The washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

Titus 3:5-7 KJVS
[5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

It is funny how this web site seemes to write itself. Perhaps because it mirrors the progression of my understanding of the mystery of God in my life. The Christ in you, the hope of glory. It should go without saying, but we are God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus. The new creature, 2 Co 5:17, that is being created through the agency of the Holy Spirit, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost in the individual members of the body of Christ, throughout their lives. I have noticed in the last couple years a progression of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit in my life. Probably because I am asking God for grace more often. Life is getting harder for me. I have lived over thirty years with a spinal cord injury, with every added year making the struggle all that more difficult. This struggle has made me bone weary and tired of the seemingly endless repetition of days, filled with pain and the struggle against weakness. And yet I find myself walking around smiling and conversing with people in a agreeable manner, even though I am fighting to take every step and at times living in the kind of pain most people can not imagine. Now, I can not attribute this to myself, not as if it was any work of righteousness on my part, but as it states in the scripture above, it is due to the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. In essence God is purifying my heart by faith. Praise God and His holy name. The last couple years I’ve gotten in the habit of starting my mornings out with a cup of coffee, then I open the iPad and listen to a few Christian song videos. I have bookmarked quite a few, many of which I have also purchased from iTunes. And most every morning as I listen and praise and worship God and sing along, the Spirit washes over me, regenerates me, and renews my heart. God and His Spirit sustains me and hopefully will continue to sustain me through this fiery trial until the day God heals me, I die, or the Lord returns. The regeneration of the Holy Ghost is bringing about the new creature God has in mind, which is to be the resurrected body of Christ. There are only a few verses that mention this new creature in the New Testament.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJVS
[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15 KJVS
[15] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The first scripture does not ring true to me as it appears, so I looked at the Strong’s definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “creature”. The primary definition is more in line with my thoughts regarding the meaning of the verse. The definition follows. 1.the act of founding, establishing, building etc. This definition gives one the sense that it is a work that is presently underway, rather than a past tense, completed state of being. The rest of the verse is also suspect to me in regards to verb tense. Unfortunately, translators have a difficult time translating the Aorist tense into English, and most often use the past tense. If you remember, Aorist tense is the Greek indefinite, indefinite in regards to verb tense, and means without horizon. Since I am not a expert translator in koine Greek, I can only compare the above verse to other verses in the bible to arrive at a better understanding of 2 Co 5:17. I have read in the past that 43% of the main verbs in the New Testament are Aorist. Just a scant few verses later in 2 Corinthians, is a verse that puts light on the preceding verse 17, part of this verse is used as a tag line for this web site.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVS
[21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That we may be made the righteousness of God in him does not sound as if this new creature is already a established and completed fact. Most every day of my life I do not feel like a new creature in Christ. Not in the sense that it is already a completed state of being in my life. Thoughts like this do not appear to line up with a verse like 2 Co 5:17. Thoughts like this can be troublesome and make you feel as if you, in some fashion, have missed the boat. Especially when you are in a dire situation where weakness, pain and doubts about how long you can continue to live alone and take care of yourself, trouble you on a daily basis. If you look at the verse I started this article with, you see the words “washing of regeneration”. Part of the Strong’s primary definition of the word “regeneration” is “new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration”. So we are going through a process of being reborn through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. A scripture I just recalled today, agrees with this. I read and edit these articles sometimes dozens of times after I publish them. Correcting typos or making additional comments or adding scripture verses that come to mind, after the fact, that make subjects I am writing about clearer. This is one of those times.

Ephesians 4:24 KJVS
[24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This verse gives a good mental image of the process of becoming this new creature, new man that will be the body of Christ. The word “put” is not in the manuscript, just the word “on” and I really like the Strong’s definition for the Greek word.

Strong’s Number
G1746
Original Word
ἐνδύω
Transliterated Word
enduō
Phonetic Spelling
en-doo’-o
Parts of Speech
Verb
Definition
1. to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

You get the real sense of being in the process of clothing yourself in righteousness. Believe it or not, just knowing this gives me comfort. I got to admit, that this “name it and claim it” theology mind set of certain areas of Christianity, has been and is troubling to me, for a very long time. The onus of not having the faith to be healed is always on the individual who is sick, weak or injured. I have a spinal cord injury. I was paralyzed for ten days. I cried like a baby from the intense pain when they first put me on a mat in Physical Therapy and told me to get into a sitting position. I lost over 30 pounds of muscle in ten days due to atrophy while paralyzed. It took 3 months of painful therapy to walk 100 feet on my own. And I have lived with this injury and pain associated with it for 31 years. I can remember early on, being in a halo vest, a device worn to stabilize the cervical vertebra that were fractured, and going to a healing service at a local church. This visiting healer placed his hand on my chest to push me back and fall into the waiting arms of two young men. I suppose it was to mimic being slain in the Spirit. I did not fall back due to fear of possible additional injury but the theatrical nature of the healing ministry rubbed me the wrong way. If God is going to heal me, He will do it without fanfare or theatrics. So this whole prosperity, name it and claim it theology, that implies people lack the faith to be healed, can lead a person to feel as if he missed the boat. Maybe I don’t have the faith to be healed. Maybe the trial of my faith will bring me to the place where I do have the faith to be healed. Or maybe it is necessary for a hardhead tough guy like me to suffer so, in order to die to the pride in ones own strength,and other ungodly lusts, 1 Pe 4:1&2. Or maybe I needed to suffer in order to understand why suffering is necessary in order to be conformed to the image of Christ, Php 3:10, and relay that knowledge to others. God only knows, but knowing that I am a work in progress and having the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost in my life, is a experience that is reassuring and certainly quells the notion that I have somehow missed the boat. If I were to translate 2 Corinthians 5:17 on my own, it would look something like this.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is becoming a new creature: old things are passing away; behold, all things are being made new.

This translation would agree with many other verses that make the new creature in Christ, salvation and righteousness, appear to be a ongoing work of progress in our lives, Ro 6:6, 2 Co 12:9, He 9:28. I have read Titus 3:5 hundreds of times over the last decade and never really understood the importance of the verse in regards to salvation. Salvation in Christ, again due to the mistranslation of the Aorist tense, is largely presented as a past tense action by Jesus Christ alone, by modern day Christian theology. I have mentioned before, that years ago I bought Concordant New Testament. This translation has various marks before the verbs that indicate different verb forms in the Greek language, which allows the reader deeper insight into the various scripture verses in the Word of God. All these realizations concerning the meanings of various scripture verses, in regard to verb tense, is a recent development in my life. Largely propelled by searching the scriptures because of the feeling of having missing the boat in some fashion, due to the long term difficulty of my life. By recent, I would say the last ten years. I don’t think you can truly understand scripture until God works it into you and you say, “yeah, that verse is what is going on in my life.” For that reason it is hard to impart this knowledge to others. And let’s face it, the scripture verses in the New Testament are many and complex. Of which many religious organizations are using in purposely deceiving humanity with their various doctrines, Eph 4:14. The Word of God and the truth of the gospel is important to me. But of late, all I can manage to do is publish a infrequent article for this web site using my right index finger to peck out the articles using a iPad. Before I damaged my spinal cord I was able to type 60 words a minute using the home row method, but due to the nerve damage in my left side, I have limited dexterity in my left hand. Sitting at my computer typing with two index fingers is slow and painful due to 4 fused vertebrae in my neck, so I have come to rely on the iPad. I can lie in bed with the iPad resting in a wood holder I made, that rests against a wood clamp that is attached to the headboard of the bed. I am not likely to start a fellowship or attend a church regularly or even try and teach at a local church due to the pain and weakness. Not that any church would embrace some of the doctrine I espouse, like Universal Reconciliation with a hell of limited duration. I have been asked to leave a few churches when bringing those topics up in casual conversation. I have little choice but to be outside the camp bearing Christ’s reproach it would appear, He 13:13. Plus, God has made me a honest man, so deception by omission would not sit well with me. From my perspective God has sidelined me, or rather allowed me to sideline myself so the Holy Spirit can teach me and hopefully, I teach others. So we have God and Jesus Christ in our lives, working from the inside out and the outside in, creating this new creature.

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.

This being made perfect in one and being justified requires teaching, discipline and chastisements from God. Trials, afflictions and sufferings in order to put to the proof, the fruit of the Spirit God is growing in us. Carrot and stick approach, with the carrot being the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, that can be accompanied by joy unspeakable. I see all this at work in myself. But so slowly does change take place, that it requires much patience and hope to hold onto the eventual promised adoption and redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:22-25 KJVS
[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. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

So with patience I wait for it. And one of the things that God has given us, like a clear sweet spring of water bubbling up out of the ground, if you will, is the frequent washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost in our daily lives, which is partly instrumental in the formation of this new creature within us.

That the heart be established with grace; not with meats

Hebrews 13:9-13 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.

Peter makes a statement at the Jerusalem council which also contained two of the same words in the above verses, grace and heart.

Acts 15:9-11 KJVS
[9] And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. [10] Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? [11] But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Notice that Peter said, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, and part of the process of being saved is having the heart purified. Much of the whole focus of the New Testament regarding salvation, is involved with two words. Grace and the heart. Let’s look at another verse. Just about every Christian, young or old, can rattle this one off the top of their heads. But the 64,000 dollar question is, do they truly understand it?

Ephesians 2:8 KJVS
[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Most all Christians will agree that grace is the driving force behind God’s salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ, Ro 2:24. But in what manner does grace save us? That is what I intend to show you, using scripture. Apostle Paul wrote a very important verse that shows the fundamental problem mankind has with obeying the law of God. Remember Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, Mt 5:17. So let us look at what Paul had to say about the law.

Romans 8:3 KJVS
[3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

The flesh of man is too weak to obey the law, and understanding this fact is absolutely necessary when contrasting justification through the law or through grace. Man, by his own efforts, is incapable, too weak, of following the law. Largely because out the heart of man, emerges the varied lusts of the flesh that overwhelm a man, Ro 7:17. Jesus during his ministry, made a statement that sheds some light in this regard.

Matthew 15:19-20 KJVS
[19] For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: [20] These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Paul expands on this in great detail in the 5th chapter of Galatians. You would do well to read the chapter sometime, but for now I cherry picked two verses out of that chapter to make a point.

