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?’

Israel: The Miracle Nation #10

Saturday, February 12, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

According to the Bible, Romans 7:12: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” The Law of Moses is definitely God’s Word. It expresses His righteousness and our failure to be perfect. No one in his or her own strength can become God’s child or do His will. Nearly 2,000 years of Jewish history—our Old Testament Scriptures—bear record of that fact. If we choose a performance-based acceptance system, we will receive nothing but curses from God. Yet, sin deceives us, and we assume we can perform to get the blessing. Human flesh always seeks to brag, but God’s grace will never accept it!

Romans chapter 4: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh [human efforts], hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [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.” The Apostle Paul reaches back to Genesis 15:5, centuries before the Law of Moses was ever ratified. Here is God’s grace!

Human works, religious works, never delivered anyone from sin. The Law of Moses never saved anyone. All the Law can do is condemn, or show us we cannot do enough. It can impart no power to us to keep its rules and regulations! If sinners are to become God’s people—whether the nation Israel or the Church the Body of Christ—it will be entirely what God does on their behalf (grace!). Ultimately, it is Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork (His work, that which perfectly satisfies the Law’s righteous demands!) applied to their account as sufficient payment for their sins. The nation Israel has yet to learn this, but God will see to it that she does. In the meantime, friends, may we not be stubborn and learn it.

Israel: The Miracle Nation #9

Friday, February 11, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

The Holy Spirit details how Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork will deliver the nation Israel in the ages to come. Consider the New Covenant in Hebrews 8:8-13: “For finding fault with them [law!], he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant [grace!] with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt [law!]; because they continued not in my covenant [law!], and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant [grace!] that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will [grace!] put my laws into their mind, and [I will] [grace!] write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will [grace!!!!] be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I [grace!!!!] remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34, written 600 years before Christ, is now interpreted in light of Calvary. Israel’s sins committed under the Old Covenant—the Law of Moses—are now cancelled with the ratification of the New Covenant at Christ’s Second Coming (Hebrews 9:11-28; cf. Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-29). “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;…. For by one offering he hath [grace!!!!] perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10-12,14).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Israel: The Miracle Nation #8

Thursday, February 10, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [the Jews] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin(Romans 3:19,20). The Law of Moses was given, not to save anyone from sin, but to clearly define sin. If the “best” nation, Israel, is condemned, what hope do the world’s nations have in ever attaining God’s standard of righteousness? None! Hence, grace, not law, was the LORD’S original covenant with Israel. The Law was to teach stubborn Israel they needed a Saviour, for they could not save themselves.

Galatians chapter 3: “[18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. [20] Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. [21] Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law…. [24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Likewise, having used the Law to realize our need for the Saviour, we now receive by faith God’s blessings via His grace (what He can do for us through Christ’s finished crosswork). “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” (1 Corinthians 1:30,31). “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).

Israel will finally learn that yet future….

Scrooges and Christians

Thursday, December 16, 2021

“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).

To the old identity, we say, “Bah, Humbug!” To the new, we say, “God has blessed us, everyone in Christ.”

Other than Jesus Christ’s conception and birth as found in the Holy Bible, there is one other classic story associated with Christmastime. British author Charles Dickens’ 1843 book, A Christmas Carol, focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge (the novella has some Christian influence).

From the onset, Scrooge is a wealthy, miserable, mean, stingy, and selfish old man. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is underpaid (yet, strangely, Ebenezer observes, Cratchit is cheerful). Scrooge refuses to donate to charities collecting for the destitute—to him, Christmastime is a time for others to “pick his pocket.” He even refuses to attend his nephew’s Christmas party. What a miser!

Through visitations by four Spirits—his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future—Scrooge is forced to realize what a thoroughly rotten man he is. Once confronted with his future, the awful events that lie ahead, he asks for another chance to make things right (which, thankfully, he receives and does!). The Scrooge at the end of the book is drastically different from the Scrooge at the beginning. Scrooge is now loving, warm, cheerful, and generous—he is a brand-new man.

Bible-believing Christians recognize parallels between Dickens’ work and the Holy Scriptures. The sinner starts off rotten, a rebel from birth—selfish, miserable, and mean. When he or she comes to realize that pitiful condition he or she is in, and comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins, God gives him or her a new identity (today’s Scripture). That identity is designed to influence subsequent actions. Scrooge did not simply change his outward activity; he had a change in heart first. This Christmas, let us be submissive to God’s Holy Spirit working in our hearts, as He uses sound Bible doctrine to manifest in our behavior our identity in Christ, that we be not Scrooges.

Scrooges and Christians

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

“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).

To the old identity, we say, “Bah, Humbug!” To the new, we say, “God has blessed us, everyone in Christ.”

Other than Jesus Christ’s conception and birth as found in the Holy Bible, there is one other classic story associated with Christmastime. British author Charles Dickens’ 1843 book, A Christmas Carol, focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge (the novella has some Christian influence).

From the onset, Scrooge is a wealthy, miserable, mean, stingy, and selfish old man. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is underpaid (yet, strangely, Ebenezer observes, Cratchit is cheerful). Scrooge refuses to donate to charities collecting for the destitute—to him, Christmastime is a time for others to “pick his pocket.” He even refuses to attend his nephew’s Christmas party. What a miser!

Through visitations by four Spirits—his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future—Scrooge is forced to realize what a thoroughly rotten man he is. Once confronted with his future, the awful events that lie ahead, he asks for another chance to make things right (which, thankfully, he receives and does!). The Scrooge at the end of the book is drastically different from the Scrooge at the beginning. Scrooge is now loving, warm, cheerful, and generous—he is a brand-new man.

Bible-believing Christians recognize parallels between Dickens’ work and the Holy Scriptures. The sinner starts off rotten, a rebel from birth—selfish, miserable, and mean. When he or she comes to realize that pitiful condition he or she is in, and comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins, God gives him or her a new identity (today’s Scripture). That identity is designed to influence subsequent actions. Scrooge did not simply change his outward activity; he had a change in heart first. This Christmas, let us be submissive to God’s Holy Spirit working in our hearts, as He uses sound Bible doctrine to manifest in our behavior our identity in Christ, that we be not Scrooges.

Earnest #8

Monday, November 23, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

Although Father God has wrought a mighty work in us believers in Christ, we are actually a “work in progress.” Indeed, our souls and spirits have been redeemed, purchased out of sin’s slave market with Christ’s shed blood.

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 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. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

However, we are not yet redeemed physically: we are still in these mortal bodies of flesh and blood. Since God is still operating the Dispensation of Grace, He has left the Church the Body of Christ on Earth. To delay His wrath another day—so more people trust His Son and escape the coming judgment this present evil world deserves—He keeps us here. The Apostle Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

We have been justified (made right in God’s sight). We are being sanctified (daily set apart unto His plan and purpose). We will be glorified (brought into the heavenly places). The indwelling Holy Spirit is our “earnest”—or “taste” (“arrabon” in Hebrews 6:5)—that what mighty work God started in us He will also finish. The eternal life we are promised in Heaven can be ours now… and the indwelling Spirit of God guarantees it! 🙂

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).