Life is Unfair Indeed

Thursday, July 21, 2011

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18 KJV).

Life is unfair. The guilty are declared innocent, and the innocent are condemned. Productive citizens’ lives are cut short by tragedy, yet those living ill-repute lives survive to do great damage to society. The wicked prosper while the Christians are mistreated. Corrupt millionaires seem to triumph over the people who live average to borderline-poverty lives. God’s people suffer persecution from Satan’s evil world system.

Indeed, life is so unfair. What better way to demonstrate that than to quote today’s Scripture: “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust….” The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:3 and Hebrews 1:3 that Christ died for “our sins.” “For he [God the Father] made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin;” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God the Father sent His perfect Son to Calvary’s cross to bear our shame, our sin, our punishment, and our debt.

Heaven’s best came to this nasty world to save us, earth’s worst. Jesus Christ always pleased His Father (Matthew 3:17). We never pleased God (Romans 8:8). Christ did not deserve to go to Calvary. He went there because we deserved to go there, and He took our place so we could be saved from sin’s penalty, the everlasting lake of fire.

Life is SO unfair. The beloved Son of God, Jesus Christ, who always pleased His Father, died for us rotten, disobedient, ungrateful, arrogant, foolish, stubborn, sinful, hell-bound men trapped inside of these earthly tabernacles.

  • The just Son of God died for us, the unjust sons of Adam.
  • The sinless Son of God died for us, the sinful sons of Adam.
  • The loving Son of God died for us, the unlovely sons of Adam.
  • The innocent Son of God died for us, the guilty sons of Adam.

Behold that cruel cross of Calvary and realize that life is unfair indeed.

What About Unanswered Prayer?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” (Psalm 66:18 KJV).

Unanswered prayer is a popular topic. Why are some prayers “unanswered?”

Read Isaiah 59:1,2: “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

Using the above verses, denominationalists say that if we have unconfessed sin, God does not hear our prayers (or He refuses to answer them). Of course, these religionists are not “rightly dividing the word of truth” like 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs.

Before we claim a Bible passage as ours, we need to notice to whom is the passage written. Psalm 66:18 and Isaiah 59:1,2 are not written to us in the Dispensation of Grace. They are God’s message to the nation Israel. God made a covenant with Israel—if Israel refused to listen to Him, He judged them in chastisement (in this case, unanswered prayer). Israel had to perform and obey if they wanted God’s blessings. That was their agreement with God in the Old (Mosaic) Covenant (see Deuteronomy 28).

It would make no sense to steal Israel’s passages (like Isaiah 59:1,2 and Psalm 66:18), because God dealt with Israel under law whereas He deals with us under grace (Romans 6:14,15). We are NOT in Israel’s works-religion (performance-based acceptance) system.

God judging us for unconfessed sin? If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have perfect righteousness. How can God impute sin to us when we are in His Son (Romans 4:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:19)? As Christians, we can boldly come to God our Father in prayer. He hears all our prayers.

So, why do we not always get our prayers answered how we want? Evidently, we are trying to get God to do something He is not doing today (like asking Him for the promises He gave Israel and never promised us). Unanswered prayer is the result of us not praying in accordance with Paul’s epistles.

On the Sufferings of This Present Time

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 KJV).

Everyone suffers, Christians and lost people alike. Our suffering originates from three sources:

  1. We all live under the curse of sin. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, matter is becoming less and less usable. Every living creature grows sick and eventually dies. Romans 8:21,22 and Genesis 3:16-19 explain the curse (the bondage of corruption) was instituted on creation because of sin. Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
  2. We make mistakes, hurting ourselves and others. Others make bad decisions, and they negatively affect us. Of course, this too is closely related to #1 (sin). Christ said, “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).
  3. We Christians suffer for righteousness’ sake. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).

Until we leave this present evil world of Satan, we will continue to suffer from all of the above. The good news is what Paul writes in today’s Scripture: this temporary suffering is nothing when compared to the eternal glorification that is awaiting us as members of the Body of Christ.

When we Christians receive our glorified bodies in heaven, we will be free from these bodies of sinful flesh, never to suffer again. What a hope we have in heaven, all because of Christ Jesus and His finished cross work on Calvary!

Lest They Also Come Into This Place of Torment

Monday, July 11, 2011

“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:27,28 KJV).

While fools often quip they anticipate their partying with friends in hell, the rich man of today’s Scripture was certainly not partying. By the way, this is NOT a parable.

The Bible says the rich man’s soul was in torments, greatly tortured by hell’s flames (verses 23-25). His mind was overwhelmed with regretful memories. He remembered he still had five lost brethren alive on earth, so he asked Abraham to send Lazarus to go witness to them and warn them of hell’s torments.

Notice Abraham’s response: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (verse 29). If someone wants to avoid everlasting hellfire, he or she needs to study God’s Word and learn how to escape God’s righteous judgment against our sins.

Christian ambassadors, we have been entrusted with “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Our ministry is to tell the entire world they can have an opportunity to avoid hell because Jesus Christ suffered for them and as them on Calvary’s cross!

