What mystery?

Our header reads:  “We teach Jesus Christ according to the mystery kept secret since the world began and revealed to the Apostle Paul.”  The vast majority of you will say: “huh, what mystery?”

Consider these articles a formal invitation from me to you to find out: “what mystery?”, as the vast majority of professing Christians have heard of no such thing.  Follow these postings from one to the next and see for yourself where they lead.  Each will have a link at the bottom to the next.  Please feel free to politely comment and question.  You will receive a reply.  Keep a King James Bible open and test everything you read here against exactly “what” the Bible says, “where” it says it, and “to whom” it is speaking.  I do not ask that you believe a single thing that I write, as I am convinced the Bible alone is Truth in this world.  I believe that understanding “the mystery” is the key to understanding the Bible.

Romans 3:4(a)… “let God be true, but every man a liar;

Did God the Father keep a secret from His creation?  IF we believe the words on the pages of our King James Bible (and we do) it seems that He has indeed kept something to Himself.  Examine Romans 16:25…

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,”

There it is.  A mystery God kept secret from the beginning of time, until the time He chose to make that mystery known by revelation.  Paul is writing this epistle to the Roman believers in and around the Acts 20 time period.  Next verse, 16:26…

BUT NOW is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Is God choosing this time period (very early in the first century AD) to make known this mystery (whatever it is) and is He revealing it directly to the Apostle Paul?  Paul is calling this information “my gospel” after all and that might be taken as boastful to say the least.  What else does Paul have to say about this gospel he calls his own?  Explaining the “end” of the law “charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: (1 Tim 1:5)” and to whom the law was directed (the lawless, etc…), to his dear friend Timothy (1 Tim 1:11) Paul claims “ownership” once again; “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed unto my trust.”  Did not Jesus Christ Himself commit the gospel unto Peter and the twelve well before Paul was even on the scene?  Speaking to the twelve about the signs and times of the end of the world He exclaims (Mat 24:14)… “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  This is the same gospel message Jesus was teaching in Matthew 4:23 as He had the twelve gathered around Him.  It is therefore the very gospel message He commissioned the twelve to preach in Mark 16:15… “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  Clearly, Jesus is speaking of the gospel of the kingdom.

How then does Paul dare to call this gospel his own?  What an ego!?!  This is mysterious… and a seeming conundrum.  Of course, as “actual” Bible believers (we actually believe the words on the page and do not simply believe what we want to believe, or have been taught in denominational churches about the Bible) this would cause one to question the claim that the very Word of God, perfect and without error, inspired and preserved throughout human history, is what we claim it is (and we do make such claim) or is even available to mankind in this 21’st century sans “original manuscripts”.

In trying to determine exactly what this “Pauline” mystery is, let us in the next post examine more closely the nation Israel, why God “chose” them and what Gods plan for His chosen people was from the beginning of time… that which was “spoken” since the beginning of the world.

Acts 3:21… “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Hmmm… something hidden AND something spoken; both since the beginning of the world.  To quote C.R. Stam: “Things that are different cannot be the same.”

Next Post – “Why Israel?

Standing versus State

There is a rather large disconnect in the Christ professing community regarding our standing “in Christ” and our current physical state of being here in this world.  There are those, most in fact, who believe we should judge whether another is a “Christian” or not based upon his visible fruit.  There are several verses which support such a view.  Here is one.

Matthew 7:20… “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

As a student of Gods Word I must therefore ask the question, if a man today is saved by grace without works of any kind (this is the mechanism of salvation in this dispensation), how then would I know if he were saved or not by the fruit produced by his works?  Or the manor of his living?  The short answer is, I could not.  The long answer follows…

If you have been following along with these posts in the order they were written, you are well aware that the words of Jesus above were spoken to men of Israel who were to be baptized WITH the Holy Spirit and given the supernatural ability to keep the commandments.

Ezekiel 36:27… “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them.

We know that these same men must show endurance through the tribulation in their physical battle with anti-christ to gain the reward promised unto them; namely, Gods earthly Kingdom come from Heaven to earth.

Matthew 10:22… “And ye shall be hated of all men for my names sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

The world, especially Israel, will love the anti-christ and will hate passionately those who go against him and his one world order.  Those who do go against him will eventually reap eternal life with Christ on earth.  This has been the promise of God to believing Israel and those under them from the very beginning.

Examining the standing and state of these men, we see that God supernaturally alters their physical STATE of being via baptism WITH the Holy Spirit.  God, with the new testament promise, gives these men the ability to follow the law perfectly.  He enables them physically to be able to NOT sin.  Such is the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophesy.

1 John 3:9… “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Such is an incredible statement that no one alive today may lay claim to (even though many falsely do).  But this was the reality in the early Acts period and will once again be the reality during that time when God is pouring out His just wrath upon this world of unrighteous people.  In the above verse John is speaking to “little children”; the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14 who go forth and preach the everlasting gospel to every creature.

What is the everlasting gospel?

Revelation 14:7… “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come: and worship Him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

If you continue reading the verses in Revelation 14 they go on to warn anyone who will listen, specifically NOT to take the mark of the beast, for once that mark is taken, all hope of salvation is lost.  That man has chosen anti-christ, the false prophet and satan formally over God.  There is no further hope for that man.

What does this have to do with standing and state?  Quite a lot I believe.  The physical STATE of these people during this time period is made (present tense) perfect, in order for them to be able to endure the punishing wrath of God. This is why they are given such seemingly strange supernatural powers as they had in the early Acts period.

Mark 16:17-18… “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Why, for instance, are they to be able to drink any deadly thing and live?  There is a very good reason.  A great star falls from heaven during the great tribulation…

Revelation 8:10-11… “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many died because of the waters, because they were made bitter.

The Hebrew believers will be able to drink such poisoned water and live!  They shall also be able to lay hands on those who are made sick and heal them.

Their spiritual STANDING (as opposed to their physical state of being) is TO BE made (future tense) perfect; that is, will be made perfect (sins altogether blotted out) AFTER the wrath is concluded and Christ is seated on His rightful earthly throne.  During this time in which they are “enduring till the end” their spiritual standing is incomplete.  Christ does not yet sit on the throne.  They have not yet fully and faithfully endured to completion that task set before them, their baptism with fire.

Acts 3:19-21… “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The time of the restitution of all things is that time after the great tribulations conclusion.  After Jacob’s trouble when the desert shall once again bloom as the original garden of God; where the lion shall lay down with the lamb and perfect peace and harmony will once again exist between God,  His chosen and those Gentile nations who choose to bless them.  Only after they endure till the end will their collective sin be blotted out, and all Israel shall finally be “saved” (Rom 11:26).  Their spiritual standing once again made perfect after the faithful endurance of the wrath of God.

(Aside:  Any man self identifying as a Jew can today be saved by grace through the faith of Christ just like any other man.  No human alive today need go through Gods wrath.  Unfortunately, many will.)

This is so very different from the way God deals with us today.  Gods plan of salvation for the world via Israel (Gen 12:1-3); after Israel failed to accept her Messiah, was postponed in favor of the mystery kept secret since the world began and revealed to Paul.  Israel had fallen and God’s formal declaration of free grace to all men everywhere (without the need to bless fallen Israel) had begun.  Today, as we know, men are saved by grace through faith in the finished cross-work of Christ.  Trusting that He died for our sin and was raised again for our justification.

Ephesians 1:13-14… “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation (1 Cor 15:1-4): 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.

We are not baptized physically with the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit “seals” us as Gods own.  We are His purchased possession, bought with the blood of Christ.  We are NOT appointed unto wrath.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10… “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

We have been delivered from this present evil world.  We have only to endure each other (itself clearly not an easy task); we are not to endure the wrath of God.  It was already poured out on His Son on our behalf.

Gal 1:4-5… “Who gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

There is no need whatsoever for God to alter our STATE of being in this present evil world because we have been delivered from the wrath that is to come!  There is no need of supernatural physical empowerment.  God is extending grace and not wrath to the world.  Our state, much unlike the state of the early Acts Jewish believers, is one of imperfection and weakness.  When Paul, also supernaturally empowered, nearing the end of his ministry, asked God for a supernatural healing, what was Gods answer?  No more signs and wonders…

2 Corinthians 12:9… “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Such is so backward to the vast majorities way of thinking!  Christ, the Holy Spirit nor God alters our physical abilities in any way, shape or form in this dispensation.  Religious people are crazy, deluded and/or not possessed of the correct spirit to think such is so.  There is no need.  Because… grace!  Not wrath.  In our human frailty, God’s manifest wisdom and overcoming strength is to shine through to a world in darkness.  The miracle today is that a sinner like me can be saved at all by doing absolutely nothing!  The world mostly ignores the greatest miracle of all.

Our physical state is hopeless until the time of the redemption of the purchased possession.  We are the purchased possession.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20… “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Our physical redemption takes place at the translation of the church the body of Christ (what most call the rapture).  When, as with the Jewish believers baptized WITH the Holy Spirit, our physical bodies shall be changed and we shall go to be with the Lord “in the air”, not here on earth!

1 Cor 15:52-53… “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17… “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.

Our physical STATE shall then be made perfect!  This is a future occurrence, which leaves only the present spiritual standing of the saved man to examine.

We currently exist in sinful bodies and cannot do the things we wish we could.  (I wish I had the ability not to sin, don’t you?)  There is a battle which rages in the saved man, one which needs reckoning if he is to live a risen life in this world, a life risen with his Lord and Savior, the life our Lord and Savior died to give us.

Galatians 5:17… “For the flesh lusteth after against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

The mechanism by which we are to live lays in the knowledge and full understanding of the spiritual standing we have been placed in, by way of Christ’s atoning death, burial and resurrection.  As Christ has been made alive so to must we reckon ourselves made alive in the same way, not physically (yet – rapture) but spiritually so.  God says to us today, through our Apostle Paul, that our standing is NOW made perfect in the eyes of the Lord.  That, while we currently exist in sinful flesh, God no longer recognizes our physical state but only our spiritual standing in His Son, whom He made to BE sin for us and then killed on the cross.  How amazing!  We are crucified with Christ nevertheless we live!

Galatians 2:20… “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

While Israel must wait for her atonement (at-one-ment); enduring faithfully to the end of the great tribulation keeping the commandments, we have NOW received such in our present fallen state!  As Christ is one with the Father, so too have we been made one with the Father spiritually.

Romans 5:10-11… “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have NOW received the atonement.

Romans 6:11, 14… “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Sin no longer has dominion over us.  How is this possible?  God has made us into something new spiritually, not physically.  Something which was not prophesied since the beginning of the world but kept secret.  The new creature, whose great commission is…

2 Cor 5:17-21… “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The “great commission” preaching the Kingdom “at hand” was postponed over 2,000 years ago in favor of the preaching of grace and peace; the reconciling of the world to God by way of the cross!  How many who profess Christ miss this?

Believing Israel’s physical STATE was (in early Acts) and will be once again (during the great tribulation) made supernaturally perfect.  This “Kingdom program” was interrupted by that which God kept secret… the dispensation of grace we find ourselves in today.  Their spiritual STANDING will be made perfect at the tribulations end, after they have endured through the wrath of God faithfully to the end.

Our physical STATE here in this present evil world will remain imperfect until the rapture when we shall all be changed into perfect celestial beings.  When the dispensation of grace is finished and wrath is once more at hand.  Our spiritual STANDING is NOW made perfect in the eyes of a Holy and Just God by faith and trust in the cross of Christ.

We are freed to live our lives unto God without fear or guilt in what our flesh is capable of, and will likely do, before we are either translated out of this world or die in it.

Romans 8:1… “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

No condemnation.  God is not punishing sinful flesh today.  He punished sinful flesh by making Christ to be sin for us and then killing sin on the cross as the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23).

Romans 6:6-11… “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are far more than “born again”.  We are resurrected with Christ and made alive unto God!  Paul knew that his flesh would fail him.  I know my flesh will fail me.  You, reader, ought to know your flesh will fail (has failed) you.  Though these words can be a bit hard to follow, Paul explains: that which he knows he should do, he doesn’t.  Rather, he does what he knows he should not do.  However, understanding his perfect standing in the Lord, he realizes that it is not him that does these evil things, it is his sinful flesh which does.  Since he (spiritual Paul) is crucified with Christ, these flesh issues (physical Paul) no longer matter.  They have been dealt with by the cross.

