Just As I Am #2

Thursday, July 20, 2017

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the second verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, and waiting not,
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

A preacher of the Gospel of the Grace of God must convey to unsaved people their total inability to do good works. Seeking boasting, the flesh loves to work—even appealing to the Bible for “validation.” “James chapter 2 says ‘faith without works is dead!’ There, preacher, the Scriptures tell me to work my way to Heaven!” Friends, James 1:1 says the whole Book is written to Israel’s 12 tribes scattered abroad. If we do not know what tribe we are from, then we have no business whatsoever claiming what belongs to the 12 tribes!

Once the Gospel of Grace is clearly presented, there is always that incessant, “But don’t I have to be good?” The sinner coming to faith in Christ, however, knows that no “good deeds” can please God because those “good deeds” are done in the flesh, apart from the Holy Spirit. God is not interested in a lost person performing because the only works he or she can produce is out of an evil heart. God must change the soul. No religious works will ever destroy our sin nature. However, Christ’s shed blood can pay for those sins, cleanse us inside, and give us a new identity. The Adamic identity gives way to the Christian identity: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

God told ancient Israel: “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Those animal sacrifices previewed Christ’s shed blood, which addresses and cleanses the sinful soul. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Whether concerning Israel or us, Christ’s blood—not our work—unites souls to God!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?

The True God Revealed

Monday, July 17, 2017

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 KJV).

Rest—and see the true God manifest!

Today’s Scripture sits in a prophetic psalm. We see God delivering Israel’s believing remnant from her enemies in the final days of the seven-year Tribulation, and God’s wrath manifested in nature: “[1] God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. [2] Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [3] Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

We see the establishment of God’s earthly kingdom, Him dwelling with Israel in the land of Palestine: [4] There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. [5] God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”

There is a flashback to Christ’s fiery wrath at His Second Coming: “[6] The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.” We see Him on the Earth once more, conquering His enemies and bringing in everlasting peace: “[7] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. [8] Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. [9] He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.”

Finally, we see Jesus Christ exalted among the nations, proving Himself to be very God and their “gods” but worthless, dead idols. The reader is urged to simply rest and contemplate who is God and who is not: “[10] Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Israel’s believing remnant replies, repeating verse 7 and concluding the psalm: “[11] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

The Love of the Truth

Sunday, July 16, 2017

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 KJV).

What is “the love of the truth?”

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The “love of the truth” in today’s Scripture is the love of God manifested in the truth of God, and the truth of God is the Word of God (particularly the Gospel of Grace). The people in today’s Scripture rejected God’s love to them as He offered it to them in the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ. That is, they “believed not the truth” (verse 12), and “the truth” is the Gospel mentioned in chapter 1.

Chapter 1 already said: “[7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:….” Those individuals consumed in the fiery wrath at Christ’s Second Coming, God had a controversy with them. They did not have an intimate relationship with Him. Why did they lack that personal bond with Him? They “obey[ed] not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our Gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works (Ephesians 2:8,9). These people refused to come God’s way, so they will not be saved from God’s judgment (short-term, the Antichrist’s deception [today’s Scripture]; ultimately, hell and the lake of fire).

Returning to chapter 2, we see their punishment for their receiving not the love of the truth, that they might be saved: “[11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” They rejected God’s love manifested in the truth, so He has given them over to the lie that the Antichrist is the true Christ.

Go Not Aside from Any Words

Friday, July 14, 2017

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them (Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV).

Plain and simple!

Those outside the Christian community tell us there is no right or wrong, that everything is relative (“you have your truth, I have mine, so let us agree to disagree,” et cetera). We expect this from people without a Bible: having no absolute standard of rightness, they cannot gauge other systems with it. What is strange is when “Christian” (?) people suggest, “Why cannot we all just get along? Why nitpick about doctrine? As long as we believe in Jesus, is that not enough?”

