On the Sufferings of This Present Time

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 KJV).

Everyone suffers, Christians and lost people alike. Our suffering originates from three sources:

  1. We all live under the curse of sin. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, matter is becoming less and less usable. Every living creature grows sick and eventually dies. Romans 8:21,22 and Genesis 3:16-19 explain the curse (the bondage of corruption) was instituted on creation because of sin. Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
  2. We make mistakes, hurting ourselves and others. Others make bad decisions, and they negatively affect us. Of course, this too is closely related to #1 (sin). Christ said, “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).
  3. We Christians suffer for righteousness’ sake. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).

Until we leave this present evil world of Satan, we will continue to suffer from all of the above. The good news is what Paul writes in today’s Scripture: this temporary suffering is nothing when compared to the eternal glorification that is awaiting us as members of the Body of Christ.

When we Christians receive our glorified bodies in heaven, we will be free from these bodies of sinful flesh, never to suffer again. What a hope we have in heaven, all because of Christ Jesus and His finished cross work on Calvary!

Saints, Ye Shall Be Caught Up!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 KJV).

The words of today’s Scripture are of great hope and comfort for us as members of the Church the Body of Christ. At any moment, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself shall come and take us, His Body, home to be with Him forever in heaven’s glory. “In a moment, in the twinkling [blink] of an eye,” we will be “caught up” (raptured) into the air (1 Corinthians 15:52).

One day, at the rapture, those who have died in Christ will be resurrected bodily, and given glorified physical bodies fashioned like unto Jesus Christ’s resurrected body (Philippians 3:20,21). Immediately after, we Christians who are living will be instantly transformed bodily. Together, with the now resurrected saints, we will take the grandest of all excursions. In that brief instant, we are yanked from this wicked, filthy world and ushered into heaven’s everlasting bliss and joy!

The rapture is not to be confused with the Second Coming, which will occur seven years after the rapture. At the Second Coming, God sends angels to gather His elect (Matthew 24:31). But, at the rapture, God Himself comes for the believers, us. Wow! The rapture ensures that we will avoid the wrath of the seven-year Tribulation, which is God’s program for Israel (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9)

Paul makes some 10 references to the rapture. This one is noteworthy (Titus 2:13): “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” We should be continually vigilant, waiting for the rapture to happen at any moment. Would you be raptured out? Have you trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour? If you have, ye shall be caught up!

Our Hope, Joy, and Crown of Rejoicing

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19,20 KJV).

The Thessalonians, Paul’s most spiritually matured saints, were notable for their “work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:3). Their turning away from worshiping worthless idols to serve the living and true God, their good works, and their godly living influenced neighboring saints to also be trophies of God’s grace (1:6-9).

As members of the Church the Body of Christ, one day we will stand before “the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10-12). At this special event, the Lord Jesus Christ will reward us according to the sound doctrine we built up in our inner man and what good works that sound doctrine accomplished in and through us (1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10).

In that day, the Thessalonians will be Paul’s “hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing.” Paul also referred to the Philippians as “my joy and crown” (4:1). He even wrote concerning the carnal, immature Corinthians: “As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus” (2 Corinthians 1:14).

We too will be Paul’s hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing because we are the fruit of his ministry. Likewise, the people we minister to will be our hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing. Everyone we teach and everyone we lead to the Lord, they are our hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing!

When we see those saints, our spiritual fruit, stand before Jesus Christ, we too will be exceedingly joyful. What a day it will be to see them all in those glorious moments after the rapture! To the praise and glory of God, we as members of the Church the Body will all rejoice.

Saints, anticipate that day when we will see “our hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing!”

Forgiven and Ordained to Grace Livin’

Monday, June 20, 2011

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; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of 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 KJV).

Is Paul’s Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) a license to sin? No. According to today’s Scripture, grace teaches us NOT to sin. If we have trusted exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we are “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are no longer in Adam; we are saints in Christ. So, grace demands that our daily living reflect our new identity:

  • live “soberly” — let your mind be transformed by the sound doctrine found in God’s Word rightly divided (Romans 12:1,2; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10).
  • live “righteously” — allow the indwelling Holy Spirit fulfill the law in you (Romans 7:5,6; Romans 8:4; Ephesians 5:9).
  • live “godly” — permit God/Christ live His life in and through you (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:2).

Christ has “redeemed us” (bought us back) from our identity in Adam and the sins of the flesh (today’s Scripture) because He died for our sins, and was raised again for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 4:25).

In Christ, we are ordained (appointed) to good works: “For we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Grace living is not you living the Christian life, but you letting Christ live His life in you!

According to today’s Scripture, while allowing grace to teach us how to live in this present world, we should also be looking for our catching away (rapture) to meet the Lord in the air. What a glorious day that will be!

Saints, rejoice. You have been forgiven and ordained to grace livin’!

[Dedicated to C.N.]