A Miserable “Law-Keeper!”

Thursday, May 31, 2018

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:24,25 KJV).

As Paul closes Romans chapter 7, he is miserable and despondent. How he wants to be delivered from daily failures (religious bondage, legalism)! Suddenly, he realizes that he needs to thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Chapter 8 is the key to being rescued from all his daily disappointments and faults. He is to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh! He is to mind the things of the Spirit and not the things of the flesh!

Romans 8:1-6 is the key to Paul’s dilemma at the conclusion of chapter 7: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” We are to think the way the Holy Spirit thinks (grace), and that is how we guard against the predicament in chapter 7.

Today, read Romans chapters 6-8 in one sitting. Watch the truths in chapter 6 be ignored in chapter 7. Then, notice how they are reaffirmed and expanded in chapter 8. We are dead to sin (chapter 6), we are dead to the Law (chapter 7), and we are alive unto God by the indwelling Holy Spirit (chapter 8). “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).

Dear friends, we now close seven full years of “333 Words of Grace!” Only by God’s grace, onward into Year 8! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Law kill Paul?

Purloining

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things (Titus 2:9,10 KJV).

What exactly is “purloining?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “purloin” is the formal term for “to steal.” Another English dictionary says, “to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust.” When used in the context of “servants” and “masters” (as in today’s Scripture), it acquires the sense of stealing from one’s employer or boss. The legal term is “embezzlement” (misuse of entrusted money or property). (The English word is from the French purloigner “put away,” from pur- “forth” + loign “far.”) What is most painful is the identity of the purloiner—usually it is the most trusted member of the team!

Experts tell us that theft in the workplace causes American businesses to lose an estimated $50 billion annually! Whether stealing parts from inventory, taking money from cash registers, using company equipment and accounts for personal gain, check fraud, swiping so much as ink pens and pencils, it costs the company. Over many years, a worker can siphon and remove the merchandise or funds little by little. It is difficult to notice. The median age for purloiners at the workplace is the late 40s (both men and women). Women are more often guilty of it.

Rather than stealing from the company, the Christian worker is to “shew all good fidelity.” Faithfulness or trustworthiness should be demonstrated, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” The purpose of a Christian’s on-the-job honesty is to make God’s doctrine attractive. If the Christian employee talks about how Satan lies and Jesus Christ is “the Truth,” but then steals from his company, he will lose both his job and his testimony! Rather than being attractive, the Bible will be hideous before the eyes of lost men. They will not care to hear from hypocrites who say one thing and do something else. Let us always bear this in mind when on the job!

Sleeping!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be awake and alert.

The Corinthians were immature saints. While God’s spiritual (adult) sons, they thought and behaved like small children. First Corinthians is such a lengthy Book because it is the Holy Spirit meticulously correcting the multitude of problems in that local assembly. Today’s Scripture is one summarization of their dilemma: corrupt religious leaders have deceived them, and their Christian life is no longer functioning properly.

Before any mature saints swell up with pride and say, “I would never be like the Corinthians!,” they should consider Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….” Although more matured in the doctrine than the Corinthians, the Christians at Ephesus nevertheless also caved in to the pressures of Satan’s evil world system. Gripped by ignorance and silliness, they too were spiritually sleeping, unaware of their surroundings.

The Lord Jesus warned Israel’s Little Flock of their testimony being hindered as well. Matthew chapter 5: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Commercialism (materialism) and slothfulness (laziness) threatened the ministry of these Jewish kingdom saints.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light(Ephesians 5:14). “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130).

Strong Participants Wanted

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

The nation Israel should be matured in God’s Word—alas, they are not!

I attended my nephew’s recent basketball tournament. For the last few months, our team had diligently practiced and played regular games. At the tournament, we competed against several proficient teams and won… first place! One particular player did exceptionally well, scoring numerous points all by himself (some amazing distant shots). After our final victory, I asked his mother, “He practices a lot, huh?” She replied, “Oh, yes, all the time!” Indeed, it showed.

Watching all those young men playing basketball, I could see who was expert and who was novice. All were clumsy at times—tripping, falling, slipping, and/or throwing too high or too far. A select number were remarkably skilled. These particular individuals strategized: they were not aimlessly wandering the court. They knew how to block opponents, pass the ball to their teammates, outmaneuver rivals without dropping the ball, and so on. Knowledgeable coaches, careful training, focused teamwork, and good sportsmanship were all key to first place!

If only the members of the Church the Body of Christ cooperated as players of a sports team do. Instead, we see it as a competition against other believers in Jesus Christ: the flesh envies, complains, pouts, and attacks. If only we could be as skilled in handling the Word of God rightly divided as undefeated sports players. There is always room for improvement but, sadly, more room has been given to ignorance, immaturity, slothfulness, and carelessness. Israel of old was rebuked in today’s Scripture. Let us learn the lesson she never did! 🙂

Scrooges and Christians

Saturday, December 16, 2017

“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.

NOTE: All videos for the 2017 Slidell Grace Bible Conference are now on YouTube. Click here to watch these Bible prophecy studies, dispensationally delivered. Enjoy!

Light Bulbs and Lenses #2

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Every lost person who has come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has known the initial thrill of total forgiveness of all sins. They have experienced the joy of deliverance from the eternal penalty of sin—Hell and the Lake of Fire. The Bible, what once seemed “nonsensical,” is now viewed as invaluable. There is now a consciousness of sin, something absent prior to coming to Christ. Works-religion, once appearing so “meritorious,” is now recognized as worthless. Almighty God, once thought of as a “distant and cruel ogre,” is now seen as a loving Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary’s cross—His sinless shed blood and resurrection—is appreciated personally. There are eternal life, hope, peace, acceptance, love, and mercy. None of this was known before faith in Jesus Christ.

The above scenarios accentuate the spiritual light that God’s words bring when they are spoken in Gospel preaching and/or written in Gospel literature. It is not until the lost soul becomes a saved soul, that it really begins to realize its former destitution and wretchedness. Many have rightly likened this unto a light bulb being turned on inside the heart. What was hidden in shadows is now manifested. There is a whole new worldview, a strange but fascinating and fitting way of looking at life. However, sadly, spiritual confusion begins to creep in. So many contradictory churches and groups start introducing spiritual darkness. The new Christian soul, still eternally secure in the Lord Jesus Christ, starts experiencing the “lost” mentality it once suffered!

There is a reversion to ignorance. The Gospel and Scripture in general are no longer clear—now muddled by every belief imaginable. The high hopes at the moment of justification, being declared righteous before God, have disappeared. Christian thought and living now seems uncertain and burdensome. Whatever sharp Bible knowledge the soul had is now being worn down. At this point, some Christians just throw away the Bible in hopelessness. They go back to the world, indulging in human evil. Other Christians, still reeling to and fro spiritually, remain in church, simply because human “good” appeals to them.

They all need more light, and lenses….

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “Can you explain 2 Kings 2:23-25?

Liberated to Serve

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 241st anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.