Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ephesians 3:3-4 comments: Read God's revelation of Himself to man

3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Romans 16:25 ¶  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26  But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

You can go back to Acts 9 and see how Christ began to reveal His mystery to Paul.

Galatians 1:12  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

God gives a revelation of Himself.

Revelation 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

This is why it is impossible to prove God’s existence by so-called scientific methods of creating an experiment where God is required to show up and prove Himself. Outside of the obvious proof of His existence in nature as in the probability of life happening by chance on earth or in a stellar cloud are mathematically an impossibility (See Francis Crick’s “Life Itself” or the work of astronomer Fred Hoyle on the subject of abiogenesis) or just how clearly we can see His fingerprint in the order of the universe God is a person, an entity, who can choose to reveal Himself as He will or not.

There is no question that God’s revelation (reveal) of Himself to mankind is at His discretion. The thing man has to understand is whether or not a supposed revelation of God, say, in the Koran, is the same God as the God of the Bible, or if the God of American right wing or left wing politics is the same God as the God of the Bible.

God reveals Himself today through His words in His Bible. You can’t trust your conscience, your feelings, or your opinions. If you hear anyone say that God or even Jesus Christ appeared to them he or she is lying. If they tell you they had a two way conversation in their garden this morning, whether they insist He walked with them and talked with them and His voice was like James Earl Jones or Alexander Scourby they are deluded or are lying.

People will try to draw others to themselves, to form a cult, a following, and use this very tactic in order to justify themselves. I don’t care what you think God has laid on your heart, every Christian has access to God’s revelation of Himself through the words in His Bible by which God speaks to your understanding and to your heart.

But, before our Bible was complete, Paul and the Apostles and Prophets, received a direct revelation from God. God spoke to them audibly and sometimes in person.

As Paul said to his shipmates in Acts;

Acts 27:23  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

As Moses wrote;

Exodus 33:11  And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend…

There are no new revelations of God after the Bible was given in its entirety. The first complete Bible was available in the middle of the second century right around the death of the generation that was taught by the last apostle living, John. It was called the Old Latin Bible and there may have been a Greek Vulgate that preceded it. There have been advanced understandings of the Bible as God gave men wisdom who desired to know Him but nothing they came up with was not found in the Bible already or it was a fraud and a deceit.

Modern Bible versions giving primacy to the spurious manuscripts of Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus and using the inferior and dangerous translation method of dynamic equivalence (not literal) do not give us a complete revelation of God but a humanistic interpretation of some old Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. As their own scholars admit the two aforementioned manuscripts are the primary source of evidence for the renderings they produce and their lack of concern for a literal rendering of Bible verses and passages destroys all cross references and the Bible’s self-defining properties, its built-in dictionary for words and phrases.

Perhaps the modern Bible translators didn’t know about those qualities of the King James Bible just like some say that the New King James Bible translators didn’t know that their title for Jesus in Matthew 11:3 of, “The Coming One,” was a New Age Satanic doctrine espoused by witch, Alice Bailey, but I sort of doubt it. It appears that for the sake of a mistaken methodology of translating they destroyed the cross references of the Bible and while making verses mean something a modern person could easily understand they made them mean something other than what God intended.

Read the revelation of God, of Jesus Christ, to man in the King James Bible, also known as the King James Version or the Authorized Version cross-referencing verses, words, and phrases to see how they are used and what they mean or pick up a more modern version for its so-called ease of reading and miss the beauty, the poetry, the majesty, and the truth of God’s pure and perfect word.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ephesians 3:1,2 comments: The Dispensation of the Grace of God

1 ¶  For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

Paul, a Jew, is imprisoned for his work with the Gentiles. See the book of Acts for Paul’s travel starting churches among the Gentiles and in chapter 21 for his imprisonment for the mistaken belief that he brought Gentiles into the temple.

Paul is in prison when he writes, saying that Christ is not only the reason for his imprisonment but ultimately the one keeping him in prison.  He is there by Christ’s will for the Gentiles. That’s us.

Paul did not heed the warnings of the Holy Spirit which told him not to go to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:10  And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 12  And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13  Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 14  And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

The Holy Spirit had to secure him chained to a soldier in Rome perhaps for you and I to get these prison letters that form the foundation for Biblical doctrine for Jewish and Gentile Christians in this age of the church.

