God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20 KJV).

Today, especially here in southern Louisiana, the Catholic festival of Mardi Gras takes advantage of God’s grace. God’s grace abounds even when drunkenness, lasciviousness, and gluttony are committed overtly on our streets for religion. Because we live in the Dispensation of the Grace of God, they can flaunt their sin without being consumed by fire from heaven!

“Mardi Gras,” French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a day when religious people—professing “Christians”—lose self-control (excess alcohol, food, and partying). The following day, Ash Wednesday, they promise to live “holy” for the next 40 days (Lent). A priest will then place ashes on their foreheads proving that God forgave them for that riotous living. Blasphemy!

Regardless of all its biblical allusions (illusions!), Mardi Gras is still evil and anti-God. It was never Christian, originating from pagan Roman festivals, Saturnalia and Lupercalia (interestingly known for riots, drunkenness, gluttony, and fornication, and subsequent repentance).

The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostles Peter and Paul, was clearly against Mardi Gras reveling and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3). So why do professing Christians engage in the very activities that God the Holy Spirit condemned?! As Christians, we should “deny” the activities of Mardi Gras (Romans 6:11-15; Titus 2:11-15).

If I appear offended, I am. Mardi Gras, despite its godly façade, is offensive to the great God and my Saviour Jesus Christ! God’s grace continues to tolerate such foolishness from mankind. Man parades his sin, and God parades His grace, holding back wrath.

Are you a Mardi Gras reveler? I declare unto you the wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God. God did for you at Calvary what you could never do: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood and died to put away all of your sins, Mardi Gras revelry included.

If you rest in Christ Jesus alone as your Saviour, God will save you forever, make a trophy of His grace, and then YOUR life will be God’s grace on parade!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see our archived Bible study Q&A, “Should Christians celebrate Mardi Gras?

Just Be Thankful!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Romans 1:21 KJV).

Drop the attitude; show some gratitude!

Turn on your television, read a newspaper, scroll through social media sites, talk with others. Everyone is “offended” about something—even the silliest of matters. Unable to keep their mouths shut and their pens down, they bicker, “This is outrageous,” “That is offensive!” We naturally crave such garbage information too. Professionals, parading as “reporters” and “journalists,” are paid enormous sums of money to rile up the public. Attention-seekers eagerly jabber incessantly about something blown way out of proportion. We hear about “my feelings,” “my body,” “my rights”—it is me, me, me, ME, MEEEEE. (How we also love to wallow in self-pity, friends!)

How did society wind up in such a wretched predicament? Today’s Scripture in context: “[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

They first removed any thoughts about the Creator God. Never forget: when we refuse to think about God, when we reject His thoughts, He gives us over to our preferences (read to verse 32). That is how much the God the Bible loves free will. If you want empty thoughts and a foolish and darkened heart, have them (like most)!

Perhaps, though, just perhaps, you are not interested in being like everyone else. Great!!! Today’s Scripture says that God, not you, is God. Believe that. God is the most important Person in the universe—not you! Moreover, be thankful that He has given you life. Remember, He does not owe you anything! 🙂

Keep Your Soul

Friday, February 9, 2018

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

Whether rich or poor, the soul is not worth losing!

A biographical video featured a famous actor of a bygone era. Having appeared in dozens of films, he made his millions and received worldwide fame, married several times, lived in luxurious houses, and so on. An often-repeated phrase in the documentary was, “[This person] died.” This relative of his succumbed to death; that close associate died too. Lastly, he himself expired. Genesis chapter 5 came to mind: “and he died… and he died… and he died….” Since Adam begat all “in his own likeness, and after his image” (verse 3), he passed down his sin nature and its associated death penalty.

Friend, whether rich or poor, famous or unknown, we all live under sin’s effects. The aforementioned celebrity, despite a nice outward appearance, suffered problems like all of us. When we hear of people who never seem to have a “bad day”—everything is always going so well for them—they are withholding something. Somewhere, there is a bout of depression, a divorce or child-custody battle, an addiction, a financial struggle, a fear, an infirmity or weakness, et cetera.

