Truth For Today

UNDESERVED FAVOR

Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. ~ROMANS 5:2 0

Salvation does not come by confirmation, communion, baptism, church membership, church attendance, trying to keep the Ten Commandments, or living out the Sermon on the Mount. It does not come by giving to charity or even by believing that there is a God. It does not come by simply being moral and respectable. Salvation does not even come by claiming to be a Christian. Salvation comes only when we receive by faith the gift of God’s grace. Hell will be full of people who tried to reach heaven some other way.

The apostle Paul said, “The law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:20–21). The first provision of the gospel is grace, which is neither earned nor deserved.

Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “Love that gives upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.” God has stooped to give us grace. Will you receive it?

Truth For Today

A MYSTERIOUS UNION Taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
[PHILIPPIANS 2:7]

The humanity and deity of Christ is a mysterious union we can never fully understand. But the Bible emphasizes both.

Luke 23:39–43 provides a good example. At the cross, “. . . one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”

In His humanness, Jesus was a victim, mercilessly hammered to a cross after being spat upon, mocked, and humiliated. But in His deity, He promised the thief on the cross eternal life, as only God can.

Truth For Today


SEPARATION

It is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

1 [PETER 1:1 6]

Do you know you cannot serve God unless you are separated? In the Scripture, that word refers to being set apart for a specific task or purpose.

The Lord said to Moses, “You shall offer up a cake of the first of your ground meal as a heave offering” (Num. 15:20). God wanted the firstfruits of the land to be set apart to honor Him.

The Lord also said, “I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine” (Lev. 20:26). God took the nation of Israel and separated them from all other nations for His glory.

In each of these passages in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament), the word refers to separation in the fullest sense. The apostle Paul knew that once he was called as an apostle, he would be disconnected from his past. When Paul was the most ardent of Pharisee, he was set apart for—or separated to—the traditions of the Jewish people (Phil. 3:5). Now he could claim to be a Pharisee separated to the gospel of God.

Are you separate from your former life?

Truth For Today

He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord.

[ROMANS 14 : 6]

The Puritans in early America rejected Christmas celebrations altogether. They deliberately worked on December 25 to show their disdain. A law passed in England in 1644 reflected a similar Puritan influence; the law made Christmas Day an official working day. For a time in England it was literally illegal to cook plum pudding or mince pie for the holidays.

Christians today are generally not opposed to celebrating Christmas. The holiday itself is nothing, and observing it is not a question of right or wrong. As Paul wrote, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Rom. 14:5–6). Every day—including Christmas—is a celebration for us who know and love Him.

Truth For Today

UNASHAMED

According to my earnest expectation and hope [I know] that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body.
[P H I L I P P I A N S 1:20]

Today’s verse calls to mind Christ’s promise in Matthew 10:32: “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” The one who acknowledges Christ as Lord in life or in death, if necessary, is the one whom the Lord will acknowledge before God as His own.

The apostle Paul could rejoice in that truth. He knew he never would be ashamed before the world, the court of Caesar, or God Himself because he knew God would be glorified in his life. The Old Testament affirms that the righteous will never be put to shame, while the unrighteous will. To be ashamed means to be disappointed, disillusioned, or disgraced. Paul knew that would never happen to him because of God’s promise to the righteous. He May have had Isaiah 49:23 in mind: “They shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.” Be one of the unashamed.

Truth For Today

Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

[PHILIPPIANS 1:18]

The word “preached” in today’s verse means “to proclaim with authority.” Regardless of the personal cost, Paul was determined that Christ be proclaimed with authority.

Even when Paul’s detractors preached the true gospel, it had an impact. A selfishly motivated preacher can still be used of God because the truth is more powerful than the package it comes in.

Paul lived to see the gospel proclaimed—he didn’t care who received the credit. That’s to be the attitude of every pastor, teacher, elder, deacon, leader, and layperson in the church. In all that he suffered, Paul didn’t quit, lash out, break down, or lose his joy. That’s because the cause of Christ was being furthered and His name proclaimed. It was all Paul cared about. That’s an attitude the grace of Christ instills in all who would be godly.

Truth For Today

SEEING THE REALITY OF A TRANSFORMED LIFE

Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him. 
[ACTS 28:30 – 31]

Today’s verse shows that while Paul was under house arrest “in his own rented house,” he continued to minister. In spite of the circumstances, Paul continued to do what he had been called to do.

You May find yourself thinking, I can’t go and preach the gospel. I can’t be an evangelist, or a Bible teacher. I’m stuck with my job. But it doesn’t matter whether you’re chained to a desk, an assembly line, a classroom, a car, or a sales position—they all provide opportunities for you to further the gospel. The worse your confinement, the greater the opportunity for a godly life to shine.

People often tell me how hard it is to witness where they work. My response is that it is generally harder to witness under ideal conditions than in a more difficult situation. That’s because in difficult situations the reality of a transformed life is more apparent, and that can’t help but be attractive to those who haven’t experienced it.