Vapour!

Monday, April 23, 2018

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).

A “vapour”—as in a mist or gas—may change into a solid or liquid. Likewise, our earthly life “vanisheth away!”

Dear friends, we never know when death will come, but we do need to prepare for it. It was never part of God’s original creation: the entrance of sin caused death. Adam’s rebellion originated the curse of sin, including death (see Genesis 3:1-24). Never blame God for what Adam did. Now, someone asks, “How can God punish us for something Adam did? Why do we have to suffer because of Adam?” This is best answered by seeing the other side of the issue.

God provided a way to escape the penalty of sin. In addition to physical death, there are also a spiritual death and the second death. Spiritual death is the soul’s separation from God during earthly living—this, however, can be rectified through faith in the Gospel. The second death is eternal (permanent) separation from God in the Lake of Fire. We sinners deserve this most horrible spiritual prison. However, God became a Man, Jesus Christ, who died for (to pay for) our sins. If we complain God punishes us because of Adam’s actions, then we might as well protest God justifying us because of Christ’s actions. See, it balances. Just as Adam is the federal head of sinners, so Jesus Christ is the federal head of saints. Romans 5:12-21 is interesting reading on the subject—the two federal heads, their activities, and their effects.

First Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….” Acts 16:30-31: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the Beast and the False Prophet ‘cast alive’ into the Lake of Fire?

Suffering!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:22,23 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be prepared to suffer.

Dear friend, suffering is rampant—violence, sickness, injustice, cruelty, et cetera. Eventually, people get overloaded with burdens and sorrow, thus resorting to drugs, alcohol, and (sadly) even suicide, to cope.

Suffering has three sources. Firstly, we have the curse of sin: no matter what we do, we live in a fallen creation. Thus, disease, physical limitations, and death plague us. Short of the Lord’s coming for His children, they too will hurt, grow old, and die. Contrary to popular belief, Christians do suffer physical difficulties and corporeal pain—we are not guaranteed physical healing until the Rapture (today’s Scripture)! Secondly, our mistakes result in suffering. Whether deliberately or inadvertently, those poor decisions lead to terrible consequences. Someone will make a poor choice today and it will negatively affect you. You will make a mistake today and hurt someone.

Thirdly, there is the special (rare) suffering found in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (Acts 14:22 reads in part, “…we must [!] through much [!] tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”) This applies exclusively to Christians. Since we are in “enemy territory”—living as Satan’s evil world system operates—we will encounter resistance. Various degrees of persecution will follow us. The more we yield our lives to the Holy Spirit working in us, the more contrary we become to Satan’s policy of evil. If Satan cannot entice us to change the sound Bible doctrine we preach and teach, then he will intimidate us into silence (loved ones mistreating/shunning us, enemies trying to harm/kill us, governments trying to oppress/imprison us).

However, in the context of today’s Scripture, we learn: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (verse 18). No matter how much we suffer here, dear saints, the eternal glory awaiting us is infinitesimally greater!

A Better Body

Sunday, January 21, 2018

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18 KJV).

Amen!

An elderly friend and coworker in the ministry recently slipped and fell on icy pavement. His resultant severe hand injury required medical attention. Days later, his hip and leg began to hurt and now he limps—probably another injury he sustained in the fall. He will probably have to seek medical help for that as well. Now, likely due to his earlier hospital visit (regarding another sickness), he has the flu! His wife suffers chronic maladies herself. Since her immune system is so weak, she is temporarily living elsewhere so as to avoid contracting her husband’s illness.

Saints, we all have our various bodily afflictions, physical disabilities, limitations, and the like. It is certainly no fun to be sick—especially in life-threatening or terminal situations. Remember, just because we are Christians does not mean we will not suffer. We grow sick, we grow old, and we die. That is the curse of sin, one aspect of living in an unredeemed body. Therefore, we anticipate the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ and the receipt of our new, glorified bodies that will never grow ill, age, or perish!

“[19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Death by Adam, Eternal Life by Christ #3

Monday, November 27, 2017

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Friends, unless they are for saints of the Most High God, funerals are very depressing. It is a most serious matter when someone dies and goes to Hell! When a Christian dies, however, it is a home-going to meet his or her Saviour Jesus Christ. What a difference eternal life in Christ makes!

It is often enquired, “Why does God punish us because of what Adam did? That is so unfair!” Scoffers, questioning God’s benevolence, especially raise this objection. We would do well, dear friends, to rather inquire, “Why does God save us because of what Christ did? That is so unfair!”

