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!


Jeremiah’s Life, our Calling


Jeremiah’s Initiation


Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;

and before thou camest forth out of the womb

I sanctified thee,

and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold,

I cannot speak: for I am a child.

But the LORD said unto me,

Say not, I am a child:

for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee,

and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

Be not afraid of their faces:

for I am with thee to deliver thee,

saith the LORD.

~ Jeremiah 1:4-8


Scriptural Calling


There are seven inseparable parts in the Lord’s calling on Jeremiah.  

Every part is a needful element, primary to the central idea that is the fullness of Christ in the beauty of the calling that is Christianity.


It is for all,

who have been enlightened,

and have tasted the heavenly gift,

and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost;

And have tasted the good word of God,

and the powers of the world to come.

~ Hebrews 6:4-5


In an earlier post, I stated that we are called to be saints, to walk in faithful obedience, according to all the biblical principles taught by Jesus and His apostles.


The Old Testament supplies us with ensamples and valuable lessons in which we can draw continued inspiration.

The book of Jeremiah is not without its value.


 

The only thing the early church had in written form was the O.T.

Later, many in the church were blessed with letters written and circulated by our apostolic fathers.

We would be wise to incorporate as much as we can from the O.T. in light of N.T. revelation to complement and develop our understanding and calling in Christ Jesus. 

Jeremiah’s call may be unique to Him but the general tenor and purpose is the same for all who are in Christ Jesus.

In a nutshell, our calling is to allow His purifying love to work in and through us according to His goodness and mercy.


Unto the church of God . . .

to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus,

called to be saints,

with all that in every place

call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord . . .

~ 1 Corinthians 1:2

————-

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, 

By whom we have received grace and apostleship,

for obedience to the faith . . .

Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God,

called to be saints:

~ Romans 1:3, 5, 7


One Life, one Calling 


Below are the seven parts to God’s calling of the Prophet Jeremiah described briefly and applied to those obedient to the Calling of Jesus. 


1.  “Before I formed thee in the belly, “I knew thee.”

Before the foundations of the world, all of humanity was foreknown to God and the plan of salvation was already chosen in Jesus Christ.

We all have a unique and genuine calling to be sanctified, pure, obedient, and blameless before the Lord. It is a merciful and glorious restoration God created before of the fall of man so long ago.

He came down to lift us up. We dare not neglect so great a salvation.

For He was foreknown

before the foundation of the world,

but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.

~ 1 Peter 1:20

————-

According as he hath chosen us in him

before the foundation of the world,

that we should be holy and without blame

before him in love:

~ Ephesians 1:4

————-

More importantly, God wants to know us now, in a living, dynamic, and active way. This requires complete submission; giving our utmost to His Highest.

It is a willful act of our own volition. God provides everything we need, but we must humble accept all He has to offer in order to be obedient in Him. 


2. Before thou camest forth out of the womb“I sanctified thee.”

To be filled with all the fulness of God is the product or goal of sanctification in the life of a Christian. 

What was meant in this context signified was that Jeremiah was completely separated to God. He was severed from any and all earthy or common use and entirely dedicated to God’s service.

Sanctified also means to make holy or pure. In the Christian life, entering into this blessing of grace is part of our calling and a precious gift of love untold.

Interestingly, Jeremiah began to appreciate his calling at the tender age of 17. He was to stand before kings and princes . . . what a high and difficult calling indeed.

His consecration was such that Jeremiah did not marry or have children, for judgment was at hand. This is not unlike the 144,000 Jews set apart during the impending Judgment at the Great Tribulation.

Another interesting fact is the Jeremiah bought a field in Anathoth, his home town, as a symbol of God’s redemption, mercy, and grace.

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:

Take these documents,

both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase,

and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time.

For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:

Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.

~ Jeremiah 32:14-15


An important element of our calling in Christ is sanctification: a life of consecration and holiness unto the Lord.

We are not to participate or take part in any sin or behavior that is not becoming of a saint.

Know ye not that the unrighteous

shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

Be not deceived:

neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,

nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,

nor revilers, nor extortioners,

shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you:

but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified,

but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus,

and by the Spirit of our God.

~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Like Jeremiah, we are become dead to sin and this world and dwell in the fulness  of righteousness that is Christ.

We have been set free from sin, set apart, and are dedicated to serve God and God alone.

Our calling is holy and high indeed.


3. “I ordained thee” a prophet unto the nations.

