Monthly Archives: February 2018

What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?

WHAT ARE SOME VERSES TO HELP ME STOP FOCUSING ON MYSELF?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Christian friend, your flesh (sin) is controlling you. You need to overcome it by walking in the Spirit: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25). The following verses will allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:9-10), which will then shift focus from you to the Lord Jesus Christ. You need to prayerfully memorize portions of the following Scriptures, or at least have these verses/references ready when you focus on yourself.

The Christian life is exactly how Jesus Christ lived while He was on Earth. It was constant dependence on, faith in, what His Heavenly Father had instructed Him to do and say. He was never self-consumed, so neither should we.

Hebrews chapter 10: “[7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. [8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; [9] Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” (This, of course, is Christ’s words to Father God concerning Calvary.)

Matthew 26:39: “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Mark 14:36: “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Luke 22:42: “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (This too, of course, is Christ’s words to Father God concerning Calvary.)

John 4:34: “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” John 6:38: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” John 7:16: “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” John 9:4: I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”

Jesus Christ was always looking to accomplish His Heavenly Father’s will rather than His own. He was conscience of the fact that He was on Earth to serve His Father rather than Himself. Ultimately, He served His Father by preaching to and then dying for sinners (in perfect accordance with His Father’s will).

Philippians 2:1-8: “[1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, [2] Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. [3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. [5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Watch now how Jesus Christ manifested His life through the Apostle Paul.

First Corinthians 15:10: But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (Paul knew it was because of God’s grace that he was what he was. His religious works had gotten him nowhere. Christ Jesus working on his behalf [at Calvary], as well in and through him in ministry, was the issue.) Second Corinthians 4:5: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” The focus was not Paul but Jesus Christ! Colossians 1:27-29: “…Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” Paul preached Christ Jesus, not himself! He worked in ministry according to Christ’s working.

Philippians 3:1-9: “[1] Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. [2] Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. [3] For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. [4] Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: [5] Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; [6] Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. [7] But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. [8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, [9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:….” (As a lost/unsaved man, Paul had been religious, focused on self, self-righteous. He had given that up when trusted Jesus Christ. Now, he has no confidence in his flesh’s performance. He relies by faith in Christ’s performance and Christ’s righteousness! A sure way to focus on yourself is to labor under the Mosaic Law—religion/legalism. A sure way to focus on Christ Jesus is to remember the message of grace!)

If there will be any boasting, it will be in Christ and it will because of Christ, not because of something we have done. First Corinthians 1:30-31: “[30] But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: [31] That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” Remember, Romans 3:26-28: “[26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Never can a Christian boast about anything done on his or her part. The only boasting is in the cross of Christ, in what He did for us! Galatians 6:14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Pride, focusing on self, was the original sin of Lucifer before he became Satan, the Devil. Ezekiel 28:17 is God speaking to Lucifer:Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” God also said in Isaiah chapter 14: “[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! [13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: [14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

Hence, in 1 Timothy 3:6, one of the qualifications of a bishop, a church overseer, is that he not be new to Christian (grace) doctrine. “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” These are all wonderful verses to help us remember, “yet not I, but Christ!”

SUPPLEMENTAL: CHRIST AVOIDED ATTENTION WHILE ON EARTH

When Jesus Christ saw that His miracles drew too much attention to Him, He left the area as quickly as possible. He wanted His Heavenly Father to be praised instead. Notice the following samples:

  • Matthew 9:8-9: “But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. And as Jesus passed forth from thence….
  • Matthew 9:26-27: “And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. And when Jesus departed thence,….”
  • Mark 1:28-29: “And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.”
  • Mark 1:45: “But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.”
  • Mark 2:12-13: “And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.”
  • Mark 3:9-13: “And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known. And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.”
  • Mark 5:20-21: “And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.”
  • Luke 4:37-38: “And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about. And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house….”
  • Luke 5:24-27: “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.”

Also see:
» How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?
» Is it truly a good deed if done for selfish reasons?
» Once Christians fall into gross sin will God use them again?

Did not God send messengers to Gentiles prior to Paul’s apostleship?

DID NOT GOD SEND MESSENGERS TO GENTILES PRIOR TO PAUL’S APOSTLESHIP?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In the Old Testament, the LORD God indeed sent prophets, or spokesmen, to various Gentile (non-Jewish) regions. For example, He commissioned Jonah to go and preach to Nineveh; another instance is that Obadiah wrote to and about the Edomites (descendants of Esau). But, were these equivalent to Paul’s Gentile ministry?

We Bible-believers and students who understand Paul’s special ministry as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13) may be astonished to discover that God spoke to non-Jews before Paul was ever saved and commissioned in Acts chapter 9. In that case, what makes Paul’s ministry so “special?” How do we answer the critics of Pauline dispensationalism in this point?

