Saved or Lost? #8

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The physical realm abounds with abnormalities or seeming impossibilities (extreme or rare medical conditions). Similarly, the spiritual world is filled with eccentric or appalling disorders (contradictions or paradoxes). These sinning saints appear to be unbelievers in thoughts and/or actions, but are indeed members of God’s family!

Believers in the God of the Bible have done stupid things, spoken foolish words, and entertained silly ideas. The Apostle Peter thrice denied he knew his Saviour (Mark 14:66-72). Moreover, he had even intensely argued with the Lord how this would never happen—essentially calling Christ a “liar” (verses 27-31; also see the other occasion in Luke 22:31-34)! Moses, in an infantile rage, struck the rock twice when the LORD had ordered him to speak to it instead (Numbers 20:1-12). Let us not forget how Noah ruined his testimony with drunkenness in Genesis 9:20-27!

Abraham listened to his wife (not the LORD) concerning his sexual relations with Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4): resulting son Ishmael, a product of Abraham’s flesh (law, religious performance), competed with God’s promised son, Isaac (grace). King David committed adultery, fathered an illegitimate child, and then murdered the adulteress’ husband to cover it all up (2 Samuel 11:1–12:14). In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, a Christian brother is fornicating with “his father’s wife” (hopefully, it was his stepmother and not his biological mother)! Not even the Gentile idolaters had such a revolting reputation (verse 1)!

Believers in Christ Jesus in John 12:42,43 were silent about their faith, since they would be excommunicated from the synagogue if they were outspoken (“for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”). King Solomon was romantically involved with almost 1,000 idolatrous women, not only permitting their heathen religion in the Promised Land but even practicing it himself (1 Kings 11:1-13)! Finally, the Apostle Paul, awaiting his execution, wrote some poignant words concerning a grace ministry coworker: “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10; cf. Galatians 1:4; 1 John 2:15-17).

Yes, these were believers (!!!!!!)….

Saints, please remember this work of the ministry requires monthly financial support to operate (Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Those who prefer electronic giving can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux. Anyone who wishes to donate by regular mail can visit https://333wordsofgrace.org/contact-us-mailing-address-for-donations/ for details. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! Unfortunately, since our ministry audience is so large and our ministry staff is so small, I can no longer personally respond to everyone. Thanks so much for understanding in this regard. 🙂

Saved or Lost? #7

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Due to the curse of sin, life in a fallen world, we all must deal with medical conditions. Ultimately, one “disease” (whatever it is) will cause our physical life that began in the womb to cease just prior to heading to the tomb. The scientific community is still quite limited in its understanding and treatment of a wide range of physical and mental illnesses. For example, medical literature abounds with countless oddities or shocks:

  • Have you ever heard of Epidermodysplasia verruciformis? Probably not, but you may know it as “Tree Man Syndrome.” Those afflicted have disproportionate warts (resembling tree bark) growing over large sections of their skin. Entire arms, legs, hands, and feet are often unrecognizable. These human bodies look very much like actual tree trunks!
  • People who have the eating disorder called pica can be found consuming all sorts of non-foods—wood, glass, and even feces!
  • As weird as it sounds, sufferers of Cotard Delusion (also called “Walking Corpse Syndrome”) believe they have missing organs, no blood, absent body parts, or even think they are dead! This is not reality, of course, but they do not know otherwise because it is a mental disorder.
  • Hypertrichosis, or Werewolf Syndrome, involves hair growing excessively all over the human body.
  • When one baby does not fully separate from another baby in the womb, the result is bodies joined at the head, or torso, or buttocks, et cetera. These are “conjoined twins.” However, if one baby dies during the pregnancy, but his or her body parts remain attached to the surviving twin, the result is a “parasitic twin.” The living child may have extra legs, arms, or other remains of the parasitic twin.
  • What about the man with Segmental Overgrowth Syndrome, whose massive 200-pound (100-kilogram) leg dwarves the rest of his body?

As sin’s curse make humans not to think or look like humans, so sin’s curse causes Christians not to think or look like Christians….

Saved or Lost? #6

Sunday, September 4, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Satan’s evil world system was using religion to mislead the saints of Galatia (Turkey). Moreover, the Holy Spirit through Paul announced the Christians in Corinth (Greece) had also fallen into doctrinal error. Second Corinthians chapter 11: “[1] Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. [2] For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [3] But I fear, lest by any means [countless techniques can be employed to achieve it!], as the serpent [Satan!] beguiled [fooled] Eve through his subtilty [intelligence, wisdom, sneakiness], so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Paul knew the Corinthian believers were not immune from leaving the truth. The threat was quite real, for participants of Satan’s evil world system are skillful enough to actually use the name “Jesus” (albeit, not the Jesus whom Paul preached to the Corinthians), and talk about “the spirit” (however, not the spirit that Paul delivered to the Corinthians), and even preach “the gospel” (but, not the gospel Paul gave to the Corinthians)!

