A Miserable “Law-Keeper!”

Thursday, May 31, 2018

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:24,25 KJV).

As Paul closes Romans chapter 7, he is miserable and despondent. How he wants to be delivered from daily failures (religious bondage, legalism)! Suddenly, he realizes that he needs to thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Chapter 8 is the key to being rescued from all his daily disappointments and faults. He is to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh! He is to mind the things of the Spirit and not the things of the flesh!

Romans 8:1-6 is the key to Paul’s dilemma at the conclusion of chapter 7: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” We are to think the way the Holy Spirit thinks (grace), and that is how we guard against the predicament in chapter 7.

Today, read Romans chapters 6-8 in one sitting. Watch the truths in chapter 6 be ignored in chapter 7. Then, notice how they are reaffirmed and expanded in chapter 8. We are dead to sin (chapter 6), we are dead to the Law (chapter 7), and we are alive unto God by the indwelling Holy Spirit (chapter 8). “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).

Dear friends, we now close seven full years of “333 Words of Grace!” Only by God’s grace, onward into Year 8! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Law kill Paul?

A Right Choice

Saturday, May 26, 2018

“I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me” (Psalm 119:30 KJV).

Friend, have you made the right choice?

True, we did not have a choice in being born—that was our parents’ decision. However, now alive, we have a choice. On one hand, there is the path associated with the truth; on the other, trails rife with error. If we have some comprehension of right and wrong, God has given us the responsibility of making appropriate decisions concerning these routes. Never can we blame-shift—“God made me do it,” “This person caused me to be thus,” “I could not help what I became….” No, dear friend, we must be accountable.

Friend, wherever you are right now in life, you made the choices to get there. Good or bad, you and you alone decided. Are you where you had planned to be? Better off? Worse off? Way off? We all make mistakes, so we should not pretend to be sinless. The quicker we admit our poor decisions, the sooner we can replace them with better ones. Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Reading Ephesians chapter 4: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

What are some right choices? Try Ephesians 4:25-32, Romans 12:1-21, Colossians 3:1-25, and Galatians 5:13-26! 🙂

Dear Friends Divided!

Monday, May 14, 2018

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17,18 KJV).

Doctrine divides, dear friends—doctrine divides dear friends!

When the ecumenist laments, “Doctrine divides,” he or she (for once) is telling the truth. Dearest of friends, doctrine divides dearest of friends. It is asserted that false teachers “really are not that bad,” that “they can be reformed or salvaged,” that “they are entitled to their opinions as we ours.” We are urged, “Stop causing trouble by emphasizing doctrine and just preach the ‘love of Jesus!’ We can all be united as ‘Christians’ if nothing more.”

These last several months, I have learned firsthand (and most painfully!!) the closest-knit congregation is not immune to being split so mightily because it falls away from sound Bible doctrine. Intimate, long-time friends in the ministry have turned on me in the blink of an eye, becoming my enemies like I have never even dreamed. Once Christians turn away from the truth, Satan wastes no time to penetrate the group with as much as error as he possibly can. When the assembly reaches that point, your numerous warnings have been ignored, it is apparent that you can do nothing but apply today’s Scripture. With a broken heart (!), you have to give those precious brethren over to what they want.

So emotionally driven, these brethren passionately defend the false teacher and make you appear as the evil one. Be not surprised! When they have no sound Bible doctrine on which to stand, they, being deceived, will speak vicious, offensive words about you for calling attention to doctrinal error. You can and should pray for them (1 Corinthians 1:4-10), you can and should forgive them as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32), but things will never be the same between you and them as long Heaven is far away. The ministry is not for wimps, dear friends, the ministry is not for wimps!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What do you mean—‘the prophetic program’ and ‘the mystery program?’

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 13, 2018

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 KJV).

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this devotional to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 30 years… my mom!

Today’s Scripture is the first verse of the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). King Solomon explained that the virtuous woman:

  • has a husband who safely trusts in her (verses 11,12).
  • is not lazy, but is strong because she works to feed and clothe her family and herself (verses 13-19,21,22,24,25,27).
  • pities the poor and needy (verse 20).
  • has a husband who is well-known because of her godly lifestyle (verse 23).
  • opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindly and lovingly (verse 26).
  • has children and a husband who praise her (verse 28).
  • excels in what she does (verse 29).
  • has works that praise her (verse 31).

Verse 30 explains the virtuous woman is “a woman that feareth the LORD.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that godly women should: not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol and emotions (sober minded), be teachers of good things, love their husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) their husbands… “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters).

A Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest!

 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO OUR READERS WHO ARE MOTHERS!

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

To Know Your Christian Life

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid (Romans 6:14,15 KJV).

Friend, have you ever wondered how to know your Christian life?

Long ago, a ministry coworker trusted Christ. Weeks later, his mentor inquired, “Do you find it hard to live the Christian life?” My friend said yes. The wise man replied, “No, it is impossible.” As my friend grew disheartened, the man clarified, “You cannot live the Christian life. Only Jesus Christ can live His life!

Religionists have taught us to make ourselves holy so God will accept us. Water baptisms, commandments, penance, vows of poverty, prayers, confessions, and tithes are allegedly “stepping stones” to gaining God’s fellowship. “Faith without works is dead,” they always like to remind us (James chapter 2—Israel’s verses!). They erroneously believe that successful Christian living means our works (cf. today’s Scripture). We live in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2); therefore, we are under grace not law! Still, that does not mean that God does not care how we live.

Titus chapter 2: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Here is grace living. God gave you in Christ forgiveness of all your sins forever. What will you do? Keep asking for daily forgiveness—or just enjoy what He already gave you? He redeemed you; Christ’s blood paid to release you from sin’s slave market. What will you do? Ignore it and keep sinning? It is Christ’s life in and through you, not you living for Him (Philippians 1:21). Most believers have no understanding of grace doctrine; consequently, they are confused, burdened, and frustrated. When you simply rest in God’s provisions in Christ, though, what liberty, understanding, and joy. Christian living depends on God’s works! 🙂

For more information about Christian living, you may see: https://forwhatsaiththescriptures.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/lords-will-for-christians/.

NOTE: Having expanded upon the “Original 7 studies” for the fifth time, our fifth foundation (studies #2501-#2507) is now installed. Onward we press in maturity… and to #3000! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why ‘unclean until the even?’

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 1, 2018

“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).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

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

Serving!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be by love serving one another.

There is a prevailing myth about the Gospel of Grace. When we quote Colossians 2:13 about total forgiveness of all trespasses,” someone immediately opposes with, “Grace is a license to sin! If I had complete forgiveness of all sins, I would live any way I wanted to live!” Oh, dear friend, you were doing that quite well before you came to Christ, yes? You were living “any way” you wanted to live long before you heard the Gospel of Grace. Be not silly in suggesting then that you need grace to sin!

Father God set us free from sin, not for us to then place ourselves back under its bondage. Immediately after writing, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20), the Holy Spirit anticipated an objection. We hear that protest even today. The Spirit’s answer 2,000 years ago is valid now as it was then.

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

Brethren, we are dead, crucified with Christ, risen with Christ, free from sin’s control. We do not have to serve sin! Now, we have been enabled to “serve God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9) and “by love serve one another” (today’s Scripture).