perish once they drown in sin?

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). Teach your children sound Bible doctrine, that they may teach their own children, and so on. If this we fail to do, remember well, we ourselves have contributed to the overall global problem.

Teach Your Children #2

Saturday, May 28, 2022

“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV).

If single-parent homes are a calamity, “no-parent” homes are even more catastrophic!

Consider these analogous passages. “Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children (Deuteronomy 4:10). “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

If these Jewish youth were not thoroughly educated in the words of JEHOVAH God, they would adopt their Gentile neighbors’ pagan belief systems. With each passing generation, the nation Israel would become more compromised, gradually but eventually losing its identity to Satan’s evil world system. As history testifies, it did happen. The standards and norms confused, there was nothing but inescapable societal collapse. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

We find ourselves today in a world just as disorderly. Right is wrong, wrong is right, man is woman, woman is man, child is parent, parent is child, life is non-life, non-life is life, Creator is creature, creature is Creator, wisdom is foolishness, foolishness is wisdom, and on and on. Over a decade ago, it was estimated that, by the end of four years of college, some 70 percent (!) of evangelical Christian youth were being lost to non-Bible views. It is a safe assumption that that figure has increased since then. The problem, as always, started at homelong before any professors delivered secular, humanistic lectures to those precious unsuspecting minds and hearts. Frankly, our current world is the product of a lengthy series of failed parenting….

Teach Your Children #1

Friday, May 27, 2022

“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV).

If single-parent homes are a calamity, “no-parent” homes are even more catastrophic!

Surely, it is no secret that “wayward youth” is one of our society’s most problematic issues. It only took us about 50 years before we noticed it. Moreover, we have yet to realize poor (actually, “no!”) parenting is the more serious matter. Consider what a university president stated when he addressed a parents’ group a century ago: “I get many letters from you parents about your children. You want to know why we people up here in [college name] can’t make more out of them and do more for them. Let me tell you the reason we can’t. It may shock you just a little, but I am not trying to be rude. The reason is that they are your sons, reared in your homes, blood of your blood, bone of your bone. They have absorbed the ideals of your homes. You have formed and fashioned them. They are your sons. In those malleable, moldable years of their lives you have forever left your imprint upon them.”

Let us think of another true story, one much more pointed. A 76-year-old man died in prison after eight years of incarceration. His wife served a lengthy sentence in that same facility. Their daughter was confined there. Lastly, their seven sons were inmates at that complex too! Without a doubt, “Mom and Dad” had left quite a memorable legacy in the world.

In today’s Scripture, the LORD knew the great potential sin had in the hearts of youth who lacked His words. The human soul, left to itself, will devise all kinds of evil thoughts and transform them into despicable actions—growing worse as the years pass. To counter this, God’s words were to so fill the Jewish parents that they could not help but teach their children to value that Divine revelation too, constantly reminding them of the Holy Scriptures and the issue of obeying final authority….

Bible Q&A #955: “For him hath God the Father sealed?

Labour for the More Important Meat #5

Thursday, May 26, 2022

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26,27 KJV).

Where is our interest—in “the meat which perisheth” or in “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life?”

Dear friends, though spoken and written 20 centuries ago, today’s Scripture is not “dead history.” It is just as true then as it is now. Human nature has not changed one whit. The God of the Bible is still treated like He is “Santa Claus.” Multimillions beg Him for a promotion or bonus at work, a larger home, a spouse and kids, a new vehicle, a safe journey, a miracle healing, and countless other temporary material blessings.

How many of these precious souls have ever stopped to think these sobering words?! “My, oh my, how I fear that I am dead in my trespasses and sins, and, having offended the holy, righteous Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, I am on my way to an everlasting Devil’s Hell! I had better look to Jesus Christ and believe on Him, lest my eternal soul be lost forever! He can supply me with eternal life, something infinitesimally more important than all these lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eye, and the pride of life!”

Indeed, we should not reduce the mighty God of the Bible to a mere genie in a bottle—even if countless “Christians” have already done it and still do it. The greatest work the Lord Jesus Christ could ever do for us, the most valuable gift He could ever give us, He gave it (His very life!) 2,000 years ago. He died for our sins, shedding His sinless blood, He was buried, and He resurrected victoriously on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We need to trust Him alone as our personal Saviour, before it is eternally too late. In the grand scheme of things, nothing in this world really matters—so, why do we act like it does?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain ‘reel to and fro’ in Isaiah 24:20?

