No Thanks, God! #3

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV).

The Lord has been extremely generous toward mankind, especially during the last 2,000 years (the Dispensation of Grace). Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers complete forgiveness and everlasting salvation to anyone who trusts exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour. For 2,000 years, God has offered everyone that “free gift” of salvation in Christ (Romans 3:21-28; Romans 5:15-17; Ephesians 2:8,9; et al.). Mankind was unworthy of that gift before it was offered; how much more are we undeserving now that that gift has been rejected for 20 centuries?

Today, individuals doubt the existence of a loving Creator, in spite of the Bible’s testimony that He exists. After everything that God did to commend His love toward us, sending His Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for us, many still wonder if God loves them. Sad! What is more disturbing is that even after they discover God’s goodness and grace, many reject Him anyway (today’s Scripture).

Once the Apostle Paul spoke to Judaean governor Felix of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,” “Felix trembled” (Acts 24:24,25). Lost Felix feared, especially that “judgment to come.” Nevertheless, Felix hardened his heart, and replied, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” “Go away, Paul; come back later!” Lost mankind is still equally arrogant.

“God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7): whether in this life, or in the next, God will exact retribution to Christ-rejecters. Imagine the horror lost people experience after physical death. Conscience of their arrival in the flames of hell, they recall their refusal of the Gospel of the Grace of God. Salvation was so simple, but now, God has retracted that offer of salvation. Now only “the judgment” remains (Hebrews 9:27). The words, “No thanks, God!,” haunting them for eternity….

Do not toss away the gift of God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Accept that gift by faith and escape that wrath to come!

…But We Have Been Given God’s Grace

Sunday, December 25, 2011

“In whom [the Lord Jesus Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7 KJV).

In yesterday’s devotional, we learned how we, the sinful human race, are worthy of our holy Creator God’s wrath. God has created a special place, hell, for Satan and those who follow his sinful rebellion against God (Matthew 25:41). The simple truth is that, because of our sinful nature (and the resulting sinful actions), we all deserve to go to hell, and ultimately, separated from God forever in the lake of fire (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20:14,15; Revelation 21:8; et al.).

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20b). God, in His grace, dealt with our sin at Calvary’s cross, and took it out of the way. Through the finished crosswork of God incarnate, Jesus Christ, the riches of God’s grace are manifest. God left heaven’s glory to live in a human body, to “humble himself, and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”(Philippians 2:5-8). Why?

  • To commend God’s love toward us (Romans 5:8).
  • To die, not simply for us, but as us (Romans 6:3-9; Colossians 2:11-15).
  • To undo the damage caused by sinful Adam (Romans 5:12-21; Colossians 1:20-21).
  • To “put away [our] sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).
  • To deliver us from Satan’s policy of evil, and make us sinners saints (Colossians 1:12-14).
  • To give us everlasting life…His life (Galatians 2:20) and thus, do for us what we could not do for ourselves—accomplish our salvation from the second death (spiritual death) (Ephesians 2:1-9)!
  • To give us “peace with God” (Romans 5:1).

Today, God is not imputing the world’s sin unto it (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Everyone, regardless of religion, race, or social standing, can now receive forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ. All they have to do is place their faith in the Gospel of Grace as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4—“that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again for our justification!”

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM arC MINISTRIES!

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study titled “Emmanuel 2.” The Bible study can be read here and watched here.

The Precious Blood of Christ

Friday, September 23, 2011

“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; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

The term “redeem” means “to buy something back that which was originally yours.” When God created Adam (the first man), mankind was in complete fellowship with God. There was no sin or death. That all changed when Adam disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6,7). Sin had ruined God’s perfect creation. There, in Eden, God lost the human race to sin and mankind became part of Satan’s policy of evil, “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 2:2).

Coming up through the Scriptures, we see God setting His plan into motion. Somehow He would redeem man, and restore the fellowship He and man had once shared. God purposed in Himself to die for man—God would become a man to shed His sinless blood for our sins. The sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, has “purchased us with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

First and foremost, Jesus Christ died to redeem the nation Israel (today’s Scripture). Matthew 20:28: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many [Israel]” (cf. Luke 1:68). But, 1 Timothy 2:5,6 says: “the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” When we come to Paul’s ministry (“in due time”), God reveals that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for Israel and for everyone else (us Gentiles!).

Just as God will restore Israel at Christ’s Second Coming (Acts 3:18-21; Romans 11:26-29), Christ has restored us unto Himself now: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…” (Galatians 3:13). If you have not done so, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, His dying for your sins, His burial, and His resurrection for your justification, and God will save you forever.

Remembering the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Sunday, September 11, 2011

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19 KJV).

It is difficult to fathom that today marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On that dreadful day, over 3,000 Americans perished. Amidst the heartache, I recall many preachers piously screaming, “God’s judgment and wrath has come on America!” God’s promise to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14 was flippantly quoted as though it were God’s message to America. Sinful men, not God, orchestrated the events of 9/11.

