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 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…).

A new creature, part 3.

Philippians 3:13-14… “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.

Forgetting those things which are behind…

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

…as old things are passed away…

Romans 6:11… “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

…we are dead indeed unto sin and made alive unto God through the atoning work of Christ Jesus…! Amen and AMEN!!!

1 Corinthians 15:1-4… “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Believe this, and you are a new creature, whether you feel like one or not.  It seems too good to be possible, it seems to easy to be true.  Believing the gospel for today, the gospel of Christ and Christ alone, is all God asks of mankind to make of him a new creature and to bestow upon him the fullness of the riches of His own Glory.  How is it even remotely possible that men everywhere fight tooth and nail against this very thing?  But I digress…

Since we have been made anew in Gods sight, we must then begin the effort to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto the sin nature which once had control over us.  This is easier said than done as the “flesh” will constantly remind the believer of sin’s existence in the believers physical body.  This takes time, patience with oneself, and learning.  The saved man is now essentially 2 beings in one… an “old man” and a new creature; and that old man does not give up his influence in the believers life.

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.

Ephesians 4:22… “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Notice that Paul says to “put off” the old man… this is essential to the “reckoning” process taking place in the believers mind, body and soul.  It is with mental, physical and spiritual effort on the believers part that the old man is put off.

But how is this done?

Colossians 3:9-10… “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him:

The new man is “reckoned” (internalized in the believer) with the internalization of the knowledge of all that Christ has done for him.  Without this “reckoning” the old man will never be put off to any degree in the believers life; and the believers “walk” will suffer for it.  The “new man” is put on as the believer studies Gods Word and learns more and more of what was accomplished at the cross on his behalf.  Paul himself prays for the believer…

Colossians 1:9… “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;

Ephesians 1:17… “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:

…and compels the believer to study Gods Word.

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.

As we become more and more “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” through the study of Gods Word rightly divided, we will be more and more apt to be able to forget those things which are behind, and thus more able to move forward in the knowledge of Him; no longer serving our carnal sin nature which has been crucified with Christ in Gods sight.  Paul provides great insight into this internal struggle and process.

Romans 7:18-19… “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.

The frustration Paul feels is palpable.  He knows that he is physically a sinner, as the will to “do good and not evil” is now in him; yet he admits that the good he wants do do is foiled by the corrupt flesh he still exists in, with evil the inevitable result.  Look at the next verse however…

Romans 7:20… “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

It is the internalized realization, through the cross-work of Christ, that it is NOT “Paul the new spiritually awakened/quickened man” (Paul the new creature) which performs the evil act, it is his old inescapable sin nature which does. Two beings in one…

Romans 7:22-23… “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

While we exist in these “old” sinful bodies, sin is inescapable; we are captive to it, it is the result of Gods curse on creation itself.  The old man can’t not sin.  Yet, again and again in scripture Paul shows us that we are dead to sins effects upon us as we are crucified with Christ and baptized into His death; who took sin upon Himself that the sin issue between man and God would be put away for ever.  The new man created by Christ’s efforts.

2 Corinthians 5:21… “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.

Romans 6:3… “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?”  NOTE” this is NOT water baptism but the Holy Spirit baptizing us spiritually into the church which is His body (Ephesians 4:4-5).

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.

What Paul is exhorting us to remember is that we are dead indeed unto sin as God has forgiven us ALL trespasses.  That we are to live by the faith OF the Son of God (the very SON of GODS FAITH and NOT our own meager faithfulness to Him).  Such a critical difference.  We have the faith OF Christ, God’s own faith, on our side and within us!

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:

Again, it is NOT US which can accomplish any of this, it is Christ IN US which can.  As Christ paid the WHOLE penalty, He takes the WHOLE burden.  ALL OF IT!!!  AMEN!

Let us consider extremely carefully these next extraordinarily important verses…

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

Forgiven ALL trespasses.  (Why in the world pray; “forgive us our trespasses” when He has already?)

2 Corinthians 5:19… “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.

NOT imputing trespasses unto them.

The new man, made in the image of Christ, while existing in the sinful physical body it exists in, is completely and totally 100% immune from sins effect on his “present” AND on his “eternity”.  That man is completely, totally and 100% forgiven of ALL his trespasses; past, present and future.  Now THAT is freedom my friends.  NOT what is written on some bill of rights somewhere…

The fundamental key to remember is this: we have been given ultimate forgiveness that we may “forget those things which are behind and to reach forth unto those things which are before and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ!” Reckon this within yourself and you are on your way to realizing practically and spiritually what God has done and is doing in the world today.

We must remember forgiveness in Christ always, to keep it always at the forefront of our minds (WE ARE FORGIVEN ALL TRESPASSES) that we may forget our sinful past (no matter how miserable), that we may deal effectively with our present condition (no matter that conditions condition), and reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin; that we may move forward here on earth in that knowledge; that we may be effective ambassadors for Him (come what may).

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.

(satan does not want people to know this.)

What an exalted state the true Christian actually exists in.  How sad so few truly understand.  This is what God would have us know after coming to salvation in Christ Jesus.  All professing Christians wonder what the “will of God” is for their lives.  What is the simple will of God for all men?

