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nChrist
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« Reply #4755 on: December 24, 2017, 05:06:50 AM »

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Not Always So Bad!
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Have you heard the story of Honus? Honus was a wicked old renegade who lived in a small country town. When he died his body lay in the funeral parlor for three days without anyone even taking notice. Finally, on the day of the burial, a few of his old cronies did stop by to at least pay their respects.

As they gathered, the funeral director said: “Now fellows, we can’t bury Honus like a dog. We’ve got to have some kind of service for him. Won’t somebody here take charge?” But the silence was profound, so finally the funeral director himself agreed to take charge.

He began by asking whether there wasn’t someone who had some good word to say for Honus before they buried him. Again there was a deep silence, until finally one old man stood up and said: “Well, I can say this much for Honus; he wasn’t always as bad as he sometimes was.”

To be honest, isn’t this true of all of us? Some people take offense at Rom. 3:22,23, which says: “For there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” They think there is a difference, and that they have not been as sinful as others. Ah, but while there may be a difference in the nature or the degree of our sins, Romans 3 is right when it says that there is no difference in this: that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” A person may put up a good front, feeling that he is not nearly so great a sinner as others, but whether a bridge is ten feet or a hundred feet short of spanning the chasm, it is still useless, so don’t try crossing it.

This is why we all need “the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of [God’s] grace” (Eph. 1:7). And we may have this by trusting in the Christ who died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3). “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8.).
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« Reply #4756 on: December 24, 2017, 05:08:13 AM »

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Wisdom Or Folly?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


That moon shot, some weeks ago, was really something! We hit the moon, right on target, took 4,319 pictures on the way, as close as 1,000 feet, and all in extraordinary detail, so that we now have pictures of the moon 1,000 times sharper than any previously taken.

How proud many of us feel now! How wise and great we Americans are! Yet, now that our achievement is a few weeks old, let’s look at it again in the light of the whole picture of American life.

Let’s face it; America is perhaps the most violent of “civilized” nations — and we can’t seem to curb the rapid growth in crime.

Our women dare not walk the streets of many of our larger cities at night — and none of us dare walk through some localities. From shoplifting to armed robbery, from intoxication to dope addiction, from assault to murder, crime in America has risen to an all-time high — and is rising faster all the time.

What good will it do us to achieve landings on the crust of the moon in, say six or eight years, if in the meantime we dissipate our moral strength in dishonesty, immorality, vice and crime? It is in this very connection that St. Paul wrote by inspiration of God:

    “For the preaching of the cross is to those who perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent”(I Cor. 1:18,19).

The world, with all its wisdom cannot save itself. It is only Christ’s death on the cross that can save, for there our sins were paid for, that we might be “justified freely by [God’s] grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
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« Reply #4757 on: December 28, 2017, 05:22:30 PM »

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What's the Difference?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


What’s the difference between a piano and a fish? You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish!

While you may have never wondered about the difference between a piano and a fish, you may have wondered about the difference in the various types of prayer that Paul mentions in I Timothy 2:1:

    “I exhort therefore, that, first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.”

The word “supplication” means to ask someone for something (I Kings 8:52; Esther 4:8.). Some grace believers are uncomfortable asking God for things, but it is our own apostle Paul who encourages us to “let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6). Just try not to be as selfish as unbelievers are when they pray. I once saw a comic strip that featured God sitting at a computer and saying to an angel, “I need to set up a spam filter to block requests to win the lottery!” While Paul says to let your requests be made known unto God “in every thing,” the more you mature in Christ, the less selfish your requests will be.

If you’re wondering what the difference is between “supplications” and “prayers,” don’t tell anyone! You see, if you are wondering that, it means you think the word “prayer” means to ask God for things! But there are lots of other things you can say to God in prayer. You can praise Him for His goodness and His grace, or just talk to Him about whatever is on your heart. If you have children who only call when they need something, you know how God feels if all you ever do is ask Him for things.

You can also make “intercessions” to God in prayer. Intercessions are selfless prayers prayed to God solely on behalf of others, the kind of prayer the Lord prays for us (Rom. 8:34).

The final type of prayer Paul mentions is the “giving of thanks.” This kind of prayer needs no explanation, but it can usually use some exhortation!

