Category Archives: GRACE (CHRISTIAN) LIVING

Why does “revived” appear in Romans 14:9?

WHY DOES “REVIVED” APPEAR IN ROMANS 14:9?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Some find Romans 14:9 rather baffling, for it reads: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Christ “died”—okay. Christ “rose”—got it. Christ “revived”—huh? Is that not redundant? Why are “rose” and “revived” both essential here?

The fourteenth chapter of Romans counsels Christians to seek the welfare of their weaker brethren in Christ. We should always remember not (!) to use our liberty in grace to cause fellow believers to stumble in sin. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). An activity we consider acceptable—and it may very well be acceptable to God—may seem inappropriate to Christians unschooled in grace doctrine. It will thus become to them a source of discouragement and potential destruction. Therefore, it is better for us to limit our freedom, lest Satan use something good to spiritually injure or incapacitate God’s people (read Romans chapter 14 in its entirety). Check also 1 Corinthians chapter 8, and our related study linked at the end of this article.

For brevity’s sake, we start at verse 1 of Romans chapter 14 but restrict our comments until verse 7: “[1] Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. [2] For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. [3] Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. [4] Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. [5] One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. [6] He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

Verse 7 onward amplifies what has preceded: “[7] For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. [8] For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. [9] For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” We want to focus now on these verses, chiefly verse 9.

There is no room whatsoever in the life of Christ for living for self, living independently, living according to self-will, ignoring the damage we inflict on others (particularly fellow members of the Body of Christ). That is the old nature, the sin nature, Adam’s life, but that is not God’s life, Christ’s life, the Christian’s nature in the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Philippians 2:1-8). The Holy Spirit leads us to function on the basis of sound Bible doctrine—Pauline/grace teaching—rather than the energy of the flesh and vain speculations of natural-man thinking (cf. 1 Corinthians chapter 2). Faith in sound Bible doctrine allows the life of Jesus Christ, rather than the life of fallen Adam, to be manifested in our life.

Romans 14:9 once again: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Not only did Jesus die, not only did He rise from the dead, He “revived.” Why does “revived” appear here? What is its significance? The word seems unsuitable, does it not? Perhaps, but the Bible is not the problem. Every word of the King James Bible is important, and just because we do not understand a verse does not mean we should start “correcting” or “re-translating” it. Instead, we study it more fully, locating cross-references that will allow the Bible to interpret itself.

The Lord Jesus rose from the dead, but He was not merely alive. He was active or functional. You can be living in a vegetative state—paralyzed or limited physically. When Christ resurrected, He not only came to life again, He also left that tomb and resumed moving in that physical body like He did before it was crucified and killed. Read Romans chapter 6, paying close attention to verse 10: “[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.” Jesus “liveth unto God” (verse 10)—His resurrection life!

After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus began to teach God’s Word again to Israel’s believing remnant (Acts 1:1-3). He recovered the condition He had before. It was a life of servitude to Father God once more, not selfishness but selflessness. He continued to follow His Father’s will, teaching Israel’s Little Flock, telling them about the kingdom of God, equipping them to prepare for the founding of His earthly kingdom (see Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:44-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8). In terms of Romans 14:8, Jesus Christ “lived unto the Lord” and He “died unto the Lord.” The “Lord” here is obviously God the Father, for it was the Son who lived and died and lived again in accordance with the Father’s will. Recall Christ’s words in Gethsemane, just prior to His arrest and crucifixion:

  • 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.”
  • Matthew 26:42: “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”
  • Luke 22:42: “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
  • 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.”
  • Hebrews chapter 10 is Jesus Christ speaking to Father God: “[5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [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. [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Going back to our key text in Romans chapter 14: “[7] For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. [8] For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. [9] For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Whether the life before Christ’s resurrection or the life after it, it was unselfish living. He was living, He was dead, and He was alive again. The purpose of this (living, death, living) was so He could be our Lord, whether we are dead or alive. If we live unto the Lord, or we die unto the Lord, we are following the Lord’s example, and He is thus leading us. We are faithful to Father God’s will, right up until physical death, and, after our physical resurrection, the life we will enjoy in the heavenly places. While we are on Earth, let us live with Father God’s will in mind—that is, in Romans chapter 14, conducting ourselves with our weaker brethren at the forefront of our thinking.

If we look at how this Greek word (“anazao,” “live again”) was handled elsewhere in the King James Bible’s New Testament, we see “rose” paired with “revived” is equivalent to coupling “rose” with “again.” “Again” and “reviving” both refer to the post-resurrection life:

  • Luke 15:24: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
  • Luke 15:32: “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
  • Romans 7:9: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (This would be the sense of “revived” in Romans 14:9.)
  • Revelation 20:5: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”

Also see:
» Can you explain 1 Corinthians chapter 8?
» Is it truly a good deed if done for selfish reasons?
» What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?
» Are the Christian life and ministry about bossing people around?
» Provided we do not hurt anybody, may we do what we want?
» Can an atheist be moral without any influence from any “higher power?”

Should we have a ministry to people who abuse us?

SHOULD WE HAVE A MINISTRY TO PEOPLE WHO ABUSE US?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Dear friends, it is no secret this world abounds with “users and abusers.” Such people take advantage of the kindness of others. They particularly expect us Christians to work for them for free. At their insistence, we should open some form of “business”—taxi service (driving them around everywhere), daycare facility (watching their kids constantly), construction company (doing frequent home maintenance for them), and so on. A well-meaning soul would say, “Even though they are known drug users, thieves, habitual liars, and alcoholics, I can mingle with them and show them the light of Christ. If need be, I will work for them for free just so I can be a witness to them!” Is that reasonable?

Undoubtedly, we should do whatever we can to help the less fortunate, needy, and disabled: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth (Ephesians 4:28). As much as we possibly can, we should especially take care of other Christians’ needs: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).

Romans 12:9-21 is another excellent passage to consult: “[9] Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. [10] Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; [11] Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; [12] Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; [13] Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. [14] Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. [15] Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. [16] Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. [17] Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. [18] If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. [19] Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. [20] Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. [21] Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Now, this is not all the Bible says about our relating with others. We should apply sanctified common sense as well. Bear in mind 1 Corinthians 15:33-34: “[33] Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. [34] Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” Simply put, we put our Christian testimony and spiritual health at risk when we associate with certain people. We are deceived if we think they cannot inflict great damage upon us. Perhaps they have a criminal reputation. Or, maybe they belong to some cult, a haven of false teaching. If we are not careful, these avenues will become gateways for Satan’s evil world system to enter our life and attack us. For example, since the Christian Corinthians had allowed pagan Greek philosophy to mislead them, their so-called “spirituality” was nothing but an embarrassment. Sin is contagious. One person acting in the flesh will be enticed to sin if he or she sees another person acting in the flesh—that applies to lasciviousness (loose living) and asceticism (strict religion/philosophy).

It makes no sense for any Christian to surround himself or herself with lost people and expect to have victorious grace living. Too much exposure to the evil world system will bring any Christian down—from the new believer in Christ saved yesterday all the way to the apologetic pastor in ministry for 50 years. Never underestimate the effects sin can have on your life if you open yourself up to it. Consider these two equally tragic, real-life illustrations.

Currently, this author has a brother in Christ, a dear friend in grace ministry, struggling with illegal drug addictions. For years, he had contact with heavy drug users, and rather than him influencing them to come to Christ, they enticed him to follow them in their criminal lifestyle. In recent months, he has almost gone to Heaven on a few occasions because of his near-fatal overdoses! The nightmare his family members have experienced could have been avoided had he been more cautious in ministry. On a positive note, he has just started seeking treatment in a drug rehabilitation facility. Hopefully, he will recover himself from the snare of the Devil!

Some years back, the author had another brother in Christ, another good friend in grace ministry. This Bible teacher, after attempting to convert an atheist, became atheistic himself and a hostile Bible scoffer! Even after this author reached out to him to correct him, he never responded and continued on his wayward path. Three years later, it now appears he is more confused and smugger than ever. Unless we take adequate precautions, saints, sin will conquer us in ministry. Be ever so careful and prayerful before getting involved in these types of cases.

We need to make wise use of our time and energy. Wasting the Lord’s resources on people who refuse to better themselves is foolish. It is not God’s will for us. Having a ministry to people who outright abuse or habitually take advantage of us is a formula for disaster. Once we no longer positively influence them, but we reach the threshold of them beginning to adversely affect us, it is time to “count our losses” and move on to people who do want to be saved in Jesus Christ and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

Also see:
» How long should we keep witnessing to the same person?
» If God knows who will serve Him and who won’t, why witness?
» Must I witness to be saved?
» Can we witness “too much” to family members?
» Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God use them again?
» If God wants to save all—but only few are saved—is He not “weak” and “limited?”
» What are evil communications in 1 Corinthians 15:33?

