Society’s Shift from the Priceless Gift

Saturday, November 26, 2011

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9 KJV).

Black Friday. White snow. Green cash being spent. Bank accounts going into the red. Holiday blues. Ah, the colors of the year-end holiday season hustle and bustle. Discerning shoppers browsing for bargains. Bratty kids whining for every trinket they see. Retailers using “Jesus’ birthday” as the backbone of their advertising campaigns. Ah, the distractions that keep us from focusing on the Priceless Gift—Jesus Christ killed for our sins, buried, and raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25).

Sadly, for the next month, consumers will mostly ignore the gift that Someone already bought them! This priceless gift has a lifetime warranty, lasting as long as God lives… forever. It cannot be found on a retailer’s shelf, for it is too valuable. It cannot be purchased because you are too poor to pay for it! It cannot be lost because once you accept it by faith it is yours forever. Eternal life

This Priceless Gift is described in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “how that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day.” Beloved, here, in the Gospel of the Grace of God, we see the wrath and righteousness of God clearly manifested in that Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood for our unrighteousness (sins). But, as today’s Scripture teaches, we also see the grace of God clearly manifested: Jesus Christ tasted death for us, though we did not deserve it (and still do not deserve it).

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Every day since you have been alive, God has been offering you the Priceless Gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Why not accept it by faith? Trust in the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ alone, and God will save you FOREVER.

The Vacuum

Saturday, November 19, 2011

“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26 KJV).

During the past few days, a tragic situation has unfolded. An internet acquaintance of mine and dear saint, just 31 years old, shortly after communicating with me electronically, passed away in a tragic house fire. Instantly, his wife and children lost both their home and their husband-father. Now, saints are donating money and supplies. Why are they doing this?

In today’s Scripture (and its context of verses 12-27), God the Holy Spirit gives an analogy. Just as our physical bodies and its members (organs, limbs, et cetera) are interconnected, the Church the Body of Christ (all present-day Christians) and its members (individual Christians) are linked.

The indwelling Holy Spirit unites us as members of the Body of Christ. When one Christian suffers, the Holy Spirit inside of each of us grieves. He causes us to have sympathy for that Christian. The love of Christ that drove Him to Calvary’s cross operates within us, the believers. It is a selfless, unconditional love, that seeks another person’s highest good. In Philippians 2:1-11, Paul urges us believers to have the same (self-sacrificing) mind that Jesus Christ had.

The verse preceding today’s Scripture is: “…but that the members should have the same care one for another” (verse 25b). God’s grace teaches us to “seek another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24). Human nature is selfish, but as Christians, when we let Christ live His life in us, He will seek the highest good of all with whom we interact. God’s grace teaches us to seek another person’s benefit, not ours.

Just as this unnamed family has a vacuum in its heart, we too have a vacuum. We mourn as they mourn and pray for them in this time of suffering. When these tragedies happen, God’s Word works within saints so they help with prayer and donations.

But, just as we mourn the lost of that saint, we rejoice with his family as he is now dwelling in the presence of the Lord, to be seen again!

Kosher Food Laws

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” (Colossians 2:16 KJV).

Some professing “Christian” groups prohibit their members from consuming pork products. Is this necessary? While God clearly forbade the nation Israel from eating pork in time past (Leviticus 11:7,8; Deuteronomy 14:8), we are not under legalistic demands (the Mosaic Law) in this the Dispensation of Grace. “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14b). God does not want us to be in the bondage of Mosaic Law-keeping (Galatians 4:9-11; Galatians 5:1).

Today, God uses His grace, not the Mosaic Law, to educate us and guide our lifestyles and behavior: “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;” (Titus 2:11,12).

The Apostle Peter, according to Acts 10:9-16, was a kosher-food Jew. When he finally ate non-kosher foods with the Apostle Paul’s Gentile believers, the Jews were upset with Peter (Galatians 2:11,12). These Jews had no idea that God had opened a new dispensation, our dispensation, and the laws that God gave Israel in the Dispensation of Law did not apply to anyone in our Dispensation of Grace. Hence, today’s Scripture declares that we are not bound to observe Israel’s kosher food laws and religious days (including the Sabbath day!).

In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, we read God’s further instructions to us regarding kosher food laws: “…some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrine of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy… and commanding to abstain from meats [foods], which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

Provided that you give thanks to God for the bacon, catfish, and shrimp, God says you can eat them! 🙂

The Worthless Résumé #2

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8,9 KJV).

Saul of Tarsus, the most religious man of his day, had persecuted Jerusalem’s Jewish believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 8:1). Now, anger propelled him to pursue believing Jews in Damascus (northeast of Jerusalem).

En route, Saul realized that Damascus was not his only destination—he was headed to hell too! Despite his religious performance (described in Philippians 3:4-6), he did not have God’s righteousness. His religious works could not erase the fact that he was still a sinful son of Adam, a persecutor, and a blasphemer (1 Timothy 1:13,14).