Jeremiah chapter 1 says, for example: “[4] Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [5] Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Reading through Jeremiah’s very large Book, we observe him directing messages to Gentiles. Jeremiah 27:1-11 speaks of the Babylonian captivity to overtake the lands of Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, Tyrus, and Zidon. Gentiles are the theme of Jeremiah in chapters 46–51. Verse 1 of chapter 46 says: “The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles….” Thereafter, Egypt has a message from God (verses 2-28), the Philistines and Tyre and Zidon have some words from God (47:1-7), as well as Moab (48:1-47), the Ammonites (49:1-6), the Edomites (49:7-22), Damascus and the Syrians (49:24-33), Elam (49:34-39), and the Babylonians-Chaldeans (50:1–51:64). These are certainly non-Jewish peoples.

As mentioned earlier, the Prophet Jonah is sent to preach to Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrian Empire: “[1] Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, [2] Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me” (chapter 1). The Assyrians were some of Israel’s most bitter enemies. While Jonah refuses at first, he eventually preaches and they convert and reform.

Many decades after Jonah, God sent Nahum to Nineveh, recorded in Nahum chapter 1: “[1] The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. [2] God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORDwill take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. [3] The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. [4] He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. [5] The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. [6] Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.”

The Prophet Obadiah’s focuses on Edom in his little Book: “[1] The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the LORD God concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. [2] Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. [3] The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? [4] Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.”

Indeed, the above Scriptures are directed toward Gentiles, but they are all bad news. They are against the Gentiles” as Jeremiah 46:1 shows. They were never anything like Paul’s message to Gentiles. If you look carefully in those verses, there is impending judgment, divine wrath. There is no mercy, grace, or peace. The Edomites—descendants of Esau—will be judged because they have hated and mistreated Israel (descendants of Jacob, twin brother of Esau—see Genesis 25:21-26). Obadiah 10 says: “For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.”

The Ninevites have been evil, and Jonah is sent to preach to Nineveh, capital city of the Assyrians, to tell them that they will be overthrown in 40 days. God is very displeased with them. However, once Jonah preaches judgment, Nineveh repents and they avoid God’s wrath. Approximately 150 years later, though, Nineveh has returned to her wicked ways. Nahum prophesies Nineveh will not escape her doom and destruction this time (which indeed came).

Jeremiah writes about evil Gentiles whom Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, and others, will conquer and punish. There is some history here but there is prophecy too (future, as in the Second Coming of Christ).

The Prophets Jeremiah, Jonah, Nahum, and Obadiah were never sent to all nations with a single Gospel message. There was no Gospel (“good news”) for any of their audiences anyway. It was always judgment, wrath directed toward a particular non-Jewish nation for how they mistreated the nation Israel. Paul’s ministry, however, was directed toward “all nations,” and it was a message of “grace and peace.” Romans 1:5, for instance: “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:….” And Romans 16:26, “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:….”

Each and every Pauline epistle opens with “grace and peace” (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 3). Instead of wrath and war, God’s attitude towards the whole world—all nations—in the Dispensation of Grace is one of grace and peace. You can search the Scriptures and find no message like this until you come to Paul’s apostleship. How could God’s attitude toward Gentiles change so drastically though? The key is the cross of Jesus Christ!

Second Corinthians 5:18-21 tells us: “[18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Pay close attention to verse 19—God is not imputing the world’s trespasses to it! Jesus Christ’s crosswork is the means whereby God can be gracious and amicable toward this most evil world. This is totally unheard of in the Bible until we come to Paul’s ministry. It was a special revelation the Lord Jesus Christ gave directly to Paul!

Also, during the ministries of Jeremiah, Jonah, Nahum, and Obadiah, Israel is still the preeminent people: at that time, God is still dealing with all nations in light of Israel’s spiritual status. With Paul’s message though, Israel is temporarily fallen. Salvation is currently going to the Gentiles without national Israel. Romans chapter 11 says: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. [15] For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (See also Acts 13:46-38, Acts 18:6, and Acts 28:25-28.)

Furthermore, the risen, glorified, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul the formation of the Church the Body of Christ. All who would respond in faith to Paul’s Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)—would be placed into the Church the Body of Christ. They would all be destined for the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3,20-23; Ephesians 2:6-7). This salvation occurs regardless of Jew or Gentile status; again, this was unknown to the Old Testament prophets, including Jeremiah, Jonah, Nahum, and Obadiah. Pay close attention to verses 1-5 especially, as we now quote from Ephesians.

Ephesians 3:1-8: “[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) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. [8] Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;….”

Galatians 5:6 affirms: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision [Jewish] availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision [Gentile]; but faith which worketh by love.” Finally, Galatians 6:15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” In Paul’s ministry, there is no Jew or Gentile status—all are considered equal (that is, equally worthy of God’s wrath). We are either members of the Church the Body of Christ (saved), or not (lost). This was unknown to the Old Testament prophets, as they always spoke of Israel as being preeminent, Jewish circumcision making a difference as opposed to Gentile uncircumcision.