You can look at this as a reference to the way God has chosen to deal with people in this age.  Another way is to look at how God dispenses grace toward us. But, this doesn’t have to be a period of time. God’s grace is dispensed toward people throughout all history.  Certainly, King David, a murderer and an adulterer, was a recipient of God’s grace. So was King Hezekiah in his sickness. But, this is the age of the grace that leads to salvation.

Colossians 1:25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Verse 2 is not literally referring to a time period but to God’s dispensing of something. The more accurate way of looking at time periods is to study the Covenants of God such as the Adamic Covenant, Noahic Covenant, Mosaic Covenant,  etc. etc.

I consider myself a dispensationalist but if you take that too strictly, as a hyperdispensationalist, you will deny that the operations that God performs occur throughout all covenants and ages.  Also remember, that to dispense something is an action not a time period.

The Covenant God has made with people, Jews and Gentiles, after Christ’s resurrection, has to do with their acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son. God dispenses His grace toward us. This then becomes a Covenant of Grace although He dispensed His grace throughout all ages and covenants.

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:17  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Paul is given the unique task of presenting the Dispensation of Grace to the Gentiles. We are not under the Law given to Moses but enjoy the hope of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ephesians 2:19-22 comments: God's real house

19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Notice the placement of the word “strangers” with “foreigners” separated by “and”. This shows us the definition of “strangers” in the Bible as “foreigners”, usually meaning foreign to the people of Israel. (see Genesis 15:13; Exodus 12:19; Leviticus 24:22; Job 19:15 etc. etc.)

We Gentiles who have trusted Christ are no more aliens, strangers, or foreigners but are now joined as God’s people, fellowcitizens with the faithful Old Testament Jews and we are all of the household of God.

We, the people who have trusted Christ, are His body on earth, and His church. The building is not the church, the congregation is, if they are all in Christ. This spiritual building has its cornerstone Jesus Christ and its foundation God’s apostles and prophets. We are God’s temple, which He has built. Wherever we meet, Christ’s church, His body, is meeting whether it be in a private home, a business, the forest, or in a building we have set apart specifically for that purpose.

1Corinthians 3:9  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

In Biblical Christianity the individual believer is the temple of God, as our God lives inside of us once we believe.

1Corinthians 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

God’s Spirit lives inside of each believer in Christ. If you do not have Christ’s Spirit in you, then you are none of His.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

This was promised by Christ Himself.

John 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Christ is the cornerstone of the building that is the church, the reason for its being, its justification, and its only value. This cornerstone, the head of the corner, was rejected by the Jews. Here is the Old Testament reference;

Psalm 118:22  The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. 23 This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

Here is Christ referring to it in the New Testament;

Matthew 21:42  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Imagine a fictional scene between a Roman magistrate and a Christian who is asked to explain his faith. The magistrate asks the Christian where his god dwells, which temple, as almost all of the ancient gods had some form of temple to dwell in where he received worship.

When the Christian said, we have no sacred space, no grove, no temple other than our own bodies in which our God lives, the magistrate would have probably not understood. I can envision him repeating his request and explaining that every god has a building in which he lives so that his devotees can come and offer sacrifices and worship.
I can picture the Christian shrugging his shoulders and saying that his God doesn’t dwell in houses made of stone and wood but in each and every believer and when we come together we are his body on earth with the head in heaven.

I should think the magistrate would have a hard time. Unfortunately, later Christians abandoned this purity of thought and tried to temporalize and make worldly God’s kingdom for the purpose of control and, like the Jews’, lining up their faith in keeping with the competing faiths throughout the world making church buildings holy and human government as God’s arm of control. Jesus had told his followers where His kingdom was.

Luke 17:20 ¶  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

The kingdom of God is not a visible kingdom with castles and capitals.

Romans 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

It is a kingdom not of this world of armies, universities, museums, banks, and human government.

John 18:36  Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Were you to believe that the kingdom of God is a noble, humanistic ideal without Christ as God in the flesh, as Tolstoy believed, you would be mistaken. Were you to believe that Jesus was a Republican or a Democrat you would be in error. Were you to believe that Jesus was a capitalist or a socialist you would be clueless. Nothing that God has ordained as righteous is fulfilled by war or violence or coercion by human means.

