The World That Then Was – Appendix A – The Testimony of Creation

Romans 1:19-20

Because that which is known of God is manifest among them, for God did manifest it to them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world, by the things made being understood, are plainly seen, both His eternal power and Godhead – to their being inexcusable

In the last post we briefly mentioned the need to meditate on God’s Word, consider His creation, and make associations. In this brief post we seek to address and drive home that point further. The adversary has firmly entrenched the theoretical sciences, such as evolution, into our school systems. Evolution is in essence a false god, worshiped by some, and feared by many Christians. The educational system and the media are the false prophets that promote this atheistic religion. The antidote to counteract this toxin which has seeped into our schools is not to play by the adversary’s rules. That is to say, we do not need to use their terms and definitions and thereby seek to debate and debunk the proponents of evolution using their tool set. Rather we need to reside on the firm foundation of God’s Word. We need to stop seeking validation from those in the world who even deny there is such a thing as sin to begin with. Do we seek the approval of men or of God?

Once you pick up the Word of God and shake off the entrapments of the media and wisdom of the world, by God’s grace you can view creation as the testimony to the Creator that it is. As the verse above points out, once you understand the “things that are made”, all the things in creation, and Who made them, then you can plainly see God’s eternal power and Godhead, the three Persons of the Trinity in creation. You will soon find out that you are surrounded by a creation that is literally abounding with testimony to God and His Word. A few posts ago we looked at one aspect of this, we considered how God made man in His image, and how that image was three-in-one. For we know that Adam was made body, soul, and spirit and so are we. We looked further at how the whole creation bears the signature of God in the sense that every single thing made has three principle parts, of which each one of those three principle parts breaks down further into three principle sub-parts and so on. There is one God existent in three Person’s, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and all of God’s creation sounds forth this truth with examples oftri-unity.  Since we have already looked at this in that post, we will not spend time again looking at that aspect of God’s creation, but for this post we will look at another awesome feature of God’s creation; resurrection.

The Testimony of Resurrection in Creation

Resurrection abounds in creation, it is all around us as we shall see. Let’s first consider that the absolute most important resurrection was that of our Lord Jesus Christ. For by His death, burial, and resurrection, He as the Firstborn from the dead, guaranteed that all of those who believe in Him will one day be resurrected to eternal life. Let’s consider Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John:

John 12:24

Verily, verily I say unto you, Except a corn (grain) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.

As we know Christ Jesus our Lord was talking about His death, burial, and resurrection and makes the connection to a grain of wheat falling into the ground, dying, and producing more wheat. By His finished work, He made possible the resurrection of eternal life to all who believe in Him! And we see the Holy Spirit inspiring the apostle Paul to speak to this fact as well in his first epistle to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:35-38

But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Unwise! that which you sow (plant) is not quickened (made alive), except it die. And that which you sow (plant), you sow not the body that shall be, but bare grain, it may by chance be of wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as it has pleased Him, and to every seed his own body.

In this Scripture we again see the testimony of creation used in conjunction with a Scriptural reference to resurrection. We now take liberty to use a phrase in another part of Scripture and ask any who have doubts, “does not nature itself teach you that there is resurrection?” And we ask you now to diligently consider all the vegetable life in creation, think of all the grass, the plants and bushes, the trees. All of these have seeds, and all of them point to the fact of resurrection, of life from the dead. Just think of it, as that fruit or seed is growing on the tree it is alive. But when that seed falls to the ground, it is separated from it’s life, cutoff from the tree from which it received it’s nutrients. That seed is dead, if I pick it up and put it on a shelf in my house it will remain dead. But if that seed gets planted, if it gets buried, then after process of time and water it will eventually rise from the earth and bask in the sun. Now just think of what it will be like for us folks. If we die before the Lord comes back, we will be buried, but just as the water brings forth the tree shoot which breaks through the earth, so the Word of God, “come up here” will break us forth in resurrection to bask in the glory of the Son of God! Wow, what an awesome God we serve!

And we see this testimony to resurrection abound all around us, we see the vegetable life spring forth proclaiming in it’s own way the coming resurrection. It’s as if God’s creation is springing forth from the earth and reaching towards heaven in anticipation of this event. While keeping this in our minds, let’s look to God’s Word where we see this pictured.

Romans 8:18-23

For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us; for the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly but because of Him who did subject it in hope. That also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption, to the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we have known that all the creation does groan together , and does travail in pain together till now. And not only so, but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting – the redemption of our body.

Brothers and sisters, take a walk outside, God’s creation still speaks to us today and tells of our Creator and the hope we have in our Lord Jesus Christ when He shall come and “change our bodies into glorious bodies fashioned like unto His”!

The Plight and Flight of the Butterfly

In closing let’s just take a another look at one of many awesome examples in God’s creation that speak to the resurrection. Let’s consider the butterfly, if we were to listen to the world’s wisdom, the life cycle of a butterfly should somehow add credence to the evolutionist’s theories. But we know that God’s Word is truth, so let us venture outside with God’s Word in our hands. Let us look to the Author and Finisher of our faith, Christ Jesus, for understanding concerning His creation. As we feel the sun shining on us, we think of the Son of God shining His grace and truth to all who will believe. As we open His Word we find ourselves again in the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, where we read the following:

1 Corinthians 15:39-49

All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, and another of fish, and another of birds; and there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but one is the glory of the heavenly, and another that of the earthly; one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for star from star does differ in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead, it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. So also as it has been written, “The first man Adam became a living creature”, the last Adam for a life-giving Spirit, but that which is spiritual is not first, but that which is natural, afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man is out of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such also are the earthy, and as the heavenly, such also the heavenly; and according as we did bear the image of the earthly, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly.

With light from the Scripture we have just read, we ask you to go back to a simpler place and time, we ask you revisit for a brief moment your childhood, to look as it were at God’s creation through the eyes of a child. As we observe God’s creation we notice a caterpillar. We may note a particular pattern on this caterpillar and we notice it’s movement, how it inches along slowly getting to it’s destination. We notice how this caterpillar is bound to the earth, he has no wings to fly, his highest ambition may be to slowly climb a tree to partake of it’s vegetation and while he has achieved a certain height, he is still bound to the things of the earth in his earthly body. But after process of time we notice something happen, something remarkable, we notice that this caterpillar begins to make some type of enclosure. And at last we notice that he enters that enclosure and it is sealed. It appears to us that this is the end for the caterpillar, that he has entered the tomb of his making, and all his activity has ceased.

Is this the end, has the tomb sealed the fate of our caterpillar friend? Has he entered to emerge no more, has his existence ceased? Well, after process of time we notice something, there is movement, the caterpillar’s tomb is moving! Could it be, is this life from the dead, will the caterpillar emerge to live again?! What will he look like, of what form shall he take? Finally, we see the first indication of an answer to our questions as we see the caterpillar begin breaking forth from it’s tomb. But what we see is not a caterpillar, but a butterfly! While we can faintly see the remnant of what type of caterpillar this butterfly was, his likeness from his former state is overshadowed by the glorious creature he has become. As he was bound to the earth, and confined to the life of an earthly creature before he entered the tomb, we see now that with the change that he went through and the addition of wings, he is now a heavenly creature with a heavenly scope and sphere which he occupies and he flutters in the sky. I ask you now, does this beautiful experience we have just looked at, sound forth some theory about animals changing from one species to another, or does it sound forth the resurrection of the dead?

The change that resulted in the caterpillar turning into a butterfly is known as metamorphosis. This word is Greek in origin and denotes the change that took place with the caterpillar. There is another Greek word that is a cousin to this word, it is the word, “metanoia” and it means, “change of heart or mind”, we commonly find it translated to the English word, “repentance” in our Bibles. Dear reader do you desire eternal life? Every single person will experience resurrection, the question is whether or not that resurrection is to eternal life, or an eternal separation from God in Hell. Do you know which type of resurrection you are going to experience? If not, then we ask you to have a “metanoia” so you can experience the “metamorphosis” unto eternal life! That is to say, we ask you to have a change of mind, a change of heart and believe what God’s Word tells us, that we are all sinners and all fall short of the glory of God, that because of our sins, we all deserve nothing less than eternal separation from God. But God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son for you! And the Lord Jesus Christ so loved you, that He shed His blood and died for you and for your sins, He took the punishment you and I deserved, He was buried and on the third day, He arose from the grave, the Firstborn from the dead, so you and I and anyone who believes I Him can also have eternal life! If you have never done so, please believe in the Lord Jesus as your Saviour right now, call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save you. He is faithful, He will save you, and one day in the future He will give you a new glorified heavenly body, a body fashioned like His, with a heavenly scope and sphere, forever existing in the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ Jesus!

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

Derrick

The World That Then Was: What the Bible Says About Dinosaurs

I had thought to start a study about some of the awesome types that point forward to our Lord Jesus Christ, but recently I have felt led to first conduct a series on the world before the flood.  I don’t really know why I’m writing this series, but there are some awesome things to consider in God’s Word concerning the antidiluvian (pre-flood) world.  In this first post we are going to consider what God’s Word says about dinosaurs.  Most Christians might immediately say that there is not much if anything about dinosaurs in the Bible, but I beg to differ and ask the reader to please join me and read the entire post.  I sincerely believe that your thoughts about dinosaurs may be much different as we ask God to give us light from His Word on this subject.

If I would ask you where you would go to find out information about dinosaurs, what would your answer be?  I think most Christians would be of the opinion that you would have to go outside of the Bible.  If I then asked what sources within the world would you go to for information about dinosaurs, what would your answer be?  More than likely I think the answer would be to scientists.  But what if I told you that the Bible provides information about dinosaurs?  And what if I told you that once you get a Biblical view of dinosaurs that you would see traces of truth concerning dinosaurs by not looking to scientists, but instead the various dragon fables from around the world, would you think I’m crazy? Well before we look at these things, let’s just consider what some of the devil’s motives are behind the use of evolution and dinosaurs.  First, through the use of propaganda in educational systems, he would have us think that scientists belong to a higher, more noble profession which earnestly seeks the truth.  When you do the research though you find out that what motivates scientists are the same things that motivate all of the worlds organizations and affiliations: money in the form of funding and grants as well as political and social motives and pride.  Evolutionary science is an atheistic religion, pure and simple. The devil uses evolutionary science to “blind those who don’t believe” and to scare, silence and give doubts about God’s Word to those who do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  If he is not successful in silencing the Christian, then he wants the Christian to fight against evolutionary science using the tools of the world, which basically consist of trying to disprove the evolutionist theories using science itself.  The problem with this is that we are cautioned against this method in 1 Timothy 6:20 and what usually results is that the Christian finds out that even if he/she can logically present his/her case against evolutionary science to an adherent of that atheistic religion, there will usually be a refusal to admit to the facts.  But folks, what the adversary doesn’t want us to do is actually read God’s Word and see what God says about these things and the adversary doesn’t want us to use the common sense that God gave us to look at the creation and world around us and make associations and connections to God’s Word. * see Appendix A

Dragon Tales
Ok so this post is going to be full of questions I would like you to consider, so here we go.  What physical evidence do we have for dinosaurs?  Answer: Bones and fossils.  What do these bones suggest? Answer: Some sort of huge creatures that resemble reptiles that once walked the earth and are now extinct.  Do we really know what their skin or exterior looked like?  Answer: We assume them to be reptilian based on bone structure, but the exterior depiction of these creatures was largely the product of scientists and media imaginations.  So we’ve discovered the bones of large reptilian like creatures that are extinct, when thinking of a large reptile like creature that no longer exists, is there any parallel to this type of creature mentioned in history?  Answer: Why yes, there exists numerous stories of dragons, they resemble certain types of dinosaurs and dragon stories are found throughout many cultures and on many continents throughout history.  Ok, so I will stop with the questions for a bit.  Let’s consider something right now, let’s consider that throughout history and cultures there are many accounts of the great flood.  These accounts of the flood have survived for thousands of years and are found on different continents and in different cultures, while the accounts differ, the main theme is the same, a flood that destroyed the whole world, while one man and his family was saved.  As Christians we know that in God’s Word the true account of the flood was recorded, and the rest of the accounts from around the world were corrupted accounts, and they contain some, but not all elements of the truth.  So for our study today, we will see the same thing about dragons, we have various accounts of dragons handed down for thousands of years from all over the world, but to get the truth we have to go to God’s Word, let’s do that now.

The Dragon/Dinosaur Connection
The word “dragon” is found 28 times in the Old Testament.  The Hebrew words for “dragon” are Tanniyn and Tanniym.  These two words literally mean “monster”, but maybe  not exactly the same meaning “monster” holds for us today, it is more reflective of the enormous size and strength of this creature which God made and in my opinion intelligence as we shall see.  In the KJV Bible the Hebrew words have been translated into the english word “dragon” 21 times, but 7 times they were translated into other words.  By looking at the times when the Hebrew word for dragon was not translated literally, we will gain much insight in our study.  Ok, so if we were looking for dinosaurs in God’s Word where would be the first logical place we should look?  Answer: Genesis, to see when God created all of the creatures.  So we need to look at the six days of creation and see if we find any mention of dinosaurs or dragons.  At first glance we don’t see any mention of dragons, but let’s look a little closer at the fifth day of creation.  We read in Genesis 1:20 that on day 5, God created the birds and the sea creatures and then in verse 21 we read, “and God created the great whales, and every living creature the moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good“.  Now I would like to point out the english word “whales” is actually the Hebrew word Tanniym, which means “dragons” .  So literally we have God creating a group of creatures, known as “dragons” on the fifth day of creation.  While we have much ground yet to cover, I would just put forth that this verse is describing when God created the dinosaurs, a classification of animal that was reptilian, huge in size, and depending on the specific type of dinosaur had it’s environment in the sea but also was able to walk about the earth and if it was a type that had wings, fly in the sky.

The Dragon, the old Serpent
Ok, so for now we see that there was a classification of animals created by God on the fifth day, called “dragons” in the original Hebrew, which we are considering were dinosaurs.  So what happened to them? Well to begin to answer this we need to look further in Genesis.  Let’s consider when the serpent tempted Eve in the garden of Eden, which is recorded in Genesis 3.  The Hebrew word for “serpent” is “nachash” which in the form it is used in Genesis 3 is consistently translated “serpent” in the rest of the Old Testament.  So essentially the word serpent means the same as what we call a snake today. For hundreds of years we have been told and seen art work which depicts two things that are incorrect regarding the temptation that occured in the garden of Eden.  The first is that the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which Adam and Eve ate was an apple.  Genesis 3 does not specify what the specific fruit was, so we can’t be sure that it was an apple.  The second common misconception associated with the temptation in the garden of Eden is that the creature that tempted Eve was a snake as we now know that animal today.  This is not true because though the creature was called a serpent, at that time it did not look like a serpent.  To prove this we need to consider the judgements which God declared after Adam and Eve had sinned and partaken of the forbidden fruit.  In Genesis 3:14-18 we see the different sentences pronounced on Adam, Eve, and the serpent because of what they had done.  For now let’s look at the first part of the judgement pronounced on the serpent.