In Acts chapter 9, the Lord Jesus Christ graciously discarded Saul’s worthless résumé and replaced it with something far superior: His (Christ’s) accomplishments on Calvary’s cross. Thus, Saul “suffered the loss of all things [his religious accomplishments]”—his religious activities “but dung” (today’s Scripture). Saul was now “in Christ”: He had been placed into Jesus Christ, and had God’s righteousness.

We who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be ever grateful to our Saviour that our worthless résumés have been replaced with His well-pleasing résumé. We are saved by “the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ(today’s Scripture). Christ’s faith never wavered. Unlike us, He always pleased His Father. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17; cf. Mark 1:11).

As Christians, we are “the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). To wit, in Christ, we are just as pleasing to God the Father as Jesus Christ is! Wow! Like Saul, we realize that our religious activities will never give us this righteous position. It only takes the accomplishments of Christ to get us to heaven—anything less is “but dung.”

*Adapted from the poem “The Worthless Résumé.”

The Great Love Wherewith God Loved Us

Friday, November 4, 2011

“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;)” (Ephesians 2:4,5 KJV).

Ephesians chapter 2 opens by describing Christians prior to salvation:

  • “dead in trespasses and sins” (verse 1)
  • “[they] walked according to course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (verse 2)
  • “[they were] fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath” (verse 3).

Before we trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we “were dead in [our] trespasses and sins” and leading autonomous, godless lives. We were headed for spiritual destruction (the everlasting lake of fire).

“But,” today’s Scripture declares, God “was rich in mercy.” We did not (and still do not) deserve anything from God. It was only by God’s grace that He saw fit to save us. Now, in Christ Jesus, we have been “quickened” (“made alive”). We are no longer participants in Satan’s policy of evil against God’s purpose and plan.

So, why did God save us? He has elected us to one day fill governmental positions in the heavens! “And [God the Father] 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” (verses 6,7).

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). When God died for us, He did not die for His friends—He died for His enemies! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Imagine that. The great love wherewith God loved us enabled Him to save us, His former enemies, so He can ultimately use us to rule in the heavens for His glory for all eternity!

Is Everyone God’s Child?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19 KJV).

We often hear the expressions, “Everyone is God’s child” and “the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.” (HA!) Is everyone eventually bound to go to heaven? (This heresy is called universalism, by the way.) Today’s Scripture is one of many verses that explain everyone is NOT God’s child. “The Lord knoweth them that are his is a restrictive clause: it indicates that some people do not belong to the Lord.

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26). We are God’s children only if the Holy Spirit has placed us into Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-6; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13). Yes, mankind has a common Creator, but most people are bound for hell (Matthew 7:13,14). If everyone is “God’s child,” then why does God cast some people into hellfire in Matthew 25:41-46, Mark 9:41-50, and Revelation 20:14,15? Jesus told Israel’s religious leaders “ye are of your father, the devil(John 8:44). God was certainly not their Father!

“…The living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe (1 Timothy 4:10). Potentially, everyone can receive salvation through Christ Jesus. The salvation found in Christ Jesus is available to everyone, extended freely through God’s grace. However, the salvation in Christ Jesus must be imputed to each individual by faith. When that person trusts in Christ Jesus as his or her personal Saviour, then and only then does God the Father apply (impute) salvation to his or her account and make the person His child. A person only becomes a child of God when he or she is reconciled with God through Jesus Christ via imputation (salvation).

Are you a child of God? Have been saved by trusting in the finished crosswork of Christ on Calvary? Jesus Christ “tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9), so He died to save even you! Will you trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour?

Seeing the World With a New Perspective

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

Yesterday, after 10 days of being unable to use one of my eyes, I was exuberant to hear and “see” the world from a new perspective. As it is in the physical world, so it is in the spiritual world. Just as infection rendered one my physical eyes useless, and thus my being unable to see with it, so sin renders man’s spiritual eyes useless.

Several passages in the Bible use the word “darkness” to describe lost mankind in his natural spiritual blindness (for instance, Psalm 69:23; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 60:2; Matthew 4:16; Acts 26:18; Romans 1:21; Romans 2:19; Romans 11:10; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Ephesians 4:17-19; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Peter 2:9-10). In this the Dispensation of Grace, Israel’s spiritual eyes are temporarily blinded (Acts 13:6-11; Romans 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

The heart of a lost (unsaved) person is totally dark, spiritually blinded. A lost man’s spirit is dead, unable to function and commune with God (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). He knows nothing about God and avoids God.

Suddenly, the glorious light of God’s Word shines brightly, penetrating that callous, dim soul. As that lost soul hears and believes the Gospel of Grace—how that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—it is regenerated and “quickened” (made alive; Ephesians 2:1,5). God’s Holy Spirit illuminates that soul so that it realizes what it never knew before: it was destined for hell, but by God’s grace, it is now “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

Before we trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, our souls (minds) were dark. Now that we are in Christ, the indwelling Holy Ghost teaches us through His written Word that which we knew not in our natural (lost) state (1 Corinthians 2:9-13; Ephesians 1:17,18). We “see” the world from a new perspective—God’s perspective.