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).

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! 🙂

A Delight That is Right #4

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 KJV).

What is the “delight” that is right?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the most unique Person in all the universe: He is the God-Man, undiminished Deity and full humanity. The Gospel Record of Luke prominently features His human qualities. For instance, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him…. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:40,52). As we grow and learn, so Jesus developed physically and mentally.

Isaiah the Prophet, 700 years before, quoted Christ: “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back” (chapter 50, verses 4,5). In complete submission to His Heavenly Father, He learned exactly what His Father had planned for Him. Jesus took particular interest in studying the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament Scriptures, His Father’s preserved words. “Yea, thy law is within my heart” (today’s Scripture).

One fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit is “joy” (Galatians 5:22). In other words, if He is working in us, we will rejoice or take delight in what God is doing. Yet, we cannot know what God is doing until we first find His words to and about us. The Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us Gentiles in the mystery program (Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3:1,2). We study the entire Bible, but we pay special attention to the Pauline Epistles, Romans through Philemon, God’s current dealings with man. As Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He knew exactly where He was in the purpose and program of Father God. Similarly, we can find immense satisfaction in knowing where we are on that Divine timeline for the ages. Of all the pleasures and thrills in this life, dear friends, nothing else even comes close to the delight that is right!

A Delight That is Right #3

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 KJV).

What is the “delight” that is right?

Today’s Scripture reveals the key to delighting to do God’s will. We must first know God’s will, having His “law” (that is, His words) within our heart. Addressing the saints at Rome, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul penned, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17). The Roman believers, as lost people, had trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Hence, they passed from death to life, Adam to Christ, Satan to God. Here is the first part of God’s will for any person: “…God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:3,4a).

Here is the second part of God’s will for us: “…God our Saviour; Who will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). This is victorious Christian living—learning, understanding, and believing sound Bible doctrine that will give us daily victory over sin. We have eternal life in Christ, so now that life of God is expressed in and through us as we walk by faith in these His words to and about us. In Ephesians 1:1-12, we read of “the good pleasure of [God’s] will” (verses 5,9). Ultimately, our Heavenly Father desires to have spiritually mature believers who can glorify His Son Jesus Christ in the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come.

For now, we are on Earth, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:…” (2 Thessalonians 1:11). If we want to do God’s will, we simply find out what He enjoys doing, and, by faith, go do that, and thus we will do God’s will and have the delight that is right….

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A Delight That is Right #2

Monday, April 4, 2022

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 KJV).

What is the “delight” that is right?

The people of the world find pleasure in owning all sorts of possessions and participating in all kinds of activities. Yea, they will go to great lengths to feel such excitement and “contentment.” They can never have enough “stuff,” education, money, fun, relaxation, and so on. Contrariwise, when God the Son, “the Word” (John 1:14), “became flesh,” the life that He led was the very life Father God would have had had Father God been incarnated.

Psalm 37:23 reports: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he [the good man] delighteth in his [the LORD’S] way. Also, Psalm 119:35: “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein [in thy commandments] do I delight.” Today’s Scripture quotes the Lord Jesus over 1,000 years before He took on human flesh: I delight to do thy will, O my God….” As the perfect Man, He is addressing Father God and submitting to His will (faith and obedience) instead of His own (autonomy). The opposite, the sinner, is in Jeremiah 6:10: “To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it [the word of the LORD].

After Christ’s earthly ministry and ascension back to Heaven, Hebrews 10:5 elaborates on Psalm 40 as prophesying, “…but a body hast thou prepared me….” This is the incarnation, Father God’s plan for Christ, and Christ is fully cognizant of just what His Father would have Him do. Psalm 22:8 is another Messianic passage: “He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” As Jesus hung on the cross, His mockers taunted Him with these very words (Matthew 27:43). If He loved God so much (and they saw Him demonstrate it throughout His earthly ministry), let God rescue Him from their wicked hands!

The Lord Jesus Christ indeed had a delight that is right….

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #3

Friday, December 10, 2021

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13,14 KJV).

The fifth verse and the final verse of the classic Christmas carol paraphrase today’s Scripture.

“Thus spake the angel and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels, praising God, and thus
Addressed their joyful song:
‘All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease.’”

People who know nothing about the Bible carelessly complain that the God of the Old Testament was a “bigot.” They dislike that He dealt almost exclusively with Israel, having almost no dealings with Gentiles. Additionally, they whine that Jesus was a “racist” because He said that His earthly ministry was limited to Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24). What fools and blasphemers!

When JEHOVAH promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, that nation was to be the channel of God’s salvation and blessing to reach all the world’s (Gentile) nations. “…[I]n thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Rebuking ignorant Nicodemus, Jesus said of Israel’s earthly kingdom: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus also said, “…[R]epentance and remission of sins should be preached in [my] name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). He told His apostles to baptize and teach all nations(Matthew 28:19). God was dealing with and converting Israel, that redeemed Israel go to all nations on His behalf when Jesus became their King!!! Read Zechariah 8:20-23 and Isaiah 60:1-3 (yet future).

