Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #5

Friday, October 30, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

“I will be like the most High,” Lucifer boasted (Isaiah 14:14). As he told Christ, he desires worship: “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me(Matthew 4:9). Employing whatever sneaky means necessary, Satan accomplishes his goal. If he can counterfeit God’s actions, then people will be deceived and credit God. By attributing Satan’s work to God, man unwittingly worships Satan. It is an ingenious strategy, one seldom perceived!

Emotions mislead because the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). While something may “feel” right, it may not actually be right. Feelings are fickle, changing with our circumstances. Therefore, we cannot use them to gauge truth and error. Adrenaline rushes come and go, so never should we confuse them with the permanent Holy Spirit. If we are externalists or formalists, we run the risk of faking at some point. For instance, if we observe people raising hands or dancing, peer pressure urges us to mimic them. The Holy Spirit is thus quenched and our flesh—namely, the fear of being “left out”—motivates the behavior. Satan smiles. Except for the rare Berean Bible student, no one is able to notice the error.

So-called “Christian revivals” are being held where protests, riots, lootings, and shootings have occurred. It is claimed, “The Devil is active, but God is moving!” Online videos show musicians hosting “Christian rock” concerts. Crowds—mainly young adults—raise their hands, jump, run, sing, sob, and pray. Supposedly, they are “coming to Jesus;” yet, a clear Gospel message is absent. When we compare their activities with the Scriptures, what is allegedly “God’s work” turns out to be a mockery of Jesus Christ. Remember, we are not made perfect by the flesh!

Bible Q&As #779 and #780: “Should Christians observe All Saints’ Day?” and “Should Christians observe All Souls’ Day?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #4

Thursday, October 29, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

The Galatians were preoccupied with the Law of Moses (cf. Galatians 4:21). Religious rules and regulations captivated them. They were deceived into believing their performance—their “flesh”—could somehow enhance their Christian life (cf. today’s Scripture). Did the Holy Spirit come to indwell these saints because of their religious works? No! Would He need their pious deeds to continue living in and through them? No! Sadly, today’s professing church is equally “foolish.” Nearly 20 centuries later, it still refuses to recognize rites, rituals, and ceremonies are incompatible with God’s grace! Like the Galatians not thinking clearly, we lack even basic spiritual common sense. We too have not let the Message of Grace renew our mind.

Philosophy and other vain speculations of lost (pagan!) people distracted the Corinthian believers. The first three chapters of 1 Corinthians are the Holy Spirit’s instructions to straighten out their confusion. Selfishness abounded in Corinth because spiritual ignorance flourished there. Whereas the Galatians were quite “strict” with their legalism, the Corinthians were quite “loose” with their sensuality. The Corinthians acted like spiritual babies because they also thought like spiritual babies. This too describes today’s professing church. Actually, the conundrums in 1 Corinthians parallel the chaos and confusion of modern “praise and worship.” Recall 1 Corinthians 14:40!

Instead of being thankful for the Message of God’s Grace—what the Holy Spirit has revealed in Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon—we unwisely believe we can improve the Christian life. Whether from Galatia or Corinth, we must learn the lesson: neither formalism (strict rules and regulations) nor fanaticism (no rules or regulations whatsoever) will ever replace the Holy Spirit’s work in grace believer’s heart. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

To Look Beyond the Makeup #13

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Prior to our Dispensation of Grace, Satan’s evil world system contaminated ancient Israel with pagan idolatry (especially through King Ahab and Queen Jezebel). After our Dispensation, this will be repeated via “King” Antichrist and “Queen” Whore of Babylon. Remember, once Satan learns something works to his advantage, he will use it repeatedly. For thousands of years now, false religion has deceived mankind. If it was beneficial to the Devil’s plan then, and it will be helpful to him later, then he is indeed (!) operating it right now… and practically no one detects it!

