Rejecting God’s Grace Thrice

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed (Acts 13:46-48 KJV).

After refusing Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, now unbelieving Israel snubs the Apostle Paul!

Saul of Tarsus, leading Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, encouraged the stoning of God’s Spirit-filled prophet Stephen (chapter 7). In chapter 9, rather than pouring out His wrath, the Lord Jesus returns in mercy and grace to save wretched Saul. Formerly on his way to kill more Messianic Jews, Saul is now commissioned by the Lord Jesus to go to all the world with a new message—the Gospel of the Grace of God. As Saul (Paul) travels, he is to inform Israel of her fall and temporary setting aside. The God of Israel is now working amongst the Gentiles through him and without her (see Romans 11:11-14).

Today’s Scripture is from Paul and Barnabas’ first apostolic journey. In Asia Minor (Turkey), God reminds unbelieving Jews they are still rejecting His Word. Years later, on the second apostolic journey, the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul at Corinth (Greece) were: “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).

More years pass. With Paul’s fourth apostolic journey ended, God declares to unbelieving Israel one final time (Rome): “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28:28). The Book of Acts is not a doctrinal book for us, but rather an unmistakable record of God being just in temporarily leaving Israel and going to us Gentiles.

God Spared Not

Monday, August 27, 2018

He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence (Psalm 78:50 KJV).

On five occasions in the Bible, “God spared not.” What can they tell us about Him?

Today’s Scripture is part of a colossal song that spans Israel’s history from the early patriarchs (especially Moses) up to King David’s reign. The verse sits among those that describe the 10 plagues or judgments God poured out on evil Egypt before the Red Sea experience (see verses 43-51). “They” of today’s Scripture are the heathen Egyptians: Israel’s God was not reluctant to use death to prove to them that He alone, not their lifeless idols, was Almighty God.

“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Romans 11:21). This chapter closes Romans’ three-chapter dispensational section. As God was not lenient in setting aside unbelieving national Israel for a time, the Gentile nations (unbelieving) had better not boast as if He will not remove them from access to Him and return Israel to her esteemed position.

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). God was not at all shy in punishing the angels that followed Satan in his rebellion against the Creator. The worst of these spiritual beings are imprisoned in Hell awaiting final judgment (1 Peter 3:19,20; Jude 6).

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5). God was not averse to cleansing the sinful antediluvian (pre-Flood) world of Genesis chapters 4-6. In four instances, He was harsh in punishing sin; the other case involved Him readily paying for sin!

“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?” (Romans 8:32). Father God could have withheld His Son from being offered on Calvary’s cruel altar (the cross), but He hesitated not. Christ Jesus’ soul would be made an offering for our sin (Isaiah 53:10)—and, praise God, He was “spared not!”

Two Sons and Two Fathers

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

“And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:” (Luke 23:18 KJV).

One son will be liberated to live, and the other Son will be sentenced to die!

At the time of Christ’s trial, Barabbas is a prisoner (Matthew 27:16). Barabbas is a murderer, a robber, and guilty of “insurrection,” or rebelling against the government (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:18,19; John 18:40).

It is Passover. Roman governor Pontius Pilate has a custom that, at the feast, he releases a prisoner, whomever the people desire (Matthew 27:15; Mark 15:6). “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:20-22).

Israel’s chief priests, rulers, and common people all demand Christ’s crucifixion and Barabbas’ release, so Pilate gives the sentence (Luke 23:23-25). Guilty Barabbas is set free to live, and innocent Jesus Christ is condemned to be crucified. While Barabbas’ involvement in the matter seems insignificant upon first glance, God included it in His written Word because to provide us with an amazing illustration!

“Barabbas” means “son of the father.” Barabbas is a criminal, and he represents sinful, rebellious mankind who is worthy of death. He is bound by sin, and faces eternal death. Spiritually, sinful mankind is the son of Satan—man is of his father the devil (John 8:44). Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, God, “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), but took upon Himself our sins and was punished in our place.

Innocent Jesus Christ took the place of guilty Barabbas, which actually represented Christ taking the place of the whole world, suffering God’s wrath on our behalf! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust…” (1 Peter 3:18). Thus, through Christ’s finished crosswork, we sinful sons of Adam (and Satan) can be freed from sin, and we can become the righteous sons of God.

The Asbestos Fire

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12 KJV).

What does God’s Word say about asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of a half-dozen naturally occurring silicate minerals that have long, thin, fibrous crystals. Since they are fireproof, manufacturers once used them to insulate products and make them heat- and flame-resistant. However, the very small fibers, when inhaled, can cause lung diseases; therefore, asbestos has been almost universally banned.

Our English word “asbestos” is actually a transliteration of the Greek, “asbestos”—literally, “not quenchable; inextinguishable.” A fire cannot put out the mineral-product asbestos; flames are unable to consume it. Similarly, the fire of today’s Scripture cannot be extinguished: yea, “asbestos” is rendered “unquenchable.” The Greek term appears three other times in Scripture.

