Complete in Thee! #4

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

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; ) 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 2:4-7 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the chorus of Aaron Robarts Wolfe’s 1858 hymn, “Complete in Thee!”

“Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified, I too, shall be!”

Doubtless, being “justified”—or declared righteous before God—is an exciting thought! Our “negative righteousness” has been forgiven because of the shed blood of Christ, so that we are brought up to “0.” Then, we have been granted “positive righteousness.” That has enabled God to “sanctify” us—set us apart for His purposes. Positionally, we are “in Christ” and no longer “in Adam” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Practically, on a daily basis, we live by faith in that identity, that we may overcome sin every day. This too is thrilling! Yet, it is but a small portion of what our Heavenly Father has done on our behalf.

Why did Almighty God save us from Hell? Why deliver us from our sins? He certainly did not have to do it. Under no obligation, He simply did it because of His goodness. We did not deserve it. That is why it is GRACE! As today’s Scripture shows us, it was God in His plenteous mercy, for His “great love wherewith he loved us,” when we were dead in our sins, He gave us life with Jesus Christ.

Not only that, but (and God speaks as though it already happened—yet, it is still future) He “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.We are now qualified to share Christ’s authority to reign in the heavenly places. One day, we will be glorified therein… that He might thereby be glorified in us! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘Huzzab’ in Nahum 2:7?

Complete in Thee! #3

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the third verse of Aaron Robarts Wolfe’s 1858 hymn, “Complete in Thee!” (We disregard the fourth verse because it is not dispensationally correct.)

“Complete in Thee! my need supplied
And all Thy grace to me applied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee.”

Christian friend, we lack nothing in Jesus Christ: we are indeed “complete in him” (Colossians 2:10). We are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Romans 8:32 says to this point: “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?”

Most of our brethren in Christ, however, simply have no idea of their spiritual wealth. In rank Bible ignorance, they go around begging Almighty God for wisdom, forgiveness, cleansing, righteousness, fellowship, power, and so on. He has already given them everything in Christ! There is nothing left for Him to give that He has not already given them! Yet, religious tradition hides this truth from us, that we may keep relying on “Mother Church,” priest, preacher, philosopher, theologian, et cetera.

First Corinthians chapter 1, verses 30 and 31: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” We need wisdom; we have it in Christ. We need righteousness; we have it in Christ. We need sanctification; we have it in Christ. We need redemption; we have it in Christ. Where is the boasting? None of this is because of what we did, so there is no bragging on our part. The value is to be recognized and found in the Lord Jesus Christ—what He did at Calvary! Yes, as it has been aptly stated, “Grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”

The Lord is our portion—our inheritance—and we thus inherit all that is found in Him. It is therefore utterly pointless to continue asking for what we do not lack!

Excruciating Thursday

Thursday, April 18, 2019

[Reader discretion advised: Christ’s sufferings are graphically described below.]

“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).

His three years of earthly ministry have expired, but His greatest work is yet to come!

During the all-night interrogation in the “kangaroo court,” His sentence is passed—execution by crucifixion. They have scourged, beaten, and punched Him. Covered in their spit, they laugh at Him, and strike His head with a rod to force on the crown of thorns. His back shredded, His skull possibly fractured, His beard ripped off. His massive blood loss weakens Him further. Having been stripped of His clothing, He struggles to carry His heavy cross to Mount Calvary: Simon must carry His cross for Him. The crowds watch Him, laughing and jeering. His little flock looks on in total shock.

They lay Him on the wooden cross, yanking His limbs to nail them in place. His bones unbroken, but exposed, and His limbs dislocated. They pierce His hands and feet with long spikes, severing the median nerve in the hands, causing permanent hand paralysis. They raise up that cross, and He hangs, slowly suffocating due to His own weight. Every breath becomes increasingly difficult, His lungs fill with fluid, His heart becomes progressively strained. Eventually, He cannot breathe, and thus dies.

Now imagine His spiritual suffering. Three hours into His crucifixion, His heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost have abandoned Him. For the first time ever, He is totally alone. Physical and spiritual darkness now cover the earth. The weight of all the world’s sin and sins of all time crushes His soul. God’s undiluted wrath falls upon Him, as it does on those suffering in hellfire. He cries out in agony. Hanging on that cruel cross, with His spiritual eyes, He observes Satan himself and all his evil creatures snickering and cheering. He looks out to see His disciples staring at His helpless disfigured body. Oh, if only they knew how His physical and spiritual bodies were being tormented, utterly tortured beyond imagination!

After six hours of excruciating pain, He finally lets Himself die….

Please check out our archived Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?

The “Habitation” of God’s Throne

Monday, April 8, 2019

Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face (Psalm 89:14 KJV).

Behold, a King like this world has never known!

The word “makown” (as in fixed place, foundation, dwelling place) appears in the Hebrew Bible 17 times; most occurrences are associated with God’s presence. It appears first in Exodus 15:17, when Israel has departed Egypt bound for the Promised Land: “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place [makown], O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.”

When then find it regarding Solomon’s Temple: “I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place [makown] for thee to abide in for ever” (verse 13). It is the “dwelling place” in verses 39, 43, and 49 (cf. Chronicles 6:2,30,39). Ezra 2:68 speaks of Zerubbabel’s Temple, built later, as “the house of God… set… up in his place [makown].” Heaven is called “the place of [God’s] habitation [makown]” (Psalm 33:14).

