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Doctrine of Cross

January 28, 2011

The Doctrine of the Cross
Definition and Description
The crucifixion of the impeccable humanity of Christ is an historical fact. It took place in Jerusalem in the
Jewish month of Nisan (April) 30 A.D. He suffered through 7 trials with the last 1 being before the Supreme Court of
Heaven as He received the imputation of the sins of the entire world by the justice of God the Father. The 1st 6 trials
preceding His crucifixion were before: (1) Annias (2) Caiaphas (twice) (3) Herod (4) Pilate (twice). The Lord Jesus
Christ died 2 deaths on the cross: (1) Spiritual (2) Physical.
Our Lord first died spiritually during the last 3 hours on the cross and then He died physically after He had
accomplished His Finished Work (John 19:30). He died physically of His own volition and not through asphyxiation
or exhaustion. Our Lord’s substitutionary spiritual death on the cross accomplished 3 things: (1) Defeated Satan in
the angelic conflict by disproving Satan’s claims that God lacks integrity and does not love His creatures. (2)
Provided salvation for all mankind as well as angels. (3) Fulfilled righteous requirements of the Mosaic Law.
The Cross of Christ is the central point in all of angelic and human history since it resolves the angelic conflict,
which is the reason why mankind was created. The greatest suffering the humanity of Christ endured on the cross
was not the physical and mental torture of the cross but rather when He received the imputation of the sins of the
entire world by the justice of God the Father and was separated from the Father during the last 3 hours on the cross.
Crucifixion in the Ancient World
It seems that the Persians invented or first used this mode of execution. The historian Herodotus (484-425 B.C.)
writes that the Persian king Astyages ordered Magian interpreters to be “impaled” for giving him poor counsel (The
History, Book I 128). Also, King Arxes ordered Sataspes “impaled” for not following his orders (The History, Book
IV 43). The Persians probably invented it in order not to defile the earth, which was consecrated to Ormuzd, by the
body of the person executed. Later the cross is used by Alexander the Great, the Diadochoi princes and especially
the Carthaginians. The Romans acquired crucifixion from the Carthaginians. They seldom executed Roman citizens
by this method of punishment. Usually only slaves and the most serious criminals such as traitors, perjurers were
crucified. In Greece this punishment was restricted to slaves and was never considered for free Greeks. Only
barbarians crucified free men (Hdt. I, 128; IV, 43).
In Rome it was already a mode of executing slaves even in the days of the republic. In the imperial period it was
regarded as servile supplicium but was also used on aliens who were not Romans citizens. It could not be imposed on
citizens (Cicero Verr. II, 5, 62, 162-165). But autocratic governors ignored this. In the Roman provinces the penalty
of crucifixion was one of the strongest means of maintaining order and security. Governors imposed this servile
punishment especially on freedom fighters that tried to break away from Roman rule. Josephus mentions
innumerable crucifixions-mass executions of rebels-in Judea. The Maccabean king Alexander I, when he had
captured the rebellious city of Bethome, had the prisoners brought to Jerusalem and he crucified 800 men (Jews)
(Josephus Antiquities 13, 380).
Punishment by crucifixion was seen as a disciplinary measure for the maintenance of existing authority, intended
more as a deterrent than as a means of retribution. This explains why the instrument of execution was set up in a
public place. Contemporary writers condemned this form of execution as excessively cruel and disgraceful (Cicero,
In Verrum, 64, 165 and often; Tacitus, Historia, 4, 3, 11; Josephus, War, 7, 203). The Jewish Historian Josephus
(37-100 A.D.) described crucifixion as a “most miserable death” (Wars Book 7, 203). Tacitus the historian described
it as “the most pitiful of all means of death”. The one to be crucified experienced the ridicule and mockery of his
executioners; onlookers participated in this too, as did the judges (Matt. 27:27-31, 39-44; Mark 15:16-20; 29-32;
Luke 23:35-39). The site of execution, outside the town gate, was itself a place of disgrace (Heb. 13:12-13) and
because of this understanding; a crucified Messiah caused many Jews to disbelieve (1 Cor. 1:23).
Crucifixion Procedure
First, there was a legal conviction and only in extraordinary cases, such as in times of war, did this occur at the
place of execution itself. After sentencing, the criminal was stripped and scourged, itself a punishment so painful and
horribly debilitating that some died from it. This took place either immediately after the sentence was pronounced or
en route to the execution site. In Jesus’ case the scourging probably took place before He was sentenced, perhaps in
the hope that the crowds might have compassion on the exhausted bleeding Man from Galilee ask Pilate to release
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Him (Luke 23:16; John 19:1). That His punishment was so severe may explain why Jesus did not have to bear the
cross the last steps to Golgotha (Matt. 27:32).
