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Doctrine of God the Father

January 16, 2011

God the Father

Introduction

God the Father is identified in theology as the 1st Person of the Trinity. The word “Trinity” describes God as being one in essence but three coequal, coinfinite, and coeternal Persons. Who are these three Persons? They are God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is in union with each other and all have the same divine nature with specific attributes or characteristics, which can be described. Each member of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is a separate person who possesses these divine attributes individually. There is no member of the Trinity who is lower in rank to another member. Each member of the Trinity has a specific purpose related to the plan of God. The Bible teaches us that each member of the Trinity has their own specific role that is not shared by the others.

God the Father’s role in the Trinity is as the source and planner of all things. God the Son’s role in the Trinity is to carry out the plan of God. God the Holy Spirit reveals the Father’s plan and provides the power to carry it out. Why is it important to understand the doctrine of the Trinity? We must understand the doctrine of the Trinity in order to have a mature relationship with God. Our understanding of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ will be determined by our view of the Trinity. We will be inaccurate in our view as to how to live the Christian life if we do not have an accurate understanding of God the Holy Spirit’s role in the plan of God. We will be inaccurate when praying if we don’t understand the role of each member of the Trinity. We are not able to worship God accurately and are not able to be spiritual if we don’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity. God’s plan demands accuracy in our doctrine. For example: There is only one-way to be saved, namely, faith alone in Christ alone. There is only one person of the Trinity who we are to believe on in order to be saved, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one person of the Trinity who provides us with the power to live the Christian life, that being, the power of God the Holy Spirit. There is only one person of the Trinity we are to pray to, God the Father. Therefore, it is very important that we are accurate in our understanding of the Trinity.

Now, that we know that God is made up of three co-equal, co-eternal and co-infinite Persons, what are they like? What are their characteristics or attributes? If someone went up and asked you, “what is God like?” What would you say? This leads us to the point that God has an essence, which each member of the Trinity equally possesses. What does essence mean? Essence is the nature of a person, what that person is like. God’s essence is made up of attributes. Each member of the Trinity has the same attributes as the other. Therefore, God has one essence. God is three Persons who have the same essence. This brings out the “oneness” of God.

We can only understand God’s essence through His attributes. What are those attributes? Sovereignty: God is the supreme ruler of the universe, He is the King. The sovereignty of God the Father is revealed in Matthew 6:10 when the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The sovereignty of God the Son is found in Matthew 28:18, “‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” God the Holy Spirit’s sovereignty is taught in 1 Corinthians 12:11, “But one and the same spirit works all these things, distributing to each one (church age believer) individually just as He (God the Holy Spirit) wills.”

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Righteousness: God is perfect holiness, He is sinless. The Lord Jesus Christ declares the Father’s righteousness in John 17:25, “O Righteous Father.” The apostle John writes of the Lord Jesus Christ’s righteousness in 1 John 2:1, “Jesus Christ the righteous.” The name “Holy” itself describes the perfect righteousness of the Spirit.

Justice: God is always perfectly fair. His decisions are perfect. The apostle Paul writes about the Lord Jesus Christ satisfying the justice of God the Father when He died for the sins of the world on the cross. Romans 3:24-26, “being justified as a gift by His (God the Father) grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom (the Lord Jesus Christ) God (God the Father) displayed publicly as a propitiation (“mercy seat”) in His (the Lord Jesus Christ) blood through faith. This (the cross) was to demonstrate His (God the Father’s) righteousness, because in the forbearance of God (God the Father) He (God the Father) passed over the sins previously committed (OT dispensations); for the demonstration, I say, of His (God the Father) righteousness at the present time, that He (God the Father) might be JUST and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Paul writes to Timothy concerning the Son’s justice in 2 Timothy 4:8. God the Holy Spirit’s justice is spoken about in John 16:8-11.

Love: God’s love for us never changes, there are no strings attached. Both the Father and the Son loved us so much that Christ died on the cross for us. Romans 5:8, “But God (the Father) demonstrates His own LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:5b speaks of the love of the Spirit, “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the HOLY SPIRIT who was given to us.”

Eternal life: He is self existing, He has no beginning and no end. The eternal life of both the Father and the Son is written about in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word (the Lord Jesus Christ), and the Word was with God (God the Father), and the Word was God.” The writer of Hebrews 9:14 describes God the Holy Spirit as “eternal.”

Omniscience: God is all knowing, He has perfect knowledge of everything. The Father knows everything even before you ask Him. Matthew 6:8, “Therefore do not be like them (the unbelievers); for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.” The omniscience of the Lord Jesus Christ is written about in John 18:4 and 2:25. God the Holy Spirit is described in Isaiah 11:2 as a Spirit of “knowledge.”

Omnipresence: God is everywhere present. God the Father’s omnipresence is written about in Ephesians 4:6, “One God and Father of all who (God the Father) is over all and through all and in all.” The Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples before His ascension into heaven that He would be with them “always” even to the end of the age. David writes in Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Of where can I flee from Thy presence?”

Omnipotence: God is all-powerful, nothing is impossible with God. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks of the Father’s omnipotence in Mark 14:36a, “Abba. Father. All things are possible for Thee.” Colossians 1:16-17 talks about the omnipotence of the Son, “For by Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) 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 (the Lord Jesus Christ) and for Him. And He (the Lord Jesus Christ) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” The apostle Paul writes to the Romans concerning the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”

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Immutability: God never changes, you can’t improve on perfection. God’s faithfulness comes from His immutability. James writes concerning the Father that there is “no variation, or shifting shadow” (Jam. 1:17). Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” God the Holy Spirit’s faithfulness is found in John 14:16, “And I (the Lord Jesus Christ) will ask the Father, and He (God the Father) will give you another Helper, that He (God the Holy Spirit) may be with you forever.”

Veracity: God is absolute truth, He cannot lie. The Lord Jesus Christ declares the veracity of the Father in John 7:28, “He (God the Father) who sent Me is TRUE.” The Lord Jesus Christ says of Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the TRUTH, and the life.” 1 John 5:7 says, “And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the TRUTH.”

The attributes of God never operate independently of each other, but act in total harmony with each other. The Trinity is three Persons who are separate and distinct from each other, and who act in total harmony to each other. They are never in opposition to each other. God is three distinct Personalities in One.

“What are the different roles of each member of the Trinity?” God the Father is the author and planner. The Bible teaches that the father is head over the family. God the Father is head over all creation and His Royal Family (1 Cor. 8:6). The title “Father” emphasizes the absolute authority that the First Person has over all creation. The First Person of the Trinity is the author of the divine plan for humanity (Eph. 1). Ephesians 4:6, “One God and Father of all (believers) who is over all (sovereign) and through all (omnipresent) and in all (indwelling of the Father).” God the Father is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. The First Person of the Trinity is called “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 1:3; 11:31; Eph. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3). This title indicates the relationship between Christ and the Father.

The Lord Jesus Christ reveals the Father to man and is most important part of the Father’s plan (John 1:14; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 3:11; Heb. 1:2). John 1:18, “No man has seen God (the Father) at any time; the only begotten God (the Lord Jesus Christ), who is in the bosom of the Father, He (the Lord Jesus Christ) has explained Him (God the Father). This relationship has existed from eternity past in the divine decree (John 17:5, 24). The Lord Jesus Christ though equal with God the Father took a subordinate role to accomplish the plan of salvation (Phil. 2:6).

We become sons of God by being born again (Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:5; 3:14-15; 4:6). We become members of the Royal Family by making a non-meritorious decision to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. One simple act of faith makes us children of God. Galatians 3:26, “For you are all SONS OF GOD through faith in Christ Jesus.” Because we are members of the Royal Family, we may call God our “Father” (Rom. 8:15). We have a loving Father who provides what is best for His children (Matt. 7:11). God the Father indwells each and every believer as a guarantee that He will provide for us (John 14:23; Eph. 4:6). God the Father is the personal grantor of blessings for both time and eternity. God the Father also disciplines His children like every good father should (Heb. 12:5-11). God the Father receives us back into fellowship when we name and cite our sins to Him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9).

God the Father is the recipient of prayer from believers (Eph. 3:14) and God the Son (Lk. 22:42; 23:34, 46). The Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray to the Father (Lk. 11:2). The Father is the source and giver of all that illuminates and is therefore called the Father of lights (Ja. 1:17). He is called the Father of mercy (2 Co. 1:3) and of glory (Eph. 1:17).

The Scriptures teach that God is the Father of humanity of Christ in hypostatic union (Rm. 15:6). The incarnate Son of God addressed God in prayer as pater, “Father” (Mt. 7:11; 28:19;

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Mk. 11:25; Mt. 7:21; 12:50; 16:17; Mk. 13:32; 14:36; Lk. 22:29, 42; Jn. 5:17, 43; 17). God the Father took part in the resurrection of Christ. By means of the His omnipotence, the Father sent back our Lord’s human spirit to the body in the grave (Acts 2:24; Rom. 6:4; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:10; 1 Pet. 1:21).

God the Father is responsible for promoting the victorious impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union to the highest rank in the cosmos and giving Him the title of kurios, “Lord” (Phlp. 2:5-11). This promotion took place because the Lord Jesus Christ defeated Satan at the Cross.

By addressing the God as Father, the Lord Jesus Christ was putting Himself on a par with God or equal to God (Jn. 5:18). The Lord Jesus Christ, the God-Man is subordinate to the Father in His humanity but co-infinite, co-equal and co-eternal with both the Father and the Spirit.

Paul adopted pater as a title of God, “our Father” (Rm. 1:7; 1 C. 1:3; 2 C. 1:2; Eph. 1:2; Phlp. 1:2). God is the Father of all believers who are sons of God through regeneration (Jn. 1:12-13; Rm. 8:15; Gal. 3:26-28; 4:6; Eph. 2:18). Regeneration takes place at the moment of salvation when a person expresses faith alone in Christ alone (Jn. 3:16-17, 36; Acts 16:31; Gal. 3:26-28). Those who are sons of God through regeneration are considered by God to be His children as a result of honoring His Son by accepting the Son as Savior. The Father deals with believers as a father in the natural realm would deal with his children (1 Th. 2:11; Heb. 12:4-13).

God the Father is not the Father of unbelievers. The devil is the father of unbelievers (John 8:44-45). God the Father is the author of man’s salvation. God the Father becomes your Father at the moment you believe on His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that as Creator, God is Father of all but in the term of relationship and fellowship, He is the Father of only believers who have been born into the royal family of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Hb. 12:7, 9). One cannot claim to have or know experientially the Father without the Son (1 Jn. 2:22-23; 2 Jn. 9; cf. Jn. 8).

The use of the name father for God in the religions of the ancient orient and classical Greece and Rome is always based upon mythical ideas of an original act of begetting and the natural, physical descent of all men from God. Thus, the god El of Ugarit is called “father of mankind”, the Babylonian moon-god Sin is “father and begetter of gods and men”, and in Greece Zeus (from Homer onwards) is called “father of men and gods”. In Egypt the Pharaoh is regarded in a special way as the son of God in a physical sense. The name of father expresses above all God’s absolute authority, demanding obedience but at the same time his merciful love, goodness and care. The appropriate attitude of man should be recognition of total and absolute dependence on God and childlike trust and love towards God.

The idea of the fatherhood of God is given a philosophical interpretation in Plato and the Stoics. Plato, in his cosmological elaboration of the father idea, emphasizes the creator relationship of God, the “universal father”, to the entire cosmos (Tim. 28c, 41a). According to Stoic teaching, God’s authority as father pervades the cosmos. He is creator, father and sustainer of mankind, who are his children, related to him (Epictetus, Dissertationes, 1, 9, 7). In the ancient mystery cults the regeneration and deification of the initiate is seen as an act of begetting by the deity; hence the latter is invoked in prayer as “Father”. The Gnostics describe the supreme God as the father, or first father but yet there is no personal relationship between God and man.

Unlike the Greek philosophers of the ancient world and of modern 21st century society, the NT considers only those who have accepted Christ as Savior as children of God. Unbelievers are considered children of the devil and are designated “sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2; 5:6; Col. 3:6; cf. Jn. 8:44).

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Divine Decree

The Father’s plan of salvation for mankind was established in eternity past before the creation of the cosmos and moral rational creatures meaning men and angels. Therefore, the first step in any study of the Father’s plan must begin with a study of the divine decrees or more accurately, we should say the divine decree (in the singular).

God the Father is the Author of the Divine Decree. The decree of God is His eternal, holy, wise and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, courses, conditions, successions, and relations and determining their certain futurition (i.e., that they will certainly take place).

Comprehending: Omniscience of God as the source of the divine decrees. Determining: Sovereignty of God choosing before anything existed which things would actually become historical events.

The Divine Decrees are actually 1 decree but because of the limitations of our human brain we often use the plural, decrees, to express the many facets of God’s plan. The 1 decree was given billions of years ago in less than a second and covering everything in all of what to us is past, present, and future history (Psa. 2:7; 148:6; Dan. 9:24). All history was yet future at the time of the decrees.

The decree of God is His eternal and immutable will regarding the future existence of events, which will happen in time and regarding the precise order and manner of their occurrence.

The will of God in common usage refers to what God desires of an individual or group in a particular situation. The will of God in relation to the Divine Decrees refers to the decision God made in eternity past, from His attribute of sovereignty, which established that certain things would actually come into being while other things would not. The will of God is His sovereign choice as to what will take place in time. Human beings and angels have a volition that is truly free. Many things occur as a result of angelic and human free will acting contrary to God’s desires.

God in eternity past decreed that angels and human beings would have volition and that would be allowed to make decisions contrary to the sovereign will of God and without compromising the justice of God. The divine decrees are the eternal plan by which God has rendered certain all the events of the universe, including both angelic and human history-past, present and future. God’s decree rendered all things as certain to occur; He decided that they would exist. In doing so, He did not interfere with angelic or human free will. In fact, He decreed that we would have free will. In giving us volition, He also decreed that our decisions, whatever they might be, would certainly take place-even those that are contrary to His desires.

Being omniscient, He had the good sense to know ahead of time what we would decide, and He not only decreed that those decisions would exist but He also decreed the exact manner, consistent with His integrity, in which He would handle our decisions.

The decree of God is the chosen and adopted plan of all God’s works. The decree of God is His eternal purpose; according to the counsels of His own will, whereby for His own glory He has foreordained whatever comes to pass. The decree of God is the sovereign choice of the divine will (His attribute of sovereignty) and mentality (His omniscience) by which all things are brought into being and controlled, made subject to His pleasure, and producing His glorification (Isa. 46:10; Eph. 1:9).

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The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit pre-existed everything. No one was above them; no one originated them. (God has no origin.) Anything the Members of the Trinity decide to originate is decided with 2 concepts in mind. It is for Their pleasure. It is for Their glory.

The decrees of God are the sum total of God’s plan, designed in eternity past, relating to all events of all classifications, collected into 1 single all-comprehensive whole through God’s omniscience.

The omniscience of God is the key to understanding the decrees. God has 3 kinds of knowledge: (1) Self-knowledge: (a) God knows Himself-it is total, perfect and complete. (b) He is aware of His own essence and the unlimited capabilities of each Member of the Trinity. (2) Omniscience: (a) God knows all things outside of Himself. (b) He knows all things about believers and unbelievers both the actual-which He Himself foreordained, decreed, programmed into the decree-and the possible-which could have happened but did not because He did not decree it, did not make that particular decision, did not enter it into the decree. (c) His omniscience is unlimited and objective. (3) Foreknowledge: (a) Acknowledges only what is in the decrees, in the plan. (b) It is a printout of the actual facts (not mere possibilities) regarding the function of the believer. (c) The term “foreknown” is used in Scripture of believers only (and of Christ). (d) His foreknowledge is limited and objective.

Stage One: The omniscience of God (Psa. 33:13-15; 139:1-4; 147:4-5; Isa. 36:9-10). In His omniscience, God knows perfectly, eternally and simultaneously all that is knowable, both the actual and the possible. Such perception and knowledge is totally compatible with His essence. God would not be God unless He always knew all about everything. God is eternal; His knowledge is eternal. He is sovereign; His knowledge is superior. The link between His superior knowledge and our inferior knowledge is Bible Doctrine. The Creator’s knowledge is infinitely superior to the creature’s knowledge or intellect. Every minute detail of both angelic and human creation is completely and perfectly in His mind at all times.

The omniscience of God perceives the free as free, the necessary as necessary, together with all their causes, conditions, and relations, as one indivisible system of things, every link of which is essential to the integrity of the whole. Every cause and effect is related to another cause and effect and to another and another. In this one, all-comprehensive, inter-dependent system of cause and effect, man’s volition is the uncaused cause of human function so that the course of history is just as man thinks it, wills it, does it.

Time does not limit God’s knowledge. To Him, the future is as understandable as the past. The omniscience of God knows the alternatives to history-the possible as the past. God knows what would have been involved in every case where a man’s decision might have been different from what it was. Omniscience is one of the 3 categories of divine knowledge. Omniscience knows every thought, decision, and act in human history, how they all relate to each other, and how they relate to all the possible alternatives.

The foreknowledge of God makes nothing certain but merely acknowledges what is certain. It knows what is already in the decrees regarding believers only. For believers, there are at least 3 categories of printouts from the decree: (1) Foreknowledge (Rom. 8:29) (2) Election (Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:4) (3) Predestination (sometimes called foreordination) (Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:5, 11).

Foreknowledge means that nothing can be certain until it is first decreed; only then can what will happen be foreknown. God knows all actual events as certainly future because He has decreed them to be certainly future. God’s decrees relate equally to all future events of every kind-to the free actions of moral agents as well as to the actions of necessary agents; to the sinful, human-good, and evil as well as to the morally correct, divine-good, and honorable. The

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decrees alone establish certainty. For the believer, “foreordination” and “predestination” are synonymous with the decrees.

Foreordination is an act of the infinitely intelligent and wise God in determining the certain futurition of events in the life of the believer.

Stage Two: The Decree Itself. The omniscience of God fed into the decree only facts. This was accomplished in eternity past-simultaneously, not in stages. The decrees have become the complete and consummated right of the sovereignty of God determining the certain futurition of all things in human history. Whether you realize it or not, God has rights. No decree can become complete without the sovereignty of God. Because He knows the end from the beginning, God wills certain things to happen. “Certain futurition of events” means events, which are future from eternity past, thus all events throughout all time. God is smarter than we are. No event is directly effected or caused by the decree. The decree merely establishes what will be caused, but the decree itself is not the cause. The fact that a thought or action on your part is in the decree does not mean that the decree caused you to think or do it. The cause is your free will. Your thoughts are in the decree because, billions and billions of years ago, God had the wisdom to know what you would think and to not omit from His planning the fact that you would think it. But the decree itself provides in every case that the events shall be affected by causes acting a manner consistent with the nature of the event in question. Example: The cause of some events is the free will of man.

In the case of every freewill act of a moral agent, the decree itself provides at the same time the following: (1) The agent shall be a free agent: The decree establishes volition. (2) His ancestors and all those involved with the act in question shall be what they are. (3) All present conditions of the act shall be what they are. (4) The act shall be perfectly spontaneous and free on the part of the agent. (5) The act shall be certainly future: The act will definitely take place, at a certain time, after the decree is given.

The decree vested solely with the will of God what His creation should be. Because God cannot contradict His own nature, the essence and attributes of God willed the highest and best for mankind.

“Predestination,” “foreordination,” and “predetermination” are synonyms and refer to the decree. These terms describe the act of the infinite, eternal omniscience of God, which determined that all events in life related to the believer would take place.

Foreknowledge is not the same as omniscience but is more limited in scope. Omniscience knows both actual and the possible; foreknowledge includes the actual only.

Being omniscient, God knows all that would have been involved had He adopted any one of an infinite number of plans of action. He also knows the consequences had man chosen a different course of action within the realm of his own volition.

Foreknowledge refers only to those things, which God did decree or adopt as the plan of God-those things related to the believer only.

Only the decree establishes certainty or reality; only reality can be foreknown; nothing can be foreknown until first decreed. God’s decrees never originate from His foreknowledge. Although all three exist simultaneously in the mind of God, omniscience, the decree, and foreknowledge must be separated into a logical sequence for us to understand them. (1) Omniscience (2) Decree: Based on omniscience (3) Foreknowledge: Based on the decree.

Election is the plan of God for believers only. All the elect are believers, but not all believers are elect. Election means, “chosen, selected, set apart for privilege.” There are 3 elections to privilege: (1) Christ (2) Israel (3) Church.

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Election is God’s complete agreement with His own foreknowledge. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God” means that He simply agrees with Himself (foreknowledge) and puts a stamp of approval (election) upon what He decreed (1 Pet. 1:2). God elected or chose believers in the sense, first, that He knew ahead of time that, if given free will, they would freely choose to believe in Christ, second, that He decreed that such an act of faith would actually occur; third, that He agreed not only that their positive volition to the Gospel would occur at a certain point in time but also that all the blessings of salvation plus certain unique blessings would be their eternal possessions (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13). Election is declared through God’s foreknowledge. Election is a function of predestination. Predestination permanently relates the church age believer to the plan of grace (2 Tim. 1:9).

Predestination means that in union with Christ through retroactive and current positional truth, the church age believer shares the destiny of Christ (Eph. 1:5), and His election, which occurred in eternity past (Isa. 41:2; 1 Pet. 2:4, 6). God’s gracious and unconditional covenants to Israel can be fulfilled only to the elect-to those physical Jews who are also spiritual Jews through faith in Christ, the Messiah. The true Jew is not merely the physical seed of Abraham but the spiritual seed as well. Unless the racial Jew follows the pattern of Abraham in salvation, he is not elected (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3). Romans 9:6 explains how God can have an elect nation: “all (racial) Israel is not (spiritual) Israel.”

The unconditional covenants to Israel are promises for the elect Jews only; that is, for those who have believed in Christ and thus possess God’s imputed righteousness and eternal life. God has chosen 1 nation to be the basis for the spiritual blessing of the entire human race. This election cannot violate free will. To become a citizen of this elect nation, the individual Jew must become one of the elect; he must believe in Christ. The covenants to Israel are eternal; their recipients and beneficiaries must have eternal life. To be a physical Jew but not a spiritual Jew is a great tragedy.

The decrees include all the facts of history. There is one all-inclusive will and purpose of God concerning all that ever was or will be. This divine will and purpose originated entirely within Himself. Space and time are the battlefield, the overall setting in which we live.

The doctrine of procession describes how the Members of the Trinity function under the decrees: (1) The Father sends the Son (John 3:17). (2) The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). Among themselves, the Members of the Godhead function in a way which is immanent (complete and changeless), intrinsic (within the Godhead), and subjective (subjectivity is perfect when God is dealing with Himself.

How the Godhead maintains and supports the believer is transient, extrinsic (actions occur outside of the Godhead), and objective (our point of reference is the perfectly fair justice of God).

The decrees are efficacious referring to the direct work of God, which always succeeds in having its intended effect; the decrees actually determined all that ever was or will be. The decrees guarantee certainty. The foreknowledge of God makes nothing certain; it merely perceives what is certain.

The decrees of God are all-comprehensive. The decrees are also eternal, which means that God never gains in knowledge. What God has known at any time He has always known. This means that the decrees were all decreed simultaneously in eternity past. The decrees of God are perfect. God is perfect; God’s plan is perfect. The only thing imperfect in God’s plan is man. God’s perfect plan includes all imperfect persons, but He maintains His perfection and integrity through His policy of grace. God never loses His perfection and His plan never fails even though

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man is imperfect and often fails. Because we are imperfect creatures in a perfect plan, the plan must be based on God’s justice.

The decrees of God are unchangeable and certain. Nothing will ever arise to necessitate a change in the decrees. Everything was known and decreed (made certain) in eternity past. God’s decree is unchangeable because it deals only with reality. It is certain because omniscience always knew that these things would occur under the circumstances of their particular moment in history. The changelessness of the decree is one of the great blessings of logistical grace. The decree is the free choice of divine sovereignty. God is bound by His infinite faithfulness, truth, and incorruptibility to complete what He has begun (Phil. 1:6). God has decreed ends as well as means, causes as well as effects, conditions and instrumentalities as well as the events, which depend upon them. Some things God decreed to do Himself, which we call “immediate” things in contrast to “mediate” things, which He decreed that some other agency, such as the free will of man, would perform. Example: Creation is “immediate.”

God accomplishes some things, however, through the action of secondary causes acting under the law of necessity. Thus the decrees include both primary and secondary causes. Other things God has decreed to promote or permit free agents to do in the exercise of their own free will and self-determination.

One category of events is rendered by the decree of God to be just as certainly future as any other category. All events are equally certain to occur whether caused directly by the sovereignty of God or caused by the free will of man. Primary, secondary, or tertiary (meaning of third in rank), every cause for every event is equally in the decree and will occur.

There is one all-inclusive will or purpose of God concerning all that ever was or will be from the beginning of human history until its termination on the last day of the Millennium. God has known every thought, decision, and action that has ever occurred or will occur.

“The will of God” refers to the Father’s sovereign decision as to what would come into existence; in other words, the divine decrees. This will and purpose of God originated within Himself long before any creature of any kind existed. His will is always consistent with His perfect essence. The will and purpose of God-that is, the divine decree-was objectively designed for His own glory, pleasure, and satisfaction.

All creatures have been placed in space and time; all events related to space and time were instantaneously and simultaneously decreed. The fact that all events were decreed results in divine action. The divine action is God’s work of grace-the policy of His justice in blessing believers.

Divine action falls under 2 classifications: (1) Divine actions within the Godhead are immanent, intrinsic, and subjective. (2) Divine actions related to creation are transient, extrinsic and objective.

God did not decree Himself to be. God existed prior to and outside of the decrees, so that divine decrees do not act upon God; He acts upon the decrees. God’s decrees are efficacious-having the power to produce the intended effect: they actually determine all that ever was or will be. They include God’s directive will, permissive will, and overruling will.

These 3 categories of divine will describe the manner in which God’s sovereignty controls history. They are subcategories of divine action as related to His creation. These 3 categories show how divine sovereignty actually deals with human volition. The will of God (as to what would exist, i.e., the divine decree) call for God’s will (His attribute of sovereignty) to function toward us in certain ways (directly stating what He desires of us or permissively allowing us to our own way or overruling our decisions-not letting them have their intended results-in order to

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protect us and the rest of mankind from our own negative volition and to preserve and perpetuate His own marvelous plan).

All things depend on God’s will (the decree), and nothing is certain apart from God’s will. God’s decrees originate from His own omniscience and in eternity past the decrees separated fact from fiction. We must make clear the distinction between God’s omniscience and His foreknowledge. God’s decrees do not originate from His foreknowledge. God’s foreknowledge makes nothing certain; it merely perceives what the decrees have made certain. Prophecy never determines history. Nothing can be foreknown until it is first decreed.

Foreknowledge is God’s cognizance of what He has decreed regarding believers. The decrees merely establish the facts of history; many things are included which God does not desire. They are in the decrees because the omniscience of God knew that, given free will, His creatures would reject the divine design. The decrees deal with reality, with certainty, with what actually happens. Just because God decrees a particular event to take place does not mean He approves of it. Sin, human good, and evil are not the desire of God, but they are in the decrees because people do these things from their own volition. God desires His perfect will, but angels and men use their God-given freedom to violate the desires of God. The very fact that sin and evil are in the decree is proof that our volition is truly free.

The decrees are the all-inclusive will of God; they contain all the facts of history-both the decisions, which please God and those, which displease Him. God does not desire to cast His creatures into the Lake of Fire, but it is decreed as certain for all men who reject Christ as Savior (2 Pet. 3:9). God does not desire to discipline believers, but it is decreed as certain for all believers in reversionism or carnality. God desires to express His perfect justice toward you; if you do not permit His justice to bless you, His justice will not hesitate to discipline you. Free moral agents are responsible for their own decisions and must either adjust to the justice of God or the justice of God will adjust to us. The decrees of God in eternity past must be distinguished from the actions of God in time, which is the execution of the decree. The execution is not the decree but logically follows the decree. Distinction must also be made between God’s decrees and God’s laws. The laws of divine establishment regulate human conduct and can be broken, but the decrees cannot be broken. We cannot violate the decrees because any decision we make was known in eternity past and was included in the decrees. The decrees are the all-comprehensive will of God and are only partially revealed in Scripture; the laws of God regulate man’s conduct in time and spaces are completely revealed.

The omniscience of God in taking cognizance of the Fall of man graciously provided a plan for blessing man based on imputations from divine justice. This plan involved the omniscience of God taking into account, the 7 imputations which provide maximum blessing for mankind in time and eternity.

The decrees of God contain the historical reality regarding every human being’s level of attainment in this grace plan. Freedom means that some attain all these imputations while other do not. Freedom insures inequality. Nonmeritorious human volition can fall short of any potential in God’s plan. The extent to which each individual advances in this plan was known to God in eternity past and is taken into account in the decrees. Because many believers don’t advance to spiritual maturity, the potential exceeds the reality. The potential is totally known to God’s omniscience; only the reality is in the decrees. Our attainment of divine blessings through imputation is the means God has chosen to glorify Himself and to give Himself pleasure. The glory of God is related to the believer’s advance to maturity and the resultant imputation of divine blessings.

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The decrees unite in one all-inclusive and final objective the glory of God (Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36; Heb. 2:10; Rev. 4:11). The decrees were designed to glorify the Trinity when they were made and not to glorify creatures. Being infinite, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are worthy of all glory. God’s glory is what He is-His divine essence. Since He is the Origin and Subject (not the object) of the decrees, God will inevitably be glorified by every thought, every decision, and every action in human history. The good and the bad are included. Sin, evil, everything will all add up to the glorification of God. The plan of God began with glory and will end with glory. God is glorified not only in what He is but also in what He has decreed. Since the manifestations of His declarative glory secure the highest glory for His creatures and their greatest good, it is inevitable that blessing or glorifying any creature brings glory to God who, through grace, is the Source of everything.

To the finite mind, the decrees are many, but to God, they are all 1 plan embracing cause and effect, means and end. The decrees include every detail in the experience of every creature, including such minute aspects as the number of hairs on your head.

The decrees of God are those sovereign purposes of God, which are efficaciously accomplished by God alone, apart from all creature ability, mentality, talent, counsel, or cooperation. God is glorified and pleased in the momentum and advance of believers within His plan. The omniscience of God knew in eternity past what thoughts, motivations, decisions, actions would carry one believer to maturity and another into reversionism.

While omniscience knew the actual and potential, only the actual was taken into account in the decrees. Anything decreed by God will inevitably glorify God. The divine decrees are executed through imputation from the justice of God.

The 7 imputations add up to the glory of God (5 real, 2 judicial): (1) Imputation of human life (real) (2) Imputation of Adam’s sin (real) (3) Imputation of sins of the world to Christ (judicial) (4) Imputation of Divine Righteousness (judicial) (5) Imputation of Eternal life (real) (6) Imputation of blessings in time (real) (7) Imputation of blessings in eternity (real).

The decree of God allows maximum blessing for any believer but recognizes that human volition can fall short of any potential. Only response to doctrine can fulfill the maximum blessing desired by God for the believer. The extent to which a believer advances is the extent to which the decrees of eternity past were declared for that individual.

God had the good sense to know beforehand how far each believer would advance, and that was decreed. Sadly, many times the potential far exceeds the reality.

The plan of God and the decrees of God are totally consistent with human freedom. God does not limit, coerce or violate man’s self-determination. There is a distinction between what God causes directly, such as Christ’s spiritual death on the Cross-, and what He permits indirectly, such as sin, human good and evil. God created man with a free will; therefore, God permits that free will to function in human self-determination. God is not the author of sin, human good, or evil rather free will is the source of these things.

Both sin and the Cross were fed into the divine decrees. Sin is the permissive will of God. The Cross is the directive will of God. Sin is neutralized by the Cross. God permits man’s free will to oppose Him yet maintains His own integrity and wins in the end. No decree itself actually opposes human freedom. Man is free to glorify and serve God, but the manner of glorification and service is prescribed by God and is not left to man’s freedom or imagination. If the result is to be spiritual growth and divine blessing, our freedom is limited to positive volition toward Bible Doctrine.

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Man’s use of his freedom to reject doctrine results in divine discipline (either we adjust to the justice of God or the justice of God will adjust to us). The believer’s objective is to use Bible doctrine resident in his soul to determine the will and pleasure of God regarding his life and modus operandi (method of operation). In this way, human freedom becomes merged into God’s will. God is pleased and man is blessed beyond description.

Since the decree is the sum total of God’s plan and purpose in eternity past, it centers around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4-6; 1 John 3:23). Therefore, the free will of man must face the issue of Christ and His Work on the Cross. Faith in Christ is the entrance into the plan of grace. At the Cross, the sovereignty of God and the free volition of man meet for the glory of God and the advantage of mankind. The basis of this meeting is the justice of God. Under God’s policy of grace, the work of salvation is accomplished by God while man gains the benefits apart from human merit or ability. God’s plan in eternity past was designed to include all events and actions, related to their causes and conditions, as part of one indivisible system, every link being a part of the integrity of the whole. Each link is as important as the whole. The whole is the integrity of God making all the links properly related through grace. This is how God makes all things work together for good.

