Under the New Covenant we have the ability to speak directly to God, whereas under the Old Covenant people had to seek a prophet.
Hebrews 1:1-2 “1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”
POLUMEROS, the Greek words “various times” come from means, “variously as to time and agency”. What the writer is pointing out is that under the Old Testament Covenant God could only speak to His people on occasion and to only specific people; His Prophets. Remember that God cannot look upon or have any association with sin. Since the fall of Adam God could only speak to a chosen few who had enough faith to seek Him and even then the Holy Spirit would only come upon them never fill them for continued guidance as we have access to today.
The New Covenant through the blood of Jesus is far superior in every way. The greatest difference is that those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior can have permanent access to the in filling of the Holy Spirit. Anyone can boldly go into the presence of God for fellowship, help, and guidance Hebrews 4:16. Jesus is Heir to all that God has and has shared it with us, Romans 8:17; “and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Everything in the world was made through Him and by Him Colossians 1:16- 17 and John 1:3. With this understanding it is easily recognizable to see why the Prophets of old looked into our time with longing.
Peter gave us the first overall picture of the vast improvement of connection with God when he stood up in Jerusalem preaching the gospel after He and the rest of the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room. What Peter spoke as recorded in Acts2:17-18 was originally prophesied by the prophet Joel 2:28-29, “28 "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
We are under a better covenant which on one hand seems too easy since there is nothing we have to do other than believe and confess. The Old Covenant gave the believers something to do which for man is naturally easier to follow. The difficulty today is to learn how to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
“Through whom also He made the worlds”, is referencing John 1:1-3 & 14 stating the same truth that all things were made through Jesus.
o told the disciples that He would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit when I went up to the Father. We must not think that the Holy Spirit was for the disciples only. Paul encourages us in most of the books he wrote that the Holy Spirit is a “must have” for all believers in Jesus.
God is not mocked and when he sets something in order it will happen. It is He who made the way for all mankind to have salvation through the bloodshed by Jesus on the cross. It is Jesus making intercession for us in heaven, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives the power to those who believe to both confess and receive salvation. This is where God in three Persons comes into play. All three work as one. God the Father, Jesus Christ the son, and the Holy Spirit all point to a pure and renewed relationship with God as our Father. Galatians 4:4- 7 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ”
God, upholding all things by the power of His word, sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. As such He has sat down from His works and empowered us to pick them up and move forward with them.
Hebrews 1:3-4 “3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
Jesus questioned Philip in John 14:9 as to why he asked to see the father when he had been with Jesus all this time. Jesus further explains that those that have seen Him have seen the Father. The Greek word CHARAKTER which is translated “express Image” actually means “an exact copy”. To the eye there is not any difference between two items, the original and the exact copy. To be an exact copy the copy must also be made up with the exact same composition as the original or it is not exact. Only the originator will know the difference at the time of creation. Remember in John 1:1-3, 14 and 1Timothy 3:16, Jesus was God come down in the flesh. How much more exact can you get than that? We also read in John 1:3 that through His word all things were made which is confirmed in Colossians 1:17, so it is His word alone that holds all things. It was His word that gave man complete authority over everything on earth, Genesis 1:26 and since God cannot lie nor changes His mind He could not just take the authority back from Satan since Adam gave it to him in the Garden of Eden. Galatians 4:4 tells us that in the fullness of time God sent forth His Son to pay the spiritual price for the sins of man.
Notice I said spiritual, because our earthly body is still under the curse and will grow old and die, but our New Man, our born again spirit will live on forever in the presence of God. God’s criterion for righteousness is the same standard that He is. Humans miss the importance of this since we often live in some form or another of double standards. We want to live pure before the Lord, but can never do so perfectly, we therefore have double standards for our children. On one hand there is an expectation of behavior for our children, which comes with levels of leeway and a justification for our own shortcomings when we fall short of our expectations. Since man’s natural mind is unstable in thinking we tend to disbelieve that God’s standards are as exacting on us as Himself. The fact is they are perfectly ridged in purity to the point that Jesus, in Matthew 5:28, tells us that even if a man looks at a woman with lust he has committed adultery in his heart. Only God can live up to His perfect standards and only God could have lived a perfect life here on earth so that in His natural death as the Son of God, Satan could not hold Him since sin and death did not have any hold on Him.
Today, since His resurrection, Jesus as the Son of God sits at God’s right hand making intercession for us for EVERY sin which He Himself purged clean for us. Acts 2:33-34, 5:31, Ephesians 1:20, 1 Peter 3:22 all point out the fact that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. In Acts 2:34 the Apostle Peter was actually relating to prophesy as spoken by King David regarding our Lord Jesus. Romans 8:34 is a rich explanation of what Jesus has done and substantiates verse “34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
Verse 4 is the beginning of the rest of this chapter which points out seven different scriptures stating the superiority of Jesus over even angles. Jesus’ inheritance is the firstborn of several areas in our lives. Romans 8:29 says He is the firstborn of many brethren, Colossians 1:15 says He is the firstborn of all creation, Colossians 1:18 says He is the firstborn of the dead, and in Hebrews 1:6 when He was brought into this world even the angels of God were told to worship Him.
The throne of Jesus is forever and the angels of heaven worship Him. Righteous is the scepter of His kingdom and He has established us in His kingdom. This powerful truth gives us the strength and authority to receive all His kingdom has to offer while we are still here on earth.
Hebrews 1:5-9 “5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son. 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him. 7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire. 8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions."
Verse 5 is a quote from Psalms 2:7 and was used by Paul when he spoke to the synagogue in Antioch in Acts 13:33. The last half of verse 5 is quoted from the prophesy in 2 Samuel 7:14 and the same prophesy from Ezra in 1 Chronicles 17:13, & 22:10. Paul establishes Jesus as the first born and seed of Abraham to be Jesus in Galatians 3:16. The Old Testament prophets knew and understood the superiority of Jesus the Messiah when He comes, but did not recognize Him when He arrived. Christians have recognized Him as having arrived, but fall short of seeing His worth and superiority of having paid the price for everyone who believes. The Jehovah Witnesses believe Jesus was a superior angel, but do not recognize His deity, henceforth, they are in a never ending life of works trying to gain what they could already have, righteousness with God. The Mormons are not much different in that they too see Jesus as less than who He is. Without the full understanding that Jesus is the Son of God, being fully God and fully Man while here on earth, a believer is left empty from the full freedom of their own sin and never really sure of their salvation. If they have a heart toward God, without the truth, they will spend their life in constant turmoil and strife trying to overcome one sin after another. Everything rests in Jesus’ perfect work on the cross!
Luke 2:13 records that the angels in multitude were praising Jesus at His birth; I have to ask why would an angel give praise to an equal? Verse 6 alone is proof that Jesus is above the angels, but then the writer adds verse 7. Only a creator can make the angels spirits and ministers on fire which places Jesus as the creator of the angels. Verse 8 is a clincher in that Jesus is specifically stated as the Son with a throne forever and also is called God. I read this as additional proof that Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man while here on earth. Verse 8 is also a quote from the original prophesy in Psalms 45:6.
Most Christians over look verse nine in the area of gladness. The writer of Hebrews is continuing from the quote in Psalms 45:6-7 which points out that the Messiah was anointed as God by God with the oil of gladness more than your companions. Isaiah 53:3 prophesies that our Lord would carry our sorrow and grief. Keep in mind that He carried every humans sorrow and grief. We may think we have sorrow or grief in our life, but we are only dealing with a thimble full of our own, and not even our neighbors; Jesus carries everyone’s. We become glad at the revelation of Jesus in our lives, but God has anointed Him with more gladness than all of us. Christians miss the fact that we too are anointed with gladness since everything that Jesus has He gave to us. Why do Christians have such a bellyache mentality, of living sorrows rather than living in the joy and gladness of our redemption? This is because the average Christian does not fully understand who Jesus truly is and therefore has difficulty believing wholly heartedly that ALL of our sins have been forgotten, past, present, and “future”. For years I had difficulty understanding the Trinity Godhead concept. Are there three people or is there only one? As I began maturing in understanding in these verses coupled with Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”, I came to the undeniable conclusion that they are all the same, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. With this full understanding I finally laid down my doubt of complete salvation and stopped trying to work out my salvation in my own energy. Christians today for the most part are still caught up in this same doubt. Hosea 4:6 prophesied “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”. If Christians only “live” from preached word to preached word without personal study than they leave their salvation in the hands of another clay vessel. If that clay vessel preached only damnation verses salvation and does not preach the grace and glory of the Lord with His blessings for us while still here on earth, than the church ends up with doubting unhappy Christians; what a waist.
Even though the earth and the heavens will someday perish, Jesus will always remain sitting at God’s right hand. And in this capacity He is forever making intercession for us. His kingdom will never end.
Hebrews 1:10-14 “10 And: "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail. 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation."
In the previous verses the author of Hebrews has established the deity of Christ which lines up with John 1:1-3, 14 & 1 Timothy 3:16. With this clearly established he now has moved to the ultimate authority the creator has over the creation. He did form the foundations of the worlds and as a result of the fall of Adam they are slipping away and will be gone someday. 2 Peter 3:13 points to a new earth and in Revelations 21:1, John the Revelator saw the old earth pass away and the New Earth come down from God. This is so important to understand deep in the heart of a Christian, because it is in Jesus the creator that all of our hope rests in. When a Christian does not understand this truth, it is where the enemy can cast doubt on their salvation and through fear pull them back into works of righteousness and not walking in faith. Anything done without faith is sin, Romans 14:23, which means that when we are walking in doubt of our salvation and into performing works we are out of the perfect will of God, Galatians 5:4. We have not lost our salvation, but our receiver gets affected in hearing and receiving all the blessings God has given us.
Verse 13 is a direct quote from Psalms 110:1 “The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool." Paul is telling us again as prophesied by King David that everything accept God will be under the feet of Jesus. We must put all of our trust in Him because to trust in anything else is to trust in something that will fail.
Let’s not neglect such a great salvation provided for us by Jesus through the sins of our flesh or our religious works to achieve righteousness.
Hebrews 2:1-4 “1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”
Therefore is referencing back to chapter 1 where such strong evidence has been presented that Jesus is God in the flesh while here on earth. For the readers of Hebrews more so than the Christians today, this is a pivotal point in their spiritual walk. Everything in the Jewish teachings point to the Messiah, but they missed His first coming. To live a life of doubt and works in effort to keep in right standing with God was a natural daily way of life for the Jew. Sadly enough it is still true for many Christians today. The author of Hebrews is stirring up their faith, as the people he was writing to were converted Jews and slipping back into their natural way of thinking. We can learn from this today in that even though the typical Christian does not have a Jewish religious background, our natural way of understanding our walk with God will always cause us to stumble unless we purpose to renew our minds daily, Romans 12:2. I wish we could learn once how to live a life of faith like we learn how to add and subtract, but we cannot. Christians often forget or have never understood that the bible is a living word. Not that it changes, because it never changes, but as we change and grow in maturity our understanding changes and the word seems to change with us. For the Hebrews to have given the author of Hebrews a reason to write this letter, they must have “sat down” from their walk of faith in Jesus and stepped back into their Jewish traditions. There are Christians today who are actually going back into Jewish traditions and rituals in effort to draw closer to God. A person cannot get closer to God than being at His right hand. The second chapter of Ephesians tells us that if we died with Christ we also live with Him and He is sitting at the right hand of God; hence spiritually we are also siting at the right hand of God.
