Nuggets – The Throne of Grace

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

The Lord Jesus Christ is able to help in every time of need for two reasons. First, as the Creator, He is fully able to do anything. Secondly, He has solved, once and for all, the dilemma of the sin that had separated us from God’s holiness, by paying the price Himself for our salvation.

To do that, He had to become man so that He could first overcome temptations such as those to which we succumb. He could not pay the price for man’s sin if He were not a man, nor could He pay it if He were a sinner. He must be a man, but a sinless man—a criterion no other man could satisfy.

Therefore, He was tempted in all points as we are. This does not mean, however, that He felt a real inward temptation to sin. He was “tested” under the most extreme circumstances to which humans could be subjected, and He always passed the test. He could never have failed, because He is also God, but now all men, and angels, and devils know that He cannot fail.

Thus, He fully understands every one of our needs, and He is indeed able and willing to help. As we come boldly to receive His amazing grace, we must first “obtain mercy” (v. 16), confessing and receiving forgiveness for our sins (John 1:9). Then, we are ready to boldly request grace to help in every other need. Our faithful High Priest has been there before us. He knows (not just “knows about”) our problems, and is always there to help, waiting for us to come. Since “he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted,” and can “save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Hebrews 2:18; 7:25). HMM 

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets The World, the Flesh, and the Devil

“This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” (James 3:15)

True wisdom is “from above” and is “pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (v. 17). False wisdom, on the other hand, may come from the world outside us (“earthly”), the flesh within us (“sensual”), or the powers of darkness tempting us (“devilish”). All such wisdom leads to “envying and strife . . . confusion and every evil work” (v. 16). Believers, therefore, should be able to recognize the influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The good news is that each divine Person of the triune Godhead is on our side. The Father is opposed to the world, the Spirit to the flesh, and the Son to the devil, and they are well able to give victory.

“If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. . . . And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof” (John 2:15, 17). Thus, to overcome the love of the world, we must cultivate the love of the Father in our hearts and lives.

Similarly, to overcome the desires of the flesh, we should follow the leadings and convictions of the Holy Spirit, “for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other” (Galatians 5:17). Therefore, “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (v. 16).

The devil and his evil hosts use their own dark powers to tempt and destroy the people of God, but “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Christ assured Satan’s defeat when He paid for our redemption on the cross. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). HMM 

From the Institute for Creation Research

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New Jerusalem—Heaven on Earth, Our New Home

Immortality Road

{Continued from 8-10-19}

All of the illustrious people of the Bible looked for the heavenly city of their spiritual birth. Abraham, the father of our faith, after his first visit from Yahweh, began to look for this city. “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise…For he looked for a city whose builder and maker is God.”

Abraham looked by faith because that city was invisible to mortal eyes. Yet he along with his offspring believed in the promises of God that the heavenly city was real and was their future home, and that its center would touch down where Old Jerusalem is. They were persuaded by God’s promises, and they embraced them “and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth…But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for…

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Nuggets – Chastening

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” (Job 5:17)

One of the fascinating paradoxes of Scripture (and of human life) is the oft-repeated principle that true parental love requires appropriate chastening, and chastening rightly received generates blessing and happiness. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24).

This is effective child psychology, assuming that the chastening is remedial rather than vindictive and is applied in love rather than anger. But the main teaching of such passages goes beyond parental child-training methods to the grand theme of God’s spiritual training of His children for eternity.

This thought is often expressed in the Psalms (94:12, etc.), but it is especially clear in Proverbs. “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

The classic passage on this theme is Hebrews 12:5-11, which begins by quoting the above verses in Proverbs, and eventually concludes as follows: “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).

We are “sons and daughters” of “the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18), and it is essential that we be properly trained for our glorious future as “kings and priests unto God” (Revelation 1:6). We must learn to behave in ways appropriate to our high calling as children of the King, and this requires the divine rod at appropriate times. In His closing words to the last of the seven churches, Christ reminds us again: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19). HMM 

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Stand Fast

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold to the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Liberals commonly question the authority of the Scriptures on the assumption that they were based on ancient traditions.

However, the word “traditions” itself as used here conveys no such idea. It means simply “that which has been delivered.” Paul used the same word in defining the gospel. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Paul did not add or subtract anything to what he had received directly from God. “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12).

He was making the same claim to the Christians at Thessalonica. He had first taught them “by word” when he preached there in person (Acts 17:1-4), then later by “our epistle” in his first letter. Now, in his follow-up letter to them, he was reminding them that, in both instances, he (as an apostle) had communicated to them only those things he had directly received from God by divine revelation. Therefore, it was indeed vital that they should “stand fast, and hold” these great truths “which ye have been taught.” Paul was asserting that God had directly communicated, through him, the new truths that He wanted them to have.

