Understanding Jesus Christ

Monday, May 16, 2022

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,…” (John 1:1,14 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand the Lord Jesus Christ?

Approximately 3,500 years ago, Satan was permitted to torment Job. Suffering immeasurable pain, Job blamed God. He declared: “For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman [mediator, arbitrator] betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33). Job longed for someone to serve as an umpire between himself and “distant” God. That mediator could take Job by the hand and take God by the hand, and join them in unbroken fellowship. Job assumed this was the only way God would be appeased and his afflictions would subside.

Today’s Scripture, penned some 15 centuries after Job’s ordeal, explains the “daysman” finally arrived. The second Member of the Godhead, God the Son Himself, took on human flesh. At the Incarnation, it was humanity added to Deity, the only combination that would form a Person who was able and willing to reunite sinful man with holy God. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;…” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12).

As sinners, we need more than just another philosopher or religious teacher to tell us “how to do right.” We need a Saviour who will make us right, a Mediator who will declare us righteous! Here is the ministry of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is an exclusivist message, for here is the “one [!] mediator between God and men.” “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 8, 2022

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 KJV).

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this devotional to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 34 years… my mom!

Today’s Scripture is the first verse of the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). King Solomon explained that the virtuous woman:

  • has a husband who safely trusts in her (verses 11,12).
  • is not lazy, but is strong because she works to feed and clothe her family and herself (verses 13-19,21,22,24,25,27).
  • pities the poor and needy (verse 20).
  • has a husband who is well-known because of her godly lifestyle (verse 23).
  • opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindly and lovingly (verse 26).
  • has children and a husband who praise her (verse 28).
  • excels in what she does (verse 29).
  • has works that praise her (verse 31).

Verse 30 explains the virtuous woman is “a woman that feareth the LORD.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that godly women should: not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol and emotions (sober minded), be teachers of good things, love their husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) their husbands… “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters).

A Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest!

 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO OUR READERS WHO ARE MOTHERS!

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

Archived: “What does the Bible say about motherhood?

There is Such A Place After All

Saturday, May 7, 2022

“And I saw a great white throne…. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…. [A]nd they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15 KJV).

What if there really is such a place of eternal judgment? (There is!)

Our world abounds with injustice. Some 6,000 years of human history testify to that fact. The judicial system has either too many court cases to process or too few honest officials to work. It is a broken arrangement because it is “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). Innocent people are convicted and wrongfully penalized, but the guilty parties escape if they have enough money and know the right people. Will evildoers ever actually be punished? According to the Christian Bible, YES!

The Creator God will deal with all sins in one of two places. Firstly, of course, Calvary’s cross is where the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins. There, He satisfied a holy, righteous God whom we offended as sinners. We can believe on Christ alone, that He paid our sin debt in full by shedding His sinless blood. He can be our substitute, our “propitiation” or fully-satisfying sacrifice (Romans 3:25). Secondly, there is Hell (to be transformed into the Lake of Fire in the ages to come; see today’s Scripture). This is where the souls go who believe they can replace God’s life, His Son’s life, with their own efforts (sins). They have chosen to pay for their own sins—and that debt will take them a literal eternity to pay!

A Bible mocker once smugly asked a Christian, “What will you say if you die and find out there is no Heaven? The Christian smiled, “I will say, ‘I had a fine time getting there anyway!’” He then posed a question to the mocker: “What will you say if you die and find out there is a place such as Hell after all?”

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;(1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

On this United States’ National Day of Prayer, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Today, religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—will assemble nationwide, like they do every year, and pray for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

For Ye Have the Poor Always with You? #3

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (Mark 14:7 KJV).

“For the poor always ye have with you?”

Contrary to what some have asserted, the Lord was not opposed to assisting poor people or fighting poverty. As today’s Scripture suggests, He endorsed helping those less fortunate. “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good….” This was in harmony with the will of God already revealed to Israel in Deuteronomy 15:11. The Law of Moses had stated, “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

“But me ye have not always.” This is in contradistinction to the poor never ceasing out the land. Christ Himself had just a few days left to live, for He was on His way to die on Calvary’s cruel cross. His disciples needed to get their priorities straight. They were to honor Him while they still had opportunity—that is, while He was still alive. He was to have superiority because His Heavenly Father had arranged it as such. The Lord Jesus Christ is the most important Person in the whole universe, which is why He will one day head all governments in Heaven and Earth: “…that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell…” (Colossians 1:18,19).

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). We should do what we can to help those struggling financially, especially fellow Christians. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth(Ephesians 4:28). In this world of escalating inflation and rising unemployment, among several other societal woes, the Church the Body of Christ should be especially mindful of these simple verses.

To Strike the Right Note

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV).

How can “the right note” be struck?

Once, a celebrated composer performed before a global audience tuning in by radio and television. Taking his seat at the piano, with hundreds of millions listening and watching, he nervously placed his hands on the keys and began playing. Everything was proceeding smoothly—until he hit the wrong key and his haunting song known around the world for decades suddenly sounded awful for a moment! He resumed playing as usual, but, near the end, he pressed yet another wrong key! Again, temporarily, his song sounded weird.

