A Good God

Friday, August 16, 2019

“But thou, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15 KJV).

The God of the Bible has been vilified as being mean, ruthless, and petulant. Any little thing can “set Him off,” they say. He is “controlling,” “possessive,” and “nitpicky” about everything, it is complained. Today’s Scripture is from the Old Testament economy—and it is most inconvenient for His critics!

King David penned this psalm to express how good the God of Israel was, contrasting Him with his cruel enemies. Verse 14: “O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.” Read today’s Scripture again: “But thou, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”

The God of the Bible is “full of compassion.” He is abundantly kind or overwhelmingly sympathetic, particularly towards the victims of wrongdoing. The God of Scripture is “gracious.” He is generous, giving to sinners what they do not deserve and will never deserve. The God of Israel is “longsuffering,” putting up with or patiently enduring for a lengthy time whatever provokes and troubles Him. JEHOVAH God is “plenteous in mercy.” He abounds with mercy, holding back the full punishment that sinners deserve. Lastly, the LORD God is “plenteous in… truth.” He is completely trustworthy, wholly deserving of our faith.

Now, when was the last time you heard someone describe the God of the Old Testament in this fashion? You always hear people moan and groan about “a God of wrath and judgment,” but you seldom hear anyone praising Him for being “a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” They never give us the full picture of Him because they only want to discredit Him. Dishonest and most pathetic are they!

Today’s Scripture, written 1,000 B.C., reached its culmination at Calvary’s cross, where the good God gave up His life… demonstrating forever His compassion, grace, longsuffering, mercy, and truth. What will we do in response? Will we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for our sins? If so, we will enjoy fellowshipping with the good God forever.

arC Ministries Is 12!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV).

To our Lord Jesus Christ’s glory, arC Ministries celebrates its 12th anniversary today!!!

Twelve years ago, as an 18-year-old college student, I endeavored to use Facebook to create a Bible study group for teens and college students. Thus, “ambassadors for the risen Christ ministries” was born. As I grew more in God’s Word rightly divided, I grew increasingly aware of the need for additional ministry projects. The more I had been learning drove me to share those precious truths with others. That eventually led me to look for supplementary avenues of ministry.

During these past 12 years, God’s grace has enabled us to continue the original group on Facebook. In addition, we have branched out quite a bit in other areas. This devotionals blog has been operating for over eight years now. For the last seven years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its eighth year). Other ministry projects include a 22-week newspaper ministry column (this devotionals blog’s predecessor), a YouTube channel with home Bible study videos, a Twitter feed, a full-length Bible studies blog, a college campus ministry, a nursing-home ministry, and our Bible-question-and-answer blog. Three years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there (new ones are forthcoming this year, hopefully). Earlier this year, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. Soon, we will launch our New Testament Survey video series (which will last a few years). We hear from people all over the world!

Our name says it all: we serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ, not some “dead Jew” and not ourselves. The original motto of our ministry was, “To equip ambassadors, and to encourage others to become ambassadors.” Our primary goal is to teach Christians, and our secondary goal is to evangelize the lost world. Twelve years later, we still endeavor to uphold God’s Word (King James Bible) rightly divided, whether it be in edifying the Christian brethren or preaching the clear Gospel of the Grace of God to this lost and dying world. For those of you who have been with us from day 1, thank you for your prayer and encouragement. We pray for you upon every remembrance! There is still plenty more for the Lord Jesus Christ to do in and through us, so let us give Him all the praise and glory as we enter Year 13! 🙂

Bible Q&A articles #634 and #635: “Why did the Lord Jesus never tell jokes?” and “What exactly is ‘hypocrisy?’

