Longsuffering of our Lord is salvation

2 Peter 3:15-17 KJVS
[15] 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. [17] Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

Apostle Peter was recognized as head of the early church, our Lord personally instructed Peter to feed his sheep, Jn 21:17. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of the last verses he penned in the inspired word of God was used to endorse apostle Paul’s epistles. In verse 15 Peter repeats what Paul wrote in the first epistle of Timothy.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 KJVS
[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Apostle Peter by repeating that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation, Mt. 18:16 KJVS, establishes the importance of that statement written by Paul in regards to how we should view salvation. Which is largely overlooked by the present day church. When I first read that verse in the first chapter of Timothy nearly years ago, I knew it was important but I just could not determine in what way. Verse 16 alters the criteria for salvation. I am well acquainted with the New Testament, and from my daily reading and studying the scriptures, I came to see that Paul and the other apostles were given certain timely revelations regarding salvation.

Acts 10:44-47 KJVS
[44] While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. [45] And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. [46] For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, [47] Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

And this.

Acts 19:1-6 KJVS
[1] And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, [2] He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. [3] And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. [4] Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. [5] When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. [6] And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is key. There’s two aspects regarding this, many mainline Christian denominations baptize by just a sprinkling of water. Contrary to this.

John 3:23 KJVS
[23] And John also was baptizing in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

Matthew 3:16 KJVS
[16] And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Many baptize in the name of the Father the son and the Holy Spirit. But again Peter being the head of the church had this to say.

Acts 2:38-41 KJVS
[38] Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [39] For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. [40] And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. [41] Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

The salvation message in the New Testament unfolds at a certain pace. It is a progressive revelation of God’s plan of salvation based on when God inspired the writers of the New Testament to write the Gospels and epistles, and the content that is in them. For example. There’s a lot of information in the book of Romans, but it lacks a complete description of the salvation process. For example in the book of Romans Paul writes we are justified by grace.

Romans 3:24 KJVS
[24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

It is not until the epistle of Titus that he writes aspects of how grace justifies a believer.

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;

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.

So you can’t base the salvation message solely on what is written in the epistle of Romans. Or the epistle of James for that matter. Another example. Paul in the 15th chapter of Romans first mentions believers being sanctified.

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.

Again no information is given as to how a believer is actually sanctified. In the next chapter he briefly mentions the mystery of God, but no actual information about the mystery of God is given outside of what is written in that verse.

Romans 16:25 KJVS
[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Later on in other epistles more information is added about the mystery of God which is directly related to a believer’s sanctification.

1 Corinthians 2:6-10,16 KJVS
[6] Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: [7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. [9] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Why is that? Because it was necessary for Jesus to die in order to become the comforter or the spirit of Christ so he could indwell the members of his body, the body of Christ. Which is instrumental in sanctifying the members of the body of Christ.

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.

Hebrews 10:5,10,14 KJVS
[5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. [14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

The body that was prepared for our Lord was the body of Christ, which was chosen in him before the foundation of the world, Eph 1:4.

Colossians 1:24-27 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: [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:

The mystery of God is Christ in you, the hope of glory. And as I explained before sanctification comes from having the indwelling spirit of Christ helping you die to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:10 KJVS
[10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

“To whom God would make known”, is a important phrase in verse 27. One cannot come to the knowledge regarding what is the riches of the glory of this mystery on their own. I have tried to teach about this mystery and if God does not make this knowledge known to an individual they just don’t get it. They also usually do not see the inheritance we have in Jesus Christ.

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,

Much later in the book of Revelation we find out we are going to rule and reign with Jesus Christ as priests of God and of Christ for 1000 years, Re 20:4-6.,

Revelation 20:4-6 KJVS
[4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

As I have now properly set the stage, it would be a good time to circle back and explore the two sets of scriptures I opened this article with.

2 Peter 3:15-17 KJVS
[15] 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. [17] Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

To be honest, over the years I’ve looked at what Peter had to say as simply Peter endorsing the statement made by Paul and also endorsing his other epistles.
But it is always a good idea to read any verse in context. A half a dozen or so versus previously, Peter wrote this.