The fruit of the proof or the evidence that you are part of this kingdom has nothing to do with your church membership, your political affiliation, your gender, or your social status. It has nothing to do with how often you go to church, how much money you give, how many gospel tracts you have handed out, how you dress, what you drive, or where you live.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Are you truly a member of God’s household, His building, and His temple or do you serve another Jesus, another gospel, in the real one’s name ? Are you like Tolstoy or one of our Founding Fathers, believing that man brings in the kingdom of God with his highest motives and behaviors? Are you like the YMCA preacher during World War One who famously said that if Jesus were on earth at that time he’d be in the infantry with a German’s guts on his bayonet? 

2Corinthians 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ephesians 2:18 comments: only Christ

18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

It is only through Christ that we, both Jew and Gentile (non-Jew and in the Bible this is sometimes referred to as Greek, for the dominant culture of the time), have access through the Holy Spirit which comes to live inside of us when we believe on Christ to God the Father, the soul, the seat of self-identity and will, of God.

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

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation from an eternity of physical agony, bitterness, and regret.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Eternal life is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You have no other chance, no other hope, no other possibility at all. In this life you have a short time to understand this one, incontrovertible fact. You are either in Christ and He is in you or you are not and He is not. You decide.

The church organization to which you belong can’t save you any more than your ethnicity can damn you. Salvation is predicated upon belief not status, race, height, weight, gender, or social grouping.

Romans 10:8  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

    12 ¶  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is nothing else; no creed, no outward signs of apostolic gifts, no works of any kind that saves a sinner from an eternity of despair and anguish and sorrow and pain. You think things are bad now, just imagine what things will be like if you enter eternity on your physical death having rejected Christ.

Acts 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Christ and only Christ is the bridge between fallen man and woman and God  who created them.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ephesians 2:16-17 comments: only one path to eternal life

16  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Jesus Christ is the means by which both Jew and Gentile become the Church, Christ’s body on earth. On the Cross at Calvary the rebellion between mankind and God was quelled, the enmity was slain along with Christ Himself. Through the Holy Spirit speaking from His prophets, apostles, preachers, teachers, and laymen and women the grace of  the Risen Christ is taught to the Gentile who was as far away from God as he could be with his self-worship through his worship of devils and false gods and the Jew who knowing His will was divided from Him by the Jew’s apostasy.

Gentiles worshipped false gods called, “the vanities of the Gentiles”;

Jeremiah 14:22  Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.

…who, if not simply figments of the gentiles imagination were themselves devils…

Deuteronomy 32:17  They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

Or perhaps, like Thomas Paine, John Locke, Montesquieu, and the Founders of America, they worshipped their own intellect and “Reason” through The Enlightenment where men like George Washington merely acquiesced to social convention by attending church without believing in the unique deity of Christ, or Thomas Jefferson who mocked the miracles of the Bible, the Resurrection, and the deity of Christ. Maybe like modern purveyors of snake-oil in the name of so-called science they cling to fantasies like 10 to the 112th power number of universes to escape the deficiencies of their bankrupt theories rather than acknowledge that there must be a God.

Romans 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,…

Philosophers spouting vain deceit.

Colossians 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

False scientists spewing out junk theories such as man’s descent from the mating of a chimp and a pig because the differences between man and primates argue against our origin in ape-like creatures as was recently showcased on

1Timothy 6:20  O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:…

But, Christ has made a way through Himself for wicked mankind, both Jew and Gentile, to be reconciled to God.

Matthew 7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

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

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

And there is only one path to peace with God and eternal life. Some social cults that preach a do-good philosophy will say that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe in something but in reality it matters what you believe as long as you believe in the truth. Christ is the only truth. And you cannot, you do not, know this Christ apart from His written words in the Book called the Bible. I don’t care how you FEEL about it.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ephesians 2:15 comments: Christ brought Jew and Gentile together

15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

There is rebellion and war between the natural man or woman and God.

Romans 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The natural man or woman is incapable of receiving the things that God offers to mankind through His Spirit.

1Corinthians 2:14  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.

The “natural man” who figures so prominently in popular songs from the 1960’s onward as an ideal is a complete idiot and totally separated from the God who created him or her and bound for damnation, the natural man’s natural destiny. In popular culture what started as rebellion against the humanism and power/control games of the established, organized churches ended up being a glorification of man’s rebellion against God. Both the unrepentant sinner bound for Hell who glories in their “natural man” state and the hypocrites in church pulpits and pews who deceived them shall give an account of themselves before God, I assure you.