Galatians 5:13,16 KJVS
[13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. [16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Then, following this statement Paul outlines some of the lusts of the flesh and lists the fruit or fruits of the Spirit. The primary fruit of the Spirit is love. Paul describes love as the means by which we can be obedient to the law of God in the book of Romans.

Romans 13:9-10 KJVS
[9] For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [10] Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Simply put, the heart of man needs to be brought to the point, by God, to love in this way. Paul in another epistle, states that brotherly love is taught to us by God.

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.

Being taught by God is a function of grace and a verse written in another epistle by Paul expands on this theme.

Titus 2:11-12 KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The Greek word translated into the English word teaching is G3811. It is used three times in the 12th chapter of Hebrews, two of which are in the following verses.

Hebrews 12:6,10-11 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [10] For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. [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.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say about fruit of righteousness.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness – That which righteousness in the heart produces. The fruits, or results, will be seen in the life; and those fruits are – honesty, truth, charity, kindness, meekness, goodness. The wish of the apostle is, that they might show abundantly by their lives that they were truly righteous. He does not refer to liberality merely, but to everything which true piety in the heart is fitted to produce in the life.”

Barnes states it quite well. It would seem to be counter intuitive that the fruit of righteousness would be grown in man by God chastening them. But there is another aspect to grace that offsets being chastised, and is directly responsible for changing a man’s heart, which the following verses makes clear.

Titus 3:4-7 KJVS
[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I can attest that this is true and see it working in my own life. I have suffered pain and weakness due to a spinal cord injury since 1984. The last twenty years have been difficult. The last ten years exceedingly so, largely due to a increase of low back pain. The only thing that has kept my heart right before God, has been the frequent washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. I have been chastised by God more than a few times. Chastisement, for me, has involved a large degree of mental suffering cause by the frustration wrestling with sin that dwells in me, Ro 7:20. The 31 years of suffering due a car accident, in which I severely damaged myself due to recklessness and irresponsibility, is at times hard to understand in the context of salvation. This whole trial by fire has been quite difficult for me but suffering is another aspect of the salvation process overlooked by many.

1 Peter 4:12-13 KJVS
[12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Paul puts it this way.

Philippians 3:9-10 KJVS
[9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Weeks before the car accident that so drastically changed my life, a scripture verse kept running through my head often times when I daydreamed. I was boning hams at a local meat packing plant working 2nd shift. It is line work. By that I mean you stand next to a moving conveyor belt, in the same place for eight hours, cutting the bones out of a pig’s lower hip and thigh. Plenty of time to daydream. At odd times this one bible verse kept running through my mind, over and over for about a three week period before the accident.

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:

I did not know what it meant then, I only knew it was important. I know what it means now. Our hearts are purified through faith, Acts 15:9. So it stands to reason that the trial of faith, 1 Pe 1:7, is aimed towards the purification of our hearts. Suffering in its many forms plays a big role in this process.

1 Peter 4:1-2 KJVS
[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.

We suffer when God chastises and sometimes God uses evils in life to chastise us in order to instill the fruit of righteousness. I cannot honestly claim that the fruit of the Spirit and fruit of righteousness are one in the same, but think they are. There is also trials and afflictions ordained for us to endure, 1Thess 3:3. God’s ways are often not readily discerned. When God tries you, he is putting to the proof, that in which He is painstakingly instilling in you. The suffering, difficulties, afflictions and persecutions in life is also the fire of the sin sacrifice altar, outside the camp that burns up the flesh, He 12:11&13. We know Jesus was the lamb of God that was a sin sacrifice. His body is the church.

Ephesians 5:23 KJVS
[23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Jesus was without sin, but he became us in his role as a sin offering, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him, 2 Co 5:21. I think the failure of today’s theology is it does not understand that the body of Christ is one with the altar mentioned in He 13:10. Sacrifice and altars of sacrifice were a common part of life for Jew, Christian and pagan alike.

1 Corinthians 10:16-18 KJVS
[16] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? [17] For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. [18] Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Jesus at one point made a statement that was responsible for turning away many of his disciples.

John 6:53-56 KJVS
[53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. [54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

This was pretty powerful language and those Jews who were listening knew it was against the law of Moses to drink blood or to eat off of the body of the sin sacrifice, plus what he said would smack of cannibalism. But the point Jesus was making, was that unless you received the Spirit of adoption and became a part of his body, and then have your flesh burned up and destroyed on the sin sacrifice altar, you would not rule and reign with him during the millennial kingdom. The phrase eternal life is a poor translation. Young’s literal translation properly translates eternal life this way.

Jn:54 he who is eating my flesh, and is drinking my blood, hath life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day;

Another set of verses that point to this sin sacrifice altar is in Romans.

Ro 6:5 For if we have become planted together in the likeness of His death, nevertheless we shall be of the resurrection also,
6 knowing this, that our old humanity was crucified together with Him, that the body of Sin may be nullified, for us by no means to be still slaving for Sin,
7 for one who dies has been justified from Sin. CLV

I like this particular translation rather than the King James Version because of how the 7th verse is translated. The verb tense does not seem right in context with the tail end of the previous verse. One who dies has been “justified” is a more literal translation. The King James uses the word “freed” rather than justified in the seventh verse but the Greek word used, and its definition and usage follows.

Strong’s Number
G1344
Original Word
δικαιόω
Transliterated Word
dikaioō
Phonetic Spelling
dik-ah-yo’-o
Parts of Speech
Verb
Strong’s Definition
From G1342; to render (that is show or regard as) just or innocent: – free justify (-ier) be righteous.
Thayer’s Definition
to render righteous or such he ought to be
to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be
Usage by Word
justified (26), justify (4), justifieth (2), shall (2), was (2), being (1), by (1), freed (1), he (1), i (1), is (1), justifier (1), righteous (1)

As you can see, this Greek word has been translated most often into the English word justified in the New Testament. Being dead in Christ, Ro 6:5, is not the same as having our old man of sin nullified or destroyed. That takes place due to the offering of the body Jesus Christ, on the sin sacrifice altar, once for all.

Hebrews 10:10 KJVS
[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .

There are a couple aspects involved with being a member of the corporate body of Christ. First we are members of his body, his flesh and bones, Eph 5:30. There is also the aspect of being a part of the corporate body of sinful flesh, that we, the body of Christ possess, that needs to be destroyed, Ro 6:6. It is very hard to separate justification from sanctification because sin is only truly eradicate in our lives when the sin nature, the sin that dwells in us, Ro 7:17, is completely burned away on the sin sacrifice altar. And yet in He 13:9-13, which is a clear allusion to the sin sacrifice altar, starts out by stating it is good thing for the heart to be established by grace and not by meats. In essence our efforts, our works have little to do with our salvation. The heart is the problem, and the driving force behind sin.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 KJVS
[9] The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it? [10] I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

I think the problem in understanding justification and sanctification in relationship to each other, lies in viewing these concepts separately and in light of the types and shadows cast by the law and its various sacrifices and offerings. That is only true in a very broad sense.

Hebrews 10:1 KJVS
[1] For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The first part of the tenth chapter of Hebrews is about sanctification. About our inclusion in the body of Christ as a offering for sin. In short perfection is attained only through the nullification of the power of the flesh over us, Ro 6:6. Insight can be gained by reading the definition of the Greek word translated into the English word “destroyed” in Ro 6:6.

Thayer’s Definition
to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative
to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency
to deprive of force, influence, power
to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish
to cease, to pass away, be done away
to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one
to terminate all

The flesh is not necessarily destroyed but it’s power over us is nullified, or rendered idle. This involves the heart being purified by or through a lifetime of faith, Acts 15:9. This may not seem obvious at first, but if we truly love God, we would be like Jesus, and always do that which would please the father, Jn 8:29. Paul touched on this in the seventh chapter of Romans.

Romans 6:17-19 KJVS
[17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

So, to me, the line gets blurred between justification and sanctification due to the heart being the prime motivator of sin. And in order for sin to be rendered idle in our lives, our heart needs to be purified/justified. Another reason the line between justification and sanctification is blurred is because Jesus is in us, and God is in him.

John 17:17,23 KJVS
[17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [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.

Justification in my mind is usually associated with God justifying and purifying the heart, Acts 15:9, wherein sanctification involves Christ being in us and we in him, and our communion in the offering of the body of Christ on the sin sacrifice altar. Since Jesus is in us, and God in him, the line of distinguishing between being justified and sanctified is blurred to the point of not being able to differentiate between them. Both God and Jesus Christ are involved in the salvation process which includes being justified and sanctified pretty much simultaneously, 1 Co 6:11. Both God and Jesus Christ in their own way bring us to the place where we are made perfect/mature in love.

Colossians 3:14 KJVS
[14] And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Behold, the man is become as one of us

Gn 3:22 . 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:

Years ago the above scripture verse jumped out at me from the pages of Genesis and I am still contemplating the implications and questions that arise in my mind concerning it. Is the knowledge of good and evil inherent to being made in the image and likeness of God? Was God the cause of evil in the world, and to that end? Some claim that this cosmos was flawed, by God’s design. So I have been mulling over these questions in my mind in light of scripture. We can only understand the deep things of God by His Spirit, which compares spiritual things with spiritual, 1Co 2:10-13. So by comparing scripture with scripture and using a little deductive reasoning we should be able to arrive at a clearer understand of evil in the world and if in fact, evil was intended to be a part of this world, by God’s design. A long time ago I took a freshman year requirement course in Logic, at a local Catholic College. We learned that God is what is called a First Cause. Pasted below is a definition for the word causality, from a online Dictionary, which is directly related to God being the First Cause.

causality
1. a. the relationship of cause and effect
b. the principle that nothing can happen without being caused
2. causal agency or quality

God is the First Cause, and He created all things through Jesus Christ. God set creation in motion as the First Cause of all things. Imagine a row of dominoes set up with long and many divergent sets of predetermined lines. And then imagine God gently setting the first domino in motion.

Jn 1:1 . In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. NIV
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

God is omniscient, possesses foreknowledge and declares the end from the beginning, Isa 46:10. Furthermore, what He purposes will stand, and He will do all that He pleases in the earth, and no one can stay His hand, Da 4:35. It seems a little hard to accept the fact that evil came into this cosmos outside of God’s design, especially since God has foreknowledge. God even states in precise words that He has in fact, created evil.

