Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #3

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Re-read today’s Scripture with its context: “[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. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Although we have “come short of the glory of God,” lacking inherent righteousness, we can be “justified” or declared righteous in God’s sight. By His grace, God can impute or apply righteousness “freely” to our account. This is accomplished through “the redemption [buying back] that is in Christ Jesus.” While we are captive in sin’s slave market, Jesus Christ’s shed blood is the payment to free us. It can make atonement or return us to fellowship with God that Adam lost long ago.

Father God set forth the Lord Jesus to be a “propitiation,” or fully-satisfying payment or sacrifice for our sins. Christ’s substitutionary death becomes our death, God punishing Him as though He were the sinner. Through Jesus’ finished crosswork, God offers us His own righteousness. Here is the Gospel of the Grace of God that we believe to pass from eternal death to eternal life. Verse 26 again: “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Not only are we forgiven of our sins, we who have believed the Gospel have been declared saints. God sees us as though we never sinned, for we now share Christ’s very identity….

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #2

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

The “glory of God” is the expression or manifestation of all that the Creator God is (His nature, beliefs, and so on). It is what makes Him worthy of our praise and worship. As sinners, however, we “come short of the glory of God” (today’s Scripture). Our natural, evil state prevents us from properly reflecting the LORD God. While Adam was indeed created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-28), Adam sinned in chapter 3. After the Fall, he thus fathered children in his own image and likeness (Genesis 5:3). Therefore, the Holy Spirit assessed the world’s condition in Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:….”

Almighty God has established a standard of rightness or suitability, and we sin by failing to reach that target. We “fall short” of the goal—just like someone unable to completely jump across a wide chasm, or leap high enough to clear a hurdle. Religion is designed to lessen the gap and lower the bar, thereby causing us to wrongly believe we can “measure up.” It really does not matter how much we try to do in religion—water baptism, prayers, confessions of sins, commandment-keeping, et cetera—because we still fail to properly represent God. We can pretend or make out like we think and behave as the Bible instructs, but our feeble fleshly efforts are no substitute for God’s perfect work. A holy, righteous God demands absolute or sinless perfection—and that we naturally lack!

In Romans 3:23, we learn that we have come short of the glory of God. Contrariwise, chapter 5 opens with: “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Something about us radically changed between these two passages. Once fallen short of God’s glory, we now rejoice in hope of God’s glory….

A Better Baptism #15

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

If water baptism were as important for Christian living today as billions believe and proclaim, then why did the Holy Spirit not bother to emphasize it throughout Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon? After all, Paul is our apostle, God’s spokesman to us Gentiles (Roman 11:13). There is a problem here. Either the Holy Spirit knows less about victorious Christian living than the “water-baptism-is-necessary-today” people, or they know less about it than He does. Surely, you realize that I am being facetious. The words of the Holy Spirit are the final authority! Water baptism is unnecessary for us today (the denominationalists are claiming verses not to or about us).

Sadly, people often have such a naïve, shallow approach to the Bible. “Water baptism is Scriptural, so we need to do it. Jesus was water baptized, and we need to follow Him. Paul was water baptized, and he water baptized others, so we need to do likewise.” This is deception, a complete mishandling of those verses. Whether intentionally or accidentally, many are not letting the whole Bible speak on the subject but rather focusing on their “pet” verses. Here, God’s words have spoken. We have presented some little-known verses, and let them contradict whomever (preacher, priest, pope) or whatever (denomination, cult, sect) they contradict!

Always remember, dear friends, religionists use the Bible so long as the Bible supports their tradition. If the verse contradicts religion, or there is no verse to support the religion, then the Bible is simply ignored. That is the sad reality of the professing church today—and exactly why so much confusion abounds. God’s Word has overwhelmingly not been permitted to speak in its entirety. People using select Bible verses are misleading billions of souls. Not only must we be biblical, we must also be dispensational. Indeed, to use the Bible but not rightly divide the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15), is actually more dangerous than not using the Bible at all. This is true of the topic of baptism and all other Bible themes. Beware!