All nations, not just the United States, abound with greed, dishonesty, unbelief, violence, and fornication, and all are worthy of God’s wrath. However, today’s Scripture says that, in this the Dispensation of Grace, God is “not imputing [applying] their trespasses unto them.” Today, God’s attitude toward the world is “grace and peace,” not wrath and war. This is why Paul’s epistles open with “grace and peace.”

God in His grace is postponing His wrath (2 Peter 3:9), but the day is coming when this dispensation will conclude. Only then will God pour out His wrath on unbelieving mankind. Thankfully, we Christians will be raptured out before that period of wrath begins (1 Thessalonians 1:9,10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

Currently, God is not condemning the world for their sins. Rather He extends His grace to all the world through Jesus Christ, His shed blood, His death, His burial, and His resurrection (Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Through Christ’s shed blood, God in His grace offers His forgiveness to everyone (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). But, only when we trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour does God apply (“imputes”) His righteousness and salvation to us. How many of the 9/11 victims were ready to die? Few.  Do not put off salvation; you are not guaranteed tomorrow. Please trust in Jesus Christ today.

-IN MEMORIAM-
The victims of 9/11/2001

-IN DEDICATION-
All those affected by 9/11/2001

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study titled “September 11, 2001: The 10th Anniversary.” The Bible study can be read here.

The Sin of Presumption?

Monday, September 5, 2011

“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 KJV).

If one has the assurance of going to heaven because he or she is relying exclusively on Christ’s finished cross work—and not on his or her own performance—religion calls this “self-righteous arrogance.” According to church tradition, “the sin of presumption” is committed when an individual has the assurance of eternal salvation in Christ.

Church tradition demands that in order to avoid the sin of presumption, we must never rely on our good works, but we must never rely on God’s power alone either. In other words, religion teaches salvation comes by our “good” works and God’s power. That is a devil’s lie, beloved (Romans 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5)!

Today’s Scripture says that we are “always confident,” fully persuaded that while we live in these physical bodies, we are not in heaven’s glory. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are equally confident that our souls will appear in heaven as soon as these physical bodies die. According to today’s Scripture, if we have no confidence in going to heaven, then we have no confidence in presently being here on earth and not in heaven.

The Bible says we need to be made right with God, and in Christ, we are forgiven and eternally saved! According to Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we need to trust exclusively in Christ’s shed blood, His dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection if we are to receive eternal life.

The so-called “sin of presumption” is nothing more than a “cunningly devised fable” used to keep people fearful and bound in religious systems (2 Peter 1:16). I have assurance of going to heaven because Christ was “good enough.” I boast in Jesus Christ’s righteousness that has been applied to me, and I am saved in Christ.

Neither is There Salvation in Any Other

Monday, August 15, 2011

“Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12 KJV).

Is there really only one way to heaven? Today’s Scripture gives us the answer—a resounding “YES!” Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). The Apostle Paul declared: “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5,6).

Jesus Christ “gave himself a ransom for all.” The words “for all” indicate that Christ died for every person, since everyone’s salvation depended upon Him. If there was another way to heaven beside Christ, then He died for nothing! Why would Jesus Christ allow Himself to suffer all that physical and spiritual pain if there was another way to save us from our sins? The Lord Jesus Christ endured the shame of Calvary’s cross and His heavenly Father’s wrath because there was no other way to reconcile us unto God.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:14,15: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 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.”

Because of Adam’s sin, every human is born spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, separated from God (Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3). The only way to be saved from the penalty of sin—everlasting separation from God in the lake of fire—is to come to Calvary’s cross by faith. Have you trusted exclusively in the shed blood and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ as the fully satisfying payment for your sins? I hope you have!

According to God’s Word, salvation can only be found in Jesus Christ. “Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other.

He Clothed Them

Monday, August 8, 2011

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21 KJV).

The Bible says Adam and Eve “were both naked…and were not ashamed” (Genesis 1:25). How could they be naked, and yet unashamed?

In 1 Timothy 6:16 we read of Jesus Christ “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto….” God’s righteousness and holiness emanate from His body in the form of a bright light. Originally, before the fall, Adam and Eve did not wear physical clothes, but they were clothed with something… they were clothed with the righteousness of God Himself because sin had not entered into creation yet.

God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26,27); man was originally sinless, as perfect as God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed by eating the forbidden fruit, God’s righteousness left their bodies. They were sinners now, so God’s light no longer covered them (spiritually and physically). Adam and Eve were physically and spiritually naked, so they frantically gathered itchy fig leaves and covered themselves (Genesis 3:7).

The LORD God, in His great love and grace, sought these lost souls. Adam and Eve hid, too afraid to approach our holy and righteous God. But, God in His brilliance devised a plan to restore them. Today’s Scripture says that God killed innocent animals. He used the blood to provide Adam and Eve’s spiritual clothes (forgiveness), and the skins served as their physical clothes.

Isaiah 61:10 summarizes (saved Israel speaking): “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” God did that for Adam, Eve, Israel, and us too!

If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been clothed with God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ, we are just as Adam and Eve were before the fall, in perfect standing before God.