Can you explain, “We are in the world but not of the world?”

CAN YOU EXPLAIN, “WE ARE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF THE WORLD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

While often quoted in Christian circles as though it were a Bible verse quoted verbatim, “We are in the world but not of the world” is actually an amalgamation of several passages of Scripture. In this study, we will carefully consider that exhortation, tracking down its pertinent verses and summarizing them for application to life.

“WE ARE IN THE WORLD…”

We are “in the world.” The preposition “in” here signifies physical location, position, or status. Not yet in Heaven, we members of the Body of Christ are confined to this material and earthly existence. We must encounter lost (non-Christian) people on a daily basis. Until we enter the heavenly places, we will always be surrounded by people who do not believe or follow the Bible. They are not our enemies, though; as they are, so were we. Hence, we should attempt to reach them with the Gospel of the Grace of God. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The Lord Jesus Christ had a special reason for not taking us to Heaven the moment we trusted Him as our personal Saviour. He has entrusted us—not angels!—with the ministry of reconciliation and the word of reconciliation. We have been left here (temporarily) to share His words with others, that they may join us when we join Him in Heaven in the ages to come.

Second Corinthians chapter 5, verses 14-21, is our “Great Commission” in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God: “[14] For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [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.”

According to this passage, we are to tell lost people that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. That is, He has offered to take of care of their sin debt by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die in their place. If they are to pass from eternal death to eternal life, they must receive by faith—neither by works nor by faith and works—the merits of that finished crosswork (as we have). Once they trust Jesus Christ’s shed blood as sufficient payment for their sins, God cancels (forgives) their sin debt and imparts righteousness to them. Unless we are here to preach that glorious Message of Grace, they will know nothing about it.

The Apostle Paul talks about us Christians being “in the world” in 1 Corinthians chapter 5: “[9] I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: [10] Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.” We must go out of the world to avoid associating with idolaters, fornicators, covetous individuals, et cetera. There are no such sins in Heaven. We cannot exit this world until God calls us home to the heavenly places. In the meantime, we must come into daily contact with people who are not part of God’s family. While they are not God’s children, they can be if they choose to accept by faith His free gift of soul salvation in Jesus Christ. In order to become members of the Body of Christ, they must first realize they are lost (needing salvation). It is difficult for them to understand this, as Satan uses works-religion to cause them to believe they are “okay.” Our duty and privilege are to tell them they are in dire need of justification in Christ.

Second Corinthians chapter 4: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Focus on that expression “the god [ruler] of this world.” Now, go over to Galatians 1:4: “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:….” All the systems of this world—political, economic, religious, educational, et cetera—are the expression not of God’s thoughts but rather Satan’s policy of evil. We need not wonder why corruption, deception, and injustice run rampant even now. Unless they believe on Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, they will be on the receiving end of the wrath of a righteous, holy God! Yet, in the midst of this fallen creation, Almighty God is performing a mighty work. He does this through His people, believers in Jesus Christ, as His words work in them who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Sin is the method whereby Satan works to counter all that God wishes and does. Read 1 John 2:15-16: “[15] Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” The evil world system operating today does so on the basis of creatures—whether angels or people—conducting themselves according to “the lust of the flesh” (“I want it!”), “the lust of the eye” (“It looks good!”), and “the pride of life” (“I deserve it!”). Adam and Eve failed in all three points (Genesis 3:6), but Jesus Christ triumphed in all three points (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). When we rely on Christ, we partake of His victory over sin! That leads us to the rest of the phrase under consideration.

“…BUT NOT OF THE WORLD”

We are not “of the world.” The preposition “of” here indicates spiritual origin, source, or derivation. Recalling 1 Corinthians chapter 5, Paul referenced “the fornicators of this world.” They belong to this evil world system, just as the covetous, extortioners, and idolaters mentioned in verse 10. Nothing they do reflects the Creator’s mentality or glory.

If we go over to 1 John chapter 4, we can see another example of “of the world:” “[1] Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. [2] Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: [3] And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. [4] Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. [5] They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. [6] We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” “Of the world” (verse 5) indicates false prophets or unbelievers (false religion), while “of God” (verse 6) refers to believers in Christ.

On the night of His death, Christ Jesus prayed to Father God about His apostles: “[14] I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [15] I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (John 17:14-16). The Lord Jesus did not want His Heavenly Father to remove His disciples from the world, but rather guard them from “the evil.” As Israel’s Apostles were in the world, functioning on planet Earth in “enemy territory” (Satan’s domain), so we the Body of Christ find ourselves “trapped” here fighting against the flesh and the evil world system (as opposed to reigning in outer space, or the third heaven, for God’s glory).

First Corinthians 2:11-13 reminds us to be sure to keep our thoughts straight: “[11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

We who have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour possess the indwelling Holy Ghost who teaches us, that the lies of the evil world system not deceive us. As we take the King James Bible and study it dispensationally on a daily basis, we are submitting to the teaching ministry of God’s Spirit. We are constantly reminded to remain separate from the world’s thinking and activities because we are to exhibit God’s thinking and activities. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). We are “of God,” are we not? Then, we need to think and act like it!

No matter the age or dispensation, every person is either in Adam (default) or in Christ (believer). The words “in Christ” in 2 Corinthians 5:17 are a redemptive term: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” People in Adam (unrighteous) go to Hell, whereas people in Christ (righteous) go to Heaven. Consider the two federal heads in Romans chapter 5—Christ (God’s people share His identity) and Adam (everyone else). Whatever God has told mankind to believe in a particular dispensation, individual people have been expected to believe it so God can credit him or her for righteousness and put him or her in Christ. Our Gospel Message is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Christ dying for our sins, being buried, and being raised again the third day. If faith in this Good News justifies us, should we not then behave as justified people? Of course!

Go now to John 15:19, Jesus’ words to His followers: If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” By birth and from birth, every human is a sinner, a rebel against God’s purpose and plan; the sin nature is passed down from father to child, going all the way back to Adam. As King David wrote in Psalm 51, “Behold, I was shapen in inquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (verse 5). However, believers—those who trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour—God spiritually circumcises them. He cuts them off from that Adamic identity (Colossians 2:11-13; see Israel’s spiritual circumcision in Romans 2:28-29). As Jesus said, His believers were not “of the world;” they were now separated from the evil world system, sin’s dominion, Satan’s captivity. Christ then chose His believers “out of the world” to serve Him—neither their identity nor their function brought Satan glory anymore. They were no longer sinners bound for the torments of Hell, no longer enemies of God, and no longer contrary to God’s will for them. What is true of them is now true of us Christians.

Remember Jesus said in John chapter 15 that He had taken His disciples out of the world; therefore, they were no longer of the world. Their origin or association was not the sinful world system but now God’s kingdom and purpose. Again, while not spoken to us the Church the Body of Christ, but rather Israel’s believing remnant, we can still see the parallel with us. Our behavior should not match the course of this world because we are no longer in Adam. If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we are members of the Church the Body of Christ. We are part of God’s family now (Galatians 3:26). We are no longer children of the Devil (John 8:44). Our identity in Christ no longer matches the identity of lost people of the world. Thus, our behavior should reflect our new position in Christ. If ever we find ourselves blending in with the world with our words and/or our activities, we are living inconsistently with our Christian identity.

When Scripture says we are not of the world, it means we are not in the default position. We have moved from Adam (sin) to Christ (righteousness). The people of the world are still in Adam, cooperating with the evil world system or arrangement that Satan guides today. Remember, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 talks about Satan being “the god of this world” and Galatians 1:4 says this “present evil world.” While we live in this world, we do not have to act like this world. If we are willing, God’s Holy Spirit will bring to life the life of Christ in us. We simply believe in our heart Pauline verses such as the following, and the Holy Spirit will work in us to make them a reality in our own life.

Ephesians 4:17-24: “[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. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Philippians 1:9-11: “[9] And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; [10] That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. [11] Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

Philippians 2:14-16: “[14] Do all things without murmurings and disputings: [15] That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; [16] Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”

Philippians 3:20-21: “[20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Colossians 1:9-13: “[9] For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; [10] That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; [11] Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; [12] Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: [13] Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:….”

