Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #7

Sunday, October 20, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

Father God has one overall purpose in creation—to glorify His Son Jesus Christ in heaven and earth. Through Christ’s finished crosswork, we by faith are now justified and fit to participate in achieving that goal. The Bible says, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). We have hope, something this lost and dying world lacks. Lost people, those without Christ, are therefore said to be those “which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Evil, suffering, and death surround us, so they cannot help but be depressed. If we do not keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, we too will fall into despondency.

Brethren, we have joy because of the hope associated with the glory of God (Romans 5:1-5). If we have trusted Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), then we have passed from death to life. Now, we have “life eternal,” what the Lord defined as “knowing [intimately, personally] the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom [he] hast sent” (John 17:3). Not only do we fellowship with the Creator now (earthly life), such fellowship will extend into the heavenly places (afterlife).

One day, we will be glorified in heaven, that we may exalt Jesus Christ, that it finally praise Father God. Here is the goal of the mystery program and the formation of the Church the Body of Christ: “[7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory(1 Corinthians chapter 2).

Dear friends, read the Book of Ephesians: it underscores our destiny in the heavenly places. Also stressed are “the praise of [God’s] glory” (1:6,12,14), “the riches of the glory of [Christ’s] inheritance” (1:18), and “the riches of [God’s] glory” (3:16). Chapter 3, verse 21: “Unto him [Father God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Once Fallen Short, Now Rejoicing #6

Saturday, October 19, 2019

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV).

Here is the bad news… Now, the good news….

The prophetic program—with the redeemed nation Israel at the heart—is designed to glorify Jesus Christ in the earth (see Matthew 6:13; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 19:28; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31; et al.). Our mystery program—with us the Church the Body of Christ at the core—is intended to glorify Jesus Christ in the heavenly places. The members of both entities, once marred by sin and cut off from God, are now united to Him by Christ’s shed blood. Whether in Israel or the Body of Christ, everything God the Son is and believes can be exhibited throughout the endless ages to come. Here was the Father’s plan from the very beginning, a plan to glorify His Son; Ephesians 1:17 thus calls Him “the Father of glory.”

As we use the Gospel of the Grace of God to look by faith at the Lord Jesus Christ, we better grasp the glory of God that we once lacked as Hell-bound sinners: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Father God is taking His former enemies (us!), redeeming them from sin, and now using them as vessels to reflect His grace!

Now possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can glorify the God of the Bible. No more lost sinners, we are justified saints, and can reflect Him in our thoughts and behaviors. First Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” These fallen bodies allow us only so much understanding of that truth, and there is something far greater awaiting us: “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).

We “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2), remembering 2 Thessalonians 2:14, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the Antichrist alive right now?

Standing Up But Going Down #3

Monday, September 9, 2019

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand (Daniel 8:25 KJV).

Who is he who will “stand up” to go down?

Read Psalm 83. Israel’s Little Flock, her believing remnant, cries out to Almighty God for help. The Antichrist ruthlessly persecutes and mercilessly slays them. Notice the final seven verses: “[12] [The Antichrist and his ally nations] Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. [13] [Believing Israel prays] O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. [14] As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; [15] So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. [16] Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. [17] Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: [18] That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”

Paul the Apostle summarizes God’s reply and the Antichrist’s swift defeat: “And then shall that Wicked [Antichrist] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming(2 Thessalonians 2:8). Here is Christ’s fiery Second Coming, what chapter 1 already mentioned: “[7]… 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: [9] Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power….”

Today’s Scripture says the Antichrist “shall be broken without hand.” This phraseology “without hand” indicates Divine intervention as opposed to human efforts. God, not man, is acting (see especially Christ’s Second Coming and Israel’s subsequent kingdom of Daniel 2:34,44,45; cf. Mark 14:58 and Colossians 2:11). Indeed, the Antichrist will stand up against the Prince of princes… and go down violently, suddenly, and permanently! Amen!

A Celebration in Every Nation!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory (Psalm 98:1 KJV).

Behold, the King reigns over all the Earth!

Psalm 98 is the core of the “New Song Psalms” (96–100). All five psalms should be read together to see the full picture—Jesus Christ’s Second Coming to sit in the throne of His glory. Today’s Scripture is the violent Battle of Armageddon, when He vanquishes Israel’s enemies. All nations witnessed it, and now they revere Him: “[2] The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.”

Israel is redeemed from sin and restored from judgment, now ready to enter and enjoy God’s earthly kingdom: “[3] He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. [4] Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. [5] Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. [6] With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.” The sounds of musical instruments are heard throughout the world. God’s Son has become “heir of all things!”

The natural world celebrates that the rightful King now literally and physically sits on David’s throne in Jerusalem: “[7] Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. [8] Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together [9] Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.” All corrupt governments have been put down, Satan’s evil world system has been permanently abolished, and now righteousness reigns throughout the endless ages to come!

“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9). “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 21, 2019

“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).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study by the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #2

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Jesus knew Bible prophecy had to be fulfilled: He had to suffer in accordance with the Old Testament prophets. Even when He spoke seven times from the cross, He quoted various Old Testament verses. The Old Testament prophets also gave Him comfort: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (today’s Scripture).

For instance, He remembered that Jonah’s prophecy had to be fulfilled: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the third day, He would live again, and be reunited with His heavenly Father!

He knew that His Father would resurrect Him. His spiritual torment and physical death were only temporarily, as David quoted Jesus 1000 B.C., “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:24-31).

Our Lord thought of reigning over that glorious kingdom that His Heavenly Father would give Him after His resurrection. As the psalmist wrote centuries before Calvary’s crosswork, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:6-8). “Begotten” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, not His nativity in Bethlehem (Acts 13:33,34).

Jesus Christ, during His torturous crucifixion, thought about and rejoiced in the promises in the Scriptures that applied to Him. Likewise, we, during difficult circumstances, can remember and joy in God’s promises to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We too can share Messiah’s joy amidst grief! 🙂

The “Triumphal” Entry

Sunday, April 14, 2019

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matthew 21:4,5 KJV).

Do you ever wonder why Jesus Christ rode on a donkey the Sunday before His crucifixion?

In today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19), Jesus’s crucifixion on Calvary’s cross is just five days away. Leaving Bethany, He travels to Jerusalem (a mile to the northwest). Israel’s believing remnant in Jerusalem is excited to hear that Messiah is returning to “the city of the great King” (Psalm 48:2; Matthew 5:35); in anticipation, the great multitude throws their garments and palm branches on the ground. As Jesus enters the city, they cry out, “Hosanna [“O save!”]: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9,10; Luke 19:38; John 12:13; cf. Psalm 118:26).

While often called the “Triumphal Entry,” there really was no victory being celebrated in today’s Scripture—the victory was to come later! What we need to realize is that Jesus Christ was humble (“meek”) here: as a King riding on a donkey into Israel’s capital city, He demonstrated He desired peace with Israel (a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9). He had not come to destroy her, though He would have been just in doing so; He had come to save her from her sins, her enemies, and her satanic bondage (Matthew 1:21; Mark 2:17; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 1:68-75; Luke 9:55,56; Luke 19:9,10; Acts 3:24-26; et cetera).

Just a few days later, Jesus Christ appeared weak and defeated. He never fought back as the Roman soldiers mercilessly abused Him; He allowed Himself to be crucified on Calvary. It was His meek and lowly coming; now was not the time to pour out His wrath. He resurrected and ascended into heaven as a royal exile. Revelation 19:11 says Jesus Christ will return to Jerusalem on a white horse, a sign of war and wrath (Zechariah 14:1-4)—that will be His true triumphal entry, for He will conquer Satan’s world system forever!