Without violating human volition, God has designed a plan so perfect that includes directive, provision, preservation, function, cause and effect for all believers. Under this plan, God has decreed to do some things directly (such as creation or salvation), some through secondary agencies (as through Israel or the Church), and some through individuals (as through the apostle Paul-or through us). Thus, there are primary, secondary, and tertiary functions within the plan of God-all constitute one great, all-comprehensive plan-perfect, eternal, unchangeable, with no loss of integrity. The plan of God is consistent with human freedom-God is not unfair and does not limit or coerce our freedom. God created man with free will. The fact that man can go contrary to the will of God proves the existence of truly free volition.

Election and Predestination

God the Father is responsible for electing and predestinating the believer. Election means, “chosen, selected, set apart for privilege.” It means that the sovereignty of God wills the highest and best for you as a believer. Election is related to believers only. Unbelievers are not elected to condemnation. The Scriptures do not teach double predestination. Election is the plan of God for believers only. It means that the highest and best was previously deposited in escrow and deposited for every believer. When I say “escrow” I mean your eternal inheritance. Election is related to Regeneration. It means that God has selected at physical birth and elected at Regeneration every believer for Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity.

Chronological Order: (1) Selection: selected to be a human being (2) Salvation (3) Election. Election is the expression of the sovereign will of God in eternity past (Eph. 1:4). It means that you have equal privilege as a royal priest. Election does not mean that God violates volition; He cannot since that would not agree with His perfect character and integrity.

God elected or chose believers in the sense, first, that He knew ahead of time that, if given free will, they would freely choose to believe in Christ, second, that He decreed that such an act of faith would actually occur; third, that He agreed not only that their positive volition to the Gospel would occur at a certain point in time but also that all the blessings of salvation plus certain unique blessings would be their eternal possessions (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13).

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Election is the expression of the sovereign will of God regarding escrow blessings and the provision of Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity to attain them. It is the work of God the Father in eternity past. God the Father has elected us to privilege as church age believers and with privilege comes responsibility to grow to spiritual maturity under your royal priesthood.

There are 3 elections to privilege in history: (1) Israel (Deut. 7:6-7; 10:15; 14:2; Isa. 14:1; 44:1; 45:4; 48:12; Isa. 65:9; Ezek. 20:5; Psa. 135:4; Acts 13:17; 15:7; Rom. 11:5, 7, 28). (2) New racial species called the Jews began with the circumcision of Abraham. (a) Related to the ritual plan of God. (b) Related to our Lord’s royal title as “Son of David.” (c) God selected Israel to be His client nation and chose the line of David to bring forth the Messiah. (2) Christ (Isa. 42:1; Matt. 12:18; Luke 9:35; 23:35; 1 Pet. 2:4-6). (a) Hypostatic Union. (b) Related to the salvation plan of God. (c) Related to our Lord’s royal title as “Son of God.” (d) God the Father elected Christ to be the Redeemer of mankind. (3) Church (Rom. 8:30, 33; 9:24-26; 1 Cor. 1:27; Eph. 1:4, 18; 4:1, 4; Phil. 3:14; Col. 3:12, 15; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2:10; Tit. 1:1; Heb. 3:1; James 2:5; 1 Pet. 1:1, 15; 2:4, 9, 21; 3:9; 5:10, 13; 2 Pet. 1:3, 10; Rev. 17:14). (a) Formation of the royal family of God (1 Pet. 2:9). (b) Related to the Plan of God for the church age (Rom. 8:28). (c) Related to our Lord’s 3rd royal title as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (d) God the Father elected each church age believer to be spiritual royalty. Every believer in every dispensation has received imputed righteousness at the moment of salvation. Not every believer has been elected to the high privilege that church age believers enjoy. God the Father has bestowed upon every church age believer the special privilege of making an invisible impact on history. He has given every church age believer the special privilege of influencing history as part of the spiritual pivot of a Gentile client nation.

Predestination is the means of fulfilling God’s sovereign will for your life. Predestination is sharing the destiny of Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union. Mechanically, it is accomplished at salvation through the Baptism of the Spirit and resultant positional sanctification.

Predestination is the Father’s plan in eternity past to provide the church age believer with a spiritual life in time that is patterned after the spiritual life of the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union. Christ received the prototype spiritual life (spiritual life) at the Virgin Birth; church age believers receive the operational type spiritual life at Regeneration-New Birth. The humanity of Christ during the 1st Advent resided in the prototype spiritual life or spiritual life as the means of fulfilling the Father’s plan for the Incarnation (Cross). The church age believer who utilizes this spiritual life will experience fellowship with God. The church age believer’s spiritual life is utilized when the believer is in fellowship with God by applying the Word of life, which in turn permits the Holy Spirit to reproduce the character and life of Christ in the believer. The purpose of predestination is that the believer becomes conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. The impeccable humanity of Christ enjoyed perpetual fellowship with the Father as a functioning in the prototype spiritual life.

In sharing the destiny of Christ, the church age believer as Royal Family of God resides in the operational type spiritual life (spiritual life) as the only means of fulfilling the plan of God for the church age. Union with Christ means we share His: (1) Righteousness (2) Eternal life (3) Heirship (4) Sonship (5) Election (6) Destiny (7) Plan.

Predestination is related to 3 things: (1) Possession of the operational type spiritual life (Rom. 8:29). (2) Provision of the plan of God for the church age for every believer (Eph. 1:11). (3) Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity to fulfill the plan of God for the church age and receive the distribution of Escrow Blessings (Eph. 1:3-6, emphasis on the word predestination in verse 5).

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Predestination merely indicates God’s work to bring these 3 things to church age believers in time. It is what God did for the church age believer, both in eternity past and in time. Predestination is a printout of the sovereignty of God chip in the computer of Divine Decrees.

Predestination, foreordination and predetermination are synonyms and refer to the decree. These terms describe the act of infinite, eternal omniscience of God, which determined the certain futurition of events related to the believer. Predestination is related to Election in that they both occurred simultaneously in eternity past and are 2 sides of the same coin (Eph. 1:3-6). Predestination in eternity past is equivalent to the spiritual life.

Predestination is God’s Plan for your life from the standpoint of what God did for you and how He planned it in eternity past. It permanently relates the church age believer to the plan of grace (2 Tim. 1:9).

Proorizo (verb): “to appoint boundaries ahead of time, to determine or decide beforehand, to predetermine, to predestinate” Proorizo occurs 6 times in the New Testament (Acts 4:28; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, 11). Proorizo is a compound verb composed of the preposition pros, “before,” and the verb horizo, “to set a boundary, to limit, to set the limit, to fix, to appoint.” God the Father or His Plan is always the subject of this verb when it is used in the New Testament.

If you’re going to define Predestination, you must define it in terms to something by which it relates. There are 3 passages in the NT which can be used as documentation for a definition: (1) Romans 8:29 (2) Ephesians 1:11 (3) Ephesians 1:5.

Romans 8:29, “He (God the Father) also predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:29b relates Predestination to conforming to the image of His Son. We are conformed to the image of God’s Son positionally at the moment of salvation when we are entered into union with His Son through the Baptism of the Spirit and resultant positional sanctification. At the moment of salvation, God the Holy Spirit enters every church age believer into the operational type spiritual life, which is simply the environment God’s places us in to execute His Plan. At the moment of salvation, we are filled with the Spirit.

We are “conformed to the image of His Son” through: (1) Positional sanctification (2) Experiential sanctification (3) Ultimate sanctification. These 3 categories of sanctification compose the eternal plan of the Father for the believer’s life.

The believer is positionally conformed to the image of the Father’s Son through the regeneration and the Baptism of the Spirit. The latter of which places the believer in union with Christ positionally, identifying the believer positionally with Christ in His death and resurrection. But the Father wants the believer to experience in time what is true of him positionally. This is called experiential sanctification. It is accomplished by the believer who faithfully remains in fellowship with God by acknowledging any known sin to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus and applies the Word of God, which in turn enables the Holy Spirit to reproduce the life and character of Christ in the believer. Predestination is the Father’s provision in eternity past of the Spirit and the Word of God and the new Christ nature. The new Christ nature functions when the believer is in fellowship with God. Ultimate sanctification is the final step in conforming the believer into the image of the Father’s Son. This is when the believer receives a resurrection body like that of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:11, “Having been predestined for the purpose of a predetermined plan.” Ephesians 1:11 links predestination to a pre-determined plan. Therefore, Predestination is linked to the plan of God for the church age for the church age. Ephesians 1:5, “He (God the Father) has predestined us for the purpose of adoption to Himself.”

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Ephesians 1:5 relates Predestination to Adoption. The Bible must be interpreted in the time that it was written and in the time that Paul wrote this epistle to Ephesians, he was referring to adoption Roman style and not adoption in the sense that we think of today. We have been adopted as adult sons. Under Roman law the adopted son had the same status and privilege as the real son and the real son is our Lord Jesus Christ. Under Roman law you could be adopted as an adult.

Election is the work of God in eternity past. It took place before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9). Election is a result of the Divine Decree. It took place before God created the universe, angels or human beings. Election is God’s complete agreement with His own foreknowledge.

Foreknowledge refers only to those things, which God did decree or adopt as the plan of God-those things related to the believer only. Foreknowledge is more limited in scope than God’s omniscience since it includes only the actual. Only the decree establishes certainty or reality; only reality can be foreknown; nothing can be foreknown until first decreed. God’s decrees never originate from His foreknowledge.

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God” means that He simply agrees with Himself (foreknowledge) and puts a stamp of approval (election) upon what He decreed (1 Pet. 1:2). Election is declared through God’s foreknowledge.

As we noted the Decrees are God’s eternal and immutable will regarding the future existence of events which will happen in time plus the precise manner and the order of their occurrence. The Decrees in the plural means the eternal plan by which God has rendered certain all events of the universe (past, present and future) and understanding Predestination and understanding what happened in eternity past and appreciating the 1st immutable thing (the work God did on our behalf in eternity past) is the basis of developing a capacity for happiness, blessing through good decisions from a position of strength. The Decrees are God’s chosen and adopted plan for all of His works. They are His eternal purpose. They are His eternal purpose according to the councils of His own wisdom and His sovereign will.

In the Decrees, the sovereignty of God and the free will of man co-exist in human history. Predestination is a word that describes the act of the infinite, eternal omniscience of God, which determined the certain future existence of events, which will happen in time to the believer. The Bible does not teach double-predestination or that the unbeliever is predestined to hell.

Election is related to the doctrine of Lapsarianism. Lapsarianism refers to the doctrine that mankind is a fallen being. Lapsarianism refers to the 5 elective decrees of eternity past. It deals with the logical order of these 5 decrees. Lapsarianism is a technical theological term that deals with logical order of the decrees in eternity past but doesn’t deal with any chronological order in time.

Lapsarianism has 4 schools of interpretation: (1) Supra-Lapsarianism (2) Sub-Lapsarianism (3) Infra- Lapsarianism (4) Armenian-Lapsarianism. Infra-Lapsarian is the correct interpretation since it is in accordance with Scripture. Infra-lapsarianism has 5 elective decrees which are as follows: (1) The decree to create all mankind for the purpose of bringing many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10), and resolving the more ancient pre-historic Angelic Conflict. (2) The decree to permit the Fall of mankind as the extension of the Angelic Conflict. (3) The decree to provide salvation for all mankind (Unlimited Atonement). (4) The simultaneous decrees of election and predestination (Eph. 1:4-5). (5) The decree to apply salvation to those who believe (Common and Efficacious Grace).

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Election and Predestination are in accordance with the Grace Policy of God. Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind on the basis of the saving work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Grace is the policy of God’s justice in blessing mankind. It means that God does all the work and God gets all the credit. Grace means that there is nothing that you and I can do to merit blessing from God. It means that there is nothing that a believer could possibly do to merit being elected by God (1 Cor. 1:26-31; James 2:5).

Election and Predestination like salvation is appropriated through the non-meritorious decision of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Election and Predestination excludes all human works and ability because it is the work of God in eternity past.

Galatians 1:6, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who elected you to privilege by means of the graciousness of Christ for a counterfeit gospel.”

Galatians 1:15, “But when He who had set me apart, from my mother’s womb (selection), and called me (election) by His grace policy.”

Romans 11:5, “In the same way then, there is also at the present time a remnant (of believing Jews) according to the election of grace. Now, if by means of grace (1st class condition, “and it is.”) it (Election) is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.”

Because grace is the policy of God’s justice in blessing us, God cannot cancel or revoke our Election and Predestination. Once the justice of God has rendered a decision, it cannot be revoked, it is final. Election and Predestination like salvation is not earned or deserved; therefore, it also cannot be lost due to human failure or sin. There is nothing that we can do to merit the loss of our election because it is according to grace, which says that we haven’t earned or deserved our election. It is through faith alone in Christ alone. Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

Election and Predestination totally excludes all human works and ability because it took place in eternity past before the creation of the world and because it is in accordance with the grace policy of God. Romans 9:11, “For though the twins (Jacob and Esau) were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His election might stand, not because of works, but because of Him (God the Father) who elects.”

Election and Predestination are a part of the grace policy of God totally excluding all human merit. It is not something that you can earn or deserve because it is by means of grace. The non-meritorious decision to believe in Christ, which is in accordance with God’s grace is the only means by which election can be secured.

2 Timothy 1:8-9, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with men in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and elected us with a holy election, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which has been given to us in Christ Jesus before the dispensations of time (human history).”

Your present condition or circumstances have no bearing upon election and predestination because it took place in eternity past under the grace policy of God thus excluding human failures or successes-past, present and future. Election and predestination under God’s policy of grace means that God did not elect according to human I.Q or ability or status in life in order that none should boast before Him and that He may get the credit and receive the glory and not man (1 Cor. 1:26-31).

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Election and predestination means that God the Father also provides Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity to attain His highest and best, which is the conveyance of Escrow Blessings. Equal Privilege means: (1) Positional sanctification; Union with Christ through the Baptism of the Spirit. (2) Universal Priesthood of Believers. Equal Opportunity means: (1) Logistical grace support. (2) Spiritual life consisting the new Christ-nature, the Word of God and the Spirit of God. It means that there are no excuses for church age believers. It was provided for every church age believer at the moment of salvation through the Baptism of the Spirit (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). It is exclusive to the church age.

Every church age believer has Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity to execute the Plan of God for the church age under the principles of Election and Predestination. Under Election, every church age believer has equal privilege as a royal priest by which you represent yourself before God privately. Election means that God the Father in eternity past provided every church age believer Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity to execute the Plan of God for the church age and therefore receive the conveyance of Escrow Blessings which were placed on deposit in Christ in eternity past. There are no distinctions under Equal Privilege and Equal Privilege; therefore, there are no distinctions under Election (1 Cor. 1:24). Election provides every church age believer Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity to receive God’s highest and best, Escrow Blessings. Election is the expression of the sovereign will of God for your life in time. It is God willing His highest and best for your life. Whether you receive God’s highest and best is determined by your attitude toward Bible Doctrine. Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity under Election totally excludes and does not take into account your social, economic, racial status or gender in life (1 Cor. 7:20-24).

Election is predicated on selection. Human life begins when God imputes soul life to the genetically formed old sin nature at physical birth. God gives soul-life at physical birth. He gives eternal life at spiritual birth, i.e. regeneration. God invented soul-life, but eternal life is one of His divine attributes.

God gives life. Kicking in the womb is not life but reflex motility. You became a human being when God imputed life to your soul. The fact that we are members of the human race means selection. There is selection from the sovereignty of God at the point of physical birth. You are under selection as a member of the human race. You are under election as a member of the royal family of God. Selection takes places at physical birth. Election takes places at the new birth or spiritual birth. Election takes places at the moment of salvation. That any person that is born again and given election to privilege and opportunity when he might have been forever lost is a motivational challenge that you cannot ignore. It is the highest of all motivational challenges. The selection of the sovereignty of God (physical birth) is followed by the election of the sovereignty of God at the point of Regeneration.

Selection relates to physical birth. Election relates to spiritual birth. Election means that God has selected at physical birth and elected at Regeneration (2nd birth) every believer for Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity. Man procreates and God selects. Options under Selection (unbeliever): (1) Laws of Divine Establishment: Freedom to accept or reject. (2) One second decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ: Freedom to accept or reject. Options under Election (Believer): (1) Daily positive volition towards doctrine or negative volition towards doctrine. (2) Positive volition as related to the Plan of God for the church age. Negative volition as related to the Cosmic System of Satan. Sum total of all decisions related to spiritual momentum. (1) Filling of the Spirit (2) Rejection of temptation. (3) Faith Rest Drill (4) Authority orientation. (5) Perception and application of Bible doctrine.

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The sovereignty of God chose to make human volition the common denomination of history, therefore every person, every nation is responsible for his thoughts, motives, decisions and actions. Since God has perfect integrity, He does not cause any person to exist without a perfect reason and a worthy person and that perfect reason and worthy purpose began with selectivity and ends up with electivity.

God has 3 kinds of knowledge: (1) Self-knowledge (2) Omniscience (3) Foreknowledge. Foreknowledge acknowledges only what is in the decrees, in the plan of God. It is a computer printout of the actual fact (not mere possibilities) regarding the function of the believer. The term “foreknown” is used in Scripture of believers only (and of Christ). It is limited and objective.

The foreknowledge of God makes nothing certain but merely acknowledges what is certain. It knows what is already in the decrees regarding believers only. For believers, there are at least 3 categories of printouts from the computer of divine decrees: (1) Foreknowledge (2) Election (3) Predestination.

Foreordination is an act of the infinitely intelligent and wise God in determining the certain futurition of events in the life of the believer. Foreknowledge is not the same as omniscience but is more limited in scope. Omniscience knows both actual and the possible. Foreknowledge includes the actual only. It refers only to those things, which God did decree or adopt as the plan of God-those things related to the believer only. Only the decree establishes certainty or reality; only reality can be foreknown; nothing can be foreknown until first decreed.

God’s decrees never originate from His foreknowledge. Although all 3 exist simultaneously in the mind of God, omniscience, the decree and foreknowledge must be separated into logical sequence for us to understand them: (1) Omniscience (2) Decree: Based on omniscience (3) Foreknowledge: Based on the decree.

Election is God’s complete agreement with His own foreknowledge. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God” means that God simply agreed with Himself (foreknowledge) and puts a stamp of approval (Election) upon what He decreed (1 Pet. 1:2). Election is declared through God’s foreknowledge. Romans 8:28-32, “We know therefore that to those who love God, He (God the Father) works all things together for good (agathos, “good of intrinsic value”) to those who are elected to privilege according to a predetermined plan because whom He has foreknown, He also predestined, conformed ones to the image of His Son, that He (the Lord Jesus Christ) the Son might be the first born among many brethren (royal family of God). And whom He predestined, these same ones He has elected to privilege. Furthermore, whom He has elected to privilege, these same ones He also justified, moreover, whom He has justified, these same ones He has glorified.”

Election and Predestination

Election is the principle and Predestination is the function and they are two sides of the same coin (Eph. 1:4, 11). It has to do with the planning. Predestination has to do with the providing (spiritual life). Election is the expression of the sovereign will of God and Predestination is the means of fulfilling God’s sovereign will. Predestination combined with Election provides the following 6 concepts: (1) Purpose: Glorification of God. (2) Plan: Plan of God for the church age. (3) Means of Execution: Operational type spiritual life consisting of the new Christ nature, Word of God and the Spirit of God. (4) Opportunity: To fulfill Plan of God for the church age by applying the Word of God and conveyance of Escrow Blessings. (5) Lifetime of Support: Logistical grace. (6) Option: Function of the volition of the soul to live the spiritual life or in the Cosmic System. Election is a function of Predestination.

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God the Father elected the church age believer in order for them to be conformed to the image of His Son. This in turn results in the execution of the plan of God and the glorification of God. Romans 8:28-29, “We know (the application of doctrine) therefore that to those who love God (virtue love with emphasis on motivational virtue) He (God the Father) works all things together for good to those who are elected to privilege according to a predetermined plan (Plan of God for the church age).” For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”

The design of the Plan of God for the church age took place in eternity past like election. The execution of the Plan of God for the church age glorifies God.

The believer who receives the conveyance of their Escrow Blessings (i.e., eternal inheritance) glorifies God. God is glorified in blessing the believer in the devil’s world. Only the believer who grows to spiritual maturity and receives the conveyance of their Escrow Blessings will glorify God. Only the believer who is consistent in learning and applying Bible Doctrine will grow to spiritual maturity and receive the conveyance of Escrow Blessings. The believer who learns and applies Bible doctrine will execute the Plan of God for the church age and receives Escrow blessings for both time and eternity.

The purpose of election and predestination is to execute the Plan of God for the church age. The purpose of election and predestination is for God the Father to bless you in both time and eternity. The execution of the plan of God for the church age is only accomplished by means of divine power in 2 categories: (1) Word of God (2) Spirit of God. A divine plan demands divine power to execute, thus totally excluding human works or ability.

2 Peter 1:3, “Since His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and spiritual living, through the epignosis knowledge (the application of doctrine) of Him who elected us to privilege by His own glory and virtue.”

Election means that God has a plan for your life. That plan is for the believer to be conformed to the image of Christ. This results in the execution of the Father’s plan and His glorification. It means that He has a purpose and direction for your life. Positive volition towards the Gospel is the means by which election is appropriated (2 Thess. 2:14). Election means that God has designed a specific plan or purpose for every church age believer in eternity past.

2 Timothy 1:9, “Who (God the Father) has saved us, and elected us with a holy election, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace (policy of God towards all mankind) which was granted us in Christ Jesus from eternity past.”

We have been called out of the Cosmic System of Satan in which we were enslaved at the moment of physical birth (1 Pet. 2:9). We have been elected in order that we may be freed from the bondage of the Cosmic System and the old sin nature.

Galatians 5:13, “For you were elected to freedom, royal family; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the old sin nature, but through virtue love serve one another.”

We have been chosen to enter the kingdom of God through election, which is appropriated through faith in Christ (1 Thess. 2:12 cf. Heb. 11:8). God has elected us in order that we may be called the sons of God.

1 John 3:1, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called sons of God; and we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” Romans 9:26, “And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them

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(the Gentiles), you are not My people, there they (the Gentiles) shall be called sons of the living God.”

We have been elected in order that we may receive the promise of eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12; Heb. 9:15). We have been elected in order that we may receive eternal glory, which means that God is going to bless you beyond human comprehension in the eternal state in a resurrection body (1 Pet. 5:10). We have been elected in order that we may execute a predetermined plan (Rom. 8:28). We have been set apart for the purpose of executing this plan (Rom. 1:7). God has elected us in order to form a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9). We have been chosen in order that we may perform divine good which has intrinsic and eternal value (John 15:16). We have been elected in order that we may have fellowship or a relationship with God through His Word and the Filling of the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:9). He has elected us in order that we may obtain prosperity (1 Cor. 7:15), and inherit blessing (1 Pet. 3:9). We have been elected in order to form the body of Christ, which will be completed at the Rapture (Col. 3:15). We have been elected to privilege in order that we may have confidence in life and this confidence is obtained through the application of doctrine in the soul.

Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your right lobe (soul) may be enlightened (through the application of doctrine) in order that you may know (the application of doctrine) what is the confidence of His election, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance (Escrow Blessings for both time and eternity) in the saints (set apart ones for the Plan of God for the church age).”

We have been elected in order that we may go through unjust suffering for Christ’s sake. 1 Peter 1:18-21, “Christian labor, be submissive to your bosses with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows where suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”

Because the believer has been elected to such high privileges, he is persecuted by the devil and the kingdom of darkness while in the Cosmic System (John 15:18-21).

The church age believer has been elected to privilege. He is said to be elected to privilege by virtue of what God has provided for them in eternity past. The church age believer lives in a totally unique dispensation and has been given totally unique and invisible assets.

We have privileges that believers in other dispensations never had. For instance, the church age believer has the completed canon of Scripture and the mandates to be filled and walk by means of the Spirit, which is accomplished by applying the Word of God. The church age believer can represent himself before God the Father as a royal priest. The church age believer can pray to God the Father directly as a royal priest. This is a privilege that believers in past dispensations did not have. We have the privilege of being filled or control by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). We have the completed canon of Scripture, the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). All church age believers have been given a spiritual gift in which to edify or build up the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:4-11).

All church age believers are members of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), and members of the future Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:7-8; 21:9). We are called joint-heirs of Christ something which other believers neither in past dispensations nor in future dispensations will be able to boast about (Rom. 8:17). We are called sons of God, a title that church age believers hold

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exclusively (Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26). church age believers have been given a new nature at the moment of salvation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15).

The church age believer is a New Spiritual Species, which is totally unique to the church age. We are indwelt by all 3 members of the Trinity (Eph. 4:6; Rom. 8:11; Col. 1:27). Church age believers have a heavenly citizenship with all the privileges that it entails (Phil. 3:20). The church age believer has the privilege and the opportunity of using 2 categories of divine power: (1) Bible doctrine (2) Filling of the Spirit

Never has so much divine power been made available in history to believers than which has been given to those in the church age. This invisible power has been provided because the church age is the dispensation of invisible warfare with Satan and the kingdom of darkness (Eph. 6:11-18). We have also been given the privilege of suffering for Christ in this dispensation of invisible warfare (Phil. 1:30). The church age believer has the privilege of enduring unjust suffering, which is for the purpose of blessing the believer in the devil’s world, thus glorifying God. The church age believer shares in the sufferings of Christ in order that they may be glorified with Christ (Rom. 8:17), which is the desire of the believer in spiritual adulthood (Phil. 3:10).

Along with the privileges that the church age believer possesses under election comes responsibility. Ephesians 4:1, “I (Paul), therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk (live) in a manner worthy of the election with which you have been elected.” The church age believer fulfills this responsibility by faithfully applying the Word of God under the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:5-10, “Now for this reason also, applying all diligence, in your doctrine which produces virtue and in your virtue knowledge, self-control and in self-control, perseverance, and in perseverance, spiritual living; and in spiritual living, brotherly kindness, and in brotherly kindness, divine-love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the epignosis knowledge (the application of doctrine) of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is (spiritually) blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, royal family, be all the more diligent to make certain about your calling and election. For as long as your apply these things, you will never stumble.”

The church age believer’s election to privilege provides for him greater responsibilities. church age believers as spiritual royalty and spiritual citizens have been given the tremendous responsibility of executing the Plan of God for the church age. The Plan of God for the church age can only be executed through the application of the application under the enabling power of the Spirit. The Christian life is a supernatural way of life and demands a supernatural means of execution.

1 Thessalonians 1:11, “To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for divine good of eternal and intrinsic value and the work of doctrine by means of divine power.”

The church age believer’s election to privilege gives him the responsibility of growing up spiritually as a son of God and member of the Royal Family. The church age believer’s election to privilege does not permit Cosmic living or living in the old sin nature. The believer has the responsibility of living in the new man or new nature, which God has designed for him to live in under the Filling of the Spirit. The believer has the responsibility as a citizen of heaven to conduct himself according to the divine mandates found in the Mystery Doctrines for the church age.

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The responsibility of the church age believer is to avoid a lifestyle in the Cosmic System. 1 Thessalonians 4:7, “For God has not elected us (church age believers) for the purpose of impurity (life in cosmic 1 or 2), but in (experiential) sanctification.”

The church age believer has the responsibility as a royal priest to pray, to give and to serve the royal family by operating in their spiritual gift, which they received at the moment of salvation. He has the responsibility to conduct himself as a Royal Ambassador for Christ in the devil’s world. He has the responsibility of being filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit. The believer has the responsibility as a royal priest to learn and apply Bible doctrine under the control of the Spirit.

Privilege connotes responsibility. Being a member of spiritual royalty provides greater privileges but also demands greater responsibility. The responsibility of the church age believer who has been elected to privilege is to avoid the enticements of the Cosmic System and to be occupied with the execution of the Plan of God for the church age.

1 Timothy 6:10-12, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by lusting for it have wandered away from doctrine and pierced themselves with many a pang. But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, spiritual living, doctrine, divine-love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of doctrine; take hold of the eternal life to which you were elected to privilege, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Election to privilege provides unique privileges and demands greater responsibilities. Election to privilege provides the church age believer with greater responsibilities never before given to believers in past dispensations nor will they be given to future dispensations.

The election of the believer is directly related to the adoption of the believer. The act of adoption is the conclusion of any action by which any person, usually a son, is brought into a new family relationship where he now has new privileges and responsibilities as a member of the family, and at the same time loses all previous rights and is divested of the previous duties of his former family relationship. The church age believer has been removed from the cosmic system as a child of the devil and has been placed as an adult son into the royal family of God, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head. At the moment of salvation the church age believer is adopted Roman style into the royal family of God through the Baptism of the Spirit thus making him an heir of God and spiritual aristocracy. The Scriptures teach that there 2 categories of believers who have been adopted by God: (1) Israel (2) Church.

The Greek word in the NT for adoption is huiothesia, which means placing as a son. It is not so much a word of relationship but of position. In regeneration a Christian receives the new nature as a child of God. In adoption he receives the position of a son of God at the moment of salvation through the Baptism of the Spirit. Every Christian obtains the place of a child and the right to be called a son the moment he believes in Jesus Christ for salvation (Gal. 3:25-26; 4:6; 1 John 3:1-2). The NT Scriptures teach that the Church has been adopted into the royal family of God as adult sons thus conferring upon them all the privileges and responsibilities that go along with this new relationship with God.

The apostle Paul used the Roman style adoption analogy in his epistles to communicate to members of the churches throughout the Roman Empire their new relationship with God the Father that was acquired at the moment of faith in Christ. As a Roman citizen the apostle would naturally know of the Roman custom but in the cosmopolitan city of Tarsus and again on his travels, he would become equally familiar with the corresponding customs of other nations. He employed the Roman style adoption analogy to teach the spiritual adoption of church age

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believers much in the same manner that our Lord did in His parables. Paul utilized the Roman style adoption illustration to teach church age believers that God the Father’s grace policy places them into the relation of sons to Himself and communicates to them the experience of sonship upon utilizing the 2 Great Divine Provisions which enables the believer to function according to the spiritual life for the church age. These 2 Great Divine Provisions that God the Father has provided every church age believer with are the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

Old Testament (Israel): Deuteronomy 7:6, “For you (Israel) are a people set apart to the Lord your God and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the nations who are on the face of the earth.” Isaiah 63:16, “For You are our Father, though Abraham does not recognize us. You, O Lord, are our Father, Our Redeemer from eternity past is Your Name.” Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” Romans 9:4, “Who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises.”

New Testament (Church): John 1:12, “But as many as received Him (faith alone in Christ alone), to them He gave the privilege to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His Person.” Romans 8:15-16, “For you have not received a lifestyle of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a lifestyle of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself bears witness with our human spirit that we are children of God.” Galatians 3:26, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 4:5-6, “In order that He (Lord Jesus Christ) might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and because you are sons, God the Father has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your right lobes, crying out, Abba! Father!” Ephesians 1:5, “By means of divine-love He has predestined us for the purpose of adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the grace purpose of His will.” 1 John 3:1a, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God.”

In Greece a man might during his lifetime, or by will, to take effect after his death, adopt any male citizen into the privileges of his son, but the invariable condition that the adoptive son accepted the legal obligation and religious duties of a real son. The motive and initiative of adoption always lay with the adoptive father (spiritual realm: God the Father through the divine initiative of antecedent grace in eternity past). The process and conditions of adoption varied with different peoples. Among oriental nations it was extended to slaves (as Moses), who thereby gained their freedom, but in Greece in Rome it was, with rare exceptions, limited to citizens of the state. Roman adoption was different than adoption that we know today in the 20th century.

The Greek word for adoption is huiothesia and the Latin word is ad optatio. Roman style adoption involved adults rather than children or infants. It was intended to bring about a stronger society. Adoption was a way of reorganizing superiority and selectivity in Roman society. Antecedence was of no importance under adoption.

Roman adoption was the process by which a person was transferred from his natural father’s power into that of his adoptive father. Huiothesia comes from huio, “son,” and tithemi, “to place,” thus it means to place a son in the home who will carry on the family business, estates or whatever it was that was important. Roman style adoption was the custom of selectivity, selecting some to fulfill or take over the family estates and guarantee that the next generation will be as efficient as the last generation in Roman life. Under Roman law the adopted son had the same status and privileges at the real son and the real Son is our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Roman style adoption served a useful purpose both socially and politically, as a childless individual could adopt and ensure the continuation of the estates of the family, bequeathing not just property to the heir, but the family as well, for the new member accepted the name and rank of the adoptive father. Politically, adoption could be used to great advantage as a means of improving one’s prospects by becoming adopted into a higher-class family moving from the Plebeian to the Patrician class.

An example of Roman style adoption was the Emperor Augustus who, as Octavius, was adopted by the testament of his uncle Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., taking the full name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. Adoption by testament, of course, was the naming of an heir through a will. As the adopted son of Gaius Julius Caesar, Octavius received not only the name and property of Caesar when he was assassinated in 44 B.C. but he received all the other benefits or social considerations as Caesar’s adopted son. In Greek and Roman society adoption was, at least among the upper classes, a relatively common practice. Unlike the oriental cultures in which slaves were sometimes adopted, these people normally limited adoption to free citizens. But, at least in Roman law, the citizen so adopted became a virtual slave, for he came under the paternal authority of his adoptive father. Adoption conferred rights and privileges but it came with a list of duties as well.