Psalm 104:5 refers to the “foundations [makown] of the earth,” those which make Earth permanent forever. Isaiah 4:5 speaks of the LORD creating “upon every dwelling place [makown] of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud of smoke by day, and the shining of a flame of fire by night….” (In light of all these, Daniel 8:11 speaks of the a counterfeit habitation, the “place [makown]” of the Antichrist that will be “cast down” [destroyed].)

Read today’s Scripture again: “Justice and judgment are the habitation [makown] of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” Compare that to Psalm 97:2: “Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation [makown] of his throne.” Read these two chapters, as they describe the future reign of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16; cf. Luke 1:31-33). His throne is founded upon “justice [righteousness] and judgment [lawfulness],” for He Himself has settled down in that fixed position. Such sits in contradistinction to the rulers of “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4), those to be “cast down!” “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

What a Stiff Neck! #6

Friday, April 5, 2019

“For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?” (Deuteronomy 31:27 KJV).

A Christian lady was expressing her frustration over her unsaved family members being “stubborn” as concerning believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, in Bible terms, they are “stiffnecked.”

The Scriptures say, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Mankind refuses that truth: he resolutely believes he is good. Here, the lost person sees Jesus Christ as unnecessary. Commandments are viewed as “help” to get to God and merit His favor. A sinner, instead of realizing his or her “lostness,” stubbornly cleaves to works-religion. Man does not see himself as the evil monster he really is; he just cannot agree with God and take a negative view of himself. Falling for the strange delusion that he can keep God’s laws perfectly, his efforts replace (!) Christ’s finished crosswork. It is truly a miracle when the unsaved escape such trickery: that enlightenment comes through the Scriptures to a sincere heart.

God’s Word pronounces, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Christ’s finished crosswork offends the Christian’s flesh (sin nature) as it upsets the lost person’s flesh (see above). Christians also obstinately cling to works-religion: they come to faith in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone, knowing Calvary alone can save them, but then they labor to please God for rewards (material blessings, physical health, et cetera). It is truly a miracle when the Christian escapes such deception: that enlightenment comes through the Scriptures to a sincere heart.

Honestly, God does not want our “good works;” He desires our trust in Christ. Grace not works! Jesus Christ gave His life to us, not for us to then use a legalistic system to simulate it, but for Him to live it in and through us as we believe His words to us. It is our faith in His faith—His faithfulness not ours, His crosswork not ours, His efforts not ours! Let us cease being “stiffnecked!”

What a Stiff Neck! #5

Thursday, April 4, 2019

“For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?” (Deuteronomy 31:27 KJV).

A Christian lady was expressing her frustration over her unsaved family members being “stubborn” as concerning believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, in Bible terms, they are “stiffnecked.”

Scripture provides a portrait of the “stiff neck,” and it is anything but flattering. Firstly, it is antonymous to “yield yourself unto the LORD” (2 Chronicles 30:8; cf. 2 Chronicles 36:13). Secondly, it means to “resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51)—refusing to listen to His words and obey them (Jeremiah 17:23). Thirdly, it stems from the heart, an internal sin nature that is contrary to how God designed Adam to function before he fell in sin (Deuteronomy 10:16; cf. Jeremiah 17:9). Fourthly, it originates iniquitous and sinful deeds or actions (Exodus 34:9; cf. Mark 7:20-23). Lastly, it results in God’s judgment (Exodus 33:5).

On one hand, whenever God observes anything that fails to meet His righteous standard, He must act to enforce a penalty. He cannot look at sin (Habakkuk 1:13). On the other hand, He is merciful, gracious, and forgiving toward the sinner (Exodus 34:6,7). He can hold back the wrath they deserve, He can give them pity that they do not deserve, and He can cancel the spiritual debt they have incurred. If we study the above verses as to how “stiffnecked” Israel behaved, and His responses, we see both realities on full display.

When they sinned, when they drew back from His leading, when they did the exact opposite of His commandments, there was chastisement to reform them (if they were willing to listen). Yet, He never completely wiped them off the face of the Earth, did He? Many times they deserved it, but He spared them. Despite all they have done against Him, He still has a plan for them even now, to make them His own and bless them beyond belief!!!

Let us conclude this devotionals arc by seeing a parallel concerning God’s dealings with individuals today….

He Who Deserves Praise

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being (Psalm 146:1,2 KJV).

Why does the Psalmist exhort, “Praise the LORD?”

Let us continue reading: “[3] Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. [4] His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Our fellow man, no matter how “dedicated” or “promising,” will eventually fail and dissatisfy us.

The LORD God, JEHOVAH God, however, is ascribed 12 major triumphs: “[5] Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: [6] Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: [7] Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: [8] The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: [9] The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. [10] The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.”

He is Creator of all (verse 6), He keeps truth forever (verse 6), executes judgment for the troubled (verse 7), feeds the hungry (verse 7), frees the captives (verse 7), opens the eyes of the blind (verse 8), lifts the stooping (verse 8), loves the righteous (verse 8), preserves the strangers (verse 9), alleviates the orphans and widows (verse 9), turns the way of the wicked upside down (verse 9), and reigns forever (verse 10).

Actually, these underscore various aspects of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. The Antichrist, an apostate king Israel demanded, has proved to be an utter disappointment: his promises were mere flatteries, worthless as he is. All the misery he caused, injustice he supported, and ruin he left behind, are reversed. Creation is liberated from Satan’s grip. The rightful King is now sitting on David’s throne in Jerusalem—His reign unending! “The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is it not enough that ‘I believe in God?’