Loving the Unlovely

Thursday, October 5, 2017

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 KJV).

Behold, the Man (Jesus Christ) who loves the unlovely (you and me)!

An individual said that he was so disgusted with people as a whole after learning about a recent tragic crime. Despite what we may see in the news, dear friends, we will never see the atrocious view that the LORD God saw in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Now, read verse 10: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” So, God investigated the human heart. What did He see?

The answer is in Mark 7:20-23, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “[20] And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

If we could see the above heart—multiplied by (say) 10 to 15 billion—would we want to have anything to do with people? Well, God sees that all the time, and in spite of that awareness and foreknowledge, He sent His Son Jesus Christ (Heaven’s best) to die for us (Earth’s worst)! God’s very nature is love, seeking the benefit of others (even when they do not deserve it). That worked to our advantage, as Calvary’s cross demonstrates.

The aforementioned individual who was disgusted regarding the heartbreaking news, he added that he found it encouraging that heroes were protecting and saving lives during that troublous time. Likewise, it thrills our hearts to remember the Hero of today’s Scripture, who risked (and literally lost!) His life protecting and saving us from the eternal flames of Hell!

Light Bulbs and Lenses #8

Monday, October 2, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

During the past decade, dispensational Bible study has clarified many obscurities for me. Christian growth is like switching to eyeglasses of increasingly higher magnifications. The believer’s willingness determines: (1) the rate at which those eyeglasses are traded, and (2) the size of the gaps between successive magnifications. As focus improves when camera lenses are adjusted, the sincere Christian soul progresses in Bible understanding. The passage of time causes that which is vague to become sharper. However, without right division, God’s preferred method (2 Timothy 2:15), clarity is gone, the light is diffused or nonexistent, and Christian growth stops.

Consider Titus 2:11-14, the Christian life that precious, precious, precious few believers ever discern and enjoy: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Remember, “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” refers to the Apostle Paul’s “all nations,” or “Gentile,” apostleship (Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; cf. Romans 11:13). Grace existed before Paul, yes, but it being offered freely to all nations when they deserved nothing but wrath, that was unheard of prior to Paul. “The Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2) involves more than God in His grace simply offering us redemption from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire). Titus chapter 2 says grace teaches us how to live daily and overcome the power of sin.

Why did Jesus Christ offer Himself “a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6), a “redemption-price for all?” To take those who would trust Him as personal Saviour, and give them an identity to overcome daily sinful living. Grace not only changes our eternal destiny in the future. It can change how we conduct our lives right now….

Memory in Hell

Saturday, September 23, 2017

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:23-25 KJV).

Hell abounds with torments of all kinds—especially memory!

Several years ago, before “333 Words of Grace” was launched, you may recall our writing ministry in our local newspaper. First, dozens of letters to the editor were submitted for about three years. Then, I had a weekly column for some five months (before cancellation). A dear elderly lady, whom my family had known for decades, read those Bible studies. The last time I met her was about three years ago, at my grandmother’s funeral actually. She mentioned she had read our newspaper ministry when it was active. I was glad to share the Gospel of Grace with her again there at the funeral home. There was no indication she was saved there or any other time I dealt with her.

Recently, I heard that the dear lady went out into eternity earlier this week. I can only wonder where her soul went. After learning the Gospel of Grace from us so many times, did she ever trust Jesus Christ alone as her personal Saviour? Or, did she remain in her vain works-religion? Wherever she is—Heaven or Hell—she is alive right now. She certainly remembers those Bible studies.

Today’s Scripture is clear that people suffering in Hell indeed have memory of their earthly life. Every last one of those damned souls recalls at least one opportunity of a spurned (rejected) Gospel message. There is not a soul down there that had to go there, and that one haunting thought alone is torment enough. Dear friend, you do not have to go to Hell! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Trust Christ, and Him alone… before it is eternally too late!

God Is Not Fooled!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9,10 KJV).

Be not fooled, friend. You cannot fool God!

Long ago, a farmer said, “God, if You give me a good harvest, I will go to church.” Suffice it to say he reaped a great harvest. He then bragged with laughter, “I fooled God! I had no intention of going to church!” This cycle continued for years. The man never purposed to go to church, but he supposedly “talked God into” doing what he wanted, allegedly “making God believe” that he would attend church. This all occurred many decades ago, so he is likely already dead… physically.

When the aforementioned man died, he surely realized he had not fooled God after all. Furthermore, he saw that he was the fool! He wasted God’s grace, God being longsuffering and tolerating his nonsensical rhetoric for so long. Instead of being thankful for God’s goodness, he became increasingly hardened. He continually deceived himself, believing he could actually hide his true and innermost feelings from his Creator (see today’s Scripture).