Genesis 3:14
And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust you eat all the days of your life.

Please pay particular attention to the phrase, “upon your belly shall you go”.  This was a judgement pronounced on the serpent because he tempted Eve and this was issued after the serpent had tempted Eve and she and Adam ate of the fruit.  So if the punishment handed to serpent was to go on his belly, that means the before this judgement he was a creature that stood upright.  So when we consider the word serpent, we affirm that it means snake, but we also affirm that before the judgement was carried out on this creature the serpent was a creature that stood upright and looked different than a snake looks today.  When the serpent tempted Eve he did not slither up to her, he walked and what I am proposing is because his form was a dragon.  We need to prove this in God’s Word though. Could there be a connection between dragons and snakes?  Let’s take a look at a verse in Revelation.  When John is describing when the devil if finally cast out of heaven we read:

Revelation 12:9
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him.

So we can see the association of the dragon being the same as the serpent and folks what I am proposing to you is that the words “dragon” and “serpent” are describing the same creature when regarding the devil and also the same creatures when regarding dinosaurs and reptiles today.  The difference is their form before and after the judgement which took place after the garden of Eden.  Well, someone might ask why was the serpent not called a dragon in Genesis 3, if he was in fact a dragon at that point?  Because I believe that the Hebrew words for dragon and serpent though they are different words are synonymous and interchangeable.  And let me show where I believe the Holy Spirit has given us the illustration that these two Hebrew words are synonymous.  If we turn to the book of Exodus and begin with chapter 4 and verse 3 we see that God had given Moses a sign to perform to the children of Israel if they would not believe that God had sent him.  If Moses threw down his rod, it would become a serpent on the ground.  The Hebrew word for serpent in this verse is the standard Hebrew word “nachash” which is correctly translated “serpent”.  Later in Exodus 7:15 we read of God giving Moses a command about the “rod which was turned to a serpent”.  Again this is the Hebrew word “nachash” which is serpent.  But now we have to back up a bit for in Exodus 7: verse 9, verse 10, and verse 12, when reading about Aaron casting down the rod and it becoming a “serpent” and Pharoah’s magicians doing the same thing, we have the english word serpent used 3 times, once in each verse.  But when we check the original Hebrew we find that these three times the words which are translated into the English word “serpent” are not “nachash” but “instead are the Hebrew word tanniym/tanniyn”!  So if we translate this literally the rod turned into a dragon!  Does this mean that Aarons rod became a huge dinosaur?  No, I don’t believe so but rather I am of the opinion that the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to use this term when writing the book of Exodus, because it was synonymous with the word serpent.  Just think of it this way, today we primarily call the slithery creatures, snakes. But they are also known as serpents, though when one usually uses the word serpent it may have another feeling or connotation associated with it.  So technically “dragon” pertained to what a serpent was before the Eden judgement, and “serpent” pertained to what a serpent was after the judgement, but as we see in Exodus the terms could be used interchangeably.

So just to sum up what we have been considering:  On day 5 of creation, God created a group of animals, known as “dragons”, which we are putting forth to be dinosaurs.  In the garden of Eden, the devil was incarnate in one of these dinosaurs and tempted Eve to sin.  And since we know from Scripture that he was the chief angel, we can probably assume that in his physical manifestation he was also the chief dragon/dinosaur. God pronounced judgement on this dragon/dinosaur, which resulted in a judgement that applied not just to the devil in his physical “dragon/serpent” state, but also to the whole classification of these enormous reptiles.  Now I realize I just added a couple of things which seem that I stretched things a bit, but I intend to directly talk to these.

What did a dinosaur actually look like?
In God’s Word, we learn that before his fall, the devil was originally the chief angel called Lucifer, the cherub that covereth, we also learn in Genesis that he had a physical manifestation and was in the garden of Eden as a serpent. He did not look like a snake, but rather like a dragon or dinosaur.  As we shall see in a minute, God created Lucifer this way before his fall, because when God created everything in His creation, He pronounced everything in the heavens and earth and every creature good.  This was before sin had entered in either by Lucifer’s fall or by Adam and Eve sinning.  With this in mind, it would be benefit us to turn to Ezekiel 28, and though I am going to quote just one verse, please read this chapter in it’s entirety.  In this chapter we see a prophecy against the “King of Tyre”, but so often there are different layers to prophecy and so it is with this specific prophecy.  While it is about the “King of Tyre”, it is also a prophecy about the devil.  And as we read this, let’s keep in mind what we have already considered about the dragons or dinosaurs being created the fifth day, and about the chief dragon or dinosaur (the devil) being in the garden of Eden and tempting Eve. By doing this we may just get a description of what the dinosaurs looked like, at the very least what the head dragon/dinosaur, the devil, looked like.

Ezekiel 28:13
Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, the gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created.

Wow, so we see a creature that was literally covered with precious gems and gold and that was created with the ability to produce music (tabrets and pipes).  This is a little different than what the scientists tell us dinosaurs looked like huh?!  Are we sure we believe it takes thousands of years for a gemstone to form, or are they the remnants of dinosaurs?  Now to be fair we don’t know if this is just how the devil looked in his specific state prior to his fall or if this is also what all the dragons/dinosaurs looked like. But now can you see how the standard description of some snake slithering up to Eve to tempt her is incorrect?  It seems that the serpent was a dragon that tempted the woman and it is very interesting to consider that as in the beginning days of Genesis we have a dragon tempting the woman, so have we a dragon and woman mentioned in the end days in Revelation chapter 12, remembering that the woman in Revelations 12 is not one single woman but rather a symbol of a group of people, which some would say is Israel and others would say is Jerusalem, but we won’t weigh in on that at this time.  We also point out that the dragon in revelations is a symbol pointing to the antichrist’s empire in the last days with 7 heads (seven nations, which I believe (I could be wrong) to be Rome, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq) and ten horns (ten kings from these nations).

What actually happened to the Dinosaurs then?
Let’s take a quick look at the judgement pronounced on the serpent in Genesis 3:14-15

Genesis 3:14-15
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.

I would actually ask you to read all of Genesis 3:14-19 before we continue.  What is interesting to note is that the judgements given to Adam, Eve, and the serpent, are all physical judgements pertaining to everyday life except for verse 15.  In verse 15 it is simultaneously both physical (concerning seed lines) and spiritual, and contains the prophecy of the “seed of the woman” that shall bruise or crush the serpents head.  We have looked in other posts at how this was the first prophecy of the coming Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ and His ultimate destruction of Satan.  But in the verse prior to this, in verse 14 we have a physical judgement/curse pronounced on the serpent.  As we look at the physical judgements pronounced on Adam and Eve, they would not only apply to them, but to all mankind after them.  So as we look at verse 14 it is my opinion that this curse on the serpent applied all of it’s kind, meaning all of the different types of dinosaurs, even the ones that weren’t exactly like him.  They all went on their belly, through a sort of de-evolution (though I cringe to use that word) in regards to their offspring.  They became what we know today as reptiles; turtles, lizards, snakes, gators and so on.  This is pure speculation on my part, but I speculate that the other angels who fell were also of the same type of dinosaur that the devil was. And that his specific kind of dinosaur, were the dinosaurs that actually became snakes.  My reasoning for this is based on the fact that when you read the description of the devil when he was in the garden of Eden in Ezekiel 28:13 and consider he was covered with all sorts of gemstones and precious metal, this resonates with the fact that many snakes have patterns and names which resemble gemstones and metals. (i.e. Copperhead, Diamondback, etc.).  To be fair I am doing quite a bit of speculation here though, so this is just one of those “hmm…I wonder” type of thoughts.

If we go to the generations listed in early Genesis and do some calculating we will find that the flood occured approximately 1600 years after the creation of Adam, in the last year of Methuselah’s life.  When God warned Adam not to eat any fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He stated that if Adam did eat that fruit, “the day you eat thereof you shall surely die”.  As we have looked at in another post, the original Hebrew of this verse says, “the day you eat thereof, dying you shall die”, which is a Hebrew figure of speech, which shows something immediate, that continues on.  In that post we considered that when Adam sinned, He died that day in the sense that His spirit went from a state of “alive” to “dead”. We also considered that his body went from a state of “alive” to “dying” though he would not physically die for hundreds and hundreds of years.  After this when we read of his son Seth, we read that he was born in Adam’s image and likeness, which was marred by sin.  So all this to say that when we think of the judgement/curse that was issued to the Dragon/Serpent and all his kind.  My opinion which could obviously be wrong, is that the dinosaurs of that day died in the sense that their spirits died or the fallen angels that resided in them were forced out of them, but the physical creatures continued on until the flood.  Their offspring though would not be the size they were due to the curse to “go on their belly” and were more similar looking to the reptiles we see today, which also went on the ark of Noah.  As we consider in verse 14, the serpent was cursed above all cattle, I think this refers to the fact that God originally created the dinosaurs as extremely intelligent creatures, which is evidenced by the fact that the devil resided in one of them and could talk.  But when the species was “cursed above all cattle”. Their intelligent spirit beings were removed from them and they had a lower intelligence than even the cows. But once again want to clarify that I am speculating.  So in regards to the one mysterious event that scientists refer to killing off the dinosaurs, I think it was the original dinosaurs that God created in Day 5, some of which or all of which lived until the flood destroyed them.

Final Thoughts
God’s Word is the truth, what we see in the world is not truth, but is often a corrupted/twisted version of the truth as we shall see in a few moments.  What we have sought to do is to consider dinosaurs, dragons, and serpents based on what the Bible says.  We need to always be first grounded in God’s Word, and once we are grounded and we take a look at the world we will see things for what they really are.  We have to realize that the devil is a liar and seeks to blind those who don’t believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, by promoting lies that often contain truth that has been twisted and corrupted, he is also prideful and so he wants to put his mark on things.  Consider this, remember when we looked at fact that most people consider that the apple was the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate.  Well, let’s consider the computer company Apple, what is their logo?  An apple with a bite taken out of it!  I am not saying that computers are bad and we should never use them, but what I am saying is that the devil seeks to lure Christians away by seeking the world’s wisdom instead of God’s Word and while I am not saying that the company Apple is some sort of satanic organization, but what I am saying is that Scripture states that the devil is temporarily the “god of this world” and the “the prince of the power of the air” and he wants people and especially Christians to be led astray by the “wisdom of this world” instead of firmly grounded in God’s Word.

Again repeating that we need to firmly grounded in God’s Word before looking to the things of world, let’s consider some things about dragons in different cultures.  In Asia we often see festivals which have replicas of creatures which have a dragon’s head and a snake’s body.  Based on what we looked at in God’s Word we can see that though they might not know it, they are telling how the dragon and the serpent are the same, the head representing the creature starting out as a dragon, the body representing what the dragon became.  As we looked at in Ezekiel 28 concerning the dragon in Eden having musical organs,”tabrets and pipes” built in him, we have a number of children’s books and cartoons that have musical dragons.  When we look at classic “dragon tales” from various cultures, we usually notice that the dragon has a lair with gold and precious gems, usually there is always a woman or girl associated with the dragon, which he has taken captive.  And usually there is a man that is going to slay the dragon.  So let’s point some interesting things concerning these associations.  First in dragon lore, the dragons abode is called a “lair”, interesting then that snakes are associated with “lairs” also.  When we consider that Ezekiel 28 points out that the dragon in Eden was covered with gold and precious gems, it is interesting that in dragon lore, dragons are associated as having gold and precious gems in their lair.  Considering what we know about the serpent (dragon) tempting Eve and causing her to sin, and the woman and dragon in Revelation 12, it is interesting that in dragon lore, there is usually a woman that is held captive by the dragon.  Concerning prophecy of the woman’s seed that would crush the serpent’s head, which we know is a Messianic prophecy, it is interesting to note how usually in dragon lore there is a man that is going to slay the dragon and rescue the woman.  So by just looking at a couple of examples we can see how some trace elements of truth (albeit twisted) came down through history.  When God’s Word is our foundation, we can see these things for what they really are.

In closing, in a prior post we had looked at how when Eve was formed by taking a rib from Adam’s side, this was a type that pointed forward to how the church, the body of Christ was formed by Christ Jesus our Lord and His death, burial, and resurrection.  We had looked at how the rib taken out of the side of Adam correlated with the blood and water which flowed from Christ’s side when he was pierced.  We began that study by noting how Ephesians 5:25-32 speaks to the fact that the church, the body of Christ, is the “wife” of Christ, and how in verses 30 and 31 of that chapter we have a quote from Genesis concerning Adam and Eve which points us back to Genesis to gain further information.  Well, in light of our study today let’s continue that type a bit.  Let’s consider that Eve prior to her eating the forbidden fruit typifies the church, the body of Christ, but Eve after partaking of the fruit typifies the professing church or “christendom” as we have called it before.  Folks, basically Christendom has partaken of the forbidden fruit, if we see the forbidden fruit as a type that points to the world’s wisdom.  We each have to ask ourselves some hard questions.  Am I holding forth God’s Word to others as the truth, or I am holding out the forbidden fruit to others, an amalgamation of truth and error?  Am I seeking to reconcile God’s Word with the prevailing wisdom of the world and therefore polluting the truth or am I establishing that God’s Word is the truth and any deviation the world produces is false.  Do I seek what God’s Word says or what scientists say?  When raising our kids are we holding out God’s Word to them or some amalgamation which is part truth and part wisdom of the world?  When I need advice to raise my kids, do I go to God’s Word or do I go to the world?  These are all sobering questions meant for individual contemplation and prayer and not finger pointing, may the Lord give us eyes to see and discern the world around us and ears to hear His Word.  May we rejoice in the fact that though we are not always faithful our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is always faithful!

