John 3:16, Part II

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.“ 

This is the second part in a two part series. We will only address the meaning of the word believe since it incorporates many ideas that need a concentrated focus.


To Believe


There are two very important questions to ask here. What is the criteria to believe (in Jesus) and what happens if we fail to meet the criteria to believe?

Believe in the Greek – πιστεύω pisteuó (pist-yoo’-o) it is a verb and means to entrust: to think to be true; to be persuaded of; to credit, to place confidence in. Another way of saying it is: everyone who believes, every believing person, or everyone believing;

In this context, it is generally accepted that it is a present active participle and implies the necessity of a continuous action. A continuous, active belief is the condition necessary for us to have eternal life. But what does this mean?

The Short Answer: Believing is putting your faith in the atoning work of Jesus, living for, and growing in God as best as you can in all the light you have: a complete and active commitment, continuing in the righteousness and  Love of God. 


The Long Answer


We know that if we continue in something we get better at it; in short we grow and begin to perfect whatever we are doing. Likewise, God expects your faith and knowledge to grow. So should you.

About the word faith: Many times in scripture “faith” is used interchangeably with the word believe.

So if I say faith or belief/believe/believing, I am referring to the general concept of the continuous act of putting our trust Jesus as noted in John 3:16.


Belief, its Meaning


When we believe in Jesus it is not merely acknowledging His gospel is true. Its putting our faith into action and placing our life into Jesus’ hands. 

In Genesis, God told Abraham to do this exact same thing. Remember, Abraham is the father of the children of promise (those who have been saved). This call of his faith is highly symbolic and applies spiritually to those who receive the promise.


Take your son, your only son,

whom you love, Isaac,

and go to the region of Moriah.

Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering

on a mountain I will show you.

~  Genesis 22:2


The children of the promise are to sacrifice to God those things most sacred to them. We are to even sacrifice our life for Him. Abraham was to sacrifice the most precious fruit of his life by dedicating it (his son) to God.


I beseech you therefore, brethren,

by the mercies of God,

that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,

holy, acceptable unto God,

which is your reasonable service.

~ Romans 12:1


Giving our life to God is considered our reasonable service. This begs the question, what may be considered unreasonable service? The next verse points us in the right direction.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

~ Romans 12:1


Those who choose to believe in Jesus must provide a service that is not conformed to the world, given over to the pleasures it offers. Because when we do, we fail to remain obedient to our calling and fall into sins of disobedience. The Apostle John explains this more concisely: 


My dear children,

I am writing this to you

so that you will not sin.

But those who obey God’s word

truly show how completely they love him.

That is how we know we are living in him.

Those who say they live in God

should live their lives as Jesus did.

Do not love this world

nor the things it offers you,

for when you love the world,

you do not have the love of the Father in you.

For the world offers only a craving

for physical pleasure,

a craving for everything we see,

and pride in our achievements and possessions.

These are not from the Father,

but are from this world.

So you must remain faithful

to what you have been taught from the beginning.  

~ 1 John 2:1, 5-6, 15-16, 24


Jesus’ Clear Examples


Jesus showed us four examples of the gospel’s effect on people’s lives. We will look closely at each one in order to understand what can happen to those who hear the gospel and fail to believe, those who believe for while yet do not remain faithful as John (and other apostles) warned, and those who continuously believe, building their faith through active trust and obedience.


The following are four classes of people and the results of their choices to act upon their belief (or faith). There are 3 possible outcomes for those who hear the word of God.

Let us review Jesus’ words found in Luke Chapter 8 below.


1. The Seed along the Path


A farmer went out to sow his seed.

As he was scattering the seed,

some fell along the path;

it was trampled on,

and the birds ate it up. (verse 5). 

*(A farmer is someone who preaches truth. The seed is the word of God).

Those along the path are the ones who hear,

and then the devil comes

and takes away the word from their hearts,

so that they may not believe and be saved.

(verse 12)


This first group are people who hear God’s word, they may feel moved in their heart, feel the Holy Spirit prompting them, but do not take the step and act to believe in their heart and trust in God’s word.

Many hear the word of God and just like seed on the path, His word is near, waiting to be planted in their hard, world trodden heart, but Satan comes along and steals the word out of their heart. This can happen many ways. Usually current worldly distractions lead them away and through the fruits of their continued sin God’s word and the prompting of the Holy Ghost is washed away. This person will perish in hell never receiving the work of God in their hearts.


2. The Rocky Ground


 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up,

the plants withered because they had no moisture.

(verse 6)

Those on the rocky ground

are the ones who receive the word with joy

when they hear it, but they have no root.

They believe for a while,

but in the time of testing they fall away. 

(verse 13)


This second group are people who hear the word of God. They are convicted of sin, repent, and receive God into their hearts.

Their faith was soon tested (as it always is), and rather than being nurtured up developing strength, holiness, and perfection, their faith (or belief) remained in a heart that was fragile, carnal, and undeveloped in the ways of righteousness. Continuing in this heart-state kept them weak and led them away to perdition.

We must take a firm hold of the word of God, growing in grace daily, putting away all things contrary to His nature.

Unfortunately, those who don’t develop the seed God plants in their hearts will believe in vain if they continue in a state that facilitates falling away. 


Now, brothers and sisters,

I want to remind you of the gospel

I preached to you, which you received

and on which you have taken your stand.

By this gospel you are saved,

if you hold firmly to the word

I preached to you.

Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

~ I Corinthians 15:1-2


Paul reinforces this principle about rocky ground, and encourages us to hold firm, to pull out the rocks of the world out of our hearts, in order to nurture our faith until it is strong, tested, and proven.

Those who God considers elect are those who hold firm in what they believe. We must stand firm on all the principles of God’s until the end. When Paul uses the words “you have believed,” it has the same connotation as John 3:16: He wants them to remain in an active and continuous saving belief.

Just prior to this, Paul told the Corinthians that they are saved. Properly, this means that they have been delivered out of danger and into safety. This is principally God rescuing believers from the penalty and power of sin – and into His provisions (safety).

~ HELPS Word-studies

As we actively and faithfully believe, we are being delivered from our previous acts of sin and its wages. Full deliverance is contingent upon our continued obedience until death (or the coming of Jesus).

Remember, if you believe, Jesus is delivering you from the penalty of sin, from having to commit any more sin against Him because it’s sin’s power over us has been vanquished. This is why we must persist, continuing to live out our faith in Him.

No longer are we to sin but to obey the same command that Jesus gave to the forgiven adulteress; Go and sin no more.


We know that our old sinful selves

were crucified with Christ

so that sin might lose its power in our lives.

We are no longer slaves to sin.

For when we died with Christ

we were set free from the power of sin.

And since we died with Christ,

we know we will also live with him.

We are sure of this

because Christ was raised from the dead,

and he will never die again.

Death no longer has any power over him.

When he died,

he died once to break the power of sin.

But now that he lives,

he lives for the glory of God.

