Justification, Reconciliation, Sanctification and Glorification

These subjects are directly related to defining what precisely are the promised gift and reward given to man. They also may clear up some mistaken assumptions about faith, works, trust and hope that will lead to man’s salvation. Because of confusing teachings, it becomes a responsibility for those in search of the truth, like the Bereans(Acts 17:11), to study these subjects together, in love, knowing fully well that no one has a monopoly on wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As complex and all -encompassing the breath and depth of these subjects are, one is advised to read through and meditate on all the quotes, verses and references provided, to gain utmost understanding as the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the truth.

As the taproot of these terms came about because of the “promise“, whether gift or reward, let us then begin with the question, to whom that promise was made and extended, what exactly was promised, when did it begin to attain fulfillment and its finality? When was the promise initiated and completed?



Who are the children of Abraham?

From what the scriptures say, only Abraham and his children were given these promises. As to whether the promise was extended to others could not immediately be known at that time, although subsequent era alluded to that. Who then are his descendants?

While genealogy defines who are the children of Abraham, God specifically defined them (through Paul), as “children of faith” and children of promise(1). They were not Isaac, Jacob and their descendants nor Ishmael and his offsprings because they were all children of Jerusalem on “earth” at that time, not “Jerusalem above” which is future (2Peter 3:13; Rev. 21).

The children of God are “children of promise”, “children by faith”, no matter what race, genealogy, sex etc, they are all heirs according to the promise. God by his Holy Spirit has written his laws in the mind and heart of those in the “book of life” that were “called” and their eyes opened to “believe “(Matt. 22:14; Isaiah 69:28; Rev. 3:5; 22:19). In contrast to Israel of “Sinai”, those with the Holy Spirit have “circumcision of the heart”(Rom. 2:29; 9:24-29) as the sign of the New Covenant to receive, in the future, immortality and to live forever on earth and the universe. This is extent of what the promise covers. They are brothers and sisters who are not children of the bondwoman, tethered “under the Law” (Rom. 6:14; Gal. 5:18) given in Sinai in “tables of stone” (Ex. 31:18; 34:4; 2Cor. 3:3) but of the free. Having been freed from eternal death (exacted by the Law given at Sinai attributed to one man-Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden),through the death also of one man-Jesus, the “pioneer and perfecter”, we are now free to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring “ fruits of the Spirit”, against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23).

Having established to whom the promise was given, identified the “seed “ and who the “children of Abraham” are, we can now take up the following terms.


Justification and Reconciliation

To start with, why do we need justification and reconciliation? What really justifies us? Is justification for our individual past and future sins? What got us justified and reconciled. What are we justified by faith for and whose faith is referred to? Is it subsequently our faith, too?

Remember that sin “entered the world” (Rom. 5:12-21) because of Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden. All of humanity’s sin are imputed or counted towards one man’s sin so that one man-Jesus’ “righteousness of faith and works” can be assigned (counted, but not swapped) to all(2).

Moreover, even man’s righteous deeds are as filthy rags to God as in:

Isaiah 64:6 (NIV) “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

Paul zoomed into the very core of preceding questions in:

Romans 3:23-27 (ESV)

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith

Gal. 2:16 “...no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ * and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Gal. 3:6-14 “Just as Abraham believed God , and it was credited to him as righteousness , so then, understand that those who believe are the sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you ” So then those who believe are blessed along with Abraham the believer. For all who rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “ Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law .” Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith . But the law is not based on faith, but the one who does the works of the law will live by them . Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree ”) in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.”

I Cor. 5:8 (NIV)

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:”

Rom. 5:10 (NIV) “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life”

That being said, through Paul, notice what James’ additional testimony is:

James 2:14-26 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Beginning and fulfillment of the promise to Abraham

Paul and James gave us verses to understand the full and correct message about faith and works. What on the surface appears contradictory testimony can be harmonized and squared away by taking the “righteousness of faithand “justified by faith”  initiated or began  the gift and reward for the promise made by the Father. Essentially,  the gift which was initiated by the righteousness of the faith of Jesus was demonstrated, activated or completed  through action, by “righteousness of works and “justified by works”.  These promises would begin fulfillment through man-Jesus, the “beginner/author and finisher”(Heb. 12:2) of faith, the “pioneer” (originator/trailblazer) towards our salvation.


Sanctification and Glorification

How are we saved (Rom. 5:10)through his life? This is the very essence of what sanctification is. Sanctification or holiness comes from the Greek word “hagiasmos/hagiazo”.

Remember that Jesus died and was resurrected, not by himself but (Acts 2:32; 5:30; Gal. 1:1; Rom. 6:4), by the Father. Without him alive (John 14:16;16:7)he would not have received the Holy Spirit from the Father for us (Matt. 3:11;Mk 1:8;Luke 3:16).

This is the Holy Spirit of power that dwelt in man-Jesus at river Jordan ( Matt. 3:16; Luke 3:22) and will dwell (3) in the “Holy of Holies” of our body (temple as in I Cor. 3:16) to guide and help our spirit (the spirit of man; Gen. 2:7) to bring forth “fruits of the Holy Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). As man-Jesus followed the Holy Spirit, so should any human so imbued with this power.

We are required to bring forth fruits, to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, not our will but the will of God (Mk. 14:36; Luke 22:42). Only those who endure/persevere/overcome (Matt. 24:13;Rev. 2:7,11,17, 26-28; 3:5,12, 21)to the end will be given the reward of immortality, salvation,i.e., eternal life, our glorification. Man-Jesus, as a pioneer/precursor/forerunner/beginner/trailblazer, indeed followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit instead of his own will.

Gifts vs Reward

Both are secondary to actions taken due to promises made. Both required a provider/giver and a recipient. However, gifts are given because of action from a belief that are evidenced-based (faith) thereby leading to trust. They are not given because of action that are “works of the flesh”, whether good or evil. Justification, reconciliation and imputation of sin of Adam to Jesus, are secondary to Christ’s belief and trust in the Father, having been with him from the beginning; of faith that is evidence-based. What the Father promised, Jesus trusted he will fulfill.

Contrariwise, reward is provided because of actions done by the recipient that are “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, not “fruits or works of the flesh”. This action does not even originate from any man and has to come, as a gift of the Father, through the Holy Spirit of power that was given because of the initiating “faith of Jesus”. The Holy Spirit sanctifies the recipient and he/she that “endures to the end” (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 3:7-19) the “overcomer” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21) will be glorified as “son of God”. The rewards for those that “endure to the end” are resurrection to immortality and eternal life.

Summary

Because of the sin of one man Adam, to which all sins were imputed (whether Jews/Gentiles, pre/post-Adamic, pre/post-Abrahamic), similarly, one man-Jesus has to justify all sinners through imputation of his “righteousness of faith”. This justification is initiated, according to Paul, (Rom. 5:1; Gal. 2:16) by the “faith of Jesus”, and not his “works”, so no man( even Jesus) can boast (I Cor. 1:29; Eph. 2:9).

However, as “faith without works is dead” like the “body is dead apart from the spirit” it has to be demonstrated,!activated or completed by works (James 2:14-26), with the power of the Holy Spirit in him (Matt. 3:16; Luke 3:22). So Jesus had to sacrifice his life as a Passover Lamb (I Cor 5:7) by crucifixion (a curse Gal. 3:13) thus reconciling us to the Father by his “faith and works”.

