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nChrist
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« Reply #4590 on: July 11, 2017, 02:10:44 PM »

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An Old-Fashioned Doctrine
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


How many there are whose hearts would be thrilled if they understood the old-fashioned Bible doctrine of sanctification!

Sanctification is not a negative matter: “Don’t do this” and “Don’t do that.” It is rather the positive truth that God wants us for Himself as a sacred possession, much as a bridegroom considers his bride his very own in a special, sacred way.

Bible sanctification is a twofold truth, affecting both our standing before God and our spiritual state. In one sense every true believer in Christ has already been sanctified, or consecrated to God, by the operation of the Holy Spirit. Thus we read:

    “…God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit…” (II Thes. 2: 13).

    “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit…” (I Pet. 1:2).

This has nothing to do with our conduct. God did it. Sanctification begins with Him. Thus Paul could write to even the careless Corinthian believers and say: “Ye are sanctified” (1 Cor. 6:11; cf. Acts 20:32; 26:18.), i.e., “God has set you apart for Himself.” This phase of sanctification is based on the redemptive work of Christ in our behalf, for Heb. 10:10 says: “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

But now God would have us appreciate this fact and conduct ourselves accordingly, consecrating ourselves ever more completely to Him. This is practical, progressive sanctification. “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (I Thes. 4:3). Hence Paul’s benediction: “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly” (I Thes. 5:23), and his exhortation to Timothy to be “a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet [fit] for the Master’s use” (II Tim. 2:21).

How can believers be more wholly sanctified to God in their practical experience? By studying and meditating on His Word. Our Lord prayed: “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul declares that “Christ… loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word” (Eph. 5:25,26).
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« Reply #4591 on: July 13, 2017, 02:58:34 PM »

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The Paradox of Grace
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In “the gospel of the grace of God” we find a striking paradox: God Himself condemning the righteous and justifying the wicked; forsaking the perfect and helping evildoers.

Behold the spotless Lamb on Calvary as He cries, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”  Judas kisses Him in base betrayal; wicked men spit in His face, mock Him, smite Him, scourge Him, crown Him with thorns and nail Him to a tree!  And God, the Judge of all, does nothing to stop them!  Indeed, He Himself unsheathes His sword and smites the one Person in all history who could truly say, “I delight to do Thy will, 0 my God.”

And this is not all, for on the other hand God saves Saul of Tarsus, Christ’s bitterest enemy, “a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious,” his hands dripping, as it were, with the blood of martyrs.  To him God shows “grace…exceeding abundant” and “all longsuffering” (I Tim. 1:13-16).  Indeed, He sends him forth to proclaim openly to all men that:

“To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

How can all this be right?  The answer is that the One who died in agony and disgrace at Calvary was God Himself, manifested in the flesh.  There, at Calvary, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (II Cor. 5:19).  It was the Judge Himself, stepping down from the throne to the cross to represent the sinner and pay for him the full penalty of his sins.

And who will say this is injustice?  Injustice?  It is perfect justice and more.  It is grace!

Under the terms of the Law we find God “showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments” (Ex. 20:6).  But grace is infinitely more: it is the riches of God’s mercy and love to “the children of disobedience…the children of wrath” (Eph. 2:2-7), paying the penalty for their sins Himself in strictest accord with perfect and infinite righteousness!
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« Reply #4592 on: July 13, 2017, 02:59:52 PM »

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Justified Freely
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).

It is wonderful to know that we sinners are not justified by praying, or paying, or saying, or sighing, or crying, or doing anything. We are justified freely, by the grace of God. But this passage from Romans will mean more to us when we learn how the word rendered “freely” here is translated elsewhere in the Bible. The same expression is found in John 15:25, where our Lord, quoting from the Psalms, said: “They hated me without a cause.”

Why did men hate Him? He went about doing nothing but good: healing the sick, giving the blind their sight, causing the lame to leap for joy, preaching good news to the poor and deliverance to those who were bound. There was no good reason for crying, “Away with Him!” and “Crucify Him!” They hated Him “without a cause.”

But in the same way we might ask: “Why should He die for sinners? Why should He pay for their sins? He had done nothing wrong.” Ah, it was in love that He deliberately gave Himself into the hands of sinful men, that He, the sinless One, might pay for their sins. He did not die His own death, for death is “the wages of sin.” He died our death, paying for our sins. So, as men hated Him “without a cause” (except their own sinful condition), so Christ has “Justified” believers “without a cause” (except His own divine love).