“[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” As strange as it sounds, Satan’s efforts through sinful men (his “ministers”) are so effectual or successful that even true, justified, saved, forgiven, redeemed Christians can be tricked into thinking and living contrary to their identity in Christ….

NOTE: We temporarily break away from this devotionals arc to bring you a special study, but we will return the following day with more advanced studies on this same theme….

Saved or Lost? #5

Saturday, September 3, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

When we hear of a professing “Christian” who joins a cult, or suddenly “no longer believes in God,” et cetera, what should we conclude? Are they now lost and Hell-bound? Let us ask better questions. Did they trust Christ in their heart, and then become confused? It is highly possible. Or, did they get confused and never trust Christ in their heart? This is equally likely. Frankly, only the Lord knows their heart attitude.

Firstly, authentic (!) Christians can (!) turn from the truth by thinking and/or acting like lost people. The Galatians did—and so did the Ephesians, the Corinthians, et cetera. All these saints heard God’s pure words from the Apostle Paul himself. However, today’s apostates often had extremely little to practically no understanding of the truth anyway. Since they learned superficial or shallow information, not much error was required to move them away from whatever “truth” they had.

Secondly, only God knows their heart—if they were ever actually saved in the first place. Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone cannot be revoked. God’s righteousness credited to a person’s account is permanent, for human works cannot play any role in gaining eternal life or maintaining it. Romans chapter 4: “[4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. [8] Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Yet, and we never want to forget it, these verses have, unfortunately, been true of few people anyway because most have never actually had heart faith in Christ.

Let us return to dealing with more deceived saints in Scripture….

Order My Steps #3

Sunday, July 17, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 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; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).

To be “justified” is to have imputed righteousness, considered just as if you have never sinned. Stated another way, Jesus Christ’s righteousness (how He measured up to God’s perfect standard of rightness) can be applied to our individual accounts. Be sure to notice this is “freely” given us—without cost to us—because Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins by shedding His sinless blood. The fully-satisfying payment or sacrifice (“propitiation”) was He Himself offered on Calvary’s cross. He took upon Himself Father God’s wrath against our sins: He was our substitute. If we truly believe that message—that is, believe it in our hearts—Christ’s righteousness is credited to us.

Moving into chapter 6 of Romans, we learn the fundamentals of victorious Christian living. What is eternal life in Christ like? How does our new identity in Him affect our earthly, daily conduct? Verses 1-4: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

When Christ died for our sins, we died with Him. (This is how Father God sees it!) In Adam, we were spiritually dead, severed from God’s life. However, in Christ, we are dead to (separated from) Adam and his fallen identity. We are now alive with Christ’s very life….

Bowed Together! #8

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Recall the Sabbath Day was to serve as Israel’s weekly reminder to contemplate God’s work during the Creation Week and subsequent rest (cf. Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11). Every Saturday, the Jews were to stop their labors and remember God’s purpose and plan for Creation. Why had the LORD rested that first Sabbath? His work completed, it was time for Him to enjoy the Heavens and the Earth! Alas, sin entered the world through Adam in Genesis chapter 3. Whatever God intended for Creation has yet to be fulfilled. Israel had been formed to take Adam’s place in the Earth, but she too rebelled and willfully followed Satan!

Sabbath rest ultimately looks toward Millennial Kingdom rest, when all Creation is delivered from Satan and sin, and God’s original purpose in Creation is finally brought to pass (see Hebrews 3:7–4:11). Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ performed a series of Sabbath miracles—including the healing of the “bowed together” woman—to highlight the deliverance connected to His earthly kingdom.

Upon hearing God’s wonderful promises to sinful Israel, Satan objects in Isaiah 49:24, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” Verses 25 and 26: But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour [!] and thy Redeemer [!], the mighty One of Jacob.

“And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him” (Luke 13:17).

Bowed Together! #7

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Although the disabled woman “glorified God” because of her healing (verse 13), the ruler of the synagogue “answered with indignation” (verse 14). He is angry the Lord Jesus has violated rabbinical traditions, religious rules that forbade the rendering of medical aid on the Sabbath unless in life-and-death situations. “Jesus should have cured her yesterday or tomorrow! Her condition was not urgent enough that He had to help her today!”

Verses 15 and 16: “The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” Wow! Now there is a rebuttal involving great thought. Here these Jewish religionists would work by freeing their animals to drink water even on the Sabbath, but they had the audacity to criticize the Lord loosing a human hostage and leading her to wholesome life on the Sabbath!? Whereas they pitied beasts, they were callous toward their fellow people! Such confusion and nonsense are found among the “animal rights” activists today, with human life meaningless but animal life exalted.