It is the belief that is evidence-based(faith) leading to trust that initiated the “gift of righteousness” to all. But, it is the demonstration/activation/completion of faith “through works” that led to “reward” of reconciliation”.

With the gift of the Holy Spirit of power given to us, through faith, directly by Jesus as Son of God, we will then have to become overcomers to reach sanctification and eventual glorification.

God bless

References

1. Promise made to seed of Abraham and his children. Retrieved 4/28/18 from https://fact-s.net/2018/04/28/promise-made-to-theseed-of-abraham-and-his-children/

2. First Human, What difference does it make? Retrieved 5/1/18 from https://fact-s.net/2014/07/18/adam-the-first-human-what-difference-does-it-make/

3. Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy. Retrieved 5/1/2018 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/

Other references:

https://fact-s.net/2018/03/31/can-we-really-swap-christs-righteousness-for-ours/

https://fact-s.net/2017/04/11/gift-and-reward-whatthis-topic-is-well-known-to-christians-and-expected-to-be-well-understood-yet-many-sorely-missed-to-see-where-the-difference-and-similarity-as-they-relate-to-salvation-to/
https://fact-s.net/2017/11/27/are-both-our-faith-and-works-needed-for-salvation/

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/27/faith-vs-hope-or-wishful-thinking/

Original post: 5/1/2018

Promise made to the “seed” of Abraham and his children?

Promise made to the”seed” of Abraham and his children?

It has been a traditional teaching in Judaism & Christianity that they were promised a visible and tangible place on earth to live forever. This is generally accepted as true but to what extent does this promise cover? And, how, when and who can this be initiated and reach fruition?

Who is the “seed” of Abraham?

To begin with, this promise in the gospel was preached to humans, and not to any other created living entity, whether plants or animals. Although “the angels desire to look into” or prophets of old “searched diligently”, this was not understood because it was “not for themselves” (I Peter 1:12), at that time. This was first promised to a human Abraham (Genesis 15:18), then confirmed or re-promised to his son Isaac (Genesis 26:3), and thereafter to Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 28:13), Abraham’s grandson (1). Does it strike you as odd that it was again promised and re-promised? Notice these verses:

Gen. 15:18 “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: “

Gen. 22:17 “I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendantsbeyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.”

Gen. 26:3 “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; “

Gen. 26:4”I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.”

Gen. 28:13 “And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; “

Clearly, the promises were made to Abraham and extended or re-promised to his descendants. Whether only along the line of Isaac and excluded the line of Ishmael, may not matter at all. Because, according to the understanding given to Paul, while these promises were spoken by the Lord YHVH to humans, first to Abraham and to his descendants, the “seed” (not seeds) specifically referred to was man-Jesus, the incarnated YHVH Elohim. And, this was “based on promises yet future” at that time, as in, Gal. 3:16

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.”(New International Version)

Interestingly, while the promise was clearly and undeniably spoken to Abraham and his descendants, Paul emphasized the promise was to a specific human seed, Christ. One seed and, following the principle in Isaiah 28:10, this does not necessarily ignore or marginalize other descendants of Abraham nor contradict other verses but gives context to whom the promise was specifically addressed for the start of implementation.

Rather, Paul’s understanding of these written words, in light of what he knew at that time, was intimating and signifying the one person to whom these promises would begin and to reach fulfillment. In other words, Paul’s focus about the promise was to explain about the implementation of the promise which did not commence nor fulfilled with Abraham, or with his other descendants, but a specific one. History of Israel proved that Abraham and his offsprings did not attain nor start the fulfillment of the promise until man-Jesus came into being. That was why it was promised again and again for continuity until Christ, the “seed“. The timing of when this promise would start unraveling was with man-Jesus, the one seed of Abraham, to whom the promise would begin the process of fulfillment. And this is a miracle that would happen in the future.

This divine parallel and look into the future, were alluded to previously in the narrative of the conception of Isaac in the womb of Sarah.

Genesis 18:10-14 “And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. “

In Genesis 17:17,

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”

Gen. 18:12 “So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

Gen. 21:5-6 “Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”

What happened to Abraham and Sarah was a miraculous demonstration of the power of God, i.e, there is nothing “…too hard for the LORD” and will commence “at the time appointed”. They did not have Isaac until the “time of life”, i.e., the appointed time. Similarly, the Lord YHVH incarnated to man-Jesus at the “time appointed“. Jesus was the “pioneer”, the “beginner “ of this process. The appearance, identity and anointing of this Jesus/Messiah was prophesied in Daniel 9:24-27; Matt. 3:17, 17:5; Luke 3:22.

Who are the children of Abraham?

While genealogy defines who the children of Abraham are, God specifically defined it differently (through Paul), not from flesh, but as “children of faith” in Gal. 3:7-9, as in:

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, “In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

Foresight of God was to justify also the heathen, i.e., outside of Abraham’s stock. Moreover, while Abraham’s physical children were Isaac from Sarah and Ishmael from Hagar, the key defining attribute of being a descendant is one of “child of promise”,as in:

Galatians 4:22-31 “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar(aka Hagar). For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Currently, Israel and others of whatever religion, are of the “bond woman of Sinaiunless begotten of promise and faith to be qualified in the true definition of “children of Abraham

Summary

Promises made in the Old Testament were spoken first to Abraham who did not see the fulfillment of that promise for himself because it was for the future. So, it was promised again to Isaac & Jacob, who likewise did not see fruition. Paul subsequently explained that the promise had to wait for an appropriate time until LORD YHVH was incarnated to man-Jesus, the “seed” of Abraham, the “pioneer and finisher/perfecter of our faith”(Heb. 12:2). Jesus initiated and is the first human to which the promises will be fulfilled to the fullest extent, before others. He was a man of “faith” and a “child of promise”. He came through the genealogy of Abraham although he was not of “earth but heavenly”; came from above as incarnated Lord God/YHVH ELOHIM. He believed in the Father’s promises and was baptized (as the Father promised) as in “the Holy Spirit fully dwell in him” at river Jordan(Matt. 3:16; Luke 4:1-13). For anyone, including Jesus, to receive the Holy Spirit, what is required is to believe (John 7:39; Gal. 3:2). He was resurrected, as promised, to receive the Holy Spirit to be “baptized” into us (Matt. 3:11); no one will have the Holy Spirit until The Father gives it to Jesus first. He changed from mortal man-Jesus to an immortal Son of God. The same immortality will “clothe” (I Cor.15:53) those believers who overcame(Rev. 2:26;3:21) and persevered/endured (Matt. 24:13) through the end. Towards the end, he will rule in Jerusalem, here on earth, with the “firstfruits”, fellow children of promise/faith, for a Millenium (Rev. 20). Then, after all come under his subjection, he will then subject the same, (I Cor. 15:24) including him before the Father (I Cor. 15:28). So, at the end, the Father will be over all in a “new heaven and new earth” (2Peter 3:13; Rev. 21).