When an unsaved person comes into your church and he learns from you that he must do such and such or that he must change such and such to be a Christian you are teaching him pure humanistic self-help drivel. Only God changes a person’s heart through His words in His Book, read, heard, and preached. It is not an act of the good intentions of any man. This is why so many people come forward who desire to be cleansed of drug and alcohol addictions, sexual obsessions, and a ruined life who never come back to church. Churches in America are simply good at taking a “natural man” or woman and covering them with a gloss, a sheen, a veneer of Christian principles and ideals which they have no hope of claiming as their own, leaving them frustrated and discouraged.

Only when a new believer is taught to speak to God in prayer and to let God speak to them and change them through His words daily and often does he have any hope of being anything but a natural man who is simply now even more confused and disappointed. In fact, there are even a lot of natural men preaching from fundamentalist pulpits these days. Their criminal rap sheets for abusing those weaker than themselves is proof of that.

So, it is impossible to depend upon either the will or the mind of the natural man or woman to receive the things of God. God alone, as Jesus Christ, without our help or assistance, abolished the enmity between us which was proven by our inability to follow the standards of righteousness which He set down in the form of the Law given to Moses. Read Genesis 15 to see how God established a covenant with Abram (Abraham) without Abram’s works other than simply believing God.

The Law given to Moses established our inability to do God’s will on our own.

James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Our inability to obey God is proof that the Law itself leads us to Christ.

Galatians 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, in this eighteenth century commentary on the whole Bible, said that for verse 14 and 15 that the middle wall of partition was between the Jew and the Gentile and that this twain, made one new man, was the Jew, God’s chosen people, the remnant in particular who obeyed the Law and followed Christ, and the Gentiles who believed, both together being made the Church, Christ’s body on earth. He also made note of the enmity between God and the sinner and how Christ reconciled that enmity. Commentator John Gill also viewed the two or twain as being a reference to the Jew and the Gentile who believed becoming the Church.

There are only three types of people in this age. There are unsaved Jews, unsaved Gentiles, and the Church composed of believing Jews and Gentiles. See 1 Corinthians 10:32 for that division.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ephesians 2:14 comments: Christ, our peace with God

14 ¶  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Christ is mankind’s peace with God.

Romans 5:1   Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.


Christ, the physical, visible image of the invisible God, (John 1:1; John 14:9; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3) not a separate person as in a different God or another God, but the angel, or appearance, of God (Galatians 4:14; Acts 27:23; Judges 2:1), God in the flesh, the Son of God, or the body of God, if you will, has broken down the division, the barrier, between God and man.

Theology 101 requires us to know who God is and of what He is composed. God, creator of all that exists (Genesis 1:1) is one person with three parts (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 2:2; 1 John 5:7); a soul, the seat of will and self-identity (Job 23:13; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27) or God the Father, a spirit, the agency of activity and power throughout the universe or the Holy Spirit, and a body, God the Son, the very WORD by which all things were created and the physical form in which God dwelt among men (John 1:1-18; Genesis 1).

These three parts of one God can act independently in space-time of each other and yet still be the same God. Mankind and the higher animals also have soul, spirit, and body (man – 1 Thessalonians 5:23, for the beast’s soul and spirit – Numbers 31:28; Job 12:10; Ecclesiastes 3:21) but in our case, if one is separated from the other we die physically.  Plus, we haven’t created anything except, usually, a mess.

In religions like Islam and modern Judaism there is no way to bridge the gap between God and man. Man continually tries to do it with his works but their God does not do anything but tell them how he wants them to behave and judge them if they don’t obey, if he’s not simply a disinterested deity. In Islam in particular there is no expression of any love from their God for man at all.

In Roman Catholicism, the ecclesiastical organization called The Church is supposed to be that bridge, with The Church reaching out to God and fulfilling his will on earth. All of these religions are humanistic in their approach. Essentially, they are man reaching out to some concept of God to be approved and accepted. This is also true in many Protestant faith traditions including the Independent Baptist, in many cases.

In Biblical Christianity, God, coming to earth in the form of a human being, bridged that gap. God did all the work. Mankind receives and mankind believes (John 1:12, 13). After that, saved mankind is predestinated to eternal life. As God did all the work, mankind can take credit for nothing (Ephesians 2:8,9).

As the saved man speaks to God in prayer and as the saved man allows God to speak to him through God’s words in His Book and through Biblical preaching (not Sophistry)  God changes him from the inside out and sanctifies him, or sets him apart for God’s purposes. This can be somewhat different for each person depending on God’s calling and on the degree of faith given to him. And yes, faith is a gift from God and is not generated from inside of man by his or her own will.

