He Clothed Them

Monday, August 8, 2011

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21 KJV).

The Bible says Adam and Eve “were both naked…and were not ashamed” (Genesis 1:25). How could they be naked, and yet unashamed?

In 1 Timothy 6:16 we read of Jesus Christ “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto….” God’s righteousness and holiness emanate from His body in the form of a bright light. Originally, before the fall, Adam and Eve did not wear physical clothes, but they were clothed with something… they were clothed with the righteousness of God Himself because sin had not entered into creation yet.

God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26,27); man was originally sinless, as perfect as God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed by eating the forbidden fruit, God’s righteousness left their bodies. They were sinners now, so God’s light no longer covered them (spiritually and physically). Adam and Eve were physically and spiritually naked, so they frantically gathered itchy fig leaves and covered themselves (Genesis 3:7).

The LORD God, in His great love and grace, sought these lost souls. Adam and Eve hid, too afraid to approach our holy and righteous God. But, God in His brilliance devised a plan to restore them. Today’s Scripture says that God killed innocent animals. He used the blood to provide Adam and Eve’s spiritual clothes (forgiveness), and the skins served as their physical clothes.

Isaiah 61:10 summarizes (saved Israel speaking): “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” God did that for Adam, Eve, Israel, and us too!

If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been clothed with God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ, we are just as Adam and Eve were before the fall, in perfect standing before God.

The Inward Man

Sunday, August 7, 2011

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV).

As the saint progresses in earthly years, he or she gets discouraged. Hair becomes white as snow. The skin loses its elasticity, wrinkling and sagging. Vision dims, memory fails, and hearing diminishes. That once lively body grows progressively weaker and unable to perform the tasks it once did with ease. But, be not discouraged!

God gives this interesting description of dying Moses: “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7). Moses, age 120, had excellent vision. His body was as agile as a young man’s. Wow!

In today’s Scripture Paul alludes to the “outward man” (physical body) and its decay and ultimate death (“perishing”). Because of sin, these physical bodies have nowhere to go but to the grave. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Even though death may kill the physical body, Christians are confident that (the second) death cannot harm the spiritual body (the “inward man”).

Furthermore, Paul explains that we need to focus on renewing the “inward man” with sound Bible study, not focusing on the perishing state of the “outward man.” We will get new physical bodies, but the souls we have are ours forever.

Short of the Lord’s coming in our lifetimes, our physical bodies will go into the ground. While it is morbid, that is reality. But, this too is reality: “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you” (2 Corinthians 4:14).

These physical bodies will be redeemed at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:53; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 3:20,21). Romans 8:23 says: “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 bodies.” Praise the Lord that we are not eternally confined to these weak, limited physical bodies!

* My outward man turns 23 today, saints.

Using the Law Lawfully

Saturday, July 30, 2011

“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;” (1 Timothy 1:8 KJV).

In this the Dispensation of Grace, how does a man use the Mosaic Law “lawfully?” Paul continues in verses 9 and 10: “…the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”

The function of the Mosaic Law is to show us we cannot measure up to God’s standard of righteousness (rightness). Galatians 2:16 says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the law shall no flesh be justified.”

God’s Word says in Romans 3:19,20: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

Galatians 3:24,25 says, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Using the Law lawfully in this the Dispensation of Grace means to recognize our sinfulness and Jesus Christ’s sinlessness. The Mosaic Law shows us that we cannot be justified (made right before God) through our works. It points us to the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Law points us to salvation in Jesus Christ and His fulfilling the Law perfectly.

Do you use the Law lawfully?

Stiffnecked, Gainsaying, and Disobedient

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:21 KJV).

Israel was God’s chosen people in the earth but they were just as stubborn and rebellious as the pagan Gentiles described in Romans 1:18-32. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 65:2 (in which the LORD says): “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;”

Verse 3 continues, “A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;…” Israel ignored the LORD and preferred the Gentiles’ pagan gods! How sad.

For 40 years Moses led the nation Israel in the wilderness wanderings. Their murmuring and rebellion against the LORD caused Moses great distress (Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:1-4; et al.). The Bible describes Israel as “stiffnecked” (stubborn) eight times in the Old Testament (Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3,5; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6, 13; Deuteronomy 10:16; 2 Chronicles 30:8). Miraculously, God in His longsuffering tolerated the Jews.