Romans 7:15-20… “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Paul is telling us our flesh is hopelessly corrupt.  No good thing dwells in it.  God has not altered our flesh (not yet).

Romans 7:24-25… “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

God does not cause us to do or be “good”.  We are to study to shew ourselves approved unto God (2 Tim 2:15) that we would let His Word dwell richly within us.  It is only through the knowledge of what He accomplished on our behalf that we are empowered to walk in the Spirit.  Studying His Word IS walking in the Spirit.  Minding the things of God enables us to put off the things of the old man and to walk in the newness of life Christ died to provide us.

Colossians 3:16… “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Our physical state is fatally flawed.  Our standing is made as perfect as the One which died on our behalf.  Isn’t it about time we began to act like unto that which we have been made?  Again…

Colossians 3:16… “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Galatians 5:16, 25… “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

If we are trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross, we ARE “in the Spirit” no matter how we walk.  Why then walk according to the Spirit?  Because the works of the flesh are ugly and will not inherit the things of God; we have been made so much more.  These are the works of our sinful flesh:

Galatians 5:19-21… “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Praise God that even though we still exist in these bodies of flesh; even though our flesh still takes perverse pleasure in doing these things (that’s what the flesh is – just look honestly at the world in and around you); that God made Christ to BE these things for us and killed them dead on the cross!

1 Corinthians 6:11… “And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

How WERE we these things?  We were once unsaved.  By trusting in what Christ did for us, we are now washed, sanctified and justified!  APART FROM OUR FLESH.  The fruit of the Spirit, NOT OUR UGLY FLESHY FRUIT (as listed above), is beautiful.  These are the fruits of the Spirit (not of our “saved” flesh)…

Galatians 5:22-24… “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

The saved mans flesh is crucified, thank God!  Walking in the Spirit, (which is) being saved and allowing the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly; the above fruits of the Spirit will simply begin to manifest themselves in and through our lives without our even trying.  For when “we” try, it is “we” (our flesh) that will fail.  When “we” (our flesh) gets out of the way and allows what we’ve learned through salvation and Bible study to work through us, it is the fruit of the Spirit Himself that will be made manifest to the world through us.  This is what God means when He says that it is his will that all men should be saved and then to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:3-4).  We cannot get to the whole truth without salvation first.

Know for an absolute fact that we (our flesh) is our biggest problem…  We (our flesh) is not capable of “good works”.  To focus on the flesh is to focus on that which is already crucified.  It cost God His Son to do it so this should hardly be overlooked.  To be known by “our” fruit is to be known by the works of the flesh, in which dwells no good thing.  We should not want to be known by “our” fruit!  Far better indeed to be known by the Spirits fruit as we learn to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed, that the Spirit then is capable of working through (in spite of) us!  Let it be so Lord…

During the great tribulation, Hebrew believers will know one another by their physical fruits as they knew one another in early Acts.  They were, and will be once again, physically empowered to produce good works through the supernatural physical baptism WITH the Holy Spirit they had and will have yet again.

Sin and the Law (rightful liberty).

A few days back the liberty minded blog “Western Rifle Shooters Association” posed the question…

“What is your mechanism for enabling, that is making functional or operational, your concept of Rightful Liberty?”

…when considering what the “victors” of a possible “civil” war 2.0 scenario can offer in restructuring American government in order to secure liberty, finally, for all.  There were many thoughtful ideas bantered about including; honest enforcement of the constitution and bill of rights as written, instituting the Southern articles of confederation, no central government whatsoever and many things in between offered as solutions.  My mind went to more fundamental issues than man centered principals of governance.

A man first must learn what “rightful liberty” is; and the rather awesome responsibilities attending such knowledge.  Liberty is OF God, to we, His creation.  It is a fact that humans are created with absolutely free will (just ask Adam in the garden) but free will, in and of itself, is not liberty; as Adam’s exercise of his own free will led to death itself entering into Gods creation (Rom 5:12).  Biblically, rightful liberty is freedom from ALL law, which, to the chagrin of most professing Christians, includes Gods Law; guided only by the mind of Christ made available to him (1 Cor 2:12, Gal 3:2, 2 Cor 1:22, Eph 1:13) upon salvation from; sins curse, the curse of the law, and thus Gods eventual wrath.

Yes, I said the “curse” of the law.

Galatians 3:13… “Christ hath redeemed us from the CURSE of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Consider (stand, let and know) these things…

Galatians 5:1… “STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Philippians 2:5-8… “LET this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Romans 6:6-7… “KNOWING this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Paul further exhorts…

1 Corinthians 10:23… “ALL things are lawful for me, but ALL things are not expedient: ALL things are lawful for me, but ALL things edify not.”  Nor will he be brought under the power of any (1 Cor 6:12).  He is clear however that ALL things are lawful for him; meaning, he is no longer under the law.  Let’s put the pieces together…

We know that salvation today IS personal identification with Christ’s death.  Christ died for our (my) sins and was raised again for our (my) justification (1 Cor 15:1-4).

The saved man, by way of Christ’s death (as Christ was made to BE sin for us – 2 Cor 5:21), is judicially (in Gods eyes) dead to sin; as sin was forsaken (cursed) by God the Father (Mat 27:46); received its just punishment (Rom 6:23); and was killed in/with Christ on the cross.  If Christ was made to BE our sin, and was then cursed and killed on the cross; our sin is therefore dead as well; and therefore no longer man’s issue in this dispensation of grace (personal application of Paul’s gospel of Christ is).

Romans 6:7… “For he that is dead is freed from sin.

If a man is dead to sin, he is therefore naturally dead to the law; for by the law (the reason God gave it) was to demonstrate mans sin to himself.  The law has served its intended purpose in the saved man.

Romans 7:4(a)… “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ;

Romans 3:20… “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

The “strength” of sin IS the law; as sin is manifest in man BY the law.

1 Corinthians 15:56… “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

Without the law man would not know sin in himself.

Romans 4:15… “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

The law effectively does one single thing… it demonstrates clearly to man that he can not keep it; for he would need to be Perfect (as Christ) in order to do so.  Thus the law demonstrates sin (imperfection) in man, to man.

1 Timothy 1:8… “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

What then is the lawful use of the law in this dispensation of grace?  It is simply to show a man his sinful condition.

Not many realize this.  Most people who profess to know Christ simply believe that God gave the law so men would know how to “behave”.  Nothing could be farther from true, as God gave the law to demonstrate the issue of sin in man, to man.  Paul explains that even the Gentiles who had NOT the law, did “by nature” the things contained therein.  They “knew” right from wrong as this was “put into” we humans during the dispensation of conscience, implemented immediately following the fall of man (we ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil – we “knew” we were naked and “became” ashamed when once we were not – Gen 2:25).  The age of inherent human innocence (Gods original and pure intent for man) had come to an end by Adam’s choice.  Man has now an inherently guilty conscience as we now know things we were not meant to know (things satan wanted us to know).  satan exploits this abundantly to his own benefit within all “law-keeping” (and humanistic, new age) religions.

Romans 2:14-15… “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;

Man thus creates his own laws (perhaps “based” on the 10 commandments, perhaps not…) without the knowledge of inherent sin within himself; but based on his own personal (self serving) beliefs, which stem from his naturally guilty conscience.  He either “accuses” or “excuses” himself and others based on his current desired situational goals.  (Most often he feels that the “ends justify the means” when in reality, they never do.  Ends and means are either just or they are not.)  How has this worked out governmentally for the world?  Poorly indeed as a quick but honest glance at worldly conditions will plainly show.  satan exploits this abundantly to his own benefit in state capitals the world over.

For those who attempt to keep the law (the vast majority of professing “Christians” today) they are only demonstrating the power of sin in their own lives to themselves even if they do not realize such.  They even become proud of and boast in their own sinful condition… “at least I’m not as bad as that guy!”.  (How awful is that really?  Yes, in fact you are!)  Their complete lack of ability to do anything about that sin (and the inherent guilt thereof) then becomes clouded by pride (as if by “keeping” even some small part of the law they believe they are somehow pleasing God) and therefore successfully maintain themselves under the horrible bondage of sins curse which Christ went to the cross to obliterate forever for us.

Galatians 3:10… “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

The personally implemented cross-work of Christ (personal salvation) returns a man to his intended pre-fallen nature in complete accordance and in total harmony with God the Father.  No religious activity on earth can do this.  Only mans Creator can.  Can these same “law-keepers” actually “be” Christian?  Answer: not if they do not realize that they are sinners in need of Christ the Savior who died to end forever their sin problem.

How is something so simple so difficult?  satan… he is the master deceiver and communicates with people in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples; in religions the world over.

When Paul tries to do right by “keeping the commandments” he realizes that, in his flesh, he cannot.

Romans 7:9-13… “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.  And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.  Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.  Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

The law, the commandment (law commands, grace compels) demonstrates to Paul clearly, sin (death) in his flesh.  The law demonstrates perfectly (for it is holy, just and good) mans desperate need of his Savior.

Romans 7:24… “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”  Christ, of course!

We thus arrive back at arguments beginning in this terrible viscous circle of sin and law keeping to those who believe they are to “try as best as they can” to keep the law for salvation (I’m speaking to you catholics and protestants).  God is Perfectly Just; He can not and will not “excuse” imperfection in law keeping.  Christ died for our sin.  He took the curse of sin away and naturally with it, the curse of the “un-keepable” law.  Christ fulfilled the law completely on our behalf (Mat 5:18)!  Believe that and ye shall be saved, AND freed from guilt and fear!  The saved man is to reckon himself DEAD indeed unto sin (Rom 6:11) and therefore the law as well.  That is how he learns to “walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh” (Gal 5:16).

Walking in the “law” then, IS walking in the flesh.  And you baptists thought carrying on in honky tonks and bars was walking in the flesh… nope.  Attempting to keep the law is.  (Please note, I am not recommending carrying on in honky tonks and bars, thank you very much…)

Consider even further…

Galatians 2:16… “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Romans 5:1… “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 8:1… “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Faith OF Christ.  Peace with God.  NO condemnation.  Meditate upon those words very carefully.  Here is where True freedom and rightful liberty are found!

How does a man walk after the Spirit?  By understanding what Christ has done on his behalf; by reckoning himself dead to sin and free from law.  This is the very essence of Gods absolutely free gift of free grace to mankind.  He did it ALL!  Abundant fruit falls naturally from such a tree in time.  A peach tree does not “try” to produce peaches… they just form naturally!

Romans 7:4(b)… “that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Romans 5:18… “Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of life.

We don’t deserve the free gift, but simply by believing what God says to us today through Paul, we get it.  Christ died for our (my) sin.  God wants us to be returned to the pre-fallen nature He originally intended and has paved the way Himself.  He is Just and the Justifier of him that believes on Jesus (Rom 3:26).  The saved man is returned to Perfect Harmony with his Creator by identifying himself with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ!  What better news can there be?  Once was the law, BUT NOW the righteousness of God by grace is manifested without the law (Rom 3:21)!

Ephesians 2:8-10… “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works, which God hath before ordained that we SHOULD walk in them.

Romans 6:1-2… “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Rightful liberty then can only belong to a saved man, as the unsaved man remains deceived and convinced that he can account for his sinful condition himself; either by trying to keep the law which can’t be kept, or not trying at all.  He remains at his core responsible only to himself and his own naturally ignorant needs and desires (the flesh); no matter the “nobility” of them, as they can never be noble enough.  The unsaved remains a servant of sin, self, and thus satan.  This will end poorly for him and very likely those around him if he is in any position of human authority.

A father is in a position of human authority.

Romans 6:16… “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

All men yield themselves servants to one or the other as only one or the other exist.

