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 #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.

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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!

Reigning or Roasting?

Friday, January 26, 2018

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

Someone stated most appropriately, “We can spend eternity reigning or roasting.” Friend, which do you choose?

According to Father God’s twofold purpose in creation—heaven and earth—He has one agency He will use in each realm. He intends to unite all governments under His Son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:9,10; Colossians 1:16-20). The nation Israel will reign on earth and thereby glorify Jesus Christ forever. Notice Psalm 37:11: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Christ quoted this in Matthew 5:5, referring to His kingdom). Also, Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:….” Finally, Revelation 5:10: “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

The Church the Body of Christ, God’s agency today, will reign in the heavenly places and thereby glorify Jesus Christ forever. Ephesians 2:6,7: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” And, 2 Corinthians 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Also, Philippians 3:20: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:….” Finally, 2 Timothy 4:18: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

The eternal fate of those who die without Jesus Christ is described quite vividly in Revelation 20:14,15: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” We had better trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now, to reign later rather than roast!

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The Prince of Peace, Born in the Middle East

Friday, December 22, 2017

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV).

Ironically, God’s wisdom ordained the birthplace of the Prince of Peace to be the contentious Middle East….

Almost from the very beginning of time, the Middle East has been a battleground, the chief war zone of good and evil. Originally the peaceful home of Adam and Eve, today it is the most contentious region on the globe. Because of Adam’s sin, what was a paradise is now known as the area where man joined Satan in his rebellion against God. Adam and Eve utterly failed to reign over the earth for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28). Instead they united with the opposition, and were banished from God’s presence and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23,24).

“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). Verse 14 says that Adam “is the figure of him that was to come.” God would send another Man, Jesus Christ, and He would accomplish what Adam failed to do: glorify God on the earth by dispossessing it from Satan, and reigning in righteousness. This is the “government” spoken of in today’s Scripture.

“For if by one man’s [Adam’s] offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (verse 17). Adam plunged the human race into sin and made it God’s enemy; Jesus Christ offers mankind eternal life, forgiveness of sins and a reconciled relationship with God! This was God’s goal in sending Jesus Christ.

As our world desperately continues to seek peace, let us remember there will be no peace on earth until the Prince of Peace returns to His nation, Israel, and rids our planet of Satan and his policy of evil (the root of the Middle Eastern turmoil). At Christ’s Second Coming, there will be peace on earth (Luke 2:14), and especially in the Middle East.