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….

Saved or Lost? #4

Friday, September 2, 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 verse immediately after today’s Scripture asks: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” Spiritually disoriented, the Galatian saints have discarded God’s grace (His perfect work to justify them) in favor of keeping their works (fumbling, bumbling, stumbling in religion). For the remainder of Galatians chapter 4, Paul appeals to the Hebrew Scriptures to highlight their folly: Abraham’s flesh (and resulting son Ishmael) was completely incompatible with God’s grace (and consequent son Isaac), just as their performance in works-religion nullifies or cancels God’s grace. (Read Galatians 4:22-31 in your own Bible.)

Now, chapter 5: “[1] Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. [2] Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. [3] For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. [4] Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. [5] For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. [6] For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. [7] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? [8] This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. [9] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”

The Galatians were religious indeed, for they had been pressured into physical circumcision under the false assumption they would make God happy with them (see Acts 15:1-5). Yet, the Law is an “all-or-nothing” system—and the Mosaic Law encompasses 612 other rules and regulations that are impossible for a sinner to keep perfectly (Romans 3:19,20; Galatians 3:10; James 2:10)! By throwing away grace to take up even part of the Law, the Galatians had, essentially, committed spiritual suicide….

Saved or Lost? #3

Thursday, September 1, 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?

Today’s Scripture names the Galatians “my little children.” Not a term of endearment, it gently rebukes these people who should be mature believers but are spiritual infants or Bible babies. Christ should have been formed in them. The Apostle Paul had so fervently labored to give them sound Bible doctrine, just as a mother experiences severe birth pangs to bring forth new life: “Of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,….” What happened instead, due to corrupt spiritual leaders, was works-religion had been formed in them. (Multimillions of genuine Christians have likewise been deceived during the 20 centuries since!) That these Galatians were indeed Christians—despite their stunted development and plenteous confusion—is confirmed when we realize Paul addressed them as “brethren” nine times (1:11; 3:15; 4:12,28,31; 5:11,13; 6:1,18).

“I desire to be present with you now.” If only Paul could be there with these Galatians physically, but he is far away. In those days of limited communication (no cellphones or internet videocalls), all he can do is write on a piece of papyrus (plant material) or vellum or parchment (animal skin) and send that message by courier back to Galatia. Had Paul been with them, he would have “change[d] [his] voice.” That is, his tone of voice would reflect the gravity of their situation and his utter disapproval of their apostasy (falling away from the truth). More bluntly, the Holy Spirit would speak through Paul to bring them to their senses. “Wake up and grow up!” (See “sleeping” saints in Ephesians 5:14-17.)

Observe that weighty expression at the end of today’s Scripture: “For I stand in doubt of you.” It is not to be read as “I doubt you ever trusted Christ!” Rather, the Apostle’s reaction to them is something like, “I have no idea what to do with you!” “Doubt” here is the Greek “aporeo” (literally, “no way out”). Paul is “at a loss mentally,” perplexed or uncertain about how to proceed….

Bible Q&As #988, #989, and #990: “What does ‘wont’ mean?,” “What does ‘lusty’ mean?,” and “Can you explain ‘hale?’

Saved or Lost? #2

Wednesday, August 31, 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?

Galatia was an enormous territory stretching through modern central Turkey. The Apostle Paul met Gentile pagan idolaters here in Acts chapters 13–14 during his first apostolic journey. He won them to the Lord Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel of Grace to them (“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day;” 1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

After leaving Galatia, Paul learned some unsettling news about them, which he addressed by writing this epistle to Galatia: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6,7). False teachers—commonly called “Judaizers” but better termed “denominationalists!”—had infiltrated Galatia after Paul’s departure. To say the least, the Apostle was astonished at how quickly these Galatians had abandoned the sound Bible doctrine he had taught them!

