Saved or Lost? #8

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The physical realm abounds with abnormalities or seeming impossibilities (extreme or rare medical conditions). Similarly, the spiritual world is filled with eccentric or appalling disorders (contradictions or paradoxes). These sinning saints appear to be unbelievers in thoughts and/or actions, but are indeed members of God’s family!

Believers in the God of the Bible have done stupid things, spoken foolish words, and entertained silly ideas. The Apostle Peter thrice denied he knew his Saviour (Mark 14:66-72). Moreover, he had even intensely argued with the Lord how this would never happen—essentially calling Christ a “liar” (verses 27-31; also see the other occasion in Luke 22:31-34)! Moses, in an infantile rage, struck the rock twice when the LORD had ordered him to speak to it instead (Numbers 20:1-12). Let us not forget how Noah ruined his testimony with drunkenness in Genesis 9:20-27!

Abraham listened to his wife (not the LORD) concerning his sexual relations with Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4): resulting son Ishmael, a product of Abraham’s flesh (law, religious performance), competed with God’s promised son, Isaac (grace). King David committed adultery, fathered an illegitimate child, and then murdered the adulteress’ husband to cover it all up (2 Samuel 11:1–12:14). In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, a Christian brother is fornicating with “his father’s wife” (hopefully, it was his stepmother and not his biological mother)! Not even the Gentile idolaters had such a revolting reputation (verse 1)!

Believers in Christ Jesus in John 12:42,43 were silent about their faith, since they would be excommunicated from the synagogue if they were outspoken (“for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”). King Solomon was romantically involved with almost 1,000 idolatrous women, not only permitting their heathen religion in the Promised Land but even practicing it himself (1 Kings 11:1-13)! Finally, the Apostle Paul, awaiting his execution, wrote some poignant words concerning a grace ministry coworker: “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10; cf. Galatians 1:4; 1 John 2:15-17).

Yes, these were believers (!!!!!!)….

Saints, please remember this work of the ministry requires monthly financial support to operate (Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Those who prefer electronic giving can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux. Anyone who wishes to donate by regular mail can visit https://333wordsofgrace.org/contact-us-mailing-address-for-donations/ for details. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! Unfortunately, since our ministry audience is so large and our ministry staff is so small, I can no longer personally respond to everyone. Thanks so much for understanding in this regard. 🙂

Saved or Lost? #7

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Due to the curse of sin, life in a fallen world, we all must deal with medical conditions. Ultimately, one “disease” (whatever it is) will cause our physical life that began in the womb to cease just prior to heading to the tomb. The scientific community is still quite limited in its understanding and treatment of a wide range of physical and mental illnesses. For example, medical literature abounds with countless oddities or shocks:

  • Have you ever heard of Epidermodysplasia verruciformis? Probably not, but you may know it as “Tree Man Syndrome.” Those afflicted have disproportionate warts (resembling tree bark) growing over large sections of their skin. Entire arms, legs, hands, and feet are often unrecognizable. These human bodies look very much like actual tree trunks!
  • People who have the eating disorder called pica can be found consuming all sorts of non-foods—wood, glass, and even feces!
  • As weird as it sounds, sufferers of Cotard Delusion (also called “Walking Corpse Syndrome”) believe they have missing organs, no blood, absent body parts, or even think they are dead! This is not reality, of course, but they do not know otherwise because it is a mental disorder.
  • Hypertrichosis, or Werewolf Syndrome, involves hair growing excessively all over the human body.
  • When one baby does not fully separate from another baby in the womb, the result is bodies joined at the head, or torso, or buttocks, et cetera. These are “conjoined twins.” However, if one baby dies during the pregnancy, but his or her body parts remain attached to the surviving twin, the result is a “parasitic twin.” The living child may have extra legs, arms, or other remains of the parasitic twin.
  • What about the man with Segmental Overgrowth Syndrome, whose massive 200-pound (100-kilogram) leg dwarves the rest of his body?

As sin’s curse make humans not to think or look like humans, so sin’s curse causes Christians not to think or look like Christians….

Saved or Lost? #6

Sunday, September 4, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Satan’s evil world system was using religion to mislead the saints of Galatia (Turkey). Moreover, the Holy Spirit through Paul announced the Christians in Corinth (Greece) had also fallen into doctrinal error. Second Corinthians chapter 11: “[1] Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. [2] For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [3] But I fear, lest by any means [countless techniques can be employed to achieve it!], as the serpent [Satan!] beguiled [fooled] Eve through his subtilty [intelligence, wisdom, sneakiness], so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Paul knew the Corinthian believers were not immune from leaving the truth. The threat was quite real, for participants of Satan’s evil world system are skillful enough to actually use the name “Jesus” (albeit, not the Jesus whom Paul preached to the Corinthians), and talk about “the spirit” (however, not the spirit that Paul delivered to the Corinthians), and even preach “the gospel” (but, not the gospel Paul gave to the Corinthians)!

