forgiveness

Now in Heaven, Corrected

Thursday, February 2, 2017

“…[T]o be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23 KJV).

What about Christians who died without knowing right division?

Invariably, if you have dealt with Christians transitioning from denominational teaching to grace/dispensational teaching, you will hear one or two particular issues mentioned. One is, “What about [name of a Christian who died without knowing about dispensationalism]?” The other is, “Had I known about grace teaching years ago, I could have told them about it before they died.”

Friends, the good news is that God does not save us on the basis of whether or not we can pass a theological test, rehearse church history, or cite Bible-verse references. All we do is come to understand our lost estate, our deadness in our trespasses and sins, and trust exclusively Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork as the remedy for those sins. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). It is so easy that a child can believe, be forgiven, and have a place reserved in heaven!

Soul salvation from sins and Christian growth/living are two entirely different matters. A person can be saved and still be confused about the Bible (that was me, actually). A Christian can have a miserable life, unable to function as God intended (that was me too, actually). However, God’s Word calls heaven, “being with Christ,” as a place “far better” than life on earth (today’s Scripture). Thankfully, in heaven, there is neither confusion nor sin. Those who trusted Christ as Saviour and have since died and gone on to heaven, they now know the truth about the Bible. God has corrected their thinking, so we need not fret about them.

Friends, what we need to be concerned with is ourselves and others on earth—we need to continue growing in the Bible, and those souls we reach need to come to Christ by faith and/or continue maturing in the Holy Scriptures. These should be (are?) our priorities. And, remember, wherever we fall short in our Bible understanding, God will correct us in heaven as well! 🙂

NOTE: Dear readers and saints, please remember us in your monthly giving. Many thanks to those who have given so far! You may donate to us securely by visiting https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or emailing me at arcministries@gmail.com for info on how to donate by “snail mail.”

The Misunderstood Messiah #5

Friday, December 30, 2016

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

Once Christ replied with sound doctrine (verses 42-47), Israel’s religious leaders simply resorted to name-calling again (verse 48): “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” A Samaritan was half-Jew/half-Gentile, and “the Jews [had] no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). Notice Jesus was insulted twice more—they called Him a “Samaritan” and “devil possessed.” Throughout the rest of John chapter 8, Israel’s religious leaders continue arguing with Jesus and nearly stone Him to death (verse 59)!

Why did Jesus not simply “zap” these religionists and instantly throw them into hellfire? They belittled and blasphemed Him several times in this one account, and then attempted to murder Him, but rather than Jesus killing them with His spoken word (which would have been justified), He only conversed with them. Why?

Remember, when the Apostles James and John saw how the Samaritans refused to accommodate Jesus, they asked Him if He wanted them to call down fire from heaven and consume those sinners, He replied, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56). This First Coming of Christ was His “meek and lowly” coming: He did not come to judge man’s sins, but to die for them!

Even today, God is still not pouring out His wrath on wicked mankind (2 Corinthians 5:19), creatures who still snicker at Jesus Christ, deceive others in His name, persecute His saints, ignore His Word, and “rub His nose” in their sins. Lost mankind is wasting God’s grace and mercy that He is offering so freely. When His grace is finally exhausted, the undiluted wrath that has accumulated will finally be poured out (His Second Coming). May we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now so we have our sins forgiven now, lest we face that angry, righteous God in judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)!

For more information, you may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Did God ‘rape’ Mary?

The Prince of Peace, Born in the Middle East

Friday, December 23, 2016

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV).

Ironically, God’s wisdom ordained the birthplace of the Prince of Peace to be the contentious Middle East….

Almost from the very beginning of time, the Middle East has been a battleground, the chief war zone of good and evil. Originally the peaceful home of Adam and Eve, today it is the most contentious region on the globe. Because of Adam’s sin, what was a paradise is now known as the area where man joined Satan in his rebellion against God. Adam and Eve utterly failed to reign over the earth for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28). Instead they united with the opposition, and were banished from God’s presence and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23,24).

“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). Verse 14 says that Adam “is the figure of him that was to come.” God would send another Man, Jesus Christ, and He would accomplish what Adam failed to do: glorify God on the earth by dispossessing it from Satan, and reigning in righteousness. This is the “government” spoken of in today’s Scripture.

“For if by one man’s [Adam’s] offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (verse 17). Adam plunged the human race into sin and made it God’s enemy; Jesus Christ offers mankind eternal life, forgiveness of sins and a reconciled relationship with God! This was God’s goal in sending Jesus Christ.

