Spirituality or Futility? #7

Thursday, November 9, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

Dear friend, a sure way to engage in futility is to reach back into previous dispensations and/or reach forward into future dispensations, and force those verses on us today. To use Bible verses God once applied before our dispensation, or to follow Scriptures God will apply after our dispensation, is to fall prey to Satan’s “wiles” or deceitful strategies (Ephesians 6:11). If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, such Bible mishandling frustrates or hinders God’s plans for your Christian life! If you have not trusted Christ, such Bible misusage hides from you God’s current Gospel message! Christians remain confused and defeated; lost people stay unsaved and Hell-bound!

Satan would never discourage us from quoting Bible verses because he did it in Matthew 4:6. Yea, he used Scripture… but did not handle it dispensationally. As long as God’s Word is not “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), it furthers Satan’s agenda most ingeniously (without suspicion!). “We are in God’s will because we are Scriptural. Satan cannot deceive us.” Of course, to not use the Scriptures God’s way is to, by default, achieve Satan’s goal!

God is not currently forming an earthly people—the nation Israel. There is no water baptism and no tithing (mandatory giving) today. God is not telling us to confess our sins, follow the Mosaic Law, keep the Sabbath, offer blood sacrifices for our sins, sell everything we have and give to the poor, drink poison, heal the sick, raise the dead, look for “signs,” build an ark, and so on. God told other people in other dispensations to pursue and do those things, but He did not tell the Apostle Paul to instruct us concerning them. What futility to try to make God do something He is not doing today! If we will know what He is doing today, and will do His will today, we heed the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Just As I Am #5

Sunday, July 23, 2017

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the fifth verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Habakkuk 1:13 says of God: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity….” Almighty God is so holy that He cannot even look upon sin. Yet, Scripture speaks about some sinners going to God’s Heaven rather than Satan’s Hell. How is that possible? How can God be just in saving us sinners from our deserved ill fate? Does not His justice demand the punishment of those who offend His righteousness?

Today’s Scripture says “the living God… is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” How can these believing sinners escape their deserved eternal doom? Romans chapter 3: “[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.”

Father God made His Son, Jesus Christ, a “propitiation,” a fully satisfying payment for sin. Through that substitutionary death—Jesus Christ suffering God’s wrath and dying in our place—God can spare us our eternal death penalty of sin. We simply trust that good news to benefit from it! Father God promises to take, receive, welcome, cleanse, and relieve the believing sinner. Make no mistake, dear friends—Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork is truly the sinner’s only hope!

Just As I Am #4

Saturday, July 22, 2017

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30,31 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the fourth verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind,
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

The sinner comes to Jesus Christ with nothing to offer—not a scintilla of righteousness, not an ounce of worthiness, and not one smidgen of spiritual sight. Apart from the Spirit of God, he or she is completely and totally destitute of anything that really matters. However, once the Gospel of Grace is heard, once the righteousness of God is evident, once the grace of God is known, once the light from the Word of God penetrates that dark heart, the sinner fades away in his or her own sight and sees the sufficiency of and in Christ. What a stunning revelation! All the sinner needs, all that the sinner has sought, it is in Christ Jesus!

In Christ, the sinner finds “wisdom!” In Christ, the sinner finds “righteousness!” In Christ, the sinner finds “sanctification!” In Christ, the sinner finds “redemption!” Dear friends, it is in God’s design that everything we need, He furnished it to us in Christ. He did this deliberately, that there never, ever be boasting on the Christian’s part. No one in Christ will be right in saying, “God chose me to serve Him because of my education! God chose me to serve Him because of my decency! God chose me to serve Him because of my holiness! God chose me to serve Him because of my payment for sin!” No! Boasting is “excluded” because self is excluded (Romans 3:27,28). “Ye are complete in Him,” not in yourselves (Colossians 2:10).

When the saved sinner feels compelled to boast, let that saved sinner remember well who gave him or her everything now possessed: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!”

NOTE: The Grace School of the Bible Summer Family Bible Conference will begin tonight, July 22, at 7PM Central U.S. Time. It will be broadcasted live via internet from outside Chicago, IL, running until Thursday, July 27. There will be over two-dozen grace preachers talking about a variety of Bible topics. For more information (times, topics, and speakers), download the brochure from http://understandgrace.com/conferences/summer-family-bible-conference/. The live video feed will be available here: http://shorewoodbiblechurch.org/primarystream.html.

Just As I Am #3

Friday, July 21, 2017

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly…. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6,8 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the third verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Sadly, many church-going people have never, ever heard a clear Gospel preached. They have overheard mere clichés: “Repent—turn from your sins—and then God will save you! Give your life to the Lord! Ask Jesus to come into your heart! Live right and God will save you! Be sorry for your evil deeds and Jesus will cleanse you!” Beloved, these are not the Gospel of Grace; they are false because they obscure the Gospel. How can lost people behave like Christians when they are not Christians? Absurd! Impossible!

