Together With Christ (Thrice)

Monday, July 16, 2018

“Even when we were dead in sins, [Father God] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 2:5,6 KJV).

The Greek preposition syn (or sun) appears three times in today’s Scripture. It means “with, together with” (as in synchronize, synthetic, synagogue, syncline, synoptic, et al.):

  1. “Hath quickened us together with” (synedzoopoiesen) “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13). We were both spiritually disadvantaged (sinners not saints—Ephesians 2:1-3) and racially, or covenantally, disadvantaged (Gentiles not Jews—Ephesians 2:11,12; Romans 9:4,5). As per our “dead in trespasses and sins,” God crucified us with Christ on Calvary (Romans 6:6-11). Then, our Heavenly Father quickened us together with Christ—resurrection. Now we are alive unto God. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
  2. “Hath raised us up together” (synegeiren) — Our resurrection was already addressed, so this “raising up” must be ascension. Not only did Father God put us to death with Christ, not only did He resurrect us with Christ, He also raised us up together with Christ, which leads to the final phrase “made us sit together.”
  3. “Made us sit together” (synekathisen) — Sitting together means fellowshipping. Jesus’ enemies—along with poor, reverted Peter the Apostle—were “set down together” (Luke 22:55). In today’s Scripture, Father God reckons us as qualified to share in Jesus Christ’s authority in the heavenly places. The Lord Jesus is the highest Ruler, and we will share in His reigning. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

While all said to be past tense in today’s Scripture, the last two are still future. God sees all as already accomplished, so we should—together with Him—consider it settled! 🙂

The Work of the Ministry #1

Monday, June 25, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

Laziness never belongs in the life of the believer in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-10 declares: “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

God does not save us unto eternal life because of what we do. He saves us only because we trust in the merits of the sacrifice His Son Jesus Christ offered on Calvary’s altar. However, that does not mean God does not care what we do. As Christians, we should walk in our new identity. Our old identity in Adam is gone forever; it is senseless to behave otherwise.

Second Corinthians chapter 5: “[14] For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge [reason, conclude], that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

First Corinthians chapter 12 says: “[12] For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. [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.” God the Holy Spirit has placed us into the Church the Body of Christ for a reason. We are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works….”

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.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should women speak in church?

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?

The Bible’s Season of New Life

Monday, April 2, 2018

“God that made the world and all things therein… he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:24,25 KJV).

May we never forget the true meaning of Eastertime!

Satan is the master counterfeiter: from Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures reveal how the devil schemes to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Whatever God does, Satan defiles that work by introducing false doctrine, distracts mankind from God’s truth by mimicking His actions, discourages God’s people from His ministry by using incorrect thinking patterns, and so on. Why? Satan wants the worship that God alone deserves (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Consider Christmastime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping the birth of the sun god in early winter—near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) took upon human flesh in the virgin Mary’s womb! Now, consider Eastertime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping fertility deities and new life in early spring, near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) died for our sins and resurrected victoriously over sin, death, hell, and Satan to give us new life! (To Satan’s delight, today’s average church member is not mindful of relevant sound Bible doctrine during Christmastime and Eastertime—the devil’s distractions have never lost their efficacy!)

The God of the Bible instituted in Israel a festival, Passover (the killing of a spotless lamb and its bloodshed in early spring), while they were still in Egypt (Exodus chapter 12)—Passover’s annual observance reminded them of JEHOVAH delivering them from Egyptian slavery unto new life. Israel did not understand its meaning until 1,500 years later. The true Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, died and shed His sinless blood during that annual Passover feast (early spring), and He resurrected in new life to give them spiritual life and liberty.

Yes, the pagans may have “hijacked” this time of year for the devil’s glory, but we can disregard their ignorance: spring is God’s season for new life. We can still use this season to bring the God of the Bible glory by remembering that He has given us physical life (today’s Scripture), and He offers us new life (that is, spiritual life) through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! 🙂

Keep Your Soul

Friday, February 9, 2018

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 KJV).

Whether rich or poor, the soul is not worth losing!

A biographical video featured a famous actor of a bygone era. Having appeared in dozens of films, he made his millions and received worldwide fame, married several times, lived in luxurious houses, and so on. An often-repeated phrase in the documentary was, “[This person] died.” This relative of his succumbed to death; that close associate died too. Lastly, he himself expired. Genesis chapter 5 came to mind: “and he died… and he died… and he died….” Since Adam begat all “in his own likeness, and after his image” (verse 3), he passed down his sin nature and its associated death penalty.

Friend, whether rich or poor, famous or unknown, we all live under sin’s effects. The aforementioned celebrity, despite a nice outward appearance, suffered problems like all of us. When we hear of people who never seem to have a “bad day”—everything is always going so well for them—they are withholding something. Somewhere, there is a bout of depression, a divorce or child-custody battle, an addiction, a financial struggle, a fear, an infirmity or weakness, et cetera.

Sin’s final consequence, of course, is physical death, immediately followed by the flames of Hell (and ultimately, the Lake of Fire). We can be “happy-go-lucky” millionaires or homeless peasants, and death will certainly find us. Death has been called the “great equalizer.” Indeed, it levels out all bank accounts, all acquaintances, and all possessions to “0.” Death also removes all uniqueness. Hell is a place where souls—identities—are lost forever (cf. today’s Scripture). The nameless (!), penniless (!) rich man in Luke 16:19-31 was “just another” tormented soul! “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).

However, thankfully, the God of the Bible provided a solution to our sin problem. We need rest entirely by faith in it: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Friend, avoid Hellfire while you still have time!