Scripture explains how the harlot seduces a young man “void of understanding” (Proverbs 7:7). He is among the “simple [uneducated, unskilled] ones.” Carefully read the whole chapter. Exercising great subtilty, she lures him with the promise of physical delight (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Naïve and uninformed, he absolutely cannot resist. He merrily jumps in bed with her… and then she kills him! That man represents unsuspecting Israel—or even gullible “Christians” today—falling for Satan’s lie program of evil religion. The LORD God gave them His Word, but they ignore that Divine wisdom. Focusing on mere outward appearance (a “painted” face), they lack any sense to realize they have joined themselves to a “woman of the street!”

Finally, consider “eye-opening” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” False religion is attractive yet sneaky, Satan’s precise method in Genesis 3:1-6. It shoves aside God’s grace, and stresses our (self-) “righteousness.” With our eyes on the creature, they are off the Creator (Romans 1:25). Ignoring God’s Grace Message through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we have failed to look beyond the makeup… yea… fakeup!

Turn Not from It! #8

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Second Peter chapter 2: “[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Whether Old Testament Israel, future Israel, or even the present time, Satan’s preachers always labor!

As today’s Scripture indicates, spiritual prosperity is achieved only when we follow the doctrinal path Almighty God has laid out for us. Israel would suffer tremendously if she drifted from the Law of Moses. Once Joshua died, the Jews waxed worse and worse. The Old Testament record abounds with a myriad of resultant tragedies—civil wars, collapse of family, droughts and famines, Gentile oppression, plagues and diseases, poverty, death, and so on. All these unfortunate situations were because Israel failed to maintain sound Bible doctrine.

Romans chapter 16: “[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Here is the Holy Spirit’s warning to us the Church the Body of Christ. People will use false doctrine to split local churches and cause saints to stumble. Their main perversion is stressing Law and ignoring Grace (Romans 6:14,15). Mixing God’s Word and will for us, with God’s Word and will for Israel, is sure to bring spiritual ruin. Therefore, follow Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Turn not from the rightly divided Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)!

Turn Not from It! #7

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Go now to Deuteronomy chapter 13: “[1] If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, [2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; [3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

“[4] Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. [5] And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust [throw, force!] thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”

Whatever Satan used to deceive Israel long ago would certainly be profitable to him today: he still uses counterfeit (false) teaching to distract and divide God’s people. In Deuteronomy, the LORD warned Israel not to be led astray by any “miracle worker.” Even if an “inexplicable” or “supernatural” demonstration was involved, the underlying thought itself was a lie, so that teacher or preacher was to be executed by stoning! He or she was “seducing” Israel, drawing the nation away from God’s revelation to the Jews (see verse 5). Even now, such individuals still seek to “turn [us] away from the LORD [our] God.” Brethren, we should therefore be wary….

Turn Not from It! #6

Monday, July 6, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Consider the warnings the Holy Spirit through Paul issued to the church leaders of Ephesus. Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace [!], which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

The most spiritually lethal aspect of Satan’s policy of evil concerns religious perversion. Individuals—whether willingly or inadvertently makes no difference—continuously entice us to abandon the Message of Grace because they favor the Law!! Church leaders should thus guard their congregations by stressing grace teaching. Sadly, as Paul pointed out, those very people are usually the ones guilty of introducing and disseminating the heresy! Furthermore, multitudes within the churches are eagerly deceived and ruined thereby.

Second Timothy chapter 4: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Let us “take heed” too….

A Life That Will Please

Saturday, January 4, 2020

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

Saints, throughout the year, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Weirdoes #1

Thursday, October 24, 2019

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

Brethren, we may be unfairly judged of other Christians and/or the world, but the final verdict will come of the Lord.

Dear friend, we Pauline dispensationalists seem to be the least Christian people on Earth. After all, our beliefs largely differ from—an understatement if there ever were one!!—what is commonly passed off as “Christian.”