So you also should consider yourselves

to be dead to the power of sin

and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

~ Romans 6:6-11 NLT


Once we believe, we begin to grow. We must remain in Him and allow Him to change our rocky soil. No grapes grow where there is no vine or husbandman. No vine grows where there is no nutritious soil. The seed has been planted in many hearts, yet only to whither on the vine.

Sin stops us from growing, destroys our connection to God, and leads to death.


I am the vine; you are the branches.

Whoever abides in me and I in him,

he it is that bears much fruit,

for apart from me you can do nothing.

If anyone does not abide in me

he is thrown away like a branch and withers;

and the branches are gathered,

thrown into the fire, and burned.

~ John 15:5-6

———-

No one who is born of God

will continue to sin,

because God’s seed remains in them;

they cannot go on sinning,

because they have been born of God.

~ 1 John 3:9 NIV

———-

But now you are free from the power of sin

and have become slaves of God.

Now you do those things

that lead to holiness

and result in eternal life.

~ Romans 6:22 NLT


3. The Thorny Ground


 Other seed fell among thorns,

which grew up with it and choked the plants. 

(verse 7)

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear,

but as they go on their way

they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures,

and they do not mature

(verse 14)


This passage is interesting because the words “grew up with it” indicate that the people believed, put their faith in God, and were growing in Christ but they do not mature. At the same time they were believing in Him, they were also engaging in worrying, gaining wealth, and enjoying many forms of worldly pleasures or getting lost in recreational activities. 

This is the most troubling verse of all to me because most of Christianity envelops more time and thought in life’s worldly distractions than consecrating their life as living sacrifices, developing a noble and pure heart, which is the only reasonable service a Christian should do.

Jesus is saying that we need to be single-minded: not divided by a heart partaking in the things of this world and of Christ. A Christian should be markedly different focusing on God in daily living, acting, thinking, and all their intentions.

There is no keeping up with the Jones in the Christian life. We are to be completely free from those things that so easily entangle a carnal heart.


He gave himself for us to set us free

from every kind of lawlessness

and to purify for himself a people

who are truly his, eager to do good.

~ Titus 2:14 NET

———-

Come close to God,

and God will come close to you.

Wash your hands, you sinners;

purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided

between God and the world.

~ James 4:8 NLT

———-


4. The Good Soil


 Still other seed fell on good soil.

It came up and yielded a crop,

a hundred times more than was sown. 

(verse 8)

But the seed on good soil

stands for those with a noble and good heart,

who hear the word, retain it,

and by persevering produce a crop. 

(verse 15)


Who has a noble or worthy and good heart? It is clear from scripture that all have sinned and none are righteous. So, this passage cannot mean the word fell on hearts that are good. Verse 8 is talking about soil: the place and things that nurture the heart.

agathós – means inherently (intrinsically) good; as to the believer, describes what originates from God and is empowered by Him in their life, through faith.

~ HELPS Word-studies

Strongs Concordance describes good as having developed a good constitution or nature: γῆ, Luke 8:8; δένδρον,Matthew 7:18, in sense equivalent to ‘fertile soil,’ ‘a fruitful tree,’ (Xenophon, oec. 16, 7 γῆ ἀγαθή, … γῆ κακῇ, an. 2, 4, 22χώρας πολλῆς καί ἀγαθῆς οὔσης) and that it corresponds to the figurative expression good ground, denoting a soul inclined to goodness, accordingly, eager to learn saving truth, ready to bear the fruits (καρπούς ἀγαθούς, James 3:17) of a Christian life.


Hearts are make noble and good by allowing the living word of Christ to flow freely within and without the whole course of our life.

When we first receive the word, it is clear from the preceding three types of soil and the whole tenure of scripture that all are unrighteous and deserving of death. There is nothing we can do to make our hearts noble or good. 


And to the one who does not work

but believes in him who justifies the ungodly,

his faith is counted as righteousness,

~ Romans 4:5 ESV


After ungodly sinners receive the word, their hearts begin to change. This is an instantaneous gift and yet can be a time consuming process that begins to reveal itself as demonstrated by the love of God emanating from an increasingly growing, consecrated, and submissive heart.

Pauls describes above God’s pardon and crediting our faith as righteousness. Christ justifies us while we are yet ungodly and guilty of sin.

As a result, God cleanses us from guilt of our all our past sin, frees us from the power of sin, and enables us to live a life that is truly righteous. This is a what true pardon means. Not only forgiving us but enabling us to be obedient to Him.


Therefore, my beloved,

as you have always obeyed, so now,

not only as in my presence

but much more in my absence,

work out your own salvation

with fear and trembling,

~ Philippians 2:12 ESV

———–

Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation

in His blood through faith.

This was to demonstrate His righteousness,

because in the forbearance of God

He passed over the sins previously committed.  

~ Romans 3:35 NASB


Faith is Reckoned as Righteous


 When we get saved, God passes over all our previous sins. Our heart has not been made pure yet because the predisposition to sin, to do evil (carnality) still remain. We are pardoned the moment we are saved. 

Our heart still needs to be purified. It still needs to be made noble as grows in that good soil that Jesus is developing.

This is where the act of salvation gets interesting. We have been pardoned. Not by any righteousness in us but by our belief in Jesus. He justifies the ungodly, not doing any work but having a faith (believing) that is counted as righteousness.

Keep in mind scripture does not say we are given Christ’s righteousness. We must always remember that God is just and He judges according to truth. Our salvation is based on faith and faith alone. We are still what we were in mind, body and soul. The work has just begun. He has only begun to make us holy. This is what He wants to finish.

Christ’s righteousness is not imputed to us as our righteousness. This is a common mistake based upon assumption. Scripture states that God reckons our faith as righteousness, which is conditional or us to be united with Christ who was raised for our justification.

Genuine saving faith is transformative and righteous at the outset. Jesus begins by imputing righteousness justifying our faith. Through obedience, our hearts being to filled with His love as He cleanses (purifies) our heart from of all its impurities stemming from sin.

Our imperfections remain since we are still human with limited in knowledge, perspectives, and understanding. It is our sinful character or nature that is being cleansed. Our memories, thinking, and habits remain as they become subject to His image and we become partakers in His nature.


seeing that His divine power has granted to us

everything pertaining to life and godliness,

through the true knowledge of Him

who called us by His own glory and excellence.

For by these He has granted to us

His precious and magnificent promises,

so that by them you

may become partakers of the divine nature,

having escaped the corruption that is in the world

by lust (by our evil desires or sinful nature).

~ Peter 1:3b-4


Partaking in His holiness is the natural outcome of continuous, active, saving faith. This can only happen in a consecrated life, undivided in devotion and commitment to Christ. 

He wants to strengthen your faith, conform you to his image, so when He comes (or you die), you can be confident, lacking in nothing with a clear conscious, unblemished, and unblamable in His sight.


May he strengthen your hearts

so that you will be blameless and holy

in the presence of our God and Father

when our Lord Jesus comes

with all his holy ones.

