Only What is Done By Christ

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11 KJV).

“One day this life will soon be passed, only what is done by Christ will last.”

A Christian preacher’s obituary publicized how he had attended three seminaries and earned a doctorate in theology. In his lifetime, he taught at several seminaries and colleges, and pastored numerous local churches. He enjoyed training men and women for the ministry, with his hundreds of students becoming missionaries, preachers, and seminary teachers. Moreover, he led 30 tours to “the Holy Land.” His four sons were pastors, and his daughter married a pastor. Certainly, much was achieved—but was it Christ in him?

Our human viewpoint has its limitations. Indeed, we can evaluate their performance by comparing it to a denomination’s checklist. They were water baptized, confessed their sins, founded or joined local churches, studied theology books, traveled to foreign lands as “missionaries,” memorized prayers, taught religion classes, visited homes to distribute “inspirational literature,” and so on. According to the denomination, they are in a right standing before God. However, the Lord looks beyond outward performance; He stares right down into the person’s very heart. What He wants to see is faith in His words, Holy Scripture, and, unless it is trust in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us, it is but sinful flesh striving to copy the life of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, while the aforementioned preacher had a testimony of forgiveness of sins and eternal security in Christ, he was nevertheless a vehement Bible corrector. As always, we will let the Lord judge his malicious comments concerning Scripture. However, we do know that being indoctrinated with naturalistic textual criticism and manmade traditions is no substitute for the renewed mind and its resultant victorious Christian living. One can be saved and on his or her way to Heaven, but still think and behave ridiculously—even outright teaching false doctrine.

Never forget, dear friends, “One day this life will soon be passed, only what is done by Christ will last.” Our “hustle and bustle” in religion will amount to nothing. Only (!) what (!) Jesus (!) Christ (!) does (!) in (!) us (!) has (!) eternal (!) value (!).

Able to Teach Others

Thursday, January 19, 2023

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV).

Whenever anyone expresses thanks for our insightful Bible studies, I always answer, “As faithful brethren taught me, pointing me in the right direction, so I am glad to ground others in rightly divided Scripture!”

Many people want to be the center of attention in a local church or ministry. “I gave so much in the collection plate, this building will be named after me!” “Watch me lift my hands, dance, clap, and speak in an ‘angelic tongue’—I am so spiritual, and you had better join me or you will feel left out!” After all, with the preachers flashing their exquisite jewelry and modeling their costly attire, the commoners see no wrong in seeking the praise of men too. Yet, what really matters forever is overlooked—sound Bible teaching!

Several years ago, I asked our pastor why his wife taught the church during Sunday School (which I never attended for that very reason). He replied, “There is no man here who can teach!” Not realizing it, he spoke to his shame. Why could no men in his congregation teach the Word of God? He was negligent in teaching them, for he was a babe in Christ too! Furthermore, when I shared sound Bible doctrine with him, he fought it fervently and retained his church traditions!

It is a sad commentary, but millions of Christian women are totally ignorant of Scripture because their husbands have not taught them anything meaningful either. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…” (Ephesians 5:23). In fact, you can even find these women leading marriages because their men are spiritual absentees. This tragedy severely crippled the Corinthian church, with the “flamboyant women” abusing spiritual gifts because the men failed to teach them proper conduct in the local assembly (see 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35)!

As you have been taught the Bible here, dear saints, so teach the same information to others, and you will dispel the ignorance that has gripped so many for so long.

Whom We Have Believed

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).

It is not so much what we have believed, but whom we have believed!

When asked about his religious persuasion, a prominent individual readily admitted total confusion. He actually confessed that he did not know what he believed, though he did sense a “higher power” (a vague comment on which he could not elaborate because he was at a loss for words). This man is quite ill-fated, particularly because he lives in a nation with “Christian” church buildings on nearly every street corner and Bibles in almost every home (or, at least, internet access to a Bible!). God the Holy Spirit revealed, inspired, preserved, and translated His Book—the Holy Bible—so we would not be ignorant (uninformed, untaught) unless we chose to be!

Indeed, Satan, “the god of this world,” hides our gospel from them who are lost, for he “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” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). Yet, as Almighty God enabled us to overcome that darkness so we could learn His will for us (see John 7:17), if they are willing to step into the light, He will give them the same spiritual awareness He has given us. The problem lies in their lack of readiness to see what He has already furnished.