Old Testament adoption is related to Israel. The term adoption does not appear in the OT. The adoption of Israel is implied (see section II). There are no provisions for adoption in the natural realm under the Mosaic Law. Yet adoption was not unknown in the OT Scriptures (Prov. 17:2; 19:10; 29:21), and it may have been the means by which children fathered by a master on a slave mother inherited property (Gen. 16:1-4; 21:1-10; 30:1-13).

Three cases of adoption are mentioned in the OT: (1) Moses (Ex. 2:10) (2) Genubath (1 Kings 11:20) (3) Esther (Est. 2:7, 15). But they all occur outside of the land of Israel-in Egypt and Persia where the practice of adoption was commonplace. The OT Scriptures taught Israel that she was adopted as a Client Nation to God as well as children of God (Hos. 11:1; Isa. 1:2; Jer. 3:19; Rom. 9:4). God the Father initiated the adoption of Israel. God the Father’s divine-love motivated the adoption of Israel as a Client Nation. It was performed under His grace policy.

Adoption is a gracious gift from God the Father that is totally undeserving on the believer’s part. God the Holy Spirit performs the ceremony of adoption at the moment of salvation through regeneration (John 1:12), and the Baptism of the Spirit (Gal. 3:26-28). Adoption means that the church age believer is spiritual aristocracy now and is intimately related to all 3 Members of the Trinity. The adoption of the church age believer means: (1) Privileges as an adult son of God (2) Responsibility to grow to spiritual maturity. God the Father’s divine-love in eternity past motivated him to adopt the church age believer into the royal family of God. The incarnate Son of God’s redemptive work on the cross provided the opportunity to become an adoptive son. Redemption means that the believer has been set free from the slave market of sin and has spiritual freedom (Gal. 5:1). The adoption of the believer means that he has obtained an eternal inheritance as a result of becoming an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:14-17; Eph. 1:13-14). The adoption of the believer delivers them from their personal sins and the old sin nature (Rom. 8:12-17). It provides them spiritual freedom and a fantastic future in a resurrection body in the eternal state.

The adoption of the believer results in 3 categories of sanctification: (1) Positional: The status quo of the church age believer as an adoptive son of God. (2) Experiential: The experience of the church age believer as an adoptive son of God. (3) Ultimate: The destiny of the church age believer as an adoptive son of God.

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The Indwelling of the Spirit gives the guarantee of the believer’s adoption (Gal. 4:6). The Filling of the Spirit enables the believer to experience his adoption. The full manifestation of the believer’s sonship awaits the resurrection of the Church or the Rapture which is called the “redemption of the body” (Rom. 8:23; 1 Thess. 4:14-17; Eph. 1:14; 1 John 3:2). The church age believer’s adoption is directly related to the Baptism of the Spirit whereby God the Holy Spirit places the believer in union with Jesus Christ. It is also related to the doctrine of redemption (Gal. 4:5-6). It is directly related to God the Father’s divine-love (Eph. 1:5; 1 John 3:1).

Adoption is related to regeneration (John 1:12). It is also related to the doctrine of justification where God the Father acknowledges His divine righteousness in the believer and declares the believer justified thus qualifying him to become an adoptive son with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that a son has. It is also related to the 5 Great Imputations: (1) Human life at the moment of physical birth (2) Adam’s original sin to the genetically formed sin nature (3) Personal sins to Christ on the cross (3) 2 Categories of divine righteousness at the moment of salvation (4) Eternal life to the human spirit given at the moment of regeneration.

The believer is a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3) as a result of the 1st 2 imputations but becomes a child of God as a result of the last 2. The 3rd imputation makes the last 2 imputations possible for the believer to appropriate when they trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. The believer’s adoption into the royal family of God makes him an heir of God (Rom. 8:15-17). The believer’s heirship also means that the believer has an inheritance called Escrow Blessings (Eph. 1:13-14, 18; Col. 1:18), which confers upon the believer the responsibility to grow to spiritual maturity to receive the conveyance of these greater blessings for both time and eternity. The imputation of divine righteousness has qualified the believer to receive this eternal inheritance (Col. 1:12) and the sealing ministry of God the Holy Spirit guarantees it (Eph. 1:13-14).

As we noted election is the work of God the Father in eternity past where He desires all church age believers to be conformed to the image of His Son and receive their eternal inheritance. Predestination is the provision to attain this desire of the Father in eternity past. Every church age believer has been given their very own spiritual life in order to achieve the Father’s desire for them. Church age believers have been given a spiritual life in order to enjoy fellowship with God and be conformed experientially with Christ in His death and resurrection. The believer experiences fellowship with God and identification with Christ in His death and resurrection experientially by utilizing the 2 Great Divine Provisions from the Father: (1) Word of God (2) Spirit of God. The spiritual life of the believer functions when the believer utilizes these 2 Great Divine Provisions from the Father.

The fact that the believer has been elected to privilege means that they have received a new nature, which enables them to achieve the Father’s desire to bless them with an eternal inheritance. Election means that in eternity past, God the Father decreed that the church age believer would receive a new Christ-nature, which would enable the believer to execute His plan. The New Spiritual Species is the human spirit created in the image of the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ and is created by God the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation through regeneration.

Vocabulary: (1) Kaine ktisis “new spiritual creation, new spiritual species” (2 Cor. 5:17) (2) Endusasthe ton kainon anthropon, “have put on the new man” (Eph. 4:24) (3) Enedusasthe Christon, “have taken on the nature of Christ” (Gal. 3:27) (4) Endusasthe ton kurion Iesoun Christon, “have taken on the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14) (5) Theias koinonoi phuseos, “Sharers or partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4)

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At the moment of salvation, God the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit in the believer (John 3:36b; 1 Cor. 2:10, 12). This makes the believer trichotomous, body, soul and spirit. God creates the human spirit for the imputation of eternal life the Father. Eternal life is the life of God, which has no beginning and no end. The believer becomes born a 2nd time as a result of this act of God. At physical birth, we are born dichotomous, body and soul. We are born physically alive but spiritually dead (1 Cor. 2:14). We are under condemnation at physical birth because the justice of God imputed Adam’s original sin to our genetically formed old sin nature. This imputation makes us candidates for the grace of God. Grace is the policy of God’s justice for both cursing and blessing mankind. We are cursed at physical birth because of the imputation of Adam’s original sin; yet, we are blessed because of the imputation of divine righteousness and eternal life at the moment of salvation. Regeneration makes us spiritually alive with the ability to understand spiritual phenomena. The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit is totally responsible for Regeneration. There is no human power involved. Regeneration gives us the life of God, which has no beginning and no end. Regeneration is the New Birth. It makes us spiritual beings. The New Birth makes us a New Man or New Spiritual Species. We cannot have a relationship with God without being regenerated by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit. Regeneration makes us partakers of the divine nature, the life of Christ Himself (2 Pet. 1:4). The divine nature is synonymous with the New Man, New Creation, and New Spiritual Species.

Two things have to take place in order for us to become a Son of God. First, we have to make a non-meritorious decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Secondly, after we have believed in Christ, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit has to place us into union with the Person of Christ resulting in our permanent identification with Him. This is called the Baptism of the Spirit.

At the moment of salvation, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit places the church age believer in an eternal union with the Person of Jesus Christ, thus identifying the believer with Christ forever (Mark 16:16; John 7:37-39; 14:20; Acts 1:5; 2:1-4; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-28; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:11-13; 1 Pet. 3:21). The Baptism of the Spirit is the church age believer’s eternal union and identification with the Person of Jesus Christ. The Baptism of the Spirit is performed by a divine Person, God the Holy Spirit. It is permanent meaning its forever. The divine omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit is the means of placing the church age believer in union with Christ. The Baptism of the Spirit is invisible and eternal in nature. It was prophesied by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). It was prophesied by our Lord in (John 7:37-39; 14:16, 20, 26; Acts 1:5, 8).

The Baptism of the Spirit first took place among the Jews on the Day of Pentecost in June of 32 A.D. (Acts 2:1-13). It also took place among the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-38; 19:1-7), thus making it universal. There is only 1 Baptism, that which is performed by God the Holy Spirit at the moment a person believes in Jesus Christ for salvation (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5). The Baptism of the Spirit has nothing to do with water baptism. Water baptism was given to church age believer in the Pre-Canon period of the NT or before the NT was finished. Water baptism was a teaching tool or ritual designed to teach an invisible spiritual truth. The Baptism of the Spirit results in a change of condition in the believer. It results in the believer being made a New Spiritual Species (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:27; 6:15). The New Spiritual Species or New nature is designed for the utilization of 100% divine omnipotence. The Baptism of the Spirit results in the believer receiving a new nature.

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At the moment of salvation, God the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit in the believer for the imputation of eternal life from God the Father (John 3:36b; 1 Cor. 2:10, 12). The believer receives the new nature at regeneration.

This makes the believer trichotomous, body, soul and spirit. God creates the human spirit for the imputation of eternal life the Father. Eternal life is the life of God, which has no beginning and no end. The human spirit and the eternal life that resides in it, gives the believer a new nature. It is the new Christ nature. 1 Corinthians 15:45 states that the Lord Jesus Christ as the Last Adam was a life-giving spirit. This life received from the Lord Jesus Christ is new nature created in His image. The believer becomes born a 2nd time as a result of this act of God. At physical birth, we are born dichotomous, body and soul. We are born physically alive but spiritually dead (1 Cor. 2:14). The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit is totally responsible for Regeneration. Regeneration gives us the life of God, which has no beginning and no end. Regeneration is the New Birth and makes us spiritual beings. The New Birth makes us a New Man or New Spiritual Species. We cannot have a relationship with God without being regenerated by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit. Regeneration makes us partakers of the divine nature, the life of Christ Himself (2 Pet. 1:4). The divine nature is synonymous with the New Man, New Creation, New Spiritual Species, and the human spirit. The body and soul of the believer were designed to be subordinate to the human spirit.

The believer must worship and serve God from his human spirit. In order for the believer to experience deliverance from the old sin nature, self and the cosmic system of Satan the believer’s body and soul must be subordinate to the human spirit. The human spirit grows stronger by means of the Word of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit to the believer. The human spirit is receptacle for eternal life. It is also gives the believer the ability and the capacity to understands the Word of God as it is revealed by the Holy Spirit. The human spirit and the eternal life residing in it, is the nature of Christ.

Galatians 3:27a, “For as many as were placed into union with Christ” Now, as a result of our eternal union with Christ, we have been given the nature of Christ. This is brought by the Greek verb enduo, “to take on the nature of something (in the figurative sense),” plus the accusative of the person Christon, “Christ Jesus.” Here in Gal. 3:27, it means “to taking on the nature of Christ,” which is synonymous with the New Spiritual Species or the New Self or the New Man (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). For Paul, the new man, the new spiritual species are identical. Paul refers here to that new spiritual species or the new man. This new nature that we receive at salvation cannot sin. This New nature is the alternative to living in the Old Sin Nature. Only the believer’s failure to Rebound (1 John 1:9) prevents them from utilizing this new nature. Every church age believer starts off his or her Christian life by living in the new nature. Once they sin, they are no longer living in the new nature, but are now living in the Old Sin Nature, which we received from the imputation of Adam’s sin at physical birth. We receive the new nature at the New Birth or at Regeneration. The believer is no longer in bondage to the Old Sin Nature but can now choose to live in the new nature, which cannot sin. The New nature has been created specifically for the utilization of 100% divine power or omnipotence and is totally unique to the church age. The Baptism of the Spirit results in the church age believer receiving a new nature, the nature of Christ. “For as many as were placed into union with Christ, have taken on the nature of Christ.”

We have been created a new spiritual species by God the Holy Spirit for the specific purpose of utilizing 100% divine omnipotence. We have been given a divine nature in order that we can use divine power. Omnipotence means “all powerful.” Omnipotence is the power of God. We 2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 27

need divine omnipotence to execute the Plan of God for the church age. Perfect power is needed to execute a perfect plan. God would not give us a perfect plan to execute without perfect power; therefore, He gave us the ability to use His power by operating in the new nature or Spiritual Species. Divine Omnipotence enables the believer to perform good works of intrinsic value. It enables us to perform works that will please God and give us rewards at the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ. The Christian way of life is a life of power (2 Tim. 1:7). The New nature or New Spiritual Species can only operate on divine power. Divine Omnipotence enables the church age believer to take part in spiritual warfare. Divine Omnipotence enables us to become Invisible Heroes with an invisible impact in 5 categories: (1) Personal (2) National (3) International (4) Angelic (5) Heritage.

The power of God the Holy Spirit and the power of Bible Doctrine resident in our human souls produce Invisible Heroes. Living in the new nature or New Spiritual Species is the only way to please God and bring Him glory. The church age believer can only grow to spiritual maturity and glorify God through operating in the new nature.

There were 2 species in the world before the Baptism of the Spirit first took place on Pentecost in June of 32 A.D. There were 3 after that day in June. Before circumcision was given to Abraham, there was only 1 race in the world, Gentiles. Abraham was given circumcision thus making him a new racial species. Abraham was a Gentile before he was given circumcision by the Lord. The New Racial Species produced a new race of people called the Jews. The Baptism of the Spirit creates a third category of species, making the church age believer a New Spiritual Species. The New Spiritual Species produced a new spiritual race of people called the Church. The New Spiritual Species means that the church age believer is a human being with a Divine Nature. This Divine Nature is the nature of Christ.

The church age continues or perpetuates of the Hypostatic Union. The Hypostatic Union refers to that particular dispensation when the unique Person of our Lord demonstrated the power of God through the execution of the Plan of God for His life, which was the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity operated in His Kenosis to execute the Plan of God. Our Lord operated in the Kenosis which means that He “voluntarily denied Himself of the independent use of His divine attributes” to execute the Plan of God for His life (Phil. 2:6-8). The humanity of Christ executed the salvation plan of God. Our Lord in His humanity needed divine power in order to execute that plan. He used the divine omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit and applied the Bible Doctrine resident in His human soul to execute the salvation plan of God. The same power that He used to glorify God and bring salvation to mankind is the same power that we can use here in the church age. The same power that raised our Lord’s humanity from the dead will raise the church age believer from the dead (Rom. 8:11). Our Lord in His humanity became the 1st Invisible Hero in the Pre-historic Angelic Conflict. The church age believer can also become an Invisible Hero in the Rebuttal Phase of Satan’s Appeal Trial in the Angelic Conflict. The church age believer can only become an Invisible Hero by utilizing God’s power and the Divine Nature or New Spiritual Species. God has given us His divine power to take part in this Conflict. God has given us a Divine Nature or New nature to use that power. The Divine Nature or New nature plus Divine Power or Divine Omnipotence equals an Invisible Hero.

The church age believer must learn Bible Doctrine in order to have knowledge of the New Spiritual Species or New Divine Nature. God has given us 40 things at the moment of our salvation. We have no knowledge of those things until we learn the Word of God. The Word of God is God (John 1:1-2). The Word of God is the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). To have knowledge of the Word of God is to have knowledge of Christ. We love the Lord by learning

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Bible Doctrine. Bible Doctrine teaches us how to think like Christ. Bible Doctrine teaches us about the New Divine Nature that we received at the moment of our salvation. God’s knowledge is Divine Power. If we have no knowledge of Bible Doctrine we will not be able to live in the New Divine Nature or New Spiritual Species. Ignorance of Bible Doctrine prevents us from living in the new nature, and thus, prevents us from glorifying God and receiving rewards at the Bema Seat Judgment. Arrogance and Ignorance are the 2 greatest enemies of the believer. The more we learn Bible Doctrine, the greater the understanding and appreciation we will have for what God has done for us. We cannot live in the new nature or New Man without knowledge of Bible Doctrine. Church age believers become Losers because they are ignorant of Bible Doctrine. church age believers become Losers because they have no knowledge of the New Spiritual Species. Church age believers become Losers and don’t receive rewards because they were ignorant that they have a new nature given to them by God. Losers don’t know how to use the new nature because they have no knowledge of Bible Doctrine, which is the mind of Christ, which is the Word of God. Winners, on the other hand, learn Bible Doctrine on a daily basis and acquire knowledge of the New Spiritual Species. Winners receive rewards at the Bema Seat Judgment and glorify God because they learned how to use the new nature through knowledge of Bible Doctrine. Knowledge of God’s Word and the application of it produces Winners in the Christian life. Winners grow to spiritual maturity or they grow up spiritually. You cannot grow up spiritually and glorify God if you have no knowledge of Bible Doctrine. You cannot grow up spiritually and glorify God if you have no knowledge of the New Spiritual Species and the Divine Omnipotence needed to utilize it.

Christ-likeness can only be attained through consistent and persistent residence in the Christ-nature or operational type spiritual life. Christ-likeness can only be attained by operating in the operational type spiritual life of the church age, which is patterned after the prototype spiritual life of the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union during His 1st Advent. The prototype spiritual life was the means by which the impeccable incarnate Son of God executed the Father’s plan for the incarnation. Under the principles of election and predestination, the operational type spiritual life is the means provided by the Father in eternity past for every church age believer to execute the plan of God for the church age.

Christocentric gnosis, “knowledge” is the 1st stage in ultimately forming Christ-likeness in the believer. 2 stages to forming Christ-likeness in the believer: (1) Learning the Word of God (2) Applying the Word of God. The application of gnosis is epignosis. Epignosis is “experiential knowledge” since it is the application of one’s knowledge of Christ that one has learned through instruction. Epignosis is knowledge applied to one’s thought process. It will itself in word and action. Christocentric gnosis is objective biblical information regarding 3 major aspects of Christ: (1) Person (2) Work (3) Life. It also involves objective biblical information regarding Christ’s 3-fold offices: (1) Prophet (2) Priest (3) King.

Christocentric gnosis also involves objective biblical information regarding the 3-fold career of Christ: (1) Preincarnate state (2) Incarnate state (3) Glorified incarnate state. Christocentric gnosis involves knowledge of the following regarding the Person of Christ: (1) Person of Christ (2) Deity (3) Humanity (4) Hypostatic union (5) Impeccability (6) Kenosis (7) Mediatorship. Christocentric gnosis involves knowledge of the following regarding the work of Christ, which is 2-fold: (1) Sovereign (2) Salvation. His sovereign work: (1) Creator of the cosmos (2) Sustainer of the cosmos (3) Ruler of the cosmos. His salvation work: (1) Redemption (2) Propitiation (3) Reconciliation.

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The unique Person of Christ was accomplished through the incarnation. Our Lord’s salvation work was accomplished through His voluntary substitutionary spiritual death on the cross. Lastly, Christocentric gnosis involves the church age believer comprehending the objective biblical information regarding the prototype spiritual life of the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union that has been passed down to every church age believer by virtue of the Baptism of the Spirit which places them in union with Christ, identifying them with Christ, and is designed to produce Christ-like character in every believer.

Every church age believer has been given a new nature in order that he can grow to Christ-likeness, which is the status of spiritual maturity. The church age believer must imitate the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union if he is to attain Christ-likeness, or otherwise known as spiritual maturity. Attaining Christ-likeness by the believer is synonymous with the attaining of spiritual maturity. It is also synonymous with the execution of the plan of God for the church age. Christ-likeness is attained by the believer through experiential sanctification. It is attained by the believer who feeds the new nature, i.e. human spirit by learning and applying the Word of God as it is revealed by the Holy Spirit. The believer must apply the Word of God as empowered and directed by God the Holy Spirit. He must reject human dynamics in favor of spiritual dynamics. He must also reject operating under the old sin nature in favor of operating according to the new nature, i.e., the Christ-nature. The believer who desires to attain Christ-likeness must adjust to the integrity of God. He must be cognizant that the Father has a plan designed for every church age believer and then he must determine what the specific details of that plan are for his life. The Father’s will is that every believer attain Christ-likeness thus He has provided in eternity past under the principles of election and predestination, equal privilege and equal opportunity to do so. The believer who desires to attain Christ-likeness and thus execute the Father’s plan for the church age must therefore must be possess a humble mental attitude and pick up his cross. Therefore, the believer must determine what the will of God is specifically for their life. In general, the believer is to execute the Father’s plan for the church age, but the specific details of that plan are different for every believer because each believer has their very own specific set of circumstances to deal with. Every believer also has a unique relationship with the Lord because every believer is an individual with their very own set of weaknesses and strengths to overcome.

The believer who desires to attain Christ-likeness must determined for himself what the specific details of the plan for his life through the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and by vigilance in prayer. The will of God (as to what would exist, i.e., the divine decree) call for God’s will (His attribute of sovereignty) to function toward us in certain ways (directly stating what He desires of us or permissively allowing us to have our own way or overruling our decisions-not letting them have their intended results-in order to protect us and the rest of mankind from our own negative volition and to preserve and perpetuate His own marvelous plan). All things depend on God’s will (the decree), and nothing is certain apart from God’s will. God’s decrees originate from His own omniscience and in eternity past the decrees separated fact from fiction. Every believer must be totally dependent upon divine guidance in order to attain Christ-likeness. Academic principles of guidance: (1) Knowledge: doctrine in the human spirit (Ps. 32:8; Prv. 3:1-6; Is. 58:11; Rm. 12:2). (2) Submissiveness: Filling of the Spirit (Rm. 6:13; 12:1-2; Eph. 5:17-18; 1 Jn. 1:9). (3) Spiritual Growth: Erection of a spiritual house in the believer’s soul (2 Pt. 3:18) and advance to spiritual maturity (Jam. 4:6).

The categories of the will of God: (1) Viewpoint will of God: What does God want me to think? (2) Operational will of God: What does God want me to do? (3) Geographical will of 2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 30

God: Where does God want me to be? Mechanics of determining the will of God: (1) Prayer (Acts 11:5). (2) Mentality of the soul (Acts 11:6). (3) Word of God (Acts 11:7-10) (4) Providential circumstances (Acts 11:11). (5) Filling of the Spirit (Acts 11:12) (6) Fellowship and comparison data (Acts 11:13-15) (7) Remembering Scripture (Acts 11:16).

The believer who desires to attain Christ-likeness in his life must consistently remain in fellowship with the Lord on a daily basis. He must cognizant on a daily basis that the Lord Jesus Christ from His hypostatic union controls human history and thus his circumstances.

The believer who desires to attain Christ-likeness must be diligent in his study of the Scriptures (Col. 3:1-2; 2 Ti. 2:15-16). He must consistently operate according to divine-love (Deut. 6:5; Mt. 22:34-37; Mk. 12:28-30; Rm. 8:28; Jo. 13:33-34; 15:12; 1 Jo. 3:23): (1) Unconditional personal love for God the Father (2) Impersonal unconditional self-sacrificial love for all mankind, especially of believers. He must be occupied with Christ rather than self and he must be unselfish rather than selfish. The believer who desires to attain-Christ likeness in his life must develop His relationship with the Lord through consistent and persistent application of the Word of God (the mind of Christ) in conjunction with the mentorship and enabling power of God the Holy Spirit. The attainment of Christ-likeness demands that the believer develop his relationship with the Lord through prayer as well. The believer who desires to attain Christ-likeness must imitate the Lord in his thoughts, words and actions (Eph. 4:28-5:1). The Word of God when applied will produce Christ-likeness in the believer (Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to reproduce the life and character of Christ in the believer (John. 14:26; 16:13-15). He uses the Word of God to build a spiritual house in the believer. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the 9-fold production of the Spirit, which are in essence the characteristics of Christ.

Living in the new nature or new spiritual species is called in theology experiential sanctification. There are 3 categories of sanctification: (1) Positional (2) Experiential (3) Ultimate.

Positional: The entrance into the Plan of God for the church age resulting in eternal security as well as 2 categories of positional truth (1 Cor. 1:2, 30; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Thess. 5:23; Eph. 5:26-27; Heb. 2:11; 10:10; Acts 20:32; 26:18; Rom. 6:3, 8; 2 Thess. 2:13). Retroactive: The church age believer’s identification with Christ in His death (Rom. 6:3-11; Col. 2:12). Current: The church age believer’s identification with Christ in His resurrection, ascension and session (Col. 3:1-4).

Experiential: The function of the church age believer’s spiritual life in time through the utilization of the 2 Great Divine Provisions, the Spirit of God and the Word of God (John 17:17; Rom. 6:19, 22; 2 Tim. 2:21; 1 Pet. 3:15; 1 Thess. 4:3-4, 7; 1 Tim. 2:15).

Ultimate: The perfection of the church age believer’s spiritual life at the exit-resurrection or Rapture of the Church, which is the completion of the Plan of God for the church age (1 Cor. 15:53-54; Gal. 6:8; 1 Pet. 5:10; John 6:40).

The believer who desires to attain Christ-likeness must be cognizant that he is the recipient of 3 categories of divine love (Phlp. 2:12: agapetos): (1) God the Father (2) God the Son (3) God the Holy Spirit. The divine-love of God the Father motivated Him to send God the Son to the cross and to perform His work in eternity past on behalf of every church age believer: Election, Predestination, and Escrow Blessings. The divine-love of God the Son motivated Him to become a human being and perform His work in time at the cross: Redemption, Propitiation, and Reconciliation. The divine-love of God the Holy Spirit motivated Him to perform His work from regeneration to resurrection: Efficacious grace, Regeneration, Baptism of the Spirit, Indwelling of the Spirit, Filling of the Spirit, Sealing of the Spirit, Spiritual gifts, Mentorship.

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The divine-love of the Trinity was the motivation to provide 40 irrevocable things for every church age believer at the moment of salvation. The believer who attains Christ-like character will equate time with eternity, living with dying (Phlp. 1:20-21), He live his life in light of eternity and thus in light of his citizenship in heaven (Phlp. 1:27-30; Phlp. 3:20).

The objective that God has for the believer after salvation is that their new nature, i.e., their human spirit would grow to maturity. There is a process that God has designed to feed the new nature or human spirit. The Word of God is the spiritual food of the new nature, i.e. human spirit. The perceptive apparatus in the unregenerate is different from the regenerate. A regenerate person possesses a body, soul and human spirit thus making them trichotomous whereas the unregenerate person possesses only a body and a soul making them dichotomous. The body is called soma, the soul is called psuche and the spirit is called pneuma in the original language of the Greek New Testament. The mentality of the soul is divided into 2 parts: (1) Nous, “left lobe of the soul.” (2) Kardia, “right lobe of the soul.”

Essence of the soul: (1) Self-consciousness (2) Conscience (3) Mentality (4) Emotion (5) Volition. The Essence of the Heart: (1) The frame of reference: the entrance antechamber for doctrine (Prov. 4:4). (2) The memory center: the “pump” that circulates doctrine into various areas of the right lobe (Phlp. 1:3). (3) The vocabulary storage: the supply house for the information of thought. (4) The categorical storage: the supply house for the classification of thoughts. (5) The conscience: storage for all norms and standards (Rm. 2:15; 9:1; 13:5; 1 Co. 8:7; 2 Co. 4:2; 5:11; Tit. 1:15; Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 2:19). (6) The launching pad: source of all mental attitude in life. (7) Department of growth (8) Subconscience-stores various categories of things that shock or impress from adversity, sin, failure or disappointment.

The kardia in the Bible is the mental activity or function of the psuche, “soul.” In the psuche, it “circulates” thought, mental activity just as the physiological heart does the same with blood. It is the thinking part, analytical, reasoning part of the soul. The kardia is the dominant thinking part of the soul. It is the target of Bible teaching, the Word of God. The nous is the perceptive lobe of the brain. It is the left lobe or perceptive lobe and is designed for receptive comprehension. The left lobe is designed to understand various types of data and to digest objective information. The volition determines whether or not the objective information in the nous or perceptive lobe is transferred to the kardia, i.e., the right lobe. The perceptive process is different in the believer who is in fellowship with God from the unregenerate and the believer who is out of fellowship with God. So the perceptive process is the same in the believer who is out of fellowship with God and the unregenerate.

The human spirit in the believer was designed by God to give the believer the ability to understand the Word of God and the capacity to store it as well. The Holy Spirit reveals or makes understandable the Word of God to the human spirit, i.e. new nature of the believer who is in fellowship with God. He reveals or makes understandable the will of God for the believer through the communication of the Word of God. The human spirit is not operational unless the believer is in fellowship with God. The believer who is in fellowship with God has no unacknowledged sin circulating in his stream of consciousness and is permitting the Holy Spirit to control or influence his soul by means of the human spirit. The psuche or human soul was designed originally by God to be subordinate to the human spirit. The believer who is in fellowship with God permits this to take place whereas the believer who is out of fellowship does not permit this to take place. The unregenerate and the believer who is out of fellowship are said to be psuchikos, “soulish,” whereas the believer who is in fellowship with God is said to be pneumatikos, “spiritual.” The believer in fellowship is said to be spiritual because he is

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permitting the Holy Spirit to reveal the will of God through the communication of the Word of God to the believer’s human spirit.

When an unregenerate person hears information from the cosmic system it enters his nous where it is gnosis information. If he makes a decision to accept this cosmic information, it is transferred from then nous to the kardia where it becomes epignosis information. Epignosis information is knowledge that is applied to the kardia, the dominant lobe. It then becomes a part of the person’s frame of reference, their memory center, their vocabulary, and classification of their thoughts. It forms their conscience where it becomes a part of their norms and standards. Lastly, epignosis is the mental attitude of the person. Now the believer who is out of fellowship with God goes through the same process since he is not permitting the Holy Spirit to reveal the will of God through the Word of God and he is not enabling his human spirit to function. When a believer in fellowship hears the communication of the Word of God it enters his nous where it is gnosis information. It is transferred to the kardia through the human spirit where it becomes epignosis information. The epignosis information though is spiritual phenomena, i.e. divine viewpoint whereas the unregenerate and the psuchikos believer possess only cosmic information, i.e. Satanic viewpoint. When the epignosis information in the believer is spiritual phenomena, i.e. the Word of God becomes a part of the believer’s frame of reference, their memory center, their vocabulary and the classification of thoughts. The Word of God now forms their norms and standards since it becomes a part of their conscience. It is also cleans out the subconscience of the believer where everything shocking, experiences in adversities, failure and disappointment are stored. The believer’s mental attitude is now based upon the Word of God as result of being in fellowship. So gnosis information is either cosmic or divine viewpoint and likewise epignosis information is either divine viewpoint or cosmic viewpoint. The believer must make a decision to get in fellowship and then to either accept or reject the Word of God as it is revealed to the believer’s human spirit by the Holy Spirit. The new nature, i.e. the human spirit of the believer can only grow when the believer remains consistently in fellowship with God.

God the Father has elected every church age believer in eternity past to privilege in order to bless them with an eternal inheritance. A prominent doctrine of the New Testament concerns the Doctrine of Rewards and the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is a doctrine often ignored or, when taught, it is misrepresented because of the term “judgment” that is used in translating the Greek text. As will be shown below, though it is tremendously serious with eternal ramifications, the Judgment Seat of Christ is not a place and time when the Lord will mete out punishment for sins committed by the child of God. Rather, it is a place where rewards will be given or lost depending on how a believer has lived his life for the Lord.

1 Cor 3:1-15, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was

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given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one, which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work, which he has built on, it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, the Apostle Paul drew courage and was motivated by the fact of rewards at the return of the Lord for the church which he mentions in every chapter in this epistle and which becomes the primary subject of 2 Thessalonians. The Lord’s return and what this means, not only to the world but also to us individually, is a very prominent subject of the New Testament. 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy. It is significant that among the final words of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, we find these words of the Lord: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). While salvation is a gift, there are rewards given for faithfulness in the Christian life as well as the loss of rewards for unfaithfulness.

Rewards become one of the great motivations of the Christian’s life or should. But we need to understand the nature of these rewards in order to understand the nature of the motivation. Some people are troubled by the doctrine of rewards because this seems to suggest “merit” instead of “grace,” and because, it is pointed out, we should only serve the Lord out of love and for God’s glory. Of course we should serve the Lord out of love and for God’s glory, and understanding the nature of rewards will help us do that. But the fact still remains that the Bible promises us rewards.

God gives us salvation. It is a gift through faith, but He rewards us for good works. God graciously supplies the means by which we may serve Him. Indeed, He works in us both to will and to do as we volitionally appropriate His grace, but the decision to serve, and the diligence employed in doing so, are our responsibility and contribution, and God sees this as rewardable.

Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my divinely loved ones, in the same manner that all of you have consistently obeyed, not only when in my presence, but now, much more in my absence, you yourselves continue executing your own spiritual life by means of respect (for God) and with trembling. Since God (the Holy Spirit) is the One producing in all of you not only the determination but also the (resultant) production for the attainment of the grace purpose (of God the Father in eternity past).”

1 Cor 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”

Col 1:28-29, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”

2 Cor 5:9-10, “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

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1 John 2:28, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”

Rev 3:11-12, “I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

Rom 14:10-12, “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, ‘AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.’ So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”

Both Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10 speak of the “judgment seat.” “Judgment Seat” is the noun bema. While Bema is used in the gospels and Acts of the raised platform where a Roman magistrate or ruler sat to make decisions and pass sentence, its use in the epistles of Paul is more in keeping with its original use among the Greeks because of his many allusions to the Greek athletic contests.