Verse 2 & 3a is a reminder to the Jews that the Law of Moses and the word of God through the prophets held undeniable truths and consequences. The point being that if the transgressions of the children of Israel were met with the swift judgments of God under the Old Testament law we should expect the rejection of the free gift of salvation through the blood of His son Jesus to be equally as swift and final.
The last part of verse 3 points out that Jesus was the first to declare the gospel of His salvation followed by the Apostles. His authority as Son of God was substantiated by the signs and wonders that followed Him ministry here on earth and the same signs and wonders followed the Apostles when they preached the gospel of Jesus. Today, those who believe can walk in the same authority as Jesus, as God will uphold His word when we tell people about the Lord.
“According to His own will” is an awesome statement. Jesus said in John 5:19 that the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do, yet at every miracle but one, Jesus healed, fed, or cast out the demon without praying first. Only in the resurrection of Lazarus did Jesus pray, but in doing so His prayer was for the hearing of those around and not to seek the will of God. This is proof that the two are actually one, how else would the Son know the will of the Father without first asking.
God has made us a little lower than the angels, yet crowned us with glory and honor. He has set us over all the works of His hand and all things under our subjection, but we are not able to see our place while here on earth. But we can see Jesus and in doing so we can place our faith in Him to help us in our times of need.
Hebrews 2:5-8 “5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: "What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? 7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. 8 You have 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 do not yet see all things put under him.”
Hebrews 1:14 is clear that angels are ministering spirits and were never meant to be rulers, but rather ministers or servants to those who will rule. Verse 6 is a quote taken out of Psalms 8:4-8 where King David is noting that man was placed in charge of the earth. When we think of this it is an awesome position, which came with an awesome responsibility. This is the very reason Satan came with deception to Eve in that he wanted the level of authority that had been given to man.
Verse seven says man was made a little lower than the angels, which is an interesting statement and the word angel is possibly the wrong translation. This verse is an exact quote from Psalms 8:5 and the Greek word ELOHIYM, translated as angels in Psalms 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7, was used in the bible over 2080 times and these two verses are the only two times the word is translated into angels. The same word used in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9 was translated four times as judges, but the remaining 2076 translations in the NKJV are translated “God”. What Psalms 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7 is really saying is that man was made a little lower than God. When you study the beginning in Genesis you see that man was made in God’s image, Genesis 1:26-27. Until the fall man could have lived for ever, this is why in Genesis 2:23-24, God drove man out of the Garden of Eden where the tree of life was. Man was made in God’s image not in the image of an angel. He was given authority over everything on, under, and above earth, and when man ate of the tree of knowledge he knew both good and evil just like God. Man was never created to know both good and evil, because of the limits of our free will. There has never been a creature made with such authority and in such a close position to God than man. Man was crowned with Glory and honor and was set in authority over all God had made on earth. Every time Christians slip into sin or fall back into works over grace, what they are doing is handing their God given authority over their own lives back into the hands of Satan. They are not keeping God from giving them His blessings as that has already happened at the moment we became born again into the body of Christ, Ephesians 1:3. What sin and works actually do is make allowance for Satan to interfere with their blessing receptors; their heart and mind. God has taken away our heart of stone, the heart of fallen man, and has given us a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 36:26, but we have to renew our minds daily to overcome the fallen nature of man’s thinking and align our thinking up with the mind of Christ which we have also been given, 1 Corinthians 2:16.
The last part of verse 8 which is also from Psalms 8 clearly states our position of authority here on earth, but it also points out the second most important factor in why man does not live the blessed lives God intended for us to live. Everything was put under our feet and God left nothing out here on earth that was not put under our feet. The problem is Christians do not see it! “But now we do not yet see all things put under him.” This is because we are trying to see it with our natural eyes and not through the spiritual vision God gave us. And because we are still trying to make it happen in our own strength, it will never happen. Only those Christians who are able to walk in the power of grace can see all things put under their feet. The greatest position of a child of God is seeing their position as being right next to God and capable of freely communicating with God. Until the death and resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus, man did not have this freedom, but for those who have believed in their hearts and confessed with their mouths that Jesus is the son of God and has risen from the dead, these have been restored to their rightful position, Romans 10:8-10. Have you believed and confessed Jesus as your Lord and savior? If not now would be a good time to do so. If you are reading this and want to make that step of faith and do not know of someone to lead you and stand with you in your confession you can call our office and someone will be there to pray this prayer and stand with you.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ is more than just a Pauline salutation. In fact 18 out of the 22 books in the New Testament start out pronouncing grace, peace, and mercy on the readers. God is wanting us to see one of the major differences between the Old and New Covenant. God was not pleased with man under the Old Covenant, but extends grace, peace, and mercy to man under the New Covenant. What made the difference; Jesus’ perfect work on the cross.
Ephesians 1:2, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
How many people have actually taken the time to read and meditate on what this verse truly says? The importance of verse 2 is often over looked. This verse is actually saying God along with His Son Jesus Christ has extended grace and peace to you. This verse is more than just a Pauline salutation as many people believe. The word is clear that everything written in the bible is for a purpose. In every book written by Paul he states grace and peace to us from God and Jesus. In Galatians 1:4 he goes further and explains that it is Jesus who gave Himself for our sins and that according to the will of the Father. In 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus Paul adds in the word “mercy” as also from God and Jesus. 1st and 2nd Peter says “grace and peace be multiplied.” 2 Peter 1:2 continues by telling us how we can grasp this grace and peace through the “knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 John 1:3 tells us that our grace and peace from God and Jesus rests in “truth and love.” The New Testament starts with Matthew, but the actual “manual of life in Christ Jesus” runs from Romans through Revelations. When you look at those 22 chapters, only Hebrews, 1 John, 3 John, and James do not pronounce “grace, peace, mercy, or love” to us. If God tells us something twice, we can bet it is important, but He mentions eighteen times that grace and peace has been extended to us by Him and our Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t have to meditate on this verse for long before you begin to see there is no anger in it. God does not see us as sinners nor is he waiting for us to mess up again so He can destroy us. His Grace and peace is multiplied to us.
If we continue to believe God is angry at us, we too will be afraid to approach Him. If we think God is the bully out to get us, who can we turn to for help when the real enemy gets in our face? The truth is God is watching for us to turn to Him so He can protect us, and show us His love.
God was not pleased with man in the Old Testament. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their hardened heart that led to their vile life style. In the days of Noah He destroyed all mankind, but 8 people in the flood. He was sorry He had created man. I have heard preachers say “If America doesn’t change from its evil ways and God does not destroy us, He will have to apologize to Sodom & Gomorrah.” This is just not true. The fact is if God were to cause any harm to man because of their sinful nature, He would have to apologize to Jesus for allowing Him to die on the cross for those sins. Preaching condemnation only happens when one truly does not understand what happened on the cross at Calvary. John 3:16 is what happened! And now we have grace and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son. If you don’t know the verse John 3:16, go read it. It will change your life! John 3:17 & 18 are the extension of 3:16 as it tells us what God is not going to do. Together these three verses are probably the most powerful verses in the bible.
To bless God and be thankful for our Lord Jesus Christ is not so we can gain anything from God, but because He has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 1:3, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
In Paul’s day, when this was written, to speak a blessing over a person was either because of your extreme love for that person, (like a father would a son), or the person had done something for you or your family that changed your life immeasurably for the better. Speaking the blessing over them was to ask God’s favor for them. Another reason blessings were spoken over people in the Old Testament was when God was recognizing a person’s heart and that person was being called out as a prophet or a king as in David’s case when he was anointed King by the prophet Samuel. In verse 3 we see that Paul has recognized something has been done by God that has blessed our lives immeasurably and he is publicly praising Him for it.
God and Jesus do not need our blessings. However, to bless someone in Old Testament terms is to give that person the highest possible honor. Paul is recognizing that God and Jesus have done something that deserves the highest honor we can give them. To just receive salvation and restoration from God in itself is enough for man because for those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior they will no longer be condemned in the Day of Judgment. But our God is not a God of just enough. He is a God of overflowing abundance. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places, as seen in last half of the verse. That is His will, to bless us!
We know that God is spirit (John 4:2) and God is love (1John 4:8). He created the world with His spoken word, (Genesis 1:1-3). These are just three verses that establish He existed before matter was formed. People are conceived in the womb, but their spirit, their actual being, was given to them at the same time of conception, by God. Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalms 139:16 are just two verses that tell us God knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. I mention this as proof that our spirit existed, before we are even formed in the womb. We also know that when our natural body dies our spirit will live forever. We will either be in the presence of God or in Hell and completely absent from God, Luke 16:20-24. All of these verses together bring about a single truth. The only true and permanent aspect of life is the spirit, not our physical existence. What happens in the natural is temporary. Although we may live to be over 100 years old before our bodies give out, 100 years in the face of eternity is quite small. 2 Peter 3:8 confirms Psalms 90:4, that to God a day is as a thousand years. This is God’s way of telling us that time as we know it here on earth is relevant only to life on earth. Once we understand that our spirits are the only true and permanent part of our existence, realizing we are blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing in heavenly places takes on a whole new meaning. The only reason Christians stay sick is that we do not see ourselves spiritually healed by the stripes of Jesus, Isaiah 53:5 & 1 Peter 2:24. This is a hard truth that many people have difficulty with from time to time, but the word is true. God does not choose to heal one person and not the other. In my book God is Not Made at You I spend the better part of a chapter showing through scripture how doubt, not sin keeps us from receiving the promises of God. The only reason we suffer any lack is if we do not see ourselves spiritually as sons of God, 2 Corinthians 6:18. Since we truly are sons of God then we are joint heirs with Jesus, Romans 8:17. The word is clear that those who believe and confess that Jesus died for our sins, rose again, and now sits at the right hand of God, are with Jesus in the spirit and also spiritually in the presence of God, Romans 5:17 & 21, 6:11&23.
We have been given every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.
We must purpose to see this with our spiritual eyes and then pull this truth into our natural life through our words of confession. This is what Paul is telling us in Romans 8:5-6.
5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” 6 “for to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Being spiritually minded can only happen by studying the word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal this to our spirit. We also need to fellowship with like-minded believers. Our God is a God of abundance and He did not leave our salvation to stand alone, which is enough in itself. He has blessed us with good health and to prosper in our finances. Most of all He wants us to receive those blessings while we are still here on earth. Read the very words of Jesus in Matthew 6:10, Luke 11:2.
God has chosen us! Let this truth settle down into your heart because He chose us from the foundation of the world. It is His plan from the beginning that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. The sole purpose for this is so we could fellowship with Him. Our lives are more than just abstaining from sin and eventually getting to heaven. We were created for fellowship with our God.
Ephesians 1:4, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love
God chose us first we did not choose Him first. This is an awesome statement from God. Even though He knew man would make a mess out of His plan right from the beginning, with Adam and Eve, God still wants a relationship with man. When we can wrap out minds around this concept of God being on our side, it does two primary things for us. First it gives us peace that He is not angry at us, which is confirmed in Romans 8:38 & 39. Second it encourages us that with God on our side, we can handle whatever obstacle in life that may get in our way. “If God is for us who can be against us” Romans 8:31.