Jeremiah was called to be an envoy, an ambassador of the LORD. Like the Apostle Paul, an ambassador of Christ, we are called according to His purpose:

For those whom He foreknew,

He also predestined to become conformed

to the image of His Son,

so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

and these whom He predestined, He also called;

and these whom He called, He also justified;

and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

~ Romans 8:28-30

————-

Jeremiah’s calling was sure. He was to bring the message of repentance to Israel or they would face a horrible destruction as an idolatrous nation who chose to serve sin.

He was to suffer vicariously as he watched their suffering and demise. He wept, recorded, and pleaded with God for mercy and justice. 

We too are called to preach repentance, justification, and mercy as we watch with sadness an apathetic world dull of God, disregarding their calling, and given over to the delusion that is sin.

Many are on the broad road to destruction because they are hearers of the word and not doers.

But prove yourselves doers of the word,

and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

~ James 1:22

We are ordained to speak the truth in love and walk in the righteousness the Gospel brings.

For my mouth shall speak truth;

and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

 ~ Proverb 8:7

————-

How then shall they call on him

in whom they have not believed?

and how shall they believe in him

of whom they have not heard?

and how shall they hear without a preacher?

And how shall they preach, except they be sent?

as it is written,

How beautiful are the feet of them

that preach the gospel of peace,

and bring glad tidings of good things!

~ Romans 10:14-15

————-

Your calling may not to be a preacher. Nevertheless, we are to be ready always to act toward others in the spirit of truth, kindness, and holiness.

to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed

~ Titus 3:1

————-

Let your speech be alway with grace,

seasoned with salt,

that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

~ Colossians 4:6

————-

To do good works and to know what those works are: 

For we are God’s handiwork,

created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do.

~ Ephesians 2:10

————-

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.

~ James 3:13

————-

As obedient children,

do not be conformed to the former lusts

which were yours in your ignorance,

but like the Holy One who called you,

be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

~ 1 Peter 1:14-15

Please refer to this post regarding the importance, definition, and character of one’s calling in Christ Jesus.


4. for thou shalt go to all that “I shall send thee,”

Yea; have ye never read,

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings

thou hast perfected praise?

~ Matthew 21:16

————-

Jeremiah complained that he was still a youth and intimated his inability but God reassured him with the last three elements of his calling listed below.

Jeremiah was truly weak and he knew it. He would also appear foolish to those (falsely) representing the elect of God’s nation. 

But God chose the foolish things of the world

to shame the wise;

God chose the weak things of the world

to shame the strong.

~ 1 Corinthians 1:27

————-

God expected complete submission from Jeremiah just like He expects complete submission of His will in our lives.

He was to go wherever, to whomever, and to do exactly as God directed. The devotion God required of Jeremiah was completely reasonable and we are expected to follow his example.

Therefore I urge you,

brethren, by the mercies of God,

to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,

acceptable to God,

which is your spiritual service of worship.

~ Romans 12:1

————-

We are called to worship God in spirit and truth. To disobey His calling or to live apart from holiness is to deny God of worship, and is unacceptable in His eyes.

But the hour cometh, and now is,

when the true worshippers

shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:

for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

~ John 4:23

————–

We (the Apostles) are from God.

Whoever knows God listens to us;

whoever is not from God does not listen to us.

By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

~ 1 John 4:6

Jeremiah was not known for being a Jonah. Jonah was an example of what not to do with God’s calling. 

Jonah was given much grace in his disobedience. We too are given such grace in the calling to sanctification and holiness. Seek God’s abiding love.

Give Him your whole existence.

Let Him overwhelm your spirit and life.

We have a much higher degree of responsibility than Jeremiah or Jonah because we have been given the complete oracles of God through the life of God the Son and the works of His apostles as found in the Bible. 

More importantly, if we are God’s children, we have the Spirit of truth abiding in us, who continually testifies of Jesus. 

But when the Comforter is come,

whom I will send unto you from the Father,

even the Spirit of truth,

which proceedeth from the Father,

he shall testify of me:

~ John 15:26


5. and “whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.”

Jeremiah was to speak God’s message, not his own. God was going to teach him what to say and put words of truth into him.

This is how God has always worked in His prophets and how the Father worked in Jesus, and the apostles. We are to listen and obey just like the people of old were.

————-

But because of their disobedience, they were judged and suffered greatly. There are many degrees of suffering in this life and the next.

This post will not address that complexity but it is something to consider.

————-

Jeremiah was to simply be obedient to God and allow Him to work through him. This is exactly what we are suppose to do. The following segment of Scripture highlights this.