And so it is that we can now proclaim the glorious news that God has sent us to tell all mankind, that His righteousness is conferred “upon all those who believe,” and that believers are “justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
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« Reply #4593 on: July 15, 2017, 03:06:59 PM »

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Church-Going
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


There is an important passage on church-going in Hebrews 10:23-25:

    “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…. And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is… “

We are often urged, these days: “Go to the church of your choice.” The implication is that one church is as good as another — just so you go to church. But this is not so.

The Scriptures teach that the true Church is composed of those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior who died for their sins. Such are told to “hold fast” the faith which they have professed, without wavering. This must come first, for it is only those who have first exercised such faith who can meet together with unity of mind and purpose to encourage each other “to love and to good works.”

It is a truly blessed experience for those who have been saved by the grace of God, to assemble to express their praise together in song, to lift their hearts together in prayer and to join together in the study of God’s Word so as to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In these days of tension and confusion there is a tendency for even the most sincere Christians to be so occupied with temporal things that they deprive themselves of the encouragement and spiritual uplift that comes from getting together with other Christians. But these are just the times when true believers need the encouragement of each other’s company and should particularly remember the admonition of Scripture not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.”
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« Reply #4594 on: July 15, 2017, 03:08:37 PM »

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The Spirit Of Promise
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “[Having] believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13).

Of all the wonderful Scripture passages on the eternal security of the believer in Christ, this is perhaps the most blessed of all.

“[Having] heard the Word of truth you believed,” says the Apostle, and “[having] believed, you were sealed.” Now a seal speaks of finality and permanency, whether it be the official seal on an important document, the seal on an electric transformer or the seal on a jar of preserves. But the most blessed fact of all is that the believer in Christ is “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Mark well, he is sealed not by the Spirit but with the Spirit; the Spirit Himself is the seal.

Here, let us say, is a woman sealing jars of preserves with wax. The jars are sealed by the woman, but with the wax. Thus the humblest believer is sealed with the Spirit. It is He Himself who keeps us safe in Christ through all eternity.

And this is but the “earnest,” the first installment, “of our inheritance” (Ver. 14), for the Spirit keeps us secure in “this present evil age” so that “in the ages to come” God might show “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (2:7).

Little wonder the Apostle closes this passage on our security with those appropriate words: “To the praise of His glory” (1:14).

What some theologians have called “the perseverance of saints” is not our perseverance at all, but God’s faithfulness. We have not persevered; He has preserved us by His grace for His glory.
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« Reply #4595 on: July 17, 2017, 03:45:45 PM »

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The Departure From Paul's Message
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

THE RESULTS OF DISOBEDIENCE

The Church, even the true Church of believers in Christ, is doubtless larger today than it has ever been. Yet it is weak and sick, confused and divided.

Many feel that the causes of the Church’s low spiritual state are: failure to live separated lives, lack of prayer, indifference toward the lost, etc. These, however, are the effects, not the causes. The cause is the Church’s departure from God’s message and program for our day, as revealed through the writings of the Apostle Paul. There lies the root of the trouble, though few as yet recognize or acknowledge it.

With Israel it was the departure from Moses’ law that constantly got her into trouble; with us it has been the departure from Pauline truth. For, remember, as surely as the dispensation of the Law was committed to Moses, so surely was the dispensation of Grace committed to Paul (Eph. 3:1-3), and those who have lapsed or backslidden from his day to ours, have done so, not so much by departing from the Word of God in general as by departing from the Word of God through Paul in particular.

Toward the close of his life Moses urged the people of Israel not to take the riches of Canaan for granted. Indeed, he warned them that if they did this they would soon “utterly perish from off the land” which they had gone to possess, and would be scattered among the heathen.

Likewise Paul, also, warned believers that they would lose the blessings intended for them if they departed from the truth and the program made known to them. Some, indeed, had already begun to depart, and the loss of blessing had become evident. The Galatians are a striking example of this and a lesson to us.

How they had rejoiced when Paul first came to them with “the preaching of the cross” and “the gospel of the grace of God”! As they heard him preach, and noted the difficulty, and perhaps pain, he experienced with his eyes, one said to another: “I wish I could give him my eyes! I would gladly do without them. He needs his sight so badly, and think of the joy and blessing he has brought to us!”

Soon after his departure, however, they were taken in by the Judaizers who “zealously affected [courted]” them to draw them away from Paul and his message (Gal. 4:17). And now Paul had to write them:

    “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (1:6).

    “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched [charmed] you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently [plainly] set forth, crucified among you?” (3:1).

    “WHERE IS THEN THE BLESSEDNESS YE SPAKE OF? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me” (Gal. 4:15).