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.

Salvation first; knowledge of what salvation accomplished (total forgiveness and so much more), second.

With these taken care of… God would have us to walk worthy of this exalted position the saved man finds himself in.

(It is here we begin to pose a direct threat to satan’s plan of evil in the world.  To hell with satan I say.)

Next Post: “Walk Worthy!

A new creature, part 2.

This new creature we have been made in Christ was a complete and total mystery, an unknown entity, until the Apostle Paul.  Up until Paul, and through the first half of Paul’s ministry, God was dealing with mankind in terms of the separation between Jew and Gentile.

Deuteronomy 7:6… “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

After the nation Israel failed to come to terms with their Redeemer, God set them aside.

Acts 28:28… “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Paul went to both the Jew and to the Gentile/Greek (non-Jew) with the gospel of Christ and, I believe, this is where the confusion begins as to whether or not Peter and Paul preached the same gospel message, which we have demonstrated they could not have been.

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.

If the Kingdom gospel was for the nation Israel (as is clear) why did Paul go to them (first even) with the new “gospel of Christ” (free grace/zero works) that the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ gave to him specifically for the Gentiles?

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

Let’s take a look back in Matthew 12 to get an idea.  Most professing Christians have heard of the “unpardonable sin”.  What was it exactly?

Matthew 12:31-32… “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The one thing that was unpardonable to the nation Israel then was blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.  Commit this sin and you were not going into “thy Kingdom come”.  Israel rejected and thus blasphemed God the Father by way of their rejecting the prophets He sent specifically to the nation.  This was forgivable.  They rejected and ultimately blasphemed His Son in Christ at the cross.  This too was forgivable.  They rejected and thus blasphemed the Holy Ghost during and after Pentecost as only a relative few heeded the message of repentance Peter preached in Acts 2 and 3.  Paul himself as well was a blasphemer…

1 Timothy 1:13… “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

This was unforgivable.  Few in the nation Israel then could have hoped to attain everlasting life in the Kingdom as only a few successfully recognized their prophesied Messiah when He arrived among them.  Only relative few were baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Paul did not recognize his Messiah.  God was justified to sent His wrath upon the world right then and there at the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7.

Long before this time, at the tower of Babel in Genesis 11, the “Gentile” nations (those nations Abram was called out of) were concluded in unbelief.  Now His nation Israel had come to their “third strike” if you will and rejected the giving of God’s Holy Spirit, the new covenant, that the Law would be written in their hearts (Jer 31:31, Heb 8), that they would be able to walk worthy of their calling.  In short… Israel (and the rest of the world) was up a creek without a paddle, all concluded in unbelief.

Romans 11:32… “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.

Since these could not have been saved into the Kingdom program, God, in infinite and longsuffering mercy; NOT YET wanting to pour His Just Wrath out upon the world, saved the Apostle Paul, giving not only His nation Israel but the whole world a new possibility at salvation.  Something the world had never before seen nor experienced.  Absolutely free grace with zero effort required or accepted.

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.

Mankind’s very essence is to boast in what he has done.  We ARE prideful creatures by nature.  God will have none of it.  I heard brother Steve Atwood say just the other day that if salvation required the wiggling of our little finger just slightly, we would boast in eternity just how amazingly well we wiggled our little fingers… and he is right.  It is only the Divine Activity of God Himself could save such prideful creatures as we; humbling us in the process.

This zero effort/free grace dispensation produces the heretofore unprophesied new creature and offers all men, Jew or Gentile, salvation completely apart from inherent “Jew-ness” or “Gentile-ness”.  The new creature is neither Jew nor Gentile and, as a matter of fact, neither male or female!

Galatians 3:28… “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

What once were Jews and Gentiles are now NEITHER as God is not recognizing His chosen nation Israel at this moment in time.  They are NO LONGER His people in this dispensation.

Romans 9:25-26… “As he saith also in Osee (Hosea 1:9-10), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

God NOW recognizes the new creature and the new creature alone.  But in this, for the past 2,000 years, He is giving (Israel and the Gentiles) ALL MEN EQUALLY yet another chance at redemption before His just wrath is poured out on a most deserving world.

The new creature is an individual man saved by the gospel of grace (he becomes a new creature) AND it is a body of believers as well.

It is in the epistles of Paul alone that we find mention of “the church – the body of Christ”, of which Christ is the Head.  While there are many “churches” mentioned in the Bible, they are not all the same church.  The Jerusalem church was in the Temple Beautiful (Acts 3)… the wandering Jews belonged to the “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38), for example.  Men were first called “Christians” at the church in Antioch (Acts 11:26) which was NOT a temple.  This church, the body of Christ (an assembly of believers, a church is not a building) is made up of ALL believers saved by the gospel of Christ in this dispensation of free grace.  It expresses itself in local areas via individual “churches” of which Grace Country Bible Church is but one.

The church – the body of Christ is made up of NEITHER Jew nor Greek, male nor female…  No man today is lifted up above another man for any reason whatsoever, as God has concluded ALL men equally in unbelief.  The above verse in Deuteronomy (7:6) has been made temporarily void by the verses in Hosea (1:9-10).