2 Peter 3:7-9 KJVS
[7] But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. [8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In the early days of the Christian Church, not only Christians, but Jewish authorities and the Jewish population were looking to see an imminent conclusion of the 70 weeks mentioned in Daniel. Christians of course were looking for the return of the Lord and the rapture of the church.

1 Corinthians 7:29,31 ESV
[29] This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, [31] and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

And all the sudden Peter changes that hope that Christians for the return of our Lord by writing 2 Pe 3:7-9. Due to that revaluation apostle Paul prepares the churches in Asia minor for the long haul, by instructing the various churches to appoint bishops and deacons and also addressing other church matters in the epistles of Titus and Timothy.

But I don’t get the overall sense that what Paul writes in 1 Timothy is the same as what Peter writes in 2 Pe 3:7-9. Peter is writing in a overall sense about the body of Christ whereas Paul is writing about himself and individual members of the body of Christ from that point forward.

1 Timothy 1:12-16 KJVS
[12] And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; [13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Buttress this by the fact that Peter ends his 2nd epistle by suddenly endorsing Paul’s epistles and agrees with him by writing “the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation”. I think it goes deeper than that. Previously in his first epistle Peter writes this.

1 Peter 4:1-2,12-13 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. [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.

Partakers of Christ’s sufferings is very similar to what Paul wrote in one of his epistles.

Philippians 3:10 KJVS
[10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Which brings these verses to mind.

Colossians 1:24 YLT
[24] I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body, which is the assembly,
Matthew 25:40 KJVS
[40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
2 Corinthians 4:10 KJVS
[10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Galatians 2:20 KJVS
[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.

Does the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation only apply to our Lord, himself or also to every individual member of the body of Christ? I ran across this account a couple years ago that is related to the subject matter at hand. The following account can be found in Fox Book of Martyrs which can be read online.

“Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city.”

Hegesippus was a Christian chronicler of the early church. This account of what our Lord said to Peter makes clear to me that not only do we partake of the sufferings of Christ, but also our Lord partakes of our suffering. Enough so that Jesus considers anything done to us as the same as being done to him. The writing of this article gave me a very strong sense of closure in regards to the sense of purpose that I have had in publishing this website. In a very real sense it has brought me full circle to something that happened over 38 years ago. I was boning hams at a meat packing plant second shift. I had been baptized and had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit several years before. Which was a very powerful experience. There is ample time to daydream while doing a job like that. At the time I was spending considerable amount of time studying the scriptures using a hard copy of the Strongs Concordance. Weeks before I had read Php. 3:10 and I found it intriguing and very puzzling. So while I was working that scripture kept rolling through my head when I wasn’t involved in conversation with the workers near me. I had pervasive sin in my life, sexual in nature, and the small still voice of the Holy Spirit was warning me to stop it. But I didn’t stop it, hardhead than I am, largely because of my carnal nature, Ro 7:14. A couple of weeks later while driving at a high rate of speed, listening to hard rock music, I got into a single car accident and broke three vertebrae in my neck each in three places, I was paralyzed for 10 days. I walked again by the grace of God, but the years since have been increasingly difficult for me. Probably in the last decade I have been writing articles for this website. The subject matter in this website was centered around the role suffering plays in being conformed to the image of Christ, Ro 8:29. Writing for me has been increasingly more painful and slow as the condition of my neck has worsened over the years. But while I have been writing this last article, I have gradually been feeling a sense of accomplishing the overall task I have felt driven to do. Hopefully I have finished the course that God has laid out for me, 2 Ti 4:6-8. I am beyond weary of the life I live. I’m pray that God has mercy on me in my distress. May the grace of God be with you all. Luke

As a sidenote, and not directly related to the subject matter of the article, in the course of writing this article I was curious on how many times Paul started a statement by writing “This is a faithful saying”. I was surprised that he use it only four times. Each of which are significant in terms of doctrine.