Liberated to Serve

Thursday, July 4, 2019

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 243rd anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Jesus, Please Leave! #5

Friday, June 21, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

In Isaiah chapter 49, after the LORD God issues astonishing promises concerning Israel’s glorious future, a valid objection is raised. Verse 24: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” Satan boasts before God that Israel is now his people. Having broken the Mosaic Covenant with their idolatry, they are disqualified from being God’s people (see Exodus 19:5,6). They are Satan’s slaves, and he will not release them. Recall the rampant devil possession during Christ’s earthly ministry! The nation Israel is so thoroughly corrupted with pagan idolatry and false teaching. Indeed, legally, God cannot use them. They have entered into a binding contract, and have utterly failed to stay loyal to the God of their fathers. “Lawfully captive” to Satan, how can they be “delivered?”

Almighty God answers Satan: “[25] But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. [26] And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” 

God will save the children of Israel… somehow. The specifics are not clear to Satan, Isaiah, or anyone else at that time. Looking back, with a complete Bible in hand, we can see Jesus’ crosswork in veiled language in Isaiah 50:1-8. In death by crucifixion, Christ fights to redeem Israel from sin and Satan’s relentless grip. By shedding His sinless blood, He satisfies Father God’s justice, and pays Israel’s sin debt in full. Before this, He performs healing and exorcism miracles (as in today’s Scripture). Prior to Calvary, He demonstrates He can free Israel from the Devil’s clutches….

Jesus, Please Leave! #2

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

We read today’s Scripture in its context: “[28] And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. [29] And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

“[30] And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. [31] So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. [32] And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. [33] And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. [34] And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”

Two men possessed with devils are living among the tombs along the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. They are “exceeding fierce,” or violent savages. Notice how they prevent anyone from passing. As the Lord Jesus comes, the evil spirits speak through these men: “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” While Israel is largely ignorant of Jesus being the Son of God, Satan and his fallen angelic allies are well aware of that truth!! These unclean spirits reveal that they recognize Christ’s dominion over them….

Bible Q&A #620: “Why did Ezekiel, in Babylon, warn of Jerusalem’s fall?

Jesus, Please Leave! #1

Monday, June 17, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

It is a sad commentary indeed. When Christ showed up in the midst of His own kinsmen, the Bible says, “And she [His mother, the virgin Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn(Luke 2:7). A few years pass, and the wise men have come from the east to worship young Jesus. “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him(Matthew 2:3). Was Israel ready for her Messiah? Of course not! Did the inhabitants of Jerusalem welcome its rightful King with open arms? Certainly not! Truly, rank unbelief led to outright refusal.

Over 30 years later, Matthew 8:20 reports: “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath no where to lay his head.” In other words, the foxes and birds have homes where they are accepted and can rest. However, Jesus has been overwhelmingly rejected. In the very place where He should have settled “at home,” there was no room for Him! Did you know that, at the very beginning of His ministry, the convicted Jews attempted to throw Jesus off a cliff (Luke 4:28-31)?!

Doubtless, a believing remnant followed Jesus when He conducted His earthly life—Mary His mother, Joseph His step-father, Anna and Simeon, John the Baptist, the 12 Apostles, Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathaea, Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, and so on. However, it was indeed a remnant, a little flock” (Luke 12:32): most Jews refused to believe on Him. Their attitude culminated in John 19:15, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him…. The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar!”

Calvary’s cross is just moments away. Yet, we pause the narrative and go back in time, focusing on today’s Scripture….

The War with Amalek! #14

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

In Scripture, water symbolizes the Holy Spirit (and the impartation of life). For example, John chapter 7: “[37] In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

See also 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” The verb “drink” carries the connotation of a liquid—water. Once we believed on Christ as our personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit identified us with Him, and we received His life. Here is Israel drinking from the rock (cf. today’s Scripture). They had God’s life, His blessings because of His grace, and victory over sin—until they embraced works-religion. The poor Apostle Paul wound up in a similar trap. His Christian life started right (Romans chapter 6), then he abandoned Grace to follow Law and become conquered and miserable (chapter 7). Hope and victory come in chapter 8!

“[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

If we have a clear understanding of Grace (“mind the things of the Spirit”), brethren, there will be no room for Law—or losing to Amalek! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about fatherhood?