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

It should be noted that the Hebrew word for evil, in the above verse, is the same word translated evil in Ge 3:22. At least according to the Strong’s Concordance which is recognized as a very competent work in defining the Hebrew and Greek words used in the bible. That definition is pasted below.

unhappiness, misery)
1c) evil, displeasing
1d) bad (of its kind-land, water, etc)
1e) bad (of value)
1f) worse than, worst (comparison)
1g) sad, unhappy
1h) evil (hurtful)
1i) bad, unkind (vicious in disposition)
1j) bad, evil, wicked (ethically)
1j1) in general, of persons, of thoughts
1j2) deeds, actions

n m
2) evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity
2a) evil, distress, adversity
2b) evil, injury, wrong
2c) evil (ethical)

n f
3) evil, misery, distress, injury
3a) evil, misery, distress
3b) evil, injury, wrong
3c) evil (ethical)

It is quite telling that before time began, 2Ti 1:9, God’s purpose in Jesus Christ was already set firmly in place.

Mt 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Eph 1:4 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:
1Pt 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

So before Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, God had already in mind a solution for sin and death, which was brought about by their disobedience, Ro 5:17. And the solution, the sacrifice of Jesus, was designed to bring many sons into glory, 1Pe 1:19-20, He 2:10. If given some thought, you can clearly see that evil as a concept was already in existence before Adam and Eve ate the fruit because the tree was named by God as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Their eyes and mind were opened to the knowledge of good and evil. If you look at scripture, you can clearly see that death came into the world by and through lust.

2Pt 1:4 through which have been presented to us the precious and greatest promises, that through these you may become participants of the divine nature, fleeing from the corruption which is in the world by lust. CLV

Eve in the garden, exhibited lust. If you examined what motives Eve had for wanting to eat of the forbidden fruit, with what the Apostle John had to say about lust, you will see great similarities.

AV Ge 3:6 . And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

1Jn 2:16 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.

Adam and Eve were subject to lust and through Eve’s lust, the serpent beguiled her. And because of their disobedience, death entered into the world. Many times in the New Testament it is stated that all things are of God, 2Co 5:18. God created evil and the inherent propensity for doing evil, in the created beings of this world. Evil is a result of actions based on choices made by creatures who dwell in God’s creation. Now some might ask why God allowed evil to flourish? Evil is a necessary variable in the purpose of God, because it causes suffering, affliction and tribulation, which are integral to the process of producing mature sons of God.

Ro 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 ¶ And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 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.

The Strong’s Concordance definition of the Greek word that is translated into the English word “vanity” in Ro 8:20.

G3153 mataiotes mat-ah-yot’-ace

from G3152;

inutility; figuratively, transientness; morally, depravity.

Following is a breakdown of the words in the above definition of vanity which offers insight. The words will not appear in order as I intend to expand on one definition.
inutility- not useful
depravity- moral corruption; wickedness
The following definition is my own and explains and expands on the two words and the dictionary definitions of the two words”transientness; morality”.
transientness; morality- the state or fact of lasting only for a short time in regards to morality.

I can remember when I was stationed at a Army base in Germany in the early 1970’s. There was a significant amount of drug use and drug addiction taking place on the base and many young men were addicted to methamphetamines. It took a short period of time to learn not to lend them money. They would ask to borrow money and promise to pay you back on pay day, but never did. The thing was, when they asked to borrow the money they were so sincere and genuine about promising to pay you back, that you believed them. They actually believed in their heart at the time, that they would pay you back. But they lacked character, they in fact had transient morality. In short, their good intentions were short lived. So after pay day, they would avoid you and if they saw you, they would not look you in the eye. In a real sense they were objects of scorn and sometimes pity. You learned in short order not to lend this type of person any money. Now least any of us consider ourselves any better.

Ro 7:18 For I know that in me, that is, in my lower self, nothing good has its home; for while the will to do right is present with me, the power to carry it out is not.
19 For what I do is not the good thing that I desire to do; but the evil thing that I desire not to do, is what I constantly do.
20 But if I do that which I desire not to do, it can no longer be said that it is I who do it, but the sin which has its home within me does it. Weymouth

Mankind was subjected by God to vanity in hope, expectation, that the glorious liberty of the children of God would be revealed. When seeking to understand God’s actions in response to evil in the world, one should keep this in mind. So in conjunction with the above verses and definitions, the following verses brings even more clarity of why evil was allowed by God to exist in the world.

He 5:12 For although, considering the long time you have been believers, you ought now to be teachers of others, you really need some one to teach you over again the very rudiments of the truths of God, and you have come to require milk instead of solid food.
13 By people who live on milk I mean those who are imperfectly acquainted with the teaching concerning righteousness.
14 Such persons are mere babes. But solid food is for adults — that is, for those who through constant practice have their spiritual faculties carefully trained to distinguish good from evil. Weymouth

The fruits of righteousness can only come about by being trained or exercised in the choices we make in life regarding good and evil and often times being chastised for making the wrong choices. In short we learn by doing wrong and by God disciplining us.

1Co 11:31 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.

He 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.

We are after all, only children of God but are destined to be mature sons of God, with power and authority, following the first resurrection. That requires training by the Spirit of God, to facilitate character development or as it is put in the New Testament, bringing forth fruit.

Ga 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Unfortunately this fruit cannot be grown in a person without them being tempted or tried by suffering, affliction, temptation and tribulation. It is written that God does not tempt or try a person, Jas 1:13. But did not the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, Mt 4:1? And when we pray the Lord’s prayer, we pray to the Father not to lead us into temptation. Perhaps Adam and Eve were led or allowed to be tempted by the serpent. The very definition of the word tempted, offers great insight.

G3985 peirazo pi-rad’-zo

from G3984;

to test (objectively), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline.

When we, as parents, bring a child into the world we have a responsibility to see that that child grows in maturity for their sake and the sake of society. Now, the environment in which this maturity is learned, is already in existence around the child. A child often learns by trial and error or by making mistakes and one would hope, a parents loving guidance. Many times it has been said, “don’t touch the stove it is hot”. Of course the lesson is often only learned by the child, when they slightly burn their tender fingers and cry from the pain. God of course, saw the need for all of this suffering when he made the cosmos and set upon the course of action of making man in His image and likeness. God exhibits no partiality, Ac 10:34, towards his created children and allows them to suffer so He can give his loving guidance and instill maturity, in the vessels of mercy, Ro 9:23. I can honestly say I do not understood all the ramification and implications regarding evil in the world. But I will share a pertinent experience of my own. In 1984 I was in a car accident and was paralyzed for ten days. I have lived with a spinal cord injury for 30 years which has caused a great deal of pain, suffering and frustration. It is a evil in my life. The day of my accident a Christian woman called me and said that the night before, she had a vivid dream. In her dream, I had been badly injured in a car accident. This woman implored me to drive careful. A little over 12 hours later, driving at a reckless speed, I was in a car accident and broke two vertebrae in my neck, both in three pieces. I have given this much thought over the years and the only real determination I can make of this experience in light of scripture is this.

Ro 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God allows us to make choices and make mistakes. That is partially how maturity or perfection is acquired. We suffer often times because of our choices due to our immaturity. People make choices every day that can lead to great evil in the world. A man will rape a little child and adversely affect that poor young child’s life for years after. Men kill for many reasons, out of anger or because he covets someones property but largely out of immaturity. Many of the choices we make in life, can be in large or small ways, evil, Ac 9:13. Perhaps it is as small as gossiping or a rude comment that hurts another person’s feelings. In big or small ways we all contribute to the evil in this world, and the whole creation suffers because of these choices. It is only out of the furnace of this suffering, affliction, temptation and trial that a mature son of God emerges, fit for the masters use. That maturity is encapsulated by one word, love, Col 3:14.

For the creature was made subject to vanity

Ro 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 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.

In the previous article I gave a definition for the Greek word translated vanity in Romans 8:20, from a Greek and Hebrew Interlinear I download from the Internet. Part of that definition is “transientness; morally”, and I cited Apostle Paul in Romans 7:18-21, to show that mankind, including the body of Christ is saddled with temporary and short lived morality. I have plenty of time to mull over the scripture verses and these verses give us a peek at the methodology God employs in His strange work in the world, Isa 28:21. Short lived morality is ultimately the cause of much suffering, pain and evil in the world. Eve and then Adam certainly exhibited short lived morality in the Garden of Eden when they both ate the fruit. Both knew that God prohibited eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil and that there were consequences involved with that action. So due to vanity, Eve and then Adam disobeyed. God clearly states He created evil in Isa 45:7 and also states that the knowledge of good and evil is characteristic of both Himself and the Word of God, and that the possession of the knowledge of good and evil made man as one of them.

Ge 3:22 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:

As a side note the StrongNote Definitions embedded in the Greek and Hebrew Interlinear I download from the Internet, is equipped with the Strong’s Lexicon and is the source for the definition I am citing for vanity. I urge you to download the Greek and Hebrew Interlinear at http://www.scripture4all.org/download/download_ISA3.php It is a useful tool for studying the bible and allows you to view the actual Hebrew and Greek text as it appears in the manuscript. After a while the mistranslation of the Word of God which supports some of the doctrines of man, Eph 4:14, will become apparent. So let us take a look at why God subjected the creature to vanity and the implications surrounding that fact. And we will do so by using the scriptures. It would seem that pain, suffering, affliction and being saddled with short lived morality is all integral to the outcome of the manifestation of the sons of God. Someone who is immature and naive can hardly be expected to make sensible choices and these poor choices negatively impact themselves and others. I know that is certainly true with me in the past and sadly enough at times true today. You can’t put the cart before the horse, you can’t make a omelet without breaking a few eggs. It also appears you cannot create a mature or perfect child of God without immersing them in a world filled with fellow human beings that also have short lived morality. Which contributes to a myrid of individual choices that results in various degrees of good and evil. Part of God’s purpose in Christ is to display His glory on the earth in the thousand year kingdom of God, Re 20:6. Which is where the subjection of all things under man’s feet, through Christ and his body begins in earnest.