If the execution took place at somewhere other than the place of sentencing, the condemned man carried the
patibulum to the spot, which was usually outside the town. The expression “to bear the cross (stauros)” which is a
typical description of the punishment of slaves has its origin here. Ordinarily the criminal was forced to carry the
crossbeam all the way to the execution site. The upright stake was usually left in place at the crucifixion site. Then
on the ground he was bound with outstretched arms to the beam by ropes, or else fixed to it by spikes. Jesus was
nailed to the crosspiece (John 20:25). The beam was then raised with the body and fastened to the upright post.
About the middle of the post was a wooden block, which supported the suspended body. There was no foot-rest in
ancient accounts. The height of the cross varied. It was either rather more than a man’s height or even higher when
the offender was to be held up for public display at a distance.
On the way to the execution a tablet was hung around the offender stating the causa poenae, and this was affixed
to the cross after execution so that all could see (Matt. 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19). The charge was
displayed above the criminal on a board or a tablet in black or red letters. In Jesus’ case the charge was written in 3
languages: (1) The language of Judea: Hebrew (2) The language of the occupying force from Rome: Latin (3) The
common language of the day: Greek.
Mental and Physical Torture of Crucifixion
To die upon a cross meant excruciating pain. Death came slowly after extraordinary agony, probably through
exhaustion or suffocation. The terrible open wounds from scourging and spikes in the hands and feet, the agonizing
thirst and hunger, the hemorrhaging of the blood vessels in the head and heart, the scorching heat of the sun by day
or the cold of the nights gradually robbed the victim of all strength. He became insane from the pain. Medical studies
show that death itself was caused by asphyxiation. Ordinarily the crucified person lived for some time, frequently
lasting more than 24 hours and sometimes as long as 48 hours. Some records exist of crucifixions lasting from 3 to 6
days.
At times the legs of the victim were broken to put an end to the suffering of the victim (John 19:32). Thus Pilate
was surprised when he was told that Jesus died within 6 hours (Mark 15:44f). The condemned person was exposed to
mockery. Sometimes he was stripped and his clothes were divided among the executioners, thought this was not the
common rule. Crucifixion took place publicly on streets or elevated places. Usually the body was left to rot on the
cross to provide food for predatory animals and carrion crows. There is evidence that the body was occasionally
given to relatives or acquaintances. The physical and mental sufferings, which this slow death on the cross involved,
are unimaginable. Crucifixion as a capital penalty was ended only by Constantine the Great.
In June 1968 an ossuary was discovered on Ammunition Hill, north of Jerusalem, containing the bones of a
young man who had plainly been crucified, about the beginning of the 1st century A.D. One nail had been driven
through each of his forearms, and a third, which was still in situ, through both his ankles together. His legs were
broken like those of the 2 criminals on either side of Jesus (John 19:32).
Crucifixion of Christ
The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ is a historical fact and attested to by secular historians. Tacitus writes,
“Christus, from whom the name (Christians) had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius
at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the
moment broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and
shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular” (Annals XV, 44). Josephus writes,
“Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful
works-a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and
many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had
condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again
the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and
the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day” (Antiquities Book 18, chapter 3).
The apostle Paul declares to King Agrippa that the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ “had not been done in a
corner” (Acts 26:26). On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter declares to the Jews the well-known fact that in
Jerusalem the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified and then rose from the dead (Acts 2:22-25). Christ crucified is said to
be a “stumbling block” to Jews and “foolishness” to the Gentiles (1 Cor. 1:22-25). The Mosaic Law pronounced a
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curse on anyone who was hung on a tree (Deut. 21:22-23). The cross is called the “power of God” and “foolishness”
to those who are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18). We are reconciled to God and now have peace with God through the Lord
Jesus Christ death on the cross (Eph. 2:14-16; Col. 1:20-22). The cross dealt with man’s sins, which have all been
forgiven and have been “nailed to the cross” (Col. 2:13-14).
The Cross is the central point of all human and angelic history for the Lord Jesus Christ won a great strategic
victory over Satan and the kingdom of darkness (John 12:31-33; Col. 2:15). The Cross defeated Satan who had the
power of death over the human race (Heb. 2:14-15).
The Chronology of the Crucifixion of Christ
The procession arrived at Golgotha (Matt. 27:33). The Lord Jesus Christ was offered a stupefying drink of
vinegar and gall, which He refused (Matt. 27:34). Jesus was crucified between 2 thieves (Luke 23:32-33), followed
by the 1st cry on the Cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The soldiers
gambled for His clothes, as was the Roman custom (Matt. 27:35-36). The Jews began to mock Him (Matt. 27:39-43).
