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?

Filthiness and Foolishness!

Friday, October 19, 2018

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6 KJV).

Human nature, often assumed to generate only “worldly sins,” is actually composed of two extremes. Yes, we are naturally inclined to lasciviousness, dirty sins, wild living (what the religious crowd “shuns” and “condemns”). However, a more serious (but seemingly innocuous) vulnerability exists within us.

We are also inherently ascetic, self-disciplined, strict. Religion—offering our works to please God—actually leads to greater evil. Self-righteousness attempts to replace God’s righteousness (cf. Romans 10:1-3). Mankind believes he can substitute his “goodness” for God’s and God will supposedly be none the wiser. We can indeed fool other people but God looks beyond outward appearances. He sees our intentions, heart attitude (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:9,10). We really want Him to let us into Heaven, not solely because of Jesus Christ’s work, but rather because of our work. God sees it as foolishness!

God considers all human nature wicked. Thus, He deems all (not some) of its works unacceptable. Whether in religion or non-religion, man is constantly striving to replace God’s efforts with his, God’s ideas with his, God’s objectives with his. Almighty God will not overlook it: He will not alter His plan of salvation simply because we want Him. He will forgive us all our sins and save us unto eternal life, and then He will do good works in and through us. It is not to be confused with religion—us doing good works to gain forgiveness and eternal life. From all outward appearance, what God produces in and through people is identical to what religion produces in and through people. Nevertheless, God sees the difference inside.

When God the Holy Spirit comments on human “goodness,” His inspired Word calls it “but dung” (Philippians 3:8). How flattering! Notice today’s Scripture—“all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” The Hebrew root employed implies the monthly courses of a woman’s menstrual flux. “Filthy rags” is literally “menstruous cloths” (“sanitary pads” in modern English). Dirty, soiled! (Consult Leviticus 15:33, Leviticus 20:18, and Isaiah 30:22.) Again, from God’s vantage point, human “goodness” is filthiness!

Beat Up With Corinthians!

Friday, August 31, 2018

“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).

A dear Christian brother still struggled with the extensive denominational brainwashing he had endured decades prior. The priest read the Bible at Mass, but it was never edifying. Scripture about sin was recited to “beat up” the congregation. First and Second Corinthians were used to make them feel guilty (“prepared” for their next confession).

He was never told, and neither were the rest of the poor church members, how to have victory over sin. They were simply condemned as wretched sinners, which caused him (and likewise them) to fear the Bible. What a terrible way to use the Holy Scriptures. Just because a minister reads the Bible, that does not mean that he is serving the God of the Bible, using the Bible properly, or speaking on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ. Beware!!

Today’s Scripture, written 20 centuries ago, says there were way back then (!) “false apostles, deceitful workers.” People who claimed to be “ministers of righteousness” and really “ministers of Satan!” This is strong language, friends. The Holy Spirit did not hesitate to say exactly what they were. Our churches are filled with them—self-righteous leaders who have no goal in life other than to support and defend their denominational system. So long as their church tradition is upheld, they do not care how much damage they inflict upon others, or how greatly they distort God’s words.

God did not simply give His Word to point out our sin; He supplied it so we could see how to be delivered from sin! “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).

See the King in His Beauty

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off (Isaiah 33:17 KJV).

Jesus Christ quoted today’s Scripture in Matthew 5:8 when He said “the pure in heart… shall see God.” In the Millennium, they will come to see Him, the King of Israel—Immanuel, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; cf. Zechariah 8:23).

The public goes to great lengths to meet a celebrity (actor, politician, writer, filmmaker, musician, religious leader, et cetera)—expensive trips and long wait times mean nothing. They want to snap “selfies” with that person, get his or her autograph, and/or shake hands. Screaming with delight, they blow kisses, joyfully leap, sometimes falling to the ground. Acts 10:26 paraphrased: “Stand up! They are just people!”

However, when Israel’s Messiah-King was born in little Bethlehem of Judah, no massive crowds came. The masses were “too busy” with their lives to “bother” seeing God in the flesh. Visitors were lowly shepherds whom angels had notified out in the countryside (Luke 2:7-20). Israel had “no room” for Baby Jesus in the inn, so they offered Him a stable. He was an outcast even in the virgin Mary’s womb! His own people (Israel) wanted nothing to do with Him. Nonetheless, within two years of His birth, Gentiles from the east (wise men) came to see and worship Him (Matthew 2:1,2). Verse 3: “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” The nations want God’s fellowship but Israel is not willing to be the channel of blessing. Horrible!!

Today is no different. Rather than the masses flocking to grace churches to commune with God’s people and learn the truths of His Word rightly divided, they gravitate to “places of worship” where they hear feel-good catchphrases, motivational speeches, and entertaining music concerts. Whether they know it or not, they have no time for the one true God. Satan, the god of this world, has distracted them. God is not mocked. Their spurning of Him is not going unnoticed! How urgent it is that they come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ alone, and embrace His pure Word to them, lest they see the King in His wrath!