And when they had brought them,

they set them before the council:

and the high priest asked them, Saying,

Did not we straitly command you

that ye should not teach in this name?

and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine,

and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said,

We ought to obey God rather than men.

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus,

whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

to Him hath God exalted with his right hand

to be a Prince and a Saviour,

for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

And we are his witnesses of these things;

and so is also the Holy Ghost,

whom God hath given to them that obey him.

~ Acts 5:27-32

————-

The Spirit living in us is to transform us in such a way that our obedience to Him in everything we do, “reproves the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” ~ John 16:8

This is exactly what Jeremiah’s life and many prophets before him proved, often at the price of death. Unfortunately for us today, we are mainly concerned with how this can effect our livelyhood or place in this world.

God clearly states that if we value the world and our position in it to the point where we compromise any element of over the truth of God, and remain in this state, we will pass away because the love of God does not really dwell in us.

Love not the world,

neither the things that are in the world.

If any man love the world,

the love of the Father is not in him. 

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh,

and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,

is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:

but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

~ 1 John 2:15-17

————-

6. “Be not afraid” of their faces: 

Jeremiah was commanded not to be afraid or fear man can do him in everything he did. We too are called to be approved by God by everything we do.

On that note, the command not to compromise our faith and to be completely obedient to the testifying Spirit of God is unquestionable.

We are not to fear what any man or institution can do to us. 

What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light;

and what you hear whispered in your ear,

proclaim upon the housetops.

“Do not fear those who kill the body

but are unable to kill the soul;

but rather fear Him who is able to destroy

both soul and body in hell.

~ Matthew 10-27-28

————-

But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake,

happy are ye:

and be not afraid of their terror,

neither be troubled;

~ 1 Peter 3:14

————-

And Moses said unto the people, Fear not:

for God is come to prove you,

and that his fear may be before your faces,

that ye sin not.

~ Exodus 20:20

————–

Therefore, brothers and sisters,

make every effort to be sure of your calling and election.

For by doing this you will never stumble into sin.

~ 2 Peter 1:10

We must follow the principles defined by God’s word and Spirit rather than the principles defined by the world. 

We often fall into deafening traps of silence when we fail to remain close to God. Te washing of the word, fellowship in prayer, praise by our worshipful life, and faithful obedience to His commandments renews His voice in us.

The renewal of faith obedience of God’s grace keeps us. And this saving faith produces fruit. Without which, our faith becomes dead for it produces not fruit (or works). 

With God working in us, His love begins to cast out fear because we no longer live in such a way that grieves his Spirit.

Namely, we are living in His love and not in our sin.

There is no fear in love;

but perfect love casts out fear,

because fear involves punishment,

and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

~ 1 John 4:18

————-

If you have been perfected in love, the Spirit of God will attest this in your life. If He does not, continue in His love and strive to enter in to the rest approved by God.

Let us, therefore,

make every effort to enter that rest,

so that no one will perish

by following their (Israel’s) example of disobedience.

~ Hebrews 4:11

————-

There is no fear in love;

but perfect love casts out fear,

because fear involves punishment,

and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

~ 1 John 4:18

————-

Finally, brothers, rejoice.

Aim for restoration, comfort one another,

agree with one another, live in peace;

and the God of love and peace will be with you.

~ 2 Corinthians 13:11

Do not bury what God has given you. Root out the things in your life that hide the word of God.

We are constantly given exhortations of peace and love by the disciples of Christ. This reflects the Holy Spirit’s testimony.

Let it be your testimony. Speak it openly without fear. Have faith and God will give it to you, if you abide in Him.

And the peace of God

that surpasses all understanding

will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:7 

7. for “I am with thee to deliver thee” saith the LORD.

This is the final and greatest element of God’s calling. He will deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us in this world. 

 This is the bigger picture. For sin is what caused us to fall and sin will keep us from Him.

Within deliverance is found the riches and beauty of God’s saving grace. 

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name;

worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

~ Psalm 29:2

————-

O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness:

fear before him, all the earth.

~ Psalm 96:9

————-

And your testimonies are very trustworthy;

holiness is fitting for your house,

Lord Jehovah, for the length of days!

~ Psalm 93:5

In this life, there is also suffering. Jeremiah suffered greatly watching the judgement of God come like a dry, burning wind upon His people. 

For a clear picture of this, please read the book of Lamentations. 

We too are called to suffer in this world. But fear not, in Christ we can overcome the world, if, we continue in His calling for our life.

