The War with Amalek! #14

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

In Scripture, water symbolizes the Holy Spirit (and the impartation of life). For example, John chapter 7: “[37] In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

See also 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” The verb “drink” carries the connotation of a liquid—water. Once we believed on Christ as our personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit identified us with Him, and we received His life. Here is Israel drinking from the rock (cf. today’s Scripture). They had God’s life, His blessings because of His grace, and victory over sin—until they embraced works-religion. The poor Apostle Paul wound up in a similar trap. His Christian life started right (Romans chapter 6), then he abandoned Grace to follow Law and become conquered and miserable (chapter 7). Hope and victory come 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.”

If we have a clear understanding of Grace (“mind the things of the Spirit”), brethren, there will be no room for Law—or losing to Amalek! 🙂

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The War with Amalek! #13

Friday, June 14, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Here is grace living (as opposed to legalism, Law-keeping): “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14).

When we quote Romans 6:14 (“We are not under the law, but under grace”), that does not mean we believe God encourages us Christians to sin. If ever someone objects with, “Grace is a license to sin,” they either do not know what grace really teaches, or (sadly) they have seen a “grace” person regularly behave carnally. The verse says in full, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” All the Law can do is show us our sin; it cannot (!) make us righteous and it cannot (!) cause us to act righteously. The Law functions as a mirror: it reveals our shortcoming, our need for the Saviour Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:21-25).

Scripture says the Law “is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:7-11). If we have recognized our lost estate, deadness in trespasses and sins, and have come to Christ by faith alone, then we are righteous in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30,31). The Law has no purpose in the Christian’s life, for the Law has already accomplished God’s intention: it has directed the lost person to trust Christ and become a Christian. For the Christian to then place himself under the Law is to cause sin to dominate him (Romans 6:14). We overcome sin—the flesh—not by striving to make ourselves holy, but realizing we are holy (sanctified, set apart) in Christ and instruments of His works (Titus 2:14)! The victory over sin is in Grace, not Law!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The War with Amalek! #12

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Experiencing a new life in a new land, the nation Israel encounters a most ruthless enemy. Their jubilant Promised Land trip was interrupted when the Amalekites arrived. However, through the sword (the Word of God, the Scriptures) and the lifting of hands (prayer), Israel was victorious. God in His grace had given them the ability to conquer sin! In fact, between chapters 14-18, He provided for all their needs. They needed deliverance from Egypt and passage through the Red Sea. He delivered! They needed potable water. He gave drink! They needed food. He gave bread and meat! They needed water again. He gave drink! They needed military might. He gave victory! They needed Divine counsel. He gave wisdom! Grace is what God can do for sinners; sinners can do nothing for God!

Alas, Exodus chapter 19 now appears. Tragically, Israel abandons God’s grace. They now want to work for the blessings God had freely offered them! Having not learned the lessons of grace in the previous five chapters, they insist on performing in religion. Rather than appreciating the identity God gave them simply because He loved them, they want to make themselves God’s people. They honestly believe they can keep all of God’s commandments (conquer sin by their efforts). If they engage in 100 percent righteous living, then they will be His people. Israel was most reckless to enter this covenant. Yet, let us not be hard on Israel, for billions today have been equally deceived. This includes all professing Christians (mere church members) and most genuine Christians (members of the Body of Christ).

Very rarely is a pure Gospel of Grace preached. “Sinner’s prayers,” walking of aisles, confessions of sins, water baptisms, shaking preachers’ hands, and so on, all obscure a clear grace message. What God has done at Calvary for the sinner is overlooked because what the sinner can do in religion for God is stressed ad nauseum. No wonder people are confused! Am I saved or lost?! In Christ or still going to Hell?! They need to approach the Word of God rightly divided, believe it, and prayerfully apply it to life….

What a Stiff Neck! #6

Friday, April 5, 2019

“For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?” (Deuteronomy 31:27 KJV).

A Christian lady was expressing her frustration over her unsaved family members being “stubborn” as concerning believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, in Bible terms, they are “stiffnecked.”

The Scriptures say, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Mankind refuses that truth: he resolutely believes he is good. Here, the lost person sees Jesus Christ as unnecessary. Commandments are viewed as “help” to get to God and merit His favor. A sinner, instead of realizing his or her “lostness,” stubbornly cleaves to works-religion. Man does not see himself as the evil monster he really is; he just cannot agree with God and take a negative view of himself. Falling for the strange delusion that he can keep God’s laws perfectly, his efforts replace (!) Christ’s finished crosswork. It is truly a miracle when the unsaved escape such trickery: that enlightenment comes through the Scriptures to a sincere heart.

God’s Word pronounces, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life 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). Christ’s finished crosswork offends the Christian’s flesh (sin nature) as it upsets the lost person’s flesh (see above). Christians also obstinately cling to works-religion: they come to faith in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone, knowing Calvary alone can save them, but then they labor to please God for rewards (material blessings, physical health, et cetera). It is truly a miracle when the Christian escapes such deception: that enlightenment comes through the Scriptures to a sincere heart.

