What Pleases God #4

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

Chapter 1 of Colossians comments on God’s Son, Jesus Christ: “[16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

Colossians proves crucial in interpreting the creation of Genesis 1:1. When “God created the heaven and the earth,” that “God” was God the Son—the Lord Jesus Christ. He installed within those two realms a hierarchy of governmental offices (“things”), placing creatures to occupy those administrative positions. It “pleased” God the Father to appoint Jesus Christ as the Head of all those governments: all authority, in heaven and on earth, originates from Him. The nation Israel is the group of creatures whom God created to glorify His Son in the earth; the Church the Body of Christ (us!) is the group of creatures whereby God the Son is praised in the heaven.

The latter part of God’s will—His plan for the heavens—is the heart of the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message. Galatians 1:15,16: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:….” If we turn to Paul’s message, we see the ultimate expression of God’s pleasure….

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Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #3

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Re-read today’s Scripture with its context: “[22] 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: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Although we have “come short of the glory of God,” lacking inherent righteousness, we can be “justified” or declared righteous in God’s sight. By His grace, God can impute or apply righteousness “freely” to our account. This is accomplished through “the redemption [buying back] that is in Christ Jesus.” While we are captive in sin’s slave market, Jesus Christ’s shed blood is the payment to free us. It can make atonement or return us to fellowship with God that Adam lost long ago.

Father God set forth the Lord Jesus to be a “propitiation,” or fully-satisfying payment or sacrifice for our sins. Christ’s substitutionary death becomes our death, God punishing Him as though He were the sinner. Through Jesus’ finished crosswork, God offers us His own righteousness. Here is the Gospel of the Grace of God that we believe to pass from eternal death to eternal life. Verse 26 again: “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Not only are we forgiven of our sins, we who have believed the Gospel have been declared saints. God sees us as though we never sinned, for we now share Christ’s very identity….

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #2

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

The “glory of God” is the expression or manifestation of all that the Creator God is (His nature, beliefs, and so on). It is what makes Him worthy of our praise and worship. As sinners, however, we “come short of the glory of God” (today’s Scripture). Our natural, evil state prevents us from properly reflecting the LORD God. While Adam was indeed created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-28), Adam sinned in chapter 3. After the Fall, he thus fathered children in his own image and likeness (Genesis 5:3). Therefore, the Holy Spirit assessed the world’s condition in Romans 5:12: “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:….”

Almighty God has established a standard of rightness or suitability, and we sin by failing to reach that target. We “fall short” of the goal—just like someone unable to completely jump across a wide chasm, or leap high enough to clear a hurdle. Religion is designed to lessen the gap and lower the bar, thereby causing us to wrongly believe we can “measure up.” It really does not matter how much we try to do in religion—water baptism, prayers, confessions of sins, commandment-keeping, et cetera—because we still fail to properly represent God. We can pretend or make out like we think and behave as the Bible instructs, but our feeble fleshly efforts are no substitute for God’s perfect work. A holy, righteous God demands absolute or sinless perfection—and that we naturally lack!

In Romans 3:23, we learn that we have come short of the glory of God. Contrariwise, chapter 5 opens with: “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Something about us radically changed between these two passages. Once fallen short of God’s glory, we now rejoice in hope of God’s glory….

The More Powerful Words #8

Saturday, October 12, 2019

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 KJV).

Sinful man needs to learn the lesson of today’s Scripture!

Like all 150 Psalms, the 33rd Psalm is a song highlighting the LORD God’s goodness. We will read its first 11 verses (today’s Scripture in context), but you are strongly encouraged to finish the chapter in your own personal study.

“[1] Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. [2] Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. [3] Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. [4] For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. [5] He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

“[6] By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. [7] He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. [8] Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. [9] For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. [10] The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. [11] The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”

“Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.” Indeed, we “stand in awe” of the Lord Jesus Christ! Compared to us, He speaks the more powerful words. His speech can—and does—accomplish infinitesimally more than our utterances. Above all, His “counsel” “standeth for ever:” in the end, unlike our writings, His Word will never pass away. Lastly, He will outsmart all of His enemies, and what He has determined will be realized throughout the endless ages to come. It does not matter how much opposition sinful creatures (Satan and man!) muster, God’s purpose and plan for His creation will come to pass! 🙂

The More Powerful Words #7

Friday, October 11, 2019

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 KJV).

