God’s Idea of “Hope and Change”

Monday, January 21, 2013

“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).

We reserve this historic day in American history to remind ourselves not to confuse man’s feeble political achievements with God’s kingdom.

Human governments are literally bewildered in attempting to deal with all of society’s problems. Solutions to environmental issues, achieving world peace, eliminating poverty, and combating terrorism are most elusive. They distribute checks, impose bans, sign treaties, pass laws, provide handouts, and hold summits, but the problems these activities are designed to address still afflict society. If you have faith in your fellow man that he will ever accomplish harmony and solve his problems, history and the Bible tell you to forget it!

God knows that mankind is sinful, unreliable, and weakly, so He does not depend on us for anything… except to mess up His creation! For 6,000 years, Satan has been “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Thus, although world history has its few benevolent and respectable leaders, tyrants, God-haters, and crooks mar much of it. We can change leaders, but the evil world system that underlies society still exists, and it will remain until Jesus Christ returns and establishes His earthly kingdom. Sinful mankind cannot solve the world’s problems, for he is the world’s problem. We need help from Almighty God, and thankfully, He will solve our problems for us!

In today’s Scripture God the Father speaks to Jesus Christ (quoting Psalm 45:6,7, which describes the LORD, demonstrating Christ’s deity; notice the Father calls Christ, “God”). Jesus Christ’s kingdom will be one of righteousness and justice—a staff of righteousness is the staff of His kingdom. God’s will shall always be accomplished in it. Iniquity will not be tolerated, and it will be dealt with promptly. God’s idea of “hope and change?” Jesus Christ ruling heaven and earth, thus solving the sin problem. What a glorious day that will be! 🙂

The Word Was Made Flesh

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

“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).

On this Christmas Day, we reflect on the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The candidate who could solve man’s sin problem had to meet two requirements. He had to be God, and He had to be man—a “God-Man.” It had to be God, because God’s righteousness had to be satisfied, but it also had to be man, for it was man who had sinned. God’s righteousness was offended, since “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). But, it was also a man who had sinned, “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Consider Philippians 2:5-8: “Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” In short, heaven’s best—Jesus Christ—came to save earth’s worst—us! In summary, Jesus Christ was born to die for us.

Brethren, the salvation that we enjoy today in Christ could not be possible without the shed blood of Christ on Calvary’s cross, and the shed blood of Christ could not be possible without the incarnation of Christ! God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and in order for Him to shed sinless blood, He had to first have blood. Thus, it behooved Jesus Christ to take upon Himself the form of a man. It was at this time of year that God the Son entered the virgin Mary’s womb, possessing a body that was conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Remember, “The Word was made flesh” (today’s Scripture) so we could have an opportunity to be “made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Merry Christmas!

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

Psalm 23 in HD #3

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3 KJV).

Cutting through the “static” of religious, traditional thinking, we present to you Psalm 23 in HD, dispensationally delivered with astounding clarity.

“He restoreth my soul.” The human soul is naturally rebellious. It devises wicked, anti-God thoughts, which thoughts lead to actions (sinful acts). Each human soul needs to be rescued from its sinful condition; otherwise, upon physical death, those souls will be lost to everlasting degeneration and conscious suffering in the lake of fire (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ is the way we sinners escape this deserved eternal damnation.

David, who wrote today’s Scripture, penned in Psalm 32:1,2: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” This describes a believing Jew in Israel’s program (1 John 2:12). In Romans 4:6-8, Paul quotes some of that to describe our salvation in the Dispensation of Grace.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making simple the wise” (Psalm 19:7). The Hebrew word translated “converting” is rendered “restoreth” in today’s Scripture. How does God “restore” (“convert”) the human soul? With His Word! “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). In Israel’s program, a Jew is converted by trusting Jesus as his Messiah/Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16; John 11:27; Acts 8:37; 1 John 5:1-14).

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” After our dispensation, the nation Israel, who is currently nationally blinded, will be saved (Romans 11:25-27). At Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, He will blot out Israel’s national sins by instituting the New Covenant (Acts 3:19-26; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:16,17; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34). They will receive the same forgiveness we have now in Christ (Romans 5:11). According to the New Covenant, God will write His righteous laws in Israel’s heart, and they will serve Him faithfully forever, bringing glory to His name.

Walking in the Spirit #5

Monday, October 8, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, and this identity should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

In Romans 8:1-14, Paul describes the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit in us believers. For instance, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (verse 1). While often assumed to be soul salvation, its context (the previous chapter, 7) is actually sanctification, how God has separated us from common mankind for His purposes—made us holy, or saints—which identity will now influence our lifestyles.

