God’s Workmanship #1

Friday, March 2, 2012

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV).

Many charge us Pauline dispensationalists with the following: “You are telling people to sin all they want because God’s grace and forgiveness cover it!” When we proclaim God’s grace, are we really encouraging people to pursue careless, frivolous lifestyles, as our (legalistic) critics claim? Or, are they simply misunderstanding grace?

The Greek word translated “workmanship” in today’s Scripture is poiema, meaning “creation,” from which we get “poem.” Interestingly, poiema is used one other time in Scripture: “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” (Romans 1:20).

From salvation and the Christian life to the origin of the universe, the emphasis is not on the creation (us, the heavens, and the earth), but on the Creator, Jesus Christ (see Romans 1:25). Just as we did not engineer the heavens and the earth, neither did we work to receive salvation in Christ—Christ alone worked to save us. Now that God has saved us, His grace can permeate our inner man, and teach us how to live in Christ Jesus (Titus 2:11-15).

Grace teaches us not to focus on what we do for God, for we sinners can do nothing to please God (Romans 3:23), but rather focus on what God did at Calvary for us. Our good works could not save us, so how could they keep us saved? They cannot! Thus, our receiving and keeping salvation, and our Christian lives, are not reliant upon our performance, but on Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary.

As today’s Scripture specifies, we are not doing good works. “Our” good works are actually the outward manifestation of what God the Holy Spirit is doing internally (Galatians 5:22,23; cf. Romans 8:1-14). When we study and believe sound Bible doctrine, God will use that doctrine to transform us from the inside out (Philippians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). We are God’s workmanship!

The Crux of God’s Eternal Purpose

Friday, January 27, 2012

“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 1:20 KJV).

God the Father has one grand purpose for creation—to make His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the governments of heaven and earth (Ephesians 1:9,10). But, the Bible teaches that an angelic rebellion, led by Lucifer (Satan), sought to usurp Jesus Christ’s headship in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18). Once Satan enticed mankind to sin and cooperate with his policy of evil, that rebellion then infiltrated earth (Genesis 3:1-24).

Today, the governments that God created in heaven and earth are in rebellion. Satan has spoiled what was created “by” and “for” the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16,17; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12). How will God reconcile unto Himself the governments of heaven and earth? How will Jesus Christ eternally subvert Satan’s strongholds in those two realms? Today’s Scripture provides the answer.

Using Christ’s shed blood, God is currently forming a heavenly people for His name, the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:14). In eternity future, He will use this entity—us!—to restore His authority in the heavens. At Christ’s Second Coming, God will restore His earthly people, the nation Israel, forgive them of their sins through Christ’s shed blood (Acts 3:18; Hebrews 9:11-15; 1 Peter 1:18,19), and use redeemed Israel to reclaim His authority in the earth.

Indeed, the very thing at which Satan thought he defeated God—Calvary’s cross—is that which God will use to permanently conquer Satan’s policy of evil. Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary is the crux of God’s plans for eternity future: everything that God will accomplish in the ages to come hinges on Jesus Christ’s shed blood. In order to destabilize Satan’s power in heaven and earth, God must deal first with the sin issue in both realms, and Christ’s blood does just that in both realms. Behold the wisdom of our God!

Oh, by the way, interestingly, crux is Latin for cross….

The LORD is Exalted Far Above All gods #2

Saturday, January 7, 2012

“For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9 KJV).

The LORD is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15). “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable… The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:3,8,9).

Our finite human minds struggle to grasp Someone as magnificent and exalted as JEHOVAH our Creator because He differs from what we judge as “normal.” JEHOVAH is transcendent, existing independently of everything. He is everlasting, having neither beginning nor end. The LORD is sinless and holy. We never see Him physically or hear Him audibly. He exists outside of our universe.

Someone whose thoughts astronomically surpass our mental capabilities, whose ways (manners, behavior) are far grander and more complex than our simple activities (Isaiah 55:8,9). A Being who could devise a magnificent plan that would extend into the eons of eternity future, who could speak forth quadrillions of bodies into existence and then arrange them to form intricate systems (Hebrews 11:3), and finally set them into motion for His glory to accomplish that plan (Psalm 19:1)! How can He relate to us scrawny mortals?

Amazingly, JEHOVAH left that glory behind to become one of us! He “humbled Himself” and became “a Man of no reputation” (Philippians 2:5-11). Why? To die and shed His innocent blood for us to receive forgiveness of our sins. Wow… no idol ever did that!

Among the world’s gods, JEHOVAH alone can save you because JEHOVAH alone died to save you! Will you trust in the shed blood and resurrection of JEHOVAH (Jesus Christ), thereby receiving eternal salvation? Please do.

“Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne… confounded be all they that serve graven images [manmade idols], that boast themselves of idols: worship him [JEHOVAH Jesus Christ], all ye gods” (Psalm 97:2,6). Hallelujah! Praise the LORD indeed—He will always be exalted far above all gods!

Was It a White Christmas?

Monday, December 19, 2011

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:7,8 KJV).

Religious tradition demands Christmas is Christ’s birthday. Was our Lord Jesus really born in wintertime? Today’s Scripture replies with an emphatic NO. According to the Bible, on the night of Jesus’ birth, there were shepherds out in the fields watching their flock. Would shepherds be abiding outside on a cold winter’s (perhaps snowy) night? This is only one line of biblical evidence that Jesus was not born on Christmas. However, there is a biblical significance to late December.

God had commanded Israel through Moses that Jews were to celebrate many feasts year-round. One of them was the Feast of Tabernacles, observed during late September/early October. During this seven-day feast, Jews were to dwell in “booths” (tents, tabernacles) (Leviticus 23:39-44; Nehemiah 8:13-18).

