Start in Romans #3

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Why should people new to the Bible begin in the Book of Romans? Today’s Scripture tells us.

It is usually said that people should start reading God’s Word in the Book of John. However well meaning this is, it is spiritually hazardous. Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew through John, was to and about the nation Israel, not us Gentiles: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). Moreover, John’s goal is confirming to Israel that Jesus is her Messiah because He conducted a ministry of signs, special teaching miracles, in her midst (see John 20:30,31). “The Jews [not us Gentiles] require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22).

Paul is God’s messenger to us non-Jews (today’s Scripture). Ephesians 3:1-2 elaborates: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward….” Romans 16:25-26 says God wants to “stablish” (stabilize) us Gentiles using three components: (1) Paul’s Gospel, (2) the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, and (3) the Scriptures of the prophets. Paul’s Gospel is laid out first, and most clearly, in the Bible in the Book of Romans, the head, or introductory book, of his 13 epistles (Romans through Philemon).

Romans is divided into four sections. Chapters 1-5 deal with justification, or how to have our sins forgiven and a home in heaven. Chapters 6-8 discuss sanctification, or how that Gospel of Grace has changed our identity from Adam to Christ. Chapters 9-11 covers dispensational changes—we are not the nation Israel, but rather the Church the Body of Christ, with Israel still having a future in God’s program. Chapters 12-16 are application, or how we are to by faith use the grace principles in Romans so our lives can glorify our Lord and Saviour!

Friend, you will not mature in grace if you begin the Bible in the wrong place. Using John as an introduction to the Bible will hinder you from laying the Scriptural foundation God intended for you. Start in Romans! 🙂

Start in Romans #2

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Why should people new to the Bible begin in the Book of Romans? Today’s Scripture tells us.

Romans begins with a name—“Paul.” The Holy Spirit led this Paul to pen today’s Scripture. When we come to him in the Bible, especially his conversion in Acts chapter 9; we read about the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ from heaven reaching down and saving a man who will become His spokesman to all the world.

Acts 26:16-18 were those words of Christ to Saul: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee [apostolos = “sent one”], [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Paul thus articulates in Romans 11:11-13 (today’s Scripture): “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

With Israel’s temporary fall, salvation is coming to us Gentiles (non-Jews) through Paul’s ministry. Hence, we must go to Paul’s epistles, or letters of doctrine, to read about that salvation. While his ministry begins in Acts chapter 9, we do not read his writings in the Bible until after Acts—the Book of Romans. In other words, Romans is the most fundamental information that God gave to Paul to give us Gentiles….

Household Rules #10

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God (Colossians 1:25 KJV).

And, just what is this “dispensation of God which is given to [Paul] for [us]?”

A prevalent myth in Christendom is that there is only one Gospel in the Bible. No, there is only one Gospel today; there are many Gospels in Scripture. The common belief of “one-Gospel-in-Scripture” shows us just how ignorant “churchianity” really is concerning Scripture. They do not understand dispensational boundaries, so they smooth over (retranslate/question/deny) contradictory verses. They try to harmonize Paul with Jesus, James, and other Bible characters.

In the words of the Apostle Peter, “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist, distort], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15,16). Haters of dispensational Bible study existed 2000 years ago!

Just as “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” is committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust (Ephesians 3:2), “the Gospel of the Grace of God” is another one of God’s current “household rules.” Paul said in Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” On three occasions, Paul called it my gospel” (Romans 2:16; Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8). Why would he say my gospel” if everyone in Scripture also preached it?! Furthermore, he said he went to Apostles James, Peter, and John in Jerusalem to “communicate unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles” (Galatians 2:2). Surely, Paul and the 12 Apostles were preaching separate Gospels, for they were ministering to two separate groups. It is this, Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of the Grace of God, whereby God forms the Church the Body of Christ….

Household Rules #9

Friday, January 13, 2017

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God (Colossians 1:25 KJV).

And, just what is this “dispensation of God which is given to [Paul] for [us]?”

We read in Ephesians chapter 2: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

“[14] For he is our peace, who hath made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain [Jew and Gentile] one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both [Jew and Gentile] unto God in one body [the Church the Body of Christ] by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you [Gentiles] which were afar off, and to them [Jews] that were nigh. [18] For through him we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

In addition to the Body of Christ, another one of God’s major “household rules” in the Dispensation of Grace is that the nation Israel is temporarily spiritually blinded and momentarily fallen. We read about that throughout Romans chapters 9-11, only in Paul’s ministry and epistles. Romans 11:25 says: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” When this the Body of Christ is concluded, and our Dispensation of Grace is over, Israel will return to her exalted status before God and prophecy will resume. Let us see other examples of today’s “household rules….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does God mean, ‘I am Alpha and Omega?’

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #3

Saturday, December 10, 2016

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13,14 KJV).

The fifth verse and the final verse of the classic Christmas carol paraphrase today’s Scripture.

“Thus spake the angel and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels, praising God, and thus
Addressed their joyful song:
‘All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease.’”

