Not the Righteous, But Sinners

Saturday, March 18, 2017

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:10-13 KJV).

Jesus Christ came to save the bad people, not the “good!”

You have probably seen videos of police officers working in the field. They encounter people engaging in many activities—robbery or theft, domestic abuse, prostitution, extremely reckless driving, fighting, drunkenness, and drug use or drug dealing, to name a few. Due to their poor decisions, these souls are in some very tough situations. The religious crowd—puffed up in self-righteousness—dismisses these people as “hopelessly hell-bound.” However, these “sinners” are more likely to come to faith in Christ than those sitting in the church pews! Consider today’s Scripture.

Scripture says “many publicans and sinners came and sat down with [Jesus] and his disciples.” The Pharisees found this revolting! Why did Jesus not associate with them (these religious leaders)? How could He, a supposed “prophet of God” and “religious teacher,” eat with such dishonest publicans (tax collectors) and various “sinners” (people with bad reputations)? The Lord Jesus overheard His critics asking His disciples that question, and He responded: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

These publicans and sinners recognized their sin problem. They also saw Jesus as the only Physician who had the cure for their spiritual illness. Too caught up in religion and their own “goodness,” the Pharisees were content in condemning people who were humble enough to admit their sinfulness. We need many such “publicans and sinners” today, and far fewer “Pharisees!”

A Life That Will Please

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

Never in Bondage?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

“They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?” (John 8:33 KJV).

Is that so?

If you listen to today’s popular “Christian” preaching, you get the impression that people are not really all that bad. They have “some good in all of them.” Thus, so many actually believe they will make it into heaven eventually. They just keep “making an effort” so “God will give them ‘points’ for trying” (as a religious friend told me). Many see no need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ because they do not fully appreciate the fact that they are lost and going to hell!

Jeremiah 17:9 says about our human heart: “…deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Our heart will cause us to believe any lie and we will not know any better. Just look at the Jews’ response in today’s Scripture. They told Jesus they had never been in bondage to any man before. Of course, they overlooked the Roman soldiers walking by! (Rome was currently ruling over Israel.) Not to mention Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, and Greeks had ruled Israel centuries prior!

The Jews were too prideful to admit that pagan dirty “dogs” (Gentiles) were dominating them. Since they could not learn a physical lesson, they completely missed the spiritual one. They were too prideful to admit their sin. Jesus was talking about Him being able to free them from the bondage of sin (verse 34), but they were thinking in terms of the natural world (physical freedom, which they said they did not need because they were supposedly no one’s slaves).

I will never forget an almost 90-year-old religious relative who, while I was sharing the Gospel with her, told me that she had “never sinned” in her whole life! (That dear lady has since left this world… I can only wonder where her soul is today!) Perhaps as many as 100,000 precious souls wake up in hell every single day. They thought they were never in “bondage” to sin; now, they are in “bondage” to hell forever! Brethren, reach them by God’s grace while you still can!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Jonah live in the whale’s belly?

A Life That Will Please

Monday, January 4, 2016

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

The Five W’s of Denominationalism

Thursday, March 26, 2015

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8 KJV).

Beware of the “five W’s of denominationalism!”

Beloved, be careful, Satan’s “ministers of righteousness” are lurking (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). They aim to pollute your mind and cause you to forget that you are “complete [lacking nothing] in Christ” (Colossians 2:10)! Religion’s five-step plan will take a Christian’s mind off of God’s provisions for them given in Christ Jesus, and it will keep lost people’s minds focused on themselves and their efforts to make themselves accepted before God:

  1. Win ‘em! — They convert “unchurched” people to their denomination. Very rarely is a clear Gospel presentation given. Usually the person is still lost, still going to hell, although who appears to be going to heaven because he or she is now a “churched” individual.
  2. Wet ‘em! — They water baptize them, putting their names on the church membership roll. There are ever so many people in the world basing their eternal salvation on a water ceremony. One day, they will learn what a failure that “salvation” is!
  3. Work ‘em! — They give them various rules and regulations to follow for God’s acceptance: “x” number of daily prayers, a very thorough confession of sins, holy book reading, obligatory holy days or feast days, generous almsgiving and other “donations.” Even the clergy have difficulty remembering and obeying all those ecclesiastical laws!
  4. Whip ‘em! — They punish people who do not perform as the denomination demands: excommunication, shunning, threats about how God will curse them, how they are disobeying God or blaspheming His name or Spirit, et cetera.
  5. Watch ‘em! — They watch to see if their members straighten up or if they need more church discipline. They may send scouts to spy on suspicious members. If someone is caught “out of line,” it is time for another strike with the “whip!”

Oh, what a “weak and beggarly” system religion is (Galatians 4:9)! Oh, but what a strong and rich system grace is! We are accepted before God by simple faith in Jesus Christ! Friends, may we not let religion rob us of such clarity and simplicity! 🙂

In Evil Long I Took Delight #2

Monday, February 9, 2015

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Philippians 3:7 KJV).

The second verse of John Newton’s classic 1779 hymn “In Evil Long I Took Delight” highlights today’s Scripture.

“I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.”

Saul of Tarsus, a proud, self-righteous religionist “verily thought with [himself], that [he] ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 26:9). He saw Jesus as an imposter, a blasphemer. Figuring that he was doing JEHOVAH a favor by putting all those Jesus-lovers to death, Saul decided that all of His followers had to be punished! Yes, so infatuated with his religion, he was willing to physically eliminate “competition” at whatever the cost.

One of the most learned Mosaic scholars of his day, Saul had it all—religion, education, fame, and fortune. The context of today’s Scripture describes him perfectly: “[4]… If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: [5] Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; [6] Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

Outside of Damascus’ city gates, Saul lost it all (or, rather, he realized he was destitute of what really mattered!). He heard JEHOVAH speak to him audibly, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts 9:4,5). Imagine how overwhelming the shock was—the God he thought he was serving was the Jesus he was persecuting! It was in today’s Scripture that he remembered these events of all those years ago (over 30, actually). He gained it all in religion only to lose it all in Christ—he lost his religious “goodness” and gained Jesus Christ’s righteousness by faith! In that doctrine revealed to him, he saw and trusted the efficacy of Christ’s finished crosswork as total payment for his sins. Saul of Tarsus took his eyes off of himself and looked to Jesus….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should I be concerned about the four ‘blood moons?’

A Life That Will Please

Sunday, January 4, 2015

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!”