“THREE UNCHANGING B’s”
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
Abbreviations are a common means of expressing both the names and nature of commercial businesses. Many abbreviations carry three letters such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FMC, GMC, etc. Some numerical abbreviations have vanished from the scene such as RCA and MMM. However there are three eternal BBB’s for genuine Christians that shall never change, and they don’t refer to the Better Business Bureau, but to the Blood, the Book and the Blessed Hope.
Now the word “repent/repentance” basically means a “change of mind” that could also involve a consequent change of action. In the genuine believer’s life, these three B’s of God remain a constant fixture in which the believer can safely place his confidence and hang his trust for eternity. There is no repentance—no change of God’s mind—on these three eternal verities.
The first B is the “the blood.” By this term, this writer is referring to the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, which was shed on the cross of Calvary 2,000+ years ago for our sins and which is preserved in God’s trophy case in heaven—at the mercy seat—at God’s right hand in glory. Please note the following earmarks of that blood:
(1) This blood was PROMISED blood: In Lev. 17:11, God says: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement [at-one-ment] for the soul.” While the O.T. blood sacrifices made temporary atonement and “covered” offending sinners, the O. T. sacrifices looked prophetically forward to the Lamb of God who would someday “take(th) away the sins of the world—Jn. 1:29” by his blood sacrifice—Heb. 9:14-15.
(2) This blood was PURE blood: I Peter 1:18-19 states “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your father; But with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” There were no deathly impurities in Christ’s blood that were connected with man’s fall in the Garden of Eden in that precious blood. Christ’s blood was free from all the corruptive viruses of the fall when it flowed in his veins. It was blood that Christ freely donated for the cause of our salvation—Heb. 9:22.
(3) This blood was PROPITIATING blood: Rom. 3:24-25 says: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption which was in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God.”
The words “propitiate/propitiation simply deal with God’s satisfaction of Christ’s shed blood. When Christ offered his life’s blood as the payment price for our sins, God was completely and totally satisfied with that sacrifice. It is a sacrifice that according to Heb. 1:3 and Heb. 10:12 has never had to be repeated.
(4) This blood was PURCHASING blood: Acts 20:28: “Take heed, therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” The Apostle Paul used the word “purchase” there to indicate that the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood bought believers complete and total redemption, via His purchase on the cross. The word also implies Christ’s “purchase” of our souls was an acquisition/buy especially for Himself! Christ purchased us because He wanted to bring us as closely as possible to Himself!
(5) This blood was PURGING blood: Heb. 9:14 states “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” The word “purge” refers to cleanse, to make clean or to purify. The offering of Christ’s blood wipes the believing sinner’s slate forever clean from the otherwise eternal stains of sin.
(6) This blood was POSITIONING blood: Eph. 2:3 says “But now in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes far off were made nigh by the blood of Christ.” As sinners, we were previously alienated and far from God (Eph 4:18, Col. 1:21), but by Christ’s blood sacrifice we have direct access to God (Eph. 2:18) and have been made “nigh” (Eph. 13) to God.
(7) This blood is PROTECTING blood: Rev. 12:11: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” While this verse exegetically refers to the tribulation period saints, there is legitimate application in this verse for today’s believers. I Cor. 15:57 declares: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thank God for the “B” of Christ’s blood!
This book—the Bible—the Word of God—is God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word, truly “a lamp” unto our feet,” and “a light” unto our pathway—Ps. 119:111. The words of this book are:
(1) Scriptural words: II Peter 1:21 says that these words came from “holy [although not humanly perfect] men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
(2) Soul-Saving words: In I Peter 1:23, the Apostle Peter makes the bold, genuine and factual claim concerning all genuine believers: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.” The soul-winner’s favorite verses in Ps. 126:5-6 surely apply here: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
(3) Sanctifying words: The same Word that saves the sinner is the same Word that sanctifies the saint: In John 17:17, Christ—the incarnated Word—the living Word—declared that the inscripturated Word—the written Word—could also sanctify the believer: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” While these words were directed to the disciples concerning His spoken words, they have apt reference to Christ’s written words as well, and to all the words of Scripture, since the triune God: Father, Son and Spirit are all equally the authors of this blessed book.