~ 1 Thessalonians 3:13 NIV

———-

Blessed are the pure in heart:

for they shall see God.

~ Matthew 5:8 KJV

———-

The purpose of my instruction is

that all believers would be filled with love

that comes from a pure heart,

a clear conscience, and genuine faith.

~ 1 Timothy 1:5 NLT

———-

For judgment will again be righteous,

And all the upright in heart will follow it.

~ Psalm 94:15 NASB


God wants to purify our hearts: to make it morally upright, noble enough to eschew (to consistently, firmly, and assertively turn away) from all evil and abhor sin (to regard sin as vile and utterly detest it all its forms) from the deepest recesses of your soul.

A christian pastor once tried to correct me and told me that the gospel is not about morality. This could not be further from the truth. From the moment Adam and Eve sinned, their moral compass was skewed and and in need to correction. God wants to restore our moral compass so that we can be with him.

We are given a warning in Hebrews 5:7-14 about falling away and the importance of living a righteous life. Without the moral compass God wants to restore in our heart, we will be unable to distinguish good from evil and will remain in sin.


Conclusion


Therefore, whosover believeth in Him will have transformed nature because they have a continuous and active faith in the only holy, upright, and righteous savior, Jesus Christ.

Love Him with all of your heart. If you cannot truly and completely do this, it is because even a tiny part of your heart is at enmity with God. Ask Him to continue His work of purifying your heart.

He can do anything. Don’t give up.

Through it all: He will perform and do His good pleasure in you . . . if you believe.


 

 

John 3:16, Part I

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

In this two part series, we are going to examine: #1: For God so love the world, #2: that whosoever,

# 3: believeth in Him will be discussed in the second post.

We will not address the nature of Christ, perdition, and eternal life here. Those can and should be addressed separately to my understanding.


This post will review sections #1, 2, & 3, “For God so loved the world, that whosoever

Post two will address # 4, what does it mean to believe in Jesus.


Some of these elements will be broken down into subsections such as “For God” because it addresses a very specific moment in time, a very specific people in the past, and it is applied generally in the future.


For God so Loved


I have always believed that this verse said that God loved all of creation; even the animals, plants, and oceans. Studying this verse more closely, I have learned that this is true. But it means so much more.

In the words “For God, ” we have have a trifold revelation: The first application a very specific span of time and a specific people. The second application is very general, addressing the character of His creation, and the third, His relation to all of mankind.

For” meant: In this manner, in this way or in this fashion, in accordance with this description (corresponding to what follows); in keeping with; along this line, in the manner spoken; In this manner as described in the wilderness, by Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea . . . God provided a way to salvation.

It points to how God loved us while we were yet sinners and sent his Son: in this manner or in this way.


But God demonstrates his own love for us,

in that while we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.

~ Romans 5:8


The First Application of “For


We have to look at the preceding two verse to see the first application showing His love.


As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 

so that whoever believes  in Him

will have eternal life.

~ John 3:14-15


To the Jews of Jesus’s day, the brazen serpent was considered very highly. It represented a type of resurrection. Because by looking upon it, the dying lived.

When the people in the wilderness cried out for salvation (Numbers 21:4-9), God provided a way for them. He did not take the serpents away when the serpent was lifted up. They remained in the midst of the people.

The serpents represented the immediate consequences for their sin, just like death represents the immediate consequences or wages for our sin. 

Like the serpents in the wilderness, God will not take away death from us. We still have to die. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God expects us to cease from our sinning. Because sin brought forth this judgment.


 

In John 3:7, Jesus saidMarvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus was speaking to Israel through a representative, Nicodemus, a Pharisee. Secondarily, He was speaking to the rest of mankind.

When Jesus said Marvel not that I said untothee, He was speaking to Nicodemus (by the use of thee). When He said Ye must be born again, He was speaking to the whole world because ye is plural. This nuance is lost in the newer versions of the Bible.


The Second Application of “For


The second application is very general and I believe it includes every part of the creation story. God loved Adam and Eve, and during creation He called what He made Good six times.

After He finished His work and looked at the whole, God said it was Very Good!

We know God loved His creation and everything in it. We also know the whole of creation groans, waiting salvation.

For we know that the whole creation

groans and suffers the pains

of childbirth together until now.

~ Romans 8:22


Even creation is waiting its rebirth, both the heavens and the earth. 


See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

~ Isaiah 65:17


The Third Application of “For


Because God loves all of humanity even while we are yet sinners, He devised a plan of pardon for us all.

 

Jesus was lifted up on the cross to atone for our sins. His purpose was to set us free from sin, the power of sin, and the wages of sin, which is not fully consummated until the second death occurs.

Anyone whose name

was not found written in the book of life

was thrown into the lake of fire.

~ Revelation 20:15


Our fall into sin, pointed to the crux of God’s complete plan of salvation: 


The Fall into Sin


God hates all sin and would not make anything sinful. God is not the author of sin. He is holy and only holiness, purity, truth, and justice come from Him.

Nothing wicked or corrupt was ever found in Him or in His immediate creations. His angelic beings, humanity, and creation were all created in righteousness and perfection (in relation to the absence of sin).

The angels and mand sinned after they were created by the perfect hand of God. This shows that the angels and humanity had the ability to choose or the capacity of free will to serve God or to rebel.


Yet this capacity is not fully understood. Nor is the first revelation of sin. This passage describes when sin was found in Lucifer.


Thou wast perfect in thy ways

from the day that thou wast created,

till iniquity was found in thee. 

~ Ezekiel 28:15


When God created Adam and Eve, they were the apex of His creation: created in perfection. Neither was sin found in them until after the the creation.

This passage describes when sin was found in Adam and Eve.


She also gave some to her husband,

who was with her, and he ate it.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened,

and they realized they were naked;

so they sewed fig leaves together

and made coverings for themselves. 

~ Genesis 3:6-7


In the above passage, mankind is described as having their eyes opened. They could discern between good and evil. The discovery of personal sin was realized by the disobedience of God’s will.

Sin brought with it, shame, guilt, and death. It also altered the order of the entire creation. The makeup of the our world was completely stained and spoiled by the works of sin. 


Now, I do not claim to understand how the darkness of sin enters every living soul after Adam and Eve, but I do not ascribe to the concept of original sin as defined by Augustine of Hippo.

Augustine’s attempt to frame the mystery of sin in mankind was built around his earlier influences from Manichaeism, Gnosticism, and Augustine’s own sinful proclivities.

These influences are clearly corruptive in nature. Man’s unscriptural philosophies do not belong in the train of Christian thought for they increasingly distort our understanding of God, create false doctrines, and our understanding of His plan and will for our lives.


Sin in Mankind


God created all of mankind after the likeness of Adam and Eve. Procreation is one of the many ways we are created after God’s image. So is the knowledge of good and evil.