What then is this free man to do with his ultimate freedom?  He is to “let this mind be in him which was also in Christ”.  Where then did Christ’s mind lead Him?  It led Him to be a servant of His Righteous Father (Phil 2:5-8).  The man that is free from the curse of sin and death (the law) is therefore freed to become a servant to his Creator which is in heaven.  The law commands while grace compels.  That is an awesome, far reaching and massively humbling responsibility.  This is the kind of man I want in a governmental position of authority over other men.

Biblical rightful liberty.  Freedom to serve righteousness and not sin and self.  Every man, free will intact, serves one or the other.  Period.  Whom do you serve?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20… “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Romans 6:18… “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Lets look again, before I close, at what Paul says about rightful liberty to the Galatian believers who were attempting to keep the law after they heard Paul’s gospel.

Galatians 5:1-4…”Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you NOTHING.  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the WHOLE law.  Christ is become of NO effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

The man that attempts to follow the law is fallen away from the gift of Gods free grace.  Partial law keeping is no law keeping at all.  That man has fallen from the liberty Christ bought him with His own very precious blood.  Gods own righteous blood.  A man is at liberty to either serve sin (flesh/law/death) or righteousness (Spirit/grace/life).

Rightful liberty in action then, is salvation by grace through faith without works in the service of righteousness.

Galatians 2:21… “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”  Boom…

As to political solutions… I leave it to wiser men than me in the art of state-craft to list the key elements of the new political structure; be they as few as necessary.  I recommend highly the blog of Publius-Huldah for students of the constitution and federalist papers.  She is a true scholar, logician and gentlewoman.

Romans 13 states that rulers are NOT a terror to good works and that those “under” good rulers are subject to them.  When a ruler becomes a terror to good works the Christian therefore has no business subjecting himself to the same and the responsibility to replace said evil rulers as peaceably as possible that he might live a quiet and peaceable life in this inherently evil world (Gal 1:4).

1 Timothy 2:1-2… “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Is this not our ultimate desire… to live quiet and peaceable lives?  If a government/ruler does not begin with Christ at its/his core, it will eventually lead to the same place we find ourselves today.  Similarly, if a population does not have Christ at its core, we will find ourselves in the same place we are today.  Unchecked and unbridled tyranny… the human/satanic lust for power; combined with willfully ignorant “subjects” unable to discern the mess they are in from what should actually be.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss… unsaved sinful man, a slave to his own flesh.  Not yet freed to serve others (in or out of government) as Christ’s appointed ambassadors on earth (2 Cor 5:20).  The most awesome responsibility on earth.

Whatever the outcome of potential war for control inside the USA (and tensions sure are hot), the country’s next leaders must always have Christ at their center if they are to lead rightfully.  Those leaders must come from a population of Biblically centered people and America is NOT Biblically centered, as most “Christians” try to follow some form of the law.  America’s education therefore must begin with the King James Bible rightly divided between the law (Peter) and grace (Paul).  And quickly at that…

Next Post:  “Standing versus State

Repentance / Atonement

I’d like to write about an email conversation I had with a retired pastor recently.  In that conversation he made know to me that he had a grandson in prison (his offense I do not know) who was not only unsaved; he was (and this is that pastors own word) INELIGIBLE for salvation because he was unrepentant of his sins in his heart.  I sent that pastor scripture after scripture but could not alter his belief.  How horrible the results of scriptural confusion.  No man alive on earth is ineligible for the cross-work of Christ.  Repentance prior to salvation is a work and we today are not saved by our works, but by God’s unmerited, undeserved favor (grace) alone.  We do NOT deserve to be saved, but God loves His creation enough (and has future plans for it as well) to do it anyway.

Romans 5:8… “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 

What a beautiful single verse gospel presentation!  Note carefully that Paul writes “while we were YET sinners” that Christ died for us.  This verse does not say that because we were repentant sinners, Christ died.  It says while we were actively sinning, Christ died.  We saw in Walk Worthy part 7, that Israel was commanded to repent (and to be baptized in water) by both John the baptist, Peter and the prophets.  Lets recap quickly via the prophet…

Zechariah 1:2-4… “The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers.  Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.  Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the Lord.

Question:  How was a heathen like me, a stranger to the covenants and promises God made to Israel (Ephesians 2:12), to know anything at all of repentance of my sins; turning from my evil ways; not to mention anything at all about the Lord Himself without anyone telling me?  Neither the prophets, John the baptist, Peter and the 11 or Christ Himself ever left Jerusalem to spread repentance or the gospel of the Kingdom.  They remained in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9).  The Kingdom was postponed due to Israel’s lack of belief in their Messiah.  The “great commission” remains unfulfilled by Israel (and it is NOT ours to go and do).  Praise God that He called Paul from His glorified place in Heaven, that Paul could tell me that while I was YET a sinner, Christ died for me!  I was not a “friend” to Christ in my sins.  Let’s continue on with Paul’s words in:

Romans 5:9-10… “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Notice carefully the verse states that when we were ENEMIES of God, Christ died for us.  Christ told the twelve that He was dying for His friends.

John 15:13… “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  And that’s what Israel’s Messiah went and did.  He died for His friends and His friends were those who did whatsoever He commanded them (John 15:14).  They repented and got baptized.  That was prophesied since the world began.  That Christ was dying for His enemies was kept secret since the world began and this information was revealed only to the Apostle Paul.  And that is not all, as Paul continues:

Romans 5:11… “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Paul says that we (believers today) have NOW received the atonement.  That is the only location in the “NT” that the word atonement is used.  I like to break the word apart to see what it means: atonement… AtOneMent… At – One – Ment… we are now, as saved Christians, “at one” with God.  How does Webster define the word?

Atonement: 1) Agreement; concord; reconciliation after enmity or controversy.  2) Expiation; satisfaction or reparation made by giving equivalent for an injury or by doing or suffering that which is received in satisfaction for an offense or injury; with for.

Christ died for my sin.  I am atoned for.  Sin is not my problem.

We know what God says about reconciliation… He has reconciled Himself to the world and is now waiting gracefully for individuals to reconcile themselves to Him (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).  Therefore if an unsaved person, completely unaware of what God in Christ has ALREADY (past tense) done on his behalf; hears the gospel of his salvation (Christ died for his sin – Romans 5:8 above) and simply comes to believe the same; I ask, what role does the repentance of his sins play in that belief?  The natural response to hearing such amazing news is simply to say THANK YOU LORD!  Repentance will very likely set in shortly thereafter…

Before I place an even finer point on this, let me say right up front that any man, woman or child alive today, no matter his race, creed or religion, can simply believe this gospel and receive eternal life in an instant.  Gods grace is free!  Christ died for ALL men everywhere as Paul ALONE reveals in Holy Scripture.  But, you ask, “did not John say the same thing in 3:16?”  NO HE DID NOT.  At that time the WHOLE WORLD still had to approach the nation Israel (Christ’s “friends”) for salvation.  Gentile salvation was by way of Israel (Genesis 12:1-3).  The nation Israel WAS to be (WILL someday be) the channel of blessing from God to the whole world.  It is why they were formed (see: Why Israel?).  The prophet speaks of the 1,000 reign of Christ on earth in…

Zechariah 8:22… “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.

This is NOT happening today… Israel is mostly hated throughout the world.  They are as evil as the USA or any other nation on earth, though they wield tremendous influence over many earthly affairs.  God did give His Son that the whole world could attain salvation, but at that time (John 3:16) free grace was absolutely unknown.  Believing “in Him” does not save a man today as it did for Israel; but believing in what He did (died for his sins – mystery kept secret), does.  Good news for Israel (gospel of circumcision – believe “in Him”) and good news for heathen (gospel of uncircumcision – believe what He could do and did).  Two gospels (Galatians 2:7).

If Paul goes out of his way to say that we believers today have NOW received the atonement, that implies that someone else has not yet received it.  That someone else is Israel.  As the Kingdom is postponed, Israel has not yet received her atonement.  National Israel is NOT “at one” today with their Creator God. They missed their Messiah.  Let me say again specifically… any Jewish person alive today can be saved by Gods free grace; Paul’s gospel in Christ Jesus.  Any Jewish person alive today who is waiting for the first coming of his “messiah” (this is almost every Jew alive today – it’s what defines them as a people) is waiting for anti-christ to make his appearance on the world stage, and they will believe that anti-christ is god because anti-christ said he would be like God (Isaiah 14:12-15) and has most of the world fooled already.

When does Israel receive her atonement?  Why MUST they repent (and we not)?  They yet have sin to repent of.  The Kingdom is no longer “at hand”.  Grace is at hand.  The Kingdom (1,000 years long) will be offered again after Gods wrath is poured out on the world when Christ’s enemies (those NOT saved by grace) are destroyed, and He claims His throne.  Follow…

Peter preaches a murder indictment to Israel in:

Acts 2:22-24, 36… “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Those who were gathered and heard the Holy Ghost speak thusly through Peter had this response:

Acts 2:37… “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

They said “oh no, we screwed up, now what do we do?”  Peter answers:

Acts 2:38… “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Note carefully that remission is NOT forgiveness.  Remission is temporary.  Cancer goes into remission.  Sin is soul cancer.  Peter softens the murder charge to “manslaughter” and further clarifies Gods position to another group of Jews in…

Acts 3:17-21… “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.  But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

These are some of the most important words spoken during the time when the Kingdom was “at hand”.  Let us dissect them carefully.  Peter (the Holy Ghost) commands that they (those Jews gathered) repent so that their sins could be “blotted out”.  Blotted out is wiped clean, forgiven totally (as ours are today – the atonement complete), not simply remitted.  When does this occur for them?  AFTER repentance “when the times of refreshing come”.  When are the times of refreshing?  When the Lord shows up for the second time… “from the presence of the Lord” (who is currently ascended into heaven and seated at Gods right hand) when God the Father returns Christ Jesus in wrath.  And when does that occur?  AFTER “the times of restitution of all things”, that is AFTER God judges this world of its sin cancer.  After the dispensation of free grace is through.

Note very well that Paul is not yet on the scene and therefore the dispensation of grace is as of yet unrevealed and therefore unknown to anyone, even the angels.

Israels atonement comes at the time of the restitution of all things… that is, Christ’s return (second coming) to earth to claim His rightful throne in Jerusalem.  Israel has not yet been made “at one” with God because they failed to see their Messiah.  One last time… any Jewish person today is free and highly encouraged to recognize that Christ died for their sins (all of them) and accept God’s gift of free grace without any further hesitation.  Paul went to the Jews always first… yet they always wanted to kill him because he took their authority away.  Gentiles no longer had to get to God through them.  Do not wait to go through the great tribulation that is fast approaching the unbelieving, unsaved world.  God has made a new way also written in the blood of Christ which has nothing to do with the promises God the Father made to Israel’s fathers.

People today are not saved the way Israel was saved 2,015+ years ago.  I don’t know how much longer God will be so longsuffering with the world.

Sin today is NOT the issue.  We are forgiven ALL trespasses through Christ (Colossians 2:13).  God made Christ to BE sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).  This was completely unknown to Israel and also the angels (1 Corinthians 2:8).  Today there is no sin to repent of.  Sin was destroyed completely by God on Christ’s cross.  The penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  Christ was made to be sin.  God forsook sin (Mark 15:34) and killed sin on that cross (Mark 15:37).  We only know that by way of Pauline hindsight.  Those who were alive during that crucifixion had no idea what God was about to do in beginning the 2,015+ year dispensation of free grace.

Peter WAS aware of these prophetic words however as Paul’s dispensation was dawning on him…

Zechariah 12:10… “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Zechariah 13:6… “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?  Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

…and spoke these words, his last in the book of Acts…

Acts 15:11… “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

He says; “shall be saved”.  That is future tense.  The future, when Israel looks upon the One whom they pierced, in mourning and repentance.

Why must Israel constantly repent?  Why does John say…

1 John 1:9… “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

…because their sins are not yet forgiven, just remitted.  This, for the same reason Jesus taught them to pray, “…give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”  If they don’t forgive, they will not be forgiven.  Fortunately, they will be Holy Spirit empowered to forgive.  They will be forgiven completely, made to be “at one” with God (atoned), when Christ sits on His rightful throne.  He is not there today.