A Better Baptism #12

Sunday, September 29, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Ephesians chapter 3 again: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

“[8] Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:….” The Church the Body of Christ is exclusively a Pauline revelation: we will not find it outside of the Apostle Paul’s ministry. To repeat, “the mystery of Christ… the fellowship of the mystery” (the Body of Christ) is a Pauline concept. Prior to Christ’s words spoken through Paul, it was unknown that God would form one body of believers (Jew and Gentile), separate and distinct from the nation Israel and her prophetic program.

This “mystery” (secret) entity would involve a unique “baptism.” God Himself would perform this “baptism,” and the eternal salvation of our souls would depend upon it. We always hear the appeal to “join the local church and get water baptized.” However, their focus should be membership and baptism in the Church the Body of Christ….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What exactly is going on in John 11:49-52?

 

A Better Baptism #11

Saturday, September 28, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

If the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul pronounced only “one baptism” in our Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 4:5), then what exactly is it? To discover the answer, we simply search Paul’s epistles for forms of the word “baptize.” Beginning in Romans and running all the way through Philemon, we encounter today’s Scripture. This is the cross-reference to Ephesians 4:5.

Let us read today’s Scripture with its context, slowly and carefully: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 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.” Water is a physical substance whereas the Church the Body of Christ is a spiritual entity. It is absolutely impossible that physical water can place us into a spiritual organism. Consequently, we know Paul is not referring to water baptism here (among other reasons).

How do we become members of the Body of Christ? The Bible says the Holy Spirit takes believing sinners and puts them into the Church the Body of Christ. Whether “Jews or Gentiles” (national/religious background irrelevant), “bond or free” (social status insignificant), God the Holy Spiritnot a preacher or priest—will take all who believe on Jesus Christ, and He will make them one with Christ. This is an invisible transaction—not a visible water ceremony!

Ephesians 1:12-14: “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Let us see what else Paul says about our “one baptism….”

A Better Baptism #10

Friday, September 27, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:…” (Ephesians 3:1,2). Paul added, “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” (1 Corinthians 14:37). Furthermore, he wrote, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:…” (Romans 11:13).

If we truly are Bible believers, then we will believe these verses: Paul is God’s “sent one” (“apostle”) for us Gentiles (see Acts 26:16-18). The Holy Spirit moved Paul to write that he is God’s spokesman to us: Jesus Christ the Lord speaks to us through Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. We do not look for God’s words outside of Paul’s ministry. If we ignore Pauline theology, as Christendom has done for 20 centuries, then we overlook God’s current dealings with man, and wind up doing Satan’s will! It is that serious!

Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:5, a troubling verse to religionists: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” For us Gentiles in this the Dispensation of Grace, the Holy Spirit claims there is one baptism.” Earlier, we read Matthew 3:11: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:….” There are three “baptisms” here—John’s water baptism, the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and the baptism with fire. Which one is the “one baptism” for our dispensation? According to today’s Scripture, none of them!

To repeat: there is a special “baptism” associated with Paul’s ministry and message. It is not found anywhere else in Scripture. Therefore, if we overlook Paul, we ignore the only baptism applicable to us, the one that counts for eternity….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we strive to distribute the Four Gospel Records?

A Better Baptism #9

Thursday, September 26, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

For far too long, dear brethren, assumptions and suppositions have beset the spiritual edification or growth of the Church the Body of Christ. Centuries upon centuries have been utterly wasted because God’s plain words have been ignored. Religious tradition of all denominations has largely been used to substitute the Scriptures. We are doctrinally weak and functionally dead—and it is our own fault! For 2,000 years, we have so labored to hear the words of men… and we are obviously so devoid of God’s power and mind. We do not think like our Heavenly Father, but rather like lost people who lack the Bible!!

Christ issued a scathing rebuke to ancient Israel, especially concerning its religious leaders who possessed the Hebrew Old Testament but were overwhelmingly ignorant of its truths. Mark chapter 7: “[6] He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do…. [13] Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

They stressed external washings. “Clean your hands before you eat,” the religious Jews were known for saying. Meanwhile, they completely disregarded a spiritual cleansing, something only God can perform. Man has a sinful heart—they had a sinful heart—but they were too preoccupied with water ceremonies to realize their lost or fallen estate (see verses 14-23). The professing Church today is no different. Not only do we rip verses from their contexts, we largely ignore the special revelation the Lord Jesus Christ gave to the Apostle Paul to give to us. Again, we must (!) pay attention to the “baptism” of today’s Scripture….