Notice the words in verse 4 “in Him before the foundation of the world”. He knew our sins before we were even created. He knows of our sins today that are causing us to stumble, and He knows the ones we will stumble over in the future while still living on this earth. And yet He chose us. That’s almost too-good-to-be-true news. We are no longer that little child on the grade school playground waiting to be chosen by one of the two teams and hoping we will not be the last one chosen. You remember that boy or girl. They are the ones who looked different, or had the unusual personality, or were just clumsy and wouldn’t be a help toward winning the game. I was that little boy and in those days we were called “goobers” and today they may be called “nerds” or something else. These were the ones that no one really wanted to be around, especially the “popular” people. But with God, He chose us first. With God there is no partiality. In fact He chose all men, but all men do not answer His call. In the game of life you will never have to stand on the sideline alone, waiting for some other person to call you into the game. We no longer need people to validate us as worthy, because our God, who is God, has already chosen us for His team. Have you answered that call?
Not only has God chosen us in Him, but has made a way for us to be holy and without blame before Him. God is love, God is pure, and there can be no sin in or around Him. In fact we can read in the Old Testament that on several occasions He wanted to destroy man and even did destroy some men because they had become so evil in His sight. Glory to God that in the fullness of time He made a way for us’ not only to be cleansed of our sins, but to be joint heirs with Christ Jesus. We cannot do this on our own, it can only be done by the love and power of God, and it had to be through a pure and perfect sacrifice, one without spot or blemish. Our forgiveness and adoption by God was only made possible by the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus. And the only way man can receive this adoption is to believe in his heart and confess it with his mouth, Romans 10:8-10. Once we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become children of God.
(Galatians 4:3-7) ”Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
If for some reason you are reading this and are not a born-again child of God, possibly caught up in a lifestyle of sin and want out, or have attended church, but have not truly understood God’s adoption process, the way is very simple. Jesus Himself said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) In Romans the plan is spelled out for us on how to receive this great salvation.
(Romans 10:8-11) “But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. .For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
How often do you have the thoughts of not being fully accepted by God or that He may even be angry with you? Ephesians 1:6 says “He made us accepted in the beloved”, that’s a powerful truth of His love.
Ephesians 1:6, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the beloved.
How many times does the enemy eat our lunch and then pop the bag with the lie of not being accepted by God or Him being angry at us? At every opportunity the Devil will tell us we are not accepted or not worthy of God. From the time we begin to learn and especially when we start to school, our worth seems to be based on our performance. We receive a grade for everything we do and when the grade is bad, the implication is we did not learn or we were bad. This does not change with graduation because then you get a job and your income is based first on your grades in college and second on your performance while on the job. Then you get married and your spouse does not like something you did, or your child or parent becomes unhappy with one of your decisions. There will always be times and opportunities for you to feel unaccepted. Whether it is the Devil giving these thoughts or they are already planted from life’s disappointments, people battle with not feeling accepted. Here is one of those times in life where we need to push back feelings and begin to grasp God’s truth. I’m not saying feelings are bad, God gave them to us and there is a time for all of them in moderation. We must begin to see ourselves as God sees us. He has made the way for us to take on the image of Jesus. There is nothing man could have done to make ourselves accepted before God. From the moment we became born again into the kingdom of God through our confession of Jesus as Lord of our lives, God sees Jesus when he looks at us. Eternal life is in Christ (Romans 6:23). There is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1). The Spirit of life is in Christ (Romans 8:2). The love of God is in Christ (Romans 8:39). Truth is in Christ (Romans 9:1). We, being many are one body in Christ (Romans 12:5). We are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6). Meditate on these truths when you are feeling unaccepted because God has made us accepted in the beloved. Let God be true and every man a liar, (Romans 3:4). The Devil is a liar and the father of all lies. (John 8:44) If you have received Jesus, you are accepted in the beloved!
God’s grace is for all who believe and confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. His grace does not come to us as a result of how good we try to live but because of His love and what Jesus did for us even when we were sinners. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He will complete the good work He has begun in you and it will not be on your efforts but in His strength.
Philippians 1:6-7 “6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace”.
Verse 6 is true for every believer, but God is not able to complete His good work in every believer. It is obvious that mans “will” often gets in the way of God being able to complete the good work He has started. Out heart’s desire and attitude toward our personal walk with God is the key. Paul was speaking specifically to the Philippians who had the correct heart toward the gospel. The Philippians were no longer just takers only seeking the word of God for them, but had moved over into the realm of partners with Christ to further the gospel. True God’s will is for everyone to come to Jesus for salvation, but He does not want it to stop there. Once enlightened in the grace of His gospel and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we are to reach others who are still lost. We are to continually grow in Christ in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. The Philippians had the knowledge of the gospel, the understanding that this message had to reach others, and the wisdom to recognize that their offerings into Paul’s ministry were also a blessing to God. God’s desire is for His children to shine in a dark world, and given the freedom to do so He will make it happen both spiritually and financially. We are the only thing that can interfere with His will for us. There are many ways we can stop His will for us spiritually and that will be for discussion later. You can also read my book God is Not Mad at You.
Paul was an Old Testament scholar and therefore, his revelation of the gospel and the truths were revealed to him through the types and shadows of the Old Testament writings by the Holy Spirit. As we look into these teachings as Paul did we must remember that the requirement for the blessings from God has been fulfilled by Jesus’s death. We no longer have to wrestle with God as Jacob did, and we do not have to go to God through another priest as in the Law of Moses, but we can still tie His hands. Paul’s focus to the Philippians at this point in his writing is on their heart’s desire toward their Tithes and Offerings. Paul knew the promises of God for such willful obedience and was encouraging them to not let up. God will complete what He has started.
Malachi 3:8-12 is one of these truths and promises for both those who bring their tithes and offerings to the church and those who withhold the same and keep it to themselves. The first truth to grasp is that even though we are the ones that perform the work necessary to receive a paycheck, it is God who gives us the natural gift and ability that makes it happen. We must recognize that God is the one who gave seed to the farmer first, breath to our lungs, wisdom and the ability to learn in school and college for preparation in the work place. Everything we have was His first and He has given it to us. All He asks is that we return a minimum of 10% to His church, and be open to His lead for additional offerings as well. If God sees that He can get His financial blessings through you to His ministry, He will get those blessings to you. The Philippians obviously tithed into their own church as we do not read in the bible or in history books where the church in Philippi collapsed from financial difficulties. They also sent additional money to Paul for the furtherance of his ministry and in doing so were partakers with him in the fruit of that ministry. When we fail to follow this simple principle as listed in Malachi 3 we actually pull down the hedge of protection from around our finances and we tie God’s hands for supernatural increase in our finances. You cannot out give God! He is not a God of just enough; He is the God of abundance. We can have confidence in His completing every good work He has started as long as we do not get in His way.
Second point to verse 6 is Paul was confident that the Day of Christ Jesus would come. Remember that Paul had the knowledge and understanding of the Old books like Psalms 37:23-27, “23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore.” Paul knew that if God is for us no one could be against us. Today even in the midst of a storm or economic crisis that everyone seems to be crying about, God will prosper His children providing we do not tear down the wall of protection and tie His hands at multiplying our finances.
Paul knew in his heart and from the comfort and grace he had from God while in chains and imprisonment, that this same comfort and grace was for every believer. God’s grace is for all who believe and confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Paul knew that because the Philippians had grasped the full gospel of Christ in that it was not just for the personal taking by believers, but that they were to share in the spreading of the gospel as well, God’s grace would envelope them while here on earth. You no longer need grace once you enter heaven. We can all be partakers of the same grace through our trials in life that Paul experienced, when we commission ourselves with the gospel of Christ and live for Jesus first.
Understanding the difference between Philio, Eros, and Agapao is the key to understanding God’s true love for us. Unless we understand His love for us we will always fall short in showing our love toward another person.
Philippians 1:8-9 “8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment”
The affection from Jesus Christ is stronger than any affection we can know here on earth, and is impossible for the non-believer to ever walk in. Our earthly understanding knows “Eros” the Greek word for sensual affection. This is where the word the erotic comes from and was used in the bible and translated as love in verses relating to the relationship between a husband and wife. We also understand “Philio” another Greek word translated in the bible as love when it relates to brotherly love or a strong affection for a family member or friend. For example I “Eros” love my wife, she excites me and lights my fire so to speak. I also “Philio” love my wife as she is my dearest friend, but I also “Philio” love some of my closest brothers and sisters in the Lord. I have a sweet dear affection for them and enjoy their fellowship. Both of these types of love pale in comparison to the affection Jesus has for us, which is also the same affection Paul had for the Philippians. The word “Agapao” was first used in the New Testament Matthew 5:43 when Jesus was talking to His followers about loving their neighbor. There is not a word in modern language for this type of love, nor was it used in the Old Testament. Jesus had this kind of love for us in that He laid down His life that we might live. To have this kind of affection for someone as Paul did for the Philippians is to desire the absolute best for that person. And for that person to have the relationship with Christ that Jesus gave His life for. There is no stronger love than this and married couples should also have an “Agapao” love for each other as well. Even if the “Eros” or “Philio” decrease in a marriage for whatever reason, if Agapao love is present and strong, the “Eros” and “Philio” can be stirred back up regardless of what caused “Eros” or “Philio” to slip away. When married couples divorce, stating they are no longer in love with each other I question if they ever were in “Agapao” love in the first placed.
This kind of love, “Agapao”, will not grow un-nourished. Paul states this in verse 9 with his prayer for their increase in knowledge and discernment. To know and understand the true love of Christ is to begin to move in compassion and love for the un-lovely or the lost. Agapao recognizes the lost are also loved by God and that Jesus died for them as He did for the believer. We must grow in this love if we are to reach others for Christ. It is easy to want God’s best, “Agapao” for a good person, a friend, or an un-saved family member. But in Matthew 5:43-45 Jesus tells us to “Agapao” our enemy. 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; Do you want to be a true son or daughter of God? The desire to spread the gospel personally or to give into a ministry freely that spreads the gospel unconditionally is to walk in this kind of love. Even though the Philippians have already moved in this level of love by giving into Paul’s ministry, he still prays for their increase in knowledge and discernment. The kingdom of heaven is not stagnant and there is not a resting place until we finish our work here on earth. Children of God are called to press forward and the best way to prevent slipping back is to never stop growing in Christ. Agapao love is based on knowledge of God’s love for us and 2 Peter 1:3 states this perfectly, “ pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory When you know that God truly is with you and loves you then you can truly love your neighbor as yourself. You will also begin to realize that even your enemy is also your “neighbor”, as you grow in understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul had joy in his heart even when he was in chains and it was evident to the palace guards who held him in bondage. Christians today tend to remain in spiritual bondage and therefore fall short of having joy in their heart in all situations. What is the difference? Paul understood that living under the Old Covenant of the Laws of Moses and the Prophets was the true bondage, but there is life in Christ Jesus through the power of Grace under the New Covenant.
Philippians 1:13-14 “13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear”.
The evidence of Paul’s true chains in Christ to the whole palace guard was not simply through his words. He was in prison because of his words and many people thought it was right that he was there because they did not agree with what he was saying. It was his actions and demeanor that spoke louder than his words. The evidence “That my chains are in Christ”, is the answer to what changed the palace guards hearts and encouraged most of the brethren in the Lord. Key word here is evidence. Paul was filled with the “fruits of righteousness” as mentioned in Philippians 1:11. In Ephesians 3:1 & Philemon 1:1 & 9, Paul refers to himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. He was not saying he was held captive against his will to live for Christ, but rather he purposefully placed his life in confinement of Christ to live only for Christ. Paul was a man that understood the precious gift of salvation, but in receiving that gift he also understood the great commission that is for all Christians, in that his life was no longer his own. After his Damascus Road experience his life was to live on this earth for Jesus, bringing this precious gift to as many people as he could. In bringing this gift to people he was also joyful when he found those who received the same spiritual insight and chose to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ themselves.
