Neither an Avenger Nor a Doormat

Monday, February 8, 2016

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19 KJV).

Christians—neither avengers nor doormats!

A Christian sister I know once confronted an unsaved sibling who had begun the habit of stopping by her house and invading on her family’s private time together. After four visits in just four days, the lady kindly informed that relative to stop coming so often because it was becoming a nuisance. Not surprisingly, the relative took offense, and gave the Christian the “cold shoulder” for a year. Recently, the relative said of the believer, “Some ‘Christian’ she is!” (And, another relative said the same thing when that Christian lady did not acquiesce to her demands.)

The above scenarios typify the Christian living in the world. Most definitely, the label “Christians” is almost always associated with “doormat.” A Christian is never permitted to share the Gospel, but they are required to share everything else they can offer. And, how dare the Christian who says anything in his or her defense! He or she is expected to let people come in his or her home, take over, and say nothing to object. A Christian is just naturally expected to quietly give everyone free automobile rides, free labor, free food, free shelter, free everything. And if you do not comply, they make a snide remark to construct a false guilt trip (and, by their design, you give in).

We pray for those people who despitefully use us, but, brethren, use common sense. When you realize someone is abusing you, break it off. You have better things to do with your time than having someone constantly wiping their dirty shoes on you and your family! Be polite but just come out and say it, “Enough is enough!” Let people get upset. They have the problem—they are the problem. “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with” (Proverbs 17:14).

Something Not Worth Losing

Sunday, February 7, 2016

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 KJV).

Super Bowl Sunday comes annually in the United States. Teams fuel the intense passions in the athletic world by vying for a corruptible trophy. Howbeit, the competition in today’s Scripture is spiritual, is worldwide, never has a halftime, and involves the eternal souls of men!

The human soul is most zealous about religion, politics, and sports. These areas are most personal, so they generate many heated debates and conflicts. However, believe it or not, there are worse outcomes than losing a church member, losing an election, and losing a game. Losing your eternal soul is the greatest of all losses!

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ told His Jewish disciples to “take up [their] cross, and follow [him]” (verse 24). “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (verse 25). They should not fear losing their earthly lives for His sake. What is most important is that they not lose their souls!

Jesus Christ declared there is more to life than this physical world and its temporal possessions. There is a spiritual world—an afterlife—to consider. In today’s Scripture, He asks them, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Does it make sense to emphasize this temporary world and its corruptible goods, to the point of ignoring your eternal soul, and wind up losing it in hellfire forever and ever?

Dear reader, there is more to you than just your physical body. Your inner man—your soul, your spiritual body—is everlasting. To ignore Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for your sins, is to remain dead in those sins, resulting in you spending eternity suffering God’s wrath in the lake of fire literally as a nameless, hopeless, disfigured creature.

Your soul is not worth losing! Trust Christ as your personal Saviour today!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who is ‘the Israel of God’ of Galatians 6:16?

Neither Careful Nor Carefree

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Neither be thou careful nor carefree, but keep thou today’s Scripture close to thee!

Recently, I sat with a Christian grandmother concerned about her young-adult granddaughter. She had made some very poor decisions and her grandmother was worried. All the lady could do, she said, was pray for her granddaughter. She had shared the Scriptures with her long ago when she was a child, but she had evidently departed from those divine words of wisdom. My heart went out to that poor lady, but at least she had not forgotten God’s Word. She had (wisely) remembered to pray for her dear grandchild.

Saints, we all have our various burdens—financial troubles, marriage issues, family problems, health concerns, et cetera. It is always nice to talk to another Christian and see what he or she did with the Scriptures in those difficult times. However, people are not always available (and willing) to listen. The most marvelous thing in all the universe is that we always have free and open access to Father God. By the indwelling Holy Spirit through Christ, we communicate with our Heavenly Father. He already knows our thoughts, but He enjoys us actually talking to Him (audibly or silently).

Rather than being “careful” (full of care, anxious, worrisome), we should be “prayerful.” Contrary to popular belief in religion, prayer does not change circumstances. But, prayer does transform us from the inside out. Prayer is simply talking to God in light of His Word to us about every individual life issue. What Satan can use to discourage us, we can be motivated to look into God’s written Word for the answer. That powerful Word (Hebrews 4:12) will “keep [guard] our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Brethren, Satan desires to attack our hearts and minds, so be vigilant, and stay in the Word rightly divided. Never forget your problems, pretending they are not there, but focus more on the Scriptures than your situations!

The Converted Nation and The Translated Word #5

Friday, February 5, 2016

“He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20 KJV).

Herein do we see God’s head of the nations—Israel!

God’s original covenant with Israel, the Abrahamic Covenant, was unconditional. He would graciously make her a channel of blessing to the nations without her religious efforts (Genesis 12:1-3). Nevertheless, Israel preferred religion, so God gave it: the Mosaic Law was “added because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19). The Law was a conditional covenant—that is, dependent upon Israel’s obedience or disobedience to all of God’s commandments.