Colossians 3:1-4: “[1] If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. [3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

Titus 2:11-14: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

CONCLUSION

The verse that reads closest to the phrase in question, is John 15:19: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Jesus Christ was speaking to His disciples in the upper room on the night of His arrest, just hours before His crucifixion. As you can see, the Lord Jesus was comforting His followers, telling them of their future troubles and how He would see them through them. They were “in enemy territory,” and they would suffer for it at the hands of sinful men cooperating with Satan! While not spoken to us (the Church the Body of Christ), but rather Israel’s believing remnant (the Little Flock), we can still see the parallel with us.

While we are physically alive, we are bound to Earth. We cannot go to Heaven until Father God is ready for us. Indeed, we are “in the world”—part of human society, physical citizens of planet Earth. However, we are notof the world” because God took us spiritually from the evil world system. We are no longer under Satan’s control or destined for Hell and the Lake of Fire. Our position in Adam is gone forever, since our position in Christ replaced it the moment we believed the Gospel of the Grace of God. If we are saints positionally, then we should be saints practically. Let lost people think and act like lost people—people acting like they are headed for Hell (after all, that is who they are and where they are going!). Christians should think and act like Christians—people acting like they are headed for Heaven (after all, that is who we are and where we are going!).

Also see:
» Is grace a “license to sin?”
» How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?
» Is “excellent” a King James mistranslation in Philippians 1:10?
» Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God use them again?
» Does “once saved, always saved” entitle us to abuse God’s grace?

» What are “evil communications” in 1 Corinthians 15:33?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?

Are we immune to heresy and apostasy?

ARE WE IMMUNE TO HERESY AND APOSTASY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Absolutely not!

Once, this author was speaking with a dear brother in Christ who had left false religion and came to faith in the Gospel of Grace: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). For the last few years, the brother had been growing in the Word rightly divided. This author told him he would be praying for him, advising him that he would need to be vigilant not to fall back into his former denominational system and/or other false teaching. The brother replied, “You do not have to worry about me. I will not return to that!”

We would hope—oh, how we would so (!) hope (!)—we would never fall away from Jesus Christ. How we would pray—oh, how we would so (!) pray (!)—we never deny Him as our Saviour and Lord, returning to the evil world system out of which He has called us. We would want—oh, how we would so (!) want (!)—that it would never be said of us that we left the Apostle Paul’s doctrine in favor of works-religion!

In the decade-plus that this author has been in ministry, he has seen people come to faith in Christ and then return to the world as if nothing ever happened. They even become worse than they were before! He has witnessed individuals come to understand Paul’s ministry—and then return to their denominational system. They might have been saved for years or studied the Bible dispensationally for years, but they never continued with that sound doctrine. Unfortunately, some of these were even preachers and teachers! This is the sad tale of various people in Scripture as well.

For example, consider the well-known account of the Apostle Peter insisting that, although all the disciples would forsake Jesus, he would never do it. In fact, Jesus told him otherwise—but Peter argued and boasted that he would die before letting Jesus be executed! All the disciples agreed.

Read Matthew 26:31-35: “[31] Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. [32] But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. [33] Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. [34] Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. [35] Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. Now, turn to Mark 14:27-31: “[27] And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. [28] But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. [29] But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. [30] And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. [31] But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

Luke 22:31-34: “[31] And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: [32] But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. [33] And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. [34] And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.” The Bible reveals what ultimately happened concerning Christ’s arrest: “Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50). Exactly as the Lord Jesus foretold, the Apostle Peter denied Him not once or twice but thrice (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62)! It is a bitter reality that even saints are prone to sin and error. Scripture tells the truth—even about its heroes.

We go over to Galatians chapter 4: “[9] But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? [10] Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. [11] I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” Upon hearing and believing the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Galatians had left their pagan works-religion. What happened? False teachers had then entered their assemblies, and the Galatians now “desire again to be in bondage!” They had tossed aside God’s grace and returned to works-religion.

Let us turn back to chapter 1 of Galatians: “[6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: [7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. [8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. [9] As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. [10] For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Again, in the case of the Galatians, these Christians allowed false teachers to move them from God’s grace and over to a performance-based acceptance system (works-religion).

First Corinthians 15:33-34 also reminds us that, if we associate with false teachers or fleshly (worldly) individuals, we too will repeat their errors: “[33] Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. [34] Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” This negative influence—pagan philosophy—was one reason why the Corinthian saints were so deceived and immature in their spiritual understanding. Instead of looking at the world through God’s eyes, they used man’s eyes.

We can reflect on Ephesians chapter 4: “[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. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ;….” Paul’s very purpose in writing to the Ephesian saints was to exhort them not to duplicate the empty thought processes that their pagan neighbors entertained.

We members of the Church the Body of Christ face the same evil world system that deceived and ultimately misled the ancient nation Israel. First Corinthians 10:1-14 is a terrible reality. It was most unfortunate the Christians at Corinth were guilty of repeating Israel’s error of pagan idolatry:

“[1] Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; [2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; [3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat; [4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. [5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

“[6] Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [7] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. [9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. [10] Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

“[11] Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. [12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. [13] There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [14] Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.”

The operative statement is verse 12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Let us never boast, “Yes, Israel forgot all the doctrine God taught her and the provisions He gave her, but I will never forget God’s Word and all that He has done for me!” Many Christians through the centuries have snubbed their nose at others’ sins, when they themselves were guilty of far worse. How often church members have bragged, “I love God so much, and I am so dedicated to His work!” This is most foolish, as they have been lulled into a false sense of security. It is these people—those focused on self, their feeble love for God instead of His infinite love for them—who will be the first to wind up vehemently turning away from Him in the future. Mark these words well… and never forget the Apostle Peter’s repeated “promise” that he broke thrice!

Paul’s final epistle, his second written communication to Timothy, contains two of the most tragic statements in all the Bible as touching apostasy. “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus” (2 Timothy 4:9-12). Nearly all the saints in “Asia”—that is, Asia Minor, modern Turkey—had left God’s message of grace through the Apostle Paul! The present evil world system (Galatians 1:4) had even captivated and distracted Demas, a once-dedicated ministry co-worker of Paul himself (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24)!

We will look at one final passage, chapter 4 of 1 Timothy: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” Be careful to note the implication in verse 1: “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils….” The only way for them to “depart from” sound Bible doctrine is if they first possessed it, or had awareness of it. In other words, they once knew the truth but subsequently abandoned it. This is the very definition of apostasy. By leaving the truth and embracing error, they created a heresyan offshoot idea and its resultant splinter group.

CONCLUSION

Indeed, no matter how long ago we trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, regardless of how often we have read the Bible, we are not immune to heresy or apostasy. Even in the physical world, a healthy body is subject to disease and weakness. This will not be totally avoided until we get to Heaven. Still, we need to renew our minds by engaging in personal Bible study on a daily basis: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We must remind ourselves of our identity in Jesus Christ. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are not the nation Israel. We are God’s heavenly people, not His earthly people. We do not need Israel’s Saturday Sabbath, Israel’s water baptism, Israel’s confession of sins, Israel’s tithing, Israel’s legalism, Israel’s spiritual gifts, Israel’s animal sacrifices, Israel’s prayer promises, and so on. Let us carefully consider and believe the Pauline Epistles, Romans through Philemon. Otherwise, we will go the way of Christendom—heresy and apostasy.

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Does doctrine really matter?
» Will God kill false teachers?
» What is the greatest threat facing the Grace Movement?
» What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?

How does Jesus “live” in our hearts?

HOW DOES JESUS “LIVE” IN OUR HEARTS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Many years ago, this writer posted on the internet, “Jesus lives in my heart by faith.” A scoffer replied with the following: “So, if I were to cut open your heart, would I find a little ‘Jesus’ inside it?” Such is the stupidity of the lost man: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Unless we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Scriptures will be utter nonsense to us. Man’s sinful heart prevents him from understanding and enjoying forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but we who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour can most certainly comprehend and rejoice in such simple truths. Ephesians 3:17 says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,….” How exactly does Christ dwell in our hearts by faith?