Unfortunately, Israel acted no better in the New Testament. She refused to listen to her Messiah Jesus and His apostles. Ultimately, she killed her Messiah in disobedience (1 Peter 2:7,8). In Acts 7:51 the prophet Stephen tells Israel’s religious leaders: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” Did the Jews repent and obey God? No. They rebel and kill Stephen (verse 59)!

Before we condemn Israel for her wickedness, we need to understand we are just as much Adam’s physical descendants as they were. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Even as Christians, we rebel against God and His Word (see Romans chapter 7).

We too may be stiffnecked, gainsaying, and disobedient, but praise God for His longsuffering, grace, mercy, and forgiveness

On the Sufferings of This Present Time

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

“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).

Everyone suffers, Christians and lost people alike. Our suffering originates from three sources:

  1. We all live under the curse of sin. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, matter is becoming less and less usable. Every living creature grows sick and eventually dies. Romans 8:21,22 and Genesis 3:16-19 explain the curse (the bondage of corruption) was instituted on creation because of sin. Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
  2. We make mistakes, hurting ourselves and others. Others make bad decisions, and they negatively affect us. Of course, this too is closely related to #1 (sin). Christ said, “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).
  3. We Christians suffer for righteousness’ sake. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).

Until we leave this present evil world of Satan, we will continue to suffer from all of the above. The good news is what Paul writes in today’s Scripture: this temporary suffering is nothing when compared to the eternal glorification that is awaiting us as members of the Body of Christ.

When we Christians receive our glorified bodies in heaven, we will be free from these bodies of sinful flesh, never to suffer again. What a hope we have in heaven, all because of Christ Jesus and His finished cross work on Calvary!

Lest They Also Come Into This Place of Torment

Monday, July 11, 2011

“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:27,28 KJV).

While fools often quip they anticipate their partying with friends in hell, the rich man of today’s Scripture was certainly not partying. By the way, this is NOT a parable.

The Bible says the rich man’s soul was in torments, greatly tortured by hell’s flames (verses 23-25). His mind was overwhelmed with regretful memories. He remembered he still had five lost brethren alive on earth, so he asked Abraham to send Lazarus to go witness to them and warn them of hell’s torments.

Notice Abraham’s response: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (verse 29). If someone wants to avoid everlasting hellfire, he or she needs to study God’s Word and learn how to escape God’s righteous judgment against our sins.

Christian ambassadors, we have been entrusted with “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Our ministry is to tell the entire world they can have an opportunity to avoid hell because Jesus Christ suffered for them and as them on Calvary’s cross!

“[Christ] tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Christ was “made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). The Bible says that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

It has been said that the spirit of evangelism is stronger in hell than it is in the Christian heart. We all have family and friends headed to hell, yet we lapse into attitudes of unconcern, hoping that someone else will witness to them. Be bold in Christ. Tell them of Calvary’s cross. Pray for their salvation, too.

Whenever you fall into a state of complacency (unconcerned) in sharing the salvation found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be motivated to speak up when you remember the rich man’s haunting words: “Lest they also come into this place of torment!”

Our Liberty Which We Have in Christ Jesus

Monday, July 4, 2011

“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:” (Galatians 2:4 KJV).

Today, 235 years ago, on July 4, 1776, the United States’ Founding Fathers declared independence from Great Britain by adopting the Declaration of Independence. We in the United States are grateful for our liberties, but there is greater news in Christ. See our freedom in Christ:

  1. We are free from Satan’s control! Man fell into sin and Satan’s policy of evil in Genesis 3. But, the Bible says God “hath delivered us [Christians] from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
  2. We are free from sin’s dominion. We do not have to serve sin. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).
  3. We are free from the condemnation of the Law. Romans 8:1 explains: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
  4. We are free from the bondage of works-religion! Galatians 5:1 says: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” The Galatian believers were deceived by a false gospel, believing they had to work for their salvation. Hence, they were in bondage to the Mosaic Law (see today’s Scripture).
  5. We are free from self-righteousness. Ephesians 2:8,9 say: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” We are saved by Christ’s righteousness, not ours (Romans 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:21)!

We are free in Christ! Never let someone rob you of that freedom by forcing you under Israel’s performance-based acceptance system.