A Better Biography #8

Friday, November 19, 2021

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

How can the truths of today’s Scripture lead us to have better biographies?

Brethren, our Christian life will not operate on the basis of ignorance. Unless we have a renewed mind, thinking like God Himself reasons concerning the Christian life, we will have no Christian life: “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 so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 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” (Ephesians 4:21-24). “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:9-11).

God’s unconditional love for us, Christ Jesus’ unconditional love for us, was exhibited at Calvary’s cross (Romans 5:8), and it is offered us through the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). When we walk by faith in this Good News on a daily basis, we are living in light of our identity in Christ. As we allow God’s power demonstrated at Calvary to work in us, the Holy Spirit will produce in us the love the Law commanded Israel (Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13-16). God’s love will cause us to love others, leading us to better biographies! 🙂

A Better Biography #7

Thursday, November 18, 2021

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

How can the truths of today’s Scripture lead us to have better biographies?

When the Apostle Paul writes, “For the love of Christ constraineth us,” he is describing the process by which the Christian life operates. It is not we struggling to keep a series of rules and regulations, performing to get blessings from God (and receiving curses when we fail). Yea, rather, it is an intense working of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Him laboring to bring into the reality of our lives the Words of Grace: “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).

The idea of “constraineth” is a compelling or urging toward a particular course of action. We are tightly bound together, driven to a specific end, the goal in today’s Scripture: “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.” To “judge” here means to exercise the mind, to evaluate or examine evidence in order to reach a verdict.

Christ died for all (1 Timothy 2:5,6), since all were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1); but He is “specially [the Saviour] of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10); and, if He is the Saviour of Christians, Christians should live in light of that reality, conducting themselves not in accordance with their own selfish desires but for the glory of the God-Man who died for them and resurrected! After all, as He died, so they died to sin; as He rose again, so they arose to walk in newness of life (Romans chapter 6).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘gainsaying’ mean?” and “Can you explain ‘penury?’

A Better Biography #6

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

How can the truths of today’s Scripture lead us to have better biographies?

The Book of Titus, the Apostle Paul’s “good works” epistle, has two noteworthy verses in chapter 3: “[8] This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men…. [14] And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” The heart of this doctrinal treatise, however, is in chapter 2.

We re-read the Holy Spirit’s words: “[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.”

Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork is plainly referenced in verse 14. The Saviour shed His blood to pay our redemption price, our buying back from sin. We use today’s Scripture to amplify: “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.” Friends, we dare not miss this important point! It is not our love for God, but rather Christ’s love for us. Our love for God is imperfect, weak, fickle, changing. If our Christian life depended on this faulty foundation, we would have no Christian life at all. Thankfully, God has not placed us under a performance-based acceptance system (Law). We are rather under a Christ-based acceptance system (Grace)….

A Better Biography #5

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

How can the truths of today’s Scripture lead us to have better biographies?

What the Law of Moses demanded Israel do—thereby showing the Jews they could not do—the Grace of God instructs and empowers us to do. Never forget, while we are under Grace not Law, God still cares how we live. If we did whatever we wanted as lost people (lived in sin before we came to faith in Christ), does it make sense that we Christians continue to live like people we no longer are? Grace is not a license to sin. Whoever says otherwise either has a poor understanding—or no understanding—of grace!

“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. 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. 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 [May God not let that happen!](Romans 6:11-15).

As members of the Church the Body of Christ, sin is not who we are anymore. The indwelling Holy Spirit will take the sound Bible doctrine we learn and believe in our heart, and work in us to produce the life of Christ Himself: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;… the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

Now we get to today’s Scripture….

A Better Biography #4

Monday, November 15, 2021

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

How can the truths of today’s Scripture lead us to have better biographies?

If the Law was designed to point out Israel’s sin—and, by doing so, accentuate everyone’s sin (Jew and Gentile alike; Romans 3:19,20)—why should we go back to it to seek victorious Christian living? First Timothy chapter 1: “[7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. [8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

We are justified—declared righteous—by faith in Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour (Romans 3:22-31). Having taught us our need for the Saviour, the Law can therefore do nothing else for us: “…the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners.” Read Galatians 3:24,25: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Possessing a completed Bible, the mystery program committed to the Apostle Paul now fully revealed to us, does it make sense for us to fall back on previous revelation as though more recent information from God has not been disclosed? Today, we have the Grace of God—not the Law of Moses!—to teach us how to live….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does the King James Bible in Luke 14:10 suggest Jesus encouraged people to worship fellow humans?

A Better Biography #3

Sunday, November 14, 2021

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

How can the truths of today’s Scripture lead us to have better biographies?