1 Corinthians 12:13… “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

The reason saints in time past (Jews AND the Gentiles who blessed them) could NOT acknowledge the “unsearchable” riches of Christ, is because these riches were not prophesied in scripture.  One could not search the scriptures in time past to find out about what God is doing today because God kept it secret. Paul writes:

Romans 11:33… “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out!

Ephesians 3:8… “Unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

While Christ’s birth, death and resurrection WAS prophesied, the fullness of the riches of His death, burial and resurrection was completely unknown.  A Jew and a Gentile in time past could indeed search the scriptures to learn what they had to do to be saved: the Jew was to believe on Christ his prophesied Messiah risen from the dead, and the Gentile was to somehow bless the Jew (Gen 12:3, Mat 25:31-46… notice carefully these did not understand how they made it into the Kingdom!).

The unprophesied new creature (NOT Jew and NOT Gentile) has only to believe that Christ died for his sin nature and rose again for his justification, and eternal salvation is his!  The only place in scripture a man can learn this, is in the epistles of Paul.  The new creature (believers today) was therefore hidden in God since the foundation of the world and a part of the mystery given unto the apostle Paul alone (therefore Peter could NOT have spoken of it), and of which Paul was the first.

1 Timothy 1:16… “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me FIRST Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.

What believers are today therefore, is not only NOT found in what is called the Old Testament section of the Bible, we are NOT found in Matthew, Mark, Luke John or the first half of Acts, as these are all books of the Law or the “old testament”.  Nor is this new creature, the church the body of Christ found in the Hebrew epistles of Peter, James and John, as God is once again dealing with the Jew and the Gentile in these “New Testament” books.  Where we see the distinction existing between Jew and Gentile we do not see the unprophesied new creature.

Right division therefore, is NOT dividing between the old and new testament sections of the Bible, it is NOT dividing between Christ and not Christ, IT IS dividing between that which God kept secret versus what God prophesied throughout time.  It is dividing between Israel and their relationship to the Gentile nations, and the NOT Jew / NOT Gentile “body of Christ” being formed today to eventually take up residence in the heavenly places with God.

Where we see, even in Paul’s epistles, the distinction between Jew and Gentile, we must “rightly divide”.  Romans chapters 9, 10 and 11 are NOT about the church the body of Christ.  These are about the condition of Israel today, and their dealings with the Gentiles in time past, and in the ages to come, when God will once again be dealing with the Jew and the Gentile.

I have one last issue to tackle with the new creature in the next post: “The new creature, part 3.

Saved…! Now what?

Glory, I’m saved…

Glory, I’m saved…

My sins are all pardoned, my guilt is all gone!

Glory, I’m saved…

Glory, I’m saved…

I’m saved by the blood of the crucified one!

What a wonderful song to be able to sing in grace and truth!  I pray that you, dear reader, can sing the same; and if so… well, now what?  Are we now free to live a life without regard for consequences, knowing as we do that heaven is the surest thing in the universe for us?  This is, after all, exactly what our legalistic brethren, clinging as they do to religious bondage, accuse us grace believers of.  If they only read what Paul wrote in their Bibles…  What does our apostle, sent directly by Christ to us, have to say about this?

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?

Of course we are not freed in order to sin.  Now that, by the light of our quickened spirit (Col 2:13), we are far more conscious of sin in ourselves, it actually becomes far more disturbing to us; and while it is not possible to stop sinning as long as we are living in these bodies of flesh; the more we come to understand all that Christ has done for us, the less we seek to knowingly live in a way that would be displeasing to our Lord.

Note carefully that Paul says we are dead to sin.

Romans 6:11…  “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It is certainly easier for the mind to logically conclude the truth of these words, than the will of the flesh to follow suit.  While none of these early posts are exhaustive dissertations on any particular subject, in Paul’s epistles are found the means by which we come to live victorious lives in Christ, despite the battle our flesh will provide along every step of the way.  Paul explains the frustration (read slowly and carefully):

Romans 7:15-24… “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.  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Of course it is the cross work of Jesus Christ who saves Paul (and us) from this body of sin and death!  The saved man will find himself in a battle with his worst enemy (which satan takes full advantage of); himself.  The “reckoning” then, the completely conscious understanding that one IS indeed DEAD unto sin, is the key to true Christian living.  We will sin.  We can’t not sin.  Yet sin is not the issue in our lives any longer.  Christ dealt sin its fatal blow on the cross to any and all who will place their faith and trust in Him.  The punishment for sin is past and placed upon our Lord for us.  We, being in Him through faith, have been judicially crucified by God with Him.  God is so very good.  Amen.

This thought, taken to its logical conclusion, begs a good question.  If we have been freed from sin and death, and we are secured a place in heaven already, currently judicially seated with Christ at the right hand of God the father…

Romans 6:3-7… “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 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.

…thought continued below the lines…

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Point of clarification… this is NOT baptism with water.

