Filled with the Fruits of Righteousness

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11 KJV).

“Fruits” are “the results of work or activity.” Who exactly is working?

Works-religion parading as “Christianity” has led us to believe that Christian living involves us making ourselves holy by working to keep rules and regulations. However, the Bible says Christian living is “being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.” This is not self-righteousness, what religion produces. It is not artificial or superficial righteousness, what religion generates.

Nay, it is true righteousness, a new (righteous) nature in Christ and its resultant actions. First Corinthians chapter 1, verse 30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:….” If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we share His identity—He is our wisdom, He is our righteousness, He is our sanctification (holiness), and He is our redemption (freedom from sin). From Him springs forth our righteousness. From Him working in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, righteousness abounds in our hearts and lives.

First Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” Ephesians 3:16 says: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;….” Finally, Galatians chapter 5: “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” There is the life of Christ, friend, in its fullness, available by daily faith in Him… something religion can never produce!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘excellent’ a ‘mistranslation’ in Philippians 1:10 in the King James Bible?

His Son #9

Thursday, October 27, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Scripture says of God’s Son, Who being the brightness of his [Father’s] glory….” This “brightness” is radiance, a brilliant light shining forth. Psalm 104:1-2 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain….” This light—which actually is a rainbow (Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:3)—is God’s righteousness on display. First Timothy 6:16 describes Jesus Christ (verse 15) as: “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto….” The Lord Jesus is literally the perfect reflection of Father God concerning His radiant righteousness and glory.

In today’s Scripture, we also read of God’s Son as being, “…the express image of his [Father’s] person….” The Greek term rendered “express image” is actually “charakter” (from which we get our English word “character”). Jesus Christ resembles God the Father in every way—His faithfulness, truth, wisdom, love, mercy, grace, peace, power, kindness, and so on. There is nothing dark or mysterious about Father God if we look at His Son, for His son is a clear representation, or explicit portrait, of His Father.

Jesus Christ, “the only begotten Son,” declares the invisible Father unto the nation Israel (John 1:18). Our Lord Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). If Israel knows Jesus Christ, they know the Father, and have fellowship with both (1 John 2:22,23). Any Jew who rejects Jesus will never know anything about the Father God whom He epitomizes. He will remain in the spiritual darkness he prefers (John 3:18-20).

Now we conclude this devotionals arc….

The King of Glory

Monday, September 12, 2016

Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah (Psalm 24:10 KJV).

Just who is “this King of Glory,” “the LORD of hosts?”

While the Psalms are often “devotionalized”—used for “everyday inspiration”—they are actually a series of songs God has used (and will use) to teach the nation Israel doctrine (especially prophecy). For example, in Psalm 22, we see Israel’s Messiah suffering on Calvary’s cross (verses 1-21) and then reigning in His glorious earthly kingdom (verses 22-31). Psalm 23 illustrates Israel’s believing remnant, suffering persecution during the seven-year Tribulation, anticipating that coming kingdom that will eclipse their distress. Today’s Scripture is the last verse of Psalm 24, the closure of the triplet (Psalms 22-24). Psalm 24 is the arrival of Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus, JEHOVAH God, as He returns to Earth to destroy Israel’s enemies. He enters the city of Jerusalem for Father God to crown Him as King of Earth’s governments. This is His REAL triumphal entry!

Psalm 24 in its entirety: “[1] The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. [2] For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. [3] Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? [4] He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. [5] He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. [6] This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. [7] Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. [8] Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. [9] Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. [10] Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.”

What a day it will be when Jesus Christ is crowned as Earth’s King for all to see! 🙂

Faith During Life’s Storms #8

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:25,26 KJV).

Like Israel learned in today’s Scripture, we too must realize to trust the Lord Jesus Christ when “the storms of life” batter us.

We re-read Romans 5:1,2: “[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.” What is that “hope of the glory of God?”

Blackness abounds in our universe—astronomical dark voids between celestial bodies. One day, God Himself will illuminate them with His glory… with us! Romans 8:18,19 explain: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

While we Christians are God’s children today, we do not look it. These sinful bodies cannot reflect Jesus Christ’s radiant glory (manifested in Matthew chapter 17). Our inward bodies (soul and spirit) are redeemed; our outward bodies are not (Romans 8:18-25). They are “earthy” (bearing Adam’s marred image), but one day—the Rapture—we will have “heavenly” outward bodies (1 Corinthians 15:40-58). Those bodies will shine very brightly, manifesting outside the glory we have inside now, lighting up the heavens for Jesus Christ’s glory (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:14)! “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 2:6,7).