Sinful man needs to learn the lesson of today’s Scripture!

We give our “enlightened” lectures at scientific conferences. Also, we publish our philosophical articles in prestigious, “scholarly” journals. However, since we have no power in and of ourselves, our words are weak. We cannot use them to create something from nothing. Not even today’s most vocal anti-Bible boasters have enough hot air to generate a new universe!

Friends, considering the above, never should we equate ourselves to our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Since we know deep down inside that we are created beings, if we rebel against that reality, we live in a fantasyland or world of delusions. We think we are our own god—believing what we want, saying what we want, and doing what we want. Folly!

Romans chapter 1: “[17] For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. [18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

“[20] 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: [21] 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. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] 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.”

Verse 25: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Yes, it is just as true today as it was 20 centuries ago. Actually, we really have not advanced too much. We are still the same old wretched sinners….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does the New Covenant take away Israel’s free will?

The More Powerful Words #6

Thursday, October 10, 2019

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 KJV).

Sinful man needs to learn the lesson of today’s Scripture!

While we better understand our world than our predecessors did, that does not (!) mean we can explain everything with perfect, irrefutable knowledge. Through additional experimentation, scientists daily refine their views: the scientific method is faulty because our minds are imperfect. In light of new evidence, even scientists disprove and discard their own long-held ideas. They do not have all the answers. Consequently, friend, never (ever, ever, ever!) let them convince you “science has toppled the Bible’s authority.” Instead of commenting on Someone else’s work and then denying His existence, since we are “god” (in our mind), perhaps we had better prove our existence. Let us go beyond merely describing God’s work, and actually repeat it!

Genesis chapter 1: “[1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. [2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. [3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. [4] And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. [5] And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

“[6] And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. [7] And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so… [9] And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”

Finish reading Genesis chapter 1, the more powerful words. The God of the Bible spoke everything into existence, friends! God did not take preexisting atoms to make everything; through His spoken word, He created the atoms themselves from nothing, and then used them to form specific matter (today’s Scripture).

Is sinful man grateful for his Creator? No….

The More Powerful Words #5

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 KJV).

Sinful man needs to learn the lesson of today’s Scripture!

Friends, as advanced as we are, no matter what we endeavor to do, we must use parts of God’s creation. How far-fetched is the belief that we are self-existent! Whether the geological materials we extract from Earth to manufacture our tools and machines, or the biological tissues we excise from other humans in order to preserve life, or the oxygen molecules we breathe and the water molecules we drink so we can perform simple daily tasks, we must utilize what really belongs to the Creator God. We are bound to His universe, and He has granted us temporary usage of it. Had He not been a God of grace, so longsuffering and tolerant of our nonsense, He would have surely and literally wiped us all from existence by now!

Someone once wisely observed, “We think we are so smart just because we can explain a few processes in the natural world.” Again, the Scriptures are true when they remarked, “knowledge puffeth up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Let us be honest, friends. While we know more than our ancestors did, we still know far less than the Lord does. In our own puny heads, we strut and prance, “Look what I know! How knowledgeable am I!” We flee to the “refuge” of science, where boasters gleefully exclaim, “We have no need for ‘god’ now! We can explain the universe without appealing to religions, myths, and deities!”

Considering the heights of the heavens and the depths of the oceans, where scientists and their instruments have yet to travel, we can rest assured that “science” is—like us with our tiny brains that interpret its evidence—fallible and limited. There is much more to learn from God’s creation, so we dare not inflate like balloons.

Now, here are some more powerful words. If we could invent those natural laws instead of merely explain them, if we could create from nothing a universe of matter that those laws govern, then we would really have something worth bragging about! Alas, we are not the mighty Creator… we are but lowly creatures….

Our latest Bible Q&A: Why did God let James die but deliver Peter?