As always, we look at the context. This is part of the Apostle’s Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 3 of the Book that bears their name: “[13] Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. [14] For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, [15] Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, [16] That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; [17] That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, [18] May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; [19] And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Christ will dwell in our hearts (verse 17) once we are “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (verse 16). The Holy Spirit will fortify us by using His inspired, preserved Word. In the words of Jesus, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The Bible is spiritual food; without a daily intake through personal reading and study, our spiritual body deteriorates. Although it frequently happens, we absolutely (!) cannot (!) afford to “skip meals!” Unless we are on a steady diet of sound Bible doctrine—the Word of God rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15), dispensationally delivered and believed—we will become susceptible to all sorts of spiritual diseases (heresies and apostasies). This is precisely why the professing “Church” is so spiritually immature and impotent now! “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14).

When we realize that Paul is our Apostle (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us, and we understand the Dispensation of the Grace of God was entrusted to him (Ephesians 3:2), then we will pay close attention to the Pauline Bible Books of Romans through Philemon. They describe in great detail Jesus Christ’s very life in this the Dispensation of Grace. It is not merely God wanting us to copy Christ, mimicking or imitating Him. Such would be nothing more than hypocrisy or fakery—and there is already plenty of that in so-called “Christianity!” No, God wants to fill us with the very life of Jesus Christ because He has already given us the very life of Jesus Christ.

Read the Book of Romans, especially the first eight chapters—concentrating heavily on chapter 6. Continue reading on through until you reach Philemon, and you will have covered all 13 Pauline epistles. There is God’s life for you, friend. Once you believe in your heart those verses, the Holy Spirit will take them and use them to work in your heart. “For with the heart man believed unto righteousness,” Romans 10:10 says, in part. The doctrine you read and believed will then flow from your heart (invisible) and out to your daily conduct (visible). If you have truly believed in your heart (and not just your head!), the Word of God’s Grace will be on display in your life… and it will really be Jesus Christ’s life.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe(1 Thessalonians 2:13).

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

Also see:
» What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?
» Does doctrine really matter?
» Does it matter which Bible version I use?

What about the “wrath and doubting” of 1 Timothy 2:8?

WHAT ABOUT THE “WRATH AND DOUBTING” OF 1 TIMOTHY 2:8?

by Shawn Brasseaux

First Timothy 2:8 closes most curiously: “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” What is the “wrath” here? What about the “doubting?” Commentators often provide little light. Let us “search the Scriptures”—especially the context—to explain this verse.

“[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

The “wrath” of verse 8 sits in contrast to the “quiet and peaceable life” of verse 2. In other words, if we pray the “Pauline way” (as laid out in Romans through Philemon, “the Dispensation of the Grace of God;” Ephesians 3:2), we will not have an attitude of bitterness and hostility toward leaders. In today’s wild world, even professing Christians are increasingly entertaining the idea of anarchy (lawlessness) or sedition (overthrowing) as touching governmental powers. There is nothing wrong with exposing the corruption of politicians. We should certainly speak out against error of all forms—religious, political, economic, social, et cetera. However, the festering anti-government sentiment increasingly besetting our society is absolutely not God’s Spirit working in people. It is sinful flesh “doing its own thing,” no different from Adam and Eve refusing to submit to God’s instructions in Eden.

Romans chapter 13: “[1] Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. [2] Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: [4] For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. [5] Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. [6] For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. [7] Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Never forget the evil Roman Empire governing at the time that was written!)

Unless human government encourages or commands us to violate the principles laid out in the Holy Bible, we should submit to leaders. Notice the Apostle Peter’s answer in Acts chapter 5: “[27] And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, [28] Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. [29] Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Even though Israel’s corrupt religious leaders ordered the Apostles not to preach Jesus Christ, God’s servants did it anyway. We can also compare this to Daniel chapter 6, when the Prophet Daniel broke the Median-Persian law that forbade him to pray to God. Daniel was ultimately thrown into the lions’ den, but God delivered him through a miracle. Here are two instances where Christians should certainly disobey human government. However, the fact remains, a lot of anti-government sentiment today is rarely grounded in any Bible truth anyway.

As for the “doubting” of 1 Timothy 2:8, the context has already established it. Let us go back to the beginning of the chapter: “[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

“Doubting” is the refusal to accept the Apostle Paul’s special ministry and message (verse 7). When claiming to be a preacher, an apostle, a teacher of the Gentiles, Paul was accused of lying. Therefore, the Holy Spirit caused him to insert a rebuttal in parentheses: “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

Concentrate on 1 Timothy 2:3-8 now: “[3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

In this the Dispensation of Grace, God’s will is twofold. Firstly, He wants all men “to be saved.” (“Men” is a generic noun for all people—men, women, boys, and girls.) Secondly, He also wants all humans “to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” The first part of His will is that people believe on His Son alone as their personal Saviour: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is “the Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Consequently, Paul writes: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Through His finished crosswork on Calvary, Jesus Christ acts as the Mediator between us and Father God. Once we trust Him, we are redeemed, forgiven, sanctified, and so on. Now, remember, being saved unto eternal life—justification—is only one part of God’s will. The second part of God’s will is for all people “to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” This goes beyond justification. It involves understanding why God invented the plan of salvation and chose to save us in Christ. Now that we are Christians, having believed on His Son, what is His purpose in forming the Church the Body of Christ? How will He use us now and in the ages to come? What does He want to do in and through us? Unless we come to the knowledge of the truth, we do not know!

Once, the merits of Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary were restricted to the nation Israel. Isaiah 53:8 says “for the transgression of my [that is, Isaiah’s] people was he stricken.” Matthew 20:28 reads thusly: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Compare that “many” with Paul’s inspired “all” in 1 Timothy 2:6: “[Christ Jesus] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Verse 7: “Whereunto [To what purpose] I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Now, with Paul’s ministry—Paul being the “due-time testifier” or preacher (verse 7)—we learn Christ died for all men! Calvary is available to anyone and everyone—whatever one’s nationality, religious background, economic situation, et cetera. That is the special message the Lord Jesus Christ gave directly to the Apostle Paul. Now, with all this said, let us return to our original question and all will become clear.

In this the Dispensation of Grace, we know through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message that Jesus Christ died for all people, in order to save all people from their sins. All people would include governmental leaders—the very individuals often despised (and, considering their regular perversion, this is easy to understand). However, sinful human nature rebels against any and all authority (especially God’s). This anti-government sentiment will then be useful to Satan’s policy of evil to destroy the local church’s testimony. So as to guard against this, the Holy Spirit encourages Christians with one simple exhortation in 1 Timothy chapter 2: “[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all [most importantly!!!!!], supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority [!!!!]; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Carefully considering Pauline doctrine (Romans through Philemon), we as members of the Body of Christ are encouraged to pray for governmental leaders instead of hate them with a passion. Here is how we “pray without wrath”—the purpose or intent being “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” While it may be hard to believe, God wants to save them from their sins too! Christ died for all, remember. Since this “all-man” message is unique to the Apostle Paul, and highly controversial (offensive), it is therefore usually questioned. Therefore, God the Holy Spirit says to “pray without doubting.” “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

Friend, for more information, you are strongly (!) encouraged (!) to consult the following supplemental Bible studies below.

Also see:
» Does God choose our governmental leaders?
» Should Christians support the death penalty?
» How would God have us view veterans?
» Is it “un-Christian” for a country to have border walls?
» Who are the “Scythians” and “Barbarians?”
» How can I have an effectual prayer life?
» How should I pray?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?
» Should I raise my hands in “worship?”

Are the Christian life and ministry about bossing people around?

ARE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND MINISTRY ABOUT BOSSING PEOPLE AROUND?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No, absolutely not, absolutely not, absolutely not, absolutely not!

Firstly, let us read Matthew chapter 20: “[20] Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. [21] And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. [22] But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. [23] And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

“[24] And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. [25] But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. [26] But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; [27] And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: [28] Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Next, Mark chapter 10 records the account like this: “[42] But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. [43] But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: [44] And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. [45] For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Finally, turn to Luke chapter 22: “[24] And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. [25] And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. [26] But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. [27] For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.”

According to Jesus Christ Himself, the Gentiles—the non-Jews, those under Satan’s control, members of the evil world system—operate their governmental systems with a bully mentality. While there are precious few exceptions, the vast majority of politicians covet one thing even today: power. They want nothing more than to rule over others and boss them around. Turn back to Luke 22:25-26, Jesus’ words to His disagreeing disciples: “[25] And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. [26] But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” Notice “exercise lordship over.” The Greek is “kurieoo,” derived from the Greek word translated “Lord” (“kurios”).

“Kurieoo” appears again in Scripture, in Romans 6:9 and 14 as “hath dominion over:” “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him…. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Then, Romans 7:1: “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?” Next, Romans 14:9: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Also, 2 Corinthians 1:24: “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy; for by faith ye stand.”  Finally, 1 Timothy 6:15: “Which in his own times he shall shew who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of king, and Lord of lords;….”