Romans 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

This word was taken from Isthmian games where the contestants would compete for the prize under the careful scrutiny of judges who would make sure that every rule of the contest was obeyed. The victor of a given event who participated according the rules was led by the judge to the platform called the Bema. There the laurel wreath was placed on his head as a symbol of victory. 2 Timothy 2:5 And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

In all of these passages … Paul was picturing the believer as a competitor in a spiritual contest. As the victorious Grecian athlete appeared before the Bema to receive his perishable award, so the Christian will appear before Christ’s Bema to receive his imperishable award. The judge at the Bema bestowed rewards to the victors. He did not whip the losers. In other words, it is a reward seat and portrays a time of rewards or loss of rewards following examination. But it is not a time of punishment where believers are judged for their sins. Such would be inconsistent with the finished work of Christ on the cross because He totally paid the penalty for our sins.

Chafer and Walvoord have an excellent word on this view: “With reference to sin, Scripture teaches that the child of God under grace shall not come into judgment (John 3:18; 5:24; 6:37; Rom. 5:1; 8:1; 1 Cor. 11:32); in his standing before God, and on the ground that the penalty for all sin—past, present, and future (Col. 2:13)—has been borne by Christ as the perfect Substitute, the believer is not only placed beyond condemnation, but being in Christ is accepted in the perfection of Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:6; Col. 2:10; Heb. 10:14) and loved of God as Christ is loved (John 17:23).”

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Again, Chafer writes concerning the Bema, “It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the judgment is unrelated to the problem of sin, that it is more for the bestowing of rewards than the rejection of failure.”

2 Tim 4:8, “in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

The “crown of righteousness” is symbolic of the righteous life Paul lived meaning he was faithfully obedient to the Word of God throughout his post-salvation experience. It is like the soldier’s medal for valor in the face of battle and the medal does not contain valor but it does declare that its possessor is valorous.

1 Peter 5:1-4, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

“The unfading crown of glory” refers to the fact that Christ will bestow special recognition upon those who have labored faithfully to care for and disciple other Christians. This passage refers to the fact that faithful pastors who fed their flock the Word of God will be honored by the Lord Jesus Christ.

James 1:12, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Rev 2:10, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” “The crown of life” refers to those who are martyred in the cause of Christ.

1 Thess 2:19-20, “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” “Crown of exultation or rejoicing” This crown consists in the people whom we have led to Christ.

The notion that the future kingdom is a kind of classless society where are equal and rewarded equally has contributed in no small way to the laziness witnessed in the lives of many Christians in the 20th and here in the 21st century. Many have subconsciously reasoned that, since all are equal, my life has no particular eternal significance. In the final analysis my and your life will be rewarded as much as those who labored more diligently. This is a lie from the kingdom of darkness for the Scriptures teach that your words and your actions in time will determine your rank in the Millennium and on into eternity. There will be distinctions in heaven and God does show partiality but He is, however, justly partial.

Matt 5:19, “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” We must be faithful to use the gifts that we have been given that are designed to serve the Lord and the body of Christ.

Luke 19:11-27, “While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. “And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, “Do business with this until I come back.’ “But his citizens

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hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, “We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. The first appeared, saying, “Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, “Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ The second came, saying, “Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ And he said to him also, “And you are to be over five cities.’ Another came, saying, “Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, “By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ Then he said to the bystanders, “Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, “Master, he has ten minas already.’ I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”

We must become servants now in order to become great in the kingdom of God. Luke 22:24-26, “And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called “Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.”

We must be faithful when undergoing undeserved suffering in order to become great in the kingdom of God and to receive our inheritance. 2 Thess 1:4-5, “Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.” 2 Cor 4:17-18, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 1 Peter 4:12-14, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

So we must not fall in love with the things of this world and pursue the riches of this world but rather pursue riches in heaven meaning live your life now with a view to receiving these rewards from the Lord.

Matt 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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We are commanded in Scripture to do things, which will result in enlarging our eternal storehouse with what they send ahead.

1 Tim 6:17-19, ‘Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” Luke 12:32-34, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts, which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

We must make sacrifices for the sake of the kingdom of God in order to receive rewards at the Bema Seat. Matt 19:27-30, “Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us? And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

We must give to those in need. Matt 6:1-4, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Every church age believer has the opportunity to receive his eternal inheritance if he fulfills the condition of being faithful till death or the rapture whichever comes first and thus executes the Father’s will for his life. Both the Old and New Testament’s speak of an inheritance, which could be forfeited due to unfaithfulness.

The inheritance in the Bible: (1) Related to God’s plan for the believer after salvation. (2) Added blessings to the Saved (i.e. Rewards on top of salvation). (3) Possession. (4) Is meritorious ownership of the kingdom (i.e. Millennium and eternal state) (5) Conditioned on faithful obedience to the will of God. (6) Can be forfeited through habitual disobedience to the will of God. (7) 2 Types of inheritance (God and the possession of land in the Millennium) (Every believer receives God has His inheritance).

Salvation is non-meritorious. Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Titus 3:5-7, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Although the believer’s salvation cannot be merited but is received when a person expresses faith alone in Christ alone, the believer’s inheritance on the other hand is meritorious meaning he has to fulfill the condition of being faithfully obedient to the will of God till physical death or the

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rapture (i.e. resurrection of the Church). Because the church age believer can forfeit his eternal inheritance through unfaithfulness to the Lord, there are many warnings regarding being unfaithful. Heb 10:35-39, “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”

The believer is promised that if he fulfills the condition of being faithful till death, he will be given the privilege to reign with Christ. Romans 8:16-18, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our human spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Gal 5:19-21, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who habitually practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Eph 5:5-10, “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” 1 Cor 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” Heb 12:12-17, “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.”

Eph 1:3, “Worthy of praise and glorification is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

God’s plan for blessing the believer may be compared to an escrow contract. An escrow is a deed, bond or other agreement by which one person conveys some form of property to another person. Rather than being conveyed directly, however, the property is deposited with a third party, to be delivered when the intended recipient fulfills certain conditions set forth in the terms of the escrow agreement. Just as an escrow agreement has three parties, so also Ephesians 1:3 mentions three parties: (1) God the Father is the Grantor, He’s the Giver. (2) Jesus Christ acts as a depository or escrow officer. (3) The believer is the grantee or the receiver. Every person who

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has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation is the grantee of blessings, which stagger the imagination.

However, God in His infinite wisdom requires that capacity must precede the conveyance of these greater blessings. God designed the Plan of God to produce capacity which makes the distribution of blessings meaningful, enjoyable and glorifying God. The first thing that God ever did for us as believers is the means of glorifying Him. The first thing that God the Father ever did as the Grantor is deposit in Escrow greater blessings both time and eternity for every believer without exception. These greater blessings are based upon God’s grace policy, which says that God does all the work. God gave the believer a system so that deposit could be conveyed without compromising the essence and integrity of God. The believer who fulfills the condition of the escrow by faithfully executing God’s plan for his life in time and becomes a winner as a result will receive the conveyance of their Escrow Blessings for time and in eternity. The believer who does not fulfill the conditions of the escrow in time and does not reach spiritual maturity will not receive the conveyance of their Escrow Blessings for both time and eternity. The believer who does not fulfill the conditions of the escrow will have these greater blessings remain on deposit in heaven as a memorial to the justice of God. The only reason a believer’s escrow blessings are not delivered to him is that he fails to fulfill the conditions of the escrow agreement. The only condition is that the believer advance to spiritual maturity and execute God’s plan for their life. The loser’s escrow blessings belong to him irrevocably, but they will remain undistributed, on deposit forever as a memorial to lost opportunity and as a monument to the eternal bounty of God’s grace. While the believer cannot lose his salvation, he can lose the conveyance of escrow blessings for time and eternity. A treasury of blessings has your name on it and they are irrevocable, “imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away” (1 Pet. 1:4). The location of the deposit is “in the heavenlies” and the date of the deposit is “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:3-6).

The term Escrow Blessings is an analogy based upon a Bible Doctrine describing what God the Father in eternity past did as the Grantor when He deposited greater blessings for both time and eternity for every believer with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Depository and Escrow Officer and the release of these blessings takes place when the believer fulfills the conditions of the Escrow Contract by being faithfully obedient to the will of God to death. God the Father as the Grantor has placed Himself under the legal obligation by an act of His sovereign will to provide unusual and fantastic blessings both temporal and eternal for the believer who fulfills the conditions of the escrow.

Eph 1:1-11, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens

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and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

“We have obtained an inheritance” is the 1st person plural aorist passive indicative form of the verb kleroo, which is eklerothemen. The verb kleroo in the passive voice means “to receive an inheritance” from God the Father at the moment of salvation that is on deposit in heaven with the Person of Christ who will distribute this inheritance if the believer fulfills the conditions of the escrow which is execute the Father’s plan in time.

Ephesians 1:12-14, “to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

“Inheritance” is the noun kleronomia. Kleronomia means “possession, inheritance,” and refers to the believer’s escrow blessings.

Ephesians 1:15-23, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

These escrow blessings or in other words our eternal inheritance is mentioned in other places in the Scriptures. Col 1:9-12, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” Col 3:23-25, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” Heb 9:15, “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” 1 Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are

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protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

The church age believer must be an overcomer in order to receive his eternal inheritance. This involves perseverance, which by way of definition is steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, and a state. The believer who perseveres is one who is faithfully obedient to the Word of God. He is persistent in executing the Father’s will for his life. Perseverance suggests activity maintained in spite of difficulties, steadfast and long continued application. It is remaining faithful and obedient to the Word of God despite the obstacles in life such as the old sin nature, self, the cosmic system of Satan.

Perseverance is being steadfast and faithful in applying the Word of God despite the many obstacles and cares of life in the cosmic system of Satan. It is being steadfast in picking up one’s cross daily and being willing to experience identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. This is why the Christian way of life is characterized as a race to be run (1 Co. 9:24; He. 12:1; 2 Ti. 4:7). It is also described in Scripture as a struggle or athletic contest to be fought (1 Th. 2:2; 1 Ti. 4:9; 6:12; 2 Ti. 2:5; He. 10:32). There are other terms such as labor or toil or work (1 Co. 3:8; 15:58; 2 Co. 11:27; 1 Th. 2:9; 2 Th. 3:8). The Word of God also characterizes the Christian way of life as testing or trials (Ja. 1:2-4; 1 Pe. 1:6; 4:12).

An overcomer is one who executes the Father’s plan for his life and overcomes the following: (1) Old sin nature (2) Cosmic system of Satan (3) Satan. 1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Rev 2:1-29, “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent. Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’ And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’ And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this: I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit

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acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them — I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Revelation 3:5, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Revelation 3:12, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.” Revelation 3:21, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 21:7, “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”

“He who overcomes” is the verb nikao. The verb nikao appears frequently in both classical and biblical Greek. It can be commonly found in reference to the winning of or prevailing in military conflicts, athletic contests and political or social causes. The verb nikao refers to being victorious after a struggle. Romans 12:12, “Rejoicing in confidence, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.” 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” 1 Peter 2:19-20, “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, ‘Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth. And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered not threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him (the Father) who judges righteously.” 1 Peter 3:14-17, “But even if you

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should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed, ‘and do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,’ but set apart Christ as Lord in your right lobes, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the confidence that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.” 2 Tim 2:12-13, “If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Tim 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

The apostle Paul employs a track and field metaphor in several passages in order to illustrate the fact that the believer needs to have endurance and perseveres in order to receive a reward and his eternal inheritance.

1 Cor 9:22-27, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Just as the eye of the runner in the ancient athletic running events had to fix his eye on the square pillar that he must reach so must the believer fix his eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ who pioneered the spiritual life during His 1st Advent. The runner in the ancient track and field events would be disqualified if he broke the rules of training or the race itself and the same applies to the believer in the church age who does not adhere to the rules of the plan of God.

1 Cor 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor {the} covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:21, “envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Eph 5:5, “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

Heb 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

The following rewards are the believer’s escrow blessings for eternity and they will be presented by the Lord Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat Evaluation: “crown of righteousness” (Tes dikaiosunes stephanos): (1) This is given to the believer who executes the plan of God for the

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church age. (2) It represents a tremendous amount of privileges, blessings and opportunities in the eternal state. (3) Documentation: 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

“Crown of life” (Ton stephano tes zoes): (1) This is given for the believer who attains spiritual maturity. (2) It is awarded to the believer who passes Evidence Testing resulting in the maximum glorification of God in the Angelic Conflict. (3) Documentation: Revelation 2:10.

“Incorruptible crown of glory” (Ton amarntinon tes doxes stephanon): (1) This is given to the Pastor-Teacher who was faithful in communicating the mystery doctrine for the church age. (2) Documentation: 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Thess. 2:19-20; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 4:1.

“Order of the morning star”: (1) The conveyance of Escrow Blessings accompany this reward. (2) The believer is provided a translucent uniform of glory over the resurrection body. (3) Documentation: Revelation 3:4

“Crown of rejoicing” stephanos kaucheseos: (1) Soul winners crown. (2) Documentation: 1 Thess. 2:19-20; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 4:1

The winner believer will receive a New Knighthood (Rev. 2:17). He will also receive a New Title in the Lamb’s book of life and will have a membership to the Paradise Club and access to the Gazebo in the Garden (Rev. 2:7, 14). The winner believer will have his name recorded in the historical record section of heaven (Rev. 3:12). The “hidden manna” in Revelation 2:17 refers to the special intimate access to the Person of Christ during His millennial reign and throughout all of eternity and will be given only to the overcomer or winner believer. Manna is called food from heaven (Ps. 78:24). In John 6:48-51 the Lord spoke of Himself as the true bread from heaven that gives eternal life in contrast with the manna of the OT. The new title on the white stone in Revelation 2:17 refers to the privilege of having intimate access to the Person of Christ during His millennial reign and throughout all of eternity which will be exclusively to the overcomer. The winner believer will have his name recorded in the historical record section of heaven (Rev. 3:12). The winner believer will be acknowledged (homologeo) before God the Father in heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 3:5). The winner believer will rule with Christ during the Millennium (Rom. 5:17; 8:14; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26; 3:21).

Imputation

God the Father imputes cursing and blessing to members of the human race. He is also responsible for the imputation of every sin in human history-past, present and future to the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union on the Cross of Calvary.

Imputation is the function of the justice of God in crediting something to someone for cursing or for blessing. Imputations are the outline of our lives. Our relationship with God is built upon these imputations. They form the framework in which all other doctrine is built upon which deals with our relationship with God. Imputations are the bones of the skeleton. Imputations give structure and strength to every concept and principle related to the Christian life. Imputations mark the outline of God’s grace. Imputations tell the story of how divine justice accomplishes the purpose for which God created mankind.

Vocabulary

• Greek: Logizomai (verb), “to charge to the account of, to credit, to impute.”

• Hebrew: Chasav (verb), “to charge to the account of, to credit, to reckon.”

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The verb logizomai is a deponent verb meaning middle and passive form but action in function occurs throughout the literature of antiquity and it attested as early as Thucydides, Plato, Xenophon, and Herodotus. In one sense logizomai is a commercial term meaning “to charge to the account of, to credit.” Along with this are other business and numerical sense such as “to calculate, to compute, to figure.” This is regularly the usage attested in papyri.

The LXX (Greek translation of the Old Testament which was in existence at the time of Jesus and the apostles) used logizomai frequently, it occurs over a hundred times. Logizomai occurs over 100 times in the LXX. It is found in Genesis 15:6; Leviticus 7:18 and Numbers 18:27. The Hebrew word that it primarily translates is the word chasav “to think, account,” and is found in many passages (Gen. 15:6; 2 Sam. 14:13; Jer. 11:19; Num. 18:17; Psa. 106:31) just to name a few. It was also used to translate four other Hebrew words. Hayah “to be” (2 Sam. 19:44), manah “to count” (Isa. 53:12), qara “call” (Deut. 3:13), and lastly, shuv “return, consider” (Isa. 44:19). Logizomai in secular Greek denoted nonreligious or commercial activity but acquired a new meaning in the LXX.

Logizomai occurs 42 times in the NT and is a Pauline favorite. Logizomai is employed in the NT in much the same way that it is in the LXX. J. Eichler commenting on the usage of the word by the apostle Paul, writes, “Paul uses logizomai and logismos in relating the foundation of faith to the righteousness of God. Since he associated it with the facts of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, he never separated the concept of logizomai from the personal activity of God in Jesus Christ. For him, faith was not an objective observing from a neutral vantage point, but being conquered by the crucified and risen Lord.”

Eichler makes this comment later on in the same article on the word’s use in our passage, he notes, “The rabbis’ thinking was purely human; for them faith was a merit. Paul wished to reckon as God did, who reckoned salvation and righteousness to Abraham, who trusted in him and his word. God reckons on the basis of His promise (Rom. 9:8), and what He promises he performs. This reckoning of righteousness is effected in the delivering up and resurrection of Jesus and so it is effective for us also (Rom. 4:23).”

Logizomai is a word used in the NT for imputation (Rom. 4:3-11; 22-24; 2 Cor. 5:19; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23).

The integrity of God is His attribute of love. Imputation is the result of the function of God’s love, which is righteous and just. The integrity and virtue of God is the divine attribute of love. The Bible teaches that God is love (1 Jn. 4:16). It is a part of His divine essence, which is composed of the following attributes: (1) Sovereignty (2) Righteousness (3) Justice (4) Love (5) Eternal life (6) Omnipotence (7) Omniscience (8) Omnipresence (9) Immutability (10) Veracity.

The Greek word for “love” in the New Testament is agape. The love of God is impersonal meaning that it does not depend upon the attractiveness of the object. It is self-sacrificial in that it is willing to deny self in order to serve and help others. It is unconditional in that no matter what sin we commit in life, God will still love us. God loves us because love is who He is. So the love of God is His integrity and virtue. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines integrity: (1) Soundness of and adherence to moral principle and character; uprightness; honesty (2) The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished (3) A sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines virtue: (1) Moral excellence; goodness; righteousness (2) Conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness, rectitude.

God imputes cursing and blessing upon every member of the human race because God has integrity meaning He will always adhere or act in accordance with His own perfect principles

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and character. God imputes cursing and blessing upon every member of the human race because He is virtuous meaning He will always dealing with us in righteousness because He is moral excellence because of His own perfect character. He will always conform to His own set of perfect principles. He will always deal uprightly with us. Because God has perfect integrity and virtue, He will always deal with His creatures fairly and honestly. His attribute of love insures the fact that He will never do any harm or wrong or acting unfairly to us (Rm. 13:10).

Now, if you could lose your salvation through any act of sin, then God would not be acting in accordance with His own perfect character and integrity. He would be doing us harm and dealing unfairly with us because He already declared us justified at the moment of salvation. He would cease to be virtuous and cease to have integrity, thus He would cease to be love. He would in effect be denying Himself. The love of God insures the fact that we can never lose our salvation because of any act of sin since God judged His Son for those sins at the cross (Rm. 5:6-11). If we could lose our salvation for a sin that Christ was already judged as our Substitute, then God would be unjust and not acting in accordance with His own perfect virtue and integrity, thus He would not be acting in love and since God is love, He would be denying Himself or who and what He is. This would be impossible since God is immutable. Because His Son was judged as our Substitute at the cross, the Father was free to render us justified when we exercised faith in His Son for salvation. God would be unfair if He rescinded that decision that He made at the moment of salvation. He would in effect be lying to us since He said the following: John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Because God is love, He will never lie to us. God would be denying Himself and the Lord Jesus Christ would be a liar if we could lose our salvation through any act of sin (Jn. 17:12; 2 Tim. 2:11-13). Because can never deny Himself or not act in accordance to His own perfect principles and character, the believer can never be separated from the love of God (Rm. 8:28-39). We have eternal security because God is love.

Grace is the reflection and expression of the perfect integrity of God. Principle: What the righteousness of God demands the justice of God executes through the love of God expressed through the grace of God. All blessing comes to us through God’s justice. Justice is God’s point of contact with us. Justice is a part of the Integrity of God. The Integrity of God refers to the combination of divine attributes of righteousness, justice, love and grace to form God’s integrity.

Righteousness + Justice + Love + Grace = God’s perfect integrity. Righteousness is the principle of God’s integrity. Justice is the function of God’s integrity. The Integrity of God speaks of God’s total divine perfection. God’s integrity is based upon His Divine Essence or Attributes.

God’s integrity is based upon His character and nature. God deals with mankind from His own integrity. The doctrine of imputation presents the integrity of God in action throughout all of human history. Justice + Righteousness + Love + Grace = The Integrity Of God. Righteousness demands Righteousness. Justice demands Justice. What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes through the love of God expressed through the grace of God. The righteousness of God demanded that our sins be judged by the justice of God.

God’s love is righteous and just. Because God is love, the Father sent His Son into the world to become a human being in order to die for the sins of the world and provide salvation.

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The love of God has virtue and integrity because it is compatible with His righteousness and justice. The love of God does not compromise God’s righteousness and justice.

The act of the justice of God imputing Adam’s original sin to his newly acquired sin nature is called a real imputation. Imputation is the function of the justice of God in crediting something to someone for cursing or for blessing.

There are 2 categories of imputations: (1) Real: “crediting to a person something which belongs to him” (2) Judicial: “crediting to a person something which does not belong to him”

A real imputation has a target or a home. A judicial imputation has no target or home, and emphasizes the Source, the justice of God. To complete a judicial imputation divine justice must immediately pronounce a verdict, cursing or blessing.

There are 5 great imputations related to salvation: 3 are real and 2 are judicial. Real Imputations: (1) Imputation of Human Life (2) Imputation of Adam’s Sin (3) Imputation of Eternal Life.

Judicial Imputations: (1) Imputation of Personal Sins to Christ (2) Imputation of Divine Righteousness.

The imputation of human life is a real imputation. Human life, which we call “soul life” and Adam’s original sin are imputed to every member of the human race. Important: There is biological life and there is soul life. Biological life begins at conception and is the means of passing on the old sin nature. Your parents are responsible for biological life. God was responsible for the biological life of only 2 people: Adam and the Woman.

Soul life is created by God and imputed at physical birth as the means of transmitting the human soul. Biological life + soul life = a physically alive human being. The developing body in the mother’s womb is not a human being. It is dependant on the mother’s life and is a part of the woman’s body, and that is why the body moves inside of her when she gets emotional such as when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice (Luke 1:41). Principle: Only God has the power to create a human being. You are not a biological accident. God personally created you. This 1st imputation occurs when the fetus emerges from the womb. Human life begins when God imputes the breath or spark of life.

The word for “breath” in the Hebrew is neshamah. Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground (biological life) and breathed into his nostrils the breath (neshamah) of life (soul life); and man became a living being.”

Human life comes directly from God whether to Adam as an adult or to Adam’s descendants as infants. Isaiah 57:16, “For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry, for the spirit should fail (would faint) before me, and the souls which I (God) have made.”

The word “souls” is the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 2:7, neshamah, “breath” or “soul life”. It is used in the plural and shows that God gave the spark of life not to Adam only but individually to each human being.

Notice the phrase, “I have made.” Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath (neshamah) of the Almighty gives me life.” God always provides physical life by real imputation. This occurred from Adam all the way up to us today and was performed by God for our happiness and blessing, but where does the spark of life go? What is the target for this real imputation? The Format Soul. The Format Soul is inherited from the mentality genes of both parents.

The word nephesh, often translated “spirit” or “life,” refers to this format soul prior to birth. Following birth, nephesh refers to the soul’s fully formed, immaterial essence which is provided at the moment the spark of life is given. The breath of life turns the format soul into “a living

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soul” (Gen. 2:7). The human soul is the target or home for the imputation of human life. The spark of life is the soul’s ignition. Only upon ignition at the moment of birth does the fetus become a living human being. Life can be imputed only where it has a home. The giving of life is always a real imputation.

The 1st imputation at physical birth-like all imputations-is permanent. The breath of life resides in the soul forever. Your life is in your soul. Your life is never separated from your soul. Do not confuse the immaterial with the material. You don’t lose your life at physical birth because it stays with your soul. If you get blown up in a war, your soul is not harmed. You have no choice as to whether or not you remain alive forever, you will.

So the question that you should ask yourself is, “where will I spend the rest of eternity?” If you refuse to believe in Jesus Christ: (1) Your soul will depart your body into the fire of Torments (Luke 16:23-25). (2) You will be resurrected with a body of damnation (John 5:28-29; Rev. 20:3). (3) You will stand trial before the Great White Throne of the Last Judgment. (4) You will be cast into the Lake of Fire where you will forever in terrible suffering (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10-15). If you believe in Jesus Christ: Your soul will depart your body and you will be “face to face with the Lord” forever (2 Cor. 5:8). This is eternal security.

What you do with the human life, which God permanently imputed to your soul is strictly up to you. God will not violate your volition. What does God want? 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise (2nd Advent), as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (a change of mind about Christ).” Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”

The 2nd imputation occurs as a result of Adam’s deliberate sin in the garden, and is a real imputation. Adam’s original sin is imputed to its home, the old sin nature. Remember, a real imputation has to have a target, or a home. This is a real imputation because Adam’s sin resulted in spiritual death. Adam’s disobedience resulted in corruption. The result of this real imputation is that we are born physically alive but spiritually dead.

Adam’s Original Sin + Adam’s Sin Nature = Spiritual Death. Adam’s sin is imputed to us directly at the moment of physical birth. Adam’s sin nature is passed down to us from our human fathers.

Now, you might say that is not fair. We are condemned by the justice of God when we are born into sin, before we have done anything wrong. Is this justice? Is this fair on the part of God? Yes. The imputation of Adam’s sin: (1) Makes the Cross possible. (2) Makes your salvation possible.

You would go straight to the Lake of Fire if it were not for the imputation of Adam’s sin. We are all born spiritually dead because of this imputation. What is spiritual death? Spiritual death is more than just separation from God. Spiritual death is the imputation of the penalty of Adam’s original sin to the genetically formed sin nature. This resulted in separation from God at physical birth. Our 1st contact with the justice of God is spiritual death. Why? Because justice must condemn us before it can bless us. God condemned sin. God is not the author of sin. Adam is the author of sin. Adam used his God given volition or free will and made a negative decision with it.

The immaterial soul that God prepares as the home for human life is perfect. The soul is corrupted because it comes in contact with the sin nature. Adam’s soul was contaminated at the moment that he sinned. Our soul’s are contaminated at the moment of physical birth. We are in effect, copies of Adam.

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Romans 5:18a, “So then as through one transgression (Adam’s sin) there resulted condemnation to all men (imputation of Adam’s original sin).” Romans 5:19a, “For as through the one man’s disobedience (Adam) the many (entire human race) were made sinners (imputation of Adam’s original sin).”

Why was Adam’s sin imputed to us and not the Woman’s? Adam was the authority in the marriage. Adam sinned deliberately; the Woman was deceived (1 Tim. 2:13-14). The only sin that can be imputed to mankind is Adam’s because he knew what he was doing. Old sin nature: (1) The target of the imputation of Adam’s sin. (2) Passed down from our human fathers or genetically. (3) Resides in the cell structure of the human body, not the soul. (4) Results in spiritual death.

The old sin nature in the Bible is referred to as: (1) “Flesh” (Rom. 7:7-18; 8:3-5) (2) “Body of Sin” (Rom. 6:6) (3) “Sin” that “reigns in your mortal body” (Rom. 6:12) (4) “Old Man” (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9).

The old sin nature has 3 specific trends, which we call “Adam’s trend”: (1) Influences the soul. (2) Resides in the cell structure of the human body (Material part of old sin nature). (3) Produces human good and evil (Immaterial part of old sin nature).

The old sin nature is responsible for 3 categories of sin: (1) Mental attitude sins (2) Verbal sins (3) Overt sins.

Adam is the original source of sin in the human race. Adam’s sin is imputed to every member of the human race at birth. Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death (spiritual death) spread to all men (imputation), because all sinned (when Adam sinned).”

Adam is the federal head of the human race, and therefore, when he sinned we all sinned. The Woman came from Adam’s rib, therefore, he is the human race. Principle: The justice of God must directly impute Adam’s sin to Adam’s old sin nature in us at the moment we are born physically. Adam’s original sin + old sin nature = spiritual death. The result of the imputation of human life and Adam’s sin: We are born physically alive but spiritually dead. Spiritual death rules in every generation of human history.

Romans 5:14, “Nevertheless, (spiritual) death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) who was to come (Christ’s 1st Advent).”

We are only condemned because of the imputation of Adam’s sin, and not for our personal sins. God does not condemn us for our personal sins because Jesus Christ was judged for all our sins at the cross. God in His omniscience knew that He would deal with our personal sins through Christ at the cross. Only the Lord Jesus Christ who is impeccable is able to bear our personal sins, therefore, God’s integrity is not compromised at all. We are not spiritually dead because we sin; we sin because we are spiritually dead. We are condemned before we ever committed a personal sin.

The issue at salvation is never our sins but Jesus Christ. Our personal sins were an issue at the cross. After salvation, personal sins get us out of fellowship with God; therefore, God has provided the Rebound Technique to put us back in fellowship with Him (1 John 1:9). The imputation of Adam’s sin preserves us alive and gives us a chance to be saved. The Cross would be useless if it were not for the imputation of Adam’s sin.

We are all reproductions of Adam after the Fall. We share his original sin nature by real imputation. We share his sin nature because it is passed down to us genetically, and as a result of

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this, we share his spiritual death. Adam’s sin becomes our sin. Adam’s sin nature becomes our sin nature. Adam’s condemnation becomes our condemnation.

The Lord Jesus Christ was born a type of Adam before the Fall (Rom. 5:14). Adam was created perfect. The Lord Jesus Christ was born perfect. The Lord Jesus Christ did not have a sin nature. The Lord Jesus Christ did not have a human father; therefore, he had no sin nature. Adam did not have a human father and neither did the Lord Jesus Christ. Adam’s original sin could not be imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ because He had no sin nature.

There was no target or home for a real imputation with the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was not “in Adam” because He had no human father and consequently, no sin nature. The Incarnation made this possible. The Virgin pregnancy was the reason why the Lord Jesus Christ had no sin nature. Jesus Christ was born both physically and spiritually alive. He is called the “uniquely born” Son (John 3:16). Christ was the only free Man ever to enter Satan’s world (John 834-36). Christ was free from: (1) The devil’s rulership. (2) The sovereignty of the old sin nature. (3) The imputation of Adam’s sin. (4) The condemnation of spiritual death.

There was no principle of sin in Him. Jesus Christ had to be acceptable to the righteousness of God in order for the justice of God to judge our sins in Him as our Substitute. He could not be our Substitute unless He was perfect and He is. He was perfect at birth and He was perfect when He went to the Cross. This means the Lord Jesus Christ could not commit any personal sins during His life on earth; otherwise, He would be disqualified to be our Substitute. Christ in His humanity could be tempted and could have sinned. Christ in His deity could not be tempted and could not sin. The Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union was temptable but impeccable. The Hypostatic Union is the union of 2 natures, deity and true humanity in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ was able not to sin in His humanity (posse non peccare). The Lord Jesus Christ was not able to sin in His deity (non posse peccare). The Father’s plan for the Incarnation was the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity could have used negative volition to that plan and would have sinned. Adam when he was without sin and perfect committed an act of negative volition when he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, like perfect Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ could have sinned by committing an act of negative volition to the plan of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity was tempted not to go the cross repeatedly by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11; 16:22-23; Luke 22:39-46; Heb. 4:15). First Adam and Last Adam (Christ) Comparisons (1 Cor. 15:22, 45): (1) First Adam: (a) Unique as perfectly created man. (b) Sinned. (c) Physical birth (4) We are condemned in Adam. (5) Condemnation. (6) Justice of God: condemns man. Last Adam: (1) Unique as the God-Man. (2) Impeccable (3) New Birth and spiritual life. (4) We are born again in Christ. (5) Salvation (6) Justice of God: free to bless man.

The imputation of personal sins to Jesus Christ is a judicial imputation. A judicial imputation emphasizes the function of divine justice. A judicial imputation has no target or home but emphasizes the source, the justice of God. Jesus Christ is God’s gift of grace to mankind. Our Lord was acceptable to the integrity of God because He was impeccable. Adam’s original sin was not imputed to Him at birth because He had no sin nature. Our personal sins had absolutely no place in Him on the Cross, thus, the justice of God imputed our sins to Him. This was a judicial imputation. A judicial imputation is “attributing or crediting to a person something which does not belong to him.” When the sins of mankind were charged to the impeccable humanity of Christ, the justice of God took action. God judged the Lord Jesus Christ. Cursing must precede blessing. God’s judgment of our sins in Christ including Adam’s first sin wiped our slate clean. God forsook Christ for our sakes.

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Now, all we need to do is accept God’s action on our behalf. The Cross was an act of justice. Justice imputed our sins to Christ, and justice judged them. The work of the Cross was therefore greater than any act of love could ever be.

All we need to make a non-meritorious decision to believe in Jesus Christ. Salvation is provided for us by 2 imputations, which are both judicial. One is for cursing and one is for blessing: The 1st judicial imputation is for cursing: Our personal sins were imputed to the impeccable humanity of Christ and were judged. The 2nd judicial imputation is for blessing: At the moment of personal faith in Christ, God imputes to us His own divine righteousness.

These 2 judicial imputations add up to form the greater salvation. The greater salvation is a reference to the a fortiori principle used by Paul in Romans 5:15, which says, that if God could accomplish the greater, i.e., our salvation, then He certainly can do the lesser and bless us in time. Therefore, the imputation of our personal sins to Christ on the Cross-results in the blessing of imputed divine righteousness when we make a nonmeritorious decision to believe in Jesus Christ. Cursing always precedes blessing.

