A Kingdom of Righteousness

Thursday, August 24, 2017

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8,9 KJV).

Behold, a kingdom like this world has never seen!

After watching nightly television newscasts, browsing news websites, listening to radio news bulletins, and reading newspapers and magazines, one cannot help but be depressed. There is such major social unrest and distress here in the United States and around the world—violence, racism, deception, lunacy, corruption, fraud, torture, murder, war, slander, injustice, vandalism, anarchy, greed, and so on. Evil is lauded as good and good is condemned as evil. Society has fallen apart!

The Bible believer is not shocked. Romans chapter 1 demarcates the depravity of the Gentile nations at the Tower of Babel (some 22 centuries before our Dispensation of Grace). Second Timothy chapter 3 describes the world’s conditions as our dispensation winds down (much the same characteristics as Romans chapter 1). Society is not “reforming,” improving, “evolving” into a species of higher life-forms. True, we have gained more knowledge over the millennia—technology, medical science, et cetera. Nevertheless, we still have the same rotten sin nature that causes the horrific lifestyles of Romans chapter 1 and 2 Timothy chapter 3. Moreover, the evil world system driven by that sin in man, and governed by Satan, remains.

Thankfully, today’s Scripture, quoting Psalm 45:6-7, anticipates the glorious day when the Lord Jesus Christ assumes the throne of Earth’s governments. (From Paul’s epistles, we learn He will also sit on the throne of the Heaven’s governments—Colossians 1:16-20 and Ephesians 1:9-10.) There will be a thorough cleansing of all governments. Notable characteristics of the Lord’s kingdom will be a love for “righteousness” (God’s standard of rightness) and a hatred for “iniquity” (inequality, crookedness, sinfulness). Father God will personally appoint His Son to that throne. In that day, He will make all things right, and judge that which is wrong. The universe will be unrecognizable. For once, righteousness will reign, and sin will be dealt with correctly and swiftly. Such paradise will be “for ever and ever!” 🙂

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?

Graduated!

Monday, August 21, 2017

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Death is never easy, but the death of a Christian is easier. It is somewhat easier when an aged person dies, but a young person’s decease is quite difficult. Yet, if that young person was “in Christ,” that death is easier to bear.

Recently, an online friend passed on to Heaven after a long battle with cancer. She was only 18 years old. Even though she suffered much, she was a strong testimony for God’s grace. As her friends struggled with trying to reconcile how God could let His saint grow so horrifically ill, she reminded them that, while Father God has redeemed our souls, He has yet to redeem our bodies from sin’s curse. A firm foundation in the Bible rightly divided caused her to rejoice even in the midst of great trouble. While we are secure in Christ, there is no guarantee we will meet our Lord without first experiencing unspeakable bodily infirmities. An aged ministry coworker just told me his aching body was “falling apart.”

I just read the obituary of a dear saint whose Bible studies benefited me. The article was certainly written from the grace perspective. It began by saying that the brother “‘graduated’ on… to be with his Lord whom he loved and served so faithfully.” He was an evangelist for 40 years: “He loved preaching in Rescue Missions, proclaiming the Gospel of the Grace of God to the lost. His passion in life was leading people to Christ and encouraging the body of Christ.” After preaching the Gospel for so long, he at last experienced its hope. Doubtless, he is still enjoying the Lord’s presence all these years later!

Yes, we sorrow, but we sorrow not as those which have no hope. We have a sure expectation that our loved ones in Christ are not lost forever. Father God has them in His loving care, and we will see them (and Him) in His own time. There will be an endless eternity to fellowship with them around the Word of God. For now, dear brethren, we must remember that they want us to continue being ambassadors for Christ down here! 🙂

The Wise, The Rich, and The Generous

Sunday, August 13, 2017

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11 KJV).

The wise men… the rich men… the generous men!

Due to much abuse, money is always understandably a very touchy topic in churches. There are so many schemes and scams designed to take people’s hard-earned cash. Sadly, they are most successful in “Christian” settings. There is such a nice ring of truth to these religious messages. After all, over two billion people hold the name of “Jesus Christ” in such high regard. When that name is uttered—or even the general name “God”—people suspect nothing nefarious (even if the matter involves absurdities). The wise men of today’s Scripture indeed gave… carefully investigating instead of blindly supporting a charlatan!

When the wise men came to Jesus Christ, notice He was a “young child,” as much as two years old (see verse 16). He was not a baby. It was not the manger scene but a “house” in Nazareth. These wise men were also rich men, and they were willing to give their money for God’s work. They did not give indiscriminately. They gave in faith, believing God’s Word. They had seen the star of Israel’s King in the east. They had come to worship Him after that star had led them to His house. Their worship was not merely falling down before Him, or shouting, “Praise Jesus!” No, part of their worship was giving material goods. They were not greedy. They were not idolatrous. Rather than worshipping their wealth, they used it to worship Jesus Christ.

