Growing in Grace #1

Saturday, August 11, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

Dear friends, it has been this author’s personal experience that, contrary to popular belief, the Holy Bible can be understood and enjoyed. Over the last decade-plus, he has come to realize just how wrong his former denominational system is! He has increasingly had to toss aside his, and others’, long-held opinions, that he may better align his mind with that of Almighty God. What a delightful, insightful journey it has been… and will continue to be!

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Indeed, the wisdom of God far exceeds the wisdom of men, so philosophy is not the means whereby we grasp spiritual truth. The traditions of men and the rudiments of the world are of no use to us either because none of them lead us to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians chapter 2 says: “[1] And you hath he [Father God] quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )….”

The above Scriptures not only portray the evil world system in which we live, but also how Father God has labored so mightily with His Son Jesus Christ to deliver us from it. Satan and sin are responsible for the pervasive difficulties and profound suffering all around our world. Yet, in the midst of such pitiful plights, we can “grow in grace….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain 1 Corinthians 14:36?

Knowledge Not of God

Monday, July 30, 2018

Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land (Hosea 4:1 KJV).

While this is Israel 700 years before Christ, it could be said of the Church the Body of Christ 2,000 years after Christ.

One modern “Christian” author is a descendant of a popular “feel-good” minister from many years ago. Perusing through his new 200-page book, I counted 26 verses quoted overall! It was, on average, one verse every seven or eight pages. The verses he did use were quite basic. You would think that a seminary graduate—with two advanced Bible degrees—would be more knowledgeable in Scripture!!

Alas, most seminaries do not educate people using just the Bible. They focus on human wisdom (philosophy), denominational tradition, church history, linguistics (Hebrew and Greek studies), and systematic theology. There is no solid footing or grounding in the Scriptures. Oftentimes, they are taught to make their own Bible translations, which are usually radical departures from the standard English Bible (King James Bible).

In today’s Scripture, God laments the pitiful condition of His people (Israel). He has given them revelation—the Scriptures, prophets, angelic visitations, visions, dreams, and so on—and yet they still are so willfully ignorant of His Word and will for them. Verse 6 goes on to say, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

Ancient Israel knew plenty of religion (Judaism and heathenism), a lot of history, and plenty of entertainment, but they had no “knowledge of God.” Talk to the average church member, or even preacher, today. They know all about their denominational system, experiences, and theological speculations, but they have not a clue about Pauline doctrine (God’s current dealings with man). No matter what the dispensation, the Devil always distracts God’s people using erroneous teaching and thinking, especially bad Bible doctrine (non-dispensational Bible study) but also no Bible at all. Do not be distracted from valuable knowledge!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you shed light on Galatians 3:20?

A Child of God

Sunday, July 29, 2018

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

Who is a “child of God?” Who is a Christian?

Someone once stated, “Today, it seems like a Christian is anyone who is not a Jew or a Muslim.” Think about it, dear friend. The name “Christian” has been used so flippantly and inappropriately that its meaning is misconstrued and buried under layers of false teaching. What makes a Christian? What is Christian doctrine?

The Bible rightly divided is the textbook of Christianity—the standard whereby we gauge right from wrong, truth from error. As English-speaking people, God’s Word for us is the King James Bible. It was translated properly (formal equivalence) from the correct Greek and Hebrew texts (Textus Receptus Greek and Masoretic Hebrew). It has every verse, every word, and every letter that should be there. We must be careful to identify and avoid competing authorities—corrupt modern English versions representing ancient but perverted Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, church tradition, preachers’ opinions, et cetera.

A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. The first (and most important) way a person follows Jesus Christ is by believing what He believes—He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Faith in this Gospel of Grace alone is how we show God we understand there is absolutely nothing we can do to please Him in our flesh (efforts). Notice, a Christian is not defined as somebody who faithfully attends church services, reads the Bible, prays, does good deeds.

God is not looking for our works (religion). He is looking first and foremost for “faith in Christ Jesus” (today’s Scripture). Faith is an admission that our works are not the issue, but an affirmation that Christ’s finished work at Calvary is the issue! After we trust Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, then we follow Him on a daily basis by reading and trusting what He instructed the Apostle Paul to tell us in the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Galatians 6:2 and Galatians 6:5 contradict each other?

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #10

Friday, July 27, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

When pure Grace is proclaimed, the objection will invariably arise: “Grace is a license to sin, and I can live any way I want!” Dear friend, if you say that, you really have no idea what Grace is. Moreover, others will complain, “But do I not have to do something to make God happy with me?” Dear reader, you have not paid attention to what these passages have been teaching. Your flesh can do nothing to please God!

The Law system, once it shows a lost person his or her sinful state, has no further place in that individual’s life. “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:8,9). God added the Law to Israel’s program “because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19)—to point out Israel’s sin, her failure to get God’s blessings based on her works. “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). How senseless it is to then have the Christian live under the Law… continually beleaguered by the sinfulness he or she has already confronted the moment of coming to Christ by faith!