He 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

Why are all things not put in subjection to man at this time? Because they have to be disciplined, trained and matured to assume that role.

Col 1:12 at the same time giving thanks to the Father, Who makes you competent for a part of the allotment of the saints, in light, CLV

1Pe 5:10 Now the God of all grace, Who calls you into His eonian glory in Christ, while briefly suffering, He will be adjusting, establishing, firming, founding you. CLV

James 1:12 Happy is the man who is enduring trial, for, becoming qualified, he will be obtaining the wreath of life, which He promises to those loving Him. CLV

The primary definition of the Greek word translated into the English word trial is “an experiment, attempt, trial, proving”. This same word is used in He 3:8, and many if not most of the Jews who were tried and tested in the wilderness erred in their hearts because they did not know God’s ways. God’s ways are to allow difficulties, afflictions, sufferings and tribulations to come mans way for character development,for maturity and for the development of fruit of the Spirit, Ro 5:2-5. Paul in another verse, states we are to endure hardness like a good soldier, 2Ti 2:3, which brings the analogy of Army boot camp to mind. In which men are being trained for war but the weapons of warfare the body of Christ is being trained in, are not carnal, 2Co 10:4, but spiritual. The start of thIs growth process is to stop childish behavior and becoming well acquainted with the scriptures. The Apostle Peter puts this way.

1Pe 2:1 ¶ Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

What is our growth but growith in the fruit of the Spirit, Ga 5:22-23, Jas 5:7, 2Ti 2:6. When you have time, search the word “fruit” and read the scripture verses that come up in the New Testament that contain that word. All this growth in the fruit of the Spirit can only come about in a proper teaching environment designed by God for just that end. Does the end justify the needs? You tell me.

Ro 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

I have spent many hours awake at night when I could not sleep and during daily walks contemplating scriptures, attempting to answer why God had to subject the creation to vanity in order to accomplish the manifestation of the sons of God. The short answer is that God needed a teaching environment wherein He could teach, instill and bring to fruition the fruits of righteousness in His immature offspring. This short answer, is akin to saying a car runs on gasoline. But let’s open the hood and look at the moving parts, so to speak. Let us look again at the definition for the word vanity in Romans 8:20. “Inutile, figuratively, transientness; morally, depravity.” Inutile means of no use or essentially useless. The question arises in my mind, when in time did God plan to subject the creation to vanity? When using a reference bible to look at the Romans 8:20 verse, Genesis 3:19 is cited. But in my mind, when reading the bible, one should always keep in mind that God knows the end from the beginning. As such everything that happened in the past, happened because God intended for it to happen, or allowed it to happen so as to serve a purpose in His overall Purpose in the earth.

Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

It states in Eph 1:4, that the body of Christ were known in Christ before the foundation of the world. Being found in Christ takes place at the first resurrection and is the manifestation of the sons of God mentioned in Romans 8:19. Since the manifestation of the sons of God is contingent upon man being made subject to vanity. It would seem to me that God’s intention to subject the creation to vanity was in the cards well before Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Since scriptures state that man in himself has not the power to obey the laws of God because the flesh is weak in Ro 8:3. And that the weak moral condition of man was apparently present in man from the very beginning. It appears man has been placed in a conundrum of sorts and the reasons why, are subtle but are for good reason.

2Co 4;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.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

A little more light is shined on this concept a bit later in the same epistle when Paul entreats the Lord the third time to remove a “thorn in the flesh”.

2C 12:7 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.

Are God and Jesus Christ egomaniacs that need to have mankind in abject subservience to themselves. No. Neither are the members of the body of Christ simply conduits for the power of God. They are to be in one accord with God and Jesus Christ and demonstrate the same godliness and holiness as they do, He 12:10. But man is carnal and before he will be allowed to rule and reign with Jesus, the flesh must die, which is the whole purpose of the cross. Let’s look at a few instances in the past of misconduct of previous sons of God.

Ge 6:1 ¶ And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 ¶ And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 ¶ There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

And of course Psalm 82.

1 ¶ « A Psalm of Asaph. » God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 ¶ I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

These instances are a prime example of the adage that power corrupts absolutely and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It would appear the sons of God of old were also subject to the lust of the flesh. Upon reflection it seems to me that the flesh and lusts of the flesh were a necessary part of the nature of mankind initially, in order to make man more survivable as a species. To have a powerful mutual attraction between male and female insures that man would be fruitful and multiply. To amass food, shelter and herd animals and other forms of wealth, even to the point of coveting and theft, would be consistent with traits that would insure survivability. Many aspects of the flesh would help make a species better able to survive, adapt and in the long run would also ensured that man would have dominion over the earth. And that was God’s intent, Ge 1:26. But after a certain point in time, in the development of man, when mankind increased in population to the point where they lived in towns and cities, laws and the rule of law became necessary. You have to view what God is doing in this earth with man, on a individual level and at a societal level. How do you weigh one’s own self interest against the interest of God and others in a society?

Mk 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

This of course does not come natural to man, as man was made carnal and can not please God, Ro 8:7. Man can only change by being taught, disciplined by God and by dying to the carnal nature God initially subjected all mankind to, Ro 8:3, 8:20. When you view the Old Testament in light of many of the verses in the New Testament, often times one can ask themselves why God allowed the vessels of wrath to oppose His will for so long? It would appear it was for educational purposes. In the first verse that follows, God wanted to make His power known in the earth and the second verse God uses past sin and rebelliousness of those in the wilderness for admonition to the body of Christ.

Ro 9:22 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:
1Co10:11 Now these things happened unto them for ensembles: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world has come.

Most all scriptures in the bible and the New Testament in particular are for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2Ti 3:16. But for myself personally, the scriptures mirror the condition of my soul and spirit at different times in my life. Understanding and insight of scripture verses become instruments of change in my life in a timely and determined fashion by God. When you run into the brick wall of wanting to do the good but finding yourself doing that which is evil, as Apostle Paul describes in Ro 7:18-20. When you find that you greatly desire to overcome and lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset you, He 12:1. And then run the race with patience, but have difficulty doing so. This internal and external conflict exerting pressure on you, brings you closer to God. Brings you to the point where you start to increasingly come before the throne of grace for help in your many times of need, He 4:16. When you become acutely aware of the lack of strength within yourself. When you begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness. When you fear that you will come short of the glory of God. Then you are in a position where God can begin to teach you and develop fruit within you. It is stated that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Proverbs 9:10. Perhaps that is the primary reason why God subjected the creation to vanity. A aspect related to this is briefly mentioned by Paul in 2 Corinthians and goes hand in hand with Php 2:12-13.

2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Even repentance to salvation is a work of God in our lives and involves inner turmoil and fear. In short it is God purifying our hearts by faith. A person could go overly long on this topic but before I finish let us again look at a few scripture verses in the book of Hebrews directly related to why the creature was subjected to vanity. So that life experiences and God Himself using those life experiences, could teach us to make mature choices in life based on love.

He 5:13 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.

He 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.

Of course we should always emulate and keep our eye on the author and finisher of our faith, He 12:2 , and have the mind set of Jesus Christ to do the will of the Father. Who died in the flesh for us and his example encourages us to die to the flesh also.

He 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

In the coming Kingdom of God, Christ will rule with a rod of iron with the body of Christ, Re 12:5, Re 20:6. But it will be a reign of righteousness. The fruit of the Spirit fully developed in the body of Christ will ensure that they will be mature, willing and perfect servants to Christ, mankind, and the purpose of God, Eph 1:10. We should all keep this in mind as we grow in the fruit of the Spirit and to humbly submit ourselves to the mighty hand of God working in our lives. The love of God in Christ Jesus entails our realizing the high potential God has in mind for us.

1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one

Hebrews 2:11 KJVS
[11] For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Some Christian denominations view the body of Christ as a figure of speech and some view the body of Christ literally, to the point where communion is the actual body and blood of Christ. Both view points miss a important spiritual facet regarding the Lord and his body, the ecclesia. It is only by being in the body of Christ, 1 Co 12:27, that a person can be sanctified and reach spiritual maturity/perfection.

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.

I once heard a woman preacher on the radio say to her congregation one broadcast, that members of the church would never reach perfection in their lifetimes. Why then did the author of Hebrews say the following through the power of the Holy Spirit?

Hebrews 6:1-3 KJVS
[1] Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, [2] Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. [3] And this will we do, if God permit.

A good deal of the Christian world are unaware of the sin sacrifice altar outside the camp that is mentioned in He 13:10.

Hebrews 13:9-11 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.

I cover this concept in more detail in this article http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=178 There are two offerings involved with the day of atonement sacrifice which, by type and shadow, pointed to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The offering of his blood on the altar in heaven and the offering of his body, on the sin sacrifice altar, He 13:10&11. It can be difficult extrapolating meanings from the types and shadows of the Old Testament sacrifices conducted under the law, in relationship to the realities that are contained in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, because of this verse.

Hebrews 10:1 KJVS
[1] For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Since the law is not the very image of the things to come, we have to rely on what the New Testament scriptures say regarding sanctification, always bearing in mind that the sacrifices and offerings under the law, were carnal ordinances and made no one perfect, He 9:10. I don’t think there is a chapter in the bible that I have read and studied more extensively than the tenth chapter of Hebrews. This chapter touches upon the sanctification of the body of Christ using images and terminology from the law. The chapter makes reference to sacrifices and offerings that the Hebrew Christians were well aware of at the time, because their lives were and had revolved around the Temple and the law of Moses associated with the Temple. The offerings burned on the sin sacrifice altar, were the dead carcasses of animals sacrificed for sin. These carcasses were burned to ashes on this altar and then the ashes were then used by the Levite priests for purification, He 9:13&14. This designated altar on the Mount of Olives was outside the ritual clean area of the city of Jerusalem. The types and shadows of the law with its sacrifices and offerings for sin, are not sharp or clearly defined types and shadows of the reality of the sacrifice and offering of Jesus Christ. None the less, it needs to be understood that perfection or being sanctified for a member of the body of Christ, is due to the offering of the body of Christ, once for all, presumedly on that figurative altar outside the camp.

Hebrews 10:10 KJVS
[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Some insight can be gained from a few verses in Romans that can easily be overlooked due to the numerous scripture verses in the New Testament.

