…But We Have Been Given God’s Grace

Sunday, December 25, 2011

“In whom [the Lord Jesus Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7 KJV).

In yesterday’s devotional, we learned how we, the sinful human race, are worthy of our holy Creator God’s wrath. God has created a special place, hell, for Satan and those who follow his sinful rebellion against God (Matthew 25:41). The simple truth is that, because of our sinful nature (and the resulting sinful actions), we all deserve to go to hell, and ultimately, separated from God forever in the lake of fire (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20:14,15; Revelation 21:8; et al.).

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20b). God, in His grace, dealt with our sin at Calvary’s cross, and took it out of the way. Through the finished crosswork of God incarnate, Jesus Christ, the riches of God’s grace are manifest. God left heaven’s glory to live in a human body, to “humble himself, and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”(Philippians 2:5-8). Why?

  • To commend God’s love toward us (Romans 5:8).
  • To die, not simply for us, but as us (Romans 6:3-9; Colossians 2:11-15).
  • To undo the damage caused by sinful Adam (Romans 5:12-21; Colossians 1:20-21).
  • To “put away [our] sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).
  • To deliver us from Satan’s policy of evil, and make us sinners saints (Colossians 1:12-14).
  • To give us everlasting life…His life (Galatians 2:20) and thus, do for us what we could not do for ourselves—accomplish our salvation from the second death (spiritual death) (Ephesians 2:1-9)!
  • To give us “peace with God” (Romans 5:1).

Today, God is not imputing the world’s sin unto it (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Everyone, regardless of religion, race, or social standing, can now receive forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ. All they have to do is place their faith in the Gospel of Grace as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4—“that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again for our justification!”

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM arC MINISTRIES!

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study titled “Emmanuel 2.” The Bible study can be read here and watched here.

We All Deserve Lumps of Coal…

Saturday, December 24, 2011

“[God] Who will render to every man according to his deeds: Unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;” (Romans 2:6,8,9 KJV).

Christmas folklore teaches that naughty children receive lumps of coal in their stockings. (Of course, we know parents just use this as an incentive to persuade their children to behave properly.) Actually, throughout the year, the parents have been just as naughty as their kids: All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)—no exceptions!

The heart of man is evil (Jeremiah 17:9): “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Our Lord Jesus declared: “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).

Galatians 5:19-21 further exposes mankind’s heart: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Psalm 14:2,3 reads: “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:3).

Can the Bible be any clearer? Because of Adam, we are all inherent sinners (Romans 5:12). As today’s Scripture says, we sinners are deserving of God’s wrath. We all deserve lumps of coal. However, there is Good News….

Redeem the Time to Do a Great Work

Saturday, October 22, 2011

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15,16 KJV).

From 606 B.C. to 536 B.C. Israel was exiled from Palestine, taken captive by the Babylonians (the 70-year judgment God warned Israel about in Jeremiah 25:11,12). Exiled Nehemiah desires to rebuild Jerusalem and its city walls, which had been destroyed 150 years before. Circa 445 B.C., Artaxerxes king of Persia grants Nehemiah permission to return to Jerusalem with a party of exiled Jews (Nehemiah 2:1-9).

Not surprisingly, Arabs dwelling near Jerusalem are opposed to the Jews’ construction, so they begin to distract the Jews from their task of rebuilding (Nehemiah 2:10; Nehemiah chapter 4). One of these wicked Arabs requests Nehemiah to stop his work and come meet with him. Nehemiah’s response was simple (6:3): “And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?”

Nehemiah understood that God’s work was important. He was not going to waste his energy and time on an asinine matter like arguing with a fool! Likewise, as today’s Scripture declares, we should not waste our time, money, and energy. We have been given a limited amount of resources and a limited amount of time on earth. There is no time for frivolous living or arguing with individuals who care not to hear God’s Word.

God is doing a great work. We participate in that work by faith. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6). We submit ourselves to God and allow Him to use us to reach everyone we can with the good news of Jesus Christ. When we allow God’s Holy Spirit to work within us as we believe His Word, we will focus more on publishing His Word, and less on silly distractions like watching TV all day or wasting our lives with drugs and alcohol.

Is Our Preaching a Waste of Time?

Friday, October 21, 2011

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48 KJV).

If most will never trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, then why preach to them at all? Are we wasting our time by preaching salvation through Christ alone, since most of our audience will ultimately go to the everlasting lake of fire anyway (Matthew 7:13,14)?

Frankly, we know not who will ultimately trust in Christ and who will not. We simply preach the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) to everyone, and then let them choose to have faith in Christ or reject Christ. If they reject Christ, and most will, our preaching is still not a waste. As Jesus taught in today’s Scripture, the salvation message that lost people reject will be that which condemns them to hell at the Great White Throne Judgment!

God knew only eight people would be saved from the Great Flood, yet He still directed Noah to preach (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Why? So the people who rejected God’s Word would be without excuse and justly condemned.

“Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him” (John 6:64). Jesus knew “from the beginning” that many Jews would completely ignore His preaching, so why did He preach? Firstly, to save anyone who would trust in Him. Secondly, so that He would fair in condemning those who rejected Him. Those who rejected Christ will be condemned by the very words that He preached… the very words they rejected! No one will argue with God, “I did not know” or “I never had a chance.”

The Apostle Paul admitted he would never convert many or most, just “some” (Romans 11:14; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:22). Even though God knew just a few people would believe His written Word, He still preserved it for the benefit of those who would believe it. Furthermore, God’s preserved Word and our preaching it will be used against the lost when they are ultimately judged.

The Blue Screen of Death

Friday, October 7, 2011

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14 KJV).

It is an invisible computer, one of the Lord Jesus Christ’s greatest designs. Housed in a body of flesh and blood, its particular operating system starts up in a dark, watery environment. It logs on, beginning its lifetime of interacting with a network of other computers.

Just out of the box, its beep is a cry. In its lifetime, it will store and access many files, and receive updates to increase efficiency and learning. It will run numerous programs and software packages: its various modes can accomplish all sorts of tasks, including manufacturing other computers! When inactive, it sleeps and may hibernate.

It can store a seemingly unlimited amount of data, although it does have occasional difficulty retrieving information, especially in its later years. It grows sick with bugs, freezes, glitches, and viruses. As it ages, its booting time increases and it becomes resistant to updates.

Then, one day, its operating system becomes outdated, and new software and other repairs are unsuccessful in prolonging its life. Now, it permanently shuts down, succumbing to the greatest crash of all: death. Another human mind logs off—from this world, anyway….

We have been given limited time here on earth. Death will overcome wealth, fame, and fortune, and take it all away. It has been frequently stated, “You cannot take it with you.” “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out(1 Timothy 6:7).

Today’s Scripture likens the brevity of human life to a “vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (cf. Psalm 39:4,5). Our lives are quick like “wind” (Job 7:7), “smoke” (Psalm 102:3), and “a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).

You are not guaranteed tomorrow, so be sure you have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour today. Do not wait until tomorrow, for tomorrow may not come. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.