The 2nd judicial imputation is the imputation of divine righteousness to the believer at the moment of faith in Christ. A judicial imputation emphasizes the source, the justice of God. Principle: God’s Divine Justice can only bless His Divine Righteousness. Righteousness Demands Righteousness. Justice Demands Justice. There are no exceptions with God. What the righteousness of God demands, His justice executes through the love of God expressed through the grace of God.

Grace is an element of God’s integrity. It does not compromise God’s righteousness or justice but is totally and perfectly compatible with them. God expresses His love through His grace policy, which means that we do not deserve blessing from God. Both the principle (righteousness) and the function (justice) of God’s “integrity” never change (immutable) and are impartial (God does not play favorites), and because of this, God’s Divine Essence is never violated.

God in His grace provides the blessing of imputed divine righteousness at salvation. No blessing comes to us apart from grace. Grace means: (1) God does all the work. (2) God receives all the credit, and we receive all the benefits. What God’s righteousness accepts, His justice blesses, and what God’s righteousness rejects, His justice condemns. Both cursing and blessing come from the same source, God’s perfect integrity. Divine justice can only bless divine righteousness. Divine justice is the source of all blessing that we receive. God cannot bless human righteousness because it does not meet His infinite perfect standards. Human righteousness is relative meaning that we can only compare our human righteousness to other human beings and their righteousness. God says that our relative human righteousness is nothing but filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). We need God’s righteousness in order to be blessed by His justice. God’s integrity demands that He must bless His own righteousness. So God in His genius decided in eternity past to credit or impute His own divine righteousness to us at the moment we believe in Christ.

God’s love is the root and center of His Essence. Love is the principle behind every action God has taken towards the human race since the Fall of Adam. The function of God’s love, the justice of God has imputed to us the principle of God’s integrity (His righteousness).

At the moment that we believe in Jesus Christ, we have imputed to us the principle of God’s integrity, His own perfect righteousness. God’s perfect love loves His own perfect integrity, and we have it. Because we have God’s perfect righteousness, we are now objects of His perfect love. The justice of God made this all possible by imputing to us His own perfect righteousness.

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Justice saves us through grace and we will always be under grace. We never earn or deserve what God’s justice gives us in grace.

The imputation of Divine righteousness is a judicial imputation. A judicial imputation has no home or target. A judicial imputation credits something to a person, which does not belong to him. Divine righteousness did not belong to us, but was imputed to us when we made a non-meritorious decision to believe in Christ. The 1st judicial imputation, the imputation of personal sins to Christ, made possible the 2nd judicial imputation, the imputation of Divine righteousness. These 2 judicial imputations produces an exchange: (1) Man’s sins go to Christ (2) The Righteousness of God goes to man.

To complete the 2nd judicial imputation God must pronounce a verdict. When God sees His own perfect righteousness in the believer as a result of having faith in Christ, He pronounces us justified.

Romans 5:16, “And the gift (Jesus Christ) is not like what occurred through the one who sinned (Adam); For on the one hand, the judicial verdict came by one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand, that gracious gift (Christ’s incarnation and Atonement) because of the many transgressions resulting in a judicial act of justification.”

Eternal life is the life of God, and has no beginning and no end. The imputation of eternal life is a real imputation. All imputations of life are real imputations. A real imputation has a home or target. The human spirit that God the Holy Spirit created at the moment of faith in Christ is the home or target for the imputation of eternal life.

God the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit at the moment of salvation. Just as God prepared the soul as the target or home for human life, so also He prepares the human spirit as the target or home for eternal life. Both, the soul and the human spirit were created by an act of God. Both, the soul and the human spirit cannot be destroyed.

The imputation of human life to the soul is unchangeable and forever. The imputation of eternal life to the human spirit is also unchangeable and forever. Both of these imputations are permanent. God cannot undo what He Himself has done. No life, whether human or eternal, can ever be separated from the home or target to which it is imputed.

There are 2 requirements must be met if we are to have an eternal relationship with God, and both are imputed at the moment of salvation: (1) We must have His righteousness. (2) We must have His life.

Ever since we believed in Christ, we possess 2 kinds of life. We will live forever with God because we have His life, eternal life. Without eternal life we would not have the capacity for blessing in eternity. Eternal life is God’s life and is an attribute of His Divine Essence. Eternal life guarantees: (1) We will live with God forever. (2) We will receive a resurrection body.

Eternal life was imputed to us so that we can enjoy fellowship with Him and have capacity to receive blessings. We receive these blessings by growing to spiritual maturity through positive volition to Bible Doctrine.

Romans 5:17, “For if by the transgression of the one (Adam’s original sin), the (spiritual) death ruled through that one (Adam-and it did), much more (a fortiori principle) they who receive in life this surplus from the grace of God (the blessings of time to the spiritually mature believer) and the gift of the righteousness of God (imputed at salvation), much more they shall rule through the One, Jesus Christ.”

This leads us to the 6th and 7th imputations, which are both potential. They are the imputation of blessings in time and eternity. They are potential because they depend upon the

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believer developing capacity by growing up to spiritual maturity. The justice of God will not allow special blessings to come an immature believer. Why? It would be detrimental to them.

Just like a loving father would not give a fast car to his teenager because they would kill themselves in it, so God does not give special blessings to immature believers because they would be consumed by them. One must develop capacity for these special blessings. The believer develops capacity for special blessings through the consistent application of Bible doctrine.

The imputation of blessings in time occurs when the justice of God pours blessings through the grace pipeline to the righteousness of God in the mature believer. Only the mature believer who has capacity will receive these blessings in time. This is a real imputation because it has a home or a target in the believer. The target or home in the believer for these blessings is the imputed divine righteousness, which the believer receives at the moment of faith in Christ.

2 Judicial imputations were needed before there could be any real imputation of blessings in time: (1) Imputation of Personal Sins to Christ (2) Imputation of Divine Righteousness.

Only when we have God’s righteousness is there a home or target in us into which God can pour blessings when we reach spiritual maturity. Special blessings in time fall into 6 categories: (1) Spiritual blessings: Occupation with Christ, a relaxed mental attitude, capacity for prosperity (2) Temporal blessings: Different types of prosperity (social, sexual, wealth etc.) (3) Blessings by association: Other people are blessed through association with you. (4) Historical blessings: Your nation or area is blessed through association with you. (5) Blessings connected with undeserved suffering: Suffering for blessing (6) Dying blessings: Believer glorifies God in dying.

The Lord Jesus Christ will evaluate each believer’s life and reward them accordingly (1 Cor. 3:11-14). This is done at the Bema Seat Judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). The Lord Jesus Christ is the judge at the Bema Seat. He functions as Judge because all divine blessings come from the justice of God.

All imputations come from the justice of God. God is glorified in blessing man without compromising His divine righteousness. God is glorified to the ultimate by what He will give in this final imputation of rewards in eternity.

There are 2 factors required in all real imputations: (1) What is imputed (2) It’s home or target.

In the 7th Imputation: Factor 1 is credited to Factor 2. Factor 1: The mature believer’s confidence or hope becomes a reality when eternal rewards and blessings are credited to Factor 2, His resurrection body. Each of these factors is called a hope (Eph. 1:18; Acts 23:6). The real imputation of rewards and blessings cannot take place until a home or target has been prepared for them. Our resurrection bodies are the target or home for these greater blessings. We receive our bodies at the Rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-54). There will be a big celebration in heaven and reunion of the entire Royal Family and after this celebration will come the evaluation of all church age believers. Romans 14:12, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we (church age believers) must all appear before the judgment seat (Bema) of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body (life on earth), according to what he has done, whether good (divine good under the filling of the Spirit) or bad (human good under human power which is “worthless” in God’s eyes).”

Now, just as salvation has an issue, “What do you think of Christ?” (Matt. 22:42), so life after salvation has an issue, “What do you think of doctrine?” Proverbs 23:7a, “For as a man

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thinks in his heart (kardia, right lobe), so is he.” You are what you think. If Jesus Christ is important to us, we will learn His mind, His thinking. You will be evaluated on your attitude towards Bible Doctrine. If you love Christ, your mind will be saturated with His thinking. Many believers will be ashamed at the Bema Seat because they did not make Bible Doctrine their #1 priority in life.

1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in Him (fellowship with God), so that when He (the Lord Jesus Christ) appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from him in shame at His coming (the Rapture).”

Only believers who received the 6th imputation will receive the 7th imputation.

2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may be rewarded for the things he has done by means of the body (during his life on earth) face to face with what he has accomplished, whether (divine) good or worthless (human good).”

If you do not grow up spiritually in time, you will evaluated as worthless, or a loser. Believers who do not grow up spiritually in time are individuals who did not take advantage of the Grace of God, nor, did they take advantage of the divine imputations. The believer will not be judged for personal sins. The Lord Jesus Christ was judged for your personal sins on the Cross. Only divine good will be rewarded. You produce divine good of intrinsic value by: (1) Operating under the Filling of the Spirit and the application of Bible Doctrine. (2) Operating in the New Nature, which was designed for the 100% utilization of divine omnipotence. (3) Remaining consistently in fellowship with God.

Some believers will receive rewards and some will not.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work, which he has built upon, it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Loss of rewards does not mean loss of salvation. For God to deny us salvation after we have believed would be to deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:11-13). Only the believer who sticks with Bible Doctrine and operates under the Filling of the Spirit will receive rewards in eternity. Every believer benefits from the 5 basic imputations. Only spiritually mature believers will benefit from the 6th and 7th imputations.

Prayer

God the Father is the recipient of all prayer. There is a protocol to prayer. All prayer made by the believer-priest in the church age must be addressed to God the Father (John 14:13-14; 16:23-27; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18; 3:14; 5:20; Col. 1:3, 12; 3:17; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 1:6). Prayer must be made in the name or Person of or through intermediate agency of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14; 16:23-24; Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17). Prayer must be made in the power of the Spirit or by means of the power of the Filling of the Spirit (Eph. 2:18; 6:18; Jude 20).

All 3 members of the Trinity are involved in a church age believer’s prayer. Corrected translation of Ephesians 2:18, “Because through Him (the Lord Jesus Christ as the Intermediary between the believer-priest and the Father) we both (Jew and Gentile

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believers in the church age have equal privilege and equal intercessor to execute the Plan of God for the church age.) have access by means of one Spirit (God the Holy Spirit) face to face with the Father (pros plus the accusative).”

“Access” is prosagoge and was used by the Greeks for an audience with a sovereign or king. Prosagoge is employed by Paul in Ephesians 3:12, “In Whom (the Lord Jesus Christ) we have boldness and confident access (prosagoge) through faith in Him (Christ).” Pros plus the accusative pater means “face to face with the Father.” Prayer for the believer-priest in the church age is a face-to-face audience with God the Father. God the Father is the recipient of the believer-priests prayer. Although not speaking specifically of prayer but rather of reconciliation, Ephesians 2:18 teaches the principle that all 3 members of the Trinity are involved in the believer’s salvation and subsequent spiritual life.

God the Father receives prayer from 3 different sources in the church age: (1) God the Son (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25): He intercedes for the believer at the right hand of God the Father. (2) God the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:15, 26-27; Gal. 4:6): He makes intercessory prayer to God the Father for us when we don’t know what to pray for. (3) Believer-Priest (Heb. 4:16): He makes intercessory prayer for others and personal petitions for himself.

The following is a list of categories of prayer that the Father receives: (1) Confession: Rebound (1 John 1:9). (2) Thanksgiving: Expressing gratitude to God the Father for His perfect character and integrity and grace policy (John 6:11; Rom. 1:8; 6:17; 7:25; 1 Cor. 1:4; 1 Cor. 11:24; 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; 4:15; 8:16; 9:11; Eph. 1:15-16; 5:4; 5:20; Phil. 1:3; 4:6; Col. 1:3; 2:7; 3:15; 4:2; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13; 5:18; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2:13; Phlm 4). (3) Intercession: Praying for others whether unbelievers or believers (Gen. 18:22; Gen. 19:17-23; 20:17; Ex. 9:27-33; 32:11-13; 33:12-16; 34:9; Num. 11:11-15; 14:13-19; 21:7; Deut. 9:18-21; 10:10; 30; 1 Sam. 7:5-13; 1 Kings 8:22-53; 2 Kings 19:14-19; Job 42:8, 10; Luke 23:34; John 17:1-26; Rom. 1:7, 9; 8:15, 25, 27, 34; 9:3, 27; 11:2; 12:14; 15:30; 2 Cor. 1:11; 9:14; 13:7, 9; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:16-23; 3:14-19; 6:18; Phil. 1:3-4, 9, 19; 4:6; Col. 1:3, 9-14, 29-2:3; 4:2-3, 12, 18; 1 Thess. 1:2; 3:10-13; 5:23-25; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2:16-17; 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:1; Phlm 3-6; Heb. 4:14-16). (4) Petition: Praying for your particular needs and situations in our own circumstances which do not have a direct solution from Scripture (Rom. 1:10; 2 Cor. 12:8; 1 Thess. 3:10; Heb. 4:16).

The impeccable humanity of Christ utilized prayer throughout His ministry. He was constantly dependent upon His Father and was constantly in prayer. The humanity of Christ prayed to the Father at His baptism (Luke 3:21). Of the 4 gospel accounts of His baptism (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; John 1:31-34), Luke is the only one that reports that He prayed at His baptism. Luke’s gospel emphasizes the humanity of Christ. Luke’s account emphasizes that the humanity of Christ relied upon prayer at such an important moment in His life. The Baptism of Christ spoke of the humanity of Christ’s submission to the Father’s will, which was to go to the Cross and resolve the Angelic Conflict by providing salvation for fallen humanity. The humanity of Christ prayed at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:29). Of the 3 gospel accounts of His Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8), Luke’s account is the only one, which mentions that our Lord prayed. Once, again emphasizing that the humanity of Christ was dependant upon prayer at all the significant moments in His life. The humanity of Christ prayed before the selection of the 12 apostles (Luke 6:12). Luke’s gospel is once again the only gospel account, which makes reference to the fact that our Lord prayed before the selection of the apostles (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19). Once again this emphasizes the principle that the humanity of Christ was reliant upon prayer. He spent the entire night in prayer with the Father before He made this decision.

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This account in our Lord’s life stresses the importance of praying to the Father before making important decisions in life especially relationships. Matthew, Mark and Luke all mention the fact that our Lord prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion (Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46). The humanity of Christ was under intensive mental pressure from the kingdom of darkness to avoid the Cross. It was not the fear of physical death that the humanity of Christ desired to avoid but spiritual death, which was separation from His Father for 3 hours while the sins of the entire world-past, present and future were imputed to Him and judged by the justice of God the Father. The fact that all 3 of these gospels mentioned that our Lord prayed during this intensive moment of spiritual warfare in His life is significant because it emphasizes that the humanity of Christ employed prayer while undergoing Satanic attack from the kingdom of darkness, thus the Church Age believer should follow His example. It is important to note that submission to the Father’s will was our Lord’s primary concern and not His own will.

The humanity of Christ employed prayers of thanksgiving (John 6:11; 11:41; Matt. 26:27). The humanity of Christ made intercessory prayers (John 17; Luke 22:31; 23:34). The humanity of Christ prayed: (1) In the morning (Mark 1:35-38; Luke 4:42). (2) In the evening (Luke 6:12; Matt. 26:36-46). (3) In private (Luke 5:16).

He always addressed God as Abba an intimate term for “Father.” The Jews never called addressed God as Father thus making our Lord’s ministry totally different and unique from the Pharisees. Our Lord also taught His disciples how to pray (Matt. 6:5-15; Matt. 7:7-11; Matt. 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14, 20-26; Luke 11:1-13; 18:1-14).

Grace Policy of the Father

God the Father is responsible for providing for His children on a daily basis as they live in the devil’s world. He cares for His children and will provide for the essentials of life.

When we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, we become a child of God. According to the Word of God, we are both born and adopted Roman style into the royal family of God. As such, we become recipients of God’s personal care as a loving heavenly Father.

John 1:12, “But as many as received Him (faith alone in Christ alone), to them He gave the privilege to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His Person.” Romans 8:15-16, “For you have not received a lifestyle of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a lifestyle of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself bears witness with our human spirit that we are children of God.” Galatians 3:26, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 4:5-6, “In order that He (Lord Jesus Christ) might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and because you are sons, God the Father has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your right lobes, crying out, Abba! Father!” Ephesians 1:5, “By means of divine-love He has predestined us for the purpose of adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the grace purpose of His will.” 1 John 3:1a, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God.”

Since God the Father is perfect, His care for His children is perfect. As children of God, all believers become the personal responsibility of God who is omniscient, wise, sovereign and omnipotent. Our heavenly Father cares intimately for each one of us who are His children. He cares for us in infinite way.

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1 Pet 5:1-7, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as {your} fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to {the will of} God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to {your} elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

The promise of God cares in 1 Peter 5:7 stems from the command found in verse 6. 1 Peter 5:6 is a command to voluntarily submit to God’s sovereign authority and omnipotence. “Humble yourselves” is the 2nd person plural aorist passive imperative form of the verb tapeinoo, which is tapeinothete. The verb tapeinoo in 1 Peter 5:6 means “to cause someone to be or to become humble.” It describes appropriate attitude and conduct by a believer before God. This is an imperative of command. The aorist imperative is a command in which the action is viewed as a whole, without regard for the internal make-up of the action. There are 2 categories of aorist imperatives: (1) Constative: Emphasizing urgency. (2) Ingressive: Command to begin an action whether momentary or not. Here we have a constative aorist imperative where the emphasis is upon the urgency of the action. Constative aorist imperative indicates that Peter is saying to his readers to make this your top priority and do it now! The constative aorist indicates that they have been doing this but there is a heightened urgency involved here. The passive voice is significant. It is a rare permissive passive voice, which implies consent or permission on the part of the subject. So the corrected translation of this verb tapeinoo would be the following taking into account the constative aorist imperative and the permissive passive voice: “Make it your top priority to permit yourselves to be humbled.”

The context in 1 Peter is that of persecution and undeserved suffering as a result of being identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. Undeserved suffering is a training tool that God employs in order to develop a greater dependence upon Him for everything in life and in death. 1 Pet 1:6-9, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, {being} more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

Man’s natural inclination is to live by his own resources and solutions, thus living independently of God. The tendency of man is to strike back when faced with persecution or unfair treatment from others. Peter provides the Lord Jesus Christ as an illustration as to how to handle unjust treatment from others. The Lord was totally dependent upon His Father and this was because He was humble and obedient. 1 Pet 2:21-25, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting {Himself} to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins

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in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

1 Peter 5:6-7, “Make it your top priority and permit yourselves to be humbled under the might hand of God the Father in order that He may promote you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

The basis for submitting to God’s sovereign authority and care is seen in 1 Peter 1:7. “Casting” is the nominative plural aorist active participle form of the verb epirrhipto, which is epiripsantes. The verb epirrhipto is a compound word composed of: (1) Preposition epi, “upon.” (2) Verb rhipto, “to throw off, to cast off.” The verb is used here in the figurative sense meaning “to throw or hurl something upon something else.” Peter wants his readers to “cast all their anxiety” upon the Father. This is an dependent adverbial participle of means indicating that it is explaining or defining how Peter’s readers are to permit themselves to be humbled under the might hand of God. This is a constative aorist, which describes the action in summary fashion without emphasizing the beginning or ending of the action specifically. It views the action as a whole. It is iterative in nature meaning that it is emphasizing repeated action. The active voice emphasizes the fact that the believer must make the decision to perform the action of the verb.

1 Peter 5:6, “Make it your top priority and permit yourselves to be humbled under the might hand of God the Father in order that He may promote you at the proper time by casting all your anxiety upon Him because as for Him He cares about you.”

The reason why we are to cast all our anxiety upon the Father is “because He cares about you.” We are a personal concern of the Father. If we are His children and He is intimately aware of your needs and concerns, then why should we worry or be anxious about anything in life? To fail to trust that God will take care of you is act of independence from God. It is an attack on His character and integrity as a loving Father. It is a failure of understanding who we are, namely sons of God that are in union with Christ. It is a failure to understand how important we are to the Father since He considered us so important that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to the Cross to be judged for our sins as our Substitute. We must remember the following passages: Rom 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Rom 5:8-11, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath {of God} through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Phil 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

We also must always remember that we have the provision of prayer. We always have direct access to the Father in prayer so that we can present our concerns to Him.

Heb 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

I Jn 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us {in} whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

Philippians 4:6-7, “At this very moment, all of you stop continuing to be anxious about absolutely anything, but rather, concerning anything at all by means of reverential prayer

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in the presence of the Father and by means of petition accompanied by the giving of thanks, let your specific detailed requests be repeatedly made known in the presence of the Father and as a result the peace produced by God the Holy Spirit, which is always superior to any and every human conception, will as a dogmatic statement of fact cause your hearts to be protected and as a result your thoughts by means of the doctrine of Christ Jesus.”

God the Father will provide the believer with all the logistics he needs to execute the Father’s plan from eternity past. This provision from the Father for the believer’s logistics can be described by the term: logistical grace.

Logistical grace is the imputation of blessings by the justice of God to the indwelling righteousness in the believer, which supports and sustains the believer in the devil’s world regardless of their spiritual status. It is based upon both the believer’s possession of divine righteousness imputed at salvation plus the human spirit created by God the Holy Spirit at salvation, which received the imputation of eternal life to it at the moment of salvation.

Logistical grace is God the Father’s complete provision for the believer’s every physical and spiritual need in the devil’s world in order that they may execute the Plan of God for the church age and become an Invisible Hero. It is the divine planning, support, provision and blessing for the Church Age believer to execute the plan of God. Logistical grace provides every believer regardless of spiritual status, Bible teaching, air to breathe, food, shelter, clothing, transportation, friends. It keeps the believer alive and enables him to grow spiritually even though he lives in the devil’s world. Logistical grace provides the believer with a divine nature, i.e., the Christ-nature, a divine Mentor, namely, God the Holy Spirit and a Pastor-Teacher who is to feed the believer his spiritual food, namely, the Word of God.

Logistical grace is composed of four interrelated categories of blessings: (1) Life support (2) Temporal supply (3) Security provisions (4) Spiritual provisions.

Logistical grace is a descriptive term based upon military analogy for a Bible Doctrine. It is based upon the integrity of God, which is His attribute of love. The love of God is His integrity and virtue. The righteousness and the justice of God operate according to the principle that God is love or specifically God has perfect integrity. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines integrity: (1) Soundness of and adherence to moral principle and character; uprightness; honesty (2) The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished (3) A sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines virtue: (1) Moral excellence; goodness; righteousness (2) Conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness, rectitude.

God the Father will provide for us because He has integrity meaning He will always adhere or act in accordance with His own perfect principles and character. God will provide for us on a daily basis because God is virtuous meaning He will always dealing with us in righteousness because He is moral excellence because of His own perfect character. He will always conform to His own set of perfect principles. He will always deal uprightly with us. Because God has perfect integrity and virtue, He will always deal with His creatures fairly and honestly and thus always provide for His children. His attribute of love insures the fact that He will never do any harm or wrong or acting unfairly to us and thus will always provide for the believer. It is based upon both the believer’s possession of divine righteousness imputed at salvation plus the human spirit created by God the Holy Spirit at salvation.

Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines metaphor: “the application of a word or phrase to an object or concept which it does not literally denote, in order to suggest comparison with another object or concept.” The military term “logistics” is applied to the

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Biblical concept of “God’s Daily Provision.” The term “logistics” does not literally denote this concept of God’s Daily Provision but it is applied to this particular concept in order to suggest a comparison between the military concept of “logistics” and the Biblical concept of “God’s Daily Provision.”

The English term “logistics” is a transliteration from the Greek mathematical term logistikos, “skilled or practiced in calculating, the art of arithmetic.” A transliteration is the changing of letters, or words into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language. Now we will look at the term logistics from the following aspects, its: (1) Historical Military Background (2) Military Definition (3) Spiritual Application.

Logista was the title of administrative officials in the Roman and Byzantine armies. A cognate French word, loger, means the billeting of soldiers. In the late 17th century the French staff officer responsible for the quartering and movement of troops was the marechal des logis, or quartermaster general. His staff was linked with a branch of the French military engineers whose task was to make maps and draw up memoranda of operational areas for use in planning the movement and maintenance of armies. In the 18th century the term was incorporated into French military language and had a variety of meanings such as “strategy” and “philosophy of war.” The French military thinker Antoine-Henri Jomini (1779-1869) made the first systematic effort to define the word and to relate it to the elements of warfare. Henri, Baron de Jomini was an authority on Napoleonic warfare and wrote a book entitled Summary of the Art of War (1838). Jomini’s work on logistics was an analysis of the functions of Napoleon’s general staff. The purpose of the book was to produce a logistical approach to battle and so achieve strategic and tactical mobility and surprise. He defined logistics as the “practical art of moving armies.”

This broad definition included the whole range of functions in moving and sustaining of military forces such as planning, administration, supply, billeting and encampments, bridge, road construction, reconnaissance and intelligence. Jomini states that logistics comprised all functions involved in the “execution of the combinations of strategy and tactics.” Jomini’s logistic theories had little influence on military thought in Europe and the term fell into disuse, and in fact his contemporary Carl von Clausewitz did not share his view of logistics calling it “subservient forces” that were not a part of the conduct of war. Jomini’s influence though was enormous on U.S. strategic and tactical military thought during the American Civil War.

The term logistics was revived in 1882 by U.S. captain and later admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan who defined logistics as the “support of armed forces by the economic and industrial mobilization of a nation.” U.S. marine officer, Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus Thorpe wrote a book called Pure Logistics in 1917 in which he stated that the logical function of logistics “to provide all the means necessary both human and material for the conduct of war.” Logistics was the third member of Thorpe’s trinity, which also included strategy and tactics. From 1918 the U.S armed forces used logistics to describe the activities of the Ordnance Department and Quartermaster Corps, which handled a wide range of staff duties including supply, transportation, construction, and medical service. In 1959, retired rear admiral, Henry E. Eccles wrote a book entitled Logistics in the National Defense in which he expanded upon Thorpe’s trinity to include intelligence and communications. Eccles concept of logistics was that of a chain of interdependent activities linking combat forces with their roots in the national economy.

Logistics is a military term, which refers to the military science of supply, provision, and planning of troop movement. Logistics is the provision, movement, and maintenance of all resources and services necessary to sustain military forces. It involves the national economic capacity and the nation’s capability to support its military forces. Logistics can also be defined as

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the military science of planning, handling, and implementation of personnel under every possible military condition. It includes the design, development, acquisition, storage, movement, distribution, maintenance, evacuation, disposal of material, hospitalization of personnel, construction and maintenance of housing facilities. Logistics is distinguished from administration. Administration is the management of all services and resources necessary to sustain military forces. Management is the function of logistics; therefore, administration and logistics are inseparable terms.

Logistics is a technical military term for sustaining troops in every form of military activity and maneuver whether in the barracks, in the field, before the battle, in the battle and after the battle. Logistics is the science of supporting troops in advance, retreat, evacuation, reconnaissance, attack, exploitation, and pursuit.

The Church Age believer is involved in spiritual warfare with the kingdom of darkness (Eph. 6:12-16). The Church Age believer is described as a “soldier” in Scripture (1 Cor. 9:7; Phil. 2:25; 2 Tim. 3-4). The dispensation of the Church Age is the Rebuttal Phase of Satan’s Appeal Trial. The Church Age is the intensive stage of the Angelic Conflict. The believer can glorify God in this Angelic Conflict by becoming an Invisible Hero with an Invisible Impact on human and angelic history. God has provided the believer the means to fight in this intensive stage of the Angelic Conflict. Satan and the kingdom of darkness would easily destroy the believer if he were left to his own devices using his own human power. The Lord has given the believer spiritual armor (Eph. 6:11, 14-17), and spiritual weapons to fight this spiritual warfare (2 Cor. 10:3-5). The same power that the humanity of Christ used to achieve the Strategic Victory in the Angelic Conflict has now been made available to the believer in the Church Age: (1) Word (2) Spirit. The Church Age believer is the beneficiary of the Baptism of the Spirit, which places them in an eternal union with the Person of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:6). Every believer regardless of social, economic, sexual and racial background has been given Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity to execute the Plan of God, which is God’s Plan for the Church Age believer (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). God the Father in eternity past provided every believer with Invisible Assets with which to glorify Him and receive blessings in both time and eternity (Eph. 1:3, 7, 11, 14). The believer has been given unique Royal Commissions: (1) Royal Priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9) (2) Royal Ambassadorship (2 Cor. 5:20). He has been given the Mystery Doctrine for the Church Age which is God’s set of instructions that are exclusively for the Church Age believer and were not known to Old Testament believers (Rom. 16:25-26; 1 Cor. 2:7; 4:1; 15:51-52; Eph. 1:9; 3:1-6, 8-9; 5:28-32; 6:19; Col. 1:25-27). The believer is permanently indwelt by all three members of the Trinity (John 14:22-23; Eph. 4:6; John 14:20; 17:22-23, 26; Rom. 8:10-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20). God has provided 100% availability of divine omnipotence for every Church Age believer (1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 6:7; 12:9; Eph. 1:19; 3:7, 20; Phil. 3:10, 21; Col. 1:11). Invisible Power plus Invisible Assets plus Invisible God equals an Invisible Hero.

Every church age believer has been given 2 Great Divine Provisions, which are the means for the believer to execute the plan of God for their lives. These 2 Great Divine Provisions are the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

The Word of God is the believer’s spiritual food. Matt 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” It is also provides the believer divine omnipotence that is necessary to execute the Father’s plan. Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the

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division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The Word of God provides the believer vital information that is essential for the believer to achieve tactical victory over the enemy and tactical victory for the believer is achieved by exploiting Christ’s victory at the cross over the believer’s 3 great enemies: (1) Satan (2) Satan’s Cosmic System (3) Old Sin Nature. The Holy Spirit reveals the Word of God to the believer making it understandable to the believer since it the Word of God is spiritual phenomena (Jn. 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 2:10-16).

A passage, which teaches that the Word of God is the 1st great logistical grace provision, is 2 Timothy 2:1. 2 Tim 2:1-4, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things, which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with {me} as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”

A “good soldier” endures and perseveres in the midst of undeserved suffering from spiritual combat with the kingdom of darkness by exploiting God’s logistical grace support. The believer must be confident that God will take care of the logistics if he is to persevere and endure. The believer acquires confidence that God will take care of the logistics by being confident that God loves Him. The believer acquires confidence that God loves Him by trusting or having faith in the promises found in the Word of God that emphatically state that God loves him. The greatest provision under logistical grace that God has given the believer is the Word of God which when applied to the believer’s thought process not only protects the believer’s soul as spiritual armor but also serves as a spiritual weapon in spiritual combat. Satan seeks to separate the believer’s communication lines with God and he does so by separating the believer from the communication of the Word of God. The Word of God states clearly that God loves us with a love that is unconditional, immutable, eternal, and self-sacrificial. The Holy Spirit’s job is to reveal this to us while we are in fellowship.

“Be strong” in 2 Timothy 2:1 is the present passive imperative form of the verb endunamoo, which is endunamou, “to be empowered, to be invigorated.’ “In the grace” is composed of the following in the Greek: (1) Preposition en, “by means of.” (2) Instrumental feminine singular definite article te, “the.” (3) Instrumental feminine singular form of the noun charis, which is chariti, “grace.” This prepositional phrase refers to logistical grace support. “Which is in Christ Jesus” is composed of the following: (1) Locative feminine singular definite article te, “which.” (2) Preposition en, “in.” (3) Locative masculine singular noun Christo, “Christ.” (4) Dative masculine singular proper name Iesou, “Jesus.” The prepositional phrase en Christo Iesou contains a figure of speech called metonymy of the cause where the cause is put for the effect. There are 4 categories of metonymy of the cause: (1) The person for the action (2) The instrument for the effect (3) The thing or the action for its product (4) The material cause for the matter made. We have the person put here for the action. The unique Person of Christ is put for His teaching or doctrine.

This last prepositional phrase en Christo Iesou states the location of logistical grace, namely, it resides in the mind of Christ, which is expressed in the doctrine of Christ Jesus, i.e. the Word of God. The context of the book indicates that the present imperative of the verb endunamoo is ingressive and progressive meaning Timothy is begin and continue being empowered by the grace which is located in the doctrine of Christ Jesus. This is a permissive passive, which implies consent or permission of the action of the verb on the part of the subject. Paul is commanding

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Timothy to permit himself to be empowered by means of logistical grace provision, which is resides in the doctrines of Christ, i.e., the Word of God. 2 Timothy 2:1: “You therefore, my son, from this moment on permit yourself to be empowered by means of the grace which resides in the doctrine of Christ Jesus.”

This metonymical use of the prepositional phrase en Christo Iesou also appears in Philippians 4:7. Philippians 4:6-7, “At this very moment, all of you stop continuing to be anxious about absolutely anything, but rather, concerning anything at all by means of reverential prayer in the presence of the Father and by means of petition accompanied by the giving of thanks, let your specific detailed requests be repeatedly made known in the presence of the Father and as a result the peace produced by God the Holy Spirit, which is always superior to any and every human conception, will as a dogmatic statement of fact cause your hearts to be protected and as a result your thoughts by means of the doctrine of Christ Jesus.”

