Category Archives: God’s will

A roaring lion seeking whom he may devour

1 Peter 5:8-10 KJVS
[[8] Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: [9] Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. [10] But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you .

Many times we cherrypick scripture verses out of context, then use them to draw certain spiritual meanings and lessons from these verses, and miss out on deeper meanings that otherwise could be acquired by reading them in context. Case in point is the oft mentioned phrase “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. A deeper understanding may be had, by reading the verse in context and by study a definition of one of the words in a verse that follows. We are told to resist stedfast the devil in the faith. We are also told that being afflicted by the devil is the same afflictions accomplished in our brethren. The following definition of accomplished offers deeper insight.

Strong’s Number
G2005
Strong’s Definition
From G1909 and G5055; to fulfill further (or completely) that is execute; by implication to terminate undergo: – accomplish do finish (make) (perfect) perform (X -ance).
Thayer’s Definition
to bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, complete
to take upon one’s self
to make an end for one’s self
to leave off
to appoint to, impose upon

A online Greek Interlinear renders G2005 like this.

TO-BE-beING-ON FINISHED

The the noun afflictions is the object of the verb G2005 and the meaning in that sentence is difficult for me to determine. G2005 is often in verses that relate to those in the body of Christ being completed, perfected or finished. I like how the Amplified Bible translates that verse.

1 Peter 5:9 | AMP
9 Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.

This verse dovetails nicely with what is stated in the verse that follows verse 9.

1 Pe 5:10 KJVS
[10] But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you .

A few more verses in other epistles that supply additional insight.

1 Thessalonians 3:3 KJVS
[3] That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

The Greek word, G2347, which is translated into the English word afflictions in 1 Th 3:3, is also translated into tribulation in a variety of other New Testament verses. Most notably the following.

Colossians 1:24 KJVS
[24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Granted, Apostle Paul is not specific in regards to who is behind these afflictions or tribulations. Or in many cases what exactly these afflictions and tribulations are, when he mentions these words in many verses in the New Testament. But since Suffering plays a role in our development as children of God, Satan appears to have a role in it. Part of which is this.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6 KJVS
[4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [5] For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. [6] For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

All things are of God, 2 Co 5:18. Is it ordained by God for Satan to blind the eyes to the gospel of those not ordained to see the light? You can not go beyond what is stated in the scriptures. The body of Christ was known in Christ before the foundation of the world, Eph 1:4. The Greek word for foundation has the meaning of something conceived. So before the world was conceived, those in the body of Christ, were known in him. This is a important point that theology conveniently ignores. There are reasons for that. Money, control of people and men building their own kingdoms in this world. God of course foreknew, predestinated and ordained all that goes on in this world directly or indirectly. To ignore this fact is to limit a limitless God. Keep this in mind as we move foreword.

Romans 13:1 KJVS
[1] Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

After reading Ro 13:1, one might ask if Satan is one of the powers ordained by God? Since he is the God of this world, and all things are of God, one would think so. It is commonly presented that Satan upset the apple cart of God’s perfect creation by enticing Eve and Adam to take a bite out of the fruit off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now granted, that act by Adam and Eve was in direct disobedience of God’s command. But the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil made mankind like God and the Word, Gen 3:22. All that was lacking in humanity at that point, was individual maturity in men’s decision making ability in relationship with God and with one another. This lack of maturity is due to the flesh, Ro 8:3. The maturity God has in mind for man is experiential and can only be achieved a couple of different ways. By observing life around us, by being taught/disciplined by worldly authorities. And if one is in the body of Christ, exercised by God’s chastisements in the decisions we make in life. All of which results in greater or lesser degrees of good or evil in this cosmos. Individual thoughts and actions result in good or evil. The following verses apply more to the body of Christ but in principle, apply or will apply in time, to all men.

