Nothing But the Blood #2

Monday, May 7, 2018

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the second verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

The God of Israel “pardoneth iniquity.” Why? He “passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage.” Why? He “retaineth not his anger for ever.” Why? How can He do these things? “He delighteth in mercy.” The God of the Bible is compassionate. Furthermore, He actually takes pleasure in holding back what we sinners deserve! How will He accomplish this? The Prophet Micah does not have the complete picture. All he can say is that wicked Israel, facing divine judgment (the fifth course of chastisement—the Babylonian captivity), will be forgiven one day. The LORD God will not be eternally angry at Israel!

In his Book, Micah also speaks of the (yet future) Tribulation period and violent, wrathful Second Coming of Christ. Despite that destruction, the Holy Spirit allows Micah to see Israel’s ultimate pardon. While there will be fury, there will also be mercy. God will hold back what sinful Israel deserves. How can He be fair, and yet not punish them to the extent that they deserve? With the revelation of the mystery, the Pauline revelation, now we see. It is on the basis of Christ’s shed blood!

Returning to Romans chapter 3, part of God’s Word to Paul: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;….” The “remission [forgiveness] of sins that are past” (cf. Hebrews 9:22b)—the cleansing of Israel’s sins—is found in the cross of Christ.

Nothing but the blood indeed….

Nothing But the Blood #1

Sunday, May 6, 2018

“…and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22b KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the first verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

When evangelizing, sharing the Gospel of the Grace of God with others, it is tantamount for the Christian to get right to the heart of the matter. The existence of sin should be pointed out at the earliest possible moment. No matter what religion the prospective convert is, he or she has a sin problem. Rather than saying, “This is wrong,” or “That is errant,” inquire, “What are you going to do with your sin?”

They can argue with us about history, theology, holy books, characters and countries, but they cannot deny their sin problem. We thus ask, “How are you going to take care of your sins?” Such a profound question reaches the very depths of that precious soul. Perhaps never has this person realized their terrible eternal fate! No world religion has a dependable answer. Why? Religion, no matter its name, emphasizes some works on the individual’s part. It is quite fearful to realize you cannot help yourself! Christianity, however, reaches beyond our feeble (failing!) attempts to please God.

Sin stains and divides the human soul, but Jesus Christ’s shed blood cleanses and binds it! Romans chapter 3 declares that glorious message: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Nothing but the blood of Christ indeed….

Who Neither Receive Nor Believe

Monday, April 30, 2018

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet” (Matthew 10:14 KJV).

As Jesus Christ sent forth His 12 Apostles to preach to Israel, He warned them of rejection.

Once, a Christian couple wanted to watch a Bible study television program. As it began, family members in the room scattered. They had other things to do… and how urgently they had to do them! Soon, it was just the man and woman tuned in to the program. No doubt some of these “deserters” had testimonies of having trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.

Another Christian husband and wife offered a Gospel tract to a businessman visiting their home. Noticeably irritated, he refused, “Give it to someone who will read it. One thing I do not talk about is religion!” The flesh refuses to submit to God’s authority. It does not matter whether it is a lost person’s flesh (the businessman) or a saved person’s flesh (the family that participated in the “swift stampede”)!

Dear Christian friend, you have probably experienced the above before. (You have had people refuse the Bible information you have offered them, right?!) Maybe you once ran away from the Gospel as a lost person yourself. Perhaps you fled from the rightly divided Scriptures as a saved person. Now, having trusted Christ Jesus as your personal Saviour, having learned Paul is your apostle, you experience what the Christians endured when trying to tell you the truth. They usually refuse you too, huh?

Have you ever been tempted to quit? A lot more people would listen to you if you threw aside that King James Bible. Many more would come to your Bible studies if you taught church tradition and works-religion. Like today’s false “Christian” teachers, you would have millions upon millions of followers and millions upon millions of dollars. Yet, we value free will. If they do not want to hear the truth, then we have better things to do with our time. Provided that we carefully search for them, we will discover that there are lost people who want to hear the Gospel and saved people who want to hear pure Bible doctrine for successful Christian living. Find them! 🙂

Paul’s Stocks and Bonds

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks (Acts 16:23,24 KJV).

Financial stocks and bonds are sources of great wealth. The Apostle Paul, although poor (2 Corinthians 11:27; Philippians 4:11-13), had much experience with “stocks” and “bonds.”

As the context of today’s Scripture proves (verse 12 onward), he, Silas, Luke, and others travel to Philippi (northern Greece) to preach the Gospel of Grace. A Gentile religious woman, Lydia, and an unnamed devil-possessed slave girl are two of their converts. The girl’s owners—furious that their “money-making machine” has disappeared—drag Paul and Silas into the marketplace (court). There, they persuade the authorities to arrange for the Apostles to be beaten with rods (“caning”). Paul and Silas receive “many stripes [wounds].”

Paul and Silas are then imprisoned, eventually evangelizing the jailor and his household (today’s Scripture to the chapter’s end). While captive, their feet are “fast [secure] in the stocks.” The “stocks” were an instrument of punishment consisting of an adjustable wooden structure with holes for securing a person’s hands and feet. Confined to such a device, criminals could be subject to public ridicule and abuse of all kinds. What torture Paul and Silas were willing to endure for our Lord Jesus Christ!

