The Nature Of Grace

To a young Christian who kept bemoaning his failures and lack of spiritual growth, and wondering how God could love him, a more mature believer responded substantially as follows:

“When I leave here and return to my home I will pick up my little baby girl and put her on my knee. Tired as I am, I will dandle her on my knee and, somehow, looking into that darling face and those pretty blue eyes, I will soon feel rested and refreshed.

“This is strange, in a way, for she does not love me. She doesn’t even know what love is.

“She doesn’t appreciate my problems and has no sympathy for me. My heart can be burdened with grief or filled with anxiety, and my mind vexed with difficult problems, but she doesn’t even know or care. She just keeps gurgling and giggling at the attention I lavish upon her.

“She doesn’t contribute one cent toward the needs of our family; indeed, she costs me a great deal of money and will for years to come. Yet I love that child more than I can say. There is no sacrifice I would not make for her; no good thing I would not gladly give her.”

Such is the grace of God toward us, His children. It does not depend upon our faithfulness to Him or our appreciation of His love to us. He loves us with an unspeakable love and keeps lavishing upon us “the riches of His grace” simply because we are His children in Christ, the Beloved One. And strangely, is it not precisely this fact that proves to be our greatest incentive to give ourselves to Him in loving service and sacrifice as we grow in grace? source

Posted in Studies

Faith, Hope And Love

“And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13).

St. Paul had been discussing, in I Cor. 13, some of the miraculous signs that were to vanish away as God’s revelation became complete. But faith, hope and love, he declared, would abide as a triune evidence of true Christianity.

These three are all we need in the present “dispensation of the grace of God.” Any church where faith, hope and love are found in abundant measure is a “full” church. It may have but a few members, but what greater blessing could it wish for than faith, hope and love in its fellowship?

Faith, hope and love are a trinity often referred to in St. Paul’s epistles. Each is of basic importance in its way, and none can exist without the other two.

Faith is of primary importance. “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Heb 11:6), and how can there be hope and love without faith?

Hope holds the central place among the three. Hope in the Bible is more than a wish; it is the opposite of despair, an eager anticipation of blessings to come. Hope is the Christian’s experience, his living with eternity’s glory in view.

Love is the crowning virtue of the three; it is the fruit of faith and hope, and is greatest in the sense that it is “the bond of perfectness.” Moreover, love is eternal. Some day, for every true believer, “faith will vanish into sight; hope be emptied in delight” and love will reign supreme.

May God help us, in our fellowship with each other, to evidence a full measure of faith, hope and love. source

Posted in Studies

Glorious Prospect

To the true Christian one of the most wonderful passages in the Bible is Eph. 2:7, where we read of God’s purpose, “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” This passage appears the more wonderful when viewed in the light of its context.

Verses 2-6 tell how we were all once the “children of disobedience,” and therefore “by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” But then we read those wonderful words of hope, “But God.” “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love wherewith He loved us…” And the next verses tell how He has taken believers in Christ from the lowest position of condemnation and wrath and given them the highest place of favor and blessing in Christ at His own right hand in the heavenlies.

The simplest, humblest believer in Christ has been given this position in the heavenlies, for God no longer sees him in himself, but in Christ, who died for his sins. This is why St. Paul so often writes about “those who are in Christ Jesus.”

It is for the believer now to occupy this exalted position, to appropriate by faith the “all spiritual blessings” which are his in Christ (See Eph. 1:3). Like Paul, he may be lifted by grace, through faith, above the troubles and sorrows of “this present evil age” and enjoy his position and blessings in the heavenlies in Christ. And even this is not all, for looking far ahead to the future the Apostle, by divine revelation, goes on to say (in Eph. 2:7) that God has done this all for us, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” source

Posted in Studies

Do Our Loved Ones In Heaven Remember Us?

We know that people in heaven remember their past lives from Revelation 6:10. Here John sees a vision of heaven wherein martyred saints cry for vengeance on those who caused them to be “slain” (v. 9). It would be hard to believe that God would allow people in heaven to have memories of people like this (cf. Rev. 18:20) and not memories of loved ones.

In addition, Abraham called upon the rich man in hell to “remember” Lazarus (Luke 16:25). If God allows people in hell to be tormented by memories of the people they knew during life, it would be difficult to believe He would not allow people in heaven to be comforted by the memories of their loved ones.

Finally, we know there is recognition in heaven since our bodies will be fashioned like unto the Lord’s resurrection body (Phil. 3:21), and He was only not recognizable to His loved ones when “their eyes were holden” (Luke 24:16). Additionally, Paul knew he’d be comforted by seeing the Thessalonians in heaven (I Thes. 2:19). Well, if our loved ones in heaven don’t remember us now, will they suddenly recognize and remember us when we ourselves arrive in heaven? It seems more natural to believe that our deceased friends, family, and spouses remember us now and already love us with the perfect love that we will have for one another throughout eternity. source

Posted in Studies

God’s Promise Or Our Efforts?

If we come to God expecting eternal life because of our good works, are we not offering Him our terms, which He can never accept? He will never sell salvation at any price, and certainly not for a few paltry “good” works, when our lives are filled with failure and sin.

Our only hope? God has promised to give eternal life to those who trust in His Son (John 3:35,36; Acts 16:31; etc.).

“The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

Posted in Studies

A Gift For You

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

In the light of the Pauline epistles these well-known words have become more appropriate than when our Lord first spoke them. Through Paul, Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary has been proclaimed and fully explained. In this light, then, we suggest that our readers take the time to really meditate on this passage about God’s greatest gift to man.