Ephesians 2:11-13: “[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.” (You may read the rest of this chapter in your own Bible if you like. Israel’s special status in time past is delineated in Romans 9:4-5.)

The formation of the Church the Body of Christ depends entirely upon the finished crosswork of Christ. This Gospel message of “grace and peace” is being offered to all nations today, apart from the nation Israel’s rise to kingdom glory. Never once did Jeremiah, Jonah, Nahum, or Obadiah speak about any of this. God had kept that secret from them. It was not time for Him to reveal it to mankind. We could go on and on, but at this point, we will stop. It is quite clear their ministries in no way compare to Paul’s Gentile apostleship and message.

Also see:
» How were Gentiles saved before our Dispensation of Grace?
» Can you compare and contrast Peter’s ministry and Paul’s ministry?
» Why does the Book of Acts end so abruptly?

Does God see us Christians as sinners?

DOES GOD SEE US CHRISTIANS AS SINNERS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

To address this question, we must consider two points. Firstly, being a sinner positionally, and, secondly, being a sinner practically.

Romans 5:12-21 says every person in the world falls into one of two categories—lost or saved. Respectively, they are under one of two heads—Adam (natural) or Christ (Christian). We are born into Adam’s family; this is a human’s natural status. We are naturally dead in trespasses and sins, fallen short of God’s glory, alienated from God’s life, and children of wrath. Psalm 51:5 describes a person born into this world: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Romans 3:23 amplifies: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;….”

Ephesians 4:17-19 describes the natural man: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

Ephesians chapter 2 says: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

In Ephesians 2:1-3, though, we noticed a marked change. There are people here who were (past tense) dead in trespasses and sins. They are no longer worthy of God’s wrath. The God of the Bible has “quickened” them, given them spiritual life and energy to function as He intended. Keep reading in the chapter to learn exactly what happened to them.

“[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Ephesians chapter 1 had already said of these individuals: “[4] According as he [God the Father] hath chosen us in him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: [5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, [6] To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

While all people are part of Adam’s family, some people are part of God’s family. The difference is the Gospel of the Grace of God, which declares: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Through simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins, the lost sinner is given God’s life, transferred from Adam to Christ. We are justified, made righteous in God’s sight, because of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. Again, this is all because of what the Lord Jesus Christ did at Calvary on our behalf. It has nothing whatsoever to do with our religious performance.

Let us continue in Ephesians chapter 1: “[12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Upon trusting the Gospel of Grace, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. That is, God the Holy Spirit baptizes us, or places us, into the Church the body of Christ. First Corinthians 12:13 declares: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” To repeat, we move from being in Adam to being in Christ. Now, we share Christ’s identity: we share the intimate relationship He has with Father God. We are justified, holy, sanctified, loved, and so on. We have all sins totally forgiven forever (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Colossians 2:13). We are “accepted in the beloved [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). Due to sin, God has a controversy with those in Adam (unsaved), and thus can have no relationship with them; however, He has no problem with those in Christ (saved) because their sins have been taken care of at Calvary. Second Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The believer’s old identity in Adam is gone, and the believer has received a new identity in Christ.

Earlier, we read 1 Corinthians 12:13 that spoke of us being baptized into Jesus Christ, or the Church the Body of Christ. Now focus on verse 12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” God the Father actually calls all Christians, the Body of Christ, “Christ.” We are so much closely identified with Jesus Christ, our Head, that Father God actually calls us by His only begotten Son’s name! (By the same token, Eve was so closely identified with Adam, her head, that God called both Adam and Eve, “Adam,” according to Genesis 5:1-2.) When God sees us Christians, He sees Christ, for we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ is certainly no sinner (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:21-22). To answer the question then, God does not see us believers in Christ as sinners. He sees lost/unsaved/non-Christian people as sinners.

We want to be careful to note that while we are in Christ, secure forever, that does not mean that we are free from the Adamic sin nature. Our physical bodies still have Adam’s sinful blood running in them, as they have not yet been redeemed (bought back from sin’s results). Return to Ephesians chapter 1: “[12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Hone in on the phrase “the redemption of the purchased possession” of verse 14.

Turning to Romans chapter 8, we make a comparison and see amplification:

“[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

While we have been redeemed soul and spirit, we are physically un-redeemed. These flesh-and-blood bodies are still subject to the effects of sin. If the Lord tarries, they will grow sick, age, break down, die, and decay. However, at the resurrection—commonly called “the Rapture”—we will receive new glorified bodies. In your own time, please review 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8, and Philippians 3:20-21. This is “the redemption of our body” stressed in Romans 8:23. In Christ, this physical body is crucified (see Romans 6:6 below).