The thieves began mocking Him, but one of them believed (Luke 23:39-43). The 2nd cry on the Cross, “Today you
shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). The Lord made sure His family was taken care of, this was His 3rd
cry, “Woman, behold your son” (John 19:26-27). Noontime, darkness covered the earth (Matt. 27:45). This was
followed by the 4th cry, “Eli, Eli, lama Sabachthani” (Matt. 27:46). The 5th cry, “I thirst.” Christ thirsted so that
we might never thirst. (John 19:28). The 6th cry, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The 7th cry, “Father, into your
hands I commit my human spirit” (Luke 23:46). After this our Lord dismissed His human spirit (Matt. 27:50).
Pneumatic (Spiritual) Death of Christ
There are 2 word groups which speak of death in the NT: (1) Thanatos (2) Nekros. Both words are used in the
NT for spiritual and physical death. They are synonyms. The difference in usage between the 2 words is that
thanatos is always used by the NT writers in reference to our Lord’s voluntary substitutionary spiritual death on the
cross. Nekros and its word group is never used in relation to the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross.
The words pneumatic and somatic come from 2 Greek nouns: (1) Pneuma, “spirit.” (2) Soma, “body.”
Pneumatic death refers to spiritual death. Somatic death refers to physical death or the death of the human body.
Pneumatic or spiritual death precedes somatic or physical death. The humanity of Christ died twice, spiritually and
physically, so that we might be born twice, physical birth and spiritual birth. Our Lord died 2 unique deaths occurred
on the Cross: (1) Spiritual or Pneumatic (2) Physical or Somatic.
Our Lord in His perfect humanity first died spiritually or pneumatically (Matt. 27:44-45), and then He died
physically or somatically (John 19:30). It was our Lord’s substitutionary spiritual death in the last 3 hours on the
Cross-, which was the payment for our sins (Matt. 27:45-46; Mark 15:34). Our Lord was still alive when He said “It
is finished” (tetalestai, “it (the work of salvation) is finished in the past with results that go on forever”) (John
19:30).
His physical death was not the payment for our sins but rather His spiritual death when in His perfect humanity
He was separated from His Father in the last 3 hours on the Cross when He was receiving the imputation of the sins
of the whole world-past, present and future, and was being judged for them.
The humanity of Christ accomplished the following through His substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross: (1)
The Defeat of Satan (John 12:31; 16:8-11; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14). (2) God the Father’s Salvation Plan for all mankind
(Rom. 5:18-19; 6:10a, 8:3; Heb. 2:14-18; 2 Cor. 5:14-15, 18-19; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18; John 3:17;
1 Tim. 2:4-6; 2 Pet. 3:9). (3) Fulfillment of the Mosaic Law (Mt. 5:17-18; Rm. 10:4).
The humanity of Christ’s spiritual death provided mankind with redemption which that He purchased the entire
human race out from the slave market of sin in which every human being is born as a result of the imputation of
Adam’s sin (1 Tim. 2:6; Mark 10:45; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9). The humanity of Christ’s
spiritual death propitiated or satisfied the perfect justice of God (Rom. 3:22-26; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10). The
humanity of Christ’s spiritual death reconciled the entire human race to God (2 Cor. 5:18-21; Eph. 2:14-16; Col.
1:20-22; 1 Pet. 3:18). The humanity of Christ was judged by the justice of God for every personal sin committed by
the human race-past, present and future.
Salvation was completed while our Lord was still living (John 19:30). Our Lord in His perfect, sinless humanity
died twice on the cross so that we could be born twice (John 3:1-7). He died spiritually so that we could be born
again spiritually.
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Somatic (Physical) Death of Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ did not die from suffocation or exhaustion. The Lord Jesus Christ died triumphantly, in
control of His senses and of His own volition. Matthew 27:50, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and
yielded up His spirit.” “Cried out” is kraxas, which is an aorist active participle from krazo, “to cry out aloud,
scream, shreik.” Kraxas is a constative aorist which takes the action of the verb in its entirety and takes us from its
beginning to its conclusion. Kraxas describes the actual sound of the Lord Jesus Christ’s dying. The Lord Jesus
Christ screamed or shouted with a loud voice. “Yielded up” is apheken which is an aorist active indicative from
aphiemi, “to dismiss, to release, to let go.” Apheken is a culminative aorist, which views an event from its existing
results, the Lord Jesus Christ’s physical death.
Mark 15:37, “And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.” “Uttered” is apheis, which is also a
constative aorist and describes the breath control of the Lord Jesus Christ at His physical death. The constative
describes the last breath of our Lord. The constative aorist describes states that the Lord Jesus Christ died of His own
volition.