Romans 12:1 KJVS
[1] 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 15:16 KJVS
[16] That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

The offering up of the Gentiles can only be “in Christ” because the ecclesia is the Lord’s body, Eph 5:30, and is where sanctification takes place, Jn 17:23. But just how this sanctification process works itself out in our flesh is not readily apparent from the types and shadows of the Old Testament law of Moses. Obviously fire was used at the sin sacrifice altar to burn up or purify the bodies of the sin sacrifice animal, He 13:11. Actual fire is not used with the body of Jesus Christ but the image of fire is used by the Apostle Peter and is also used in other books of the bible connected with being purified and sanctified.

1 Peter 4:12-13 KJVS
[12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Isaiah 48:10 KJVS
[10] Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

Fire, altars and activities associated with the law of Moses are often alluded to in the New Testament scriptures and are associated with sanctifying those who are chosen by God to reign with Jesus Christ, Just as the carcass of the animals used for the sin offering were burned to ash, this by type, holds true for sinful flesh of the members of the corporate body of Christ.

Ro 6:6 knowing this, that our old humanity was crucified together with Him, that the body of Sin may be nullified, for us by no means to be still slaving for Sin,
7 for one who dies has been justified from Sin. CLV

I used the Concordant Literal Translation for the above verse as it uses the word justified in verse 7 rather than the word freed which is used in the King James version. The Strong’s Concordance number for the Greek word translated into “freed” in the King James Version is G1344 and is the word translated as justified in most other uses in the NT. Dying to the flesh can be a painful process with a good deal of suffering involved, 1 Pe 4:1&2. We read in Hebrews 12:6, that God scourges the sons he loves and the Greek word translated as chastening and its word usage in the New Testament is paste below, taken from the Strong’s Concordance embedded in the bible software on my iPad.

Strong’s Number
G3809
Original Word
παιδεία
Transliterated Word
paideia
Phonetic Spelling
pahee-di’-ah
Parts of Speech
Noun Feminine
Definition
1. the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body
2. whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, esp. by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.
a. instruction which aims at increasing virtue
b. chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)
Usage by Word
chastening (3), chastisement (1), instruction (1), nurture (1)
Usage by Book
Ephesians, 2 Timothy, Hebrews

Oddly enough, I have cited this Greek word and definitions for years. The first article I wrote for this web site contained the definition for this word also. And yet, I never really keyed in on the “(of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)” part of the definition. Which brings the book of Job to mind. My whole life seems to have been visited by evils that were a result of my actions or suddenly visited on me by chance. Or at least I thought so at the time. In retrospect a few of these times in my life, the evils that were visited on me, were by the leave of God for my amendment. Although I did not recognize it at the time. I was, an am still to some extent, thick headed, stubborn and slow to learn but I will say I am developing a kinder and more caring heart. God will do whatever it takes to straighten a person out, and instill the fruit of the Spirit in us, He 12:11. This whole presentation of God being a kindly Father in the heavens showering material blessings on His children feeds into the money grubbing religious institutions of today. If you bless them with ten percent of your increase, God will bless you with material blessings, with health and a long life to boot. Few indeed realize what the blessings of Abraham are in Christ, and what these blessings really entail.

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.

Abraham’s blessings for those of us in the body of Christ are God, due to the sacrifice of our Lord, turning us away from our iniquities. Which is slowly accomplished by God writing His laws on our minds and hearts and the eventual destruction of the sin nature within us, Ro 6:6-7. The definition of iniquities is depravity, iniquity, wickedness, malice, evil purposes and desires. None of which we can be turned away from, easily or painlessly, 1Pe 4:1-2. When you buy or acquire a little puppy you have to housebreak them. One method often used when the puppy makes a mess in the house, is you swat them with a rolled up newspaper and push their nose in the mess they made. Probably a apt analogy, in that judgement begins at the house of God, whose house we are, 1 Pe 4:17, He 3:6. If you read the scriptures frequently you will constantly be shown the areas of sin in your life. I can readily relate to King David when he said his sin was ever before him, Ps 51:3. We lack the ability to control and overcome our sin nature on our own, but still our inner man delights in the law of God, Ro 7:18-22, and desires to please Him. All the while this internal pressure is taking place, God is chastising and whipping the sons He loves, He 12:6&7, because of the sin and lack of godliness in their lives. We very much so, are caught between a rock and a hard spot. Of course we should all know the rock is Christ, 1 Co 10:4. In the end, our sin nature will be destroyed by a cooperative effort between man and the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:13 KJVS
[13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Eventually we will become obedient to the will of the Father, Ro 6:6, He 5:8, 1 Pe 4:1. And the various trials, sufferings, afflictions, chastisements and even persecutions in life, are the fuel God uses at the sin sacrifice altar, to burn up the body of the sin sacrifice, which is the flesh of body of Christ.

Romans 6:6 KJVS
[6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him , that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Blessed us with all spiritual blessings

Ephesians 1:3 KJVS
[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Most Christians fail to understand what the blessings in Jesus Christ are in the New Testament. The blessings are largely spiritual rather than material blessings, 1 Ti 6:5-11. Perhaps this is due to the Old Testament influence on modern Christian theology. A couple verses in Acts makes the nature of New Testament blessings in Christ more apparent.

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.

A person might wonder exactly how this “being turned away from our iniquities” comes about in our lives? It comes about through the Spirit of God working in our lives, the Spirit that makes holy.

Galatians 3:14 KJVS
[14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

It is not at all surprising, that the above verse is from the epistle of Galatians. Apostle Paul wrote that epistle to counteract the teachings of some Jews that came to that church, teaching that Gentile Christians had to be circumcised and observe the law of Moses in order to be justified. Paul in the second chapter sets the record straight.

Galatians 2:16 KJVS
[16] Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians covers a lot of theological ground that most Christians fail to understand. There are two aspects to be understood in regards to receiving the Holy Spirit. Receiving the Holy Spirit places you into the body of Christ, Ga 3:16&29, and makes you heir of the promises God made to Abraham. The blessings of Abraham, is receiving the Holy Spirit which turns us away from our iniquities throughout a life of faith. If I were asked to sum up the book of Galatians, using one scripture verse from that epistle, it would be this verse.

Galatians 3:3 KJVS
[3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Notice the word begun in the above verse. The inherent weakness of the flesh, gives sin the power over us in our lives, Ro 7:19&20, Ro 8:3, and it is only through the agency of the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost that we are justified by grace, Ro 3:24. How we are justified by grace is largely three fold. God changes our heart and inner natures by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost, Titus 3:5-7. Along with this is the washing by the word, Eph 5:26. Paul wrote Timothy about the different aspects of the word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16 KJVS
[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Also God teaching/disciplining/chastising us, Titus 2:11&12, He 10:6. This is judgments by God aimed at correcting our behavior.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 KJVS
[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.

Chastisements are judgment by God, and are a function of grace working in our lives. This is all part and parcel of the spiritual blessings we receive in Christ. Four times in the epistle of Ephesians the phrase “heavenly places” is used. There is a popular Christian pop song where the phrase is used in a future tense. Possibly giving lip service to a doctrine circling the Internet regarding these “heavenly places” in Christ. In short it suggests that after the Kingdom of God is established in this earth, the Gentile members of the body of Christ will sit in heavenly places in Christ, and the work they do in the thousand year kingdom of God will be in involved in the heavenly places. At least that is what I think the doctrine suggests. This doctrine also makes the claim there are two gospels, one for the Hebrews and one for the Gentiles. I looked into the two gospel doctrine closely and found it flew in the face of NT scriptures. I wrote a previous post dealing with this doctrine in light of NT scriptures. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=202. In regards to the “heavenly places” interpretation, the phrase heavenly places appears only four times in the NT, all the verses are in the epistle of Ephesians. We see that Christ sits at the right hand of God in heavenly places, Eph 1:20. And that as a member of the body of Christ, we presently sit in heavenly places “in Christ”. It is always good to read scripture in context.

Ephesians 2:5-9 KJVS
[5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. [8] 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.

As you can clearly see we presently sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and this allows us access to the throne of grace. There are positive and negative aspect associated with sitting in the heavenly places in Christ. We can come before the throne of grace and ask for mercy and grace to help us in times of need, He 4:16. The negative aspects associated with sitting in the heavenly places in Christ, as I briefly mentioned before, are that we can be judged if we do not ask for forgiveness and walk after the flesh, Ro 8:1. Largely because we are viewed as dead in Christ.

Romans 6:3 KJVS
[3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Hebrews 9:27-28 KJVS
[27] And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: [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.

1 Peter 4:17 KJVS
[17] For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

It is important that we realize we are subject to judgment by the Lord in order to eradicate sin in our lives and bring about holiness. This judgment can and does take place if we don’t judge ourselves.

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.

As you can see, being chastened by God is a result of being judged by God and is aimed towards amending our behavior in order to instill fruit of the Spirit and holiness.

Hebrews 12:6-7,10-11 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? [10] For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. [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.

Another aspect directly related to sitting in heavenly places in Christ and being judged, is that Satan can accuse the members of the body of Christ of sinful behavior. Notice these verses in Revelation.

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.

Satan is known as the adversary and it is a role I suspect that God assigned to him, based on chance, before the world began. Investigate the day of atonement ceremony that took place once a year during the law of Moses. Two sacrificial lambs were taken and due to the drawing of colored stones, it was determined which one was the sin sacrifice lamb and which one was led off into the wilderness. Satan or the devil serves a necessary function in the plan and purpose of God.

1 Peter 5:8 KJVS
[8] Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

The following is the Strong’s Concordance definition for the Greek word translated into the English word adversary.

Strong’s Number
G476
Original Word
ἀντίδικος
Transliterated Word
antidikos
Phonetic Spelling
an-tid’-ee-kos
Parts of Speech
Noun Masculine
Strong’s Definition
From G473 and G1349; an opponent (in a lawsuit); specifically Satan (as the arch enemy): – adversary.
Thayer’s Definition
opponent
an opponent in a suit of law
an adversary, enemy

Did not the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? In the Lord’s Prayer do we not pray to God to lead us not into temptation? Read the first two chapters of the book of Job sometime and observe the interplay between God and the devil. The following scriptures in Luke, with a little mental extrapolation, offers keen insight into what takes place at the throne of grace.