Christ identified the woman’s—and Israel’s—overall problem. Through his lie program, Satan has “bound” her, made her his prisoner by placing her in shackles or chains (sin and false religion). Yet, God can and does free her: “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.” In fact, notice she is “a daughter of Abraham” (verse 16), a Jewess. Jesus’ earthly ministry is to liberate Israel from Satanic captivity, and there is no better day than the Sabbath Day to teach such a lesson….

Bowed Together! #6

Monday, January 10, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Continue reading the verse following today’s Scripture: “And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” In addition to declaring the powerful words of God—those which impart life and health—the Lord Jesus touches the infirm woman with His hands. Here are the mighty hands of the Creator at work! “Immediately,” she is recovered from the effects of sin and Satan’s evil world system. Unlike the “miracles” of modern “sideshow Christianity,” this is no gradual healing that takes hours, days, weeks, months, or years to realize. No, instantly, her chronic disability is corrected.

How do those in the synagogue respond to this miraculous demonstration? Verse 14 relates: “And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” This caretaker of the synagogue and organizer of its services is outraged. Vaguely appealing to Exodus 20:8-11 and Genesis 2:1-3, as well as Judaistic traditions, he exclaims, “Jesus, today is the Sabbath Day, and this is to be a time of rest not work! Furthermore, as you know, according to rabbinical interpretations of these passages, medical aid is not to be rendered on the Sabbath unless in the case of life-threatening situations! You should have let her come on a non-Sabbath day to heal her! How dare you work on the Sabbath!”

Of course, hypocrisy and confusion abound in these statements of the synagogue ruler. Like his apostate nation, he has taken the position of doubt not faith. Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ cleverly answers him in a most unexpected way….

Bowed Together! #5

Sunday, January 9, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Luke states the “folded” woman of today’s Scripture has lived with her debilitating medical condition for “eighteen years.” The significance of this is simple. In Bible numerics, 12 represents Israel and six indicates man. Israel coupled with man’s abilities or religious efforts results in incapacity not righteousness! Whereas Israel sees herself as “okay”—lavish Jerusalem Temple, humbling ceremonies, pious rituals, complicated rites, copious amounts of rabbinical traditions, strict rules and regulations—the Lord examines her to find a dreadful sight. All He sees is perversity, crookedness, inability. In her own “strength,” she is weak, incapable of being upright, powerless to become God’s kingdom of priests in the Earth.

Thankfully, the Great Physician has not only correctly diagnosed her, He also has the cure she so desperately needs. Re-read today’s Scripture: “And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.From the lips of the Lord Jesus, the living and life-giving words of God go forth: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful…” (Hebrews 4:12). In these spoken words of the Creator, there is health for the “folded” woman—yea, Israel! Through the Divine revelation given her, her spine is restored, she straightens up, and she walks naturally for all to see!

What we have here is a lesson most plain: Israel’s justification is through the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant. She will be declared righteous or right in God’s sight, not by her reliance on her sinful flesh but by depending on the LORD imputing His own righteousness to her. Through His grace, the Lord Jesus Christ unburdens His beloved nation, doing for her what she could never do for herself….

A Saviour Who Will Save

Sunday, January 2, 2022

“…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).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can save man from the everlasting hellfire he deserves!

A frequent objection made against Christianity is that every religion has “good” members, and to ignore them and limit heaven to a few Christians is unfair. This is a defected notion. How does one arrive at a definite conclusion when there is no one standard to gauge everyone’s “goodness?” They are “good” according to whom, according to what standard? Remember, relative morality actually does not help the sinner—he may be a “better” sinner than another, but he is also a “worse” sinner than yet another, and whether “better” or “worse,” he is still a sinner!

The God of the Bible has a simple method for determining righteousness. Today, He sees two types of people—saints and lost people. While both groups were born in sins (Ephesians 2:1-3), “shapen in iniquity [in the womb]” (Psalm 51:5), and “condemned already” (John 3:18), only the saints have come to realize their lost state. Job asked in Job 9:2, “How should a man be just [righteous, acceptable] with God?” Saints have come to the acknowledgement that they needed God’s righteousness, that they had a massive sin debt that they could never satisfy, that their “righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), that they could never possibly make themselves right before a holy God (He is the standard; Romans 3:23). The lost people, however, do not realize they are lost, for they believe their religious works “score points” with God and make up for their sinful deeds (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). They ignore the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Saints have come by faith to Jesus Christ, whose name literally means, “Anointed Saviour” (cf. Psalm 2:2; Matthew 1:21). As the writer of the book of Hebrews said, “[Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (7:25). Literally, no world religion has such a “Saviour” as Jesus Christ!