According to the Bible, the Law of Moses was not God’s original agreement with Israel. Galatians chapter 3: “[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”

The Law was added because of transgressions” (verse 19). In the Abrahamic Covenant, given over four centuries earlier, God had promised to do some things with Abram (Abraham). Genesis 12:1-3: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and [I will] make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and [I will] curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The LORD is working to make a people for Himself—Abraham is not working to form this nation! So Israel would learn she could not be God’s people based on her performance, but solely on the LORD’S performance, He introduced the Law Covenant. By failing under the Law, she would come to better appreciate the grace of the Abrahamic Covenant….

A Better Biography #2

Saturday, November 13, 2021

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

How can the truths of today’s Scripture lead us to have better biographies?

“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). There is nothing wrong with the Law of Moses; it is God’s Word, His standard of righteousness. However, there is a problem with us—sin. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19,20).

As the Lord Jesus remarked, all 613 rules and regulations of the Law of Moses can be recapitulated with two simple statements. One is Deuteronomy chapter 6, verses 4 and 5: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” The other is Leviticus chapter 19, verse 18: “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” Each commandment of the Law involves either a Jew’s relationship with God, or a Jew’s relationship with another human.

Let us concentrate on these two “great commandments.” Firstly, do we love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might?” Do we love Him with every ounce of being within us, constantly? No. That is what sin is. Secondly, do we love our neighbor as we love ourselves?” Do we love others to the degree we love self? Do we always put their welfare ahead of our own? No. That is what sin is. God’s standards are high—yea, impossible for sinners to reach. The Law condemns us….

A Better Biography #1

Friday, November 12, 2021

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

How can the truths of today’s Scripture lead us to have better biographies?

Once, a preacher described himself using this brief statement on his social-media profile: “I am trying to love God and love my neighbor as myself.” This is wonderful and commendable—except for one problem. How successful has he been in this regard?

The Lord Jesus Christ summarized the Law of Moses with two commandments: “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

“And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question” (Mark 12:28-34; cf. Matthew 22:35-40; Luke 10:25-28). As stated in Matthew, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Under the assumption Jesus’ above words are successful Christian living, people have taken His earthly ministry and forced it into our dispensation. Let us see if this has helped them or harmed them….

The Greatest Philanthropist #3

Monday, November 8, 2021

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,…” (Titus 3:4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us about the Greatest Philanthropist to ever live!

While John 3:16 is often presented as “the Gospel” today, it lacks any reference to Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary. Romans 5:6-8, elaborating on today’s Scripture, more fully illustrates God’s love: “[6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God “commendeth”—entrusts us with, recommends to us as worthy of our acceptance—His love toward us. He offers His love to us, the unselfish mental attitude He has for us. While we as sinful creatures are not praiseworthy, His love toward such wholly undeserving sinful creatures is!

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” God is kind and loving toward us, not because of our religious works but because His very nature is mercy (holding back what we deserve) and grace (giving what we do not deserve). Again, He is the Greatest Philanthropist!

When we ask the questions, “Does God love me? Does He care about me?,” we are not being mindful of what the Holy Bible has said for the last 2,000 years. Through Jesus Christ’s fully-satisfying payment for sin at Calvary, we can be “saved” (spiritually healed, delivered from the effects of sin). Here is the greatest gift Almighty God could ever give us, worth infinitesimally more than all silver, gold, and precious stones: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). May we trust this Gospel message in our heart, and be thankful for His generosity!

The Greatest Philanthropist #2

Sunday, November 7, 2021

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,…” (Titus 3:4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us about the Greatest Philanthropist to ever live!

When many people think of the God of the Bible, they imagine Him to be nothing more than a strict, bloodthirsty monster who throws tantrums when He does not get His way. This is a crude caricature, a most childish view—but we can expect nothing less from empty religious tradition and those who sat at its feet. On the contrary, friends, it is far better we look at the Scriptures as a whole rather than isolate “pet” passages, considering the entire Bible instead of relying on snippets we heard at our denominational churches and/or catechetical schools.

In today’s Scripture, the God of the Bible possesses the quality of “kindness.” We can compare this verse to Ephesians 2:7: “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” That Greek word, “chrestotes,” was also rendered in our King James Bible in other ways. For example, it is “goodness” in Romans 2:4: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” The same is true of Romans 11:22: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

As touching victorious Christian living, God’s kindness works in us so that we conduct ourselves with “gentleness” and “kindness.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness [chrestotes], goodness, faith,…” (Galatians 5:22). “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness [chrestotes], humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;…” (Colossians 3:12). To be “kind” is to be friendly toward someone, considerate, generous. In archaic English, the word carries the additional idea of loving or affectionate. When and where was God kind toward mankind? When and where was He loving toward mankind? Let us see what the Scriptures say about the appearance of these attributes of God….