Frozen in Death #5

Saturday, June 18, 2022

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13 KJV).

What priceless lesson can we learn from today’s Scripture?

Read Matthew 21:18-22 and Mark 11:12-14,20-26. On the Monday before His Thursday crucifixion, Christ Jesus was near Jerusalem when He encountered a fig tree “and found nothing thereon, but leaves only” (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13). Here was Israel’s religious system symbolized—advertising its superficial “greeneries” (alleged “life”) but, upon closer examination, utterly fruitless inside (spiritually dead and therefore useless to God)! In fact, this narrative of the fig tree is presented in conjunction with the Lord purging the polluted Jerusalem Temple of Satan’s emissaries (see Matthew 21:12-17 and Mark 11:15-19). You can also compare it to The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9, Christ seeking fruit (faith and good works) in national Israel but finding none during His three-year earthly ministry.

Let us ponder another illustration. Imagine a dead tree with bare branches, with neither leaves nor fruit. We can glue green leaves to it, and hang ripe fruit from it—but that nice external appearance does not detract from the fact that tree is lifeless. Religion is dead, so it cannot produce the life of God. Think of yet another analogy. We can take a dirty, dead battery and clean it with soap and water—but it is still powerless. Religion has no power, so it cannot produce the works of God.

Victorious Christian living occurs when we are strengthened with might by [God’s] Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts by faith…” (Ephesians 3:16,17). If we are alive in Jesus Christ, it is His life, and He will produce fruit: “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11). “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart(Ephesians 6:6). We learn and believe the principles of grace outlined in Romans through Philemon, thereby eschewing spiritual hypocrisy, duplicity, and immobility!

One Letter Makes All the Difference

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead” (1 Peter 4:3-5 KJV).

While two letters distinguish “believer” from “unbeliever,” there is (in another sense) only one letter that makes all the difference between them.

The Apostle Peter, writing to the believing remnant within his Jewish nation, reminds them of their old lifestyle and identity. Having “lived it up” in sin as lost or unsaved souls, they have since trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Essentially, the Holy Spirit instructed them in today’s Scripture (paraphrased): “You have had your fill of evil, living like the pagan Gentiles, walking in looseness and carnality, evil desires, drunkenness, partying and socializing with the alcoholic idolaters, gluttonous feasts, and terrible or disgusting occasions of worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator. Now that you have come to faith in Christ, it is high time you live according to the will of God!”

Verses 1 and 2: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” Yes, their unsaved family and friends will view them as “weird” or “crazy” for abandoning their old lifestyle and conduct (today’s Scripture)—but God will think it proper, and these saints with their renewed mind will see it suitable too (1 John 2:15-17). Dear Christian friends, our Apostle Paul concurs in Romans 13:11-14!

Therefore, a new Christian told her unsaved friend who could not understand how her lifestyle had changed so radically: “Just one letter of the alphabet makes all the difference between us now. You love the world and I love the Word!” 🙂

Downward, Not Upward!

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

“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: 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. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:20-23 KJV).

Are we ascending the evolutionary ladder? No, and our experience shows us today’s Scripture is as true as ever.

Younger generations have been—and are still being—indoctrinated with the idea that mankind is becoming more “enlightened” as the years pass. We are allegedly moving away from the “primitive ignorance” of our ancestors to an increasingly “refined” outlook that will result in a perfect society. Humanism, also called “secular humanism,” is the belief that man’s thoughts and efforts are superior to the will of any “god,” and utopia will transpire only when we put forth the effort.

Supposedly, all we need to do is control our sin, and the world will become a happy, peaceful place. Post-Millennialists, for example, assume they can bring in God’s kingdom on Earth—and do it without God too! Confiscate all weapons, and war will cease. Pass enough legislation, and criminals will behave. Experiment adequately, and we will eliminate all disease. “We do not need any god! We can be good on our own! We can solve our problems without any ‘higher power!’” This is self-deception. Some 6,000 years of human history reveal we have yet to “be good”—and none of us can truthfully say we can manage sin individually, let alone address the world’s sins collectively. How can we ever admit this, though? In denial, we just strive a bit harder as we plead for another chance.

If ever our species was languishing in spiritual darkness, it is today, so, Saints, let us get out there and impart “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” so it can “shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4)! There is no victory over sin if there is no life of Jesus Christ.

