Fury Turned Away? #10

Saturday, October 21, 2017

And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? (Genesis 27:44,45 KJV).

How does this “fury” compare to Almighty God’s anger?

Second Peter 3:9 explains why God’s wrath is postponed, now 2,000 years: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Keep reading: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Concerning God’s present-day longsuffering, the Apostle Peter refers us to the Apostle Paul’s special ministry and message. Worldwide judgment should have been poured out back in Acts chapter 7. However, in chapter 9, Christ poured out mercy and peace… on His chief enemy, Saul of Tarsus (Paul). The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth ALL LONGSUFFERING [!!!!!!], for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Dispensational Bible study rescues us from unbelief and safeguards us from going the way of the scoffers. When there was nothing left on the prophetic timeline but wrath—divine revenge on Jew and Gentile alike—God interrupted that program and began a dispensation He had kept secret. As long as our Dispensation of Grace operates, praise God (!!!), His righteous wrath is restrained! Why? He wants all men everywhere—including scoffers!—to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, that they escape that “wrath [still] to come” (Matthew 3:7)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are those Gentiles in Revelation 7:9?

Inside Not Outside

Monday, October 9, 2017

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV).

Whether 3,000 years ago or right now, today’s Scripture is one still worth memorizing!

A dear Christian lady once entered a church building. Having very little money, she wore the best outfit she owned. After the services, the pastor and his wife approached her. They informed her that she was not welcome to return because her clothes were not good enough! Deeply offended, she wanted nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible for a long time. (I recently ministered to her.)

I explained to the lady that that denominational church was too focused on externalism, formalism, outward appearances. While we should definitely dress modestly and sensibly, our financial situation may not permit us to buy expensive clothing. Furthermore, it is most unbecoming of a pastor to ban people from church services simply because they cannot afford nicer clothes. What if this physically poor person was really a spiritually poor person interested in coming to know Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour? Is God going to bar from Heaven one who cannot afford formal attire? No, the people kept out of Heaven are those depending on their self-righteousness, those who wear spiritual “fig-leaf” garments! Never forget, dear friends, that outward beauty does not make null and void ugly hearts of unbelief!

Thankfully, the God of the Bible looks beyond social standings, nationalities, physical sizes and shapes, ethnicities, wardrobes, financial statuses, romantic lives, faces, and external behaviors. Today’s Scripture says He looks on the inside—specifically the heart. The heart is part of our soul, the innermost region of our spiritual makeup where we make decisions (exercise faith or unbelief). Romans 10:10a says: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness….” Hebrews 11:6 reminds us: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Genesis 4:7?

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….

Light Bulbs and Lenses #7

Sunday, October 1, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Apart from Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we read in Scripture about Law-keeping as part of the believer’s life. Unless we “rightly divide the word of truth,” keeping Paul separate from the rest of Scripture, we will abandon God’s grace and return to the Law. The Gospel of Grace enlightens the soul. If we continue walking in the light of God’s grace, we will live by that light through faith, and the Law will be unnecessary. It is incongruous to begin in grace (salvation by God freely giving to us through Christ’s finished crosswork all that we need) and then revert to the Law (performance-based system found in the non-Pauline Bible Books).

People appeal to Paul’s epistles for the Gospel of Grace, but then conduct their Christian lives by grabbing the legalistic, non-Pauline Scriptures (works). That is silly—grace and law do not mix! We came to Paul’s “Gentile” ministry and epistles to learn about God’s “all-man” (worldwide) message of grace. Likewise, for Christian living, we must appeal to this heavenly ministry of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:5-7 says: “[5] For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. [6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: [7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” How did we “receive Christ Jesus the Lord?” Likewise, our conduct is based on “[our] faith in Christ.” From where did we Gentiles learn about Christ? From Paul, His Apostle to us Gentiles (Romans 11:13). We “walk” likewise.

Romans chapter 3 again: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:….” We have been “redeemed”—purchased out of and freed—from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire). Hence, we no longer have to serve sin. God’s grace is our master, and by faith in Pauline revelation, we reign in the light of grace….

Special-edition Bible Q&A #425: “Were the 11 Apostles wrong in choosing Matthias instead of Paul?

