Three Basic Grace Doctrines

Monday, January 2, 2012

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3,4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture identifies three basic grace doctrines:

  1. WE ARE DEAD WITH CHRIST: Romans 6:6 explains: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Our old Adamic sin nature is “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). Thus, according to today’s Scripture, we Christians are “dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God.” We are “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have a new identity and we are a “new man” (Ephesians 2:15).
  2. WE ARE ALIVE WITH CHRIST: Nothing dead can serve God, so after God killed us, severing us from our identity in sinful Adam, God gave us life… His Son’s life! Thus, today’s Scripture says: Christ, who is our life.” Galatians 2:20 continues: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me….” Philippians 1:21 affirms: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Our Christian life is not our life at all. Actually, it is Christ living His life in and through us! God left us, the Church the Body of Christ, on earth, so He could live His life in us… for the lost world to see. We are the body of Christ, who Himself is God incarnate; thus, since God is living His life through our mortal bodies, we Christians are also “God manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:15,16). The lost world only sees the invisible God by watching us, His visible servants. Wow!
  3. WE WILL APPEAR WITH CHRIST IN GLORY: Finally, today’s Scripture references “our appearing with Christ in glory,” or “our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). When our earthly ministry ends, and the Body of Christ is complete, the rapture will transition us to heaven’s glory, beginning our eternal ministry there!

The Expensive Getaway

Thursday, December 15, 2011

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV).

We often hear of exotic getaways like Fiji, the Caribbean Islands, and Hawaii. While these vacations are pricey, they are ridiculously cheap when compared to heaven, “the expensive getaway.”

“[God] will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Romans 2:6,7). God will give eternal life to any individual who has perfect righteousness. He demands 100 percent perfectioneven 99.999 percent righteousness is far too less for God to accept.

The price to enter heaven’s glory is far too expensive for us. We all have a few “good” works here and there… mere pocket change! By nature, we are spiritually poor, bankrupt of righteousness. We have all offended God: All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Our lives are filled with many sinful acts, including hatred, lying, gossiping, cursing, and coveting. These sins offend God’s righteousness, so what will you do with them?

Today’s Scripture gives us the Good News. At Calvary’s cross, God fully and completely dealt with our unrighteousness. Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, died for your sins, to give His life so you could have an opportunity to be made righteous in Him! King David wrote: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

When we trust the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, God “imputes” (applies) His righteousness to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). As today’s Scripture says, in Christ, we are rich indeed: we are spiritually rich because Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation. In Christ Jesus, we are justified, made perfect in God the Father’s sight, thus able to enter heaven (Romans 3:21-31).

One day, at the rapture, we Christians will take our expensive getaway. Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Saints, our flight is coming! Stay tuned…. 🙂

The Little Flock #4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV).

When Jesus Christ came to the nation Israel, He came to fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophetic statements. He was the Messiah-King of whom God’s holy prophets had spoken for centuries. Israel’s long-prophesied kingdom was finally going to be established!

But, most Jews rejected Jesus as King-Messiah (John 1:11), eventually demanding the Romans crucify Him. In John 19:15 they cried, “We have no king but Caesar!” The few Jews who trusted in Jesus as their Messiah received John the Baptist’s water baptism (Matthew 3:1-6; Mark 1:1-5). They became Israel’s believing remnant (this was “the church” that followed the twelve apostles’ doctrine in early Acts [2:41-47]; cf. John 21:15-17).

John also warned that Jews who refused his message and water baptism would be “baptized with fire” (Matthew 3:7-12; Luke 3:7-9, 16-17). We know this as the period of God’s wrath, the seven-year Tribulation. The twelve apostles in Acts chapters 1-8 were unsuccessful in converting every Jew (a prerequisite for the kingdom). Now, God was about to pour out His wrath on rebellious Israel. But, God temporarily paused Israel’s prophetic program, and postponed that wrath and earthly kingdom.

Today, we live the Dispensation of Grace, separate from Israel’s kingdom program. But, when our dispensation ends (at the rapture), God will return to Israel and begin the seven-year Tribulation. God will continue the “little flock” by saving one-third of Israel, bringing them through that wrath (Zechariah 13:8,9; Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 13:6,14-17). But, unbelieving Jews, as John predicted, will burn up in God’s wrath (cf. Matthew 24:36-44).

After Christ’s Second Coming to conclude the seven years, the “little flock” of the Tribulation will join the resurrected members of the “little flock” of Christ’s earthly ministry and early Acts, and the resurrected Old Testament believers. This entire group will inherit that earthly kingdom (today’s Scripture; Matthew 25:34).

The “little flock” should not be confused with us, the Church the Body of Christ. We believers in this dispensation will inherit God’s kingdom in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Two Secret Comings of Christ

Saturday, November 5, 2011

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1 Corinthians 15:51 KJV).

The Old Testament prophets foretold Israel’s coming Messiah. Psalm 22 and Isaiah chapter 53 described a suffering and dying Messiah. Isaiah 9:6,7 and Zechariah 14:1-4 prophesied a Messiah who would win battles for Israel and ultimately be her King. The prophets could not understand how one Messiah could fulfill both roles (1 Peter 1:10,11), so they wondered if there were two Messiahs.

