A False Gospel is No Gospel at All: Devotional for January 25, 2022

Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

Today’s Bible reading plan from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 43-44; Psalm 24; Galatians 1

So the recovery of the blessed doctrine of Scripture and Scripture alone is our rule of faith.  And what did Scripture teach?  Scripture teaches that salvation is by ‘grace alone.’  In Galatians 1:6, Paul in sheer exasperation tells the Galatian church,

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).

Notice Paul says that they are deserting the God who called you “in the grace of Christ” and are turning to a “different gospel.”  Paul is saying, “The grace of Christ is the Gospel.”  The Gospel is the Good News.  The reason we see that the Gospel is such good news is only truly possible when we see that our soul is in such bad shape!  In Galatians 3:10, the Apostle Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26 in saying, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’”

You say, “I know I’m not perfect, but I’m not as bad as so many others are.  I may not be a Christian, but I am a good person!”  You say, “The Book of the Law is not my authority.  I don’t see it like that.”  Well, in a situation like that, your opinion is not only missing the mark but misses the point.  What matters is what God says!  And whether we see it as our authority or not, it will be the standard by which we will be deemed fit for heaven or not. 

During the time of the Reformation, the church taught that salvation could be bought by indulgences.  The Pope at that time (Leo X) wanted to build St. Peter’s Basilica and used this horrid doctrine of indulgences on the people so they could buy salvation for their family members who were in purgatory.  “When a coin clings in the chest, a soul flies up to heavenly rest,” indulgence-advocate John Tetzel would say.  Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenburg church questioning this practice.

Without grace, we have the law looming over us and we live in fear of its dictates.  But we also must not add to grace.  The Reformation was a fight over the Scripture’s teachings of grace alone.  Not grace partly, then us coming along partly so that we may decide for it and ultimately earn it.  Grace stands alone — otherwise, it’s not grace.

From my sermon from October 30, 2005, preached at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY.

Be Thankful the Cross Wasn’t the End: Devotional for January 24, 2022

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 41-42, Mark 16

In the majority of our Bible translations, Mark 16 contains a rather startling insertion between vv. 8 and 9.

SOME OF THE EARLIEST MANUSCRIPTS DO NOT INCLUDE 16:9-20.

… which means that some of the earliest manuscripts do include this last section. I commend to you this article to delve more into this and to help you keep your confidence that this last section is canonical and belongs in the Gospel of Mark.

What I pray you will consider is this: what if the message of Christianity really ended where Mark 16:8 ends:

“And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

That, my friends, is not “good news.” This would be like every other hero who died–followers going to the graveside. The problem with Jesus’ death is that they claimed He was the Messiah and would reign as their King over all other kings and Lord over all other lords. To believe such in Roman times was the death penalty.

Yet, the story does not end with them being “afraid.” In fact, Jesus’ death galvanized the apostles and followers to such a degree that none of them feared death, and nearly all of them (save John) were martyred.

Be thankful for the cross–but be thankful that the cross was not the end. The tomb is empty. Christ is alive. Now, let’s go forth in boldness in His name!

Do You Delight in the World More Than the Word? Devotional for January 11, 2022

Photo by San Fermin Pamplona on Pexels.com

Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 19-20; Psalm 1; Mark 7

The only way to being one who prospers is by pursuing the One who prospered and
prosper. Are you comfortable with sin?

This “blessed man” is one who is happy and content in the covenant relationship of Christ. You see, Satan is crafty and subtle (Genesis 3:1). His aim is to go however methodically is needed in order to have us planted in his preferred spot. John Calvin said, “It is the policy of Satan to insinuate his deceits, in a very crafty way, the prophet, in order that none may be insensibly deceived, shows how by little and little mean
ordinarily induced to turn aside from the right path.”

We must beware of the slippery slope. “Walks not in the counsel of the wicked.” The wicked person is still
moving along in his life but takes counsel with those living outside of God’s prescribed design.

“Stands in the way of sinners.” Here we see the person stopping in the path and lifestyle of those living outside of God’s design purpose.

“Sits in the seat of scoffers”–here we are looking at once pulling up a chair and planting themselves in the habit of a lifestyle. Gradual erosion.

Have you even entertained something that God is not pleased with or is outside of his design, and the slide has been so gradual that you wonder, “How did I get here? What in the world happened to where this is going on?

Yet, where should we plant ourselves? “His delight is in the law of the Lord… on
His law, he meditates day and night.”

Are you comfortable in the company of sin? Or are you comfortable in the delight of His Word?

My Favorite Bible Reading Plan for 2022 and How I’ll Tackle It

If you plan on reading through the Bible in 2022, I recommend the Five Day Bible Reading Plan. It goes through the Bible in a semi-chronological manner, giving you a good flow of biblical history.

I plan on using the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible–Large Print to go through the reading plan. Capturing the insights God gives in the same Bible you’re reading helps not only you but those who may read them later on (like your children or grandchildren).

Last, I did a video about the pros and cons of Bible Reading plans that will be helpful for you to consider:

What are your favorite Bible Reading plans?