Hebrews 5:13-14 KJVS
[13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hebrews 12:6,11 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Both sets of verses mention righteousness, which is the end result of being justified and sanctified, Ro 3:20-24. But the not so obvious point that is being made, is that being made righteous, made perfect or mature, cannot take place without the interplay of good and evil in the world. God then needed to create a environment designed to mature and bring many sons into glory,He 2:10&11? Satan as the adversary, has a direct role in the process of the children of God being made mature. Again, this is not obvious due to the fact that Satan is often misrepresented as the perpetrator of evil in this world. A free agent who is intentionally derailing God’s purpose in the world. That is partly true but scriptures indicate there is more going on here than that simplistic representation of Satan. Evil again, is a result of individual choices and actions that are made by all creatures in God’s creation. Choices made by Satan, by sons of God, by Eve and Adam and by all of us. I remember one of my sons complaining to me about a big fine he had to pay. He got a ticket for one thing or another connected to his automobile. He did not pay the ticket for years and down the line it caught up with him and he was forced to pay it, but it was considerably more than the original fine. I told him he learned a valuable lesson. Pay tickets on time. Obey the law. I have often told my two sons, neither of whom the Lord has yet called, that life would teach them everything they needed to know, but they needed to pay attention.

Romans 13:1-4 ESV
[1] Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. [2] Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, [4] for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Now granted, there are varying degrees of good and evil. Just as there are varying degrees of maturity. Maturity is gained by guidance from our parents and from life experience and from the school of hard knocks. Sometimes God’s authorities on this earth punish you in various ways for infractions against the laws. And if you are a Christian, God chastises you based on a more stringent sets of law, the royal law of love, Ja 2:8, and for lack of holiness, He 12:10. The book of James has something to say about man being tempted or being put to the proof, as the Strong’s Concordance defines being tried.

James 1:12-16 KJVS
[12] Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. [13] Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: [14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. [16] Do not err, my beloved brethren.

According to these verses in James, God does not tempt any man but the first chapter of Job records a interesting conversation between God and Satan while both were present at the divine council. God draws Satan’s attention to Job and by accentuating how blameless Job is, God provokes Satan into tempting Job with various trials.

Job 1:6-12 ESV
[6] Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. [7] The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” [8] And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” [9] Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? [10] Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. [11] But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” [12] And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Satan’s actions against Job, as the narrative progresses, extends to the point where Satan is allowed by God to torment Job directly by attacking his health.

Job 2:3-6 KJVS
[3] And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. [4] And Satan answered the Lord , and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. [5] But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. [6] And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

I have read the book of Job many times and have come away with a couple conclusions. God proves to Job that he did not established his own righteousness. What is not so obvious is that godly character needs to be put to the proof by adversity, affection and suffering. A important fact to notice in this account, is that Satan required God’s permission to tempt Job and God limited Satan’s actions. Satan is ultimately not a free agent acting on his own. Nebuchadnezzar arrived at the same conclusion regarding himself as a free agent after God had him crawl on his hands and knees eating grass for seven years to humble him. Keep in mind that he was the absolute rule of the known world at that time but he was also God’s servant, Je 25:9. Perhaps that is why God chastised him.

Daniel 4:34-35 KJVS
[34] And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: [35] And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

This divinely inspired conclusion is very similar to what Paul writes in Romans, Ro 9:19-21. A situation Apostle Paul found himself in comes to mind, that is directly related to this subject matter of this article, which demonstrates God’s authority over a messenger of Satan

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 KJVS
[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Who gave Paul this messenger of Satan to torment him is not made clear but again all things are of God. God gave all judgment to the Lord Jesus Christ, Jn 5:22. The Lord made this statement regarding Saul which is of interest.

Acts 9:15-16 KJVS
[15] But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: [16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

The gospels records many instances of the authority Jesus Christ had over devils and demons which are too numerous to list. Jesus Christ even instructed Satan to be quick in using Judas Iscariot to betray him.

John 13:26-27 KJVS
[26] Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it . And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. [27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

Another interesting episode in the gospels comes to mind, that at first glance seems unremarkable.