I am in a constant state of amazement how supposed Bible believers and professing Christians can read these words and still place themselves under the bondage Israel was under.  They do not comprehend the grace that was given unto Paul to give to the world.  We don’t follow Peter (catholics and protestants – you are both wrong), we follow Paul.  Believers today are AT ONE with God through no effort or merit whatsoever of their own.  God has done it all.  If you, dear reader, do not realize this most simple fact, you are not saved… you are not yet a Christian though you profess to know Christ.  If you are repenting of your sins, you are not aware that God has forgiven you ALL your sins and your very sin nature.  This is the gospel for today.  Christ died for your sins.  You are forgiven all trespasses.  That is the free gift of God which a man must receive.  Believe it, and be saved today.  Amen.

That pastors grandson will not hear the gospel of his salvation from his grandfather because that pastor does not understand the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus as Paul describes in amazing detail throughout 13 Biblical epistles.  The epistles written directly to people today.  Being a retired pastor, he would have to come to immediate terms with the fact that he had been wrong about salvation for his entire “career” and has misled countless numbers of people.  That is a horrible realization.  He is FAR from alone however.  ALL psudo-christian-religion stands with him.  Is it not however, better to realize error now and be able to correct at least some of its results?  Only mans pride stands in the way.  God will make all things manifest in His time however.  Oh, the shame that man will feel… all for lack of literally believing Gods Word.

Next Post… “Sin and the Law (rightful liberty).

Walk Worthy, part 7 (as we ought).

I believe I have come to the end (at least for now) of the Walk Worthy series of writings.  Long time coming  :)  We as believers in this dispensation of God’s free grace are called to a vocation, an ambassadorship, while we exist here in this earthly vapor (James 4:14).  Paul, again and again, exhorts us to walk worthy, specifically because of what God in Christ has “worked” on our behalf.  By now we know for certain that our salvation is not by any works we have done; that being under the law brought us only to the knowledge of our sin condition and worked death in us, as the penalty of sin is death.

Romans 7:5… “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

We who are saved into the body of Christ have believed and trusted the glorious gospel of Christ; and thus sin and the law have no dominion over us.

Romans 6:14… “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 6:17-18… “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

We are now the servants of righteousness, no matter how we act here in this world.  As our good works do not gain us favor with God, nor our evil works can separate us from God.

Romans 8:38:39… “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Our salvation in Christ, the cross-work of Christ, has made us such.  We are absolutely and perfectly complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).  The law has come to a temporary end.  Christ has nailed the law, the old covenant, to His cross…

Colossians 2:14… “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;

…in favor of the new covenant for Israel; and absolute liberty and freedom for those in the body of Christ (Galatians 5:1).  Let’s examine that a bit more closely as I AM saying that the body of Christ is NOT a part of the new covenant (and that will sound strange to most).  To Israel, the new covenant is written in Christ’s blood and put into effect at His death.  The writer of Hebrews (God) says to the Hebrew believers:

Hebrews 9:15-17… “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

The new covenant states that no longer will Israel have to attempt to rely on themselves in the following of the law to “become” righteous as they did in time past (Deuteronomy 6:25); but that God will “write the law in their minds and hearts” by way of Holy Spirit empowerment, that they will be made able by God to follow His law perfectly!  The law in all its perfection will return with the return of Gods Israel.

Hebrews 8:8-11… “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued NOT in my covenant, and I regarded them NOT, saith the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will PUT my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, from the least to the greatest.”  See also Jeremiah 31:31.

We see this beginning to take place in the early Acts period in the Jerusalem church.  Amazing things were taking place because of that Holy Spirit empowerment!  Yet, when national Israel ultimately failed to recognize their prophesied Messiah, God cast them temporarily aside (Hosea 1:9-10, Romans 9:25-26) and called the Apostle Paul to try to talk some sense into them; AND to reach out to the heathen, whom were left without any pathway to God in the world by Israel’s apostasy and their blaspheming (rejection) of the Holy Spirit, whose work was made manifest to them in myriad signs and wonders committed by the twelve Apostles AND Paul.  Indeed, so severe was the law program and the following of commandments that if Israel did not “bring forth fruit” (ultimately, converts (repentant’s) to the Christ of Israel – God) they would be cast into hell.  John (the greatest prophet – Luke 7:28) says to Israel in:

Luke 3:7-9… “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth NOT forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Praise God that we are not under such covenant agreements!  Should I, in my current ambassadorship, NOT bring forth fruit, I do NOT have hell to fear, but lack of reward.  Paul speaks to us, the body of Christ, in:

1 Corinthians 3:14-15… “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

We will all (all those saved by Paul’s gospel of grace) be purified by this saving, cleansing “baptismal” fire at the judgement seat of Christ after we perish from this world.  But no matter our effectiveness here (as we are all different), we shall be with Him in eternity simply because we obeyed that form of doctrine, the gospel as revealed unto Paul.  Amen.

As one saved by grace and come unto the knowledge of the truth of all Christ has done on my behalf; and seeing that I am NOT under the law, how OUGHT I to walk (not, MUST I walk) in order to bring forth fruit (or converts, believers) to the Christ, NOT of Israel and the law (who will return someday in wrath and vengeance) but in this period of grace and reconciliation to the whole world (2 Corinthians 5:19)?  The differences in the aspects of Christ to these two groups (1: Nation Israel/Gentile nations and, 2: body of Christ, neither Jew nor Gentile) is as different as the effect of the law versus the effect of grace upon a man.

Romans 7:6… “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Grace is an “inside out” transformation of a man, while the law has an “outside in” effect.  Coming to realize what God in Christ has done (through Bible study), a man begins to allow the Holy Spirit to work within himself and starts to desire internally to serve his Lord.  While the law commanded that “ye must“, grace says “ye ought“…!  Desire comes from within and the law comes from without.  We serve in newness of spirit and NOT by the letter of the law!

Jesus says to Israel in Matthew 6:15… “But IF ye forgive NOT men their trespasses, NEITHER will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Outside – in.  Law commands.

While Christ through Paul says to the body in 2 Corinthians 2:7… “So that contrariwise ye OUGHT rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.”  Inside – out.  Grace compels.

Such is a rather stunning difference, no?  How do we (the body of Christ) “get away” with such?  We are completely forgiven of course!

Colossians 2:13… “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your fleas, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you ALL trespasses.

How else does Paul say we OUGHT to be engaged with the world?

1 Thessalonians 4:1… “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

As we have received the gospel of our salvation from Paul, to please God today, we ought to follow him!

2 Thessalonians 3:7… “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

We ought to work for a living.  Why would Paul say such a thing to these otherwise very faithful Thessalonian believers?  Lets examine what Jesus told His earthly followers, Israel.

Matthew 6:31-33… “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

These men did not have to concern themselves with necessities such as food.  As God fed the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) with mana from heaven, so too did He miraculously feed the multitudes of Israel with bread and fish.  If these men would seek first the Kingdom of heaven, which was Christ among them (Luke 17:20-21), their father in heaven would miraculously provide them their daily requirements of food, water and clothing!  God is not working in this way with believers today… today we must work if we desire to continue to exist.

Paul says the stronger brother in the faith ought to bear the weaker brothers infirmities.

Romans 15:1… “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

WE OUGHT TO SPEAK THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST…

Ephesians 6:19-20… “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Colossians 4:2-4… “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

How SHOULD we behave ourselves?

We should walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4).

We should not serve sin (Rom 6:6).

We SHOULD NOT be ignorant of the mystery (Rom 11:25).

No flesh should glory in His presence (1 Cor 1:29).

Our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Cor 2:5).

He that preaches the gospel should live of the gospel (1 Cor 9:14).

We should keep under our sinful bodies and bring them under subjection (1 Cor 9:27).

We should not lust after evil things (1 Cor 10:6).

We should not have fellowship with devils (1 Cor 10:20).

We should care for one another (1 Cor 12:25).

We should not trust in ourselves (2 Cor 1:9).

We should not live unto ourselves but unto Christ (2 Cor 5:15).

Our minds should not be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3).

We should do that which is honest (2 Cor 13:7).

We should please God and not men (Gal 1:10).

We should remember the poor (Gal 2:10).

We should obey the truth (Gal 3:1).

We should glory only in the cross of Christ (Gal 6:14).

We should be (are) holy and without blame (Eph 1:4).

We should be (are) to the praise of His glory (Eph 1:12).

We should not boast in ourselves (Eph 2:9).

We should walk in good works (Eph 2:10).

We should be (are) fellowheirs with Christ (Eph 3:6).

We should understand Paul’s estate (Phil 1:12).

No man should beguile us with enticing words (Col 2:4).

We should suffer tribulation in this world (1 Thes 3:4).

We should abstain from fornication (1 Thes 4:3).

We should know how to possess ourselves in honor (1 Thes 4:4).

We should (will) live together with Him (1 Thes 5:10).

We should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12).

We should be: “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from ALL iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  Titus 2:13-14

This, my brothers and sisters, is not a comprehensive list of all the things Paul would have us do.  I don’t think such is possible to collect.  How could one collect and name all human behavior?  It is but a beginning of what will begin to happen to a person when once he realizes all Christ has done on his behalf.

The keyword here is LET; we SHOULD be humble and…

Philippians 2:5-16… “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Note carefully that Paul is NOT telling us to “work” FOR our own salvation, as He is speaking to the already saved Philippian believers.  He is showing them how to “work out” the salvation they already possess with fear (awesome respect for) and trembling (to consider that the unsaved will spend eternity in hell) toward God.

Walk worthy indeed.

Amen and amen!

Next Post: “Repentance / Atonement

Walk Worthy, part 6 (Obey).

Are we grace believers supposed to obey commandments?  We understand that the Law (as perfect, just and righteous as it is) was not given for men to follow to the letter (that is not possible for fallen man); but to show that same fallen man that he is in desperate need of a Savior if he wishes to spend his eternity with his Creator outside of hell.  We should examine carefully what Paul says about obedience and commandments.

1 Corinthians 14:37… “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you ARE the commandments of the Lord.

If Paul is not the most misunderstood man in all human history, I don’t know who is…  The Holy Spirit is telling us through Paul that the things he has written in his 13 epistles ARE the COMMANDMENTS for believers today, the church the body of Christ.  What is at the core, the essence of Paul’s writings, that we are to obey; the goal being eternal life with God?

Romans 6:16… “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 

It seems we humans have a choice.  By the above verse we might choose what we are to obey; “sin unto death” or “obedience unto righteousness”.  Let’s continue reading…

Romans 6:17-18… “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

We can see (by the past tense “were”) that the unsaved man who once chose to serve sin, obeyed from his heart “that form of doctrine which was delivered unto him” by Paul.  God then made him free from sin because of that choice and he thus becomes the servant of righteousness (God). Thus God reminds that man…

1 Corinthians 7:23… “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

That “form of doctrine” can be nothing other than the glorious gospel of Christ, the gospel of the free grace of God, as delivered unto the Apostle Paul by the risen and glorified Lord Himself.  In this case then, a mans obedience is “belief” that he is a sinner in need of a Savior and “trust” that Christ died for that mans sin nature according to the scriptures and was buried and rose again for his justification, according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Had that man allowed sin to reign in his mortal body by not obeying the doctrinal commandments given to Paul (the gospel of grace), that man would today be obeying the lusts of his mortal flesh and not the Spirit of God Himself.

Romans 6:12… “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

When we make the choice to obey the gospel of grace, God destroys our sin nature judicially by imputing (charging to the account of) His Son’s righteousness unto us.  We are seen as dead, buried (therefore punished already) and effectively risen with Christ.  We are freed of sins effects upon us because God sees only His sinless Son in us. We now have His righteousness, no longer any vestige of our own (as if there ever was).

Romans 6:7… “For he that is dead is freed from sin.