The children of God are “children of promise”, “children by faith”, no matter what race, genealogy, sex etc, even those created human beings before Adam, all heirs according to the promise. God by his Holy Spirit has written his laws in the mind and heart of those he “called” and opened their eyes to “believe “. In contrast to Israel and others of “Sinai”, those with the Holy Spirit have “circumcision of the heart” as the sign of the New Covenant to receive immortality and to live forever on earth and the universe. This is the extent of what the promise covers. They are brothers and sisters who are not children of the bondwoman, tethered to be “under the Law” given in Sinai in “tables of stone”, but of the free. Having been freed from eternal death(exacted by the Law of Sinai attributed to one man-Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden),through the death also of one man-Jesus, the “pioneer and perfecter”, we are now free to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring “ fruits of the Spirit”, against such, there is no law. (Gal. 5:23). So, follow the example of Jesus, our pioneer. Unlike Adam in the garden of Eden, Jesus correctly decided to follow the Father’s will, not his, in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). Let us all endeavor to have “fruits of the Holy Spirit“.

Remember, without fruits, the tree will be cut down (Matt. 7:18-19; Luke 13:9).

God Bless.

Original post: April 28, 2018

What does “naked” mean and why were Adam & Eve “afraid” and “ashamed”?

What does “naked” mean and why were Adam & Eve “afraid” and “ashamed”?

In the Garden of Eden, the narrative regarding Adam & Eve was that , before they sinned, they were naked but not ashamed, as in:

Gen. 2:25 The man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.”

The word naked was an English translation of the Hebrew word “arowm”, also meaning “nude”. Whereas, the etymology of the word ashamed is “buwsh”, aka “pale” or “dry”.

In the garden of Eden, they were instructed in:

Gen 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

They then violated God’s command. It was only after sinning did Adam & Eve become aware their “eyes opened” that they were “naked“…. “afraid” and ..”ashamed” as in,

Gen. 3:7 “Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Gen. 3:10 “…I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

They “hid” and “sewed figs for covering” are actions that expressed their “fear” and “shame”.

The origin of the body and spirit.

What do all these mean? To help understand this narrative in the garden of Eden, one has to start from the beginning of human creation, cautiously and precisely.

We can see how man was composed in:

Gen 2:7, “The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Clearly, man is composed of a body that came from the “soil of the ground” plus “breath of life” that came directly from the Creator’s breath, not matter from “soil”, i.e., non-matter or “spirit” from a “spirit-being”(Creator-God).

So man is made up of matter(the whole body from head to toe) and spirit. By itself, the body is lifeless, i.e., dead. And, infused into the body through the nostrils, is a “spirit of man” , aka, the “breath of life” that has intrinsic life, having come directly from a living God. Subsequently, the body + breath of life(spirit of man) ”became a living being”. In other words and strictly speaking, the body, per se, is dead and only the “breath of life,the “spirit of man” has life because it came directly from a living God, not from the “soil of the ground” which is inert. And a living God has to connect or fuse them together(turn them on)to become “ a living being”. It was this connection by God that made it a “living being/soul”.

A living person has to turn it on

This connecting/turn-on mechanism has parallels, although not strictly equivalent to the relationship between body and spirit:

1. Before we see light, there has to be light bulb, electric cord, socket where the cord is plugged in and electric wire towards the switch; all components to bring light. All the preceding elements, by themselves, do not bring on light. Essentially, they are “dead”. Only when one (a live person) turns on the switch or “connects” all these parts that light will come on. Or, some living being, automatically turns it on, as a reflex, using a “timer”.

2. A computer with all its parts are “dead” or not useful unless someone, who is alive, turns on the power.

3. With all the parts of a car, it will not start even with an ignition unless a living person turns it on.

Separation and connection

Connectivity as a step in this mechanism to bring on life is also proven by:

1. Death comes when there is disconnection or separation between the body and “spirit of man/breath of life”, as in:

Eccl.12:7 “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

The dead body decays and turns to dust or soil on earth, while the “spirit of man” returns to God who gave it; they separate.

2. A dead body that is “matter-composed” can be restored to natural/physical life when the “spirit of man” is infused back to him/her again.

An example of this is Lazarus, who has been dead,i .e., the spirit left him 4 days already but he was resurrected, as in:

John 11:38-44 “Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

3. The same physical resurrection in:

Daniel 12:2: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, …some to shame and everlasting contempt”

Revelation 20:12-13: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.

So the spirit that returned to God can then be retrieved back into the physical body, although previously dead will have life, through the power of God.

This “spirit of man” that returned to God at death, is devoid of a physical and matter-composed body. As a parallel, it is like the thumb-drive that has all the memory downloaded from a computer, which represents the body, and can be destroyed. The thumb drive can be inserted into a new computer with all the memories and activities of the previous destroyed computer. In the future, this “spirit of man” maybe given another type of body. This time a spirit-composed body as in the “first resurrection” to eternal life. This is proven by:

Daniel 12:2 “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, …”

Rev. 20:4-6 “...They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ,…”

Notice that, by itself, the “spirit of man” does not have “everlasting life”. It is not eternal until given a new and immortal body,i.e., it and can be destroyed and cease, as in:

Matt. 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul(psyche/breath/spirit). Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul (spirit) and body in hell(Gehenna fire , not hades).”

Essentially, the “spirit-of-man” (while not eternal and can cease or be destroyed) is the living component of man separate from the non-living/lifeless body-component. But God, a living person, caused them to fuse/connect/combine that turned them into “a living being/soul”. At death, they separate, the “spirit-of-man” goes back to the Creator while the dead body goes to the grave/hell/hades to rot.

4. The same principle in healing . If dead body can be alive by this mechanism so did people with sick bodies. Notice that these people already have intact “spirit-of-man” but with sick body. Yet they were healed. A living God had to “turn on”or “activate” the “flesh-composed body”. Read the narrative about the crippled (Mark 2:9-12),leprosy (Luke 17:12-16), blind (John 9:6-7),bleeding disorder (Matt. 9:20-2), and every kind of disease and sickness (Matt. 9:35)

Who and where “we” are, the real “us”, the real man?

With that said, what is the true interpretation or rendering of “body”, “naked/nude”, “clothed”? What or where is the “real us”, the “real man” referred to? Before and after separation of body and spirit ?

As words may have different meaning depending upon time-culture, viz. gay which before means happy but now understood to be homosexual, can we be assured of the meaning of these words?

Yes, we can and were given proof of what these words mean today. The true understanding was expressed by Paul in that same time-period, within the first century. These 2 separate components were also understood by Paul, as in:

2 Cor 5:1-4 ” Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are (made) in heaven and will last forever. While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked. These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don’t do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die.”

King James Version with original Greek word translated:

2 Cor 5:1-4

For we know that if our earthly house (okia/residence/abode)of this tabernacle (skenos/temporary tent) were dissolved, we have a building (oikodome /base of structure) of God, an house (oikia/abode)not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) upon with our house which is from heaven:

If so be that being clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) we shall not be found naked(gymnos/nude). For we that are in this tabernacle (skenos/temporary tent)do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed(ekdyo/sink out/divest), but clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”

Clearly then, the body is a temporary dwelling, a tent/tabernacle. And, that the “we” referred to is the “spirit of man” in this earthly tabernacle ( the temporary body). This, suggestive of our future “ immortal spirit-composed body” that we will put on or be clothed into “us”, is the “spirit of man/breath of life” that returned to the Father God, at natural death. The body is considered a cloth, temporary or eternal. Without a body, the “spirit of man” is nude or naked. Real “self” is really the spirit-component of man as the natural/physical body is transient.