And the LORD God said,

Now that the man has become like one of us,

knowing good and evil,

he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand

and take also from the tree of life and eat,

and live forever.

~ Genesis 3:22


We are conceived by parents who sin and are born into a world full of sin. We have a natural disposition to sin because the corrupted world in which we are conceived demands our corroborative effort in order to exist. 

It is as natural for us to sin as it is to breath. The deeper we go into sin the easier it is to do. Likewise, the deeper we live in God’s righteousness, the easier it is to be righteous.


Little Children


He called a little child to him,

and placed the child among them. 

Truly I tell you,

unless you change

and become like little children,

you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore,

whoever takes the lowly position

of this child is the greatest

in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoever welcomes one

such child in my name welcomes me.

If anyone causes one of these little ones

who believe in me to stumble,

it would be better for them

to have a large millstone hung around their neck

and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 

See that you do not despise

one of these little ones.

For I tell you

that their angels in heaven

always see the face of my Father in heaven.

~ Matthew 10:2, 4-6, 10


Age of Accountability


We are told by Jesus that heaven is filled with the likes of little children. It is clear that children go to heaven because their sin is not counted against them for their capacity of good and evil is not yet developed.

Consider Genesis 3:7 where Adam and Eves eyes were opened and they had an awareness that sin had become a part of who they were. Before that, in a sence, they were like little children who did not comprehend good and evil.

Children eventually reach an age of accountability, when child-like innocence fades and the sinful characteristics that have taken a hold of their life, are awakened by their their consciousness.

Then Jesus goes on to describe the 99 sheep and one that was lost. I believe one application of this parable is linking children as sheep who enter into sin after they have become accountable. Then God goes looking for them.

We all like sheep have gone astray. Since the whole context of Matthew chapter 10 leading up to this parable was in reference to children, this is a likely contextual application.

Like the prodigal son, we fall and utter sinfulness and are accountable to the judgment due if we remain in our sins by disbelief and disobedience.


 The rest of Matthew 18 describes brothers in Christ who sin and servants of God who fall into sin and lose their position with God (lose their salvation because of sin).

There is a clear development of accountability, and increasing levels of responsibility described in this chapter. It is likely Jesus was describing accountability and responsibility in the context of the Jewish life.

And this is why God sent His son to us; To give us the opportunity to correct our sinful disobedience and change our dispositions (our heart) by “believing” in the gospel of His son.

Later we will discuss the key word of the verse, “believing.” It is very important to have a correct understanding of its meaning and application.

I was led astray from the Lord and fell back into the practice of sinning after initial salvation due to a common misunderstanding of the word believe in the church today.

That is why the next section only discusses the concept “to believe.” It is my understanding now that if I died in that state, I would have perished. Thanks be to God’s grace alone I am alive today and believe in Him.


The World


World – κόσμος or kósmos literally means something that is ordered, or more properly it means an ordered system such as the human body, the Earth, our solar system, the universe, even the whole of creation.

Order demands intimate and precise functioning of everything. The English word “cosmetic” comes from kosmos and describes an ensemble or garnishments, which enhances the order and details of the face as a whole.

So God does loves everything that he created and wants to make it all Very Good again. Mankind was creation’s garnishment: the perfect ensemble added completing the magnificent and expansive universe.

It is right to add: God did not create anything that He hates. And we know what God hates. 

God wants not only to restore us but to exalt us to a heavenly nature. Those who serve God are not a partaker of this corrupt world. We live in it but do not ascribe to its characteristics or nature.


If you were of the world,

the world would love its own;

but because you are not of the world,

but I chose you out of the world,

because of this the world hates you.

~ John 15:19

———-

Do not love the world

or anything in the world.

If anyone loves the world,

love for the Father is not in them.

~ I John 2:15

———-

Whereby are given unto us

exceeding great and precious promises:

that by these ye might be

partakers of the divine nature,

having escaped the corruption

that is in the world through lust.

~ 2 Peter 1:14


Whosoever


The word whosover in Greek is (πᾶς) pronounced pas. Literally means all, the whole, every kind ofany, everyone.

The emphasis in the Greek considers the total picture and then focuses on “one piece at a time. The context is the world (the emphasis) and every person in the world (one piece at a time) is the effect.

Since God loves the whole world and everyone and everything He created in it (Satan and the angels are not of this world). 

Whosoever is clearly a call to humanity for we are the only thing in the creation of the universe that is fashioned after His image with moral and intellectual capacity to receive the gift of salvation.

Although the whole creation groans for redemption, man is given the honor to receive Jesus’ act of redemption. As a result, the whole creation will be made anew, perfect in God’s eyes because Jesus gave mankind salvation.


For God did not send the Son

into the world to judge the world,

but that the world might be saved through Him.

~ John 3:17

———-

For we know that the whole creation

groans and suffers the pains of childbirth

together until now.

~ Romans 8:22

———-

But in keeping with his promise

we are looking forward to a new heaven

and a new earth,

where righteousness dwells.

~ II Peter 3:13


In the new heavens and new earth, only the righteousness will dwell: God, His Angels, Humanity, and the rest of living creation living in perfection order with God in glory forever.


In Part II, we will explore the word Believe.

Keep the faith!


Dirt, Dust, and Soil

 


Everything has its Place


I was pulling weeds in my garden today as dark clouds began to appear reminding me of the coming storm.

As I sifted the dirt from the weeds, I noticed how dark and rich the soil was. My plants will be nurtured well as they grow this season. Already, my corn, cabbage, kale, lettuce, and watermelon have begun to spring forth with life.

I can’t wait to try my hand at the sweet potato slips we are preparing . . .  

“America the Beautiful” reminds us that our amber waves of grain blanketing rolling hills are our heritage even under God’s curse we are to work the land all the days of our lives.

It is from that same soil that God took and “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and he became a living soul.” ~ Genesis 2:7

It is the purpose that, “God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2:15

How beautiful and abounding with life was the soil God made for us. In the Garden, man walked, and talked, and lived in perfect harmony with God.  

That was, until sin entered man’s heart and caused a change in the whole world around him.  

God said,


cursed is the ground for thy sake;

in sorrow shalt thou eat of it

all the days of thy life; 

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth;

and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,

till thou return unto the ground;

for out of it wast thou taken:

for dust thou art,

and unto dust shalt thou return.

~ Genesis 3:17-19


That rich and perfect soil had changed. It still brought forth food but it was cursed, cursed by sin. The world had lost its natural purpose that God originally intended.

No more would the Earth merely bring forth life and things that God would call “Good.” Now the Earth would bring forth that which brings pain, suffering, and death.


Soil Becomes Dirt


Soil now has very limited uses. We have to regulate our use of it. If we don’t it becomes dirt. If the soil continues to degrade, it becomes dust.

So God’s curse, cast on a once perfect world, is used to curse man, or more accurately, to bring judgment upon the sin that man commits.

In Canaan, the Israelites were instructed to give the soil rest every seventh year.


