Growing in Grace #5

Wednesday, August 15, 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?”

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (verse 9). What is this “longsuffering?” Who are these “all” whom God wants to come to repentance? Keep reading!

“[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” God’s “longsuffering” concerning the repentance of “all” is the Apostle Paul’s ministry. (Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men….” First Timothy 2:6-7: “[Christ Jesus] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, … a teacher of the Gentiles….”)

First Timothy chapter 1: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Saul of Tarsus being converted in Acts chapter 9 was the “pattern” of God’s longsuffering in this the Dispensation of Grace!!

Father God placed all unbelieving Jews (including Saul) on the spiritual level of the Gentiles, thus affording them all equal access to Calvary’s cross. Paul’s Gospel—Jesus Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—explains the delay of prophetic wrath. Father God wants to give all Jews and all Gentiles opportunity to escape the wrath to come!

Israel’s Little Flock is expected to grow in this knowledge….

Growing in Grace #4

Tuesday, August 14, 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?”

Peter the Apostle is writing his second and final epistle for the following reason: “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (1:12). Israel’s believing remnant, whether back in the Book of Acts or beyond our day, needs some doctrine to believe, that Satan’s lie program not deceive them. One way the Devil troubled (and will trouble) the Little Flock of believing Jews is use scoffers to mock the promise of Christ’s Second Coming in fiery wrath. This mockery then causes the believing Jews to grow disheartened, and possibly wonder if Christ will return at all!

“[13] Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; [14] Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. [15] Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. [16] For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

Peter reminds them and argues, “we have not followed cunningly devised fables.” Jesus Christ is returning to judge God’s enemies, redeem Israel, deliver her into His kingdom, and reign gloriously on Earth. It is not a lie; while certain, it just is not the appropriate time. Something is holding back that magnificent return of Christ; the wrath has been delayed. Israel’s believing remnant needs to “be established in the present truth” (verse 12, above). What is the “present truth?” This brings us to the close of Peter’s farewell epistle.

Second Peter chapter 3, verse 9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The Lord is not lazy, unreliable, or deceitful. Rather, He is longsuffering, tolerant, purposely procrastinating….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Acts 22:16 teach that water baptism washes away sins?

Growing in Grace #3

Monday, August 13, 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?”

Before the Holy Spirit penned today’s Scripture, He established this context: “[3] Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

The Apostle Peter’s earthly life and ministry are nearly over (1:13,14). Jesus Christ died, resurrected, and ascended into Heaven 35 years earlier. For four decades, unbelieving (Christ-rejecting) Israel has been warned of God’s coming judgment. Where is it? Was it a hoax? A bluff? A figment of the Apostles’ imaginations? A cheap scare tactic? Why has Jesus Christ not yet returned to consume them in fiery wrath? Before the chief Israeli Apostle expires, the Holy Spirit will use him to answer these mockers.

“[5] For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: [7] But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. [8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. [10] But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

Why has the Divine wrath of the prophetic program not yet been manifested? When will Jesus Christ return to address evil and punish unbelievers? Notice verse 9….

The Wise Masterbuilder #9

Saturday, January 13, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Immediately preceding today’s Scripture, Scripture says: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Whether Paul or Apollos (verses 4-8), both were working toward the same end. Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and risen again was being preached as (1) sufficient payment for sins and (2) the key to victorious Christian living. “According to the grace of God which is given unto [Paul]” (today’s Scripture)—in keeping with the divine favor or office given him—Jesus Christ was being proclaimed.

Notice two disparate passages. Firstly, the Apostle Peter speaking to the nation Israel in Acts chapter 3: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Secondly, the Apostle Paul addressing Gentiles in Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

While Peter was speaking of Jesus Christ according to “prophecy” (“spoken since the world began”), Paul was proclaiming Jesus Christ according to “mystery” (“kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest”). What is “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery?” We must consult Paul’s apostolic office….

The Wise Masterbuilder #7

Thursday, January 11, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Returning to the context of today’s Scripture, we begin the chapter at verse 1 and work our way down to ascertain its thought-flow: “[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. [2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? [4] For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”

As we read earlier in chapter 1, and just noticed in chapter 3, so we read in chapter 11: “[18] For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. [19] For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” Again, the most basic problem in Corinth is “divisions” (schisms). They follow a wide variety of people—Peter, Apollos, Christ in His earthly ministry, and Paul. This has thus caused them to hold diverse doctrines (“heresies”). Moreover, pagan Greek philosophers and legalistic Jewish false teachers have further confused them. Sound Bible doctrine is under attack: the teaching ministry of the Spirit of God is being suppressed and the flesh (man’s sin nature) is in complete control at Corinth! (Sound familiar?)

The solution to the Corinthian dilemma—yea, Christendom’s problem even today—is to see and embrace the wisdom of the wise masterbuilder that can construct a mighty spiritual edifice to the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ….

The Wise Masterbuilder #6

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Earlier, we referred to the Apostolic conference in Jerusalem as documented in Acts chapter 15 and Galatians chapter 2. There, Paul and Barnabas met with James, Peter, and John. Many years later, at the very end of his life and ministry, the Apostle Peter penned as the Holy Spirit moved him: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Even at such a late date, Peter did not understand all Pauline doctrine: Peter knew God had given Paul “wisdom” not given to him (Peter).

When we consider Peter’s Jewish-oriented ministry, Christ’s Jewish-oriented earthly ministry, and Peter’s limited knowledge of Pauline theology, now we understand the purpose of today’s Scripture. It is actually a warning. Who is the “wise masterbuilder” according to God’s plan for the Corinthians? Peter? Nay! Christ in His earthly ministry? Nay! Who has laid the foundation as concerning those Corinthian saints? Peter? Nay! Christ in His earthly ministry? Nay! Today’s Scripture says Paul is the “wise masterbuilder” and Paul has laid the foundation. How is he “wise?” God revealed some special information directly to him.

Ephesians chapter 3:“[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)….”

Our first Bible Q&A of 2018: “Was Mary Magdalene really a prostitute?

The Wise Masterbuilder #5

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

In 2 Timothy 2:15, we find some extremely useful instructions: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The “word of truth,” obviously, is the Bible, for Jesus Christ said to His Heavenly Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The Bible is to be studied “rightly divided,” but how is this to be done? Since the Holy Spirit through Paul told us to “rightly divide the word of truth,” He also instructed us through Paul how to do it.

The Holy Spirit through Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 2: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

In “time past,” God dealt with mankind on the basis of physical circumcision (Jew) and physical uncircumcision (Gentile). However, beginning with Paul’s ministry, this changed. In the “but now,” there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile (cf. Galatians 5:6, Galatians 6:15)—all are considered Gentile (or “heathen;” Galatians 1:16). With the switch from “time past” to “but now,” God would send a man to preach to the Gentiles—Saul of Tarsus (cf. Acts 26:16-18, Romans 11:13). Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians, verse 2, says of the Corinthians: “Ye know that ye were Gentiles….”

The Corinthians’ main problem, as apparent in today’s Scripture, was forgetting whom God had sent to them….