1 Timothy 1:15 KJVS
[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
1 Timothy 4:9-11 KJVS
[9] This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. [10] For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. [11] These things command and teach.
2 Timothy 2:11-14 KJVS
[11] It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him : [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him : if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. [14] Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
Titus 3:8 KJVS
[8] This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

For I do not understand my own actions

Romans 7:15-18 ESV
[15] For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [16] Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. [17] So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

I have an older brother who is two years older than me, and we fought like cats and dogs while growing up. The first thing he often did in the morning to get the ball rolling, was the three stooges Curly windmill smack on the top of my head. We lived in town so it’s was pretty hard to get away from him. I wasn’t blameless in the matter. There was a couple big tall Cottonwood trees in the backyard. And I could climb a tree like a monkey, and he couldn’t climb trees as well as I. Maybe it was the Tarzan movies that gave me the idea. I would be a certain distance from him and I would hurled insults at him. And when he came after me I would take off running and climb one of those big trees and laugh at his frustration looking up at me. I spent a lot of time in those trees. When I was in sixth grade we moved out into the country right next to the Mississippi River, which gave us both plenty of room to avoid each other. But he would beat me up from time to time and otherwise make my life miserable. About that time I discovered that that thing hanging between my legs had another function besides urinating. And a few seconds of intense pleasure from an orgasm offset a lot of the bad feelings I had from how my brother treated me. I had a vivid imagination so I could bring to mind with sharp focus any pretty girl that I had seen that day, or in the past. Long walks in the woods gave me ample opportunity to indulge in this activity. Masturbation became a big part of my life. To say I was addicted to it would be an understatement. As I said, I grew living out in the country during high school, I didn’t have a car so the opportunity to date a girl was nonexistent. I was brought up to be a gentleman, and I was a Roman Catholic. It was made clear early on that masturbation was a sin. So during confession it went something like this, “bless me father for I have sinned, it has been a week since my last confession, I have masturbated 20 times since my last confession.” I imagine the priest heard that a lot. I got married, but it was still a part of my life. Not only that, other desires started to creep in which I incorporated while making love to my wife. I suppose about three or four years into the marriage I received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. At which time I started reading and studying the scriptures, mostly the New Testament. I was still engaging in some sexual activity that the small still voice of the Holy Spirit started telling me was wrong. And I knew it was wrong but I kept it up. And I started getting “you better stop it”, but I did not listen. One night in 1983 I was driving very fast, listening to hard rock music, I got in a car wreck and fractured three vertebrae in my neck in three pieces each. I was paralyzed for 10 days and it took me three months of physical therapy while hospitalized to walk 100 feet on my own. The day of the car accident a Christian woman called me and told me she had a very vivid dream the night before, and in that dream I was in a bad car accident and was seriously hurt. For the longest time I thought, how could I have ignored the warning, but years later I realize that dreams are prophetic. Much much later, I realized that the car accident was a chastisement from God, He 12:6. I got out of the hospital after 3 months and moved home, I was weak and in a lot of pain, but my biggest worry was if my sex life normal. I could get an erection but I could not get an orgasm while making love to my wife. I would always get a very painful muscle spasms in my left leg and back with severe jerking. That is not to say I could not get a orgasm, but only by masturbation. And even then a orgasm was very difficult to achieve and infrequent due to my damaged spinal cord. Very frustrating. My wife and I got a divorce in 2003. I moved into an apartment and then started many years of porn on the Internet, with many frustrating attempts with masturbation. I sometimes went three, four months unable to have an orgasm. Not for lack of trying. I became very familiar with the verses that apostle Paul wrote in Romans.

Romans 7:15-18 ESV
[15] For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [16] Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. [17] So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

This went on for years, and I remember one time before trying to masturbate I thought is this really wrong? I was being convicted that it was wrong, but I wondered if God really disliked masturbation. Right as I thought that thought, a very strong feeling of disgust washed over me. There was no doubt in my mind after that, about how God felt about masturbation. That was one of the few last times I tried masturbation. Along the way, while all this was going on, I wrote the bulk of my articles on this website. In Hebrews the 12 chapter it is written.

