Children of Light #5

Thursday, August 29, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Most Jews rejected the Lord Jesus: they were uninterested in being “the children of light.” Since they refused to believe on Him, God intervened and made them unable to believe on Him. The light of Christ’s earthly ministry was gradually withdrawn, and Israel was plunged into greater spiritual darkness (see verses 37-41, what follows today’s Scripture). Just a few days later, they demanded He be crucified as a common criminal, and He died on Calvary’s cross (see Acts 3:13-18). He resurrected victoriously and ascended back to Heaven still spurned!

Leaving Christ’s earthly ministry and entering early Acts, God lifts the blindness from Israel. Christ commissions the 12 Apostles to preach and convert Israel to Him. Even during this renewed opportunity of repentance—God wanting them to change their mind concerning His Son, moving them from unbelief to faith—Israel persisted in doubt and disobedience. By Acts chapter 7, Israel falls before God, and He sets them aside (exactly how He treated the nations back at the Tower of Babel over 20 centuries earlier in Genesis chapter 11).

In chapter 9 of Acts, Christ reached down in grace and peace to save His chief enemy, Saul of Tarsus. Many years later, Saul recounts in chapter 26: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

God will reach the whole (darkened) world—even fallen Israel—through a new Gospel message. He still purposes to create “children of light….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How is the Holy Spirit ‘the Comforter?’

Children of Light #4

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Romans chapter 2 remarks: “[17] Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, [18] And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; [19] And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, [20] An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Israel had been given spiritual light in the form of God’s Word (chiefly, the Mosaic Law), but, like the nations earlier, they chose to walk in Satan’s darkness instead.

Christ conducted His earthly ministry to recover them from that darkness. Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, spoke of Israel’s coming Messiah: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78,79). Once Israel would, by faith, participate in God’s “light” program, He would shine in and through them and reach the pagan Gentiles worldwide.

Christ spoke to this end in Matthew chapter 5: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Yet, they declined. They preferred to be like the unenlightened Gentiles….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘They be blind leaders of the blind?’

Satisfied in Superstition #5

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Romans chapter 1 describes the nations (Gentiles) whom the God of the Bible renounced at the Tower of Babel. They refused to think about Him and His Word so He gave them up and over to their desired empty, worthless, satanic views. However, this is also true concerning individuals. People convince themselves not to think properly about the Creator God and spiritual matters. They willfully (key word!) reject the information He has freely offered them.

God caused Israel to fall nationally in early Acts when she ignored the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus Christ. With their deliberate stoning of His prophet Stephen in chapter 7, He set them aside (albeit temporarily). They thereafter became like all the Gentiles—enjoying Satan’s lie program, his dark and evil world system (2 Corinthians 4:4). God could have righteously destroyed them all in wrath, but instead He poured out grace and mercy in chapter 9 to Saul of Tarsus (the leader of Israel’s rebellion against God). “Even so have these [Israel] also now not believed, that through your [Gentiles’/nations’] mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:31,32).

Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul. The crucified, buried, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ told him on the day of his salvation unto eternal life: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18). The Lord removed Saul from spiritual darkness, Satan’s “power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) so he could preach to others how they too could be delivered through Christ Jesus. Paul did that in today’s Scripture….

Satisfied in Superstition #4

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

The world’s “mess”—madness, mayhem, wickedness, injustice, religious confusion, spiritual darkness—should not surprise us. Moreover, it is not accidental that Satan and sin reign among us! God has let mankind exercise free will (volition). Romans chapter 1 outlines man’s threefold declension from his natural knowledge of God to his tenacious abandonment of said knowledge. Blame us—not God—for sin!

“[19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] 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: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

“[24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. [26] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…. [28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;…. [32] Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

It was these people, the nations, to whom the Apostle Paul ministered in today’s Scripture….