Gone was the blessedness! Those who had rejoiced so greatly in the riches of God’s grace proclaimed by Paul, had now turned back to Moses and the Law.

In Paul’s epistles we find both the tendency on the part of believers to depart from the path of blessing and God’s diagnosis of the particular cause of the trouble. In every case the cause is rebellion against Paul’s God-given authority and departure from his God-given message and program.
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« Reply #4596 on: July 17, 2017, 03:47:01 PM »

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What Grace Is
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Never let the devil deceive you into supposing that God planned sin as “a gracious means to a glorious end,” for then salvation from sin would be simple justice, not grace. No, you cannot legitimately charge God with your sin. It is to the guilty, the undeserving, far and wide, that God offers “the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

There are two significant phrases in Eph. 2 which shed clear light upon the character, the nature, of grace. They are found in Verses 2 and 3, which speak of the unsaved as “children [Gr., huiois, full-grown sons] of disobedience” and “children [Gr., tekna, born ones] of wrath.”

Meditate for a moment on these phrases: “Children of disobedience” and “children of wrath.”It is against this dark, black background of deserved wrath, that we read further:

    “BUT GOD, who is RICH IN MERCY, for His GREAT LOVE wherewith He loved us,

    “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [given us life] together with Christ (BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED),

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

    “That in the ages to come He might show THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE IN HIS KINDNESS TOWARD US THROUGH CHRIST JESUS” (Eph. 2:4-7).

Somehow it takes a load off one’s heart and mind to come to the end of his rope, as it were, and admit that he is a sinner, deserving God’s wrath. How sweet to the ears of such is the wonderful message of redemption by grace, through the finished work of Christ at Calvary. We were all the “children [full-grown sons] of disobedience”: and therefore “by nature the children [born ones] of wrath”: “But God!” When hope seemed gone, He intervened and now offers salvation to all by grace, through faith.

    “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
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« Reply #4597 on: July 22, 2017, 07:00:12 PM »

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David's Blessedness
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Rom. 4:6-8.).

Obviously David knew no more about the present “dispensation of the grace of God” than did Abraham, and he certainly did not live under the dispensation of grace. He lived under the dispensation of the Law, when sacrifices were required for acceptance with God. Had David said that the offering of sacrifices was unnecessary, he would have been stoned according to the Law.

But David, unlike many today, understood the purpose of the Mosaic Law: to bring man in guilty before God. In Psalm 130 he said: “If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee.” He did not know how God could righteously acquit a guilty sinner, but he believed it to be a fact and rejoiced in Psa. 32: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered… unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity…”

Thank God, we now know the reason! God has revealed through Paul, the chief of sinners saved by grace, how He can be “just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). It is because “God hath made Him [Christ] to be sin for us, [Him] who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).

David’s blessedness may be ours too, if we will but do what David did: trust in Him who graciously forgives sin and (as we now know) justifies believers on the basis of the redemptive work of Christ.
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« Reply #4598 on: July 22, 2017, 07:01:25 PM »

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God, Who Cannot Lie, Promised
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “In hope of eternal life, which GOD, WHO CANNOT LIE, PROMISED…” (Titus 1:2).

In the Mediterranean Sea there lies an island which in Paul’s day had a very bad reputation. It’s name is Crete. To Titus, a pastor sent to evangelize the inhabitants, the Apostle Paul wrote: “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said. The Cretians are always liars…” (Titus 1:12), and he added: “This witness is true” (Ver. 13). Paul knew this to be a fact, for he had labored among them. Indeed, even secular history bears witness to this trait of the Cretians, for we are told that in ancient times to call a man a Cretian was to call him a liar.

How wonderful that St. Paul had succeeded in establishing a few small Christian assemblies on this island and that Titus was now laboring there as his successor! And how reassuring that to Titus and these few believers, surrounded on every hand by people who could not be trusted, Paul could write about “eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised”!

    “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken and shall He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19).

Thank God, millions have trusted His Word, especially about salvation through the all-sufficient and finished work of redemption wrought by Christ at Calvary, and they have found it to be blessedly true.

In dozens of passages of Scripture God has promised eternal life to those who trust in Christ and His payment for sin. “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). “[He] was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Take Him at His Word; His promise is good. “GOD, WHO CANNOT LIE, PROMISED.”
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« Reply #4599 on: July 22, 2017, 07:02:44 PM »

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The Primaries and Christian Faith
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The presidential primaries are now in full swing, with nearly all the candidates talking confidently about winning, but it has long been a question just how much these primaries mean. Some, indeed, have started by winning in the primaries and have gone on to become president. But others have done well in the primaries, yet have never even come close to being nominated by their own parties.

