Thursday, March 1, 2018

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:1-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be sustained by the love of God.

The world looks at suffering and wonders how anything good can result—they have neither Jesus Christ nor hope. Sadly, even most Christians are deceived here. When disaster comes, they assume God does not love them, that He is punishing them, that He is angry with them. Friends, God’s love needs to sustain us, keep us from falling apart in troublesome times. We can glory in tribulation and find value in suffering! Very, very, very, VERY, VERY, VERY few believers, unfortunately, ever reach that point, as denominationalism binds them in immaturity.

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. God is not angry with us because He considers Christ’s sacrifice of Himself as sufficient payment for our sins. This knowledge helps us understand that our problems/tribulations/difficulties do not stem from any controversy God has with us. Of course, such understanding comes from the rightly divided Word of God. We do not grab the verses that talk about God being angry with and punishing Israel, and assume He is talking about us.

Whereas Israel’s troubles meant God was punishing her for disobedience (see Leviticus 26:14-46 and Deuteronomy 28:15-68), difficulties mean something else entirely for us. God’s love is found at Calvary, not in our circumstances. Romans 5:8 says: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth [propels, motivates] us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:….” Christian friend, until you are home in Heaven, let God’s infinite love carry you through ALL of life’s difficulties!

Bible Q&A #470: “What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?


Friday, February 23, 2018

“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to learn how to avoid shock.

Immediately after tragedy strikes, two things occur. Firstly, those who have had absolutely no time for God suddenly begin telling Him to do something for them. Secondly, those seeking to shift blame from themselves and sinners like them, begin to viciously accuse Him.

No matter how wicked our human nature is, we reach a point—however brief—when we realize our great limitations. Regardless of how high our skyscrapers get or our submersibles go, no matter how advanced our technology becomes, regardless of how great our understanding of the universe becomes, we are truly weaklings in the grand scheme of things. In those fleeting seconds before we conceitedly suppress that truth, we reach out to any “higher being” who may happen to be listening to or watching us in our pathetic plight. Whatever “it” is, if our situations and circumstances are grim, we can look to “it” for comfort or culpability. If “it” does not respond as we expect, we then bitterly lash out at “it.”

The Psalmist in today’s Scripture is puzzled: times are troubling and God is hiding! Reading through the psalm, we learn that its writer is really a member of the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, suffering greatly under the reign of the despotic Antichrist. Shock and fear will grip these saints living beyond our day. Evil incarnate is ruling unfettered. Believing Israelites, scattered across the Middle East, are being imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded. Where is the supernatural deliverance? These Messianic Jews need to understand why God is delaying His return to forcefully crush the Antichrist.

As concerning God’s dealings with us in the Dispensation of Grace, we see a parallel in today’s Scripture. Where is God in our times of trouble? Again, Satan’s evil world system must run its full course. God has not abandoned us. He is indeed present, and we need not be shocked or troubled that evil prospers despite the existence of a loving God. Friends, if we acknowledge the reality of suffering and the presence of an intelligent Creator, we can shield ourselves from such devastating surprise.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Hell almost full?

God is Love

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

“…God is love… God is love… We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:8b,16b,19 KJV).

The word “love” is used very flippantly in today’s world. Of the many who speak about “love,” few know what it is. On this Valentine’s Day, we offer sound doctrine from God’s Word to correct the misunderstandings of what love really is. What is love, according to God’s Word?

Today’s Scripture says that “God is love”—God does not simply love, but His very nature is love. What does that mean? In 1 John 3:16, we read: “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” Our Apostle Paul put it this way: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s nature is love—selfless, self-sacrificing!

God’s Word defines love and charity in 2 Corinthians 12:15: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Love is seeking the best interest of others, even if it costs you something (time, energy, resources, et cetera). Charity is love in deed (demonstrated, manifested in action). God loved us, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. It cost God the Father His Son, and it cost God the Son His life. What a selfless act!

Our nature in Adam is selfish, but our nature in Christ is not. Paul declares, “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). We who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, our Christian lives are driven and motivated by Christ’s love for us, not our love for Him. It is this unselfish love of Christ working in us that causes us to look on the things of others, to seek their edification and their benefit, not ours (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:1-11). This will result in charity, our selfless actions reflecting that love of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:15).

As the lost world observes our Christian service, they will see, “God is love.”

*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 Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

Joy to the World! #4

Thursday, December 14, 2017

“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Psalm 45:6,7 KJV).

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

“He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.”

When Satan’s reign on Earth and in Heaven concludes, voices in heaven cry out, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Hebrews 1:8,9 quoted today’s Scripture as true of Jesus Christ’s righteous reign. Notice how Father God addressed Jesus as “God.” Human history has never experienced a global, benevolent, theocratic monarchy. For the first time ever, all power in Heaven and Earth will be consolidated forever in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:8-10). All governments in Heaven and Earth will be cleansed of evil. By faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, we will participate in that operation of God (Colossians 1:16-22). We will reign with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6,7)!

Zechariah 14:9: “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” Daniel 2:44: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” And, Jeremiah chapter 23: “[5] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. [6] In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Indeed, there will be such joy! Jesus Christ glorified forever, in Heaven and Earth! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are we merely interested in breaking up churches?

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #5

Thursday, December 7, 2017

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 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 5:14-17 KJV).

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

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!”

Religion has done an excellent job (wrongly) teaching us that God likes to rehabilitate humans—that He wants to make us quit doing certain things (“fleshly”) and make us start doing other things (“churchy”). What a very shallow, and actually a false, perception. God wants to do much more than what we could ever do by ourselves.

For good works to reign in our lives, God has to kill us! As sinners, in Adam, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, no life in ourselves (see today’s Scripture). Nothing we can do in our own strength will ever change our (sinful) nature in Adam. However, God offers us death to Adam and a new identity through Christ at Calvary. When we trust that Jesus Christ died for our sins, in God’s mind, we died to sin, too. Christ did not simply die for us but as us. Romans chapters 5 through 8 describe the victory is in Christ, not in Adam or in ourselves. Success is by the power of the Holy Ghost working with the grace doctrines we study and believe, not in our struggles to do right. And so, “Christ [is] formed in [us]” (Galatians 4:19).

Something about which the angels cannot sing, but we can, should, and do! 🙂

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #4

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11 KJV).

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

“Come, Desire of nations come
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Angels can sing about God’s operations, but, unlike us humans, they cannot sing about salvation in Jesus Christ. When we read today’s Scripture, there should be leaping for joy! The God of creation, the God of the Holy Bible, the God of Christianity, has attempted to mend the broken relationship between Him and us. He has done everything to save us from our sinful selves and our utter foolishness. He can do no more than Calvary. Those merits of Christ’s finished crosswork cannot benefit us individually unless we individually appropriate them by faith. There is no merit in our faith, but there is immeasurable merit in what Jesus Christ did. We either agree with God by faith that Calvary’s finished crosswork is enough, or we ignore it and continue on our way to eternal hellfire. Simple indeed!

Reading from 2 Corinthians chapter 5: “[19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Do we agree with God by faith?

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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!