Before the New Testament was written, much had to be conveyed verbally to the early church, through the apostles and prophets. Later, the portions of those teachings that were of permanent application were inscripturated (compare Acts 17:3 with 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The end result of this marvelous process was the inerrant Bible we have today, and it is this completed revelation of God that we must hold fast. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Who Is Faithful?

“Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6)

Faithfulness is like a rare and precious gem. It is difficult to find a real such gem, though there are many who will offer their virtues as a substitute.

Moses, however, was one such man. “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house” (Hebrews 3:5). So was Abraham. “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:9). Moses and Abraham were full of faith in God’s Word; therefore they were faithful to God’s Word. The very word “faithful” means “full of faith.”

God is not impressed with those who boast of themselves and their qualifications or who belittle others. “It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory” (Proverbs 25:27). Actions speak louder than words, and it is better to let one’s works speak for themselves. “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18). The rare quality of faithfulness—firm and reliable commitment to one’s convictions and responsibilities, in accordance with God’s Word and God’s leading—is proved in practice rather than proclamation. May God help us to be faithful servants, for “it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). It is quality, not quantity, of service that God measures. Faithfulness—not fruitfulness—is required.

There is one glorious promise regarding faithfulness—not our faithfulness, but the faithfulness of our Savior. “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith [literally, ‘faithfulness’] of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be [found] true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:3-4). HMM 

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Garments of Salvation

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

One of the beautiful biblical metaphors of salvation is that of clothing appropriate for coming into God’s presence. Such clothing is not something we ourselves can make or purchase; it must be prepared and provided by God.

Adam and Eve tried to dress themselves in fig leaves, but that could not avail. Their Creator God first had to slay two innocent animals, and then He made “coats of skins and clothed them” (see Genesis 3:7, 21).

So it is today. If we try to come to God dressed in our works of righteousness, we can never make it, for “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” in the presence of a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). He must provide the clothing. As our text says, “he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

In Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast for the king’s son, there was one man who wanted to participate in the feast, but who tried to come in his own attire, disdaining the wedding garment provided by the king for his guests. When the king asked, “How camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?” he was speechless (Matthew 22:12), and then was bound hand and foot and thrown “into outer darkness” (v. 13).

When “the marriage of the Lamb is come,” His bride must be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: . . . the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:7-8). But this righteousness will be His, “for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Therefore, we are exhorted to “put on thy beautiful garments” (Isaiah 52:1) and be prepared to meet our King. HMM 

From the Institute for Creation Research

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My Testimony

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I was not raised in church.. Continue reading

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Nuggets – Kingdom of Priests

“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6)

These were the words of God to Israel, even before they received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. As a priest serves as an intermediary between God and men, so this “kingdom of priests” had been called by God to bring God’s Word to man. As a holy nation with such a high calling, its people also should have been holy (that is, consecrated to God) in life and witness. But instead, after almost 2,000 years, God had to lament: “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:21).

A day will come when “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26), but God has, in the meantime, chosen a new people, in whom “there is neither Jew nor Greek . . . for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). We are now “one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Romans 12:5).

We now have been given the same high privileges long ago given to Israel. We who belong to Christ have been “born again” into the “kingdom of God” (John 3:3), and this is nothing less than a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Peter said: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

Not only are we a holy priesthood, we are a royal priesthood, a kingdom of priest-kings. “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (v. 9). We, indeed, have a high calling, and should devote our lives to showing forth His praises, for He “hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; unto him be glory and dominion for ever and ever” (Revelation 1:6). HMM 

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Nature of Our Calling

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

Our “calling” (Greek klesis) to follow Christ was not a matter of human decision, and certainly not one based on human works, for it was issued in Christ before He had even created us. In some inscrutable way, we were a part of His eternal purpose, and it was altogether by His grace. We were “chosen . . . before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).

Our calling is therefore a most “holy calling,” that is, a sacred calling to be consecrated and separated unto God.

It is, moreover, a “heavenly calling,” one originated in heaven, by our heavenly Father, centered in His divine will and purpose. In the Father’s sight, in Christ Jesus, we are nothing less than “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1).

We should therefore be able to say with Paul: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). The high calling is not quite the same as the holy calling or the heavenly calling, though all are components of one great whole.

The word translated “high” is only so translated this one time. It is the usual word for “up” or “above.” Thus, the prize toward which we press is the “up calling.” It is similar to what is expressed in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, where we are promised that one day all who are in Christ Jesus, dead or living, will be “caught up together,” thereafter to “ever be with the Lord.”

He has called us before the world began, He is calling us daily to a heavenly walk with the Lord, and He will call us up to His eternal presence some day soon. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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