Redeem the Year!

Friday, January 1, 2021

“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 2021!

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?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #5

Friday, October 30, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

“I will be like the most High,” Lucifer boasted (Isaiah 14:14). As he told Christ, he desires worship: “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me(Matthew 4:9). Employing whatever sneaky means necessary, Satan accomplishes his goal. If he can counterfeit God’s actions, then people will be deceived and credit God. By attributing Satan’s work to God, man unwittingly worships Satan. It is an ingenious strategy, one seldom perceived!

Emotions mislead because the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). While something may “feel” right, it may not actually be right. Feelings are fickle, changing with our circumstances. Therefore, we cannot use them to gauge truth and error. Adrenaline rushes come and go, so never should we confuse them with the permanent Holy Spirit. If we are externalists or formalists, we run the risk of faking at some point. For instance, if we observe people raising hands or dancing, peer pressure urges us to mimic them. The Holy Spirit is thus quenched and our flesh—namely, the fear of being “left out”—motivates the behavior. Satan smiles. Except for the rare Berean Bible student, no one is able to notice the error.

So-called “Christian revivals” are being held where protests, riots, lootings, and shootings have occurred. It is claimed, “The Devil is active, but God is moving!” Online videos show musicians hosting “Christian rock” concerts. Crowds—mainly young adults—raise their hands, jump, run, sing, sob, and pray. Supposedly, they are “coming to Jesus;” yet, a clear Gospel message is absent. When we compare their activities with the Scriptures, what is allegedly “God’s work” turns out to be a mockery of Jesus Christ. Remember, we are not made perfect by the flesh!

Bible Q&As #779 and #780: “Should Christians observe All Saints’ Day?” and “Should Christians observe All Souls’ Day?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #4

Thursday, October 29, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

The Galatians were preoccupied with the Law of Moses (cf. Galatians 4:21). Religious rules and regulations captivated them. They were deceived into believing their performance—their “flesh”—could somehow enhance their Christian life (cf. today’s Scripture). Did the Holy Spirit come to indwell these saints because of their religious works? No! Would He need their pious deeds to continue living in and through them? No! Sadly, today’s professing church is equally “foolish.” Nearly 20 centuries later, it still refuses to recognize rites, rituals, and ceremonies are incompatible with God’s grace! Like the Galatians not thinking clearly, we lack even basic spiritual common sense. We too have not let the Message of Grace renew our mind.

Philosophy and other vain speculations of lost (pagan!) people distracted the Corinthian believers. The first three chapters of 1 Corinthians are the Holy Spirit’s instructions to straighten out their confusion. Selfishness abounded in Corinth because spiritual ignorance flourished there. Whereas the Galatians were quite “strict” with their legalism, the Corinthians were quite “loose” with their sensuality. The Corinthians acted like spiritual babies because they also thought like spiritual babies. This too describes today’s professing church. Actually, the conundrums in 1 Corinthians parallel the chaos and confusion of modern “praise and worship.” Recall 1 Corinthians 14:40!

Instead of being thankful for the Message of God’s Grace—what the Holy Spirit has revealed in Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon—we unwisely believe we can improve the Christian life. Whether from Galatia or Corinth, we must learn the lesson: neither formalism (strict rules and regulations) nor fanaticism (no rules or regulations whatsoever) will ever replace the Holy Spirit’s work in grace believer’s heart. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #3

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

When we hear of people “filled with the Holy Ghost” and “praising Jesus,” we should not automatically assume the Lord Jesus Christ is being honored. Lies are everywhere. We discern truth and error by considering Bible verses—especially Scripture “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). If anyone claims individuals “going wild” is a sign of praising the Lord, or masses acting ridiculous is evidence of the Holy Spirit being “poured out,” these are simply false claims. The Bible establishes the standard for Christian behavior. Yea, the Pauline Epistles, Romans through Philemon, show us what God the Holy Spirit is doing today.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20,21). In the Scriptures, we read of what the Holy Spirit is doing and not doing. He Himself is speaking through the Holy Bible.

If the Holy Spirit is working in a particular area, or He is operating in a specific person, this rule is always true: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). A lack of modesty and discipline means it is not the Holy Spirit! Again, Galatians chapter 5: “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The Holy Spirit produces “temperance,” self-control. If there is no restraint, it is man’s flesh and not God’s Spirit….