Yet, Christianity is much more than believing something. As we gather from today’s Scripture, it is about believing Someone, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we have entrusted our soul’s eternal wellbeing. After all, if the God-Man shedding His sinless blood and rising from the dead cannot save us from our sins, then we are truly doomed forever. However, unlike those who “do not know what to believe,” separate from those who “do not know who to believe,” “[we] know whom [we] have believed, and [are] persuaded that he is able to keep [guard, protect] that which [we] have committed unto him [our souls and spirits] against that day!” 🙂

A Life That Will Please

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

A Book That Will Teach

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone we can trust to teach us God’s truth!

Once, I heard a minister give his self-proclaimed “prophetic” message about top headlines that would appear in the coming year. While he reassured his audience that he received this information directly from “the Lord” (?), he gave a disclaimer: “I do not know, but at the end of this year, we will see if what I say came to pass.” Unlike the inner impressions and hunches of this “Christian” preacher, the Holy Bible is infallible, and we can trust its information completely.

Long, long ago, God Almighty wrote a Book, and He preserved it through history through a multiplicity of manuscript copies, so that it could eventually be translated into English, so we could read it even today! (Of course, Satan, the master counterfeiter that he is, most certainly had his own manuscripts—they still circulate today as corrupt Bible translations.) God promised to preserve His words forever (Psalm 12:6,7; Isaiah 30:8; Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25). Consequently, every person will stand before Him one day to give account as to what he or she did with that Bible. Did we reject it in favor of counterfeits? Did we re-translate it to fit our denominational beliefs? Did we apply it to life by faith? Did we even read it at all?

As English-speaking people, we understand—or, at least, we should understand—that we can trust the 400-year-old King James Bible. Sadly, even in many church circles, we are often cautioned not to trust God’s preserved Word. Unfortunately, footnotes, study notes, and seminarians usually attempt to claim that authority by offering “better” readings or “better” manuscripts. Beloved, we can do without unbelieving textual critics and their “scholarship.” God does not need lost people to explain His Word to His children; He never did and He never will (1 Corinthians 2:14). Never forget that!

The Holy Spirit will teach us the King James Bible if we “read” (Ephesians 3:4), “study” (2 Timothy 2:15), and “consider” it (2 Timothy 2:7)!

Redeem the Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

What great advice for 2023!

Despite 2,000 years of Bible schools and seminaries, 2,000 years of a completed Bible canon, 2,000 years of Bible reading in churches, several decades of “Christian” television and radio, and just over a decade of widespread use of “Christian” websites, how sad that Bible ignorance is still quite extensive (it is as if God never gave His Word to start with!).

Frankly, the Church the Body of Christ needs to wake up! The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (verse 14). Paul, loosely quoting Isaiah 60:1, reminded us that the spiritual ignorance that gripped Israel in Isaiah’s day seized Christians in his day—and it still grips Christians 20 centuries later. Feel-good sermons, enjoyable “worship” services, and rites, rituals, and ceremonies will NOT solve this problem—they exacerbate it!

“[God] will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Do you want this New Year to count for God’s glory? First, you need to get saved from sins and hell! You need to become a Christian by trusting in and relying on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). That is only part of God’s will for you, for 1 Timothy 2:4b continues, “[God] will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now, God’s will for your Christian life is daily, personal Bible study to renew your mind, so your faith in those verses can cause God to work in your life—it will be His life, thus making you “perfect [spiritually mature], throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Today’s Scripture urges us to buy back the time Satan has robbed from God (time created for God’s glory). By faith, we need to make that time glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by applying His Word, particularly Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to our lives. Have a good year in Christ! 🙂

You can download our free “One-Year Bible Reading Schedule.”

See our archived Bible Q&A: “What Scriptural advice can you give me for the New Year?

The Person of the Year

Saturday, December 31, 2022

“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…” (Philippians 2:9,10a KJV).

Let us praise the 2022 Person of the Year—our Lord Jesus Christ!

Society’s most stressful time of year, the Christmas Season, is winding down. The year 2022 is nearly over, and a new year, 2023, will dawn soon. At this time every year, various groups and publications feature their particular choice for “Person of the Year.” Whether a chief of state, a philanthropist, a religious leader, a distinguished author or scientist, a television or radio personality, or some other “professional” who impacted society in a negative or positive way the most during the past year, they are all still people with limitations and frailties. One can accomplish all sorts of praiseworthy, generous, and awe-inspiring feats. However, what carries the most weight is the attitude, the heart, underlying the action, not the action. Was it Jesus Christ, or simply the flesh?