For six years you are to sow your fields

and harvest the crops,

but during the seventh year

let the land lie unplowed and unused.

Then the poor among your people

may get food from it,

and the wild animals may eat what is left.

Do the same with your vineyard

and your olive grove.

~ Exodus 23:10


We get refreshed when we rest and that is one of the reasons God instructed the Israelites to fallow their ground for a year. There were other reasons to, and they all point to Christ.

The Christian Sabbath is given to us so we can rest in the redemptive work of Christ; to be fed, learn of Him and give Him the first fruits of our lives.


On the first day of the week,

when we were gathered together to break bread,

Paul began talking to them,

intending to leave the next day,

and he prolonged his message until midnight.

~ Acts 20:7

———-

Upon the first day of the week

let every one of you lay by him in store,

as God hath prospered him,

that there be no gatherings when I come.

~ 1 Corinthians 16:2


Rest Brings Life


Obedience to the word of God brings rest and abundant life

When we care for the soil as good stewards, it brings forth life and sustenance. It is the source of our earthly life for that is where we came from and it where we will return.

In addition to being made from soil, the soil also reflects our earthly characteristics; those things foreordained for destruction.


Who is wise and understanding among you?

Let them show it by their good life,

by deeds done in the humility

that comes from wisdom.

But if you harbor bitter envy

and selfish ambition in your hearts,

do not boast about it or deny the truth.

Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven

but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

For where you have envy and selfish ambition,

there you find disorder and every evil practice. 

But the wisdom that comes from heaven i

s first of all pure;  then peace-loving,

considerate, submissive, full of mercy

and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Peacemakers who sow in peace

reap a harvest of righteousness.

~ James 3:13-17


Our thinking, our desires, our goals, the whole of who we are in our natural state by its very nature is worldly and earthen. 

Our earthly bodies, its natural desires, and inclinations; mind you none of it is sinful in itself; yet we are cursed to die because of Adam’s sin and because we sin.

But alas, there is a second part of our nature; That which is linked to the eternal. It is that part that longs for heaven and in dire need of redemption.

It is our soul and spirit. They are so closely linked that only the word of God can separate them.


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.

~ Hebrews 4:12


God wants to pierce this area of our heart so He can clean out the dirt. 

Restoration begins upon initial salvation, when we are no longer subject to serve sin.

We are now justified in Christ and are free to serve God in an exclusiveness that holds no room for the things of the old man, namely fleshly desires that lead to sin.

We are no longer to serve sin or have any part in sin. This is why Jesus came to set us free. If we do sin by mistake we have an advocate but there is no excuse to continue in sin. Christians who do this will perish in their sins.


For if we deliberately keep on sinning

after receiving the knowledge of the truth,

no further sacrifice for sins is left for us

~ Hebrews 10:26


Dirt out of Place


For you were called to freedom, brethren;

only do not turn your freedom

into an opportunity for the flesh,

but through love serve one another.

. . . But I say, walk by the Spirit,

and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh

. . . those who practice such things

will not inherit the kingdom of God.

. . . Now those who belong to Christ Jesus

have crucified the flesh

with its passions and desires.

~ Galatians 5:13a, 16, 21b, 24


If you have not crucified the flesh, its passions, and desires, you do not belong to Christ. You belong to your father the Devil. 

This is a hard saying.


Whoever makes a practice of sinning

is of the devil,

for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

The reason the Son of God appeared

was to destroy the works of the devil.

~ I John 3:8


Dirt in our Heart


Soil has its place. When soil finds itself in places it does not belong, soil becomes dirt. Its attractiveness, bounty, and life giving properties give way to a spoiling nature.

If we get dirt on our church clothes, a new hat, or our children’s hands are soiled, dirt is disagreeable.

It is soil out of place; it is dirt.

Now we know that dirt in or on our body or clothing does not really make us dirty. It only taints the earthly surface.

Even after we are justifies, there is dirt deep inside our soul that needs to be removed. If we do not love God with all our heart, this is evidence that the work is not yet complete. 

It does not happen at death. For death is not our savior. Death is a curse. How we are in our current state will be how we are when we die. Jesus explained it to us and the apostles continued His work.


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.”

Every plant which My heavenly Father

did not plant shall be uprooted . . . 

Do you not understand

that everything that goes into the mouth

passes into the stomach,

and is eliminated?

But the things that proceed out of the mouth

come from the heart,

and those defile the man.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts,

murders, adulteries, fornications,

thefts, false witness, slanders.

These are the things which defile the man;

but to eat with unwashed hands

does not defile the man.

~ Matthew 15:10b, 11, 13b, 17, 18-20


Sin has dirtied our heart. If you are a Christian and you retain any of the characteristics of sin in your heart, you are in need of the purifying work of the Holy Spirit.

A clean heart is one that has nothing in it that ought not to be there. Every good affection is in it, and no evil affection.

If there is one evil affection, it causes the heart to be unclean. A clean heart, in other words, is a heart that is the home of every good affection and has none of the evil affections in it.

It is, “A heart from sin set free.”

~ George Asbury


Every Christian needs a clean heart. God can cleanse your heart of all sin and purify your soul with His word and Spirit.

We are called to act:


No one serving as a soldier

gets entangled in civilian affairs,

but rather tries to please his commanding officer.

Similarly, anyone who competes

as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown

except by competing according to the rules.

The hardworking farmer

should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

Reflect on what I am saying,

for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

~ 2 Timothy 2:4-7


As a soldier, we are to focus solely on the Lord’s will; not allowing any worldly affairs to distract us or impede our mission of serving God and spreading the Good News. 

As an athlete, we are to complete according to the rules; the N.T. was given as a rule book. Holy Spirit is given to help us understand it. As a Christian dedicated to winning the race, everything you need has already been given to you.

As a farmer, we are to first receive our share of our labors that have been wrought by Christ. Yes, these are works.

God does not use dead carcasses. He uses living, willing participants who, give of themselves as a service of love and sacrifice to the Lord.

We are not saved by our works, but faith without these works is a dead faith. We are to show our works by our faith.


You believe that God is one.

You do well;

the demons also believe, and shudder.

But are you willing to recognize,

you foolish fellow,

that faith without works is useless?

Was not Abraham our father

justified by works

when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?

You see that faith was working with his works,

and as a result of the works,

faith was perfected;

and the Scripture was fulfilled which says,

and “Abraham believed God,

and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,”

and he was called the friend of God.

You see that a man is justified by works

and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not Rahab

the harlot also justified by works

when she received the messengers

and sent them out by another way?

For just as the body without the spirit is dead,

so also faith without works is dead.

~ James 2:19b-26

———-

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,

be sober, and hope to the end

for the grace that is to be brought unto you

at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

As obedient children,

not fashioning yourselves

according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

But as he which hath called you is holy,

so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

Because it is written,

Be ye holy; for I am holy.

