To Be Circumcised or To Be Saved? Which Comes First?

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
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.

Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.  Romans 4:1-12

Note: It has been said that water baptism is the circumcision of the New Testament.  It should be noted from the passage above, that Abraham had saving faith before he was circumcised.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

From my wife today:

Are we thankful to God; our Creator and Sustainer,……or are we just thankful?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father…….. James 1:17

Heard on the radio this morning:

If we have tomorrow, only what we were thankful for today,…..what would we be left with?

A characteristic of the Spirit filled (controlled) believer:

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  Ephesians 5:20


O Glorious Love

O Glorious Love of Christ!

In my darkness Jesus found me;

Touched my eyes and made me see;

Broke sin’s chains that long had bound me;

Gave me life and liberty!

Oh, amazing truth to ponder;

He whom angel hosts attend,

Lord of Heaven, God’s Son, what wonder;

He became the sinner’s friend!


 Oh, glorious love of Christ my Lord divine,

That made Him stoop to save a soul like mine.
Through all my days, and then in heaven above,
My song will silence never,
I’ll worship Him forever,
And praise Him for His glorious love.

       © 1970 John W. Peterson Music Company.  All rights reserved. 

Used by permission.

Have You Been Made New?

As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  Galatians 6:12-15

Offensive Language

And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.  Matthew 15:15-20

It is biblical to view offensive language as a symptom of a person’s spiritual condition.   Too often, however, I believe our Christian evangelical focus becomes not the spiritual condition of the unbeliever, but his/her offense.

When the offense of the unbeliever becomes the focus, conformity to the believer’s standard of behavior becomes the goal.  What good is it for the unbeliever to change his speech while remaining unconverted?

The Great Commission is not about cleaning up unbelievers.  If you and I get unbelievers to stop engaging in fornication, drunkeness and blasphemy, they will still die and go to hell.

Biblical evangelism is not concerned with outward conformity. The goal of biblical evangelism is an inward transformation brought about by trusting Jesus Christ as one’s only hope of salvation.   

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17 

Note:  When did you last love a profane person?

Guest Blog – Voting in the Next Election

I have been hearing from many believers that their consciences will not let them vote in the current election for either candidate. I understand how you feel because my conscience began to bother me about my political choices in the 1980’s.  So I did a study of Scripture about the purpose of government from God’s point of view and my responsibility as a citizen.

We are told in I Peter 2 that one of the purposes of government is to punish those who do evil, and reward those who do good.  The other passage is found in I Timothy chapter 2 where it says we are to pray for our leaders that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, godly and dignified in every way.  So in the 1990’s I began to look at my responsibility to vote in this way.  Which vote will move the country in the direction that Christians may lead quiet and peaceable lives, godly and dignified in every way?  Only once in my adult life have I been able to vote for a political candidate about whom I could say this person’s worldview, mindset, and character are something I can endorse.  I realized that the day would come when I could not vote for an individual, but I did not want the depravity of our nation depriving me of my vote.

I would never urge you to go against your conscience, because the Bible clearly says whatsoever is not of faith is sin.  But if you find yourself in the same situation as I found myself, ask yourself this question:  Will my not voting move our country in the direction that I would want it to go?  If not, then use your vote to move the country in the direction you think it should go.  Notice, I have not encouraged you to vote or not to vote if that is your conviction.  I have not suggested anyone for whom you should vote because, as a believer, I want you to be a good steward of the citizenship with which God has entrusted you.

And finally, the reason I’m more concerned about the stewardship of your citizenship than I am about the election is because of Daniel chapter 4.  Remember the story?  Nebuchadnezzar had become proud because of all his accomplishments, and so God allowed him to act like an animal, eating grass for seven years.  He gives the reason for doing so in verse 17 …to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will and sets over it the lowliest of men.  So ultimately God will determine who wins this election, not our vote.  So please prayerfully consider the stewardship God has entrusted you with, and use your voting opportunity to glorify God.

If you have any questions, drop me a note at  

Have you prayed for your governmental leaders today?

Pastor Larry

(Used with permission.)

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Church Today – Part II D – The Guarantee of Our Inheritance

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13 & 14  KJV

A comparative translation from the ESV says: In him (Jesus Christ) you (believers) also,……..were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,…

The word translated as earnest in the KJV is translated as guarantee in the ESV.   Both refer to a pledge or down payment.

The American Heritage Dictionary says that earnest refers to; money paid in advance as part payment to bind a contract or bargain (also called earnest money).  It is also defined  as; a token of something to come; a promise or assurance.

According to WE Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the word for earnest in the Greek is arrabon.  Originally this word referred to money deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed.  It came to denote a pledge or earnest of any sort; in the NT it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the Divine pledge of all their future blessedness.  See also II Corinthians 5:5.

The KJV  says; ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance.  The same passage in the ESV says; you also……. were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance.

The KJV grammar uses the word which to define the holy Spirit of promise as the earnest of our inheritance.  The Holy Spirit is not an object, power, or influence.  The Holy Spirit is a person and should be properly defined as He, who is the earnest of our inheritance.  The ESV correctly describes the Holy Spirit as He, who is the  guarantee of our inheritance.

 Although this passage emphasizes an inheritance which we regard as yet future, we have the Holy Spirit from the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour (Romans 8:9).  That means that  benefits of our inheritance are available to us the moment we believe.  Our inheritance begins when we are saved, with full benefits when we step into glory.

The Holy Spirit is God.  It is God who is the guarantee of our inheritance.  God will never default on His purchase.

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.  I Corinthians 1:21 & 22




Acceptable Patience

For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  I Peter 2:20

Note: I’m not very good at this.