Just As I Am #2

Thursday, July 20, 2017

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the second verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, and waiting not,
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

A preacher of the Gospel of the Grace of God must convey to unsaved people their total inability to do good works. Seeking boasting, the flesh loves to work—even appealing to the Bible for “validation.” “James chapter 2 says ‘faith without works is dead!’ There, preacher, the Scriptures tell me to work my way to Heaven!” Friends, James 1:1 says the whole Book is written to Israel’s 12 tribes scattered abroad. If we do not know what tribe we are from, then we have no business whatsoever claiming what belongs to the 12 tribes!

Once the Gospel of Grace is clearly presented, there is always that incessant, “But don’t I have to be good?” The sinner coming to faith in Christ, however, knows that no “good deeds” can please God because those “good deeds” are done in the flesh, apart from the Holy Spirit. God is not interested in a lost person performing because the only works he or she can produce is out of an evil heart. God must change the soul. No religious works will ever destroy our sin nature. However, Christ’s shed blood can pay for those sins, cleanse us inside, and give us a new identity. The Adamic identity gives way to the Christian identity: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

God told ancient Israel: “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Those animal sacrifices previewed Christ’s shed blood, which addresses and cleanses the sinful soul. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Whether concerning Israel or us, Christ’s blood—not our work—unites souls to God!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?

Just As I Am #1

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the first verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Over the years, this beautiful hymn has been the (appropriate) background melody for Gospel invitations. Many a lost souls had heard the Bible verses read and preached, and they had possibly seen them on the printed page. Still, they resisted the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Pride was keeping them from coming to Jesus Christ by faith. They waited. How the preacher urged them not to delay—life was fleeting, they were dying, and Hell was waiting to receive their souls! The lyrics are spoken by a lost person who is finally coming to Christ as personal Saviour.

The sinner has come to recognize his or her sinful, lost, state, that that blood of Christ was shed for the forgiveness of their sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Many souls today are so blinded by works-religion they believe they are good enough for Heaven, that they do not need the atoning blood of Christ. They have been kind to others so frequently, they have prayed so fervently, they have attended church so faithfully, and they have “kept” the Law so diligently. Despite all of their busyness, they are just one breath away from a devil’s eternal hell!

As works-religion blinds precious souls today, so it did 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ walked this earth. He spoke to them in today’s Scripture. They were so weighed down with religious rules and regulations. He called to them, promising their souls rest. They were to come to Him and leave that old vain, weakly religion behind! How He is urging the lost people of the world today to come to Him and find rest for their souls!

Great Peace

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165 KJV).

“Friends” come and go. Spouses come and go. Health comes and goes. Financial stability comes and goes. Life comes and goes. Dear readers, sin divides, destroys, and dissolves what we hold close to us. Indeed, the human condition is fraught with uncertainties and losses of all kinds. However, the God of the Bible offers us stability. Provided that we rely on Him, nothing will “offend” us (cause us to stumble and fall).

As today’s Scripture says, God’s Word can impart internal strength unfathomable. Circumstances can and will change, but if there is spiritual stability inside our inner man, the Bible says we can endure the good and the bad. Quoting Philippians 4:11-13: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

It is a “learning” process—take note (verse 11)! We do not automatically feel content in times of trouble, no. When things are going well, there is no worry or bother. Yet, strangely, the Scriptures say we need to adopt that same attitude when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances. Rather than praying for God to remove the problems from our life, we can take advantage of those times and make them opportunities to rely more on our Heavenly Father than on ourselves.

Philippians 4:6,7 reminds us that we should pray in order to bring that Word of God into our experience: “[6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We have our problems, yea, but we have our Lord Jesus Christ… and we have His peace, too! 🙂

Special-edition Bible Q&A #400: “Must I be a ‘King James Bible, Pauline dispensationalist’ to have eternal life?

Educate the Children

Saturday, July 15, 2017

“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:18,19 KJV).

If children are untaught in Scripture, the parents (especially the father) are usually to blame!

Someone recently told me of a certain unruly, indecent young woman in her “Christian” family. When it was suggested that her father get involved, the woman told me that the mother “wore the pants in the family.” The young woman’s father is actually “scared of” the mother, and he will not reprimand his daughter “for fear of” his wife (her mother). Such a sad predicament, and very common!

As our “rotted” society demonstrates, most fathers have failed in their duties at home. Perhaps they are hard workers, good providers. The Bible does say: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). However, according to the Bible, fathers—not mothers—are to be the primary Bible teachers of their children: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Husbands are to be the Bible teachers of their wives: “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:35). Furthermore, God commands the husband to be the spiritual leader of the marriage, as Ephesians 5:23,24 instructs: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

To the men reading this, if you care about your family, my friends, you will heed these Scriptures!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Jesus Christ ‘raised again?’ Why ‘again?’