The lost sinner, in the moments leading up to faith to Christ, knows little Bible truth. Over the years, he or she has been so deceived and disappointed in religion, it is wondered what about “God” and “the Bible” can be believed: many questions unanswered, much confusion unaddressed, and many wounds unhealed. There is so much uncertainty—will it be another “religious letdown?” There is so much hesitation—is such good news really true? There is so much fear—will God turn me away?

Thankfully, one question is answered and one point is clear. For whom did Christ die? Not for the “good-enough!” He did not die when people were trying to reform or confessing their sins. Nay, He died when they were “ungodly” and “sinners”—yea, He died before they were born! Now, after Calvary, how can He turn them away for sin? He cannot! How can He let them down? He cannot! He already came through for them before—He already died for their sins! They are to come to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as they are—the wretched sinners that they are, fretting not and doubting not—and let God take care of the rest!

Gospel Truth

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:9-12 KJV).

Have you ever heard the expression, “It is the gospel truth?” Someone says this when he or she wants others to believe his or her statements. In other words, it functions as verification. (Yet, who of these people actually believe the Gospel is “truth?”)

People will believe what other humans say in a moment’s notice. Sadly, we humans can be very naïve. Incidentally, I recently saw friends of mine circulating on social media what they assumed was a true news headline. In reality, it was fake! The website was spelled very similarly to a popular, legitimate news organization’s site. What should have caught their attention was the news article’s absurd title. Alas, my friends—and many others—were easily deceived!

Whenever people talk about the Bible, especially critics, they invariably mention its “unreliability.” They scoff at and deride the Scriptures, even though the Bible has abundant internal proof to demonstrate itself to be the Word of God. Yet, they refuse that testimony. No, they do not want to hear what God has to say. They would rather listen to and believe another human’s gossip, read and believe another human’s opinions and speculations, and broadcast and believe fantasy and folly another human originated. But, believe the Word of God that never lies? Never!

Today’s Scripture says God offers us eternal life in His Son, Jesus Christ. We either believe this or we do not. So many believe eternal life is found in rituals, rites, ceremonies, commandments, denominations, and organizations. They, having received and believed “the witness of men,” and having rejected “the witness of God,” will be sorely disappointed at death because they rejected TRUE Gospel truth!

Lost, Now Found

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

“Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:13,14 KJV).

Once lost, now found!

Recently, I stood near a store’s customer-service desk. The lady in front of me suddenly gasped and exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus!” Puzzled, I watched a store clerk exiting the “lost-and-found” room with a purse in her hand. That lady had left her purse in a shopping cart. Thankfully, some honest customer had turned it in! She rummaged through her bag and was relieved to find everything there. Amazingly, of all the evil people into whose hands it could have fallen, an honest person found it instead!

The above stories are always nice to hear in this world abounding with bad news—stealing, killing, raping, vandalizing, abusing, et cetera. While the world is a very dangerous place physically, it is more important to realize it is a very dangerous place spiritually. It is truly a miracle when, despite all the false gospels out there, we can still find the pure Gospel of Grace being preached if we look for it. It is truly a miracle when, despite all the false systems out there, we can still find the pure Word of God (rightly divided) being taught. It is truly a miracle that God’s truth survives intact in this world of so many spiritual lies.

While it is no enjoyable time to have a purse or wallet stolen, this is the least of our concerns if some false religious system has stolen our trust and our soul! Rather than uttering the swear-phrase “Thank you, Jesus!” because we found missing material wealth, we should say “Thank You, Jesus!” because He came looking for us who were dead in trespasses and sins. We can always replace a wallet or purse, but we can never replace our soul once it is lost in hell. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36,37).

“Thank You, Jesus! Once lost, we are now found (in You)!” 🙂

Well-Versed But Accursed!

Friday, June 10, 2016

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8,9 KJV).

Well-versed but still “accursed!”

Recently, two members of a local church (cult) visited my house to spread their denominational literature. Always interested in learning more about the people to whom I minister, I eagerly took their pamphlet and discussed some of it with them. They had their “bible,” and I had my King James Bible. I delayed these individuals for 30 minutes, preventing them from reaching some of my neighbors. One church member was more resistant; the other listened intently.

When I asked them what their Gospel message was, they replied, “We preach God’s kingdom is coming on the earth.” I replied, “I noticed that you did not say ‘Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork.’ That is the Gospel of Christianity, but it is not forefront in your thinking. The Bible says that if you do not preach Paul’s Gospel, I should have nothing to do with you.” I was politely showing them that they were not Christians at all. Yes, they used some Bible terms, but their “Gospel” was a lie. While they came not knowing the Gospel of the Grace of God, rest assured they left here in quite a hurry after hearing it with shocking clarity!

The Apostle Paul said that the Gospel he preached was: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Through Paul, the Holy Spirit, in today’s Scripture, condemned any “Gospel-preacher”—even an angel—if he or she did not preach Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins. The group I encountered, they are condemned of God. They are not Christians, they never were. Unless they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and stop relying on their “good works,” they are sure to go to the same hell as the heathen who never picked up a Bible at all!

For more information, see our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Galatians 1:6-7 contradictory?