Understanding Grace Living

Saturday, May 21, 2022

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:14,15 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand grace living?

What is the key to victorious Christian living for us? Again, had this question been correctly answered these last 20 centuries, there would be much less confusion, disappointment, and discouragement among church members. Try as hard as we might, we cannot (!) force God to do something He is not doing. Indeed, we can pick and choose Bible verses that teach “perform to get God’s blessings” (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14, for example). This is the Law of Moses, operating at that particular point on the Bible timeline. Yet, is that what the LORD tells us today in this Age of Grace? No. No. No. According to the Lord speaking through the Apostle Paul, today’s Scripture teaches us we are under grace not law. To be “under grace” is opposite of “under law”—if words mean anything, of course!

It is entirely possible—yea, it has happened—that we can be “scriptural” and be outside God’s will. Not only must we be scriptural, we must also be dispensational. What are God’s instructions to us? They are “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” committed exclusively to the Apostle Paul’s trust: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Ephesians 3:1,2). To find victorious Christian living for us members of the Church the Body of Christ, we read Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Contrary to popular belief, to be “under grace” does not mean God encourages us to go live in sin. (We were already doing that before we came to faith in Christ anyway!) Grace teaches us not to sin (see Titus 2:11-15). What Almighty (all-powerful) God can do for us through Calvary (grace)—for we are too sinful and weak to do anything for Him (law)—is how the Christian life operates. It is Jesus Christ’s life manifested in and through us, as we walk by faith in the principles of Pauline theology.

NOTE: With our “Original 7” studies expanded a seventh time, we grow up into more sound Bible doctrine.

Understanding Your Apostle Paul

Friday, May 20, 2022

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

Friend, would you like to understand your Apostle Paul?

“Who is your Apostle?” Had the professing church correctly answered that question through these last 2,000 years, Christianity’s testimony would be far more potent because we would actually know God’s will better than the world knows Satan’s policy of evil. Alas, the average church member is totally unable to discern and combat bad doctrine—and it is not God’s fault!

Regarding what the Bible titles “time past,” God was forming the nation Israel, distinguishing the world between “circumcision” (Jew) and “uncircumcision” (non-Jew, Gentile). “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; 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:…” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Yet, in “but now,” God has erected a new arrangement: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (verse 13). Today, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—all can come to God by faith in Christ’s finished crosswork alone and join the Church the Body of Christ.

In the context of today’s Scripture, we learn: “[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:….” Here is Paul’s ministry, the Lord sending this man to notify us of the dispensational change from “time past” to “but now” (Acts 26:16-18). We therefore see God’s current operations are confined to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Appealing to other Scriptures to find God’s will for today is how Christendom has failed miserably in using God’s Word God’s way—and look at the disastrous results!

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #4

Thursday, May 12, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

God is neither “asleep” nor “on vacation;” He is quite alive and alert. Are we? He does care, having appointed a day when He will lift the curse of sin, restore creation to its original state, punish evil, and cause righteousness to prevail in the Earth. That is Christ’s glorious Second Coming of Revelation chapter 20. However, the prophetic program to which all these events belong is momentarily suspended.

The Apostle Peter himself ultimately realized that in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack [lazy, inattentive] concerning his promise [coming in wrath], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul (see verses 15,16); we should ascertain it too. God’s wrath is delayed because the Dispensation of Grace has interrupted prophecy, thereby allowing people to come to faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork alone, before that wrath does fall. Saul of Tarsus himself experienced that truth firsthand in Acts chapter 9 (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12-17).

Why does God not hurry up and accomplish His will in the Earth by judging sin now? He is forming the Church the Body of Christ, His heavenly people. Indeed, this world is a mess (Genesis chapter 3! Romans chapter 1! Romans chapter 8!)—and it will only worsen because it is headed for the Tribulation or Daniel’s 70th Week. Israel’s national restoration is delayed, for God is doing something amongst the Gentiles through Paul’s ministry (Romans 9–11); this parallels the LORD waiting to redeem Israel from Egypt until He had wrought a work with Gentile Pharaoh (cf. Romans 9:17,18). By faith, brethren, we see the Lord administering the mystery program, knowing full well the prophetic program will resume when “grace and peace” finishes!

