The Price of Heaven

Friday, May 18, 2018

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5 KJV).

Heaven has an entrance fee—and, friend, you CANNOT pay it!

Our flesh loves to perform. You would think that 10 rules would get someone discouraged, but no! If so much as one rule is kept 90 percent of the time, or all are kept 10 percent of the time, there is boasting. “No, I did not keep it perfectly, but ‘I did the best I could!’ I will try even harder next time!” A performance-based acceptance system, unfortunately for sinners, is an “all-or-nothing” procedure. Even though a sentence may be 99 percent true, one wrong word renders the whole statement false. Likewise, one failure nullifies the “performance” to become (something quite easy to guess)—“non-performance!!”

King David, in today’s Scripture, is confessing to God. David has recently become a coveter, an adulterer, a liar, a conspirer, and a murderer: “[1] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. [2] Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. [3] For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. [4] Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

Today’s Scripture follows: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Just yesterday, a woman told me that she believed a man went to Heaven because he had given so much money to his church. Like so many, she fails to see the truths from the pen of King David. David knew his problem was sin: he was born a sinner! No matter his “good” works, his sin nature would remain.

Having received a complete revelation from God, we see what David could not. Jesus Christ died on Calvary to be the “propitiation”—the fully-satisfying payment—for our sins (Romans 3:25). Friend, you place before God something other than faith in Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins, and you will be indubitably disappointed when you realize your “method of payment” is permanently denied!

Three Third Chapters

Monday, February 12, 2018

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (Genesis 3:9 KJV).

Adam fell into sin, but God has an answer!

Genesis chapter 3, the fall of man: “[9] And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? [10] And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. [11] And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

Romans chapter 3, the forgiveness of man: “[22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [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.”

Ephesians chapter 3, the Body of Christ: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery;…. [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”

When we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour (Romans), we escape our separation from God because of Adam (Genesis) and we are joined to Him via the Church the Body of Christ because of Christ (Ephesians). Simple!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are the ‘posts’ in the Book of Esther?

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 23, 2017

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Light Bulbs and Lenses #5

Friday, September 29, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Unless one is a Calvinist or a Dispensationalist, Matthew 20:28 is quite alarming: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” How could Jesus Christ say that He had come to “give his life a ransom for many?” For “many?!” Did He not die for the whole world? At the time of His earthly ministry, He came to pay the redemption-price for the nation Israel.

As the angel of the Lord told Joseph in Matthew 1:21 about the virgin Mary: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Surely, “his people” excluded Gentiles. How do we know? Isaiah 53:8, written 700 B.C., predicted of Messiah: “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Who would be Isaiah’s people? Israel. No Gentiles are in view here.

Returning to 1 Timothy 2:5-7, noting very carefully the final words of verse 6 and all of verse 7: “[5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Through the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit here makes a startling claim. Jesus Christ did not die for Israel only; He paid the sin-debt of the whole world (“all”). Notice the first word of verse 7—“whereunto” (“to which purpose”). In order for Jesus Christ to be declared a ransom for all nations, God appointed Paul “a preacher, and an apostle,… a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Paul is the “due-time testifier” of this unrestricted, worldwide grace message. Now we are branching off into the second part of God’s will… “come unto the knowledge of the truth….”

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “What is the ‘temptation’ in 1 Corinthians 10:13?

Light Bulbs and Lenses #4

Thursday, September 28, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

First Timothy 2:4 says, “[God our Saviour] Who will have all men to be saved,….” Then, we read, “…and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Verse 5 begins with “for,” a particle of further explanation or amplification: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;….” So, “the man Christ Jesus” is “the one mediator between [the one] God and men….” Verse 6 issues additional information: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Finally, verse 7 expands verse 6, as we see: “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

So, there are the matters of (1) “salvation” and (2) “the knowledge of the truth.” “Salvation” involves the Lord Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and men, He “who gave himself a ransom for all.” The word “ransom” means “redemption-price.” From birth, we are naturally slaves to sin, descendants of Adam. Jesus Christ shed His blood to pay the price to deliver us from sin’s slave market. Romans chapter 3: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption [payment of the price to free us] that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [fully-satisfying payment] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;….”

Sin brings death, but life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:10-14). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Through faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood, we can be united with Father God. (Christ is “the mediator,” remember.) So, God’s first desire is for all people to be “saved”—freed, delivered—from sin’s dominion. The spiritual deliverance at Calvary once reserved for Israel is now available to all people, Jew and Gentile. This all-people message is interwoven with “com[ing] unto the knowledge of the truth….”

The Best Day Ever!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:5,6 KJV).

While we all have our good days, nothing will ever even come close to the best day of the Lord Jesus’ life!

Some days are so enjoyable, are they not, that you wish they would last forever? Things are going well at work, at home, and at church. There is money in the bank, romance in the air, promotion on the job, and good health in the body. While these are wonderful blessings in life, and we dare not take them for granted, they will never, ever compare to the best day of the Lord Jesus’ life.

It was on that resurrection day, today’s Scripture, that He conquered Satan, sin, death, and Hell! While the good things in our life, being subject to change, are not guaranteed, the victory that Jesus Christ secured on that resurrection morning is eternal. Death still cannot hold His soul. His physical body still has not experienced decay. He has paid man’s sin debt in full by shedding His blood on that awful cross. Now, He is raised again as a confirmation of that payment being fully satisfying to Father God. He will never die again and will never again suffer physical torture. His Father has never left Him again. He has secured the nation Israel’s salvation from sin, and He has secured the Body of Christ’s salvation from sin. Now, He is the glorified Son of God, heir of all the governments of Heaven and Earth. His reign will never end.

Dear friends, such victory is beyond our comprehension. We can read about it in the pages of Scripture but these events really do not sink in. Just how shocked were Satan and all his evil cohorts (angels and humans) when they learned that that tomb of Christ was empty? Think of the joy of Jesus’ disciples! Like them, we are speechless. What we can do, the feeble souls that we are, is tell Him, “Thank You, Lord, for the best day in human history!”

How to Go to Heaven

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

“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 KJV).

How simple!

A friend recently informed me she wanted to read two books—one on politics and another on religion. The latter was about “how to go to heaven.” Having known her for a few years, she has been in her particular “Christian” denomination for decades. I have shared the Gospel with her many times, to no avail. She still wonders how to go to Heaven. Her works-religion church certainly has not given her any peace about it either. Incidentally, they published the book she wants to read! Sad. If the group whose religious services she has attended for decades has still not given her any assurance, what profit can she gain from reading a volume they have published?!

If we want to learn how to go to Heaven, the best book to read is not some manmade book, especially from an author whose denomination hides the plain and simple truths of Bible justification. No. We had better read the Holy Scripturesespecially the Book of Romans. The first two chapters deal with the issue of sinful man’s condemnation, Jew and Gentile alike. The next three chapters focus on the matter of imputed righteousness, God applying His righteousness to those who rely by faith exclusively on Jesus Christ dying for their sins, being buried, and being raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

We go to Heaven not by striving to keep rules and regulations (which we break constantly anyway). Grace is everything that God can do for us through the finished crosswork of Christ. It is not what we do for God but rather what He already did for us. If we are still wondering about our eternal destiny, then we had better get back to Romans chapters 1-5, read them, and believe them… before it is too late to go to Heaven!!