Many attempt to “make deals with God.” If He will just help them out of their difficulty, they will turn to Him. Some legitimately come to personal faith in Christ. Others, however, have a religious high, mere temporary self-reformation. Still others had no intention of ever doing right—they just wanted to treat God like Santa Claus (“gimme, gimme, gimme”). In the end, however, they manifest themselves as fools. God sees who has a heart of faith in His Word to them, and who is simply speaking empty words out of an ungrateful (wicked and unbelieving) heart.

Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Lost (And Unknowingly So)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

“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 4:3,4 KJV).

They do not know they are lost!

Recently, I sat with a woman who I had met some eight years earlier. Long ago, I had attempted to strike up a Bible conversation with her, but she really was not interested. When we met recently, she refused to discuss Scripture. Could it be any clearer that religious works have so blinded her? There are millions of people like this poor soul—religious error has been so forcefully drilled into them that it rarely goes away. From the cradle to the grave, Satan blinds them using unbelievable power. How does he do it? Utilizing religious leaders who pervert the Word of God!

Before we read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, friends, we should notice the two heading verses: “[1] Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; [2] 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.” Did you notice the references to “the hidden things of dishonesty,” “walking in craftiness,” and “handling the word of God deceitfully?” Paul says he has “renounced” them, given them up; that is, as Saul of Tarsus, an Israeli religious leader, he sent many people to Hell using works-religion (the Mosaic Law—Scripture!!)!

Still, on the road to Damascus, in Acts chapter 9, Saul of Tarsus realized that, despite all his religiosity, he was headed for Hell! Before one can be saved into Heaven, friend, one must realize he or she is lost. No matter how “good” you are in religion, sin will damn your soul forever. However, the Gospel of the Grace of God declares: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Believe it, and be saved unto eternal life. Know you are lost and then know you are saved!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is wrong with ‘praise and worship?’

Love Commended, Love Rejected

Monday, February 6, 2017

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 KJV).

Friend, one of life’s greatest disappointments and injuries occurs when you offer someone your love and they trample it underfoot. They did not deserve your love; you did not deserve their hate. Likewise, we do not deserve God’s love, yet we enjoy it; He does not deserve our hate, and yet He receives it.

“Haters of God” (Romans 1:30) gripe about how He was so cruel and bloodthirsty in the Old Testament. What stares them in the face is the groundwork, the predictions, of the cross of Christ, found in those ancient writings. As they mumble and grumble in total ignorance, they ignore the love that God commended toward them at Calvary. To “commend” means, “to offer/present as worthy of acceptance or praise” (similar to “recommend”). Howbeit, they will neither accept nor praise that love that motivated Christ Jesus to die for our sins! Since they reject Father God’s truth and His love proclaimed therein, He will give them exactly what they prefer.

Second Thessalonians chapter 2 pronounces their impending doom, the coming of Satan’s emissary, Antichrist, the extreme depths of human wickedness: “[10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Once they are consumed in Jesus Christ’s fiery Second Coming, and swiftly ushered alive into the everlasting fires of hell, they will know that it is not God who is “unloving.” No, they were unloving in that they “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” from such a hateful place!

My friend, hate God no longer. Come to Him by faith in His Son, and His Son alone!

Something Not Worth Losing

Sunday, February 5, 2017

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 KJV).

Super Bowl Sunday comes annually in the United States. Teams fuel the intense passions in the athletic world by vying for a corruptible trophy. Howbeit, the competition in today’s Scripture is spiritual, is worldwide, never has a halftime, and involves the eternal souls of men!

The human soul is most zealous about religion, politics, and sports. These areas are most personal, so they generate many heated debates and conflicts. However, believe it or not, there are worse outcomes than losing a church member, losing an election, and losing a game. Losing your eternal soul is the greatest of all losses!

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ told His Jewish disciples to “take up [their] cross, and follow [him]” (verse 24). “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (verse 25). They should not fear losing their earthly lives for His sake. What is most important is that they not lose their souls!

Jesus Christ declared there is more to life than this physical world and its temporal possessions. There is a spiritual world—an afterlife—to consider. In today’s Scripture, He asks them, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Does it make sense to emphasize this temporary world and its corruptible goods, to the point of ignoring your eternal soul, and wind up losing it in hellfire forever and ever?

Dear reader, there is more to you than just your physical body. Your inner man—your soul, your spiritual body—is everlasting. To ignore Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for your sins, is to remain dead in those sins, resulting in you spending eternity suffering God’s wrath in the lake of fire literally as a nameless, hopeless, disfigured creature.

Your soul is not worth losing! Trust Christ as your personal Saviour today!