In the Lord Jesus Christ,
Derrick

The Unity of the Spirit – Closing Thoughts

I had thought to close this series with the last post, but there were a couple of things that I felt needed to yet be addressed.  On this website I earnestly seek to try and stay away from tearing down any denomination or sect of Christendom.  A large part of the reason I avoid this is because usually when one denomination is singled out to describe an error in doctine, it usually in turn promotes another denomination or sect of Christendom and this I feel has been the devils gameplan for 2000 years, trying to play one side against the other, all the while ignoring the truth of the true church, the body of Christ.  I seek only to promote that which God’s Word promotes, which is by God’s grace to make known the glorious truth of the body of Christ.  The truth that every single person who has trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work alone and called on Him to save them is a member of the spiritual organization called the body of Christ.  This “true church”, this spiritual organization is not a physical building, but is spiritually in Christ with Him as its Head.  So any given physical Christian church may contain people who are legitimately saved and members of the true church, but may also contain people who are not saved.  It’s all about the heart and God knows who have truly believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and who haven’t truly believed and are either depending on their supposed good works to enter heaven, or their church attendance, or whatever else.  Likewise there are no doubt some who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ and are members of the body of the Christ who do not even go to church, though we should all seek to have fellowship with other believers.  All this being said, I have to address something that I should have addressed in the last post, and it is invariably going to call out a specific doctrine of a specific part of Christendom.  While I don’t want to do this because of the reasons mentioned above, my conscience will not allow me to ignore it because it is needful to combat a very serious and grievous error that is actually blasphemy, though those who may do it, may do it in ignorance.  I just again want to mention that I am doing this not to try and promote the other major part of Christendom as being better, but again promote only the true church mentioned in God’s Word, the body of Christ.

One God and Father of all

Matthew 23:9
And call no man father, upon the earth: for one is your Father in heaven

Both the last unity of the Spirit we have been studying and this verse from Matthew which records Jesus words while He was on the earth, speak to the same fact that the only father we Christians have pertaining to spiritual things is God the Father.  Looking at both of these places of Scipture in their context, which mention this truth, leave no room for error, that only God is our Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Throughout the New Testament we get many instructions regarding our heavenly Father and our relationship to Him as children because of our salvation in Jesus.  So for any man to take the title of “father” pertaining to Christian things is nothing short of blasphemy.  This of course exposes a fatal error in the Catholic church, but while I do not seek to tear down any member of the body of Christ, who happens to go to a Catholic church, I do seek by God’s grace to edify them and tell them the truth.  And the truth is that to call the pope, “Holy Father” is absolute blasphemy and to call a priest “Father” is also blasphemy.  If there are any Catholic brothers or sisters in Christ reading this who have done this in ignorance, then please remember that God knows the heart, and He knows if it is done in ignorance or willful disobedience, but now knowing the truth you cannot claim ignorance after this point.  I must also say that to go to the confessional booth and call a man “father” and ask him to forgive sins is a blasphemy as well.  There is one mediator between men and God, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).  Brothers and sisters, we have direct access to God our Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer.  We, unlike Israel in the Old Testament, do not need a high priest to go into the Holy of Holies to offer a sacrifice for us, because the Lord Jesus Christ is our High Priest and provided the way to the Father for us, when He shed His blood and died for us on the cross.  That is why the temple veil, which was before the Holy of Holies in the temple, was torn in two from the top to the bottom when our Savior died.  The torn veil signified that the way to God through Christ’s atonement on the cross was made possible.

One Translation?
There exist some churches in various parts of Christendom who are militant about one Bible translation being the “right one” and all the others being erroneous.  There are some that spend great amounts of time promoting the “one translation” and in many instances this becomes a point of division for members of the body of Christ.  I would just point out that in the unities of the Spirit we have looked at during this series, there is not a unity listed that says, “one translation”, so for those who would seek division or seperation from other brothers and sisters in Christ based on the translation of the Bible they are using, please realize that this a direct snare of the devil.  It is my opinion that if the Holy Spirit would have seeked to promote a certain translation to the degree where the agreement of a certain translation being superior would preclude fellowship with other believers, then it would have been listed in the unities of the Spirit we have just looked at.  I am bringing this to focus as one who fully believes that the KJV and YLT are much more accurate translations of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts than other current versions.  But while I fully believe this, I also realize that God is in control and if He wants to get someone to a more accurate version of the Bible He will.

And I’ll just say this, even though I’m breaking my rule of mentioning personal experience, so please remember this is just my experience and not God’s Word. When the Lord awoke me after a long slumber and wallowing in the pig slop of the world and after this gave me a hunger for His Word, I started off in the NIV, then I noticed some things I wanted to look at closer so I started also looking at the NKJV, then the NASB,  then I started having more questions and I started looking at a Hebrew/Greek KJV study Bible, then I started looking at the YLT, and then I started looking at the Hebrew/Greek Interlinear Bible.  Now while I primarily use the KJV, YLT and Hebrew/Greek Interlinear for study now, it is not the translation that I read to my kids right now because I want them to comprehend Bible truths and not to try and decode old english.  This being said I totally realize that there are a number of Bible versions to come out in recent years which are not very literal at all and in many instances obscure the truth by translating to interpretation instead of literal word.  So there are definitely some versions I would never read to my kids and would dissuade them from as they grow older.

But all these things to say, that whether it’s, “one translation” or “one (fill-in-the-blank)”  we have to walk circumspectly and make sure we don’t fall into a snare of the devil by preventing fellowship with other members of Christ’s body based on something that we have no right to disallow fellowship about.  But let me now mention the other side of the coin.  In the same breath I state these things, we would also caution about someone saying certain behaviors and lifestyles should be accepted and not barred from fellowship because there is no mention for or against in the unity of the Spirit in Ephesians 4.  To anyone who would take this ground, we would simply ask them to read the Corinthian epistles, where there is described the correct actions for those who are willfully committing sins and their need to be removed from fellowship with the other saints.  Sinful behavior is very clearly outlined in God’s Word, and no believer should deceitfully try to use God’s Word, claiming the “unity of Spirit”, allowing for behavior or lifestyle that is clearly regarded as sinful in God’s Word.

Final Thoughts
As I close this series, it seems to me that if the Lord gives me the days, I am going to examine more fully with future posts, the types that pointed forward to our Lord Jesus Christ, which are evident throughout Scripture.  As we learn from the Psalms, “the volume of the book” tells of the Lord Jesus Christ, from Genesis to Revelation, and it is so awesome to see how the things that happened to men of God thousands of years before and are recorded for us in Scripture, were types that pointed forward to our Lord Jesus Christ and both His dealings with Israel and with the body of Christ.  When we read and meditate on these types, we are blessed and built up in Christ and many times the principle we learn in the New Testament is applied as we get understanding from the Holy Spirit about the type that pointed to it in the Old Testament.  For instance if I really want to see a vivid illustration of what the apostle Paul writes about in Romans 7:1-4 concerning being married to the law and then married to another, if we at this point ask ourselves where is something similar to this in God’s Word, we can find an interesting type when we read of Abigail, Nabal, and David in 1 Samuel 25.

In closing, I just ask you a simple question, do you know where you will spend eternity?  Any of us could die at any moment, do you know where you would go if you would die tonight?  If you don’t we beg to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior!  God’s Word clearly communicates that “we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and because of this we all deserve to go to Hell and ultimately the lake of Fire being eternally seperated from God.  But God doesn’t want this for you friend, He loves you and He loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for you so if you believe in Him you can have eternal life.  The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, He took the punishment and wrath of God on Him as He bled and died on the cross, so you and I might have eternal life.  After He died He was buried and rose from the grave on the third day.  He was victorious over sin and death and is alive forever more!  You and I can’t earn our way to heaven, we can’t be good enough, attending church or doing some sort of ceremonies can’t save us.  All the religions of the world are the same, they talk of things that you must do to be saved, or go to heaven, or have nirvana, and be reincarnated or whatever.  But the truth is this, you can’t do anything to make yourself acceptable to God, but praise the Lord Jesus Christ that He did.  By His finished work on the cross, He offers salvation to anyone who will believe in Him and call upon Him to save them.  If you are not sure whether your saved or not, we beg you to accept the gracious gift that God has given you.  Believe in Jesus as your Savior and call upon Him by praying to Him!

For those of us who are saved and have accepted God’s gracious gift of salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord, let’s remember that our hope in this life is the Lord Jesus Christ, both His life in us and His return for us, which could be at any moment.  If there are any of us who are spiritually asleep at the wheel right now, we pray the Holy Spirit would apply these verses to our hearts:

Romans 13: 11 – 14
And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkeness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Derrick VanKampen

The Unity of the Spirit – One God and Father of all

Ephesians 4:3 – 6

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

As we consider the seventh point of the Unity of the Spirit and consider that there is one God and Father of us all, it is beneficial to remember why the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write of our unity in the Spirit to the Ephesians and to us as well. As we look at the professing church on earth, we see confusion and division. If we paid less attention to all the creeds and doctrinal statements which Christendom has produced and returned to the Word of God for our authority, we would see that in Ephesians 4, the Holy Spirit has already given us the true unifying statement of faith for the true church, the body of Christ. We cannot stress enough that membership in the body of Christ is not administered by any man, organization or religious system. You cannot earn membership in the body of Christ, it is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who has believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and His death, burial, and resurrection as the finished work and payment for their sins has been saved, sealed, and sanctified and has been baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit upon belief. With all the divisions and quagmires that exist in Christendom, Christians can escape the mess and find fellowship and edification with fellow saints as they look at and seek agreement with the unities of the Spirit.

We must immediately point out that there is an awesome verse to consider when we consider there is one God and Father of us all, while at the same time considering that these unities are meant to rescue us from the divisions and arguments of Christendom. Let’s consider the following verse from Malachi, and while we consider that this was written in the context of divisions among Jewish brethren, there is much for us here also in light of our study.

Malachi 2:10

Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

So if I might, let’s ask ourselves the same questions. Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother? Folks, the answer at least in part is because we have neglected our responsibility to look to God’s Word as the authority and not men. We have collectively fallen asleep at the wheel and the adversary has crept in unaware with all kinds of false doctrines, traditions, and systems of men. While we are to respect those in positions of rank and authority, like pastor or teacher, and while we are to learn from them, we are not to give them dominion over our faith and we are actually more helpful to them if we are studying God’s Word. Iron sharpens iron! May the Lord grant us all understanding and any member of His body who is sleeping, to awake from sleep and seek the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Word! And may Christ dwell in our hearts and may His love compel us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and those who are lost and need the Savior. It’s high time for us to awake! Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon! Let’s now look at the last unity of the Spirit and consider that we have one God and Father of us all.

During this series we remember that we looked at the fact that we have one Lord, Christ Jesus. We also remember that we looked at the fact that there is one Spirit, the Holy Spirit. So we have seen two of the three Persons of the Godhead, also known as the Trinity though this word is not used in Scripture. Now someone may ask, since the word Trinity is not in the Bible, and the only Person of the Godhead which is mentioned in these unities as being God, is the Father, could it be that only the Father is God? And we also read in other Scriptures that there is one God, but we do not read of the word Trinity, why? Well, in other posts on this site we have addressed this, but real quick let’s take a look at the reality of God being one, but also three Persons in the Godhead. We go back to Genesis 1:26 when God created man and we read, “And God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness…”. So we notice the words “us” and “our” referring to God, and we see the plural. We also note that when God said, “Let us make man in our image” to understand how man was made in His image, we need to read about when God made man in Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul“. So we see here three parts to man mentioned, “the body, spirit, and soul”. We see three parts, a physical (dust of the ground), a spiritual (the breathe of life), and the eternal, (living soul). So these three form one man. And this triune aspect of man is confirmed for us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 where we read, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. So we see that when God made man in His image, he made Him a triunity of body, soul, and spirit. One man is definitely one man, but consisting of three parts. The three are into one. We are patterned after our great God who made us in His image.

Furthermore we see the whole of creation stamped with His signature if you will. For every aspect of the universe bears the imprint of our great God and has His signature in the triune aspect. We name just a few: those who are called scientists agree that the universe consists of space, matter, and time. So we have one universe, with three specific parts, the three are into one. We can also subdivide these further and see the signature of God on His creation. For if we look at time, what does time consist of? Past, present, and future, the three are into one. What forms does matter take? Solid, liquid, or gas, the three are into one. And we can continue this until we at last get microscopic and get to the basic cell which exists with three parts, showing the three into one. Let’s backup a little from the cell and consider the orange, the orange consist of the peel, the fruit, and the seeds. The three are into one. Now it is awesome to just look around at God’s creation and consider all the singular items that are triune in composition, and then when we divide one item into it’s three principle parts, we can then subdivide each of those individual parts into three more principle parts.

And what’s really cool, is when we consider aspects of the Godhead mentioned in Scripture and see how even a little orange in it’s own way shine’s forth that God created it. And what I mean by this is to think about how our Lord, the Son of God, told Philip that by Philip seeing Christ, He has seen the Father. And consider in other Scriptures how we find out the Lord Jesus Christ manifests the Father to us. And also consider how our Lord said that “no one comes to the Father, except through Me”. Now consider an orange, which is the visible part to us? The peel, that peel manifests the orange, it is the orange and it also tells us what kind of fruit is inside. So if we consider that you can not get to the fruit of the orange unless you go through the peel first, and if you are to have a new orange tree, you must also have the seeds. So in that orange we see one orange in three parts. Each part is definitely fully part of the one orange, but is also distinct in a triune way. Just as you can’t get to the fruit unless you go through the peel. So too you cannot come to God the Father, unless you go through the Lord Jesus Christ. And just as you would need to have the seeds of the orange in order to have new life, so also the minute we are saved, we are given the Holy Spirit and sown with incorruptible seed. In order for the seed to become an orange tree the seed must be buried and then God will cause the seed to sprout from the ground with new life. So too we were buried with Christ in baptism, and raised with Him by the Holy Spirit to walk in newness of life. So we see that the whole creation sounds forth that God created it and that He created each part of it, stamping it with His imprint, isn’t that awesome!! All glory, honor, and praise to the Lord our God!!!!

As we return to our study of the last unity, let’s consider the first part, “one God and Father of all”. This title of God is so awesome because we see both the sovereignty of God and we see the person of God the Father. Immediately we think of how our Savior Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and we consider all that Christ explained about God the Father. We see the awesome relationship of the Godhead in the Father and Son. And not only this but we see our sonship as well, for when we were saved, we were all made “children of God in Christ Jesus”. God is our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord, and the Holy Spirit in us cries out, “Abba, Father”! Praise the Lord!!! When we consider the next part of this unity we read, “who is above all, and through all, and in all”. Now in light of what we just considered concerning the Godhead and the three in one aspect, it is neat to consider that we see mentioned our God and Father, and then see three different attributes of His. Let’s take a look at each of these:

One God and Father who is above all

Our God reigns and is in total control! He is the “most high God possessor of heaven and earth”, He is “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel”. God alone is all wise, and all powerful, and just, and righteous, and Holy! Nothing in the universe can happen unless He allows it to! Not a hair falls from our head without Him knowing about it and allowing it! When we read the book of Job and consider the time when Peter was “sifted as wheat” and consider Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” we clearly see that the devil can’t do anything to us, unless God allows it, and if God allows it, it will be to His glory and our benefit, though we may not realize it at the time! The more time we spend with God in His Word the more we will realize that God is above all!