Luke 12:57-58 KJVS
[57] Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? [58] When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.

The throne of grace is also the judgment seat, imagine Jesus sitting on this throne. The adversary, the devil, accuses you of sin, sin that you have not asked forgiveness for, and too stubborn or full of pride to give up. Satan, rightfully so, levels a charge against you and forces the Lord’s hand to judge you. For that reason I try and remember to pray the perfect prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, once a day for this reason. Satan may be even given leave to torment you, or even make you sick or take your life if you do not seek mercy and grace at the throne of grace.

1 Corinthians 11:30-32 KJVS
[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.

Although the above verse is directly related to eating and drinking the body of Christ unworthily, by offending another member of the body of Christ. The spiritual president holds true towards long term unconfessed sin and sin in general. Because God chastises and scourges the sons he loves, He 12:6.

Another gospel

Ga 1:6-8 ¶  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

There is a doctrine in certain areas of Christianity that claims there was and is a gospel for the Jewish ecclesia and a different gospel for the Gentile ecclesia. Based largely on the following verse.

Galatians 2:7 KJVS
[7] But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

If you look in a Greek Interlinear you will find the word gospel does not appear a second time in Gal 2:7. http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/gal2.pdf Paul makes it clear to the Galatian church that the gospel that certain Jews came to teach them, was not another gospel but a perverted gospel of grace. If one examines the scriptures you will see there has only been one gospel that was preached to both Jew and Gentile. Peter makes a statement at a council in Jerusalem, which addressed the matter of whether the Gentiles had to observe the law of Moses and be circumcised, which sheds some light on the matter. Peter stated at that time, that the Jewish and Gentile members of the body of Christ, were to both have their hearts purified by faith and Peter further states the Jews will get salvation through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way as they. They of course referring to the Gentiles and the yoke of bondage mentioned by Peter in verse 10, was the law of Moses of which man was not strong enough to bear.

Acts 15:7-11  And when there had been much discussion, Peter got up and said to them, My brothers, you have knowledge that some time back it was God’s pleasure that by my mouth the good news might be given to the Gentiles so that they might have faith.
8  And God, the searcher of hearts, was a witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit even as he did to us;
9  Making no division between them and us, but making clean their hearts by faith.
10  Why then are you testing God, by putting on the neck of the disciples a yoke so hard that not even our fathers or we were strong enough for it?
11  But we have faith that we will get salvation through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way as they. Weymouth

Now the last verse bears repeating for a second time for those who think there was two different gospels.

Acts 15:11  But we have faith that we will get salvation through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way as they. Weymouth

Apostle Peter mentions two words associated with salvation, faith and grace when he addressed the council, that agrees with Paul’s epistles. One verse of which is known well by most Christians, Eph 2:8&9. He also puts the law in a proper context that agrees with Ro 8:3. You also have to keep in mind that the Apostles were all men off of the street and countryside. Fisherman, tax collectors and men we would today call blue collar workers. They were not highly educated. Apostle Paul came from a somewhat wealthy family and was extensively trained as a Pharisee., Acts 22:3. He would be a better writer and much more familiar with the law of the fathers than the other Apostles. Perhaps that is why God used him to preach and write extensively about the gospel of grace. Another aspect in regards to the church in Jerusalem was that many priests of the law of Moses were converted to Christianity, Acts 6:7. This lead to some cultural dynamics that are not readily apparent during a casual reading of scripture. Although Peter was head of the church and strong in the Spirit, he was very weak in the flesh as many of us are. He denied the Lord three times when under the scrutiny of others, Lk 22:54-62. But that was before he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. But even after that, Apostle Paul recounts a episode in the book of Galatians where Peter withdrew himself from eating with a group of Gentiles when certain Jews arrived, Gal 2:11-21. It is easily understood how the priests that converted to Christianity had a powerful influence over the church in Jerusalem. The Apostles, as mentioned before, were common men who had spent their entire lives under the guidance and authority of the Levite priesthood. Cultural indoctrination is hard to ignore and often times it is reflex action. Plus God made the Jews that made up Israel of the flesh, Ro 9:6-8, a quarrelsome and contrary people, 1 Thess 2:15, Zec 12:2&3. Granted the Zechariah prophesy applies to the present day but historically this holds true for the religious leader of Paul’s day, as they rebelled against Rome and attempting to establish the Kingdom of God on their own. You have certain verses in the book of Acts that point to the fact that the Apostles acquiesced to pressure placed on them from the Jews in Jerusalem. Most likely the priest who had converted to Christianity, Acts 21:17-24. This incident in the book of Acts is covered by several or more chapters, where ultimately Paul felt the need to appeal the case, which the Jews had brought against him by the Jewish authorities, to Caesar. Since he was a Roman citizen, Act 25:10&11. This incident lead to Paul’s lengthy incarceration in Rome awaiting his case to appear before Caesar. And while in Rome, Jews visited him to hear what he had to say regarding the gospel of salvation. At that point, due to many of them rejecting the gospel message, Paul informed them that the salvation of God went to the Gentiles.

Acts 28:23-28 KJVS
[23] And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. [24] And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. [25] And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, [26] Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: [27] For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. [28] Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

You have to keep in mind that God intended for salvation to pass from the Jew to the Gentile to provoke the Jews to jealousy, Ro 11:11. Keep also in mind that the Pharisees and Scribes were well aware of Old Testament prophecy pointing to salvation going from Jew to Gentile. That would be quite a bitter pill for them to swallow. So much so that they fought against this change, 1 Th 2:16, even the priests that converted to Christianity. God writes the pages of history and knows all too well the difficulty in changing individuals and societies. The law of Moses had and still has a powerful hold on individuals and societies today. Perhaps the hold the law had over Israeli society during the days of the early church, and the eroding effect it was having on the doctrine of salvation by grace, was why God saw it necessary for Rome to destroy the Temple and city of Jerusalem. Apostle Peter as the head of the church endorsed Apostle Paul and his epistles.

2Pe 3:15-16  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Further evidence of there being only one gospel is in the fact that Jesus, by his death, abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances and made the two, Gentile and Jew, one new man.

Eph 2:13-15  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 ¶  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

So how can there be two gospels? The whole gist of Gal 2:7, is that Paul was making it clear that God had appointed him to bring the gospel of grace to the Gentiles, Acts 9:15. Paul was given the task of preaching the gospel of grace to the Gentiles and Peter was to bring the gospel of grace to the Jews, nothing more. I think several aspect that makes the whole two gospel misconception plausible is the mystery of God, and a improper understanding of grace. The mystery of God is Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27. If you do a word study on the word mystery, you will find Paul was given the dispensation to disclose the mystery of God to the church at a specific point in time, and that that revelation filled up the word of God, Ro 16:25, Col 1;25-27.

Ephesians 3:3-6 KJVS
[3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Notice the wording in verse 6, fellowheirs, and of the same body. When you understand the significance of the mystery of God, you begin to realize that the gospels and epistles written before Paul received the revelation of the mystery of God, lack the entire gospel message regarding the salvation process. I don’t want to go overly long on this, but if you do a word study on the words mystery and sanctified as pertaining to the body of Christ. These words only appear in that context, after the mystery of God has been disclosed by God to Paul. The first three gospels lack knowledge of the mystery by the authors. The gospel of John was written much later, around 90AD, and contain verses that imply knowledge of the mystery of God spoken by the Lord himself.

John 12:24 KJVS
[24] Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
John 17:17,23 KJVS
[17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [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.

Being sanctified or made perfect, He 10:14, are contingent upon the mystery of God which is Christ in you. Furthermore, God in Christ, and Christ in us, is the essence of the mystery of God. The mystery of God is first mentioned by Paul in Ro 16:25. It is then a simple matter to find a list of when the gospels and epistles were written. You might, as I did, print it up, cut to size and tape it to the inside of the front or rear covers of your bible. The gospels and epistles written before the mystery was disclosed, are not going have verses in them that deal with sanctification of the body of Christ. Because again, sanctification is contingent about Christ in you. I think Peter sums it up nicely in 2Pe 3:16. Which is that, unlearned and unstable men wrestle with the scriptures unto their own destruction. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Ro 8:2, is about the heart. God, by His grace and by His Spirit is teaching us how to love one another, 1Th 4:9. Only by the grace of God teaching us and the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost changing us, can the purification of our hearts be accomplish, Titus 2:11&12, Titus 3:5-7. In short the gospel of grace. The law was incapable of doing this, because the flesh is too weak to observe the law.

Ro 8″1-4 ¶  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There is only one gospel and that is the gospel of grace which saves us, Jew and Gentile alike, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Ro 3:23-24. This graciousness of God, wherein He teaches us, chastises us and disciplines us, in tandem with the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost frequently in our lives, is how we are being saved, Tit 2:11-12, He 12:5-11, Titus 3:5-7. Included in this process is sanctification, which is the death of the flesh, that can only take place by the seed of Christ falling into our flesh, crucifying our flesh, Gal 5:4. The end result is being found in Christ at his coming and claiming our inheritance which God promised to Abraham, and to his seed. And that seed of course is Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:16,29 KJVS
[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [29] And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

That is the good news of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. But remember, just as there are vessels of mercy who were ordained for God’s purpose, so to, there are others ordained for a different purpose.

Jude 1:4  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

The biggest problems I see dominating Christianity today is it is two pronged. It is on the one hand influenced too much by the law in many denominations. On the other hand grace and how it functions is misunderstood and many denominations encourages lasciviousness.

For the law made nothing perfect

He 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did ; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

That better hope is Christ in you, the hope of glory, Col 1:27. The law could not make anyone perfect or mature spiritually, because the flesh is too weak to consistently observe the law, Ro 8:3. Paul wrote a epistle to the Galatians church because outside Jewish elements had come and said the members of the church had to adopt the law of Moses. If asked to sum up that epistle with one verse within it, it would be this verse.

Ga 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

A verse in Philippians further hammers this point home.

Php 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Paul in another of his epistles refers to the law as the ministration of death and condemnation.

2Co 3:6 ¶ Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

I have asked myself what was Paul specifically referring to, when he used the term “law” in his epistles. Certainly not the Ten Commandments. But the 7th chapter of the book of Romans clears up that misconception.

