Understanding Grace Living

Saturday, May 21, 2022

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:14,15 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand grace living?

What is the key to victorious Christian living for us? Again, had this question been correctly answered these last 20 centuries, there would be much less confusion, disappointment, and discouragement among church members. Try as hard as we might, we cannot (!) force God to do something He is not doing. Indeed, we can pick and choose Bible verses that teach “perform to get God’s blessings” (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14, for example). This is the Law of Moses, operating at that particular point on the Bible timeline. Yet, is that what the LORD tells us today in this Age of Grace? No. No. No. According to the Lord speaking through the Apostle Paul, today’s Scripture teaches us we are under grace not law. To be “under grace” is opposite of “under law”—if words mean anything, of course!

It is entirely possible—yea, it has happened—that we can be “scriptural” and be outside God’s will. Not only must we be scriptural, we must also be dispensational. What are God’s instructions to us? They are “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” committed exclusively to the Apostle Paul’s trust: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Ephesians 3:1,2). To find victorious Christian living for us members of the Church the Body of Christ, we read Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Contrary to popular belief, to be “under grace” does not mean God encourages us to go live in sin. (We were already doing that before we came to faith in Christ anyway!) Grace teaches us not to sin (see Titus 2:11-15). What Almighty (all-powerful) God can do for us through Calvary (grace)—for we are too sinful and weak to do anything for Him (law)—is how the Christian life operates. It is Jesus Christ’s life manifested in and through us, as we walk by faith in the principles of Pauline theology.

NOTE: With our “Original 7” studies expanded a seventh time, we grow up into more sound Bible doctrine.

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;(1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

On this United States’ National Day of Prayer, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Today, religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—will assemble nationwide, like they do every year, and pray for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

For Ye Have the Poor Always with You? #3

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (Mark 14:7 KJV).

“For the poor always ye have with you?”

Contrary to what some have asserted, the Lord was not opposed to assisting poor people or fighting poverty. As today’s Scripture suggests, He endorsed helping those less fortunate. “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good….” This was in harmony with the will of God already revealed to Israel in Deuteronomy 15:11. The Law of Moses had stated, “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

“But me ye have not always.” This is in contradistinction to the poor never ceasing out the land. Christ Himself had just a few days left to live, for He was on His way to die on Calvary’s cruel cross. His disciples needed to get their priorities straight. They were to honor Him while they still had opportunity—that is, while He was still alive. He was to have superiority because His Heavenly Father had arranged it as such. The Lord Jesus Christ is the most important Person in the whole universe, which is why He will one day head all governments in Heaven and Earth: “…that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell…” (Colossians 1:18,19).

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). We should do what we can to help those struggling financially, especially fellow Christians. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth(Ephesians 4:28). In this world of escalating inflation and rising unemployment, among several other societal woes, the Church the Body of Christ should be especially mindful of these simple verses.

Categorized! #7

Friday, April 29, 2022

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10 KJV).

Behold, the evil categorizer!

Addressing Israel’s believing remnant, both during the Acts period and Daniel’s 70th Week, the Apostle John communicates in 1 John chapter 2: “[1] My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: [2] And he is the propitiation [fully-satisfying payment or sacrifice] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” We want to draw our attention to the title “advocate.” Jesus Christ is the believer’s defense attorney or intercessor, someone called alongside to help. (By the way, that Greek word is “parakletos,” rendered “Comforter” with respect to the Holy Spirit aiding the believer. See John 14:16,26; John 15:26; John 16:7.)

Though the nation Israel is sinful and has not kept the Old Covenant, that system of the Law of Moses was temporary (see Galatians 3:15-26). Once a believing remnant learns the lesson of the Law—that they would be blessed of God because of His grace instead of their goodness—they can serve as His kingdom of priests in the Earth. That was the LORD’S intention all along with the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3, long before the Law of Moses was ever instituted. The New Covenant qualifies them to be heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. When Satan interjects that Israel’s believing remnant is composed of sinners, unable to be God’s people in the Earth, Jesus Christ pronounces them innocent, for He has paid for their sins by shedding His sinless blood on Calvary’s cross! Their sin debt cancelled, Satan’s “categorizing” of them is invalid.

As members of the Church the Body of Christ, the same is true of us. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:13).

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “How does the love of Christ ‘constrain’ us?” and “Should we pray to the Holy Ghost?

Categorized! #5

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10 KJV).