By this we know that we love the children of God,

when we love God, and keep his commandments.

For this is the love of God,

that we keep his commandments:

and his commandments are not grievous.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:

and this is the victory that overcometh the world,

even our faith

~ 1 John 5:2:4

————-

To whom God would make known

what is the riches of the glory

of this mystery among the Gentiles;

which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Whom we preach, warning every man,

and teaching every man in all wisdom;

that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Whereunto I also labour,

striving according to his working,

which worketh in me mightily.

~ Colossians 1:26-29


John and Paul stated above that when we love God we will obey him even through the suffering and trials the world brings. His labors of Love permeate His calling in Christ Jesus.


Final Word


Let God have His complete work in you in order to present yourself perfect in Christ at His glorious coming.

This is your calling.

There is non other.

Something smelly in the wilderness


In Hebrews chapter 3, Paul gives us a warning,


Take heed, brethren,

lest there be in any of you

an evil heart of unbelief,

in departing from the living God.


 then a pleading exhortation.


But exhort one another daily,

while it is called To day;

lest any of you be hardened

through the deceitfulness of sin.

For we are made partakers of Christ,

if we hold the beginning of our confidence

stedfast unto the end;


We are called to hold fast our faithful repentance in Christ just as we did in the beginning.

If we fail to to this, we allow sin through disobedience to re-enter our lives and risk our hearts being darkened and hardened, bringing unbelief and eventually separation from the God.

This is not a break in fellowship as some believe but departure from the Living God.


Souls in Peril


While it is said,

Today if ye will hear his voice,

harden not your hearts,

as in the provocation.

For some, when they had heard,

did provoke:

howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

But with whom was he grieved forty years?


All but two of the adult Israelites delivered from Egypt perished in the wilderness (figuratively speaking, in sin). The two delivered, Joshua and Caleb, followed the exhortation and did not harden their hearts.

They also had the benefit of an enriched faith, moral uprightness, and godly character.

Either way you cut it, the example God gave us in Hebrews reveals very poor odds for those initially delivered from sin through faith in Christ.

The Israelites knew, saw, and lived with the truth and promises of God. They were fed living water, manna, and were provided for. All these were shadows of what Jesus does for us now.

Why was God grieved with them and why did so many perish?


was it not with them that had sinned,

whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

And to whom sware he

that they should not enter into his rest,

but to them that believed not?

So we see

that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

~ Hebrews 3:12-19


They Perished because they did not heed his voice and obey his word. Rather, they chose return to sin, fell into unbelief, and hardened their hearts.

Instead of entering into His rest, they entered into judgment.

This is our example today. Do not continue in sin, guard your heart, and believe God can change both your heart and your (sinful) nature.

Or, like the Israelites, you run the risk of having your body left rotting in the wilderness only to be fed on by the birds of destruction.


Jesus died so we could live. Here is His exhortation.


Take my yoke upon you

and learn from me,

for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

~ Matthew 11:29


We get on our knees before the cross, repent of our sins, believe in Christ. We walk away from our sins and follow His lead preparing ourselves to be obedient to Him and to live, truly live.

Here is Jesus’ warning to His servants who fail to do this.


And that servant, which knew his lord’s will,

and prepared not himself,

neither did according to his will,

shall be beaten with many stripes.

~ Luke 12:47


Let His stripes purify your heart. 

For many will be beaten with many stripes because of hardened and darkened hearts and disobedient unbelief in the knowledge and faith in Christ.


The choice is yours.

The only question is,

What kind of servant are you?


Take His yoke

and learn from Him,

you will find rest for your soul.



Let us therefore fear, lest,

a promise being left us

of entering into his rest,

any of you should seem to come short of it. 

~ Hebrews 4:1

By works a man is justified, and not by faith only.


Many do not like the title of this post for what it implies, but it is taken directly from scripture and intimated to be as important as faith. For within an active faith are found works to be shown reflective of genuine repentance.

Controversy aside, we are called unto good works as a Christian and commanded to hold fast our profession of faith. We are also told that those who profess Christ but are impure, sinful, and live with unbelief perform works unto eternal punishment.


 

This is why I am posting some of my favorite verses that necessitate a life devoted to God.

They are in no particular order but speak volumes to those willing to listen and obey God’s word and not adhere to a particular doctrine that denies works of righteousness as a necessary part of a disciple’s life.

Our church is drenched in antinomianism and is teaching us to live in the wicked mire of sin. If this doctrine remains in our heart and lives, we will perish in our sin.


