No Blood Indicates No Faith #2

Thursday, January 19, 2012

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

God instructed Cain and Abel to bring blood sacrifices. However, only Abel obeyed God because he alone had faith. Cain lacked faith, so he completely ignored God’s Word. Cain wanted to do what Cain wanted to do. This is typical human nature, and it has not changed one wit. Man is naturally sinful in that he seeks autonomy—to be his own god and to do what he wants to do!

Cain… was of that wicked one [Satan!]… his own works were evil, and his brother’s [Abel’s] righteous” (1 John 3:12). Now, Cain’s vegetation offering did not look evil—it was just “fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3). Yet, despite its innocent appearance, it was evil and God rejected it. How was it evil? God wanted blood sacrifices, not crops! Cain displeased God because he had no faith (Hebrews 11:6).

Now, apply that scenario to today. Billions of church members are doing everything they can to work for heaven. Like Cain, they completely ignore God’s Word when it says their “good” works are actually “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) and “dung” (Philippians 4:8). They give faithfully, pray daily, attend church weekly, help the poor, clean the church, sing in the choir, and so on. Sadly, this is vain activity, for God never commanded them to work for heaven!

In this the Dispensation of Grace, God is freely offering His grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, acceptance, fellowship, and righteousness in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him [Jesus Christ] that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5).

Salvation is so simple, yet religion complicates it with our works. We sinners cannot work for salvation. The Bible says the only way to heaven, and everlasting salvation, is to trust in what Jesus Christ already did for you, not what you can do for Him.

No Blood Indicates No Faith #1

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV).

Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain the farmer and Abel the shepherd (Genesis 4:1,2). When it came time to sacrifice to God, “Cain brought fruit of the ground,” but “Abel…brought the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering, he had not respect…” (verses 4,5). Why did God accept Abel’s offering, but reject Cain’s? How could Abel’s sacrifice be “more excellent than Cain,” as today’s Scripture teaches?

After sin entered the world by Adam (Romans 5:12), God demanded blood sacrifices for atonement (to make God and sinner “at one”). God shed innocent blood to cover Adam and Eve’s sin (Genesis 3:21). Outside of our dispensation, and before Christ came, those who wanted a right standing before God—“righteousness”—had to offer blood sacrifices by faith. “…[W]ithout the shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22b).

Cain had no faith, so he ignored God’s instructions and brought no blood. He brought the fruit (crops) of his own work, but Abel, by faith, brought blood sacrifices (obeying God). God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because Abel had faith!

Are you like Cain, trying to merit salvation and please God with your own “good” works? Quit please! You lack Christ Jesus’ blood sacrifice because you lack faith in His blood as the fully satisfying payment for your sins. God never told you to work to heaven. You need a blood sacrifice—place your faith exclusively in Jesus Christ’s shed blood and resurrection, and God will “accept you in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).

God will “have respect” unto Christ’s finished crosswork alone. He will always reject your “good” works for salvation. Those who ignore the sufficiency of Christ’s blood to atone for their sin and sins will suffer the same doom of Cain—paying for their sins in the everlasting lake of fire!

The LORD is Exalted Far Above All gods #2

Saturday, January 7, 2012

“For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9 KJV).

The LORD is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15). “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable… The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:3,8,9).

Our finite human minds struggle to grasp Someone as magnificent and exalted as JEHOVAH our Creator because He differs from what we judge as “normal.” JEHOVAH is transcendent, existing independently of everything. He is everlasting, having neither beginning nor end. The LORD is sinless and holy. We never see Him physically or hear Him audibly. He exists outside of our universe.

Someone whose thoughts astronomically surpass our mental capabilities, whose ways (manners, behavior) are far grander and more complex than our simple activities (Isaiah 55:8,9). A Being who could devise a magnificent plan that would extend into the eons of eternity future, who could speak forth quadrillions of bodies into existence and then arrange them to form intricate systems (Hebrews 11:3), and finally set them into motion for His glory to accomplish that plan (Psalm 19:1)! How can He relate to us scrawny mortals?

Amazingly, JEHOVAH left that glory behind to become one of us! He “humbled Himself” and became “a Man of no reputation” (Philippians 2:5-11). Why? To die and shed His innocent blood for us to receive forgiveness of our sins. Wow… no idol ever did that!

Among the world’s gods, JEHOVAH alone can save you because JEHOVAH alone died to save you! Will you trust in the shed blood and resurrection of JEHOVAH (Jesus Christ), thereby receiving eternal salvation? Please do.

“Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne… confounded be all they that serve graven images [manmade idols], that boast themselves of idols: worship him [JEHOVAH Jesus Christ], all ye gods” (Psalm 97:2,6). Hallelujah! Praise the LORD indeed—He will always be exalted far above all gods!

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.