A Pattern of Longsuffering

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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. 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 (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

God could be righteously angered and vengeful today. Thankfully, He is not!

A friend saw a television preacher claiming to “heal” someone. The disabled person showed no improvement, so the minister obviously faked it. My friend wondered why God did not strike that preacher dead for using the name “Jesus Christ” to deceive millions. I explained to my friend that, as opposed to the strict Dispensation of Law, where God was so severe in meting out judgment on such charlatans, we live in the Dispensation of Grace.

God’s “longsuffering” is typified in the Apostle Paul (see today’s Scripture). His salvation is a “pattern” of how people are saved into Christ today. Saul was an unbelieving, rebellious, indoctrinated, self-righteous, zealous Jew. In early Acts, he traveled and arrested, tortured, and executed any Jew—including women!—who followed Jesus of Nazareth. The Lord Jesus Christ observed it all from Heaven. He could have easily struck down Saul and whisked him off to Hell! Contrariwise, the Lord chose to extend mercy and love toward that wretched sinner. He personally appeared to Saul in Acts chapter 9. Saul, amazed and humbled, trusted the Lord Jesus Christ whom he had passionately hated.

Indeed, God chose that leader of sinners, the head of Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, to become the Apostle Paul. He commissioned that man to go to all nations and preach the same grace God had shown him. Hence, God’s spokesman to the world opens each of his 13 epistles with, “Grace and peace.” Rather than wrath and war, God is (temporarily) patiently tolerating sinful man. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid our sin debt; hence, we enjoy grace and peace today. However, to benefit from it forever, like Paul, we must receive and trust it. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Great Flood’s water save the eight souls in 1 Peter 3:20?

God Is Not Fooled!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9,10 KJV).

Be not fooled, friend. You cannot fool God!

Long ago, a farmer said, “God, if You give me a good harvest, I will go to church.” Suffice it to say he reaped a great harvest. He then bragged with laughter, “I fooled God! I had no intention of going to church!” This cycle continued for years. The man never purposed to go to church, but he supposedly “talked God into” doing what he wanted, allegedly “making God believe” that he would attend church. This all occurred many decades ago, so he is likely already dead… physically.

When the aforementioned man died, he surely realized he had not fooled God after all. Furthermore, he saw that he was the fool! He wasted God’s grace, God being longsuffering and tolerating his nonsensical rhetoric for so long. Instead of being thankful for God’s goodness, he became increasingly hardened. He continually deceived himself, believing he could actually hide his true and innermost feelings from his Creator (see today’s Scripture).

Many attempt to “make deals with God.” If He will just help them out of their difficulty, they will turn to Him. Some legitimately come to personal faith in Christ. Others, however, have a religious high, mere temporary self-reformation. Still others had no intention of ever doing right—they just wanted to treat God like Santa Claus (“gimme, gimme, gimme”). In the end, however, they manifest themselves as fools. God sees who has a heart of faith in His Word to them, and who is simply speaking empty words out of an ungrateful (wicked and unbelieving) heart.

Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Not Worthy

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

“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” (Romans 8:18 KJV).

What hope in such a hopeless world!

Our world abounds with sickness, suffering, and death. My family recently learned a relative has been diagnosed with malignant (and terminal) brain cancer. Another relative’s great-granddaughter, age 2, just died of a defective lung. I have an online teenage friend whose cancer has returned. One elderly sister in Christ, after suffering bronchitis for days, has now developed pneumonia. Her husband suffered internal bleeding—losing half of his body’s volume!—and nearly died weeks ago. An elderly neighbor has bronchitis (which may turn to pneumonia). Another elderly neighbor died of pneumonia weeks back. Horrible!

Physical sickness and resulting death undoubtedly make this fallen creation most painful. While we should take care of our bodies, they are only temporary. No matter how much we diet or exercise, or take medications, we all have to die of something eventually (mostly true). That parenthetical statement is very important, for surely there will be a group of Christians living when Jesus Christ comes at the Rapture to take His Body to Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:15,17). They will never, ever see death: their bodies will simply be transformed. We may be that generation of Christians—or, maybe not. I know of many Christians who have been waiting for 40 or 50 years, and they, because of advanced age, may very well go the way of death if the Lord tarries much longer. (We may find ourselves there in the coming decades.)

Remember, brethren, every day of the Dispensation of Grace holds back the wrath of God from being poured out on our world. There has been nearly 2000 years of God offering His grace, and yes, that grace will have to be withdrawn someday. Let us not be selfish. Lost souls still need to be saved in Christ before that righteous judgment comes. The only way this is possible is if God extends the curse another day, postpones the Second Coming of Christ for another day, delays that earthly kingdom of healing and restoration another day. Deliverance will come, but there are more important things on God’s schedule at the moment.:)

Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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. 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 (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂

333’s 2100th – God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20 KJV).