Brethren, let us by faith follow the example of the wise men. While we may not be rich, we can be wise in using what we do have, and we can be generous in giving to any sound (grace) Bible churches and ministries that benefit us. Second Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Where in the Bible did Peter say he could not be crucified like his Lord?

The Best Day Ever!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:5,6 KJV).

While we all have our good days, nothing will ever even come close to the best day of the Lord Jesus’ life!

Some days are so enjoyable, are they not, that you wish they would last forever? Things are going well at work, at home, and at church. There is money in the bank, romance in the air, promotion on the job, and good health in the body. While these are wonderful blessings in life, and we dare not take them for granted, they will never, ever compare to the best day of the Lord Jesus’ life.

It was on that resurrection day, today’s Scripture, that He conquered Satan, sin, death, and Hell! While the good things in our life, being subject to change, are not guaranteed, the victory that Jesus Christ secured on that resurrection morning is eternal. Death still cannot hold His soul. His physical body still has not experienced decay. He has paid man’s sin debt in full by shedding His blood on that awful cross. Now, He is raised again as a confirmation of that payment being fully satisfying to Father God. He will never die again and will never again suffer physical torture. His Father has never left Him again. He has secured the nation Israel’s salvation from sin, and He has secured the Body of Christ’s salvation from sin. Now, He is the glorified Son of God, heir of all the governments of Heaven and Earth. His reign will never end.

Dear friends, such victory is beyond our comprehension. We can read about it in the pages of Scripture but these events really do not sink in. Just how shocked were Satan and all his evil cohorts (angels and humans) when they learned that that tomb of Christ was empty? Think of the joy of Jesus’ disciples! Like them, we are speechless. What we can do, the feeble souls that we are, is tell Him, “Thank You, Lord, for the best day in human history!”

The Worst Day Ever!

Friday, August 11, 2017

“And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour [9 A.M.], and they crucified him” (Mark 15:24,25 KJV).

No matter how bad a day we are having, there is always someone worse off. For example, look at the worst day of the Lord Jesus’ life!

We complain about fighting with a broken computer while someone else is down at the cemetery burying a loved one. We whine about high food prices while someone is sleeping in a cardboard box in the alley behind the store. We complain about someone calling us a bad name when at least they did not torture or imprison us!

On the worst day of Jesus’ life, many horrible things happened to Him. You can read Matthew chapters 26 and 27, Mark chapters 14 and 15, Luke chapters 22 and 23, and John chapters 18 and 19. While we always have bad days, we can be thankful that we will never, ever experience the worst of all days in human history. It was far worse than even the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. On that day that the Lord Jesus died, His most trusted apostle betrayed Him. His chief apostle denied Him thrice. He was falsely accused and blasphemed against. They spat in His face and punched Him. They yanked His beard off. He was whipped. They struck Him on the head with a reed. A crown of thorns was forced into His scalp. They mocked Him. He was forced to carry His cross. They stripped Him of His clothing. He was nailed to the cross. They taunted Him as they sat at the foot of that cross. After slowly suffocating for six hours, He let Himself die!

Dear friends, such suffering is beyond our comprehension. We can read about it in the pages of Scripture but these events really do not sink in. How could God love us that much, to go through with all of that, just so we could have our sins paid in full? We are speechless. What we can do, the feeble souls that we are, is tell Him, “Thank You, Lord, for the worst day in human history!”

Sins Forgiven!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;….” (Ephesians 1:6,7 KJV).

Dear friend in a world religion, what will you do with your sins?

Several years ago, while a college classmate and I were eating together in our university’s cafeteria, the topic of religion came up. He already knew that I was a Christian, but it was here that I finally learned about him. He had joined an Eastern religion. Upon learning that, I asked him a very simple question, “What are you going to do with your sins?” After a short pause, he responded, still somewhat startled, “I do not know. Let me find out.” I was under the impression that he would research it for me, but he never did get back with me about it. We became close friends before ultimately losing contact a few years ago. Thankfully, though, I was able to cause him to think about eternal matters, even it was for a brief moment.

Whenever meeting with a person of a world religion, I always try to bring up the issue of sin first. As with the case of my friend, they probably have not actually thought about it. They are doing the best they can, but they are so busy working that they have not really thought it through just how their efforts will take care of their sin problem. Maybe they are too afraid to come to terms with the fact that they know deep down inside they still fail and those unpaid sins are still on their account.

As a small boy over 22 years ago, I came to realize that Jesus Christ paid for my sins by dying for them, and that I simply had to trust Him and Him alone for my forgiveness of all sins. Thankfully, I came to that simple truth of the immeasurable grace of God before works-religion could confuse and pollute me. Friend, if your religion cannot take care of your sin problem in full, I would strongly urge you to consider today’s Scripture and the Lord Jesus Christ whom it exalts as Saviour.