Saved or Lost? #23

Friday, September 23, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Scripture describes church leaders as God’s doorkeepers, watching over and guarding local assemblies from any and all error (re-read Acts 20:28-32!). If pastors, bishops, teachers, and preachers would believe and teach sound Bible doctrine (God’s Word rightly divided), false teaching (even non-rightly-divided verses) could be easily refuted. Neither these leaders nor their vulnerable congregants would be led astray.

Alas, for 20 centuries now, the professing church (especially its leadership) has paid almost no attention to the Lord’s special ministry through the Apostle Paul. Sure, they know of Paul, and a great many actually study and quote his writings, but nearly all people throughout church history have made Paul’s ministry a continuation of the 12 Apostles’ ministry, a mere commentator on “the church Jesus founded in Matthew to John,” an extension of the prophetic program, thereby hiding and destroying the very reason for Paul’s ministry (to operate the mystery program, separate and distinct from prophecy—to form the Church the Body of Christ, separate and distinct from the nation Israel).

For 2,000 years now, to Satan’s delight, we have wasted an unfathomable amount of time and energy teaching “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:3,4)—too willful and proud to change our course even up to this present hour. Behold, the dismal results! So many souls profess “belief in Christ,” but it is extremely difficult to discern who is a confused Christian (bound for Heaven, yet thinking like someone headed to Hell) and who is a confused non-Christian (bound for Hell, and lacking discernment to realize it).

Verily, verily, the Lord reads the hearts of all, and He knows the difference between a true (albeit misinformed) member of the Body of Christ and just some lost member of a counterfeit group. Brethren, we need to make sure we are walking in the spiritual light that we have, for, if we are grateful, we will gain more understanding concerning God’s will for us.

Let us (finally) summarize this devotionals arc….

Saved or Lost? #22

Thursday, September 22, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Re-read Acts 20:28-32, Paul counseling the church elders of Ephesus: Take heed [Watch out!!!! Beware!!!!] therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous [savage, merciless] wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul recognized the hazards were real. People not only outside the church—but inside it too—would seek its ruin. Individuals promoting sundry belief systems would corrupt God’s people, seducing them with foreign doctrines, splintering them into innumerable groups. Paul spent three years cautioning these Ephesian saints. Now bidding them farewell, he “commend[ed] [entrusted for safekeeping] [them] to God, and to the word of his grace,” for grace (Pauline) doctrine would keep them spiritually strong and fit to resist Satan’s lies. Remember, sound Bible doctrine “is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Roughly six years later, as Paul awaits his martyrdom, he writes to Timothy in Ephesus. That epistle includes a horrible (!!) commentary: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me(2 Timothy 1:15). Christians in “Asia” (modern Turkey; included Galatia, Colosse, Antioch of Pisidia, Lystra, Derbe, Ephesus [!!!]—regions Paul’s ministry had reached for the last 35 [!] years) had predominately forsaken Paul. Yes indeed, the Church the Body of Christ was apostate (fallen from grace/Pauline truth) 20 (!) centuries (!) ago (!)….

Our three latest Bible Q&As: “What are ‘sheaves?,’” “Who or what is ‘Belial?,’” and “What is a ‘concord?’

Saved or Lost? #21

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Whether a Christian’s flesh or a non-Christian’s flesh, it is the same Adamic (sin) nature. Non-Christians cannot help but sin because that is their only nature. Contrariwise, we Christians have two natures, so it is our choice whether or not we will believe sound Bible doctrine in our heart: “[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16-18).

Saints, unless we walk according to the indwelling Holy Spirit’s present ministry (grace not law, the Lord’s words in the Apostle Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon!), we will be just as much outside of God’s will as non-Christians. Only when we have a renewed mind will we think like Father God has designed us in Christ to think.

The Holy Spirit through Paul counseled the elders of the Ephesian church in Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Now, let us fast-forward five or six years….

Saved or Lost? #20

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Considering the plethora of verses we have surveyed thus far, dear saints, it should not astound us when we receive news of yet another person abandoning sound Bible doctrine for an alternative “belief system.” It is entirely possible for genuine Christians to be deceived (today’s Scripture), for Satan’s lie program employs various schemes and scams that can fool even the most spiritual believer. If the “mightiest” Christian (extremely learned in Bible verses, such as a pastor or teacher) can fall, the unskilled/ignorant (most church members!) are even more liable to fall. Such a tragedy can easily come to pass.