Think of the love that prompted it! “God so loved….” We were the “children of disobedience” and “by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:2,3). We deserved judgment, “but God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,” gave His best, His all, to save us (Eph. 2:4).

Think of its priceless value! “His only begotten Son — everlasting life.” Christ, the holy One, had to be given up to disgrace and death in order that our sins might be justly dealt with, and that we might become the rightful heirs of everlasting life (Rom. 3:25,26).

Think of your need of this gift! “…that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish….” How perilous not to accept “the gift of God, eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23)! What folly to spurn or ignore a gift we need so sorely!

Finally, think how gracious the offer! “…that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Whosoever believeth! Any sinner may have this gift by simply believing, accepting in simple faith what God says about Christ paying for our sins at Calvary. In fact, this is the only way we can become the recipients of this wonderful gift, for Rom. 4:5 declares:

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith [believing] is counted for righteousness.”


Posted in Studies

Who Can Be Against Us?

We have shown in a previous article that God is for sinners and desires their good. We have shown how He proved this by paying for their sins Himself as God the Son at Calvary. But if this is true, how much more must it be so with regard to His own children who have trusted Christ as their Savior?

How often — and how significantly — the Apostle Paul uses the words “for us” in this connection!

In Eph. 5:2 we read that “Christ… loved us, and hath given Himself for us.” In Rom. 5:8 we are told that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In II Cor. 5:21: “[God] hath made Him to be sin for us.” And in Gal. 3:13 we read: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”

And the love that brought Him down from heaven to die in shame and disgrace for our sins is not affected by our many failures as Christians now. In Heb. 9:24 we read that our Lord has ascended to heaven “now to appear in the presence of God for us.” In Rom. 8:34 we learn that He is “at the right hand of God” to “make intercession for us.” And in Heb. 7:25 we read that He is able to save us “to the uttermost” because “He ever lives to make intercession for us.”

Our failures now, after having trusted Christ as Savior, may — and should — trouble our consciences and thus hinder our fellowship with God, but this does not change the fact that we are God’s dear children through faith in Christ, who died for all our sins. Unworthy though we still may be, therefore, God would have us come into His presence to be spiritually renewed.

“What shall we then say to these things? IF GOD BE FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?” (Rom. 8:31).


Posted in Studies

Small Change And A Free Gift

Some people say that you can buy anything with money, but they’re wrong — very wrong.

The things we need most cannot be bought with any amount of money. The air we breathe, the water we drink (we pay only for the service), love of family and friends. These things can’t be bought. And the most precious treasure of all: salvation, eternal life, can’t be bought at any price.

God doesn’t want our money. He calls it “filthy lucre.” He’s not going into business, selling houses and lots in heaven, much less will He pervert justice and pronounce us innocent for a consideration. But He does pity and love us and He can and will give us eternal life if we trust in the merits of the One who died to pay the penalty for our sins.

“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

“For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

Our Lord said to the Samaritan woman:

“If thou knewest the gift of God… thou wouldest have asked…” (John 4:10).

Have you asked?

Posted in Studies

True Riches In Christ

To know God through Christ and His redeeming work is to be rich indeed.

The Scriptures have much to say about the infinite riches of God. They tell us of “the riches of His glory” (Rom.9:23; Eph. 3:16), “the riches of His wisdom and knowledge” (Rom.11:33), “the riches of His goodness and forbear-ance and longsuffering” (Rom.2:4) and “the riches of His grace (Eph.1:7; 2:7). God would have us enjoy these riches through faith in Christ, who died for our sins.

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (II Cor.8:9).

We should rejoice continually that God, in addition to being rich in wisdom and knowledge and in glory and power, is also “rich in mercy” (Eph.2:4) and that “the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom.10:12,13).

To St. Paul, the chief of sinners, saved by grace, God revealed the greatest riches of all. Paul said: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph.3:8). These riches include, among other things, “all the riches of the full assurance of understanding” (Col. 2:2). How wonderful to have an intelligent understanding of God’s plan of salvation and of all He has purposed in His heart of love for those who accept the salvation He has provided through His beloved Son!

True riches are not comprised of material things. The Scripture calls these “uncertain riches” and warns us not to trust in them (ITim.6:17). True riches is “to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” and so to be “filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph.3:19). source

Posted in Studies

Where Do You Stand?

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went unto him, and said unto him. Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?” (Josh. 5:13,14).

God had appointed Joshua to lead the people of Israel into the land of Canaan. It was just before the battle of Jericho that the great leader looked up to see a man with a drawn sword facing him. His sudden appearance must have startled Joshua, but he showed no trace of fear — not Joshua!

Advancing toward the man Joshua demanded: “Art thou for us or for our adversaries?” No wonder the answer brought him to his knees! He had been standing face to face with the captain of the Lord’s hosts, no doubt Michael, the angelic prince of Israel (See Dan. 10:21 and 12:1).

The question was not whose side was the angel of God on, but whose side was Joshua on! Was he himself in harmony with God’s will?

What a lesson to learn! In the constant battle over truth and error there is a tendency for Christians to demand of other Christians: “Whose side are you on? Are you for us or for our adversaries?”

If this is as far as we have gotten in our service for the Lord we still have much to learn, for the great question is not: “Are you on my side?” but “Am I on God’s side?”

God’s truth will prevail. His purposes will be carried out, and even though we might be on the side of the most powerful and influential of men, we will surely be driven to defeat if we are not in harmony with God’s Word and will.

Should we not all fall on our faces with Joshua, then, and ask: “What saith my Lord unto His servant?” source

Posted in Studies

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Verse for 10/26/2016

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. — 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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