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 #4

Tuesday, October 8, 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 Adam was created in God’s image, he deliberately forsook that identity. Subsequently, he fathered children “in his own likeness, and after his image” (Genesis 5:3). That fallen—or sin—nature passes down to every human paternally (father’s side). Romans 5:12 comments: “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….” Consider man’s fallen condition.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually(Genesis 6:5). God said, “…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth(Genesis 8:21). The LORD God said of sinful Israel what is true of all humans: “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward” (Jeremiah 7:24). “Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do: but they did them not” (Jeremiah 11:8).

“This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing” (Jeremiah 13:10). “And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me…” (Jeremiah 16:12). “And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart (Jeremiah 18:12). “They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you” (Jeremiah 23:17).

Man is still wise… just wise in his own eyes….

The More Powerful Words #3

Monday, October 7, 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!

Genesis chapter 1: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Prior to the Fall (chapter 3), mankind was in complete fellowship with his Creator. Sin was unknown; it was not there to serve as a barrier between Adam and God, or Adam and Eve for that matter.

Dear friends, did you ever realize that Adam was a prophet? Genesis chapter 2 explains: “[19] And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. [20] And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” God gave Adam the responsibility of naming the animals (at least the air-breathing terrestrial ones). Adam had been created with a brilliant mind, and he was to use that brain to figure out what name best described each animal he saw. God did not name the animals; he let his spokesman, Adam, do it.

Unfortunately, Adam was not content in operating within the confines of God’s will. He sided with his wife Eve and Satan in eating the forbidden fruit (chapter 3). This broke his fellowship—yes, man’s corporate fellowship—with the LORD God. Now, man is hell-bent on using his God-given mind to function apart from that God. Man is no longer God’s spokesman, but His rival. Knowledge apart from the one true God will inevitably lead to folly and futility….

The Thing Which is Good

Monday, September 2, 2019

“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28 KJV).

On this Labor Day, we talk about work, “the thing which is good.”

In this day and age of increasing “government assistance,” people are becoming less and less aware of our hard work being the Lord Jesus’ preferred method of the source of our incomes. While the physically and mentally disabled are obvious exceptions, the God of the Bible expects all of us to contribute labor in order to provide for ourselves. For children and young adults, even being a student in school is work enough!

Observe the doctrine being communicated in today’s Scripture. The grace life does not merely teach us to quit doing bad things, but it also instructs us to start doing good things (Titus 2:11,12). Once a thief trusts the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins, then God expects that thief to quit stealing and find a job so he can provide for his needs!

The God of creation calls work “the thing which is good” (today’s Scripture). Work is not something to be avoided; it is something to be embraced for the Lord’s glory!

When the Lord Jesus Christ put the first man, Adam, on earth, that man had a divine commission. Adam was not to simply loaf around and do nothing: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to protect that garden, to till its ground, to prepare it for Jesus Christ to come down and dwell in with he and Eve (because of sin, that earthly kingdom over which Jesus Christ will rule is still awaiting fulfillment!).

Saints, may we work to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8), and may we work to help those who truly are needy (today’s Scripture). In the words of God the Holy Spirit, that is “good!” 🙂

When Sin Creeps In #1

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

“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).

Behold, how sin creeps in!

Recently, a Christian brother expressed to me how he had been in a long-term online conversation with a female stranger. He eventually realized that he was spending more time with this lady than he was with his own wife! Once this problem came to his attention, he broke off contact with the online friend. It was quite a smart move on his part—lest he wind up in an affair and divorce court!

Dear friends, do we see how something innocent gradually becomes sin? It is so subtle that we are transgressing and not even notice it until long after we started that conduct (if ever we do notice it). Well-meaning people in religion constantly emphasize confession of sins as being necessary to be saved unto eternal life or to stay saved unto eternal life. Wrong! We are saved (and stay saved) by grace through faith in Christ, not works! Furthermore, they say our prayers will not be answered if we have “unconfessed” sin. If that were the case, no one would be saved or get prayers answered. Wrong! There are things in all our lives we do not yet realize are sin because we have not matured enough in sound Bible doctrine to discern our actions.

Without daily exposure to the Bible rightly divided, we will be vulnerable to all sorts of sins creeping into our lives without our knowledge. Thus, Ephesians 5:15-17 exhorts: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” In today’s Scripture, had Adam applied sound Bible doctrine by faith, he would not have let sin “creep in.”

Study Genesis chapter 3. Notice how Satan was pretty skillful in deceiving Eve. Adam could have stopped it, but he remained quiet. What started as nothing more than eating forbidden fruit… is now our world of endless wars, rampant starvation, unspeakable crime, heartbreaking poverty, great suffering, horrific sickness, and eventual death. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, will correct our thinking (and change our behavior)….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was the father of the Prophet Zechariah?

The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

Monday, April 22, 2019

“And, Thou, O Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12 KJV).

On this Earth Day, let us not confuse the creation with the Creator!

Today, people worldwide celebrate “environmental awareness.” According to the secular, naturalistic worldview, our planet and its sun could last many more billions of years. They claim that we have done so much damage to our planet—climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, et cetera—that we must change our attitude toward “mother earth” and change our lifestyles before we destroy her and civilization as we know it! You can sense the zeal in their message, can you not? While these people are sincere, they are wasting all of their time, energy, and resources on a temporary planet.

Let us be very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ placed man on the earth, especially the Garden of Eden, to “dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to take care of the Earth: he was God’s representative, God’s king, who had a divine commission to rule this planet for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28).

It was not long, however, before Satan distracted mankind from understanding God’s purpose for him. Adam began to focus on himself: like Satan, he began to “worship and serve the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Thus began man’s continual downward spiral into spiritual ignorance. He would continually worship himself, as we well know today.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that, because of sin, this creation will pass away. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, will live forever. Why worship that which is temporary? It makes no sense! The Lord Jesus Christ gave you life, not the pagan goddess “mother earth.” Environmental awareness? Indeed, be aware that our world is temporary, as God will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who or what are the ‘Cherethites’ and ‘Pelethites?’