It’s something like this with faith. The primaries are like mental assent, or intellectual faith. Before a person can be saved he must, of course, know about sin and salvation and must give mental assent to what the Bible says about these things. He must agree that Christ died for man’s sins.

But while intellectual faith is a good start, it is not enough to save you. You must go on from there to trust yourself to Christ, who died for our sins (I Cor. 15:3), otherwise your intellectual faith has done you no good.

God wants our heart trust; it is this kind of faith that honors Him, and it is this kind of faith that saves. In Romans 10:9-13 He says:

    “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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith: Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If Christ is not a risen, living Savior, He is no savior at all. We must believe this in our hearts if we are to call upon Him for salvation.

Thank God that “He showed Himself alive, after His passion, by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) and that millions have indeed found the peace and joy of sins forgiven through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work at Calvary.
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« Reply #4600 on: July 22, 2017, 07:04:04 PM »

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Glorious Consummation
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In Eph. 1:9,10 Paul makes a statement regarding the mystery which has baffled many students of the Word:

    “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:

    “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.”

This will be the glorious consummation of the mystery but we, of the dispensation of grace, are to show men and angels that true oneness is to be found only in Christ (Eph. 3:9-11).

The world knows nothing of this perfect oneness and, indeed, the Church does not experience it — except in Christ. There is no true oneness anywhere — in the world or in the Church — except in Christ. We might illustrate this by two members of the body: our two arms. They hang from opposite sides of the body yet work together as one. But wherein lies their oneness? The answer is: In the head. It is the head which makes my arms and hands operate as one, and so our oneness as members of Christ’s Body, is in Christ, the Head. It is the recognition of Christ as our Head, then, and this alone, that can make us one, experientially. Thus the Apostle says:

    “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

Soon enough the Lord will take us out of this world and all those events will transpire which will finally bring in “the fulness of [the] times,” when all in heaven and earth will be “gathered together in one… in Christ”! “What a day of rejoicing that will be”!
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« Reply #4601 on: July 22, 2017, 07:05:21 PM »

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The Commandments of the Lord
by Pastor Kevin Sadler


    “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37).

Many Christians have a fuzzy idea that when Christ ascended up from the Mount of Olives to heaven, He stopped speaking. But nothing could be further from the truth! Paul says that the things he wrote to the Corinthians, and to the Body of Christ as a whole, were the “commandments of the Lord”! Similarly, in his epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul says, “For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus” (1 Thes. 4:2).

After Christ ascended to heaven, Israel continued in her rebellion against God by rejecting the Holy Spirit’s ministry through the twelve. Thus, Israel was temporarily set aside by God (Acts 7). God then raised up a new apostle, and gave Him a message which had never before been revealed (Acts 9; Gal. 1:11,12). Christ spoke again!

From heaven the glorified Christ gave to the Apostle Paul a new revelation concerning His heavenly ministry to the Church, the Body of Christ. To Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13), was given the commandments of Christ for the Body of Christ today. In Paul’s epistles, we have the will of God for our Christian lives during the dispensation of the grace of God. In Paul’s letters, we find the doctrines of grace that the Church is built upon and is to live by and share with the world.

Notice that Paul’s words, as revealed to Him by Christ, are spoken of as “commandments.” This is not a take-it-or-leave-it word. When a commandment is given by God, He expects us to obey and conform our wills to His will. In past dispensations, other commands were given which were valid at the time given, but are not for today, and are not for our obedience.

Take food for example (a topic close to my heart). The Bible commands man to eat only vegetables and fruit, then it allows for eating meat with fruit and veggies, then it commands only certain foods to be eaten, then it commands that all food can be eaten. It is impossible to obey all of these different commands at the same time.

There are many other issues in Scripture like this, so it’s imperative to determine which commands God would have us obey today. The answer is that Paul’s letters are the commandments of the Lord which are valid for today under grace. And Paul says we can eat all things (1 Tim. 4:3-5). It’s great to live under grace!
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« Reply #4602 on: July 23, 2017, 03:16:14 PM »

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That Blessed Hope
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


For believers in Christ it would be the most blessed of all if this year turns out to be the year of our Lord’s coming for His own. How long the present dispensation of grace will be prolonged we do not, and cannot, know. Even St. Paul, who was commissioned to make known the glorious truth of the rapture of the Church, did not know. He never dreamed that God would linger in mercy for more than 1900 years, for in I Thes. 4:16-18 he says:

    “We who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall be caught up…”

Thus instructed Bible-believers in every generation since his day have rightly been on the alert for their Lord to come for them, for they know that “the days are evil” and every hour is an hour of grace.

