Death! #8

Monday, May 18, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Sin has “wages” (payments): physical death (soul and spirit separated from physical body), spiritual death (soul and spirit separated from God on Earth—can be remedied by faith in Christ!), functional death (believer separated from Christian living), and second death (soul and spirit separated from God in the Lake of Fire—permanent!).

We enter this world “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). “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 [resurrected us, given us life and energy] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )…” (verse 4). Thus, God through Christ overcomes spiritual death. The “eternal life” of Romans 6:23 especially emphasizes subsequent Christian living. If we as believers want deliverance from daily sinful conduct, we read and trust chapters 6–8. Thus, God through Christ conquers functional death.

Some of the Church the Body of Christ will physically die, but not all. Those believers alive at the Lord’s return—the Rapture, the resurrection, “the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:18-25)—will never experience physical death. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Living or dead, all Christians will receive a new body. Thus, God through Christ overcomes physical death. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile [sinful, corrupt, subject to death] body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21).

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25,26).

To Pray a Better Way #10

Saturday, March 7, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Father God “searcheth [investigates, looks into] the hearts;” He is aware of “the mind of the Spirit” (today’s Scripture). The Holy Spirit works in us by activating His inspired words that we have read and believed rightly divided. Consequently, we can pray in agreement with Father God’s current will. The Holy Spirit uses sound Bible doctrine to work in the grace saint as that child of God prays with a heart of faith. He enlightens the believer’s understanding, so that saint not only perceives God’s will for the present age, but can also pray accordingly. Unlike in religion, in the Bible, the Christian is not left clueless, wondering how to pray!

Provided we are aware of “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2)—the doctrine outlined in Paul’s Epistles, Romans through Philemon—then we will not be disappointed with “unanswered prayer.” We cannot make God do something He is not doing. If the content of our prayers conflicts with Pauline doctrine, then displeasure and doubt will constantly beset us. Praying like a saint in Israel’s prophetic program, will get us nowhere because we are the Church the Body of Christ and we are in the mystery program. We cannot take Israel’s verses, assume God will respond that way, and then complain He “lied” when our expectations are not met. Indeed, non-dispensational prayer is more harmful than no prayer!

Saints, if we have any hope in the world of praying effectually, we must let God speak first. He has already spoken in Paul’s Epistles. Have we listened to Him before asking Him to listen to us? Or, are we operating in unbelief, naming and claiming non-Pauline Bible passages as though they are to and about us? Articulating dispensationally-correct prayers is to pray a better way! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘Scythians’ and the ‘Barbarians?’

To Pray a Better Way #9

Friday, March 6, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Friend, provided we are willing to “read” Paul’s epistles (Ephesians 3:4), if we are ready to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), provided we are willing to “consider what [Paul] say[s]” (2 Timothy 2:7), and if we are ready to “believe” those Divine words (1 Thessalonians 2:13), the indwelling Spirit of God will take that sound Bible doctrine and transform us from the inside out.

Living in this fallen, sin-cursed world, our circumstances are complex. It is also daunting to try and express our concerns in words (groanings which cannot be uttered;” today’s Scripture). We are really unable to say what God’s will is regarding the matter. It is here that the Holy Spirit intervenes to transform our minds, using the verses we have read and believed. Exercising the mind of Christ, we seeing the matter as He Himself does. Difficulties distract and cloud our thinking. We entertain the notion that God does not love us and He does not care. How wrong we are!

In great tenderness, the Lord spoke to soothe suffering Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Once asking the Lord to remove his “thorn in the flesh”—that mysterious, multilayered hindrance—Paul learned to think differently. The Apostle publicized what he had learned: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (verse 10). Yes, the grace saint can find great value in his troubles rather than escaping them.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

To Pray a Better Way #8

Thursday, March 5, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Returning to 2 Corinthians chapter 12, we better understand Paul’s example: “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me,….”

Paul became aware of a reality through direct revelation from the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of praying according to the prophetic program (with the rabbinical understanding he had growing up), he learned to pray a better way. That better way is set off by the expression, “And he said unto me…” (verse 9). What mattered at that point in time is what the Lord told Paulnot what the Lord had told Israel centuries earlier! Rather than seeing difficult circumstances as a hindrance to ministry, Paul began to view them as a benefit. Instead of God changing Paul’s situation (his expectation), He adjusted the Apostle’s mentality.

Continue in 2 Corinthians chapter 12: “[9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” The Holy Spirit took what the Lord Jesus Christ said directly Paul, and then worked in Paul to transform his prayer life. With Paul understanding the new dispensational change, he saw relief—not in deliverance from the problems but in comfort during the problems….

To Pray a Better Way #7

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Prayer would be utterly impossible without the ministry of the third Member of the Godhead. He intercedes or mediates by connecting our spirit with Father God. We better understand this by remembering the Holy Ghost played a vital role in producing the Holy Bible. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20,21). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). When God inspired the Bible, He put His Spirit in some words.