So, if we are to exploit God’s logistical grace support we must learn and apply the Word of God. The 1st great divine provision under logistical grace that God has given the believer is the Word of God which when applied to the believer’s thought process not only protects the believer’s soul as spiritual armor but also serves as a spiritual weapon in spiritual combat. Logistical grace support resides in the Word of God and we will note other passages in Scripture and in particular 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 this evening which state this. Acts 14:3, “Therefore they spent a long time {there} speaking boldly {with reliance} upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.” Acts 20:32, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build {you} up and to give {you} the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Colossians 1:6 states that we know of the grace of God by means of Truth. Col 1:3-6, “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as {it has been doing} in you also since the day you heard {of it} and understood the grace of God by means of truth.”

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ or His gift is His Words, His thoughts. His grace here is synonymous with His Word. So we must conclude that logistical grace support and provision cannot be utilized and exploited by the believer unless he applies the Word of God to his very own special set of circumstances.

Another passage where this biblical principle is taught is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. 2 Cor 12:7-10, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me– to keep me from exalting myself. Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

“He has said” is the 3rd person singular perfect active indicative form of the verb ereo, which not only indicates the speaking of words but also the forcefulness of the speaker. This forcefulness is expressed in a command, affirmation or objection. Here we have an affirmation. Christ affirmed to Paul what he already knew…which is that the Word of Christ was sufficient to deal with his problem…his weakness. This is an intensive perfect emphasizing the present results

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of a past action. It means that Paul has remembered what the Lord said to him in the past and it still has present application for him in his suffering. The word “grace” is the noun charis and refers to logistical grace provision from God in the form of the doctrines of Christ, i.e. the Word of God. So we know that when Christ tells Paul that His “grace” is sufficient, we know it is not only directly related to Christ’s divine omnipotence but it also related to His logistical grace support and provision.

Now, what does Paul possess that Christ has given him that would provide Paul with divine power and logistical grace support and provision to handle his thorn in the flesh? Quite simply, the Word of God, which is the mind of Christ. The Word of God is the gift or the grace that provided Paul with the divine omnipotence he needed to handle the thorn in the flesh. The Word of God is truly sufficient to handle our adversities. The Word of God is the logistical grace provision that God has given every believer to handle their problems in life. The power of Christ dwells in the believer and the believer is thus sustained logistically when the believer thinks like Christ or when he applies the Word of God, which is the mind of Christ. This in turn enables the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit to convert objective truth (Bible doctrine) into subjective experience (application). The Holy Spirit makes the Word of God understandable to the believer while the believer is in fellowship (Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 2:9-16).

2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” The phrase “is perfected” is the 3rd person singular present passive indicative of the verb teleo, “to achieve one’s object.” The Lord’s divine power as it is expressed in His Word achieved its purpose or objective in Paul’s weakness. Divine power becomes efficacious in our human weakness. The power of God finds its consummation or reaches its objective by means of human weakness. This is a gnomic present expressing a general timeless fact or dogmatic statement of fact. So the gnomic present is saying here that the power of God as a general timeless fact or as an eternal truth, or dogmatic statement of fact, finds its consummation or reaches its objective by means of human weakness. This is a permissive passive, which implies consent or permission. The permissive passive is saying here that our human weakness allows the power of God and the grace of God to achieve its purpose or objective in the life of the believer. 2 Corinthians 12:9: “And He has said to me for my benefit and it still has application at the present time, my grace is as an eternal truth is sufficient for you, for my power is as an eternal truth finds its consummation in human impotence. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

The objective of human weakness and the crucifixion of self is to manifest the power of Christ as Paul says at the end of verse 9. In Paul’s human weakness Christ was present to him with His power since he could no longer depend upon self, but God. The believer cannot experience the grace of God, the power of God and the life of God until self is out of the way. Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the {life} which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” When we are not dependent upon self, then the life of Christ can emerge in us. We must not be dependent upon reasonings but rather upon the Word of God. We must reject human viewpoint and utilize divine viewpoint. So the power of God and the grace of God are expressed in the believer when self-life has been put to death. When our lives are shaken and we lose confidence in ourselves and are no longer dependent upon ourselves, then the power of Christ and the life of Christ will manifest itself in our lives.

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The Word of God is the believer’s spiritual armor and spiritual weaponry. The Word of God is the believer’s logistical grace support, which provides the believer with spiritual armor and weaponry to defend his soul and attack the enemy’s thought projections. It is the Word of God that reveals God’s will, purpose and plan for our lives.

Eph 6:10-18, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual {forces} of wickedness in the heavenly {places.} Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil {one.} And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 reveals to us that the Word of God performs a 2-fold function for the soldier of Christ: (1) Defense: The Word of God serves as spiritual armor to protect the believer’s soul from the thought projections of the kingdom of darkness and the propaganda produced by the cosmic system of Satan. (2) Offense: The Word of God serves as a spiritual weapon to destroy the lies propagated by Satan and his cosmic system and cosmic army.

The phrase “of the Spirit” is possessive genitive composed of 2 words in the Greek: (1) Genitive neuter singular definite article tou. (2) Genitive neuter singular form of the noun pneuma, which is pneumatos. Since this is a possessive genitive, we could translate this “the sword wielded by the Spirit.” The Word of God serves as the weapon. Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity who wields or uses the Word as a spiritual weapon in spiritual combat for the believer. Christ used it in the desert with the devil. It is the sword wielded by the Spirit because the Spirit of God gives it and inspires it. The Spirit’s aid is needed for its illumination, interpretation and application. We must allow the Spirit to perform His function. The analogy that Paul is using here is from the ancient world of course. The Holy Spirit employs the Word of God as a sword to defeat the enemy. It is the Holy Spirit that wields the word of God as a weapon against our invisible enemy the kingdom of darkness. We disarm ourselves spiritually speaking when we are not filled with the Spirit or in other words, not permitting the Spirit to fight for us. When we as Christian soldiers permit the Holy Spirit to influence and are applying the Word of God, we will defeat Satan and the kingdom of darkness. When we are obedient to the Word of God then the Holy Spirit can wield the Word of God to defeat our enemy, Satan and the kingdom of darkness. They cannot stand against the Christian soldier who is armed and knows how to use his weapon: the Word of God. The Christian soldier has superior weaponry than his invisible enemy, Satan and the kingdom of darkness. So the promises of the Word of God serve as an anchor for the soul of the believer in adversity. They serve as a protection and give the believer encouragement to persevere and endure in the devil’s world.

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These 2 Great Divine Provisions, the Spirit of God and the Word of God work in concert with one another to provide the believer everything that his soul needs to be sustained and protected by the lies of the cosmic system of Satan. They work in conjunction with one another to serve as spiritual armor and weaponry for the believer, which enables them to exploit the strategic victory of Christ over Satan at the cross of Calvary.

The Spirit does not operate independently from the Word of God when He is actively working on behalf of the believer. His primary mission on planet during the church age is to glorify Christ. John 16:13-15, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose {it} to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose {it} to you.”

The Word of God informs the believer of all that God has provided for the believer through Person, Work and Life of the Lord Jesus Christ. We also noted that all of the believer’s logistical grace support in the form of air to breathe, food, clothing, shelter, and transportation is the creation of the Word of God. Everything that exists has come into existence because of the Word of God and continues to be sustained because of the Word of God.

John 1:3, “All things came into existence through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into existence that has come into existence.” Heb 1:1-3, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

The Word of God has provided every believer regardless of spiritual status, Bible teaching, air to breathe, food, shelter, clothing, transportation, friends. We employ the military metaphor logistical grace to describe these provisions, which have been created by the Word of God. None of these things mentioned above would ever exist were it not for the Word of God. The air we breathe, food, shelter, clothing, transportation, friends would not exist if it were not for the Word of God. All of these logistical grace provisions, which are the creation of the Word of God, are designed to sustain the physical body, human life. But the Word of God not only sustains human life, but it also more importantly serves to sustain, protect and prosper the soul of the believer when it has been applied to the believer’s thought process. As we have noted the human soul is the battleground for the war that is taking place between Christ and Satan.

2 Cor 10:3-6, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. {We are} destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”

Human history was designed to resolve this conflict between Christ and Satan and in particular the function of the human soul. The obedience of the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union defeated Satan at the cross.

Philippians 2:5-11, “Everyone continue thinking this (according to humility) within yourselves, which was also in (the mind of) Christ Jesus, Who although existing from eternity past in the essence of God, He never regarded existing equally in essence with God an exploitable asset. On the contrary, He denied Himself of the independent function of His

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deity by having assumed the essence of a slave when He was born in the likeness of men. In fact, although He was discovered in outward appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by having entered into obedience to the point of spiritual death even death on a Cross. For this very reason in fact God the Father has promoted Him to the highest-ranking position and has awarded to Him the rank, which is superior to every rank. In order that in the sphere of this rank possessed by Jesus every person must bow, celestials and terrestrials and sub-terrestrials. Also, every person must publicly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord for the glory of God the Father.”

The voluntary substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross has achieved this victory over Satan. God is proclaiming this victory ever since by means of the Gospel. Christ’s victory at the Cross can be appropriated by members of the human race through faith in the Gospel message, which proclaims Christ’s death and resurrection (Jn. 3:15-16; Acts 16:31). The impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union, the Last Adam has defeated Satan and has reclaimed the authority and dominion over creation that Satan usurped from the 1st Adam. This victory was achieved 2000 years ago at the cross and the gospel is the victorious proclamation of Christ’s victory at the cross. Satan seeks to suppress this victorious proclamation that he has been defeated. This victorious proclamation of Christ’s victory sets members of the human race free from satanic tyranny when it is accept through faith alone in Christ alone. Satan is the enemy of the human race. He enslaves the human race through fear of death. Christ has defeated the power that the fear of death has over the entire human race with His death and resurrection.

Heb 2:14-15, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”

Fear is the great power that Satan uses to enslave the human race. The only deliverance from such fear is Christ. The human soul needs Christ! He is the only provision from God that gives the human race deliverance from the tyranny of Satan. The human soul if left to its own devices cannot stand against the fallen angels because they are superior to humanity in every way. In fact, they are invisible and seek to deceive the entire world that they don’t exist.

I Jn 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in {the power of} the evil one.” Rev 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

Satan has an ingenious propaganda system. He majors in misinformation and deception. Satan and his legions attack the veracity and integrity of the Scriptures and they wage war against its communicators.

2 Tim 3:8, “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these {men} also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.” Why do they attack the Word of Truth and its communicators? They do so in order to suppress the Truth of God, which they cannot defeat. 2 Cor 13:8, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but {only} for the truth.”

The unbeliever has no defense for the deception and propaganda from the kingdom of darkness since they will not receive the Lord Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life. They have no defense against the deception and lies of Satan because they do not possess Truth of the Word of God in their souls. The unbeliever receives his freedom from Satan through faith

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alone in Christ alone. Faith in the Word of Truth brought us forth out of the bondage of the tyrant Satan.

James 1:18, “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.” And our faith in the Word of God after salvation appropriates Christ’s strategic victory over Satan at the cross. It is faith in the Word of the Cross, which provides the believer the omnipotence of God that can defeat the enemy.

1 Cor 1:18, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Faith in the Word of God is the way to victory over the enemy, Satan. I Jn 5:1-4, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the {child} born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I Jn 2:13-14, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

Victory over the enemy is achieved by the believer who submits to the authority of the Word of God and is obedient to the Word of God. James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The 2 Great Divine Provisions of the believer (Spirit and the Word) enable the believer to exploit the strategic victory of Christ at the cross, which was achieved by means of His voluntary substitutionary spiritual death on the cross. God is proclaiming this victory ever since by means of the Gospel. Christ’s victory at the Cross can be appropriated by members of the human race through faith in the Gospel message, which proclaims Christ’s death and resurrection (Jn. 3:15-16; Acts 16:31). The impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union, the Last Adam has defeated Satan and has reclaimed the authority and dominion over creation that Satan usurped from the 1st Adam. This victory was achieved 2000 years ago at the cross and the gospel is the victorious proclamation of Christ’s victory at the cross. Satan seeks to suppress this victorious proclamation that he has been defeated.

As we have noted every believer at the moment of salvation has been enlisted as a soldier in the army of Christ. Just as in the natural realm a nation provides for its soldiers logistically to fight in battle with the enemy to defend its sovereignty so God has provided for the believer logistically in order that they might fight the kingdom of darkness and defend the sovereignty of Christ. Every nation provides for its soldiers armor and weapons. God has done this as well. In fact the believer has infinitely superior weaponry than the fallen angels. The enemy cannot stand against the Word of Truth. The Word of God serves as spiritual armor and weaponry for the believer as we noted in Ephesians 6:10-18.

As we have noted, Paul commanded Timothy to get his priorities straight and utilize the logistical grace provision of the Word of God to deal with his adversities that he was facing as pastor. 2 Timothy 2:1: “You therefore, my son, from this moment on permit yourself to be empowered by means of the grace which resides in the doctrine of Christ Jesus.” The Lord

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had to remind Paul of this same grace provision of the Word of God, which the Lord told Paul was sufficient to handle his physical problem, which was an eye disease called opthalmia.

2 Corinthians 12:9: “And He has said to me for my benefit and it still has application at the present time, my grace is (as an eternal truth) sufficient for you, for my power is (as an eternal truth) finds its consummation in human impotence. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

Because the believer possesses superior armor and weaponry than he does, Satan seeks to distract the believer from hearing the communication of the Word of God. We noted this in Luke 10 with the story of Martha and Mary and also Luke 8 with the parable of the seed and the sower. He will also try to wear us out with problems and difficulties.

Dan 7:25, “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”

So the Word of God and the Spirit of God working in concert together provide the soldier of Christ Jesus with superior resources to fight spiritual combat. Satan knows this and as we have noted seeks to blind the believer to this fact. He knows that the believer will achieve certain victory over him and his army if the believer utilizes these Superior Resources-the Spirit and the Word.

I Jn 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

The Word of God provides the believer vital information that is essential for the believer to achieve tactical victory over the enemy. This information from the Word of God reveals to the believer the implications of Christ’s death and resurrection on their life. This information involves revealing who and what God is and His modus operandi. It involves communicating to the believer what God has provided for the believer at the moment of salvation, namely the Spirit and the Word. This vital information informs the believer of who God has made him to be as a result of accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. It reveals that the believer is a son of God, in union with Christ and positionally higher than the angels. The Word of God reveals to the believer that he has an invisible enemy, namely Satan who seeks to deceive him. It also reveals to the believer the means of defeating this invisible enemy, namely the Word of God. It reveals to the believer that he has the Spirit of God as their spiritual Mentor to guide and empower to do the will of the Father and thus defeat the enemy. The Word of God reveals to the believer that he has the provision of prayer where he can go to His heavenly Father and ask for aid to defeat the enemy. The Word of God is the believer’s spiritual food.

Matt 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.” The Word of God provides encouragement to the believer. Romans 15:4-5, “For whatever stands written was written for our instruction so that through the endurance and through the encouragement which is derived from the Scriptures, we might possess confidence. Now may the God of confidence and encouragement provide all of you with the same mind toward each other according to Christ Jesus.”

Failure to receive this information spells certain spiritual defeat for the believer. So the strategy of Satan and his legions against the church is to sever its communications with God. For they know that if the church becomes aware of who and what God has made them to be, they know that they will be defeated. They know, if the church becomes aware of the implications of Christ’s victory at the cross and His resurrection, they will be defeated. They know, if the church

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becomes aware of the fact that they are a son of God, in union with Christ, positionally higher than the angels, possessing superior armor and weaponry, they will most surely be defeated. The soldier of Christ Jesus must be obedient to his written orders just as the soldier in the natural realm must be obedient to his written orders. Obedience to God is manifested by the believer who is a doer of the Word (James 1:17-25).

The Spirit of God through the communication of the Word of God instructs the believer as how to defeat the enemy and therefore, the Word of God is the means by which the believer can exploit that strategic victory of Christ’s at the cross. The Spirit of God (the 2nd Great Divine Provision) through the communication of the Word of God is the means by which God the Father communicates to the believer the strategic victory of His Son Jesus Christ over Satan at the cross.

The Spirit of God through the communication of the Word of God instructs the believer as how to defeat the enemy and therefore, the Word of God is the means by which the believer can exploit that strategic victory of Christ’s at the cross.

John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” John 15:26, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, {that is} the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.” John 16:13-15, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose {it} to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose {it} to you.” 1 Cor 2:9-11, “but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. For to us God revealed {them} through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the {thoughts} of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the {thoughts} of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”

There are several passages that state the believer is to give heed to what the Spirit is saying to the churches because of this spiritual principle that the Spirit takes the doctrines of Christ and makes them understandable to the believer. The Spirit speaks to the church through the communication of the Word of God.

Acts 21:11, “This is what the Holy Spirit says.”‘ Acts 28:25, “”The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers.” 1 Cor 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Tim 4:1, “ But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” Heb 3:7, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE.” Rev 2:11, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 2:17, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 2:7a, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 3:6, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Rev 3:13, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Rev 3:22, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 2002 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 71

Also, another essential item that every single believer in the Lord Jesus Christ must understand if he is to ever grow to spiritual maturity is that God has given the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher to the church. God has delegated authority to certain men in the body of Christ to exercise this authority. The spiritual growth of each individual believer is dependent upon that which the pastor-teacher provides, namely, the Word of God, which he is to communicate (Eph. 4:7-16). He is described in Ephesians 4:16 as the “joint.” This joint metaphor is found in the book of Colossians as well as in Ephesians.

Col 2:18-19, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on {visions} he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” Every believer has been assigned to a pastor-teacher. 1 Pet 5:1-4, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as {your} fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to {the will of} God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

God has given the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher to men only. 1 Tim 3:2, “An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” According to the Scripture a woman is to never exercise authority over a man. 1 Tim 2:12, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

The pastor has been delegated authority from the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the human instrument used by God to communicate His Word. The pastor-teacher has 3 responsibilities that are the means by which he tends and shepherds the flock of God: (1) Study (2) Teach (3) Pray.

Study: 2 Timothy 2:15, “Diligently study to present yourself to God approved, a workman not ashamed, accurately communicating the Word of Truth.” Teach: 1 Timothy 4:13, “Give attention to the public reading (of Scripture), exhortation (message of grace for the sanctification of the believer), and teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:2, “Proclaim the word.” Titus 2:1, “But as for you (Titus), speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” Pray: Acts 6:1-4, “Now at this time while the disciples were increasing {in number} a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic {Jews} against the {native} Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving {of food.} So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

If a pastor loves the Lord and the Lord’s flock, he will feed them. John 21:15-17, “So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, {son} of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs. He said to him again a second time, “Simon, {son} of John, do you love me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, {son} of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he

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said to Him, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Those pastor’s who are diligent in feeding the flock of God are to be highly esteemed. 1Thes 5:12-13, “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.”

The congregation is to imitate their conduct, which is a result of applying that which they teach their congregation. Heb 13:7, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.”

The congregation is to submit to their spiritual authority since they keep watch over the souls of the congregation. Heb 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit {to them} for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

The pastor is to make the Word of God available on a daily basis to the congregation. Our Lord set the example for the pastor-teacher in the church age by teaching daily in the Temple (Matt. 26:55; Mark 14:49; Luke 19:47). He is to be repetitious in his teaching since he is the believer’s spiritual drill instructor and just like drill instructor in the military is repetitious in training troops in the use of their weapons for combat so the pastor-teacher is to be repetitious in training his spiritual troops in their use of the spiritual weapon (the Word of God) for spiritual combat (Phlp. 3:1; 2 Pet. ). 2 Pet 3:1-2, “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior {spoken} by your apostles.”

Although the pastor-teacher is the spiritual authority in the local assembly, he is not to lord his authority over the congregation. He is to adhere to the principle of spiritual authority operate, namely, humility. The pastor’s humility is expressed through sacrifice and service to the congregation by study and teaching, which provides the congregation their spiritual food. His authority is solely derived from the Scriptures. His policies are to be solely are to be derived from the mystery doctrines for the church age. He is not to employ any Madison Avenue techniques to get people to come to his church. He is not to institute programs to attract parishioners, but is simply to communicate the Word of God. The Word of God is to be the attraction.

The spiritual growth of each individual believer is dependent upon that which the pastor-teacher provides, namely, the Word of God, which he is to communicate. Ephesians 4:7-10 speaks of the Ascension and Session of the humanity of Christ as a result of our Lord’s Strategic Victory at the Cross in the Angelic Conflict. Ephesians 4:11 says that as a result of our Lord’s Ascension and Session, the Church was given 4 spiritual gifts designed for the communication of Bible Doctrine. Ephesians 4:12 states the 3 fold purpose of these spiritual gifts. Ephesians 4:13-15 goes on to state that attainment of Christ-like character in the believer is our Lord’s ultimate purpose in providing these 4 communication gifts. Only 2 of these communication gifts are extant today. The spiritual gift of evangelist was designed by God to communicate the doctrine of the Gospel to the unbeliever. The spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher was designed by God to communicate the whole realm of Bible Doctrine to the believer. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:16 used the Haphe Metaphor to describe the function of the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher in the Body of Christ. In the Haphe Metaphor, the man with the spiritual gift of Pastor who supplies the believer with the necessary spiritual food which when metabolized and applied produces

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spiritual growth. Just as joints are essential in the physical body to provide freedom of movement so the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher is essential for freedom of movement spiritually in the spiritual body of Christ. Outline of Ephesians 4:7-16:

Outline of Ephesians 4:7-16: Ephesians 4:7-10: Paul speaks of the ascension and session of the humanity of Christ as a result of our Lord’s strategic victory at the cross in the angelic conflict. Ephesians 4:11: The Church was given 4 spiritual gifts designed for the communication of the Word of God as a result of our Lord’s ascension and session. Ephesians 4:12: The 3-fold purpose of these spiritual gifts. Ephesians 4:13-15: The communication gifts are designed to produce spiritual growth for the attainment of Christ-like character, and for the protection from false doctrine. Ephesians 4:16: The Pastor-teacher is designed to produce spiritual growth and the function of the diverse spiritual gifts in the body of Christ.

Eph 4:11, “And He gave some {as} apostles, and some {as} prophets, and some {as} evangelists, and some {as} pastors and teachers.” “Pastors and Teachers” is the phrase tous poimenas kai didaskalous. Corrected translation of tous de poimenas kai didaskalous, “and the Pastor-Teachers” Poimenas is from the noun poimen, “shepherd.” Didaskalous is from the noun didaskalos, “teacher.” This is a hendiadys, or 2 nouns used to express 1 idea. The Granville Sharp rule applies here which states that when 2 nouns are separated by the conjunction kai (and) and the 1st noun has a definite article preceding it and the 2nd noun does not, the 2 nouns express 1 idea or concept. Thus, the phrase tous de poimenas kai didaskalous translated “Pastor-Teachers” refers to 1 office, 2 fold ministry. Poiemnas refers to the Pastor-Teacher’s spiritual authority over his congregation. Didaskalous refers to the Pastor-Teacher’s function.

Ephesians 4:12, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” There are 3 prepositional phrases in verse 12 which express the 3-fold purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ providing the church with the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. 1st Prepositional Phrase in Ephesians 4:13: (1) Preposition pros, “for the face to face.” (2) Accusative masculine singular definite article ton, “the.” (3) Accusative masculine singular form of the noun katartismos, which is katartismon, “training.” (4) Genitive masculine plural definite article ton, “of the.” (5) Genitive masculine plural form of the adjective hagios, which is hagion, “saints.” “For the face to face training of the saints”: The pastor-teacher trains individual members of the body of Christ under his spiritual authority for Christian service through the communication of the Word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ had a definite purpose in mind when he gave the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher.

The noun katartismon is a hapax legomenon meaning it is found only once in the NT, which is here in Ephesians 4:12. The noun katartismos is from the katartizo word group. The verb katartizo was used as early as the 5th century B.C. and meant “to put in order, to restore, to put into proper condition, to complete, to make complete, to prepare, to make, to create.” The word is found 13 times in the NT (Matt. 4:21; 21:16; Mark 1:19; Luke 6:40; Rom. 9:22; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 3:10; Heb. 10:5; 11:3; 13:21; 1 Pet. 5:10). The noun katartisis expresses the resulting condition of the verb katartizo and is used only once in the NT (2 Cor. 13:9). Plutarch used katartisis with regards to “training” in order to be made “complete.” Katartismos is a medical term in classical Greek denoting the “setting of the bone.” It also has a more general meaning “preparation, equipment, equipping,” and it also can be translated “training,” or “discipline.” Plutarch used the word twice of education with paideia (Themistocles and Alexander). Paideia referred to a child’s training, teaching and its goal was for the child to become an obedient and useful citizen of the community. The training was designed to produce character, self-control and courage. Katartismos refers to the training one receives which equips

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them to serve in a particular capacity. Katartismos in Ephesians 4:12 refers to the training received by the church age believer from the communication of the Word of God by the pastor-teacher that trains and prepares them to operate in their spiritual gift, which is designed to edify the body of Christ.

The preposition pros plus the accusative katartismon expresses the first purpose of the communication gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11. The definite article ton preceding katartismon says that the Lord had a definite purpose in mind when He gave these four communication gifts to the Church. The preposition pros in Ephesians 4:13 not only expresses purpose but is also used adverbially to express the manner in which this training is to take place. Pros means “face to face,” implying a close intimate personal intercourse with someone. The apostle John uses the word in this manner in John 1:1 where he writes that in the beginning the Word (logos) was pros, “face to face,” with God the Father. The apostle Paul also uses pros in this same manner in 2 Cor. 5:8, where he states that when the believer dies he is pros ton kurion, “face to face with the Lord.” In Ephesians 4:12, pros plus the adverbial accusative of katartismos expresses the face-to-face training received from the communication of the Word of God by the pastor-teacher.

God’s purpose in giving the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher is to train, educate, prepare, and discipline the church age believer through the face-to-face communication of Bible Doctrine in order to equip them to execute the Plan of God. The apostle Paul under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit does not use the preposition eis here as he does in the following prepositional phrases because he wants to emphasize the manner in which the training is to take place. “For the face to face training of the sanctified ones”

2nd Prepositional Phrase in Ephesians 4:13: (1) Preposition eis, “for.” (2) Accusative neuter singular noun ergon, “the work.” (3) Genitive feminine singular form of the noun diakonia, which is diakonias, “of the ministry.”

Eis plus the accusative denotes a purpose or a goal in time. Ergon diakonias refers here to Christian service. Ergon refers to divine good that is produced through the utilization by the believer of the 2 Great Divine Provisions: (1) Word of God (2) Spirit of God. The anarthrous construction connotes quality of service. Ergon diakonias refers to Christian service, which produces divine good. The communication of Bible Doctrine trains and prepares the believer for Christian service. The believer has been set apart to serve God by God the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation in order to produce divine good of intrinsic value (Eph. 2:10). Once must accept by means of faith that which one has been taught must precede application.

Learning the Word of God and believing that which the believer is taught produces right thinking in the believer, which in turn produces right motivation and thus right action. Christian service is nothing but “wood, hay, and straw” when there is no application of Bible Doctrine (1 Cor. 3:12). Ephesians 4:12 teaches that the training of the believer through the communication of the Word of God from the man with the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher precedes Christian service. The prepositional phrase pros ton katartismon ton hagion preceding the prepositional phrase eis ergon diakonias emphasizes the fact that the believer must first receive training from their right pastor-teacher before they are to serve. The work of the ministry is accomplished through learning and applying the Word of God. The function of the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher provides the necessary training needed to perform effective Christian service. There can be no effective Christian service or production of divine good without the Word of God in the believer’s stream of consciousness.

There is a definite progression taking place in this verse. The first prepositional phrase pros ton katartismon ton hagion, “for the face to face training of the sanctified ones,” states that

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the initial purpose of the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher is to communicate and train the individual believer in a face-to-face manner. Secondly, this training through the communication of the Word of God by the pastor-teacher is followed by effective Christian service, which in turn produces divine good. Thirdly, there is the ultimate goal or purpose, which is expressed by the following prepositional phrase.

3rd Prepositional Phrase in Ephesians 4:13: (1) Preposition eis, “for the ultimate purpose of.” (2) Accusative feminine singular form of the noun oikodome, which is oikodomen, “building up.” (3) Genitive neuter singular definite article tou, “of the.” (4) Genitive neuter singular form of the noun soma, which is somatos, “body.” (5) Genitive masculine singular definite article tou, “the.” (6) Genitive masculine singular form of the proper name Christou, which is Christos, “Christ.”

Oikodome is a common term in the Koine and its basic meaning is “building.” The word is used both metaphorically and literally denoting the act of building and can also mean the finished building which is the result of construction. The word is used literally in the Gospels for the buildings in the temple (Matt. 24:1; Mark 13:1-2). It is used metaphorically for the spiritual house, which is being built in the soul of the believer through the Word of God and the Spirit of God (2 Cor. 5:1; 10:8; 13:10).

This is called the Edification Complex in the soul, which is technical nomenclature for the spiritual house or spiritual building in the individual believer’s soul, which is built upon the 2 Great Divine Provisions, which is the Word and Spirit. It refers to the spiritual growth of the believer in time. Oikodome is also used collectively for the Church, which is God’s “building” (1 Cor. 3:9), and “spiritual house” (1 Pet. 2:5). The Church as God’s spiritual building or spiritual house is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom (Christ) the whole building (oikodome, i.e., the Church), being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:20-21). Oikodome in Ephesians 4:12 has both a metaphorical and collective connotation and should be translated “construction, building up,” or “building process.” Oikodome in Ephesians 4:12 refers to the building up of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:16 uses the joint metaphor to describe the Pastor-Teacher’s function in the Body of Christ which is to supply the necessary spiritual food which “causes the (spiritual) growth of the body (the Church) for the building up (oikodome) of itself in divine-love.” “For the ultimate purpose of the construction of the Body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11-12, “And He (the Lord Jesus Christ) gave the apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists, and the Pastor-Teachers, for the face to face training of the sanctified ones for the work of the ministry, for the ultimate purpose of the construction of the body of Christ.”

Ephesians 4:13-16, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all {aspects} into Him who is the head, {even} Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

“By what every joint supplies” in Ephesians 4:16 is a prepositional phrase in the Greek text and is composed of the following: (1) Preposition dia, “through.” (2) Genitive feminine singular form of the adjective pas, which is pases, “every.” (3) Genitive feminine singular form of the noun haphe, which is haphes, “joint.” (4) Genitive feminine singular definite article tes, “which.”

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(5) Genitive feminine singular form of the noun epichoregia, which is epichoregias, “abundantly provides.”

The preposition dia with the genitive denotes intermediate agency and denotes the means or the instrument by which a thing is affected. The Source of the spiritual growth of the Body of Christ is Christ Himself. Christ affects this spiritual growth through the intermediate agency of the man with the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. Haphe refers to the pastor-teacher who is the intermediate agency that the Lord uses to affect the spiritual growth of the individual members of the Body of Christ. The word is found only twice in the NT (Eph. 4:16; Col. 2:19). Haphe has three basic meanings in classical literature. The word is used by the historian Herodotus for the “lighting of the lamps” (Herodotus 7.215). It also meant “point of contact, or “touch,” and was used for the “grip” of wrestlers. Haphe was used by Aristotle for the point of contact in the physical body such as a ligament or joint. The word is used metaphorically in Ephesians 4:16 and Colossians 2:19 for the Pastor-Teacher and should be translated “joint.”

Epichoregias a compound word found only twice in the NT (Eph. 4:16; Phil. 1:19) and means “ample supply, ample provision, ample support and aid for someone.” This compound word is composed of the preposition epi, “over, above,” and choregia, “support to defray the cost of a public chorus.” The preposition epi intensifies the meaning of the noun choregia. Its cognate verb is epichoregeo, which means, “to give, to provide for, support someone or something at one’s own expense.” The preposition epi also intensifies this verb’s meaning, thus it means, “to provide or supply with unrestraining generosity.”

The verb choregeo in classical literature meant, “to lead a chorus.” Metaphorically, the word means “to minister to, to furnish abundantly with.” It is found only twice in the NT (2 Cor. 9:10; 1 Pet. 4:11). The great dramas that were produced in Athens, Greece during the 4th and 5th century B.C. were financially supported by one of the rich citizens of the community. This person was called a choregos meaning “director of the chorus.” It was the privilege and responsibility of this man to pay the cost of training the singers, dancers, and actors, and to meet the expenses of presenting one of the compositions. Sometimes the choregos would spend a fortune upon scenery, costumes, and actors. The choregos would often spend a fortune to produce the play that would win the prize. The word choregeo developed from the role of provider of the needs of a production to the metaphorical meaning, “to supply, to furnish, to minister.” The root meaning of the noun epichoregia is derived from this verb choregeo and means “ample support and provision for the members of a choral dance troupe.” The metaphorical meaning of the noun is “abundantly provide.” We will translate this, “through every joint which abundantly provides”

The prepositional phrase dia pases haphes tes epichoregias is used the apostle Paul as a metaphor for the pastor-teacher who is the intermediate agency used by the Head (Christ) to supply the Body (the Church) with the necessary spiritual food (Bible Doctrine) that produces spiritual growth.