A related Greek word is “katakurieoo.” It was rendered “exercise dominion over” in Matthew 20:25: “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.” Mark 10:42 translates it “exercise lordship over:” “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.” In Acts 19:16, it was rendered “overcame:” “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” The final occurrence is 1 Peter 5:3, “lords over:” “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”

We want to focus especially on the last verse just presented. Read it in context, the Apostle Peter writing concerning the circumcision believers: “[1] The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: [2] Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; [3] Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. [4] And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” Leadership within the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, is direction not oppression. The many verses we have just read bring us to this conclusion: the Holy Spirit never leads anyone to bully others, have control over them.

Now, come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, and re-read 2 Corinthians 1:24 in context: “[23] Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. [24] Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” Again, here is what makes religion different from Bible-believing Christianity. In light of the aforementioned surveys, we better understand Paul’s usage of the term. The Apostle never forced himself on anyone (in that case, the unruly Corinthians). He “helped” or “served” them instead. God’s grace motivates us to do right, friends, but it does not command us or force us as governmental leaders use laws. Christianity is not about religious leaders dictating to or bullying us. (That is religion!) We make conscious choices by faith in Bible verses we read, and we therefore “stand.” Never, ever let any preacher, theologian, denomination, or church sit on a throne in your Christian life! And, never, ever sit on a throne in any Christian’s life!

Dear brethren, we must be careful not to use our ministry as an occasion to the flesh. Sin deceives. It makes us adopt a false sense of reality. That deception arises in many forms. Here, we can think we are doing “God’s work” but in actuality our sin nature is parading, flaunting, “doing its own thing.” We do not care what direction our ministry or local church (truth or error, right or wrong, good or bad) goes, so long as we are doing the driving! How concerning it is that this attitude dominates most local congregations, as well as many of the so-called “Christian institutions of higher learning.” Identify this foothold of Satan in your life and ministry, Christian friend, and force him out before you are spiritually ruined!

Also see:
» What if I was never thanked?

» Is it truly a good deed if done for selfish reasons?
» What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?
» How does one know if he or she is maturing in the Word of God?

How should we as Bible believers respond to the coronavirus?

HOW SHOULD WE AS BIBLE BELIEVERS RESPOND TO THE CORONAVIRUS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Dear friends, since its discovery in Wuhan, China, late last year, we have heard more and more about the infectious respiratory disease known as the “coronavirus” (also called “COVID-19”). People are frightened, unsure of what to believe and how to react. What should we do as Bible-believing Christians? You will surely be surprised when you learn the answers God’s Word gives. In this study, you will encounter truths you have never heard before—and likely will never hear again. It is this author’s fervent hope and prayer that you will have a receptive heart. Let us search the Scriptures to see what Almighty God has to say!

I. THE (OBVIOUS) PHYSICAL THREAT

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) website: “The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 2,200 people have contracted the coronavirus in the United States; involving 47 states plus the District of Columbia; resulting in 50 deaths thus far. WHO reports that 167,511 people in 129 countries have coronavirus. About 6,600 deaths have resulted globally. Over 86,000 cases are confirmed in China; nearly 3,400 have died thus far. New cases are arising every day in various regions. There is currently no known vaccine to prevent coronavirus and effective treatments are still being developed. All we can do is slow it down by practicing good hygiene. For more information, you can visit these websites: cdc.gov (United States) and who.int (world).

WHO has recently labeled the coronavirus a “pandemic,” a global threat. President Trump has now declared a “national emergency” for the indefinite future—freeing up federal government resources and delegating power to combat it. Countries are closing their borders, isolating their people with border closing, discouraging trips, and banning large gatherings. Tightening travel restrictions are being implemented and enforced everywhere. Consumers are frantically rushing to stores and buying out items. Proprietors are even price gouging, taking advantage of desperate customers. Schools are holding online classes instead of face-to-face meetings. Sporting events are canceled or postponed indefinitely. Even handshakes are being evaded!

World-renowned immunologist and virologist Dr. Anthony Fauci says the risk for young and healthy Americans contracting coronavirus “remains low.” High-risk individuals are the elderly and people with underlying or chronic health conditions. If you are sick, seek medical help. United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams adds, “98 to 99 percent of the people will recover.” He gives his “prescription” as follows: “Know your risk, understand your risk, understand your circumstances, and get the facts to protect yourself.”

Obviously, we should all continue washing our hands as often as we can, using hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds. It would be best to avoid shaking hands (bump elbows instead, for example). Avoid any unnecessary travel, especially trips abroad. Sneeze and cough into your sleeves or disposable tissues; do not cough or sneeze into your hands!! Steer clear from large crowds and sick people—a practice called “social distancing.” Sick people should be quarantined. For the meantime, church leaders should resort to holding online services as opposed to physically meeting in buildings. Again, for additional guidance, visit these websites: cdc.gov (United States) and who.int (world). The Lord would expect us to use these common-sense practices to further reduce our risk.

In certain regions of the world, pandemonium and mayhem have resulted. Certainly, emotions are dominating and people are overacting. Being a presidential election year in the United States, individuals are exploiting this matter by “playing politics.” Blaming and attacking others will not solve the problem! The majority of the media here in the United States is unequivocally dishonest—and that is an indisputable fact. For several days now, this author has watched White House press conferences. While there are some upright journalists, they are few in number. Many are hostile and deliberately clueless to answers given over and over again; they are biased activists instead of neutral investigators. This author has no doubt many in the media are intentionally working to undermine and destroy this nation by promoting misinformation, and instilling fear and panic among its citizens. Certain cable “news” networks are laughable and thus not worth watching for even five seconds! Friends, you would do well to listen directly to health officials as opposed to politicians, “reporters,” and social-media gossipers who are seeking attention and creating division by disseminating “fake news.”

Even in Christendom, confusion and misunderstandings abound (like always!). In recent weeks, this author has read and heard about all kinds of nonsensical behaviors among professing Christians. Televangelists (charlatans!) are acting foolish in videos by selling supposed “coronavirus cures” at outrageous prices. Preachers are praying Psalm 91 over their audiences—asking God for angelic intervention and physical protection. In the United States, there was a recent “National Day of Prayer” where denominationalists, in their sincerity, voiced their pervasive Scriptural oddities. Being peddled is the ever-present slogan, “This is the sign of Jesus’ return! Look at Bible prophecy being fulfilled!” Of course, there is also the declaration, “God is using coronavirus to judge the world’s sin!” The very people who have the Word of God and should be generating light and peace—Christians—are often worsening the problem with their rank ignorance and unbelief.

Let us be abundantly clear. In this Bible study, we surely do not want to promote fearmongering and sensationalism (there is enough of that already). Yet, no matter who we are or where we live, we have made or will make significance life changes. These inconveniences will last for the next several weeks or few months—perhaps longer, depending our location in the world. We should take physical health precautions as already outlined. Never do we diminish this. Moreover, as Bible-believing Christians, we should look at this from a spiritual perspective and guard against threats to our spiritual health. That is our goal for the remainder of this study.

II. THE (INSIDIOUS) SPIRITUAL THREAT

Friends, how unfortunate it is that great confusion and misinformation result in times of disaster. Understandably, people are fearful—yea, even to the point of terror and paranoia. The Holy Bible can be a source of great comfort and enlightenment. However, Christians are usually just as baffled and misled as the general public. Why? They too have not actually listened to and believed the words of Scripture. Religious tradition, speculation, philosophy, and sentiment have been their guides. Thus, when we hear them and watch them respond to life’s situations, it is obvious they really have no idea what God is doing today or what He would have them do today either. Here, dear readers, is where we must exercise great caution. As serious as physical illnesses can be, none will ever compare to spiritual disease introduced by sin and false teaching.

Just as our outward man—the physical body—was formed to behave a certain way, so our inward man was created to function in a specific manner. A steady, nutritious diet results in a healthy physical body. Likewise, “junk food” is to be minimized in the spiritual world. Nevertheless, what is often passed off as “nutritious” spiritual food is nothing but trash! It seems good, it feels right, and it tastes good—but that false doctrine inflicts tremendous damage upon our soul and spirit. The pollution and destruction is not immediately noticed. In fact, it often goes unrealized until after physical death!