We are not and will never again be sinners positionally; we are permanently in Christ and will never return to being in Adam. Still, we can be sinners practically. While it really is inconsistent with reality, we can choose to let our “old man” influence us on a daily basis. This is sin. We can let our sin nature run us (flesh of man) instead of our new nature in Christ control us (Spirit of God). Watch these issues show up as we now read large passages of Scripture.

Romans chapter 6: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

“[5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.

“[8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. [11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

“[12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

“[16] Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? [17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 

“[20] For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. [21] What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. [22] But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. [23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Finally, Romans chapter 8: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

We could go on and on, but suffice it to say that God sees us as saints rather than sinners. Here is what we need to understand now. Upon reading these verses, do we see ourselves as saints (God’s perspective) or as sinners (man’s perspective)? If we do not allow sound Bible doctrine—grace teaching—to influence our thoughts, then the Spirit of God will not renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10). We will thus see ourselves as sinners, and we will have no reason to behave like anything but sinners. If we read God’s Word (such as the aforementioned passages), and adopt that perspective though, then we will say, “Sin is not who I am anymore! I am a saint, a new creature in Christ! I am dead indeed to sin, and alive unto God! I need to walk in Christian thinking, maturity, and conduct!”

Christian friend, study Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, to learn more about how the Christian functions. It is impossible to cover all that here in this “short” study. By the way, try especially Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3. If you read and believe them, they will cause you to see yourself as a saint (who you really are)! That will cause you to then live like a saint (who you really are)! After all, that is whom God really sees you as! 🙂

Also see:
» How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?
» Can you explain Philippians 2:14-16?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?

But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!

BUT WHAT IF THEY READ THE BIBLE AT MY CHURCH…?!

by Shawn Brasseaux

What a wonderful question, and I would be so glad to answer it!

Not many church members know, friend, but the Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Did I surprise you there? Let me say it again. The Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Got it? I will say it a third time so it can sink in. The Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Oh yes, dear friends, Satan does not have a problem with people reading the Bible. So long as they do not know the key to understanding the Bible, they can read it all they want and still get nothing out of it. I know people who have read the Bible for many decades… and I still would not dare sit under their ministry!

Having the Bible is a start, but owning and/or reading it in and of itself is not threatening to Satan, as he has his own set of “bibles” (counterfeits) in circulation. How badly he wants you to buy one—there are plenty of his phony “bibles,” modern English versions, to go around! Usually, though, people never understand the Bible they do own or read. They keep buying the latest version to hit the market and stay in an endless loop of confusion. If people ever find a pure copy of the Bible (King James Bible in English), and do learn how to use it as God intended, only then will they be a bother to Satan. (This rarely happens though, to the Devil’s delight.)

What if Satan wanted to read the Bible to you, friend? Perhaps you think I am being facetious, joking around. No, I am asking you as gravely and sincerely as possible. Do you know that Satan reads the Bible? If you came into his classroom, he would read you the Bible for hours and hours and hours. Actually, he knows it better than all professing Christians combined! Satan has been reading the Scriptures for thousands of years. Do you know that he also enjoys telling the Bible to others? Maybe you doubt me. Perhaps you think I am being ridiculous. But, what if I could substantiate that claim? What if I had the testimony of the Bible itself to prove it?

My friend, has it ever struck you as odd that Satan quoted the Bible to the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry? Did you even know that ever took place? Read it for yourself, as found in the “temptations of Christ” passage of Matthew chapter 4 and Luke chapter 4.

Matthew 4:5-6: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Luke 4:9-11: “And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

You should be careful to notice that Satan did not deny God’s existence; he did not blatantly deny the existence of angels either. Furthermore, he never openly refuted the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Satan is much sneakier than that. The Bible speaks of the “wiles” of the Devil (Ephesians 6:11); these are schemes or strategies designed to manipulate and persuade people to do what he wants them to do. Satan was highly calculating in his dealings with Jesus, just like he was with Eve, and just like he wants to be with us today.

Genesis 3:1 reports: “Now the serpent [Satan, Revelation 12:9] was more subtil [sneakier, craftier, more cunning] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Second Corinthians chapter 11 affirms: “[3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [tricked, fooled] Eve through his subtilty [trickery, fraud, deception], so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] 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.” (1 Timothy 2:14: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”)

While Satan prefers you not to use the Bible, but that has an appearance of evil, and he knows this can be remedied by someone giving you a Bible. Additionally, he knows that the Bible plus church tradition is more convincing because it has an appearance of truth, but someone can come and show you the authority is in the Bible alone and not in religious tradition. That can be avoided. Lastly, Satan understands that the Bible not rightly divided is the most confusing, the subtlest of all ploys, because it seems like the Bible alone is the authority. Verse after verse is quoted, with no reference to church tradition, but mindlessly grabbing/quoting verses can be dangerous.

Take Satan’s handling of the Bible. Let me impress upon you once again that the Devil himself actually quoted Scripture to Jesus! Read it once more!