*Dear readers, only by God’s grace, we now close 11 full years of daily studies here at “333 Words of Grace!”

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What are ‘collops?’ and “What is a ‘servitor?’

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 30, 2022

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “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; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘in array’ mean?” and “What does ‘environ’ mean?

Teach Your Children #3

Sunday, May 29, 2022

“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV).

If single-parent homes are a calamity, “no-parent” homes are even more catastrophic!

Contrary to popular belief, the greatest gift that parents could ever (!!) provide their kids is not substantial bank accounts, expansive properties, lavish mansions, or even good genes. While wonderful to have, and there is nothing wrong in possessing them if we do not confound them with Almighty God, the fact of the matter is that they are all temporary. Inflation and irresponsibility diminish funds, taxes and upkeep make real estate a burden, buildings deteriorate with age and so require daily maintenance, and even the “best” DNA can be traced back to Adam (sin and ultimate death).

Long after Mom and Dad are gone (no longer there to advise), and their children remain, what will those younger generations do with their chronic sin problem? Have they ever been taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, how He paid for their sins in full at Calvary, and how the only way they can have victory over sin is by placing their faith in Him alone? Will they have a final authority, something solid and certain on which to build their lives? Have they ever been encouraged to read, study, and trust the Holy Bible rightly divided? Are they proficient in the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, the principles of grace living? Or, like so many billions now, will they drift from this group to that group, aimlessly and hopelessly floating on that vast sea of error, struggling in vain to fill that God-shaped vacuum in their heart, to eternally perish once they drown in sin?

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). Teach your children sound Bible doctrine, that they may teach their own children, and so on. If this we fail to do, remember well, we ourselves have contributed to the overall global problem.

Teach Your Children #2

Saturday, May 28, 2022

“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV).

If single-parent homes are a calamity, “no-parent” homes are even more catastrophic!

Consider these analogous passages. “Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children (Deuteronomy 4:10). “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

If these Jewish youth were not thoroughly educated in the words of JEHOVAH God, they would adopt their Gentile neighbors’ pagan belief systems. With each passing generation, the nation Israel would become more compromised, gradually but eventually losing its identity to Satan’s evil world system. As history testifies, it did happen. The standards and norms confused, there was nothing but inescapable societal collapse. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

We find ourselves today in a world just as disorderly. Right is wrong, wrong is right, man is woman, woman is man, child is parent, parent is child, life is non-life, non-life is life, Creator is creature, creature is Creator, wisdom is foolishness, foolishness is wisdom, and on and on. Over a decade ago, it was estimated that, by the end of four years of college, some 70 percent (!) of evangelical Christian youth were being lost to non-Bible views. It is a safe assumption that that figure has increased since then. The problem, as always, started at homelong before any professors delivered secular, humanistic lectures to those precious unsuspecting minds and hearts. Frankly, our current world is the product of a lengthy series of failed parenting….

Teach Your Children #1

Friday, May 27, 2022

“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV).

If single-parent homes are a calamity, “no-parent” homes are even more catastrophic!

Surely, it is no secret that “wayward youth” is one of our society’s most problematic issues. It only took us about 50 years before we noticed it. Moreover, we have yet to realize poor (actually, “no!”) parenting is the more serious matter. Consider what a university president stated when he addressed a parents’ group a century ago: “I get many letters from you parents about your children. You want to know why we people up here in [college name] can’t make more out of them and do more for them. Let me tell you the reason we can’t. It may shock you just a little, but I am not trying to be rude. The reason is that they are your sons, reared in your homes, blood of your blood, bone of your bone. They have absorbed the ideals of your homes. You have formed and fashioned them. They are your sons. In those malleable, moldable years of their lives you have forever left your imprint upon them.”

Let us think of another true story, one much more pointed. A 76-year-old man died in prison after eight years of incarceration. His wife served a lengthy sentence in that same facility. Their daughter was confined there. Lastly, their seven sons were inmates at that complex too! Without a doubt, “Mom and Dad” had left quite a memorable legacy in the world.