333’s 3900th – The Path to Maturation

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

“[God our Saviour] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 KJV).

Dear saints and readers, only by God’s grace, “333 Words of Grace” celebrates its 3900th devotional today!

What is the Lord doing right now? Exactly what would He have us do at this moment? The average church member would likely give incorrect answers—or no answers at all. In fact, even most genuine Christians would find these questions challenging and intimidating. There are three reasons for Bible illiteracy.

Firstly, they really have no idea what the clear Gospel of Grace even is. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Instead of this pure, straightforward message, they have heard various pseudo-gospels. “Make Jesus the Lord of your life, repent and turn to God, recite the ‘sinner’s prayer,’ confess your sins.” As long as they have an adulterated Gospel message, there is no adequate basis for faith or trust, so they remain dead in their trespasses and sins. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit, they lack spiritual discernment.

Secondly, they are not using the inspired, preserved words of God. In English, these are the words of the Authorized Version King James Bible. Unfortunately, they have believed the “scholars” and purchased some alleged “easier-to-read” contemporary English version—nothing but a perverted, natural-man, watered-down, ever-changing text that only the spiritually naïve value. The result is weak, confused, immature Bible students, aware of general “Divine thoughts” as opposed to trained in specific Divine words.

Finally, if they do they have the indwelling Holy Spirit, and do use the proper Bible text, they are not “study[ing]… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Since they have failed to recognize the dispensational distinctions God has placed in His Word, they have no clue concerning where they are in His purpose and program. They have not been told—or they refuse to see—the Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to them (Romans 11:13), Romans through Philemon God’s words to and about them!

Brethren, over the course of these last 3900 days, we have striven here to correct all three deficiencies. Though we have come far, we still have a long way remaining. Onward to devotional #4000! 🙂

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #3

Friday, December 10, 2021

“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! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How do we ‘pray without ceasing?’

Ecstasy

Saturday, November 20, 2021

“And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment” (Mark 5:42 KJV).

“Ecstasy” is “an overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement.” (Of course, it lends its name to the illegal drug that causes these effects.) It is also “a spiritual trance-like state.” This word is from the Greek “ekstasis,” literally meaning “standing out oneself” (a displacement of the mind). Our Authorized Version translators rendered it various ways.

The first instance is today’s Scripture: “And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment [“ekstasis”].” The Lord Jesus had raised Jairus’ little girl from the dead—and such fear and wonderment, joy and excitement, would cause anyone to stand out their mind! Upon learning from the angel that Jesus had resurrected, “And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed [“ekstasis”]: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). These women could not believe it!

When Christ healed the “man taken with a palsy” (paralytic), the Bible remarks: “And they were all amazed [“ekstasis”], and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day” (Luke 5:26). Again, the bewilderment or awe was mind-boggling! The Apostles Peter and John, heading to pray at the Jerusalem Temple, encountered a 40-year-old lame man crippled from birth. In the name of Jesus Christ, Peter heals him: “And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement [“ekstasis”] at that which had happened unto him.” The crowds are stupefied!

As the Lord prepares Peter to preach to Gentile Cornelius, the Apostle beholds an extraordinary sight and hears startling words in a vision: “And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance [“ekstasis”],…” (Acts 10:10; cf. Acts 11:5). Lastly, as Christ readies the Apostle Paul for his ministry, “And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance [“ekstasis”];…” (Acts 22:17).

Continue in Prayer

Saturday, October 23, 2021

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;…” (Colossians 4:2 KJV).

Be prayerful; be thankful!

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[2] Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; [3] Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: [4] That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Romans 12:12 repeats the same admonition: “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;….”

Prayer is our speaking to God in light of His words to us. We listen to the Holy Bible rightly divided—what God said He will do for us and with us—and then we repeat God’s words back to Him. The Lord knows what He said in the Scriptures, so prayer is for our benefit rather than His. Prayer reminds us of what He has already told us, that we may walk in accordance and do His will—or, rather, that His will may be accomplished in and through us as we conduct ourselves regarding the Divine revelation given us.