Hebrews 12:4-11 KJVS
[4] Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. [5] And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: [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. [9] Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? [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.

And apostle Peter writes this.

1 Peter 4:1-2,12-13 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. [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.

And these verses, which at first glance does not seem directly related

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 KJVS
[18] Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. [19] What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [20] For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Masturbation is a completely private activity not involving any other person. But who you bring to mind while you masturbate can be wrong. And as I pointed out before God had very strongly expressed to me His disgust with the activity. There is the three wills of God that a believer passes through in his walk with the Lord.

Romans 12:1-2 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. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Presenting your body as a living sacrifice involves suffering, And that suffering can often be the result of chastisement by God, He 12:6, 1 Pe 4:1-2. Even our Lord was subjected to suffering by God.

Hebrews 5:7-9 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;

So to do we suffer in order to learn obedience to the will of God, as did our Lord, 1 Pe 4:1-2. In order to be made perfect.

Hebrews 2:10-11 KJVS
[10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. [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,

Which points to the fact that sanctification and perfection comes about through suffering.

Philippians 3:10 KJVS
[10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

True tabernacle, which the Lord pitched

Hebrews 8:1-2 KJVS
[1] Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; [2] A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

This article has been a long time coming. Largely due to the difficulty of trying to come to grips with the deep things of God using the mind of Christ, 1 Co 2:14-16. Coupled with the fact we are instructed to study to show ourselves approved, 2 Ti 2:15, and that takes considerable time. For a long time I have attempted in my mind, to draw parallelisms between the Old Testament tabernacle and the New Testament tabernacle that is being pitched by the Lord, in the attempt to ascertain what or who this New Testament tabernacle is. The problem at first was that I kept trying to draw direct types and shadows from the Old Testament tabernacle and apply them to the new tabernacle that the Lord is pitching, because I failed to read and understand a scripture in Hebrews.

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 parallelisms or types and shadows between the law of Moses, centered around the tabernacle in the wilderness and later the temple in Jerusalem, are not precise representations of the good things to come. Which was Jesus Christ. So one often has to rely on New Testament scriptures when drawing types and shadows from the Old Testament law and tabernacle. The epistle of Hebrews has considerable information which is vital in understanding the New Testament message of salvation in contrast with the Law Moses. Much of which can be extrapolated out of the types and shadows of the day of atonement sacrifice and other sacrifices under the law that are contained in the scripture verses in the book of Hebrews. Another verse similar to He 8:2 that piqued my interest is also in Hebrews.

Hebrews 9:11 KJVS
[11] But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

I have come to believe that Jesus is the more perfect tabernacle.

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.

The above scripture verse brings to mind the tabernacle in the Old Testament. There are three areas. Man, Jesus and God the Father. The Old Testament tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple of Herod that followed were places that the Jews could have limited contact with God the Father. That contact was based on rigid requirements of sacrifices, washings and carnal ordinances.

Hebrews 9:10 KJVS
[10] Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

But the new tabernacle has Jesus Christ fulfilling most if not all the aspects that were present in the day of atonement sacrifices under the law. Only through him do we have access to the Father.

John 14:6 ESV
[6] Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus is the sacrifice for sin and his flesh opened the veil that separated man from God.

Hebrews 10:19-22 KJVS
[19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Matthew 27:50-51 KJVS
[50] Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. [51] And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

The veil which is our Lord’s flesh, is our flesh. Since we are in him.

John 6:56 KJVS
[56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Ephesians 5:29-30 KJVS
[29] For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: [30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

He was and is our High Priest who is over his own house, whose house we are.

Hebrews 3:6 KJVS
[6] But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

He is a high priest who became us and offered up the sacrifice of himself for our sin.

Hebrews 7:26-27 KJVS
[26] For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; [27] Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

His flesh is our flesh and our flesh is crucified with him.

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.

The flesh, by type, is burned up on the sin sacrifice altar, outside the camp.

