Saturday, August 20, 2016

“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 KJV).

A classic Protestant Bible text, expounded quite neatly using five simple points!

  1. Circumcised: “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:11,12).
  2. Regenerated: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
  3. Indwelt: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9).
  4. Baptized: “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” (Romans 6:3,4).
  5. Sealed: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13,14).

Notice, the above verses highlight what God did to save us from our sins and give us a place in heaven. God circumcised us, cut us off from Adam. God made us alive. God gave us His indwelling Spirit. God baptized us (placed us) into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). God preserved us! We trusted Jesus Christ, and God did the work. Faith is not we doing anything because we can do nothing. Faith is relying on the Person who can do what is necessary to get us into heaven. Unlike religion, Bible Christianity has no boasting! 🙂

Thee and Two Gardens #6

Thursday, January 29, 2015

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 KJV).

Wilt thou choose to “live” in the Garden of Eden, or in the Garden of Calvary?

Many precious souls constantly think about symbols, tithes and offerings, confessionals, aisles, candles, prayer closets, “scholarship,” altars, programs, holy days, counterfeit Bibles, personalities and celebrities, ecclesiastical laws, baptisteries, pilgrimages, dreams and visions, bread and wine, jewelry, statues, “praise and worship,” charities, vestments, healings, paintings, shrines, gibberish, patristic writings, and other theological speculations and paraphernalia.

As Satan distracted Eve, so she knew not God’s Word to her (the context of today’s Scripture), “Christianity” is similarly confused. Most are so sidetracked that they have no time whatsoever to think about Calvary’s real meaning. They are too busy thinking about what they are doing, so they have no time to think about what God did for them 2,000 years ago.

Friends, apart from faith in Calvary’s finished crosswork, we have no power of God in our lives (1 Corinthians 1:18,23,24). Fulfilling rules and regulations does not change the fact that we are still weak children of Adam, sinners by birth, unable to perform perfectly. Thus, sin-management systems are of no help to us. We need divine intervention to overcome sin.

God’s grand design is that our Christian life begin in a tomb. He alone can crucify us so as to separate us from Adam, to bury us in Christ’s tomb, to raise us again with Christ and give us a new nature in Him. Contrary to human “wisdom,” it is God’s wisdom, thinking on a much higher plane than even what the “best” intellectuals and philosophers could ever imagine. God did not come to correct us, but to crucify us with Christ, and He did not come to reform us but to resurrect us with Christ. It is not outward reformation (religion) but inward regeneration (life in Christ Jesus!).

We conclude this devotionals arc by quoting Romans chapter 6….

He Took My Sins Away #4

Saturday, August 23, 2014

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5 KJV).

The fourth verse of Margaret Jenkins Harris’ classic 1903 hymn “He Took My Sins Away” highlights today’s Scripture.

“If you will come to Jesus Christ today,
He’ll take your sins away, He’ll take your sins away,
And keep you happy in His love each day,
He’ll take your sins away.”

The Adamic nature hates being rejected of God; it wishes to prove that it can do enough to merit His favor. It deceives the sinner, who is led to believe that he or she can measure up to God’s righteousness by doing enough good deeds (Jeremiah 17:9). Yes, our flesh (sin nature) always wants to do something: hence, religion appeals to many. Scripture declares, however, All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)!

Confession of sins here, generous “tithes” there, water baptism here, church membership there, church-calendar observance here, prearranged prayers there, church attendance here, “holy book” reading there, et cetera. These activities, collectively, are usually thought of as “a treasury of merit” before God. Our dear religious family members and friends are encouraged to slowly accumulate an abundance of good works to be advantageous on the day of judgment (for themselves, and for others after them). The more “good” they have done, they assume God’s judgment on them will be less severe. What deception!