Now that we’ve defined these prayers, I’d like to submit for your consideration that Paul mentioned them in a specific sequence that reflects the order of spiritual maturity. When you were first saved, your prayers mostly consisted of asking God for things. But as you matured in the Lord, you began to “pray” more, praising God and talking to Him about whatever was on your heart. Then, more and more, the focus of your prayers moved away from yourself to others, and you began interceding for them more than for yourself. Perhaps you’ve already arrived at the point where you mostly just thank God when you bow before the throne of His grace.

If not, if you’ve never spent an entire season of prayer just thanking God, I can’t recommend it enough. Since Paul mentions it last in this list of prayers that reflects the order of spiritual maturity, I believe it to be the highest form of prayer that you can pray to God.
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« Reply #4758 on: December 28, 2017, 05:23:33 PM »

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Let's Do Something...
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


…even if it’s wrong. Have you ever heard that platitude? In every dispensation, God has always had well-meaning children who served Him sincerely, but without an understanding of His rightly divided Word, and so did and taught things that were dispensationally wrong. But in every dispensation there have also been men like “the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…” (1 Chron. 12:32), dispensationalists who knew where they stood in the program of God, and so knew how to do what is dispensationally right.

We are not shy to unabashedly proclaim that in the present dispensation of grace, grace believers are the modern day men of Issachar! We have an understanding of the times. We know what the Body of Christ ought to be doing. But with great knowledge comes great responsibility! Why not get in the battle for truth? After all, it’s not what you know that counts, it’s what you “do” (Phil. 4:9) with what you know. Let’s do something now that we know that what we are doing is right.
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« Reply #4759 on: December 28, 2017, 05:24:33 PM »

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Forgiveness
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “WE HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH [Christ’s] BLOOD, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS, ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE” (Eph. 1:7).

The climax of Paul’s first recorded sermon is reached in Verses 38 and 39 of Acts 13, where he declares:

    “BE IT KNOWN UNTO YOU THEREFORE, MEN AND BRETHREN, THAT THROUGH THIS MAN IS PREACHED UNTO YOU THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS:

    “AND BY HIM ALL THAT BELIEVE ARE JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS, FROM WHICH YE COULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW OF MOSES.”

Thus God through Christ, forgives and justifies those who believe. Nor is this all that was accomplished for us by the death of Christ at Calvary. There is also reconciliation, baptism by the Spirit into Christ and His Body, a position at God’s right hand in the heavenlies and all spiritual blessings there.

“The forgiveness of sins” must come first, however, and the above passage assures us that in Christ we have this — not barely, but “ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE”. Indeed, the next verse continues: “WHEREIN HE HATH ABOUNDED TOWARD US…”

Thus Ephesians 2:2-7 declares that though we were once “the children of disobedience”, and therefore “by nature the children of wrath”, “God, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, for His GREAT LOVE wherewith He loved us”, has given us life and raised us from the dead, exalting us to “heavenly places in Christ…”

His purpose in all this? “THAT IN THE AGES TO COME HE MIGHT SHOW THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE IN HIS KINDNESS TOWARD US THROUGH CHRIST JESUS” (Verse 7).

When God forgives us He no longer sees us in our poor selves, BUT IN CHRIST, who took our place, dying for our sins on Calvary’s cross. There He hung in our place that we might now stand in His — “COMPLETE IN HIM” (Col. 2:10).
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« Reply #4760 on: December 28, 2017, 05:25:35 PM »

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Inexpressible Joy
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Have you ever noticed that the Apostle Paul never speaks of his love for Christ? Rather he keeps talking about Christ’s wonderful love to him. Neither does he exhort us to love Christ, but keeps telling us how Christ loved — and loves, us. This is consistent with the message specially committed to him: “The Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

The Law said: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God” (Matt.22:37). This is the very essence of the law. And we should love God, but the law cannot produce love, so God comes to us in grace and say: “I love you“. This is why Paul’s epistles are so filled with “the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:29).

The fact that God deals with us in grace does not mean that believers should not, or do not, love Him. The very opposite is true, for love begets love. It is when men come to know the love of Christ that their hearts respond to him in love.

Peter, like Paul, had once been a strict observer of the Law, but had since come to know the love of Christ in growing measure. The result: A deep love for Christ and the overflowing joy that accompanies such love. This is why we find in I Peter 1:8 those touching words that naturally overflow from the heart and lips of one who has come to know the love of Christ: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”.