As the Jewish believers were baptized with water AND baptized BY Christ WITH the Spirit (whose power demonstrated itself through them); we are baptized BY the Spirit INTO Christ’s body, which is the one true church today (note: it is NOT a denomination).  Ours is a spiritual baptism which takes place at the moment of salvation, as a man places his trust in the completed work of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:13-14… “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

1 Corinthians 1:17… “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

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…the question then becomes, what are we still doing here?  Why does God not take us immediately out of this world as we have come to saving knowledge of Him?  The answer is: that, AS He has bought us with the price of His own blood…

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

…and we belong to God as His purchased posession, He has given us a job to do.  The Lord Jesus Christ is not here on earth.  He is currently seated at Gods right hand in the third heaven.  How are those around us to come to saving knowledge as we have, unless someone in Christ’s stead, should show them?  Some of my personally favorite scripture…

2 Corinthians 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.

As saved men and women, we are, in Christ’s absence, and without Israel yet functioning as prophisied; His earthly ambassadors.  The ministry of reconciliation is given to you and I.  God has reconciled us (all people) to Himself; no longer imputing our (anyone’s) trespasses unto them; formally declaring grace and peace to us (and all people everywhere) by way of the apostle Paul; and asks that we in turn inform people of this abundant grace which He has shown.  This blog and this church is my way of doing what He asks me to do.  If you appreciate what you read, please share it with those you know AND those you don’t.

Christians seem to be very confused by what the “will of God” is for their lives, AS IF God wants something very unique for each and every one of us.  He does not.  He wants the same thing for all people everywhere.  What is that good and acceptable will of God for all?

1 Tim 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.

Right there, in one single verse, is the will of God for all people everywhere.  God does not “work in mysterious ways” at all (though He did keep a secret until He sent Paul).  His will is to have all men saved and then to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  Saving knowledge is easy.  “Christ died for your sin.”  Further knowledge requires study.  More specifically it requires us to study what God told Paul.

1 Tim 2:15… “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.

So, once saved, we are to begin to study Gods word in order to begin to more fully comprehend His Truth.  Why?  Because we are saved UNTO good works.

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.

We are NEVER saved BY good works.  We are saved UNTO good works.  What then is a “good work”?  Helping an elderly lady cross the street?  If I help several million safely cross, have I accomplished anything eternal?  Have any come to the saving knowledge of Christ?  No.  A good work then is a work that brings someone into the will of God for today, and, as we just learned, Gods very will is that all men should be saved and then come unto the knowledge of the truth.  This then is the saved mans ultimate function in this world.  Bringing people unto the saving knowledge of Christ and teaching them what Christ has done for them is the answer to the question; now what?

Ephesians 4:1… “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;

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 Tim 2:24-26… “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Most professing Christians will suggest you begin studying by reading the 4 “gospel” accounts of Jesus life.  This is a tragic mistake as the 4 “gospels” are not written TO us and can only lead us into more confusion, dishonesty and ultimate failure as we try to do things we are not capable of doing.  We can certainly learn valuable things about our Lord and what He is doing for Israel and for the Gentile nations in the future in them and they are therefore very important to us.  Believers today however, should begin to study the book of Romans, keeping in mind that chapters 9, 10 and 11 are written about the nation Israel.  Who they were, where they are now (they ARE not) and who they will be in the future.  Open His Book and start learning what God hath wrought for you, for us.  It is sure to alter your very existence.  Peace…

Next Post: “Israel’s future; but first, rapture, anti-christ!?!

Paul… following grace.

In the last post we looked at a broad picture of what it takes to follow Christ as a Jewish believer back in “time past” (see Bible Chart), what salvation meant to him and what he was to do with that salvation.  Now that God has temporarily set Israel (His channel of blessing to the nations) aside:

Acts 28:28… “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Hosea 1:9… “Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

What were the Gentile nations to do?

Plus, knowing that these Gentiles did not “become” Israel (spiritual or physical) somehow taking their place in Gods plan for the earth; how were they to come to know God without the “shining city on a hill” that was to be Jerusalem?  Enter Paul.  What did Paul advise these folks (you and I) about salvation?  Could we get saved without Israel?  The answer is a resounding YES!  Why?  Because to Paul and Paul alone was given the fulfillment of Gods Holy plan for His creation.  I know you never heard that before!

Paul tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  How were people to know that?  What proved it beyond doubt?  The Law itself did, because it was “un-keep-able”.

Romans 3:19-20… “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  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 giving of the law was to force Israel to the realization that the law was impossible and that they could not keep it.  The Law was given to drive them from their own self righteous attitudes (as found in):

Deut 6:25… “And it shall be OUR righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.”  (Read the whole chapter!)

…to simple humble faith that it was God and God alone who could provide for them.  They (all men in fact as Paul demonstrates) are incapable of fully providing for themselves.  We are incapable of being or becoming righteous in and of ourselves in order to stand before a Perfect, Holy, Righteous, Just God.  So what did God tell Paul now that the Law had made its ultimate point in the crucifixion of Israel’s own Messiah; the ultimate self-righteous act?

It is my personal belief that these next 2 words are the most important words in scripture for this 2,000+ year period of grace which God has shown the world.

Romans 3:21-24, 28… “BUT NOW the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith OF Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified FREELY by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:   Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”  Please notice carefully it is the faith OF Christ UPON all them that believe.  This faith is not a measure of the believers level of faith toward Christ.  It matters not how much we say we love the Lord.  What matters is how much He loves His creation and what He wants for it in the future.