Mark 9:43: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched….” And verse 45: “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched….” Finally, Luke 3:17 (the parallel of today’s Scripture): “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”

Some people argue that a “loving” God would never send people to an eternal Hell. They contend that everlasting punishment is not fair retribution for a “short” life of 70 or 80 years of sin. Actually, friends, God in His love did everything to keep us from going to Hell. Someone who dies and goes to Hell could have avoided that awful torment had they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork. Hell’s torments are literally never ended—the fire is never quenched—because God’s wrath against sin is never satisfied there. To wind up in such a terrible place is to bypass every warning God has issued in His precious Book about the “asbestos” fire!

Two Sons and Two Fathers

Thursday, April 20, 2017

“And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:” (Luke 23:18 KJV).

One son will be liberated to live, and the other Son will be sentenced to die!

At the time of Christ’s trial, Barabbas is a prisoner (Matthew 27:16). Barabbas is a murderer, a robber, and guilty of “insurrection,” or rebelling against the government (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:18,19; John 18:40).

It is Passover. Roman governor Pontius Pilate has a custom that, at the feast, he releases a prisoner, whomever the people desire (Matthew 27:15; Mark 15:6). “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:20-22).

Israel’s chief priests, rulers, and common people all demand Christ’s crucifixion and Barabbas’ release, so Pilate gives the sentence (Luke 23:23-25). Guilty Barabbas is set free to live, and innocent Jesus Christ is condemned to be crucified. While Barabbas’ involvement in the matter seems insignificant upon first glance, God included it in His written Word because to provide us with an amazing illustration!

“Barabbas” means “son of the father.” Barabbas is a criminal, and he represents sinful, rebellious mankind who is worthy of death. He is bound by sin, and faces eternal death. Spiritually, sinful mankind is the son of Satan—man is of his father the devil (John 8:44). Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, God, “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), but took upon Himself our sins and was punished in our place.

Innocent Jesus Christ took the place of guilty Barabbas, which actually represented Christ taking the place of the whole world, suffering God’s wrath on our behalf! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust…” (1 Peter 3:18). Thus, through Christ’s finished crosswork, we sinful sons of Adam (and Satan) can be freed from sin, and we can become the righteous sons of God.

“Missing” People?

Friday, August 19, 2016

“He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our LORD, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:4,5 KJV).

If the LORD God Almighty can number and name the stars (which outnumber the grains of sand on every earthly beach combined!), knowing the whereabouts of every last human being is quite an easy task for Him!

While visiting a store, my eyes glimpsed a giant poster featuring information about and pictures of missing persons. Some of these individuals have been missing for nearly 20 years. One lady disappeared almost 40 years ago, still missing even today. Are they still living? Or, did they die long ago? We can only wonder what happened to them, and to all the countless others who have mysteriously disappeared throughout human history.

The good news is that there is a God, a loving and just God, and He will eventually set these things right. At the resurrection-rapture for Christians (Body of Christ—1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), or the resurrection for the Jewish kingdom saints before the Millennium (Revelation 20:4-6), or at the end of the Millennium for all the lost of the ages (Revelation 20:11-15), God will resurrect every single person who has ever lived. He has never lost track of even one of these 10 billion-plus souls or even one of these 10 billion-plus bodies. They are all somewhere, and while we may not know their whereabouts He certainly does!

Believers separated by time and/or tragedy will be united one day in heaven’s glory. Their relationships are not lost forever, only interrupted momentarily. People have a tendency to want God to “take care” of certain wrongful things, but if He is to “take care” of those disorderly things, He will have to force everything else to be right as well. That means “taking care” (in judgment) of every person without Jesus Christ. Friends, may we not hope for God to “take care” of all the world’s problems just yet. People still need to trust Jesus Christ and be saved from the wrath to come. Joyful reunions for us Christians will come in due time, but let us not rush it or worry about it! 🙂

Two Sons and Two Fathers

Monday, March 21, 2016

“And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:” (Luke 23:18 KJV).

One son will be liberated to live, and the other Son will be sentenced to die!

At the time of Christ’s trial, Barabbas is a prisoner (Matthew 27:16). Barabbas is a murderer, a robber, and guilty of “insurrection,” or rebelling against the government (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:18,19; John 18:40).

It is Passover. Roman governor Pontius Pilate has a custom that, at the feast, he releases a prisoner, whomever the people desire (Matthew 27:15; Mark 15:6). “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:20-22).

Israel’s chief priests, rulers, and common people all demand Christ’s crucifixion and Barabbas’ release, so Pilate gives the sentence (Luke 23:23-25). Guilty Barabbas is set free to live, and innocent Jesus Christ is condemned to be crucified. While Barabbas’ involvement in the matter seems insignificant upon first glance, God included it in His written Word because to provide us with an amazing illustration!

“Barabbas” means “son of the father.” Barabbas is a criminal, and he represents sinful, rebellious mankind who is worthy of death. He is bound by sin, and faces eternal death. Spiritually, sinful mankind is the son of Satan—man is of his father the devil (John 8:44). Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, God, “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), but took upon Himself our sins and was punished in our place.

Innocent Jesus Christ took the place of guilty Barabbas, which actually represented Christ taking the place of the whole world, suffering God’s wrath on our behalf! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust…” (1 Peter 3:18). Thus, through Christ’s finished crosswork, we sinful sons of Adam (and Satan) can be freed from sin, and we can become the righteous sons of God.

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Is ‘Easter’ a mistranslation in the King James Bible in Acts 12:4?