And if ye call on the Father,

who without respect of persons

judgeth according to every man’s work,

pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Forasmuch as ye know

that ye were not redeemed

with corruptible things, as silver and gold,

from your vain conversation

received by tradition from your fathers;

But with the precious blood of Christ,

as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Who verily was foreordained

before the foundation of the world,

but was manifest in these last times for you,

Who by him do believe in God,

that raised him up from the dead,

and gave him glory;

that your faith and hope might be in God.

Seeing ye have purified your souls

in obeying the truth through the Spirit

unto unfeigned love of the brethren, 

see that ye love one another

with a pure heart fervently:

Being born again, not of corruptible seed,

but of incorruptible, by the word of God,

which liveth and abideth for ever.

For all flesh is as grass,

and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.

The grass withereth,

and the flower thereof falleth away:

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.

And this is the word which by the gospel

is preached unto you.

~ I Peter 1:13-25


Our bodies will wither away like dust. But the soul that is purified by the heavenly work of the Holy Spirit will endure in perfect love and harmony with God until the end.


The soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Ezekiel 18:20a


By faith,

Keep up the “Good” work my friend.

Bible Holiness

This post is etched from a paper I am reading about holiness.

It is written by Edgar Painter Ellyson.

My hope is that this will help one of you reading to more completely understand this often misunderstood and neglected core element of Christianity.

Areas Italicized are my attempts to generalize the concepts and to help the reading flow.


But ye have not so learned Christ;

if so be that ye have heard him,

and have been taught by him,

as the truth is in Jesus:

that ye put off

concerning the former conversation the old man,

which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

and be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

and that ye put on the new man,

which after God

is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Wherefore putting away lying,

speak every man truth with his neighbour:

for we are members one of another.

Be ye angry, and sin not:

let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

neither give place to the devil.

Let him that stole steal no more:

but rather let him labour,

working with his hands the thing which is good,

that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Let no corrupt communication

proceed out of your mouth,

but that which is good

to the use of edifying,

that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,

whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger,

and clamour, and evil speaking,

be put away from you, with all malice:

and be ye kind one to another,

tenderhearted, forgiving one another,

even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

~ Ephesians 4:20-32


 The Bible is the book of Christianity. It is God’s revelation of truth to man.

It reveals God to man and man to himself. The Bible makes known to man his true nature, his moral condition and his need as they cannot be known without the Bible.

It reveals the fact of sin and of redemption that is otherwise undiscoverable by man.

It reveals inerrantly “the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation; so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined to the church or faith of believers.

Holiness is the only moral standard held in the Bible. It recognizes the fact of unholiness but gives to this only disapproval and condemnation.

The Bible offers no compromise with sin; its only offer is salvation from sin, and this results in holiness.


All men are religious and there are very many religions in the world. But there is only one true religion; all others are false religions.

These all have their holy places and things and persons, which express devotion to their gods. But a devotement to such gods is far from true holiness.

It may be a deep devotion and be manifested in great sacrifice, but it cannot be true holiness when it is devoted to a false god, to that which is not God.

True holiness is devotement to the true God and to His program. It is a condition of being set apart from the common, the secular, the worldly, the temporal, for the sacred.

One who is holy must still have to do with the temporal and secular but he is no longer of the world; he is in the world but not of it; he does not belong to the common herd.

He has a citizenship at present in this world, but his chief citizenship is in heaven; One is his master, even Christ.


Holiness is a Moral Term


Holiness being devotement to God, and He being a moral person, holiness must have moral values. True holiness is freedom from sin.

Webster’s definition: Spiritually whole or sound; unimpaired innocency and virtue, free from sinful affections, pure in heart, guiltless.


God hath not called us unto uncleanness,

but unto holiness

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:7


Holiness is the absence of moral uncleanness; it is moral purity. True holiness then may be quite simply defined as devotement to God and freedom from sin.

In verse 22 above, true holiness is negative, is subtraction, is elimination, is eradication.


That ye put off concerning the former conversation


Concerning the life you have been living, your natural inherited nature, “the old man,” your inherited Adamic nature, “which is corrupt” through the fall.

This calls for forgiveness and cleansing and a changed moral nature. Sin has once changed this nature from holiness, and grace can change it back again to holiness.


In verses 23, 24, holiness is positive, something received, something that one is really made by divine grace.


Be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

that ye put on the new man,

which after God is created in righteousness,


. . . being born of and baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is the Christlike which is the state of true holiness. It is a state of rightness with God and with man, of purity of heart and of blameless behavior.

It is not faultless, not freedom from temptation or mistake, not perfection of thought and action, but blameless as to motive, and pure in heart.

It is not sinless as judged under the law, but is free from guilt as judged under grace; all guilt and pollution are gone.

Holiness is an inward condition or state which manifests itself in certain characteristics of living so it may be known by its fruit.

In verse 25, they that are holy, “put away lying,” they put away the false, the deceptive, the hypocritical, and . . .


speak every man truth with his neighbour.


They are genuine and dependable. They recognize their membership in the neighborhood group, that “we are members one of another” and must not misrepresent or in any way injure the others by our speaking.

They may sometimes be mistaken and that which they speak may on this account not be the truth, but they do not lie because they are sincere in believing that what they are saying is the truth.

If they discover their mistake they immediately correct it.


In verse 26, holiness destroys none of the normal faculties nor does it interfere with their normal functioning.

These faculties were given to us in the divine creation for our benefit; they are essential to the present life, and their normal and legitimate gratification is helpful to life at its best.

These are all to be used but holiness calls for their functioning without sin.


Be ye angry, and sin not.


Have a keen displeasure and disapproval of evil with no wrong feeling toward the person doing the evil. So are we to have affection and sin not, to have joy and sin not, to serve with our hands and sin not.


Verse 27 states that Satan is opposed to God and to holiness, and he seeks to destroy holiness.

He is the enemy of man’s highest interests and ever seeks to prevent his becoming holy. To become holy and to maintain holiness one must resist all of the attacks of Satan.


Neither give place to the devil.


Resistance is always the attitude of holiness to the temptations from the devil.


In Verse 28, he who is holy will not knowingly take that which does not belong, to him, that to which he has no right.


Let him that stole steal no more.


He will carefully respect the property rights of others. He will not feel that the world owes him a living and must give it to him.

He will not be a beggar or a charity sponge calling for dole. If he is able he will work


with his hands the thing, which is good


 and earn his own honest living, and then go beyond


that he may have to give to him that needeth.


He prefers giving to, rather than receiving from, charity.

In verse 30, the life of holiness must be lived under the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit; no man is sufficient of himself. He is our keeper.

Therefore the one who has been made holy will have great carefulness against displeasing the Holy Spirit and breaking the fellowship with Him.


Grieve not the holy Spirit of God,

whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.


The life of holiness is a life wholly under the mastery of the Spirit, a life of obedience to His leading.


Verses 31, 32 states that holiness calls for right attitudes toward other persons. It feels kindly toward and treats others with consideration.

It holds no grudges and forgives freely


even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.