Matthew 4:1 KJVS
[1] Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

To have the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, demonstrates a certain degree of coordination between the Spirit and Satan in regards to time and place. When praying the Lord’s Prayer, we pray to the Father to be led not into temptation, Lk 11:4. There is of course a open conflict between the angels of God and Satan and his angels that emerges from the scriptures. The book of Daniel records one such instance, Da 10:12&13. Personally I view this conflict as real and necessary so as to allow evil to flourish in a controlled manner, so that the body of Christ and all creation to some greater or lesser degrees, achieve maturity due to having their senses exercised to discern between good and evil. In essence, you can’t make a omelet without breaking a few eggs. God apparently needs to immerse the members of the body of Christ in the crucible of suffering, affliction and temptation along with His Spirit poured in, in order to make the new creature in Christ, Ja 1:18. There is more at play here than that, but this article is complicated enough as is. A person can learn a lot when reading scripture by asking yourself questions. Why did God wait till the end of the age to cast Satan out of the third heaven to earth? Especially in light of the fact that both God and Jesus have the ultimate power and authority in heaven, Eph 1:20&21.

Revelation 12:10 KJVS
[10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

The not so obvious answer is, that up until that point Satan had not completed his role as accuser of the brethren. The following definition of the Greek word translated into accuser is of interest, especially in light of the throne of God in the third heaven, and the proceedings that takes place there, He 4:16.

Thayer’s Definition
a. to accuse
before a judge: to make an accusation
b. of an extra-judicial accusation

Conversely we have advocate with God the Father who sits at His right hand.

1 John 2:1 KJVS
[1] My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

That is why it is important to confess our sins, 1 Jn 1:9. I make a habit of saying the Our Father every morning for that reason. Satan’s role as accuser/adversary/prosecutor at the throne of God is necessary in the perfection of the body of Christ. And I admit, Satan’s role in this matter is not evident in a casual reading of scripture. But is apparent upon examination.

James 1:12-18 KJVS
[12] Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. [13] Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: [14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. [16] Do not err, my beloved brethren. [17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. [18] Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does he tempt any man. Does that mean God does not visit evils upon man? Part of the Strong’s Concordance definition for the Greek word chastening in He 12:5 is pasted below.

Strong’s Number
G3809
b. chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)

The definition seems clear on who visits evils on man for their amendment but conflicts what is written in Ja 1:13. Perhaps the distinction is that God leads us into temptation rather than doing the evil Himself. The dialogue exchanged between God and Satan in the first chapter of Job again shows the finer nuances on how God performs his will on this earth. Is Satan’s role as the adversary/accuser completed when he is cast down from heaven as described in the 12th chapter of Revelation? From my perspective, his role as the accuser is no longer necessary, since the rapture of the body of Christ takes place at the seventh trumpet, Rev 10:7, 11:15. Keep in mind the three woes are linked to the last three Trumpets, and the third woe is when Satan is cast down to earth, Rev 12:12. At that point the body of Christ, if in fact that is who the man child represents, is without sin and made perfect/mature as the work of justification and sanctification is complete in every member.

Hebrews 9:28 KJVS
[28] So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

To be honest, it is unclear in the above verse that the second appearance of our Lord that is mentioned, refers to when he meets the Saints in the air, 1 Th 4:17, or steps down on the Mount of Olives, Zec 14:4. But this of course has not happened yet. So in the meantime, Apostle John tells us to confess our sins, 1 Jn 1:9. Apostle Paul, in light of what I have just written, gives us insight on why we should do just that.

1 Corinthians 11:28-32 KJVS
[28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. [29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. [30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. [31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. [32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Apostle Jude understood Satan’s role in God’s creation and is in agreement with what Apostle Paul wrote in Ro 13:1.

Jude 1:8-10 KJVS
[8] Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. [9] Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. [10] But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

The Apostles understood that Satan is the god of this world, 2 Co 4:4, and understood his role as the accuser of the brethren. So then, a person can understand why Apostle Paul told the Philippians’s to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, Php 2:11&12. God knows what is in our hearts and minds and is growing the fruit of the Spirit in each and every member of the body of Christ. He allows any action He deems necessary in order for us to be qualified to rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, Col 1:12.