Matthew 4:5-6: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Luke 4:9-11: “And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Satan loved to quote the Bible but was careful to call attention only to the verses that he liked. Yes, he deliberately skipped the next verse, the one that described his own defeat (Psalm 91:13: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”)! Not only so, but the verses Satan used were perverted as he repeated them.

Pay close attention:

  • Psalm 91:11-12 (Satan’s version): “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Luke 4:10,11). Compare this to the verses below. Satan omitted “in all thy ways” at the beginning and added “at any time” near the end.
  • Psalm 91:11-12 (God’s version): “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Satan was sneaky, huh? Of course, the Lord Jesus Christ, being God in human flesh, was very much aware of Satan’s mishandling of Scripture. Christ was never on the verge of being fooled as Eve had been (or liable to be fooled as we still are). What we see in the above verses is an example of Bible corruption from master counterfeiter and corrupter himself. Remember, Satan is all about Bible reading, so long as the Bible is not quoted fully and not handled properly. Satan was grabbing verses that applied to the Second Coming of Christ and tried to make it fit His First Coming! Yes, Satan was not “rightly dividing the word of truth” (more on this later).

In 2 Corinthians 2:17, we read, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” Did you catch that word “many?” Did you see the phrase, corrupt the word of God?” This means that, when you find someone teaching or preaching the Bible, there is a high probability that they are perverting the Scriptures. That is not what I said, that is what the Bible said. If you do not like it, take it up with God. He said it.

Look at 2 Corinthians 4:2: “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” God’s Word can be handled dishonestly, it can be handled craftily, and it can be handled deceitfully. That is what the Bible says. Go back to Satan’s handling of the Scriptures.

Jeremiah chapter 23 is a very disparaging rebuke directed towards Israel’s religious leaders. Watch God’s words to them: “[1] Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. [2] Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.”….

“[13] And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err…. [16] Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. [17] They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. [18] For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?”…. 

“[21] I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. [22] But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings…. [26] How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; [27] Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. [28] The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. [29] Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

[30] Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. [31] Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. [32] Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.”…. [36] And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.”

Do you sense God’s burning anger in this chapter? These religious leaders have so misled His people that the whole nation is now going to experience God’s wrath! They claim to be speaking on God’s behalf, and yet He says He never sent them. All they do is lie, deceive. Israel is so ignorant of the Scriptures that they cannot survive the apostasy, the deception. People who handle the Word of God dishonestly, craftily, and deceitfully, have fooled them! Oh, but we can never say they did not sound correct in the messages they preached!

The Bible says in 2 Peter chapter 3: “[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.” Notice the word “wrest” in verse 16. It means to twist, as in distorting the meaning or interpretation in order to suit one’s own interests or views.

If we wrest/twist/distort/pervert the Bible, spiritual destruction will certainly result. See, the Bible is being used; it just is not being used properly. The Bible is being read, but it is not being understood rightly divided. Instead of being helpful to its readers, profitable to its hearers, it is harmful. What was Satan’s strategy here? To cause people to doubt the Bible, to hate it and finally avoid it. But, since they want it to support their denomination or church, they will hang on to it and “pick and choose” what they want to quote from it. Every “Christian” cult in the world, every “Christian” heretic on this planet, quotes the Bible to some extent. Without the Bible, they would not even closely resemble Christianity enough to pass themselves of as part of it.

At this point, it is noteworthy to share this tidbit with you. A church leader who converted from a cult to faith entirely in Jesus Christ, spoke at great length about serving in his old denomination. While the group claimed to be “Bible-believing,” and they indeed read Scripture at every church service, they had prearranged passages to read. They had three choices of Bible verses. The two passages not read each service, were to be read respectively for the next two years. In three years, then, all the selected Bible verses were read from the denominational handbook. This sounds like a good Bible education, huh? Reading all these verses seems so impressive, right? Surely, you would want to go attend church services there, huh? Well, you have not been given all the information yet.

As that former cult leader explained, all that Bible reading amounted to was, most amazingly, five percent of whole Bible! In other words, a scant 1.7 percent of the Bible was read in that denomination’s thousands of churches every year!!! (That is scary!!!) It was enough to give the denomination a “Christian” appearance, to fool the masses—but upon closer inspection, it amounted to spiritual crumbs! No wonder these cult members, like all others, have no clue what the Bible really says! They know little bits and pieces, specks of a whole. Unless someone actually takes the time to know what the Bible really says, they have no idea how much of it they are being robbed of!

Interestingly, while Israel was worshipping the pagan idol, the golden calf, they wanted to have a feast to JEHOVAH God. This alone shows us that somebody can appear godly and really be committing evil. Exodus 32:1-5: “[1] And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. [2] And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. [3] And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. [4] And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. [5] And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.”