Romans 11:21-22

For if God spared not the natural branches,

take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Behold therefore the goodness

and severity of God:

on them which fell, severity;

but toward thee, goodness,

if thou continue in his goodness:

otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.


1 Corinthians 10:1-12

Moreover, brethren,

I would not that ye should be ignorant,

how that all our fathers were under the cloud,

and all passed through the sea;

And were all baptized unto Moses

in the cloud and in the sea;

And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

And did all drink the same spiritual drink:

for they drank of that spiritual Rock

that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

But with many of them

God was not well pleased:

for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things were our examples,

to the intent we should not lust after evil things,

as they also lusted.

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them;

as it is written,

The people sat down to eat and drink,

and rose up to play.

Neither let us commit fornication,

as some of them committed,

and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

Neither let us tempt Christ,

as some of them also tempted,

and were destroyed of serpents.

Neither murmur ye,

as some of them also murmured,

and were destroyed of the destroyer.

Now all these things happened unto them

for ensamples:

and they are written for our admonition,

upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth

take heed lest he fall.


2 Peter 2:4-9

For if God spared not the angels that sinned,

but cast them down to hell,

and delivered them into chains of darkness,

to be reserved unto judgment;

And spared not the old world,

but saved Noah the eighth person,

a preacher of righteousness,

bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha

into ashes condemned them with an overthrow,

making them an ensample

unto those that after should live ungodly;

And delivered just Lot,

vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

(For that righteous man dwelling among them,

in seeing and hearing,

vexed his righteous soul from day to day

with their unlawful deeds;)

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly

out of temptations,

and to reserve the unjust

unto the day of judgment to be punished:


Jude 1:5

I will therefore put you in remembrance,

though ye once knew this, how that the Lord,

having saved the people out of the land of Egypt,

afterward destroyed them that believed not.


James 2:14-26

What doth it profit, my brethren,

though a man say he hath faith,

and have not works?

can faith save him? 

If a brother or sister be naked,

and destitute of daily food, 

and one of you say unto them,

Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;

notwithstanding ye give them not those things

which are needful to the body;

what doth it profit? 

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead,

being alone. 

Yea, a man may say,

Thou hast faith, and I have works:

shew me thy faith without thy works,

and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 

Thou believest that there is one God;

thou doest well:

the devils also believe, and tremble. 

But wilt thou know, O vain man,

that faith without works is dead? 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works,

when he had offered Isaac

his son upon the altar? 

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works,

and by works was faith made perfect?

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith,

Abraham believed God,

and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:

and he was called the Friend of God. 

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified,

and not by faith only. 

Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot

justified by works,

when she had received the messengers,

and had sent them out another way? 

For as the body without the spirit is dead,

so faith without works is dead also.


Some are already withering believing their current state is acceptable to God.  Take heed lest ye fall. It is not just belief or faith alone that will save you. We are to:

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance

(John the Baptist)


Whereupon, O king Agrippa,

I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

but shewed first unto them of Damascus,

and at Jerusalem,

and throughout all the coasts of Judæa,

and then to the Gentiles,

that they should repent and turn to God,

and do works meet for repentance

(Paul the Apostle)


God can deliver you if you seek after Him like you do your most precious treasures . . . for in this, He is found.

Working out our Salvation

I hear much talk of different isms: Calvinism, Arminianism, Methodism, Catholicism, Baptist(ism), New Evangelicalism, etc. Where does it all comes from? Our carnality. Even so, most “isms” of our day have strayed far from what Paul and Appollos was preaching. Sure there is much truth in some and less in others but; even in our current divisions, there are divers errors that divide us within our errors.


While we work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:11-13), we should consider the verse below. If this applies, there is yet much work to be done on a personal level. No one can work out their salvation on a corporate level, so it doesn’t really matter what your church organization believes. It can’t save you. Only the word of God living and working in you can do that.


“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (1 Corinthians 3:3-5).


If we are not working out our salvation with fear and trembling, I plead with you reader, please go back to the Bible and see what was missed . . . because something was.


“Trembling for fear lest you miscarry and come short. Be careful to do every thing in religion in the best manner, and fear lest under all your advantages you should so much as seem to come short . . . Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:1,11).


Here is an excerpt from Matthew Henry Commentary that explains this concept further.

