Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #4

Thursday, October 17, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Romans chapter 4 continues chapter 3 with these opening words: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

By faith in Jesus Christ, we have imputed (applied) righteousness. Our works are meaningless before God because we cannot do enough good works to become good by nature. Almighty God must give us a new nature, and that new nature/identity will produce good works (see chapters 6-8). Since we have imputed righteousness, God is free to give us eternal life (see the remainder of chapter 4, Abraham and the LORD God’s promise to him concerning resurrection life or eternal life).

Chapter 4 concludes: “[22] And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him [Abraham] for righteousness. [23] Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; [24] But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; [25] Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”

With those wonderful declarations laid down, chapter 5 begins: “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” God has declared us righteous (we are justified by faith), that He then give us eternal life, that we then “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” What we once could not exhibit as sinners, we are qualified and ordained to display now and forever as saints….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Isaiah 5:8, ‘Woe unto them that join house to house…?’

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #3

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Re-read today’s Scripture with its context: “[22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Although we have “come short of the glory of God,” lacking inherent righteousness, we can be “justified” or declared righteous in God’s sight. By His grace, God can impute or apply righteousness “freely” to our account. This is accomplished through “the redemption [buying back] that is in Christ Jesus.” While we are captive in sin’s slave market, Jesus Christ’s shed blood is the payment to free us. It can make atonement or return us to fellowship with God that Adam lost long ago.

Father God set forth the Lord Jesus to be a “propitiation,” or fully-satisfying payment or sacrifice for our sins. Christ’s substitutionary death becomes our death, God punishing Him as though He were the sinner. Through Jesus’ finished crosswork, God offers us His own righteousness. Here is the Gospel of the Grace of God that we believe to pass from eternal death to eternal life. Verse 26 again: “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Not only are we forgiven of our sins, we who have believed the Gospel have been declared saints. God sees us as though we never sinned, for we now share Christ’s very identity….

The Greatest Authority

Sunday, October 13, 2019

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 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 (Revelation 20:11,12 KJV).

Behold, all will one day stand before Almighty God, the greatest Authority!

Quite recently, I had the wonderful privilege of attending one of the rallies of United States President Donald J. Trump. As I stood there with others waiting for his arrival, I looked toward his podium nearby and remarked, “Wow, here is where is the world’s most powerful man will soon stand and speak!” When the President finally appeared, I was ready, if the opportunity arose, to shake his hand and give him one of our ministry cards with the Gospel of Grace printed on it. While he did not greet us attendees standing just five or so yards/meters away, it was great just being there and ministering to others!

Christians should conduct their lives and ministries knowing full well the reality of today’s Scripture. We must (!!!) get a clear Gospel message out to the masses (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)! One day, all people—yes, living and dead, wealthy and poor, mighty and weak, brilliant and simple, all colors, all creeds, all religions—will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and give an account of their lives. Whether the United States President, or the homeless woman living in a cardboard box, or the esteemed professor at the prominent university, or the man lacking any schooling, or the clever philosopher, or the naïve college student, they are all just sinful people not deities. Therefore, none will escape giving account to Almighty God.

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

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The More Powerful Words #8

Saturday, October 12, 2019

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 KJV).

Sinful man needs to learn the lesson of today’s Scripture!

Like all 150 Psalms, the 33rd Psalm is a song highlighting the LORD God’s goodness. We will read its first 11 verses (today’s Scripture in context), but you are strongly encouraged to finish the chapter in your own personal study.

“[1] Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. [2] Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. [3] Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. [4] For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. [5] He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

“[6] By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. [7] He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. [8] Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. [9] For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. [10] The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. [11] The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”

“Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.” Indeed, we “stand in awe” of the Lord Jesus Christ! Compared to us, He speaks the more powerful words. His speech can—and does—accomplish infinitesimally more than our utterances. Above all, His “counsel” “standeth for ever:” in the end, unlike our writings, His Word will never pass away. Lastly, He will outsmart all of His enemies, and what He has determined will be realized throughout the endless ages to come. It does not matter how much opposition sinful creatures (Satan and man!) muster, God’s purpose and plan for His creation will come to pass! 🙂

The More Powerful Words #7

Friday, October 11, 2019

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6 KJV).

Sinful man needs to learn the lesson of today’s Scripture!

We give our “enlightened” lectures at scientific conferences. Also, we publish our philosophical articles in prestigious, “scholarly” journals. However, since we have no power in and of ourselves, our words are weak. We cannot use them to create something from nothing. Not even today’s most vocal anti-Bible boasters have enough hot air to generate a new universe!

Friends, considering the above, never should we equate ourselves to our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Since we know deep down inside that we are created beings, if we rebel against that reality, we live in a fantasyland or world of delusions. We think we are our own god—believing what we want, saying what we want, and doing what we want. Folly!

Romans chapter 1: “[17] For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. [18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

“[20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

Verse 25: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Yes, it is just as true today as it was 20 centuries ago. Actually, we really have not advanced too much. We are still the same old wretched sinners….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does the New Covenant take away Israel’s free will?

Swaddling Clothes

Friday, October 4, 2019

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 KJV).

What are “swaddling clothes?”

Today’s Scripture is a memorable passage read and heard every Christmas. We surely know of the “swaddling clothes” with which Mary the virgin wrapped around the body of her Child, the Baby Jesus. The angel of the Lord relays the message to the vigilant shepherds off in a nearby pasture: “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (verse 12). What in the world are “swaddling clothes?”

Our English word “swaddling” is the frequentative (recurring, repeating form) of another English term—“swathe.” The idea here is binding with strips or layers of fabric. In a crude sense, we can picture the ancient Egyptians wrapping a body to make a mummy. When Mary took the little Christ Child and wrapped Him with swaddling clothes, she was following an Oriental or Eastern custom of the day. This procedure provided warmth to His small body. Moreover, parents in this culture wrapped their newborns tightly with cloth to make their bones grow straight. There, in a tight, tiny bundle was the Saviour of all mankind!

Imagine! The Almighty Creator God took upon Himself human flesh, and reduced Himself to such a weak, fragile state. He entered Mary’s womb, taking on fleshly “clothes.” Growing little by little every day, He was finally delivered after nine months. His first cries were heard as air was forced into His lungs. He let Himself be wrapped in strips of cloth. For the next 30 years, He matured into a Man… born just to die for our sins!

Philippians chapter 2: “[5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

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 Better Baptism #6

Monday, September 23, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

The Holy Spirit, reflecting on John the Baptist’s ministry some years later, comments in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” This agrees with God’s promise 1,600 years earlier to make Israel “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).

It was wholly appropriate that Jews be water baptized who believed on Jesus as Christ. After all, they were now His priests—and the Mosaic Law stipulated priests wash in water. They were manifesting their faith, their change in mind, moving from idols and returning to the one true God. Malachi 4:5-6 and Luke 1:16-17 predicted John the Baptist’s ministry would “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Also, it necessarily meant that those who refused John’s water baptism were expressing their unbelief (idolatry!). Note Luke 7:29,30: “And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.”

Jesus Christ was water baptized to be Israel’s High Priest (see Hebrews 3:1) as well as to identify Himself with Israel’s believing remnant. Read John chapter 1: “[29] The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [30] This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. [31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” Not to be outdone, however, sinful man and Satan muddle up such simple Bible truths….