During this time of the coronavirus outbreak, we must guard against the plague of false teaching. As always, we remember the Holy Spirit’s instruction in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Physical illness is temporary, but spiritual destruction carries into eternity. As long as we handle the Bible dispensationally (Ephesians 3:2), understanding Paul is our Apostle or God’s spokesman to us (Romans 11:13), then we will be safe spiritually. If we do not handle God’s Word, God’s way, we will inflict great spiritual damage upon ourselves and our audience.

Here are seven major misconceptions currently circulating among Christian groups. These ideas are actually far more dangerous than the coronavirus itself and they should be avoided at all costs!

QUESTION #1: IS GOD USING THE CORONAVIRUS TO JUDGE THE WORLD FOR SIN?

A popular slogan during all times of trouble, “God is judging the world for sin,” is really legalistic. Indeed, Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28 contain God’s warnings to Israel concerning five stages of chastisements if they disobey His Covenant of Law. Crop failures, physical illnesses, wars, oppressive enemies, exile from the land, and so on, are just a few examples of these curses. Ignoring their dispensational contexts, people take these verses and feed them into our Dispensation of Grace. How careless they are!

Isaiah 59:1-2 is quoted to support the idea that suffering people are experiencing their trouble because God disfavors them: “[1] Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: [2] But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Again, the context is Israel as she experiences all five stages of chastisement previously mentioned (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). No nation today is being addressed here, for we are living in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2) and not the Dispensation of Law! Law and Grace cannot mix; the Book of Galatians could not be clearer. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). We are under a grace-based acceptance system (Calvary, Christ’s finished crosswork, giving us favor with God); we are not under a performance-based acceptance system (our “good” works giving us favor with God).

Whenever someone says, “God is judging this person, this nation, or the world today because of sin,” that individual seems to be voicing spiritual insight but is really doing nothing but advertising Bible ignorance. The most notable characteristics of our Dispensation of Grace are God’s “longsuffering,” “grace,” and “mercy.” He has been patient in dealing with sinful man, so He has not yet judged sinful man. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God has reconciled the world unto Himself, not holding their sins against them: “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” (2 Corinthians 5:19). God certainly is not judging the world for sin today. Through Calvary’s cross, any and every nation has equal and unrestricted access to the God of the Bible. He is not hiding His face from anyone (individual, nation, or world).

Grace (the Divine favor that sinful man does not deserve) and mercy (the Divine wrath that sinful man does deserve) are epitomized in the very Apostle to whom this dispensation has been entrusted. First Timothy chapter 1 says of Paul: “[13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Paul wrote the above passage as the Holy Spirit guided him. Also known as Saul of Tarsus, he was the bitterest enemy of Christ in the nation Israel—really, the whole world. He blasphemed against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31-32), refusing to listen to the Spirit of God as He preached through the 12 Apostles during the early Acts period. Saul encouraged his nation to continue resisting the Lord Jesus. Once the Prophet Stephen addressed Israel and censured her for her persistent unbelief (Acts chapter 7), these religious leaders stoned him to death. Saul, the Jewish religious leader that he was, was among that murderous crowd and inciting that violence!

Start reading at Acts 7:51 and go through to verse 3 of chapter 8. Then, turn to Acts 9:4-5, Acts 22:4, Acts 26:9-11, and Galatians 1:13-14. Finally, go back to 1 Timothy 1:13. As the greatest persecutor of the Messianic Church, Saul of Tarsus deserved nothing but Divine wrath. The next stage in prophecy to follow Christ’s ascension was God’s judgment on Christ-rejecting Israel and the world (Acts 2:24-36; Acts 3:22-23; Acts 7:55-56; cf. Psalm 110:1). Even now, 20 centuries later, that wrath has not yet fallen. In Acts chapter 9, Saul of Tarsus rather received grace, mercy, and peace from the Lord. Saul was not consumed, and yet he was most deserving of it! First Timothy 1:16 again: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Here is how our Dispensation of Grace began: God’s most vehement enemy joined His family by faith as opposed to remaining in unbelief and receiving that awful eternal judgment!

Go now to 2 Peter chapter 3, and read it, concentrating especially on verses 3-16. Scoffers are mocking and wondering when Christ will return to judge them for their unbelief (where Paul used to be!). The Apostle Peter’s inspired response is, “Paul’s ministry is underway, God’s longsuffering is operating, and it is not yet time to pour out wrath!” Anyone who is saved today by trusting Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), that person is saved following Saul’s “pattern” of salvation in Acts chapter 9 (cf. 1 Timothy 1:16). God’s enemies should be suffering His wrath this very moment, and yet, that wrath is delayed until our Dispensation of Grace runs its course. As long as the Church the Body of Christ is on planet Earth, the Dispensation of Grace is operating, so absolutely no Divine wrath will be seen. After the Body of Christ is caught up to Heaven at the Rapture, however, then prophecy will resume, and wrath will absolutely follow!

QUESTION #2: WILL GOD PROTECT US FROM THE CORONAVIRUS?

Some Christians have voiced they have no fear because God will keep them safe and prevent them from contracting the coronavirus. This may sound harsh, but it needs to be said: these are downright foolish comments. While it is biblical to claim physical healing (James 5:14-16, for example), there is absolutely nothing in Paul’s epistles to indicate we should claim physical healing or that we should expect no health problems.

Timothy suffered stomach issues and other “often” bodily illnesses. Was there a laying on of hands? (No!) An anointing of oil? (No!) Paul’s inspired recommendation was for him to use a little wine as medicine (1 Timothy 5:23). Paul himself, when writing his final epistle, remarked he had left Trophimus at Miletum “sick” (2 Timothy 4:20). This demonstrates that even the Apostle Paul no longer had the spiritual gift of healing. His “Acts” provoking ministry to Israel had ended (Romans 11:11-14). Paul himself actually suffered his own physical illnesses—near total blindness (Galatians 4:13-15; Galatians 6:11), among additional health issues (see 2 Corinthians 11:27 and 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, for instance).

In light of 1 Timothy 5:23, God expects to follow the aforementioned health precautions concerning coronavirus. He has given us an immune system and medical knowledge and technology, so we should use them!

QUESTION #3: SHOULD WE ASK GOD TO STOP THE CORONAVIRUS?

Religious people far and wide have actually assembled to repeatedly ask Almighty God to stop the coronavirus from spreading. They are still begging Him to intervene and mitigate its effects and help us know how to treat the ill. Again, this is an utter failure to understand and complete disregard of what Scripture says about the Lord’s current dealings with man. Remember, it is not a question of whether or not God can stop the coronavirus. He can. The question is, What is God doing today? Consider these two verses.

Firstly, “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” (Ephesians 1:13). Secondly, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). As members of the Church the Body of Christ, having trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God has “sealed” us with and by His Holy Spirit. Our inner man is forever secure. We will never experience Hell and the second death in the Lake of Fire. However, we have never been promised physical protection. Again, remember Paul himself experienced personal threats, including physical illness, limitations, and deprivations (1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 2 Corinthians 11:22-27). Timothy had various chronic health problems (1 Timothy 5:23). These Christians were not immune from bodily suffering, and neither are we (see Romans 8:18-25)!!

Second Corinthians 12:7-10: “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” In Christ, we have been given grace, a capacity to endure everything life throws at us—including physical illness and persecution!

Go now to Philippians chapter 4: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Whether possessing much or having nothing, whether sick or healthy, we can endure “all things!” The Lord Jesus Christ promises us—not physical help—but spiritual help. He is working in our inner man as we walk by faith in these simple truths. Our circumstances do not have to destroy us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

“That he [Father God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-21). Here is what the Apostle Paul prayed for fellow Christians because this is what God is doing today in the Dispensation of Grace (cf. Ephesians 1:15-23; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-12). You may also see Romans 5:1-5.

Again, before we “name and claim” Israel’s verses, we need to understand the dispensational change that took place with Paul’s salvation. Read Romans 8:18-25 and 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8. These verses describe our physical body being vulnerable to disease, aging, and death. We read nothing about, “God will spare us from illness,” “Let us claim physical healing in Jesus’ name,” and so on. In fact, we read the opposite. At creation, God imparted an immune system to the first human body, and we have inherited it. He does not need to intervene and “cure” us, or stop any illness from reaching us. If our immune is still not strong enough, if we get sick and die, so what! We will receive new glorified bodies at our resurrection anyway!