(4) Satan Resisting words: In Matthew chapter four, Christ was tempted by Satan with the same three sources that Satan used to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapter three: The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. In contrast to Adam and Eve, Christ, however, impeccably withstood Satan’s temptations with the Word of God: Each time Satan sequentially tempted Christ, He responded with the written word: “It is written” (Matt. 4:4, 4:6, 4:10).
(5) Sin-Overcoming words: Ps. 119:9 & 11: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” The word “hid” [hide] means “to esteem, to keep” or by implication “to treasure.” These two verses are some of the earliest verses yours truly memorized as just a five-year old lad. They have proven to be a great source of assistance whenever this preacher has been tempted for the past 70 years.
(6) Strengthening words: The 119th Psalm which is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses is literally loaded with valuable spiritual gems and Biblical treasures: One commentator has aptly noted that every verse, with the exception of two verses, mentions the Word of God under various titles. Ps. 119:28 says “My soul melteth with heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.”
(7) Sufficient words: II Timothy 3:16-17 makes the following divine assertion about God’s Word: “All scripture is given by inspiration by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The word “perfect” here refers to spiritual maturation. God’s word via reading, meditating, studying, preaching and instruction is all the believer needs to bring him/her to complete spiritual maturation. What a wonderful Book. Praise God for the second “B”!
The Blessed Hope
This third “B” is exactly what it states, it is truly the blessed hope. In a classic passage dealing with the Rapture, the Apostle Paul anticipatingly wrote: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” The prospects of this great event are truly a “blessed hope.”
1. A Christ-Centered hope: In Col. 1:27, Paul wrote about this hope: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentile, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The believer’s hope centers in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Scripture, Christ is the focal point, not only in the N. T., but also the O. T. In Luke 24:27, referring to the O. T. Scriptures, the Biblical record states about Christ: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
2. A Confident hope: While Christ did not appear in the Rapture during Paul’s pilgrim journey on this earth, his hope was not misplaced, but one of great confidence since his body which now “sleeps” temporarily in death will be immortally transformed at the Rapture, along with the bodies of the living saints. Writing about that imminent—any moment—future date, Paul stated: “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
(3) A Constant hope: In that classic and famed passage that concentrates on love and majors on this great Bible theme, Paul included two other important vital Bible themes: faith and hope. In I Cor. 13:13 Paul wrote: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” While Biblical love should never be minimized but maximized, as this verse plainly states, believers should not overlook the magnitude of faith and hope. The hope of the Rapture should be a constant expectation of saints.
(4) A Comforting hope: In perhaps the clearest and most prolific passage dealing with the Rapture in I Thess. 4:13-18. Paul concludes his masterpiece treatise with these consoling reassuring and solacing words: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught 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.” Regardless of the circumstances believers confront down here, a bright future awaits every child of God.
(5) A Cleansing hope: For believers who are expectantly awaiting Christ’s coming for them in the Rapture, this hope has a cleansing purging effect: Writing about this truth, the Apostle John stated: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.”
(6) A Consummating hope: The appearance of Christ in the skies will be the consummation of the hopes of believers for which they have anticipatingly waited for nearly 2,000 years, when the “adoption”—the redemption—of believer’s bodies will occur. While believers’ souls were redeemed theologically at Calvary and experientially at conversion, the “redemption of the body” awaits the rapture: Writing about this joyous event, Paul wrote in Rom. 8:23-24: “And not they only, but we ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body.”
(7) A Constraining hope: This “blessed hope,” with its consequential reverential fear, should pulsate so strongly within the believer’s soul and spirit, and cause a Holy Spirit motivated throbbing evangelistic soul-winning passion for the lost. The Apostle Paul strongly felt this stimulating burden for the unconverted when he wrote in II Cor. 5: 11 & 14: “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences…for the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for then were all dead.”
What more can you say? In a day of uncertainty and change, these three unchangeable “B’s are a source of great assurance, consolation and encouragement for genuine saints of God. They should also serve as a stimulating source for Biblical evangelism and earnest soul-winning. Great Bible truths must not only be delineated, and defended, they must be disseminated! Acts 1:8 D. J.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial – FEBRUARY - MARCH 2013 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|