God came to us. We didn’t go to Him. Christ stepped across the divide between God and man/womankind when we had no capacity or will to do so. Christ tore down the wall between God's people, the Jews, and the Gentiles. Our works before salvation, as good as they may be in the eyes of the world, are nothing but trash and totally ineffectual in achieving our union with God or making peace. Only Christ’s works and Christ do that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ephesians 2:11-13 comments: near to God by the blood of Christ

11 ¶  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

The Circumcision is a reference to the Jews and the Gentiles were called the Uncircumcision, as a reference to the practice that signified God’s covenant with the Jews. This is done in the flesh. God performs a Circumcision of our flesh from our soul and it is entirely God’s operation.

Colossians 2:11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

13 ¶  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Here, using parallel phrasing we find the definition in the Bible of the word “strangers” as being aliens, a word we know to mean foreigners. Another phrase which defines strangers is coming up in verse 19. We were not part of the commonwealth of Israel and we were strangers to the covenants that God had made with His people and the promises resulting. We had no hope and we didn’t have God.

Without God we have no hope. Mankind will not make the world a better place. He will not create a utopia. The most man can do without God is to redecorate the waiting room to Hell. This is our condition. It’s also the condition of every so called Christian or unbeliever who is depending on His own goodness to guarantee him eternal life. 

I have met many good people who weren’t Christians; many atheists and agnostics who have more character and are kinder than I am. And it’s a terrible tragedy that they are going to Hell and I’m not. But, that’s the way it is. Period. Done Deal. In my unsaved state I knew sexually immoral people, liars, thieves, drunks, and murderers who, if they liked you, would give the shirt off their back or the contents of their wallet or smackdown someone who would speak badly of you. And you know what, without Christ, they died and went to Hell just as they were; sexually immoral people, liars, thieves, drunks, and murderers.

I can think of names, fine people by mankind’s standards, kind people by any standards, loyal friends. Just as dead in their sins and without hope and without God as they could be. I’ve met good Muslims, good Catholics, good Protestants, good Baptists, and good Hindus and pagans. I can give you their names. It hurts me that they are going to burn in Hell forever without Christ.  Now, I know you are going to say, well, they weren’t good if they weren’t saved but you know what I mean. If you’re honest and you have ever known people who weren’t Christians you know that there are some really nice people who are lost as a goose in a horse race and some Christians who aren’t worth the shot and powder it would take to blow them into the lake of fire.

13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Paul is talking to the Gentiles here who were not God's people as Israel was.

Now, presently, IN Christ, with this change in position of not being in Adam, you are brought near to God by the blood of Christ. The blood of Christ, not you, not your church, or any ritual brings you near to God. You are not near to God by being on your knees in front of the benches in front of the pulpit. You are brought near to God by the blood of Christ.

Acts 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Hebrews 9:12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Hebrews 13:12  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Revelation 1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Just because sometimes you who believe don’t feel close to God is irrelevant. Your feelings have nothing to do with it. You believe, He saves you, His Book sanctifies you, and He uses you for His purpose. Sometimes you need to come apart from where you are, whether it be apart from your seat to come forward from your pew, or from your easy chair at home, to fall on your knees, because you have sinned or are hurting and you feel like God is so far away. But, never forget that you are now His child, no matter what.

I have things in my head and running around in my mind on any given day that make me sick of myself and of how selfish and sinful I am.  I’m ashamed. But, I must never forget that the deed is done. I’m saved. God owns me. It’s stupid to doubt your salvation if you believe. It’s arrogant to doubt other people’s salvation if they don’t act like YOU think they should act. But, regardless, you or they who believe according to Romans 10:9 are saved. Period. Done. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ephesians 2:8-10 comments: so you think you're all that and a bag of chips, do you?

8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Faith is the gift of God.  By God’s grace, His unmerited favor to us through the faith He gives us, we are saved. It’s all God’s work. He does it. We need to never forget that we can’t take credit for any of it ourselves. Remember that when we are telling someone else about Christ. We need to quit elevating ourselves. It’s an all too human trait.

God gave enough faith to every man to have the ability to believe, therefore no one has an excuse.

Acts 11:17  Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Titus 2:11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

You believe, and God will do the rest. Quit trying to sing both parts.

