Scrooges and Christians

Sunday, December 16, 2018

“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.

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #5

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

It is no coincidence that Eutychus sat in “the third loft” (today’s Scripture). We the Church the Body of Christ have an inheritance in the heavenly places rather than the earth (Ephesians 2:6,7). Therefore, Paul was caught up into the third heaven” to receive Divine revelations concerning us (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

Diverted from Pauline doctrine, Eutychus sleeps, becomes unstable, falls, and dies. The Church the Body of Christ, if focused on the evil world system (darkness outside), will die functionally. Looking at today’s professing “church,” we see pervasive confusion, all-encompassing impotency, and functional death! Bible ignorance is disturbing. There is no power of God, there is no life of God, as there is no Word of God: church traditions and human opinions abound. “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9).

The Church the Body of Christ must be heavenly in thought if it is to be heavenly in conduct. Colossians 3:1-3: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [concentration] on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

Philippians 3:18-21: “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile 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.”

We Christians must study and believe the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, to save and guard ourselves from Satan’s mesmerizing doctrines….

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #4

Monday, November 5, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

First John 2:15-17 is transdispensational, applicable across the Bible timeline: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Regardless of the dispensation, Satan’s evil world system continuously entices God’s people to compromise with it. Saints are tempted to change God’s message to fit the times (culture), or they are intimidated into silence if they refuse to alter the doctrine.

Physical darkness induced sleep in Eutychus (an individual), an illustration of how the Devil’s world system sways us the Church the Body of Christ (corporately) to slumber spiritually. Turn to Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,….” First Corinthians chapter 15: “[33] Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. [34] Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”

Pauline doctrine—the Gospel of Grace for justification (eternal life in Heaven) and for practical sanctification (daily Christian living)—is meant to “open [Gentile] eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:18). Yet, Eutychus, diverted from Paul’s preaching, fell asleep physically, much as the Corinthians and Ephesians fell asleep practically (in Christian thinking and conduct). Dear brethren, if we the Body of Christ are to stay awake spiritually, or revive if we do fall asleep and die functionally, Pauline doctrine is the answer….

Sanctified Through God’s Truth

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17 KJV).

Jesus Christ prayed to His Heavenly Father for His followers in Israel’s program (especially His Apostles—verse 12). He would do likewise for us today in the Dispensation of Grace.

Sanctification is not to be confused with justification. The former is to be “set apart for the purpose for which God intended;” the latter means “declared righteous before God.” One must be justified (righteousness imputed to his account) before he can be sanctified (useful to God’s work—“holy,” a “saint”).

Just moments before His arrest, Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane communes with Father God by praying throughout John chapter 17. Verse 8 is crucial to grasping today’s Scripture: “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Now, verse 14: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

The Lord was not praying for His followers to be saved unto eternal life (they were already justified). What He desired was spiritual fruit, their identity in Him being manifested in the form of works. Father God’s Word—which He (Jesus) had just taught them for over three years—would be how the Holy Father would use those men for His purposes. He would send His Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2) to empower them according to the words He had already given them in Christ’s earthly ministry. That message would be further expanded once the Holy Spirit came (see John 14:26; John 15:25-27; John 16:7-14).

“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” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Saints, God’s Word to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—will effectually work in us on a daily basis if we believe it. Then, we too will be “sanctified through [God’s] truth!”

333’s 2700th – The Pillar and Ground of the Truth

Sunday, October 21, 2018

These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:14,15 KJV).

Dear brethren, only by God’s grace, devotional #2700 has arrived!

One faithful reader just commented—like others have through the years—that our studies are direct (to the point). There is little, if any, deviation from the study’s theme. Of course, this is all by design, as the author intended that from day 1! He knows that so many poor souls have been overwhelmed concerning Scripture. The way they have been taught to approach the Bible is exceedingly arduous, quite complicated, wholly confusing. He knows those frustrations firsthand, and has thus striven to help you, the readers, avoid as much of that spiritual darkness and superfluity as possible.

Friends, these past 2,700 days have been a real joy! 🙂 Such tremendous spiritual changes have occurred in us all, so praise our Lord Jesus Christ! Indeed, when we “just release the lion from his cage, he will defend himself.” We simply distributed God’s Word, and it took care of itself. Almighty God does not need us, but we have been given the privilege of sharing the Holy Scriptures with others. What an honor!

We the Body of Christ are “the house of God… the church of the living God” (today’s Scripture). His Holy Spirit lives in and through us as we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). We are “the pillar and ground of the truth.” As a “pillar,” we hold the truth up high, displaying it for all to see. We are the “ground” because we support, maintain, or undergird the truth. This is not a denominational system, organized religion, advocating pet doctrines and opinions of men; rather, it is the true Church the Body of Christ proclaiming the Word of Christ, that the Word of Christ might dwell in them richly (Colossians 3:16), that Christ might be formed in them (Galatians 4:19).

Thank you for your prayerful support. Onward now to higher ground, and devotional #2800! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is it sinful for women to wear makeup?

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #10

Friday, July 27, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

When pure Grace is proclaimed, the objection will invariably arise: “Grace is a license to sin, and I can live any way I want!” Dear friend, if you say that, you really have no idea what Grace is. Moreover, others will complain, “But do I not have to do something to make God happy with me?” Dear reader, you have not paid attention to what these passages have been teaching. Your flesh can do nothing to please God!

The Law system, once it shows a lost person his or her sinful state, has no further place in that individual’s life. “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:8,9). God added the Law to Israel’s program “because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19)—to point out Israel’s sin, her failure to get God’s blessings based on her works. “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). How senseless it is to then have the Christian live under the Law… continually beleaguered by the sinfulness he or she has already confronted the moment of coming to Christ by faith!

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). Read the entire Epistle to the Galatians: they had fallen prey to legalism. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). Our religious performance will add NOTHING (!) to what the Spirit of God has already wrought, and is working, in our hearts. Father God gave us all blessings in Christ the instant we believed on His finished crosswork—everlasting life, limitless forgiveness, justification (imputed righteousness), free redemption, eternal sanctification, unconditional acceptance, and so on. Now, dear brethren, we go live in and enjoy those blessings! 🙂

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).

Israel Pardoned in Full!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve (Jeremiah 50:20 KJV).

Israel awaits this most magnificent pardon!

Many—yea, most—have great difficulty reconciling the nation Israel’s ungodly behavior in history with God’s future plans for her in prophecy. After all, her willful pagan idolatry for numerous centuries culminated in her rejecting Messiah (Jesus) and nailing Him to Calvary’s tree! How could the LORD God ever make her His people, His kingdom of priests that He originally intended her to be (Exodus 19:3-6)?

Satan realized that once he corrupted Israel, God could not use her to overthrow Satan’s plans for Earth. However, God had already planned well in advance Israel’s redemption: He would use her rejected Messiah’s shed blood to institute the New Covenant. This new covenant will take care of her breaking the Old Covenant (see Jeremiah 31:31-34). Christ’s blood will wash away her sins; yea, she will be eternally purified. Never again will Israel have intimate relations with (worthless) idols.

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,…” (Revelation 1:5). “For finding fault with them, he saith [Jeremiah 31:31-34], Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:… I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:…. for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:8-12, in part).

Notice these other Second Coming verses concerning Israel’s national forgiveness: “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:27).