victory

The Final Score

Friday, May 5, 2017

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 KJV).

Lo, the final score!

Friend, have you ever watched a sports game whose score was very close? What about when your favorite team had done so well in previous games, but was now losing so horribly? Surely, the other team would win the game! However, in the final moments, your team surges ahead—beating their opponents by few or many points! See, things can change very quickly in life.

Surveying the realm of Christendom, the truth seems to be losing. The masses flock to the false teachers; very few are interested in sound Bible doctrine. Christians are mercilessly tortured, robbed, silenced, imprisoned, and killed all around the world. God’s Word is ridiculed in many a school classroom and—yes, sadly—in many a “Christian” church! None of this is new, actually. You can study Genesis through Revelation to see that human history is riddled with such depressing news.

From chapter 13 until today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus has been eating and fellowshipping with His disciples on the night of His death. For much of that time, He has talked to them, telling them various bits of sad news. He informs them that one of them will betray Him (13:21). He will be leaving them (13:33-35). Peter will deny Him thrice (13:38). The world will hate them for following Him (15:18-27). They will be killed for His sake (16:2). They, fearing for their lives, will abandon Him shortly (16:32). What “bad” news! But, will truth lose?

In closing, He says in today’s Scripture, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation….” Having awareness of all their upcoming troubles, how could they have peace? The Lord gave them the final score in the battle between good and evil—“but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He spoke with absolute certainty: no matter what happened to them, no matter how Satan afflicted them, He told them that He (and thus they in Him) had won! Yes, brethren, we win, too! 🙂

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 16, 2017

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study by the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

Lifted and Fallen #6

Monday, February 13, 2017

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 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” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13 KJV).

Does the Bible teach “entire sanctification?” Today’s Scripture screams, NO!

Since we are all genetically related to Adam, all humans are equally prone to sin. Whatever Satan has used to seduce you to sin, he has utilized it to allure every other person, present or past. That is why the Bible says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man….”

Still, today’s Scripture pronounces we can indeed be victorious over sin. Nonetheless, it has nothing to do with our faithfulness (works-religion). Today’s Scripture goes on to say, God is faithful.” While Satan’s evil world system tantalizes us with various temptations, we escape them by “bearing” (enduring) them—not by having them removed. We have complete victory in Christ, but only in Christnot ourselves! Hence, Paul issues the command: “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (verse 14). The indwelling Holy Spirit can cause us to avoid idolatry (that is, Israel’s mistakes). Yes, we will still sin, but that is because we reverted to the flesh when we should have been relying by faith on the Spirit of God and His Word rightly divided.

Dear friends, we had better learn—and never forget!—these lessons from Israel’s history. They serve as our example in how not to behave, how not to respond to God’s generosity (goodness and grace). While we hope we will not sin, we will sin until we are taken to Heaven. Thankfully, God has already taken care of our sin. Nearly 2000 years ago, He settled IN FULL our sin debt at Calvary. Now, we just walk in Him, living day-to-day, relying on Him (resulting in good works) not self (resulting in sins). When we sin, we just return to His Word, find verses to correct our behavior, and implement them to life by faith! 🙂

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 24, 2016

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

The Greatest Veteran

Friday, November 11, 2016

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15 KJV).

Today is Veterans’ Day in the United States, so let us especially thank the “Greatest Veteran of All Time.”

We thank veterans, living and departed, the often-forgotten men and women who risked their lives to secure our freedom. Just as we remember flesh-and-blood veterans who fought for our physical liberty, we reserve our worship and utmost respect for the least esteemed Veteran, He who secured our spiritual liberty.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Through Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, we have eternal victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan. Everything that God has planned for us is dependent upon Christ’s victory at Calvary.

Jesus Christ nailed the Mosaic Law to His cross (today’s Scripture). His sinless blood covered our failure to obey God’s laws; Jesus’ righteousness annulled our unrighteousness (sin). Christ not only liberated us from sin and its penalty (the everlasting lake of fire), but today’s Scripture affirms He also triumphed over Satan himself!

Christ has “spoiled [destroyed] principalities and powers [Satan’s power], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [His cross].” Jesus Christ destroyed Satan’s plans. Through Christ’s cross, God has “delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), Satan’s evil system of Ephesians 2:1-3.