Satisfied in Superstition #3

Monday, August 20, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Genesis 11:1-9 describes the postdiluvian (after Great Flood) nations assembling in Shinar (Babylon, or modern Iraq) to “build [them] a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.” Nimrod led the construction of this Tower of Babel—an international, political-religious system. (Its antitype is the Antichrist’s [future] Whore of Babylon described in Revelation chapters 17-18.) The LORD God gave those nations over to their preference—Satan worship, pagan idolatry, one-world religion (an amalgamation of all spiritual ideas). There, the nations fell as Adam had. Again, it was a willful rejection of God’s truth and a plunge into spiritual darkness (cf. Acts 14:15,16): “[God] in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Hence, the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations originated.

With Genesis chapter 11 closing and chapter 12 opening, the LORD God began forming a special nation—Israel. Beginning with Abram/Abraham, Israel will accomplish what Adam and the nations deliberately declined to do. They are the vessel whereby God will fulfill His earthly purpose. He thus expects and commands Israel to avoid her neighbors’ heathen beliefs and idolatrous practices. Read Deuteronomy 4:16-19, but especially notice verse 19: “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” Indeed, at Babel, God gave the nations over to the gods and goddesses of superstition.

Sadly, Israel did not keep herself pure either. Eventually, when her Redeemer (Jesus Christ) came, she was so polluted with error that she crucified Him in unbelief. She persisted in that unbelief, that rejection of God’s Word, until He placed her on the same spiritual level as He had put the Gentiles 2,000 years previous. Now we get to today’s Scripture….

Satisfied in Superstition #2

Sunday, August 19, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Mankind had unbridled access to and fellowship with the Creator God until Adam sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. After consuming the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Genesis chapter 3 remarks of Adam and Eve: “[7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. [8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”

While man’s communion with the LORD God was broken, God nevertheless instituted a blood-sacrificial system by which man could approach Him (see Genesis 3:21–4:8). However, during the next several centuries, mankind drifted further and further from his Creator rather than drawing closer and closer to Him. In chapters 6-8, worldwide wickedness (especially murder) was so widespread that God generated the Great Flood to cleanse the planet of evil. Once Noah’s three sons exited the Ark after the Flood, they fathered the world’s nations (chapters 9-11). Near the end of these first 2,000 years of human history, an extremely important event occurred.

Genesis chapter 10 reports: “[8] And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. [9] He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. [10] And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Nimrod was Noah’s great-grandson, and he was quite wicked. Chapter 11 will demonstrate to us how Nimrod was the leading rebel influential in bringing about the spiritual ignorance of today’s Scripture… and of today….

Bible Q&A #525: “Which hymns are appropriate for us grace believers to sing?

Known of God #1

Sunday, May 22, 2016

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:8,9 KJV).

Not only do we in Christ know God. More importantly, God knows us!

Today’s Scripture carries the thought mentioned throughout the previous chapter. While the one true God was dealing with the nation of Israel, preparing them to function as His earthly people, the nations—including the Gentiles in Galatia—“knew not God” and “did service unto them which by nature are no gods.” That is, in their heathen religious services, they worshipped various dead idols.

The Gentiles were doubly-severed from the one true God. They were not only dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). They were also on the wrong side of the middle wall of partition that God had erected (Ephesians 2:11,12). The Israelites, not the Gentiles, were God’s chosen people. Having let the nations (Gentiles) go their way in spiritual ignorance at the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11, God took Abraham and began to form His special nation in chapter 12. Romans chapter 1 shows us the nations’ blatant rejection of God’s clearly revealed will, and their subsequent spiritual ignorance. This was the former state of the Galatians in today’s Scripture. It was also the lot of our Gentile ancestors in the centuries before Christ!

Did God not care about the Gentiles? Why, of course He did! God’s will was to take the nation Israel, convert them, fill them with His Word, so they, as His kingdom of priests, could then take that divine revelation to the nations (Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 2:1-3; Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23). Israel, as we all know, failed in that regard. But, God, in eternity past, devised another way to reach Gentiles until Israel’s national conversion. Today’s Scripture provides a clue as to how He did it. We Gentile believers in Jesus Christ “have known God” and “are known of God.” Just what exactly does this mean? Let us search the Scriptures to find out!