Jesus Christ Himself affirmed some quite “offensive” truths in Matthew 7:21-23: “[21] Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

These people claimed that they did mighty works in the name of Jesus Christ. Notice, they did not (NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT!) claim affiliation with Buddha, Mohammed, Allah, Confucius, Mahatma Gandhi, Socrates, Dalai Lama, Plato, Sun Myung Moon, Homer, or even Satan himself. No, they said they did these wonderful deeds in the name of Jesus Christ!!! How did the Lord Jesus Christ respond to them? Did He say, “Oh, My children, what wonderful works you did in My name indeed!”? No! Did He say that it was really Him working in and through them? No! Were they not preaching according to His power? Were they not casting out devils and glorifying Him? No, not according to Him. Instead of commending them for being faithful servants of His, He said they were “workers of iniquity.” He affirmed that He had no association with them whatsoever, and they had no relationship with Him whatsoever. Think long and hard on that, friend. Mark it well and never forget it! Did you see how they called Him “Lord?” Claiming Jesus is Lord does not make one a Christian either. Quoting and reading the Bible does not make one a Christian—unless we categorize Satan as such too (Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10,11)!

Second Timothy chapter 3 warns: “[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” They have “a form of godliness,” the appearance or pattern of godlikeness. The Bible says to “turn away” from them, to leave them alone, abandon them, not to attend their meetings, and not to promote their denomination. It does not matter if they “read the Bible!”

In 2 Timothy 2:15, we read the only verse that tells us to “study” the Bible and how to study it: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” While much could be said about this, suffice it to say that the Bible must be “rightly divided” if it is to be understood. All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us. We study all the Word of God, but we study it dispensationally. The Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). God’s Word to man changes through time, and not all verses are valid at every point in human history. (Go back to how Satan mixed up the First and Second Comings of Christ.)

Ephesians 3:1-4: “[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)….” The “Dispensation of the Grace of God,” the instructions that God has for us today, are found only in the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon. Sadly, most “Christian” groups do not teach or understand the Bible dispensationally. They constantly go back to Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) to try to find God’s pattern for us. They try to hang on to Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew through John. They want the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments (Law keeping), the miracles and signs and wonders, the prayer promises, the Sabbath Day, and so on. Perplexity! Futility! Absurdity!

The Bible says that we are “not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14-15). Yet, there was a time when God dealt with the nation Israel on the basis of the Law of Moses. For example:

  • Matthew 23:1-3: “[1] Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, [2] Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: [3] All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
  • Matthew 5:17-19: “[17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Luke 5:14: “And he [Jesus] charged him [the healed leper] to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”

Since we live in the Dispensation of Grace, however, we are not under the Law. In 1 Timothy chapter 1, the Apostle Paul told Timothy to tell people to stop teaching the Law of Moses as means of Christian living. They were to teach grace, for grace is the means of successful Christian living in the Dispensation of Grace:

“[3] As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. [5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: [6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; [7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. [8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Thus, it is possible to be Scriptural—Mosaic-Law oriented, for example—and still be totally outside of God’s will. The people in 1 Timothy chapter 1 were. When we try to insert the Mosaic Law, a performance-based acceptance system, into the Dispensation of Grace, a Jesus-based acceptance system, we hinder the Spirit of God from working in us who believe. The Spirit of God never leads anyone in the Dispensation of Grace to place themselves under the Law. “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). If ever we find someone under the Law today, the flesh, the denomination, led them there. God’s Spirit did not lead them there!! It does not matter if they quote the Bible or read the Bible!

CONCLUSION

Satan does not mind us reading the Bible; after all, he does it. Satan does not mind us quoting the Bible; yea, he does it. What Satan does not want is for us to find the right Bible (King James Bible, in English) and discover the right study system (dispensational Bible study), for then we are encouraged to believe the Bible (we cannot fully believe what we do not understand). It is when we believe the Bible that God’s Spirit goes to work in our lives (1 Thessalonians 2:13). This is where we are most threatening to Satan, as we are most aware of his tactics and fully equipped to hinder his work and will designed to rob the Lord Jesus Christ of His due worship.

When we understand the Bible, bringing about Christian good works, and knowing how to use it to help others (saved and lost), that is where Satan is vulnerable. How he hates to have strong Christians who are skilled in doing God’s work and fulfilling God’s will. If he can keep them ignorant, he will do WHATEVER (!) he can to keep them ignorant. Satan is relentless, friends, absolutely relentless, but he is no match for God. As long as we have God’s Word (King James Bible), understand God’s Word (dispensationally), and believe God’s Word, we will not be deceived. We had better not be so shallow in our spiritual understanding so as to think that Satan does not work in churches where Scripture is read. (Remember Israel’s religious leaders in Jeremiah chapter 23!!!)