To the Galatian believers, who were coming under vicious attack from men who would bring them under the subjugation of religious bondage by adding works to grace, Paul writes:

Galatians 3:1… “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Again we see that the believer is to “believe in the truth” which is Christ crucified, in order to be obedient to the will of God in this dispensation of grace.  To the individual who chooses not to obey (to believe what God says to us today through Paul) the news is not good at all.  We see that explained to the very faithful Thessalonian believers who were remarkably troubled by such unbelieving men, thinking they had somehow missed the translation (rapture) of the church because of the severity of their present tribulations, Paul writes:

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10… “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey NOT the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

I can only pray the saved reader takes these words as a call to arms if you will, to become that ambassador/soldier Christ through Paul calls us to be, so as to try and prevent as many people as possible from this most horrible and eternal punishment.  A punishment so easily avoidable, simply by obeying the glorious gospel of Christ.  God does not ask us to alter a thing about ourselves in order to come to Him.  He has a gift, the most precious gift humanity has ever been presented with, the gift of His Son’s own Righteousness, imputed to any and all who would simply believe they are in need of it.  God is NOT asking us to obey the 10 (actually 600+) commandments.  He is NOT extending to men today the IF/THEN conditional covenant agreements He made with the children of Israel.  He is not even asking the “Gentile” nations to bless Israel, as He is NOT dealing with nations today, but individuals.  He is asking us through Paul to believe that Christ died on our behalf because that is exactly what we needed to be made right/sinless/perfect.  He provided it all.  It is a gift so few choose to take (I believe) because so few explain it correctly.  “Christianity” has a bad name among unbelievers because of this.

You KNOW you have explained the gospel correctly when people answer with “that’s too easy” or “but anyone could do that” or “that sounds like a get out of jail free card”.  Well yea, EXACTLY…!!! The gospel of free grace IS a get out of jail (hell) free card!  God does NOT want you to choose hell; He wants you to choose Him!  (And make no mistake, it is your choice.)  It is the last card God is presenting to us.  It is meant to be THAT simple because we humans are THAT easily misled.

2 Corinthians 11:3… “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.

This gospel is for the worst of us, the dumbest of us, the simplest of us and the rest of us degenerates and enemies of God, because God has tried everything else with mankind already.  This is our last chance to demonstrate even a modicum of obedience to our Creator before Christ catches away His body of ambassadors (today’s obedient believers) and allows anti-christ to ascend to power in the world – before He comes back with all His mighty angels to finally make His enemies (those “left behind” and not blessing future Israel) His footstool.

We have it far easier than Adam had it.  God told Adam NOT to do something Adam wanted to do.  Adam of course, as all of us would have, chose to do exactly the opposite of what God said.  God simply asks us to accept a gift… the gift of His Son; and most of us can’t even do this.  We would rather “work” for our own salvation because we feel we deserve it.  We are so proud of ourselves and what we feel we are worth…

Romans 4:4… “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Does the Creator God of Heaven actually owe us something other than eternity away from Himself in hell?  No… He does not.  We reject Him continually, why should He continually accept us?  He will not.  Sinners who reject a God who has reconciled Himself to them do not deserve eternity with Him.  Even sinners like me who have accepted Gods gift do not deserve eternity with Him, but we get it anyway!  God is just cool like that… 😉

Lets put a very fine point on the work versus grace argument.

Romans 11:6… “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Grace is either 100% pure, or it is not grace at all.  Salvation is either the pure gift of God based upon absolutely zero merit of our own, or it is no gift at all.

Obey from the heart the form of doctrine which our Creator God Jesus Christ gave unto the Apostle Paul – it is a gift with no strings attached.  Accept the gift He so willingly provides before it is too late and His longsuffering nature comes to an end as it surely someday will.  Peter understood well what God was doing through Paul.  Speaking to the Jewish believers in Christ about the dispensation of grace given to Paul, he writes:

2 Peter 3:15-16… “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

We can also find cross-dispensational wisdom in the words of the prophet Hosea.  He writes to the nation Israel (Gods nation of priests to the world with whom He had an if/then covenant agreement) about their lack of (Mosaic) knowledge; but a man in today’s dispensation will be destroyed for a similar lack or rejection of (Pauline) knowledge.

Hosea 4:6… “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no more priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

The Creator God is a very serious God.  He demanded much of Israel because that’s what Israel wanted.

Deuteronomy 6:25… “And it shall (then) be our righteousness, IF we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He hath commanded us.”  I added the “implied then” to the verse to demonstrate more clearly the if/then nature of the agreement.

He demands next to nothing of us, save that we obey the information (knowledge) He gave to Paul on our behalf, which is to accept His gift.  People today are destroyed in the same way, for lack of the knowledge of the gospel of the grace of God; and the fault lies at the feet of believers today, here on earth in Christ’s stead, for not communicating that glorious gospel more effectively.  We don’t have to DO to be saved (indeed, this is an insult to Gods gift), we have to KNOW.  The vast majority of “christian” churches tell people to DO things in order to be saved, and to DO things to “maintain” that salvation till they die and are judged.  Wrong, wrong, wrong…

2 Corinthians 4:3-4… “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

It is not satan who actively blinds their minds… their minds ARE blinded by satan BECAUSE they are lost, and they are lost BECAUSE they believe NOT.  Should they ever decide to believe (obey the gospel of grace and accept Gods gift), there minds will be able to see clearly the stunning beauty of what God hath wrought on their behalf.  So simple yet apparently so profoundly difficult…

Colossians 1:9-10… “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Walk worthy indeed.  Men are dying eternally for lack of knowledge and it is only we, who are here in Christ’s stead and understand the message He gave to Paul, who can do anything about it.  The stakes could not be more high.

2 Corinthians 5:20… “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

God has reconciled Himself to the world; men must now reconcile themselves back to God by accepting His gift… this is the ambassadors message.  Grace and Peace (not YET judgement and wrath) from God the Father is the message!  The sin debt is paid and God is wholly satisfied with the payment.  Grow in that grace, grow in the knowledge of what God has done; share that knowledge with those you know and those you meet.  One of two things will happen to the heart of a man who hears the pure gospel of grace presented to him.  His heart will either melt and he will be saved by accepting Gods gift, or, his heart will harden and he will not.  Either way the seed got planted and you will have obeyed the will of God for mankind today.

1 Timothy 2:3-4… “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

In closing…

Colossians 4:2-6… “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.  Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Amen…

Next Post: “Walk Worthy, part 7 (as we ought).

Walk Worthy, part 5 (Walk Circumspectly…).

Ephesians 5:15-17… “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Circumspectly: (Webster 1828) Cautiously; with watchfulness every way; with attention to guard against surprise or danger.

These are serious words of serious warning to the believer.  The days are evil and only growing more and more so.  We know what makes them evil… the subtilty of satan.  satan, above all else, wants people to believe they are not in need of Gods saving grace in the form of His Son.  he wants people to not believe in a Creator at all, and if they do, to believe they are somehow “good enough” in and of themselves, that God would weigh their good versus their evil deeds, and finally judge them acceptable; or to worship himself outright.  The worlds religious system, no matter the name or denomination, finds a way to lift up the man by finding something of value in him and what he does; and lowers the Lord by making Him imperfect and unjust; that He, by a mans work, might overlook mans sin and not punish it.  A Perfectly Just Creator simply cannot do that, else that Creator would not be Perfectly Just.

Romans 3:23… “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;

All means all.  All men everywhere absolutely require Christ the Savior (God Himself) to meet Gods Glorious Standard.  To meet that standard all we must do is simply believe!  Without Christ, there is only satan and his deception left in the world: think about it… anything which is not Perfect Truth (as Christ is) falls short, no matter how close the miss.  In the opening Ephesian verses Paul is speaking to brothers already in Christ, so it is these he is admonishing to walk circumspectly, as wise, KNOWING what the will of the Lord is.  The will of the Lord is not some deep and mystical thing, it is written down for all to see and is contained within 13 short books of the Bible.  However, we cannot expect a newly saved man to be wise in the ways of God; these in Ephesus were not newly saved and were thus trying to be faithful to Gods will.

In Paul’s day as in ours there were men who corrupted other men away from knowing what the will of the Lord is.  These men, knowingly or unknowingly, are furthering satan’s subtle agenda of confusion and deception.  There is not much satan has to do in order to have the world follow in his footsteps.  He is not the ugly monster Hollywood makes him out to be.  Quite the opposite actually…

2 Corinthians 11:14… “And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

All satan has to do to “succeed” in this world is three things: 1) he wants lost people to stay lost (evolution (“science” 1 Tim 6:20) says there is no God);  2) he wants saved people to remain confused about all God has done for them (denominational churches); and, 3) he tries very hard to keep the full knowledge of Gods Will from being made known – he hates right division and will actively discredit those who teach it.  The only way to come to understand the full knowledge of Gods Will for mankind today, is to understand that Paul is the Apostle for today (not Peter and the twelve) – we must rightly divide the Word of Truth.  It is just that simple, yet nearly every religious organization everywhere does not understand this most basic Scriptural FACT.  Why?

2 Corinthians 11:15… “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed AS the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Praise God, His Son and the Holy Spirit that my end is not to be according to my works!  Whether men know it or not, be they pastors, ministers, priests, reverends, imams, monks, “scientists”, atheists, whomever… if they are teaching or believing something, anything, other than what Christ has revealed to Paul and what Paul has revealed to us, they are assisting satan in his evil agenda of confusion and deception in the world.  A “minister of ‘supposed’ righteousness” NOT preaching what God gave to Paul to preach to us, IS a minister of satan.  Sorry if that sounds cold but there is not a catholic priest alive who teaches Paul correctly.  There is not a protestant church extant that does not teach Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as instruction for today.  There is not a baptist alive who is not boastful of their baptism and all the “worldly” things they abstain from.  “How many did you baptize this week brother?”

Ephesians 2:8-9… “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Galatians 6:12-13… “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.

They are all wrong; and, regardless of good or evil intent, are thus ministers of satan.  In Paul’s own words, (thus those of the Holy Spirit of God who is God Himself), they are fools.  The Holy Spirit through Paul assures us:

Galatians 1:11-12… “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 3:1-3(a)… “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of grace of God which is given to me to you-ward: How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery;…

Believers today who are in the will of God, listen to and follow Paul.

As our opening verse states, the days are evil.  Deception away from the simple truths of God, as given to Paul, as found in the King James Bible are the reason.  Other “bibles” are full of satan’s subtle but deadly deceits (see Walk Worthy part 4 for examples).  A believer must be very careful to NOT depend upon the teachings of men (do not depend upon my words); but to open and study very carefully, with all gravity and prayerful sincerity, Gods Word as found in the King James Bible.  Every man that ever lived will one day give account of himself to his Creator.  It is not enough to say; “that man taught me wrong”.  Your eternity is YOUR responsibility ALONE.

Hebrews 9:27… “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement:

For the saved and for the unsaved, I hope that is cause for enough concern to cause you to open and study Gods Word very carefully and reverently.

satan does not want people to know what Christ has done on their behalf.  he will do and stop at nothing; no trick is too dirty or shameless; to prevent people from knowing the will of God, the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.  satan is not yet walking about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8 – those are exalted “in due time” while we are exalted now), this comes post rapture when anti-christ has been revealed.  Today, satan himself will preach Christ bloodied, tortured and forsaken (see Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”); but not the mystery revealed to Paul: Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27… “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Gods own righteousness, Gods very righteous nature itself is made available to me, right now!, through Christ.  Lets examine some of the things that Christ has done for saved men that satan will do anything to prevent us from learning.  This list is by no means exhaustive.

We are crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and made alive in Christ (Gal 2:20).

We are ascended and seated with Christ, joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).

We are saints and beloved of God (Rom 1:7).

We are dead to sin (Rom 6:11).

We are NOT under the law but under grace (Rom 6:14).

We have eternal life (Rom 6:23, 1 Tim 6:12).

We are free from condemnation (Rom 8:1).

We are sons of God (Rom 8:14).

We are more than conquerors in this life (Rom 8:37).

We are in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:9).

We are temples of God (1 Cor 3:16).

We are washed, sanctified, members of His body (Eph 5:30).

We are victorious, triumphant, a new creature reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:17).

We are ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor 5:20).

We have the righteousness of God (Rom 3:22).

We are rich (Phil 4:19).

We are redeemed from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13).

We are adopted, free and called unto liberty (Gal 5:1).

We are blessed (Gal 3:19).

We are chosen, holy and without blame (Eph 1:4).

We are sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).