To the Philippians the Apostle wrote: “We look for the Savior,” to the Thessalonians: “[Ye]… wait for His [God’s] Son from heaven,” and to Titus he says that we should be “looking for that blessed hope, and the appearing in glory of …our Savior, Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20; I Thes. 1:9,10; Titus 2:11-13).

With the Lord’s coming and the close of “the dispensation of the grace of God” so much nearer than it was in Paul’s day, we say to the unsaved: “Receive not the grace of God in vain…. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold nowis the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6: 1,2).

And to the saved we say: “Buy up the time,” take advantage of every opportunity to win the lost to Christ, for “the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16) and the day of grace may soon be brought to a close.
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« Reply #4603 on: July 25, 2017, 06:35:41 PM »

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Is The Mystery In The Old Testament?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


No, of course not! Then why does Paul often quote the Old Testament to substantiate the Mystery (e.g., Rom. 15:9-12)? Let’s start in Acts 26:22, where Paul testifies:

    “I continue unto this day…saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.”

This statement seems to belie Paul’s insistence that his message was “hid from ages and from generations” (Col. 1:26). However, he explains himself in the next verse:

    “That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:23).

The death and resurrection of Christ was not a mystery, nor was God’s plan to show light unto “the people” (of Israel) and “to the Gentiles.” Thus Paul is saying that while his message did not fulfill the prophets, generally speaking it did not contradict the Old Testament. We see the same in Acts 15, where the leaders in the church met to decide what to make of Paul’s new gospel. James concluded:

    “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets…” (v. 14,15).

James didn’t say that Paul’s new message fulfilled the prophets. Rather he said it agreed with them, i.e., God always intended to visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. Of course, according to Prophecy this was supposed to happen through Israel’s rise (Isa. 60:3), not through her fall (Rom. 11:11). Someday in the kingdom it will. But in the meantime, James could not deny that generally speaking Paul’s new message was in accord with the Old Testament.

When most New Testament writers quote the Old Testament, it is to show fulfillment of prophecy. However, when Paul quotes the Old Testament, it is to show harmony, not fulfillment.

Let’s close with an example. In Romans 10:19 Paul quotes Deuteronomy 32:21, where God vows to provoke Israel to jealousy by “a foolish nation.” This cannot be the Gentiles, for they are “the nations,” plural. Peter rather identifies the believing Jews to whom he wrote as the “holy nation ” that God originally used to provoke the apostate nation of Israel to jealousy (I Pet. 2:9 cf. Matt. 21:43; Luke 12:32) and fulfill Deuteronomy 32:21. But in the next chapter of Romans, Paul says,

    “…I am the apostle of the Gentiles…if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh…” (Rom. 11:13,14).

Here Paul declares that God was now using the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy. Not in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32:21, but certainly in harmony with it!

So while the Mystery is not in the Old Testament, Paul can quote it freely to show how his new message was in agreement with it.
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« Reply #4604 on: July 25, 2017, 06:36:47 PM »

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Have You Heard?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Eph. 3:2).

Could it be that those to whom Paul addressed his Ephesian letter had not yet heard that God had committed to him “the dispensation of grace”?

Next to the death and resurrection of Christ, the conversion of Paul and his commission to proclaim “the gospel of the grace of God” was the greatest event in history . The apostles at Jerusalem had recognized the importance of Paul’s part in the divine program. They themselves had at first been sent by Christ into “all the world,” yet in Gal. 2:9 we find James, Peter and John publicly shaking hands with Paul in a solemn agreement that he should henceforth be the apostle to the nations.

Could it be that some twelve years later, when he wrote the Ephesian letter, there were any who professed the name of Christ who had not heard of Paul’s special place in the program of God as the apostle of grace? Little wonder his words “if ye have heard” carry with them a touch of reproach.

It is possible, of course, that there were some among them, but recently brought into the Church, who had not heard, but what seems utterly incredible is that there should be even one believer at this late date who has not heard that after Christ and His kingdom had been rejected and the world was ripe for prophesied judgment to fall, God intervened, saving Saul, His chief enemy on earth, and sending him forth with “the good news of the grace of God.”

This good news is based, of course, upon the fact that since Christ was the spotless Lamb of God, His death is accepted by God as full satisfaction for the sinner. Thus Paul, by divine inspiration, declares that believers are “justified freely by His [God’s] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
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