I. He exhorts them to diligence and seriousness in the Christian course: Work out your own salvation. It is the salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:9), and our eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9), and contains deliverance from all the evils sin had brought upon us and exposed us to, and the possession of all good and whatsoever is necessary to our complete and final happiness. Observe, It concerns us above all things to secure the welfare of our souls: whatever becomes of other things, let us take care of our best interests. It is our own salvation, the salvation of our own souls. It is not for us to judge other people; we have enough to do to look to ourselves; and, though we must promote the common salvation (Jude 1:3) as much as we can, yet we must upon no account neglect our own. We are required to work out our salvation, katergazesthe. The word signifies working thoroughly at a thing, and taking true pains. Observe, We must be diligent in the use of all the means which conduce to our salvation. We must not only work at our salvation, by doing something now and then about it; but we must work out our salvation, by doing all that is to be done, and persevering therein to the end. Salvation is the great thing we should mind, and set our hearts upon; and we cannot attain salvation without the utmost care and diligence. He adds, With fear and trembling, that is, with great care and circumspection: “Trembling for fear lest you miscarry and come short. Be careful to do every thing in religion in the best manner, and fear lest under all your advantages you should so much as seem to come short,” Heb. 4:1. Fear is a great guard and preservative from evil.


Are you working out your salvation with fear and trembling? Or are you already confident? Think about that for a moment. Don’t seek guidance from others (or me for that matter) who will reinforce your confidence or current belief system. Who knows how much ism has already crept in. Rather, seek to understand the whole council of God unencumbered by preconceived bias. I am trying hard to do this and some of what I am coming up with is not popular even among my Christian brethren.

Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles spoke a great deal about why people should have fear and trembling, namely Hell. In the New Testament, the realities of Hell was primarily spoken to the religious, followers of Christ, believers, and those who perceived they were following after God. Hell was not spoken much to unbelievers. That reality in and of itself should cause us to ponder.


The Biblical concept of working out our salvation by implicit definition means; it is not yet complete.

There is one thing unconditional about our Salvation, that is: It is conditional.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: (Matthew 7:21-24)

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)


And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. (Luke 8:21)


Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:29)

 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28) To pluck (harpazo) means a power other than our own here and here. It does not refer to our sin or willingness to walk away. That is under our power.


Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:4-11)

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the fleshFor if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall liveFor as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom 8:12-14)


Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” (1 Cor 15:1-2)

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1) “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by loveYe did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (5:6-7)


Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sinFor we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the endwhile it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Heb 3:12-15)

(This one is about Jesus), “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 5:8-10)


Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”  (1 John 2:23-25)

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” (1 John 2:28-29)


Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Revelation 2:10-11)

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

Those that overcame often had to suffer pain and torturous death. Surely we can abstain from sin and obey God’s commandments as revealed by Jesus and His apostles. We have not even come close to what they suffered. We live in wealth and prosperity while half of the world lives in abject poverty. Everyone in the church will one day be called to give a report of his or her life either into eternal judgment or God’s Kingdom. Many of those entering judgment will be professing Christians. Will you be ready? Will I? Will Christ find faith on Earth when He returns? I pray He does and I pray for you, reader.


Frankly, I am tired of the pigs.

The Prodigal Son

In Luke chapter 15, Jesus tells us a wonderful story. It speaks of God’s patience, His loving kindness, and willingness to allow us learn from our mistakes however bad they may be.

11 “And he said, A certain man had two sons:”

This sentence hints at how God will be revealing a distinction between two of His children.


12 “And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.”


We see one of the sons is younger, which is an indication of immaturity. He has been identified with the father since he was born, so he is not new child. Just like us, we are identified with God when we are born again. This story is about someone who is immature, not unlike immature Christians who are tossed by the passions of their sinful nature, which still holds power over them.

Immature Christians are distinguished from new Christians. Immature Christian are particularly susceptible to the dangers in this story. They have had time to grow, yet have lingered in their faith allowing Satan to get footholds in different areas of their Christian life. As a result, they have allowed stumbling blocks that hinder their maturity. Rather than growing closer to God their compromise places them at risk of growing cold and falling from grace.

New Christians on the other hand are usually on fire, and eager to learn to grow in Christ. Where they end up later in life is up to how they are obedient to Christ. This story is a warning for all that are not mature in Christ.

What defines an mature Christian? Our Heavenly Father has most generously given us grace to grow in Christ. A Christian that has grown through grace has learned how to subject his thoughts, his body, and his time to holy living serving the Lord and hoping in His return. This is what the younger son had not developed. Like most of us, he was mesmerized by his sinful nature and its attraction to the enticements of the world.