Honestly, God does not want our “good works;” He desires our trust in Christ. Grace not works! Jesus Christ gave His life to us, not for us to then use a legalistic system to simulate it, but for Him to live it in and through us as we believe His words to us. It is our faith in His faith—His faithfulness not ours, His crosswork not ours, His efforts not ours! Let us cease being “stiffnecked!”

The “Offensive” Gospel!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5 KJV).

Behold, “the offence of the cross” (Galatians 5:11)!

I recently asked an elderly lady if she thought people could know where they go when they die. She answered, “Since most people are good, Heaven.” Afterward, naturally, she revealed her good deeds—especially her kindness toward others. Therefore, I inquired again, “Where will you go?” That pointed question was unexpected, prompting her hesitant reply, “I hope Heaven.” Notice when it became personal she was unsure. The Holy Spirit used those questions to convict her, and she actually expressed concern of being “scared.” Yes, this sweet little lady could not hide behind her “good works” any longer. She recognized she was Hell-bound!!

It was quite a friendly conversation from start to finish. Without doubt, by the time we parted ways, she understood her dire predicament and, most importantly, the solution. What she did with the Gospel of the Grace of God was her choice. I left her some printed material (verses). Just maybe she will contact me and we can talk more if necessary.

We often hear people stressing “good works” as necessary to enter Heaven. Point out to them Matthew 7:11—“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children….” Focus on the fact that man’s nature is “evil” despite doing “good” deeds. Rather than God emphasizing man doing evil, He underscores man being evil.” By nature, man himself is the problem. Consider Matthew 7:21-23 quite carefully: read it over and over until you get the impact. It is surprising to say the least! “Good” deeds can be exceedingly deceptive.

Lastly, I offered her a simple analogy. We can pick all the oranges from an orange tree, hang apples on it, and yet never change its nature. The tree can produce only oranges. Likewise, the sin nature can yield only sins. We can trade fleshly sins (lasciviousness) for religious sins (self-righteousness), and our nature is unaffected. However, in Christ, through Calvary’s crosswork, we receive a new nature, and it produces the good works God accepts. Ultimately, though, it is the new nature (not its resultant good works) that gets us into Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).

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Something in Which to Glory!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:12-14 KJV).

In what shall we glory? About what shall we boast? In what shall we find value?

Religion produces people who enjoy bragging all about their “dedication to God.” “Look what I did—the ceremonies in which I have participated, the many prayers I faithfully recited daily, how much I put in the collection plate, see how many pleasures I gave up to please God! Come, see how much I love Him!” Dear friends, the Apostle Paul found great value in something—but that something was not what he did. All that human flesh can accomplish pales in comparison to the work in today’s Scripture.

As Lent begins, the time when religionists temporarily (a mere 40 days) relinquish some pleasant food or activity, let us remember that our performance is often non-performance. Once we place ourselves on that treadmill of “do, do, do,” we are guaranteed to fail at some point. Human flesh is simply too weak to maintain 100 percent—that is sin! Even concerning one rule, we cannot keep it perfectly. We mess up eventually.

If ever we believe that our puny works are worth bragging about, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture. While some boast in their religiosity (in the passage, the Judaizers applauding their rite of physical circumcision), and such denominationalists today urge us to obey their church’s instructions so they too may boast in our ability, let us eschew such foolishness. Being imperfect, all their works do not measure up to Christ’s finished crosswork. At Calvary, we find the only sacrifice that will ever please the God of the Bible. If we must boast, let us brag that He did what we could never, ever do!

See our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

Bound in False Religion 97 Years

Saturday, February 23, 2019

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 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” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV).

How can today’s Scripture enable us to avoid a literal century of religious bondage?

Some years back, we had a devotional study in which my parents and I were dealing with a 94-year-old relative who had been a lifelong member of a works-religion cult. She was resistant to the Gospel of the Grace of God then, and was even more fiercely antagonistic toward it when we visited with her late last year. Recently, we learned that this dear lady has died at age 97. Whether her soul is now in Heaven or Hell, it was her choice. (She remembers my admonition, “If you die and go to Hell, you will remember this very moment when you could have been saved from it.” Just over three months later, she departed this world.)

Her religion never gave her the assurance of sins forgiven and a home in Heaven (she freely admitted that). Nevertheless, she certainly rejected Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. She was known for many noble deeds in her life. As she said, “If I am not going to Heaven, no one is. I raised four children as a single parent. I recited prayers. I did this, I did this… but, I am not bragging, not bragging at all.” This captures the essence of Satan’s world system (cf. today’s Scripture). To own a Bible but refuse to open it. To hear the name “Jesus Christ” for nearly a century and still not know Him personally. To be a faithful church member and be so spiritually blind and numb to the truth. Indeed, while not impossible, a senior citizen trusting Jesus Christ as personal Saviour is highly unlikely. They are “set in their ways,” brainwashed from the cradle to the grave.

Hell is filled with billions of souls right this very moment—they all presumed to offer their works, ideas, systems as substitutes for Almighty God’s works, wisdom, and will. Eternity keeps them where death found them!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Become as little children… to enter the kingdom of heaven?