As other Christians began to realize the joy Paul experienced in Jesus even while chained and in prison, they grew in inner strength. Their confidence was not in his physical chains. There was not a false since of security that Paul was the only person the Romans would imprison for this new belief. They too recognized the same truth Paul speaks of just seven verses later in this chapter, “21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. Prison and even death no longer has a sting worthy of the glory of life in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that awaits every believer in Jesus. This personal realization that the brethren had, came through the observance of the life of Paul especially while he was in prison. What is your life saying to the people who observe you? As mature Christians walk more boldly in Christ, they also are an encouragement to others that may not understand what they truly have. Stir this verse up in your life, Romans 1:16 “for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, for everyone who believes”.
Being like-minded as a Christian is not acting like each other, and it certainly is not dressing alike. God does not want a bunch of robotic “Stepford” Christians like the wives were in the move The Stepford Wives. He already had that and their true name is called Angles. God wants us to have a corporate mind of Christ which is to love unconditionally and reach others for the kingdom, and in doing so we can have fellowship with our God and each other while enjoying our differences.
Philippians 2:1-2 “1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
For starters I want to point out the word “if” which is used four times in verse 1. In our vocabulary the word “if” denotes a question and Christians often read verse 1 as though it has four questions. If this truly is a verse with four questions then the question truly lies on whether Christ “WILL” console us, WILL comfort us, WILL have fellowship with us, and WILL have affection and mercy on us. When verse 1 is read as four questions, then verse 2 would be the “how” to receive the promises in verse 1. This is just another area Christians often stumble over the word of God since most of us do not have any understanding of the Greek language and therefore rest solely on the translation. When we look at verse 1 as four questions and the “how” to receive the four promises is in verse 2, then the overwhelming thought would be; Christians must become like minded, must have the same kind of love, must be in one accord, and must be of one mind with each other in order to receive the four promises. This would fall under works and would be contrary to the gospel of grace. In the Greek language the clause “if” does not begin a question, but was used for strong emphasis for a following statement. We should therefore read verse 1in the following manor, “Therefore since there is consolation in Christ, since He comforts with love, since there is fellowship of the Spirit, since He has affection and mercy. (Words in Bold, mine) At the time of our conversion we receive everything we need, (Ephesians 1:3 God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places). In the NIV the word comfort is translated “encouragement”, which is a major understatement to say we are encouraged by Jesus. Remembering He gave His life for us so we could have direct access to the Father and receive the Holy Spirit. That is true comfort – which is peace far beyond just encouragement.
Paul is not encouraging the Philippians to think alike, he is suggesting they have the mind set of putting others first ahead of self and not seeking their own welfare. We have been given the mind of Christ as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2:16, but we also have been using our natural human sinful nature thinking for most of our lives. This is why Paul encourages us to renew our minds daily, Romans 12:2. Throughout Christian history, denominations and individual churches have taught the unity of thinking instead of kingdom first thinking. Paul’s joy was the unity of the body of Christ with each believer’s first concern being the kingdom of God. He changed his own thinking after his Damascus road experience from one of arrogance and superiority to one of bondservant of Jesus, and servant to all man both Jew and Greek. This change of heart and mind gave him exceeding joy as he saw others come into the same revelation and walk with Christ. Verse 2 is actually an encouragement to enter into the same mind of Christ as Paul has and to witness the same joy for ourselves as we begin to put others first above self, drawing new believers into their own walk with Christ. Paul is trying to help us see the joy associated in entering into the great commission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Christians we are a part of the spiritual family of God. Romans 8:29 says He is the firstborn of many brethren, and when asked many Christians say they know this. As children of the same family do we always treat our fellow brothers and sisters with the same love? Do we esteem them better than ourselves or has this society of me first attitude worked its way into the church.
Philippians 2:3-4 “3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Paul has given us the antidote for prideful living, to put others first. Pride is mostly looked at as a person that is arrogant, but that is only one side of pride. Fact is when you look at a person that has an air of arrogance; it either rests solely on their personal accomplishments, or is the cover up of fear and insecurity. Since the majority of people in the world are not great accomplished people, but average people with an air of pride than we need to see them as fearful or insecure and pray for them not just call them prideful. Proverbs 13:10 tells us where there are contentions there is pride. When we look at pride in that light, it makes it real hard to be in strife with another person when you are putting that person above self.
Another over looked side of pride is timidity. Shyness and over quietness is often seen as meekness when in fact the person is shy and timid because they are afraid of what other people will think or say about them if they do say something. That is nothing but pride that has developed a more acceptable wall around the person than arrogance. The root of pride is self-centeredness whether it is arrogance or timidity and esteeming others better than self is the cure. I am not saying putting yourself down, but rather choose to live your life building up everyone in your path. At one point I went to a church where the pastor was very resistant to recognizing the accomplishments of anyone for fear of building pride in that person. Seldom was an encouraging word spoken in person or from that pulpit. How can that way of life fit into Paul’s antidote for overcoming pride by esteeming others better than self? We need to recognize that our personal accomplishments do not make us better than anyone else, nor feel intimidated by other person’s accomplishments. There is a difference between what we do and who we are. To be a child of Christ saved by grace is who we need to see ourselves as. That is who Christians are and God shows no favoritism to any man and nowhere does the bible say God has grandchildren. Therefore to be a Christian is to be a child of God, and this all happened by the blood of Jesus, nothing we can do in the natural can get us into a better position.
Looking out for the interest of others is not an open invitation to meddle in another person’s life under the disguise of “brotherly love”. That is nothing more than being a busy body which always seems to run hand in hand with a gossip. Meddling in another person’s life is more often than not, siding with the “accuser of the brethren” which is Satan’s job and he does not need the help. Luke 6:7 is a prime example of the “religious” person looking for fault in another person; “And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the Sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him”. Jesus, in Matthew 23:26 confronted the Pharisees on cleaning the outside of the cup, but leaving the inside dirty. The “religious” of today are still doing the same instead of asking God to help them see the person’s heart. Sad thing is this type of modern day Pharisee is no different than the ones in Jesus’ day and they are still one of Satan’s greatest assets against God’s people. We have the mind of Christ and need to change our natural way of thinking to line up with His. Remember that God was willing to come to earth as a man, 1 Timothy 3:16 in the form of Jesus. Therefore, by His death on the cross and His resurrection we can have a relationship with God. The religious mind set needs to stop finding fault by looking on the outside of a man and start asking God to help him see the inside of a person’s heart as God does.
Looking out for another person’s interest is praying for them when we see the need and by esteeming them better than ourselves. We are in a “me first” generation and with all of the media pushing us that direction as fast as it can, we need to learn how to put on the breaks. Go do something for someone else and see for yourself how good you feel inside. Random acts of kindness are good, but being led by the Holy Spirit to truly pray for or bless another person is how God has called His children to live
Our natural thinking does not line up with spiritual concepts. This is one of the reasons Paul tells us in Romans 8:7 that the carnal mind is enmity to God, however we have been given the mind of Christ. This means we have been given a mind of servitude and selflessness and the only reason Christians may not exhibit this type of character, as often as we should, is because we need to renew our minds daily.
Philippians 2:5-7 “5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
Paul is trying to help us see that our natural thinking does not line up with our new born again spirit. This mind set Paul is referring to is one of servant hood, which lines up with verse 4 and is much more than just looking out for your fellow brother in Christ. The mere fact that Jesus chose to die for us even when we were in our sins is proof enough that we are to have that same heart toward those still in there sin and not just those who believe. There is so much more of a calling on believers than just our personal salvation. True, believing and confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the most important step, but still just the first step. We are called to walk with Jesus, not stop with Jesus.
So how important is it to God and Jesus that we take the next step and reach out to the world of non-believers? Verse 6 is the answer. 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. We have to get this understanding deep in our spirit. Jesus has to be more than just a man or His death could not account for all of the sins of mankind. If I, a man, chose to die for you, so you would not have to bare the punishment you deserved, than once dead how could I stand in for the punishment a second person? No one can meet God’s standards accept God Himself and yet because of sin in the flesh, all flesh must die. 1 Timothy 3:16, John 1:1 & 1:14 are proof that Jesus was God having come to earth in the likeness of sinful flesh to pay the price for His children. What an awesome step made by Jesus to choose for Himself to take on such a role and yet while on earth He made Himself of no reputation, but chose to serve. God living in the flesh here on earth served man.
Making oneself of no reputation is not staying out of any lime light and hiding. Jesus made such a splash in this world His birth split time. He did not seek the recognition, but rather chose to serve all who would let Him serve them. There is no way He or anyone else back then or today walking in the Spirit doing the works of God, healing the sick, raising the deal, making the blind see, and the lame walk, and preaching the gospel of salvation can stay in hiding. Fact is His works and those of the apostles and disciples was the very thing that brought them recognition and ultimately death. Where Paul is encouraging the believer is to not seek the accolades that may and often will follow such actions. People by nature will follow signs, but a true seeker will grow beyond the signs that follow. We must stay humble and the only antidote for pride is found back in verse 4.
Jesus knew who He spiritually was, but realizing He was conformed into the form of man He humbled Himself and became obedient as a human even to death. We on the other hand must discover the truth that although we are human we have been transformed into “spiritual” beings, and even as sons of God.
Philippians 2:8 8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
There is so much in this verse that we must look at it first by itself. In verse 7 the phrase “took on the form” needs emphasis for verse 8. The Greek word MORPHE literally means “shape”, outward appearance. So who found Jesus in the “shape” of a man? Certainly not the religious leaders of His day, even with the angels proclaiming His deity at His birth, but no one knew who He was. At the point of His birth He was 100% God in the spirit, but also 100% man in the earthly form of a baby. His spirit was perfect and because He did not have an earthly father His flesh was as perfect as Adams was in the beginning, but He was still a baby. He did not come out of the womb in the stature, wisdom, or knowledge of a man He came as a baby. The bible tells us Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. We read that at age twelve He was found in the temple with the religious leaders and knew He had other things to do on earth then to just be a carpenter’s son. I believe Jesus found Himself as a man. Much like we must renew our minds to line up with our new spirit man, Jesus had to train up His mind on who He was as a Man. Luke 2:52 tells us Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit certainly prompted and enlightened Him as to who He was, but His mind had to be conformed and trained into the knowledge of who He truly was. Keep in mind that Satan did not come to Him to test Him until He was fully grown and filled with the Holy Spirit. In each of the three temptations Satan starts out with “If thou be the Christ”. He was not just trying to determine if Jesus was the true messiah for himself, Satan was trying to cast doubt in the mind of Jesus and thereby make Him prove Himself. If Satan could have caused doubt to take over the mind of Jesus than the battle would have been over in the wilderness. Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Reminding ourselves that Jesus was 100% God in the spirit having been given God’s Spirit at birth, he had to come in the complete form of man. Jesus had to prove to Himself who He was. Jesus had to make His mind conform to the truth of the word of God while at the same time withstanding all of the temptations as are common to mankind. Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. We are in the same battle today with Satan casting doubt in our minds regarding our salvation and who we are in the spirit. Jesus had to see Himself as natural man, but we must purpose to see ourselves as a renewed spiritual being. One way of understanding this is to see yourself as a spiritual mirror image of Jesus. He was born 100% God in the spirit and had to conform His natural mind to that understanding. We are born 100% in a sinful spirit, but at our conversion we now have 100% Christ spirit and must now conform our minds to that truth.