Paul and Dispensationalism #10

Monday, August 17, 2015

“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. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Just what is the test for true spirituality? How many hymns we sang? How many large tithes we gave? How many “unknown tongues” we uttered? How many long prayers we recited? How many theology books we read? How many miracles we performed? How well we know Hebrew, Greek, and Latin? How many confessions we made? How many times we attended church? How high we jumped and how well we danced during “worship?” While in religion these are seen as “marks” of true Holy-Spirit-led Christian service, the Holy Spirit Himself has quite a different opinion (today’s Scripture).

In Corinth, carnality and Biblical ignorance abounded among Christians. It broke Paul’s heart to see that assembly in spiritual shambles… the very same saints he had taught personally for 18 months (Acts 18:11)! Pagan philosophy had enticed and deceived them, they were suing each other, they behaved as drunken gluttons at the Lord’s Supper, they abused spiritual gifts for personal gratification, et cetera. The Corinthians thought they were so spiritual and so wise, while in reality they were so fleshly and so silly! (Like today’s professing “church!”)

Today’s Scripture declares that a Spirit-led Christian, one speaking on behalf of God, acknowledged Paul’s apostolic authority over us Gentiles. The Corinthians were not spiritual—they rejected Paul’s apostleship in chapters 10 through 13 of 2 Corinthians. Paul knew, however, some Christians would continue deliberately ignoring his apostleship. His advice? Let them stay “ignorant!”

First Corinthians 2:6-8 says God’s “hidden wisdom” is manifested for all to see in the writings of Paul the Apostle, Romans through Philemon. Sadly, like the Corinthians, most true Christians today are too deceived, too weak, and too immature to appreciate “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.” They cannot handle the deeper things of God. May we be as patient with them as possible, but when they persistently resist God’s truth, do not waste time. Friend, move on to others!

Paul and Dispensationalism #8

Saturday, August 15, 2015

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Romans 16:25,26 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Indeed, 95 to 99 percent of professing “Christianity” is doctrinally weak. Most alleged “Christians” and most true Christians have an extremely feeble grasp of Scripture. This ignorance applies not only to church members but also to preachers and priests and theologians… the “blind” leading the “blind” (Matthew 15:14)! How did such a spiritual mess arise? Honestly, the “church” has focused on founding religious organizations and defending denominational tenets. There was no sound and proper Bible study. The Bible was merely scanned and appealing verses were chosen—that weak foundation produced the current frail, teetering structure.

More commentaries (further confusing them) have been read than verses in the Holy Bible! More time has been spent recounting worthless stories, telling jokes, singing and jumping, and re-teaching and re-teaching basic verses, than time spent preaching a clear Gospel message and teaching a profitable Bible lesson! More energy has been spent organizing weddings, baby showers, dances, food and clothing drives, and bingo nights than energy expended in planning Bible conferences and Bible camps! The average church almost entirely neglects the Bible, especially Paul’s epistles. No wonder the average local church is not “dying” but dead!

The professing “church” has utterly failed to grasp today’s Scripture. They usually cannot adequately delineate Paul’s Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day). They do not understand Paul’s special ministry, “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.” They do not know how those Pauline books fit with the overall Bible scheme. Basically, they have not been “stablished” (stabilized) and spiritually matured. Therefore, they are “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). Such ignorance is the result of ignoring Pauline dispensationalism!

Praying Like Elijah #11

Saturday, February 28, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

All too often today prayer is reduced to mere posture and procedure—kneel at the railing, or enter your prayer closet, cross your heart, close your eyes, bow your head, use prayer beads or prayer wheels, and recite what you have read in a prayer book. Dear friends, prayer at its fundamental level is none of those things. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Are you going to stay kneeling literally every moment? Should your eyes be closed every second? Is your head to be bowed 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If prayer is kneeling, closing eyes, and bowing heads, then yes, yes, and yes. The truth is, prayer in the Bible is not some formalistic practice, so no, no, and no!

When barren Hannah prayed to the LORD, she told the priest Eli, “I have poured out my soul before the LORD(1 Samuel 1:15). David wrote to Israel, “Ye people, pour out your heart before him (Psalm 62:8). Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” The “heart,” our soul, our innermost being, is that which we use to believe God’s Word. Prayer is speaking to God what is in our hearts, and if we have studied and believed our Bible, then we will be speaking to God what He told us. Again, this is consistent view of prayer, regardless of dispensation.

Brethren, we are to be constantly reminding ourselves of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Meditate on these things” (1 Timothy 4:15). Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7). Day in and day out, we should be thinking about God’s Word to us, reminding ourselves of what He said to us. This is Pauline prayer. This is answered prayer….

Our special edition 125th Bible Q&A: “Should we observe the Lord’s Supper?