Saints, we celebrate devotional #2100! (We also briefly address Mardi Gras.)

Here in (predominately Roman Catholic) southern Louisiana, Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”) is a popular religious holiday. For centuries, this revelry has been advertised in the name of “Jesus Christ.” Lost people are certainly expected to act like lost people. We do not suppose they will behave like Christians. But, for them to misbehave—to engage in drunkenness, gluttony, and vulgarity—and unashamedly refer to it as a Christian holiday, is most outlandish and stupid!

So many people have great difficulty in reconciling how a loving God could let evil remain unpunished. They see endless murder, thievery, rape, oppression, malfeasance in office, dishonesty, and wonder if a “god” even exists. Still, there is a more obvious problem. How can a righteous God permit people to continuously (annually) engage in disorderly parades and lewd parties in the name of His dear Son? Why does He allow people to continue to disrespect Jesus Christ year after year?

God once judged sin most harshly on Earth: fire from Heaven consumed sinners, the earth opened and swallowed sinners, a Great Flood destroyed sinners, and on and on. For the last 2000 years, sinners have done just about anything they wanted on Earth—oppressed the poor, lied, cheated, stole, taken innocent lives, et cetera—yet there was no fire, no flood, no cleaving of the earth to punish them. Even today, God is silent. Why this major change in operation?

For the last 2100 days, we have considered the Word of God rightly divided. We have learned about the drastic dispensational change that occurred with the Apostle Paul’s salvation and ministry. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork—His dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4—God offers to all the world salvation from their sins. Rather than judging them, He is offering His grace, His unmerited favor to them. His Son was punished, that we might be saved from eternal damnation.

Whether at hundreds of Mardi Gras parades, or here at “333 Words of Grace,” God’s grace is clearly seen. May we not be foolish in rejecting it! Let us enjoy God’s grace by faith!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see our archived Bible study Q&A, “Should Christians celebrate Mardi Gras?

The Misunderstood Messiah #5

Friday, December 30, 2016

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

Once Christ replied with sound doctrine (verses 42-47), Israel’s religious leaders simply resorted to name-calling again (verse 48): “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” A Samaritan was half-Jew/half-Gentile, and “the Jews [had] no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). Notice Jesus was insulted twice more—they called Him a “Samaritan” and “devil possessed.” Throughout the rest of John chapter 8, Israel’s religious leaders continue arguing with Jesus and nearly stone Him to death (verse 59)!

Why did Jesus not simply “zap” these religionists and instantly throw them into hellfire? They belittled and blasphemed Him several times in this one account, and then attempted to murder Him, but rather than Jesus killing them with His spoken word (which would have been justified), He only conversed with them. Why?

Remember, when the Apostles James and John saw how the Samaritans refused to accommodate Jesus, they asked Him if He wanted them to call down fire from heaven and consume those sinners, He replied, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56). This First Coming of Christ was His “meek and lowly” coming: He did not come to judge man’s sins, but to die for them!

Even today, God is still not pouring out His wrath on wicked mankind (2 Corinthians 5:19), creatures who still snicker at Jesus Christ, deceive others in His name, persecute His saints, ignore His Word, and “rub His nose” in their sins. Lost mankind is wasting God’s grace and mercy that He is offering so freely. When His grace is finally exhausted, the undiluted wrath that has accumulated will finally be poured out (His Second Coming). May we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now so we have our sins forgiven now, lest we face that angry, righteous God in judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)!

For more information, you may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Did God ‘rape’ Mary?

Joy to the World! #3

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

The third verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

God’s Word to Adam just after he sinned included the following pronouncement, “…[C]ursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Genesis 3:17,18). This is part of the “bondage of corruption” of which Romans 8:21 speaks. Sin tainted creation. Thorns and thistles began to grow, making Adam’s labor in the field even more grueling. Paradise was indeed lost… but not forever!

When God created the heaven and the earth, He selected a special location on Earth as His home. Exodus 15:17,18 say: “Thou shalt bring them [Israel] in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Isaiah 40:22 says God “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” While Adam’s sinful actions delayed God’s earthly kingdom, God would take care of those mistakes and still accomplish His original intention.

Israel’s mistakes further delayed God’s earthly kingdom. However, God will restore Earth’s ecology to its original, pre-Fall (pre-sin) conditions. This is true especially of Zion, Jerusalem, which will be the global and universal capital city. There will be joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. All believers in heaven (Body of Christ) and earth (redeemed Israel) will join the angels in song. The curse has been lifted, and Jesus Christ has been exalted (Isaiah 11:1-9)!

Bible Q&A #333: “Why should I go to church?