Holiness is a Religious Term


Holiness has a distinctly religious meaning. Religion is man’s belief in God, his attitude toward and experience of God; it is faith, devotion, worship and service on this level.

Webster defines holiness as, “set apart to the service and worship of God; hallowed; sacred; reserved from the profane to the sacred and to God and His service.”

It is full devotion to God, loving God with all the human powers, life fully devoted to the fellowship and service of God.

True holiness is devotement to the true God and to His program.

It is a condition of being set apart from the common, the secular, the worldly, the temporal, for the sacred.

One who is holy must still have to do with the temporal and secular but he is no longer of the world; he is in the world but not of it; he does not belong to the common herd.

He has a citizenship at present in this world, but his chief citizenship is in heaven; One is his master, even Christ. 


Reading about holiness in the Bible carries my love of God to greater heights.

I hope it does for you too.


Fearfully and Wonderfully Made


God’s Handiwork


Thy hands have made me and fashioned me:

give me understanding,

that I may learn thy commandments.

~ Psalm 119:73


God has fashioned all that we are. He gave us the capacity to learn of Him, to know Him, to love Him, and learn His commandments.


For the invisible things of him

from the creation of the world

are clearly seen,

being understood by the things that are made,

even his eternal power and Godhead;

so that they are without excuse:

~ Romans 1:20 


We retain the knowledge that we are created by God and are without excuse in our disobedience to this truth. 

Through the fall of Adam, we lost our way. We need to seek Him, learn His ways, and separate ourselves from the world to be with Him.


For thou hast possessed my reins:

thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 

I will praise thee;

for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:

marvellous are thy works;

and that my soul knoweth right well. 

My substance was not hid from thee,

when I was made in secret,

and curiously wrought

in the lowest parts of the earth. 

Thine eyes did see my substance,

yet being unperfect (unformed);

and in thy book all my members were written,

which in continuance were fashioned,

when as yet there was none of them. 

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me,

O God! how great is the sum of them!

 I should count them,

they are more in number than the sand:

when I awake, I am still with thee.

~ Psalm 139:13-18


God has designed us wonderfully, fearfully, and marvelously. We are immeasurably precious in His thoughts.

We cannot really comprehend how much God loves us. But we can see how much He gave of Himself through His perfect life and torturous sufferings at the cross.

We can also look around us and see the immense creation made for us to dwell in.


Thou knowest that I am not wicked;

and there is none that can deliver

out of thine hand. 

Thine hands have made me

and fashioned me together round about;

yet thou dost destroy me. 

Remember, I beseech thee,

that thou hast made me as the clay;

and wilt thou bring me into dust again? 

Hast thou not poured me out as milk,

and curdled me like cheese? 

Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh,

and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. 

Thou hast granted me life and favour,

and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. 

And these things hast thou hid in thine heart:

I know that this is with thee. 

If I sin, then thou markest me,

and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. 

If I be wicked, woe unto me;

and if I be righteous,

yet will I not lift up my head.

I am full of confusion;

therefore see thou mine affliction;

~ Job 10:7-15


Age of Accountability


God clothes us in skin, flesh, and bone, and imbues us with intelligence and morality.

His presence keeps us alive.

He did not make anything evil or wicked. Yet wickedness is found in everyone of us.

We learn about sin the moment this corrupt world influences our existence.

As we grow in understanding, seeking how to meet our needs, these processes bring choices that facilitate a sinful predisposition. Sin takes a hold and we become its servant.


Jesus answered them,

Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Whosoever committeth sin

is the servant of sin.

~ John 8:34


God marks us because we choose to sin. We have fallen short of His glory, deserving, His judgment.

From our youth, our willful actions and conscience of right and wrong gradually bring upon us the consequences of sin.

At what age this occurs, is a mystery and probably unique to everyone. But there comes a time when we are guilty of sin, have reached the age of accountability, and are no longer .


Jesus said,

“Let the little children come to me,

and do not hinder them,

for the kingdom of heaven

belongs to such as these.”

~ Matthew 19:14

———-

And he said:

“Truly I tell you,

unless you change

and become like little children,

you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

~ Matthew 18:3


Even though we are created in God’s image, we are also created after the image of Adam. I do not quite understand how this works or how to define it.

I prefer not to use the term “original sin” since its origin is rooted in Manichean Gnosticism and was first articulated and defined by Augustine of Hippo, a Roman Catholic monk. 

His definition is clearly pagan in origin and the other two prominent theoretical definitions do not satisfy my understanding either.

I choose to only use what biblical references I can find to define our sinful state from conception to death. Some call it a predisposition, wickedness, our sinful nature, (total) depravity, etc.

In time, my understanding of this troubling issue in our soul will grow and mature. Until then, I pray the Holy Spirit leads me into deeper understanding.

What I do know is that a new born baby has not consciously committed sin because they have not developed knowledge of the law and do not meet the criteria for volitional sin.

Also, Jesus stated multiple times that the kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children.


God’s Grace


One of the beautiful aspects of God is His grace.

As we grow and live, God grants each one of us favor (grace) offering life abundant even in our sinful state.

He gives us the choice to choose His righteousness or to remain in our sin. 

He longs to give us hope. But alas, like it was Adam and Eve, we are empowered with the ability to choose.


Dear children,

do not let anyone lead you astray.

The one who does what is right is righteous,

just as He is righteous.

The one who does what is sinful

is of the devil,

because the devil has been sinning

from the beginning.

The reason the Son of God appeared

was to destroy the devil’s work. 

~ I John 3:7-8


If we choose to remain wicked, woe to us; for judgment awaits us while we remain in this state.

If we chose His righteousness and abide in Him, afflictions may still come, confusion may still beset us, but our guilt of sin has been purged and we are placed among the righteous.

The Lord examines us to see if we are righteous as He is righteous, or if we continue in the works of the Devil, namely, willfully remaining under the power and reign of sin.


The LORD examines both the righteous and the wicked.

He hates those who love violence.

~ Psalm 11:5

———-

This is how it will be at the end of the age.

The angels will come and separate

the wicked from the righteous

~ Matthew 13:49


The original human image God created was beautiful, innocent, pure, and entirely dependent on Him. All was perfect. Sin was entirely absent.

There was not a hint or even an inclination to sin. At least not until the embodiment of death, darkened Eden’s home.

For more information describing sin’s origins, it is touched on here and here.


Even with sin, God has so generously bestowed upon our soul the grace to make us whole.

Somehow we are deeply flawed with sin. Adam brought death to us all, but Jesus brings us life.

Unfortunately, most of the world will not receive God’s gift allowing Him to change our hearts and lives.

Their sins will drag them into the depths of the eternal Lake of Fire.


His Image in its Purity


Our calling to purity, holiness, in humble and simple obedience to God’s plan. Life itself reflects God for God is the source of all life and in Him is life.


