Sanctified Through God’s Truth

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17 KJV).

Jesus Christ prayed to His Heavenly Father for His followers in Israel’s program (especially His Apostles—verse 12). He would do likewise for us today in the Dispensation of Grace.

Sanctification is not to be confused with justification. The former is to be “set apart for the purpose for which God intended;” the latter means “declared righteous before God.” One must be justified (righteousness imputed to his account) before he can be sanctified (useful to God’s work—“holy,” a “saint”).

Just moments before His arrest, Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane communes with Father God by praying throughout John chapter 17. Verse 8 is crucial to grasping today’s Scripture: “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Now, verse 14: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

The Lord was not praying for His followers to be saved unto eternal life (they were already justified). What He desired was spiritual fruit, their identity in Him being manifested in the form of works. Father God’s Word—which He (Jesus) had just taught them for over three years—would be how the Holy Father would use those men for His purposes. He would send His Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2) to empower them according to the words He had already given them in Christ’s earthly ministry. That message would be further expanded once the Holy Spirit came (see John 14:26; John 15:25-27; John 16:7-14).

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Saints, God’s Word to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—will effectually work in us on a daily basis if we believe it. Then, we too will be “sanctified through [God’s] truth!”

Refuge! #4

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

Many are astonished to learn that God did not set the nation Israel aside at Calvary’s cross. Although she deliberately executed His beloved Son, He extended to Israel a renewed opportunity of repentance in early Acts. He poured out His Holy Spirit on her believing remnant (Acts chapter 2). Those believers preached to unsaved Israel to repent and be water baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (verse 38). Divine wrath had not yet been poured out.

The Holy Spirit declares through the Apostle Peter in Acts chapter 3: “[12] …Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this [lame] man to walk? [13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Verse 17 is highly notable. Indeed, Father God has honored His Son’s request in Luke 23:34. He has demoted the indictment of Israel from murder to manslaughter. They were spiritually ignorant, blinded; hence, they put Him to death. Premeditated killing (murder), according to the Mosaic Law, is punishable by death. Israel deserves death (destruction)! Thankfully, though, God took advantage of a loophole in the Law!! As a “manslayer unaware,” Israel may flee to “the cities of the refuge.” To where should she run? She must abscond by faith to the Little Flock, for the avenger of blood is impending….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #6

Saturday, September 29, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

The Lord Jesus uttered harsh words in Matthew chapter 11: “[21] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [24] But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”

Matthew 10:15: “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city [where Christ’s Apostles preached].” Christ said in Luke chapter 10: “[12] But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. [13] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. [15] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. [16] He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.”

Yea, to whom much is given, much will be required….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #5

Friday, September 28, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

Dear friends, no one “accidentally” goes to Hell. Only after a long (!) process of deliberately rejecting divine revelation—creation, conscience, and Bible—does a soul wake up in hellfire. The living, loving God of creation issued every possible warning… all was refused. His justice must enforce His righteousness. Sin will be punished in full!

From the time He created and placed man on Earth, the God of the Bible has constantly extended a message for man’s faith and obedience. While the written Bible was not always available, there was God’s spoken Word, which leaves “pre-Bible man” also without excuse. Sodom and Gomorrah, since they are so early on the Bible timeline, had very limited revelation from God (no Bible, but God’s spoken Word nonetheless).

The destruction of wicked Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the most striking events of divine judgment in the Old Testament. Genesis 19:24,25: “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” The Bible refers to this outstanding incident numerous times (cf. today’s Scripture, Deuteronomy 29:23, Isaiah 1:9, Amos 4:11, Zephaniah 2:9, Luke 17:29, 2 Peter 2:6, et cetera).

Jude 7 remarks, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” God utilized fire and brimstone (sulfur) to destroy these two sinful cities. Yet, there is far worse eternal judgment. Notice today’s Scripture, a record of Christ’s earthly ministry. Jesus Christ sent out His 12 Apostles to preach in His name. Whoever would reject these men will have a harsher experience before Him than Sodom and Gomorrah will have….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “When did Paul know about Israel’s fall?

Spurning God Thrice

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

“But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:21 KJV).

The God of the Bible is a Trinity—three separate and distinct Persons all equally God. Behold, this was highly advantageous to the nation Israel!

THE FATHER REJECTED. John 1:6 says, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:3). Father God sent John the Baptist to be the forerunner of His Son. He announced Messiah’s arrival to Israel, yet Israel permitted King Herod to behead John. Nevertheless, God extended mercy to evil Israel. Judgment did not fall.