Romans chapter 5 one final time: “[16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. [17] For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) [18] Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [19] For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

Yes, Adam’s disobedience brought upon us sin and death. But, there is a balance. Christ’s obedience—His submission to His Heavenly Father’s will, “even to the death of the cross” to pay for our sins (Philippians 2:5-8)—offers us righteousness and life. Those not in Christ—relying on Him by faith in His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—will be banished to everlasting torment. Sin must be dealt with, dear friends, and it will either be settled at Calvary or in Hell.

God already has the answer to eternal death—eternal life in His Son. May we not delay; may we rely on the Lord Jesus Christ today! 🙂

Death by Adam, Eternal Life by Christ #2

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Friends, unless they are for saints of the Most High God, funerals are very depressing. It is a most serious matter when someone dies and goes to Hell! When a Christian dies, however, it is a home-going to meet his or her Saviour Jesus Christ. What a difference eternal life in Christ makes!

Romans chapter 5 continues: “[13] (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. [14] Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. [15] But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”

“[16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. [17] For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) [18] Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [19] For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

In the above verses, we see two contrasts. Firstly, there is information about Adam, his actions, and the results. Secondly, there is news concerning Jesus Christ, His activities, and the consequences. With Adam, there is nothing but condemnation and death (physical and spiritual). However, with Christ, there is nothing but justification and life (physical and spiritual). Adam’s disobedience makes us sinners, but Christ’s obedience makes us righteous….

Death by Adam, Eternal Life by Christ #1

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Friends, unless they are for saints of the Most High God, funerals are very depressing. It is a most serious matter when someone dies and goes to Hell! When a Christian dies, however, it is a home-going to meet his or her Saviour Jesus Christ. What a difference eternal life in Christ makes!

While medical science affords us the ability to discover cures for various bodily afflictions, it is absolutely certain that the scientific method will never equip us to abolish physical death. Why is this so confidently stated? Today’s Scripture says when Adam sinned, he plunged the whole human race into sin and death. Consequently, wherever we find sin, we find death; wherever we find death, we find sin. It is a rule set forth in the Bible, and it is applicable to every age. Science will never be the means whereby we eradicate our sin nature, so science will never be the method by which we obliterate physical (and spiritual) death. We must look beyond the physical world for the answer.

The Bible says in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The “wages” (plural) “of sin is death”—physical and spiritual death. Death in Scripture means separation; never is it annihilation or cessation of existence. Genesis 35:18 reports: “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Physical death, as seen here, is the soul leaving, or separating from, the physical body.

There is another death, “the second death.” It is the soul’s separation from God forever in the Lake of Fire. Revelation 21:8 says: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Again, this is separation from God in eternity, the endless ages in the Lake of Fire. We do not have to go there….

Graduated!

Monday, August 21, 2017

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Death is never easy, but the death of a Christian is easier. It is somewhat easier when an aged person dies, but a young person’s decease is quite difficult. Yet, if that young person was “in Christ,” that death is easier to bear.

Recently, an online friend passed on to Heaven after a long battle with cancer. She was only 18 years old. Even though she suffered much, she was a strong testimony for God’s grace. As her friends struggled with trying to reconcile how God could let His saint grow so horrifically ill, she reminded them that, while Father God has redeemed our souls, He has yet to redeem our bodies from sin’s curse. A firm foundation in the Bible rightly divided caused her to rejoice even in the midst of great trouble. While we are secure in Christ, there is no guarantee we will meet our Lord without first experiencing unspeakable bodily infirmities. An aged ministry coworker just told me his aching body was “falling apart.”

I just read the obituary of a dear saint whose Bible studies benefited me. The article was certainly written from the grace perspective. It began by saying that the brother “‘graduated’ on… to be with his Lord whom he loved and served so faithfully.” He was an evangelist for 40 years: “He loved preaching in Rescue Missions, proclaiming the Gospel of the Grace of God to the lost. His passion in life was leading people to Christ and encouraging the body of Christ.” After preaching the Gospel for so long, he at last experienced its hope. Doubtless, he is still enjoying the Lord’s presence all these years later!

Yes, we sorrow, but we sorrow not as those which have no hope. We have a sure expectation that our loved ones in Christ are not lost forever. Father God has them in His loving care, and we will see them (and Him) in His own time. There will be an endless eternity to fellowship with them around the Word of God. For now, dear brethren, we must remember that they want us to continue being ambassadors for Christ down here! 🙂