9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

God has arranged so that no man can applaud himself when it comes to salvation. I have nothing with which to commend myself to God except what He has placed in me. I am a selfish, hot-tempered, impulsive, childish, morally bankrupt idiot who has completely failed in every aspect of his life and has no value outside what God has given me.

I know several financially successful people who are drunks or drug addicts or both, who live in loveless marriages, whose children detest them, and whose private lives are lived, as Thoreau said in Walden, “in quiet desperation.” But, they keep up a good show of respectability, success, and contented self-righteousness. They would do better to admit their inadequacies and turn to Christ. It is so much sadder when a Christian is in the same boat.

 No matter how spiritual and Godly you think you are you can’t boast, so quit boasting. We need to be witnessing for Christ, not for our own self-righteousness. We have a lot of Christian boasters in this country.  Works didn’t save you and can’t keep you.

10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Once saved, always saved as we are His workmanship not our own. God has made us so that we can do good works after we believe and trust in Christ. God expects us to walk in good works. It’s not guaranteed that we will. Here’s a thing ordained that doesn’t come to pass.

1 Corinthians 9:14  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 15 ¶  But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

Nevertheless, it is God’s will for our lives that we do good works as per His standard of good.  A Christian is ordained to do good works but he might not do many good works. It doesn’t mean he isn’t saved, just that he’s a terribly immature Christian. Also remember, the fruit  or proof of the Spirit list in Galatians 5 does not include church attendance, door knocking, wearing a tie or a dress, or going to Bible conferences although these things can be good and useful to God if done with the right attitude.
The proof that you are a heaven-bound Christian is not about what political party you vote for, how many guns you own, or how you don't drink alcohol, play the lottery, or keep your lawn mowed. The proof or fruit of the Spirit of God dwelling in you is different than that. Can another person tell you are saved by your attitude?

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,   23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ephesians 2:6,7 comments: we're already there!

6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

One of the amazing things about how the Bible is written is in how God reveals things to us which are already performed by Him but not realized by us until their time has come. For instance, Jesus came to destroy the Devil who has power over physical, biological death.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The Devil, also known as Lucifer and Satan, still, at this present time, has power over death. Jesus came to die but in defiance of Satan’s power over death He rose again, belief upon which is the principal reason that God saves you from an eternity of agony, the soul of man’s natural fate with Satan. Death is the most consistent facet of our world, happening countless times every moment. It is Satan’s bailiwick. But, based on Christ’s intent we are waiting for the redemption of our physical body, the adoption.

Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

We who are trusting in Christ await the translation of the church, popularly called The Rapture.

1 Corinthians 15:51 ¶  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

We are told to preach this doctrine to each other.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 ¶  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

However, our appearances, the angels of our presence (Isaiah 63:9), are already in heaven with Christ. Just as Christ was able to be in two places at one time, so He has made us able to do the same.

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Take comfort, those who have trusted in Christ, that you are already seated with Him in heaven, and in your finite condition here are just waiting for that fact to be manifested upon our physical death or at the translation/rapture.

2 Corinthians 5:6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

In the long ages of eternity our eternal life is proof of God’s love (Titus 3:4 for the synonymous use of love and kindness) toward us through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Nothing can separate us from that love and kindness.

Romans 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Those who trust and believe in Christ are the body of Christ on earth.

1Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

When Christ says that no one can take us out of His hand, remember, we are a part of Him now, even a part of His hand.

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Eternity will reveal God’s love and kindness toward those who trust and believe in Him. It’s a done deal. Rejoice.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ephesians 2:4,5 comments; God's Love, Mercy, and Grace

4 ¶  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

We should always be thankful for a Holy God’s mercy toward us, and for His love. He saved us where we were, not where we should have been.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Nothing can separate us from that love.

Romans 8:38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God has quickened us with Christ, whom He raised from the dead. To quicken is to make alive that which was dead (defined by phrasing in Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you). Note that we have the same power in us that raised Christ from the dead.

Colossians 2:13 ¶  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

We are saved by God’s grace, his unmerited favor and mercy toward them that believe, favor and mercy they have not and could not earn. Mercy and grace go together. You deserved something other than what you received at God’s hand. We are not under the Law given to Moses, an important point as many Pastors and Preachers want to put you under that Law so they can control you. Just notice the number of sermons given out of the Old Testament Law.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

We are saved, not by anything we have done or could do but because mercy is in God’s character. The Psalmist says;

Psalm 25:11  For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.      