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). Read the entire Epistle to the Galatians: they had fallen prey to legalism. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). Our religious performance will add NOTHING (!) to what the Spirit of God has already wrought, and is working, in our hearts. Father God gave us all blessings in Christ the instant we believed on His finished crosswork—everlasting life, limitless forgiveness, justification (imputed righteousness), free redemption, eternal sanctification, unconditional acceptance, and so on. Now, dear brethren, we go live in and enjoy those blessings! 🙂

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #9

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

Law and Grace are mutually exclusive—they cancel each other. Speaking of the Little Flock, the few Jewish believers in the midst of an apostate nation Israel, the Holy Spirit wrote: “Even so then at this present time [the Acts period] also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:5,6).

Romans 6:14 affirms, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Sin overpowers us under the Law. Thankfully (praise God!), we are under Grace. Rather than God demanding we work to gain His blessings (the Law system given to Israel to show her and all nations we cannot perform perfectly!), He put us under a Jesus-based acceptance system in the Dispensation of Grace. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” And, 2 Corinthians 8:9: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Finally, Ephesians 1:6: “He [Father God] hath made us accepted in the beloved [Christ].”

If we have been blessed in Christ with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places,” if we have been made spiritually rich because of Christ’s finished work at Calvary, and if we are accepted in Christ, then why place ourselves under a system of curses (Law)? Christ crucified has already given us all the blessings God offers. Should we now strive in religion to gain those blessings (which is impossible)? See, dear friends, in the Law system, “No good deeds equals no good things.” Nonetheless, because of Christ’s good work (His sinless blood sacrifice at Calvary), we have avoided all curses and partaken of all blessings!!

Now, we summarize and conclude….

ATTENTION: Shorewood Bible Church’s 2018 Summer Family Bible Conference continues today, Thursday, at 9 A.M. Central U.S. Time. The theme is “God’s Prophetic Calendar,” and the conference runs until tonight around 9 P.M. Watch the LIVE video feed streamed here: http://understandgrace.com/watch-live/. Visit http://understandgrace.com/2018-summer-family-bible-conference/ for more information. Come and join us!

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #8

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

Returning to 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” When legalists place us under a performance-based acceptance system, they really have no idea what they are saying or supporting. They make us liable to curses!

“[8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

As a rabbinical scholar, Paul the Apostle knew the purpose of the Mosaic Law. The “lawful” (proper) use of the Law is to point out sin. Having just delineated and reviewed the Law system, we understand that it is not the friend of any (sinful) son of Adam. The Law “is not made for a righteous man;” it is not made for us because we believers are righteous in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). It is senseless to place ourselves under the Law!

Galatians chapter 3: “[22] But the scripture [Law] hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe [not work!!]. [23] But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. [24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith [not works!!].” The Law is a teacher: it points people to Christ as Saviour. It is not meant for us Christians (we have already recognized our sinful status and come to Christ by faith)!

In this the Dispensation of Grace, we are under Grace not Law….

ATTENTION: Shorewood Bible Church’s 2018 Summer Family Bible Conference continues today, Wednesday, at 9 A.M. Central U.S. Time. The theme is “God’s Prophetic Calendar,” and the conference runs until tomorrow. Watch the LIVE video feed streamed here: http://understandgrace.com/watch-live/. Visit http://understandgrace.com/2018-summer-family-bible-conference/ for more information. Come and join us!

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #7

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

Religious tradition promotes the 10 Commandments as God’s method for entering Heaven. “I keep the Law!,” one boasts. “I do the best I can!,” brags another. Long ago, a Christian brother correctly observed: “The widespread delusion that a person can be saved by good works is dangerous, and many are on the road to hell smug in their supposed goodness.”

When God issued the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), it was bad not good! Israel had ignored His free blessings of grace (chapters 13-18), and preferred to work for those gifts (chapter 19)! Rather than “do,” they “did not!” How severely were they judged (today’s Scripture)—and even worse later. Moreover, today (2,600 years after Jeremiah), God has actually not fully punished disobedient Israel!

First John 3:4: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” So Israel could recognize sin, God erected boundaries (Mosaic Law). Romans 3:20 again, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” When Israel sinned, she really “transgressed” (“crossed limits”). First Corinthians 15:56, “the strength of sin is the law.” Sin will reign in our lives—as it did with Israel—when we adopt a performance-based acceptance system (Law).

“But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence [strong desires]. For without the law sin was dead…. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful (Romans 7:8,13). “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all(James 2:10). “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them (Galatians 3:10).

We thus need Grace, not Law….

ATTENTION: Shorewood Bible Church’s 2018 Summer Family Bible Conference continues today, Tuesday, at 9 A.M. Central U.S. Time. The theme is “God’s Prophetic Calendar,” and the conference runs until Thursday. Watch the LIVE video feed streamed here: http://understandgrace.com/watch-live/. Visit http://understandgrace.com/2018-summer-family-bible-conference/ for more information. Come and join us!