The one single event in history that pleased God the Father most was when His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, went by faith in His Word, to an awful Roman cross to suffer the worst possible and most graphic death a human ever experienced, to pay for our sins. “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:11). It is through that finished crosswork of Jesus Christ that He is still doing mighty works, 20 centuries later. How our Lord Jesus Christ has saved countless souls from sins and hell this past year, and how He has saved innumerable Christian souls from false doctrine and spiritual ruin.

Jesus Christ, who in death defeated His greatest enemy (Satan), was raised by God the Father and is now the ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Saints, may we ever thank and praise our Saviour Jesus Christ for what He has done for us, what He has done with us, and what He will do with us next year… and all the countless ages thereafter….

NOTE: Saints, believe it or not, we close yet another year of grace ministry. Thank you for your continued prayer and encouragement these last 12 months. We surely needed it. While we have come so very far, we still have so much more ground to cover, so much more sound Bible doctrine to learn and believe, and we look forward to serving you here for at least another year (provided our Lord Jesus Christ wills it). So, with that, I sign off for 2022. See you in 2023! 🙂

‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2022

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV).

Let us not be so sidetracked by religion and commercialization that we miss the reason for the Christmas Season….

During the Christmas Season, we wonder how many people are visiting church for the second time this year (the other being Easter Sunday). How many will be going to church today—the Sunday before Christmas—just to feel “religious” or “holy?” How many really know Jesus Christ? For many, visiting a church building is just an obligation; they do not have faith in God’s Word and have no interest in God’s Word.

We do not go to church to “feel closer to God,” for if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we cannot be any closer to God than we already are in Christ! “[Before salvation, we were] without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh [close to God] by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12,13).

Furthermore, we do not go to church in order to get God’s blessings, for God has already given us “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We go to church, not because we are keeping Israel’s Sabbath day, since we are not obligated to observe Israel’s religious days (Colossians 2:16). We go to church to fellowship with like-minded believers and hear sound doctrine… more than twice a year, by the way.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy that whenever he would assemble with fellow Christians, certain behavior was acceptable and other types of behavior were not (described throughout the epistle of 1 Timothy). Recall that when the Bible refers to “the church,” it refers to the body of believers, not the physical building in which they meet.

As we get opportunities, let us make an effort to reach these dear souls misled by all the vain religious tradition and Christmas commercialization, and may we tell them of the wonderful Christ Jesus whose name is found in Christmas!

*Based on the poem “‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas.”

Scrooges and Christians

Friday, December 16, 2022

“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 5:17 KJV).

To the old identity, we say, “Bah, Humbug!” To the new, we say, “God has blessed us, everyone in Christ.”

Other than Jesus Christ’s conception and birth as found in the Holy Bible, there is one other classic story associated with Christmastime. British author Charles Dickens’ 1843 book, A Christmas Carol, focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge (the novella has some Christian influence).

From the onset, Scrooge is a wealthy, miserable, mean, stingy, and selfish old man. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is underpaid (yet, strangely, Ebenezer observes, Cratchit is cheerful). Scrooge refuses to donate to charities collecting for the destitute—to him, Christmastime is a time for others to “pick his pocket.” He even refuses to attend his nephew’s Christmas party. What a miser!

Through visitations by four Spirits—his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future—Scrooge is forced to realize what a thoroughly rotten man he is. Once confronted with his future, the awful events that lie ahead, he asks for another chance to make things right (which, thankfully, he receives and does!). The Scrooge at the end of the book is drastically different from the Scrooge at the beginning. Scrooge is now loving, warm, cheerful, and generous—he is a brand-new man.

Bible-believing Christians recognize parallels between Dickens’ work and the Holy Scriptures. The sinner starts off rotten, a rebel from birth—selfish, miserable, and mean. When he or she comes to realize that pitiful condition he or she is in, and comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins, God gives him or her a new identity (today’s Scripture). That identity is designed to influence subsequent actions. Scrooge did not simply change his outward activity; he had a change in heart first. This Christmas, let us be submissive to God’s Holy Spirit working in our hearts, as He uses sound Bible doctrine to manifest in our behavior our identity in Christ, that we be not Scrooges.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #5

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

“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! 🙂