Hebrews 12:28-29 KJVS
[28] Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: [29] For our God is a consuming fire.

What is being consumed is our flesh, and what is being grown in us is the fruit of the Spirit. What I see in scripture, is that all things are of God, and even though the struggle between good and evil is diverse and complex, it presents most individuals with a wide range of choices. The overall Matrix, if you will, exposes most all to a reality wherein they acquire varying degrees of maturity due to making choices and suffering the consequences of poor descisions and rewarded for prudent ones. A complex environment that could only come from the mind of God. Since Yeshua is the beginning and the end, everything in between ultimately leads to God’s desired end which fulfilles his purpose in Christ.

Ephesians 1:10 KJVS
[10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Who hath resisted his will?

Ro 9:18-19  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19  Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

For who hath resisted his will? Indeed, who has resisted God’s will, and equally important why does He yet find fault? The omnipotence of God and the power He has over the individual, is further reinforced by analogy, a couple verses later in the 9th chapter of Romans.

Ro 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Much of the Christian world believes in free will, and that God created man with free will, and is being held hostage, so to speak, by the very beings He has created. Common reasoning goes something like this, man was created with free will and God is more or less in damage control just trying to contain the evil that man is doing in the world. Granted, it is very hard to understand the mind of God, but the word of God give us a glimpse of how He thinks and operates, Jn 8:28, 2Ti 3:16, He 1:2. I have known Christians in the past who will argue that man has free will, even when shown those verses in the 9th chapter of Romans. They will point to a verse later in Romans and then promptly ignore other verses in the New Testament.

Ro 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Some Christians proudly claim that they made the choice to accept Jesus as their personal saviour. But when comparing Ro 10:9 with the following verses, one can see that the salvation of a man is hardly based on free will, and the works or initiative of individual men.

Joh 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Eph 2::8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Php 1:29  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Time and time again you run into the words ordained, predesignated, appointed and the like, in the New Testament. Only once in the New Testament does a specific Greek word that is translated into the English word inheritance appear and that is in Eph 1:11

AV Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

The Strong’s Concordance definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “inheritance”.

G2819  kleros  klay’-ros

probably from G2806 (through the idea of using bits of wood, etc., for the purpose; a die (for drawing chances);

by implication, a portion (as if so secured); by extension, an acquisition (especially a patrimony, figuratively).

KJV: heritage, inheritance, lot, part.

Personally I like the Concordant Literal New Testament translation of that verse.

CLV Eph 1:11 in Him in Whom our lot was cast also, being designated beforehand according to the purpose of the One Who is operating *all in accord with the counsel of His *will,

You’ve heard it said, that a person has a certain lot in life, and that is certainly true in biblical history. Note that God is “operating” all in accord with the counsel of His “will”. There are lumps of clay, humans, destined to be vessels of wrath and those, the children of promise, ordained to be vessels of mercy, Ro 9:20-21. You have the mystery of iniquity, 2Th 2:3-9,  playing out the roles assigned to them by God. You have those early apostate members of the church who were ordained of old for this condemnation in Jude 1:4. Two interesting question are asked in Ro 9:19.  Who has resisted His will? And why does he still find fault? What is not so obvious, when reading the bible narrative, is that no one has resisted God’s will, when in fact He exerts it. Look at what Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the entire world in his day, and what he had to say after God had him crawling on his hands and knees eating grass, as a beast of the field for 7 years.

Da 4:34-35 ¶  And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifting up my eyes to heaven, got back my reason, and, blessing the Most High, I gave praise and honour to him who is living for ever, whose rule is an eternal rule and whose kingdom goes on from generation to generation.
35  And all the people of the earth are as nothing: he does his pleasure in the army of heaven and among the people of the earth: and no one is able to keep back his hand, or say to him, What are you doing?