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.

Definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “reproach”in verse 13.

Thayer’s Definition
1. a reproach
a. such as Christ suffered, for the cause of God, from his
enemies

Such as Christ suffered, for the cause of God, from his enemies has and is still taking place by the members of his body, which is bearing his reproach, Matthew 25:40. The fire of that altar outside the camp is suffering. Keep in mind He 10:1, which states the law was shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things.

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.
Luke 3:16-17 KJVS
[16] John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: [17] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

The chaff is symbolic of the flesh. Which is rendered idle/destroyed, Ro 6:6, through our being in the body of Christ and picking up our cross and following him.

Matthew 16:24 KJVS
[24] Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

All of this is part and parcel of our Lord being the New Testament tabernacle and our participation within the tabernacle that he is.

Romans 12:1-2 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. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The Greek word translated into the English word “service” in verse 11 has this definition.
Strong’s Number
G2999
Strong’s Definition
From G3000; ministration of God that is worship: – (divine) service.

This Greek word only appears a handful of times in the New Testament. You can often get additional insight by reading a word in context as it appears in other scriptures. Most notably as it appears in the book of Hebrews, He 9:1 and He 9:6. This word is used to describe the Levite priest’s duties and worship in the Old Testament tabernacle. Since the body of Christ is going to be priests and kings with Jesus Christ in the millennial kingdom of God, Rev 20:6, they need to be sanctified. That entails dying to the flesh. Read the 10th chapter of Hebrews. The offering of the body of the sin sacrifice offering, on the altar outside the camp, by type and shadow points to this, He 9:13. Sacrifices in the new testament tabernacle are spiritual sacrifices.

1 Peter 2:5 KJVS
[5] Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

There are a few verses that point to the fact that
man, individually and collectively, are also a tabernacle or temple of God due to being in the body of Christ and having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit/Ghost.

1 Corinthians 3:16 KJVS
[16] Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Ephesians 2:20-22 KJVS
[20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ; [21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: [22] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Ultimately God intends to be all in all but from my knowledge of scripture it is uncertain if that would entail that all men would be God’s tabernacle but there are verses that point to this being the case.

1 Corinthians 15:25-28 KJVS
[25] For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. [27] For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. [28] And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The following verses may in fact be a physical representation of verse 1 Co 15:28.

Revelation 21:2-3 KJVS
[2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

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.

The following verses, indirectly, points to Satan’s role in perfecting the Saints of God.

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

Accomplished is a interesting word. You have a accomplished pianist, which points to the fact they are well trained and practiced in playing the piano. The Strong’s Concordance definition for the word accomplished.

Strong’s Definition
From G1909 and G5055; to fulfill further (or completely) that is execute; by implication to terminate undergo: – accomplish do finish (make) (perfect) perform (X -ance).

Immature and naive beings cannot be made fully aware of the consequences of their actions and can only be made mature by suffering for the bad choices they make. That is why God has to scourge the sons He loves, He 12:6. 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 often times suffer 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. But one might also point out that since they did not have the knowledge of good and evil, did they have the capacity to know that their actions were wrong? Was it due to vanity that 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? Of course it does but in the midst of it all it is easy to loose sight of the fact that God is making us with more godly character than we ever could achieve on our own.

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.

2 Co 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”.

2 Co 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 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.

Hidden wisdom

Marla, your email regarding the mistake you found in Genesis got me thinking. Nice catch by the way. There are other mistakes, big ones in scripture and I started wondering why God allows them. Here is a big one that I had at first really just took at face value. It is something that I may have pointed out to you in the past.

Matthew 28:19 KJVS
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

So if our Lord really said this, why did the apostles always baptized in the name of the Jesus Christ? And why did apostle Peter say this?.