There is no way we can make this kind of change without the help of the Holy Spirit and there is no way a person can be filled with the Holy Spirit without first accepting Jesus in their heart. That belief and confession is your focal point of rebirth. (See Romans 10:8-10) I have heard it preached that Christians can fall from God’s grace and use Adam as the example. Adam was the first son of God and was without sin, but he fell prey to “doubting” who he was and fell from grace. The difference between a Christian and Adam is Adam had only his own righteousness to stand on and Christians have the blood of Jesus shed for all of our sins past, present, and future. We have to actually denounce our salvation in order to remove our place with God. If a Christian continues in a sinful condition or falls prey to his/her lust and walks away from such a precious gift than I have to question if there conversion was true in the first place. If a person truly understands the grace bestowed on them from God by the blood of Jesus and if they truly understand that they are no longer a slave to sin then their walk will reflect their understanding. Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” God takes away our stony heart and gives us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19), but the only way to purge the sinful nature in our heart is to renew our minds daily to line up with the word of God (Romans 12:2).
God is the one working in us if we allow Him, and this enables us to do His will and this is to His good pleasure. Let this resonate deep in your spirit; it is God’s good pleasure to help you do His will. He is not wanting us to try to do it on our own and then bring it to Him as some kind of self-accomplished prize.
Philippians 2:13 13 “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
In my bible study of Ephesians I covered Ephesians 2:8-9 in great depth, but I need to bring a portion of it back to stand with verse 13. Ephesians 2:8-9, 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. We have been given grace and we have been given the faith to receive the grace. God wants and disserves all of the glory and if any work needed to be done, than some of that glory could be kept to ourselves for doing the right thing. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). In Ephesians 1:3 Paul tells us that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. “Every” means “all”, but heavenly places does not mean here on earth it means spiritual, and the spiritual has authority over the natural. What Paul is telling us is that in our spiritual realm we have all that we need, but just as Jesus had to conform His mind as a child to understand fully who He was. We have to train out minds to understand and pull out from our spirit man “all” of the spiritual blessings that have been given to us. This is what Paul is referring to in Philippians 11 when he says work out your own salvation. Everything we need is inside of us and we need to work it out, pull it out, and bring it out. Think of this like working out a math problem. You may not know the immediate answer, but given a calculator, or pencil and paper, and you can then “work out the problem”. That means the answer has already been put inside of you through the teacher teaching the math and all you need to do is work it out when you need it. Philippians 2:13 gives us the final answer, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Since God has put in us everything we need to His good pleasure, all we need to do is pull it out into our natural life while still here on earth. God has given us divine empowerment to live the life He wants us to live. It is no longer our own strength, but His that will bring out everything that He has put into us. Can you see this; by the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has made it possible for anyone to become born again. At the time of our new birth God is the one that give us our new heart and the Sons spirit, and God is the one that gave us everything we need to live and have a relationship with Him while here on earth. It is God that gives us the power through His Holy Spirit to pull it all together. So what is our true job? Be a willing vessel. .
As Christians we are called to go through this life without complaining, disputing, blameless, and harmless while living in a perverse generation. This is impossible without the Holy Spirit leading in our lives.
Philippians 2:14-15 “14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
Our human nature seems to be one of natural murmuring. We are more likely to expect something to go wrong than to expect a blessing. We read in Exodus that the children of Israel complained against Moses and ultimately against God that they didn’t have water or food. Even though they had witnessed the Hand of God deliver them out of 400 plus years of hard slavery. They watched God cover the Pharaohs army with the Red Sea for their protection, saw how God turned bitter water into sweet, brought water from a rock, had manna from heaven given to them every day for food, and yet they were always complaining at having to take the next step or fearful at not having enough. At one point they stated that they would have rather died back under the hand of Pharaoh next to the meat pots than to be brought out to the Wilderness and be left to die with hunger, and yet they forgot that next to those meat pots is where they cried out to God for their deliverance from slavery. God’s desire is to bless all of His children, but as soon at the blessing does not come when or how we want it we began to expect the worse. We just read that it is God that works in us both the will and to do for His good pleasure. It pleases God to do for us and yet we complain at the next task asked of us. Paul is encouraging the Philippians and us to follow the lead of Jesus. We read just six verses earlier that Jesus willingly came to the cross for us, not kicking and screaming like the rest of us would have. Jesus was willing and His willingness is what paved the way for God’s blessing and exalting Him. Our willingness is the same thing that opens the door for God’s power in our lives as well.
This willingness goes beyond just following God’s spiritual leading and verses 14 & 15 are the proof. Verse 14 says to do ALL things without complaining, even when the teacher says to do the next task, or your boss says to do something not quite in the job description. Even if the pastor asks you to take out the trash bin if he sees it full just before church starts. Is your first thought, the church pays for a cleaning service why do I have to take it out? We need to be thinking along the lines of this does not look good for OUR church and be glad the pastor saw it and asked you to help him in presenting the best for God to the people coming to seek God. Everyone working for a company is looking for a raise or a bonus from that company and God can bless you through the company you work for providing you are not shooting yourself in the foot in front of your boss with a murmuring attitude. What about the driver on the road that appears to be angry and agitated at other drivers on the road and when they drive pass you they see a fish emblem on the back of the car telling the world, “see me I am a Christian”. How is your daily attitude of life in general? When someone greets you with the “how are you doing today” phrase, is your answer sometimes “not worth a hoot”?
We are called children of God and as children, like it or not, our actions represent God to the world. If we read that God’s will is to bless us and provide for us so that His light will shine through us, we need to provide a pleasant and willing vessel for Him to work with. God is not mocked and will not show His power strong in the life of a person that murmurs so that He will get negative attention.
Notice that Paul says “you shine as lights in the world”. God’s desire is for your light to shine and He will add His power to your life providing you give Him a willing vessel to work through.
Paul’s Apostleship was not appointed by or through man, but was appointed and empowered by God. In fact none of the Disciples were accomplished theologians who had proven themselves to man, but were everyday men called and empowered by Jesus to fulfill their call. This is a huge concept the church is missing today. In today’s society of display of diplomas and self-accomplishments, we tend to hold on to “the paper” as our empowerment to do what we are called to do. However, by holding on to man’s approval as our worth and ability we are helpless in accomplishing anything in the spirit realm because we hold up man’s approval higher then God’s empowerment. Today Paul would not have been recognized as a great teacher of the word because he did not have a PhD from a school of theology, and yet he wrote most of the New Testament.
Colossians 1:1-2 “1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”
In verse one Paul acknowledges his apostleship is by the will of God and not by the appointment of man. In short Paul is stating that his apostleship was not a result of his graduation from a Jewish seminary and the diploma given to him by man. It is important to understand that none of the Disciples of Jesus who later became Apostles followed Jesus on their own desire or in the accepted way of the Jewish Pharisee, they were chosen by Jesus because of their heart and from the common Jew not a religious Levi. This in itself is contrary to the development of the typical Disciple back in the Jewish culture. Prior to and during the days of Jesus, all male children born into the house of Israel were educated with the books of Moses. All Jewish men had an understanding of the Law of Moses, but only the descendants of the tribe of Levi were given the opportunity to attempt to move into the position of a disciple of a Rabbi. A Rabbi is the same as a religion professor in today’s standards. If a young man began to show a level of acceleration in his elementary education, and if his parents could afford to allow him to continue to go further with his education instead of work with the family his journey began into the priesthood. After additional years of education under the Pharisees in the city a young boy would approach one of the Rabbis’ who he wanted to emulate and ask to be one of his followers. Only the best students could follow one of the leaders of the Pharisees. Only then after an undetermined period of scrutiny from the Rabbi, if the young man proved to be an acceptable student then he was given the title of Disciple.
When Jesus began His ministry He did something contrary to the “old school” way of developing disciples. Instead of waiting for a man to prove themselves to Him, He went out to a small fishing village to find men who had an elementary level of Jewish education in the Law of Moses. He did not choose men who were from the tribe of Levi nor were they striving to be Pharisees. Jesus, being fully God and filled with the Holy Spirit was able to see their hearts and chose these men out of the “common class” not from the religious sector. Disciples of Christ were chosen for their heart’s desire to walk in the knowledge they had, not because they wanted to become a man of importance like the Pharisee’s. These Disciples of Christ were given the titles of Apostle only after they were filled with the Holy Spirit. A true Apostle is a person that is sent out to spread the gospel and plant churches. Paul was clearly stating that he was chosen by God specifically to go into the Gentiles to preach the gospel whereas Jesus’ Disciples stayed with the Jewish people to spread the Gospel.
2 “To the saints and faithful brethren” Remember that according to the word of God all who believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior are considered to be saints which is actually short for sanctified. We are sanctified, or “set apart” from the rest of the world through faith in Jesus as our Lord. The use of the term “Saint” given to a man or woman for their service to the church was started by the Catholic Church three centuries after Jesus rose from the grave; biblically there is no such individual recognition. To be a child of God is the single highest honor anyone can have and all followers of Jesus are considered saints. Also notice Paul adds “and faithful” brethren in verse two. He is not proclaiming two types of people, but rather giving qualification to the term “saints”. Just attending a church does not make you “sanctified” in the eyes of God. It takes faithfulness in the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the word of God and belief and confession of Him as your Lord and Savior. Your belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior is what makes you a saint – sanctified unto God.
2: Grace and peace from God, unfortunately is not a part of every believer’s life. Even though they are gifts from God and Jesus, and it’s their desire that all of God’s children walk in grace and peace; most Christians fall short of where they could be. Grace and peace are directly proportional to the amount of knowledge and understanding a Christian has of “the gospel” of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. Notice I said knowledge “and” understanding. Just being a bible scholar will not bring you the peace of God that He desires us to walk in, even if you understand they are gifts from God given to His children. Grace and peace are much like faith in that unless it comes from within your heart fueled by your understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will leave you short in times of pressure. Studying the word of God is not a point system and will not bring you any closer to Him by doing so. You cannot get any closer to God than Him living in you, but you can increase your knowledge and understanding thereby heightening your awareness of His presence already in your life.
Thanksgiving is an integral part of worship! Without thanksgiving in our praise and worship it is nothing more than just a collection of songs and worship leaders would be nothing more than just entertainers. It is also the spiritual empowerment to pray and move obstacles in our own lives and the lives of loved ones.
Colossians 1:3, “3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;”
With the exception of Galatians and Titus, the remaining letters from Paul begin with thanksgiving. In the early church thanksgiving was an integral part of worship. In fact without true thankfulness and understanding of what God has done for us, “praise and worship” is no different than singing along with the songs you know at a live concert. I am not down grading Praise and Worship, but pointing out that there is so much more to worship than just the time of action itself. Worship is actually being thankful to God for His grace and peace and should be a daily state of being, not a specified time period on Sundays. When Jesus spoke to the woman of Samaria at the well in John 4:23-24 about worship in “spirit” and truth, He was stating that there is no longer a specific time or place to physically go in order to worship God. Philippians 3:3 confirms that our worship is in “spirit” and truth. There is not any work or effort involved in the acquisition of grace and peace, but rather the full understanding of what Jesus did on the cross and staying mindful of it. That understanding brings you into the thanksgiving state of mind. Read Philippians 4:8 for the how to stir up thankfulness.