JEHOVAH God expressly warned the nation Israel in today’s Scripture. In verses 1-14, He told Israel that He would bless her if she obeyed all of His laws. Verses 15-68 are a very thorough listing of the horrible curses to befall Israel if she drifts from His “words.” Today’s Scripture is very strict. There is no loose, “Do the best you can,” “As long as you obey most of My commandments,” or “Just believe in Me and I will bless you.” All the words of the LORD are important. They were not to deviate at all from anything that He specified—particular doctrines mattered because specific words mattered. Any departure from those very words constituted idolatry (worshipping something other than the one true God).

Study Israel’s history from that time forward. She forgot the divine words but kept the religious rituals, rites, and ceremonies. For instance, 15 centuries after today’s Scripture, Jesus constantly corrected Israel’s religious leaders for being ignorant of the Bible. “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures…” (Matthew 22:29). “Have ye not read so much as this…?” (Luke 6:3). If the leaders did not know anything, what about the commoners? “[The religious leaders] be blind leaders of the blind(Matthew 15:14). Equally “blind!”

The professing “Church” finds itself in such a pitiful dilemma today. There is a nice outward form—beautiful music, elaborate prayers, costly vessels, state-of-the-art auditoriums, and so on—but how we do not know the words of God. Like Israel of old, we have wafted right and left!

Liberated to Serve

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 241st anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Not a Man, But a God-Man!

Monday, July 3, 2017

And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? (Mark 8:4 KJV).

We tend to elevate Bible characters as though they were super-humans. Sometimes, we assume they never had a bad day, always did what they had to do, and never fell into doubt (unbelief). Today’s Scripture, however, contains a very incredulous inquiry.

Let us read the verse in context: “[1] In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, [2] I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: [3] And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. [4] And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?”

The disciples asked Jesus, “From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?” Can they be so blinded by their sinful hearts that they cannot believe they are talking to the Son of God, He who has healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out devils? Can they be so forgetful that He supplied their ancestors with food—manna (bread)—for 40 years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:35; John 6:31-33)? Here, in today’s Scripture, they have no idea where they can get food for all these people in the wilderness.

Of course, there is no “man” who can feed this multitude in the wilderness. It will take the God-Man to meet their needs. Just as He miraculously fed Israel in the wilderness 1500 years prior, so He will yet again demonstrate Himself to be Israel’s Sustainer (feeding the 4,000 present). Jesus Christ distributes the Word of God, that through it they might have eternal life. The bread that He is passing out actually represents Him, the Creator imparting spiritual life to undeserved, lost, and dead sinners. Once they came by faith to Him, they were satisfied forever, never to hunger again! 🙂

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving. You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! 🙂

But If Not

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Daniel 3:16-18 KJV).

Notice the “but if not!”

After King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image for all those in Babylon to worship; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to participate in that vain religious service (verses 8-12). Nebuchadnezzar, although very angry, gives them another chance to worship. He tells them that if they refuse to bow before his image, he will throw them into a burning fiery furnace. Taunting them, he says, “And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (verse 15). They refuse again (today’s Scripture).

It is fascinating that these three young men did not worry about the matter. They told Nebuchadnezzar that if their God wanted to deliver them, He would. But—and here is the really neat part—they said that even if God would not deliver them, they would still not worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image! Here is confidence in morals, men with strong convictions, not afraid to risk their lives for upholding the truth of the God of the Bible.

Nebuchadnezzar commands his officers to heat the furnace seven times hotter than usual (verse 19). He will mercilessly exterminate these three young Jewish men for rejecting his religion. Tied up, they are thrown down alive into the flames. Nebuchadnezzar sees an amazing sight. There are four men, walking around unharmed! That fourth man “is like the Son of God” (verse 25). Nebuchadnezzar finally sees the truth—the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the “most high God” (verse 26).

Their God has indeed delivered them from Nebuchadnezzar’s weak hands. Those three young men escape totally unscathed, having “[through faith]… [q]uenched the violence of fire” (Hebrews 11:34). The lesson? God will be faithful in preserving Israel forever, no matter how violent and extreme her persecutions!