Acts 2:38 KJVS
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

So it would appear that God allows man to alter the word of God but then one has to ask why? The Catholic church and the historical offshoots from the Catholic Church all baptize in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Ghost. The church of England, Methodist, Lutheran Church. and others. Keep in mind that Matthew 28:19 is the driving rationale behind the great commission. Which led to a lot of converts, many forced through pain of death, in the various colonies of the major European powers in America, Canada, South America, Africa, India, Australia and other parts of the globe. Also it led to the acquisition of great wealth, and power from those colonies. Not only the countries involved, but the churches in those countries. There are two major driving forces that God put into play in order to achieve His purpose in this earth. One of which is the mystery of God, which is Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27, the hidden wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 2:6-8 KJVS
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: [7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Why would the princes of this world not have crucified our Lord if they knew about the mystery of God? Well, since Christ in you the hope of glory points to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is responsible for justifying and sanctifying a believer.

John 17:23 KJVS
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that gthe world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
1 Corinthians 6:11 KJVS
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The other mystery is the mystery of iniquity. Remember all things are of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 KJVS
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. [8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

You need both mysteries to accomplish God’s purpose in the earth. Evil is a necessary evil in God‘s purpose in this earth.

Isaiah 45:7 KJVS
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

One might ask why He created evil? The answer starts to appear in the next set of verses from Romans.

Romans 9:19-23 KJVS
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? [20] Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? [21] Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? [22] What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: [23] And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, [see Ephesians 1:4]

Let us examine more closely two of those verses.

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

Verse 22 and 23 are linked together by two conjunctions which begin verse 23 with “and that”, the definition or the Greek word translated into the English word “that” is below.

Thayer’s Definition
1. that, in order that, so that

The vessels of wrath fitted for destruction were necessary in order that God might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy. Appears to be a cause-and-effect relationship. Exactly why is it necessary for God to endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction in order to make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy? You never really are able to put that together until you read verses in Hebrews.

Hebrews 5:12-14 ESV
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, [13] for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. [14] But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

And who does the training?

Hebrews 12:6-11 ESV
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” [7] It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? [8] If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. [9] Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? [10] For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. [11] For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Being made perfect, is being made mature and that can only come about through experience and being trained by God. God had to create an environment in which he could train the sons of God who will rule and reign with Jesus Christ for 1000 years, Re 20:4&6. Which is His overall purpose on this earth through Jesus Christ our Lord, Eph 1:9-12.

Revelation 12:10-11 KJVS
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. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Let us circle back to Matthew 28:19 and the question of why God would allow that to be in the Bible? There is no way to say for certain if that is so, but likely God turned a blind eye to it, and endured it with much longsuffering in regards to the vessels of wrath. Satan is god of this world, 2 Co 4:4, 2 Co 11:14, It’s only natural that he was seek to control and corrupt the churches from earlier on. The apostasy of the church was starting to take hold in the early days of the church.

Jude 1:3-4 ESV
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. [4] For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 2:1-3 ESV
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. [3] And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

1 Peter 2:8,11 KJVS
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. [11] Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

The second and third chapter of the book of Revelation, the letters to the seven churches, will give you an idea of how quickly the Christian churches of that era were slipping into apostasy. And the letters to the churches, were to those churches at that time. And do not extend to the churches of today.

Revelation 1:19 KJVS
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be

The things which are, are the events that were taking place in and around when apostle John was on the isle of Patmos. It would include what he was instructed to write to the seven churches in the second and third chapters.

It took nearly 2000 years for that apostasy to grow towards what it is intended to be.

Revelation 17:5 KJVS
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Revelation 18:4 KJVS
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Most if not all Christian church organizations since our Lord walked the Earth, ultimately became the work of man, striving for power, prestige, wealth and control over people. Various truths were uncovered in the scriptures in and after the Reformation, but the different men and their organization set up camp and served the created thing rather than the creator, Ro 1:25. Distorting the word of God with their various bible translations and doctrines, Eph 4:14, that separated people so they could fleece the sheep. It was also evident in the long history of idolatry and disobedience of the nation Israel.