Saints, always thank Father God in prayer, rejoicing that He will one day physically remove us from this fallen world forever. Until then, life’s troubles that Satan uses to distract us, are to be considered not worthy of our consideration, and not worthy to be compared with our glorification! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should the King James’ term ‘Christ’ actually be ‘Lord’ in 2 Thessalonians 2:2?

 

Roll Call in the Heavens

Monday, June 2, 2014

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth” (Isaiah 40:26 KJV).

Today’s Scripture explains how the Almighty Creator calls His universe to order!

As NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe was exiting our solar system in 1990, technicians turned its camera around to take a most stunning snapshot, “Pale Blue Dot” (search the internet for the image). From a distance of 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers)—roughly 40 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun—Voyager 1 captured a photograph of a literal blue speck suspended in a vast field of blackness. It was truly “Earth viewed against the grand scheme of things!”

As Earth rotates on its axis, sunlight disappears, night falls, and God “bringeth out their host by number” (today’s Scripture). We “lift up [our] eyes on high,” and see a few thousand dots of light—stars, spheres of bright gas—but we are viewing the heavens through a ridiculously-small window. One estimate of the number of stars in our universe is a number that exceeds the sum of the sand grains on all of Earth’s beaches!

Today’s Scripture provides a most striking illustration. JEHOVAH, the Lord Jesus Christ, “calls roll” regarding the quadrillions upon quadrillions of stars appearing in the celestial sphere at night; as less sunlight is seen, more stars shine. They appear as He calls them individually. “He telleth [or, counts] the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4). Yes, the God of the Bible has a name for every single star!

The context of today’s Scripture is the Prophet Isaiah’s discourse about JEHOVAH, Israel’s God, versus pagan idols that Israel foolishly worships (chapters 40-48). JEHOVAH asks in the verse prior to today’s Scripture, “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (verse 25). It is a rhetorical question in light of today’s Scripture. The answer is, “Only JEHOVAH can call roll in the heavens!” 🙂

Who Is a Saint? #5

Friday, August 30, 2013

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30 KJV).

Behold, the identity that we Christians have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

In religion, “saints” are nothing more than intercessors who influence God to grant us favors. In Scripture, they are something else entirely. God—yea, God alone—creates saints through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork (today’s Scripture). Saints are not for our selfish desires: they are for God to use to glorify His Son Jesus Christ forever and ever and ever.

Among other things, Jesus Christ is our “sanctification” (today’s Scripture). The writer of the book of Hebrews, when describing Israel’s salvation, used the same terminology the Apostle Paul utilized to refer to us, the Church the Body of Christ. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:10,14; cf. Hebrews 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 1).

Just as God will separate (sanctify) these believing Jews from the unsaved descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (like He separated Aaron and his sons from the common Israeli bloodline for service in the Levitical priesthood), so He has separated us from the ordinary human race. Just as He will redeem Israel from her sins and Satanic bondage using Jesus Christ’s shed blood (via the New Covenant; Hebrews 8:8-13), so He has bought us out of that slave market of sin and death (redemption; today’s Scripture).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In Christ, we have a new nature: we are a new type of mankind, the Church the Body of Christ, the “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). All saints are equal in Jesus Christ—all Christians are in one body.

When God saved us, He not only delivered us from His wrath in everlasting hellfire, but He made us “saints” in Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture) to use us for His glory forever….

The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #6

Monday, July 29, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

Peter, writing to Israel’s believing remnant enduring the (future) seven-year Tribulation, consoles them during that time of great trouble and testing. He reminds them of the “appearing of Jesus Christ” (verse 7)—Christ’s Second Coming to conclude that Tribulation.

The Apostle Peter continues (today’s Scripture with its context): “[Jesus Christ] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow(1 Peter 1:8-11).

Isaiah the prophet wrote 700 B.C.: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 59:20–60:3).

Believing Israel is to be patient during that awful Tribulation! Her Messiah is coming and they are to be mindful of that glorious coming kingdom He is bringing. They will be saved, to also participate in His glory….