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 #10

Sunday, July 24, 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!

Describing victorious Christian living, Paul taught in Romans 8:5-9: “[5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] 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.”

If we think like lost people, our conduct will resemble that of lost people. Our Christian life will die with “carnal” or fleshy thinking (chapter 7). “Minding” nothing but natural-man thoughts, our lifestyle reflects that faulty reasoning (chapter 7). Fighting against God, we live contrary to whom He made us in Christ. If, however, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-16), studying and trusting sound (grace!) Bible doctrine, we will “mind [pay attention to, think about] the things of the Spirit.” This spiritually-minded believer enjoys the life and peace impossible in Romans chapter 7 but achievable in chapter 6.

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,…” (Ephesians 4:17). “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). “Brethren, be followers together of me [Paul], and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17). “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” (Colossians 1:10). “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:…” (Colossians 2:6).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the United States of America in Bible prophecy?

Order My Steps #9

Saturday, July 23, 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!

The first five chapters of Romans lay out the doctrine of justification—to wit, how a sinner worthy of God’s righteous wrath in Hell and the Lake of Fire can trust Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins and thereby be declared a Christian or saint (eternally righteous in God’s sight, bound for Heaven).

Chapters 6–8 outline the doctrine of sanctification—namely, how the Christian, in light of his position, is set apart unto God’s purpose and plan on a daily basis in practice. The believer’s walk each and every day will be victorious over sin only if two facts are never forgotten. Firstly, we are under grace not law (Romans chapter 6). Secondly, we are under the Holy Spirit’s authority not the flesh’s power (Romans chapter 8). To ignore (or fail to learn) either of these principles is to suffer that horrendous spiritual shipwreck of chapter 7!

Let us state it another way. When sin masters or controls us, we have not been mindful of Romans chapter 6 (dead to sin, alive unto God). Abandoning chapter 6, we have fallen into the snare of Romans chapter 7 (defeat, misery, hopelessness). To be recovered from the dreadful trap of fleshly living, we learn the lesson Paul himself realized in chapter 8: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There, right there, is the Christian overcoming sin on a daily basis….

Order My Steps #8

Friday, July 22, 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!

Brethren, our Heavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). “Ye are complete [lacking nothing] in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10a). All we truly need, we permanently have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Four necessities given us in Christ are defined in 1 Corinthians 1:30,31: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Firstly, we need spiritual wisdom, the ability to correctly apply spiritual truths to life. Jesus is our spiritual wisdom. Secondly, we need righteousness, a right standing before God. Christ is our righteousness. Thirdly, we need sanctification, separation unto Father God’s will. Jesus is our sanctification. Finally, we need redemption, a buying back from sin’s dominion. Christ is our redemption. God’s instructions to us are simple: Walk according to the people we already are in Christ!

After three chapters presenting our wealth in Christ, the Holy Spirit through Paul opens the final three chapters of Ephesians concerning our walk: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,…” (Ephesians 4:1). “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:…” (Ephesians 5:8). After concentrating on our wealth in Christ for two chapters, the second half of Colossians begins with our walk: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above [in heaven], where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:…” (Colossians 3:10).

Paying attention to the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul, we enjoy victorious Christian living. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh [sin]…. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law…. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16,18,25). Here is Romans chapter 8….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the LORD God and His works ‘terrible?’

Order My Steps #7

Thursday, July 21, 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!

The Lord ordered the Apostle Paul’s steps in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. “Paul, here in Romans chapters 1–6 are the principles of grace for victorious Christian living as a member of the Church the Body of Christ.” However, by the time of chapter 7, Paul personally struggled to overcome his sinful flesh like us all. Why?