Romans 8:2-4 reads: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death [the performance-based acceptance system of religion]. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh [we, our flesh, could not obey God’s law], God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

As today’s Scripture amplifies, we Christians have new life in Christ. God’s Spirit makes this new life real to us: He works in us to fulfill the Law (Romans 8:4). We cannot keep the Law, either for soul salvation or for Christian living. However, Jesus Christ’s perfect crosswork satisfies the Law, thus paying for our sins (our failure to keep the Law). This makes us Christians accepted of God (Ephesians 1:6). This same principle allows the Holy Spirit to then transfer our new identity in Christ to our lifestyles—thus producing Jesus Christ’s lifestyle in ours.

To “walk in the Spirit” as today’s Scripture exhorts, means we Christians simply place our faith in this doctrine. The Holy Spirit will then work in us to produce God’s righteousness in our lives.

Walking in the Spirit #2

Friday, October 5, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, and this identity should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

Sadly, it is often assumed—even by some professing grace believers—that grace is a license to sin. Since “[we] are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14b), some erroneously conclude that we are free to live any way we want. Verse 15 cautions us, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!!].” God’s grace teaches us to “[deny] ungodliness and worldly lusts” and it teaches us to live “soberly, righteously, and godly” (Titus 2:12).

In Galatians 5:13, we are exhorted: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Christ has made us free from the burden of the Mosaic Law, the “yoke of bondage” (verse 1), a system of rules we could never keep, but this does not mean that God does not care how we live.

We are not under Israel’s performance-based acceptance system. Nevertheless, grace teaches us that God fulfills in us believers the righteousness the Law demanded. Never should we abuse God’s grace by using it “for an occasion to the flesh;” grace should never be (ab)used to promote selfish living (preferring to serve sin rather than serve God and fellow Christians). Verses 14,15: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (verse 16). We have new life in Christ, and when we by faith let Him live His life in us, we will not live sinfully and selfishly (today’s Scripture).

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #7

Sunday, September 16, 2012

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection alone as sufficient payment for our sins, Christ’s righteousness—His perfect performance—has been applied to our account (imputation). We have a right standing before God (justification): “we [have been] made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We Christians need not strain to perform in religion, seeking God’s favor and acceptance. God already accepts us in Christ, because of what He did for us on Calvary’s cross! “God hath made us accepted in the beloved [Jesus Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6).

We are not under the Mosaic Law (Romans 6:14,15), but God still cares how we live. Once we understand and rest in God’s great love for us (His sacrifice of His Son on our behalf), it transforms our thinking (today’s Scripture). Since God loves us so much, we Christians should not selfishly live our lives, doing whatever we want. We should, by faith, offer our lives to Him so He can accomplish His will in and through us. As one Christian brother says, “Jesus Christ gave His life for us, so He could give His life to us when we trust Him alone, so He could live His life through us when we trust Him alone!”

Our Christian service is us studying and believing sound Pauline Bible doctrine, and then us letting the indwelling Holy Spirit use that doctrine to work in us (1 Thessalonians 2:13) to generate “the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God” (Philippians 1:11). These “fruits of righteousness” are Christ living His live in us, conforming our lifestyles to our position in Him.

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

We Troublemakers Are Grace Partakers #6

Monday, July 30, 2012

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9 KJV).

By God’s grace, we troublemakers can partake of the results of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary.

From today’s Scripture to verse 20, God’s Word proved that we are all sinners, offensive to God’s righteous standards (particularly, the Ten Commandments). The Mosaic Law was given “that the offence might abound” (Romans 5:20a): the Law clearly identifies and condemns man’s sins. Israel mistakenly believed the Mosaic Law would prove their “righteousness” (Deuteronomy 6:24,25)—it proved their unrighteousness, as it does ours, and proved God’s righteousness!

Romans 3:21ff. teaches that today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not demanding we keep any laws to gain His acceptance or forgiveness: the Dispensation of Law demonstrated that we sinners cannot measure up to His righteousness. So, God nailed the Mosaic Law that condemned us, on Calvary’s cross (Colossians 2:14), and replaced Israel’s performance-based acceptance system (Law) with His Jesus-based acceptance system (Grace)! “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:24).

Verses 26-28 conclude: “To declare, I say, at this time his [God’s] righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

We are justified by faith without works because Jesus Christ already worked for our salvation. We cannot boast that we worked for heaven; we can only brag that we could not work for heaven! Jesus Christ is well pleasing to God (Matthew 3:17), so when we trust His finished crosswork as the “propitiation,” the fully satisfying payment for our sins, God “accept[s] us in the beloved [in Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). Our sins and our “righteousness” are not the issue: Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice for our sins and His righteousness are!

Indeed, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20b). 🙂