Labour for the More Important Meat #4

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26,27 KJV).

Where is our interest—in “the meat which perisheth” or in “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life?”

Our five senses allow us to experience the natural world in which we live, so we are frequently pressured to pay attention only to what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Nevertheless, through the eyes of faith, we appreciate the fact that this world is passing away—a fleeting arrangement of time and space.

The Apostle John advised Israel’s Little Flock undergoing the difficulties due to the Antichrist’s brutal regime and satanic religion: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, the Apostle Paul recommended: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Relentlessly hanging on to the material world and its pleasures is to ignore their short-lived status (see today’s Scripture). Far better it is to seek to obtain spiritual truth, that which will span the endless ages of eternity future….

Labour for the More Important Meat #3

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26,27 KJV).

Where is our interest—in “the meat which perisheth” or in “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life?”

The physical bread with which Christ supplied them would impart life to their temporary flesh and blood bodies, but were they concerned about what would nourish their eternal, spiritual bodies? No. Appropriately, the Lord corrected their misconception. They had a greater need, and He alone could meet it. Verses 33-35: “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

He likened Himself to spiritual bread or spiritual sustenance. They needed to prepare for the ages to come, and this was the purpose of His earthly ministry to them. Alas, they failed to appreciate the full extent of what He could do for them and the rest of their nation. He invites them to come to Him and believe on Him (which they have obstinately refused thus far). If they come to Him, that is the equivalent of satisfying spiritual hunger; if they believe on Him, that is the same as quenching spiritual thirst. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

If only the people of today’s Scripture were as passionate to learn these simple spiritual truths as they had been enthusiastic about partaking of more free food in the physical realm. Here in the 21st century, we have yet to make application of these passages….

Labour for the More Important Meat #2

Monday, May 23, 2022

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26,27 KJV).

Where is our interest—in “the meat which perisheth” or in “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life?”

The individuals of today’s Scripture have been relentlessly searching for the Lord Jesus! Verses 24,25: “When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” Having taken ships across the top half of the Sea of Galilee—a distance of 3 or 4 miles (5 or 7 kilometers)—they are relieved to finally reach Him in Capernaum.

Why have they gone through so much trouble to get to Him? To them, the Son of God is but a “food-delivery man!” Earlier, He had fed them with the other 5,000 people. Now, today, they are hungry again, so they have come to ask Him for another free meal. He can and could furnish them with infinitesimally more than they assumed. Alas, they do not see Him through the eyes of faith.

Though the Lord Jesus Christ had created those loaves of bread from nothing, they were like ordinary food in that they were subject to the same natural laws of decomposition. Such physical bread was temporary, rotting like the God-given manna (Exodus 16:20). Yet, they so desperately wanted to hang on to it. Also, as their circumstances showed, it was never eternally satisfying either. Today’s Scripture again: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you.” They were overlooking a (more important) spiritual component, something the miracle should have taught them had they been watching through the eyes of faith….

Labour for the More Important Meat #1

Sunday, May 22, 2022

“Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26,27 KJV).

Where is our interest—in “the meat which perisheth” or in “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life?”

Once, a woman moved her car to retrieve a penny that had rolled under it. Driving forward, she ran over a parking meter and also broke a window as the car scraped against the side of a building. The vehicle then rolled down the sidewalk for half a block before stopping. Damages to her automobile alone were estimated to be $100 (a substantial sum in those days). Was the penny really worth all that trouble?! Interestingly, police were unable to confirm if the lady ever found the coin!

Doubtless, seeking little to no gain, we can go to great lengths and take enormous risks. This was true of the souls whom the Lord Jesus Christ addressed in today’s Scripture. Just a day prior, He had been on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee feeding more than 5,000 people using just five barley loaves and two small fishes (verses 1-14). “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone” (verse 15). He had supplied them with such delightful food that they would soon violently crown Him as their Monarch! This misunderstanding prompted Christ to dismiss the crowd and His disciples, while He Himself vacated the area headed in a third direction.

Ultimately, the Lord and His disciples journey to the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The people fed earlier also travel by ship to Galilee, seeking Him (verses 24,25). He reveals their motive in today’s Scripture: they have mixed-up priorities, for they are concentrating on the minor while ignoring the major. May we too learn the lesson He taught them….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the Lord Jesus merely ‘the Holy One of God’ in John 6:69?