During a recent cemetery visit, I noticed American flags flying above deceased veterans’ headstones. These individuals can no longer hear or regard our thanks, but Jesus Christ’s body is not decaying in some tomb. If there ever was a Veteran most worthy of our gratitude, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He died in battle, allowing Himself to be executed on a Roman cross of shame and scorn, He resurrected. He is alive and well today, alive forevermore!

Saints, eternity will ring with our thanks to the Veteran worth thanking, the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Adapted from our 2010 Bible study, “The Greatest Hero.” The Bible study video can be viewed here.

Saved, Saved, Saved #4

Friday, July 29, 2016

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9 KJV).

The chorus of Jack P. Scholfield’s classic 1911 hymn, “Saved, Saved, Saved,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Saved by His power divine,
Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
For I’m saved, saved, saved!”

As the songwriter knew, God’s power, not our power, saved us. Today’s Scripture plainly declares: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Some Bible commentators, hating these verses, have said the following to keep their works-religion: “What these verses ‘really’ mean is we are not saved by works alone. We need Jesus too.” Alas, a lie! If Jesus is enough to save us into Heaven, and the Bible says He is, then we need not introduce our measly religious works!

Friend, the Bible versions issue is a most serious matter. Did you know that, where the King James Bible says five times “saved” (past tense), modern versions use “being saved” (as in “being saved” today but not necessarily tomorrow)? Check Acts 2:47, 1 Corinthians 1:18, and 2 Corinthians 2:15. The King James has “saved” while the NIV, Amplified Bible, NKJV, Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation, and New American (Roman Catholic) Bible agree, “those who are being saved.” Luke 13:23 in King James Bible—“Lord, are there few that be saved?”—is now in the NIV, NASB, and HCSB—“Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” The NRSV, NKJV, and Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation are unique with “are being saved” in 1 Corinthians 15:2 (“are saved” in KJV). It gets worse! They even pervert today’s Scripture—are saved” is now “have been saved!”

Modern English versions are spiritually dangerous. They teach the erroneous idea that salvation unto eternal life is uncertain. (Remember the “mortal sin of presumption” in Roman Catholicism? See, such “scholarship” has dominated modern English manuscripts and versions!) However, our trusty Protestant Bible (King James) says we ARE “Saved, Saved, Saved!” (It is a done deal in Christ!) 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does 2 Peter 3:8 mean?

Saved, Saved, Saved #3

Thursday, July 28, 2016

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6 KJV).

The third verse of Jack P. Scholfield’s classic 1911 hymn, “Saved, Saved, Saved,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“When poor and needy and all alone,
In love He said to me,
‘Come unto Me and I’ll lead you home,
To live with Me eternally.’”

Religion has ingrained in people’s minds, from birth to death, the lie that they can do something religious so God can declare them righteous before Him. Lost people take Bible verses that apply only to Christians, and they try to follow those life principles hoping to “make Christians out of themselves.” Dear friends, we do not make ourselves Christians. No religious group makes us Christians, either. God’s intention in giving Christian living verses was not for everyone to follow in order to become Christians; He gave those verses for Christian people to follow. Without Christ inside the heart, one cannot have the Christian life. Lost people can imitate the Christian life at times, yes of course, but they fail. God is not the least bit fooled; He sees straight through artificial Christianity.

Without Jesus Christ, friends, we literally have nothing! The Lord Jesus Christ is the way to Father; without Him, we have nothing but a one-way path to hellfire! Jesus Christ is the truth; without Him, we have nothing but Satan’s lies! The Lord Jesus Christ is the life; without Him, we have nothing but death in our trespasses and sins! We do not come to Him for “help” in doing good or being good; we come to Him for everything!

Most assuredly, we are poor, needy, and all alone. So, God’s Son came to this wretched planet. We were not looking for Him; He was looking for us, to turn us back to Father God. Christ Jesus was obedient to His Heavenly Father, all the way to Calvary’s cruel tree. He reached out with a nail-scarred hand and offered to lead us to heaven, to enjoy forever the same fellowship that He had with His Father from eternity past. Friends, may we take His hand by faith and be “Saved, Saved, Saved!”