“[Christ] tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Christ was “made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). The Bible says that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

It has been said that the spirit of evangelism is stronger in hell than it is in the Christian heart. We all have family and friends headed to hell, yet we lapse into attitudes of unconcern, hoping that someone else will witness to them. Be bold in Christ. Tell them of Calvary’s cross. Pray for their salvation, too.

Whenever you fall into a state of complacency (unconcerned) in sharing the salvation found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be motivated to speak up when you remember the rich man’s haunting words: “Lest they also come into this place of torment!”

Send It to the Cross of Christ!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14 KJV).

Are you bothered by past failures and sins? Plagued by shame and guilt? Sin destroys. It rips apart friendships and marriages and it causes heartache and bloodshed. Furthermore, it robs us of peace and joy. Oftentimes, those we love most are the people we hurt the most. Those who love us the most usually hurt us the most. How do we deal with these sins? Send them to the cross of Christ!

Our Apostle Paul was once a wicked, hell-bound sinner. Saul of Tarsus tortured, imprisoned, and even killed Christ’s followers (Acts 22:19,20; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13). Until his dying day, Paul never forgot his past. He had caused believers to suffer tremendously. How did he survive that guilt and shame during his 30-plus years of ministry? He sent it all to the cross of Christ!

In 1 Timothy 1:13, Paul discusses his persecuting those saints. Today’s Scripture says, “the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” No matter what Paul had done in the past, the Lord forgave him according to His exceeding abundant grace, faith, and love.

Verse 15 says: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Christ came to save sinners. Paul recognized that he was a wretched sinner, but a sinner was the only person the Lord Jesus Christ could save!

Today, by faith, we follow Paul, the first sinner to become a member of the Body of Christ. We too have been saved and forgiven according to God’s exceeding abundant grace, faith, and love. If someone wrongs us, or we wrong someone, send it to the cross of Christ, where God dealt with all sin, for all men, for all time. Christ died to “put away [our] sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

Beloved, send it to the cross of Christ where it belongs!

We Have Now Received the Atonement

Friday, June 17, 2011

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11 KJV).

This is the only time the word “atonement” appears in the King James’ New Testament. The Greek word translated “atonement” here is usually translated “reconciliation, reconciling, reconciled” elsewhere (Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

In the Old Testament, once a year, on the Day of Atonement, Israel’s high priest would sprinkle animals’ blood on the mercy seat, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, to first cover his sins and then the sins of the nation Israel (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16:3-34; Hebrews 9:7). But “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). For that reason, “in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year” (Hebrews 10:3).

The book of Hebrews describes how Jesus Christ shedding His own (sinless) blood has done away with the animal sacrifices. “And every priest standeth daily ministering and oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man [Christ Jesus], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10:11,12).

That word “atonement”—wrongly translated “reconciliation” in modern Bibles—is needed in Romans 5:11 because it links us with the Old Testament practice of the Day of Atonement. Animals’ blood could never take away sins, the Bible says, but that blood did serve as a temporary forgiveness. When the blood of Jesus Christ was shed, the shedding of animals’ blood became null. What God accomplished for Israel at the cross of Calvary, He also accomplished for us (the Church the Body of Christ).

Notice “we have NOW received the atonement” (Romans 5:11). As Christians we have our sins blotted out today (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13). Israel will not receive her national forgiveness until the Second Coming of Christ (Acts 3:19,20; Romans 11:26,27).

Rejoice, saints, “we have NOW received the atonement!” Praise ye the Lord!

The Wages and the Gift

Monday, June 13, 2011

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23 KJV).

Often used to lead someone to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, today’s Scripture is loaded with doctrine. Two contrasting phrases catch our attention: “the wages of sin” and “the gift of God.” In addition, we see “death” and its antonym “eternal life.”

“Wages” means “compensation for labor.” Contrariwise, “gift” is “something freely given to someone without him or her doing anything to receive it.” Notice the Bible uses “wages” (plural), indicating sin causes two deaths. Physical death, when a soul separates from its physical body, and spiritual death, the “second death,” when a soul is cast into the lake of fire, eternally separated from God’s holy presence (Revelation 20:14,15; 21:8).

Romans 2:6 says God “will render to every man according to his deeds.” Verse 7 explains that God will give eternal life to those “who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality.” Then verses 8 and 9 say, “but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul that doeth evil.”

God will give eternal life to anyone who is perfect, yet Romans 3:23 says none of us can live up to God’s perfect standard because we are sinners. Death is our “wages.” We have earned death because we cannot keep God’s law perfectly (Romans 3:19,20; Galatians 3:10)!

At Calvary’s cross, God demonstrated His wrath “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” our sin (Romans 1:18). But, at Calvary’s cross, God also demonstrated His righteousness (Romans 1:17). Jesus Christ, God’s perfect Son, bore our sin and suffered our death. Christ paid our sin debt with His blood, and He now offers His righteousness and eternal life as a free gift to you (Romans 3:21; Romans 5:15-18). Will you receive that gift by trusting in Christ as your personal Saviour?

The wages of sin, or the gift of eternal life… your choice!