As our world desperately continues to seek peace, let us remember there will be no peace on earth until the Prince of Peace returns to His nation, Israel, and rids our planet of Satan and his policy of evil (the root of the Middle Eastern turmoil). At Christ’s Second Coming, there will be peace on earth (Luke 2:14), and especially in the Middle East.

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.

The Precious Blood of Christ #2

Sunday, September 18, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

Unfortunately, since liberalism and modernism strangled “Bible-believing” (?) America during the mid-20th century, “Christian” teaching about Jesus’ blood has significantly decreased. For example, in a 1990 video, a preacher gave a sermon on that very subject. He said he had not heard one televangelist in the last 30 years (so, since 1960) present a message dedicated exclusively to the blood of Christ. They had delivered whole messages on other theological subjects—but never Jesus’ blood. That very aged brother went to heaven not long ago. We can only wonder how many televangelists he heard talk about the blood of Christ in the nearly 30 years since 1990! Friend, think about it. How many topical sermons have you ever heard about the blood of Christ—on television, radio, internet, or in person at a local church? Few… if any!

A prevalent objection to the “blood of Christ” is summarized as, “Christianity is a ‘slaughterhouse’ religion. The preaching of Calvary’s cross is a ‘violent’ message.” For fear of offending someone, the shed blood of Christ is vaguely, if ever, referenced. It is so “negative” a topic, such a “detestable” idea. In fact, some groups have taken great pains to remove from hymnals all songs that emphasize the blood of Christ. To them, the blood of Jesus Christ means nothing! But, what does the blood of Christ mean to us?

The very first time shed blood appears in Scripture is Genesis 3:21: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Once Adam and Eve sinned, God killed one or two animals. The animal skins were used to cover the physical bodies of Adam and Eve; the shed animal blood covered their spiritual bodies. That concept of shed blood for the forgiveness of sins continued all the way up through the Bible….

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #7

Sunday, July 17, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

What is true forgiveness?

At a Bible conference, I overheard a man talking with one of my pastor friends. Steeped in denominationalism, he was chiefly confused about whether God had forgiven him. He struggled with the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” (“Our Father” Prayer). Specifically, Matthew chapter 6: “[14] For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: [15] But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” The poor man needed to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The “Our Father” Prayer was spoken to Israel (Matthew 15:24)—not us Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-7)!

God’s spokesman to us, the Apostle Paul, on this side of the Cross, tells us God has forgiven us all our sins. We do not have to beg or wonder! In Christ, forgiveness is total, free, and forever. He forgave us because of what Jesus Christ did at Calvary, not because of our religious performance (today’s Scripture). We are already forgiven in Christ. As God forgave us, we forgive others. Lost people will have their sins taken care of at two places—the cross of Christ if they trust Christ before physical death, or eternal hellfire if they do not trust Christ before physical death.

One of Satan’s schemes to destroy the local assembly is when Christians do not forgive each other as God for Christ’s sake has (past tense) forgiven them. Second Corinthians chapter 2 warns about bitterness: “[10] To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; [11] Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Forgiveness is not pretending like nothing happened. You have been wronged, and God punished Jesus Christ for that sin. Forgiveness is sending the shame, guilt, and pain to Jesus Christ’s cross (where God dealt with our sins). We need not keep dredging up the past, beloved. We learn from our mistakes, and are thankful Jesus Christ has already provided our forgiveness forever! 🙂

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #6

Saturday, July 16, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

What is true forgiveness?

Father God took our offenses against Him, all of man’s sins, and He placed them on Jesus Christ. As the Passover lamb’s blood was shed and applied to Jewish doorways, so the Death Angel would pass over them while judging Egypt, the blood of our Passover lamb was shed at Calvary to protect us from God’s wrath in hellfire. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7b). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26b). In Scripture, “forgiveness” means, “send away,” “forsake,” “let alone,” “lay aside.”

Romans chapter 4: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

And, Ephesians 1:7: “In whom [Christ Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Also, Colossians 1:14: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Finally, Colossians 2:13: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him [Christ Jesus], having forgiven you ALL trespasses” (cf. today’s Scripture).

God’s forgiveness of us provides us with a pattern of how we are to forgive others. Friends, lest bitterness result, we must send it away by faith to Calvary’s cross where God’s Son died to put it away!

Our latest Bible Q&A articles: “Does Romans 9:14-18 support Calvinism?” and “Does Romans 9:20-21 support Calvinism?