THE SON REBUFFED. Jesus said in Matthew 12:32: “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him:….” “Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:22,23). On Calvary’s cross, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). At His Son’s request, Father God was merciful to wicked Israel. Judgment did not fall.

THE SPIRIT REJECTED. Matthew 12:31,32: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men…. whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” With the Holy Spirit coming in Acts chapter 2, Israel was given one final year of mercy. Israel must repent and trust Jesus Christ, for He is returning in wrath to punish their unbelief. Through the 12 Apostles, God the Holy Spirit pled with Israel until chapter 7. Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost, preached before Israel’s leadership. They stoned him! As Jesus said, this would not be forgiven (cf. Hebrews 6:4-6).

Strangely, judgment did not fall, even here. God changed dispensations, delaying that wrath to fall beyond our day! That individual Jews and Gentiles be saved from Divine judgment, He began Paul’s ministry, the Dispensation of Grace!

Growing in Grace #7

Friday, August 17, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Peter thus bids farewell to the Circumcision Saints, supplying them with the information needed to avoid the “error of the wicked.” These various doctrinal and practical sins—false teaching, confusion, doubt, non-dispensational Bible study, and so on—are to be replaced with an updated view of God’s program for man.

Israel’s Little Flock is to grow in the doctrines of grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as revealed to the Apostle Paul. They must appreciate why their earthly kingdom has been momentarily suspended (but certainly not abolished!!). Despite ignorant mockers’ accusations, God’s promise to send His Son again stands firm. He has not forgotten about Israel; He has merely postponed her program to operate our mystery program. Rather than pouring out wrath, He is offering mercy to the whole world—Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 11:25-32)!

Dear brethren, if God wanted the Circumcision Saints long ago and yet future to be “established in the present truth” (1:12), how much more does He desire it for us? After all, “the present truth” is that we (the Church the Body of Christ) and the mystery program have currently/presently interrupted and delayed Israel’s prophetic program. We are the reason why the Antichrist has not yet been revealed. The Dispensation of Grace, the Body of Christ, prevents the prophetic program from operating (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-14).

At the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ in Heaven, our dispensation will close, causing the prophetic program to recommence. The Antichrist will rise, reign for seven years, and ultimately be destroyed by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. Here, unbelievers are judged, including the scoffers who assumed that fiery wrath was fiction! Finally, Israel becomes God’s kingdom of priests, redeemed and ready to enter the Millennium. May we “grow in grace” too! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we call a minister ‘reverend?’

Growing in Grace #6

Thursday, August 16, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

Today’s Scripture is the very last verse God the Holy Spirit penned through the Apostle Peter. Indeed, it is the conclusion of Peter’s farewell epistle. The Spirit of God moved Israel’s chief Apostle to leave the Circumcision Saints (believing Israel, the Little Flock) with the mind-boggling thought of “grace.” This was not ordinary grace, but rather God’s grace manifested in a very special way. That unique exhibition of grace was committed to “our beloved brother Paul” (verses 15,16). Before passing off the scene and being with his Saviour and Lord, Peter reminds Israel’s believing remnant to remember the drastic dispensational changes that occurred with the Apostle Paul’s salvation and ministry.

As we can see so clearly in Pauline doctrine (namely, Romans chapters 9-11 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2), prophecy has not (God forbid!!!) been fabricated or canceled but merely delayed. The God of the Bible has temporarily departed from the prophetic timeline, that He may form the Church the Body of Christ of all Jews and Gentiles who will simply come to Him by faith alone in His Son’s finished crosswork alone. God’s earthly kingdom—Christ’s Second Coming in wrath, power, and great glory—is indeed literal and physical, only postponed. As Paul’s own testimony shows, those worthy of God’s judgment can be spared it (1 Timothy 1:15,16)!!!!

When Peter wrote, prophecy had been delayed for approximately 40 years. He had no idea, and neither did Paul, that we would be here 2,000 years later with the Dispensation of Grace still operating and prophecy yet on hold. Friend, do you see why Bible preservation is necessary? Once our dispensation terminates at the Rapture—our gathering together unto Christ—Israel’s prophetic calendar will resume where God paused it. Believing Israel will read today’s Scripture, just as they did when our dispensation first started long ago. They will have an answer to all the scoffers of their own day. We can appreciate God’s wisdom in having Peter write those last verses, his finishing chapter!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….