We are saved by grace without works (Eph 2:8-9).

We are His workmanship and fellow citizens with Him (Eph 2:10).

We are delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Col 1:13).

We are forgiven all trespasses (Col 2:13)

We have been delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thes 1:10).

We have peace with God (Rom 5:1).

We have received the atonement (Rom 5:11).

We have the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5).

We have all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3).

We have obtained an inheritance (Eph 1:11-12).

We have a hope laid up for us in heaven (Col 1:5).

We have a holy calling (2 Tim 1:9).

We have all things (Rom 8:32).

Christ is our wisdom (1 Cor 2:7, Col 2:2-3, Col 4:5).

Christ is our righteousness (Rom 6:18).

Christ is our sanctification (1 Cor 6:11).

Christ is our redemption (Rom 3:24).

Christ is our victory (1 Cor 15:55-57).

Christ is our peace and our hope (Rom 15:13).

WE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM (Col 2:10).

2 Corinthians 9:15… “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.

satan will do anything to keep you from learning these things; and if you do learn them, he will lead you to think you somehow earned and therefore deserve them.  You didn’t, and you don’t.  Christ did, and does.  Being found in Him, we get to share in all He is.

Ephesians 5:15-17… “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Redeem whatever time you have left wisely.  The will of the Lord is that you know all the above; all what Christ has done on your behalf.  Rejoice!!!  The will of the Lord is that all men be saved and come unto the knowledge of these truths (1 Tim 2:3-4).  Let others know that they would escape the trappings of satan.  Gods longsuffering with humanity will not last forever and it “feels” to this believer as if that time is likely short.  I say “feels” because that time-span of longsuffering is absolutely unknowable.  Press toward the mark for the high calling we all HAVE (right now) of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14) while God gives us this gift of time in grace!  Walk worthy of the vocation to which ye are called indeed.

To the Corinthian believers, Paul writes:

2 Corinthians 11:1-4… “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Another Jesus, another spirit, another gospel…  (inherently implying that there are in fact others); anything other than exactly what Paul is preaching to these believers is no good at all and a deception of the devil himself.  Walk circumspectly indeed that we are found pure in doctrine and in deed when we meet our Lord at His judgement seat.  Deception abounds far more than truth.

Colossians 2:8-10… “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

We are complete (made perfect) IN Him, the Head of ALL principality and power, alone.  We require nothing else for an eternity of everlasting life with God, doing whatever He is going to do after this world is destroyed and made new!  How incredibly exciting a prospect is that?

I leave this post with one last thought a wonderful friend and brother reminded me of earlier today in a conversation about the “supreme” court legalizing sodomite marriage (nice that you celebrate the queer 6 color (number of man) “rainbow” flag WordPress…).  To those who are not teaching what God wants us to learn from the Apostle Paul, Paul writes:

Galatians 1:8-9… “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

That’s more serious than a heart attack.  Bible teachers would do very well to pay extremely close attention.

Next Post: “Walk Worthy, part 6 (Obey).

Walk Worthy, part 4 (Armed With the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ).

Colossians 1:10… “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

2 Timothy 2:3-4… “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Philippians 3:8-9… “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith OF Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Paul was a soldier and as such, he was encouraging Timothy to follow along in the difficult path ahead, enduring the hardness which had come to those standing for the free grace of God to all men.  Any who stand for such will have to learn to endure the same, as the vast majority of men insist that Christ is somehow not enough… that there MUST be something upon which they can stand within themselves; some inherent goodness or action (baptism, keeping commandments, being kind, saying a prayer, etc…) which must make them somehow “worth saving” before a Holy God.  Internal value.  To say to another person that there is not, is an insult to their very humanity; prideful as it thus proves to be.  People generally feel they are naturally worth saving (we are not) rather than naturally worthy of damnation (which we are on account of sin).  Note carefully that Paul is very clear to say that the righteousness he does in fact possess is NOT his own, but the righteousness OF Christ Himself which is OF God, by faith and trust in what Christ has done on Paul’s behalf.

Simply and personally put… as a saved man I have NO righteousness, none at all, in and of myself.  There is not a thing in the world I can do in my human condition to please God.  I can be the most gracious, kind, generous, helpful, sweetest most wonderful person on the face of the earth; and it would be naturally worthless to God: if I were not found in Christ.  Without Christ I, and all men, are already eternally damned due to the natural fallen condition of humanity itself.  Indeed, Paul counted ALL THINGS but loss (and all that but dung) compared to the EXCELLENCY of the KNOWLEDGE of Christ.  Again, that is the excellency of the KNOWLEDGE of Christ.  Knowledge is something we can gather, something we can attain to.

Paul is telling us that it is the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, which empowers completely, the worthy walk in Christ.  If a saved man does not know all that Christ has done for him, he has missed the excellency of the knowledge of Christ and therefore his worthy walk WILL be stunted.  Knowing all that Christ has done in this age of FREE GRACE is above all else in Paul’s life, and that is what he tries so hard to communicate to the world throughout his 13 epistles; and what the world tries so hard to NOT believe.

2 Timothy 1:15… “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;…”

The key to the worthy walk therefore, is knowledge.  The ONLY way to grasp such knowledge is through the study of what our Lord communicated to and through the Apostle Paul; as only to the Apostle Paul was free grace given.  Free grace, today’s gospel, was not given to Peter or the twelve.  Bible study is of such critical import and so lacking in today’s worldly societies; it is the reason the world finds itself in the near perfectly backward state it is in fact in.  Good has become evil and evil become good… and satan just smiles.  This is why Paul commands us to:

2 Timothy 2:15… “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

God has given mankind the Truth in the form of His Word.  We divide that Word between the good news given to Israel and the Gentile nations, and the good news given to the body of Christ.  That same Word WAS God in Christ when He walked this earth.

John 1:1-3… “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.

That Word today we may hold in our hands in the form of the King James Bible, God’s Perfect Word, “Purified Seven Times“.  As Paul explains to the Corinthian believers when Gods Written Word was not yet complete:

1 Corinthians 13:8-10… “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophesies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For now we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

That which is perfect is Gods perfect (completed) word to mankind.

Peter, detailing the eyewitness accounts of himself, James and John at the Transfiguration of Christ Himself, to those Jews who were saved in the Kingdom program; says of Holy Scripture:

2 Peter 1:19… “We have also a MORE SURE word of prophesy; whereunto ye do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Peter is DISCOUNTING his own testimony, his own words, detailing his own experiences, in favor of Holy Scripture.  What would a “good” catholic, those who hold to papal infallibility, say about this?  Likely: “I know that’s what scripture says, but that’s not what scripture means.”  To which Peter (the first pope??? – not…) replies:

2 Peter 1:20… “Knowing this first, that no prophesy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Scripture means exactly what scripture says.  Knowledge is the key to walking worthy and we gather knowledge from Holy Scripture alone.  Not private interpretations of Holy Scripture (NIV, ASV, ETC), but Holy Scripture itself as found in the King James Bible for English speaking people like us.  Bibles in other languages which were translated and preserved from the majority text, Textus Receptus or received text (all one and the same) are very likely equally as reliable.  (If I could speak other languages I’d be sure.)

How many believers are there in the world who are not walking worthy simply because they are studying the wrong Bible?  Allow me to present a single example (of which there are countless others – simply locate Acts 8:37 in your NIV…) comparing the KJB to the NIV.  Regarding the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, Paul, to the believers at Philippi says:

Philippians 2:5-7 (KJB)… “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)… “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

In one verse (KJB) the very mind of God Himself is made available to me (God’s own thoughts), if I but allow myself to comprehend it.  I can comprehend it through study.  In the other (NIV) my “attitude” should be like Christ’s who is God yet somehow unequal with God.  In the KJB, Christ does it all on my (a lowly man’s) behalf; in the NIV I must alter my own attitude to be that of a servant, which Christ became.  In the KJB, Christ (God HIMSELF) becomes servant; in the NIV I must become a servant like all “good” humans are supposed to be.  In the KJB, Christ does something otherworldly for me; in the NIV I must do something for Christ.  Ask yourself seriously; what is truly going on here?  Who or what is being served by this intentional misdirection?  Make no mistake, it is too perfectly incorrect to be unintentional.

The point of this post is to enable the believer to walk worthy of his high calling in Christ Jesus.  The worthy walk is enabled through correct knowledge.  He has been made a soldier in an all volunteer army whether he knows it or not.  The only way to enable the believer to fight the soldiers battle is by studying Gods very Word to that believer; and those words are found in the epistles of Paul sent by Jesus Christ to that believer as found in the King James Bible.  Period.  They exist in no other location for an English speaking believer.

If you want to serve God you must be aware of what God is doing today.  You, dear reader, would no more build an Ark than stone your own children.  Why?  Because you know God is not today instructing you to do either.  Why then would you follow Christ as Peter followed Christ, when you are supposed to follow Christ as Paul followed Christ?  Why?  Because incorrect Bible teaching is far more common that correct Bible teaching.  Knowledge is severely lacking.  Paul writes:

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

That’s not subtle.  Neither is:

Galatians 1:20… “Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

Romans 11:13… “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

2 Timothy 2:7… “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

1 Corinthians 11:1… “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Paul was not magnifying himself in any way, shape or form.  He was magnifying the office he was placed in by the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ; he is magnifying the information, the dispensation of free grace, which Christ delivered personally to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9); that he would then deliver to others.

1 Corinthians 9:17… “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

He was magnifying the information that we need to know if we are to walk worthy of the position Christ has placed us in; but we have to be aware of that position in order to walk therein!  We must study the KJB rightly divided to become aware.

As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we wrestle NOT against flesh and blood (against other men).  We wrestle against those “things” which keep people from knowing and understanding all that has been done, and all that has been placed onto our account by the Savior of humanity.  Comprehending the full extant and scope of the amazing grace of God in Christ that the Spirit will reveal through the study of Gods Perfect Word, IS the excellency of the knowledge of Christ that we are to be armed with!

Ephesians 6:12… “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

And how do we, as good soldiers, but merely human, effectively wrestle against such powerful evil?  We listen to Paul as always…

Ephesians 6:13… “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The armor of God is made available to us!  Look closely… we are to STAND for something:

Ephesians 6:14… “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Our loins are our tender parts and they are to be girt about (circled and/or surrounded; protected) by the truth.  What is the truth?  God’s very Word of truth is the truth.  Christ is Truth and He is to girt about our most tender parts.  Gods instructions for us today are the Truth.  Christ, as Paul describes Him, is our Truth for today.  The KJB rightly divided is the Truth.

We are to have on the breastplate of righteousness.  The breastplate covers the heart and lungs from where we live and breathe… the seat of emotion, life and feeling.  This is not any righteousness we have in ourselves.  This is the very righteousness of Christ Himself!  Gods own righteousness imputed to our account by the faith OF Christ to the work His Father sent Him to accomplish on our behalf.  I myself have no righteousness; yet I have available to me the righteousness of God Himself in Christ, that will cover my heart and lungs by which I live and breathe!  Such amazing knowledge is found ONLY in the epistles of Paul.

Ephesians 12:15… “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Again, we today KNOW not to go and build an Ark; but to Noah, his truth, his “good news” gospel, WAS to go and build an Ark, as that is the message God had for him in his day.  A believers “good news” gospel message for today comes from Paul and Paul alone.  To Paul was given the gospel of grace and peace which God has declared to the whole world!  His every epistle opens with so much more than a salutation of grace and peace; but the very doctrine of grace and peace does he declare!  Our sin is no longer the issue; belief in what God has done about our sin, is.  As written many times here before, that simple gospel of peace is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and on our Simple Salvation page.