Further proof of the above concept that, by usage as understood by Paul, the human spirit is the real “us”/“we” , (the real person), is what Jesus himself said, as in:

Matt. 15:12 “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

What goes out comes from the psyche/spirit or mind determines and defines sinful acts that defile the “us, we”; not the natural body.

Currently, “we”(the human spirit) is in this physical matter/composed body/cloth which is temporary tent. But, also now, Father God gave us the Holy Spirit through Jesus because of our belief in the promises to him, as a “deposit”, an “earnest” for it to grow and guide us into the fullness of the immortal body, as in:

2 Cor 5:5-10 “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the (earthly)body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away (dead) from the body and at home (immortal body) with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us (immortal body)for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

The Holy Spirit then is “baptized” into “us”( the spirit of man), binds, connects and fuses in “us” for sanctification.

Summary

We now know the 2 components of humans when created as explained in the narrative in Genesis at the garden of Eden. The body(soma) is natural, physical, earthy and comes from soil, mud, ground and therefore temporary as a tent/tabernacle. This is the “temporary clothing” that will die a natural death and decay in “hell/hades/grave”, as in:

Heb. 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once, to die but after this the judgment

Whereas, the spirit(psyche/mind) of man is spirit-composed element of man that came directly from a spirit-composed God Creator; heavenly but not yet immortal. This is the component that returns to God, at natural death. It can be killed in “hell/Gehenna fire”. Without the body, it is nude/naked, and needs to be clothed in the future with an “immortal, spirit-composed body”.

Gen. 3:7-10 can now be understood as to why Adam & Eve became aware of their nakedness, were afraid, ashamed, hid themselves and clothed themselves. It is because they knew that they violated God’s command, sinned, and their physical body is temporary and will die in hades but their “spirit“, even if it goes back to the Father at death, can also be destroyed later in “hell/Gehenna fire”. Sin separated them from God. They need to be covered again. Meanwhile, they were driven out of Eden to die a natural death and, because of Jesus’ trust in the promises of the Father, hoping for a future immortal body to clothe them again for eternity.

Original post:

April 10, 2018

Can we really swap Adam’s sin or Christ’s righteousness for ours ?

Can we really swap Adam’s sin or Christ’s righteousness for ours ?

There are well-intentioned people, high in the hierarchy of mainstream Christianity, who teach that Christ’s righteousness is “swapped” for ours. This may unnecessarily leave a bad taste to some believers because of its connotation that we do not have to do good works since Christ’s righteousness is already ours; that the Father looks at Christ as our righteousness. Sounds familiar? What does it mean “Christ’s righteousness swapped for us”? Is there “fullness of the truth” in this teaching? Was there really a “swap”? Or is this word “swap” a misapplication of the principles surrounding “imputation, righteousness, gift or reward”? Should the word “swap” be instead changed to “accounted” or “assigned“?

This is a question that many can take opposite sides and either side can still claim to be true and explainable. How could both be true? Where the “rub” is, can only be understood when one traces back the biblical verses from where the teaching was based on. Let us analyze these verses.

Discordant verses ?

Not only has it been emphasized in the Old Testament but also in the New Testament of the Holy Bible that we have to follow the Ten Commandments and have our own righteousness.

In Deut 6:25,it says- “it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.”

2 Sam 22:21 “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.”

2 Sam 22:25 “Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.”

Romans 2: 6-8 “He will reward each one according to his works : eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality,”

Romans 2: 13“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous before God, but those who do the law will be declared righteous. “

The preceding verses clearly confirm the requirement for us to do “good works”. By following God’s commandments, it “shall be our righteousness” and that “according to our righteousness” there will be a reward or recompense. For the reward to be given to us, it has to be our righteousness, not somebody else’s, even from Christ’s. Man-Jesus’ righteousness has to be uniquely for him and for something else, as a “pioneer/beginner” of our faith.

Contrariwise, Isaiah 64:6 states:

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. “

Rom 3:10 is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

While we have done righteous things, we have been unrighteous as well. Our “sins sweep us away” from our reward like using “filthy rags“. Since our righteousness “have become like filthy rags”, how then can “our righteousness” be the basis for reward? It appears that there is asynchrony with the concept that reward/recompense is given because of our righteousness. Are these verses contradicting each other? How could this so-called “discrepancy” be when 2Tim. 3:16-17 state:

“All scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

To resolve what appears on the surface as inconsistency, one may have to recall the principle that verses have to be analyzed and harmonized through the lens of correlation with each other, for truth behind the facts to come out as in Isa. 28:10:

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”

That being said, how could these verses align themselves toward searching the truth? How could “our righteousness” which our “sins have swept away” and “have become as filthy rags” be worthy of our reward/recompense?

Do we have a “sinful nature”?

To begin to address the premise of the subject at hand, we need to clear a common topic of sermons that humans were created or born with natural bent to sin or with propensity to do evil. This can easily be debunked by:

Genesis 1:31 KJV “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

Not only was man created “very good” but also from the narrative in Genesis, he was given freedom of choice either to eat forbidden fruit or not; Adam was not a robot. Indeed, man is capable to do “good works” on his own. But, he can also do wrong. From the beginning we were created with capability and choice; not propensity or bent to do evil. In Genesis, Adam did good, took care of the garden of Eden and eat allowable fruits from it. But, he also has the capability to eat the “forbidden fruit”, and sinned. Other humans have done likewise, i.e., did both good and evil. However, with Job, he did not sin at all and confirmed by God himself as in:

Job 1:1 “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil.”

Job 1:8 “.…There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil.”

Job 1:22, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

This was what Job was on his own, righteous, even before the power of the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. Similarly, on his own and before his baptism, man-Jesus, while human and matter-composed, did not sin at all, as in:

Hebrews 4:15: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

In contrast to Job whose origin was “earthy/ dust/ground/soil”, Jesus was “from above“, heavenly, the incarnated YHVH ELOHIM, LORD GOD(1). Job’s eternal or “second death” from sin was imputed, being a progeny of Adam. Whereas, man-Jesus did not have this imputed sin because of his heavenly origin. While not from Adam’s genealogy, Jesus’ conception (2) was along the line of Adam, viz., Mary & Joseph, as prophesied.

Similarly, a spirit-composed being, Lucifer was perfect until he chose to disobey and became an Adversary, thus named Satan. Clearly, choice is there for matter-composed and spirit-composed beings to do right or wrong; humans have a choice to do good and/or evil, as in:

Deut. 30:15 “Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death.”

Be that as it may, God requires only good works from us, even from Job and Jesus, not a mixture of “good and evil”, like the Deceiver/Satan that he is. In Genesis, God has forbidden Adam to “eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”, and allowed everything else , including that of the “tree of life”. Only “good works” is what God wanted us to have. We have to be a “servant” of goodness, not a “servant of sin or a combination thereof”(John 8;34; Rom. 6:20). Doing “good and evil” is not what God requires. How could this be accomplished? Before addressing this question, let us clear first the following question:

When did our good works become “filthy rags” and unworthy of reward?