Then God said,

Let us make humankind in our image,

after our likeness,

so they may rule over the fish of the sea

and the birds of the air,

over the cattle,

and over all the earth,

and over all the creatures

that move on the earth. 

God created humankind in his own image 

in the image of God he created them, 

male and female he created them. 

God blessed them and said to them,

Be fruitful and multiply!

Fill the earth and subdue it!

Rule over the fish of the sea

and the birds of the air

and every creature that moves on the ground.

It was so. God saw all that he had made

– and it was very good!

~ Genesis 1:26-31


Being made in the image of God indicates a capacity of authority. An authority to decide (true choice) to do what is good and right or wrong and evil.

His image also includes the power to procreate.

Moral intelligence and creativity reflects the image of God, who wants us to regain what was lost.

These two qualities remained after the fall however flawed they were.

But His grace abounds toward us and offering hope and peace.


By whom also we have access by faith

into this grace wherein we stand,

and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

~ Romans 5:2


Do not think that at the fall the image of God in us was lost. It remains, however marred, we are still lovely and precious in His sight.

After the flood, God proclaimed once again that we are created in His image.

It is the sin in who we are and the sin that we commit that God hates.

He came to free us from sin. His freedom is true, pure, and yet not without its trials.


Your Image Restated


And God blessed Noah and his sons,

and said unto them,

Be fruitful, and multiply,

and replenish the earth.

And the fear of you and the dread of you

shall be upon every beast of the earth,

and upon every fowl of the air,

upon all that moveth upon the earth,

and upon all the fishes of the sea;

into your hand are they delivered.

Every moving thing that liveth

shall be meat for you;

even as the green herb

have I given you all things.

But flesh with the life thereof,

which is the blood thereof,

shall ye not eat.

And surely your blood of your lives will I require;

at the hand of every beast will I require it,

and at the hand of man;

at the hand of every man’s brother

will I require the life of man. 

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood,

by man shall his blood be shed:

for in the image of God made he man.

Genesis ~ 9:1-6


We still have the power to procreate after God’s original plan.

We still retain our moral authority over all of creation though the relationship has changed. 

We no longer live in harmony with all the creatures of the Earth. They fear us because of sin.

Not only are we responsible as stewards over them, we are told to use them as food.


The value of human life is also reinforced. Killing requires the death sentence of the offender. 

Here we begin to see clearer that the thoughts of man carry with them the power of death or life, temporally and eternally. 

We are told that if Christ is truly the head of our life, our entire person glorifies God through submissive obedience to His will.

This obedience must include the absence of sin. For there is nothing in sin that glorifies God. Only in its absence can we dwell in the place that God calls “Good.”

He has given us His power and His authority. He calls us to walk in His way. He has given us Jesus to show us, help us, and lead us.

We are called to enter into the narrow gait and travel the beautiful road with Him.


How lovely on the mountains

Are the feet of him who brings good news,

Who announces peace

And brings good news of happiness,

Who announces salvation,

And says to Zion,

“Your God reigns!”

~ Isaiah 52:7

———-

A highway will be there, a roadway,

And it will be called

the Highway of Holiness.

The unclean will not travel on it,

But it will be for him who walks that way,

And fools will not wander on it.

~ Isaiah 35:8


God wants to help you every step of the way. Walk in Him, dwell in His word, obey Him in everything. Use your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Get as close to Him as you can.


In Obedience, you Reflect His Image


Be ye followers of me,

even as I also am of Christ.

Now I praise you, brethren,

that ye remember me in all things,

and keep the ordinances,

as I delivered them to you.

But I would have you know,

that the head of every man is Christ;

and the head of the woman is the man;

and the head of Christ is God.

Every man praying or prophesying,

having his head covered,

dishonoureth his head.

But every woman that prayeth

or prophesieth with her head uncovered

dishonoureth her head:

for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

For if the woman be not covered,

let her also be shorn:

but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven,

let her be covered.

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head,

forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God:

but the woman is the glory of the man.

~ I Corinthians 11:1-7


This scripture points out that the image and glory of God is present, true, and real, living in us.

The issue about the hair is not the point here. But the first twelve words give instructions to the church and settle this and all other issues for me. 

We are instructed to obey all the ordinances as delivered by the apostles.

As a man, I will not wear a hat while praying nor will I let my hair grow out to look uncut. And to women, this instruction is about not cutting of hair or having a shaved head.

Sorry about the side-track but the underlying genre of this post is about the beauty of being in the image of God and the scripture above describes how our image is to be reflected in this life.


Be meek and Full of Wisdom


And the tongue is a fire,

a world of iniquity:

so is the tongue among our members,

that it defileth the whole body,

and setteth on fire the course of nature;

and it is set on fire of hell.

For every kind of beasts,

and of birds, and of serpents,

and of things in the sea, is tamed,

and hath been tamed of mankind:

But the tongue can no man tame;

it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Therewith bless we God,

even the Father;

and therewith curse we men,

which are made after the similitude of God.

Out of the same mouth

proceedeth blessing and cursing.

My brethren,

these things ought not so to be.

Doth a fountain send forth

at the same place sweet water and bitter?

Can the fig tree, my brethren,

bear olive berries? either a vine, figs?

So can no fountain both yield

salt water and fresh. 

Who is a wise man

and endued with knowledge among you?

Let him shew out of a good conversation

his works with meekness of wisdom.

~ James 3:6-13


Let us be wise and follow after every Godly instruction. We are called to love our neighbor as ourself because they are made after the image of God.

God’s grace through us and in us reflects His image toward others. His is not a hypocritical love, a feigned or attempted love.

His love in us is a sincere, pure, and honest love.

Check yourself.

Do you have genuine unconflicted love for your Christian brethren?

for strangers?

for family members?

fellow employees?

How about Muslim terrorists? 


A Holy Image


God is Holy. He is not the author of sin. He is the author of freedom, purity, love, and righteousness. 

We are created in His image, and yet, have been nurtured to follow after Satan’s Edenic deceptions from our youth.

We must put away all sin, and let God sanctify us wholly through the knowledge and love of the truth.

Jesus came make us free. Let Him have His way in your heart.

We are to become as little children, to live in simplicity of faith.

From our birth, the looming clouds of sin and death, hover and wait. They seek to overwhelm and capture that which God is building.

Fear not, He has overcome the world!


Conclusion


As Christians, our intellect, emotions, moral judgement, body, and will are to be subject to sanctification of the Lord.

He seeks to change us so we can be salt of the earth, light to the world, not conflicted or marred by continued sin.

He is holy and we are to reflect His image if we are to truly be a part of his priestly and royal family. 


How beautiful are the feet of them

that preach the gospel of peace,

and bring glad tidings of good things!

~ Romans 10:15


It is funny how this post looking into how we are created in the image of God points to God’s redemption and holiness.

Like the glassy reflection in a pond on a cool winter’s morning, we are a reflection of what dwells within . . . 


But as he which hath called you is holy,

so be ye holy

in all manner of conversation;

~ 1 Peter 1:15