Light Bulbs and Lenses #4

Thursday, September 28, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

First Timothy 2:4 says, “[God our Saviour] Who will have all men to be saved,….” Then, we read, “…and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Verse 5 begins with “for,” a particle of further explanation or amplification: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;….” So, “the man Christ Jesus” is “the one mediator between [the one] God and men….” Verse 6 issues additional information: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Finally, verse 7 expands verse 6, as we see: “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

So, there are the matters of (1) “salvation” and (2) “the knowledge of the truth.” “Salvation” involves the Lord Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and men, He “who gave himself a ransom for all.” The word “ransom” means “redemption-price.” From birth, we are naturally slaves to sin, descendants of Adam. Jesus Christ shed His blood to pay the price to deliver us from sin’s slave market. Romans chapter 3: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption [payment of the price to free us] that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [fully-satisfying payment] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;….”

Sin brings death, but life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:10-14). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Through faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood, we can be united with Father God. (Christ is “the mediator,” remember.) So, God’s first desire is for all people to be “saved”—freed, delivered—from sin’s dominion. The spiritual deliverance at Calvary once reserved for Israel is now available to all people, Jew and Gentile. This all-people message is interwoven with “com[ing] unto the knowledge of the truth….”

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?

Sins Forgiven!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;….” (Ephesians 1:6,7 KJV).

Dear friend in a world religion, what will you do with your sins?

Several years ago, while a college classmate and I were eating together in our university’s cafeteria, the topic of religion came up. He already knew that I was a Christian, but it was here that I finally learned about him. He had joined an Eastern religion. Upon learning that, I asked him a very simple question, “What are you going to do with your sins?” After a short pause, he responded, still somewhat startled, “I do not know. Let me find out.” I was under the impression that he would research it for me, but he never did get back with me about it. We became close friends before ultimately losing contact a few years ago. Thankfully, though, I was able to cause him to think about eternal matters, even it was for a brief moment.

Whenever meeting with a person of a world religion, I always try to bring up the issue of sin first. As with the case of my friend, they probably have not actually thought about it. They are doing the best they can, but they are so busy working that they have not really thought it through just how their efforts will take care of their sin problem. Maybe they are too afraid to come to terms with the fact that they know deep down inside they still fail and those unpaid sins are still on their account.

As a small boy over 22 years ago, I came to realize that Jesus Christ paid for my sins by dying for them, and that I simply had to trust Him and Him alone for my forgiveness of all sins. Thankfully, I came to that simple truth of the immeasurable grace of God before works-religion could confuse and pollute me. Friend, if your religion cannot take care of your sin problem in full, I would strongly urge you to consider today’s Scripture and the Lord Jesus Christ whom it exalts as Saviour.

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!

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!!

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 29, 2017

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.