Additionally, the son who knew he had an inheritance and decided to take it all and live his life of liberty; or so he thought. Naturally, when we sin, we go to a place far away from our Father’s presence.

God has given us the gift of eternal life. The moment we believe we are His sons and daughters. We are added as royal family members with untold wealth. Dare we squander such a wonderful inheritance? No we shouldn’t but we can, and we can lose it all!

Prodigal means to squander or waste wealth by living and spending money luxuriously. We as Christians do this everyday. It can be reflected in our lifestyle, our choices, and our fruits. If the average American spent time reading the Bible instead of the TV, they could have read it over 22 times in one year, spread the gospel to countless others, served in love (praying, feeding, etc.) rather than wasting our time with worldly and carnal distractions.


He lived riotously and lost everything . . . his entire inheritance! Let that sink in for a moment, everything his father gave him, not only his wealth, his identity, his home, his citizenship. They were all gone! If he would have died there, he would be forever separated from his father even if he was once his child.


 14 “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.”

When we leave our Father’s presence for the desires of the world we become spiritually poor and the world around us offers nothing in return. Nothing that lasts, nothing that satisfies, nothing but emptiness. If we choose to stay in that land, we will die starving and alone. It istarting to sound kinda like hell to me but through providence the emptiness in our soul, is a calling, a gracious preview of what is to come if we don’t repent and find our way back . . .


 15 “And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”16 “And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”

The son abandoned his Father and became a citizen of another country. We are always a servant to someone, either this world unto sin and death or God, unto peace and life. There is no replacement for God. Not only that, but to the Jew; swine are unclean creatures (symbolic of sin). The boy had to feed and care for (the fruits of his sin). Not only had sin become a stumbling block, he now served it. There is one redeeming factor in sin; it shows us of our emptiness and utter need for God’s glorious redemption.


17 “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

The hollow veil of sin showed the son his destitute nature. He knew his Father was good and hope was refreshed in him. God’s grace is so forgiving. He can make any sinner whole even one who once was a child of God that left his citizenship of heaven for the world. This is the beginning of repentance, salvation, and sanctification: knowing our state as a sinner and a servant of sin.


20 “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”

The son had to act. He had to ask his Father for forgiveness. What is amazing here is that God knows what we are going to do. Even as we ask for forgiveness, it is already done. Did you notice that the Father ran to him? God wants everyone to be saved (we were all once a part of His family in the garden). God does not just wait for us, he helps us along as we come stumbling, starving, and naked. Oh, how we as prodigal neglect so great a salvation that the second Adam has suffered and died for.


 22 “But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:” 23 “And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”

There is great rejoicing when a child of God who lost his inheritance returns! We can be restored. Like David, after committing adultery and murder, he repented and the joy of his salvation was restored.


 25 “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.”

Those that remain faithful here on Earth can sometimes be troubled when they see those who live riotously seemingly getting away with their sins. Be not deceived, we all get what is due to us. God rewards and judges us according to our works. This is not the same as salvation, which we cannot earn. Works are a result, a condition of saving faith, and is nonetheless critically important as a child of God.


 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”

The faithful child who does not stray from their salvation may not realize their reward yet. They do things in secret for God, not getting the adoration of man, or immediate gratification. This can try our souls. Grace is suppose to teach us patience and understanding. We all have some maturing to do. That is why we are constantly told to endure, hold fast, and run the race as an athlete trains.


 31 “And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”

As faithful servants, God wants to give all He has to us. He even wants to serve us, forever! Oh, to realize the glory awaiting our weary souls. We will be changed. God is going to give us a new estate, just wait. Nothing in this world even compares.


 32 “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”

God and the angels in Heaven are right to rejoice for it is a miracle when someone who was dead becomes alive. God rejoices especially in this parable because one of his children had become lost and was found. If this child would have died in the foreign country, he would have been lost forever and buried by the swine he fed. There are many examples and warnings against losing what God has given us by forgetting the truth and turning back to sin.

Be not deceived: We need to rightly divide the word of God . . . and live it.

To think that you can live in sin and still be a child of God is a deception from the Devil that began in Genesis. It continues in churches today and is spread by evangelists in huge stadiums all over the world. This other gospel is like a train, nearly impossible to stop and in its wake, demons are dragging souls to Hell. Flee this path, cease from sin, avoid every appearance of evil and walk humbly and in holiness to your Father’s house. This life requires dedication and ceaseless commitment. Fear not, He will dress you, feed you, and keep you if you walk in Him.