4 “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus” tells us the Colossians were not personal converts of Paul and in verse 7 we read that Epaphras was the one who converted this Pagan people to Christ. Bible scholars believe that Epaphras was possibly a convert of Paul’s from Ephesus who traveled to Colosse and was from the church in Philemon’s home as mentioned in Philemon verse 2. The weight of this speculation does not add nor take away from the truth that Paul heard of the faith of Colosse. We know from Galatians 5:6 that faith works by love. If you do not have genuine love you cannot move in genuine faith. 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us that now abide faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love. Faith is past tense- it is the wavering belief in what has happened through Christ Jesus. Hope is that your faith will carry through into your future, but love takes your faith and brings it into the very present time and prepares you for the future. Without love you cannot walk in faith in the present; at best you can only walk in hope by claiming what has happened in the past. Paul was not a frivolous man and would have never made the statement of hearing of their faith without first recognizing proof. Their acts of love coupled by their words of faith would have been the proof needed by Paul to make this statement. What kind of statement could Paul make about many Christians today? Paul clarifies his observation of their faith by mentioning their love for the saints in the same thoughtful expression. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians chapter 1&2 as well in Philippians 1 that we are to have the same mind as Christ. To have the mind of Christ is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. See John 13:34.
Paul uses verse 5 to justify why the Colossians and true believers today, have faith witnessed through their actions of love. It is the faith of true reconciliation between God and man which was established for man in heaven that creates in believers the faith needed to live in this world. Since faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), it can only be the preached gospel received by someone that their faith is hung on. Still today it is the preached “gospel” that delivers people out of bondage into faith. The preached “gospel of Jesus Christ” will break the bondage of legalism and paganism and is the one thing that will bring forth fruit in believers as spoken of by Paul in verse 4. Paul finishes out his foundational opening in verse 6 as he sums up that it is only the preached “gospel of Christ Jesus”, that when heard and received will bring forth fruit in a believers life of an outpouring of selfless love. The “gospel of Jesus Christ” is the word of God, but not all of God’s word is the “gospel of Jesus Christ”. The Law of Moses is not the “gospel of Jesus Christ” it can only point someone toward the “gospel of Jesus Christ”. Preaching a mixture of Old Testament Law and ways of living, along with the New Testament “gospel of Jesus Christ” is not preaching the gospel. The Old Testament should be used to point people toward just how wonderful and complete the “gospel of Jesus Christ” truly is.
Have people heard of your faith and love for the body of Christ? Faith in Jesus and the love of God is the foundation, the first fruits of our “born again” conversion. Only upon faith and love can God add the increase of wisdom and knowledge of His will.
Colossians 1:9-11 “9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for a patience and longsuffering with joy;”
Notice that when Paul had heard of their faith and love from Epaphras he prayed for them to increase in knowledge and wisdom which are the first two gifts of the Spirit as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. Note that he is praying for them after they have received Jesus as their Lord and savior. Paul, more than anyone understands the spiritual battle the devil puts in front of believers, but his prayer for knowledge and wisdom is not so they can hold on to their salvation; it is so they can flourish in it. James 4:8 which states to draw near to God and He will draw near to you is often misunderstood as though we are not close enough to God, but that is far from the truth. A person in Christ cannot get any closer to God than Him living inside of you, but through Godly wisdom and understanding the relationship and oneness with God can increase. If you read verses 1-7 in James 4 you realize he is speaking to believers who have begun to act and think carnal. Paul warns us of this in Romans 8:5-6 in that if we stay in carnal thinking we are not in the Spirit. The carnal mind is enmity to God, and Paul is aware that if Christians stay in the “works” mindset of overcoming where they are staying conscience of the sin in their life in effort to overcome it, they will fail. (Romans 7:11-25) Man cannot accomplish anything righteous in his natural flesh. In verse 9 of Colossians Chapter 1, Paul is telling the Colossians how to maintain in the fullness of God. We can never get any closer to God than to have Him live in us, which He does for those who accept Jesus as their Lord and savior. We can, however, miss out on the grace and peace of God by not having the knowledge and wisdom from God. In Galatians 4:1 Paul tells us that a child, even though an heir, is no different than a slave being told what to do and where to go. Paul is praying for and encouraging the Colossians and us to grow up in Christ and learn more of the word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth which is Godly wisdom and spiritual understanding. I tell people often, you can pray all night, and sing praises all day, but if you don’t give the Holy Spirit something to work with while He is teaching you, (the Word of God) than He is severely limited at what He can do and teach.
In the first chapter of Colossians it is clear that God wants the lives of the Colossians and ultimately Christians to be full and fruitful in every good work. Nowhere does the word of God suggest His children are to be beggarly, or live in substandard conditions. On the contrary God wants His children to be “light” in this world pointing toward Him and leading others into the same knowledge. To have a walk worthy of the Lord, in verse 10, is not saying we have to live a perfect and sinless life; we can never do that. A life worthy of the Lord is to trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross and through His resurrection. A walk worthy of Jesus is to live in His grace and abundance. I am not going into prosperity preaching, but God does want us to be blessed while here on earth both naturally and spiritually. To live in peace with God is great gain and many Christians today fall short in obtaining that level of confidence in Him.
The “strengthened” Paul is referring to in verse 11 is not a onetime thing, but rather a continuous way of life. The word “strengthened” is a present participle signifying continuous action and not a onetime event. The “might” Paul is speaking of is the power of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:8, “but you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you”. Paul is telling Christians that when we increase in knowledge of God the Holy Spirit will bring forth wisdom and He will do so in His strength and power. This battle on earth is no longer ours alone and we are not to strive to please Him in an effort to gain His love for us. This battle on earth is already won and the battle is in our mind’s to understand that victory and learn how to live and walk in it, not based on our own strength and understanding.
Paul is not telling Christians to prepare themselves to suffer here on earth when he is referencing patience and longsuffering in verse 11. The Greek word for longsuffering, MAKROTHYMIA means the capacity for self-control despite the circumstances in life that may arouse passions or agitation. Paul is telling us that as we increase in knowledge and wisdom of God that He will strengthen us with His glorious power and might to stand with patience grace and not white knuckles in the presence of any adverse situation be it internal or external, confrontational or in passion. This strengthening Paul is praying for will actually give us the ability to stay joyful, knowing God’s power and grace will get us through any situation, long before we can see the final victory. Strength and might in Christ Jesus, is knowing that God calls you son or daughter regardless of what is going on in your life at the present time. Notice that the strengthening and might does not come before the knowledge and wisdom.
God is the one who has qualified us to be His children and as His children we are partakers of the inheritance. If God is the one who qualifies, why do we put so much emphasis on our personal actions as a means for righteousness? You are righteous by His blood only.
Colossians 1:12 “12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
We should give thanks for “what” God has done. In verse 12 we see the word “has” which means something spoken of today is actually from the past. John 1:12 tells us that as many as received Jesus, to them He gave the right to become Children of God. Giving thanks to God should be the very first thing we do when we approach Him, because His word is so clear. He has made it possible to become His Children and as a Father His desire for us is blessings. One of the greatest fears the Devil uses on people to prevent them from coming to Jesus is fear of losing any of their freedoms, or having to give up friends or family. Verse 12 tells us we have an inheritance with the saints. An inheritance is “an allotted portion”, a pre-determined amount to receive or to inherit. Look at Matthew 19:29 to see what your inheritance is according to God. “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”
For starters this verse is not a command from Jesus that we “must” leave our house or family to follow Him. Remember that in Jesus’ day according to the Jewish religion, anyone not a Jew was considered a “Dog” and to agree with any other religion over the Law of Moses and the Pharisee’s would cause that believer to be removed from their home and their friends and their family would consider them as dead. This would be a huge loss in a new believers life and yet read what Jesus says He will make happen for you, “shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” that’s awesome. Today and especially in the US culture there is a freedom to worship as you choose and most people do not have to risk losing their families, although the most important thing to remember is that to follow Jesus and believe in Him is to put God first in your life. Do not let another person stand between you and God. Last thought – remember that it is God who has qualified us through the blood of His son Jesus. That means if you believe you can add anything through your efforts to aid in becoming a child of God, or to maintain your status as child of God, what you are actually saying is that God’s will and the blood of Jesus is not good enough for you. To add your blood (efforts) to His shed blood for your redemption is actually to taint His perfect blood which was shed for your life.
You have been “conveyed” from the power of darkness into God’s kingdom which means you have been transported by the power of God which has nothing to do with your efforts.
Colossians 1:13-14 “13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
This is awesome! Can you see how powerful the word conveyed is in this statement? When something is placed on a conveyer belt it is “automatically” moved in the correct direction and that object does not have to do anything to help that movement. We no longer need to live a life in strife to gain Godliness. We no longer need to live in the sin that so easily ensnares us. We no longer need to live a life absent from the presence of God. We no longer need to live in spiritual lack because of what God did for us through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus. Everything in verse 13 has already happened and we are no longer fighting to get away from this darkness and no longer working to get into the kingdom of God. We have been conveyed! In Ephesians 2:6 we are told that God rich in His love and mercy for us, even while dead in trespasses made us alive together in Christ and that we are now with Him in heavenly places. Our spirit is brand new in Christ Jesus. We have a new spirit; we do not have an old condemned spirit and a new spirit both in us battling for ownership. We are “born again”, spiritually renewed into His likeness. In the KJV the word “translated” was used where in the NKJV they used “conveyed”. The Greek word for “translated” is METHISTEMI—which means to be removed from one place to another. Christians are spiritually removed from darkness into God’s kingdom of light by their faith in Jesus.
The other pivotal concept in verse 13 is “power of darkness”. God has delivered or “conveyed’ us from the “power of darkness”. We may stumble in darkness, but the power of darkness no longer can keep us from the light of being in His presence.
We have been redeemed by His blood. Believers in Christ Jesus and the blood He shed for our sins, should no longer strive to prove ourselves worthy, that is still working salvation out in the Law of Moses. A believer caught up in the life of strife for his/her own salvation through legalisms is actually saying that the blood of Jesus shed for their sins was not enough. It is natural thinking to have to earn something that is why our walk is one of faith. We have to believe the word in that God made us pure and acceptable to Himself through the blood of His Son. The Greek word for redemption means to “buy back or set free for a price”. When a person of wealth is kidnapped the first thing the authorities look for is the ransom price demanded by the kidnappers. To God we are people of great importance. He created mankind and Satan took mankind captive through deception in the Garden of Eden. One man cannot over power the armed guards in a bank to rob it, however, if the robber can get their hands on one person and threaten the rest with watching the one captured person be killed, then the robber can control the armed guards. This is no different than the battle between Satan and God. Satan is a created angel and in no way could stand up to God by himself, but in taking Adam captive through his deceit he removed man from the presence of God; the very thing God loved the most, His child. Because God gave man “Adam” authority over everything on earth, God could not go against His word and forcibly take back what was His. He sent His Son at the appropriate time to pay our ransom. That is why Paul in 1 Corinthians 6 and Peter in 2 Peter 2 tells us we were bought with a price. We have been redeemed by God with the blood of Jesus. If God was willing to pay such a price, why do Christians have this fear that God is looking for them to sin so He can zap us or condemn us? Psalms 103:12 prophesied this of God, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us”. What an awesome understanding. It is not what we can do, but what He has already done. God provided our salvation freely.
