Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #4

Thursday, December 6, 2018

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11 KJV).

The fourth verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Come, Desire of nations come
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Angels can sing about God’s operations, but, unlike us humans, they cannot sing about salvation in Jesus Christ. When we read today’s Scripture, there should be leaping for joy! The God of creation, the God of the Holy Bible, the God of Christianity, has attempted to mend the broken relationship between Him and us. He has done everything to save us from our sinful selves and our utter foolishness. He can do no more than Calvary. Those merits of Christ’s finished crosswork cannot benefit us individually unless we individually appropriate them by faith. There is no merit in our faith, but there is immeasurable merit in what Jesus Christ did. We either agree with God by faith that Calvary’s finished crosswork is enough, or we ignore it and continue on our way to eternal hellfire. Simple indeed!

Reading from 2 Corinthians chapter 5: “[19] 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. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Do we agree with God by faith?

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #5

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

It is no coincidence that Eutychus sat in “the third loft” (today’s Scripture). We the Church the Body of Christ have an inheritance in the heavenly places rather than the earth (Ephesians 2:6,7). Therefore, Paul was caught up into the third heaven” to receive Divine revelations concerning us (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

Diverted from Pauline doctrine, Eutychus sleeps, becomes unstable, falls, and dies. The Church the Body of Christ, if focused on the evil world system (darkness outside), will die functionally. Looking at today’s professing “church,” we see pervasive confusion, all-encompassing impotency, and functional death! Bible ignorance is disturbing. There is no power of God, there is no life of God, as there is no Word of God: church traditions and human opinions abound. “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9).

The Church the Body of Christ must be heavenly in thought if it is to be heavenly in conduct. Colossians 3:1-3: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [concentration] on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

Philippians 3:18-21: “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

We Christians must study and believe the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, to save and guard ourselves from Satan’s mesmerizing doctrines….

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #4

Monday, November 5, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

First John 2:15-17 is transdispensational, applicable across the Bible timeline: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Regardless of the dispensation, Satan’s evil world system continuously entices God’s people to compromise with it. Saints are tempted to change God’s message to fit the times (culture), or they are intimidated into silence if they refuse to alter the doctrine.

Physical darkness induced sleep in Eutychus (an individual), an illustration of how the Devil’s world system sways us the Church the Body of Christ (corporately) to slumber spiritually. Turn to Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,….” First Corinthians chapter 15: “[33] Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. [34] Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”

Pauline doctrine—the Gospel of Grace for justification (eternal life in Heaven) and for practical sanctification (daily Christian living)—is meant to “open [Gentile] eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:18). Yet, Eutychus, diverted from Paul’s preaching, fell asleep physically, much as the Corinthians and Ephesians fell asleep practically (in Christian thinking and conduct). Dear brethren, if we the Body of Christ are to stay awake spiritually, or revive if we do fall asleep and die functionally, Pauline doctrine is the answer….

Sanctified Through God’s Truth

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17 KJV).

Jesus Christ prayed to His Heavenly Father for His followers in Israel’s program (especially His Apostles—verse 12). He would do likewise for us today in the Dispensation of Grace.

Sanctification is not to be confused with justification. The former is to be “set apart for the purpose for which God intended;” the latter means “declared righteous before God.” One must be justified (righteousness imputed to his account) before he can be sanctified (useful to God’s work—“holy,” a “saint”).

Just moments before His arrest, Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane communes with Father God by praying throughout John chapter 17. Verse 8 is crucial to grasping today’s Scripture: “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Now, verse 14: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

The Lord was not praying for His followers to be saved unto eternal life (they were already justified). What He desired was spiritual fruit, their identity in Him being manifested in the form of works. Father God’s Word—which He (Jesus) had just taught them for over three years—would be how the Holy Father would use those men for His purposes. He would send His Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2) to empower them according to the words He had already given them in Christ’s earthly ministry. That message would be further expanded once the Holy Spirit came (see John 14:26; John 15:25-27; John 16:7-14).

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Saints, God’s Word to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—will effectually work in us on a daily basis if we believe it. Then, we too will be “sanctified through [God’s] truth!”

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #10

Friday, July 27, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

When pure Grace is proclaimed, the objection will invariably arise: “Grace is a license to sin, and I can live any way I want!” Dear friend, if you say that, you really have no idea what Grace is. Moreover, others will complain, “But do I not have to do something to make God happy with me?” Dear reader, you have not paid attention to what these passages have been teaching. Your flesh can do nothing to please God!

The Law system, once it shows a lost person his or her sinful state, has no further place in that individual’s life. “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:8,9). God added the Law to Israel’s program “because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19)—to point out Israel’s sin, her failure to get God’s blessings based on her works. “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). How senseless it is to then have the Christian live under the Law… continually beleaguered by the sinfulness he or she has already confronted the moment of coming to Christ by faith!

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). Read the entire Epistle to the Galatians: they had fallen prey to legalism. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). Our religious performance will add NOTHING (!) to what the Spirit of God has already wrought, and is working, in our hearts. Father God gave us all blessings in Christ the instant we believed on His finished crosswork—everlasting life, limitless forgiveness, justification (imputed righteousness), free redemption, eternal sanctification, unconditional acceptance, and so on. Now, dear brethren, we go live in and enjoy those blessings! 🙂

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).

Nothing But the Blood #7

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the chorus of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

More than 700 years before Calvary, Israel was promised forgiveness: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (today’s Scripture). With the revelation of the mystery given to the Apostle Paul, we see just what the LORD God meant. Christ’s shed blood would purify them!

Romans chapter 3 again: “[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 displayed for all to see Jesus Christ crucified as a “propitiation,” a fully-satisfying payment for sin. He believes the blood of His Son Jesus Christ can cleanse us of all sin (cf. 1 John 1:7). Do we agree with Him by faith? Or, are we so infatuated with self-righteousness that we claim not to have any sin? Or, if we do recognize our sin, will we cling to the defense, “I will do the best I can to make up for it?” Father God does not have faith in our works!! He knows better than that. Either Jesus Christ will pay our sin debt entirely, or it will never be paid and we will go straight to Hell forever!

God will not (!) receive our “good” works to get us into His Heaven. What will He accept? Indeed, nothing but the blood of Jesus! 🙂

Nothing But the Blood #6

Friday, May 11, 2018

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5,6 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the sixth verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

The Apostle John, representing Israel’s Little Flock (believing remnant), recognizes how Christ not only loved them but shed His sinless blood to sanctify them as Father God’s kings and priests. A doxology reviews, “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Despite Israel’s abundant past failures, they finally become God’s kingdom of priests He originally intended (Exodus 19:3-6). Having experienced 1,500 years (!) of condemnation under the Mosaic Law, they ultimately understand their self-righteousness is short of God’s glory. They will never make themselves God’s nation. It will depend entirely upon His work (Calvary)—not their efforts. Now washed, they enter eternal bliss, enjoying forever God’s earthly kingdom.

Colossians chapter 1 says: “[16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] 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.”

As Jesus’ payment for sin allows Israel’s redemption (forming God’s earthly people), so that same blood, according to Paul’s Gospel, now forms us the Church the Body of Christ (God’s heavenly people).

Nothing but the blood indeed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does Scripture mean, ‘[God] sitteth upon… the earth?’