“[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.” As strange as it sounds, Satan’s efforts through sinful men (his “ministers”) are so effectual or successful that even true, justified, saved, forgiven, redeemed Christians can be tricked into thinking and living contrary to their identity in Christ….

NOTE: We temporarily break away from this devotionals arc to bring you a special study, but we will return the following day with more advanced studies on this same theme….

Saved or Lost? #5

Saturday, September 3, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

When we hear of a professing “Christian” who joins a cult, or suddenly “no longer believes in God,” et cetera, what should we conclude? Are they now lost and Hell-bound? Let us ask better questions. Did they trust Christ in their heart, and then become confused? It is highly possible. Or, did they get confused and never trust Christ in their heart? This is equally likely. Frankly, only the Lord knows their heart attitude.

Firstly, authentic (!) Christians can (!) turn from the truth by thinking and/or acting like lost people. The Galatians did—and so did the Ephesians, the Corinthians, et cetera. All these saints heard God’s pure words from the Apostle Paul himself. However, today’s apostates often had extremely little to practically no understanding of the truth anyway. Since they learned superficial or shallow information, not much error was required to move them away from whatever “truth” they had.

Secondly, only God knows their heart—if they were ever actually saved in the first place. Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone cannot be revoked. God’s righteousness credited to a person’s account is permanent, for human works cannot play any role in gaining eternal life or maintaining it. Romans chapter 4: “[4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. [8] Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Yet, and we never want to forget it, these verses have, unfortunately, been true of few people anyway because most have never actually had heart faith in Christ.

Let us return to dealing with more deceived saints in Scripture….

Saved or Lost? #4

Friday, September 2, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The verse immediately after today’s Scripture asks: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” Spiritually disoriented, the Galatian saints have discarded God’s grace (His perfect work to justify them) in favor of keeping their works (fumbling, bumbling, stumbling in religion). For the remainder of Galatians chapter 4, Paul appeals to the Hebrew Scriptures to highlight their folly: Abraham’s flesh (and resulting son Ishmael) was completely incompatible with God’s grace (and consequent son Isaac), just as their performance in works-religion nullifies or cancels God’s grace. (Read Galatians 4:22-31 in your own Bible.)

Now, chapter 5: “[1] Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. [2] Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. [3] For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. [4] Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. [5] For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. [6] For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. [7] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? [8] This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. [9] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”

The Galatians were religious indeed, for they had been pressured into physical circumcision under the false assumption they would make God happy with them (see Acts 15:1-5). Yet, the Law is an “all-or-nothing” system—and the Mosaic Law encompasses 612 other rules and regulations that are impossible for a sinner to keep perfectly (Romans 3:19,20; Galatians 3:10; James 2:10)! By throwing away grace to take up even part of the Law, the Galatians had, essentially, committed spiritual suicide….

Saved or Lost? #3

Thursday, September 1, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Today’s Scripture names the Galatians “my little children.” Not a term of endearment, it gently rebukes these people who should be mature believers but are spiritual infants or Bible babies. Christ should have been formed in them. The Apostle Paul had so fervently labored to give them sound Bible doctrine, just as a mother experiences severe birth pangs to bring forth new life: “Of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,….” What happened instead, due to corrupt spiritual leaders, was works-religion had been formed in them. (Multimillions of genuine Christians have likewise been deceived during the 20 centuries since!) That these Galatians were indeed Christians—despite their stunted development and plenteous confusion—is confirmed when we realize Paul addressed them as “brethren” nine times (1:11; 3:15; 4:12,28,31; 5:11,13; 6:1,18).

“I desire to be present with you now.” If only Paul could be there with these Galatians physically, but he is far away. In those days of limited communication (no cellphones or internet videocalls), all he can do is write on a piece of papyrus (plant material) or vellum or parchment (animal skin) and send that message by courier back to Galatia. Had Paul been with them, he would have “change[d] [his] voice.” That is, his tone of voice would reflect the gravity of their situation and his utter disapproval of their apostasy (falling away from the truth). More bluntly, the Holy Spirit would speak through Paul to bring them to their senses. “Wake up and grow up!” (See “sleeping” saints in Ephesians 5:14-17.)

Observe that weighty expression at the end of today’s Scripture: “For I stand in doubt of you.” It is not to be read as “I doubt you ever trusted Christ!” Rather, the Apostle’s reaction to them is something like, “I have no idea what to do with you!” “Doubt” here is the Greek “aporeo” (literally, “no way out”). Paul is “at a loss mentally,” perplexed or uncertain about how to proceed….