John 10:18a, “No one has taken it (His life) away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.” The
Lord Jesus Christ did not bleed to death, die of a broken heart, or die from exhaustion. If He had bleed to death, He
would have fainted. The Lord Jesus Christ was in total control of His faculties and was totally and completely alert
throughout all His suffering on the cross.
Luke 23:46, “And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.’
And having said this, He breathed His last.” “Crying” is phonesas is constative aorist active participle and is from
phoneo, “to speak clearly, to enunciate.” Phonesas emphasizes the content of The Lord Jesus Christ’s last words on
the cross. Ekpneo is used by both Mark and Luke to indicate that at the close of the Lord’s words, He did not breath
again. Matthew uses aphiemi to state that the sound of His words were discontinued at the point of His last exhale.
The Lord Jesus Christ of His own volition and in total control of His faculties dismissed His spirit by clearly
enunciated the words, “Father into Thy hands I commit (“deposit”) My Spirit,” and then did not breath again.
The perfect sinless humanity of Christ was born trichotomous: (1) Body (2) Soul (3) Spirit. Therefore, our
Lord’s somatic or physical death was unique because it was a trichotomous separation: (1) His physical body went to
the grave (Luke 23:50-53). (2) His human spirit went to heaven (Luke 23:46; John 19:30). (3) His human soul went
into Paradise a compartment of Hades (Luke 23:43; Acts 2:27; 2:31; Eph. 4:9).
The Lord was brought back from the dead by 3 Categories of divine omnipotence: (1) Omnipotence of God 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). (2) Omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit sent back our Lord’s human soul to the body in
the grave (Rom. 1:4; 8:11; 1 Pet. 3:18). (3) Omnipotence of God the Son raised His physical body from the grave
(John 6:39-40, 54 10:17-18).
Imputation of Personal Sins To Christ
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 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. (30 The imputation of Adam’s sin.
(4) The condemnation of spiritual death. (5) 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
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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: Unique as perfectly created man. (2) Sinned (3) Physical
birth (4) We are condemned in Adam. (5) Condemnation, 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. (Read Romans 5:14-21)
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. Now, all we need to do is accept God’s action on
our behalf. The Cross was an act of love (Rm. 5:6-8) and an act of justice (Rm. 3:22-26; 5:12-19). God’s love is His
perfect integrity and virtue. God’s love is characterized by righteousness and justice. Justice imputed our sins to
Christ, and justice judged them. Now, 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 Removal of the Barrier by the Cross of Christ
There is a barrier, which separates man from God. The Finished Work of Christ on the cross removes this
barrier (Eph. 2:14-16). The barrier was removed by the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross. It was
not removed by His physical death. The Barrier consists of the following: (1) Mankind commits acts of sin (Isa.
64:6b; Rom. 3:23). (2) The penalty of sin is spiritual death (Rom. 5:12; 6:23a). (3) All are born spiritually dead at
physical birth (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1). (4) Man’s relative righteousness cannot compare to God’s perfect
righteousness (Isa. 64:6a; Rom. 9:30-33). (5) The character of God demands that our personal sins be judged (Isa.
46:9b; 64:6b; Rom. 8:8). (6) Man’s position in Adam as a result of the imputation of his sin (1 Cor. 15:22a).
The Work of Christ on the cross which removes the Barrier is as follows: (1) Redemption resolves man’s
problem with sin (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Eph. 1:7; Titus 2:14; 1 Tim. 2:6a). (2) The Unlimited Atonement also resolves
man’s sin problem (1 John 2:2). (3) Expiation resolves man’s problem with the penalty of sin, which is spiritual
death (Col. 2:14). (4) Regeneration resolves man’s problem with being born spiritually dead (John 3:1-18). (5)
Imputation resulting in justification resolves the problem of man’s relative righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21;
Rom. 4:1-5; Gal. 2:16). (6) Propitiation resolves man’s problem with the perfect character of God (Rom. 3:22-26; 1
John 2:2). (7) Our position in Christ resolves man’s position in Adam (1 Cor. 5:22b; 2 Cor. 5:17).
The Cross and the Believer’s Sanctification
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The believer’s sanctification is directly tied to the Cross of Christ. The believer’s sanctification cannot be
accomplished independently from Christ’s Cross, i.e. His finished work. Sanctification is a technical theological
term, which means to be set apart exclusively for God’s will, purpose and plan and is accomplished in 3 phases:
positionally (Rom. 6:3, 8; 1 Thess. 5:23), experientially (John 17:17), and ultimately (1 Cor. 15:53-54; Gal. 6:8; 1
Pet. 5:10).