The Haphe Metaphor is used by Paul to illustrate the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ uses men with the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher to amply supply the individual members of His Body with the Word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, as the Head of the Body, feeds the individual members of His Body (the Church) through men with the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher, who by metaphor are referred to here in Ephesians 4:16 as His “joints.” The Pastor-Teacher is to amply supply his congregation with the Word of God (John 21:15-17). This joint metaphor is found in the book of Colossians as well as in Ephesians.

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Col 2:18-19, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on {visions} he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.”

Spiritual growth in the believer is based upon the information, which the Pastor-Teacher supplies in his daily communication of the Word of God. Submission to the Pastor-Teacher’s authority is absolutely essential in growing to spiritual maturity. The spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher is the vehicle that God uses to feed the believer the necessary spiritual food which when applied produces spiritual growth in the believer. God in His grace has given every believer at the moment of faith in Christ the necessary equipment to learn and apply the Word of God. We have been given a human spirit at the moment of salvation through Regeneration (John 3:3; 1 Thess. 5:23). God has given us a non-meritorious system by which every believer can learn the whole realm of Bible Doctrine and grow spiritually regardless of educational background or human IQ. In grace, God has provided the completed canon of Scripture. The spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher is the vehicle to communicate the Word of God. The local church is the classroom where doctrine is taught. The privacy of the Royal Priesthood allows the believer to be objective as he learns. The human spirit in conjunction with the human soul converts doctrine from something that is merely comprehended into something thoroughly understood and useable for both spiritual growth and application to life.

Knowing God is dependent upon knowing God’s Word. As it is sometimes said, “a man’s name is as good as his word,” so God’s reputation or name is dependent on the truth, faithfulness and accuracy of His Word and one’s knowledge of the Scriptures. The importance of the Scripture in our lives as believers is further expressed in Psalm 138. Ps 138:2, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”

With this in mind, let us consider what the attributes of the Bible. Ps 19:7-14, “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern {his} errors? Acquit me of hidden {faults.} Also keep back your servant from presumptuous {sins;} let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”

The Word of God is eternal (Is. 40:8). The Word of God is omnipotent (Heb. 4:12). It is perfect, tried and true…. tested and found flawless (Ps. 12:6; 19:7; 119:140). The Scripture declares its own inerrant and unadulterated character (Ps. 19:8-9). The Word of God is more valuable and precious and desirable than gold (2 Pet. 1:2-4; Ps. 19:10). It is through the Scripture that God builds up the believer’s trust in Himself (Rm. 10:17).

The spiritual growth of each individual believer is dependent upon that which the pastor-teacher provides, namely, the Word of God, which he is to communicate. We must remember that each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is a member of His body. Each member of the body of Christ has a certain function in the body. Paul employs the body of Christ metaphor in 1

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Corinthians 12 in order to teach the Corinthians that they are not independent of each but rather dependent upon each other. Each believer has a different function in the body of Christ, which the rest of the body is dependent upon.

Rom 12:4-8, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, {each of us is to exercise them accordingly:} if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

God gave the gift of pastor-teacher in order to feed the body of Christ so that it could have freedom of movement and function towards each other, operating in their spiritual gifts for the purpose of serving each other and as a result serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

The pastor-teacher is dependent upon the congregation and the congregation is dependent upon the pastor-teacher. The Pastor can’t teach if there is no congregation and the congregation can’t grow spiritually if there is no pastor. If the pastor has no congregation to teach, he can’t function in his spiritual gift. If the congregation has no pastor to feed them, then the congregation will not grow spiritually. If the congregation cannot grow spiritually, then they will not be able to operate in their spiritual gifts since the information that the Pastor supplies is the means of spiritual growth, namely, the Word of God.

The Will of the Father

There is one all-inclusive will or purpose of God concerning all that ever was or will be from the beginning of human history until its termination on the last day of the Millennium. God has known every thought, decision, and action that has ever occurred or will occur; all these things come into being through Him.

John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Col 1:16-17, “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 through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Ps 148:1-6, “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light! Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away.”

As we noted in the study of the divine decree, “the will of God” refers to His sovereign decision as to what would come into existence; in other words, the divine decrees. The decree of God is His eternal, holy, wise and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, courses, conditions, successions, and relations and determining their certain futurition (i.e., that they will certainly take place). The Divine Decrees are actually 1 decree but because of the limitations of our human brain we often use the plural, decrees, to express the many facets of God’s plan. The decree of God is His eternal and immutable will

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regarding the future existence of events which will happen in time and regarding the precise order and manner of their occurrence.

The will of God in common usage refers to what God desires of an individual or group in a particular situation. The will of God in relation to the Divine Decrees refers to the decision God made in eternity past, from His attribute of sovereignty, which established that certain things would actually come into being while other things would not. The will of God is His sovereign choice as to what will take place in time.

Human beings and angels have a volition that is free to choose to obey God’s will or reject it. Many things occur as a result of angelic and human free will acting contrary to God’s desires. God in eternity past decreed that angels and human beings would have volition and that would be allowed to make decisions contrary to the sovereign will of God and without compromising the justice of God. The divine decrees are the eternal plan by which God has rendered certain all the events of the universe, including both angelic and human history-past, present and future. The decree of God is the chosen and adopted plan of all God’s works. The decree of God is His eternal purpose, according to the counsels of His own will, whereby for His own glory He has foreordained whatever comes to pass. The decree of God is the sovereign choice of the divine will (His attribute of sovereignty) and mentality (His omniscience) by which all things are brought into being and controlled, made subject to His pleasure, and producing His glorification.

Isa 46:3-11, “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you. To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike? Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it. They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; They set it in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress. Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, “My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”

Prov 8:15-16, “By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, all who judge rightly.”

Job 23:13-14, “But He is unique and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such decrees are with Him.”

The will and purpose of God originated within Himself long before any creature of any kind existed. Ephesians 1:3-5, “Worthy of praise and glorification is the God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ because He has elected us to privilege by means of Him before the foundation of the world for the purpose of us being set apart and virtuous before Him. By means of divine-love He has predestined us for the purpose of adoption to Himself according to the gracious purpose of His will.”

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His will is always consistent with His perfect essence. Essence means “inner nature, true substance, a person’s qualities or attributes.” The will and purpose of God-that is, the divine decree-was objectively designed for His own glory, pleasure, and satisfaction. God did not decree Himself to be since God existed prior to and outside of the decrees, so that divine decrees do not act upon God; He acts upon the decrees. God’s decrees are efficacious-having the power to produce the intended effect. They actually determine all that ever was or will be and include the following: (1) God’s directive will (2) God’s permissive will (3) God’s overruling will.

These 3 categories of divine will describe the manner in which God’s sovereignty controls history. These 3 categories show how divine sovereignty actually deals with human volition. The will of God (as to what would exist, i.e., the divine decree) calls for God’s will (His attribute of sovereignty) to function toward us in certain ways: (1) Directly stating what He desires of us (2) Permissively allowing us to our own way (3) Overruling our decisions-not letting them have their intended results-in order to protect us and the rest of mankind from our own negative volition and to preserve and perpetuate His own marvelous plan.

An example of the directive and permissive will of God in Scripture is found in the book of Genesis where Adam and the Woman disobey the directive will of God and God permitted them to have their own way.

Gen 2:16-17, “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Gen 3:1-6, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

There were consequences for Adam and the Woman’s for rejecting God’s directive. Gen 3:7-19, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate. The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel. To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over

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you. Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

An example of God’s overruling will in Scripture is found in 1 Samuel 25. In 1 Samuel 25 we studied where David was prevented by the Lord from killing a man named Nabal for whom David and his troops offered protection for from the Bedouin Arabs. Nabal’s ungratefulness enraged David and set off to kill Nabal but the Lord used Nabal’s wife Abigail to prevent him from performing this evil.

1 Sam 25:23-26, “When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, since the LORD has restrained you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal.”

1 Samuel 25:32-34, “Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.”

One of the greatest examples in Scripture of the directive, permissive and overruling will of God in action is found in the book Acts where the apostle Paul while on his 3rd missionary journey was directly told by the Holy Spirit not to go to Jerusalem, but he went anyway. The permissive will of God then went into action and permitted Paul to make the decision to disobey the Holy Spirit’s direct command. Then when Paul’s negative decision was about to cost him his life, the overruling will of God kicked into action and prevented the death of Paul in Jerusalem. We must remember that the Lord Jesus Christ told the apostle Paul that his ministry was to be exclusively to the Gentiles and not to the Jews and especially the Jews in Jerusalem.

Paul’s ministry would be exclusively to the Gentiles. Paul was never commanded by the Lord to go to the Jews; in fact, he was commanded not to (Acts 9:15; 22:21; Rom. 11:13).

Acts 9:13-16, “But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Acts 22:17-21, “It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, and I saw Him saying to me, “Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ And I said, “Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was

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being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’ And He said to me, “Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

Eph 3:8, “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.”

Rom 11:13-14, “But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.”

The reason why the apostle Paul disobeyed the Holy Spirit’s command not to go to Jerusalem and failed to adhere to the Lord Jesus Christ’s directive in the charter for his ministry to go exclusively to the Gentiles and not the Jews was that he made the wrong application of the doctrine of divine love because of his personal love for his Jewish countrymen in Jerusalem. This encounter that Paul has with the directive, permissive and overruling will of God took place at the end of Paul’s third missionary journey.

Paul’s 3rd missionary journey can also be divided into 3 main parts: (1) Ephesus phase (Acts 19) (A.D. 53-55) (2) Macedonian and Corinth phase (Acts 20-21:14) (A.D. 56-58). (3) Journey to Jerusalem (Acts 21:15-17) (A.D. 58). On this journey Paul also wrote his main doctrinal letters: (1) 1 Corinthians (written from Ephesus in A.D. 55) (2) 2 Corinthians (written from Macedonia in A.D. 56) (3) Romans (written from Corinth in A.D. 57).

The time of Paul’s departure for his 3rd missionary journey is late summer 53 and the time of arrival in Jerusalem around Pentecost 57. The nature of the third missionary journey was chiefly pastoral.

Acts 19:21, “Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” “Purposed” is 3rd person singular aorist middle indicative form of the verb tithemi. The verb tithemi in Acts 19:21 means that Paul “had decided for himself” to go to Jerusalem. The intensive middle is significant in that it signifies that Paul acted for himself or in his own interests. The consummative or culminative aorist signifies that this decision that he made for himself without consulting the Lord in prayer was the result of a long thought process.

“In the spirit” is composed of the following in the Greek: (1) Preposition en, “by means of.” (2) Instrumental neuter singular definite article to, “his.” (3) Instrumental neuter singular form of the noun pneuma, which is pneumati, “determination.” If the Holy Spirit were in view here Paul would not have employed the verb tithemi in the middle voice here but rather he would have used ago, “to bear, carry, lead, drive,” or anago, “to lead up.” Matt 4:1, “Then Jesus was led up (anago) by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

The noun pneuma here in Acts 19:21 refers to Paul’s purpose, aim or determination. This meaning is not without precedence in the Greek New Testament since it appears in 2 Cor. 12:18; Eph. 4:23; Phlp. 1:27; Rev. 19:10. Corrected translation of Acts 19:21 Now after these things were finished, Paul had decided for himself by his own determination to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

This decision to go to Jerusalem was against the directive will of God for his life. The directive will of God stated that Paul was to go to the Gentiles and fulfill his ministry and he was not to go to the Jews (Acts 20:23; 21:4, 9-11; 22:17-21). Corrected translation of Acts 20:22-24, “And now, behold, bound by compulsion, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city,

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saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”

Acts 21:3-4, “After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem. When we came in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload its cargo.” The iterative imperfect of the verb form of the verb lego in Acts 21:4 which is translated “kept telling” indicates that the agent, namely, God the Holy Spirit repeatedly told Paul for 7 days not to go to Jerusalem. The imperfect tense of lego is also a distributive imperfect in that God the Holy Spirit employed various intermediate agencies, namely other believers to repeatedly warn Paul over the course of 7 days not to go to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:9-11, “And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: “In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.”

Acts 22:17-21, “It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, and I saw Him saying to me, “Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ And I said, “Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’ And He said to me, “Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

Acts 21:15-21, “After these days we got ready and started on our way up to Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea also came with us, taking us to Mnason of Cyprus, a disciple of long standing with whom we were to lodge. After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.”

Acts 21:19-24, “After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.”

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The Lord Jesus Christ speaking on the subjects of vows states the following in Matt 5:33-35, “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, “YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.”

Acts 21:25, “But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.”

This passage is a reference to the 1st Church Council ever convened and which is recorded in Acts 15 that dealt with the issue of circumcision among the Gentiles. Acts 15:1, “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” The individuals mentioned here from Judea are the Judaizers. The Judaizers were both regenerate and unregenerate Jews who taught adherence to the various ordinances of the Mosaic Law along with faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 15:1-35). Acts 6:7, 15:5 and 21:20 states that many of the Pharisees who were teachers of the Mosaic Law believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation but after salvation they still adhered to the Mosaic Law rather than the Mystery Doctrine for the Church Age that Paul was teaching. These individuals were Jewish teachers of the Mosaic Law. The Judaizers would publicly proclaim Christ but their real motive was to gain adherents to the Mosaic Law. They followed Paul from city to city on his missionary journeys throughout the Rome Empire seeking to discredit and destroy his ministry and his message of grace. Paul denounces their teaching in the book of Galatians. They taught a “different gospel” according to Gal. 1:6 and “distorted the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:7). They taught that one had to observe and practice the Mosaic Law in order to get saved.

Paul taught that salvation by grace through faith in Christ and not through the works of the Mosaic Law (Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 2:16). Gal 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” The book of Galatians was a denunciation of their teaching and Paul warns the Philippians about them in Philippians 3:2, “Beware of those dogs, beware of those evil workers, beware of the mutilation.”

The Judaizers taught strict adherence to the Mosaic Law while Paul taught grace. The Judaizers were ignorant of the fact that a new dispensation, the Church Age was now in progress and that the Age of Israel had ended. The Judaizers failed to acknowledge that the Mosaic Law had been fulfilled completely by our Lord during His 1st Advent (Rom. 10:4). Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” The Judaizers failed to acknowledge that God had set aside the Ritual Plan of God for Israel for the plan of God for the church age. They failed to acknowledge that Israel had been temporarily set aside for the Church (Rom. 11:13-25).

The Judaizers failed to orient to the plan of God for the church age because they failed to acknowledge that a new dispensation had indeed begun and that the Law had been fulfilled and Israel had been temporarily set aside for the Church. Their stubborn adherence to the Mosaic Law made them totally incapable of executing God’s Plan for their own personal lives.

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Acts 21:26, “Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.” Paul is not being led by the Spirit here. He is compromising his doctrinal convictions in order to appease these legalistic self-righteous Jewish Christians.

As a result of Paul disobeying the directive will of God on a number of occasions, Paul will be in danger of his life.

Acts 21:27-31, “When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. Then the entire then city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.”

Now, we see the overruling will of God in action. The Lord employs the Roman military to deliver Paul from the angry mob and save him from certain death.

Acts 21:32-22:24, “At once he took along some soldiers and centurions and ran down to them; and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the commander came up and took hold of him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains; and he began asking who he was and what he had done. But among the crowd some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he could not find out the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. When he got to the stairs, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob; for the multitude of the people kept following them, shouting, “Away with him!” As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? Then you are not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness? But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people. When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned to the people with his hand; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect, saying, “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.” And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said, I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And I answered, “Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, “I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did

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not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. And I said, “What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, “Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus. A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, “Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. And he said, “The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, and I saw Him saying to me, “Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ And I said, “Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’ And He said to me, “Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'” They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live! And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.”

The book of Acts contains an episode in the apostle Peter’s life where God instructs him to go to the Gentiles and present them the Gospel so that they might be the beneficiaries of the Baptism of the Spirit, which first occurred among Jewish believers in the Lord Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost in June of 32 A.D.

The Baptism of the Spirit takes place exclusively during the church age and occurs at the moment of salvation when the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit places the believer in Christ in union with Christ resulting in the believer being identified with Christ in His death and resurrection positionally. When the Baptism of the Spirit first took place in June of 32 A.D. on the day of Pentecost it inaugurated the dispensation of the church age. At the very beginning of the church age, only Jewish believers were recipients of the Baptism of the Spirit. Initially only Jewish believers composed the church but this would soon change. Gentile believers would soon be the recipients of the Baptism of the Spirit. The 1st occurrence of the Baptism of the Spirit taking among Gentile believers is recorded in Acts 10.

These Jewish believers were not aware of the fact that God had ended the dispensation of Israel and had set aside Israel temporarily so that he might call out a people who would become the body of Christ and future bride of Christ.

Rom 11:25-27, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery — so that you will not be wise in your own estimation — that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB. THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.’”

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The Jews were a privileged people. Rom 9:3-5, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” These privileges were given to a people in a different dispensation. The privileges of the church age are superior to those given to the Jews during the dispensation of Israel and the Gentiles would be recipients of these unique privileges.

Church Age believers would compose the body of Christ, which at future resurrection of the church would become the bride of Christ. Privileges of the Church Age: (1) Baptism of the Spirit (2) Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity (3) Heavenly Citizenship (4) Universal Royal Priesthood (5) Royal Ambassadorship (6) Mystery Doctrine for the Church Age (7) Indwelling of God the Father (8) Indwelling of God the Son (9) Indwelling of God the Holy Spirit (10) Completed Canon of Scripture.

There would be no racial distinctions during the church age. Gal 3:26-28, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

During the church age, God was calling those who were racially Jews and those who were Gentiles and give them both equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute the plan of God.

Eph 2:14-18, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.”

Furthermore, the ritual plan of God for the dispensation of Israel which is found in the Mosaic Law would not be applicable during the church age. The Advent of the Church Age would mark the end of the Mosaic Law as a rule of life for believers.

Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Rom 6:14-15, “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” Rom 8:1-4, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Gal 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” Gal 3:10-11, “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.’ Now that no one is justified by the Law before

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God is evident; for, ‘THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.’” Gal 3:22-27, “But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith, which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Gal 5:18, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

Now the book of Acts documents the difficult transition from the dispensation of Israel to the dispensation of the church age. In the book of Acts, God the Holy Spirit is the most prominent member of the Trinity. He is the member of the Trinity that actively guides the early Jewish believers in the church in this transition from the Law to Grace…from the dispensation in which they previously lived to a new dispensation with a new modus operandi. The apostle Peter of course was a Jew who lived his entire life attempting to live in accordance with the mandates of the Mosaic Law. The apostle Peter did not understand that God has began a new dispensation called the church age. In Acts 10 and 11 we find God instructing Peter regarding this transition from the Law to Grace. God teaches Paul that he no longer makes any racial distinctions between Jew and Gentiles by instructing Peter to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles so that they too might receive the Baptism of the Spirit. The fact that the Gentile believers like the Jewish believers could receive the same awesome invisible asset of the Baptism of the Spirit as a result of faith alone in Christ alone was a shocking, revolutionary thing for Jewish believers such as Peter during the 1st century.

So in Acts 10 and 11 we see how God instructs Peter to do His will and present the Gospel to the Gentiles so that they too could be the recipients of the Baptism of the Spirit and as a result have the same opportunity and privilege as the Jewish believer to execute the plan of God. In regards to our subject of divine guidance we see the mechanics of how Peter determined the will of God for his life. We find recorded here in this passage Peter’s confusion regarding the will of God. This should be an encouragement to all of us who at times are confused as to what God wants them to do. We also see in this passage how God employs various agencies to reveal His will in a particular area, namely, the Word of God, the Spirit of God, fellowship with other believers, providential circumstances and of course prayer.

Mechanics of determining God’s will (Acts 11): (1) Prayer (Acts 10:9; 11:5). (2) Revelation from the Word of God (Acts 10:10-16; 11:6-10). (3) Providential circumstances (Acts 10:17-33; 11:11). (4) Revelation from the Spirit (Acts 10:19-20; 11:12). (5) Obedience to the Revelation from the Word and the Spirit (Acts 10:21, 11:12). (6) Fellowship and comparison data (Acts 10:21-33; 11:13-15). (7) Remembering Scripture (Acts 11:16).

Acts 10, “Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually. About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter; he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea. When the angel who was speaking to him had left, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were his personal attendants, and after he had explained everything to

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them, he sent them to Joppa. On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.

“To pray” is the aorist deponent middle infinitive form of the verb proseuchomai. Proseuchomai refers to prayer with no indication of its content, thus it refers to prayer in the sense. Here we have the 1st aspect of how to determine God’s will. Peter is going to the Father in prayer to determine what He wants Peter to do at this particular point in his life. Prayer is the responsibility, privilege and invisible spiritual weapon of the believer’s royal priesthood which functions efficaciously under the Filling of the Spirit in accordance with the will, purpose and plan of God the Father. It is an expression of the believer’s confidence and total dependence upon the character and integrity of God to meet one’s spiritual and temporal needs and desires on the basis of the personal merits and finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross resulting in the glorification of God in the Angelic Conflict. All prayer made by the believer-priest in the Church Age must be addressed to God the Father (John 14:13-14; 16:23-27; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18; 3:14; 5:20; Col. 1:3, 12; 3:17; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 1:6). Prayer must be made in the name or Person of or through intermediate agency of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14; 16:23-24; Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17). Prayer must be made in the power of the Spirit or by means of the power of the Filling of the Spirit (Eph. 2:18; 6:18; Jude 20).

Types of Prayer: (1) Confession: Rebound (1 John 1:9). (2) Thanksgiving: Expressing gratitude to God the Father for His perfect character and integrity and grace policy (John 6:11; Rom. 1:8; 6:17; 7:25; 1 Cor. 1:4; 1 Cor. 11:24; 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; 4:15; 8:16; 9:11; Eph. 1:15-16; 5:4; 5:20; Phil. 1:3; 4:6; Col. 1:3; 2:7; 3:15; 4:2; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13; 5:18; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2:13; Phlm 4). (3) Intercession: Praying for others whether unbelievers or believers (Gen. 18:22; Gen. 19:17-23; 20:17; Ex. 9:27-33; 32:11-13; 33:12-16; 34:9; Num. 11:11-15; 14:13-19; 21:7; Luke 23:34; John 17:1-26; Rom. 1:7, 9; 8:15, 25, 27, 34; 9:3, 27; 11:2; 12:14; 15:30; 2 Cor. 1:11; 9:14; 13:7, 9; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:16-23; 3:14-19; 6:18; Phil. 1:3-4, 9, 19; 4:6; Col. 1:3, 9-14, 29-2:3; 4:2-3, 12, 18; 1 Thess. 1:2; 3:10-13; 5:23-25; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2:16-17; 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:1; Phlm 3-6; Heb. 4:14-16). (4) Petition: Praying for your particular needs and situations in our own circumstances which do not have a direct solution from Scripture (Rom. 1:10; 2 Cor. 12:8; 1 Thess. 3:10; Heb. 4:16).

Characteristics of Effectual Prayer: (1) Concentration (Mark 14:38; Luke 22:44; Matt. 26:39, 41; Acts 12:5; Col. 4:2; James 5:17-18; 1 Kings 18:41-46; 2 Kings 19:15-19). (2) Reverence (Heb. 5:7) (3) Discipline (Acts 6:4; Col. 4:2; Rom. 12:12; 1 Thess. 5:17) (4) Simplicity (Matt. 6:5; 23:14; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:47; 1 Thess. 1:2; Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:3; Phlm. 1:4) (5) Obedience (1 John 3:22) (6) Perseverance (Matt. 7:7-8; 26:39-44; Luke 11:9-10; 18:1-8; 21:36; Rom. 12:12; 15:30; Acts 1:14; 6:4; 12:5; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 5:5; 2 Tim. 1:3; Col. 1:9; 4:2, 12; Heb. 10:22) (7) Patience (James 5:7) (8) Confidence (Psa. 6:9; Matt. 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:11-13; John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-26; Heb. 10:19-21; 1 John 3:22; 5:14-16) (9) Thankfulness (Matt. 15:36; 26:27; Mark 8:6; 14:23; Luke 22:17-19; John 6:11; 23; 11:41; Acts 27:35; 28:15; Rom. 1:8; 7:25; 1 Cor. 1:4; 11:24; Eph. 5:20; Col. 1:12; 3:17; 4:2; Phil. 1:3-4; 4:6; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13) (10) Contentment (Phil. 1:4).

Reasons for Prayer: (1) Deliverance from enemies (Psa. 54:1-3; 55:1-3; 88:1-3; 102:1-2; 109:1-5; Acts 12:5; Phil. 1:19). (2) For Enemies (Matt. 5:44-45; Luke 6:28). (3) Spiritual and Temporal Needs of the Royal Family of God (Eph. 6:18; Col. 1:9-10; 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 1:11; James 5:16; 3 John 2; 2 Cor. 13:9; Rom. 15:30-31) (4) For the Sanctification of Physical Food (1 Tim. 4:4-5). (5) To Heal the sick in the Royal Family (James 5:14-15a). (6) For the Spiritual Growth of the Royal Family (Col. 4:12; Eph. 1:15-19; 1 Thess. 3:9-10; Phil. 1:9; Col.

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1:9; 2 Cor. 13:9) (7) For those in Authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2). (8) For the Proliferation of Bible Doctrine (2 Thess. 3:1). (9) For the Prevention of Performing Evil and the Application of Metabolized Doctrine (2 Cor. 13:7). (10) For Material Prosperity and Good Physical Health (3 John 2). (11) Determining the Will of God (Acts 10:9).

Now, in verses 10-16 we have the 2nd aspect for determining the will of God, which is revelation from the Word of God. What is the will of God? Fundamentally, for Bible believing Christians, it is what God has revealed in His Word, i.e., the Scriptures. For example 2 Timothy 3:15-17 suggests not only the necessity of Scripture in discerning God’s will, but its adequacy to “make me wise” (3:15) and “thoroughly equip me for every good work” (3:16-17).

2 Tim 3:10-17, “Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Isa 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Matt 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” John 1:1-2, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” John 14:23-24, “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” John 17:13-17, “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” Eph 6:17, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Col 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

The apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of sound doctrine to both Timothy and Titus. The Word of God was central to Paul’s ministry and he emphasizes that this should be the case in both of these men’s ministries.

1 Tim 4:1-5:1, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of

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the word of God and prayer. In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine, which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” Titus 1:7-3:1, “For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. But as for you, speak the things, which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own

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possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Now in Acts 10:10-14, Peter receives direct revelation from God in a vision. We must remember God does not speak to believers in this manner anymore simply because we now have the completed canon of Scripture. Peter did not have the completed canon of Scripture at this particular time. Therefore, he and the believers living at this particular time in the 1st century did not have the complete revelation from God. Peter did not have the mystery doctrine for the church age put down in writing at this time. He could not turn to the book of Romans, Ephesians, Colossians or Philippians in order to determine God’s will for him as a church age believer. Therefore, God speaks to him directly concerning His will for Peter’s life. God communicates to Peter in a vision His policy for the new dispensation of grace that Peter is now living in.

Acts 10:0-14, “But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”

Peter refuses to eat these animals because they are forbidden to be eaten under the Mosaic Law in Leviticus 11:2-27 and Deut 14:3-20. He is also greatly influenced by the dietary restrictions of the Jewish Rabbis whose oral traditions are now found in the Mishna and the Talmud. The Lord Jesus Christ condemns the Pharisees for their observance of these oral traditions that now appear in the Mishna and the Talmud.

Peter is forgetting what the Lord Jesus Christ taught while He was present with him during His 1st Advent. Matt 15:10-11, “After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” Rom 14:14, “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” Heb 13:9, “Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.”

Acts 10:15-16, “Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy. This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.” The number of 3 in Scripture marks Divine completeness or perfection. The number 3 here in Acts 10:16 refers to the completion and perfection of the revelation given to Peter by God regarding the abrogation of the dietary laws appearing in Leviticus 11:2-27 and Deut 14:3-20 of the Mosaic Law. To abrogate means to abolish by formal or official means, to annul by an authoritative acts, to repeal, to put aside. Here in Acts 10 we find God abolishing, repealing, and putting aside the various dietary laws of the Mosaic Law.

Now, in verses 17 we see the 3rd aspect for determining God’s will which is providential circumstances. The Lord Jesus Christ as Sovereign Ruler of the Cosmos from His hypostatic union controls history as a result of victory over Satan at the Cross, which was accomplished by means of His death, resurrection, ascension and session. The Lord Jesus Christ controls circumstances in our lives because He controls history. The providence of God states that the Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union controls human history and therefore all of the circumstances surrounding our lives. Here in Acts 10:16 we have the Lord Jesus Christ bringing

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in the circumstances which will aid Peter in confirming that what Peter was instructed in the vision was indeed from God.

Acts 10:17, “Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon’s house, appeared at the gate.” “Greatly perplexed” is the 3rd person singular imperfect active indicative form of the verb diaporeo. The verb diaporeo describes “one who goes through the whole list of possible solutions, but finds no way out.” At times it can emphasize a growing sense of despair. Here we have Peter indicates that Peter is at a loss as to the vision since it contradicts what he has been previously taught under the Mosaic Law. Peter has to undo all that he has been taught. God is attempting to orient Peter to this new dispensation that he is now living in.

Acts 10:18-20, “and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” In Acts 10:18-20 we see the 4th aspect for determining God’s will which is revelation from the Holy Spirit. Revelation from the Holy Spirit is essential in order to determine the will of God for your life. Revelation is where the Holy Spirit takes the doctrines of Christ and reveals their meaning, and their application for the moment! God desires for each one of us to receive revelation from Him. Revelation is given to us by God the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who takes the Word of God and gives us revelation.

Church age believers receive their revelation through the infallible written Word of God, the mind of Christ. In order for God to reveal Himself to us through His Word, the Holy Spirit must give us revelation. We can know nothing of God’s will, purpose and plan for our lives without revelation from the Holy Spirit.

Now, I must qualify this and balance this…the Holy Spirit does not give us revelation apart from the completed canon of Scripture. The Word of God is the vehicle or the instrument, which the Holy Spirit uses to reveal to us God the Father’s eternal purpose from eternity past. John 16:13-15, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose {it} to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose {it} to you.

In Acts 10:21 we have the 5th aspect for determining God’s will for your life, which is obedience to the guidance and revelation of the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor 10:5, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:22, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.”

In verses 21-33 we have the 6th aspect of determining God’s will which is fellowship and comparison data. Peter will be able to compare the revelation that he received with the revelation received by Cornelius from God. By comparing these 2 revelations, Peter will able to determine what God wants him to do.

Acts 10:21-11:16, “Peter went down to the men and said, “Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?” They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews,

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was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you. So he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he got up and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. On the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man. As he talked with him, he entered and found many people assembled. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me. Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, and he said, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Therefore send to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord. Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all) — you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he? And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. and when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them. But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying, I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky; and it came right down to me, and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, “Get

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up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, “By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a voice from heaven answered a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’ This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into the sky. And behold, at that moment three men appeared at the house in which we were staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea. The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house. And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, “Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”

Here in Acts 11:16 we have the 7th and final aspect to determine the will of God, which is remembering Scripture. John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” Acts 20:35, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” 2 Peter 3:1-2, “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.” Jude 17-19, “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.” Rev 3:2-3, “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” John 16:1-4, “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.”

Remembering Scripture involves meditation upon the Word of God. Biblical meditation involves repetitive, reflective and reverential reading of the Word of God and making application to one’s own life. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the verb meditate: To consider as something to be done or affected; intend purpose; to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect. Meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts, thus to ponder, think about.” It consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action. Biblical meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation on the Word of God in order to discern its meaning for the purpose of making personal application. Ps 77:11-15, “I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. You have by

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Your power redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.” Ps 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” Ps 119:97, “O how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Ps 119:15, “I will meditate on your precepts and regard your ways.” Ps 119:97-99, “O how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.” Ps 119:148, “My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on your word.” Ps 119:159, “Consider how I love your precepts; revive me, O LORD, according to your lovingkindness.”

So in Acts 11:17-18 we have Peter completing the mission that God had given him. Acts 11:17-18, “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way? When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” The apostle Peter’s obedience to God’s directives resulting in Cornelius and his family getting saved and receiving the Baptism of the Spirit. Peter’s presentation of the Gospel to the Gentiles set an example for other Jewish believers to follow. God had gotten his message across to Peter regarding the new dispensation that began among only Jewish believers initially on the day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem in June of 32 A.D….there would be no racial distinctions in the church age. Those of Gentile origin and those of Jewish racial descent would all be under the federal headship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The doctrine of divine guidance can also be approached from the following standpoint: (1) Geographical will of God: Where does God want me to be? (2) Operational will of God: What does God want me to do? (3) Viewpoint will of God: What does God want me to think? There is a specific geographical location where God wants us to be in order to perform that which He has planned for us from eternity past. There are many examples in Scripture, which teach this principle. For instance, as we just noted in our study of the apostle Peter in Acts 10 and 11, God wanted Peter to leave Joppa where he was residing and go to Caesarea where a Roman centurion named Cornelius, a Gentile was residing. God had prepared Cornelius and his family to hear to the Gospel for their salvation. If Peter did not go to Caesarea as commanded by the Holy Spirit he would have been out of the geographical will of God for his life.