As with Abraham fathering Ishmael instead of waiting for God’s promised son, Isaac (Genesis chapters 16 and 17), God proved to Moses and the succeeding Jewish generations that Abraham’s nation must depend on Him to accomplish His will for them rather than their futile struggles. Instead of realizing they were sinners like the Gentiles, Israel grew prideful of her relationship with the one true God. Jews thought they were better than the nations, not realizing of course that God had given them His Word so they could share it with the nations.

Thankfully, Galatians 3:14-25 says that Israel’s sins committed under the Mosaic Law economy do not cancel the Abrahamic Covenant. In Israel’s program, Jews who acknowledge their sins and their need for Jesus Christ, they will inherit the Abrahamic Covenant. By virtue of Christ’s shed blood, the New Covenant is how God will one day cancel Israel’s sin debt and cause them to become His people (Ezekiel 36:22-38; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:1-39), His kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10).

Zechariah 8:22,23 predicts: “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you(cf. Isaiah 2:2,3; Habakkuk 2:14)! :)

*NOTE: Saints, after a two-year delay, we have finally launched our new flagship ministry website, arCGraceMinistries.org! Here, you will find our Statement of Faith, links to all seven of our ministry websites, as well as news items, and information on how to purchase our (new) Bible study booklets now in print!

The Converted Nation and The Translated Word #4

Thursday, February 4, 2016

“He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20 KJV).

Herein do we see God’s head of the nations—Israel!

God proved to Abraham that he in his own strength could never produce the nation He wanted for His glory. The Abrahamic Covenant was God’s gift to Abraham and the seed that God would give him. Abraham was to do nothing to get it because he could do nothing to get it. God in His grace would do for Abraham what he (a sinner) could never do—produce a son that God would accept. Isaac was Abraham’s miracle son (Genesis chapter 17). The nation descending from Abraham would be God’s doing, not man’s doing.

Some 500 years after the Abrahamic Covenant, Israel is enslaved in Egypt. JEHOVAH God, by Moses, rescues them from Egypt. They will learn His Word and dwell in His land. In Exodus chapters 14-18, as Israel journeyed to the Promised Land, God provided for her every need. In chapter 19, however, Israel fell into the trap of religion. Rather than relying on God’s grace, they wanted to work their way into fellowship with Him. They would attempt to be His nation in their own strength. Note: “[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.” Verse 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.”

Israel failed to learn they would be God’s special people only because He would redeem them from sin. Instead, they accepted His Covenant of Law—now, they could only be His people if they obeyed Him. God, willing to show them their inability, obliged. Israel would have to learn she needed to be “converted!”

The Converted Nation and The Translated Word #3

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

“He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20 KJV).

Herein do we see God’s head of the nations—Israel!

One of the most famous Bible verses is the first, Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry and Colossians 1:16 that we see how God structured the Heaven and the Earth to function: “For by him [the Lord Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

In the original creation, there was perfect governmental organization. God created beings to serve Him in Heaven (angels) and other beings (humans—Adam and Eve) to serve Him on Earth. In Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19, we read about Lucifer/Satan leading a rebellion in the spirit world among the angelic hosts. This chief evil spirit then caused Earth to be polluted by recruiting mankind to follow him in Genesis chapter 3. Satan had the governments of both Heaven and Earth; he tainted them and most of their creatures with his sinful agenda.

God formed the nation Israel to do with Adam had failed to do—assume Earth’s governments for His glory (earthly kingdom). Israel was to reclaim Earth for Jesus Christ’s glory. Israel was to magnify God’s Word in the Earth, thereby undoing what Satan had done on Earth! (However, nothing was said about God’s purpose and plan for restoring Heaven unto Himself. We do not learn this secret plan of God until we come to Paul’s ministry, the books of Romans through Philemon. God kept that information secret until He was ready to reveal it.)

To restore Earth to Himself, God desired Israel to know Him first. They were to learn His Word, enjoy His goodness, and, as per the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3, they were to then take that knowledge and salvation to all the nations of the world! Let us see what Israel did….

The Converted Nation and The Translated Word #2

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

“He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20 KJV).

Herein do we see God’s head of the nations—Israel!

With 50 chapters, Genesis is one of the Bible’s largest books. Its first 11 chapters cover the first 2,000 years of human history. Chapters 12 through 50, however, cover only the next 300 years or so. Twenty centuries covered in 11 chapters, and only three centuries covered in 39 chapters. Why this drastic disproportionality? Simple!

Adam, once given “dominion over… every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28), had willfully lost it to Satan in chapter 3. God’s king of Earth relinquished his crown and Satan grabbed it (Matthew 4:8-10)! His purpose in creation would now be delayed. So, God had a plan to reclaim planet Earth and bring it back under His headship. From Adam (chapter 1) to Abraham (chapter 12), God was isolating a bloodline (people) for His name, so details are scarce there. Once that lineage was firmly established, from Abraham onward, the Bible’s focus on mankind narrows increasingly—Abraham’s son Isaac, Isaac’s son Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. By the time Genesis ends, Israel, no longer a small tribe, is now destined to become a nation of millions of people. But, let us not get ahead of ourselves….

Note Genesis 12:1-3, the Abrahamic Covenant: “[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.” That covenant passed to Isaac, then to Jacob, and finally to Jacob’s 12 sons (and thus Israel’s 12 tribes). Israel was to be a great nation, that the Creator God be made great in the Earth!