One God and Father who is through all

There is not a thing or place in God’s creation that is not naked to the eye of God. He see’s everyone and everything, He knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts! So many times we can be quick to judge others, but it is God who knows the heart. As we looked at a little earlier, the signature of our God is manifest throughout the universe. He made it all, He knows everything about it all! And God will see us through all of our experiences, the good and the bad, He is there through all and it is all for the purpose of His glory. Though our sight may be dim during dark days, we know that God is through all and will see us through all the things we encounter in life. He is there through the trials and tribulations for we know it is written that “all things work for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose”. And in times of temptation, He always provides the way of escape; prayer to Him through our Lord Jesus! Oh that we would take that escape more often when faced with temptation to sin!

One God and Father who is in us all

Praise the Lord for His unspeakable gift!!! Our God, the Creator of the universe, He who has no beginning and no end, is in us!!! Through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ by His finished work we were saved and we were made new creatures in Christ, we were given the Holy Spirit in a new part of us called the “inward man”. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, God resides in us!!! Amazing grace, love beyond comprehension, if God is for us, who can be against us?!!! Nothing shall seperate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! No matter how dark or how trying the times, God is there with us and actually in us. Oh Lord please increase our faith, to realize this more during our daily walk!!

As we close this post and this series, may the Lord grant us, the members of His body, to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. We pray that His life and His love would be manifest in us and through us to others and that we all would “come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ“. We beg the Lord that it might be so with us. If there is anyone reading this who has never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, we beg you to do so without delay, we are not guaranteed another minute on this earth. For those of us who have believed and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we pray to the Lord that He would draw us nearer to Him and His Word. The world stage is being set before our eyes for the tribulation period. The last stage of the professing church which is described in 2 Timothy 3 and the letter to the church at Laodicea in Revelation is here. We do not make this statement about the professing church as if we were superior and others inferior, but rather when the author reads 2 Timothy 3 and the letter to Laodicea, and considers his own actions, I get a clear picture of how I’m faltering and how much more I need to be depending on my Lord and Savior and yielding to Him. But though I have not found myself faithful at all times I rejoice and I hope you do also, in the faithfulness of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us! And while the present situation is dire and looking to get worse, we know that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming back for us to catch us away to be with Him forever! Folks, Christ Jesus our Lord is coming soon, I’m not a date setter, but it is my firm conviction He is coming to catch His church away very very soon! Maybe today! Oh what incomprehensible joy will be ours! Our bodies will be transformed into new glorious bodies that never are tempted again to sin!!! We will be with God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ forever and ever!!!! May the Lord strengthen us to act as those who wait for the Lord’s imminent return. May God grant us boldness in love by the Holy Spirit to tell others the good news of God’s grace in Christ Jesus our Lord, not only through our words but also our actions.

 

Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Derrick VanKampen

The Unity of the Spirit – One Baptism – part 3

As we continue our study focusing on the “one baptism”, we now pray the Lord that we might speak clearly about this glorious baptism which is so little known in the present day. We had before touched on the fact that Scripture teaches that upon belief in our Lord Jesus Christ, we were “baptized by one Spirit into one body”. This one body being the body of Christ, the spiritual organization whose Head is Christ and is composed of all who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ and accepted the gift of salvation by grace through faith in His shed blood. This one sentence of truth, “baptized by one Spirit into one body” if it were fully realized among the members of the body of Christ throughout the world would immediately begin to weaken the divisions the adversary has sown among the professing church. Though it would not unite Christendom, it would unite the members of the true church, the assembly of the body of Christ, and we would heed the voice of our Lord to “come out of her my people”. When we realize that the baptism we are to place emphasis on in this age of grace in which we live involves no water but is an operation of God through the Holy Spirit upon salvation, what joy and fellowship can follow as we also seek agreement in the other unities of the Spirit which we have been examining in this series. Now the question might be asked, would you then suggest forbidding water baptism? We will eventually touch on that question a little later, but first let’s take a look at what happened to us, when we were saved and baptized into the body of Christ.

As we looked at in the last post, in 2 Corinthians 5:19 we read that when Christ died on the cross, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not imputing their trespasses to them”. This does not mean that the whole world was saved, but rather that collectively the world was brought near to God through the blood of Christ. The barrier that existed between Jew and Gentile was torn down, and there is nothing that blocks any sinner from accepting the Lord Jesus Christ except unbelief. Salvation is offered to all, but as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:20, there remains the admonition for each individual to “be reconciled to God” by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and calling upon Him. So to repeat this, collectively the world was reconciled to God and brought near by the blood of Christ, but individually the Lord Jesus Christ needs to be received by grace through faith for salvation. Now let’s turn to Romans 6:3-14 and look at what happened when we were saved. And as we examine the following Scripture I would just ask the reader to consider that if we are told by the Holy Spirit through the pen of the apostle Paul (the apostle to the Gentiles) in Ephesians 4:5 that there is “one baptism”, and we are also told concerning this baptism in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that we are baptized by “one Spirit into one body” and we are also told in Colossians 2:12 that this baptism is an “operation of God”, if you agree that all these statements about the one baptism are found in the epistles of the apostle Paul, then please ask yourself how the baptism in Romans 6 has anything to do with a water baptism ceremony, and folks the answer is that it doesn’t. And brothers and sisters as we examine the baptism that happened to us when we were saved, we fully admit that we didn’t know it was happening at the time. It is a glorious truth for us to learn after salvation that builds us up in Christ for our walk here on earth.

Romans 6:3

Are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized to Christ Jesus, to his death were baptized? (YLT)

First let’s consider that baptism also means to be immersed or identified in something or to someone, much like the children of Israel were baptized or identified to Moses “in the cloud and in the sea”(1 Corinthians 10:2). But realize though they were baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea, there was no water involved because “they walked on dry ground”. So let’s consider that before we were saved we collectively were reconciled and brought near to God through the blood of Christ. Our Lord died for the sins of the world on the cross. When we heard the Word of Truth, the gospel and we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the moment we did that, we were baptized to the Lord Jesus Christ, we were identified to Him, we became members of His body, and pertaining to our flesh also known as our “old man” or old nature, we were identified to his death. Christ did not die for Himself, it was for us, for our sins He suffered upon the cross. The cross stands as a testament to the sinfulness of our flesh, there we see our old nature judged and condemned as Christ shed His blood for us. In regards to the believers relationship with Christ, our joy is not only in being brought near to God, but now I am in Christ, I am accepted in God’s beloved son! My flesh, my old adamic nature has been judged and condemned, I have died, but as we shall see I have also been born again and made a new creature in Christ.

Romans 6:4

We were buried together, then, with Him through the baptism to the death, that even as Christ was raised up out of the dead through the glory of the Father, so also we in newness of life might walk. (YLT)

So we again consider that when we were saved we were identified to Christ’s death and were buried together with Christ, all of our sins being buried and put away forever by the Lord Jesus Christ. And let me emphasize that all of our sins were buried: past, present and future. How many of your sins were future when Christ died? All of them, so when the Lord Jesus died for us, He died for all of our sins. When we were saved we were identified to His death, He died for our sins and the Holy Spirit identifies us to Christ and we spiritually were buried together with Christ. And now we ask, why is it so important for us to know all this, why is it so important to realize that when we believed we were spiritually identified to Christ’s death and burial? Why is it so important to know that our “old man” aka “sin nature” aka “flesh was crucified with Christ? Because brothers and sisters, we can’t truly appreciate our life in Christ, until we see our death in Him, we cannot see that we have also been raised with Him to walk in newness of life, until we realize that we have also died with Him. If I don’t see my death, if I don’t realize that my “old man” was nailed to the cross and my flesh was judged and condemned, then I am likely to try and live the Christian life by the will of my flesh, by my power to follow Christ, by my ability. If I realize that I have died with Christ and my flesh, my power is nothing, that it is actually deadness, if I accept God’s judgement on my old nature and on “self”, then as I realize that Christ arose from the grave, I will more understand that I rose with Him and that everything now depends on Him. According to my own strength or ability I cannot live a pleasing life to God. I have to be in fellowship with my Head, it has to be the Lord Jesus Christ living and loving in me and out to others. My old nature or my “self” has been judged and condemned as useless and only able to produce dead works.

If I am constantly preoccupied with trying to stop sinning and trying to do what is right, while this seems naturally the way I should go, in fact it will be found that I am putting myself under the law and I will fail over and over and over again or worse yet, I will fail but think I am succeeding, this rapidly leads to a Pharisee mentality. But if I accept the fact that I have died, and that my flesh is what God says it is, which is sinful and only able to sin, if I accept this fact that I have died with Christ, then praise the Lord, I am ready to also accept the fact that I have been raised with Him from the dead. A new nature called the “inward man” has been given to me, I am made a new creature in Christ, and as I am preoccupied with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word and His will, so I will walk in the good works which He has for me to do. So just to repeat, to be preoccupied with sin, self, or our own ability is death, but to be preoccupied with the Lord Jesus Christ, to know Him more, to look to Him more, to “sit at His feet and hear His Word”, to drink from Him, is grace and life and peace and good works, which are not forced, but flow freely. But oh how often we don’t do this, we somehow lose sight of this glorious truth, we focus on our self and struggle and kick, and half the time we think we are operating in the Spirit when we are really operating by some fleshly tactic. We pray that the Lord might teach us more to reckon ourselves dead, to agree that our flesh is judiciously condemned, it’s sinful, that’s what it is.

The minute we were saved we were baptized into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. We were identified to our Lord, our flesh was condemned, it’s dead, our sins have been buried and put away forever, and we have been raised to walk in newness of life, by the same Holy Spirit who raised our Lord Jesus Christ in mighty power. Understanding this regarding our eternal state, assures our hearts, it is the baptism that is the answer of a good conscious towards God as Peter describes it.

1 Peter 3:21

…baptism, not a putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the question of a good conscience towards God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After Paul received the revelation of the gospel of grace from our Lord Jesus Christ, the other apostles and prophets also recieved the glorious truths communicated to Paul. With this in mind it is interesting to see the progression regarding what Peter says about baptism. In the beginning of Acts, when he is preaching at Pentecost, and some Jewish men are convicted they ask “what should we do”, Peter replies, “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins”. This was definitely a water baptism. Later in Acts when Peter preaches to the Gentile Cornelius who literally gets saved while Peter is preaching and recieves the Holy Spirit, after Peter realizes that Cornelius and his household are saved, he states, “can anyman forbid that these men be baptized?!”. An exclamation but also a question. Once again this is a water baptism his question/exclamation is addressing. After this in the verse we just looked at (1 Peter 3:21) we see Peter talking about a baptism that is not the “putting away of the filth of the flesh” or a water baptism, but rather a baptism that produces a good conscience towards God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Folks, this is the same “one baptism” that Paul mentions and what is awesome is that the knowledge of what happened when we were saved and baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit gives us a good conscious towards God as we realize that we died with Christ, our sins have been buried and put away forever, and we have been raised with Christ in newness of life, we have been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, we have been made new creatures in Christ, we have the inward man where the Holy Spirit dwells, our dead spirit was quickened (made alive) in Christ. We have been made children of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and all things are new!!

The knowledge of this baptism is not just edifying in regards to our eternal salvation, but also to our sanctification, our Christian walk in this life. Because folks it’s all about yielding now. If we yield to our flesh there is nothing but sin and death that will be produced and having to deal with the crop that will be produced from our sowing seeds to our flesh, but if we yield to God as those who are alive from the dead, we will realize the truth of “Christ in us, the hope of glory”!!! In closing, pertaining to the realization of the one baptism and our Christian walk in this life we continue where left off in Romans 6.

Romans 6:5-14

For if we have become planted together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection. This knowing, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin may be made useless, for our no longer serving sin. For he who has died has been set free from sin. And if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, does no more die. Death has no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, to the sin He died once, and in that He lives, He lives to God. So also you, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, and living to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not the sin reign in your mortal body, to obey it in its desires. Neither present your members, instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as alive from the dead, and your members of instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.

Let’s now address a possible question that might be asked, “should we then forbid water baptism?” Well, as mentioned in a recent post, the apostle Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles and in his epistles to the church we find no instructions on or admonitions to water baptize, but in the same breath we must agree that we find no admonition against water baptism either. So with these two points in mind, I will now give my opinion and I stress it is just my opinion. It is clear that the one baptism is the baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ upon salvation, the knowledge and teaching of this is to take pre-eminence. As we shall look at, when we were saved and baptized into Christ, it was all based on and because of His finished work. We read that the apostle of the Gentiles writes in another part of the Scriptures that we are, “complete in Christ”. Upon salvation, we are fully complete in Christ, there is nothing that is lacking in our standing with God, the price has been paid in full by our Lord, after this we are to appropriate by faith this grace we have been given in our daily walk. But we can’t add one thing to what has been provided for us in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. To do so, to try and add any work of any sort to try and be complete in Christ is to fall from grace and say that Christ Jesus’ work was not sufficient. The moment we trusted in Christ and were saved we were “accepted in the beloved Son of God”. So for anyone to say that they need to do any ordinance to be accepted by God, is to say that Christ’s finished work was not enough. All this being said, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is something that points back to Christ’s finished work, a celebration of what our Lord Jesus did for us, a fellowship with fellow members of His body, and a testimony to His finished work. So just as we had things like circumcision which pointed forward to the operation of God on the heart when someone is saved, so too we have here an ordinance that points back in time to the cross and all that our Lord accomplished for us. So in regards to water baptism, since we have no direct instructions either for or against by the apostle of the Gentiles other than that he explained the “one baptism” and also how Christ sent him not to baptize but the preach the cross, my opinion is that it is up to the individual and “let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind”. But in the case where someone is getting water baptized, it must be stressed very strongly, that it only should be done in a manner where the ceremony itself is not pre-eminent but is clearly explained as to what happened to the individual once they were saved, to make known as it were the truth of the one baptism and not to glorify the actual water ceremony as the momentous event. A moment for explaining our baptism into the body of Christ upon salvation, and also how this knowledge builds us up in Christ and we can walk godly in this world and be vessels prepared for the Master’s use. Folks the momentous event was when we were saved, sealed, and sanctified forever by our Lord Jesus Christ. I will stress this one point, the adversary, the devil wants folks to promote and glorify water baptism and argue about the specific means and be seperated by those opinions, what he does not want is for Christians to know about or focus on the one baptism that saves us, because this truth builds us up in Christ and along with the other points of unity, unites the members of Christ’s body.