Ro 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 ¶ What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Thou shalt not covet is the tenth commandment. The newness of the Spirit encompasses love of our fellow man. The newness of the Spirit would entail we forgive one another as we have been forgiven. It is a matter of what motivates our actions. A external law can’t change the inner nature of a man or a man’s heart but God can purify a man’s heart by faith, Acts 15:9. In the book of Colossians Paul put it like this.

Col 2:20 If you have died with Christ and have escaped from the world’s rudimentary notions, why, as though your life still belonged to the world, do you submit to such precepts as
21 “Do not handle this”; ‘Do not taste that”; ‘Do not touch that other thing”  — 
22 referring to things which are all intended to be used up and perish — in obedience to mere human injunctions and teachings?
23 These rules have indeed an appearance of wisdom where self-imposed worship exists, and an affectation of humility and an ascetic severity. But not one of them is of any value in combating the indulgence of our lower natures. Weymouth

Rules governing behavior, which try to enforce certain holiness standards, are often in the taste not, touch not, handle not variety. Often the person seeks to achieve holiness by sheer will power alone. But in actual practice these laws, and observing these laws, do nothing in combating or putting to death our lower natures, the flesh. But those with the Spirit of God, with the help of the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the flesh, Ro 8:13. Only God, by His Spirit, can write His laws on our minds and put them in our hearts, He 10:16. Often it is called the law of love, James 2:8. The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ makes us free from the law of sin and death. So the law is good, just and holy, Ro 7:12. It was added because of transgression, until the promised seed did come, Ga 3:19, which was Jesus. Israel of the promise was basically put into a holding pattern under the law, until the promised seed came, Ga 3:16-19. There are various books and studies centered around the law and the Old Testament tabernacle and sacrifices. Wherein the authors assign some spiritual significance and meanings to the tabernacle, altars, sacrifices and other various items contained therein. In my opinion, mistakenly so. The book of Hebrews contrast the Old and New Covenant. The High Priest in the Old Testament tabernacle in contrast with Jesus as High Priest of the New Covenant. It is a complex book full of persuasive language depicting Jesus to the Hebrews, as what he was, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Types and shadows with figurative language, in which to use a phrase from the Apostle Peter, the unlearned and unstable wrest with unto their own destruction, 2Pe 3:16. There are more than a few verses in Hebrews that point out how the Old Testament law, with its sacrifices, lacked any value towards perfecting those involved in that religious system.

He 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

He 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 ¶ The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

One verse often used to lend credence to these books and studies covering the Old Testament tabernacle and the purposed spiritual significance of the structure, altars and various articles within, is He 8:5.

He 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Moses was admonished by God to follow the pattern or model of the tabernacle he was shown on the mount. Some bible commentators suggest there is a additional meaning to the verse. That the tabernacle was a model of the layout in heaven. What is easy enough to fail to understand regarding that interpretation, at least from my understanding of scripture, is that if the Old Testament tabernacle reflected any aspect of heaven, it would reflect the status of mankind’s relationship with God, at that time. Mankind had no access to the third heaven at that time He 9:8&9, which did not change until Jesus Christ sacrificed himself and brought salvation and the reconciliation of mankind back to God.

Hebrews 9:23-24 KJVS
[23] It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. [24] For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

See also He 10:19-23. Hebrews is a extremely complex book to understand and one should take care when using it to formulate doctrine. Many of the books and teachings regarding the Old Testament tabernacle, extrapolate meanings and insights, using types and shadows. The Old Testament tabernacle and High Priest are used as a type and shadows of the New Testament tabernacle and High Priest, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:1 states that the law was a shadow of the good things to come but not the very image of the things. As such you cannot draw direct parallelisms from the Old Testament law as a shadow of the good things to come. It took me many years and untold readings of the book of Hebrews to be able to understand a majority of the verses in that epistle. One set of verses whose full meaning eluded me for quite some time are these.

Hebrews 13:9-13 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.

For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats! Justification by grace is concerned with the purification of the heart by faith, Acts 15:9. Those Levite priest who served in the Old Testament tabernacle, performing sacrifices for themselves and others, did not profit from the activities they preformed in the tabernacle. The service they preformed did nothing towards eliminating their sinful natures or the sinful nature of those they sacrifice animal for. Only the grace of God, due to the salvation of Jesus Christ, teaching, chastising us, along with the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost changes our hearts and makes us righteous and worthy for our inheritance, Titus 2:11-12, Titus 3:4-7, 1Co 11:32, Col 1:12. It is remarkable the additional insight which can often be gained from studying scripture verses that are well traveled and often cited. The above verse He 13:9 states 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. As said, our hearts are being purified by or through faith, Acts 15:9, a lifetime of faith during which God works in our life justifying and sanctify us. Paul, regarding his countrymen, and by extension those who seek to establish their own righteousness by works, sums it up nicely in Romans.

Ro 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

We are advised to go outside the camp and bear his, Jesus, reproach because we have no continueing city, He 13:13. The meaning of this is not readily apparent. But the reproach Jesus faced can be summed up nicely with this verse.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVS
[21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Religious institutions can often times present themselves to their members, as a essential part of the salvation process. And the body of Christ, the church is, but if these institutions do not teach sound doctrine and promote the believer to establish their own righteousness, by observing the law and other manmade law, then they are little different than the tabernacle and temple of the Old Testament. The altar we, as Christians eat off of, is the sin sacrifice altar outside the camp, where the bodies of the animals used as sin sacrifices were burned. Where sanctification takes place, He 10:10, 10:14, 2:11. For more detail on this altar please read a previous article concerning this subject, if you have not already done so. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=178
But in short, our salvation is the work of God in our lives and is not a work of our fleshly efforts, Php 2:12-13. So it would seem obvious to me, that if a Christian wanted to go on into perfection, He 6:1, they would not look for spiritual significance in a religious system that was never designed to instill perfection. And that is still true today.

Ga 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened

Ephesians 1:17-18 KJVS
[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

This verse like many others in the New Testament electrified me in the past and beckoned me to further investigate the meaning thereof. The obvious approach is to investigate the word inheritance and heir. When you do, you find that the body of Christ is Abraham’s seed, and heir to the promise God made to Abraham, that he would inherit the earth, Ga 3:29 , Ro 4:13. In Eph 1:18, Paul prays that God the Father of glory Himself, gives you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. In short, the knowledge of Jesus Christ goes hand and hand with the mystery of God, which is Christ in you the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:25-27 KJVS
[25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] 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:

This verse is a companion verse to Eph 1:18, and many times when the word glory as used in the New Testament scriptures it is referring to God’s glory on the earth, the thousand year Kingdom of God. It is curious for me to hear other Christians mentioning dying and then going to heaven, as if that is the end point of it all. There are few scripture verses in the New Testament that shed light on this belief. It is written in Re 6:9-11, that the souls of those who were slain for the word of God are kept under the altar in heaven. If you read the verses in context, it could suggest the souls were animated for a short period of time, white robes given them, and then told to rest a little while longer.

Revelation 6:9-11 KJVS
[9] And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: [10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? [11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were , should be fulfilled.

Souls under the altar in heaven sounds like the altar is a repository of sorts for deceased souls of those who were slain for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Which is suggestive that there is no conscience awareness while a soul is in heaven awaiting the first resurrection. But it is hard to separate what is figurative and what is literal in the book of Revelation and the same holds true for the parable of the rich and poor man that appears in Lk 16:19-31. Most times when I cite Revelation 20:6, that clearly states that the body of Christ is going to rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, it seems like it has no impact on the Christian I am conversing with. That is because God the Father himself has to enlighten a persons eyes to see His calling. As a side note it also appears that the man child is resurrected first and woman that gave birth to him is given wings and flies off into the wilderness for 3 1/2 years, Re 12:14. Is the man child the body of Christ? Many believe so. Jerusalem is the mother of us all, Gal 4:26, and yet it states in Re 12:17 that the dragon made war with the rest of her seed. There are some interesting distinctions raised in the word of God that a wise man not seek to formulate into doctrine and would be smart to take a wait and see approach. Is this distinction regarding the seed of the woman because many are called but few are chosen, Mt 22:14? Over the years I have known many Christians who were very aggressive in their attempts to bring people to Christ. It is as if they feel, by their own powers of persuasion and willpower, a person can be drawn by them into the kingdom of God. But as you see that is not the case, John 6:44. God does the drawing. The revelation of Christ in you the hope of glory and all the implications thereof, does not happen all at once. We know only in part, at first, seeing these matters as through a darkened glass, 1Co 13:12. But as time goes on we grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and then see more clearly and embrace the hope of the calling, Php 3:14, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Which is to rule and reign over the nations of the world, in righteousness, with Jesus Christ for a thousand years from the nation Israel, Re 20:6. A person does not come by this knowledge easily so one must heed the advice Paul gave to Timothy and study to make himself approved, 2Ti 2:15. Approved for what? The high calling of God in Christ, the first resurrection. In your study of the Word you would do well to stay clear of wind of doctrine of men and learn from the scriptures.

Ephesians 4:14 KJVS
[14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The Strong’s definition for the Greek word translated sleight in the above verse has interesting connotations.

Definition
dice playing
metaph. the deception of men, because dice players sometimes cheated and defrauded their fellow players

To cheat by deception in a dice game is motivated by the desire for monetary gain. I would imagine the motive behind the deceptive wind of doctrines of man are for the same reason. Coupled with the desire to rule in this age, 1Co 4:8. The concept of the casting of dice brings to mind another verse and word associated with the casting of dice that has direct bearing on the topic of this post.

Ephesians 1:11 KJVS
[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 of the Greek word translated as ”
Inheritance” in the above verse.

Strong’s Number
G2820
Original Word
κληρόω
Transliterated Word
klēroō

Definition
to cast lots, determine by lot
to choose by lot
to allot, assign by lot
on to another as a possession
in NT: to make a lot, i.e. a heritage, private possession

This Greek word is only used once in the New Testament and has a large impact on the doctrine of predestination. Those who are to rule and reign with Jesus Christ were chosen by God with the casting of lots or by random chance before the foundation of the world, Ro 9:16, Eph 1:4. It is radom chance because God is not a respecter of persons, Acts 10:34. I have given this much thought over the years and the only conclusion I come away with is that history as we know it, and the role the vessels of mercy play in history, are all predetermined by God to fulfill His purpose in this earth. The realization of the thousand year Kingdom of God is part of the purpose that God intends with the body of Christ. A common thread running through most of my articles is that we are being made mature or are being made perfect by God for this inheritance Col 1:12. But the overall end goal is to present all men perfect in Christ, Col 1:28, so that God can be all in all, 1Co 15:28. Of which the body of Christ plays a important role as priest and kings with Jesus Christ in the age to come.