Yes, knowing and loving Christ does indeed bring inexpressible joy, but we cannot love him by trying. We must accept His love for us in faith so that our hearts may naturally respond.
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« Reply #4761 on: December 30, 2017, 03:41:59 PM »

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All For Us
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Have you ever thought how much God has done “for us” in Christ?

In Romans 8:32 we read that to save us from sin, God “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up FOR US all”. In Titus 2:14 we are told that Christ “gave Himself FOR US, that He might redeem us from all iniquity…”. In Romans 5:8 the Apostle declares that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died FOR US”. Galatians 3:13 says that Christ was “made a curse FOR US”.

Hebrews 9:12 states that “He entered…into the holy place [the presence of the Father], having obtained eternal redemption FOR US”. And if we trust Him for this “eternal redemption” we may read further in Hebrews 9:24 that “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands…but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God FOR US”. Romans 8:34 asks who can condemn the believer in Christ, since HE [the Lord Jesus Christ] is now “at the right hand of God” and “maketh intercession FOR US”.

Hebrews 6:20 declares that our Lord entered the Father’s presence “FOR US” as our “Forerunner”. Hebrews 10:19,20 therefore encourages believers to come to God in prayer: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to ENTER into the holiest by the blood of Jesus…a new and living way, which He hath consecrated FOR US…”.

Just think how much God has done FOR US in Christ! He delivered His beloved Son to death FOR US, Christ gave Himself FOR US, died FOR US, became a curse FOR US, intercedes FOR US, entered heaven FOR US as a Forerunner, and consecrated “a new and living way” into God’s presence FOR US, so that we may “come boldly unto the throne of grace” to “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). “If God be FOR US, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?
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« Reply #4762 on: December 30, 2017, 03:43:13 PM »

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Creation and Christ
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


When we believing Christians hear some “scientist” speak of “our ancestors” roaming this earth, say, 40,000,000 years ago, we become upset, and exclaim: “What nonsense!”

Why? The answer is that we know that the speaker is not stating scientific facts; he is propagating the long-disproven theory of evolution. Worse than that, the speaker has denied God’s own account of creation by disseminating a theory far more difficult to believe.

Yet, when the believer hears a scientist refer to some planet, say, 460,000,000 miles away he rejoices and exclaims: “How great is our God!” Why the difference? Ah, because astronomy, unlike evolution, is basically a science.

Granted, some astronomers may go far afield when they speculate on the origin of the universe; they may even make many errors in their calculations, but astronomy proper is nevertheless a science, based mainly on mathematics and physics. This has proved to be true as men from earth have orbited the earth and the moon and have landed on the moon, returning back to earth again. Indeed, it is only a few months since two soft landings (of instruments) were made on the planet Venus, about 67,000,000 miles away, and all the above with the earth, the moon and Venus, not only travelling through space at incredible speeds, but with each all the while revolving on its own individual axis!

The Lord Jesus Christ dwelt in glory “far above all heavens” in eternity past and came to earth to subject Himself to humiliation and death only that He might pay the penalty for our sins and redeem us to Himself:

    “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).
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« Reply #4763 on: December 31, 2017, 03:04:08 PM »

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Looking Up
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


How many people, even Christian people, live in fear these days! They consider how we have gone from atom bombs to hydrogen bombs to nitrogen bombs, with megatons of explosive power. They read about all the deadly weapons being perfected by countries all over the world, and they fear that frightful destruction may at any time overtake them.

It does indeed appear that this world is headed toward the prophesied destruction, but true believers should understand that God has clearly predicted that He will recall His ambassadors before giving the world up in judgment.  Paul, the apostle of grace, made it clear that no one can tell how long the dispensation of grace will last, but he did declare that this age would close with the coming of our Lord for His own.

    “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:

    “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.

    “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thes. 4:16-18.).

In the next chapter, we have the prediction of the pouring out of God’s wrath on the world but the believer in Christ will escape this.

Thus Paul reminded the Thessalonians how they had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven…” (I Thes. 1:9,10). Thus too he reminded the Philippians: “Our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). And thus, finally, he  instructed Titus to be looking for that blessed hope, and the appearing in glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
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« Reply #4764 on: January 01, 2018, 03:05:43 PM »

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Two Anxious Mothers
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Some time ago, in Chicago, a little baby was kidnapped right out of her mother’s arms in a hospital room, while another mother left her baby in a cardboard box on top of a garbage can.