The above true story illustrates the Christian life. A beautiful melody is heard as we have victory over sin, for the Lord’s hands are playing perfectly. Then, our fingers push His fingers aside and we fumble with the keys. What an embarrassing disaster! An older man in Christ once asked a new believer, “Do you find it difficult to live the Christian life?” “Why,” the young man replied, “I certainly do!” The aged Christian wisely rejoined, “Not only is it ‘difficult,’ it is impossible, so you have to stop trying to live it! Only Jesus Christ can live His life!” From that day forward, that young man never forgot it—and he grew up to pass on that advice to me long ago (and, now, you can tell others!).

Father God never expects us to be sinless. As long as we are in these bodies of flesh, we always tend to insert our religious efforts to “enhance” the Christian life. It is here that we sound “off-key,” and rightly so. Let us remember today’s Scripture. Unless we have sound Bible doctrine stored up in the inner man and are walking by faith in it on a daily basis, we “quench [hinder, put out, obstruct] the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and thereby we “strike the wrong notes.” Only Jesus Christ can live the Christian life, so let us place our faith in Him and not ourselves. His fingers never hit the wrong keys!

The Bible’s Season of New Life

Monday, April 18, 2022

“God that made the world and all things therein… he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:24,25 KJV).

May we never forget the true meaning of Eastertime!

Satan is the master counterfeiter: from Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures reveal how the devil schemes to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Whatever God does, Satan defiles that work by introducing false doctrine, distracts mankind from God’s truth by mimicking His actions, discourages God’s people from His ministry by using incorrect thinking patterns, and so on. Why? Satan wants the worship that God alone deserves (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Consider Christmastime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping the birth of the sun god in early winter—near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) took upon human flesh in the virgin Mary’s womb! Now, consider Eastertime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping fertility deities and new life in early spring, near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) died for our sins and resurrected victoriously over sin, death, hell, and Satan to give us new life! (To Satan’s delight, today’s average church member is not mindful of relevant sound Bible doctrine during Christmastime and Eastertime—the devil’s distractions have never lost their efficacy!)

The God of the Bible instituted in Israel a festival, Passover (the killing of a spotless lamb and its bloodshed in early spring), while they were still in Egypt (Exodus chapter 12)—Passover’s annual observance reminded them of JEHOVAH delivering them from Egyptian slavery unto new life. Israel did not understand its meaning until 1,500 years later. The true Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, died and shed His sinless blood during that annual Passover feast (early spring), and He resurrected in new life to give them spiritual life and liberty.

Yes, the pagans may have “hijacked” this time of year for the devil’s glory, but we can disregard their ignorance: spring is God’s season for new life. We can still use this season to bring the God of the Bible glory by remembering that He has given us physical life (today’s Scripture), and He offers us new life (that is, spiritual life) through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! 🙂

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 17, 2022

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which 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 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

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

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #2

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Jesus knew Bible prophecy had to be fulfilled: He had to suffer in accordance with the Old Testament prophets. Even when He spoke seven times from the cross, He quoted various Old Testament verses. The Old Testament prophets also gave Him comfort: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (today’s Scripture).

For instance, He remembered that Jonah’s prophecy had to be fulfilled: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the third day, He would live again, and be reunited with His heavenly Father!

He knew that His Father would resurrect Him. His spiritual torment and physical death were only temporarily, as David quoted Jesus 1000 B.C., “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:24-31).

Our Lord thought of reigning over that glorious kingdom that His Heavenly Father would give Him after His resurrection. As the psalmist wrote centuries before Calvary’s crosswork, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:6-8). “Begotten” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, not His nativity in Bethlehem (Acts 13:33,34).

Jesus Christ, during His torturous crucifixion, thought about and rejoiced in the promises in the Scriptures that applied to Him. Likewise, we, during difficult circumstances, can remember and joy in God’s promises to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We too can share Messiah’s joy amidst grief! 🙂

See our archived Q&A: “Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb on Resurrection Sunday?

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #1

Friday, April 15, 2022

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Psalm 22:1-21 provides us with a glimpse of Jesus’ thoughts as He endured that awful crucifixion: He is greatly tormented physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Various verses in Psalm 69 provide additional insight, especially as death begins to close in on His soul. Written about 1000 B.C., these and other “Messianic psalms” graphically describe assorted events in our Lord’s earthly life (in this case, His crucifixion)… centuries before they occurred!

What Jesus Christ thought about while suspended on Calvary’s cross was the Holy Scriptures. He had faith in the Old Testament passages that applied to Him. No matter what happened to Him, He knew it was His Father’s will, and His Father would be glorified. As He stated earlier, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup [of Thy wrath; Revelation 14:10] from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt (Mark 14:36). “…The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29bc).

Do you realize what today’s Scripture is saying? Jesus Christ felt immense physiological and spiritual pain, but He thought about the overall view: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (cf. Psalm 16:8-11). Yes, the Old Testament spoke of His suffering, and those Scriptures must be fulfilled, but it also testified of His glorious kingdom that would follow, and those Scriptures also were to be fulfilled in due time! “…The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). While it did not diminish the extent of His distress and suffering, Jesus Christ kept in memory the glory His Father would give Him once He had endured the crucifixion (Philippians 2:8-11). It gave Him such joy. He felt grief unspeakable, but He also had joy unfathomable!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Where was Jesus during the three days between His death and resurrection?

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Are Christians obligated to observe Passover?