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #2

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

To be sure, the general public is gullible. Times get so tough, people become desperate to the degree they will do practically anything for relief. Add to that the fact human nature seeks amusement. It is a recipe for spiritual disaster! Take the current tense societal conditions in the United States. People, particularly religious individuals, have grown bored at home locked away and isolated from just about all their pleasures. Consequently, “worship leaders” can lure them with all the promises of “delight.”

What is being passed off today as “Christianity,” “revival,” “hope,” “healing,” and “worship” is anything and everything but. Videos of these music concerts show people raising their hands in “praise and worship,” jumping up and down (like hopping on pogo sticks!), dancing, praying, and being water baptized. It has been said, “People are going wild for Jesus!” Claims of healings and other miracles are touted as proof “God is present and the Holy Ghost has been poured out!”

This is a prime example of how Satan’s policy of evil works. While we would hope these people are sincere, their doctrine is counterfeit. It is rooted in the Charismatic Movement, which is nothing but Pentecostalism (emotions, experiences, entertainment) spreading into other denominations. False teaching “bewitches” (today’s Scripture); a spell has been cast over people, making them behave like zombies or robots. Of course, they are having a “good time”—and that “adrenaline rush” just “has to be the warm, fuzzy feelings of the Holy Ghost” (wrong!). Sound Bible doctrine is not underlying the behavior, so even if it has a “ring” of genuineness, the conduct is silly and utterly vain….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘froward’ mean?” and “What does ‘untoward’ mean?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #1

Monday, October 26, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

Our country, the United States of America, has plenty of problems besetting it—including inflammatory charges of “systemic racism;” violent protests featuring rioting and looting; an unprecedented, highly toxic political climate; strict pandemic restrictions and risks such as isolation, depression, and suicides; and extensive damage from destructive natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and so on). It has been repeatedly stated, “Just when 2020 could not get worse, this new challenge arises!”

In recent months, a repetitive narrative has been peddled as “Christian” news. A particular “worship leader” traveling far and wide, visiting the large cities that are experiencing great civil unrest, has been heralded as “hope” and “healing.” Tens of thousands are supposedly “coming to Jesus.” It is “a move of God,” allegedly, to counter the evils troubling our society. These “worshippers” are purportedly “hungry for God”—eager to escape their lockdowns and have “church” outdoors. It is proclaimed, “Let us stand up for religious freedom, for our First Amendment rights!”

Now, never do we fault souls for having good intentions. They may not outright reject God and the Bible, but that does not necessarily imply they are behaving correctly. We remember Christ’s words: “…the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him…. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth(John 4:23,24). Contrary to popular belief, it is not enough to merely “worship God.” According to the Scriptures, He wants people who worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” Truth, not error, must undergird our worship. Spirit, not flesh, should support our worship. Let us be careful never to forget the danger in failing to conduct ourselves accordingly….

333’s 3400th – Grace Living and Grace Planning

Sunday, September 20, 2020

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6,7 KJV).

Dear readers, only by God’s grace, we mark 3,400 devotionals!

Saints, with each passing day, we draw closer to our Lord Jesus Christ’s return. Yet, Scripture provides no exact date concerning when our Dispensation of Grace will end. As it has been aptly quantified, “We should live like Christ is coming within the next 10 minutes, but we should plan like He is not coming for the next 10 years.” On one hand, we Christians should be careful how we conduct ourselves, for if He returned in just a few moments, would He find us conformed to this world or transformed by the renewing of our mind? On the other hand, we should not be lethargic as if His arrival is soon, for if He did not come for a long while, we would then be wasting time we could have redeemed for His glory!

“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 you noticed, the will of God is described in a three-fold manner: “good, acceptable, and perfect.” These are degrees of spiritual growth, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding—the Christian moving from making merely “good” decisions, to “acceptable” choices, to “perfect” (mature) decisions.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). These last 3,400 days, we have studied and believed the King James Bible rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15), better acquainting ourselves with God’s present dealings with man. Yet, there is room for much more learning and growth! Whether or not our Lord comes for us soon, onward to devotional #3500! 🙂

Remember, links to all our previous devotionals are archived on the following passage: https://333wordsofgrace.org/master-list-of-devotionals-chronological/.

Blinded!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world 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 4:1-4 KJV).

Look, the formidable enemy the Christian is up against in ministry!

