Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #4

Thursday, October 17, 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….

Romans chapter 4 continues chapter 3 with these opening words: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [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.”

By faith in Jesus Christ, we have imputed (applied) righteousness. Our works are meaningless before God because we cannot do enough good works to become good by nature. Almighty God must give us a new nature, and that new nature/identity will produce good works (see chapters 6-8). Since we have imputed righteousness, God is free to give us eternal life (see the remainder of chapter 4, Abraham and the LORD God’s promise to him concerning resurrection life or eternal life).

Chapter 4 concludes: “[22] And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him [Abraham] for righteousness. [23] Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; [24] But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; [25] Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”

With those wonderful declarations laid down, chapter 5 begins: “[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.” God has declared us righteous (we are justified by faith), that He then give us eternal life, that we then “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” What we once could not exhibit as sinners, we are qualified and ordained to display now and forever as saints….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Isaiah 5:8, ‘Woe unto them that join house to house…?’

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 #14

Tuesday, October 1, 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!

Many denominationally-minded souls will now surely raise some “what about” objections. What about Matthew 28:19? What about Paul’s own water baptism (Acts 9:18; Acts 22:16)? What about him water baptizing his converts (Acts 16:15,33; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:5; 1 Corinthians 1:13-17)?

“The Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). To signify to Israel that pagan Gentiles have converted to Christ, those Gentiles were to be water baptized for Israel’s benefit (Matthew 28:19). As water baptism indicates Israel’s cleansing from heathen idolatry, it also evidently serves a likewise purpose for the believing (formerly pagan) Gentiles in Israel’s program (nothing to do with us!). God is not showing anything to Israel today, for national Israel is temporarily fallen (Romans chapter 11). This will change once our dispensation closes.

Indeed, Paul water baptized—but only during Acts. Water baptism existed before him, and during the transitional phase of Acts 9–28, he was water baptized and he water baptized others. However, Jesus Christ did not send him to water baptize. Read 1 Corinthians 1:17: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”

After the Book of Acts closed, the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul in Ephesians 4:5 that only one baptism is necessary in this the Dispensation of Grace—and it certainly is not water baptism. Paul wrote of water baptism only once; here, he says Christ did not commission him to do it. It was not part of the special revelation Christ gave to him to give to us. Paul water baptized only during his “Acts” provoking ministry to Israel (see Romans 11:11-14).

That transitional period has passed, and so have all the temporary, bizarre situations people stumble over when they read and teach the Book of Acts. Paul being water baptized showed Ananias and other believing Jews that Paul had now come to faith in Christ. Water baptism showed (past tense!) how idolatrous Gentiles in Paul’s ministry had trusted Christ as well….

Bible Q&A #655: “Are the ‘angels’ of the Revelation really ‘pastors?’

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….”