At this point, someone would ask about the healing miracles in Scripture. We will answer that now. The physical healing program that operated during Christ’s earthly ministry is currently paused. God’s earthly kingdom—in which there is no physical sickness (Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 35:4-6; Matthew 8:16-17; Matthew 9:35; Matthew 10:7-8; Mark 16:15-20; et cetera)—is delayed. Why? Because the wrath attached to that kingdom has also been delayed. The kingdom program—including the wrath—has been postponed so God can pour out grace and mercy on the entire world. Our ultimate healing as members of the Church the Body of Christ will come at the Rapture, when Christ returns to take us out of this present evil world, we receiving glorified and resurrected bodies that will never be subject to sin, decay, or death (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; cf. Romans 8:23-24; Ephesians 4:30).

QUESTION #4: SHOULD WE “NAME AND CLAIM” PSALM 91?

Certain people have presumptuously taken Psalm 91 and prayed over their congregations, their homes, and even their planet: “[1] He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. [2] I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. [3] Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. [4] He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. [5] Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; [6] Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday…. [9] Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; [10] There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. [11] For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. [12] They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

You can see why “coronavirus prayer warriors” like this passage. Notice the references to “noisome [serious] pestilence” (verse 3), “pestilence” (verse 6), and “plague” (verse 10). The “guardian angel” people “name and claim” this passage as well on the basis of verses 11-12. Interestingly, Psalm 91 was the very Scripture that Satan used against the Lord Jesus during His temptations (cf. Matthew 4:5-6; Luke 4:9-11)! Furthermore, it is significant that the Lord did not follow Psalm 91—even though it is Scripture. Satan had perverted it, misquoted it, and ripped it from its dispensational context. Psalm 91 is so heavily abused even today, as we can see throughout religious circles. Jesus knew it was a Second Coming passage, not a First Coming passage. It did not apply to His earthly ministry, and it does not apply to us either. Indeed, here is proof that we can quote the Bible and still be out of God’s will! Psalm 91 does not belong in our dispensation!

QUESTION #5: SHOULD WE “NAME AND CLAIM” 2 CHRONICLES 7:14?

Of course, we cannot forget 2 Chronicles 7:14, for it always appears in religious contexts when tragedy strikes: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Second Chronicles 20:9 is also being quoted concerning the coronavirus: “If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” There are four problems with us quoting these passages as though they are spoken to and about us.

Firstly, no matter what you have heard, America is not God’s people. No nation on Earth today is God’s people—even Israel (Romans 11:11-15,25-32)! The Church the Body of Christ is God’s people. Secondly, the verses in 2 Chronicles concern Solomon’s Temple (“this house”) in Jerusalem. The Babylonians destroyed that Temple more than 2,500 years ago. Thirdly, the “land” being healed is the land of Canaan, the land of Israel, not North America! Lastly, this is Israel being cast out of that land because of her sin (breaking the Old Covenant with her pagan idolatry). In the centuries after King Solomon, the Babylonian and Assyrian Captivities scattered the Jewish people around the world. How irresponsible we are to ignore such facts, rip these verses from their context, and make them God’s words to us.

QUESTION #6: IS THE CORONAVIRUS ANOTHER “SIGN OF THE TIMES?”

“The coronavirus is one of the signs of the times, telling us that Jesus’ return is near….” Over the years, this ever-popular and nonsensical “Gentiles seeking signs” mentality has become banal. Bible skeptics have taken full advantage of silly Christians employing this statement ad nauseum. “So, we are still waiting for Jesus, are we?! How many signs will it take before He comes back?!” Here again is how our refusal to handle the Bible dispensationally has caused us to look idiotic and thus encourage people to scorn the Holy Scriptures.

Firstly, Gentiles should not be looking for signs; the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). Secondly, Matthew chapter 24 in no way describes anything God is doing today. People are grabbing verse 7 and applying it to today, and this is dangerous: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” This concerns Israel’s prophetic program, the events (“signs,” indications) that speak of Christ’s Second Coming.

As Christians, we are not looking for the Second Coming—that is His wrath! We should be looking for His coming to take the Church the Body of Christ out of this present evil world (Titus 2:13). When our Apostle, Paul, wrote about events making the “last days,” he mentioned specific sins rather than specific signs (see 2 Timothy 3:1-5). Whatever Jesus spoke of in Matthew chapter 24, it is unrelated to what Paul wrote about in 2 Timothy; otherwise, Paul would have quoted Jesus’ earthly ministry here. Two comings of Christ are in view here, and we should be mindful never to conflate the two!

QUESTION #7: SHOULD WE PRAY FOR GOD TO GIVE OUR LEADERS WISDOM?

Dear friends, the only way God imparts wisdom to people is when they open the Bible and read it (1 Corinthians chapter 2)! It is a common practice for people to ask God for wisdom but they never actually read His Word. This is dumb, and that is all there is to it. If we are not willing to take the time to flip through the pages of Scripture and read those verses, then we really have no interest in gaining God’s wisdom. God expects medical doctors to use their formal training to save lives (did they not go to medical school for a reason?). He also expects politicians to take Bible verses and implement them by using their legal training. When we start asking God to give governmental leaders and physicians wisdom to undertake challenges, we are making two mistakes. Firstly, we are really cheapening prayer for those in authority. Secondly, we are saying God speaks outside of the Bible (and this is where the cults insert their leaders’ “inspired” literature—the Book of Mormon, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and so on).

Read 1 Timothy chapter 2: “[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

What would God have us pray concerning our leaders? That they would gain His wisdom? No. The context is Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork! God’s primary concern is not that governmental leaders are making poor decisions; His chief concern is that they are lost and headed for Hell like civilians! Christians need to stop praying nonsense for leaders, and start praying like intelligent and Biblically-informed people. Governmental leaders are most useful to God once they are members of the Church the Body of Christ. God does not fill lost people with His Holy Spirit. After they trust the Gospel of Grace, then He can and will work in and through them to make wise decisions. God expects Christian doctors to take advantage of their training they have already been given; otherwise, we could all pray for “medical wisdom” and avoid taking college courses!

Here is the blunt reality. What we need to pray is that governmental leaders would trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. What we need to pray is that doctors would trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. What we need to pray is that sick people would trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Praying with the long-term in mind—as opposed to the short-term—is mature Christian prayer.

III. CONCLUSION

As we can see, dear friends, the spiritual threat is far grimmer than the physical threat. Lies are circulating in the name of “Christian” teaching. Having the right doctrine—sound Bible doctrine, dispensational Bible study, in the soul—will bring us spiritual strength. “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure” (Isaiah 33:6). We need to be sure we are armed with facts and not superstitions and speculations!

We now summarize and conclude:

  1. Is God using the coronavirus to judge the world for sin? NO. Denominationalists are wrong (no surprise there!). God is not using the coronavirus to judge the world or any nation, including America. The very nature of the Dispensation of Grace is “grace and peace,” as opposed to “wrath and war.” God addressed the nations this way at the start of each and every Pauline Epistle, Romans through Philemon. His wrath will come on sinful man one day, but not until after our dispensation closes. In our dispensation, His attitude toward the world is “grace and peace.” The Apostle Paul’s very conversion in Acts chapter 9 is a testament to that fact.

 

  1. Will God protect us from the coronavirus? NO. God has not promised us immunity from physical threats or even guaranteed us physical healing. Many saints down through the ages have endured a variety of bodily illnesses and even succumbed to fatal diseases. Hence, we need to follow the health guidelines provided at the beginning of this study. God expects us to use common sense and practice good hygiene. We should listen to our local and national health professionals. If we do happen to contract the coronavirus and move on to Heaven, so what! We are “far better” off with Christ (Philippians 1:23)!

 

  1. Should we ask God to stop the coronavirus? NO. God will not stop the coronavirus because He is not intervening physically today. He is working internally, equipping us spiritually so that we grow stronger in Him and His Word to us, Paul’s Epistles (Romans through Philemon). He did not intervene to deliver Paul from his bodily afflictions, cure Timothy’s chronic illnesses, or heal Trophimus. The Holy Spirit ordered Timothy to use wine as medicine (1 Timothy 5:23). Likewise, God expects us to use our medical knowledge to develop a vaccine to minimize the impact of the coronavirus, how to lessen the risk of contracting it, and how to best treat those already infected with it. This is mature grace thinking—and a stark contrast to the Bible ignorance that so pervades the professing church! The sooner we move away from unrealistic expectations, the quicker we can become people of faith and hope instead of people of doubt and disappointment!