In closing, let me provide a simple analogy and then ask you some simple questions, friend. Suppose you require emergency surgery. While I have an extensive background in science, including biology, I am not trained to perform surgery on anyone. I am not a licensed physician by any stretch of the imagination. However, what if I read a medical textbook before I operated on you? Would you be comfortable in me being your “surgeon?” Probably not. You would want (understandably) someone who is highly skilled in medicine and more than merely “aware” of the underlying science. You would prefer someone who has had much practice studying and actually dissecting the human body first.

Likewise, it would be quite foolish of you to go to a church simply because they “read the Bible there.” They had better be reading the whole Bible, and not just little snippets here and there. They had better be studying the Bible, and not skimming it. They had better be using the Bible rightly divided, not defending denominational biases with it. Above all, they had better be using the right Bible, and not peddling some counterfeit!!

Also see:
» Has God’s Word failed?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?

Is Hell almost full?

IS HELL ALMOST FULL? WILL IT EVER RUN OUT OF ROOM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Lord Jesus Christ revealed some staggering truths in Matthew 7:13-14: “[13] Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Understandably, people dislike the Bible here. They want to believe that everyone is God’s child, and that everyone will go to Heaven eventually (an incorrect idea known as “universalism”). Therefore, they dismiss the ideas of Hell, divine wrath, God’s judgment against sin, justice in the afterlife, as fiction. However, if we are to be Bible believers, we must face the truth of the Bible and believe the truth of the Bible. Jesus Christ said more about Hell than He did about Heaven. Hell is indeed the real, eternal fate of all who die without faith in Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins.

We can search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, cover to cover, and find the majority always going against God. At any and every point in human history, we find just a very small fraction of believers when compared to the global, national, or municipal human population. Remember, for example, the eight believers on the Ark during the Great Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Where were the millions—if not billions—of other people on the globe? Why, they perished in God’s wrath, being drowned in the floodwaters! There were less than 10 believers in the whole city of Sodom (Genesis 18:32; Genesis 19:24-25)! Consider the 7,000 believers in the whole nation Israel in Elijah’s day (1 Kings 19:18)! Think of the approximately 120 believers in Jerusalem after Christ’s three-year earthly ministry (Acts 1:20)! We could go on and on and on, but we trust the point has been made with these Scriptures.

So, the Holy Bible causes us to conclude that Hell is real place. The Holy Bible also shows us that many people have gone there in history, many are going there today, and many will go there in the future. When we think about the Lord Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 7, and the above sample verses, that leads us to only one conclusion. There are billions of people in Hell today—and billions more will eventually arrive there! Of course, the questions naturally follow. Has Hell almost reached its capacity? Will Hell ever run out of room?

Hell is a spiritual place; we cannot see it with physical eyes or touch it with physical hands. As we know, the dimension in which it is situated is not the same as the dimension in which we exist. Whatever laws are appropriate here are not necessarily applicable there: we cannot take the laws of physics and nature that are true here in this dimension and make them fit another dimension. We do not know enough about the spiritual world. Personally, I have never been there, and neither have you, and all we have is the Bible’s testimony that Heaven is real and Hell is real. While there are various things in the spiritual world that we would recognize—fire, chariots, weapons, trees, water, animals, light, darkness, musical instruments, governmental organization (crowns, thrones), bread, et cetera—other elements we would not know or understand. There is no limit of time, for example. (When you think about it, endless time is the most unsettling aspect of Hell.)

When we wonder if Hell is going to run out of room, we are thinking of it from our physical point-of-view. We think of a physical building being able to hold only so many flesh-and-blood bodies before it reaches capacity. However, Hell is not like that (for the Bible is true that Hell can hold all of God’s enemies). We do not know the size of a human soul other than it is smaller than the physical body that houses it. A human soul could be the size of a human hand… or the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Whatever size the human soul is, Hell is large enough to contain all those billions that have died before us, and it is large enough to handle billions more. Has Hell almost reached its capacity? (No. More are still destined there if they die without Christ!) Will Hell ever run out of room? (No. It will always have vacancies!)

That is why it is important, dear friend, to not go another day without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Do not delay. We are all sinners by birth, and have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). However, the Lord Jesus Christ came to die for our sins, to shed His blood to pay for our sins, that we be made righteous of God in Christ. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Romans 3:24–4:8: “[3:24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [3:25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [3:26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [3:27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [3:28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [3:29] Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: [3:30] Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. [3:31] Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

“[4:1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [4:2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [4:3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4:4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [4:5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [4:6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [4:7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. [4:8] Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Also see:
» How can a loving God send people to Hell forever?
» Why is Hell forever if life on Earth is but decades?
» If dispensational Bible study is true, how come so few believe it?

What is the “caul?”

WHAT IS THE “CAUL?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

It depends on the context, as there are three types of “caul” in the Authorized Version King James Bible.