BUT NOW… meaning, what once was, is no longer.  Something has changed!  Where at one time (time past) men agreed to follow the law to try and earn their own righteousness; “but now” (the dispensation of free grace – the yellow area on the Bible Chart where we live today) the righteousness of God without the law is made available to mankind.  ALL mankind, both Jew and Gentile.

How can a man today possibly follow Christ or Peter when both say that following the law, among other things, was imperative to salvation?  Answer… we don’t.  We follow Paul as Christ instructed in:

John 13:20… “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”  Did Christ send Paul?

Galatians 1:1… “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;)”  Yes, He did.  What does Paul then say to us?

1 Cor 4:16… “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

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

Philippians 3:17… “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

“MY gospel… be ye followers of ME…  What’s going on?  This is not possible!  I’m supposed to follow Jesus”, you cry.  Let scripture put a fine point on this.

1 Cor 9:16-17… “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!  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.

Ephesians 3:1-7… “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Colossians 1:25… “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD.”  This one should be read again and again until it completely sinks in.  To Paul was given the completion of Gods Word to man.  The final revelation after the Book of Revelation!

Ephesians 1:10… “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:

Yet precious few professing Christians see this ultimate Bible truth and suffer great delusion because of it.  Those “teachers/preachers” who say that dispensationalism (or dispensational Bible study) has only been around since the 1800’s need to re-read their KING JAMES Bibles.  God is a dispensationalist; therefore we are dispensationalists.

Do we worship Paul as many claim?  That is as far from truth as one can get and borders simply on name calling much like the term “hyper-dispensationalist” our legalistic brethren like to throw around.  The law is used in churches today simply to keep people guilty, under religious bondage and tithing.  In this writers not so humble opinion today’s churches that do not teach Pauline Truth are satanic at their core; as it is satan that wants more than anything to keep people from the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

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.

Paul commands us to…

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.

Has Christ made you free from sin and religious bondage?  It is why He died, FOR you.

How is a man saved today?  How is the righteousness of God without the law made manifest?

Simply by believing what God said and did as communicated by our Apostle, Paul.

1 Cor 15:1-4… “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Romans 4:25… “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

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.

It is not the strength of OUR faith which saves us.  It is the faith OF Christ to the will of His Father which does.  We must simply believe and trust in what Christ did on our behalf.  Such a gift… such amazing grace and love!  Yet so few come to know what they are in order to receive it.  How can one be “found” if one does not know he is “lost”?  The whole world is lost.  Every man, woman and comprehending child.  When the world teaches a man that he is inherently good, the world is condemning that man to an eternity in hell.  Who is the god of this world?  Who did Adam give his loyalty to?

Luke 4:5-6… “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.”  Delivered by Adam who chose satan over God.  As God gave Adam dominion, Adam transferred the same to satan.

1 Cor 15:22… “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Don’t hear scripture like this in your church, do you?  Paul says, “from such, withdraw thyself”.  If you are still a son of Adam, you will die.  Without Christ, you will die.  Have you been adopted as a son of God?  You were born a son of Adam.

We beseech you; simply believe (in what Christ did) and ye shall be saved!  It is a transaction which occurs between you and God alone.  It is that simple.  Stop trusting in yourself and trust in Christ alone.

Next Post: “Saved…!  Now what?

Deceived…

I’d like to expound upon the statement in my last post, namely, that the VAST majority of churches in the world are teaching the wrong gospel.  Sure, they are teaching Jesus Christ, the “object” of our worship (and what He’s done for Israel); but they are NOT teaching correct “content” or what that “object” has done on our behalf.  We are NOT Israel.  The salvation message from God to man is the single most important message a man can receive.  Failure to recognize what God requires us to recognize (no matter how simple and beautiful) spells eternal doom, as we are all eternal creatures.  Israel was required to recognize Christ their Messiah and follow His instructions (content) to them.  Believers today are required to recognize what Christ our Savior has done for us!  Is your church guilty of deceiving you?

Anything other than: “Christ died for your sins” (period, end of discussion) is MORE than the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus and therefore, deception.  Deception can be remarkably subtle.  Paul writes:

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.

The simple and personally stunning realization a man (hopefully) comes to in his life; that he is actually no good whatsoever and can not do a single thing to save himself; is what I call facing Biblical reality.  Facing this ultimate reality is a difficult thing to do as we humans, generally speaking, are very prideful creatures.  The local church is almost always where people go in order to obtain that “feel good/you are good” reinforcement about themselves (which we all do crave); therefore the local church (professing christian or otherwise – “churches” come in many flavors, some secular) is the underlying support mechanism by which “good and polite society” operates.  “Atheists” simply believe in the inherent “goodness” of creation creating itself with man somehow (more and more) guiding his own “evolution”.  The university is his church and the religion of evolution (as opposed to a more formal deity) says he gets “better and better”.