There are 3 categories of sanctification: (1) 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). (a) Retroactive: The Church Age
believer’s identification with Christ in His death (Rom. 6:3-11; Col. 2:12). (b) Current: The Church Age believer’s
identification with Christ in His resurrection, ascension and session (Col. 3:1-4). (2) Experiential: The function of
the Church Age believer’s spiritual life in time through the utilization of the 2 Great Divine Provisions of 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).
(3) 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).
Positional sanctification of the Church Age believer in relation to the angelic conflict is critical to understand
since it elevates him to a rank that is positionally higher than the angels. Positional sanctification is defined as the
Church Age believers eternal union with Christ through the Baptism of the Spirit, which occurs at the moment of
salvation. We are identified with Christ in His death and Resurrection (Rom. 6:5). The purpose of positional
sanctification is for the Church Age believer to execute the Plan of God for the Church Age (Rom. 6:11-13, 19).
Documentation: 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. Results of positional sanctification: (1) Believer is placed under grace (Rom. 6:14). (2)
Believer is released from the bondage to the old sin nature (Rom. 6:6-7). (3) Receives a new nature at the moment of
salvation (2 Cor. 5:17-19). (4) Slaves to God (Rom. 6:22) (5) We are the adopted children of God (Rom. 8:15-16).
(6) Heirs of God and Joint-Heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17). (7) Eternal Security (Rom. 8:35-39). (8) Members of
the Royal Family of God (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). (9) New Spiritual Species (2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:22-24). (10)
Resurrection Body (Rom. 6:5; 1 Cor. 15:54-55). (11) Eternal Life (Rom. 6:22-23; John 11:25-26).
The Church Age believer is identified with Christ in His death positionally through the Baptism of the Spirit at
the moment of salvation (Rom. 6:3-11; Col. 2:12). Positional sanctification is God’s perspective of the believer.
Experiential sanctification is the believer walking in agreement with God’s viewpoint of himself, namely that the
believer died with Christ and was raised with Christ.
When Christ died on the Cross for our sins, we died. We have died with Christ in order that we can be raised
with Him in resurrection. The believer has been identified with Christ in His death on the Cross; therefore, we are
identified with Him in resurrection. We can never die spiritually again because we have been identified with Christ in
His spiritual death on the Cross, which paid for our sins once and for all (Rom. 6:10-11). Retroactive positional truth
looks back to the Cross (Rom. 6:3-6). It looks back 2000 years ago when our Lord suffered spiritual death on the
Cross as the payment for our sins. Retroactive positional truth looks back 2000 years ago when our Lord satisfied the
justice of God with His spiritual death. It looks back 2000 years ago when our Lord purchased the entire human race
out from the slave market of sin. It looks back 2000 years ago when our Lord made peace between God and man
with His spiritual death on the Cross. The believer has been crucified with Christ on the Cross (Rom. 6:6). We have
been buried with Him in Baptism (Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12). We have positionally rejected all human good and evil for
it has been crucified. The Church Age believer’s identification with Christ in His resurrection, ascension and session
(Col. 3:1-4).
The believer is identified with Christ as He is currently seated in heaven. The believer is now positionally higher
than angels (Heb. 1 and 2). Our identification with Christ makes us greater than the angels now in heaven. Satan and
the kingdom of darkness hates the Church because of this.
Positional Sanctification: John 14:20, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me,
and I in you.” Rom 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom
12:5, “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” 1 Cor 1:2,
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by
calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their {Lord} and ours.” 1 Cor
1:4, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus.” 1
Cor 1:30, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness
and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Cor 4:15, “For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet {you
would} not {have} many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” 1 Cor 15:18,
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“Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” 1 Cor 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so
also in Christ all will be made alive.” 2 Cor 3:14, “But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at
the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.” 2 Cor 5:17,
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have
come.” Gal 1:22, “I was {still} unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ;” Gal 2:4,
“But {it was} because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty
which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.” Gal 3:28, “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.” Gal
5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through
love”. Eph 1:1, “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.” Eph 1:3, “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.” Eph 1:10, “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 and things on the earth.” Eph 2:6-7, “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.” Eph 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for
good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Eph 2:13, “But now in Christ
Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Phil 1:1, “Paul and
Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the
overseers and deacons.” Phil 2:1, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any
consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion.” Col 1:2, “To the
saints and faithful brethren in Christ {who are} at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.”
Col 1:4, “since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;” 1 Pet
5:14, “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.”