As we close this post, it might be asked, “if this is true, why haven’t we heard about it before? For nearly two thousand years since the first and second century in the days of the “church fathers” we do not have a record of this, the emphasis has always been on water baptism”. Well folks the adversary has been trying to suppress the revelation our risen, ascended Lord gave to the apostle Paul even in his day. If we read his last letter before his death (2nd Timothy), we see that almost everyone had abandoned Paul by the end of his ministry (2nd Timothy 4:16). The apostle of the Gentiles who was given Words to speak, which were Christ’s Words from heaven, was all but ignored. And let no one say we seek to preach Paul, but we do seek to identify the apostleship he was given by Christ and preach the Lord Jesus Christ risen from the dead, seated at the right hand of God the Father, and calling out an assembly called the body of Christ for a special heavenly calling, distinct from the earthly calling of Israel. It should come as no shock that the devil has been successful in suppressing the churches high calling in Christ, when the two epistles which have the most “meat” regarding our heavenly calling in Christ were those directed to churches in Asia (now modern day Turkey). Ephesians and Colossians has some of the most glorious truths, but they were forgotten early on and we have evidence that this happened in Paul’s day for in 2nd Timothy 1:15 we read Paul saying, “know this, that all those in Asia are turned away from me”. This meant that those saints to whom the Holy Spirit would communicate the glorious truths found in the books of Ephesians and Colossians actually were turned away from Paul and the heavenly truth he was given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Is it any wonder then why the “church fathers” of the first and second century are not recorded as mentioning these truths. And it wasn’t only Paul they turned away from, because in 1st Peter and 2nd Peter we see many of the glorious truths of the grace of God which Paul mentioned, albeit Peter’s audience were primarily Jewish Christians (Galatians 2:9) , so it is written according to the Jewish thought process. But again for two thousand years we have seen more attention paid to the word’s Peter spoke in the book of Acts then the doctrine of grace he was communicating in his two epistles.

So again one might ask, “why does all this matter, God looks at the heart, and even if a saint in the Lord doesn’t have all their doctrine right, the Lord can still use them”. And I would fully agree that God does look at the heart and praise the Lord He has used saints in His work of all different spiritual ages: “babes in Christ”, “children in Christ”, and “adults in Christ”. I totally agree with this. But why this is so important is because prior to the past 50 years, the professing church has largely maintained a seperation from the things of the world and stuck to God’s Word in whatever amount of truth they had at the time, but we have been progressing rapidly on a downward spiral, as the leaven of the world and it’s idols have seeped into the church. We have been turned to fables instead of God’s Word. The illustrations given in sermons are about some famous or obscure Christian the preacher may or may not know. Here’s the problem with that though, no matter how uplifting or heartwrenching the story is, it can’t be verified, we don’t have all the details, it hasn’t been given the seal of God, only God’s Word has. In God’s Word we are assured that the Holy Spirit has given us all we need to know about each event recorded in Scripture. It is verified authentic and accurate and given for application and preaching. The adversary has been using the telling of fables in sermons to add or take away from the truth of God’s Word by appealing to emotion rather then testing the spirits by the Word of God. We are in the Laodicean church stage mentioned in Revelations. What is absolutely scary when you read about the church of Laodicea is that they think they are in the richest church stage, but the whole while Christ is standing at the door of the church knocking to be let in. By understanding the things we have looked at today, we can understand how to be vessels prepared for the Masters use, by His power and His might and His working in us and out to others. Christendom is sending out workers who are operating by their own power or might, all the while saying the name of Jesus. The Christendom of today is on course to become the “mystery bablyon” of tomorrow. We look at Christendom and we see a mess, nothing but divisions and confusion. We must return to God’s Word, we must not really on what we think we know, we must resolve to let God’s Word be authoritative in these dark and misleading last days. We need to get on our knees with the sword of the Spirit in our hands. We must be prepared to ditch the doctrine and traditions of men, if what we find in God’s Word differs from what we are fed in “churchianity”. We must seek to build each other up in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. And sadly we must be prepared if need be to preach and stand alone if all leave our sides, but if the Lord Jesus Christ be with us, we know that we are blessed to the ages. What is your hope and your comfort? Don’t take comfort in being a Catholic or a Protestant, don’t take comfort in being of certain denomination or sect, don’t take comfort in a particular preacher or teacher, and though I doubt anyone does, don’t take comfort in this website or me, take comfort in the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s Word, take comfort and joy in being a blood bought member of the body of Christ. If there be even one Christian, who reads this and is overwhelmed by all of this, please we beg you to go in prayer to the Lord your God!! If you haven’t a hunger for God’s Word, ask Him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for a hunger, the Lord your God will feed you and give you rest and comfort! All glory, honor, praise, and thanks be to God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord forever and ever!!!

Grace and Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ,

Derrick

The Unity of the Spirit – One Baptism – part 2

Ephesians 4:3-6
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling.  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Lord willing, in this post we are going to look more closely at what happened to us the moment we believed in our Lord Jesus and were baptized into His body.  Before we do this though, it might be helpful if we considered our state before salvation, both collectively as Gentiles and individually.  First let’s consider that before the cross, Gentiles (the nations of the world other than Israel) were apart or “far off” from God.  We read this in Ephesians where the apostle Paul is explaining to the Ephesians how collectively as Gentiles they were seperated from God prior to the cross, but after the cross were brought near to God.

Ephesians 2:11-13
Wherefore, remember that you were once the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by those called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands.  That you were at that time apart from Christ, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God, in the world.  But now, in Christ Jesus , you being once afar off became near in the blood of Christ.

When God chose Abraham and made the promises to Him, he left the Gentile world to their heathen ways.  They did not want to acknowledge and fear God so He gave them up to their desires.  Abraham had Isaac who had Jacob whose name was changed to Israel and thus began the nation of Israel through Jacob’s 12 sons.  From this time forward until the cross, God was only dealing with Israel and the Gentiles were “without hope and without God in the world”.  The only way that a Gentile could come to God, was by coming to Israel first, for the Gentiles were “afar off”, while Israel was “near” to God, as the verse above states.  We have an excellent type in the Old Testament that illustrates the manner in which an individual Gentile had to approach Israel to become “near to God” prior to the cross.  This type is found in found in 2 Kings chapter 5.

In this chapter we read of Naaman a Syrian who had leprosy.  Naaman and his wife had a servant girl who was from Israel and she informed Naaman that there was a man of God in Israel who could heal him.  Naaman, being afar off in Syria, then travelled to Israel bearing many gifts.  After first stopping to see the king of Israel, Naaman eventually ends up at Elisha’s house.  When he gets there, Elisha does not come out to see Naaman but sends his servant Gahazi who conveys the message from Elisha that for Naaman to be healed he needs to dip in the Jordan river seven times.  After a bit of anger, Namaan finally dips in the river 7 times and is healed from his leprosy.  Naaman’s experience illustrates in a type both the individual Gentile’s manner in which he had to approach Israel to come to God as a proselyte to Judaism and collectively how the nations of the world will eventually come to God through Israel during the millenial reign of Christ.  The dipping in the river 7 times, representing the nations finally being collectively “healed” after 7 times, or seven age-days (7000 years).

Let’s specifically look at the individual type though.  Naaman was physically far off from Israel in the land of Syria and had a fatal disease.  The Gentile’s spiritual state prior to the cross was afar off from God, and tainted with the fatal disease of sin.  Naaman hears from his Hebrew servant girl that there is a man of God who can heal him in Israel.  A Gentile prior to the cross, would need to hear about or from an Israelite that there was salvation in the God of Israel.  Naaman then travels to Israel bearing gifts and seeking healing.  A Gentile prior to the cross would have to go to Israel and submit to them as being superior, seeking salvation from the God of Israel.  Naaman eventually ends up at Elisha’s house but Elisha does not invite him in or go out to see him, instead he sends his servant Gehazi.  The Gentile prior to the cross would have to come and submit himself to Israel, when he approached the temple, he had to stay in the outer court of the Gentiles.  He could be ministered to and interact with God’s servants the Levites, but he could not go directly to God for that was specifically for the Levites and Priests.  By following what Gehazi told Naaman he was healed.  By following God’s Law which the Levites and Priests would explain, the Gentile prior to the cross was brought near to God, as near as a Gentile could be at that time.

Now let’s consider in the verses that we read above, that after the cross, Gentiles as a whole were made near to God by the blood of Christ.  We also have a type in the Old Testament that pointed forward to this “nearness”, but I want to specify that nearness and salvation are two different things which we shall see as we look at this type.  In 1st Kings 17 we read of Elijah and a widow woman.  And please let me just apologize that when I explain these events from the Old Testament I am doing so in a hasty manner to illustrate the types, not identifying every detail, so please prayerfully read the passages for yourself.  When we read of Elijah and the widow in 1st Kings 17 we note that Elijah was estranged from Israel after he had announced that it would not rain in Israel for three and half years. After some time at the brook Cherith, God sends him to the house of a Gentile widow and her son.  When Elijah first meets the widow and asks for food, she explains that she has just enough left for one meal for her and her son before they die from starvation.  Elijah announces that they will have enough food to eat until it starts raining again.  And from that point forward there is always enough food (meal and oil) for the three of them, God supernaturally causing the meal and the oil to never run out.  After a while, the widows son get’s sick and he dies.  Elijah then takes the widow’s son and prays to God and stretches himself upon the boy three times and God causes the boy to come back to life.  Then Elijah presents him alive from the dead to his mother.  When this happens something very interesting happens, the widow says to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and the Word of God in your mouth is truth.”  Now to be honest for the longest time this perplexed me, because even though Elijah announced that the meal and oil would not run out until it rained again, and then God miraculously caused the meal and oil to never run out, it was not until after her son was raised from the dead that the widow said that she now knew that Elijah was a man of God.  I always scratched my head at that because I thought seeing a container of meal and a container of oil that never runs out is a miracle and would seem to definitely indicate that Elijah was a man of God, but again it wasn’t until after the widow received her son from the dead, the she believed Elijah was a man of God.  Let’s see why this is.

Well as we have looked at in other posts on this site, Israel’s rulers rejected Christ to rule over them.  Then they rejected the Holy Spirit when they stoned Stephen as we read in the book of Acts.  At that point God temporarily diminished his dealings with Israel as we read in Romans 11.  A few times in the book of Acts and at it’s end we see the apostle Paul state that because the Jews as a whole were rejecting Christ that salvation would now be sent to the Gentiles.  So in essence a famine or lack of rain was pronounced upon Israel as a whole.  Salvation is still going to the Jew in the sense that anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ is saved whether Jew or Gentile, but His dealings with Israel as a nation have temporarily ceased as God is calling out an assembly called the body of Christ out of both Jews and Gentiles today.  While we have God’s Word today, there is no rain in Israel so to speak, no prophet sent by the Lord to Israel as there was two thousand years ago and in the days of the Old Testament.  Israel in a matter of speaking is estranged from God temporarily, in a similar manner to how Elijah estranged himself from Israel during the period of no rain.  So now let’s consider that Elijah and the widow point forward in type to God and the Gentiles after the cross.  The blood of Christ has brought every person near to God, the world as a whole has been reconciled to God by Christ’s finished work on the cross as we read in 2nd Corinthians 5:19.  But this reconciliation of the world does not mean that the whole world is saved, it means that the whole world has been brought near, for in 2nd Corinthians 5:20 we see the admonition to individually be reconciled to God and in the same manner in 2nd Corinthians 6:1-2 we see the admonition to recieve the grace of God and be saved.   So before when we looked at Naaman we saw the Gentile before the cross far off, now when we look at the widow we see the Gentile after the cross brought near to God.  Just as we see Elijah in the same house as the widow, that is how near God is to everyone today, He is right there. Just as we see God supernaturally sustaining the widow and her son, so also is the grace of God sustaining the whole world, restraining His wrath because of His grace, mercy and kindness, not willing that any should perish but all should come to a knowledge of the truth.  But beloved, His gracious witholding of the coming judgement shall not last forever. Are you a child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus?

Let’s continue looking at the type. Just as the widow does not truly believe and know Elijah to be a man of God until after she experiences the death and resurrection of her son.  So also today, the Gentile can not truly know God until he knows for himself and trusts in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord.  Prior to the death of her son, the widow called the man of God by that title, but she didn’t really believe he was who he said he was.  Every one today has been brought near to God by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,  no sin that we have done is too great to be forgiven, we do not have to travel to Israel to find God. But as Christ said during His earthly ministry, “no man comes to the Father except through Me”.  Many people reference God, and even many different religions do this, but they cannot really believe Him, until they believe in the Son of God, until they believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God.  Upon believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, they then are identified with Him through a baptism not administered by hands being spiritually buried with Him, and risen with Him.  After we believe in Christ and His death, burial and resurrection we can say like the widow, “now I know that you are the Man of God and the Word of God in Your mouth is Truth.”

This is mere speculation on my part and I have no Scripture to prove it, but I imagine that the days Elijah spent with the widow prior to her son’s death were probably formal or religious you might say.  And again this is mere speculation but I imagine the days after her son was recieved from the dead, there was a whole different dynamic to her and Elijah’s relationship.  As before she might have listened to what he had to say out of duty or some sense of formality, but after receiving her son, Elijah’s Words probably resonated within her, brought joy and feeling and rejoicing to hear what the man of God said about the God of Israel.  So also with us, if we try to come to God any other way than through the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work alone, it will be either a legalistic check mark type of system, or it will abound with superstition, but it will not be personal and you will either be taking away from God’s Word or adding to it.  When we come to God by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are brought into fellowship with our God and Father through our Savior Christ Jesus, not only did He bring us near to God, upon being saved we were adopted by God through Him.  We are now children of the living God, our spirits crying, “Abba, Father”!

I apologize for once again not meeting my expectation of explaining in depth about our awesome baptism into Christ. Lord willing, we will look at the one baptism in the next post.  In the meantime, you have been brought near to God through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which He shed for you.  No matter who you are this is a fact, no matter what you have done, no matter where you live, no matter what nationality you are, you have been brought near to God, but have you recieved His gracious gift through the Lord Jesus Christ?  If you haven’t please take the time to read the following verses, they were written for you beloved:

2 Corinthians 6:1-2
We then as workers together with Him, beg you also that you recieve not the grace of God in vain.  For He said, I have heard thee in the accepted time and in a day of salvation will I help thee.  Behold! Now is the accepted time! Behold! Now is the day of salvation!