The Bible, however, says otherwise.  How do I know God wrote the Bible?  Because it is ultimately critical of mankind.  Man would never say such things as these about himself:

Jeremiah 17:9… “The heart is DECEITFUL above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Romans 3:10-18… “As it is written, There is NONE righteous, NO, NOT ONE: There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God.  They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is NONE that doeth good, NO, NOT ONE.  Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

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

Romans 6:23(a)… “For the wages of sin is death; …” (continued below)

All means all.

“Ouch…”

You yourself must be perfect to be in the presence of a Perfect God.  A single sin negates that perfection.  What is a man to do under these circumstances?  He can lie to himself as most do.  Or… he may realize what God in Christ has done on his behalf and place his trust in that and that alone for his eternal salvation.  “Christ died for your sins.”  What else can there possibly be for a man to do?  “HE took YOUR place on the cross.”  There is only universal hopelessness outside of Christ who is the Creator God.

John 1:1-3, 14… “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 any thing made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  (object)

Romans 6:23(b)… “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Accept Gods ultimate gift!  “HE… God Himself, died YOUR death, the death you deserved to die, FOR YOU!”  (content)

Is your church finding good in you outside of Christ?  Your church is deceiving you.  Is your church instructing you to “do good” in order that you may somehow obtain Gods favor and therefore (hopefully) salvation?  With the above verses observing you, can you honestly say that you are even remotely capable of doing good outside of Christ in you?  Read about Gods book before you answer…

Hebrews 12:4… “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.

Who knows the human heart, Jeremiah?  God does.  He made it and gave it free will, knowing it would fail, also knowing exactly what He would do to make it perfect in the end!

Does your church teach grace; BUT you then have something to contribute?  Something like baptism, attendance, tithing, cleaning up your act, dressing appropriately, praying a prayer, coming to the alter, making Jesus “Lord of your life”, speaking in tongues, confessing sin, or any such religious man centered activity?  If so, your church is deceiving you away from the simplicity that is in Christ.  Can a man who is asking for forgiveness have already received it?  I think not…

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

All means all…!

No “ouch” here  🙂

If Christ did not pay it all, now and forever, what hope is there for you, besides you?  Recall what you are!

John 19:30… “When Jesus had therefore received the vinegar, he said, IT IS FINISHED: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”  It is either finished, or… your church is deceiving you.

A church, as the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15), IF it be in the will of God for this dispensation of free grace in which we live today, should be teaching you first and foremost the truth about yourself, which is very hard to hear.  Without knowing the truth about your own condition, true salvation is NOT possible.  It is only after coming to the ultimate realization of our inherently lost condition, can we subsequently be “found”.  It is only after we are found that we can be of any use to God.  The only way we can be of any use to God is to try and show others their inherently lost condition and what God has done to remedy it.  People, very unfortunately, do not want to know.  Mostly… they are proud, knowing nothing.  Ouch.

1 Timothy 6:3-5… “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

If your church is growing (gaining) by telling people what they want to hear; “you are good”?  From such, withdraw thyself.  If your church is not teaching Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (the doctrine) given specifically unto the Apostle Paul by the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ Himself, you are being deceived.  From such, withdraw thyself.  Is your church is teaching Jesus Christ according to prophesy of Israel?  Are they teaching Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (Hebrews, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, James, Jude, Revelation) as if these are instructions for believers today?  If so, you are being deceived.  While there is precious truth in these books, they contain Israel’s promises and instructions, not ours.  The Apostle Paul alone has the Truth for believers today as given him by Jesus Christ specifically for us.  Our truth is contained in the 13 books of Romans through Philemon.

Ephesians 3:1-5… “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given ME TO YOU-WARD: How that by revelation he made known unto ME the MYSTERY; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand MY knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was NOT made known unto the sons of men, as it is NOW revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

Is your church guilty of deceiving you?  The answer is VERY likely, yes.  From such, withdraw thyself.  Learn what Christ has done for you specifically, outside of His promises made to Israel.  Learn YOUR Truth from YOUR Apostle, given YOU by Christ Himself… Paul.

Next, we examine the basic and fundamental difference between what Christ instructed Israel via the twelve, versus what Christ instructs you and I, via Paul; as Christ has a job for Israel (earth) and a job for us (heaven).

Next Post: “Peter… following Christ and the Law.

God created the heaven AND the earth…

Okay… logical exercise today (and pardon the length of this post).  IF satan tempted Eve in the garden, we THEN must conclude that satan was in a fallen state prior to that event.  If satan was on Gods “good side” at that moment, he would not have encouraged the worlds first two human beings to disobey the God who created them and forfeit their perfect and eternal existence.  If satan was in a fallen state, then his abode in heaven was also therefore in a fallen state… it was made imperfect by the prideful iniquity found within him (Ezekiel 28) and the legion of angels who left their first estate to follow him (Jude 1:6).  As God cursed the earth due to Adam’s sin, so too is heaven cursed by satans.  If heaven was not cursed there would be no need for war there (Rev 12:7).  All existence; the physical which we are able to perceive in these terrestrial bodies (1 Cor 15:40), and the angelic (celestial) which we cannot; are therefore spoiled by sin and are thus in need of redemption if they are to ever be made perfect again, as God declares in Ephesians 1:10…

