Love or Hate?

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

“Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish” (Proverbs 12:1 KJV).

The Book of Proverbs is Divine wisdom for Israel as she experiences the deception of the end-times. As we see in today’s Scripture, there are those who are willing to hear that instruction from the LORD God. Moreover, there are those who are not willing to be corrected. May we be like the former and not the latter!

Let us read these other related verses found in Proverbs. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7). “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (12:15). “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke” (13:1). “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured” (13:18). “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent” (15:5). “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding” (15:32). “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” (23:9).

Though “fools make a mock at sin” (Proverbs 14:9), their levity is but for a moment. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). In chapter 5 of Proverbs, the rebellious reader, reaping the awful consequences of his foolish decisions, will confess in verses 12 and 13: “How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!”

In the Word of God rightly divided, we see “reproof” and “instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). By listening to it, we can “increase in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10). Yet, there is a common proclivity among many to “hate [such] reproof” (today’s Scripture). They are “brutish,” which is descriptive of the stupidity of cattle (the sense of the Hebrew word). So as to avoid being labeled with this pitiful trait, let us read and believe Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘As the LORD liveth?’

Know, Reckon, Yield, Obey! #3

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1,2 KJV).

Behold, the four keys to victorious Christian living as found in Romans chapter 6!

As it has been rightly stated, “Our Christian life will not operate on the basis of ignorance.” We must be educated in the Holy Bible rightly divided before we can live in accordance with it. Colossians chapter 2: “[6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: [7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” The key here is “as ye have been taught.” How sad it is that many church members are not taught—and, if they are “taught,” it is nothing but the opinions and traditions of men. Consequently, even the slightest push or pull from one “fad” doctrine or another is powerful enough to move them to an even less stable foundation.

There are many who accuse us of teaching “grace is a license to sin.” That is most definitely true in some groups, including certain alleged “grace circles,” but they are just as clueless of victorious Christian living as the denominationalists. Never, ever, ever, ever could we read Romans chapter 6 with any common sense and then conclude, “Grace does not care how I live. I will keep the same lifestyle before I came to Christ. No one will even know the difference between the ‘saved’ me and the ‘lost’ me!” Again, this is absolute ignorance, utter carelessness, and, unfortunately, it happens far too often than we care to think. Today’s Scripture again: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. [The strongest possible “No” in English.] How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Saints, the Bible is clear. We are dead to sin, and we are alive unto God… and that is that! You “know” it. Now, “reckon” it to be true. After that, “yield” your body parts. Finally, as you “yield,” “obey” what you “know” and “reckon!” 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How does Jesus ‘live’ in our hearts?

Know, Reckon, Yield, Obey! #2

Monday, September 28, 2020

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1,2 KJV).

Behold, the four keys to victorious Christian living as found in Romans chapter 6!

The third step to successful Christian living is yielding—surrendering or conceding to the will of God as revealed in sound Bible doctrine. Keep reading: “[13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

Last but not least, the final step to victorious Christian living is obeying—submitting to the will of God as revealed in sound Bible doctrine. Finish reading Romans chapter 6 for a review: “[15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [16] Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? [17] 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. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

“[19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. [20] For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. [21] What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. [22] But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. [23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Let us now summarize this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did John the Baptist behave so strangely?

Know, Reckon, Yield, Obey! #1

Sunday, September 27, 2020

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1,2 KJV).

Behold, the four keys to victorious Christian living as found in Romans chapter 6!

The first step to successful Christian living is knowing—possessing an awareness of sound Bible doctrine. Continue reading Romans chapter 6: “[3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

“[5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin. [8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.”

The second step to victorious Christian living is reckoning—taking into account sound Bible doctrine, then adopting it as your own view. Verses 11 and 12: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Since we are dead with Christ, we are dead to sin (its power over us). We have also been given resurrection life with Christ. As lost people, before we came to the Lord by faith, our sin nature and its resultant deeds were all we knew. Now, we have been given a new nature, and it will produce good works.

Let us look at the remaining two steps….

The Path of the Wicked

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away (Proverbs 4:14,15 KJV).

What should we do concerning “the path of the wicked?” How should we respond to “the way of evil men?”

Let us read today’s Scripture in context: “[14] Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. [15] Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. [16] For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. [17] For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. [18] But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. [19] The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”

As touching the “the path of the wicked” and “the way of evil men,” the Bible says it four different ways—“NO!” The first exhortation is “avoid it.” In fact, we are told to “pass not by it.” Do not even get close to it and be tempted to travel it! But, just in case you do decide to go down it, Scripture advises again—“turn from it!” Finally, it exhorts us to “pass away.” Stay as far from it as you possibly can. If you make a poor choice and end up on it, recognize the problem and escape it by making a good decision.

In the succeeding verses, the Holy Spirit describes the wicked as not going to sleep until they have done evil! In fact, they cannot sleep until they have contributed to making others sin. They feed on wickedness, and they carelessly drink up violence. In contrast, “[T]he path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Finally, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” So, we have two alternatives: the path of spiritual light (God’s Word rightly divided—especially Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), or the path of darkness (anything and everything else). Our choice!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who wrote Romans—Paul, or Tertius?

Glory Not in Thyself!