What these precious people must realize is that the God of the Bible is looking beyond “good” works, to see the heart. God is not looking to repair sinners, but regenerate sinners. Anyone can reform, but only God can regenerate. The God of Scripture is looking for a new heart, a new nature, one that can truly do good, not an old nature decorated with religious extravagance. Not only does Jesus Christ’s cross crucify our sinful nature, but His resurrection gives us a new life and a new nature (Romans 6:1-23). Those works of Jesus Christnot our works—are acceptable before God.

Yea, so He could do good works in us, He removed our sin debt….

A Heart Transplant for Israel #10

Monday, March 31, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

God instituted physical circumcision with Abraham to show him that his posterity—the nation Israel that would come through his son Isaac, grandson Jacob, and 12 great-grandsons (Israel’s 12 tribes)—would not come about due to Abraham’s (fallible) human performance, but JEHOVAH’S divine power. In every way, Israel would be God’s nation, God’s creation; contrariwise, the (uncircumcised) Gentiles were under Satan’s control (Ephesians 2:1-12).

Once physical circumcision was incorporated into the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 12:3), its underlying spiritual truth (spiritual circumcision) was overlooked. Israel worshipped physical circumcision instead of remembering what really mattered—the spiritual circumcision it symbolized. Jews bragged about their physical circumcision (today’s equivalent is, “Look, we joined the church, confessed our sins, gave a tithe, got water baptized…!”). The Scriptures say that while this generated “the praise of men,” the circumcision that God ultimately looked for in a Jew was regeneration, a cutting off of the Adamic nature, dead to sin and able to be used of JEHOVAH (Romans 2:28,29).

The Prophet Jeremiah, rebuking Israel for her apostasy and warning her of God’s impending chastisement (the Babylonian invasion and captivity just a few decades away), preached: “For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem” (4:3,4). Moses urged Israel, Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked [rebellious toward God’s Word]” (Deuteronomy 10:16).

Israel had their physical foreskins removed, but they still had a heart problem—they had not submitted to God’s righteousness and were rebelling against God’s will for them (sin; Jeremiah 17:9). They were still attached to their sin nature, and until they confessed (admitted) their wickedness, God could not give them the heart transplant they so desperately needed….

Saved from Hell, But Lost in Tradition #3

Sunday, February 17, 2013

“…God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4 KJV).

Can someone go to heaven without ever learning dispensational Bible study?

People commonly believe that if they just quit doing bad things, God will accept them into heaven: “I need to stop [name the sinful act], and I need to start going to church, donating money, praying, fasting, et cetera….” Frankly, this does absolutely nothing for them. They are focusing on their symptoms (individual sins), and ignoring their underlying sickness (sin nature). Man’s main problem is not that he commits sinful acts; his primary dilemma is that his nature is wicked (the origin of his sinful actions).

Even after “going through the motions” of religious obligation at church, the sinner is no closer to heaven than if he had stayed at home and done nothing. He may have “quit” certain sinful acts and replaced them with pious works. Nonetheless, his nature is still sinful, still anti-God, and still worthy of hell. Despite his “dealing with the symptoms,” he is still spiritually sick!

Thus, it behooved Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, to completely treat us sinners. He made a “house call,” but not to prescribe more rules to clean up our lives. We needed more than reformation (symptom reduction); we needed regeneration (complete spiritual healing). We lacked spiritual life, so God Himself came to give us His!

Although we do not have righteousness before God in and of ourselves, we can be “made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Christ died, not simply to pay for our sins, but to also crucify our sin nature with Himself! “Our old man is crucified with him” (Romans 6:6). When we trust the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for our sins, God takes our sin and sins and applies them to Calvary’s cross, and appropriates the merits of Christ’s perfect crosswork to us (imputation and justification). We also receive a new nature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) (regeneration).

But, salvation from hell is not just a fire escape….

A New Creature

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

As today’s Scripture suggests, when someone trusts Jesus Christ alone as his or her personal Saviour, he or she receives a new identity in Christ!