We do not water baptize, we do not tithe, we do not confess sins, we do not observe the Sabbath day, we are not legalistic, we do not call religious leaders “reverend” and “father,” we do not look for “signs,” we do not seek healing miracles, we do not strive to see visions and dreams from God, we do not look for angels, we do not have “altars” in our church buildings, we do not assemble at “God’s house” but we ourselves are God’s house, we refuse to be called “religious,” we do not claim to exercise spiritual gifts, we avoid excessive “praise and worship” (running, jumping, dancing), we do not engage in rituals and ceremonies, we do not follow church tradition, we do not believe we are Israel, we believe in a literal and physical return of Christ to take His people to Heaven, we believe He will establish Israel’s literal and physical Davidic kingdom one day on Earth, and so on.

Considering the above doctrinal statement, just what sort of Christian group are we? Christendom dismisses us as cultic, heretical, “church splitters.” We are often “quarantined,” treated like lepers with a contagious ailment. It is no secret that we get “weird” looks from church members when we explain the Bible rightly divided. “I have never heard of that before!” “If this is true, why do so few people believe it?” “Why do you study the Bible so much?” “You worship Paul!” “There are so few in your church or Bible study!” “What is wrong with you?” “You are a Bible fanatic!” “You have a problem with every church!” “You disagree with all denominations!”

Today’s Scripture says such persecution should not bother us….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “The ‘judgment seat’ or the ‘bema seat?’

No Way Out! #4

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

The disciples did not know how to react. They were simply unable to imagine one of their own would be Jesus’ traitor. “Who in the world can it be? How could this be so?” When the legalistic tenets of the denominationalists fooled the Galatian saints, the Apostle Paul was likewise at a loss for words. “How could you be so soon removed from grace? Brethren, what am I to do with you?” In both instances, perplexity or astonishment abounds. “Aporeo” appears two other times in the King James Greek New Testament. We will look at them to further amplify our understanding.

Acts chapter 25: “[19] But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. [20] And because I doubted [aporeo] of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.” Being a Roman, Judaean Governor Porcius Festus was unfamiliar with Jewish religion. Incompetent in judging these theological matters, he preferred not to get involved with the Jews accusing Paul concerning their “superstition.”

When recalling ministry challenges thus far, Paul confessed: “[8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair; [9] Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; [10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). It was not always clear to Paul what route to take. However, dear friends, there is a play on words in verse 8: “we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair [exaporeo—an intensive form of “aporeo”].” Paraphrased, it is, “We may not have a way out, but we are not entirely without an exit.” Completely, utterly, absolutely clueless we are not!

Brethren, as long as we stick close to the words of God’s Word rightly divided, we will always have a way out concerning life’s dilemmas and difficulties. We are not without hope, not without guidance, and not without peace! 🙂

No Way Out! #3

Monday, July 29, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

As the disciples in the Upper Room were “at a loss” regarding whom among them was Jesus’ traitor, so the Apostle Paul did not know which way to turn mentally concerning the Galatians. Read from his epistle to them, chapter 4:

“[15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. [16] Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. [18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. [19] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, [20] I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you [“aporeo”—same as “doubting” in today’s Scripture]. [21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”

Prior to writing the Galatians, Paul had visited these pagan idolaters and preached the Gospel of Grace to them. From him, they heard about the one true God and His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork—He had died for their sins, been buried, and been raised again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). They came to faith in Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins. How joyful they were to no longer be slaves to works-religion, sin, and Satan!

Alas, after Paul departed from their midst in order to visit and evangelize other pagans, false teachers slipped in and conquered the Galatians with works-religion. These legalists emphasized Law and thereby excluded Grace. Understandably, Paul was amazed, confessing to the Galatians, “I stand in doubt of you.” It is not that he doubted their salvation. Rather, he could not wrap his mind around the fact that they had been led astray so quickly and so easily (cf. Galatians 1:6-10). Yea, he too had “no way out….”