Go Not Aside from Any Words

Friday, July 14, 2017

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them (Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV).

Plain and simple!

Those outside the Christian community tell us there is no right or wrong, that everything is relative (“you have your truth, I have mine, so let us agree to disagree,” et cetera). We expect this from people without a Bible: having no absolute standard of rightness, they cannot gauge other systems with it. What is strange is when “Christian” (?) people suggest, “Why cannot we all just get along? Why nitpick about doctrine? As long as we believe in Jesus, is that not enough?”

JEHOVAH God expressly warned the nation Israel in today’s Scripture. In verses 1-14, He told Israel that He would bless her if she obeyed all of His laws. Verses 15-68 are a very thorough listing of the horrible curses to befall Israel if she drifts from His “words.” Today’s Scripture is very strict. There is no loose, “Do the best you can,” “As long as you obey most of My commandments,” or “Just believe in Me and I will bless you.” All the words of the LORD are important. They were not to deviate at all from anything that He specified—particular doctrines mattered because specific words mattered. Any departure from those very words constituted idolatry (worshipping something other than the one true God).

Study Israel’s history from that time forward. She forgot the divine words but kept the religious rituals, rites, and ceremonies. For instance, 15 centuries after today’s Scripture, Jesus constantly corrected Israel’s religious leaders for being ignorant of the Bible. “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures…” (Matthew 22:29). “Have ye not read so much as this…?” (Luke 6:3). If the leaders did not know anything, what about the commoners? “[The religious leaders] be blind leaders of the blind(Matthew 15:14). Equally “blind!”

The professing “Church” finds itself in such a pitiful dilemma today. There is a nice outward form—beautiful music, elaborate prayers, costly vessels, state-of-the-art auditoriums, and so on—but how we do not know the words of God. Like Israel of old, we have wafted right and left!

A Father to Follow

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1,2 KJV).

Lo, a Father to follow!

Early one morning, after a snowfall, a drunkard walked from his house to the saloon. As he left footprints, he heard the snow crunching behind him. Turning around, he saw his four-year-old son. The little boy giggled, “Daddy, look, I am following in your footsteps!” Instead of going to the saloon, the man picked up his son and they went home. He never went to the saloon again!

Brethren, it is no secret that children are a reflection of their parents. Usually, people unwittingly adopt their parents’ habits. A small child told me recently he yells all the time because “my daddy does it.” Bless his little heart, but he has no idea that his daddy is not to be his pattern if his daddy disregards the Holy Word of God. While some parents do their very best to lead their children in the ways of Christian living, unfortunately, that is often not the case. Many of the world’s problems originated from individuals whose parents taught them wrongly or failed to teach them anything decent at all!

Today’s Scripture says that, in light of everything that has gone before in Ephesians, we should be “followers of God, as dear children.” We are to be cognizant of God’s love for us at Calvary, and we are to “walk in love.” The pattern for us “walking in love” is to see how “Christ also hath loved us.” He loved us even to the point of self-sacrifice—yea, literally, to the death! It is that love of Christ that makes God pleased with us: He does not smell our rotten sin or sins, but rather the wonderful fragrance of Jesus Christ! He wants what is best for us, and, if we love Him, we will listen to His words and obey them. Will we act in accordance with how He “smells” us? Remember, He is a Father worth following!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was ‘the epistle from Laodicea?’

How to Go to Heaven

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26 KJV).

How simple!

A friend recently informed me she wanted to read two books—one on politics and another on religion. The latter was about “how to go to heaven.” Having known her for a few years, she has been in her particular “Christian” denomination for decades. I have shared the Gospel with her many times, to no avail. She still wonders how to go to Heaven. Her works-religion church certainly has not given her any peace about it either. Incidentally, they published the book she wants to read! Sad. If the group whose religious services she has attended for decades has still not given her any assurance, what profit can she gain from reading a volume they have published?!

If we want to learn how to go to Heaven, the best book to read is not some manmade book, especially from an author whose denomination hides the plain and simple truths of Bible justification. No. We had better read the Holy Scripturesespecially the Book of Romans. The first two chapters deal with the issue of sinful man’s condemnation, Jew and Gentile alike. The next three chapters focus on the matter of imputed righteousness, God applying His righteousness to those who rely by faith exclusively on Jesus Christ dying for their sins, being buried, and being raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

We go to Heaven not by striving to keep rules and regulations (which we break constantly anyway). Grace is everything that God can do for us through the finished crosswork of Christ. It is not what we do for God but rather what He already did for us. If we are still wondering about our eternal destiny, then we had better get back to Romans chapters 1-5, read them, and believe them… before it is too late to go to Heaven!!