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!  Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!

Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Derrick

The Unity of the Spirit – One Baptism

The Unity of the Spirit – One Baptism

Ephesians 4:3-6
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling.  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

As we now look at the sixth point of the Unity of the Spirit, let us again consider that these points of unity are given to us as points of fellowship with other members of the Body of Christ.  The adversary wants to hinder and destroy the unity of the Body of Christ here on earth, which is the reason we see the multiple denominations and sects of Christendom in the world.  It could be said that the adversary has been most successful in dividing the professing church on the subject we are going to look at today, which is baptism.  Understanding the “one baptism” is so important for both our unity with other believers and our personal walk with the Lord.  If you ask most Christian’s what baptism is or means to them, you will get many different answers but usually there is always water involved.  Depending on who you talk to, you will find that there are different modes of water baptism being practiced in professing Christendom, some are administered to infants, some to adults, some involve sprinkling water, and some involve immersion into and out of water.  When talking to other Christians you will also find out that there are different opinions as to what water baptism achieves, some will say you need to be water baptised to be saved, others will say that the ordinance does not save, but it is an outward sign you should voluntarily partake of after salvation to be in the will of God.  We are not necessarily going to enter into this debate during this post, because that is exactly what the adversary wants us to do, argue over the various modes and means of water baptism.  He will do everything possible to keep believers in the Lord Jesus Christ from finding out about the “one baptism” which the Holy Spirit inspires the apostle Paul to write about in his epistles.  By keeping this truth from the members of the body of Christ, he succesfully divides us and reduces the strength of our shields of faith and breastplates of faith with which we deflect and stop the fiery arrows from the enemy.

In the New Testament there are about 5 different greek words that deal with baptism which all stem from the same greek word, bapto.  These words are translated into the english words: baptist, baptize, baptism, wash, washed, washings etc.  These words always or almost always mean to be immersed, identified or washed with water, fire, or the Holy Spirit depending on the verse and it’s context.  After our Lord’s resurrection we read that He commissioned the eleven disciples to baptize:

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

I think that most Christians would agree that this was a water baptism our Lord was talking about.  In the book of Acts we learn that the disciples and apostles were baptizing with water, and we learn in the first letter to the Corinthians that the apostle Paul had also baptized with water, but concerning this record that Paul gives, he also notes something that should be very interesting to us for our study today:

1 Corinthians 1:14-18
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius. Lest any should say that I had baptized in my own name.  And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides this, I know not whether I baptized any other.  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but preach the gospel. Not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Now let’s compare the passages above.  In Matthew we read that the eleven apostles were definitely sent by our Lord to water baptize those who would believe in Him.  In 1st Corinthians however, we read that while Paul indeed had water baptized in the past, he actually shows regret at the possibility of someone thinking that he was baptizing them or identifying them to his name.  In fact he immediately then goes on to state that Christ did not send him to baptize, but to preach the gospel (good news).  Please note that this is different than the commission the eleven apostles had been given, they had most certainly been sent to baptize, but the apostle Paul or the apostle to the Gentiles as he is called in Scripture, was not sent to baptize.  Why not?  Why the difference?  Was not Paul an apostle sent by the Lord Jesus Christ?  Yes, we know that he was an apostle as we read throughout his epistles, the book of Acts and 2 Peter 3:15-16.  So then we must test the things that differ and ask again why the difference? Because Christ Jesus our Lord revealed to the apostle Paul and later to the rest of the apostles the glorious truth of our “one baptism”.  As Lord willing, we shall look into that when we were saved, we were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, a baptism not administered by human hands.  We were baptized or identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.  This baptism guarantees our eternal salvation and also by understanding what happened to us at the point we were saved as well as our sanctification in this life and how it is all dependent on the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, we are more equipped to live godly in Christ Jesus.  In the epistles (letters) of the apostle to the Gentiles, there is not one admonition or instruction on water baptism, but what we do find throughout Paul’s epistle is the “preaching of the cross”.  We find out about all the riches of God’s grace that were provided for us by the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  We find the Holy Spirit inspiring Paul to communicate much about our spiritual baptism the moment we believed in Christ.  Let’s take a look at this baptism in Scripture now.

Colossians 2:10-12
And you are complete in Him (Christ), which is the head of all principality and power.  In whom you are also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.  Buried with Him in baptism, wherein you are also risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead.  And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has quickened (made alive) together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

If you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, let no man tell you that you need to do something else to be complete in Christ.  The verses that we are now looking at assure our hearts that we are complete in the Lord Jesus Christ.  As we read these verses we notice that there is a “circumcision made without hands” that is the same as our spiritual baptism which is through the “faith of the operation of God”.  Please note these two phrases “without hands” and “operation of God”.  These two phrases are used in conjunction with the baptism that Paul preached and is explaining here.  The linking of our baptism to a circumcision “made without hands” is also very important to note.  We have noted in previous posts and series that the Old Testament ordinances all pointed forward in types to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Circumcision is no different.  Physical circumcision pointed forward to the need for the spiritual operation of God performed on the heart, that would be manifested and made known after Christ suffered, bled, died, and rose from the grave for us.  Now that the real circumcision which happens to everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus has been made known by the Holy Spirit, the old physical circumcision is not required for the Gentile.  Baptism is the same then, as we see in these verses that spiritual circumcision is the same as spiritual baptism.  The ordinance of baptism began way back in the Old Testament with Aaron and the priests and the washing of themselves and the various vessels used in the service of the tabernacle.  Before Aaron or a vessel could be used by or for service for God it had to be cleansed, this pointed forward to the need for Christ to wash us and cleanse us from our sins before we were able to be used and serve Him.  In like manner John the Baptist came proclaiming a “baptism of repentance” which involved water, which again showed forth the need for a spiritual cleansing to be ready for the kingdom of God for “flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God”, this pointed and he pointed forward to the One who would “baptize” with the Holy Spirit. After Christ rose from the dead, He commissioned the disciples to go and baptize.  Though they didn’t know it at the time they were showing forth the truth of what Christ made possible by His death, burial, and resurrection to anyone who believed in Him.  They baptized with water, but by this they unknowingly showed forth the reality of the spiritual baptism about to made known to the apostle Paul by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember in Acts when Peter was preaching to the Gentile Cornelius and his household, and as Peter preached they believed and the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began speaking in tongues (languages).  Well when this happened this was a shock to Peter, because this was just like what happened to them at Pentecost, but please note that after Pentecost the Holy Spirit was not given to believers until after they were water baptized (example in Acts 8:14-17).  So when Cornelius and his household believed and the Holy Spirit came upon them, not only were Peter and his company suprised that a Gentile was saved, but they were suprised that they received the Holy Spirit in the same way that they themselves did at Pentecost.  So you can almost hear the question in Peter’s exclamation, “Can any man forbid that they be baptized?!).  You see he was shocked because he knew something changed.  The order after Pentecost was someone who believed would be water baptized first and then receive the Holy Spirit after that, but here the Gentiles recieved the Holy Spirit as Peter was preaching and they believed!

Now I must address something, there are some who would say that Cornelius’ conversion and his speaking in tongues is the pattern for Gentiles today and they would say that because Cornelius believed and the Holy Spirit came upon him and he began speaking in tongues, that all who are truly saved today will speak in tongues the moment they believe and are baptized by the Holy Spirit.  This is false and is a cause for many who have trusted in Christ to doubt their salvation.  Pertaining to the subject of tongues which really means languages, whenever tongues are mentioned in the Bible it is always as a sign to Israel.  The reason we only have tongues mentioned in the epistle to the Corinthians is because that was an assembly that was heavily Jewish in addition to the Gentiles that attended that assembly.  None of the apostle Paul’s other epistles mention tongues.  When we read in Acts about the Corinthian assembly we read that they met in a house which shared a wall with the local Jewish synagogue, so we can see why tongues were so important in the Corinthian assembly as they would be a sign to those Jews who met in the synagogue which shared a wall with their meeting place.  So when we see Cornelius speaking in tongues, we have to realize that this a sign to Peter, a confirmation that God has sent salvation to the Gentiles and will save them just as He will save those of Israel.  This confirmation would also be referenced by Peter as he confirmed the apostle Paul’s apostleship to the Gentiles in the great Jerusalem meeting recorded in Acts 15 by Luke and alternately by Paul in Galatians 2.

As we come to the end of this post, I apologize for not arriving at the destination I intended for which was to explain in more detail the one baptism and how this spiritual baptism pertains to us.  Lord willing, we will look at this in the next post.  There may be someone who wonders why all this is important.  This may sound more like theology than faith.  Well folks, the plain simple fact is that the adversary has used the issue of baptism to divide us members of the body of Christ, and keep us more focused on a physical ordinance than the glorious truth of our spiritual baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let’s look at a verse real quick.

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

Have you realized that all your good works are as filthy rags before the Lord?  Have you realized that you are a sinner that deserves to spend eternity in Hell?  Have you heard that the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood, died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day?  Have you believed in Him and called upon Him to save you?  Have you accepted God’s gracious gift of salvation?  If you haven’t we beg you, do not delay, please call upon the Lord Jesus Christ now!!  If you have, then praise the Lord!  The moment that you trusted in Christ, God sent His Holy Spirit and sealed you and indwelt you!  You are a child of God the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord.  You have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into a spiritual organization called the Body of Christ along with all who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus.  Please look at the verse we just considered.  Were you baptized into this body by one Priest? By one Pastor? By one Reverend? By one Preacher? The answer to all these brothers and sisters is “no”.  You were baptized into the Body of Christ by one Spirit.  This one baptism is a spiritual one and you are members together with everyone else who has trusted in Christ regardless of what church they go to or even if they go to church at all.  Do not let the adversary divide you based on a physical ordinance which merely points to the true spiritual baptism.  And may we by God’s grace seek not to trust in and place emphasis on physical ordinances ourselves or another may perform, but rather let us place the emphasis on the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ and the baptism not “made with hands” which is by faith in the operation of God.  All glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving to God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord forever and ever!

Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Derrick

The Unity of the Spirit – One Faith

Ephesians 4:3-6
Being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, there is one body and one Spirit, according as you were also called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all, and in you all

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)  The eleventh chapter of Hebrews starts out by giving us the definition of faith and then proceeds to list many men and women of God through the ages who possessed and exhibited faith.  But it is in the second verse of the twelve chapter of Hebrews that we find out where and from whom, faith in all ages originated:

Hebrews 12:2
Looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Source of faith is our Lord Jesus Christ. All the men and women of God that lived prior to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ exhibited faith because they, “drank from the Rock which followed them”(1 Corinthians 10:4) Christ Jesus our Lord.  All men and women of God since the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord have exhibited faith because they were given that faith by the Lord Jesus Christ when they believed in Him (Romans 3:22, Galatians 3:22).  As we consider the next point of the Unity of the Spirit in our study, we will consider how all of us who have trusted in the Lord Jesus for salvation have the one faith.  We will specifically look at how Christ is the Author and Finisher of faith, and how our salvation was dependent on His faithfulness, and it is His faith that saves us.

As we read in Hebrews 12:2, the second part of the verse defines how Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith, because He was faithful for the joy set before Him to endure the cross for us.  By His faithfulness He provided salvation for us, and just as when we were saved our salvation depended on His faithfulness, so also our sanctification or walk with the Lord, during this life is dependent on our yielding to Him and depending on His faithfulness as He is the finisher of faith.  We can get so discouraged and sometimes fearful because of our sins and failures in this life, but if we looked at the root of the problem it is because during those times of failure we stopped looking to the Lord and were looking to ourselves, others, or things of the world for strength. As it is written in Colossians 2:6, “as you recieved Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him”.  When we recieved the Lord, when we were saved, how did that happen? We believed in Christ’s faithfulness, in His finished work, in His ability to forgive our sins, we realized that we were sinners with no hope of saving ourselves.  So as we contemplate this and realize that in the same way we received Christ, we are to walk in Him, let’s look what the next verse says, “rooted and built up in Him, and confirmed in the faith as you were taught” Once again this shows Christ as the object of our faith in our daily walk. Trusting in Him, not ourselves, trusting His faithfulness, not our own.  Too often in our Christian walk and many times without us noticing we take our eyes off of Christ and put them on ourselves.  In different situations our confidence shifts from Christ, to our own ability or to a tool of the world.  If we would just keep our eyes on Christ Jesus, if we would just keep our confidence in Him and disown ourselves so to speak, we would be so much more victorious in our personal walk with the Lord, because He is the victor over sin and death, and He ever stands as our mediator before God and claims us as His own.  He ever desires us to come directly to the Father through Him for grace in times of need.