I once road on this train and lived in a land far away from my God.

Frankly, I am tired of the pigs.

 

How did we get so far away from New Testament church practice?

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5


With verses like this I am at a miss how so much of Christianity can believe in a doctrine that teaches that if we say a prayer to accept Jesus into our hearts we are secure in our salvation. If we choose to continue in sin its okay, because once we said that prayer, we are saved.



Old Testament:

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. (Psa 10:4)

Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. (Psa 10:13)

The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Psa 11:5)

Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. (Psa 11:6-7)

New Testament (poneros)

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.,” (Mat 13:49-50)

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: (Mat 18:32)

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: (Mat 25:26)

And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: (Luke 19:22)

And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. (2 Thess 3:2)

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil [poneros] deeds. (2 John 10-11)

(There is much to be learned from these verses about wickedness that has permeated Christianity that deserves further study.)


Paul also calls the church to “deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

I was taught that this meant the man will physically die and still go to heaven. Can Christians practice sins worse than non-Christians and still go to heaven? [“and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles“]

That is what I use to think until I Iearned that this man is mentioned elsewhere in Corinthians and it appears that he was restored to the church. Flesh in verse 5 can mean the human body but the Greek word also means sinful nature. I am inclined to believe that Paul meant the man’s sinful nature was put to death since his spirit appears to be saved as he was restored later in 2 Cor 2:5-8,

But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

If this was not the man in 1 Corinthians 5:1, the principle would still stand in light of the context and the New Testament church practice of reflecting God’s holiness and longsuffering in love.

Paul also mentions him in 2 Corinthians 7:12 – “So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.”

Paul also warned against sinning Christians here, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21) and here: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Eph 5:3,4)


Our church is already in deep trouble and not in the early stages of falling away. We hardly practice Christianity according to the Bible. There is not one church that I am aware that will purge members for sexual immorality, coveting, idolatry, railing, drug or alcohol abuse, or covetous, or an idolater, or railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, and then forgive and comfort one with open arms when he repents of his sins and comes back to live for God, like in 2 Cor 2:7-8. Usually we go on unaware of such sinful behavior because of our apostasy. We are so watered down in doctrine that sin has become rampant in most of our churches today with pastors even practicing these sins. Satan no longer has a foothold in the churches, he has control over many of them.


This concept of becoming spiritually dead after becoming saved is no different than the story of the Prodigal son . . .  for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. (Luke 15:24), And they began to be merry. You see here the father began to be merry and celebrate only when his son was found or alive again. The father does not celebrate or take pleasure in a son who is dead and lost. He is not part of his household only those children who are faithful like his other son.


 

Nor is it any different than what Jesus said about Christians that do not have a firm foundation in Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

The good news is we can get right with God if we fall away but we must be willing to live in repentance, abide in the truth, and then nothing will be able to keep us from the love of God. Because sin will not only keep you from church, it can separate you from God.


Brothers and Sisters,

“Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Tim 2:19)

There are eternal consequences for those who don’t.

In love,

Donald Kjellberg

This is not a works salvation. This is the gospel.

Romans 9:14, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” This refers to living off the fruits of your ministry. But it means much more. Living the gospel also means that “you practice what you preach.” How I love the depth of God’s word!


Below, Paul describes some things we should consider while pruning our trees with the fruits of the gospel lest we bear bad fruit and God cuts us out from the root as noted in, Romans 11:18-22.

But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.


Below Paul shows us how he is living the gospel and exhorts us to do the same.

“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more . . .  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I Corinthians 9:19, 27

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? Finally, brethren, farewell . . . Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:5, 11


This is not a works salvation, this is the gospel. Preaching Christ crucified and living all that the New Testament teaches IS the good news. Is it not good news that you can be saved? Is it not good news that you can be free from the bondage of sin? Iis it not good news that God can transform you heart and desires? Is it not good news that through the power of the Spirit of Truth you can do the work of God?

The gospel is the revelation of Jesus Christ. The fruits that come from the Tree of Life come from no other source. God can bring peace and strengthen your heart and mind every day as you submit to His will. This is the fullness of the gospel.


Jesus said, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 13:12-14


Guard your heart from the iniquity in this world and pray God transforms you to His heart’s desire, pure and undefiled. Did you know that you are a living epistle of the gospel? God forbid we show the world how to live by presenting a carnal nature and the ungodly lusts it produces instead of this.

Lastly,

“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:” 2 Corinthians 3:2-4


So preach the gospel of Christ crucified, more importantly, live it out in your own life.