Experiential Sanctification in relation to the royal ambassadorship. Matthew 5:14-16, “All of you are the light
of the world; never can a city situated on a mountain be concealed. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under
a bowl but upon the lampstand and it shines for all in the house. Thus let your light (application ofd doctrine)
shine (application of doctrine) before men so that they may see your virtuous works and may glorify your
Father in the heavens.” John 13:34-35, “A new command I give to all of you that you should virtuously love
one another as I have virtuously loved all of you that you also should virtuously love one another. By this all
will know that you are My students, if (3rd class condition, “maybe you and maybe you won’t”) you possess
virtue-love among one another.” John 15:8, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and
{so} demonstrate to be My students.” John 17:21, “that they may all be one; even as you, Father, {are} in me
and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.” Rom. 1:8, “First, I
thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faithfulness is being proclaimed throughout the
whole world.” Gal 1:24, “And they were glorifying God because of me.” Philippians 2:14-16, “Keep on
performing all activities without murmurs resulting from doubts so that you might demonstrate yourselves to
be uncensurable and uncontaminated, students of God (the Holy Spirit), virtuous in the midst of a corrupt
and depraved generation among whom you yourselves keep on appearing as luminaries in the cosmos by all
of you continuing to exhibit the Word of life as a boast for me on the day of Christ.” Col 4:5, “Conduct
yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-9, “We
always keep on giving thanks to God the Father regarding all of you, making mention of all of you during
our prayers. Constantly remembering your work originating from doctrine and the labor motivated from
virtue-love and the endurance from confidence through our Lord Jesus Christ before God our Father.
Knowing without a doubt, royal family who have all been virtuously loved by God the Father your election
because our good news never came to all of you through word only, but rather by means of power and by
means of the Holy Spirit and with absolute confidence, even as you know without a doubt what manner of
lifestyle we demonstrated among all of you on behalf of all of you. In fact, all of you became imitators of us
and of the Lord, having accepted the word in much tribulation accompanied with contentment originating
from the Holy Spirit so that all of you became an example to all those believing in Macedonia and in Achaia.
Indeed because of all of you the Word of the Lord has rung out not only in Macedonia and in Achaia but also
in every place your trust towards God has gone abroad so as we have no need to say anything. For they
themselves report regarding us what manner of reception we had face to face with you and how you turned to
the God from idols to serve the living and true God.” Titus 2:7, “in all things show yourself to be an example
of good deeds, {with} purity in doctrine, dignified.” Titus 2:9, “{Urge} bondslaves to be subject to their own
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masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative.” Titus 2:12, “instructing us to deny ungodliness
and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” 1 Pet 2:11-16, “Beloved, I
urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your
behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may
because of your good deeds, as they observe {them}, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves for
the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent
by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that
by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. {Act} as free men, and do not use your freedom
as a covering for evil, but {use it} as bondslaves of God.” 1 Pet 3:16, “and keep a good conscience so that in
the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” I
Jn 3:10, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice
righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”
Experiential Sanctification as a result of positional sanctification. Rom 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried
with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the
Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Rom 6:8, “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that
we shall also live with Him.” Gal 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves
with Christ.” Eph 5:8, “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children
of Light.” Col 3:1, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where
Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” 2 Tim 2:11, “It is a trustworthy statement: for if we died with
Him, we will also live with Him;” I Jn 4:9, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent
His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”
Experiential Sanctification (Identification) and the function of spiritual gifts. Rom 16:3, “Greet Prisca and
Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.” Acts 5:14, “ And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes
of men and women, were constantly added to {their number}.” Rom 16:9-12, “Greet Urbanus, our fellow
worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the
{household} of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the {household} of Narcissus, who
are in the Lord. Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has
worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine.” 1 Tim 5:10,
“having a reputation for good works; {and} if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to
strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, {and} if she has devoted
herself to every good work.”