In today’s Scripture, the LORD knew the great potential sin had in the hearts of youth who lacked His words. The human soul, left to itself, will devise all kinds of evil thoughts and transform them into despicable actions—growing worse as the years pass. To counter this, God’s words were to so fill the Jewish parents that they could not help but teach their children to value that Divine revelation too, constantly reminding them of the Holy Scriptures and the issue of obeying final authority….

Bible Q&A #955: “For him hath God the Father sealed?

Understanding Jesus Christ

Monday, May 16, 2022

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,…” (John 1:1,14 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand the Lord Jesus Christ?

Approximately 3,500 years ago, Satan was permitted to torment Job. Suffering immeasurable pain, Job blamed God. He declared: “For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman [mediator, arbitrator] betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33). Job longed for someone to serve as an umpire between himself and “distant” God. That mediator could take Job by the hand and take God by the hand, and join them in unbroken fellowship. Job assumed this was the only way God would be appeased and his afflictions would subside.

Today’s Scripture, penned some 15 centuries after Job’s ordeal, explains the “daysman” finally arrived. The second Member of the Godhead, God the Son Himself, took on human flesh. At the Incarnation, it was humanity added to Deity, the only combination that would form a Person who was able and willing to reunite sinful man with holy God. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;…” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12).

As sinners, we need more than just another philosopher or religious teacher to tell us “how to do right.” We need a Saviour who will make us right, a Mediator who will declare us righteous! Here is the ministry of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is an exclusivist message, for here is the “one [!] mediator between God and men.” “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Understanding Your Purpose

Sunday, May 15, 2022

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” (Ephesians 1:9,10 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand your purpose?

As human society continues spiraling downward and away from the truths of the Creation Week in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, it becomes increasingly ignorant of just why we are here. Prevailing thought today is that the heavens and the earth originated from some still inexplicable, random interaction of natural laws 14 billion years ago. Life is but an accident, meaningless. Our world is “unplanned.” We are just “highly evolved animals.” It is this depreciating of human life that has contributed to abortion on-demand, environmentalism, suicide, tyranny, violence, bloodshed, and all the other tragedies preventing the human race from ever enjoying real (!) progress (!).

If there is no God, no higher power of any kind, and we exist “just by chance,” then there really is no incentive for us to do right. Our accomplishments—no matter how grand—will all count for nothing because there is no one to make a final, decisive evaluation of them. Life is worthless, with no eternal significance. It makes no difference what we do. “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). This is precisely where natural-man thinking gets us, and exactly where human society is at this very moment, self-destructing because it is too prideful to come by faith to its Creator and submit to His plan for the heaven and the earth (Romans 1:18-32)!

Today’s Scripture explains that Father God has one overall aim for the heaven and the earth. Why do they exist? Why do we exist? No matter what sinful mankind purposes to do or actually does, God will ultimately exalt the Lord Jesus Christ in both realms. We can participate by faith—or not. Regardless, the life of Christ will fill the entire universe one day and He will be glorified throughout the endless ages to come. In that day, creatures with eternal life will finally bring to pass the Creator’s original objective!

Understanding God

Saturday, May 14, 2022

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand God?

Honestly, we all desire to do what we want to do and believe what we want to believe. For proof, we simply look around at this crazy world in motion. Everyone cries out in unison, “I am my own authority!” While we may not do it audibly, we do it internally and silently. For example, there are over 4,200 religions—an estimated 38,000 denominations in “Christianity” alone. Resolving these theological disputes is hopeless because they all believe they are right. It has been inquired, “Why can’t we all just get along?” There have been more than 1,800 wars in just these last 20 centuries. Someone somewhere has constantly been striving to take over someone else, somewhere else, steal from them what they want, do with or to them what they want. “I want my way and I will do whatever it takes to get it!” Newer generations are even more aggressive in this regard.

Truth be told, none of us are God. Sure, we pretend to be gods, but it is simply a fantasy. We may even imagine “there is no God,” but that is just our attempt to evade responsibility for our actions. However we arrived here, there is something or someone greater than us that brought about our existence. In Psalm 100:3, we read: “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves….” Yet, our sinful nature inside rebels against that truth, as Romans chapter 1 declares: “[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. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,… [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

In contrast to us, mere mortal creatures, whether we like it or not, the Creator God has always existed and will always exist. He is the Final Authority.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘secondary separation?’ Should we Bible believers practice it?