Spirituality or Futility? #8

Friday, November 10, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

God sent the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles to give us the Dispensation of the Grace of God, or Jesus Christ’s heavenly ministry (Ephesians 3:1-9). From Heaven, not Earth, Christ is speaking today. In this dispensation, God is forming the Church the Body of Christ, a heavenly people whom He has blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We are not the nation Israel; God is not finished with Israel. She will rise again after our dispensation (Romans 11:1-36)!

We are saved by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (Romans 3:23–4:8)—apart from any works of any kind. Upon believing the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13,14). We need no water (or any other) ceremony to “enhance” our Christian life. God gave us a new nature in Christ, power that produces good works and gives us victory over sin (Romans 6:1-23). The Law serves no purpose in our life because God’s grace teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,” and “to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12,14). Jesus Christ died to put away sin, so we put it away in our life. Our hope is not God’s earthly kingdom (Israel’s hope) but rather His heavenly kingdom (Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Romans is the most basic Book for this dispensation. It outlines justification, how to have a right standing before God. Therein we also discover sanctification, how God has set apart believers to do His will. Moreover, we see Israel’s past, present, and future statuses. Finally, there are basic but specific grace principles for everyday living. Three useful Pauline passages are Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3.

We study all the Bible, but anything other than Pauline doctrine and duty is but futility!

Filled with the Fruits of Righteousness

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11 KJV).

“Fruits” are “the results of work or activity.” Who exactly is working?

Works-religion parading as “Christianity” has led us to believe that Christian living involves us making ourselves holy by working to keep rules and regulations. However, the Bible says Christian living is “being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.” This is not self-righteousness, what religion produces. It is not artificial or superficial righteousness, what religion generates.

Nay, it is true righteousness, a new (righteous) nature in Christ and its resultant actions. First Corinthians chapter 1, verse 30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:….” If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we share His identity—He is our wisdom, He is our righteousness, He is our sanctification (holiness), and He is our redemption (freedom from sin). From Him springs forth our righteousness. From Him working in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, righteousness abounds in our hearts and lives.

First Thessalonians 2:13: “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.” Ephesians 3:16 says: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;….” Finally, Galatians chapter 5: “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” There is the life of Christ, friend, in its fullness, available by daily faith in Him… something religion can never produce!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘excellent’ a ‘mistranslation’ in Philippians 1:10 in the King James Bible?

Light Bulbs and Lenses #10

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Dear friends, in this world of intensifying spiritual darkness, God’s Word rightly divided provides us great light. Yea, in this world of increasing obscurity, we can be blessed with great understanding from God’s words dispensationally understood. For us English-speaking people, the rightly divided King James Bible is a brilliant beacon in these times of abounding uncertainty, mass confusion, and widespread ignorance.

The Holy Spirit will teach us using the Holy Bible, provided that we pay special attention to His words spoken through the Apostle Paul. First Corinthians 2:13 says, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” And, 2 Timothy 2:7: “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” Finally, today’s Scripture: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

Dear brethren, as we let God’s grace teach us, we are, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;…” (Titus 2:13). The earthly life we have in Christ now will continue into eternity future, the heavenly places. God the Holy Spirit illuminates us about this and other important Christian truths, as Ephesians chapter 1 says: “[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,….”

In light of Pauline revelation, we understand that we are the Church the Body of Christ, never to be confused with the nation Israel. We are under grace, not law, thus free to walk in the victorious identity given us in Christ. Sin does not have to reign over us. We can enjoy God’s life, now and forever. As long as we respond positively to the spiritual light we have, God will honor that and give us more… light… bright… lenses… sight! 🙂

Light Bulbs and Lenses #9

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Most church members believe successful Christian living involves keeping the 10 Commandments, remembering the Beatitudes, following the “Golden Rule,” et cetera. Nonetheless, when the Holy Spirit through Paul spoke about Christian living, He said the teacher was God’s Grace, not God’s Law.

Titus chapter 2 again: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] … the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Alas, even many “grace believers” have a shallow understanding of grace. Their misconduct causes other Christians (and even lost people) to cling to strict rules and regulations even more. Grace does not save us according to how we live, but it should influence how we live.