Correlating all the preceding, it becomes apparent that there was a time when “our righteousness (own good works) became as filthy rags” and unworthy of reward. When was this?

As God planned this even before the beginning of time, there was a:

1. Time when sin entered the world as assigned to one specific man; one particular sin before the Law was given to Moses and therefore “apart from the Law”, yet with death (second) as penalty.

2. Time when sin was accounted or assigned.

3. Time when our good works became as filthy rags.

4. Time for us to receive the Holy Spirit and be empowered to do only good works, by choice, not combine them with evil. A time to be a “servant of good”.

Consider the following;

Romans 5:12-15 “So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. Yet death (eternal/second; Rev. 20:6) reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed”(3).

In essence, while sin has been in the world (even pre/para-Adamic) and there was a sentence of death for all , the specific reference was on that particular disobedience of a specific person (Adam) in the garden of Eden; not anybody else’s. Moreover, there was no accounting for that sin until the time the Law was given to Moses, viz, “no accounting for sin when there is no law.” And this, so that sin will be even more abound or understood to be more horrible, and value of grace even more enhanced, as in:

Rom. 5:20 “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

Notice that the object, of when sin and death entered the world, was Adam, not anybody else, even when there were pre-para-Adamic humans who sinned. This was because Adam was the first human who God chose to give the command “not to eat…”as in Gen. 2:16-17. No other pre-or-para-Adamic human was given this command and choice. So, precisely, Adam was chosen as the specific human to start “when sin entered the world” and was the pivotal person from which sin was “accounted” when Law was given to Moses. Also, not any sin like adultery, stealing, murder,etc in Mosaic Law, but the disobedience about eating the fruit wherein is the knowledge of good and evil which is “apart from the Law” as in:

Romans 3:21“But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed – …

In essence, our righteousness “apart” from the Law, and before the power of the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, “became as filthy rags”,unworthy of reward”, when the time of accounting was done, i.e., when the Law was given to Moses and, even when all humans were sinful, from the very beginning, as God planned.

Imputation and gift

Similarly, as Adam was chosen as a “type” of the person to come, God also decided on who the “anti-type” would be. And this choice of one man was done so that also one man, Jesus, (also the Father’s choice) can take on that penalty of death from the sin of Adam and humanity, as in:

Rom. 5:17-19 “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

Essentially, imputation is specifically about a particular sin of a specific Adam (counted as for all mankind) so that righteousness (a gift) of a specific person, Jesus, can take on the penalty of death for all. It was not about our particular sins in life, after the Law was given, but that of Adam’s, before the Law was given. In other words, there was no direct swap between our sins to Adam’s as in Deut. 24:16:

Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.”

Nor swap of Jesus’ righteousness for ours. There was no swap or exchange ; instead it was a matter of time for “accounting” or “assigning” of righteousness but only for justification, not yet salvation.

What was that particular obedience that was credited for righteousness towards justification and reconciliation ?

Since “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, we are all doomed to die the “second/eternal death” . This is why there has to be a “substitute” for our death, a “Passover” This person has been identified by Paul as in,

I Cor. 5:7 “…Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”

This is the reason YHVH incarnated to man-Jesus. It was the Creator-Jesus who would give his own life for his creation, out of love, as in:

John 3:16 “For God (Father)so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son(Jesus), that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

But it was not his death, following God’s will, that was the gift to us for reconciliation/justification. Rather, it was the gift of righteousness. What righteousness? Not Jesus’ action of being crucified and die. Instead, it was Jesus’ belief in the Father that what was promised, the Father would fulfill. And this belief was evidence-based as in ;

Heb.11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

It was this substantive and evidence-based belief, termed “faith”, that was taken and counted for “righteousness “, the “righteousness of his faith”, when he was still alive, pre-crucifixion, as in:

Romans 3:21-31“But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed – namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe.

For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed. This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded! By what principle? Of works? No, but by the principle of faith! For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too! Since God is one, he will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then nullify the law through faith? Absolutely not! Instead we uphold the law.

Romans 4:1-25”What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter? For if Abraham was declared righteous by the works of the law, he has something to boast about – but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “ Abraham believed God , and it was credited to him as righteousness .” Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, * his faith is credited as righteousness.

So even David himself speaks regarding the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;

blessed is the one against whom the Lord will never count sin .”

Is this blessedness then for the circumcision or also for the uncircumcision? For we say, “faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness .” How then was it credited to him? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? No, he was not circumcised but uncircumcised! And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised, so that he would become the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised, that they too could have righteousness credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised.

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not fulfilled through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if they become heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified. For the law brings wrath, because where there is no law there is no transgression either. For this reason it is by faith so that it may be by grace, with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants – not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations ”). He is our father in the presence of God whom he believed – the God who makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do. Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be .” Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do. So indeed it was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

But the statement it was credited to him was not written only for Abraham’s sake, but also for our sake, to whom it will be credited, those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.

The 3rd and 4th Chapters of Romans clearly explained the truth given to Paul and by extension to us now, for our understanding that:

1. The gift of righteousness was not promised due to the action that Jesus took, viz., his crucifixion and death, but his belief that what the Father promised he would fulfill. This is righteousness without “works” and before the Law was given to Moses. And this trust in the Father is substantive and evidenced-based because Jesus was with the Father as YHVH before his incarnation. i.e., based on faith.

2. This Jesus’ faith was counted and credited to him, to Abraham and us, as “righteousness of faith” that initiated or started us to be reconciled to the Father and be justified; i.e., as preliminary step in the process of our salvation . This righteousness of Jesus’ faith defined him as our Passover, “demonstrated by Jesus’ action of being crucified and die”.

What righteousness was “rewarded” with immortal life?

For repetition and emphasis, the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith “, not his works, initiated/started our reconciliation to the Father and justified/negated our past sins. This is a gift out of grace and love of the Father. Likewise, the promise for Jesus to receive the power of the Holy Spirit after his resurrection to be given to us, is also a gift based on “righteousness of faith”. Moreover, our personal righteousness from our own good works became as filthy rags, being a mixture of good and evil, including pure good as Job and man-Jesus that was a product of our own works, are not enough to reward anyone with immortality and ultimately, salvation . A gift comes by belief, trust, faith that is evidence-based, which when activated , completed or demonstrated by action, leads to reward.

How then can we receive this reward of immortality and therefore salvation?

By looking at the life of man-Jesus, we will understand what the process of salvation is and what righteousness was rewarded with immortality, him being the “pioneer/perfector/initiator/author/finisher of our faith” towards salvation” as in:

Heb 12:12 New International Version

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

New Living Translation

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

English Standard Version

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,”

New King James Version (NKJV)

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,”

Simply put, Jesus had to be a pioneer, author, initiate, found, champion of faith and also perfect, finish, activate, complete this faith through action. As a human, like Job, man-Jesus lived, on his own, a perfect life, “without sin”. Unlike Job, Jesus “came from above” as YHVH. Their “own righteousness” was not what was required of the Father to receive “reward”, nor righteousness of their own works to receive “gift” of promise towards reconciliation/justification. Instead, it has to be righteousness of “works“, as a product or fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Notice that the works required have to be “fruits of the Holy Spirit “,which happens to have come as a gift of power from the Father, not from our own power,

Rom 6:18 “. ... But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

Recall what happened during the life of Jesus, our “pioneer“ in this process of salvation :

1. YHVH-Creator, a spirit-composed being who was the proximate creator of all including angels, as in:

Col 1.16: New Living Translation “for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see–such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.