People who know nothing about the Bible carelessly complain that the God of the Old Testament was a “bigot.” They dislike that He dealt almost exclusively with Israel, having almost no dealings with Gentiles. Additionally, they whine that Jesus was a “racist” because He said that His earthly ministry was limited to Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24). What fools and blasphemers!

When JEHOVAH promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, that nation was to be the channel of God’s salvation and blessing to reach all the world’s (Gentile) nations. “…[I]n thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Rebuking ignorant Nicodemus, Jesus said of Israel’s earthly kingdom: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus also said, “…[R]epentance and remission of sins should be preached in [my] name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). He told His apostles to baptize and teach all nations(Matthew 28:19). God was dealing with and converting Israel, that redeemed Israel go to all nations on His behalf when Jesus became their King!!! Read Zechariah 8:20-23 and Isaiah 60:1-3 (yet future).

Hence, the angels sang at Jesus’ birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” God wanted everyone“good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (verse 10)—to have a relationship with Him in Israel’s kingdom. Of course, Israel’s kingdom is still future. Romans 11:11-13 says salvation is coming to us Gentiles without Israel, through Paul’s ministry and Paul’s Gospel (Christ’s finished crosswork).

NOTE: I want to say a special “Happy Birthday” to my Mom, who will no doubt read this. Thank you for being faithful to Father God in leading me to Jesus Christ and teaching me the Scriptures all those years ago! 🙂

Heart’s Desire

Saturday, October 1, 2016

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart (Romans 9:1,2 KJV).

Why did Paul have “great heaviness and continual sorrow in [his] heart?”

Mom and I recently visited a family friend, a new Christian only a year old in the Lord. After our three-hour Bible study answering her questions, she spoke to us as we were leaving. Having just learned many precious truths from God’s Word, this dear lady began to literally weep. She now fathomed the immense deception of her former denomination. How she was so burdened that her son, her daughter, and her grandchildren were still trapped in that cult. She had raised them in that religious group, and while she had escaped, they had chosen to remain in it. We comforted and encouraged her.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul was deeply disturbed, constantly sorrowful. Verse 3 explains, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Paul was so saddened to see his Jewish brethren stuck in their apostasy—Satanic deception and anti-Jesus-Christ attitude. They hated Jesus so much they often attempted to take Paul’s life for preaching His name! Chapter 10 opens: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” And, verse 3: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Friend, do you know what made it especially hurtful for Paul to see Israel utterly fallen and thoroughly deceived? As Saul of Tarsus, he had encouraged Israel to reject Jesus and kill His followers (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 26:9-11)! Being lost, Paul had led Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ! Now, having been saved from hell’s flames, he felt deep remorse for what he had done. Until his dying day, Paul surely prayed for his unbelieving brethren. They were to give up their works-religion and embrace Jesus Christ, as he had! Beloved, let us not cease to pray for our unsaved loved ones—and be ready to speak God’s truth when they want it!

Bible Q&A #310: “Can you explain 1 Corinthians 8?

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #14

Monday, January 18, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

May we hearken to these truths, lest we misunderstand and dislike the Holy Bible!

The God of Scripture is “longsuffering.” He is not currently pouring out His wrath on Christ-rejecting mankind. Had Israel’s prophetic program operated unbroken, that judgment would have surely come just after Calvary (Psalm 2:1-5; Acts 2:34-36; Acts 7:55,56; et cetera). However, God interrupted prophecy, delayed that judgment, and revealed the mystery program to and through the Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus). An unprophesied (secret) period of “grace and peace” extended to all mankind (Gentiles), as illustrated by the salvation of wicked Saul in Acts chapter 9 (1 Timothy 1:12-16). The heart of that mystery program is “the Dispensation of Grace,” doctrines and other truths currently applicable, only until “the fulness of the Gentiles” comes in (Romans 11:25).

Peter had preached salvation and blessing to Gentiles through Israel and her kingdom (Acts 3:19-26; cf. Isaiah 60:1-3; Genesis 12:1-3). Through Paul’s ministry and Gospel, “the Gospel of the Grace of God,” Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, salvation and blessing is currently going to Gentiles without Israel and her kingdom (Romans 11:11-13; Ephesians 3:1-11).

God has offered grace to all; He has been longsuffering, tolerating man’s sins for 20 centuries! Why? “The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” That more lost sinners (like Saul) be saved into the Body of Christ by simple faith in Christ alone, thus spared God’s wrath when prophecy resumes! Once our Dispensation of Grace closes, then and only then, God’s wrath and war will replace His grace and peace (1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, 2:1-13). When the scoffers Peter referenced asked about Jesus’ coming in vengeance, they were pitifully ignorant! The message of grace that Paul preached was the very reason why that wrath had not yet come!

Let us conclude this devotionals arc.

Special-edition Bible Q&A #225: “What about the ‘Jewish Roots’ Movement?
(This 22-page article systematically discusses the dangers of mixing Law and Grace concerning Christian living.)