Then we studied Acts 20 and 21 where the apostle Paul was warned 3 times by the Holy Spirit not to go to Jerusalem but he disregarded the warnings because of his zeal for the Lord and love for his Jewish countryman. By stepping foot in Jerusalem Paul was out of the geographical will of God for his life. The Scriptures record in Genesis 12 the account of the father of our faith, Abraham who was also out of the geographical will of God for his life at time during the course of his post-salvation experience. The directive will of God for his life was that he go to the land of Canaan, but because of a famine Abraham went down to Egypt. He did not trust the Lord and went to Egypt, which is a picture of the world, the cosmic system of Satan. Abraham like Paul in Jerusalem gets into trouble in Egypt because he is out of the geographical will of God. Out of fear that the Egyptians might kill him in order to take his beautiful wife Sarai, Abraham requests that Sarai tell the Egyptians that she was his sister. The permissive will of God permitted Abraham to make the wrong decision to go to Egypt. The overruling will of God overruled Abraham’s negative decision in order to protect him and his wife Sarai.

A classic example in Scripture of a believer being out of the geographical, the viewpoint and operational will of God is that of Jonah. The Lord wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach the Gospel for their salvation, but instead because of Jonah’s personal hatred of the Ninevites, he

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went deliberately disobeyed the directive from God. Jonah was out of the geographical will of God in that he went to Tarshish rather than to Nineveh…Tarshish was in the exact opposite direction from that of Nineveh. He was out of the viewpoint will of God in that his attitude toward the Ninevites was not according to divine viewpoint, where 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God desires all men to be saved…Jonah did not desire the Ninevites to be saved. Jonah was out of the operational will of God because he did not do what the Lord had commanded him, which was to preach the Gospel to the unsaved Ninevites. He was out of the geographical and operational will of God because he was out of the viewpoint will of God.

You will be in the wrong place and doing the wrong thing if you do not have divine viewpoint, which is acquired by learning and applying the Word of God, which is the mind or thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jonah is called by many theologians, “the Disobedient Prophet.” Some commentators call him the “Prodigal Prophet.” Like the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul, Jonah was a called to be a missionary to the Gentiles and specifically to the Ninevites, which was located in Assyria. The geographical will for Jonah’s life was to preach the Gospel to the Ninevites, yet Jonah because of his hatred for the Ninevites goes in the opposite direction. As in the case of the apostle Paul and Abraham the story of Jonah demonstrates the directive, permissive and overruling will of God in action. In the book of Jonah we have an example of the directive, permissive and overruling will of God in action.

The directive will of God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach the Gospel to them for their salvation. The permissive will of God permitted Jonah to reject God’s directive will for his life and head to Tarshish. But the overruling will of God went into action, and overruled Jonah’s negative decision which put him out of the geographical will of God for his life. God brought in a storm and a whale to overrule Jonah’s negative decision and get Jonah back on track and back in the geographical will for his life.

The book of Jonah was the 5th book of the Minor Prophets and only 4 chapters long. Many have attacked the authenticity of this book because of the account of Jonah being swallowed by a whale. The Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, confirms the historicity of the book by making mention of Jonah’s encounter with the whale. Matt 12:39-41, “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” Matt 16:4, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.” The Outline for the Book of Jonah: (I) Jonah and the Directive Will of God (1:1-2). (II) Jonah and the Permissive Will of God (1:3). (III) Jonah Out of the Geographical Will of God (1:4-2:10). (IV) Jonah’s 2nd Encounter with the Directive Will of God (3:1-2). (V) Jonah’s Obedience to the Directive Will of God (3:3-5). (VI) The Result of Jonah’s Obedience to the Directive Will of God (3:6-10). (VII) Jonah’s Lack of Compassion for the Ninevites (4:1-5). (VIII) The Lord’s Rebuke of Jonah (4:6-11).

The name “Jonah” means “dove.” Jonah does not live up to his name since he was not a man of peace, which the dove signifies, but rather he is a “hawk.” Jonah wants God to make war against Nineveh and not peace. Jonah’s father’s name was “Amittai” which means “truthful.”

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Jonah was a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel, whose predecessors were Elijah and Elisha. Hosea and Amos would likely have been Jonah’s contemporaries. The Gospels record the Lord Jesus Christ making mention of the prophet Jonah in Matthew 12:29-41; 16:4 and Luke 11:28-32. Nothing is known of the prophet Jonah apart from this book and the historical statement in 2 Kings 14:25. 2 Kings 14:23-25 states that Jonah lived during the reign of Jeroboam II approximately 793-753 B.C.

2 Kings 14:23-25, “In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel became king in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years. He did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin. He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which He spoke through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher.”

So according to 2 Kings 14:23-25 Jonah lived when Jeroboam II of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was king. The Prophet Jonah’s prediction that Israel’s boundaries would extend under Jeroboam II came true. Jonah is the only Old Testament prophet to attempt to go AWOL and run from performing his duty as a prophet of God. He was 1 of 4 Old Testament prophets whose ministries were referred to by the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Mt. 12:41; Lk. 11:32). The others were Elijah (Mt. 17:11-12), Elisha (Lk. 4:27) and Isaiah (Mt. 15:7). Jonah’s ministry had some parallels to his immediate predecessors, Elijah (1 K. 17-19; 21; 2 K. 1-2) and Elisha (2 K. 2-9; 13) who ministered to Israel and also were called to Gentile missions in Phoenicia and Aram. He was a contemporary of both Amos and Hosea who were sent by the Lord to the nation of Israel to warn them of the impending 5th cycle of discipline upon the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Assyria was the nation used by God to execute His judgment upon the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The prophecies of Amos and Hosea were fulfilled in 722 B.C. when Sargon II carried the Northern Kingdom into captivity (2 K. 17). These prophecies of Amos and Hosea may explain Jonah’s reluctance to preach in Nineveh, the Assyrian capital. He feared he would be used to help the enemy that would later destroy his nation.

Now, Jonah was sent to the city of Nineveh. Nineveh was mentioned for the 1st time in Genesis 10:11. It was the ancient capital of Assyrian Empire. The city was located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River about 550 miles northeast of Samaria. That distance required from Jonah a journey of more than a month, if Jonah traveled the normal distance of 15-20 miles a day. Nineveh was built by Nimrod (Gen. 10:11). It was 2nd in size only to Babylon. Nineveh was in modern-day Iraq opposite the modern town of Mosul. After Jonah’s day it was made the capital of Assyria by Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.), the successor of Sargon II (722-705 B.C.) who destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The city of Nineveh was destroyed in 612 B.C. by the Medes and the Persians. Its great size is mentioned in Jonah 3:3 which states, “Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.” Ancient Greek and Roman writers state that it was in the shape of a trapezium and was the largest city in the world in that day. The accounts of these ancient Greek and Roman writers have been confirmed by modern archaeological excavations.

Jonah 1:1-2, “The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.’ But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”

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It was a great privilege and responsibility for Jonah to be selected for this mission. The importance and urgency of Jonah’s task concerning Nineveh are perhaps emphasized by the fact that the Lord’s very words are recorded here. Jonah is spoken to directly by the Lord. The reason the Lord directed the prophet Jonah to go to Nineveh is mentioned in verse 2. The prophet Zephaniah mentions their attitude. Zeph 2:12-15, “You also, O Ethiopians, will be slain by My sword. And He will stretch out His hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and He will make Nineveh a desolation, Parched like the wilderness. Flocks will lie down in her midst, All beasts which range in herds; Both the pelican and the hedgehog Will lodge in the tops of her pillars; Birds will sing in the window, Desolation will be on the threshold; For He has laid bare the cedar work. This is the exultant city, which dwells securely, who says in her heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ How she has become a desolation, a resting place for beasts! Everyone who passes by her will hiss and wave his hand in contempt.” “Exultant” is the adjective `alliz, “gloating, bragging, arrogant.” They were an arrogant, evil, violent and cruel people. Nineveh was well-known in the ancient Near East for the brutal atrocities it inflicted on its war captives. Nineveh’s wickedness comprised, besides her idolatry, her inordinate pride (cp. Is. 10:5-19; 36:18-20), and her cruel oppression of the conquered nations in deporting the entire populace to distant lands (2 Kings 15:29; 17:6; Is. 36:16, 17), her inhuman warfare. Nineveh was also known for its idolatry. It had temples dedicated to the gods of Nabu, Asshur, and Adad. The Ninevites also worshipped Ishtar, a goddess of love and war.

The crimes of the Ninevites are condemned by the Lord through the prophet Nahum. Nah 3:1-7, “Woe to the bloody city, completely full of lies and pillage; Her prey never departs. The noise of the whip, the noise of the rattling of the wheel, Galloping horses and bounding chariots! Horsemen charging, Swords flashing, spears gleaming, Many slain, a mass of corpses, and countless dead bodies — They stumble over the dead bodies! All because of the many harlotries of the harlot, the charming one, the mistress of sorceries, who sells nations by her harlotries and families by her sorceries. ‘Behold, I am against you,’ declares the LORD of hosts; ‘And I will lift up your skirts over your face, and show to the nations your nakedness and to the kingdoms your disgrace. I will throw filth on you and make you vile, and set you up as a spectacle. And it will come about that all who see you will shrink from you and say, ‘Nineveh is devastated! Who will grieve for her?’ Where will I seek comforters for you?’”

So here we have the prophet Jonah commissioned by the Lord to preach against the city of Nineveh because of its great sin and corruption. Now, the question that begs to be asked is “why did Jonah disobey a direct command from God to preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of the city of Nineveh?” The answer is given in Jonah 3:10-4:3. Jonah refused to go to Nineveh because he was afraid that the Ninevites would respond to God’s message and be saved. Jonah 3:10-4:3, “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD and said, ‘Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.’”

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Now, why didn’t Jonah want the Ninevites saved? He did not want them saved because Assyria, the nation in which Nineveh was the capital, was one of the most brutal nations of the ancient world. They were feared and dreaded in the day of Jonah. They employed cruel methods of torture of prisoner’s of war.

One of the procedures was to take a man out in the desert and bury him up to his neck in the sand, nothing but his head sticking out. Then they would put a thong through his tongue and leave him there to die as the hot, penetrating sun would beat down upon his head. It was said that a man would go mad before he died with this method of torture. Another fun thing that they did was to have men on two horses having a rope attached to each wrist of a man and then have the horses go in opposite directions tearing the man’s arms off and in two. The Assyrians militarily moved in an unusual manner. They took their families with them and had very little order in their army. They moved as a mob across the countryside. When they moved like a plague of locusts upon a town or a village, it is said that they were so feared and dreaded that on some occasions an entire town would commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of these butchers. So you can see what Jonah who lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, not more than 500 miles away from Nineveh hated the Ninevites.

We know from archaeology that the Assyrians were making forays into the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Eventually, both Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity by the Assyrians. So we must have some sympathy for Jonah here…he is being asked to a people who are in effect enemies of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The heart of Jonah preferred that God judge the Ninevites and have them destroyed, but the heart of God was one of compassion and mercy.

Ex 33:18-19, “Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’” Matt 9:11-13, “When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, ‘Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and prostitutes?’ But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Rom 9:15, “For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” Rom 11:30-32, “For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.” Eph 2:4-7, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

Jonah lacked the divine viewpoint toward the unbeliever; therefore, he lacked compassion and mercy. He did not possess the attitude that God has toward all men. John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him

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shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” 1 Tim 2:4, “God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Jonah 1:3 “But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” He fled “from the presence of the LORD”: To stand in the presence of someone is often used in the sense of acting as one’s official minister. (Cp. Gen. 41:46; Deut. 1:38; 10:8; 1 Sam. 16:21f. 1 Kings 17:1; 18:15; 2 Kings 3:14, etc.). This phrase does not mean that Jonah was hiding from the Lord since Jonah knew full-well that God is omnipresent meaning that He is everywhere present but rather it means Jonah fled from his service-commission as a prophet which he received from the Lord Himself. To flee from His presence means that Jonah refused to serve the Lord in his office as prophet. He was in effect going AWOL meaning Absent Without Official Leave. If you recall, the city of Joppa is the exact same city where the apostle Peter received his vision from the Lord to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in Caesarea in Acts 10 and 11. The city of Tarshish was in the exact opposite direction of Nineveh. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Tarshish was Tartessus, in southern Spain, near Gibraltar.

So Jonah hated the Ninevites so much that he was willing to travel all the way across the Mediterranean Sea to get away from them. Tarshish was famous for its ships (Ps 48:7; Isa 2:16), which carried gold, silver, iron, tin, lead, ivory, apes, and monkeys (1 Kings 10:22; Jer 10:9). So here we have Jonah disobeying a direct order from the Lord to go to Nineveh and preach the Gospel and instead going in the exact opposite to Tarshish in Spain that was located across the Mediterranean ocean.

Jonah is out of the geographical will of God because he does not want the Ninevites to get saved. He has a great prejudice against the Ninevites and the nation of Assyria as a whole because they were a great enemy of Israel.

You have to admire Jonah for his honesty. He is actually a great patriot. He hates the enemy, namely the Ninevites. Jonah’s absolute rejection of God’s directive is another instance of Jonah’s uniqueness as a prophet of God and where Moses and Jeremiah shrank from their assignments, Jonah flat out refuses. This command from the Lord to Jonah to go to the Ninevites would be tantamount to an American missionary being told to go to the Nazis, or the Iraqi’s or the Taliban in our day and age. So we can have compassion for Jonah here. He is a patriot but his view of the world is not God’s view of the world.

So now we are about to see the Lord intervene. The Lord permits Jonah to disobey His directive but the Lord also overrules Jonah’s decision and humbles Jonah in the belly of a whale so that Jonah will get back in the geographical will that He has for Jonah’s life. To accomplish His purposes, the Lord sovereignly controlled various events recorded in the book of Jonah, overcame Jonah’s rebellion and like the Roman centurion unbeliever who Peter gave the Gospel to, prepared the hearts of the Ninevites for the presentation of the Gospel to them by Jonah.

Jonah 1:4, “The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.” Here we have the sovereignty of the Lord over all creation. Jer 31:35, “Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; the LORD of hosts is His name.”

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Jonah 1:5, “Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.”

“Fast asleep” is the 3rd person masculine singular niphal imperfect form of the verb radham, “to lie in a deep, stupor-like sleep.” This reveals the contentment of Jonah knowing that he going in the exact opposite direction away from the Ninevites.

Jonah 1:6, “So the captain approached him and said, ‘How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.’”

Jonah is conspicuous here by his sleeping through a hurricane, which is breaking up the ship. He could care less about the storm that is about to kill them all, he is just happy to be going in the opposite direction of Nineveh.

Jonah 1:7-8, “Each man said to his mate, ‘Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.’ So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, ‘Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?’

The casting of lots to determine a decision, in this case to find a culprit, was common in Israel and other countries in the ancient Near East (cf. Lev. 16:8; Josh. 18:6; 1 Sam. 14:42; Neh. 10:34; Es. 3:7; Prov. 16:33; Acts 1:26). The Lord expresses His sovereignty here with the casting of the lots by causing the lot to fall to Jonah.

Jonah 1:9-12, “He said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.’ Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, ‘How could you do this?’ For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. So they said to him, ‘What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?’ — for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. He said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.’”

The sailors know now that the Jonah was the cause of all their problems since he had confessed that he was shirking on his responsibility as a prophet and refusing to go to Nineveh. Jonah is not confessing his guilt here but rather simply stating that he is AWOL from the plan of God. What we are seeing here is Jonah attempting to thwart the Lord’s plan for him to present the Gospel to the Ninevites by having the sailors throw him into the raging sea, which would mean certain death. Jonah 4:3, “Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” Jonah 4:9, “Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” Jonah would rather die than admit his guilt.

Jonah 1:13-15, “However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. Then they called on the LORD and said, ‘We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O LORD, have done as You have pleased.’ So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.”

This is reminiscent of Matt 8:24-26, “And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them,

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“Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.”

Jonah 1:16, “Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.”

Notice the many points of contrast between Jonah and the sailors in the first chapter of Jonah:

Sailors

Jonah

Prayed

Did not appear to pray

Active to save ship, selves

Deep in sleep

Compassion on Jonah

Indifferent to sailors, their plight

Tried to save Jonah

No great concern to save sailors

Wanted to live

Wanted to die

Wanted to find “sin”

Wanted to persist in sin

Obedient to what they knew

Disobedient though he knew much

Worshipped God

No worship

Shuddered at Jonah’s sin

Seemingly untouched by his sin

Growing respect of God

No evidence of respect

Jonah 1:17, “And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.” “Great” is the Hebrew adjective gadhol and “fish” is the Hebrew noun dagh, which is frequently found in Scripture in catalogs of creatures such as in Psalm 8:7ff. and Genesis 9:2, Hosea 4:3. The word refers to creatures in general that live under water in oceans, rivers and lakes. It does not make the distinction between creatures that we classify as mammals and fish. The “great fish” here in Jonah 1:17 is a blue whale (Balaenoptera Musculus).

Whales are enormous in size compared to other mammals. The blue whale is probably the largest animal that has ever lived, reaching a length of nearly 30 m (100 ft) and a weight of 180 metric tons. Its heart is as big as a Volkswagen Beetle and its body is larger and heavier than that estimated for any known dinosaur. The blue whale makes the loudest sound (over 150 decibels) of any animal, and can be heard over thousands of kilometers across entire oceans. Blue whales may reach 30 m (100 ft) in length; mature females are usually slightly longer than mature males. Blue whales feed by lunging openmouthed into dense groups of small sea creatures such as krill or fish. As water and food rush into the whale’s mouth, more than 60 throat pleats expand so that the whale’s throat, or gular pouch, forms a huge bag that extends from the front of the whale’s snout to its navel. The whale then partially closes its mouth, leaving a small gap, and forces water past 270 to 390 pairs of wide, black, fringed baleen plates that hang from the roof of the mouth. The plates act as a sieve, catching food inside the fringes. Blue whales often lunge through their prey side by side, apparently using each other to block the escape of their prey. Blue whales were heavily hunted for oil, baleen, meat, and other products from the 1930s to the 1960s. This hunting nearly caused the extinction of the species. They are now protected and may gradually be returning in several areas of their range; since 1985, blue whales feeding in Monterey Bay, California, have become a familiar sight in late summer. The blue whale is classified as an endangered species.

“Appointed” is the 3rd persons masculine singular piel imperfect form of the verb manah, “to appoint something that is designated for a specific purpose.” This great blue whale has been

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designated by the Lord to specifically swallow up Jonah and spit him up on the beach after 3 days and 3 nights.

There are so-called higher critics who object to this account of Jonah being alive for 3 days and 3 nights in a whale. Their objections are unfounded and there are many instances of a man being swallowed alive and living for a period of time in the belly of a whale. The Blue Whale could have easily swallowed a man like Jonah. The Blue Whale does not have any teeth. It feeds in an interesting way by opening their enormous mouths, submerging their lower jaw, and rushing through the water at terrific speed. After straining out the water, they swallow whatever is left. Like the sulphur bottom whale, the blue whale has 4 to 6 compartments in his stomach and in any one of which a colony of men could find free lodging. They might even have a choice of rooms, for in the head of this whale is a wonderful air storage chamber, an enlargement of the nasul sinus, often measuring 7 feet high, 7 feet wide, by 14 feet long. If he has an unwelcome guest on board who gives him a sinus headache, the whale swims to the nearest land and gets rid of the offender as he did Jonah.

There are several accounts of both men and animals being swallowed by a whale and living. The famous French scientist, M. de Parville, writes of James Bartley, who in the region of the Falkland Islands near South America, was supposed to have drowned at sea. Two days after his disappearance, the sailors made a catch of a whale. When it was cut up, much to their surprise, they found their missing friend alive but unconscious inside the whale. He revived and has been enjoying the best of health ever since his adventure. Dr. Harry Rimmer, President of the Research Science Bureau of Los Angeles, writes of another case. In the Literary Digest we noticed an account of an English sailor who was swallowed by a gigantic Rhinodon in the English Channel. Briefly, the account stated that in the attempt to harpoon one of these monstrous sharks, this sailor fell overboard, and before he could be picked up again, the shark turned an engulfed him. Forty-eight hours later after the accident occurred, the fish was sighted again and slain. When the shark was opened by the sailors, they were amazed to find the man unconscious but alive! He was rushed to the hospital where he was found to be suffering from shock alone, and a few hours later was discharged as being physically fit. The account concluded by saying that the man was on exhibit in a London Museum at a shilling admittance fee; being advertised as “The Jonah of the 20th Century.” These accounts demonstrate that a man could live in a whale.

Jonah 2:1-3:5, “Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, ‘I called out of my distress to the LORD, and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice. For You had cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me. So I said, “I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head. I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple. Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness, but I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.’ Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land. Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.’ So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of

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the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk. Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.

“Believed” is the 3rd person masculine singular hiphil imperfect form of the verb `aman. This hiphil stem is a causative stem meaning that Jonah’s message caused the citizens of Nineveh to put their trust in Him as their Savior. This word is used of Abraham trusting in the Lord at salvation.

Gen 15:4-6, “Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

Jonah 3:6-4:11, “When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, ‘In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.’ When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity, which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD and said, ‘Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.’ The LORD said, ‘Do you have good reason to be angry?’ Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city. So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, ‘Death is better to me than life.’ Then God said to Jonah, ‘Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?’ And he said, ‘I have good reason to be angry, even to death.’ Then the LORD said, ‘You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?’”

So here we have Jonah’s message being in the instrument that saves the Ninevites. Rom 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The fact that the Ninevites got saved through Jonah’s message from the Lord sets forth the principle that it’s the message and not the man. Jonah has more compassion toward a plant than he does human beings. He is filled

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with self-pity and bitterness and yet he is a born-again believer. Even though he is saved, Jonah needs to learn the Lord’s policy towards all men, which is grace. Grace is for the undeserving and the helpless and hopeless. Jonah is self-righteous and thinks he is better than the Ninevites but this is merely relative righteousness. Jonah is just as much a sinner as the every one of the Ninevites.

Jonah’s attitude is indicative of the nation of Israel at that time. The nation of Israel failed in evangelizing the world. They were to be the instruments that God employed to present the Gospel to the unbelieving Gentiles. They failed. There is an application for the church today that this story of Jonah teaches us. The Lord sets forth the Church’s manifesto in Matt 28:16-20, “But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”

The Lord Jesus Christ had to deal with this negative and antagonistic attitude toward the unbelieving Gentiles during His 1st Advent. The Pharisees who were the leaders of the Jewish people in our Lord’s day thought that they were superior to the tax-collectors and the prostitutes who were coming to the Lord in great numbers to hear His teaching of the kingdom. They were self-righteous and arrogant just like Jonah. Our Lord delivered several parables that directly rebuked the Pharisees for their self-righteous attitude.

Luke 15, “Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’ So He told them this parable, saying, ‘What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. And He said, ‘A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men. So he got up and came to his father.

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But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

In story of the Prodigal Son we have the Lord rebuking the Pharisees for their attitude towards the tax collectors and prostitutes. The Pharisees were portrayed by our Lord in the story of the Prodigal Son by the older brother. Jonah had this same poor attitude.

Jonah failed to see because of self-righteous arrogance that the Ninevites were just as much qualified to be recipients of salvation as Jonah and the rest of the nation of Israel. Like the Pharisees in our Lord’s Day, Jonah lacked the Lord’s view of the world. The Lord saw Nineveh has field ready to be harvest. Our Lord taught this principle to His own Jewish disciples who were greatly influenced by the Pharisaic attitude. John 4:35-38, “Do you not say, There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, “One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”

The attitude of the church today in the 21st century should be one of outreach, presenting the Gospel to all men. Many in the church today will not so much as be in the presence of a homosexual and yet failing to see the potential this person has to be saved. Are we reaching out to the AIDS patient or the elderly, the prostitute, those who enslaved to pornography and all sorts of immoral behavior? The church is failing to view the unbeliever as God sees it…ready to be harvest. Jonah failed to go to Nineveh and do his job as a prophet because he did not possess divine viewpoint even though he was saved. He lacked compassion and mercy and failed to see the great opportunity that the Lord had given him to preach to the Gentiles unbelievers in Nineveh. Jonah failed to appreciate the fact that the Lord had used him to present the Gospel, which after it was presented to the Ninevites produced the greatest harvest of souls in the Old Testament, 120,000 people were saved, yet Jonah failed to appreciate this wonderful work of God which was performed through him.

The story of Jonah is said because the Scripture does not say he ever repented or in other words changed his attitude. The story of Jonah leaves off with the Lord’s rebuke. The story of

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Jonah was a warning to the nation of Israel during Jonah’s day and it should serve to instruct and warn the Church here in the 21st century!

The essential foundation for discovering and doing God’s will is devotion to God and a desire to do His will—to please and glorify Him.

Psalm 25:12, “Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.”

2 Corinthians 5:9, “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”

Psalm 37:4-5, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

1 Thessalonians 4:1, “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God just as you actually do walk, that you may excel still more.”

James 4:3-4, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

2 Timothy 2:4, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”

The believer who does the will of God is one who is pleasing to the Lord, which involves discovering and doing what pleases the Lord by living in the light of the Word. Pleasing the Lord means doing His will.

1 Thessalonians 2:4, “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.”

Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”

The Scriptures emphatically states that God cares about each of us and wants to direct our lives. His plan for our lives is infinitely superior in every detail than our own plan for our lives since God is perfect in wisdom. God’s plan for our lives is superior because He has an omniscient knowledge of all the facts concerning our lives and He has the omnipotence to accomplish this plan for our lives. The greatest historical piece of evidence regarding God’s desire to guide our lives is the Cross of Christ and equally as great is the Scriptures. He has given us the Bible that we might know His will, purpose and plan in all areas of life. This means knowing God and the life He has for us to live. Christ is our life.

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Col 3:2-4, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

1 John 1:1, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life.”

The responsibility of each of us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ is to entrust our way to God for His guidance and direction.

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Prov 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

James 1:5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

The believer who does the will of God is one who is pleasing to the Lord, which involves discovering and doing what pleases the Lord by living in the light of the Word. In order to please the Lord we must do the following: Mark 12:29-31, “Jesus answered, “The foremost is, “HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”

The apostle Paul states in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God’s desire for the unbeliever is to get saved but the second half of the verse expresses God’s desire after one has been saved.

1 Timothy 2:4, “who wants all men to be saved and to come to an experiential knowledge (epignosis) of the truth.” J

ohn 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Eph 4:21b, “just as truth is in Jesus.”

Col 1:9-12, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”

“Knowledge” is the noun epignosis (noun), “an intimate, personal, experiential knowledge of Christ as revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God and applying that knowledge, which produces the character of Christ.” God wants us to have an experiential knowledge of Christ meaning He wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son. An experiential knowledge of Christ takes place when the believer applies the mind of Christ to his own special set of circumstances in life. God wants us to be conformed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 8:28-29, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”

To be conformed to the image of Christ means that God wants us to be like His Son in thought, word and action. The believer must apply the mind of Christ in order for the believer to experience this being conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the primary objective of each member of the Trinity. This was the number 1 objective of Paul’s life. It is

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expressed by him in a great passage in Philippians 3. May I say to you that God’s will for your life and my life is to become like the Lord Jesus Christ in thought, word and action.

The apostle Paul expresses the following in Philippians 3:1-14. Philippians 3:1, “From now on, my brothers, all of you begin rejoicing and continue doing so because of the Lord: writing these same things for all of you is in fact never bothersome for me but safe for all of you. Philippians 3:2, “Beware of those dogs, beware of those evil workers, beware of the mutilation.” Philippians 3:3, “because we are the circumcision, those who are serving (God the Father) by means of the Spirit of God, who are priding themselves in Christ Jesus, who have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:4, “Although I myself having confidence in the flesh, if anyone of the same race (i.e., Jewish) claims to have confidence in the flesh and some claim to have confidence in the flesh, I more.” Philippians 3:5, “With respect to circumcision: eighth day, descended from the nation of Israel, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew (speaking Jew) from Hebrews (Hebrew speaking parents), legalistically: a Pharisee.” Philippians 3:6, “zealously persecuting the church, self-righteously religious: I conducted myself irreproachably!” Philippians 3:7, “Nevertheless, what pre-salvation distinctions were assets for me, these I have come to regard as a liability because of the Christ.” Philippians 3:8, “Furthermore in fact, yes without a doubt, I continue to regard each today as a liability because of the incomparable knowledge pertaining to Christ Jesus, my Lord because of Whom I have renounced all of them. Even regarding all of them as piles of excrement in order that I might gain Christ-likeness.” Philippians 3:9, “So that I might be identified with Him, not by possessing my own legalistic righteousness, but rather faithful Christ-likeness, the divine righteousness based upon doctrine.” Philippians 3:10, “That I come to know Him experientially and the power from His resurrection and the participation in His sufferings by my becoming like Him with respect to His death.” Philippians 3:11, “If somehow (by becoming like Him with respect to His death), I may attain to the exit-resurrection, namely, the one out from the (spiritually) dead ones.” Philippians 3:12, “(I am) not (saying) that I have already achieved this, or I have already been brought to completion, but rather I am sprinting, if (by sprinting) I also may have captured the prize for which I also have been captured by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, “Brothers, I do not evaluate myself to have captured the prize, but I am in fact continually concentrating on one thing, namely, by forgetting the past and by extending myself forward towards the future, bearing down upon the objective.” Philippians 3:14, “I am sprinting towards the finish line for the prize, which is God the Father’s invitation to privilege residing in the Person of Christ Jesus.”

God’s goal in saving us, and that of Christ Himself, is not just heaven. Though heaven is assured for believers through the finished work of Christ, God’s desire is to make us like His Son. But in order for us to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must grow by eating our spiritual food, namely the Word of God, which is the mind of Christ.

Matt 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”

Growing and reaching greater levels of maturity (another word for Christ-likeness) is God’s primary will for all believers. As that occurs, all the other aspects of God’s will fall into place to the degree we are experiencing His life in ours.

2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” As in the case of

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having assurance in life, knowing what the will of God is for your life is contingent upon the believer first knowing the teaching of the Word of God. The need and goal of growth and maturity are expressed in a number of New Testament passages.

Eph 4:11-16, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

There are other passages in the NT, which emphasize spiritual growth or growing up to be like the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:2, “And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation.”

Heb 5:11-6:1, “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”

1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking. Instead, be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”

Philippians 1:9-11, “And this I myself habitually pray, namely that your divine-love may continue growing yet more and more by means of a total discerning experiential knowledge in order that all of you may choose the essentials so that you may be sincere and without offense for the day of Christ. All of you filled with the fruit of righteousness through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.”

The need for growth and maturity, or spiritual transformation, is what we call in theology: experiential sanctification. There are 3 categories of sanctification which composed the will of God for the church age believer: (1) Positional sanctification: The will of God for the believer at salvation is that the believer be identified with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection positionally. (2) Experiential sanctification: The will of God after salvation for the believer is that the believer experience identification with Christ in His death and resurrection experientially by the application of the Word of God while under the influence of the Spirit. (3) Ultimate sanctification: God’s ultimate goal for the believer is that they receive a resurrection body and experience perpetual fellowship with Him.

The term in the Greek New Testament that expresses the concept of sanctification is the adjective hagios. Hagios describes persons or things that have been set apart for the service of God. It is used to describe the following in the Greek New Testament: (1) God the Father (John 17:11; 1 Pet. 1:15). (2) The Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:69; Luke 4:34). (3) The Spirit (Matt. 1:18;

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Eph. 1:13; 4:30; Titus 3:5). (4) The Scriptures (Rom. 1:2). (5) The Apostles (Eph. 3:5; Rev. 18:20). (6) Bible Doctrine (Jude 1:20). (7) Church Age believers (Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 5:27; 1 Pet. 2:9; Heb. 3:1). Hagios functions in the NT as a technical term describing anyone who has believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation in the church age, who have been set apart at the moment of salvation by the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit in order to serve God exclusively.

The Word of God is the foundation and the light that illuminates our path in this journey to arrive at the divine objective for our lives, which is Christ-likeness. If we are to become like the Lord, we must adhere to His teaching. Psalms 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

This pursuit of knowing the Savior through experience is not without obstacles and distraction. We can become engulfed in the day-to-day concerns of raising a family and seeking to cope with the never-ending details of one’s work and ministry. But not only that, the constant pull on us from the cosmic system of Satan can have an equally negative impact on our pursuit of attaining Christ-likeness. God wants every church age believer to experience what God has made him positionally at the moment of salvation through the Baptism of the Spirit, namely, to be identified with Christ in His death and resurrection. The means that God the Father employs in order that the believer might experience identification with Christ in His death and resurrection is the Cross. We must die to self and live to God. This experiential identification with Christ in His death and resurrection starts with the Cross. Everything in our spiritual life pivots off the Cross. We must die to self and live to God.

Matt 16:24-27, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.” Galatians 6:14, “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” Romans 6 teaches the principle of experiencing that which is true positionally about us as believers, namely identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.

The prayer of the apostle Paul for himself and those of his flock was that they re-produce Christ-like character.

Philippians 1:20-21, “According to my confident anticipation that I will be put to shame in nothing but with all courage, as always, even now, Christ will be glorified in my body whether by life or by death because as far as I am concerned to continue living is Christ and to have died is profit.” Eph 3:14-19, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Gal 4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.”