What Child Is This? #4

Monday, December 2, 2019

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:1,2 KJV).

The final verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

As the shepherds and angels gathered around Baby Jesus’ manger, we can only wonder what immense joy filled their hearts. In that world of old—plagued by the same basic problems of our modern world—He was a Beacon in the dark and a Solace in the misery. They undoubtedly sang right in the midst of all those farm animals! They were so thrilled to see God working in their presence. They were now standing before His baby crib!

Sinners today are greatly encouraged—yea, urged—to come by faith to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, right this moment. They are not to come by faith to His crib, for He is no longer a Baby. Rather, they are to come by faith to His cross, where He gave up that life for us! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). What we need to do is rely exclusively on Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, His shed sinless blood and His resurrection, as sufficient payment for our sins.

As with Jesus’ birth, for those who do not want to see anything, they do not see anything. Those who see are people who want to see. It has nothing to do with God hiding anything from anyone. What did Jesus tell the Jews? “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

Although Jesus Christ is not physically here today, we can still haste to bring Him laud. We can praise Him highly in a public context. First, we can believe on Him and His finished crosswork. Then, we can tell others how they too can be saved through Calvary!

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 28, 2019

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Blinded!

Friday, November 22, 2019

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:1-4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is just as true today as it was 20 centuries ago!

A Christian sister and I were once speaking with a dear, sweet lady about the Bible. We asked her if she knew where she was going when she died. She replied rather confidently, “I am going to Heaven.” This sounded good, obviously, and we were waiting for her to tell us the Gospel. However, when we proceeded to ask her how she knew she was going to Heaven, she responded: “People have told me so!”

Long ago, a man had been taking care of his ailing wife for several years at their home. Someone heard of that arrangement and commented, “Surely, he is going to Heaven. He is so good to her.” It was later determined—to that “someone’s” shock—that that man was physically and sexually abusing his wife!

Friends, it is most unfortunate that, of all topics, people are so ill-informed concerning the Gospel of Grace. Their eternal souls are in danger of going to a place of everlasting torment. Yet, they believe otherwise because they are depending on weak speculations and faulty assumptions. Satan’s evil world system has so blinded them with works-religion (cf. today’s Scripture). In fact, they are so lost they really cannot appreciate the fact they are lost!

The Apostle Paul, as unsaved Saul of Tarsus, was once deceived in works-religion. He had likewise deceived others. Once he trusted Christ, however, he gave up believing and telling religious lies. Brethren, let us speak the truth of the Gospel of Grace—1 Corinthians 15:3,4—with such clarity that we avoid any misunderstandings in the minds of people already thoroughly confused about God’s Good News!

What Pleases God #6

Thursday, November 7, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

Hebrews 11:6 is a transdispensational truth: “But without faith it is impossible to please him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” No matter the dispensation or place on the Bible timeline, the God of Scripture always looks first and foremost for faith. He is interested in people trusting His words to them (the content of the Divine revelation changing through time). If they believe His Word to them, then they will have works.

Works can be faked—someone simply “going through the motions.” Faith, however, cannot be faked. We can see people’s works, but they can fool us (mindless actions). God alone can see a heart of faith; He cannot be tricked. He can discern a heart of faith with Christ working in it (righteousness), versus a heart of unbelief attempting to counterfeit Christ’s works (self-righteousness). Belief in the Gospel of Grace makes the difference!

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God(Hebrews 11:5; cf. Genesis 5:24; Jude 14,15). Again, faith is most important—not works! As pertaining to us in the Church the Body of Christ, Father God “hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). God’s “beloved” here is Jesus Christ. As soon as we believed on Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (Ephesians 1:6,7,12-14); God the Holy Spirit eternally united us with Jesus Christ. Placing us into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), the Holy Spirit simultaneously transferred Christ’s identity to us!

The God of the Bible does not accept sinners; He does, however, see sinners in Christ as saints. Since Jesus Christ is God’s “beloved” Son (today’s Scripture), and we are in that Son, we are equally God’s “beloved,” and thus well pleasing in His sight as well….