 

  1. Should we “name and claim” Psalm 91? NO. God will not send angels to protect us as per Psalm 91. He will not spare our house from succumbing to illness, coronavirus or any other disease. This heavily abused passage is what Satan attempted to use to distract Jesus Christ from His Heavenly Father’s will for Him. We would do well to keep Psalm 91 in its dispensational context, and not apply it to our dispensation. Nothing in Paul’s Epistles indicates angels protect us. Again, we are not guaranteed physical health until the Rapture, when these aging and weakening bodies are redeemed from sin. God cares for us, but spiritual health is His priority today!

 

  1. Should we “name and claim” 2 Chronicles 7:14? NO. This passage has a context. It involves the Mosaic Law, of which we are not a part (Romans 6:14). It involves Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed over 2,500 years ago. This is not America or any other nation today. Rather, it is ancient Israel being judged with courses of chastisement because of her persistent idolatry. The land is the land of Palestine, the land of Canaan, and not any other real estate.

 

  1. Is the coronavirus another “sign of the times?” NO. Despite what you have heard ad nauseum, the coronavirus is not a “sign of the times.” As non-Jews, we are not to be looking for signs anyway. There are no “signs” leading up to the close of our Dispensation of Grace. Matthew chapter 24 refers to Christ’s Second Coming some years after our Dispensation of Grace has ended. As opposed to looking for signs, we should consider the sins of 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

 

  1. Should we pray for God to give our leaders wisdom? NO. Apart from the already revealed will and mind of God as found in the Holy Bible, we will not hear from God again until He comes to remove the Body of Christ. Either the Bible is complete or it is not. If we want God’s wisdom, we need to read the Bible, especially Paul’s Epistles of Romans through Philemon (see Ephesians 3:4). Let us take time to understand how fragile this life is: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 5:14). Lastly, let us use this opportunity to reach as many people as we possibly can with the Gospel of the Grace of God. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Uncertain as to what to expect, they are most open to spiritual matters at this very moment. Be sure you give them the right information—sound Bible doctrine—and not the useless denominational doctrine we have just discredited. Stay safe and this author wishes you God’s best!

Also see:
» Should we pray for sick people?
» How should we pray for people enduring natural catastrophes and other tragedies?
» How do we have an “effectual” prayer life?

I have trusted Christ, so why do I keep seeing new things in Scripture?

I HAVE TRUSTED CHRIST, SO WHY DO I KEEP SEEING NEW THINGS IN SCRIPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Dear friend, have you trusted Jesus Christ exclusively as your personal Saviour? “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If you have believed in your heart the Gospel of the Grace of God, then you have the indwelling Holy Spirit: “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 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, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12-14). You are now God’s child, a member of the Church the Body of Christ. You have permanent forgiveness of all your sins. You have a home reserved for you in Heaven forever. You are justified (declared righteous), redeemed (purchased out of the slave market of sin), sanctified (set apart for God’s purposes), and so on.

However, when you open the Bible and read it, you still encounter a problem. There is a “veil” concerning the Scriptures. You can see the words on the page, but have limited understanding. It is like looking into a foggy mirror. You observe a vague outline, but details are obscured. Closing the Bible, you exclaim, somewhat disappointed and disgusted, “Well, I got nothing out of that!” Later—days, weeks, months, or even years later—you return to the same passage. Now, the verses impact you with a greater magnitude. You feel a thrill. “Wow, look at that verse! I never noticed that truth before!” What happened? How can you see now in the Scriptures what you could not see earlier in those very same verses? This phenomenon is what we will focus on here.

Dear Christian friend, you have to remember that, even as saved people, we have a sin nature (the flesh) that rebels against the truth. If we are not careful to mind the things of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5) and walk after the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25)—letting Him lead our thinking and conduct—we will go the way of the flesh. Whether saved or lost, God gives people spiritual light so long as they are willing to receive it. It is offensive, but it must be stated. Yes, it is likely for a Christian to think and behave like a lost person. There are people who have trusted Christ but refuse to abandon their denominational views because it will cost them something or everything (ego, family members, job/salary, friends, and so on). Let us not be these kinds of people. May we value the Lord Jesus Christ and His words—no matter the price!

Listen to Ephesians chapter 4: “[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. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

The saints at Ephesus were cautioned not to repeat the sins of other Gentiles. All around the world were non-Jews walking (conducting their lives) “in the vanity of their mind, 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….” The Ephesian Christians should be watchful in listening to and believing Pauline doctrine, lest they wind up in that same worthless mentality and lifestyle. If we are unwilling to let go of former doctrine—teaching we now know is false—then we will return to our old mindset and conduct.

Religion has misled us all to some degree. Some of us have spent decades in denominations or cults; others among us, having grown up in the Message of Grace, know practically nothing about such bondage. Yet, in all our hearts resides that aforementioned sin nature. It serves as “static” or “interference” to some extent. The greater the amount of false teaching we have clung to over the years, the more “static” the flesh generates, and the less clear God’s voice is on the pages of Scripture. We must let go of that nonsense if we are to hear God the Holy Spirit speak through the verses. It takes time, surely, but we have to move along in our understanding. Dear Christian friend, the more light you have in the Scriptures, please walk in that light. Do not regress, going back to the darkness in which you once were. Progress in your understanding, and get with it before you slide backward!

Consider Philippians chapter 1: “[12] Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. [13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. [16] Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

Here was the great Apostle Paul, writing some 30 or 35 years after trusting Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. Even after all that time, Paul still did not have a complete understanding of just why the Lord saved him unto eternal life! Yet, Paul was determined to keep growing in the Word, to continue studying it, to keep allowing the Holy Spirit to use it to transform his mind and life. Dear Christian friend, we should follow him in this regard, walking in the spiritual light we have (verse 16). If we do this, God the Holy Spirit will use the Scriptures to further mature us in our spiritual knowledge and spiritual understanding (verse 15). We will continue seeing new things in the Scriptures.

Not only do we “read” Scripture, especially Romans through Philemon“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” (Ephesians 3:4).

Not only do we “search” Scripture “daily”“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Not only do we “study” Scripture “rightly divided”“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

We “consider” Scripture to understand “all things”“Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7).

We let the Scripture speak because we are willing to believe it“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

We let the Scripture speak because we have a sincere desire to know God’s Word and will “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Onward, upward, and higher we go by God’s grace!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» How should we view dispensationalists of bygone days?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?
» Must I be a “King James Bible, Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?

What is the greatest threat facing the Grace Movement?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Dear brethren, we who understand and enjoy the Holy Bible rightly divided—namely, the “Pauline” or “mid-Acts” approach to the Scriptures—are able to realize how the organized religious system is deliberately and fervently opposed to what we believe and support. At least to some degree, Pauline dispensationalism has delivered us from denominational bondage, the empty traditions and idle speculations of men. Illuminating us with brilliant spiritual light, it allows us to escape the pitch-darkness of pagan religion (especially that which masquerades as “Christianity” but is anything and everything but). How marvelous is the Bible when delivered dispensationally! Those Divine words “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15)—the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25)—can also rescue from spiritual ignorance anyone and everyone who shares our sincere desire to learn God’s Word God’s way.

Irrefutably, dispensational Bible study is absolutely critical to avoiding spiritual impotence and defeat. Satan himself fights it as best as he can, for he is quite aware that dispensational Bible study is the only means whereby God the Holy Spirit edifies, encourages, and enlightens us. It is the key to unlocking the Scriptures, to understanding God’s will for this present age, for the world to see Jesus Christ as Father God Himself sees Him today. Satan’s evil world system indeed attempts to stifle that doctrine—via governmental and ecclesiastical oppression, discouragement, conflicting teachings, and so on. However, there is a more nefarious and extremely subtle method whereby the “Grace Movement” is under vicious attack. This Bible study, this treatise, will expose it, that it may be guarded against in the future.

This study is special for two primary reasons. Firstly, it has been released to commemorate six full years of “For What Saith the Scriptures?” (It is Bible Q&A article #680, the final one of 2019.) Brethren, herein is the culmination of what we have covered thus far regarding Christian (grace) living. Secondly, this study is affectionately dedicated to our dear Christian brother—Dr. C. F.—whom our Lord Jesus Christ has used these past two years to be an invaluable spiritual counselor to me personally. A close friend of our ministry for four years now here on earth, we look forward to serving the Lord with this saint in the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come!

With these opening remarks now expressed, we proceed to introducing the details concerning the greatest threat facing the Grace Movement. “For What Saith the Scriptures?”

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