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….

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #1

Wednesday, July 18, 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 Apostle Paul had been a rabbinical scholar—a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5; cf. Acts 26:5), an “uncompromising Judaistic fundamentalist.” He was certainly no ignoramus when it came to the precepts of the Mosaic Law. After all, he trained under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), a rabbi whom orthodox Jews know and revere even today!

When writing to young Pastor Timothy, Paul penned in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[3] As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. [5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: [6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; [7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

“[8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Verse 3 shows us that, in Ephesus, some legalists are causing spiritual turmoil by teaching doctrine contrary to Pauline revelation. The Holy Spirit exposes their error in verse 7: “Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” Considering Paul’s background, he could rightly evaluate what was and was not the purpose of the Mosaic Law. Scripture can indeed be twisted to teach error….

Liberated to Serve

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

“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 242nd 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.

A Small Moment Versus Everlasting #2

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:7,8 KJV).

The nation Israel is in terrible straits, but she also has a spectacular future!

While the fifth course of judgment is dreadful, it (looking into the future) is winding down. Jesus Christ returns to Earth to conclude its final seven years. Israel will be permanently restored to JEHOVAH God: He will marry her again, and marry her to her land again. He has not left her under His wrath indefinitely, oppressed of the Gentiles forever. It is “for a small moment” He has forsaken her, hidden His face from her. “In a little wrath” that is “for a moment,” He has punished her for her sins.

Now, with Christ’s Second Coming drawing closer, God will soon show Himself to Israel for the first time in millennia. He is approaching to “gather” her “with great mercies.” Wrath is passing; light is dawning. His face literally shines as He enters Earth’s atmosphere! They see Him! His people mourn that their ancestors crucified Him all those centuries ago! His enemies wail in fear—He is not happy! As He literally and physically stands in Israel’s land for the first time in 20 centuries, He shows her “everlasting kindness” and “mercy.” He is her “Redeemer,” having rescued her from sin, death, Hell, and Satan. Now, she will enjoy God’s goodness forever in His earthly kingdom, never again to be judged.

Isaiah chapter 49: “[24] Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? [25] But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. [26] And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.”

A Small Moment Versus Everlasting #1

Monday, July 2, 2018

“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:7,8 KJV).

The nation Israel is in terrible straits, but she also has a spectacular future!

As per the Law Covenant (Leviticus 26:1-46; Deuteronomy 28:1-68), Israel’s obedience brought God’s blessing while disobedience occasioned curses. In today’s Scripture, she finds herself cursed. Unbelieving and rebellious (idolatrous), now God has chastised her with five courses of judgment. The fifth stage is operating. It began in centuries before Christ, it is currently suspended during our Dispensation of Grace, and (thus from our view) today’s Scripture is actually Israel yet future. In the seven-year Tribulation, Israel will be judged most terribly.

Today’s Scripture in context: “[5] For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. [6] For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. [7] For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. [8] In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”

JEHOVAH God had married Israel, but she was unfaithful—“a whoring after other gods” (Judges 2:17; Judges 8:33; 1 Chronicles 5:25; Hosea 1:2; cf. Exodus 34:10-17). God divorced her (Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 4:1-9), evicting her from His Promised Land and giving her over to her Gentile enemies. Psalm 106:39-42: “[39] Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. [40] Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. [41] And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. [42] Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.”

Israel finds herself here in today’s Scripture….