English Standard Version “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

This YHVH has to incarnate for him to be the anti-type of Adam, the 2nd-Adam, into man-Jesus and die, being the Passover, for the sin of Adam and, by accounting, to all humankind. As 1 Corinthians 15:45-48 state;

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.”

2. As a man, like Job was, man-Jesus did not sin. Both their flesh-composed bodies suffered physically. Their good works emanate from them and not from where the Father wanted them to come from. Unlike Job, at the river Jordan and not before, Jesus had in-dwelling (Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:21-22) of the Holy Spirit directly from the Father from which he would bear “fruits of the Holy Spirit”. He followed, not his will, but the guidance of this Holy Spirit through Gethsemane and the cross, as in:

Luke 22:42 King James Version (KJV)

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Because of his substantive and evidence-based (faith) belief, trust and hope in the Father, Jesus received this power of the Holy Spirit as a gift because of the “righteousness of faith”. Much like Jesus, we, who believe based on Jesus’ faith, will also receive this gift of Holy Spirit as promised.

3. This Holy Spirit, given at river Jordan, empowered man-Jesus and anyone who has this in-dwelling, from Pentecost and on, to do “good works” required by the Father as ”fruits of the Holy Spirit”. Through sanctification and following the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit voluntarily, not our own will, brings forth “fruits of the Holy Spirit” worthy of “reward”. These good works that Jesus and us do, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then are considered and credited as “our righteousness” worthy of the reward of immortality, thus salvation from second/eternal death, eventual glorification. What happened to Jesus, that after his crucifixion/death (action/works) he was resurrected to eternal life as a reward, proved this to be the sequence of events in the process of mankind’s salvation. In a “twinkling of an eye” those who “are overcomers” , like Jesus, will be changed from mortality to immortality as in,

I Cor. 15:52 New Living Translation

“It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”

Rev. 3:21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Rev 2:26 “To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations.”

Rev. 3:21 “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

Matt.24:13 “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Summary

There was no swap of Christ’s righteousness for our salvation. Instead, there was “crediting/assigning” of his “righteousness of faith and works” to those who believe and follow his example. Imputation is specific to one person(Adam) and specific sin of Adam in Genesis, as it relates to the 2nd Adam(man-Jesus) and his righteousness of faith, given as a gift. The timing of accounting and crediting was when the Law was given to Moses so sin will be even more grievous as grace abounds. Our own righteousness, per se, is as filthy rags not worthy of reward. Rather, it is that particular righteousness that comes by us following the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit of power, given after we believed. It has to work in us, developing our “spirit” to know wisdom(4). It has to be a product or fruits of the Holy Spirit given to us as a gift by the Father through resurrected and spirit-composed Jesus. This becomes our righteousness, (our works as fruits of the Holy Spirit,) that merits reward of immortality, i.e.,salvation from eternal or 2nd death(5). Jesus’ life on earth as a human being showed us the way, the only way, the process that leads to salvation. Let us therefore remember Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith towards our salvation.

God Bless.

References:

1.What is God? Retrieved 3/17/2018 at https://fact-s.net/2014/06/29/what-is-god-2/

2. Incarnation, Questions and Controversies. Retrieved 3/18/2018 at https://fact-s.net/2017/01/12/incarnation-questions-and-controversies/

3. Salvation Series #1. Retrieved 3/26/18 at

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-1what/

4. Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy. Retrieved 3/31/18 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/

5. Death, what is? Retrieved 3/31/18 from https://fact-s.net/2017/05/09/death-what-is/

Original post: March 31, 2018

Does man have a sinful nature, a slave of sin?

Does man have a sinful nature, a slave of sin?

Calvinism (1)teaches under “total depravity” that man commits sin because of being a “slave of sin“(Rom. 6:20); that humans have a “sinful nature“, thus, bent towards evil and hard pressed to do “good works”. Are these teachings true?

Looking back about 10 years ago, a pediatrician, staring at an innocent and cuddly newborn, asked me, pointing at the baby, “Can you really classify this as having a “sinful nature”? Having a newborn just come out of the womb, can we really say that he/she is “naturally sinful”, a “slave of sin”? These questions were followed by a long pause on my part. It made me think as this teaching of “total depravity” has been ingrained in me for a long time as factual truth and never did I challenge it as to its veracity.

Following the Berean principle (2) it dawned on me about the narrative in Genesis. What was the state of Adam at creation? Was he created with a “sinful nature“? It appears that the Bible begs to differ as, after all God has created, Gen. 1:31 states:

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

Notice that God created all, including man, “very good“. …does not have a sinful nature, but “good-natured”.

Moreover, man was shown not only his responsibility and function in the garden of Eden, but also what is right and what is wrong, providing the ability to decide and choose rightly or wrongly.

Gen. 2:15-17 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the daythat thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The task was to “dress and keep it” and that the right thing to do was to eat out of “every tree of the garden” except to eat out of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” which was in the midst of the garden. He was created “very good” and with guidance as to his responsibility and the concept of what is good and evil.

In the same vein, if there is any man that God deemed not only “very good” but “perfect (pious) in his eyes“, it is this man Job. Interesting description of this man, coming from the Creator:

Job 1:1 “…was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”

Job 1:8…”my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job was blessed by God but afterwards all were taken away. Yet, his response to adversity was spot on, as in :

Job 1:22 “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Better than Job was the man-Jesus, who described himself and Paul called “anthropos-Jesus” (Matthew 20:27-28; I Tim. 2:5) and described as:

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.

Hebrews 7:26

Such a high priest truly befits us–One who is holy, innocent, undefiled, set apart from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Indeed man was created “very good” and with the capacity to choose to do “good or evil”.

One can argue that man, a non-spirit-composed being, was created with that capacity to choose between good and evil. But, what about spirit-composed beings. The Scripture speaks about the creation of spirit-composed angels, therefore, it is clear that they have not existed from all eternity (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2,5). Colossians 1:16-17 explains:

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

This brings us to a spirit-composed created being, Lucifer. He was a covering cherub, created perfect in many ways and in beauty until iniquity was found in him and was called Satan, as in Ezekiel 28:11-15. He chose wrongly.

Clearly, whether the created being is matter-composed like humans or spirit-composed like angels, the narrative is consistent regarding ability to choose between good or evil. We are not robots programmed to sin. Otherwise, without this freedom to choose, why do we have to be blamed for whatever wrong choice we make? No wonder, because of this wrong teaching about our sinful nature, some people blame God for our wrong choices.