Recently, I spoke with a relative about spiritual matters. She grew up in a cult, spent time in other churches, and now stays home. As she described her “Christian” life though, it sounded very much like she was as lost as lost could be! Whenever I and another Christian present shared the Gospel of Grace with her, she never seemed to respond in faith. Also, even if she used Bible terms, she attached denominational definitions to them. For example, she told me she would “repent of her sins every night.” When I asked her what she meant, she clarified, “I tell God I am sorry for what I did wrong!” When I told her repentance in Scripture means “change in mind,” she was shocked to realize just how misled she really was.

Long ago, her grandfather told her never to read the Bible from cover to cover, because she would “go crazy” by the time she got to the Revelation! For comfort, she recited the “Our Father” Prayer. She loved reading the Book of Psalms, though she read Ephesians or Colossians too. What made the whole exchange awkward was the constant interruptions from various sources. I thought we would never really make any progress with all the distractions!

The additional challenge in dealing with such people—and it is mindboggling to think there are hundreds of millions (yea, billions!)—is to unravel the decades of church tradition and peel back the layers of ingrained misinformation. Satan’s evil world has done a thorough job in deceiving! Let us be skilled in the Word rightly divided, fully equipped to lead them to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

An Ambassador Turns 32!

Friday, August 7, 2020 🎂

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” (Proverbs 1:5 KJV).

A certain ambassador marks another birthday!

With the passing of every year, today’s Scripture should be increasingly applicable to the saint of the Most High God. As the aging process continues—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually—more strength should be gained. It is the intention of the Holy Spirit to use the Holy Bible to focus especially on “the inner man,” affording the reader or listener the opportunity to augment his knowledge. Once this is allowed to occur, the person graduates to “wise counsels,” having not simply disjointed fragments of assorted information but possessing a comprehension of the larger picture.

Over in 2 Timothy 2:22, we read: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Pastor Timothy was a young man, so he still had a lot of growing to do. As opposed to being conformed to this world, he was to make steady progress in being transformed by the renewing of his mind (Romans 12:2). Sin was to have a lessening grip on him, and it would—provided he set his focus on uprightness, trust in God’s words, love in action, and tranquility.

In His grace, the Lord has blessed me with 32 years of earthly life. However, there is an afterlife to anticipate too. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). For the past 25 years, I have come to enjoy eternal life—and that will continue forever. There is still so much for me to learn about this life and the life to come. If I were granted another 50 years here—to come to an even greater spiritual maturity, and to bring many more lost people to Christ and many more Christians to full-grown status—that would be awesome beyond description. Still, the Lord may have other plans. For example, before then, He may decide to return and close the Dispensation of Grace with our gathering together unto Him. We shall have to see! Since we have opportunity now, let us continue being about our Father’s business! 🙂

A Grace Study Bible

Saturday, August 1, 2020

“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).

Today, we reflect on eight full years of the arC Ministries’ Grace Study Bible Project!

Some 100 years ago, the Scofield Study Bible was published. It was a work that popularized—not invented—dispensational Bible study. For a century, the Church the Body of Christ has used this monumental aid to edify itself. It was (and still is) useful in recovering precious Bible truths that had been lost for centuries, doctrines still pushed aside by denominational hierarchies that prefer to be the “authority” with their “tradition of men.”

Eight years ago today, after much prayer and consideration, I began the formation of a new grace study Bible. Using the King James Bible, my goal in this project is to build on Dr. Scofield’s foundation laid long ago. We are (and will always be) indebted to that brother for his faithful service, his submission to the Holy Spirit to produce a profitable study Bible. (Incidentally, Dr. Scofield led a missionary to Christ, that missionary led a preacher to Christ, that preacher led a woman to Christ, that woman led Mom to Christ, and Mom led me to Christ.) What took Dr. Scofield decades to learn, we can acquire in a fraction of that time. Brother Scofield did not live long enough to progress any further in Bible understanding, but in the century since he has gone to heaven, a faithful remnant within the Body of Christ has expanded upon Dr. Scofield’s insightful notes. We recognize where he was wrong in certain areas, and we can improve those areas in our understanding and study.

In brief, some stats about our grace study Bible. We seem to be roughly 75 percent completed with it. How many more years it will take remains to be seen, but rest assured, what cannot be condensed into marginal notes or footnotes, will be, Lord willing, expanded into a full-Bible commentary book series! Stay tuned in the coming years and thank you for your prayer in this regard! 🙂

Special-edition Bible Q&A #750: “How many dispensations are there?

* You can read more about our Grace Study Bible Project below.