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

There is therefore a future dispensation wherein all things will be gathered together in the perfection that is Christ Jesus.  Nearly 90% of our King James Bible tells the tale of this earths redemption (along with its inhabitants) through Gods dealing with the nation Israel.  “Thy Kingdom Come” is the prayer heard throughout the encampments of Christ and the twelve (Mat 6:10).  “Thy Kingdom Come” is the (seriously misplaced) prayer heard throughout myriad churches around the world on Sunday mornings.  The tale of the nation Israel from Genesis to Revelation is the implementation of earths redemption.  As Israel is future redeemed, so too will be the Gentile nations who bless Israel (Gen 12:3) and so too will the land be made like unto Eden once again (Isaiah 35).  But not yet…

Question…  heaven too is fallen, so how will heaven be redeemed?  Prophesy says absolutely nothing about this and there is a precious good reason why.  In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul is explaining to these believers that he did not come to them with mans worldly wisdom or “smooth talking”, but in the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and the power of God Himself.  It is Gods own words of wisdom he delivers unto them… Paul is aware that he is writing Holy Writ!  He is preaching Christ crucified and the totality (prophesied and unprophesied) of what that means to these believers.  And herein lies the mystery we teach once again…

1 Cor 2:7-8… “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The hidden (mysterious/secret) wisdom God ordained unto “our” glory.  Ours, not Israel’s.  This mystery is then something that, had the princes of this world understood, they would not have crucified the Lord Jesus Christ.  The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished everything it was prophesied to accomplish PLUS something that was a mystery or a secret kept hidden in God Himself and therefore NOT heretofore revealed to man nor angel in scripture.  If God wanted to keep a secret, that secret will be kept!  Paul writes in…

Romans 16:25-27… “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, 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: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Paul is revealing something brand new about the crucifixion; information now given to man (and angel, as we will see) that was kept secret since the world began.  The coming of Christ was not kept secret since the world began, His coming, death and resurrection was prophesied since the world began (Acts 3:20-21).  The redemption of earth was prophesied since the world began… indeed it is the story of prophesy itself.  The redemption of heaven was not however.  The church – the body of Christ is the instrument that God will use to “set heaven right” as He will use Israel to set the earth right.  This is magnificent, profound and not taught in denominational churches at all.  Mention it, as a matter of fact, and you will find it is taboo.  It is however what the Bible demonstrates.

The very plan of satan, to kill the Lord Jesus Christ, was the very method by which the God of Glory destroyed him completely.  Now that is Wisdom!  satan thought he had won the battle on Calvary and become like the Most High (Isaiah 14); yet it was his ultimate defeat.  satan knew Christ would resurrect (this was prophesied) but had no idea his dominion (heaven) would be made ultimately clean BY A NEW CREATURE (something the world had not yet seen) – the body of Christ where there is neither Jew nor Gentile!

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

Gal 6:15…”For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

It is believers today, the new creature; neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, male or female (Gal 3:28); that will take up the places made void by satan and those fallen angels which followed him.  Paul writes to the same Corinthian believers…

1 Cor 6:3… “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”  As the twelve will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes in “Thy Kingdom Come” (Mat 19:28), believers today will “sit” in heaven and “judge” angels.  wow, Wow and WOW!!!

The reason there are two gospels to two groups of people is because there are two realms that require redemption in Christ.  One group is assigned to earthly things (Israel) and the other group (us), to heavenly.  Paul is therefore the Apostle to heavens redemption and thus the Apostle sent for us, whom we should follow, if we as believers are to be inside the Will of God.

There is a very, very profound problem with the teachings of today’s churches… they are teaching the wrong gospel.

Colossians 3:1-3… “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Amen!

Next Post – “Deceived…

If not Christ (John 3:16), then who?

If Christ was not sent to me (He was sent to Israel) then how am I blessed by His coming?  After all, John 3:16 says… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  “Am I not a part of the world”, you ask?  Well, yes we all are a part of the world, of course.  “Then God sent His Son for me, says so right in the verse”, you exclaim.

Let me ask then… If the gospel of our salvation is that Christ died on His cross as a substitute for us (1 cor 15:1-4), taking our deserved place as hopeless sinners (Rom 3:26); with the penalty of any sin at all being sure death (Rom 6:23); was made into sin for us (2 Cor 5:21), that sin and its penalty could be permanently destroyed by death (Rom 6:6-7); and was subsequently raised for our justification (Rom 4:25); where in John 3:16 can I learn any of that?  In truth, John 3:16 is the gospel of Israel (the circumcision) as it was Israel who needed to simply “believe that Jesus was the Messiah sent from God” to His people.  This is the gospel Israel failed to grasp… simply, that Christ was God incarnate.

John 3:16 is NOT the gospel believers today need to trust in; the gospel that proclaims the object (but not the content) of our faith.  We must trust the object AND the content (what Christ did); that Jesus paid the ultimate cost of OUR sin on OUR behalf and rest in that and that alone; with nothing to add save insult if we even try to justify ourselves by way of “good works” to make ourselves more “pleasing” in the sight of a Perfect and Holy Creator.  A turd is still a turd no matter how polished the turd.  All the best human lives ever lived, COMBINED, could not even remotely approach the Perfect Life displayed in Christ Jesus.  He is NOT our pattern.  He establishes us perfectly redeemed, completely complete (Col 2:10) lacking nothing at all in God the Father’s sight, by what He accomplished for us.