Work out you salvation with fear and trembling

Php 2:12 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.

Why is it that we have to work out our salvation with the mindset of fear and trembling? A scripture in Hebrews shows this to be also true with the author of our salvation, the head of the body of Christ, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 5:7-10 KJVS
[7] Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; [8] Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; [9] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; [10] Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Obedience is not a easy trait to acquire due to the vanity of the flesh we were subjected to, Ro 8:20. In a previous article I mentioned Psalm 82, wherein the sons of God in the past had a judgement placed on them because they did not rule with the fruit of righteousness. Probably due to the fact that these fruits were never fully grown in them.

Hebrews 12:6-8 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? [8] But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
[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.
Philippians 3:9 KJVS
[9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

There is little chance of a person growing in maturity without being taught, disciplined and chastised for their wrong behavior and immaturity, Titus 2:11-12, 1Co 11:31-32. That is readily apparent in the real world, where you see many a little child in public, who are acting out and making a fuss in order to get what they want. Little children with immature and selfish egos that are intent on self gratification. Petulant, sulking and angry children that need correction. Now, many adults are not all that more mature, just a little better at hiding their true natures. Those of us in the body of Christ are facing God’s judgement as they live because they are dead in Christ, Gal 2:20! He 9:27, 1 Pe 4:17, He 3:6. One set of scriptures that show this judgement by God are in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 11:29-32 KJVS
[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.

Primary definition from The Strong’s Concordance for the word “condemned” In verse 32.
Definition
1. to give judgment against, to judge worthy of punishment

For a more detailed explanation see this article. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=182 So you can see judgement is corrective and aimed towards character development in the individuals being judged. It is wise to understand the consequences involved with sinning against the law of Christ, and put away inconsiderate behavior towards other members of the body of Christ. Peter lists some of this childish behavior and exhorts us to start to grow in the godly character and maturity that will be necessary in the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 2:1-2 KJVS
[1] Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, [2] As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Reading the Word is essential for the maturation process. About 12 years ago I started reading the word daily. I have a spinal cord injury and due to pain, around noon everyday and again later at four in the afternoon, I lie down for 30-40 minutes. It helps with the pain and weakness associated with the nerve damage that I live with. I had and still have a couple of vest pocket New Testaments. I can’t lie on my back as that makes the pain worse. So I lie on my side. I had a corpectomy and a four level fusion C-4 to C-8 in 1998. I am only suppose to lift ten pounds with either hand. So it is easier on my neck holding the small vest pocket bible than a full size bible while in bed. I am a fast reader and it was not unusual to read a couple epistles a day. Reading mind you, not understanding. I had a rotation of sorts which I followed and now know the New Testament well. I am 64 years old and have lived with a spinal cord injury for 31 years. Every year it gets harder and harder for me to live on my own. I am also a woodworker, although I have not built anything in the last couple years due to pain and increased weakness. I usually make Shaker or Mission style furniture using traditional joinery techniques. The trouble I had with scripture, was fitting all the verses together and arriving at comprehensive whole. The woodworker in me kept trying to assemble verses by words and concepts. It took a long time for the Holy Spirit to teach me the word, 1 Co 2:13, largely due to the indoctrination of the religious institution I grew up in. It is important to ask for for wisdom and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then believe what the Spirit of truth is teaching you. Great familiarity with the word is important and I now have a ten inch iPad with a bible app with The Strong’s Concordance embedded into the bible app. I write most my articles on it now, lying in bed or sitting in front of a small table using the iPad. Typing with a stylus due to nerve damage in my left hand. I have found there is more pain sitting at the computer than using the iPad. I have fallen hard a couple times in the last month. On concrete both times. If you think of it, say a prayer for me. The reason I bring it up is I am starting to really identify with working out my salvation with fear and trembling. We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. But being a member of the “me generation”, like the spoiled children I mentioned before, At first I wanted instant gratification. Wanted to be able to call fire out of the sky, Lk 5:54-56, so to speak. A individual is rarely capable to objectively judge their own spiritual maturity, for good reason.

Jeremiah 17:9 KJVS
[9] The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The Strong’s primary definition for the Hebrew word translated into the English word “wicked”.

Definition
to be weak, sick, frail

Well that certainly hits the mark with me, plus couple the above verse with what James wrote.

James 1:23-25 KJVS
[23] For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: [24] For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. [25] But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein , he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

This working out your salvation with fear and trembling, encompasses so much it is hard to confine it in one or more posts. But now that I think about it, it is what this web site is all about. Salvation is the process of God purifying our hearts by faith and being sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, Acts 15:9, He 10:10. Which is a painful process in itself that involves affliction and suffering, Isa 48:10, 1Pe 4:1-2. So this whole salvation process is ultimately learning to be obedient to the will of God and the law of Christ. But this obedience is not brought about by the will of the flesh of a man but by God, Jn 1:13. If you examine the fruit of the Spirit they are positive expression of the heart. Hurting the feelings of, or causing other members of the body of Christ to stumble, is more grievous to God than the offenses of the holiness standards of many churches. Taste not, touch not, handle not rules and bylaws, are often the work of man, Col 2:21-23. Abstaining from something does nothing towards curbing or eliminating natural desires and lusts of the flesh for the things of this world. Only through the Holy Spirit mortifying the deeds of the flesh, can we crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, Ro 8:13, Gal 5:24. We are cautioned to use meekness and fear when trying to restore someone who is overtaken in a fault, Ga 6:1. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit and one can learn much by examining the verses where that word is used in the NT. Human nature being what it is, a person should examine their heart very carefully and see what is the motivating reasons behind attempting to restore someone who is overtaken by a fault. God certainly does. If your heart is not motivated by the fruit of the Spirit, you might do well to leave the person alone. I grew up in the country where it is common knowledge and common sense not to poke a hornets nest with a stick. Heavy handedness can hurt and cause a fellow member of the body of Christ to stumble and lose their way by provoking wrath and pride. The intriguing aspect of all of this, is that God intentionally subjected the creation to vanity, part of which is transient morality. When a man is separated from his mother’s womb and called by God’s grace, the inward man in us desires to do the good and be obedient to the law of God but the sin that dwells in him is constantly warring against his mind, Ro 7:19-24. This is the struggle I have found myself in for quite some time. The scriptures bear it true that external and inner conflict on, and in a man, leads to change in a man, when that change is being facilitated by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:3 states that natural man is too weak in the flesh to obey the law of God. So God sent His son as a sacrifice and offering for sin, to condemn sin in the flesh. But the sacrifice and offering for sin still has to be worked into the flesh of the members of the body of Christ, Ro 12:1, He 10:9-10. Remember that presenting of our bodies as a living sacrifice takes place at the altar outside the camp, He 13:10-13. Now at some point I came to realize that because of this fact, the flesh being too weak to observe the law, a person could hardly expect the Jews of the Old Testament to faithfully observe the law. Why? Because they were given the role of the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, Ro 9:22, who God used to show His wrath and make His power known in the earth. Obedience is motivated by several factors. Love, respect and fear. Fear of the consequences involved for not being obedient. But the fear of God chronicled in many episodes in the scriptures, is a fear with a good deal of awe and trembling involved due to the power and presence of a immensely powerful creator or His angels, He 12:18-21. Da 8:17&27. Read the book of Job. I have many times, trying to determine why Job had to suffer so. There is a couple verses that comes to mind from the book which shows the power of God and the effect it has on a man.

Job 42:5-6 KJVS
[5] I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. [6] Wherefore I abhor myself , and repent in dust and ashes.

In any Army, there is a chain of command and the Army in heaven is no different. You have to have a powerful leader in charge of a Army that commands respect, loyalty and obedience. To ensure that a thousand year Kingdom of God functions as God intends, there will be no place for ego, self interests and other aspects related to the flesh, otherwise it will be the same old same old of the last six thousand years. Everyone who rules and reigns with Christ, in the age to come will be dead to the flesh, obedient and will know their place in the scheme of things. Humility will need to be learned, 1 Pe 5:6, 1 Co 12:14-18, Phil 2:3. Another aspect apparent in Job and is also a recurrent theme throughout the NT, is that God is the determiner of a man’s righteousness, not man. As a General rule people do not like change in their lives, much preferring remanning in the status quo. Unless some form of conflict forces change, it likely does not happen on its own. So when you read the Ro 7:19-24 verses and see that same conflict that Paul describes within yourself, you can certainly identify with this dilemma, where the flesh is too weak to observe the law of God, Ro 8:3. But at the same time the inner man delights in the law of God, due to the indwelling Holy Spirit. I know the conflict in me is quite troubling at times and precipitates groanings in the Spirit, Ro 8:26, and causes me to come before the throne of grace in times of need, He 4:16. Given some thought, a person realizes that positive change can only come about through God using discipline and teaching from the scriptures and His Spirit. Using 20-20 hindsight, a good deal of the problem in the past for me, has been the focus on the Old Testament prosperity doctrine in many of today’s churches. If you give 10% to God he will bless you with ten fold or maybe even a hundred fold back in return. So you buy lottery tickets, pray and wait in misspent hope. What I did not understand until the last decade or so, is that in the New Testament, God blesses us with the blessings of Abraham.

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.
Galatians 3:14 KJVS
[14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Strong’s definition of the Greek word translated into the English word iniquities in Acts 3:25.

Definition
depravity, iniquity, wickedness
malice
evil purposes and desires

We are blessed by God in the New Testament through the redemption process that is in Jesus Christ. Wherein the Holy Spirit working in our lives, turns us away from our depraved and wicked behavior. God scourges every son and daughter whom he receives and has very stringent code of behavior and fruit He expects and instills in His sons and daughters necessary for the coming of His Kingdom on earth.

Galatians 5:22-24 KJVS
[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. [24] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.