Friday, September 25, 2020

“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” (2 Corinthians 10:17,18 KJV).

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

Obituaries are death notices of people, often with a short biography attached. They are small glimpses into their life. You can read their age, education and occupation, survivors, and burial information. There might be a section that contains their interests, hobbies, and other activities that occupied their spare time. Usually, some insight will be gained concerning their spiritual or religious life—namely, church or denominational membership.

Just the other day, I read the obituary of a local “celebrity.” One paragraph opened: “She was very involved with her community and belonged to many civic organizations and clubs.” A list of eight groups followed! Then, another sentence: “She received many awards and achievements from….” A list of nine awards followed. There is absolutely nothing wrong in enjoying helping people—youth, the disabled, the poor, and so on. Yet, why are we engaged in these behaviors? Is it because our church demanded we do good works, that we may one day use them as “leverage” to convince God we can meet His righteous standard and be let into Heaven? Such are useless works of the flesh, profiting nothing in eternity! Or, was it Jesus Christ living His life in and through us as we walked by faith in His Word to us? That alone will matter forever!

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God (1 Corinthians 4:1-5).

333’s 3400th – Grace Living and Grace Planning

Sunday, September 20, 2020

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6,7 KJV).

Dear readers, only by God’s grace, we mark 3,400 devotionals!

Saints, with each passing day, we draw closer to our Lord Jesus Christ’s return. Yet, Scripture provides no exact date concerning when our Dispensation of Grace will end. As it has been aptly quantified, “We should live like Christ is coming within the next 10 minutes, but we should plan like He is not coming for the next 10 years.” On one hand, we Christians should be careful how we conduct ourselves, for if He returned in just a few moments, would He find us conformed to this world or transformed by the renewing of our mind? On the other hand, we should not be lethargic as if His arrival is soon, for if He did not come for a long while, we would then be wasting time we could have redeemed for His glory!

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). If you noticed, the will of God is described in a three-fold manner: “good, acceptable, and perfect.” These are degrees of spiritual growth, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding—the Christian moving from making merely “good” decisions, to “acceptable” choices, to “perfect” (mature) decisions.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). These last 3,400 days, we have studied and believed the King James Bible rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15), better acquainting ourselves with God’s present dealings with man. Yet, there is room for much more learning and growth! Whether or not our Lord comes for us soon, onward to devotional #3500! 🙂

Remember, links to all our previous devotionals are archived on the following passage: https://333wordsofgrace.org/master-list-of-devotionals-chronological/.

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #5

Thursday, September 10, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

The Mount of Transfiguration actually previews Christ’s Second Coming. Matthew records: “[16:27] For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. [28] Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. [17:1] And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, [2] And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Did you see how Jesus’ “face” glowed? This foreshadows His glorious return, when He radiates before the nation Israel!

In Paul’s Gospel, we see the invisible Godhead manifested in the Person (“face”) of Jesus Christ. Second Corinthians chapter 4: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [5] For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. [6] For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [7] But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

King David, representing Israel’s Little Flock expecting Christ’s return, prayed: “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake” (Psalm 31:16). As the Levitical high priests blessed Israel—“The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee” (Numbers 6:25)—so the Lord Jesus Christ will do it prophetically! 🙂

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #4

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

Read from Psalm 80: “[1] Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. [2] Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. [3] Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [4] O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?….”

“[7] Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. [8] Thou hast brought a vine [Israel!] out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. [9] Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land…. [14] Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; [15] And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. [16] It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance…. [18] So will not we go back from thee: quicken [resurrect!] us, and we will call upon thy name. [19] Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

The curses of the Law have come upon sinful Israel (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). God has righteously judged her land with extreme hardship—political collapse, military defeat, Gentile oppression, illness, death, pestilence, drought and famine, and so on. The Prophet Daniel confesses his people’s sin, adding: “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the LORD’S sake” (Daniel 9:17). Likewise, Israel’s believing remnant in Psalms acknowledges their nation’s sins, and asks for Christ’s Second Coming to set everything right again….

God’s Face Shining Upon Us #3

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah (Psalm 67:1 KJV).

For the next several days, let us study Psalm 67 and see how it is but a small glimpse into the future.

In the Tabernacle (Moses’ ministry onward), JEHOVAH God manifested His glory: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). When King Solomon constructed the Jerusalem Temple five centuries later, “…the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:11). By the time of the Prophet Ezekiel 300 years later, the Jews have sinned to such a degree that, “…the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims…. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city” (Ezekiel 10:18; Ezekiel 11:23).

With Israel breaking the Old Covenant by engaging in heathen idolatry, God will continue to hide His face from them (Deuteronomy 31:14-21). Regarding the LORD’S presence leaving Israel six centuries before Christ, He declared: “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek [!] my [!] face [!]: in their affliction they will seek me early. [Israel’s believing remnant confesses….] Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight” (Hosea 5:15–6:2).

Now, carefully re-read Psalm 67 and Psalm 85. Israel’s believing remnant confesses their national sin of idolatry committed for thousands of years. Also, the Little Flock prays for the Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. The face of God—hiding from Israel (He has left Jerusalem and returned to Heaven)—will at last be seen (cf. today’s Scripture). “And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him” (Isaiah 8:17)….