Experiential Sanctification (Identification) in relation to underserved suffering. Rom 8:17, “and if children,
heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with {Him} so that we may also be
glorified with {Him.}.” Rom 16:7, “Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who
are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” 2 Cor 4:10-11, “always carrying
about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who
live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be
manifested in our mortal flesh.” 2 Cor 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 1 Cor 15:31, “I affirm,
brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” 2 Cor 13:4, “For indeed
He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him,
yet we will live with Him because of the power of God {directed} toward you.” Philippians 1:29-30, “because
for the benefit of all of you, it has been graciously granted (the privilege) because of Christ, not only to believe
in Him, but also, to suffer (hardship) because of Him since all of you are experiencing the same conflict which
all of you have seen with me and now all of you are hearing through me.” Col 4:7, “As to all my affairs,
Tychicus, {our} beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you
information.” 1Thes 2:14, “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that
are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they
{did} from the Jews.” 1Thes 3:8, “for now we {really} live, if you stand firm in the Lord.” 2 Tim 3:12,
“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Experiential Sanctification (Identification) and the function of the believer’s spiritual life. 1 Cor 6:17, “ But
the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit {with Him.}.” Gal 2:4, “But {it was} because of the false
brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in
order to bring us into bondage.” 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 means of doctrine in the Son of
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God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Philippians 3:2-3, “Beware of those dogs, beware of those
evil workers, beware of the mutilation because we are the (spiritual) 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.” 1Thes 4:4, “that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and
honor.” II Th 3:12, “Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet
fashion and eat their own bread.” 1 Timothy 6:12, “Keep on fighting the noble fight of doctrine. Seize eternal
life into which also you were called out and did acknowledge the noble acknowledgement before many
witnesses.” Titus 2:3, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor
enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good.” 1 Pet 1:15, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy
yourselves also in all {your} behavior;” 2 Pet 3:11, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way,
what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.” 2 Pet 3:14, “Therefore, beloved, since you
look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” I Jn 2:6, “the one who
says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” II Jn 1:4, “I was very glad to
find {some} of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment {to do} from the
Father.” 3 Jn 1:3, “For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, {that is}, how you are
walking in truth.”
Ultimate Sanctification: John 14:1-3, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a
place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I
am, {there} you may be also.” Rom 8:19-23, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the
revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who
subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom
of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of
childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for {our} adoption as sons, the redemption of our
body”. 1 Cor 15:20-23, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are
asleep. For since by a man {came} death, by a man also {came} the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam
all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that
those who are Christ’s at His coming,” 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, “Now this I communicate brethren, that flesh
and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (eternal state), nor does corruption inherit incorruption
(resurrection body). Behold, I teach a mystery doctrine, we (Church Age believers) shall not all sleep (die
physically), but we shall all be changed (resurrected), in a moment, in the winking of an eye, at the last
trumpet (military analogy), and the dead (in Christ) will be raised incorruptible (resurrection bodies) an we
who are alive on the earth shall be changed (receive resurrection bodies after the dead in Christ receive
theirs). For this corruptible (physical body with a sin nature) must put on incorruption (resurrection body
without a sin nature), and this mortal must put on immortality. Now when this corruption will have put on
incorruption and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come to pass the saying that stands
written (Isa. 28:5; Hosea 13:14), ‘Death is swallowed up because of Victory (Strategic Victory of Christ on
the Cross through His substitutionary spiritual death).’ O death, where is your victory? O death, where is
your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks are to God, Who gives us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (and His Strategic Victory at the Cross).” 2 Cor 5:1-8, “For we
know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made
with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this {house} we groan, longing to be clothed with our
dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in
this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that that is
mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the
Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the
body we are absent from the Lord–for we walk by faith, not by sight–we are of good courage, I say, and
prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” Eph 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy
Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Phil 3:20-21, “For our citizenship is in
heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of
our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to
subject all things to Himself.” 1Thes 4:13-18, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about
those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus
died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to
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you by the word of the Lord, that we, who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede
those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
{the} archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and
remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always
be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” II Th 2:1, “Now we request you,
brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.”
Experiential sanctification is the believer’s experience after salvation. It is the application of Christ’s Cross by
the believer. Its purpose is for the believer to attain Christ-like character in time after salvation. Philippians 3:8,
“Furthermore in fact, yes without a doubt, I continue to regard each today as a liability because of the
incomparableness of the knowledge pertaining to Christ Jesus, my Lord because of Whom, I have renounced
all of them, even regarding all of them today as piles of excrement in order that I myself might attain Christlike
character.”
Christ-like character is attained or experiential sanctification is accomplished through the application of the
Word of God, which utilizes the Spirit of God. The means by which Christ-like character is attained is stated in
Philippians 3:3, “Because we are the circumcision, those who are serving the Father by means of the Spirit of
God, who are priding themselves in Christ Jesus, who have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3 refers to
the 2 Great Divine Provisions of the church age believer’s spiritual life: (1) Filling of the Spirit: “by means of the
Spirit of God” (2) Application of doctrine: “who are priding themselves in Christ Jesus.”