Bible Q&As #988, #989, and #990: “What does ‘wont’ mean?,” “What does ‘lusty’ mean?,” and “Can you explain ‘hale?’

Saved or Lost? #2

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Galatia was an enormous territory stretching through modern central Turkey. The Apostle Paul met Gentile pagan idolaters here in Acts chapters 13–14 during his first apostolic journey. He won them to the Lord Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel of Grace to them (“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day;” 1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

After leaving Galatia, Paul learned some unsettling news about them, which he addressed by writing this epistle to Galatia: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6,7). False teachers—commonly called “Judaizers” but better termed “denominationalists!”—had infiltrated Galatia after Paul’s departure. To say the least, the Apostle was astonished at how quickly these Galatians had abandoned the sound Bible doctrine he had taught them!

Chapter 3 is more of the Holy Spirit’s criticism: “[1] 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? [2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? [3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Deceived (!), these Galatians were now “fools.” They were engaging in spiritual insanity or silliness. Forsaking the Message of God’s Grace (Christ-based acceptance system), they had taken up the Law system (performance-based acceptance system, or works-religion as they had before Paul’s visit!).

These people, whom Paul himself saw desert spiritual darkness as they came to the Lord’s light, have (most pitifully!) returned to Satan’s lie program! In other words, they think and act like they have never heard the Lord’s words through Paul at all….

Order My Steps #10

Sunday, July 24, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Describing victorious Christian living, Paul taught in Romans 8:5-9: “[5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

If we think like lost people, our conduct will resemble that of lost people. Our Christian life will die with “carnal” or fleshy thinking (chapter 7). “Minding” nothing but natural-man thoughts, our lifestyle reflects that faulty reasoning (chapter 7). Fighting against God, we live contrary to whom He made us in Christ. If, however, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-16), studying and trusting sound (grace!) Bible doctrine, we will “mind [pay attention to, think about] the things of the Spirit.” This spiritually-minded believer enjoys the life and peace impossible in Romans chapter 7 but achievable in chapter 6.

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,…” (Ephesians 4:17). “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” (Ephesians 5:15-17). “Brethren, be followers together of me [Paul], and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17). “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” (Colossians 1:10). “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:…” (Colossians 2:6).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the United States of America in Bible prophecy?

Order My Steps #9

Saturday, July 23, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

The first five chapters of Romans lay out the doctrine of justification—to wit, how a sinner worthy of God’s righteous wrath in Hell and the Lake of Fire can trust Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins and thereby be declared a Christian or saint (eternally righteous in God’s sight, bound for Heaven).

Chapters 6–8 outline the doctrine of sanctification—namely, how the Christian, in light of his position, is set apart unto God’s purpose and plan on a daily basis in practice. The believer’s walk each and every day will be victorious over sin only if two facts are never forgotten. Firstly, we are under grace not law (Romans chapter 6). Secondly, we are under the Holy Spirit’s authority not the flesh’s power (Romans chapter 8). To ignore (or fail to learn) either of these principles is to suffer that horrendous spiritual shipwreck of chapter 7!

Let us state it another way. When sin masters or controls us, we have not been mindful of Romans chapter 6 (dead to sin, alive unto God). Abandoning chapter 6, we have fallen into the snare of Romans chapter 7 (defeat, misery, hopelessness). To be recovered from the dreadful trap of fleshly living, we learn the lesson Paul himself realized in chapter 8: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There, right there, is the Christian overcoming sin on a daily basis….

Order My Steps #8

Friday, July 22, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Brethren, our Heavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). “Ye are complete [lacking nothing] in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10a). All we truly need, we permanently have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Four necessities given us in Christ are defined in 1 Corinthians 1:30,31: “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.”

Firstly, we need spiritual wisdom, the ability to correctly apply spiritual truths to life. Jesus is our spiritual wisdom. Secondly, we need righteousness, a right standing before God. Christ is our righteousness. Thirdly, we need sanctification, separation unto Father God’s will. Jesus is our sanctification. Finally, we need redemption, a buying back from sin’s dominion. Christ is our redemption. God’s instructions to us are simple: Walk according to the people we already are in Christ!

After three chapters presenting our wealth in Christ, the Holy Spirit through Paul opens the final three chapters of Ephesians concerning our walk: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,…” (Ephesians 4:1). “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:…” (Ephesians 5:8). After concentrating on our wealth in Christ for two chapters, the second half of Colossians begins with our walk: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above [in heaven], where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:…” (Colossians 3:10).

Paying attention to the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul, we enjoy victorious Christian living. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh [sin]…. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law…. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16,18,25). Here is Romans chapter 8….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the LORD God and His works ‘terrible?’