Hence, the angels sang at Jesus’ birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” God wanted everyone“good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (verse 10)—to have a relationship with Him in Israel’s kingdom. Of course, Israel’s kingdom is still future. Romans 11:11-13 says salvation is coming to us Gentiles without Israel, through Paul’s ministry and Paul’s Gospel (Christ’s finished crosswork).

NOTE: I want to say a special “Happy Birthday” to my Mom, who will no doubt read this. Thank you for being faithful to Father God in leading me to Jesus Christ and teaching me the Scriptures all those years ago! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How do we ‘pray without ceasing?’

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #2

Thursday, December 9, 2021

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11,12 KJV).

The third and fourth verses of the classic Christmas carol paraphrase today’s Scripture.

“‘To you, in David’s town, this day,
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the sign
And this shall be the sign.
The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swaddling-clothes
And in a manger laid
And in a manger laid.’”

Bethlehem-Judah—not to be confused with the Bethlehem of northern Israel—was known for being King David’s birthplace (1 Samuel 16:18). It was also where his great-grandmother Ruth had lived (Ruth 1:19). But, Bethlehem-Judah (or Bethlehem-Ephratah, or Bethlehem-Judaea) was no Jerusalem, or Rome, or Alexandria, major cities at that time. Nevertheless, the shadows/types/previews were present.

Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16). He is the Son of David who can accomplish the governmental part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Reading from Luke chapter 1: “[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” God had His Son born in Bethlehem of Judah, the same place where King David was born 1,000 years earlier!

The angel said it was easy for the shepherds to find Baby Jesus. There was only one Bethlehem-Judah, and there was only one manger in that little town that held a little Baby tightly wrapped in clothes. That little Baby would grow up to be a Man, mature and thus fully able to reign from David’s throne. No wonder the angels proceeded to sing such wonderful news!

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #1

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:8-10 KJV).

The first and second verses of the classic Christmas carol paraphrase today’s Scripture.

“While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around
And glory shone around.
‘Fear not,’ said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds;
‘Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
To you and all mankind.’”

Due to the decree of some pagan Roman emperor, Joseph and pregnant Mary traveled some 70 miles (113 kilometers), from Nazareth to Bethlehem-Judah (Luke 2:1-7)! There, in little Bethlehem—a humble town rather than a magnificent world city—Israel’s King, yea the King of kings and Lord of lords, was born. Micah 5:2, written some 700 years earlier, was perfectly fulfilled: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Note that our King James Bible says Jesus Christ is “from everlasting,” demonstrating His deity. Modern versions water this down, saying “from ancient times/days.” Blasphemy!)

Not far from where Jesus was born and laid in the manger, shepherds were out that night guarding their flocks. (See, contrary to popular belief, Jesus was not born in wintertime. There is additional Scriptural evidence that it was early fall, very late September or very early October.) The angel of the Lord appeared to these shepherds. Angels appearing to Israel was usually some sign of judgment (see 2 Samuel 24:15-17, for example). When the shepherds of today’s Scripture saw the angel of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, they were very fearful.

The angel reassured them with such wonderful news!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How many Bible teachers should someone have?

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #5

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 KJV).

The final verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!”

Religion has done an excellent job (wrongly) teaching us that God likes to rehabilitate humans—that He wants to make us quit doing certain things (“fleshly”) and make us start doing other things (“churchy”). What a very shallow, and actually a false, perception. God wants to do much more than what we could ever do by ourselves.

For good works to reign in our lives, God has to kill us! As sinners, in Adam, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, no life in ourselves (see today’s Scripture). Nothing we can do in our own strength will ever change our (sinful) nature in Adam. However, God offers us death to Adam and a new identity through Christ at Calvary. When we trust that Jesus Christ died for our sins, in God’s mind, we died to sin, too. Christ did not simply die for us but as us. Romans chapters 5 through 8 describe the victory is in Christ, not in Adam or in ourselves. Success is by the power of the Holy Ghost working with the grace doctrines we study and believe, not in our struggles to do right. And so, “Christ [is] formed in [us]” (Galatians 4:19).

Something about which the angels cannot sing, but we can, should, and do! 🙂

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #4

Monday, December 6, 2021

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11 KJV).

The fourth verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Come, Desire of nations come
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Angels can sing about God’s operations, but, unlike us humans, they cannot sing about salvation in Jesus Christ. When we read today’s Scripture, there should be leaping for joy! The God of creation, the God of the Holy Bible, the God of Christianity, has attempted to mend the broken relationship between Him and us. He has done everything to save us from our sinful selves and our utter foolishness. He can do no more than Calvary. Those merits of Christ’s finished crosswork cannot benefit us individually unless we individually appropriate them by faith. There is no merit in our faith, but there is immeasurable merit in what Jesus Christ did. We either agree with God by faith that Calvary’s finished crosswork is enough, or we ignore it and continue on our way to eternal hellfire. Simple indeed!

Reading from 2 Corinthians chapter 5: “[19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Do we agree with God by faith?