The Crux of God’s Eternal Purpose

Friday, January 27, 2012

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20 KJV).

God the Father has one grand purpose for creation—to make His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the governments of heaven and earth (Ephesians 1:9,10). But, the Bible teaches that an angelic rebellion, led by Lucifer (Satan), sought to usurp Jesus Christ’s headship in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18). Once Satan enticed mankind to sin and cooperate with his policy of evil, that rebellion then infiltrated earth (Genesis 3:1-24).

Today, the governments that God created in heaven and earth are in rebellion. Satan has spoiled what was created “by” and “for” the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16,17; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12). How will God reconcile unto Himself the governments of heaven and earth? How will Jesus Christ eternally subvert Satan’s strongholds in those two realms? Today’s Scripture provides the answer.

Using Christ’s shed blood, God is currently forming a heavenly people for His name, the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:14). In eternity future, He will use this entity—us!—to restore His authority in the heavens. At Christ’s Second Coming, God will restore His earthly people, the nation Israel, forgive them of their sins through Christ’s shed blood (Acts 3:18; Hebrews 9:11-15; 1 Peter 1:18,19), and use redeemed Israel to reclaim His authority in the earth.

Indeed, the very thing at which Satan thought he defeated God—Calvary’s cross—is that which God will use to permanently conquer Satan’s policy of evil. Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary is the crux of God’s plans for eternity future: everything that God will accomplish in the ages to come hinges on Jesus Christ’s shed blood. In order to destabilize Satan’s power in heaven and earth, God must deal first with the sin issue in both realms, and Christ’s blood does just that in both realms. Behold the wisdom of our God!

Oh, by the way, interestingly, crux is Latin for cross….

Preach the Gospel of the Grace of God!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14 KJV).

Saints, God has entrusted us with the greatest message of all time, “the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), so that we can preach the greatest Person of all time, Jesus Christ. “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5a). As today’s Scripture indicates, if the lost world is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, they need us to first preach this wonderful message to them!

According to James 2:17-26, God had always demanded faith and works for salvation (Abraham was the one exception; Romans 4:1-5). But, when we come to Paul’s ministry in Scripture, God declares that Sabbath day keeping, water baptism, physical circumcision, tithing, and animal sacrifices are no longer required for salvation.

Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not operating Israel’s works-religion. The good news of God’s grace is that we can be saved solely by God’s grace without us doing anything but trusting in Christ alone! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Until Paul, God had never revealed a message like our Gospel of Grace: the Gospel of the Grace of God declares what God did for you because you are unable to do anything for God. We can be saved without works today!

The Gospel of Grace is 1 Corinthians 15:3,4: …how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood to pay for your sins, He was buried to put away your sins, and He was raised again for your justification (Romans 4:25). Place your faith in Christ  alone, and He will save you forever. Then, preach the Gospel of Grace for others to hear!

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.