Job certainly came to the same conclusion concerning the trials God allowed into his life.

AV Jb 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Or what Joseph had to say regarding his brothers selling him into slavery.

Ge 50:17-21  So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
18  And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19  And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21  Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

The point being made is that all men are but bit players in their roles in life that God has assigned to them. Whether they are aware of it or not. But the answer to the second unanswered question is not so apparent. Why does God still find fault? As the potter, God takes lumps of clay, humans, and makes different vessels according to his design. Vessels of honor and vessels of wrath. And with both of these vessels, God of course finds fault, because irregardless of their roles in life, all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God, Ro 3:23. Even the vessels of honor, 1Pe 4:17. God finds fault, so as He can judge and correct the faults, in each individual vessel. Each individual, in their own ordained time, will be judged and saved, the majority of mankind at the white throne judgment. That is the point of it all. To judge the world in righteousness, Acts 17:31, through the Lord Jesus Christ. To what end?  So God can be all in all. God is love and we are to be holy and without blame before Him in love, Eph 1:4. Now, does this only apply to the body of Christ? The body of Christ is important in the plan and purpose of God but in order for God to be all in all, 1Co 15:28 , all have to be made perfect/mature in love.

1Jo 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

The not so obvious conclusion that can be drawn from this verse is that in order for God to be all in all, all have to dwell in love. One of the most definitive aspects of God, is that He is love, 1Jn 4:8. God intends to make man in His own image and likeness. The acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil is part and parcel with this process?

Gn 3:22 & 24 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Man, when he was created, was immature and thus imperfect. Adam and Eve were easily led astray and enticed into disobedience in the Garden of Eden by the serpent and acquired the knowledge of good and evil. In like matter we are all created in a immature and imperfect likenesses of God. Since God is love, that is the very area that we all lack maturity in, 1Co 3:1-3. But God be praised, He will teach us how to love, 1Th 4:9. This spiritual maturity, of being able to love in the perfect or mature way, only comes about through much experience in our decision making in regards to good and evil, within our interactions with other people in our lives. Good and evil arises out of the heart of man and impacts the choices he makes in his life. So we need to grow in spiritual maturity.

Heb 5:12-14  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Note in verse 13, it mentions the word of righteousness. The word of righteousness, in a nut shell, is that we are to love one another, and to be holy and without blame before God in love, Eph 1:4. In the simplest of terms, good is love and evil is the absence of love in the heart of man. That which comes out of the heart of man, is what defiles a man, the lusts of the flesh, that Paul mentions in Galatians, are what defile a man, Mt 15:18-19, Ga 5:19-21. God’s goal for us in our life, is to gain maturity from interacting with the good and evil in life, some of which is due to the choices we make in life. Some from the choices of others and how those choices impact us. As we grow in maturity, we fall more in line with God’s will, and walk more in love. This maturity that comes from God, is also called the circumcision of the heart, Ro 2:28-29. Now, a apt analogy is raising children. Which many of us have done or are in the process of doing. These children live in a world that is comprised of people that are in the constant motion of making choices that are either good or evil or somewhere in between. A very complicated world, complicated by the fact that many of the people in this world do not aspire to live according to God’s law of love, Mt 22:37-40. As you raise your child towards maturity you seek to instill in them respect towards other people and respect for the law. As the child grows older, the challenges they face, within themselves and with other people in the world grow in complexity. Hurt, pain and suffering in the world is caused by other people and by the child themselves, due to the choices they make. Hurting and being hurt in a inescapable dance set in motion by God.

Ro 8:20-23  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

There is a observation made by some, that this earth and the life we live on this earth, was intentionally created flawed by God’s design. A necessary evil, that needs to be endured in order for the godly character to be developed and instilled in man. The perfection/maturity which God has in mind for all men. In order to do so, a learning environment was needed to be designed by God to that end, a school of hard knocks so to speak. Then God Himself teaches His creation to walk in love, the body of Christ first.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJVS
[9] But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

Take a look at the fruit of the Spirit in Ga 5:22-23. This fruit is cultivated and grown, not instilled in us at the point of our creation. The peaceable fruit of righteousness only comes about by God’s chastening us.

Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Jesus learned obedience by the things that he suffered, Heb 5:8, and unfortunately obedience can not be realized in any other way. It has to be tested, tried, and put to the proof. Part of loving a child and having them grow into maturity, a maturity that you know will insure peace and harmony in their life, is the willingness to discipline them for their own good and for the good of society. The thousand year reign of Jesus Christ is going to be a age of peace, righteousness and order. Where the law and the word of God is going to flow out of Jerusalem to the nations of the world, Isa 2:2-4. A perfected or matured body of Christ has been ordained to assist the Lord Jesus Christ in that reign. Ultimately, the end result being, that God is going to perfect/mature all men through Jesus Christ our Lord. Which apostle Paul was acutely aware of in his ministry.

Col 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Not all men are going to be made perfect at once. A scripture verse that shines some insight into this, mentions the “second death”.

Re 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

In Re 2:11, it further states that there is hurt/pain involved in the second death. One way or another, a man is going to die to the lusts of the flesh and that involves hurt, pain and suffering, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

1Pe 4:1 ¶  Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
2  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

It is quite difficult for the human mind to encompass the enormity of what God is accomplishing in Jesus Christ. A large portion of mankind are oblivious, by design, to what God is doing and are going to pass through the white throne judgment and be judged and corrected at that time, 2Co 5:10, Re 20:11-13. The vessels of honor, the body of Christ, are judged and corrected while they live, in order to have instilled in them, the necessary godly character and fruit to rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, Col 1:12, Re 20:6. They can be judged while they live because God views those in Christ, as dead in Christ, and as such, legally liable for judgment, Col 2:12 , Heb 9:27, 1Pe 4:17. The vessels of wrath, some of whom were ordained to stumbled at the word, 1Pe 2:8 , and were fitted for ruin or loss, which is what destruction means in Ro 9:22.  Judas, a prime example of a person walking a preordained path, was ordained to betray Jesus, Jn 6:70-71, Acts 1:16 and Acts 2:23. Some have a preordained role in life and most others not overtly so, but like all, will be judged and corrected by God. All of creation was created within this complex mechanism designed by God to educate and mature all beings in His creation. These verses from the book of Romans express what God is doing most eloquently.

Ro 11:29-33  For God does not repent of His free gifts nor of His call;
30  but just as you were formerly disobedient to Him, but now have received mercy at a time when they are disobedient,
31  so now they also have been disobedient at a time when you are receiving mercy; so that to them too there may now be mercy.
32  For God has locked up all in the prison of unbelief, that upon all alike He may have mercy.
33 ¶  Oh, how inexhaustible are God’s resources and God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge! How impossible it is to search into His decrees or trace His footsteps! Weymouth

Just the other day I noticed this definition of a word in Ro 9:23, which corroborates how God ordered His creation to achieve His purpose in Christ.

Romans 9:22-23 KJVS
[22] What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: [23] And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

The word ‘that’ in verse 23 has this definition.

Strong’s Definition
Probably from the same as the former part of G1438 (through the demonstrative idea; compare G3588); in order that (denoting the purpose or the result): – albeit because to the intent (that) lest so as (so) that (for) to. Compare G3363 .

It was necessary for God to mold vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, in order that the vessels of mercy achieve and realize the purpose God designed for them. So at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, if in fact, any man has free will? A careful reading of the Word of God shows otherwise.

Good good Father

I just downloaded a popular Christian song on my iPad. And decided to use the title of that song, as the title of this article. We do have a good good Father in heaven but the average Christian has some glaring misconceptions regarding our Father in heaven, and the love He has for us. Many Christians view our Father as a sugar daddy in heaven who is ready to showers us with material blessings. But the blessings a Christian receives in the New Testament are spiritual, Eph 1:3.