Light Bulbs and Lenses #6

Saturday, September 30, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Being saved from sin unto eternal life is exciting enough, but there is (as someone once said) “truth within truth.” There is more to God’s plan than simply keeping us out of Hell. Most believers in Christ, however, never get beyond that simple fact. We have to move onward, dear brethren!

As per 1 Timothy 2:4, God’s plan also involves “com[ing] unto the knowledge of the truth.” In 2 Timothy 2:15, we read: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” All the Bible is true, but not all of it is true today. God’s dealings with man change through time because man changes. Remember, He selected Paul to communicate a special set of doctrine to us Gentiles. At the heart of that message is the “all-men” Gospel. That information was unknown prior to Paul.

Titus chapter 1: “[1] Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; [2] In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; [3] But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;….” And, Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

Moving from a simple Gospel message, we progress to the “understanding” part. Remember, today’s Scripture says: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” From the moment of our trusting Christ onward, we should continue walking in the light we have. The same genuine interest we had in being saved into Heaven, we should continue to have in Bible understanding. There is more in Scripture than salvation from the penalty of sin. We also find salvation from the power of sin….

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “Why did Paul quote Habakkuk in Acts 13:41?

Light Bulbs and Lenses #5

Friday, September 29, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Unless one is a Calvinist or a Dispensationalist, Matthew 20:28 is quite alarming: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” How could Jesus Christ say that He had come to “give his life a ransom for many?” For “many?!” Did He not die for the whole world? At the time of His earthly ministry, He came to pay the redemption-price for the nation Israel.

As the angel of the Lord told Joseph in Matthew 1:21 about the virgin Mary: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Surely, “his people” excluded Gentiles. How do we know? Isaiah 53:8, written 700 B.C., predicted of Messiah: “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Who would be Isaiah’s people? Israel. No Gentiles are in view here.

Returning to 1 Timothy 2:5-7, noting very carefully the final words of verse 6 and all of verse 7: “[5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Through the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit here makes a startling claim. Jesus Christ did not die for Israel only; He paid the sin-debt of the whole world (“all”). Notice the first word of verse 7—“whereunto” (“to which purpose”). In order for Jesus Christ to be declared a ransom for all nations, God appointed Paul “a preacher, and an apostle,… a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Paul is the “due-time testifier” of this unrestricted, worldwide grace message. Now we are branching off into the second part of God’s will… “come unto the knowledge of the truth….”

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “What is the ‘temptation’ in 1 Corinthians 10:13?

Light Bulbs and Lenses #2

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Every lost person who has come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has known the initial thrill of total forgiveness of all sins. They have experienced the joy of deliverance from the eternal penalty of sin—Hell and the Lake of Fire. The Bible, what once seemed “nonsensical,” is now viewed as invaluable. There is now a consciousness of sin, something absent prior to coming to Christ. Works-religion, once appearing so “meritorious,” is now recognized as worthless. Almighty God, once thought of as a “distant and cruel ogre,” is now seen as a loving Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary’s cross—His sinless shed blood and resurrection—is appreciated personally. There are eternal life, hope, peace, acceptance, love, and mercy. None of this was known before faith in Jesus Christ.

The above scenarios accentuate the spiritual light that God’s words bring when they are spoken in Gospel preaching and/or written in Gospel literature. It is not until the lost soul becomes a saved soul, that it really begins to realize its former destitution and wretchedness. Many have rightly likened this unto a light bulb being turned on inside the heart. What was hidden in shadows is now manifested. There is a whole new worldview, a strange but fascinating and fitting way of looking at life. However, sadly, spiritual confusion begins to creep in. So many contradictory churches and groups start introducing spiritual darkness. The new Christian soul, still eternally secure in the Lord Jesus Christ, starts experiencing the “lost” mentality it once suffered!

There is a reversion to ignorance. The Gospel and Scripture in general are no longer clear—now muddled by every belief imaginable. The high hopes at the moment of justification, being declared righteous before God, have disappeared. Christian thought and living now seems uncertain and burdensome. Whatever sharp Bible knowledge the soul had is now being worn down. At this point, some Christians just throw away the Bible in hopelessness. They go back to the world, indulging in human evil. Other Christians, still reeling to and fro spiritually, remain in church, simply because human “good” appeals to them.

They all need more light, and lenses….

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “Can you explain 2 Kings 2:23-25?