Without question Jesus was the human image of our invisible God. He was never just a man, but in fact He was 100% God in a 100% man’s suit while He walked here on earth. Without the full understanding of how powerful this truth is one can never fully rest in what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
Colossians 1:15-17 “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
These verses deeply explain John 1:1-3, & 14. Surprisingly I have heard a pastor make a statement with very weak proof, that Jesus was not God having come in the flesh, but was only a man just like us, but without the sinful spirit from Adam. He attempted to align Jesus’ authority as a part of the Godhead by associating His baptism in the Holy Spirit as the beginning point of His deity. This pastor’s main point was that because Jesus lived a sinless life and did not have any power until He received the Holy Spirit; and since He is our first born brother that Christians could live sinless lives also if they are filled with the same Holy Spirit. This pastor tried to use verse 15 as his only real verse of proof that Jesus was not 100% fully God and 100% fully man. That church went into spiritual wreck at that point. This may be a long devotional, but I will use the word of God to settle a point that Jesus is 100% fully God and 100% fully man and it begins with Paul’s statement “He is the image”. If Christians can fully settle this truth deep in their heart it will change their lives and set them free from a walk of works, doubt, and legalism.
From the beginning of recorded biblical history man has wanted to see God in person. Our natural minds have difficulty enough imagining a being so great that He could be responsible for creating the earth much less the multiple universes that our scientists today are continuing to discover. Moses asked God if he could see His face when upon Mt. Zion and in Exodus 33:20 God told him that no man could see His face and live. Our human minds cannot understand the brightness and glory that will shine forth from such an awesome perfect being. John the revelator in Revelations 21:23 give us a mental glimpse of God’s glory and light, “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light”. The reference here is to the New Jerusalem, and new heaven and earth prepared for the saints to live in. God knows His glory is too much for fallen man to observe in the natural. We read on in Exodus Chapters 33 and 34 that God let Moses see His back and the glory of God was so bright that it illuminated the face of Moses so that the children of Israel could not look upon Moses’ face. None the less man has never stopped wanting to see the face of God most likely because they do not walk in faith. Even Philip, one of the twelve apostles, after having walked in the presence of Jesus and seeing the glorious works of God in person, asked to see God for proof of who Jesus was, (John 14:8-9). We do not know why God waited so long, from the fall of Adam until the birth of His Son Jesus, to regain the stolen relationship He had with man. To God it was not a long time, 2 Peter 3:8 tells us that to God a thousand years is just a day. It is important to understand that when God did make His move, so to speak, for our redemption that He gave our limited minds something to look at to help build our faith. In verse 15 Paul is not limiting Jesus to just a man, but actually indicating His status as preeminence or first born over all creation. The next two verses are proof that Jesus was not just a man, but actually add proof to His being 100% God and 100% man.
I want to bring up another important point here because of the sometimes miss conception of Jesus just being a man or just another one of the “great” prophets, when in fact according to several verses throughout the bible He is proven to be both 100% God and 100% man. To clarify, Jesus did not look like God, but was in the image and stature, of man. It was Jesus’ spirit and actions here on earth that we see God in Him. When we see God we will see His beauty, but Jesus was not even a handsome man according to Isaiah 53:2. We see God in Jesus. For starters verse 16 “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth” is a direct correlation to John 1:3 “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” In Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, lets Us make man in Our image”, is a solid indication that God was not alone, but who was with Him? Looking back into John 1:1 gives us the answer as to who the “Us” was, mentioned in Genesis 1:26, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In Genesis Chapter 1, eight verses start out with “Then God said,” and we read that without anything other than His spoken “word”, everything on earth, above earth, and including earth itself was created from nothing through His spoken “word”. The Word was with God is a very important statement and is established as being Jesus in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father”. We know from Matthew Chapter 1 that the Virgin Mary was the mother of Jesus “the man”, but in Luke 1:26-38 we read the details of the event and find out in verse 38 that this happened when Mary agreed with the spoken “word” of God. Can you see that although Jesus was born into this world, not created like Adam, as a baby man; He was in fact the Spirit of God inside of the baby? None of these verses indicate that God left heaven unattended and came down to earth and lived as a simple man until He was 33. This is man’s created doubt in the deity of Jesus because we cannot naturally grasp in our minds how He could be in two places at the same time. God is Omni present. This takes faith, but not as much as people think. Just look around you and see everything that is made and you can since the presence of God. He did not leave the other side of the world just to be in the presence with you. God is everywhere!
Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is the expressed image of God’s person, a physical image of the attributes of God which cannot be seen with natural eyes. True Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was for our sins and made it possible to come into the presence of God, but there is more. Besides living a sinless life, not being born with the spirit of fallen mankind, but rather the Spirit of God, His life here on earth is our physical proof that God exists and is in control of everything spiritual. God knew our doubting minds and gave us living walking proof that He exists. Jesus was not just a man, He is 100% fully God and 100% fully man! If you don’t grasp this concept, you will never fully understand what He actually did for us and will continue to “work” for acceptance from God instead of believe. The Devil will keep you worn out with trying to overcome one thing after another and living in doubt of your salvation. You can recognize whether you have come to this understanding fully by whether you have peace in your life. I am not saying that nothing will go wrong in your life, but your life does not control your thinking or actions your faith does. You will have complete trust in who you are as a Child of God, what God has done for you, and the power as a child of God you have over circumstances while here on earth. Because Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh and the Son Spirit lives in all believers, our spoken word has the same power as if spoken by God. Christians in general don’t understand this power or they wouldn’t say the things they say and would speak more of God’s will into their lives. Jesus is our hope and glory. Jesus is both God and the Firstborn Man of God. The greatest difficulty man has with understanding these truths, is man’s personal fear of letting go and trusting full in Jesus’ perfect work on the cross and believing His promises are true for us.
To understand Jesus’ true position as head of the body, the church, the firstborn from the dead we must first understand the difference between being raised from the dead and the resurrection.
Colossians 1:18 “18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”
Jesus is supreme over everything made and everyone born. There must be an understanding between being raised from the dead and being resurrected from the dead as Jesus was. In the Old Testament we can read where Elijah (1 Kings 17:22) and Elisha (2 Kings 4:35) both raised someone from the dead. In 2 Kings 13:21 when a dead man was tossed onto the bones of Elisha the dead man came back to life. Jesus Himself raised three people from the dead, a girl in Matthew 9:25, a boy in Luke 7:15, and Lazarus in John 11:44. The difference between these people being raised from the dead and Jesus’ resurrection is that all of the others have died a second natural death. Jesus only had one natural death, but was resurrected into a new spiritual being that would never die again. 1 Corinthians 15:44 tells us that there is first a natural body, then a spiritual body. The spiritual body spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:44 is for every person that dies, but for those who do not believe in Jesus and confess Him as their personal Lord and Savior, there will be a second death as spoken of in Revelations 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, & 21:8. Humans are both a natural being and a spiritual being as seen in Jesus. The major difference is that without Jesus our spirit man will die as well, thereby leaving our spirit absence from the presence of God. In Romans 6:9 we read that death has no dominion over Jesus which is very important to understand. What does all of this mean? Jesus is the beginning of an entirely “new species” of beings; spiritual beings that will never die and will forever live in the presence of God. True our natural body will die, but when you grasp the fact that everyone born of natural birth is in fact a spiritual being housed in “an earth suit” for a specified time, you can see that Jesus truly is the Firstborn of many. Those of us who are “born again” as spoken of by Jesus in John 3:3, 3:7, and by Peter in 1 Peter 1:23, are given a new spirit, the Sons Spirit crying out Abba Father (Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:6).
Jesus is the head of the church which is also described as a family, a vineyard, a kingdom, a building, a flock, and a bride. The church being the body of Christ as described in 1 Corinthians 12:27 and Ephesians 4:12 is made up of this “new species” of beings that will never die. The only way of being transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18) into this “new species” is through our belief in Jesus as being the Son of God, as having lived, died, and resurrected, and through our public confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior over our lives, (Romans 10:8-10, & Matthew 10:32 & Luke 12:8). You cannot be “christened” as a baby or prayed into heaven after you have died to become a child of God, you must be “born again” through the confession of your mouth and the baptism of water. This is the single most important principle that separates the Catholic from the Evangelical believer. Without first belief followed by confession, you cannot enter the kingdom of God, the body of Christ!
Salvation is simple; man with his carnal and debased mind is the one who complicates things.
Ephesians 1:7-8 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
Salvation is just that simple, and it is only by the grace of God.
There is nothing you can do to earn salvation since it is a gift. (Ephesians 2:8&9) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. If there was something we had to do to earn salvation, then salvation would actually be a wage and not a free gift. It truly is the perfect work on the cross and the shed blood of Jesus that provides for our adoption as children of God. You go to work and if you do your job well, your boss hands you a check, you have earned it. You still need to thank him or her since they allow you to keep your job, but the money handed to you is a result of your efforts, your works. Salvation in Christ Jesus is not the same as a job, and yet I have heard it preached “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” This is a verse in the bible and if left by itself appears to be a command for action toward salvation. The problem is, any verse in the bible can and sometimes is taken out of context and turned into another form of man’s doctrines. I am not saying the preacher is bad that preaches a work related salvation, we all are broken clay vessels and capable of missing the point. This is especially true if we fail to verify the word we read, by other text in the bible. Some may ask, what about all of the sacrifices, tasks, and works that had to be done in the Old Testament? True there are several verses in the Old Testament that tell of works that had to be done to please God and the consequences of not doing them were drastic and even resulted in death. We forget about the cross; the only bridge between the Old and New covenant.
Long before the Law of Moses came to the children of Israel, God found a man by the name of Abram to be a man of faith. Genesis 15:6 “And he (Abram) believed in the Lord, and He (God) accounted it to him for righteousness.” Belief, or faith in another term, is what God is looking for in us. (Hebrews 11:6) “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” In James 2:18, 20, & 26, faith and works are put together and James is clear that if you say you have faith then you should have works that follow as fruit of your faith. Faith is an action word and we are all called to live a life worthy of our call. Romans 2:4, tells us that it is the goodness of God that draws people to repentance. Therefore our religious work does not make us righteous before God, but should be a fruit of our love for Him and what He did for us. How else can people see the goodness of God except through His children, Christians in their daily life? God is in the business of restoration and restoration comes through Jesus and is best shown through His people. If we tell people we have faith then our walk should be one with power and purity that can only come from walking according to the word. This has nothing to do with our actual salvation. If you truly believe that Jesus was and is the son of God, that He died on the cross for your salvation, that He rose again and now sits at the right hand of God as the word tells us, and if you confess that Jesus is your Lord and Savior with your mouth, then you are saved. You cannot live a good enough life to please God; end of story, Romans 10:8-11. If you continue to live a life of sin and act unworthy of the grace given to you by God, than you are at risk of being out of His protection even though you are His child, Galatians 4:6. You will still go to heaven as long as you believe and confess, but you will most likely get there sooner then you want if you’re still living a sinful life. It’s your actions that are keeping you out from under the protection of God. God still loves you just like a parent loves their child even when the child had done something wrong and needs discipline. (Romans 8:38 & 39) Your actions will always speak louder than your words. Corinthians 3:13-15 clearly tells us that what we do will be judged in the Day of Judgment. All actions according to the word of God receives a reward, and if anyone has taught or done anything contrary to the word of God, he will suffer loss for his actions, but he himself will be saved as though through fire. John 3:16 is very clear and supports Ephesians 1:7, our forgiven sins only come through the blood of Jesus and are a free gift according to the grace and love of God. You cannot earn it so quit wearing yourself out trying to get what you already have. And stop working to pay for the free gift that has already been given to you.