Chapter 3 is more of the Holy Spirit’s criticism: “[1] O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? [2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? [3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Deceived (!), these Galatians were now “fools.” They were engaging in spiritual insanity or silliness. Forsaking the Message of God’s Grace (Christ-based acceptance system), they had taken up the Law system (performance-based acceptance system, or works-religion as they had before Paul’s visit!).

These people, whom Paul himself saw desert spiritual darkness as they came to the Lord’s light, have (most pitifully!) returned to Satan’s lie program! In other words, they think and act like they have never heard the Lord’s words through Paul at all….

Saved or Lost? #1

Tuesday, August 30, 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?

Not too long ago, a dear Christian lady was browsing profiles on social media when she was shocked to discover some extremely depressing news. A young woman she had known from church decades back had just converted to a works-religion cult! That young woman had seemed to “know better than that,” having grown up in a family and a church that supposedly stood for sound Bible doctrine. Consequently, for her to become an official member of a satanic denomination was something the Christian lady never dreamed she would ever read about!

Certain pointed questions invariably arise in these types of situations. Were these professing “Christians” who join cults ever true Christians? Does God still see them as Christians, or as lost people? Have they lost their eternal life? Has God thrown them out of His family? What happened to cause them to drift from the path of righteousness? Is there anything we can do to avoid this spiritual ruin in our own lives?

Indeed, God does not let us into Heaven based on how we perform on a theological—or even a Bible—test. If He did, I am afraid all of us would go to Hell! The fact of the matter is, the spiritual realm abounds with truths, errors, and resulting paradoxes or ironies. If we look at the record of the Holy Scriptures, here is what we see. We can find saints behaving like saints—and lost people behaving like lost people. Furthermore, we can find saints thinking like saints—and lost people thinking like lost people. Yet, here is something strange! We also find saints behaving like lost people—and lost people behaving like saints. Moreover, we find lost people thinking like saints—and saints thinking like lost people.

Dear friend, are you confused after reading this? Well, you should be! Many intricacies are involved, but we can reduce the madness to one simple question….

Our latest Bible Q&As:  “What is a ‘champaign?’” and “Can you explain ‘gaddest thou about?’

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 30, 2022

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘in array’ mean?” and “What does ‘environ’ mean?

Assurance

Sunday, February 27, 2022

“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42,43 KJV).

Behold, the security this believing malefactor’s soul had!

I just read the biography of a celebrity atheist. He had grown up in a religious household, but eventually became a millionaire television journalist who unashamedly wrote newspaper columns to make fun of God. Moving from agnosticism (maybe there is a God) to atheism (there is no God), spiritual darkness gradually overwhelmed him. In real life, he was a cantankerous person, complaining about practically everything—from major to trivial matters. He had many fans, but rebuffed them when they met him in public and asked for his autograph. Overall, he was a miserable soul.

More recently, I watched an interview of him. Now in his 90s, nearing retirement, he was discussing his long life and extensive, successful career. He said he “hated” growing old. When asked whether or not he thought about death, he replied he “did not like [the idea].” Death “did not appeal to him at all.” Five weeks later, eternity kept him where death found him.

How dreadful it is, dear friends, when the aforementioned writer lived in the United States of America for nearly a century, with our millions of Bibles everywhere, and wound up in such dire spiritual ignorance! Not only had he ignored creation as evidence of the Creator (Romans 1:18-25), he also disregarded his conscience—that which gave him some sense of right and wrong, and had allowed him to see his failure to live up to all that he knew was right (Romans 2:14,15).

In the context of today’s Scripture, the believing “malefactor” (evildoer) crucified with Jesus recognized his sin problem. He knew the Lord was innocent, but he freely confessed he himself rightly deserved Rome’s capital punishment meted out to him (see verses 39-43). The criminal needed not hate death, for, he was told, his soul was “verily” (truly, certainly) in the Lord’s hands and would ultimately wind up in the Lord’s kingdom. If we have also trusted in Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, that assurance is ours too (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘haunt’ mean in the Bible?