Romans 11:1-5 KJVS
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. [2] God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, [3] Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. [4] But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. [5] Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

I have a long history of seeking the truth in the Scriptures. I received the love of the truth when I receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Even still it takes a great deal of study and time to find the truth of the Scriptures, even though they are apparent when you develop the eyes to see? Seek and you shall find knock and it will be opened to you. Seek that goodly pearl.

Matthew 13:45-46 KJVS
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: [46] Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

A roaring lion seeking whom he may devour

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

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

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

A online Greek Interlinear renders G2005 like this.

TO-BE-beING-ON FINISHED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After reading Ro 13:1, one might ask if Satan is one of the powers ordained by God? Since he is the God of this world, and all things are of God, one would think so. A couple verses from the epistle of Jude offer some insight.

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

Michael did not bring railing accusation against the devil because the Devil/Satan has a role in the plan and purpose of God. As the god of this world, 2 Co 4:4. And Michael respected God’s established order. Which verses 8&10 makes clear. So that is the context Jude wrote about in regards to Moses’s body. Satan as the accuser of the brethren, as a oppositional force, plays a role in the perfection of the Saints of God. A force that needs to be overcome. More on this later in the article. It is commonly presented that Satan upset the apple cart of God’s perfect creation by enticing Eve and Adam to take a bite out of the fruit off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now granted, that act by Adam and Eve was in direct disobedience of God’s command. But the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil made mankind like God and the Word, Gen 3:22. All that was lacking in humanity at that point, was individual maturity in mankind’s decision making ability in relationship with God and with one another. This lack of maturity is due to the flesh, Ro 8:3. The maturity God has in mind for man is experiential and can only be achieved a couple of different ways. By observing life around us, by being taught/disciplined by worldly authorities. And if one is in the body of Christ, exercised by God’s chastisements in the decisions we make in life. All of which results in greater or lesser degrees of good or evil in this cosmos. Individual thoughts and actions result in good or evil. The following verses apply more to the body of Christ but in principle, apply or will apply in time, to all men.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who hath resisted his will?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G2819  kleros  klay’-ros

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

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

KJV: heritage, inheritance, lot, part.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good good Father

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With stammering lips and another tongue

1 Corinthians 14:21 KJVS
[21] In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

If you look at the above verse using a reference bible it will direct you to Isaiah 28:11&12. I included a few verses besides 11&12 for the sake of context.

Isaiah 28:9-13 KJVS
[9] Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. [10] For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: [11] For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. [12] To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. [13] But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

First let me state that I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. It was a very powerful, life changing experience. I soon found that the church where I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit was too much centered around the law and Old Testament. In the Isaiah verses above line upon line, precept upon precept, to me clearly points to the law of Moses. The law was given because of transgressions until the seed, Jesus Christ came, Gal 3:19. The rest mentioned in verse 12 is the rest mentioned in Hebrews 4:10&11,which points to God, along with the sacrifice and offerings of Jesus Christ, doing the work of salvation in us, Php 2:12&13. And yet some of those who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit did not hear, verse 12, just as Paul wrote in 1 Co 14:21. They fall backward, are broken, and snared, and taken. Isa 28:9 is very similar to a couple verses in Hebrews, so much so I am surprised a reference bible does not refer them to one another.

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

Both verses in Isaiah and Hebrews point to the lack of moving on into sound doctrine and the lack of spiritual growth by the individuals these verses are written about. A wake up call to those not yet weaned from the milk, who are unskilled in the word of righteousness. There are no chapter divisions in the original bible manuscripts and pertinent information can be overlooked due to this fact. The 6th chapter of Hebrews is no exception.

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.

If God permit! The real obstacle I see in the way of going on into perfection, according to the Isaiah prophecy, is the law, and laws of religious institutions. The taste not, handle not , holiness ordinances.