Here, two things are acknowledged. It is in God’s nature to pardon. He will pardon for His name’s sake.  In addition, the Psalmist needs pardon like a sick person needs a doctor. The greater the illness the more reason the doctor is necessary. Here, the Psalmists sin is great and his need of God’s mercy is great. The awfulness and greatness of your sin is no impediment to God to have mercy on you. In fact, a perfect, Holy God is as far above the greatest saint and He is the most vile sinner. He extends His mercy to all regardless of their self-perceived merit or lack thereof.
He came to us when we were dead in sins. He didn’t require us to “get right” before He saved us. He saved us right there in the sin, the muck, and the mire in which we were stuck and made us alive in Christ. If you are at a point in your life where you feel you have done so much wrong that you could never be forgiven remember that it is God’s mercy that is extended to you now regardless of how bad you think you are or how good you think you are. It’s not about you. It’s about Him. Be forgiven. Call on Him now where you are.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Ephesians 2:3 comments: by nature the children of wrath

3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Do a word study on conversation and you’ll see that it refers not only to your speech but to your behavior and manner of life. Here is an example from the letter of James.

James 3:13  Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

The lusts of our flesh control us when we are unsaved. They are a part of the world’s philosophy and the world’s way of doing things. It’s less about fleshy living. That’s the first level, the symptom of the disease. What fundamentalists often miss is that it’s about an attitude toward the world, adopting the affections thereof.

1John 2:16  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.

But, we are told.                                   

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

The unsaved are children of disobedience and therefore, children of wrath.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Our minds, by connection in this verse, are part of our flesh even when, with our minds, we wish to serve Christ. You can hardly trust the pleadings of your own mind any more than you can the demands of your flesh. Human beings have several fleshly desires including the desire for self-preservation, for self-propagation, then for self-gratification, and finally, with our minds, for self-justification. You cannot depend upon your own mind to determine what is right or wrong or what is God’s will or not, apart from His word. Your mind can convince you that any sin you are engaged in is correct, just, and even godly from engaging in a needless war with a government leader or of you, a simple citizen, deciding what kind of  wicked entertainment you’ll enjoy. Apart from God’s word, the mind is totally unreliable as a guide.

The word of God as found in His Bible is essential to live as a Christian. The life of the mind is the life of the flesh, in submission to the world, and to Satan, without the Bible. If you live in  some part of the world where a Bible is hard to come by God will sustain and keep you. However, in the West we have no excuse. There are hundreds of millions of Bibles here.

My point is that you cannot trust your mind or your conscience to keep and sustain you as a Christian any more than you can trust your flesh or the world. You did not save yourself. You cannot keep yourself from destruction. You cannot sanctify yourself by your own will, your good intentions, or by your works. You must surrender to God through His word to have that accomplished.

Notice that we are, “…by nature the children of wrath...” You did not come to Christ by some argument that someone made that appealed to your reason, to your rational mind.

The natural man does not understand the things of God….

1Corinthians 2:14 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.

….although they have no excuse not to believe in God because, as Romans, chapter one, gives the religious history of mankind its shows that God did reveal himself to men and that…

Romans 1:19 ¶  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

So, as children of wrath, because our own will has become so corrupted, we are not able to come to Christ on our own. We need help.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

You see, no one comes to Christ or is born again by his or her own will alone.

John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Are you still a child of wrath or have you been born again?

You can be born again, born a second time, by believing on and trusting in Jesus Christ. The Bible is very clear on this.

To the Philippian jailer who wanted to know what he must do to be saved, Paul and company said;

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Paul told the Romans how to be saved;

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 ¶  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Believe that Jesus Christ is and was God in the flesh (John 10:30; John 14:9), that He died on the Cross at Calvary for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3), that He rose from the dead the third day for your justification (Romans 4:25), and that by His righteousness and not your own you can have eternal life with Him (Romans 3:19-26).

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Read the Bible every day(Deuteronomy 17:19; Ephesians 5:26; 6:17; 1 Timothy 4:13), letting God speak to you through it, and pray every day (Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17), speaking to God, unite with other like-minded believers to worship regularly and hear God’s word faithfully preached (Hebrews 10:24,25), and every day seek to wait on (Psalm 27:14) and to do God’s will (Hebrews 13:21).
Now, if you’ve done that, you are no longer a child of wrath. What you can expect when physical death takes your body is that God will receive you into His presence and you will have eternal life with a resurrected body that cannot die (Romans 8:23).