Alas, prayer is usually a burden, a disappointment, a struggle. Church members incessantly complain about “unanswered prayer.” They asked God for something, but it did not happen. Doubts creep in; nagging questions arise. Have I some “unconfessed sin?” Does God care? Is He even there? How inconsiderate of us, that we would presume to dictate to the Lord what He should and should not do! Dear friends, we must conform to what He is doing; He is not obligated to abide by our wishes.

Prayer is the most dangerous part of the Christian life, for it is utterly destructive if not coupled with personal dispensational Bible study. If you doubt this at all, dear friends, just look at all the displeasure with prayer in Christendom. The Lord’s good name, His precious words, are smeared and ridiculed, rendered distasteful because we have failed to listen His current will, this the Dispensation of the Grace of God committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust. May we be prayerful and thankful concerning the Holy Scriptures, particularly Romans through Philemon. Let us continue therein… vigilant and steadfast.

Purity or Compromise? #5

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

The last Book of the Bible written, the Holy Spirit’s final instructions to the Church the Body of Christ, is 2 Timothy. Paul’s farewell epistle, chapter 2, educates: “[14] Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. [15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

“[19] Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. [20] But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. [21] If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” Never, ever, ever, ever, ever are we to use grace as a license to sin! We are to avoid not only false teachers—who cause us to sin doctrinally by not “rightly dividing the word of truth!”—but also anyone else whose behavior is a stumblingblock to our own. They are leaning unto their own understanding, are wise in their own eyes, and have not acknowledged the LORD in their ways. He is not directing their paths; they have not departed from evil. Beloved, may we beware of them….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are God’s ‘testimonies?’

Purity or Compromise? #4

Monday, October 18, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

“Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb [speechless, mute] idols, even as ye were led” (1 Corinthians 12:2). Before coming to Christ by faith in Paul’s Gospel, the Corinthians had worshipped and served pagan deities. Sadly, even after joining the Church the Body of Christ, they still worshipped and served idols! “Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them [ancient Jews under Moses]…. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry…. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Corinthians 10:7,14,21).

In chapter 6 of 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul later writes to Corinth: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial [Satan]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel [unbeliever]? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (verses 14-18).

The saints at Corinth had not fully abandoned their heathen religion, for they had not completely accepted Paul’s apostleship and doctrines. If they were to be doctrinally and functionally pure, able to be the Lord’s people in belief and practice (as they already were His people positionally), they would have to wholly separate from Satan’s religious system. Likewise, so must we….

The Secret Things #12

Monday, September 27, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

In the beginning, Father God intended to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, in Heaven and Earth. From Adam onward, an earthly kingdom exemplified the Creator’s message to man (Matthew 25:34; Acts 3:19-21). In this prophetic program, once Adam sinned by following Satan (a spirit being who had already corrupted Heaven with sin), the LORD began forming a new people in the Earth to be His kingdom of priests. The nation Israel was born, eventually receiving God’s words through Moses (today’s Scripture). As more centuries transpired, however, it became clearer Israel would not receive their King or their kingdom. In unbelief, they crucified Him, the Lord Jesus Christ! Israel’s temporary spiritual fall before God concerning Messiah’s rejection was no secret (Luke 2:34).

Of course, the God of Scripture is omniscient: Satan would not outsmart Him at Calvary’s cross (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). In eternity past, the Godhead had already determined to use that blood shed on the cross to form a second group of believers. Here is the mystery program, information God never told anyone about until He revealed it to and through the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25,26). What would happen to the world through national Israel’s temporary fall? To save Paul (Saul of Tarsus) and those Jewish and Gentile unbelievers like him, God revealed a new Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4): through Israel’s fall and Paul’s ministry and message (Romans 11:11-14), the Lord would make an heavenly kingdom of people: the Church the Body of Christ.

Now, with all prophetic truth revealed through the non-Pauline Scriptures, and the Pauline Scriptures unveiling “mystery” (previously hidden) truth, we know all God’s will (Ephesians 1:8-10). As Israel was without excuse concerning the “prophetic” things revealed to them through Moses (Dispensation of Law), so we are without excuse concerning the “secret” things revealed to us through Paul (Dispensation of Grace). We know what God is doing today (Romans through Philemon), and what He is not (the rest of Scripture). “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:38).