Remember, even Satan’s ministers use Bible terms such as “Jesus,” “spirit,” and “gospel”—and 2 Corinthians 11:3,4 was warning believers in Corinth. Keep reading that context: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel [surprise]; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” In fact, the Devil will encourage “righteousness”self-righteousness appearing to God’s righteousness because it is promoted in religious or “Christian” (HA!) church settings (where non-rightly Scripture is used, or church tradition entirely replaces Scripture).

The trickery is so extensive that those souls caught in the trap of 2 Timothy 2:26 will be most combative if we reach them with sound Bible doctrine. To admit Satan has confused them all along (and for so long) in church, is a horrifying thought (yes, I know all about that firsthand!), so they “cope” by remaining where they are (recall the king-turned-beggar happy where he is!) and dismissing you with the label of “narrowminded, fanatical, troublemaking church-splitter!” Mindful of this, Paul inquired rhetorically of the Galatians (4:16): Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

Let us be on guard….

Saved or Lost? #19

Monday, September 19, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Once more, 2 Corinthians 11:3,4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” We can talk about “the gospel” and yet not refer to Paul’s Gospel currently in effect.

Galatians 1:6-8: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed [avoided].” Comparing this to Acts 15:1-5, Galatians 4:21, Galatians 5:1-12, and Galatians 6:12-15; we realize a works-religion “gospel” message had misled the Galatians.

Paul preached the Gospel of Grace (“Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day”—1 Corinthians 15:3,4) to evangelize heathen Gentiles. Once Paul left those regions, “Judaizers” (Jewish denominationalists) would enter and confuse his grace converts with a performance-based acceptance system: “You need to be physically circumcised to gain God’s favor” (Biblical [Exodus 12:48] but not dispensational [according to Galatians chapters 4–6 cited above, inapplicable to us in this the Dispensation of Grace or Paul’s ministry]).

They cancelled Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s cross (grace) by “supplementing” it with man’s religious works (legalism). Today, we are not being pressured to embrace physical circumcision. Instead, religious tradition would have us believe water baptism, confession of sins, commandment-keeping, Sabbath Day observance, and tithing will “enhance” or “impart” eternal life and make God “happy” with us. Indeed, friends, the spiritual traps are everywhere….

Saved or Lost? #18

Sunday, September 18, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Second Corinthians 11:3,4 again: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” We can talk about “the spirit” and yet not refer to the Holy Spirit’s current ministry (Pauline doctrine).

Romans chapter 8: “[14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Fear is the Law’s motivation: “Obey God to get blessings, and disobey to receive curses” (Deuteronomy 28:1,2,15). However, the “spirit” or mental attitude (Ephesians 4:17-32, noting verse 23) the Holy Spirit imparts today is: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Grace, not law, teaches us how to live (Titus 2:11,12). Sin will defeat us daily only if we make our performance (law) the issue; Christ’s finished crosswork (grace working in us) makes us righteous before Father God.

Now, Galatians 5:18: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, leads no (!) one (!) to be under a performance-based acceptance system today (“work for God to accept you”). Remember, the Galatians were thoroughly confused here (today’s Scripture), Paul therefore asking in verse 21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” That is, “Were you not paying attention when I taught you how Law and Grace are totally incompatible?!” (Read Galatians 4:22–5:26.) Two billion (!) church members, 20 centuries later, are still bumbling and fumbling and stumbling here….

Saved or Lost? #17

Saturday, September 17, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Returning to 2 Corinthians 11:3,4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” We can “preach Jesus” and yet not preach the Jesus whom the Apostle Paul preached.

Second Corinthians chapter 5 explains: “[16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” While the Lord Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He did so on the basis of the distinction between “Circumcision” (Israel, Jews) and “Uncircumcision” (nations, Gentiles). Notice how Christ Himself said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). “Now I say that Jesus Christ was [past tense] a minister of the circumcision [Israel] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8). Also see Ephesians 2:11,12, how the “Uncircumcision” (non-Jewish, Gentile world) was “without Christ” in “time past,” but “now,” as per verse 13, that difference between Jew and Gentile has been abolished by virtue of Christ’s shed blood allowing both classes to come by faith into the Church the Body of Christ (“new creature;” “the one new man” of verse 15).

“Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.We now know Jesus Christ according to the mystery, Paul’s revelation, not His earthly ministry (Romans 16:25,26). Therefore, to follow Matthew through John as our pattern today is to embrace “another Jesus,” Satan tricking us without us even knowing it….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain ‘reproof’ and ‘reprove?’

Saved or Lost? #16

Friday, September 16, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Here is a prevailing myth: “No one will deceive me because I use the Bible.” Actually, we can utilize the Scriptures and still wind up confused. (Dear friend, you do remember all the so-called “Bible-believing” churches who quote Scripture verses to show how they disagree with every other group, do you not? People of world religions, having taken notice of these abysmal divisions, answer, “If that is what it means to be a Christian, we rather die without ‘Jesus!’”) This is a real shame—especially since it happens more often than we care to think.

It is frequently assumed that, as long as “the Bible” is preached or read at a local church, we would not be harmed if we attended services there. This is a shallow, immature assessment. Even Satan himself does not mind reading and quoting Scripture if it means fooling someone into thinking he (Satan) is God’s messenger (Matthew 4:5,6; Luke 4:9-11)! Recall 2 Corinthians 11:3,4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Just because someone talks about “Jesus” does not necessarily mean they are serving the Lord Jesus Christ today. Not everyone who speaks about “the spirit” is automatically referring to the Holy Spirit’s current work. Just because someone talks about “the gospel” does not inevitably mean they are preaching the Gospel message in effect right now. Those who speak against Jesus Christ and reject the Bible entirely, we know they are wrong. Whom we have to be especially careful around is Bible quoters. Unless it is the Bible “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), quoting verses will bring more darkness….

Saved or Lost? #15

Thursday, September 15, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Life in Christ absolutely cannot function on the basis of ignorance; we would be utter fools to think it can. After all, what is the purpose of the Holy Scriptures? Why did God the Holy Spirit inspire and preserve His Word and words through a multiplicity of reliable copies? Why did He translate those Divine words into our language? It was to impart to us the information He deemed fit: it was not all that we wanted to know (for there would be endless volumes), but all that we needed to know. How does God live? How has He designed our lives to operate? How does sin interfere with the Divine will being brought to pass? How has He made a way for us to overcome sin and be what He originally wanted for mankind and the rest of creation?

When the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to pen his epistles (formal letters a teacher writes to educate his students), it was to dispel misinformation and remove spiritual illiteracy concerning the Age of Grace. On six occasions, Paul expressed his desire that the people he won to Christ would not (!!!) abide in spiritual darkness concerning major dispensational truths: “I would not have you ignorant, brethren…” (Romans 1:13; Romans 11:25; 1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13). Unless the saints pay attention to these inspired, preserved words, they (we) will indeed be “ignorant [uninformed, unlearned, untaught, unaware] brethren!” (As anyone with an eye to see and an ear to hear knows, most professing believers today “have better things to do with their time than” actually read for themselves the Lord’s heavenly ministry through Paul. They prefer church leaders’ commandments, professors’ critical Hebrew and Greek lectures, commentary writers’ speculations, denominations’ handbooks, “Christian bestsellers,” the latest “easy-to-read” translations, “Christian” movies, “Christian” radio programs and podcasts, et cetera).

Yet, even Bible literacy can be invaluable to Satan’s cause in tricking genuine saints….

Saved or Lost? #14

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The saints in Corinth were exhorted: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34). Greeks by culture, the Corinthians had let their heathen neighbors adversely influence them. While members of the Body of Christ, the Corinthians were listening to pagan philosophers (among other false teachers). Too focused on the world’s “wisdom,” they had been distracted from “the knowledge of God.” Therefore, their Christian lives were asleep. Certainly, they should be ashamed—to the point of reforming. How deceived or misled we truly are if we think we will always be faithful to the Lord, that we will never disregard His words to us!

In 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 (which you would do well to read in your own personal Bible study), the Holy Spirit through Paul reminds these saints of how ancient Israel forgot what the LORD God did for them and forsook what He had told them. Verses 11-14 recapitulate: “[11] Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. [12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. [13] There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [14] Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” That is, “Be careful to be grateful to God, lest you saints at Corinth wind up like the apostate Israelites centuries ago!” Actually, the Corinthians were already dabbling in false religion, “fellowshipping with devils (verses 20,21)!

Saints, we too had better be attentive to the many spiritual perils around us….