The filling of the Spirit is unique to the church age. It is the mental state of the believer who does not have any
unacknowledged sins in the stream of consciousness and is applying the Word to his thought process. It is not an
emotion. It is one of the seven salvation ministries of the Holy Spirit. At the moment of salvation every believer is
filled with the Spirit, but he loses it through committing personal sin. It is recovered by acknowledging any known
sin to the Father in the name or, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 1:9). Every believer in the church age is
commanded to permit the Holy Spirit to control and influence his soul (Eph. 5:18). The filling of the Spirit takes
place in the soul of the believer when he allows God the Holy Spirit to control and influence his soul. It is a dynamic
whereas the indwelling of the Spirit is static meaning it never changes, it is eternal. The filling of the Spirit is the
operational power of God the Holy Spirit, which empowers the believer to execute the will of God the Father. The
filling of the Spirit enables the believer to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ meaning to become
like Him experientially in His death and resurrection. It enables the believer to become like Jesus Christ in thought,
word and action or in other words, it gives the believer the ability to acquire the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is necessary for the believer to allow himself to be controlled by the Spirit in order that he may walk by the
Spirit. Walking by the Spirit is actively choosing to conduct oneself by means of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit
and walking by the Spirit are 2 sides of the same coin. You cannot walk by the Spirit unless you are filled with the
Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is directly related to the believer’s mental attitude whereas walking by the Spirit
directly related to how the believer conducts himself.
The filling of the Spirit is directly related to being a doer of the Word of God. The believer who is applying the
Word of God is influenced by means of the Spirit. The Spirit takes the doctrines of Christ, i.e., the Word of God and
makes them understandable to the believer. The Spirit does not act independently of the mind of Christ, i.e., the
Word of God (Jn. 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 2:10-16). Therefore, the believer who is controlled or influenced by means of the
Spirit is a doer of the Word. The Spirit of God and the Word of God work in concert with one another on behalf of
the believer who has no acknowledged sin in his stream of consciousness and is applying the Word of God to his
thought process.
The filling of the Spirit is the only means of the spirituality in the church age. Spirituality is the filling of the
Spirit. It is an absolute meaning that you are either filled with the Spirit or the believer is living in carnality or in
other words, the old sin nature. The filling of the Spirit is the only means of having fellowship with God (Jn. 4:23-
24). It is the only means by which the Holy Spirit produces Christ-like character in the believer. The filling of the
Spirit is the only means by which the believer can execute the plan of God. The filling of the Spirit is a power option
meaning that the believer has to choose whether or not to allow God the Holy Spirit to fully influence and control his
soul.
The believer who desires to attain Christ-like character must reject the use of the 3 arrogance skills of Satan and
cosmic system. 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-like character 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-like character thus He has provided in eternity past under
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the principles of election and predestination, equal privilege and equal opportunity to do so. The believer who
desires to attain Christ-like character 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-like character 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-like character. 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 (Jm. 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
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-like character 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-like character must be
diligent in his study of the Scriptures (Col. 3:1-2; 2 Ti. 2:15-16). He must consistently operate according to virtuelove
(Deut. 6:5; Mt. 22:34-37; Mk. 12:28-30; Rm. 8:28; Jo. 13:33-34; 15:12; 1 Jo. 3:23): Unconditional personal
love for God the Father; 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 like character in his life must develop His relationship with the Lord through consistent and
persistent learning and applying 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-like character demands that the believer develop his
relationship with the Lord through prayer as well. The believer who desires to attain Christ-like character must
imitate the Lord in his thoughts, words and actions (Eph. 4:28-5:1). Galatians 5:22-23 lists the 9-fold production of
the Spirit, which is in essence the characteristics of Christ (Gal. 5:22-23).
The believer who desires to attain Christ-like character must comprehend who and What God is and What He
has provided through 3 categories of divine grace provision. (1) Antecedent grace: God the Father in eternity past
provided every Church Age believer with a Portfolio of Invisible Assets and has given him Equal Privilege and
Equal Opportunity to execute the Plan of God or the spiritual life for the Church Age under the principles of Election
and Predestination. (2) Living grace: Every Church Age believer has been given 2 power options, 3 spiritual skills,
and 5 spiritual mechanics as well as 3 categories of divine omnipotence which enable the believer to execute the
operational type spiritual life known as the Plan of God for the Church Age. (a) The omnipotence of God the Father
as related to the Church Age believer’s Portfolio of Invisible Assets. (b) The omnipotence of God the Son Who
preserves and sustains human history in order for the Church Age believer to execute the Plan of God or the spiritual
life for the Church Age. (c) The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit Who supplies the believer the operational
power to execute the unique spiritual life for the Church Age known as the Plan of God. (3) Eschatological grace:
Every Church Age believer will receive a resurrection body at the Rapture or exit-resurrection of the Church and will
receive rewards and the conveyance of their Escrow Blessings at the Bema Seat Evaluation if they became a winner
(nikao) in time by reaching spiritual maturity and becoming a witness for the Prosecution in the Rebuttal Phase of
Satan’s Appeal Trial.
The believer who desires to attain Christ-like character 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 virtue-love of

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