Colossians 2:20-23 ESV
[20] If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations- [21] “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” [22] (referring to things that all perish as they are used)-according to human precepts and teachings? [23] These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

The last verse makes a crucial point. Denying the flesh alcohol, for a example, does not lead to self control in that area of your life. Only God correcting you and by dying to the lusts of the flesh can a person attain self control. Sound doctrine is understanding that being justified and sanctified is a function of grace, not of our works, Eph 2:8&9. Trying to observe the ten commandment and ordinances of religious institutions gets you no where because the flesh is too weak to observe these laws, Ro 8:3&4. We can only achieve the righteous requirement of the law by walking after the Spirit and allowing the Spirit to bring about these changes in our life. Most religious institutions do not want you weaned from the milk and may even be largely comprised of members who have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But even churches whose members are Spirit filled may prevent their members from being weaned from the milk. In my mind it is difficult to separate justification and sanctification in regards to perfection as a Christian matures, because they both are due to God’s working us, Php 3:9-12, He 10:14. And both take place during the life of a believer. I used to enjoy woodworking before my neck pain made the activity too painful. I designed and made most of my furniture. Oak hutch, end tables, beds and assorted tables. The scriptures fit together in my mind and are linked by similar words and concepts, very similar to joining pieces of wood together to make a piece of furniture. Comparing spiritual things with spiritual, 1 Co 2:13. Scripture of course is more complicated and intricate. The words exercised and righteousness in He 5:13&14 are mentioned in another set of verses in Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:11 KJVS
[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.

Now we are starting to get into the meat of sound doctrine. In order to mature as children of God we have to be disciplined. Let us look at the above verse in context.

Hebrews 12:4-11 KJVS
[4] Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. [5] And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: [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. [9] Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us , and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? [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.

The various forms of the word chastening, chasteneth that appear in the NT are translated from the Greek word paideuō, with it’s different suffix endings. It also appears in the following verses.

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.

We see that being chastised is being judged by the Lord. And this chastening is a function of grace. Teaching in verse 12 below is translated from the Greek word paideuō.

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;

Being chastised is also linked to communion with the sufferings of Christ. Notice how similar Titus 2:11&12 is to 1 Pe 4:1&2. Being scourged by God is suffering, and we, just as our Lord, learn obedience from suffering, He 5:8.

1 Peter 4:1-2,12-13 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. [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.

Our being justified and sanctified is not all about suffering and being scourged. There is the washing by the water of the word, Eph 5:26 and the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. They both in fact may be different aspects of the same. Many years in the past the Spirit moved strongly on me when reading certain verses propelling me on to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That does not happen as often as in the past. In the last decade the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost has been more abundant in my life.

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.

The abundant washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost that is poured out on us is having communion with the Spirit of God, which results in joy and the strengthening of our inner man.

1 Thessalonians 1:6 KJVS
[6] And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

Ephesians 3:16 KJVS
[16] That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

Colossians 1:11 KJVS
[11] Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

The washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost has been literally keeping me close to God for the last 15 difficult years while living with pain and weakness due to a spinal cord injury. I was paralyzed for ten days in 1984 but as I get older the pain and weakness has become more pronounced. The Spirit knows what is going on in our mind and hearts and about the time I start getting wore down and weary of my situation the washing and regeneration of the Holy Ghost moves over me even if I am disgruntled and not really seeking it. This washing often takes place when I listen to Christian music in the morning and think to give the sacrifice of the fruit of my lips giving praise and thanks to name, He 13:15. This washing is also the carrot that has offset the the stick of chastisements, that are aimed at my perfecting holiness in the sight of God, 2 Co 7:1. Paul writes the following verses about Spiritual gifts that Cessationist misunderstand.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 KJVS
[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [13] And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I think the the above verses point to the fact that the more a Christian matures and become more perfect, the less need their is in their lives for the Spiritual gifts operating in their lives. Those that received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues may in fact fail to go on into perfection, He 6:1, due to the fact they are never weaned from the milk, Isa 28:9. But as the verse states you can only go on into perfection if God wills it. I think that Apostle Paul’s admonishment to the Galatians church about the law would be a effective verse for all Christians. Especially for those who have the Spirit, speak in tongues, and want to go on to perfection.

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

And not to make the same mistake Israel of the flesh made.

Romans 10:1-4 KJVS
[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [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. [4] For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.