No Difference in Christ Jesus

Monday, January 23, 2012

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15 KJV).

In time past, God dealt with mankind on the basis of circumcision (Jew) and uncircumcision (Gentile). God dealt almost exclusively with Israel whereas the Gentiles were “without Christ” and “without God” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, this is not true.

Ephesians 2:13-18 continues: But now in Christ Jesus ye [Gentiles] who sometimes were far off are made nigh [to God] by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain [two] one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews]. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

“Both” in the above passage refers to Jews and Gentiles. In the Dispensation of Grace, God has placed believing Jews and Gentiles into one body, the “one new man,” the “new creature” of today’s Scripture—the Church the Body of Christ. This body of believers is separate from the nation Israel. In the Body of Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28; cf. Colossians 3:11).

Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, a Christian Jew is not more blessed than a Christian Gentile: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth [benefiteth] any thing, nor uncircumcision…” (Galatians 5:6; today’s Scripture). Technically, there are no Jews today. Romans 11:11,12 explains that Israel has temporarily lost her once-privileged position (today, God considers Jews Gentiles).

Unlike time past, in our dispensation, salvation in Christ Jesus is being freely offered to both Jew and Gentile: both can approach God through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork.

Preach the Gospel of the Grace of God!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14 KJV).

Saints, God has entrusted us with the greatest message of all time, “the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), so that we can preach the greatest Person of all time, Jesus Christ. “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5a). As today’s Scripture indicates, if the lost world is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, they need us to first preach this wonderful message to them!

According to James 2:17-26, God had always demanded faith and works for salvation (Abraham was the one exception; Romans 4:1-5). But, when we come to Paul’s ministry in Scripture, God declares that Sabbath day keeping, water baptism, physical circumcision, tithing, and animal sacrifices are no longer required for salvation.

Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not operating Israel’s works-religion. The good news of God’s grace is that we can be saved solely by God’s grace without us doing anything but trusting in Christ alone! “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). Until Paul, God had never revealed a message like our Gospel of Grace: the Gospel of the Grace of God declares what God did for you because you are unable to do anything for God. We can be saved without works today!

The Gospel of Grace is 1 Corinthians 15:3,4: …how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood to pay for your sins, He was buried to put away your sins, and He was raised again for your justification (Romans 4:25). Place your faith in Christ  alone, and He will save you forever. Then, preach the Gospel of Grace for others to hear!

I Want Pictures!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29 KJV).

Once, when my mom offered to read the Holy Scriptures to my then five-year-old niece, the latter protested, “I want pictures!” 🙂 I could not help but chuckle upon hearing that. Yet, how many churchgoers prefer experiences that can seen and felt rather than sound doctrine that can be read and believed?

Most Bibles lack pictures, which makes God’s Word less appealing to the average reader. But, these precious souls fail to understand God never intended His Word to be a photo album or art portfolio. God wanted us to know information, but He did not communicate that information using paintings, drawings, or photographs. God wanted to not just give us His thoughts, but His very words (Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 12:6,7; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4)! Jesus Christ declared: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35; cf. Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).

While God could have communicated His truth in any way He wanted, He determined to have His truth permanently written down in a Book, His Book, whose words would span the eons of eternity future. That Book would be independent of the reader, and would serve as an objective standard to distinguish truth from error. It would never change, it would always be relevant, and it would never be lost to time. He would preserve the words of the Book forever and ever and ever.

Instead of us seeking “pictures” (visual confirmation of Scripture) like my niece and doubting Thomas of today’s Scripture, let us pursue “the wholesome words of Jesus Christ and the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3). We place no authority on experiences, but we trust alone in the King James Bible’s authority, the only standard by which we gauge the veracity or falsity of all experiences. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:24,25).

No Blood Indicates No Faith #3

Friday, January 20, 2012

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

According to God, Abel brought “of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof” whereas his brother Cain offered “fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3,4). Cain’s offering appeared innocent, but God considered it “evil” (1 John 3:12). Why?

“Without faith, it is impossible to please him [God]” (Hebrews 11:6). Cain did not please God. He did not believe anything God said, so he ignored God’s command to bring a blood sacrifice. No blood sacrifice indicated no faith. Essentially, Cain was ignoring what that blood sacrifice represented: the blood of the coming Redeemer Jesus Christ!

Sadly, today, mankind generally shares Cain’s attitude in refusing to believe God’s Word, especially regarding salvation. God has told them they are guilty sinners who cannot work for salvation, but they refuse to listen. God wants them to trust in His Son alone, but they want to trust in their works and His Son. God will not have it. Jesus Christ is “well pleasing” to God the Father, we are not (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 12:18; Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22).

Please be not one of the billions of precious souls attempting to appease God and merit salvation and heaven with their “good” works. Like Cain’s offering, this “innocent-looking” activity is evil! (Remember, even Jesus claimed some “good” works were “iniquity” in Matthew 7:22,23). These “good-works” people are attempting to substitute Christ’s perfect blood sacrifice on Calvary with their “dung” and “filthy rags” (their “good” works). God will not have it.