Remember, before he was the Apostle Paul, he was Saul of Tarsus. Having been born and raised in the Dispensation of Law as a strict works-religion Pharisee (Acts 23:6; Acts 26:4,5; Philippians 3:3-7), a great deal of Paul’s life as a saint was spent trying to stop thinking like a legalistic lost person. Being Scriptural was not enough, for the Law of Moses (Scripture!) was no longer in effect. God was doing something different—the Dispensation of Grace. To fall back on prior Divine revelation was to fight against the Lord’s current work. We must be Scriptural and dispensational. Since Paul reverted to the Law system, he wound up in the pitiful, miserable condition of Romans 7:24: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Like many poor souls under the heavy hand of works-religion today, Paul was utterly defeated, troubled, and unhappy. His Christian life was nonfunctional.

Consider the Galatian saints, and the Bible Book that bears their name. They too grew up in works-religion—albeit heathenism or pagan idolatry. Paul visited them and shared the Gospel of Grace with them. They passed from death to life by trusting Jesus’ finished crosswork. Alas, legalistic teachers subsequently misled them, necessitating Paul’s epistle to them. “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9). They too had strayed from the path of grace, returned to works-religion, and become entrapped and depressed! “Where is then the blessedness [happiness, joy] ye spake of?” (Galatians 4:15a).

Whether Paul, or the Galatians, or even us, remembering our identity in Christ is the key to successful Christian living….

Order My Steps #6

Wednesday, July 20, 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!

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). As a slave is purchased out of a marketplace, so Jesus Christ’s shed blood paid for our release from being “in Adam” (sin’s authority). As believers—people in Christ—we do not have to sin!

When we sin, it is because we have reverted to our old (lost/natural man) thinking patterns (Romans chapter 7!). We believe we are still in Adam, dead in trespasses and sins (which we are not). “I beseech [ask, beg] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice [who we are in Christ!], holy [who we are in Christ!], acceptable unto God [who we are in Christ!], which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2).

The basic principles of grace living, Romans chapters 1–8, correct our erroneous mindset. We begin thinking like the people we are (saints), and we cease thinking like the people we are not (sinners). If we Christians do not have a clear understanding of these Bible truths, it is the equivalent of lost people with no Bible whatsoever. Since spiritual ignorance often prevails, even among professing believers, Christians typically resemble non-Christians.

Instead of “I must do good works to receive God’s blessings” (Law, works-religion), the Christian life is “I have already received God’s blessings in Christ, and good works flow from that position” (grace living!). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). “Hath blessed” is the present perfect tense. God blessed us in Christ (past tense) the moment we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, and the results impact us right now (presently)….

Order My Steps #5

Tuesday, July 19, 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!

Saints, not only have we died with Christ, we have resurrected with Him (Romans 6:1-10). “Likewise reckon [think, believe it to be true!] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 11). In Christ, we are dead to sin: the Adamic nature, as far as God is concerned, is powerless over us. So then, why do we sin as believers in Christ? The Bible has already answered that question.

The Apostle Paul’s Christian life died—this is functional death, separation from being active—in Romans chapter 7. “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me (verses 9-11). Paul tried so hard to live the Christian life—but failed miserably! Where there should have been victory over sin, there was just the opposite. His sin nature, his Adamic nature, constantly overcame him. Two billion church members in Christendom needlessly struggle with that dilemma even now. Like Paul, they have ignored the truths laid out in chapter 6!

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for [because] you are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). Our flesh, Adamic nature, or sin nature, likes to boast, so it gravitates toward religious works. We deceive ourselves—yea, sin deceives us—into thinking we can manage sin. Even today, it is claimed: “I can keep the commandments of God. Give me rules and regulations to obey and I will copy the life of Jesus Christ.” This is precisely Israel’s faulty reasoning at Mount Sinai. They supposed they could perform in religion to make themselves God’s kingdom of priests (see Exodus 19:3-8, especially verse 8). God ultimately gave them the Law to point out their need for the Saviour, though (like today!) most never actually learned that lesson. Currently, however, God has us under the Dispensation of Grace, that the Law not be an occasion for our flesh to master us….