Romans chapter 6 is what grace teaches: “[6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin. [8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

“[11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members [body parts] as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

We conclude this devotionals arc….

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Light Bulbs and Lenses #8

Monday, October 2, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

During the past decade, dispensational Bible study has clarified many obscurities for me. Christian growth is like switching to eyeglasses of increasingly higher magnifications. The believer’s willingness determines: (1) the rate at which those eyeglasses are traded, and (2) the size of the gaps between successive magnifications. As focus improves when camera lenses are adjusted, the sincere Christian soul progresses in Bible understanding. The passage of time causes that which is vague to become sharper. However, without right division, God’s preferred method (2 Timothy 2:15), clarity is gone, the light is diffused or nonexistent, and Christian growth stops.

Consider Titus 2:11-14, the Christian life that precious, precious, precious few believers ever discern and enjoy: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Remember, “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” refers to the Apostle Paul’s “all nations,” or “Gentile,” apostleship (Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; cf. Romans 11:13). Grace existed before Paul, yes, but it being offered freely to all nations when they deserved nothing but wrath, that was unheard of prior to Paul. “The Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2) involves more than God in His grace simply offering us redemption from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire). Titus chapter 2 says grace teaches us how to live daily and overcome the power of sin.

Why did Jesus Christ offer Himself “a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6), a “redemption-price for all?” To take those who would trust Him as personal Saviour, and give them an identity to overcome daily sinful living. Grace not only changes our eternal destiny in the future. It can change how we conduct our lives right now….

Just As I Am #6

Monday, July 24, 2017

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the sixth and final verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, Thy love unknown,
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

We receive the indwelling Holy Spirit after we hear and believe the Gospel of Grace, as Ephesians chapter 1 says: “[13] In whom [Christ Jesus] 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, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Contrary to popular belief, everyone is not God’s child. For example, in John 8:44, the Lord Jesus uttered one of the harshest censures in all of Scripture, aimed at unsaved religious leaders: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do….” Ephesians 2:2-3 calls non-Christians “children of disobedience” and “children of wrath!” Today’s Scripture says we are God’s children by faith in Jesus Christ. We are not born into God’s family at physical conception or at physical birth. Scripture says we are born into God’s family—namely the Church the Body of Christ—when we place our trust solely in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. But, never forget: it took God to put that system into place. No man dreamed it up. It was God’s invention.

Had Father God not made the first move by sending Jesus Christ, mankind would have never approached God. What sinner would have ever asked God to die for his or her sins? Who would have ever expected Him to do just that? Mankind would have been too prideful to ask anyway. Indeed, friends, it was a mighty gulf that God did span on that awful Roman cross on Calvary! That God would go through that much trouble to save such wretched creatures, this is something we will ever fathom. It is simply too far beyond us! All we can say is, “Thank You, Lord, I come and receive You!” 🙂

Our latest two Bible Q&As: “Who are ‘the poor’ in Galatians 2:10?” and “Who are ‘the fatherless and widows’ of James 1:27?

Just As I Am #5

Sunday, July 23, 2017

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the fifth verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Habakkuk 1:13 says of God: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity….” Almighty God is so holy that He cannot even look upon sin. Yet, Scripture speaks about some sinners going to God’s Heaven rather than Satan’s Hell. How is that possible? How can God be just in saving us sinners from our deserved ill fate? Does not His justice demand the punishment of those who offend His righteousness?

Today’s Scripture says “the living God… is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” How can these believing sinners escape their deserved eternal doom? Romans chapter 3: “[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.”

Father God made His Son, Jesus Christ, a “propitiation,” a fully satisfying payment for sin. Through that substitutionary death—Jesus Christ suffering God’s wrath and dying in our place—God can spare us our eternal death penalty of sin. We simply trust that good news to benefit from it! Father God promises to take, receive, welcome, cleanse, and relieve the believing sinner. Make no mistake, dear friends—Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork is truly the sinner’s only hope!