God wants our faith exclusively in what His Son Jesus Christ did for us. Has Jesus Christ’s blood been imputed to your account? If it has, that blood applied to you indicates your faith! If Jesus’ blood has not been imputed to you, you need to trust exclusively in the Lord’s finished crosswork on Calvary. For salvation, God will accept nothing else but your faith resting in Christ Jesus alone.

No Blood Indicates No Faith #2

Thursday, January 19, 2012

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

God instructed Cain and Abel to bring blood sacrifices. However, only Abel obeyed God because he alone had faith. Cain lacked faith, so he completely ignored God’s Word. Cain wanted to do what Cain wanted to do. This is typical human nature, and it has not changed one wit. Man is naturally sinful in that he seeks autonomy—to be his own god and to do what he wants to do!

Cain… was of that wicked one [Satan!]… his own works were evil, and his brother’s [Abel’s] righteous” (1 John 3:12). Now, Cain’s vegetation offering did not look evil—it was just “fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3). Yet, despite its innocent appearance, it was evil and God rejected it. How was it evil? God wanted blood sacrifices, not crops! Cain displeased God because he had no faith (Hebrews 11:6).

Now, apply that scenario to today. Billions of church members are doing everything they can to work for heaven. Like Cain, they completely ignore God’s Word when it says their “good” works are actually “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) and “dung” (Philippians 4:8). They give faithfully, pray daily, attend church weekly, help the poor, clean the church, sing in the choir, and so on. Sadly, this is vain activity, for God never commanded them to work for heaven!

In this the Dispensation of Grace, God is freely offering His grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, acceptance, fellowship, and righteousness in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him [Jesus Christ] that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5).

Salvation is so simple, yet religion complicates it with our works. We sinners cannot work for salvation. The Bible says the only way to heaven, and everlasting salvation, is to trust in what Jesus Christ already did for you, not what you can do for Him.

No Blood Indicates No Faith #1

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain the farmer and Abel the shepherd (Genesis 4:1,2). When it came time to sacrifice to God, “Cain brought fruit of the ground,” but “Abel…brought the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering, he had not respect…” (verses 4,5). Why did God accept Abel’s offering, but reject Cain’s? How could Abel’s sacrifice be “more excellent than Cain,” as today’s Scripture teaches?

After sin entered the world by Adam (Romans 5:12), God demanded blood sacrifices for atonement (to make God and sinner “at one”). God shed innocent blood to cover Adam and Eve’s sin (Genesis 3:21). Outside of our dispensation, and before Christ came, those who wanted a right standing before God—“righteousness”—had to offer blood sacrifices by faith. “…[W]ithout the shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22b).

Cain had no faith, so he ignored God’s instructions and brought no blood. He brought the fruit (crops) of his own work, but Abel, by faith, brought blood sacrifices (obeying God). God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because Abel had faith!

Are you like Cain, trying to merit salvation and please God with your own “good” works? Quit please! You lack Christ Jesus’ blood sacrifice because you lack faith in His blood as the fully satisfying payment for your sins. God never told you to work to heaven. You need a blood sacrifice—place your faith exclusively in Jesus Christ’s shed blood and resurrection, and God will “accept you in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).

God will “have respect” unto Christ’s finished crosswork alone. He will always reject your “good” works for salvation. Those who ignore the sufficiency of Christ’s blood to atone for their sin and sins will suffer the same doom of Cain—paying for their sins in the everlasting lake of fire!

Israel, Rise Up and Walk!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took hold of him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength” (Acts 3:6,7 KJV).

In this the Dispensation of Grace, Israel lacks her once privileged position before God. Her Temple is destroyed. Jews are scattered worldwide, absent from the land that God promised their father Abraham. Sadly, Israel is lost, far removed from JEHOVAH who dealt with her patriarchs in time past (Romans 10:1-3; Romans 11:11-32; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16). This is only temporary!

Today’s Scripture records the Apostle Peter’s first miracle—healing a lame man. In the context, Apostles Peter and John are going to the Temple to pray (verse 1). Verses 2-5 explain that a man lame from his mother’s womb is brought daily to sit at a Temple gate. As Peter and John pass, he begs them for alms (donations/money). Today’s Scripture is Peter’s reply.

The man, lame from birth, symbolizes Israel, spiritually impotent from her beginning (dead in her sins; Matthew 1:21; Matthew 18:11). By performing this miracle through Peter, the Holy Ghost is signifying to lost Israel that He can heal them spiritually like He physically restored the lame man (Acts 4:8-12)

Interestingly, the Temple gate by which the lame man sat was called “Beautiful” (Acts 3:2). He sat just outside God’s blessings (Israel’s kingdom), but he needed strength to get there. He needed God’s power to raise him up! After Peter healed him, he walked into the Temple, leaping and praising God (verses 8-10).

At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will heal Israel of her existing lost, impotent state (Acts 3:19-21). As God gave the lame man strength to walk into the Temple, He will empower Israel to rise up in salvation (Romans 11:26-29) and literally walk into her kingdom (Isaiah 35:1-10; Ezekiel 37:1-28). In the name of Jesus Christ, Israel will be healed, delivered into her kingdom of everlasting salvation, peace, and prosperity (Jeremiah 23:5-8; Hosea 2:14-23; Luke 1:67-75; 1 Peter 2:9,10).