Sin’s final consequence, of course, is physical death, immediately followed by the flames of Hell (and ultimately, the Lake of Fire). We can be “happy-go-lucky” millionaires or homeless peasants, and death will certainly find us. Death has been called the “great equalizer.” Indeed, it levels out all bank accounts, all acquaintances, and all possessions to “0.” Death also removes all uniqueness. Hell is a place where souls—identities—are lost forever (cf. today’s Scripture). The nameless (!), penniless (!) rich man in Luke 16:19-31 was “just another” tormented soul! “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).

However, thankfully, the God of the Bible provided a solution to our sin problem. We need rest entirely by faith in it: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Friend, avoid Hellfire while you still have time!

Reigning or Roasting?

Friday, January 26, 2018

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23 KJV).

Someone stated most appropriately, “We can spend eternity reigning or roasting.” Friend, which do you choose?

According to Father God’s twofold purpose in creation—heaven and earth—He has one agency He will use in each realm. He intends to unite all governments under His Son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:9,10; Colossians 1:16-20). The nation Israel will reign on earth and thereby glorify Jesus Christ forever. Notice Psalm 37:11: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Christ quoted this in Matthew 5:5, referring to His kingdom). Also, Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:….” Finally, Revelation 5:10: “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

The Church the Body of Christ, God’s agency today, will reign in the heavenly places and thereby glorify Jesus Christ forever. Ephesians 2:6,7: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” And, 2 Corinthians 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Also, Philippians 3:20: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:….” Finally, 2 Timothy 4:18: “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.”

The eternal fate of those who die without Jesus Christ is described quite vividly in Revelation 20:14,15: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” We had better trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now, to reign later rather than roast!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Pharaoh drown in the Red Sea?

The Wise Masterbuilder #12

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Earlier, 1 Corinthians chapter 2 said: “[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.” Had Satan really known Father God would use Jesus Christ’s crucifixion to form the Church the Body of Christ, Satan would have done everything he could to keep Jesus off the cross. (Paul could not teach these immature Corinthian believers such wisdom.)

By letting Satan work through sinful Israel and sinful Rome, God let him bring about his own defeat. Colossians chapter 2: “[14] 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; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

Today, through Christ’s crosswork, God is forming the Body of Christ, an entity He is training to accomplish His will in the heavenly places in the ages to come (Ephesians 1:9-23; Ephesians 2:6,7; et cetera). The doctrine that will spiritually mature that Body is the grace principles outlined in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Saints at Corinth were largely ignoring Paul’s ministry; hence, he told them to “take heed” (beware) in today’s Scripture. They were not building on the proper foundation—“the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26). Rather than using gold, silver, and precious stones—sound Bible doctrine, the Scriptures rightly divided—they were using wood, hay, and stubble. Israeli kingdom doctrine would not develop them; Peter and Christ’s earthly ministry were not to the nations.

Therefore, throughout 1 Corinthians, we read, “follow Paul….”

The Wise Masterbuilder #11

Monday, January 15, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

First Corinthians 3:9 said: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Father God wants to form Jesus Christ in those who place their faith in Him as personal Saviour (Galatians 4:19). Christ expresses His presence and lifestyle through the Church the Body of Christ by the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 mentions this “building” of God: “[19] Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; [20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; [21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: [22] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

God gave Paul—the “wise masterbuilder”—the blueprints to see that above spiritual structure be formed by and in believing Jews and Gentiles (read Ephesians 2:11–3:9). God had some hidden wisdom, a wise plan to outsmart Satan: He waited until after Calvary to reveal it. First Corinthians 2:6-8: “[6] Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: [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.”

If only the Corinthians had paid attention to Paul’s doctrine. They would have been spiritually mature to comprehend God’s hidden wisdom. Alas, like so many today in Christendom, they could not handle it. They had refused to follow Paul’s ministry….

The Wise Masterbuilder #10

Sunday, January 14, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Earlier, we looked briefly at Paul’s words in Ephesians chapter 3. This time, we will read it more fully: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)….”

“[5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. [8] Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:….”

So, the “grace” given to Paul (today’s Scripture) is identified in Ephesians 3:8 above. There are some “unsearchable riches of Christ;” unlike prophecy (John 5:39), they were secret until Jesus Christ revealed them to and through Paul. Also, there is “the fellowship of the mystery,” a secret body of believers that God is building today in the Dispensation of Grace, a group of believing Jews and Gentiles, which involved Paul being the “wise masterbuilder….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Whose repentance is in Hebrews 12:17?