Once we believed the Gospel of the Grace of God—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—the Holy Ghost came to dwell within us. See Ephesians chapter 1: “[12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] 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, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

God the Holy Spirit works by illuminating His inspired and preserved Word that we read, allowing us to believe it, and then causing us to pray in accordance with those Bible verses. Provided we permitted God to speak first, then speaking to Him will not be difficult….

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

To Pray a Better Way #6

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

It is no secret that prayer is a daunting exercise for most. Today’s Scripture pinpoints the reason: “for we know not what we should for as we ought.” We should know how to pray, but we do not. That is, we should know how to glorify God the most in any given situation. Alas, two problems hamper effectual prayer.

One was applicable in Paul’s day. At the time of the Acts period (during the writing of Romans), God has not yet revealed everything about the Dispensation of Grace. “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 12:1). All of Paul’s Epistles are not fully revealed and written—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon were penned after Acts. It took approximately 35 years for the mystery program to completely unfold, the culmination of Pauline revelation being 2 Timothy (his final writing).

The other reason for unanswered prayer is a lack of personal awareness of what God has already revealed. Whether Christians in the 1st century or 21st century, unless there is individual Bible study, we cannot expect to know how to pray. God is not going to “zap” us with truth as we kneel and beg earnestly in a prayer closet! We must open the Holy Scriptures and read them for ourselves. There will be no voice whispering in our ears, and no “warm, fuzzy feelings” in our heart. God has already spoken, and He will not speak further. He has preserved that inspired record so we can read it. Friends, if we fail to read the Bible and learn His will, it is not His fault. It is our (!) responsibility to “search and see.” Once we open the Scriptures, though, the Holy Spirit begins to intercede for us….

To Pray a Better Way #5

Monday, March 2, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

We read the verses that immediately precede today’s Scripture: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Before our glorification in the Heaven, we must suffer with Christ in this cursed creation—that includes physical illness and death (short of the Lord’s coming). In addition to bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (verse 16), the Spirit of God helps “our infirmities” (today’s Scripture). The “infirmities” there are not so much bodily afflictions as much as they are deficiencies in our understanding of them. In other words, we need to have a better awareness of what God is doing in the midst of our dire circumstances. Paul learned it, and we should learn it as well….

To Pray a Better Way #4

Sunday, March 1, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Returning to 2 Corinthians chapter 12, “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

To say the least, Paul had great difficulties (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11-13; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 2 Corinthians 11:22-28). His enemies—unbelieving Jews and Gentiles—constantly plotted his demise. Ridiculed and mocked, he often had inadequate food, clothing, and shelter. He was frequently mercilessly beaten, robbed, slandered, and imprisoned. (Ultimately, beheaded!) Throughout his earthly sojourn, he also tolerated bodily illness or disability that involved reduced vision (cf. Galatians 4:13-15; Galatians 6:11).

A rabbinical scholar, Paul knew the Old Testament. JEHOVAH God overthrew Egypt to free Israel, conquered wicked King Saul to rescue David, and defeated Babylon to liberate Israel. “Why does God not deliver me from my enemies?,” he surely wondered throughout Acts. “I am the LORD that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26) was certainly on Paul’s mind as he suffered his physical ailment. He understood the Mosaic Law curses of financial loss, disease, and starvation (Leviticus 26:16,17,25,26). Facing his struggles, Paul therefore asked God for relief. The Lord’s reply was stunning to say the least….

Special-edition Bible Q&A #700: “Are we dispensationalists guilty of ‘limiting God?’

To Pray a Better Way #3

Saturday, February 29, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Let us continue reading in Romans chapter 8: “[11] But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. [12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. [13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. [16] The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

As saints, sin does not have to master us; the indwelling Holy Spirit can energize us to walk in God’s ways. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” refers to the inspired Scriptures reinforcing in our mind the fact that we are part of God’s family. If we are His children (and we are), then it naturally follows that we are His heirs—yea, joint-heirs with Christ. Just as we suffer in this fallen creation, following Christ in His suffering, so we will be glorified with Him. We will inherit governmental authority from our Father as He himself will inherit it from our Father. Until then, though, problems will abound….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘vipers’ of the New Testament Scriptures?

To Pray a Better Way #2

Friday, February 28, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Chapter 5 of Romans opens: “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:1-5).

The indwelling Holy Ghost first appears in Paul’s epistles and exits just as quickly. He reemerges in chapter 8—here referenced over a dozen times—as participating in our sanctification. (“Holy Ghost” is His name; “Spirit” infers His role or function.) Read all of Romans chapter 8, at least through to verse 27 (today’s Scripture). If we follow the Holy Spirit leading, we then experience daily the very mentality and conduct of Jesus Christ in our own mind and life.

We read the first four verses: “[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.”

Let us see what else the Holy Ghost does for us….