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #8

Monday, October 21, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Today’s Scripture should frighten sinners: how fearful it is to be “in Adam,” just one breath away from eternal hellfire, perpetually under the wrath of a righteous God! The Creator demands absolute (perfect) righteousness, what we naturally do not have. Struggling and striving to perform our religious “good” works, we offer these measly deeds that cannot and do not compare to Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice of Himself on Calvary’s cross. Our religious performance does not impress God, for it comes from a sinful heart “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). This truth is most offensive to our flesh!

While we look better than some, we also look worse than others, so comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise. Overall, God’s righteousness is the standard—and all people fall short of it. Being a “sinner” is not being worse than other humans; a sinner is someone unable to express the Creator God’s glory (who He is, what He believes, and what He does). God’s justice demands His righteousness be enforced, and—indeed, a terrifying prospect—endless punishment will eventually come on sinners (those who lack that righteousness)!

Having believed on Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, His righteousness has been credited to our account, and we as saints “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1,2). We need not try to reproduce Christ’s life; it is our eternal possession! We need not fake a relationship with Almighty God; we have it now forever! We need not pretend like we have forgiveness; it is our eternal possession. We need not wonder about the Creator God’s glory. Through Calvary, we know… our eternal life now will carry on into eternity future! 🙂

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory(1 Thessalonians 2:12). “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (2 Timothy 2:10). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #7

Sunday, October 20, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Father God has one overall purpose in creation—to glorify His Son Jesus Christ in heaven and earth. Through Christ’s finished crosswork, we by faith are now justified and fit to participate in achieving that goal. The Bible says, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). We have hope, something this lost and dying world lacks. Lost people, those without Christ, are therefore said to be those “which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Evil, suffering, and death surround us, so they cannot help but be depressed. If we do not keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, we too will fall into despondency.

Brethren, we have joy because of the hope associated with the glory of God (Romans 5:1-5). If we have trusted Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), then we have passed from death to life. Now, we have “life eternal,” what the Lord defined as “knowing [intimately, personally] the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom [he] hast sent” (John 17:3). Not only do we fellowship with the Creator now (earthly life), such fellowship will extend into the heavenly places (afterlife).

One day, we will be glorified in heaven, that we may exalt Jesus Christ, that it finally praise Father God. Here is the goal of the mystery program and the formation of the Church the Body of Christ: “[7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory(1 Corinthians chapter 2).

Dear friends, read the Book of Ephesians: it underscores our destiny in the heavenly places. Also stressed are “the praise of [God’s] glory” (1:6,12,14), “the riches of the glory of [Christ’s] inheritance” (1:18), and “the riches of [God’s] glory” (3:16). Chapter 3, verse 21: “Unto him [Father God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #6

Saturday, October 19, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

The prophetic program—with the redeemed nation Israel at the heart—is designed to glorify Jesus Christ in the earth (see Matthew 6:13; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 19:28; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31; et al.). Our mystery program—with us the Church the Body of Christ at the core—is intended to glorify Jesus Christ in the heavenly places. The members of both entities, once marred by sin and cut off from God, are now united to Him by Christ’s shed blood. Whether in Israel or the Body of Christ, everything God the Son is and believes can be exhibited throughout the endless ages to come. Here was the Father’s plan from the very beginning, a plan to glorify His Son; Ephesians 1:17 thus calls Him “the Father of glory.”

As we use the Gospel of the Grace of God to look by faith at the Lord Jesus Christ, we better grasp the glory of God that we once lacked as Hell-bound sinners: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Father God is taking His former enemies (us!), redeeming them from sin, and now using them as vessels to reflect His grace!

Now possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can glorify the God of the Bible. No more lost sinners, we are justified saints, and can reflect Him in our thoughts and behaviors. First Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” These fallen bodies allow us only so much understanding of that truth, and there is something far greater awaiting us: “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” (Romans 8:18).

We “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2), remembering 2 Thessalonians 2:14, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the Antichrist alive right now?