Verses in support of total depravity

Going back to how this teaching came about, here are verses considered to find basis for the concept:

Mark 7:21-23 “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

(Notice, that the preceding verses merely directs us to where evil thoughts come from, i.e., the origin is from within, out of a person’s heart, from inside. Mechanistically, the voluntary nervous system has to think before taking an action. These verses should not necessarily translate to “sinful nature or slave of sin”.)

Jer. 17:9

The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”

(This suggests that man indeed is “deceitful”. One can not read what is in the mind of humans. No one can “divine” the motive of man’s action. So, we have to be careful about reckless assumption. Again, this verse should not necessarily translate to “sinful nature or slave of sin.)

Rom. 3:10-18(NIV)

As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

( These verses re-emphasize the narrative teaching that even at our very best, “no one is righteous”. Our very “own good works” are as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) and could not come to the level God requires. Even the man Job who was “perfect” as God described him, was not perfect enough. God requires the “fruits of the Holy Spirit” that can only come after, not before, the Holy Spirit dwells in the person. The Holy Spirit of power was given toJesus by the Father after he resurrected him from death, 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb. This narrative does not invalidate the fact that we were created “perfect” though still incomplete as we need this infusion of the Holy Spirit).

Romans 6:20-21 New International Version (NIV)

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!

( These verses described those who are “slaves to sin”, meaning those continuing to commit sinful acts, thereby resulting in death. Yes, doomed to die. Not that we are unwittingly but instead consciously sinning)

In SUMMARY, the interpretation of this teaching of “total depravity” should be re-evaluated and the biblical verses from which it emanated may need to be taken into there proper context. Being “slave to sin” should not be taught as a powerful force or propensity to sin but rather as a “capacity” (genetic or otherwise) to do so as a choice one has to make. That being said, this can be an acceptable interpretation as another option is to “flee from sin“. We are not robots with “sinful nature” as to be unable to choose other than what we are programmed to do. If definition of “sinful nature” is taught as a “capacity” to do evil, or “totally depraved” because we are doomed to die because of Adam’s sin, then this is tenable. For we are not made to do to evil no matter what. Instead, we were created “very good” with a capacity to choose between evil and good. The “pull of the flesh” is a temptation, albeit in certain inherited disease may possibly be a genetic predisposition, but not an automatic reflex to act and do evil. Although there maybe a “bent” to do evil, there is also a cautionary option to do otherwise, which is intrinsic in man, even to those who are non-Christians or atheist/agnostic for that matter. As in Genesis, we were given a choice, ”

Deut. 30:19

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

Turn away from evil and do good.(Psalms 34:15, 37:17).

Man was created “good” but incomplete. It was created as such, “on hope” for the coming Messiah, who will give us the power of the Holy Spirit, to complete us, as in:

Ps. 39:8 – “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? You are my only hope.”

Ps. 71:14 – “I will always hope in you and add to all your praise.”

Ps. 39:8 – “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? You are my only hope.”

Is. 40:31 – “They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

Rm. 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Ps. 31:24 – “Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord

Ps. 130:5 – “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and I hope for his word.”

Rm. 5:3-5 – “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”.

Col. 1:26-27 – “But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.”

Eph. 4:4 – “You were also called to the one hope of your call.”

1 Thess. 1:2-3 – “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father.”

Our own good works will not (3) suffice God. They have to be “fruits of the Holy Spirit”. It needs guidance of the Holy Spirit which became available to us only after Jesus received it from the Father after his resurrection. It became generally available at Pentecost of that year. Without Jesus, we are indeed doomed.

May God continually guide us to the truth behind the facts.

References

1. Calvinism and Arminianism …A Commentary. Retrieved 1/19/2018 at

https://fact-s.net/2018/02/15/calvinism-and-arminianism-a-commentary

2. In Search of the Truth Retrieved 2/20/2018 at https://fact-s.net/2018/01/29/in-search-of-the-truth/

3. Human Nature: Inherently Good or Evil? Ethics of the Fathers 1:7 Retrieved 3/9/18 http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/48892107.html

Original post:3/11/18

Calvinism and Arminianism …A Commentary

Calvinism and Arminianism …A Commentary.
The subject of this commentary is what was written in italics from this link:
http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm
The system of Calvinism adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on God’s word. It focuses on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual where he is then able and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation. 


Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all peoples’ sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation”.



Here is my humble take (in bold parentheses) on these areas:

Calvinism
The teaching is summarized in the acronym TULIP. Is this biblical?
Total Depravity: (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin):
Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.


The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph.2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, “In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?” The answer is, “He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.”
Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); aCalvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).”

Personal take:
(Mark 7:21-23 do not say “man’s heart is evil”, “sick Jer. 17:9” , “slave of sin”(Rom. 6:20) and “does not seek God (Rom. 3:10-12). In fact, when man was created, he was perfect and “very good” (Gen. 1:31). One does not have to look far to see that evil can not come out of a newborn baby who has not develop enough to distinguish good and evil. As the baby develops and has the capacity to decide and act, he/she can choose good or evil, be a slave to sin or righteousness and can seek God. A prime example is Job who was “blameless and upright ..fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). True, Job was in a “death row” because of the “imputed sin” of Adam, but of himself, he did not sin although he lacked the understanding of God that he was still a sinner because all are accounted with “death sentence”, as “Adam sinned , so all sinned” with the resulting death as a consequence. Likewise, David was a “man of God’s heart” and did “good works” before his adultery. Taking all these in consideration, the context suggests that no one can discern what is in the mind of man where evil comes out from. It merely explains that action taken by man originates in the mind and that no one can divine what is in his mind. Man is capable of choosing between right or wrong, good or evil, life or death. This choice was set before us, as in:

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 New International Version (NIV)


“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.


But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.


This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”



Nevertheless, however upright a person is, whatever good works emanating from him, those are still “filthy rags” to God (Isaiah 64:6). The “works” that God requires are those that are “fruits of the Holy Spirit”(Gal.5:22-23).


Indeed, because of Adam’s sin that was counted as sin of all mankind, no one can bring humanity back and be reconciled to the Father were it not for Jesus death counted as that of humanity’s. Jesus died instead of us, as far as the Father is concerned to pay for the consequence of Adam’s sin, which is “eternal or second death”. Without the Passover sacrifice, humanity is totally hopeless. Predestination is about salvation at the time-period that God chose for a particular person to be offered the opportunity to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. Judgment does not occur unless the person has the Holy Spirit available to him at his predestined time-period. This was first offered and received at Pentecost, then to others who believed who will manifest themselves in the “first resurrection” of “overcomers”. Others will have their time for the Holy Spirit to dwell during the Millenium-rule of Jesus/Son of God on earth and after that as in the prophecy about the “dry bones” (Ezek.37:1-14). The last time this Holy Spirit of power will be available to humans will be at the Great WhiteThrone Judgment. Those who believed/received the Holy Spirit of power and voluntarily follow its guidance will bear “fruits of the Holy Spirit”; they are the “overcomers” who “choose good over evil”. Those who outrightly reject or do not believe Jesus and those who believed/received the Holy Spirit but did not become “overcomers”, i.e., did not bear fruits, will be thrown in the “gehenna fire” at each period of the Holy Spirit’s availability. Jesus died for ALL humanity applicable to All at their predetermined time period. Jesus death is propitiation for the consequence of sin thereby a redemption for ALL from eternal death and reconciled us to the Father. But, not all will be saved; others may not achieve eventual salvation, depending on whether they become “one” with the Son and the Father through following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ death and redemption for all do not mean salvation for all, as being predestined in the “book of life” (Rev.20:12) does not necessarily mean “once saved always saved” because anyone can be blotted out (Rev. 22:19) and has to be an “overcomer” as in Rev. 3:5). All those predetermined to have the Holy Spirit available to them at their particular time-period does not necessarily mean all of them will be saved as they have to be “overcomers”. 