Behold, the evil categorizer!

We return to Zechariah chapter 3: “[4] And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. [5] And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.

“[6] And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, [7] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. [8] Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. [9] For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. [10] In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.”

Joshua the High Priest is given clean clothes, a type of Israel’s redemption to be God’s kingdom of priests in the ages to come. In verse 8, we see Messiah Jesus (“the BRANCH”). Of course, verse 9 hints at the New Covenant, Israel’s forgiveness, the LORD promising, “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day” (cf. Zechariah 13:1,2—also Christ’s return; note chapter 12, verse 10, and chapter 13, verse 6).

Now, light has been shed on today’s Scripture….

Categorized! #4

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10 KJV).

Behold, the evil categorizer!

“Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” (Isaiah 49:24). When the Devil disputed the validity of God’s promise to use defiled Israel in the ages to come, the Divine reply thundered: “[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.” While it was unclear to Satan and Israel in Isaiah’s day precisely how the LORD would address Israel’s sin problem, we (with a completed Bible in hand) realize that was Messiah/Christ Jesus promising to fight Satan face-to-face at Calvary 700 years into the future!

Though Israel is Satan’s spiritual prisoner, under the control of sin and useless to God, Messiah will liberate them and make them His people and cause them to be righteous. “For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he” (Jeremiah 31:11). Also see verses 31-34, the promise of the New Covenant, when Christ’s shed blood is applied to Israel’s national account, rendering her forgiven and cleansed of her filthiness (cf. Hebrews chapters 8–10). This new arrangement to permanently cancel the sin debt accrued under the Old Covenant (Law of Moses), will be ratified at the Lord’s Second Coming (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:26,27; Hebrews 9:14-17). Here, the Holy Spirit is poured out on Israel to cause them to walk in God’s ways, to be God’s people in the Earth, free from Satan’s evil categorizing of them (Ezekiel 36:25-38)….

Categorized! #3

Monday, April 25, 2022

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10 KJV).

Behold, the evil categorizer!

When the nation Israel entered the covenant or contract with the LORD God at Mount Sinai, they had already been notified of its severe conditions: “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). The “if… then” requirement is noteworthy. If Israel obeyed God’s laws, then she would be His people. The converse was also true. If she disobeyed, then she would not be His people. Most foolishly, the Israelites agreed to this disastrous arrangement: “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do” (verse 8).

In Isaiah chapter 49, as Almighty God relates His wonderful promises to bless and use the nation Israel for His earthly purposes, a stern objection is raised in verse 24: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” This is Satan’s boast, and its contents are extremely weighty. How can holy God use sinful Israel? What a dilemma! In the 700 years since Moses, they have defiled themselves and God’s land with false religion and devil worship! Satan brags, “They legally belong to me, God, for they have disobeyed You!”

Let us turn back to Zechariah 3:1-3, re-reading Satan’s accusation against Joshua the High Priest: “…Satan standing at his right hand to resist [oppose, contest] him…. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” As Israel was to be God’s kingdom of priests but corrupted herself with the evil world system, so Joshua the Jewish High Priest is dirty. Joshua symbolizes his nation, both equally unclean to serve in their God-given roles because they bear Satan’s attributes….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is an ‘execration?’

The Bible’s Season of New Life

Monday, April 18, 2022

“God that made the world and all things therein… he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:24,25 KJV).

May we never forget the true meaning of Eastertime!

Satan is the master counterfeiter: from Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures reveal how the devil schemes to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Whatever God does, Satan defiles that work by introducing false doctrine, distracts mankind from God’s truth by mimicking His actions, discourages God’s people from His ministry by using incorrect thinking patterns, and so on. Why? Satan wants the worship that God alone deserves (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Consider Christmastime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping the birth of the sun god in early winter—near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) took upon human flesh in the virgin Mary’s womb! Now, consider Eastertime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping fertility deities and new life in early spring, near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) died for our sins and resurrected victoriously over sin, death, hell, and Satan to give us new life! (To Satan’s delight, today’s average church member is not mindful of relevant sound Bible doctrine during Christmastime and Eastertime—the devil’s distractions have never lost their efficacy!)

The God of the Bible instituted in Israel a festival, Passover (the killing of a spotless lamb and its bloodshed in early spring), while they were still in Egypt (Exodus chapter 12)—Passover’s annual observance reminded them of JEHOVAH delivering them from Egyptian slavery unto new life. Israel did not understand its meaning until 1,500 years later. The true Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, died and shed His sinless blood during that annual Passover feast (early spring), and He resurrected in new life to give them spiritual life and liberty.

