A Pattern of Longsuffering

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

God could be righteously angered and vengeful today. Thankfully, He is not!

A friend saw a television preacher claiming to “heal” someone. The disabled person showed no improvement, so the minister obviously faked it. My friend wondered why God did not strike that preacher dead for using the name “Jesus Christ” to deceive millions. I explained to my friend that, as opposed to the strict Dispensation of Law, where God was so severe in meting out judgment on such charlatans, we live in the Dispensation of Grace.

God’s “longsuffering” is typified in the Apostle Paul (see today’s Scripture). His salvation is a “pattern” of how people are saved into Christ today. Saul was an unbelieving, rebellious, indoctrinated, self-righteous, zealous Jew. In early Acts, he traveled and arrested, tortured, and executed any Jew—including women!—who followed Jesus of Nazareth. The Lord Jesus Christ observed it all from Heaven. He could have easily struck down Saul and whisked him off to Hell! Contrariwise, the Lord chose to extend mercy and love toward that wretched sinner. He personally appeared to Saul in Acts chapter 9. Saul, amazed and humbled, trusted the Lord Jesus Christ whom he had passionately hated.

Indeed, God chose that leader of sinners, the head of Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, to become the Apostle Paul. He commissioned that man to go to all nations and preach the same grace God had shown him. Hence, God’s spokesman to the world opens each of his 13 epistles with, “Grace and peace.” Rather than wrath and war, God is (temporarily) patiently tolerating sinful man. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid our sin debt; hence, we enjoy grace and peace today. However, to benefit from it forever, like Paul, we must receive and trust it. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Great Flood’s water save the eight souls in 1 Peter 3:20?

Just As I Am #6

Monday, July 24, 2017

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the sixth and final verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, Thy love unknown,
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

We receive the indwelling Holy Spirit after we hear and believe the Gospel of Grace, as Ephesians chapter 1 says: “[13] In whom [Christ Jesus] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Contrary to popular belief, everyone is not God’s child. For example, in John 8:44, the Lord Jesus uttered one of the harshest censures in all of Scripture, aimed at unsaved religious leaders: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do….” Ephesians 2:2-3 calls non-Christians “children of disobedience” and “children of wrath!” Today’s Scripture says we are God’s children by faith in Jesus Christ. We are not born into God’s family at physical conception or at physical birth. Scripture says we are born into God’s family—namely the Church the Body of Christ—when we place our trust solely in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. But, never forget: it took God to put that system into place. No man dreamed it up. It was God’s invention.

Had Father God not made the first move by sending Jesus Christ, mankind would have never approached God. What sinner would have ever asked God to die for his or her sins? Who would have ever expected Him to do just that? Mankind would have been too prideful to ask anyway. Indeed, friends, it was a mighty gulf that God did span on that awful Roman cross on Calvary! That God would go through that much trouble to save such wretched creatures, this is something we will ever fathom. It is simply too far beyond us! All we can say is, “Thank You, Lord, I come and receive You!” 🙂

Our latest two Bible Q&As: “Who are ‘the poor’ in Galatians 2:10?” and “Who are ‘the fatherless and widows’ of James 1:27?

Just As I Am #5

Sunday, July 23, 2017

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the fifth verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Habakkuk 1:13 says of God: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity….” Almighty God is so holy that He cannot even look upon sin. Yet, Scripture speaks about some sinners going to God’s Heaven rather than Satan’s Hell. How is that possible? How can God be just in saving us sinners from our deserved ill fate? Does not His justice demand the punishment of those who offend His righteousness?

Today’s Scripture says “the living God… is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” How can these believing sinners escape their deserved eternal doom? Romans chapter 3: “[22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [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 made His Son, Jesus Christ, a “propitiation,” a fully satisfying payment for sin. Through that substitutionary death—Jesus Christ suffering God’s wrath and dying in our place—God can spare us our eternal death penalty of sin. We simply trust that good news to benefit from it! Father God promises to take, receive, welcome, cleanse, and relieve the believing sinner. Make no mistake, dear friends—Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork is truly the sinner’s only hope!

Just As I Am #4

Saturday, July 22, 2017

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30,31 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the fourth verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind,
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

The sinner comes to Jesus Christ with nothing to offer—not a scintilla of righteousness, not an ounce of worthiness, and not one smidgen of spiritual sight. Apart from the Spirit of God, he or she is completely and totally destitute of anything that really matters. However, once the Gospel of Grace is heard, once the righteousness of God is evident, once the grace of God is known, once the light from the Word of God penetrates that dark heart, the sinner fades away in his or her own sight and sees the sufficiency of and in Christ. What a stunning revelation! All the sinner needs, all that the sinner has sought, it is in Christ Jesus!

In Christ, the sinner finds “wisdom!” In Christ, the sinner finds “righteousness!” In Christ, the sinner finds “sanctification!” In Christ, the sinner finds “redemption!” Dear friends, it is in God’s design that everything we need, He furnished it to us in Christ. He did this deliberately, that there never, ever be boasting on the Christian’s part. No one in Christ will be right in saying, “God chose me to serve Him because of my education! God chose me to serve Him because of my decency! God chose me to serve Him because of my holiness! God chose me to serve Him because of my payment for sin!” No! Boasting is “excluded” because self is excluded (Romans 3:27,28). “Ye are complete in Him,” not in yourselves (Colossians 2:10).

When the saved sinner feels compelled to boast, let that saved sinner remember well who gave him or her everything now possessed: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!”

NOTE: The Grace School of the Bible Summer Family Bible Conference will begin tonight, July 22, at 7PM Central U.S. Time. It will be broadcasted live via internet from outside Chicago, IL, running until Thursday, July 27. There will be over two-dozen grace preachers talking about a variety of Bible topics. For more information (times, topics, and speakers), download the brochure from http://understandgrace.com/conferences/summer-family-bible-conference/. The live video feed will be available here: http://shorewoodbiblechurch.org/primarystream.html.

Just As I Am #3

Friday, July 21, 2017

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly…. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6,8 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the third verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Sadly, many church-going people have never, ever heard a clear Gospel preached. They have overheard mere clichés: “Repent—turn from your sins—and then God will save you! Give your life to the Lord! Ask Jesus to come into your heart! Live right and God will save you! Be sorry for your evil deeds and Jesus will cleanse you!” Beloved, these are not the Gospel of Grace; they are false because they obscure the Gospel. How can lost people behave like Christians when they are not Christians? Absurd! Impossible!

The lost sinner, in the moments leading up to faith to Christ, knows little Bible truth. Over the years, he or she has been so deceived and disappointed in religion, it is wondered what about “God” and “the Bible” can be believed: many questions unanswered, much confusion unaddressed, and many wounds unhealed. There is so much uncertainty—will it be another “religious letdown?” There is so much hesitation—is such good news really true? There is so much fear—will God turn me away?

Thankfully, one question is answered and one point is clear. For whom did Christ die? Not for the “good-enough!” He did not die when people were trying to reform or confessing their sins. Nay, He died when they were “ungodly” and “sinners”—yea, He died before they were born! Now, after Calvary, how can He turn them away for sin? He cannot! How can He let them down? He cannot! He already came through for them before—He already died for their sins! They are to come to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as they are—the wretched sinners that they are, fretting not and doubting not—and let God take care of the rest!

Liberated to Serve

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

“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 241st 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.

Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