Firstly, as appearing in Hosea 13:8: “I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.” This, of course, is figurative, but it has a literal truth associated with it. God’s judgment is coming upon the wicked Jews. Just as a wild animal would attack its prey, so JEHOVAH God will soon bring the captivities (Assyrian and Babylonian) on Israel (10 northern tribes) and Judah (two southern tribes) respectively. This happened in the centuries before Jesus Christ. “Caul” here is symbolic, remember, but it still refers to the breast, membrane, or some covering of the heart meant to protect it. This is the Hebrew word סְגוֹר, cĕgowr. (Strangely, it is rendered “gold” in Job 28:15, as gold is carefully stored or safely secured, covered and protected.)

Secondly, there is the “caul” of Isaiah 3:18: “In that day the LORD will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,….” In this context, it means a woman’s headband, head ornament, or hair-netting of some kind. One Bible dictionary says, “A head-dress, made in checker-work; long, like a scarf; worn by women for ornament.” The Hebrew here is שְׁבִיס, shabiyc.

Lastly, we have the “caul” most often found in the Bible. It is always applied to the sacrificial animals in Judaism. In Hebrew, the word is יֹתֶרֶת, yothereth. This is where the bulk of our study will focus.

Notice, for example, the first appearance of this third sense of “caul:” “And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar” (Exodus 29:13). Context clues allow us to make an informed decision that “caul” is an animal’s body part; moreover, “caul” is associated with the liver. In fact, the liver itself can be divided into various lobes or parts. The “caul” may be one of these lobes, an overhanging flap, an appendage resembling a duplicate liver rather than the extension of a single liver. One source suggests that the “caul” is really the “caudate lobe” of the liver. Whatever the “caul” was, the Jewish priests recognized it, and it was to be offered in sacrifice to JEHOVAH God as we see in the following verses:

  • Exodus 29:13: “And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar.”
  • Exodus 29:22: “Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration:….”
  • Leviticus 3:4: “And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
  • Leviticus 3:10: “And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.”
  • Leviticus 3:15: “And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.”
  • Leviticus 4:9: “And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away,….”
  • Leviticus 7:4: “And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away:….”
  • Leviticus 8:16: “And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.”
  • Leviticus 8:25: “And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:….”
  • Leviticus 9:10: “But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses.”
  • Leviticus 9:19: “And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver:….”

Also see:
» What is the “purtenance?”
» Why did God demand the blood sacrifices?
» Why did God reject Cain’s offering?

What is the “purtenance?”

WHAT IS THE “PURTENANCE?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word appears only once in the King James Bible. It is found specifically in Exodus 12:9: “Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.” What is the “purtenance” though?

Our English term “purtenance” has the following etymology: “Middle English portenaunce, literally, appurtenance, from Anglo-French partenance, from partenir “to belong.” (The word “pertain” also originated from here.) Using this information, and the surrounding words in the verse, we can get a general sense of “purtenance” as pertaining to the body of an animal (especially the Passover lamb, or goat—see verse 5). Notice the references to the head and legs of the creature.

The underlying Hebrew word (Strong’s #H7130, קֶרֶב, qereb) was rendered in the Authorized Version as follows: “among” (76 times), “midst” (73 times), “within” (24 times), “inwards” (22 times), “in” (6 times), and 26 miscellaneous occurrences. For example, Sarah laughed “within” herself (Genesis 18:12), Abraham dwelt “among” the Canaanites (Genesis 24:3), Rebekah’s twins struggled “within” her womb (Genesis 25:22), and so on. So, we get the general idea of something internal.

In the case of Exodus 12:9, “purtenance” is really the entrails or guts of the Passover animal. Again, this is the only time the word is used. However, the idea is frequent in Scripture. Our 1611 translators usually employed the word “inwards”—not “purtenance” —when referring to sacrificial animals. Notice:

  • Exodus 29:13: “And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar.”
  • Exodus 29:17: “And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”] of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head.”
  • Exodus 29:22: “Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration:….”
  • Leviticus 1:13: “But he shall wash the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”] and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.”
  • Leviticus 3:3: “And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and all the fat that is upon the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”],….”
  • Leviticus 3:9: “And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat thereof, and the whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the backbone; and the fat that covereth the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and all the fat that is upon the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”],….”
  • Leviticus 3:14: “And he shall offer thereof his offering, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and all the fat that is upon the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”],….”
  • Leviticus 4:8: “And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering; the fat that covereth the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and all the fat that is upon the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”],….”
  • Leviticus 4:11: “And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and his dung,….”
  • Leviticus 7:3: “And he shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”],….”
  • Leviticus 8:16: “And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.”
  • Leviticus 8:21: “And he washed the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”] and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.”
  • Leviticus 8:25: “And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”], and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:….”
  • Leviticus 9:14: “And he did wash the inwards [qereb, “purtenance”] and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.”

Also see:
» What is the “caul?”
» Why did God demand the blood sacrifices?
» Why did God reject Cain’s offering?