We have the feeling that in all probability the woman who abandoned her baby — and it probably was a woman — was just as much beside herself as the one who had her baby stolen from her arms.

A Registered Nurse told us some time ago that the proportion of mothers who do not want their babies is becoming alarming. We do not believe that these women wouldn’t want their babies under normal circumstances. Everybody loves a baby! But in such cases sin has come in to bring trouble and shame and misery. Some of these mothers are unwed and have been disgraced; others are separated or divorced from their husbands or would have to bring their babies home to nothing but bickering and trouble. Still others have passed diseases on to their babies and wish that they had never been born.

This is how sin wrecks lives and homes, but it is wonderful to know that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” as we read in I Tim. 1:15. How does He save sinners? First He bore the penalty of sin for us: “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). But He will save us from sin’s control too, if we let Him. Rom. 6:14 says to believers in Christ: “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace,” and millions have proved this to be true.

Salvation is more than a religious term, or a feeling or sentiment, it is actual deliverance from the penalty and power of sin, through the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary, where He “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” for every one who simply but sincerely trusts Him as Lord and Savior.
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« Reply #4765 on: January 02, 2018, 04:11:13 PM »

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Which Gospel?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


A friend asks: “Have you heard the good news?” and you reply: “What good news?” Naturally! All good news is not the same. Yet few people follow this procedure when they read in the Bible the phrase “the gospel” — which simply means “the good news.” They have been taught that “the gospel is the gospel” and “there is only one gospel,” but this is simply not so in the light of the Bible itself.

God has not proclaimed only one gospel, one item of good news, down through the ages, but many. He has qualified the word “gospel” by distinctive titles, just as a woman labels her preserves to distinguish the different goodies she has put up for the winter.

The “gospel of the kingdom” and the “gospel of the grace of God” are not the same, and certainly the “gospel of the circumcision” and the “gospel of the uncircumcision” are not the same.

When we come upon the phrase “the gospel” without any qualifying title, we should immediately ask: “Which gospel?” and invariably the context will provide the answer. Luke 9:6, for example, simply states that the twelve disciples went about “preaching the gospel,” but Verse 2 of the same chapter explains how the Lord had sent them “to preach the kingdom of God” — not the cross, but the kingdom, since He, the King, was in their midst. These disciples could not have engaged in “the preaching of the cross,” as Paul later did, for it was not until at least two years later that the Lord “began” to tell them how He must suffer and die (Matt. 16:21) and Peter “began to rebuke Him” (Ver. 22) and none of the twelve even understood what He was talking about (Luke 18:34).

But whereas “the gospel of the kingdom” had been committed to the twelve while Christ was on earth, “the preaching of the cross” (as good news) and “the gospel of the grace of God” was later committed to the Apostle Paul and to us (1 Cor. 1:18; Acts 20:24).

Today we do not proclaim the kingdom rights of Christ. Rather we proclaim “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).
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« Reply #4766 on: January 04, 2018, 10:50:15 PM »

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Taking God At His Word
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Because of a failure to understand God’s purposes as outlined in the Scriptures some have felt it necessary to alter many of the plainest statements of Holy Writ. Supposing that God could not have meant exactly what He said, they have concluded that these things must be interpreted in a “spiritual” sense.

Actually there is nothing spiritual about failing to take God at His Word, and seeking to explain away difficulties by arbitrarily altering what He has plainly said.

First, this would leave us at the mercy of theologians. If the Scriptures do not mean what they say, who has the authority to decide what they do mean? And how can we turn to the Word of God for light if it does not mean what it says, and only trained theologians can tell us what it does mean?

Second, this altering of the Scriptures affects the veracity of God. It is a thrust at His very honor. If the obvious, natural meaning of the Old Testament promises are not to be depended upon, how can we depend upon any promise of God? Then, when He says: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13), He may also mean something else instead of what He actually says.

Third, this “spiritualizing” of Scriptures endorses apostasy, for it allows men to alter the meaning of God’s Word according to their will.

The path to a true understanding and enjoyment of the Bible is not in altering but in “rightly dividing” it (II Tim. 2:15).