Acts 3:25-26 KJVS
[25] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

The transition in my mind in understand that we are being blessed with spiritual blessings rather than material blessings took considerable time. I live with moderate,and at times severe chronic pain, due to a spinal cord injury and four fused vertebrae in my neck. A large segment of organized Christianity does not teach that we are blessed with spiritual blessings, and early on following my injury the health and prosperity doctrines offered me hope of relief from pain and weakness. I have prayed, nearly on a daily basis, for healing of this condition for over 30 years. Even visited the San Marcos Healing Rooms a couple of times when wintering over with my sister Barb in Vista California. To be honest I have experienced periods of disappointment, depression, anger and bitterness towards God because I have not been healed and the long duration of this injury. Which has hardened my heart. The washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost, Titus 3:5, has frequently washed these negative emotions from my heart. Over the last 15 years of reading and studying scripture, I have come to a deeper understanding of the methodology God uses in saving the body of Christ by grace. Or as Acts 3:26 phrases it “turning away every one of you from his iniquities”. Apostle Peter said at the Jerusalem council that through grace our hearts are purified by faith, Acts 15:9&11. Apostle Paul told the members of the Philippians church something, which at first glance would seem unrelated to what Peter said.

Philippians 2:12-13 KJVS
[12] Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. [13] For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Since God, through Jesus Christ, is going to turn us away from our iniquities, there is a method that He uses which emerges from scripture. Ultimately this method involves purifying the heart on one hand and on the other hand eradicating the sin nature, the flesh, within us. Our Lord Jesus pointed out that the source of sin is the heart.

Mark 7:21-23 KJVS
[21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Patterns of sinful behavior are hard to change not only because of the deceitful nature of sin, He 3:12&13. But also because the flesh is too weak to follow the laws of God, Ro 8:3, and the laws of God are based on love, Ro 13:10. As such, it is necessary to have the indwelling of the Holy Ghost to effect change in a believers heart.

John 17:23 KJVS
[23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Scripture points to the fact that justification and sanctification are a ongoing process in a believers life. Both are dependent upon maturity. Both are by grace, and it is by grace we are saved through faith, Eph 2:8&9. We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all, He 10:10, and the offering of his body, whose body we are, Eph 5:30, takes place on the altar outside the camp.

Hebrews 13:9-14 KJVS
[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. [12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. [14] For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

As you see, the altar outside the camp is instrumental in establishing the heart by grace. And that altar is the place of sanctification, the place where the old man is destroyed, Ro 6:6. Sanctification is as much about the heart as justification is. We are justified by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Ro 3:24. So it is pretty hard to separate justification and sanctification because they both are by grace. I wrote a previous article based on the following verses.

Hebrews 3:8-10 KJVS
[8] Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: [9] When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. [10] Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

God’s ways are to temper us in the furnace of suffering, affliction and for some persecution. Maturity and steadfastness can only gain by being challenged with adversity. We can only acquire obedience to the will of God and cease from sin through suffering, 1 Pe 4:1&2. From my perspective, the suffering and frustration of living with a spinal cord injury for all thirty plus years, has been necessary in purifying my heart through faith in Jesus Christ. And also bringing me to obedience to God’s will by ceasing to sin. After all, it is God that works in me the will to do His good pleasure, Php 2:13, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. The same God who also chastises me to partake of his holiness and acquire the fruit of righteousness, He 12:10&11. I often wonder if this long arduous ordeal I have gone through for 30 years plus has been really necessary. But then I only need to be honest and look back on the condition of my heart in times past. Which should be no surprise since the word of God has shown me.

Hebrews 4:12-13 KJVS
[12] For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [13] Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

I can only hope I am near the finish of the race, He 12:1, which has been set before me and soon receive the crown of life, Ja 1:12. But I know that God will bring me to a state of maturity far exceeding anything I could have achieved on my own. So as one of the lyrics of the song states, He is perfect in all of His way. He is a good good Father.