The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 28, 2018

“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.

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Nothing But the Blood #7

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the chorus of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

More than 700 years before Calvary, Israel was promised forgiveness: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (today’s Scripture). With the revelation of the mystery given to the Apostle Paul, we see just what the LORD God meant. Christ’s shed blood would purify them!

Romans chapter 3 again: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] 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; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

Father God displayed for all to see Jesus Christ crucified as a “propitiation,” a fully-satisfying payment for sin. He believes the blood of His Son Jesus Christ can cleanse us of all sin (cf. 1 John 1:7). Do we agree with Him by faith? Or, are we so infatuated with self-righteousness that we claim not to have any sin? Or, if we do recognize our sin, will we cling to the defense, “I will do the best I can to make up for it?” Father God does not have faith in our works!! He knows better than that. Either Jesus Christ will pay our sin debt entirely, or it will never be paid and we will go straight to Hell forever!

God will not (!) receive our “good” works to get us into His Heaven. What will He accept? Indeed, nothing but the blood of Jesus! 🙂

Nothing But the Blood #6

Friday, May 11, 2018

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5,6 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the sixth verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

The Apostle John, representing Israel’s Little Flock (believing remnant), recognizes how Christ not only loved them but shed His sinless blood to sanctify them as Father God’s kings and priests. A doxology reviews, “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Despite Israel’s abundant past failures, they finally become God’s kingdom of priests He originally intended (Exodus 19:3-6). Having experienced 1,500 years (!) of condemnation under the Mosaic Law, they ultimately understand their self-righteousness is short of God’s glory. They will never make themselves God’s nation. It will depend entirely upon His work (Calvary)—not their efforts. Now washed, they enter eternal bliss, enjoying forever God’s earthly kingdom.

Colossians chapter 1 says: “[16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

As Jesus’ payment for sin allows Israel’s redemption (forming God’s earthly people), so that same blood, according to Paul’s Gospel, now forms us the Church the Body of Christ (God’s heavenly people).

Nothing but the blood indeed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does Scripture mean, ‘[God] sitteth upon… the earth?’

Nothing But the Blood #5

Thursday, May 10, 2018

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the fifth verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

There is absolute victory in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. His shed blood pays to Father God the ransom to free us from sin’s prison. We move from Satan’s family to God’s. Ephesians 1:7, sister passage to today’s Scripture, elaborates: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;….” Hence, Heaven is open to any and all who rely exclusively on Jesus: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Concerning Israel’s sin problem, the nation so poisoned by empty and false religion, the Holy Spirit wrote in 1 Peter chapter 1: “[18] Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; [19] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:….” First John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Revelation 12:11 speaks of believing Israel in the last days: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” As Satan is cast down to Earth during the latter half of the Tribulation period, the only overcoming will be in Christ’s blood and Word!

Colossians 2:14,15: “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.” Romans 5:9: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

Indeed, nothing but the blood….

Nothing But the Blood #4

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the fourth verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Have you ever encountered someone bursting with self-righteousness? They have never done anything wrong, everyone else causes their problems, and so on. Religion has caused them to be thus. Some 20 centuries ago, Israel was the same during Christ’s earthly ministry and Acts. Romans chapter 9: “[31] But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. [32] Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; [33] As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Romans chapter 10: “[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [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. [4] For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Israel was “good enough,” and so rejected Jesus Christ as Saviour when He visited them.

Contrariwise, the Christian believer realizes his own unrighteousness, and that his justification before God is entirely dependent upon Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork. Relying on our own “works,” we would be hopeless. However, since we are not the focus, we are surely “heirs according to the hope of eternal life!”

Nothing but the blood indeed….

NOTE: If you missed the live streaming of my Grace School of the Bible graduation a few weeks ago, the video is now posted online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-TjUeG45yI&feature=youtu.be.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Pastor’ or ‘bishop’—which is the correct title?

Nothing But the Blood #3

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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 third verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Our flesh wants to do something… anything! The old man, sin nature, believes he can offer God something that He will accept. Hence, religion is so popular—“But don’t I have to do something?!” Even as Bible-believing Christians, those who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have to be on guard not to be “religiously-minded.” God only gave one religion (Judaism) and He gave it to Israel. At the heart of Mosaic-Law worship were animal blood sacrifices. For 1,500 years, the LORD God taught Israel that shed blood, not their good works, would fully address their sin problem.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Sin brings death (spiritual and physical). The answer to death is life. Where shall we find life? Today’s Scripture says, “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Life is in the blood! “The blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” When blood would be shed, there would be a binding of sinful souls to God. Those animal sacrifices pictured Jesus Christ’s future sacrifice of Himself!

Hebrews chapter 10 looks back: “[4] For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins…. [8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; [9] Then said he [Christ], Lo, I come to do thy will, O [Father] God. He taketh away the first [covenant], that he may establish the second. [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Nothing but the blood indeed….

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Nothing But the Blood #2

Monday, May 7, 2018

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the second verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

The God of Israel “pardoneth iniquity.” Why? He “passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage.” Why? He “retaineth not his anger for ever.” Why? How can He do these things? “He delighteth in mercy.” The God of the Bible is compassionate. Furthermore, He actually takes pleasure in holding back what we sinners deserve! How will He accomplish this? The Prophet Micah does not have the complete picture. All he can say is that wicked Israel, facing divine judgment (the fifth course of chastisement—the Babylonian captivity), will be forgiven one day. The LORD God will not be eternally angry at Israel!

In his Book, Micah also speaks of the (yet future) Tribulation period and violent, wrathful Second Coming of Christ. Despite that destruction, the Holy Spirit allows Micah to see Israel’s ultimate pardon. While there will be fury, there will also be mercy. God will hold back what sinful Israel deserves. How can He be fair, and yet not punish them to the extent that they deserve? With the revelation of the mystery, the Pauline revelation, now we see. It is on the basis of Christ’s shed blood!

Returning to Romans chapter 3, part of God’s Word to Paul: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] 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;….” The “remission [forgiveness] of sins that are past” (cf. Hebrews 9:22b)—the cleansing of Israel’s sins—is found in the cross of Christ.

Nothing but the blood indeed….