Our feet carry us wherever we want to go.  If the Truth of today’s gospel of peace is worn about our hearts and lungs, we will be prepared at all times to be able to speak that clear and simple gospel presentation to anyone and everyone we meet.  We walk with our feet and we stand upon them as well.  The excellency of the perfect simplicity of the gospel of peace is made manifest in the freedom to all believers from eternal guilt and worry.  We stand upon the gospel of ultimate peace.  Absolutely zero condemnation!  Grace and peace to you from God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Ephesians 6:16… “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

As we see Philippians 3:9 it is the faith OF Christ to the cross-work His Father sent Him to, that we place our trust and belief in.  Praise God it is NOT the faith I wield, my faith IN Christ, as weak as it is, to carry me forward into battle.  (Check your NIV once again here; as there, it is MY faith IN Christ!  Totally incorrect and perfectly misleading.)  It is my KNOWLEDGE of Christ’s faith to His Father that I hold as a shield while I stand in defense of the gospel of grace and peace.  If Christ has performed it, what can possibly penetrate such?

Ephesians 6:17… “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

That helmet covers the head and brain, the seat of knowledge and reason.  The saved Christian has absolute knowledge of absolute salvation, knowing that if Christ accomplished the same on my behalf; nothing in heaven or in earth; inside or outside of time; nothing I or any creature can alter; nothing at all can separate me from that which Christ has done on my behalf.

I am BOUGHT with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23); not rented for a season.

In my hands is the sword of the Holy Spirit; the very Word of God as I can in fact possess in my King James Bible.  I wield it in truth, not deceitfully, with dignity and in love.  This sword is sharper than most imagine or are prepared for.

Hebrews 4:12… “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

This sword cuts people and cuts them badly.  It cuts me.  Why?  Because the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).  This is what it is created to do as that is what we prideful people need.  When we inform people that they are of no intrinsic value to God outside of Christ, that cuts them badly.  Most want to be good and useful to God and that’s good.  The belief that they are inherently good, and not deceitful and wicked, is what misleads them.  satan loves for people to believe that they are good; as why would a “good person” ever need a Savior?  Truth hurts.  Tell the truth anyway.  Perhaps they will listen.  Only by the truth of Christ as given to Paul will eternal salvation come today.  People are not good in Gods eyes.  They need a Savior.

Finally…

Ephesians 6:18-20… “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

…we are to pray for all the saints (all saved men and women) and especially for those who are prepared for and enter into battle on behalf of the gospel of grace and peace.  We are to speak boldly that gospel which was kept secret since the world began and that satan and his world try so very hard (and successfully) to keep concealed.

Let us prepare ourselves by way of serious Bible study; and walk worthy of the ambassadorship to which we, as those who are the bought and paid for saints of Jesus Christ, have been called.  Amen.

Next Post: “Walk Worthy, part 5 (Walk Circumspectly…).

Walk Worthy, part 3 (Rewarded!).

Ephesians 4:1-3… “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

When we last examined what the worthy walk would encompass, our Apostle Paul was enduring afflictions as he performed the work of the ambassadorship he was called unto and warning Timothy that the same trouble would be coming his way as he did the same.  Nonetheless, Paul was encouraging Timothy (as he encourages us) to persevere through these afflictions.

2 Timothy 2:2-3… “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Here, Paul likens the ambassadorship to which all true Christians are called, to a soldier enduring the hardness of battle.  Why, if this work is so difficult, did Paul continue therein, and why is it so important that we do the same?  As we have seen previously, it is the love of Christ which constrains the believer (2 Corinthians 5:14); knowing what was done on his behalf, he is thus motivated to share the Great News of the gospel of Christ with others.  Indeed, knowing what I have been made “in Christ” excites me no end to share such with others, even though most others are not at all interested, with some (even blood relations) becoming downright hostile in the process.

Where does a soldier usually find himself?  In hostile territory of course.  To the soldier of Christ (a soldier of Truth), this world is hostile territory through which he must battle.  This present world, controlled by the god of this world, does not “appreciate” the Truth.  At the war’s end however, there is great reward.  The basic concept of “reward” inherently implies judgement of ones actions.  How can a reward be accorded without acknowledgement of some success or failure in action?  While there are several impending judgements of God coming to all men in the world, we turn our attention here, to the judgement members of the body of Christ will receive at the personal hand of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul speaks to the body in:

2 Corinthians 5:10… “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

This is NOT Gods final judgement of the world for sin (that comes later)… this is the heavenly judgement of today’s “body of believers” in the gospel of grace.  Since sin was paid for (JUDGED) at the cross to those who accept Gods form of payment; this is judgement of the ambassadors actions here on earth; not TO condemnation, but FOR reward.  Paul, again speaking to those saved by the gospel of grace, says:

1 Corinthians 3:13-15… “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Examine carefully what God through Paul is saying.  The believers work will be tried by fire.  Some work will survive the fire and some will be consumed by it.  The fire is true judgement, determining which work shall stand to receive reward and which will not.

Note especially well that even the saved man whose work is consumed by fire, remains saved and his place in heaven with the Lord, secured.  This man will suffer loss of reward, not eternal death.

The work which will receive reward is that work which Paul began, the ambassadorship of the grace of God to which he (and we) are called by God to continue.  Christ, through Paul alone, laid the foundation upon which we are to build.

1 Corinthians 3:9-10… “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto ME, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon.

We take heed to build correctly because of Christ’s love for His own and for the potential of eternal reward, over and above a place with the Creator in eternity.  The careful builder studies to shew himself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15)…  It is here at Christ’s judgement seat that shame may come to the fore in the face of the believer.  At Christ’s judgement seat the believer will learn the eternal value of his work in the Lord, post salvation (as the unsaved can do no work for the Lord).  Whether these works were built upon the right foundation; “doctrinally correct” (Paul’s gospel for today) or ” doctrinally incorrect” (another gospel for another time, past or future), a foundation laid by another; Moses or Peter for example.

In 1 Corinthians 3:12-13, Paul uses the example of gold, silver and precious stones to describe “good” works effective toward how God is working in the world today; and wood, hay and stubble to describe works not appropriate to today’s message of the free grace of God given to the entire world.  Fire will consume the wood, hay and stubble reducing it to worthless ash; yet at the same time, fire will refine the impurities out of the gold, silver and precious stone leaving only perfection in its wake!

While all saved men have safe passage to heavenly places in eternity with God, judgement and reward inherently establish a hierarchical standard by which these saved will be established in and for eternity.  One will necessarily somehow receive more than another based upon what he was able to accomplish for God in this world.  Let us carefully qualify this statement; as Paul writes to the Roman believers:

Romans 8:17… “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Clearly, as believers crucified with Christ and suffering with Him through this present evil world, we are joint-heirs with Christ.  Joint-heirs of what?

Colossians 1:16-18… “For by Him were ALL THINGS created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.

If all believers are joint-heirs in “all things” with Christ who is our Head, where then does this reward hierarchy come into play?  How will one receive more than another?  Since Christ is the Head of all things, let us examine the nature of those things He is head of.  Things both visible (things physically present in this 3 dimensional world) and things invisible (things present outside of the physical world we inhabit); whether they be thrones, dominions, principalities or powers.  Thrones, dominions, principalities and powers are “governmental” positions of authority.  These exist in this present AND the invisible world.  In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul further clarifies who these holders of invisible positions are.  They are the “gods” of this world whom we wrestle against.  satan and his fallen angels.

Ephesians 6:12… “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the RULERS of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

In the future, when Christ sits on His earthly throne, He will be surrounded by the twelve He chose during His earthly ministry to Israel; these will be the head of Gods earthly heavenly government (Matthew 19:27-28).  Thy Kingdom will now have come to earth as it is in heaven.  As God has a two-fold plan for His creation: a plan to redeem the earth (via Israel) and a plan to redeem the heavens (via the body of Christ); since both have fallen by way of pride thus sin; both places will need to be eventually and effectively “governed” prior to the dispensation of the fullness of times, when all things are gathered together in one under Christ the Creator Himself (Ephesians 1:10).  As Israel will rule this earthly place with Christ (thy Kingdom come) over the Gentile nations; the saved in this dispensation of free grace will rule and govern the heavenly places AS the body of Christ, while Actual Christ is seated on His earthly throne.

Note that a full one third of the angels (stars) followed satan’s prideful lead and revolted against Gods perfectly created order.

Revelation 12:3-4… “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

Michael the Archangel then does battle in the fallen heavenly places, prevails, and casts satan and his minions out of the heavenly places forever.

Revelation 12:7-9… “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

With one third of the angels gone, this creates a gaping hole in the governmental structure of the heavenly places (not to mention a really big problem for the earth at this time, since all those evil, banished, fallen beings are cast down unto it).  One third of the thrones, dominions, principalities and powers are fallen, removed and thus emptied.  satan was created to be the covering cherub (Ezekiel 28) to be in charge of these principalities… Gods finest creation.  he is now no more.  Today’s believers will fill those positions.  (My own personal hunch is that Paul will be number 1 up there and I can’t wait to meet him in person!)

As the earth is currently without a Righteous Leader, so too are heavenly places without Righteous leadership.  The god of this world, satan, has been given control of each by Adam, who forfeited the control and dominion God gave him (Genesis 1:26-28).  As the earth will one day have Christ as King, so too will the heavens have Christ in charge in the form of His body, the church… us.

Ephesians 1:3… “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Colossians 1:27-28… “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Perfected/Completed in Christ (though remaining in sinful flesh while here on earth) we will do the work of Righteous Christ in heavenly places in our Glorified Life to come!

When Christ came to earth He was made lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7-9).  With Christ now glorified above the angels seated at God the Father’s right hand; and we, who are crucified and risen with Him (Colossians 2:12), in the same judicial standing; we too, in our “new creature” form are also placed above the angels; judicially now, literally and physically in the future!  Indeed we shall judge them in those heavenly places!

1 Corinthians 6:2-3… Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

It is therefore here that our full reward is realized; in the governmental structure of the heavenly places.  While all saved men have an equal inheritance of all things in Christ, not all will have an equal position in Gods heavenly government.  It is these positions which will be offered to those whose works were of gold, silver and precious stone.

When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Not with an All Powerful Creator God though 🙂

Brothers and sisters in Christ; if the simple salvation of Christ alone was not enough to motivate you into action for our Savior, here is further motivation in a position of higher authority in heaven itself, where we will serve and reign AS Christ (we are His body after all), as we are in Christ.  What a stunning realization, what a stunning reward!  Walk worthy indeed…!

To Paul, Christ was all in all.  The preaching (sharing) of the gospel of the greatest news ever given to man, that of free grace, became Paul’s entire world.  Indeed, it was more important to him than even his own life and certainly anything material contained within that life.  Paul is the true Christians pattern (1 Timothy 1:16).  How will we measure up to such?  We will find out at the judgement seat of Christ.

Philippians 3:8-14… “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Next Post:  “Walk Worthy, part 4 (Armed With the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ).

Walk Worthy, part 2 (cheap grace?)!

1 Thessalonians 2:12… “That ye would WALK WORTHY of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.

I hear with relative frequency among the religious brethren, a term of degradation to grace teaching, such as what I write; that term is “cheap grace” and/or “easy believism”.  As if the grace teacher/believer somehow holds the grace of God in low or “cheap” esteem, using it as an excuse to sin willfully.  (As if a naturally sinful man requires an excuse to sin.)  While I cannot speak for all grace teachers/believers, I will certainly speak for myself.  Therefore, forgive me a short rant against the legalist preachers and believers who makes such claim; as Paul instructs our “worthy walk” to the absolute contrary of the concept of “cheap grace”:

Titus 2:7-8… “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part MAY be ashamed having no evil thing to say of you.

Those legalist preachers and believers who deny the power of the grace of God to change a man from within (and apply liberally the bondage of the law externally to the supposed “glory” of the flesh) are instant to point out that the grace doctrine we teach “condones sin” in the believer, and is therefore “inferior” to the “higher standards” to which they hold themselves (and so become “superior” to the grace believer – ain’t religion grand!).  By the above verse it seems nothing could be further from true, and to those who do make such claim, shame WILL be involved.  I sharpen my focus toward the preacher and away from the believer because the believer is trusting what the preacher says.  Let’s put a fine point on that:

Romans 6:15… “What then?  Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.