Although we could list more, here are five things that happen to a person the instant he or she trusts in Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary as sufficient payment for his or her sins:

  • Circumcised: God severs the old, spiritual, sinful relationship the individual had to Adam, and gives him or her a new relationship with Him, one no longer hindered by sin, but permanently maintained by Christ’s performance and mediatorship (Colossians 2:11-13).
  • Regenerated: The individual, once “[spiritually] dead in trespasses and sins,” is now given new life, eternal life, the life of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 2:1,5).
  • Indwelt: The Holy Ghost comes to live in the inner man of the individual, and He will use God’s written Word—which is studied and believed rightly divided—to transform the mind and heart, and ultimately the lifestyle, of the individual (Romans 12:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:14).
  • Baptized: The Holy Spirit baptizes the individual into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). This is not water baptism, but a supernatural baptism that the Holy Spirit performs (Colossians 2:12). This is the only baptism needed today, and it is the only baptism that saves us today!
  • Sealed: The saint is sealed by and with the Holy Ghost until the day of the rapture (Ephesians 1:12,13; Ephesians 4:30). Salvation is permanent, for Jesus Christ paid the price of our sin debt in full, and we can rest in His finished crosswork.

The individual is now a saint, one who is “holy,” separated unto God for the purpose for which He originally created him or her.

Saints, we are dead to sin, so let us walk by faith in our new identity, in our “new creature” status, the “one new man,” everlasting members of the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:15). 🙂

The Great Love Wherewith God Loved Us

Friday, November 4, 2011

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4,5 KJV).

Ephesians chapter 2 opens by describing Christians prior to salvation:

  • “dead in trespasses and sins” (verse 1)
  • “[they] walked according to course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (verse 2)
  • “[they were] fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath” (verse 3).

Before we trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we “were dead in [our] trespasses and sins” and leading autonomous, godless lives. We were headed for spiritual destruction (the everlasting lake of fire).

“But,” today’s Scripture declares, God “was rich in mercy.” We did not (and still do not) deserve anything from God. It was only by God’s grace that He saw fit to save us. Now, in Christ Jesus, we have been “quickened” (“made alive”). We are no longer participants in Satan’s policy of evil against God’s purpose and plan.

So, why did God save us? He has elected us to one day fill governmental positions in the heavens! “And [God the Father] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (verses 6,7).

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). When God died for us, He did not die for His friends—He died for His enemies! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Imagine that. The great love wherewith God loved us enabled Him to save us, His former enemies, so He can ultimately use us to rule in the heavens for His glory for all eternity!

Seeing the World With a New Perspective

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

Yesterday, after 10 days of being unable to use one of my eyes, I was exuberant to hear and “see” the world from a new perspective. As it is in the physical world, so it is in the spiritual world. Just as infection rendered one my physical eyes useless, and thus my being unable to see with it, so sin renders man’s spiritual eyes useless.

Several passages in the Bible use the word “darkness” to describe lost mankind in his natural spiritual blindness (for instance, Psalm 69:23; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 60:2; Matthew 4:16; Acts 26:18; Romans 1:21; Romans 2:19; Romans 11:10; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Ephesians 4:17-19; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Peter 2:9-10). In this the Dispensation of Grace, Israel’s spiritual eyes are temporarily blinded (Acts 13:6-11; Romans 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

The heart of a lost (unsaved) person is totally dark, spiritually blinded. A lost man’s spirit is dead, unable to function and commune with God (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). He knows nothing about God and avoids God.

Suddenly, the glorious light of God’s Word shines brightly, penetrating that callous, dim soul. As that lost soul hears and believes the Gospel of Grace—how that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—it is regenerated and “quickened” (made alive; Ephesians 2:1,5). God’s Holy Spirit illuminates that soul so that it realizes what it never knew before: it was destined for hell, but by God’s grace, it is now “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

Before we trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, our souls (minds) were dark. Now that we are in Christ, the indwelling Holy Ghost teaches us through His written Word that which we knew not in our natural (lost) state (1 Corinthians 2:9-13; Ephesians 1:17,18). We “see” the world from a new perspective—God’s perspective.