The Faithful God

Friday, February 22, 2019

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV).

Indeed, “But God is faithful…!”

For some time now, I have been counseling with grace Christian friends enduring uninterrupted, quite awful, misfortunes. Whether legal problems, financial issues, or serious health threats, they are all facing one overriding decision. They have reached that dreaded crossroads (which we have all faced, or will eventually). Do they remain with the sound Bible doctrine they have believed and preached? Or, cast it aside under the immense weight of burdens? After all, where could God possibly be? Why does He not intervene and prevent the afflictions? How can evil just continue to triumph?

Never should the Christian—especially the grace believer—look at dire circumstances and wonder whatever happened to God. Dear friend, God went nowhere! Is His Spirit not eternally indwelling us who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour?! “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep [guard] by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us (2 Timothy 1:13,14). The Holy Spirit in us gave Timothy (and us) “the form of sound words”—a pattern or outline of Pauline words to believe. Satan, God’s enemy, aims to divorce us from it; hence, we are admonished to “hold fast” or grip it tightly and firmly and not let it go! If we abandon God’s words to us, His power is absent, and we are utterly helplessness when Satan attacks.

Brethren, we can sit and wallow in self-pity, or (!) we can renew our minds with Romans through Philemon. God faithfully delivered us that form of sound (nourishing) words. Through Christ, He has enabled us to endure ALL (!) of life’s situations—good and bad (Philippians 4:11-13). Now, frankly, we firmly hold and put into practice by faith what we claimed to originally believe. Regardless of our circumstances, the doctrine remains true!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why do Daniel 1:1 and Jeremiah 25:1 conflict?

What is God Doing? #22

Saturday, January 26, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Romans 5:1-5 says, “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Long-term, we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This is our heavenly abode, our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ. Once sinners, “come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we are now saints, appointed to glorify the God of the Bible in Heaven. Short-term, until then, we must endure “tribulations” (troubles). Rather than fear them as Divine punishment, we “glory” (or find value) in them. We are justified, having “peace with God,” never worrying about seeing His angry face or coming under His wrathful hand.

Tribulations can benefit us—they can work patience fully (peace under pressure), that patience can work experience fully (skill in circumstances), that experience can work hope fully (complete confidence in God’s promises coming to pass), and that hope will neither fail nor disappoint, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

When we understand what God is doing, and what He is not doing, then we will begin to comprehend His boundless love for us. This “love of Christ” is featured in Ephesians 3:19, which love we are to experience and fathom. When all is accomplished, the goal is “that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” All control over our lives has thus been surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ….

Scrooges and Christians

Sunday, December 16, 2018

“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

Friday, December 7, 2018

“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! 🙂

A Recipe for Disaster

Monday, November 26, 2018

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).

Can we possess God’s Word and it not benefit us?

From the time He created man and placed him on Earth, the God of the Bible has extended a message for man’s faith and obedience. While a written Bible was not always available to man, there was God’s spoken Word. That message changed through time because man changed. These individual Divine revelations are “dispensations,” each applicable only for a limited time.

In today’s Scripture (actually beginning back in chapter 3), the writer of the Book of Hebrews recalls Israel’s history. JEHOVAH God had promised them the land of Canaan, but they refused to enter (Numbers chapters 13–14). Hebrews reveals their problem: “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (3:19). They did not believe God’s Word to them. No faith!

A person can own a Bible, carry it around, flip through it, read it daily, memorize it, tell others about it, hear it preached at church, and still be out of God’s will and still lack His power. No matter the dispensation, personal faith is always most important before God: “But without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Faith is the key to activating God’s Word in our lives. Once we believe the verses we read or hear, God the Holy Spirit works in us and then outwardly: “…To be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). He makes the verses a reality in our lives, that we reflect the grace doctrine we believe, and thus He benefits us! 🙂

Stand It As Long As You Can! #2

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-27 KJV).

Is anger ever appropriate?

Before we came to Christ, we were spiritually darkened (verses 17-19). In the Gospel of Grace, in Jesus Christ, we were enlightened (verses 20,21). Verses 22-24: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Now read today’s Scripture.

Having escaped Satan’s dominion, “delivered from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), does it make sense for us to return to it? No! Therefore, when we see our Adversary using lies to work in our lives, we should be angered. Anger is not sinful if caused by the right reasons (see Matthew 5:22 and Mark 3:5). “Be ye angry, and sin not.” Today’s Scripture continues, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” While commonly taken to mean, “Do not go to bed angry, settle the dispute before sunset,” the more probable admonition is, “Do not let your non-sinful anger dissipate.” Brethren, if we do not constantly respond negatively toward sin—especially lying (see context)—it will dominate us. May we not soften our opposition to sin, for Satan will gain the advantage.

Righteous anger should cause us to deny sin (see Galatians 5:19-26). “Sin is not who I am! I am a saint of the Most High God, not a sinner!” We are not making ourselves holy; we are simply being whom Father God has made us in Christ (Romans 12:1,2). Whenever religious tradition obscures or refutes that truth, we should be angry and separate from the tradition, lest Satan keep entry to us. However, only Christian believers mature in grace fully grasp that. Until then, they will keep “experimenting” with their denominations. My advice to them is always, “Stand it as long as you can!” (It is their choice to flee, and I never make the decision for them.)

Stand It As Long As You Can! #1

Monday, November 19, 2018

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-27 KJV).

Is anger ever appropriate?

A dear brother in Christ just informed me that he was angry regarding the denominational church he was attending. He understands that it promotes almost no sound Bible teaching, but he has not yet formally divested from it. Like many Pauline dispensationalists endure at one time or another, he sits in “the trying transition” (I speak from experience).

As he has matured in God’s Word rightly divided, so false teaching has become more annoying to him. What he is hearing at church is often “Scriptural,” but it is not “dispensational” (and he knows it). He is conflicted inside: the flesh (old nature, or sin nature) gravitates toward the religious doctrine whereas the new nature cannot tolerate it. Read Galatians chapter 5: “[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” The Holy Spirit and our flesh—both natures residing in us Christians—fight. Both religious sins and worldly sins oppose the working of God the Holy Spirit within us.

The above struggle is an indication that Christians are indeed saved unto eternal life, possessing God’s life. No lost individuals would ever find themselves opposed to “being good” and “hearing nice words” at the local hotspot for the traditions of men. This will be most harsh, but let it be said. Denominations lie. Whether deliberate or oblivious, cruel or sincere, denominational preachers are doctrinally dishonest. They distort Israel’s verses, pretending like they are written to and about us, the Church the Body of Christ. Today’s Scripture declares most authoritatively that we should eliminate lying—both in our lives and in our pulpits! The mature grace saint will come to a crossroads at some point: leave the denomination altogether, or cave in to the overbearing pressure and compromise….

Bible Q&A #555: “Does John 15:6 discredit the notion of ‘once saved, always saved?’