The adversary, the devil fully realizes this, so he wants us to misplace faith or rather to set up false faiths in our lives and not be firm in the one faith of and in our Lord Jesus Christ.  As it is written, we should be “walking by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:17), but too often we can compartmentalize faith, we can trust in Him on Sundays, but when it comes to our finances, family, health, and other things we trust ourselves or what the “experts” of this world tell us.  In our culture we are trained from an early age to trust in media, to trust in individuals with degrees, but oh how we need to trust in the Lord more!  The world speaks of faith in the context of belief in oneself or some worldly principle.  This is the pride of man, and stands in direct opposition to faith and God.  Faith in ourselves is pride plain and simple, but faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is life and joy and peace!  Aren’t you so glad that your eternal salvation doesn’t rely on your faithfulness, but on Christ’s faithfulness!  Then brothers and sisters may we pray that we might let our daily lives and walk with the Lord depend on Him as well. We can’t depend on our feelings, experiences, intuitions, or emotions either.  We may sincerely feel the Lord told us something, or is leading us in a certain direction, but if is not in accordance to His Word, it is false.  As the apostle John tells us we need to test the spirits to see if they are of God.  How do we do this?  By reading the Word of God and seeking our direction from God’s Word.  If our faith is in Christ Jesus who is the “Word of God”, then the prayerful study of God’s Word should be the first place we look in faith for direction in this life.  Our thoughts, feelings, emotions and the like are transient and subject to change, we should not be depending on our own intuition, this is counterproductive to faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Growing in Faith
It is doubtless to say that all of us desire to grow in our Lord and to increase our faith, but how does this happen?  Well we know that prayer and reading God’s Word is fundamental to growth, but do we also realize that trial and tribulation are also?  It is interesting to note that in the Old Testament the promises given to Israel were that if they obeyed God they would be blessed with health, wealth, peace etc.  But it is different for us in this age of grace, we are actually told that if we will to live godly we will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).  We are told that tribulations are a good thing for they produce hope (Romans 5:3-5) which always increases proportionately with our faith and love.  We are told that we are called to suffer these things (Philippians 1:29-30).  And why is this? Because when we experience trials and tribulations we learn to trust in the Lord more and not ourselves.  The fact of the matter is that when every thing is going great in our lives, our walk with the Lord can fall away or become mechanical.  But when the trials and tribulations happen we find ourselves clinging to the Lord our God.  These times of distress are also necessary to purge our vessels to remove the dross from our lives, and this will happen if we yield to the Lord and depend on Him when they come.  But so often, we don’t do this, when something bad happens whatever that may be, we try to scratch and claw our way out of the situation to get back to the place we call safe and secure.  If we can’t get ourselves out of the problem, too often we are more than ready to take whatever solution the world offers to the problem.  Anything to get back to our comfort zone.  But brothers and sisters let’s look at this a little closer.  Faith as we already looked at is strongest when we are looking to our Lord Jesus Christ and away from ourselves and we are told in another part of Scripture that “when we are weak, then we are strong in Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  So whatever bad things may happen, whether they were caused because we sowed seeds to the flesh, or because we are being persecuted, either way it is a chance to grow in faith in the Lord.  Remember the devil doesn’t want us to have one faith, he wants us to have multiple false faiths and securities the world provides, anything to keep us from trusting and relying solely on the Lord Jesus Christ.  But if when the trials and tribulations of this world happen we would just pause and go to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ and tell our Abba everything, and ask Him to help us, and ask for His will to be done, oh what growth we would see!!  We pray that we might do that more, that the Lord would teach us to immediately go to Him in everything, whether in distress or thanksgiving!  When we approach the throne of grace in faith and make our requests of God, we don’t know what will happen, but we can rest in the joy of knowing that the Lord our God is in control, we can rest in the fact that in any situation He can deliver us, but we must also realize that He may not.  The fact that He may not deliver us from the particular trouble right away or even at all, should not make us sad, because we know that God causes all things to work for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  These afflictions cause growth, they increase our faith and dependence in our Lord Jesus Christ, and they are exactly the situations where Christ’s love and life can shine out of us to others!  And as we grow in faith and experience these things, the fellowship we have with our Lord Jesus Christ grows more and more and works a far more exceeding weight of glory than the present affliction.

Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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.

If we desire to live godly in this life, and walk in the good works which God created for us in Christ Jesus, we have to die to ourselves and live to God.  What the apostle Paul termed the “preaching of the cross” was not just for lost sinners who are about to be saved but for all of us who are saved.  The gospel (good news) of God’s grace is not just good news that is useful to those who are not saved, but all of us who believe.  The devil would try to limit us to think about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ once a year during easter and that’s it, but we should daily think about what our Lord and Savior did for us for therein lies the power of faith.  As members of the body of Christ, we have been given such a great hope which is Christ in us the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery (secret) among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory.

Praise the Lord that this mystery of the riches of glory which Christ gave to us is not a secret anymore, as the apostle Paul was given the understanding of all that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for us by His death, burial, and resurrection and all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ.  Throughout Paul’s epistles these riches are explained, though the adversary has tried to keep these riches from being realized by the body of Christ for nearly two thousand years.  It all starts with the cross, when we daily contemplate how Christ Jesus died for our sins, and consider that those were our sins placed on Him, and realize that our old man aka flesh aka sin nature was spiritually nailed to the cross with Christ, it judicially condemns that old part of us that still resides with us, the flesh, it announces loud and clear like Paul says, “I know that in me (in my flesh) dwells no good thing”  When we consider this and then consider the admonition to daily “reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ”, we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin, we need to realize that our flesh, that old nature is dead.  But what so often happens is when we contemplate this we get scared, and sometimes may even doubt our salvation, because we know our flesh is supposed to be dead, but boy does it feel alive sometimes with all the sinning it wants to do!  My opinion on this is that the deadness of the flesh we are to consider daily is not that the flesh is active or not active, but rather reckoning or accounting ourselves dead to sin, means we agree with the judgement that God has given the flesh: condemned, dead, unable to produce anything good.  When Christ was crucified our flesh was judged and condemned, whenever we look at the cross, it immediately speaks of judicial condemnation of what man in his old adamic nature was: sinful.  The Lord Jesus Christ had to leave the glory He had with Father and shed His blood for us for us to be saved, because we were all condemned to an eternity of hell because of our sinfulness.  So when we reckon ourselves dead to sin, we are affirming that anything our flesh avails to us is dead, we seek none of our power because apart from Christ we have no power, our flesh is dead and can only produce dead works. But praise the Lord this isn’t the end, for then when we daily think of our Lord being buried, we can think of how our sins were buried forever, by Christ taking them away for us.  And then after this we can daily think about how Christ rose from the dead on the third day, we can realize how we have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life.  We have been made new creatures in Christ, the Holy Spirit resides in us in a place called the “inward man”.  And both saved men and women have this “inward man”.  In this part of us we can’t sin because it is where the “incorruptible seed” has been sown.

While we shall touch on the aspects of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in connection with ourselves in the next post, I just wanted to show how when we reckon ourselves dead to sin, when we consciously realize that our ability is nothing without Christ.  When we kick self to the curb, it is then when our vessels are purged and we are ready to experience the glory of Christ in us, as He is leading and working and loving and not us.  When thus it happens with us, then it is Christ working in us and His love, and consequently His faith He has given us for we know that it is written, “faith works by love”.  And folks as we have said in the past, this reckoning ourselves dead to sin, is not something we do once and then never have to do again.  There are times when we need to do it daily, sometimes hourly, or even by the minute.  Whenever our eyes get off of Christ and on to something else.  And let’s face it, we don’t do this all the time, we get busy with the cares of this life, and legitimate ones as well like work/school and family and obviously we can’t always be praying or reading God’s Word.  But we can pray in everything, meaning whenever their is a choice we are faced with, whenever there is reason for thanksgiving, whenever there is difficulty.  And we can find time to read God’s Word more than we do now.  God’s Word is our spiritual food and we know that it is written that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”.  Once again this verse is not just talking about those who are about to be saved, it is also talking about us the members of Christ body, in whom the Word of God should be effectually working.

Our faith is also our defense against the tricks and snares of the enemy, we read in Thessalonians that we have been given the “breastplate of faith” and in Ephesians that we have been given the “shield of faith”.  When our faith is firmly rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ and focused on His faithfulness, then when the enemy sends fiery arrows sent with the intent to make us doubt our salvation, they are stopped by faith, because our faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished for us, not us, we own our failure and praise the Lord for saving sinners like us and making us saints in Him!  When the enemy sends any other kinds of his fiery arrows at us, some of which may be hard to distinguish, they are stopped by faith, as we access the throne of grace, God’s throne, by prayer through the Lord Jesus Christ who is our faithful mediator.  Brother’s and sisters I just have to say this again, isn’t it awesome that our salvation is not dependent on our faithfulness but on the Christ Jesus our Lord’s faithfulness to shed His blood and die for our sins!  We believed and recieved God’s gracious gift of salvation through faith in Christ, but He accomplished it!!  Pertaining to our walk with the Lord in this life, let’s pray that God would teach us to yield to Him more so that we might look not to ourselves but to the Author and Finisher of our faith for our victory!

Ephesians 3:17-19
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.  And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Derrick

The Unity of the Spirit – One Lord

Ephesians 4:3-5
Being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; there is one body and one Spirit, according as you were called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

In the day and time when the apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote the verses above there were numerous pagan gods and lords worshipped in the world as we read in this verse:

1 Corinthians 8:5-6
For even if there are those called gods, whether in heaven or whether upon the earth – as there are gods many and lords many – yet to us is one God, the Father, of whom the all things, and we to Him.  And one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom the all things, and we through Him.

Today, nearly two thousand years later, there still exists a pantheon of idols and false god’s which the adversary would try and use to seduce us and make us stray from our walk with the Lord.  Some of these are quite visible to us as existing in other religions and some of these are quite invisible to us as they are spiritual idols that exist in the numerous gray areas which the devil uses to ensnare the members of the body of Christ.  As we will look at in this post, there is one Lord, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I believe most professing Christians would acknowledge that Christ Jesus is Lord.  As we consider our eternal standing in Christ, every person who has acknowledged that they are a sinner deserving nothing but Hell and has placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood, death, burial and resurrection for salvation by grace through faith in our Lord is saved eternally and Jesus Christ is their Lord.  But as we consider our temporal state on this earth, our walk with the Lord and our interaction with the world in which we live, can we claim that we are acting like Christ is our Lord?  This is a searching question meant for individual contemplation with prayer and meditation in God’s Word and not meant for finger pointing.  For those of us who would readily point to personal examples of our walk with the Lord in this life, do we compartmentalize?  Do we allow the Lord in every part of our life, or do we keep some areas for ourselves?  These are all tough questions, no doubt with some painful answers if we will allow ourselves to answer truthfully, but brothers and sisters, as we consider some things in this post, and if the Holy Spirit convicts us on some things in our lives, let us not shrink back, but let us go to the throne of grace in time of need, let us go to our God and Father through Christ Jesus our Lord.  There are no doubt, things in our lives which ensnare us, some of which we may have no confidence in removing from our lives ourselves, this realization is sobering, but it is exactly where we need to be, for when we are weak, when we realize ourselves to be of no resource or help, there is only but one source of help we can turn to and rightly so, our Lord Jesus Christ.  When we are weak, we are strong in Him.  Our Lord is Christ Jesus, we desire fellowship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, let us now boldy look at some of the lords or idols that would hinder that fellowship, as we depend not on ourselves but on God’s grace in time of need.

Let us first lay the foundation that there is only one Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.  There exists today many professing Christians who are joining the ecumenical movement, which is a movement that seeks to find unity among the different religions.  For us the members of Christ’s body, we know from God’s Word that there are not differing faiths as the world claims, there is but one faith and one Author and Finisher of faith, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  There are not many ways to God as is said by some today, but we know that our Lord clearly declared, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father, except through Me”.  Muhammed cannot save, Budda cannot save, our own works cannot save, salvation is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Next let us briefly consider what we have already mentioned a few times in this series of post concerning those who would have dominion over our faith.  As we are all members of the church (assembly) called the body of Christ, there exists many different gifts and roles, some of which are positions of leadership, such as pastors, teachers, elders, etc.  These are God given roles and they should be respected, but they are not to be used to gain dominion over someones faith, but rather to be used as helpers of fellow body members joy in the Lord.  Every man that preaches the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, should say with the apostle Paul, “we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord”, and should point to God’s Word as the authority in the believers walk with the Lord, not a branch of Christianity, not a denomination, not a creed, not a theological system, not the latest Christian book, or the oldest Christian commentary. Every man who preaches Christ Jesus as Lord, should point to Christ and God’s Word as the authority.  Pastors are better off if members of their congregation are reading and studying God’s Word and bringing there questions and disagreements to them.  Iron sharpens iron!  But while we need to hold our pastors to the standard of God’s Word, too often we don’t, instead we lift them up to a position of infallibility.  Instead of recognizing the importance of all the distinctive gifts of the assembly, we carve out a few gifts or roles that are visible and elevate them to a level above the rest of assembly.  This may be subtle and go unseen, but it is bad news, because whenever a person, system, or position get’s lifted up to undue prominence in the assembly our view of the Head of the Body, our Lord Jesus Christ, can be blocked.

Along this line of thought we must realize that some things that most block our view of the Lord, can be things with Christian labels, that are given a place higher than God’s Word.  What I mean by this is that there is definitely a place in the Christian’s life for preachers, teachers, Christian books, Christian blogs etc.  But these should supplement our personal study of God’s Word.  Else how are we to discern whether these things are according to Scripture?  There are many brothers and sisters who if the truth was told and the heart laid bare, it would be found that there is not so much an enjoyment of personal study in God’s Word as there is an enjoyment of God’s Word packaged in the form of a sermon, book, blog or some other thing.  The personal study of God’s Word is so important in the times we live in which are described in 2nd Timothy 3 and 4.  Let’s quote some verses from chapter 4:

2nd Timothy 4:2-4
Preach the Word; be earnest in season, out of season, convict, rebuke, exhort, in all long-suffering and teaching, for there shall be a season when the sound teaching they will not suffer, but according to their own desires to themselves they shall heap up teachers – itching in the hearing, and indeed from the truth they shall turn away from hearing, and to fables shall be turned aside.

In this time in which we live we desperately need discernment, discernment comes from time spent in prayer and God’s Word. If we rely on what we feel is right, without the bedrock of God’s Word as the foundation we can quickly be led away by the flood of false doctrine the adversary is spewing all around us.  Don’t let the enemy convince you that you just aren’t one of those people who likes to read God’s Word a lot.  Instead if you feel this way, go in prayer and tell God everything, ask Him to give you a hunger for His Word.  Don’t let the enemy tell you that reading God’s Word, understanding God’s Word, and enjoyment of God’s Word is just for a certain class of people in the church.  Remember we have all been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places and been given the riches of God’s grace in Christ Jesus our Lord!

As we continue on in our post and we desire to look into what obstructs our view of Jesus Christ our Lord, we now turn to things of the world, and oh may we turn to the Lord as we consider these things.  History repeats itself, and let us not ever look to Israel’s history as some failure that we are above committing.  For as the kingdom of Israel split into the northern and southern kingdom, so has the professing church split into two main branches, namely Catholic and Protestant.  And as idolatry found it’s way into both the northern and southern kingdoms, so too has the world and it’s idols crept into the two main branches of professing Christendom.  One’s corruption was more visible like the northern kingdom of Israel, and one less visible, but none the less permeating. Israel was meant to be a nation seperated to the Lord, and through the knowledge of the Lord, a channel of blessings to the rest of the nations.  The professing church was supposed to be an assembly of the Lord’s ambassadors to a lost and dying world.  At this end stage of the professing church, the world and it’s idols have seeped into the church.  As Israel was in bondage in Egypt, so too are the inhabitants of Christendom in slavery to the media.  The worst part of this though is the fact that most don’t see the chains they wear.  The adversary knows full well that by the inundation of the media via the world’s music, tv, movies and the like, little by little morals and conviction is eroded and the conscience slowly seared.  The adversary would like to compartmentalize our faith, he would have us attend church on Sunday’s and then watch TV the rest of the week that glorifies sins of all magnitude.  He would have us either worshipping the President of our country as infallible or he would have us hating the president of our country and watching news shows that confirmed our disdain.  Anything but what God’s Word tells us to do, which is to pray for our President and our leaders and thank the Lord for the freedoms we have.  Through the media, we are continually conditioned to put our faith in political processes, to put our faith in science, to put our faith in military might, to put our faith in our own resolve, to put our faith in a doctor, to put our faith in the latest greatest product.  In a nutshell, we are conditioned to walk by sight and not by true faith, this folks is plainly against Scripture, where we definitely read that we are to walk by faith and not by sight.  The adversary knows this so he floods us with anything and everything that will keep us out of God’s Word.  He promotes the idols of this world and stuffs them down our throat, anything he can do to keep us out of God’s Word and keep us from realizing the slavery we’re in.  And he succeeds in the lives of so many Christians by getting us to compartmentalize our faith, some things for the Lord, and some things for our enjoyment.  But what many of us don’t realize is that the most true enjoyment that we will ever experience in this life is found in the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s Word, many of us have been so blinded by the devils mirages that we just don’t see it.