Sorry legalist preacher, read what Paul says.  You keep your “flock” under the bondage of the law whether you say you do or not.  I know why as well and so does the Lord.  Instructing the congregants that they must behave in certain ways to achieve God’s “blessing” is robbing them of the knowledge of all God in Christ has done on their behalf.  Grace indeed frees ultimately the individual to realize the infinite goodness and forgiveness of God “in himself” AND “toward others”.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15… “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

It is the love of Christ which constrains the believer, not the bondage of the law.  It is the internal awareness of what Christ has done for the believer that motivates the man to even “no longer live for himself” but unto Him which died on his behalf and rose again.  It is Christ that died (not the man) to destroy forever sin (and thus death itself) in the believer.

Romans 6:6… “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Those who are dead to sin by being judicially crucified with Christ through belief (all truly saved men) ARE dead to sin.  Sin is NO LONGER an issue for that man.  His flesh, no matter how “refined”, can in no way make him any “better”.  His flesh IS sinful but Christ took sin completely away.  What happens to the believer who places himself once again under the Law to attempt to “control” sin in himself?

Galatians 1:18… “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

That believer is attempting to revive in himself that sin essence (guilt) attached to the flesh which Christ died to destroy.  By the Law shall NO flesh be justified as by the Law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).  The Law demonstrates that we are sinful and causes the guilt that drives us to our knees in search of the Savior.  This is the purpose of God giving the Law in the first place.  Saving grace teaches that we are to reckon ourselves completely DEAD indeed UNTO sin, as that is what our Savior accomplished on the cross.  How then does placing the believer again under the Law help with such reckoning?  It does exactly the opposite.  It makes us once again a transgressor and renders the grace of God to no effect!

Galatians 5:4… “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Romans 11:6…”And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Grace stands alone as the sovereign, precious and sacred gift of God to man.  As men saved by grace, we no longer live unto ourselves as we were bought with the most valuable price in creation, the atoning death of the Creator Himself.

1 Corinthians 6:20… “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods.

Do these grace verses “condone” sin, preacher?  God forbid.  Does the religious bondage you preach help those under your trust learn what God has done on their behalf?  In no way, shape or form… it does just the opposite.  It causes the revival of the sin and guilt Christ died to forgive and whom we were crucified with.

Galatians 2:20-21… “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

We are to glorify God in our body and spirit (which ARE Gods) and in our daily conduct, as we are His ambassadors in this fallen satanic world; and it is the FULL ASSURANCE of GRACE and FORGIVENESS of ALL SIN which motivates and empowers that man to do the same.  The religious preacher/believer who denies Gods ULTIMATE grace, ultimately denies Gods ultimate sacrifice, and thereby demonstrates his own fundamental ignorance of all God has indeed done for man.  Such a one WILL BE ashamed at the judgement seat of Christ and is HIGHLY encouraged to study Gods Word to shew himself approved; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed RIGHTLY DIVIDING the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

That was necessary and refreshing at the same time; as I despise legalism in all its forms… thank you for your indulgence.  Onward…

Now we understand the “why” of the worthy walk (we have been given a responsibility – see part 1), “how” then is the saved man to walk in this world?

2 Cor 4:1-2… “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

First of all, we do not quit (faint).  Come what may (and plenty may well come from religious men against the man of God teaching free grace, right preacher?) we continue to speak with those we have opportunity to speak with; the word of reconciliation which is the gospel of our salvation, the simple gospel of Christ as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.  That is the ambassadors ultimate message.  The ambassador should know his song well before he starts singing.  He should sing with the attitude of Christ in Paul.  We don’t quit because we don’t see results (God gives the increase – 1 Corinthians 3:6-7); we don’t quit because this is what God would have us do; come what may.  We are to be faithful to that which we have received, as this is not done for our own increase in any way, this is for the One who made us who and what we are in Christ; God Himself.

We renounce the hidden things of dishonesty (the legalistic bondage of religion) and handle the Word of God as He would have us handle it.  Honestly, rightly divided between what is for “Israel and the Gentile nations” and what is for “the body of Christ” which is neither Jew nor Gentile.  We DO NOT compromise the simple TRUTH of the gospel of Christ.  We present the truth as simply as we are able under whatever circumstances we find ourselves.  We manifest the truth of Gods final revelations to man as given to the Apostle Paul.  We live in today’s world, this dispensation of free grace, and honor those responses from man which God now honors… simple belief and trust in the atoning death of His Son.

We preach truth, establishing, instructing and edifying others that they can go and do the same, as Paul instructed his son in Christ, Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:2… “And the things thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

This is how the message of grace has propagated itself throughout human history since God saved the Apostle Paul.  From faithful man to faithful man.  The relative few honest grace teachers among us in comparison to teachers of religion, is a sad testimony to the number of men faithful to the message of free grace in the world.  It is little wonder the church finds itself in the fractured condition it is in.  Paul was witness to this falling away in his own day:

2 Timothy 1:15… “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

But Paul was NOT ashamed however and never compromised the message of absolute grace that God gave him to demonstrate to the world at large and committed to Holy Scripture in 13 epistles after the death of His Son.

Romans 12:1-3… “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may PROVE what is that GOOD, and ACCEPTABLE, and perfect, will of God.  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” this is only accomplished through learning, study.

Let us look one more time what is that “GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and perfect will of God” for mankind that we may PROVE in this dispensation of grace…

1 Timothy 2:3-4… “For THIS is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE in the sight of God our Saviour; who WILL have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Our “reasonable service” then, our daily and “normal” walk as ambassadors for Christ is (as much as is in our control – Romans 1:15) to be NOT conformed to this world, the inevitable course it is on; not to think very highly of ourselves but to think soberly (logically, clearly) to the extant to which we have learned of Gods grace toward us through study; it is to testify the gospel of Christ to those with whom we come into contact.  As Paul says:

Ephesians 3:9… “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

It is NOT the gospel which was NOT hid; the gospel of the circumcision – Galatians 2:7.  It is NOT the gospel of the Kingdom prophesied, spoken of, since the beginning of the world.  It is the gospel committed unto Paul and Paul alone by the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ.  The hidden, secret gospel of the free grace of God through Jesus Christ, NOW made manifest to ALL men in the completed canon of scripture.

Galatians 1:11-12… “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:16… “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

To sum this post up as best as I currently can, examine carefully and internalize to yourself these last two verses.

2 Timothy 4:5… “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Afflictions will come.  Endure… knowing what has been accomplished on our behalf.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10… “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Afflictions will come.  Nevertheless…

1 Corinthians 15:58… “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

If we labor correctly the gospel committed unto Paul, our labor CANNOT be in vain.  Since it is for His sake we labor and not our own, we can endure all things this fallen world can throw at us.

2 Timothy 4:3-4… “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

This is the condition of the world today.  Yet Paul, knowing full well what God in Christ had accomplished on his behalf, soldiered on, as should we.

Acts 20:24… “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

How did Paul have such joy in all this affliction?  Why was he such a faithful soldier?  There was a reward waiting for him.

Next post: “Walk Worthy, part 3 (Rewarded)!

Walk Worthy!

Ephesians 4:1-3… “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye WALK WORTHY of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

“Vocation?  Isn’t that like a job of some sort?”

Colossians 1:10… “That ye might WALK WORTHY of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

“Work?  I thought grace was not about works…!”

Ephesians 2:8-9… “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.

“See, I told you… no works!”

Wait for it… we all love Ephesians 2:8-9; but verse 10 does follow.

Ephesians 2:10… “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Why should we, under free grace, walk worthy?

The saved man is created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works.  That’s why.  Works can have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation as Christ is all sufficient toward that end, but we were saved (created in Christ) in order to perform a function; work.  If this is not the case, why did God save us and NOT bring us directly into His world?  What are we still doing here?  Being “in Christ” we are judicially perfected and seated with Him in heavenly places, right now.  Why not simply make it physically so as well?  The reason is, that God has a purpose for all saved men.  We learned in the last post that Gods simple will for all men is for them to be saved and to then come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:3-4).

Allow me to ask: How is that to happen when Christ is not personally, physically present in the world and God has declared a period of grace and peace; whereby He is not imputing men’s trespasses unto them, and therefore, has left us all to our own mostly wicked devices?  Sure, He has left us with His completed Word, but how are people supposed to become aware of what it says?  True, people have the free will to either explore the Bibles pages or to ignore them.  Everyday experience shows however, that the vast majority are way too preoccupied with worldly things to bother.  satan loves that, satan encourages such preoccupation tirelessly.  Therefore God asks His own, those saved (and at least somewhat learned) in the dispensation of free grace, those who ARE His body in the world, to occupy a certain position while He is away.  Let’s examine:

2 Corinthians 5:18-21… “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The saved man, reconciled to God in Christ, has been given something (all things in fact – Romans 8:17) by God, to whom ARE all things.  He has given us specifically a ministry, which is defined as “the office, duties or functions of a subordinate agent of any kind” according to Websters 1828.  This ministry is one of reconciliation which Websters defines as: “the means by which sinners are brought into a state of favor with God after natural estrangement or enmity; the atonement.”  That (since God has, in this dispensation of Grace, reconciled the sinful, fallen world back to Himself) we, as men in recognition of our sinful state and reconciled back toward God, now have OWNERSHIP of this ministry of God toward the world.

We have ownership of this ministry IN Christ’s STEAD (“instead” of Christ Himself) since He is not currently in the world.  Christ is not in the world today as much of the world awaits His second coming.  He has left us here to make the world aware of what God in Christ has done on its behalf, in His place.  These verses call those He has saved and left on earth “ambassadors”.  Webster defines an ambassador as: “a minister of the highest rank employed by one prince or state, at the court of another, to manage the public concerns of his own prince or state, and representing the power and dignity of his sovereign.”

The cross-work of Christ then, as commissioned by God, has made us ambassadors of God the Father, that, in Christ’s stead, we are to beseech those around us to be reconciled to God as He has reconciled Himself in Christ to all men.

Note carefully and make no mistake here: just because God has reconciled Himself to mankind, does not mean mankind has in turn reconciled itself back to God.  Mankind is an extremely stubborn creature and reconciliation is a two way street.   See “Simple Salvation” to learn how a man is reconciled back to God.  God in grace has CHOSEN to reconcile Himself back to mankind.  An opening (a way back to God who forsook all men at the tower of Babel – Romans 1:18-32) has been made for mankind.  Mankind must now CHOOSE to reconcile itself (each man individually) back to God.  The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is the pathway to reconciliation.

When the saved man attempts to fulfill his vocation and help to reconcile an unsaved man back to God, presenting to him the gospel of his salvation; it is as if God Himself in that ambassador is speaking to that man (as long as that ambassador is functioning properly with the proper gospel message – the word of reconciliation and NOT another gospel – 2 Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 1:6-7).  Comprehend fully these words: “As though God (God Himself) did beseech you by us…” to be reconciled back to Him through His Son Jesus Christ.  God today speaks through the body of Christ… saved man, to unsaved men.  Wow!

See how Paul regarded this calling upon his own life:

Acts 20:24… “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

This ministry of the grace of God was to Paul more dear than his own life.  I ask you in all candor… could there be a higher calling for a man then to represent his Sovereign Creator in this foreign world?  How then ought a man in such a position to walk or conduct himself daily in this foreign land, this world without Christ?  Paul provides counsel:

Titus 2:11-14… “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Clearly we are to daily conduct ourselves in a manor pleasing to the one who sent us; denying ungodliness and our worldly lusts, which are far too numerous in this sinful flesh to mention.  This is difficult as the flesh is naturally sinful.  It is the full understanding of what Christ has done for us working inside us; the absolute grace and mercy we have been shown, that, as we reckon (internalize) this knowledge unto our selves, we will eventually be enabled to, more and more, put our sinful carnal desires aside.  They will mean less and less as we learn more and more (through Bible study) what Christ has done on our behalf.

We are to look forward with anticipation to the glorious appearing of the Lord that we might be caught up together with Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and perfected physically; but until then, His desire is that we are to remain here and be a “peculiar people” zealous of the good works He ascribes to us.

I’d like to end this first part of “Walk Worthy” with this, Paul’s prayer (Gods desire) for all saved men:

Colossians 1:9-17… “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might WALK WORTHY of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Ephesians 1:17-23… “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

What more is there to say on this prayer for the believer that the Holy Spirit in Paul did not say?

Next post: “Walk Worthy, part 2 (cheap grace?)!