Later, in Acts 20:22-24, Paul confessed: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” These “bonds” are chains, shackles, instruments of imprisonment. The Apostle is in “bonds” in Acts 25:14; Acts 26:29; Ephesians 6:20; Philippians 1:7,13-16; Colossians 4:3,18; 2 Timothy 2:9; and Philemon 10 and 13.

“Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound(2 Timothy 2:9).

Growing, Multiplying, and Prevailing

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31 KJV).

Despite the persecution, the Word of God will be proclaimed, it will grow, it will multiply, and it will prevail!

In chapter 3, Apostles Peter and John heal the lame man who has sat at the Temple gate for many years. Peter begins to deliver his second sermon in Jerusalem, urging apostate Israel to repent and prepare for (resurrected) Jesus Christ’s return. As chapter 4 opens, the nation’s religious leaders are very displeased to hear about the Lord Jesus. They imprison Peter and John, releasing them after threatening them and telling them not to preach at all in Jesus’ name. Today’s Scripture is believing Israel’s prayer to God that they might speak His Word with confidence in the midst of mistreatment.

We read in Acts 6:7, several months later: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Once chapter 12 begins, King Herod kills the Apostle James brother of John. He is trying to silence God’s message by slaying God’s messenger. As prideful Herod gives a speech, “immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten with worms, and gave up the ghost” (verse 23). In contrast to its now-deceased opponent, But the word of God grew and multiplied” (verse 24). Describing the Apostle Paul’s Gentile ministry out in modern Turkey, far from Jerusalem, Acts 19:20 says: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” These pagans gave up their witchcraft and other occult practices, and they embraced sound Bible doctrine!

While Satan throughout the Book of Acts tried his absolute best to stamp out God’s Word, to prevent it from spreading, he failed. It “prevailed.” However, he is active today, 20 centuries later, still tirelessly opposing it via governmental oppression and corrupting it through religious tradition. As Acts demonstrates, however, he is fighting a losing battle! Praise the Lord! Like before, “so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed!

Not Hearing God’s Words #6

Sunday, July 30, 2017

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47 KJV).

Friend, have you ever talked to a lost person about the Bible? Have you also ever spoken to another Christian about the Bible? If you paid attention to both scenarios, you will recall that they were two drastically different conversations. There was such disconnect when dealing with the lost person whereas there was more receptivity on the part of the Christian (usually). Why? Today’s Scripture highlights the reason.

Considering John chapter 8, the Lord Jesus’ conversation with unsaved and disbelieving religionists, we see typified our interactions with such individuals today. When we present spiritual issues, they can respond only in fleshly or material terms. To them, the Scriptures are nonsense: spiritual insanity afflicts them. Focusing on their works, they do not believe God’s message to them. Lacking spiritual insight, they have no ability to see they are lost, enslaved to sin. They cannot handle the message, so they resort to petty name-calling and other personal attacks directed toward us (the messengers). Convicted, they seek to harm, silence, imprison, and even kill us—using whatever means available to them.

Sadly, some believers behave similarly when we attempt to share the rightly-divided Bible with them. They entertain such shallow, manmade perceptions of Scripture. Did you notice the parenthetical “usually” in the introduction? Most lost people refuse to hear the Gospel. Usually, Christian people will talk about the Bible, albeit loosely. Once you delve into the “meat”—deeper things such as the Dispensation of Grace—they behave as lost people. Thinking and walking in the energy of their flesh, they too love religion, human “goodness.” They rebel against those “grace” verses you cite! Second Timothy 2:26 speaks of they “that oppose themselves… [in] the snare of the devil… taken captive by him at his will.” Such Christians, polluted by religious tradition and non-dispensational Bible understanding, cooperate with the Adversary… to defeat themselves!

Thankfully, there are lost people who want to receive the Gospel by faith. They are still coming to trust in Christ every day. Thankfully, there are some Christians who still want to receive the rightly divided Bible. They too are coming to God’s light… “hearing God’s words” also!

Sharing With Caution

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you (Matthew 7:6 KJV).

Share the Word with caution!

A young man, a Bible believer, recently contacted me to ask about a specific centuries-old religious topic. Having had a heated discussion with an acquaintance, he was seeking answers and assistance. I was delighted to share with him some pertinent Bible verses and history to guard himself against particular theological errors. In closing, I cautioned him that that information was for his personal use, not for the contentious, ill-informed, and close-minded individual he had dealt with earlier.

Proverbs 26:4-5 reminds us: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” Yes, sometimes, we strictly limit how much sound Bible doctrine we share with certain people. We dare not argue with them, especially once they refuse to be taught plain and simple Bible truths. Scripture says we must “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:15-17)—we cannot fight every battle. We choose our battles very carefully, never expending time and energy when it could be used better elsewhere. You will encounter two extremes: those who want to hear nothing from the Bible and those who want to hear everything from it. There are many of the former—and precious few of the latter. With experience, you will recognize them when you see them!

The Lord Jesus Christ instructed, paraphrased, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” Or, do not give something valuable—namely, the Word of God—over to people who will not appreciate it. They can talk about how much they “love” Jesus, how religious they are, or how many Bible verses they have memorized. However, when you share the Bible with them, they flat-out reject it. You see the real them, beyond the superficial, on the inside, what they really think about the God’s Word. Brethren, we should be willing to spend as much time as possible with those who are interested in the truth. However, we will not waste our time on those more concerned with error!