Complete in Thee! #4

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the chorus of Aaron Robarts Wolfe’s 1858 hymn, “Complete in Thee!”

“Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified, I too, shall be!”

Doubtless, being “justified”—or declared righteous before God—is an exciting thought! Our “negative righteousness” has been forgiven because of the shed blood of Christ, so that we are brought up to “0.” Then, we have been granted “positive righteousness.” That has enabled God to “sanctify” us—set us apart for His purposes. Positionally, we are “in Christ” and no longer “in Adam” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Practically, on a daily basis, we live by faith in that identity, that we may overcome sin every day. This too is thrilling! Yet, it is but a small portion of what our Heavenly Father has done on our behalf.

Why did Almighty God save us from Hell? Why deliver us from our sins? He certainly did not have to do it. Under no obligation, He simply did it because of His goodness. We did not deserve it. That is why it is GRACE! As today’s Scripture shows us, it was God in His plenteous mercy, for His “great love wherewith he loved us,” when we were dead in our sins, He gave us life with Jesus Christ.

Not only that, but (and God speaks as though it already happened—yet, it is still future) He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.We are now qualified to share Christ’s authority to reign in the heavenly places. One day, we will be glorified therein… that He might thereby be glorified in us! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘Huzzab’ in Nahum 2:7?

Complete in Thee! #3

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the third verse of Aaron Robarts Wolfe’s 1858 hymn, “Complete in Thee!” (We disregard the fourth verse because it is not dispensationally correct.)

“Complete in Thee! my need supplied
And all Thy grace to me applied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee.”

Christian friend, we lack nothing in Jesus Christ: we are indeed “complete in him” (Colossians 2:10). We are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Romans 8:32 says to this point: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

Most of our brethren in Christ, however, simply have no idea of their spiritual wealth. In rank Bible ignorance, they go around begging Almighty God for wisdom, forgiveness, cleansing, righteousness, fellowship, power, and so on. He has already given them everything in Christ! There is nothing left for Him to give that He has not already given them! Yet, religious tradition hides this truth from us, that we may keep relying on “Mother Church,” priest, preacher, philosopher, theologian, et cetera.

First Corinthians chapter 1, verses 30 and 31: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” We need wisdom; we have it in Christ. We need righteousness; we have it in Christ. We need sanctification; we have it in Christ. We need redemption; we have it in Christ. Where is the boasting? None of this is because of what we did, so there is no bragging on our part. The value is to be recognized and found in the Lord Jesus Christ—what He did at Calvary! Yes, as it has been aptly stated, “Grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”

The Lord is our portion—our inheritance—and we thus inherit all that is found in Him. It is therefore utterly pointless to continue asking for what we do not lack!

Complete in Thee! #1

Sunday, May 5, 2019

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9,10 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the first verse of Aaron Robarts Wolfe’s 1858 hymn, “Complete in Thee!”

“Complete in Thee! no work of mine
May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And I am now complete in Thee.”

If you asked the average professing believer in Christ, “Are you complete in Him?,” he or she would likely be clueless. Religious tradition has muddled and distracted them from such simple Scriptural truths. They are busy with ceremonies, rites, and rituals—water baptism, profession of faith, walking an aisle, shaking a preacher’s hand, elaborate prayer recitation, confession of sins, burning of incense and candles, tossing “generous donations” into the collection plate, et cetera.

Sadly, they are likely attempting to get something from God. If they “rub Him just the right way”—as we would summon a genie from a lamp—He may grant their wishes (larger bank accounts, bigger houses, newer vehicles, better health, job promotions, improved romantic relationships, answered prayers, and so on). They have failed to realize that it is Jesus Christ’s shed blood—not our work—that gives us blessings from and favor with God!

Romans chapter 3: “[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.”

If we believed exclusively, entirely, on Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, God the Holy Spirit placed us forever into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Our efforts were and are not the issue. We are “complete in Christ” (today’s Scripture)—lacking nothing—and “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

When Sin Creeps In #1

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

“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:….” (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Behold, how sin creeps in!