Then who was sent to us?

How do we learn the “content” of our faith?  Christ says in John 13:20… “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”  Christ sent the twelve, but they were sent to Israel as they were preaching the Kingdom (and therefore impending great tribulation) “at hand”.  Mat 10:5-6… “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, GO NOT into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Go not means do not go.  The twelve were not sent to believers today.  Great tribulation has not yet occurred.

Paul was sent to us.

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

1 Tim 2:7… “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

2 Tim 1:11… “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

You rightly question, “So I am NOT supposed to follow Christ or the twelve?”  My answer (the Bibles rightly divided answer) is no, you are not.  You can not.  You are not empowered to (as early Acts believers were).  You are to follow Paul (NOT that we magnify or worship Paul), we follow Paul as Paul followed Christ.  We worship and magnify Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, One God in 3 Persons, for all time!

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

1 Tim 1:16… “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me FIRST Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

“In me first“, Paul says?  “A pattern to them”…  “Did not the twelve come before Paul?”  They certainly did.  “Then how is Paul first?”  Because something changed.  The word hereafter shows this.  Hereafter what?  God dealt with man from the time of Abraham till the time shortly after Christ was crucified, in a certain way.  The nation Israel was His instrument to the world and Gods Law was His instrument to them.  But when Israel failed, God was not finished, as the world knew Him not.  He called Saul on the road to Damascus who became Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles; the heathen; you and me.  Paul became God’s instrument.  Free grace; the righteousness of God without the Law (Rom 3:21) was Gods instrument to Paul.  God Himself didn’t change; the way He deals with man over time, does.  The dispensation of the Law (Israel) was coming to a temporary end (as we shall see, God is far from finished with Israel) and the dispensation of the free grace of God to man was beginning.

Next Post – “Two Gospels???

Paul, not one of the twelve!

I am now saying something precious few professing Christians realize.  The Apostle Paul was not one of the twelve.  This fact however is the single most important, and key aspect, to full Bible understanding and comprehension.  Most believers simply maintain the position that Paul continued the same Kingdom message the twelve (and Christ Himself) was proclaiming; but to the Gentile nations.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Lets us explore Scripture as it alone matters…

After Judas killed himself for his betrayal of the Lord, there were eleven apostles remaining.  What did the remaining do about this situation; as Christ chose twelve men for a specific reason?  The number needed to be brought back to twelve as there will be twelve thrones requiring twelve “kings” (ROYAL priesthood – 1Peter 2:9) to judge the twelve tribes in the coming Kingdom of God on earth (Mat 19:28); which is clearly not yet established.  If we are in His Kingdom now, God needs a new job as this world is a MESS… (preterism flies out the window).

Acts 1 (a continuation of Luke 24) verses 15-26 tell of this choosing.  Prophesy (Psalm 69) needs to be fulfilled, therefore another Apostle to replace Judas must be chosen.  An identified requirement for “membership” in this group (verses 21-22) is that this man (Judas replacement) must have accompanied the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry (something Paul did not do).  Two men fit the bill… Barsabas and Matthias.  The eleven then prayed and asked God which of these two men He had chosen.

Acts 1:24… “And they prayed, and said, thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,”  The word “thou” in the KJB is singular, it means “specifically you”… not “y’all”.  Many professing Christians falsely believe that the disciples were acting upon their own wills at this moment in time and chose Matthias themselves, yet the words on the page (if we simply believe what they say) clearly indicate otherwise.  The casting of lots was the method by which God made His decision known to them, as God was no longer physically among them.  The Bible says that Matthias was numbered with the eleven in verse 26.  The very next thing we read about was the baptizing WITH (not by) the Holy Ghost, to ALL these men at the Jewish Feast of Weeks, Pentecost.  (If Pentecost is Jewish, why do “Christian” denominations acknowledge it?)

Acts 2:1… “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were ALL with one accord in one place.”  All means all.  All includes Matthias.

Acts 2:4…  “And they were ALL filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Again, all includes Matthias.  Matthias will therefore sit on one of twelve thrones in Gods Kingdom on earth.

This is Gods seal of approval, the giving of the Holy Ghost.  Therefore the Kingdom Apostles number, once again, twelve; and Paul is nowhere yet to be found.

Okay… so what?  Paul was not one of the twelve and will not therefore sit on a throne in “thy Kingdom come”.  How does this prove Paul preached a message different from the Kingdom message the twelve preached (as that is what we maintain)?  It doesn’t.  That will yet be demonstrated by Scripture in future postings.  It must be made perfectly clear however, that Paul’s apostleship, at its foundation, differs from the twelve; and since Paul was NOT called by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry to Israel as the twelve were, that this foundational difference does in fact exist.  This is the specific point of this post.  See this; understand this, and we can move on.  Paul was NOT one of the twelve!

Wait, back up a minute… did you say Jesus Christ’s “earthly ministry to Israel”?  Did not Christ come to save the whole world?

Next stop, more scripture you’ve never read.

Next Post – “Christ, not sent for me?