In hindsight, on this side of Calvary, we understand that there is one Jesus Christ, but His coming described in the Old Testament is actually two comings. Christ came to Israel 2,000 years ago to die and resurrect (His First Coming), but He will one day return to Israel as King (His Second Coming).

But, we Berean Bible students understand that God kept our Dispensation of Grace a secret from those Old Testament prophets (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:5,9; Colossians 1:25-27). Until the ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed it to Paul, God never told anyone of a secret time period between those two comings of Christ. So, in addition to two prophesied comings of Christ (His earthly ministry and His millennial reign as King), there are two secret comings of Christ in Scripture.

Our Dispensation of Grace opened in Acts chapter 9, when the ascended Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul (later the Apostle Paul) on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:13-18). Instead of pouring out His wrath, which should have occurred after the Jews stoned their prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7 (Acts 7:55,56 cf. Psalm 110:1), God poured out His grace on Saul and saved him! This coming of Christ to open our dispensation, save Saul, and make him Paul the Apostle, was unknown to the Old Testament prophets.

Likewise, there is a secret coming of Christ to conclude our dispensation and take us (the Body of Christ) to heaven. The rapture, a “mystery” (secret) unknown to the Old Testament, is only revealed in Paul’s epistles (today’s Scripture).

You only see these marvelous truths when you study the Bible dispensationally.

A King Shall Reign and Prosper

Thursday, November 3, 2011

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5,6 KJV).

Today’s Scripture, written over 2,600 years ago, still awaits fulfillment. The nation Israel, and the world, has yet to experience the reign of this King.

The Middle East has been plagued with turmoil and animosity for millennia. Israel in her 4,000-year existence has never dwelt peacefully in her land. She has never enjoyed her earthly kingdom. Israel’s sinful disobedience caused God to righteously punish her using exiles. Gentile armies repeatedly invaded and overran Israel, carrying the Jews off to foreign lands (Leviticus 26:27-35; Deuteronomy 28:25; et al.).

Consequently, the Jewish race is far from its homeland. It is scattered all over the world today. “The days come, saith the Lord,” when that will change. As soon as our Dispensation of Grace expires, and the Church the Body of Christ is raptured into heaven, Israel’s prophetic program will resume. The Jews will experience seven years of God’s wrath, the Tribulation.

One-third of Israel will become believers during the Tribulation, and this remnant of Israel will become the nation Israel in the subsequent kingdom (Zechariah 13:8,9). “And so all Israel [the believing remnant] shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob [Israel]: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:26,27).

After Christ’s Second Coming, He will make the New Covenant with Israel, cleansing her of her national sins (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Acts 3:19; Hebrews 8:8-13). Finally, Christ’s earthly kingdom will be established, and today’s Scripture will be fulfilled. Israel will safely dwell in her land (Jeremiah 23:7,8). “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).

A glorious future awaits the world and Israel!

As We Stand Before God Our Saviour

Friday, October 14, 2011

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV).

Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians concludes with a reference to the rapture, Christ gathering the Church that is His Body (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:17; 5:23). Actually, today’s Scripture describes an event that will occur after the rapture.

Saints, one day (the rapture), the trump of God shall sound and we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)! After the rapture, we will stand before “the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

The Judgment Seat of Christ is not where we answer for sin, but rather when Jesus Christ evaluates our Christian lives and spiritual maturity. Each of us will give an individual account to the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10). Jesus Christ will compare our spiritual maturity (the doctrine we believed) to Paul’s epistles. On this basis, the Lord will give us a role (a position in the government of the heavenly places) (Ephesians 2:6,7).

But, notice Christ’s coming in today’s Scripture is not His coming “for all His saints” (the rapture), but rather with all His saints.” After the spiritual capacities of the members of the Body of Christ have been judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ, Jesus Christ will take us with Him to meet God the Father. Today’s Scripture describes when Jesus Christ will present us to our Father God. Wow!

God the Father will then appoint us to those positions of the heavenly government that Jesus Christ determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Remember that our individual roles (offices) are determined by how much sound doctrine we built up in our inner man. This is why dispensational Bible study, “rightly dividing the word of truth,” is so important. We do not want to stand before God “ashamed,” which will SADLY be the case for many Christians because they never studied the Bible God’s way (2 Timothy 2:15).

Not Walking By Sight, Literally

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

“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).

Two weeks ago Brother “G,” my friend and co-laborer in the Christian writing ministry, suffered a stroke, losing most sight in one eye. Currently, he has greatly limited vision in both eyes (years ago, his other eye suffered a stroke). Last week, after “seeing” my optometrist, I visited Brother G. However, as of three days ago, I have been enduring an eye infection. I am currently typing with sight in just one eye! 🙂

Case in point: in this fallen creation we all have troubles and adversity (they are “common to man”). Sin and its subsequent curse result in our sickness and ultimate death (Romans 5:12; Romans 8:20-22). But, even during sickness, today’s Scripture says we “bear it.” How?

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:22-25).

We Christians are “saved” from despair. While we suffer sickness, we have faith in the hope that, one day, these weak physical bodies will be redeemed and transformed into new glorified bodies (the rapture; 1 Corinthians 15:49-57; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 3:20,21). Our destination, as members of the Body of Christ, is the heavenly places, where there is neither sin nor suffering.

After “seeing” doctors, Brother G and me still groan in sickness, but we are walking by faith, NOT sight. Literally, we hope in what “we see not.” 🙂