The Expensive Getaway

Thursday, December 15, 2011

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV).

We often hear of exotic getaways like Fiji, the Caribbean Islands, and Hawaii. While these vacations are pricey, they are ridiculously cheap when compared to heaven, “the expensive getaway.”

“[God] will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Romans 2:6,7). God will give eternal life to any individual who has perfect righteousness. He demands 100 percent perfectioneven 99.999 percent righteousness is far too less for God to accept.

The price to enter heaven’s glory is far too expensive for us. We all have a few “good” works here and there… mere pocket change! By nature, we are spiritually poor, bankrupt of righteousness. We have all offended God: All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Our lives are filled with many sinful acts, including hatred, lying, gossiping, cursing, and coveting. These sins offend God’s righteousness, so what will you do with them?

Today’s Scripture gives us the Good News. At Calvary’s cross, God fully and completely dealt with our unrighteousness. Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, died for your sins, to give His life so you could have an opportunity to be made righteous in Him! King David wrote: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

When we trust the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, God “imputes” (applies) His righteousness to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). As today’s Scripture says, in Christ, we are rich indeed: we are spiritually rich because Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation. In Christ Jesus, we are justified, made perfect in God the Father’s sight, thus able to enter heaven (Romans 3:21-31).

One day, at the rapture, we Christians will take our expensive getaway. Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Saints, our flight is coming! Stay tuned…. 🙂

A Righteous Politician

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn (Proverbs 29:2 KJV).

God established a governmental structure in both heaven and earth: “For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” (Colossians 1:16). These governments were originally designed to bring God glory. Unfortunately, Satan has usurped both governments, causing rebellion against God (sin) in heaven and on earth (2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 6:12).

As today’s Scripture states, people mourn the inauguration and tenure of corrupt politicians. The news, historically and presently, abounds with stories of scandals (and cover-ups), resignations, and impeachments of governmental officials. We can expect nothing more in this sinful, fallen world that is ruled by Satan (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 2:2).

Today’s Scripture also declares, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.” Despite the few reliable, honest politicians who serve and benefit the people they represent, Satan’s evil governmental powers still seemingly triumph today. The wicked majority has inflicted great damage that the honest minority cannot reverse.

However, the Bible speaks of a glorious day when the governments of Satan (this evil world system of politics, economics, religion, and education) will be demolished forever. A benevolent, worldwide monarchy awaits planet earth. “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 will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS,” Jesus Christ, at His Second Coming, will restore earth’s governments to God (Revelation 19:16; cf. Colossians 1:20). Zechariah 14:9 says: “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” Indeed, when this Righteous King will rule, the people will rejoice!

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 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 Worthless Résumé #1

Monday, November 7, 2011

“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4-6 KJV).

Saul of Tarsus was extremely religious, a strict adherent of Judaism. Instructed by the Pharisee and rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34 cf. Acts 22:3), Saul was “more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of [his] fathers” (Galatians 1:14). Today’s Scripture verifies Saul’s “outstanding” religious performance: if there was one man who thought his righteousness was sufficient to get him to heaven, it was Saul. But….

Continue reading the context of today’s Scripture to discover that, despite Saul’s religious activities, he was still headed to hell! “But what things were gain to me [those of today’s Scripture], those I counted loss for Christ” (verse 7). In order to be saved, Saul had to realize that his “righteousness” was a “filthy rag” in the eyes of the LORD (Isaiah 64:6). Saul’s religious accomplishments amounted to a worthless résumé.

“Yea, doubtless, and I count all things [those of today’s Scripture] 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).

Saul realized his “righteousness” was “dung” (manure)! The only solution to his sin and sins was God’s righteousness, Christ’s sinless blood. In Acts chapter 9, Saul quit trusting in himself and trusted in Jesus Christ.

Are you like Saul of Tarsus was before he became the Apostle Paul? Are you trusting in your “good” works for salvation? Why not abandon that worthless résumé like Paul did? Why not trust in the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ, the only résumé that impresses God Almighty?

No Feel-Good Message

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66 KJV).

Our Lord Jesus Christ was loving and kindhearted, the meekest man who ever lived. However, He boldly spoke God’s truth, even if it meant offending most of His audience. If you defend the rightly divided King James Bible, expect some of your audience to be irritated and offended. Do not compromise, for God’s preferences are always unpopular with mankind.

Unfortunately, modern-day Christendom disagrees with the Lord Jesus’ approach. Visit today’s “inspirational” bookshelves. Notice visages and names of “Christian” celebrities, authors of heretical books that teach health and wealth (the multi-volume “Spiritual Larceny Series”).

Today, most people seek a “loving Jesus,” a non-offensive “Sunday school teacher” who offers brief counsel sessions, instant healing and deliverance, and great material riches. They deliberately overlook the true Jesus, the righteous Judge who will not overlook man’s sin. Listen to the garbage on “Christian” television networks, radio stations, and websites. Even those with the most perverted theological persuasions see and hear something they like! This is reminiscent of what the Jews told God’s prophets (Isaiah 30:10): “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth [“feel-good”] things, prophesy deceits [lies!]:”

Man in his natural state hates God; he is God’s enemy. “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7a). Our Lord Jesus Christ never spoke to entertain His audience. He taught them doctrine that would save their soul! Before it is saved, a soul will become uncomfortable. It realizes that it is headed for hell, in desperate need of salvation—salvation that it cannot provide itself.

Offended individuals in today’s Scripture permanently left Jesus Christ. His righteous statements insulted them. They saw their need for Him, the Bread of Life, and their wicked hearts despised Him.

The Gospel of Grace—Christ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—is no feel-good message. Christ’s finished work on Calvary is always offensive to religious people (Galatians 5:11): it testifies to their inability to save themselves. We politely, relentlessly, and unapologetically preach this “offensive” message.

The Self-Righteous Unrighteous Made Righteous

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 KJV).

Religion—from the Latin “religio,” meaning “to bind anew”—is man’s futile attempt to make himself right with God. Mankind naively believes that his religious performance makes him “righteous,” in good standing before God. This is actually self-righteousness.

We cannot work for our salvation because we always break the simplest rules of God’s Word (one lie, one curse word, one evil thought, and so on). Our sin prevents us from reaching God’s standard of righteousness (“rightness”). Compared to church members, atheists seem evil. Little, sweet elderly ladies appear to be less sinful than prison inmates. While you appear less sinful than others, others appear less sinful than you! Still, we are all guilty sinners in God’s eyes and according to God’s standards.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is none righteous, no, no one(Romans 3:10). We are not perfect. No matter what we do, our performance may exceed others’, but it will never be good enough for God.

Yet, today’s Scripture declares the wonderful news—before we lied, stole, coveted, and cursed, Jesus Christ died to save us wicked, unrighteous humans. The Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins on Calvary’s cross. He died to save us wretched humans because we all fell short of God’s glory. None of us could fulfill God’s righteous standards (the Ten Commandments, for instance).

God did not die for the righteous, but for the self-righteous unrighteous. Why? Only because He loves us, despite our evil deeds! Praise God that we can now inherit eternal life by trusting in the finished cross work of Jesus Christ. We can now be made “the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through Christ’s cross work on Calvary, the self-righteous unrighteous are made righteous.