Those who have resorted to the “spiritualization” of the prophetic Scriptures because they cannot account for the seeming cessation in their fulfillment, will find the solution to their problem in a recognition of the unique character of Paul’s apostleship and message. Recognize “the mystery” revealed through Paul and there will be no need to alter prophecy.
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« Reply #4767 on: January 04, 2018, 10:51:21 PM »

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Columbus The Believer
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Everybody knows that Columbus discovered America, but few people know Columbus the sincere believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, who braved the dangers of the ocean vastness mainly because it was his deep desire to bring the gospel to the Indies. His perseverance in the face of almost insurmountable odds should be a lesson to God’s people. Centuries before Columbus, Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers:

    “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58.).

This stirring appeal of Paul to Christians everywhere (I Cor. 1:2), implies that there is a tendency to abandon the work of the Lord through discouragement or carelessness, for he pleads with us to be “steadfast,” and “unmovable” — not easily shaken, reminding us that our “labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

How we need the exhortation!

We do not soon abandon our businesses or our homes. We work on in spite of difficulties and obstacles, and when the outlook is darkest we often toil the hardest. Sometimes our bodies suffer for it, but we do not immediately give up.

If this is so where our own affairs are concerned, how much more should it be so where the things of God and the needy multitudes about us are concerned! If it is so where temporal matters are concerned, how much more should it be so where eternity is involved!

Christians, let us awake! Let us “buy up the time!” Life is too short to fritter away the precious moments. Let us rather neglect our own affairs than to neglect the work of the Lord and the perishing souls about us.
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« Reply #4768 on: January 05, 2018, 05:00:02 PM »

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Accepted
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In Ephesians 1:6 the Apostle Paul sings a doxology, as it were, “to the praise of the glory of God’s grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved”.

In the story of the Prodigal Son it is touching to see the father accept his wayward son back to his bosom — and so generously! He does not merely admit him back into his home; he clothes him with his best robe, puts a ring on his hand, shoes on his feet and kills for him the fatted calf so that they call all to “eat and be merry” in celebration of his return.

But the prodigal was after all the father’s son, whereas Paul bids us “Gentiles in the flesh” to remember that originally we were “without Christ…aliens from the commonwealth of Israel…strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).

Hence it is even more touching to contemplate God’s gracious acceptance of us who were not sons but “aliens” and “enemies” (Col. 1:21).

The word “accepted” in the above passage actually comes from the word “grace” (Gr. karis) with which the verse begins: “…His grace, wherein He hath engraced us in the Beloved One”.

Thus God looks upon us now with delight; He delights to favor and bless the believer because He sees him in Christ, His beloved Son.

This passage reminds us how God once broke through the heavens to declare: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). And now He is delighted with us and blesses us with “all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies” because we are in Christ, the “Beloved Son”. Not that we have attained to this position, far from it, for “HE hath MADE us accepted” — HE hath engraced us in the Beloved.
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« Reply #4769 on: January 06, 2018, 03:32:19 PM »

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The Wonder Cure
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Most of us remember the drugstore product which swept the country like wildfire years ago and netted one man more than $3,000,000.00 in one year. It was called Hadacol. Whatever was wrong with you, Hadacol could cure it! Radio commercials and newspaper advertisements acclaimed its healing powers. Some small drugstores displayed signs over their doors reading, “MAIN ENTRANCE FOR HADACOL.”

One humorous story was told at that time about a woman who was supposed to have testified over the radio: “Before I began taking Hadacol I couldn’t read nor write; now I’m teaching high school!”

Some people seem to think that Christianity is like Hadacol was supposed to be. In fact, some evangelists give the erroneous impression that if one accepts Christ everything will suddenly go right. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Christian life is a battle, and we cannot win this battle without much diligent, earnest Bible study and prayer. In fact, it is this battle that makes the Christian life rewarding. Formerly we were “taken captive by [the devil] at his will” (II Tim. 2:26), but now God provides us with complete armor, including “the sword of the Spirit” and “the shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16,17), and says, “Stand fast.” Indeed, James 4:7 says: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

God has enlisted every true believer in His “armed forces,” as it were, and He encourages us each one to be “a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Tim. 2:3). Indeed, He expects this of each corporate assembly of believers as well, for Paul, by divine inspiration, wrote to the Philippian saints:

    “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).
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