Yes, the pagans may have “hijacked” this time of year for the devil’s glory, but we can disregard their ignorance: spring is God’s season for new life. We can still use this season to bring the God of the Bible glory by remembering that He has given us physical life (today’s Scripture), and He offers us new life (that is, spiritual life) through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! 🙂

Without Blemish and Without Spot #3

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Passover/Calvary is two days away (Matthew 26:1,2). Israel’s chief priests, scribes, and elders connive to deceitfully arrest and murder Jesus. At Simon the leper’s house in nearby Bethany, Mary pours ointment on Jesus’ head (unknowingly preparing Him for burial). Judas Iscariot schemes with the chief priests to betray Christ for 30 silver pieces (verses 14-16). Jesus eats an early Passover with His 12 Apostles (verses 17ff.). On the Mount of Olives, He prays, before being betrayed and apprehended. His unjust, nighttime trial concludes late the next morning. Sentenced to death (!), He is crucified at 9 A.M.; He lets Himself die by 3 P.M. (Mark 15:25-38).

Israel could have verified Jesus as Messiah-Redeemer during those four days between Palm Sunday and Calvary. Rather than wrongdoing, He cleansed the defiled Temple, demonstrated God’s power, preached the truth, upheld the pure Mosaic Law, defended and expounded the Hebrew Bible, and exposed Israel’s perverted religious leaders. Scripture testifies of Christ Jesus during His last days: “the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4), “just [righteous]” (Matthew 27:19), “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4), “I… have found no fault in this man… No, nor yet Herod…” (Luke 23:14,15), “I have found no cause of death in him” (Luke 23:22), “this man hath done nothing amiss [no wrong]” (Luke 23:41), “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38), “I find no fault in him” (John 19:4). (Cf. Matthew 27:23; Mark 15:14; Luke 23:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; cf. today’s Scripture)

Matthew 27:24,25: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the [Jewish] people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.Israel knew Pilate was correct; however, they could not care less that Jesus was innocent. Like all other sinful (deceived) children of Adam, they refused God’s sinless Son as their King: they demanded He be crucified as an imposter (John 19:15)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Peter merely cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant?

Without Blemish and Without Spot #2

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Christ rides the donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11). (Passover, His death, is about four days away [cf. John 12:1,12-16].) Entering the Temple, He cleanses it of the thieves who had been utilizing “God’s religion” to deceive and rob His people; there, He heals the blind and lame (Matthew 21:12-14). Israel’s religious leaders grow envious when children praise Him (verses 15,16).

Sleeping in nearby Bethany for the night, Jesus returns to Jerusalem in the morning to curse the barren fig tree (verses 17-22). God will never reinstitute the Mosaic Law, for it has produced no spiritual fruit in Israel. In the Temple, Israel’s religious leaders demand of Christ where He received His authority, and slyly dodge His subsequent question about John the Baptist (verses 23-27). He then issues three stinging parables: they do not follow God as they claim (verses 28-32), they willfully reject and scheme to murder His Christ—yes, He knows!! (verses 33-46), and they further refuse to believe on Him (22:1-14).

The Pharisees collaborate to get Jesus to say something incriminating before the Temple crowds (verse 15): they send delegates to ask Him about paying taxes (verses 16-22). The Sadducees then attempt to trick Him with a resurrection riddle (verses 23-33). A lawyer of the Pharisees finally asks Him about the great Law commandment (verses 34-40). Christ answers all three issues wisely! He asks them a question now, which they cannot answer; they are silenced (verses 41-46). Matthew chapter 23 follows—His severest censure of these false religious leaders (cf. John chapter 8)! He finally curses unbelieving Jerusalem, declaring that God’s house has become her house. Exiting the Temple, He walks to the Mount of Olives; in Matthew chapters 24 and 25, He delivers His magnificent end-time “Olivet Discourse.” Calvary is soon!

Indeed, when Israel was appraising the Passover lamb for slaughtering, sinless Jesus entered Jerusalem. He was the true Passover lamb, “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (today’s Scripture), to be sacrificed for us sinners (1 Corinthians 5:7). Would Israel sacrifice Him in faith? Or, in unbelief? Let us see….