The Bible likens our physical bodies to “tabernacles” for our souls and spirits (2 Corinthians 5:1-4; 2 Peter 1:13-15). Furthermore, Isaiah 40:22 says God “spreadeth [the heavens] out as a tent to dwell in:” God created the universe so He could dwell in it, specifically on a little planet… earth. When Jesus Christ was born, “the Word was made flesh [God became a man], and dwelt among us [He “tabernacled” in a human body]” (John 1:14). Jesus Christ came to tabernacle/abide with mankind on earth, to establish that earthly kingdom prophesied throughout the Old Testament!

To make the Word flesh (for Jesus Christ to be a man), God’s Holy Spirit conceived a physical body inside of the virgin Mary, a body in which Jesus’ Spirit could dwell (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:35; Hebrews 10:5-9). Jesus was named “Immanuel,” or “God [dwelling] with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). As we will see in tomorrow’s devotional, the Bible indicates that Jesus was conceivednot born—in late December. Jesus Christ was actually born in late September (coinciding with the Feast of Tabernacles).

When the Fulness of the Time Was Come – 333’s 200th

Saturday, December 17, 2011

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

In the beginning God set the first man, Adam, on earth to “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Alas, Adam sided with Satan, joining the rebellion against God. The human race, now marred by sin, was unable to fellowship with its holy Creator God.

Fortunately, God promised mankind’s Redeemer in Genesis 3:15: a Man who would do what Adam failed to do—rule earth for God’s glory. Adam was “the figure [preview/type] of him that was to come” (Romans 5:14c). About 4000 years after Adam, the “him that was to come” finally came—Jesus Christ. How human history was forever impacted when that Redeemer came!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Recall that, unlike us, before His physical birth, Jesus Christ lived as a Spirit in heaven’s glory with His Father (John 1:1,2; cf. Micah 5:2).

When the appointed time came, at His Father’s behest, Jesus’ Spirit came to earth to indwell the body in the virgin Mary’s womb. For nine months, God Himself actually lived inside Mary’s womb! Being delivered, He lived a sinless life of 33 years, despised by His family (Israel) and the world. As one dear Christian brother explained, “That was the greatest life ever lived in a human body!”

No event in human history compares to the coming of Jesus Christ. As today’s Scripture teaches, the Lord Jesus became a small Baby… to become a grown man… to become Israel’s rejected Messiah… to ultimately die for us, the wretched Gentiles! God became a man, to “give Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6).

We are ever grateful that “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son….”

Saints, we have reached a milestone – #200. WOW!

A Righteous Politician

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn (Proverbs 29:2 KJV).

God established a governmental structure in both heaven and earth: “For by him [Jesus Christ] 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:” (Colossians 1:16). These governments were originally designed to bring God glory. Unfortunately, Satan has usurped both governments, causing rebellion against God (sin) in heaven and on earth (2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 6:12).

As today’s Scripture states, people mourn the inauguration and tenure of corrupt politicians. The news, historically and presently, abounds with stories of scandals (and cover-ups), resignations, and impeachments of governmental officials. We can expect nothing more in this sinful, fallen world that is ruled by Satan (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 2:2).

Today’s Scripture also declares, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.” Despite the few reliable, honest politicians who serve and benefit the people they represent, Satan’s evil governmental powers still seemingly triumph today. The wicked majority has inflicted great damage that the honest minority cannot reverse.

However, the Bible speaks of a glorious day when the governments of Satan (this evil world system of politics, economics, religion, and education) will be demolished forever. A benevolent, worldwide monarchy awaits planet earth. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS,” Jesus Christ, at His Second Coming, will restore earth’s governments to God (Revelation 19:16; cf. Colossians 1:20). Zechariah 14:9 says: “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” Indeed, when this Righteous King will rule, the people will rejoice!

Microevolution and Macroevolution

Friday, November 11, 2011

“All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds” (1 Corinthians 15:39 KJV).

Someone defined “evolution” as “change through time.” Is this acceptable? Whether creationist or evolutionist, we all agree that creation changes through time, but we differ as to why and how these changes occur. Evolutionary theory is highly controversial because it involves much more than “change through time.”

Evolutionists attempt to bolster their religious beliefs by asserting they have witnessed evolution via natural selection. Have they? Yes, and no. They are deliberately withholding the fact that the “biological evolution” they saw is actually “microevolution” (adaptations to environments). Adaptation is not “natural selection,” but rather an organism’s response to stimuli. This response is produced by the genetic information that the Creator, our Lord Jesus Christ, inserted into the species’ genome. Microevolution is not to be confused with “macroevolution.”

Evolutionary theory is dangerous, not because of microevolution (adaptations) since adaptations are not unbiblical, but because of macroevolution, the idea that divides creationists and evolutionists. This “large scale evolution” implies, not only genetic variation within a species, but one species actually giving rise to completely new and different species (such as dinosaurs evolving into birds, or great apes into humans). Thus, evolutionary scientists believe that all creatures have descended from a common ancestor.

As today’s Scripture teaches, macroevolution defies the genetic barriers God placed within the biosphere. Two dogs can reproduce to generate another species of dog and this dog can adapt to its surroundings, but it will still be a recognizable dog (not a cat, horse, et cetera).

In short, while everyone agrees that organisms change over time (microevolution), we Bible creationists reject the idea that genetic variation in one species gives (gave) rise to all organisms (macroevolution). Also, any genetic variation within a species is not “natural selection,” but the application of genetic material already present thanks to the Creator Jesus Christ!

Always remember that no scientist has ever seen macroevolution. They have only seen adaptation, microevolution, but they do not make this distinction for obvious reasons.