Perhaps the saddest of all is the way the professing church has picked up the world’s tools for use in the assembly.  We are told in God’s Word to sing songs with understanding, and instead we sing songs where the music itself takes the prominent role, while the substance of the songs consist of generalized references to God, and short verses repeated over and over akin to mantra’s.  The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most powerful, exalted name in the universe, the Name above all names, but very rarely do you find this awesome title of our Lord used.  We put people and instruments on stage and train peoples eyes to the overhead projector like they are in some sort of communist re-education camp. We come up with every kind of program and gimmick we can think of to attract people, we act as salesmen selling our church to folks, instead of ambassadors for Christ, seeking the salvation of lost souls.  We could go on and on, but the purpose for this is not to tear down, but rather that we might realize how much we need to get back to God’s Word as the authority for our individual live’s and our assemblies.  It is my firm conviction that we are in the days described in 2 Timothy 3 and that are described in the Laodicean assembly in Revelations, this is scary, this shocking.  Please join me in praying for every single member of the body of Christ, that the Lord might open our eyes and give us discernment to recognize the idols we have personally and the idols we have brought into the assembly.  Pray that the Lord would free us from the bondage of the world and the media. Pray that our Lord Jesus Christ would give us ears to hear His Word and hearts to understand.  Let us stop looking to the world for guidance and look directly to God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, let us seek His will in His Word. Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords!

Grace and Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ,
Derrick

The Unity of the Spirit – One Hope

Ephesians 4:3-4
Being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, according as also you were called in one hope of your calling.

So far in our study of the points of the unity of the Spirit which are outlined in Ephesians 4, we have considered that all of us, every one who has trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, is a member of the one body, the body of Christ, a spiritual organization composed of every person who has put their faith in Christ alone, this organization is also called the church and the assembly.  We also considered that upon salvation all of us were sealed with and indwelt with the same Holy Spirit who gives differing gifts with which we can minister and build one another up in Christ.  In this post we are going to consider that we all have one hope.  The world thinks that hope is found in earthly things such as health, wealth, status and material possessions.  Sadly many in Christendom also have bought into this line of thinking, putting forth the “sowing of seeds” which usually means money, in hopes that they thereby may receive health, wealth, or material possessions to enjoy while on this earth. This is a false hope and the adversary uses this lie to take away from the true hope of our calling, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Now don’t get me wrong it is not a sin to be rich or succeed in business, but for the Christian who has been given the gift of prosperity, like all the other gifts that the Holy Spirit gives, it has been given for ministering to others.  But regardless of whether or not a member of the body of Christ is rich or poor, our hope is not in the luxuries and comforts this world has to offer, but in our Lord Jesus Christ alone.  As we all have the same hope of Christ Jesus our Lord we see this singular hope manifested in three different ways.  Let’s consider the following Scripture:

2 Corinthians 1:9-10
But we ourselves, in ourselves the sentence of death have had, that we may not be trusting on ourselves, but on God, who is raising the dead.  Who out of so great a death did deliver us, and does deliver, in whom we have hoped that even yet He will deliver. (YLT)

Please notice that in verse 10 the apostle Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit uses phrases with three different tenses (past, present, and future) when using the word “deliver”.  Please also note that the word deliver means the same thing as the words “save” and “salvation”.  When considering our salvation it is so important to realize that when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ we were saved for eternity, we were sealed until the day of redemption.  This salvation is eternal and now we are eternally secure in Christ, this is also called our standing.  We also need to realize that there is a salvation pertaining to our state here on earth. As we considered in the last couple of posts, when we yield to God and when our eyes are single and on our Lord Jesus Christ and when we are sowing to the Spirit we will be saved during our time here on earth and avoid spiritual catastrophe, but if we don’t yield to God and instead yield to our fleshly desires we know that God is not mocked and we will have to reap what we have sowed to the flesh.  We can avoid this and walk in salvation and sanctification of the Spirit by yielding to God while here on earth.  We can see an example of Paul’s admonition regarding salvation during this life, when he wrote to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:16) to take heed to himself and to the doctrine for by doing this he would “save” himself and those hearing him.  It is obvious that Timothy was already saved when Paul wrote this epistle to him, so Paul is not speaking about eternal salvation, for Timothy was already saved, but he is speaking to the salvation of walking with Lord while here on earth.  This salvation regarding our state while here on earth does not mean bad things won’t happen to us, but rather that in everything that happens to us good or bad we will be strengthened to endure and will grow in faith, hope, and love that is in Christ Jesus.  To endure some affliction or difficulty when you are strengthened in the Lord is a blessing, but to experience some affliction or difficulty when you are minding the things of the flesh is despair, anguish, and death.  Lastly in verse 10 of 2nd Corinthians 1, we see the apostle Paul mention the deliverance (salvation) that is yet future, and oh brothers and sisters what a salvation that will be!  It is the “redemption of the purchased possession” when our Lord Jesus Christ shall return for us and our bodies shall be changed to eternal bodies and we shall be with our Lord forevermore!  Examples of this future salvation abound in the Scriptures and for example just look at the theme verse for this blog located at the very top of this page.

So when we consider that our hope is in Jesus Christ our Lord, we can see it is directly tied to our salvation found in Him as when we first believed, during our time here on earth, and when He returns for us and we are forever with our Lord.  It must be noted that many times in Scripture hope is mentioned together with faith and love such as in 1 Corinthians 13:13 and 1 Thessalonians 1:3.  These three: faith, hope, and love are directly proportional and increase together, the greatest of these being love, because as we read in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, Christ’s love in us labors for others, His love constrains us to minister to others, not in some forced way, but rather in the joy of knowing all that He has given us and desiring to share that love with others that their joy in the Lord may be established or may increase as well.  Let’s consider how Christ Jesus our Lord is our hope, when we first believed, during this life on earth, and in the future.

Pertaining to the hope of our Lord that we were given when we first believed:

Prior to our salvation we were “without hope and without God in the world”.  When we heard the Word of Truth, when we heard the gospel (good news), the first thing we realized was our utterly sinful state, we heard how we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, we heard how God is Righteous and Just and Holy and can’t tolerate sin, we heard that the penalty for our sin is eternal death in hell and ultimately the lake of fire (now there would be some who would omit this part of the gospel, but I ask how can someone know they need a savior if they don’t realize that they are a sinner who deserves to go to hell?).  We felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit as we began to realize our fallen depraved state.  And then brothers and sisters, and then, all glory, honor, and praise to God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ forever!  And then we heard of the hope of the Lord Jesus Christ, we heard how our Lord Jesus Christ left the glory he Had with the Father in eternity past, we heard how he voluntary entered humanity through the virgin birth, we heard how our Lord dwelt among men and felt everything we have felt, yet never sinned.  We heard how our Lord not only kept God’s holy law, but fulfilled it.  We heard how Christ Jesus our Lord allowed Himself to be crucified, how He shed his righteous blood, and bore our sins on the cross, how He, the Son of God, took our guilt, He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  We heard how he was buried, and how on the third day He arose from the dead, conquering death and sin and providing for us the way to be raised with Him in newness of life.  We heard how through our Savior’s death, burial, and resurrection, God graciously offers salvation to any who will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept God’s gracious gift, oh if there is anyone reading this who has not accepted the forgiveness of sins through the Lord Jesus Christ, please do not wait, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, call upon Him right now, right where you are!!  There is hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, salvation full and free and eternal!

So please let me just say that when someone believed and was saved they may not have heard the gospel presented exactly as above or in as much detail. In various ways, using various people as the vessels for His good news, God gets the gospel to those who are about to inherit eternal life.  The point is that when we heard that we were sinners, there was no hope, just the conviction of our depraved state, and this was absolutely necessary for us to realize, and then we heard about the Lord Jesus and how He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, we were given hope!  Hope in our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ!  Hope that we would be brought to and given access to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ!  Hope for eternity!  Hope that every sin we have ever done or will do has been forgiven through our Lord’s atonement!

Pertaining to the hope of our Lord that we experience during our time here on earth:

When we were saved, God called us, and saved us according to His purpose and grace for us in Christ Jesus.  We were made members of the body of Christ and given differing gifts though they may not be manifest to us for some time.  As we gain knowledge in God’s Word, we have to realize that His Word says that “knowledge puffs up”.  Even knowledge imparted by the Holy Spirit to us from God’s Word can be used in a wrong way if the flesh get’s a hold of it.  God’s Word says that the “flesh lusts against the spirit” to lust is to covet or desire what’s not yours.  We have to be so careful when we gain truth from God’s Word to be on the lookout for unnoticed pride in our lives, we should not measure ourselves against others, but instead measure ourselves against God’s Word which if we’re honest with ourselves will always keep us humble.  But we are such that we don’t always do this, and then we need to get humbled before we can be ready for God’s use, and really this is not just a principle that we find in the apostle Paul’s epistles concerning members of Christ’s body, but we see men of God throughout the ages being so prepared by God.  Job was seen as righteous by God, but God allowed Satan to afflict him so he might learn to trust in God’s righteousness and not his own.  This is one of the ways that God gets his servants to where they need to be, trusting not in themselves but fully in Him.  Joseph had to experience slavery and false imprisonment before he would be equipped as the number two ruler in Egypt to provide deliverance from famine for Israel (Jacob and his sons).  We see this again with King David, he had to be on the run and in hiding and from King Saul and learn to trust in God, before he was prepared to be the King of Israel.  Peter had to be sifted like wheat by Satan so he learned not to trust in himself or his own zeal, but in Christ, so he could be used to strengthen his brethren.  And Paul had to be given the thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan that was tormenting him, so he would learn and by the Holy Spirit communicate to us in God’s Word that when we are weak, then we are strong in the Lord.  But through these trials and tribulations of life we have the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, and when we experience these things, if we yield to God, our hope and the knowledge of our hope in Christ will increase more and more as we grow in Him. Let’s look at a verse:

Romans 5:3-5
And not only so, but we also boast in the tribulations, knowing that the tribulation does work endurance, and the endurance, experience, and the experience, hope; and the hope does not make ashamed, because the love of God has been poured forth in our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Praise the Lord! This is so awesome to consider, the world’s hope is in comfort and smooth sailing so to speak, but for us as Christian’s we see that our hope grows as we experience the trials and tribulations.  This happens because the more we endure the afflictions of this life, we learn more and more to depend on our Savior and not on ourselves.  We can say as John the Baptist did, “Christ must increase, but I must decrease”.  The more we grow in the Lord, the more we say with the apostle Paul, “I know that in me (in my flesh) dwells no good thing” and “we have no confidence in the flesh”.  We seek the life of Christ to be manifest in us, we seek Him who is the author and finisher of our faith to be living His life through us as we also read in the following verses:

Galatians 2:20
With Christ I have been crucified, and live no more do I, and Christ does live in me; and that which I now live in the flesh, in the faith I live of the Son of God, who did love me and give Himself for me

2 Corinthians 4:10-11
At all times the dying of the Lord Jesus bearing about in the body, that the life also of Jesus in our body may be manifested, for always are we who are living delivered up to death because of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested  in our dying flesh.

Colossians 1:27

To whom God did will to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles – which is Christ in you, the hope of glory

When we are weak we will cleave to our Lord and Savior, that is when we are strengthened in Him and He is leading. Our hope is always that the Lord Jesus Christ’s life might be made manifest in us, and when we are exercised as such to see and experience our hope in the Lord, the joy is indescribable, the peace passes understanding, even though the circumstances around us may be dire.

 Pertaining to the hope of our Lord that we are waiting for:

In 2nd Timothy 3:12 we are instructed that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted”, please note this says all, not some.  For a member of the body of Christ who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus he or she will face persecution.  In some nations this persecution takes form physically, with violence and imprisonment, and in some nations this takes the same form as Balaam taught Balak to cause God’s people to stumble through idolatry.  The adversary knows full well that in affluent countries many of God’s people can be made to stumble through the 100’s of idols and immorality thrown at them daily from the media and others and then like Lot in Sodom, “their righteous souls are vexed”.  As we consider 2 Timothy 3 and the end stage of the professing church described in the Laodicean assembly in Revelations we see that the professing church will be so engulfed in “idols” (things of the world) that they won’t even realize it and think they are rich and needing nothing while really being “poor and naked and blind”.  And so it is today, oh may the Lord apply eye salve to our eyes, so we might see and discern things as they really are!  May He give us ears to hear his Word, hearts to comprehend more what He has done for and provided for us in the riches of His grace and His finished work at the cross!  May He gives us hearts to love our neighbor as ourselves and have compassion one to another, while being bold in love for the truth of His Word!

Regardless of the type of persecutions we face, our Lord Jesus Christ is our hope!  We await the return of our Lord Jesus Christ for us, which could be at any moment!  We await “the redemption of the purchase possession” when our redemption shall be complete as our bodies are changed in the twinkling of an eye and we are given new glorified bodies that shall never suffer from the sword or suffer from the temptation of sin.  We will be alive in all three aspects, body, soul, and spirit and joying and praising God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ for eternity!  Let us close this post looking at a scripture that tells of our blessed hope and folks as we live in these last days before our Lord’s appearance may we ask the Lord to strengthen us in Him so we might be vessels used for His service reaching out to the lost so that all may come to a knowledge of the truth in Christ Jesus!

Titus 2:11-15
For the saving grace of God was manifested to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and the worldly desires, sober and righteously and godly we may live in this present age.  Waiting for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who did give Himself for us, that he might ransom us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Derrick