A Grace Study Bible

Sunday, August 1, 2021

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV).

Today, we reflect on nine full years of the arC Ministries’ Grace Study Bible Project!

Some 100 years ago, the Scofield Study Bible was published. It was a work that popularized—not invented—dispensational Bible study. For a century, the Church the Body of Christ has used this monumental aid to edify itself. It was (and still is) useful in recovering precious Bible truths that had been lost for centuries, doctrines still pushed aside by denominational hierarchies that prefer to be the “authority” with their “tradition of men.”

Nine years ago today, after much prayer and consideration, I began the formation of a new grace study Bible. Using the King James Bible, my goal in this project is to build on Dr. Scofield’s foundation laid long ago. We are (and will always be) indebted to that brother for his faithful service, his submission to the Holy Spirit to produce a profitable study Bible. (Incidentally, Dr. Scofield led a missionary to Christ, that missionary led a preacher to Christ, that preacher led a woman to Christ, that woman led Mom to Christ, and Mom led me to Christ.) What took Dr. Scofield decades to learn, we can acquire in a fraction of that time. Brother Scofield did not live long enough to progress any further in Bible understanding, but in the century since he has gone to heaven, a faithful remnant within the Body of Christ has expanded upon Dr. Scofield’s insightful notes. We recognize where he was wrong in certain areas, and we can improve those areas in our understanding and study.

In brief, some stats about our grace study Bible. We seem to be roughly 80 percent completed with it. How many more years it will take remains to be seen, but rest assured, what cannot be condensed into marginal notes or footnotes, will be, Lord willing, expanded into a full-Bible commentary book series! Stay tuned in the coming years and thank you for your prayer in this regard! 🙂

* You can read more about our Grace Study Bible Project here.

Separated!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV).

Disgusted with local assemblies he has visited these last 30 years, a dear Christian brother voiced his frustration: “I am finished with churches!” In the future, such disgust just might cause him to embrace dispensational Bible study that he has bitterly opposed this past decade. Like an increasing number of church members from various denominations, he sees Christendom is hopelessly incorrigible.

To wholly purge every group of sectarian bias is impractical in this life; it will only be accomplished once Christ returns to deliver genuine believers (now in Heaven, thus no longer confused) and comes to punish unbelievers (Earth finally rid of false doctrine, pagan religion, philosophy). Until then, brethren, if we are to serve Jesus Christ, we must separate from organized religion (if we have not already done so). Denominations, sects, and cults are all polluted with man’s opinions to varying degrees. There is no perfect church, that we freely confess; rather, we seek a pure church.

If we cannot find a pure local church to attend, then we should start one ourselves in our home. The day is coming—and, whether we want to admit it or not, it is true—when the Christian church even in the United States of America will have to go “underground.” Governmental agencies will attack the most prominent groups: megachurches will be disbanded and shuttered, yet, that will not be detrimental, for sound Bible doctrine has survived without them anyway. What will remain is innumerable home grace churches, whose focus all along was sound teaching instead of formalism-upholding… institution-building… theological system-forming… edifice-constructing… social club-joining… bu$ine$$-managing.

Bible Q&As #854 and #855: “What does ‘brutish’ mean?” and “Is ‘should’ a mistranslation in Romans 6:4?

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….

“Christianettes” #10

Saturday, June 12, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

The Holy Spirit’s deliberate arrangement of Paul’s epistles in the canon of Scripture—Romans first and Philemon last—brings successive waves of doctrine, reproof, and correction. All is “instruction in righteousness,” Christian living. To move from childish/simplistic thinking to adult/critical thinking, one must be taught increasingly deeper concepts. However, since any teaching, especially sound Bible teaching, can be found in so few Christian institutions and assemblies, spiritual babies abound instead of grownups. If they are reading Scripture, it is usually not the Dispensation of Grace but rather a non-Pauline/tradition assortment or Pauline/non-Pauline/tradition hybrid.

Christendom often appeals to Matthew through John, Christ’s earthly ministry, attempting to force those passages onto us. Yet, Christ ministered to Israel only (Matthew 15:24) on the basis of Jewish covenants (Romans 15:8), including the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4:4). However, Christ through Paul says to us: “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). We know Jesus today, not through His earthly ministry to Israel, but rather through His heavenly ministry to us Gentiles via Paul’s apostleship: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Alas, as early as the A.D. first century, the Body of Christ had forsaken Pauline doctrine (grace): “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). Evidently, they preferred legalism (Mosaic Law)—precisely the sentiments of nearly all churches today! Satan’s evil world system is responsible for such ignorance, but the pastors and teachers who should have guarded their local assemblies are not without blame. Brethren, unless we expel the spiritual babies from our seminaries and pulpits, and return to the Apostle Paul’s pattern for edification, the professing church has absolutely no hope of being victorious over its constant sins, false teaching, and impotence.

Only saints mature in grace can do the work of the grace ministry… and only Paul’s epistles will bring us from the status of carnal “Christianettes” (babes) to spiritual Christians (adults) (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)! 🙂