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.

A Three-Fold Temptation

Saturday, July 2, 2011

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world” (1 John 2:16 KJV).

Every temptation in the world fits into one of the above categories. Did you know that Eve faced all three temptations at once? Compare 1 John 2:16 to Genesis 3:6:

  • “the lust of the flesh” — the forbidden tree was “good for food” (Was Eve hungry?)
  • “the lust of the eye” — the forbidden tree was “pleasant to the eye” (An awesome sight!)
  • “the pride of life” — the forbidden tree was “desired to make one wise” (Eat from it, and you can be like God, Eve!)

Using this very cunning scheme, Satan triumphed over Eve, and later Adam. Sadly, they both ate the forbidden fruit.

In Matthew 4:1-10 and Luke 4:1-13, Satan tempts Christ using the same format. However, where Adam and Eve failed, the perfect Man, Jesus Christ, triumphed. Remember that Christ has been fasting for forty days.

  • “the lust of the flesh” — Satan tempts Christ to turn stones into bread  (Christ was hungry!)
  • “the lust of the eye” — Satan tempts Christ to cast Himself from the Temple pinnacle, and have angels rescue Him (An awesome sight!)
  • “the pride of life” — Satan tempts Christ to worship him, promising to give Him the kingdoms of the world (You can have God’s power! Little did Satan know that Christ would one day have the kingdoms of the world, without having to worship Satan; Revelation 11:15.)

How did Jesus Christ triumph over Satan? The Bible says Christ properly quoted Scripture! Eve could not triumph over Satan because she did not properly quote Scripture. Find verses in Paul’s epistles that fit your temptations and weaknesses, and memorize them. Then, whenever you are tempted with sin, bring to mind the applicable grace doctrines. Do not just quote random Bible verses, quote from Paul. Properly quoting (and believing) the Bible is your key to triumphing over the three-fold temptation!

God’s Abounding Grace

Friday, July 1, 2011

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20,21 KJV).

When God instituted the Mosaic Law in Exodus 24, He intended to manifest Israel’s sins. The Law did not just condemn the Jews as sinners, but all the world, Jew and Gentile, was unable to live up to God’s perfect standards. God proved mankind’s “righteousness” was anything but. Everyone was declared guilty before God: “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in [God’s] sight” (Romans 3:9-20).

The result of sin is death, eternal death (Romans 6:23a). “Sin reigned unto death,” today’s Scripture says. It also says that although sin produced death, God’s grace produces life, eternal life. “…Even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Believers in Corinth had been fornicators, homosexuals, idolaters, thieves, drunkards, extortionists, and perverts (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). Now that the saving power of God’s grace entered their lives, their lifestyles changed. Paul told them, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (verse 11).

Even though mankind was sinful, God’s grace could overcome and cover even the vilest offender of the Law. Do you feel you are too sinful for God’s saving grace? The Bible says that God can save anyone and everyone, regardless of what sins they have committed.

The Bible says that none of us are worthy of God’s grace, but God gives it to us freely, apart from our efforts. Jesus Christ lived the sinless life we cannot. He died and shed His sinless blood to forgive us our sins, and He buried our sins. Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised against for your justification. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.

I am saved forever because of God’s abounding grace. Are you?

The Wages and the Gift

Monday, June 13, 2011

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

Often used to lead someone to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, today’s Scripture is loaded with doctrine. Two contrasting phrases catch our attention: “the wages of sin” and “the gift of God.” In addition, we see “death” and its antonym “eternal life.”

“Wages” means “compensation for labor.” Contrariwise, “gift” is “something freely given to someone without him or her doing anything to receive it.” Notice the Bible uses “wages” (plural), indicating sin causes two deaths. Physical death, when a soul separates from its physical body, and spiritual death, the “second death,” when a soul is cast into the lake of fire, eternally separated from God’s holy presence (Revelation 20:14,15; 21:8).

Romans 2:6 says God “will render to every man according to his deeds.” Verse 7 explains that God will give eternal life to those “who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality.” Then verses 8 and 9 say, “but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul that doeth evil.”

God will give eternal life to anyone who is perfect, yet Romans 3:23 says none of us can live up to God’s perfect standard because we are sinners. Death is our “wages.” We have earned death because we cannot keep God’s law perfectly (Romans 3:19,20; Galatians 3:10)!

At Calvary’s cross, God demonstrated His wrath “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” our sin (Romans 1:18). But, at Calvary’s cross, God also demonstrated His righteousness (Romans 1:17). Jesus Christ, God’s perfect Son, bore our sin and suffered our death. Christ paid our sin debt with His blood, and He now offers His righteousness and eternal life as a free gift to you (Romans 3:21; Romans 5:15-18). Will you receive that gift by trusting in Christ as your personal Saviour?

The wages of sin, or the gift of eternal life… your choice!

Do You Know Why You’re Here?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us that none of us were accidents. Our bodies are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” anatomies that are highly complex and intricately designed. Medical science still stands in awe of our design! This is a testament that we are here for a purpose. Deep down inside, you know God exists. God made you and me, but why? Why do we exist? What are we mortal humans to a holy, righteous, Almighty God? What does God want with (or from) you?

The Bible says: “The LORD hath chosen Zion [in Jerusalem]; he hath desired it for his habitation” (Psalm 132:13). God created planet earth so that He could have a dwelling place! He set humans, our ancestors, on this planet so that He could fellowship with them and love them, and maybe they would love Him in return. Unfortunately, our father Adam disobeyed God and sinned (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22).

Originally, God created the human race for His glory: “O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). However, Adam’s rebellion destroyed our fellowship with our Creator. Consequently, we are born “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

Praise God for His wonderful works: all creation! God wants your trust, your faith. You believe people when they tell you information, so the Bible says: “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater” (1 John 5:9a). The Bible says that you are here for God’s glory, not for your own, but as a sinner you do not bring God glory. However, God has reconciled you unto Himself through Jesus Christ. Do you believe that?

Will you trust in God’s Word… while you are still here? We are here for a reason—“and THAT my soul knoweth right well!”