No Good Deeds, No Good Things #4

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

God said to Abram in the Abrahamic Covenant: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and [I will] make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and [I will] curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2,3). Doubtless, God will make Israel His people.

Contrariwise, the Mosaic Covenant (Law): “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:5,6). That little, conditional word—“if”—is weighty. Israel will be God’s people only “if” she obeys His every command. “If” she fully complies, “then” God will bless her. Conversely, “if” Israel disobeys the Law Covenant, “then” she is disqualified from being God’s people! This is “legalism.” When man’s performance is inserted, uncertainty is certain.

Moses says to Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 28: “[1] And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: [2] And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God…. [14] 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. [15] But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:….”

ATTENTION: Shorewood Bible Church’s 2018 Summer Family Bible Conference begins tonight, Saturday, at 7 Central U.S. Time. The theme is “God’s Prophetic Calendar,” and the conference runs until Thursday. Watch the LIVE video feed streamed here: http://understandgrace.com/watch-live/. Visit http://understandgrace.com/2018-summer-family-bible-conference/ for more information. Come and join us!

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #3

Friday, July 20, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

Fast-forward over 400 years after Abraham. His seed through Isaac—the nation Israel—is in bondage to Egypt. Israel is helpless: she cannot rescue herself, and must depend on God’s power to deliver her with mighty signs and wonders (Exodus chapters 1-13). The culmination is God’s parting of the Red Sea to allow Israel to escape Pharaoh and his army (chapter 14). In chapters 15 through 18, God graciously blesses Israel with His provisions. He has done so much to make them His people. Will they rest in this grace?

Notice Exodus chapter 19: “[3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I [God] did unto the Egyptians, and how I [God] bare you on eagles’ wings, and [I God] brought you unto myself. [5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

How tragic! They have not learned the lesson that their father Abraham had centuries earlier. Instead of letting God work to fulfill His promises (namely, the Abrahamic Covenant—He will work to make them His people), their sin nature has deceived them into thinking they can perform to get the blessing. They believe they can make themselves God’s nation. Grace has been tossed aside, and thus begins the strict, cruel reign of the Law! Sinful Israel is doomed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Matthew 25:31-46 a plan for our salvation unto eternal life?

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #2

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

The “Abrahamic Covenant” appears in Genesis chapter 12: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” These are God’s promises to Abram rather than Abram’s promises to God. God will work on Abram’s behalf to produce a nation. Abram is to separate from his pagan family—idolaters (Joshua 24:2)—so he can be set apart for God’s purposes. He believed the LORD God, and he relocated as instructed.

Abram is 75 years old (Genesis 12:4); Sarai his wife is 10 years younger. God has pledged to use them to build a great nation, yet they are elderly and childless! In chapter 16, Abram is now in his mid-eighties… and disheartened to still be without a son. Well-meaning Sarai develops a plan to “help” God. She gives Abram her handmaid, Hagar, to use as a surrogate mother. Through Sarai’s plan and Abram’s efforts, Ishmael is born.

Over a decade later, Abram is 99 years old (Genesis 17:1). God changes his name to “Abraham” and his wife’s name to “Sarah,” and then He remarks: “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (verse 19). God performs a miracle. Isaac is born in chapter 21, when Abraham is 100 (and sterile!). By the way, the Ishmael–Isaac struggle continues even today as the 4,000-year Arab/Muslim–Jewish war!

God rejected Abraham’s struggles (Ishmael); He accepted only His work (Isaac). If man will receive God’s blessings, it will be God’s efforts and not (!) man’s….

God’s Perfect Timing

Sunday, December 17, 2017

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

Lingering Lot

Saturday, June 24, 2017

“And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city” (Genesis 19:15,16 KJV).

In “lingering Lot,” we see many a Christian today!

Nephew to Abraham, Lot was a very compromising believer. While the world’s sins bothered him (2 Peter 2:6-9), he did not mind dabbling in them himself. For example, Lot “sat in the gate of Sodom” (Genesis 19:1): he was an important statesman in that most wicked city, enjoying high social standing and great wealth. Once God had enough of the homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent two angels to destroy them (see Genesis 18:16-22; Genesis 19:1ff.).

God also sent those angels to deliver Lot and his family before His righteous wrath falls upon Sodom and Gomorrah. In today’s Scripture, the angels urge Lot to hurry and take his wife and two daughters and escape. Three words stand out: “and while he lingered….” Lot wanted to stay just a bit longer, to take one last look at all his possessions he had acquired while officiating over Sodom. His beautiful home and its furnishings would be destroyed. His sinful acquaintances would be killed. (Notice how his wife “looked back behind him” once they did leave in verse 26, and she “became a pillar of salt!” She too had been attached to the material goods she and Lot had.)

Lot should have led his family out of such wickedness, yet he “lingered.” The angels had to thus forcefully grab all four of them (he, his wife, and their two daughters) and bring them outside the city! JEHOVAH God could have consumed Lot for being so wicked, so idolatrous, and yet He was “merciful unto him.” No doubt, many such saints will want to “linger” at the Rapture, when Christ returns to take all Christians to Heaven, desiring to stay behind and enjoy this evil world one last time. May we not be those “lingering” believers!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about blood transfusions?

God’s Perfect Timing

Saturday, December 17, 2016

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

His Son #3

Friday, October 21, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

In a fragmentary fashion and in assorted ways, JEHOVAH God used the prophets to speak to Israel’s patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s 12 sons, David, Solomon, et cetera—about His purpose and plan for them. The Book of Hebrews is written to the descendants of Israel’s fathers. It has no relation to us Gentiles or the Church the Body of Christ. Never forget, friends, the Book of Hebrews continues the prophetic program that began in the “Old Testament.” We study Hebrews, but are always mindful it does not speak to or about us.

According to the writer of Hebrews, penning during the Acts period, the God who spoke to Israel’s fathers by the “Old Testament” prophets is not speaking by them anymore. He has spoken to Israel by His Son. As Jesus Himself declared, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). John the Baptist’s ministry was a transition, or “bridge,” from the Law and the Prophets, to the earthly ministry of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. God’s earthly kingdom, long preached by the “Old Testament” prophets as coming, is on the verge of being established during Christ’s earthly ministry. (Hebrews, written during Acts, looks back at Matthew through John.)

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand [near]: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14,15). That Gospel of the Kingdom was simply Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16)….