Recently, a Christian brother expressed to me how he had been in a long-term online conversation with a female stranger. He eventually realized that he was spending more time with this lady than he was with his own wife! Once this problem came to his attention, he broke off contact with the online friend. It was quite a smart move on his part—lest he wind up in an affair and divorce court!

Dear friends, do we see how something innocent gradually becomes sin? It is so subtle that we are transgressing and not even notice it until long after we started that conduct (if ever we do notice it). Well-meaning people in religion constantly emphasize confession of sins as being necessary to be saved unto eternal life or to stay saved unto eternal life. Wrong! We are saved (and stay saved) by grace through faith in Christ, not works! Furthermore, they say our prayers will not be answered if we have “unconfessed” sin. If that were the case, no one would be saved or get prayers answered. Wrong! There are things in all our lives we do not yet realize are sin because we have not matured enough in sound Bible doctrine to discern our actions.

Without daily exposure to the Bible rightly divided, we will be vulnerable to all sorts of sins creeping into our lives without our knowledge. Thus, Ephesians 5:15-17 exhorts: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” In today’s Scripture, had Adam applied sound Bible doctrine by faith, he would not have let sin “creep in.”

Study Genesis chapter 3. Notice how Satan was pretty skillful in deceiving Eve. Adam could have stopped it, but he remained quiet. What started as nothing more than eating forbidden fruit… is now our world of endless wars, rampant starvation, unspeakable crime, heartbreaking poverty, great suffering, horrific sickness, and eventual death. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, will correct our thinking (and change our behavior)….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was the father of the Prophet Zechariah?

An Unlikely Convert #4

Saturday, April 13, 2019

“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20 KJV).

Who is this preacher?

Thus far, we have been reading the testimony of the Apostle Paul. Listen to him in his own words as he stands before Gentile King Agrippa, nearly 30 years after his conversion: “[9] I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. [10] Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. [11] And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities” (Acts 26:9-11).

Saul was bloodthirsty religious fanatic! He did not think twice about arresting and putting to death any Jew who followed Jesus of Nazareth. Yea, he was God’s leading enemy in the earth at the time. Saul was heading the world’s rebellion against the God of creation. In Acts chapter 9, Saul (the chief of sinners) met Jesus Christ (the Saviour of sinners)!

First Timothy chapter 1: “[12] And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; [13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

So, Paul’s salvation is a “pattern.” No matter how hopelessly lost someone appears, just remember they can come to Christ by faith as well. The mercy and longsuffering God extended toward Paul is still being offered to any and all today 2,000 years later. If only they would believe on Jesus Christ as Paul did!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘Give strength to the LORD?’

An Unlikely Convert #3

Friday, April 12, 2019

“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20 KJV).

Who is this preacher?

Some people will never trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour: they will indeed go to Hell forever, fully content with their “good works.” We meet them daily. Others are lost now, but they will trust Him before physical death comes. These latter people are the few and far between. We encounter them as well. Seeing as to both classes, how do we differentiate them? How do we know who to witness to and who not to waste our time? Some argue that we need not witness at all, for if God has chosen to save them He will save them and if He has not chosen to save them then preaching to them is useless anyway. What malarkey! We should “preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2) to one and all—and then let God take care of the rest!!

Ananias probably considered Saul of Tarsus the least likely person to believe Jesus is the Son of God. Saul was just too bitter of an enemy. However, via a heavenly vision—where the ascended Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to Saul—Saul realized his lost estate (see Acts 9:1-9). Not only did Saul pass from death to life, Ananias actually saw and heard him preach about that very Jesus Christ in synagogues throughout Damascus (today’s Scripture)!

Notice the shock of Saul’s audience: “[19] And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. [20] And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. [21] But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? [22] But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”

Simply put, no matter how “hopelessly lost” someone appears, he or she can be delivered from the worst cult, the most extreme brainwashing. After all, look at Saul (!)….

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!”