In essence, if “sinful nature”, “slave of sin”, and “man’s heart is evil” mean that because of Adam’s sin that we naturally are doomed to eternal death, then this is true. If “incapable of doing good works” refers to “works that God requires” (which are fruits of the Holy Spirit), then indeed we are “incapable”. Otherwise, the teaching is problematic.)



Unconditional Election:

God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).




Personal take:
(Yes, God chooses who he elects and decides on what time period they will be, at which time, the Holy Spirit is available to them. This is not merit-based as the best of human works are still “dung” to God. Election is about who are to be in a particular time period when the Holy Spirit will “dwell in us”. Salvation comes through the gift of reconciliation achieved by the death of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit that needs to be “baptized in us”. Whether we follow its guidance or not determines who will be “overcomers” and worthy of the reward of “immortal life”, which translates to “salvation from eternal death”.

In essence, if “some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21)” means elected as to their time-period of election, then it is tenable teaching.)


Limited Atonement:(also known as Particular Atonement):

Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many’; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).


Personal take
(Matt. 26:28 “blood shed for many” is not necessarily exclusive. Rather, it’s context suggests his blood is not for a few, but so abundant and “for many”. While Jesus did not actually say in this verse that his blood was shed “for all”, it certainly “efficacious” for “all who believed”. 



John 10:11-15 the context is about protection of all from the wolf that may devour his sheep.



Matt. 25:32-33 differentiates people who were “sheep” and received eternal life from those who were “goats” and received eternal death. The “sheep” followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit whereas the “goats” did not. Nevertheless, Christ died for all, whether sheep or goats. 


John 17:9 In here, Jesus was praying ” for them”, “not the world” , his followers as their lives would be in danger after he leaves. Jesus loves all, whether believers or not. This verse does not mean that Jesus did not care for others, as they will have their chance in the future. 



Acts 20:28(?) and Eph. 5:25-27. True, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for it” but this does not necessarily exclude others from his love and that he died for all.


Isaiah 53:12 “bear the sin of many” is not exclusive as the following suggests “made intercession for transgressors”, meaning all transgressors. )



Irresistible Grace:

When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that “it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy”; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s. 

“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” (John 6:37).


Personal take:
(True, only God decides who will be called at any particular time-period to receive the Holy Spirit of power and the one who initiates every facet of salvation. But, why should this awesome gift of God be forced down our throat? No one is forced to obey him, even those who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit as the believer may still “vomit and eat”(Prov. 26:11; 2 Pet. 2:20-22). Overcomers are those who voluntarily overcome evil with the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Being “one” with God is imposed but not forced in such a way that we have no choice. Calling into salvation does not mean we can not resist because there are people who reject the Holy Spirit( I Thes. 4:8; Mk. 3:28).


Perseverance of the Saints:(also known as Once Saved Always Saved):

You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.


Personal take:
(Only those who “persevere”, the “overcomers”, are the sheep that will never perish, are the ones who “passed out of judgment” to be rewarded with eternal life. True, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle; unfortunately, some still succumbed. Indeed, God is faithful but we are not consistently so.)


Arminianism
Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all peoples’ sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation”.




Personal take:
(Predestination is absolute as far as determining who are elected to partake in a particular time-period of “calling” and chance to have the Holy Spirit. His choice is not determined by “who would pick him” . Instead, he gives “sunshine to grass and weeds” (Matt. 5:45) as “time and chance happens to all”( Eccl. 9:11)




God bless.

Original post: February 15, 2018

In Search of the Truth

In Search of the Truth



There is so much information we learned from childhood and all through adulthood. Some we determined to be true and kept them in our mind. Some are patently false and we outrightly brand them in our memory as such; that also helps us to learn from our errors and mistakes. Others, we initially thought to be true but later on, we found them to be false and we adjust our understanding. These we learned from people telling us directly, some from reading books, from school, Internet or seminars and other venues. This compilation of information then becomes a composite of who we are. But, do we have the same interaction and reaction to secular information when it comes to religious realm? Hopefully, so. Certainly, we can learn from the example and advice from those people in the Bible. Hence, the principles in this article on how to search for spiritual truth:

A. Test the spirit



When someone tells you about any religious tenet, check it out. Apostle John was clear on this, as in: I John 4:1″Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”



Indeed,Jesus cautioned us in Mark 13:6 that “Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.”


B. Remember the Bereans? (1)
Acts 17:10-11 “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”.



Notice that, while Paul was well known, they did not just believed him but searched the scriptures to see whether the teaching is factual and his interpretation spot on. Should we not learn directly from the Bible instead of just from people ? Similarly, this attitude should be adopted by all. Always factcheck and understand the context.

C. Be ready to explain your position.



A number of people may question our belief. Can we give them the basis or proof of our beliefs and be confident and convincing enough? The apostle Peter has this to say to us In I Pet. 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 

D. Grow up and progress.



When can we be ready to eat spiritual meat, not just drink milk? Are we still in the basic tenets of Christianoty? Paul said in I Cor. 3:3 “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” Also in Heb 5:12 “For at the time when ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God, and have become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”


E. Receive the power to understand 



No matter what we do in search of the spiritual truth, we will never “see” it unless God opens our “eyes and ears” to spiritual things by the Holy Spirit. No human, “flesh-and-blood” has the capacity and knowhow can do this.This principle is demonstrated in:Matt. 16:13-17 “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood (human), but by my Father in heaven.”



Only God has the truth and he is the only one who can give it to us but through the power of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual things can only be discerned with the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice the following verses:
Eyes will see and ears will hear” (Isaiah 6:10;Jer. 5:21; Ezek. 12:2; Joel 2:28-29;Matthew 13:15;Acts 28:27;Rom. 11:8) is a prophecy of the coming Holy Spirit of power that will open us to spiritual realm, as they were not sensitive to spirituality. 
Joel 2:28-29 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”



Acts 1:5 “For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”



Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”.



Prov. 20:12, “Ears that hear and eyes that see– the LORD has made them both.” 
Matt. 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” 




This “action” to understand can only happen with “power” vested in us. And this power, Jesus had to receive himself directly post-resurrection from the Father. This power is so crucial for us that man-Jesus had to die for our reconciliation and justification so that after he was resurrected, he received it from the Father to be given subsequently to us-ward. And we receive it only when we believed…

John 7:37-39 (ESV)“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”



And “believing” means we “repent” and be “baptized” with the Holy Spirit. 

Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”


LET US GROW UP TOGETHER👍😊🎉😇
Reference:

1. The Bereans. Retrieved 1/25/18 from https://biblia.com/bible/esv/Acts%2017.10-15
Original post: 1/29/2018