The mystery of God’s will is really not a mystery, it’s just hidden from the carnal mind. There is a reason Jesus told us in John 14, 15, & 16, that He will send us the Helper which is the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit our carnal minds will always gravitate into the Law thinking instead of living in the power of His grace.
Ephesians 1:9-10 9,”having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.”
The mystery of God’s will is that His plan from the beginning was that all mankind have the opportunity to come to Him, not just His chosen people, the Jews. Don’t forget that the Law of Moses did not come to the Jewish people until nearly five hundred years after the time God promised Abraham that through his seed all the nations would be blessed. The just cessation of the fullness of times simply means that our salvation through Christ came at the correct time God chose to come. All people can be traced back to the beginning of Adam and Eve, but in God’s wisdom He chose one people to bring the messiah through. God chose the children of Israel according to His promise to Abraham. This was done so that at least these people would be looking toward God. The entire Law of Moses and all of the prophets of old were for a single purpose; to keep the children of Israel looking toward what we have today. Today we have the opportunity of walking in the fullness of God and a personal relationship with Him.
We know by reading 1 Thessalonians 4 & 1 Corinthians 14, that at Jesus’ second coming both the dead and those still alive who believe in Him will be brought together up to heaven. Many people reading verse 10 will think this is the only meaning of this verse; God bringing all people before Him on the Judgment Seat. True we all will be brought together as one in Christ at the sounding of the last trumpet, both those alive and those who have died while in Christ. There is a deeper truth to this verse that is equally as important to all who are alive and not born Jewish, as well as, to the Jewish Christians. God chose Abram, who is the father of both Isaac, the children of Israel (the Jews), and the children of Ishmael. According to Genesis 21:12, the blessings of God will come through Isaac, to all the nations of the world. Until the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Jewish people were the only ones chosen to receive God’s blessings. All of the promises of God were delivered to the children of Israel through Moses. Jesus’ resurrection brought all who believe, both Jews and Greek into the kingdom of God as His children. The dispensation of the fullness of time for God to bring together in one all things in Christ started 2000 years ago at the resurrection of Jesus. Christians have the God given right to receive all of the promises and blessings given to the children of Israel, today, because Jesus has fulfilled all of the requirements of God and made all of us “one” people in Him. In this truth is the mystery of His will, God’s desire for us to have a pure relationship with Him.
So you just found out that you have a very large inheritance waiting for you to claim it, but you are just too busy at work trying to hack out a living to take the time go claim it. In fact you have not even taken the time to read through the papers to see everything the inheritance entails. Sounds like a sad story doesn’t it? Replace the “you” with an “I” and re-read it. As Christians we have an inheritance, and most are so busy working to try to receive a little spiritual pat on the head they miss the full blessings from their Father. Either “Amen” or “oh my”.
Ephesians 1:11-12, 11 “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”
An inheritance; think about this for a moment. When my father passed away I was twenty three and everything that he had in his name was willed over to my mother. When she passed away ten years later, everything she had including that which had been willed to her from my father became mine. Our laws declared this and as long as there was a Will and Testament stating this, no one had any right to my inheritance. Interesting point is that there also must be a testator named in the will to oversee the implementation of the will at the death of the person. If for some reason the testator was no longer alive the court would need to appoint one. The bible is the Will of God giving all that He has to Jesus and those in Christ Jesus are joint heirs, Romans 8:17. We know from the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, that the father gave the son his portion when he was asked even though the father was still alive. In Jewish law, the son is entitled to his portion even while the father lives. This story is a word picture for us to understand just how accessible our inheritance is. The father in this story represents God and the prodigal son represents us. Jesus is at the right hand of God and we are there with Him in spirit, and the Bible tells us that heaven is one of our inheritances. But God wants us blessed while living here on earth. We all have this inheritance and even like the prodigal son that took his inheritance and blew it, once we come to our senses, God will always accept us and restore to us our inheritance. There are several versus in the Old Testament where God profess Himself to be a God of abundant restoration. Proverbs 6:31 tells us that the thief, when found, must restore seven fold, even if he has to give up all the substance in his house. Both Exodus 22 and Leviticus 6 confirm this statement of restoration from the thief. Jesus, in His own words tells us in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
God’s desire is for His children to have life abundantly, not just hanging on till our day of resurrection. God has made the way for His children to return to Him, pure and holy through the blood of Jesus. Those of us who believe and confess Him can return to Him. Interesting point in the prodigal son story, the son did not first try to restore his life before he returned to his father’s house. He only realized his sins and decided to go back to his father and seek help. In this story, it is the father that restores the son and cleans him up. In today’s religious dogma often taught either openly or in secret, people who either have turned to Christ or want to return to Him are almost required to clean themselves up first in order to be accepted. I cannot count the number of times I have heard someone make these statements, “I just didn’t seem to fit in to that church, because the lifestyle I am trying to come out of was just too different for them to feel comfortable around me.” Another statement I have heard from members inside a church is, “I can’t believe that person dresses like they do to come to church, don’t they know better”, or “when are they going to change their ways, don’t they know better.” I could go on, but the point I want to make is that it is God who restores people and not the person themselves. He does so through His people and the church as a whole is supposed to be His hands to touch this world. God is the Master of restoration and He will restore a person who comes to Him, in the counsel of His will as it states in Ephesians 11.
Another very important point is that with a Will and Testament, there must be a living Testator to implement the Will. We have a never-ending, forever-powerful Testator looking out for our best. Jesus, the Son of God, who sits at the right hand of God, is our Testator. He is forever making intersession for His children, His joint heirs. The most important thing to remember is this is all God’s will and plan. He is the one who wants to restore people to Himself. He wants to have fellowship with us.
Those who trust first in Christ will be to the praise of His glory. It is our lives, walked out in front of the world, allowing God to be our source, which will speak loudest to the world. If we will simply trust Him and allow Him to work with and through us, then He will cause us to prosper both spiritually and in the natural. Think about this, if God is a God of restoration which the Bible proves He is, why do people think He is always out to punish us? People who think this way have not understood the true will of God. He loves us and wants more than anything to restore people to their rightful position as His children; blessed beyond measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will He bless us. (Luke 6:38)
There is so much more to this life as a Christian than just being saved. True salvation is the most important part. A person that accepts Jesus as their Lord & Savior but does not go on to become filled with the Holy Spirit is like you needing to get from the East coast to the West coast on foot because you do not have any access to a vehicle. With a lot of effort you will get there, but the obstacles and distance to travel will wear you out and the journey will be very tough. You can start walking if you want to, but I’ll take an airplane. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life.
Ephesians 1:13, 13 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
Many people reading over this verse may have missed the depth it truly has. We need to look back in the book of Acts Chapter 19 to get a better understanding of why Paul is reminding the Ephesians of their trust in Jesus after they heard the truth and became filled with the Holy Spirit.
Some of the Ephesians were obviously seekers wanting to know the truth and grow in their understanding of God and living a Godly life. A man by the name Apollos had gone to them and preached the baptism of John into repentance. At that time Apollos’ teaching was not full with the awareness of the death and resurrection of Jesus. His understanding of the scriptures was limited to the Old Testament, but not aware of what Jesus’ death and resurrection had accomplished. He was made aware afterwards, through the help of Aquila and Priscilla. They had taken him aside and lead him into the truth of Jesus and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and we have evidence of this in the last few verses of Acts Chapter 18. While Apollos had gone on to Corinth, Paul later came to Ephesus and found these same Ephesians who had been taught of the Baptism of John by Apollos. When Paul realized that they had not heard the Gospel of Christ, but had only accepted the repentance of sin, he shared the fullness of Christ to them and they were baptized in the name of the Lord.
This same misunderstanding happens today when seekers learn a partial truth of the word of God, but not the full truth. God wants us to move past repentance into a true relationship with Him. We must consistently keep learning and as the Ephesians did. We too can gain a deeper understanding of our walk as we learn. Consistently learning the truth is actually a must; what would have happened if some of these Ephesians would have died before knowing the true Gospel of Christ? As I mention often, the day will come that each of us will stand before the Lord in final Judgment. I personally do not want to be held accountable to Jesus on just what someone else has taught me; I want to know all of the truth for myself. I must stand on my own before Jesus, knowing that the excuse, “I didn’t take the time to learn the truth”, will not be accepted. Paul is stirring up their remembrance of how when they heard the truth it changed their lives for the better.
It is very important to notice that Paul makes the statement, “having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”. Paul knows and consistently preached that just being Born Again in Jesus was only the first step. It is the most important step to take, but there is more to the promise of God. He wants to reveal His love and will for us through His Holy Spirit. John 14 tells us that it is the Holy Spirit that will teach us all things in Christ Jesus. Jesus tells us in Luke 24 & Acts 1 that the Holy Spirit will endued us with power. This power is the power of God to live the life He has chosen for us in Jesus.
There is much more to learn on the Holy Spirit and I encourage all Christians to open their hearts to understand who He is and His purpose for us while we are still here on earth. I have a CD teaching on Spirit, Soul, & Body that helps the listener understand the three parts of Man and how the Holy Spirit is an essential part of our growth here on earth. There is also a CD teaching on the Holy Spirit Himself to help the listener understand the possibly the least unknown person of the Godhead. Finally I have a five CD series on The Gifts of the Holy Spirit which is a deep study of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit as written by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 which can be found on our Seminars page.
Your salvation rests on your full belief of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross and that is all that is needed! The strength of your “full belief” however, rests on whether you are filled with the Holy Spirit or not? If you are not Spirit filled you will have doubt and feelings of condemnation and shortcomings because you are left understand this truth with just your carnal mind which is enmity to God, Romans 8:7.
If you are Spirit filled, and do not let Him do His job of teaching you who you are in Christ and the power of God’s grace in your everyday life then you are not much better off than a Non-Spirit filled Christian. Think of it like getting into a powerful car with a tank full of fuel to go where you need to be, but you do not know how to start the engine. If you are Spirit filled and are still having doubts and feelings of condemnation than maybe it is time to go to another mechanic (preacher), who understands your powerful engine better so they can help you get where God wants you to be.
Ephesians 1:14, “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
“Who” in this verse refers to the Holy Spirit and this verse is understood best when verse 13 is both read and understood as well. I often ask people, do you know for sure that you are saved? The typical answers are “I think so”, or “you never really know till you get to heaven”, and “I hope my good outweighs my bad when the time comes”. None of these statements have any truth in them. The truth is having believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior according to verses 13 and 14 your salvation is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.
The word is very clear, “no one can come to the Father, except through Jesus”, (John 14:6). (Matthew 10:13, Luke 12:9, & 1 John 2:23 confirm that Jesus is the only way to the father and also confirm that open confession of Jesus is a must for our salvation. John 3:16 tells us that we must first believe in Jesus and Romans 10: 8-10 confirms John 3:16, and gives us clear instructions on how easy it is to become saved. With salvation proved, the question still stands for the believer, “How do you know you are still saved”. 2 Corinthians 5:5 confirms Ephesians 1:4, and tells us, “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as guarantee”. It is God who made the way for our salvation through Jesus, and it is the Spirit of God who dwells in those who receive Him. We know in Luke 24 and Acts 1 that Jesus told the disciples that He would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit to endue them with power. This power is for the purpose of helping us maintain our Christian walk and for the signs and wonders to follow all of those who believe. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it not only is God’s grace that we are saved, but He gives us the faith to receive the grace of salvation. 2 Timothy 1:12 assures us that it is Jesus who will keep that which is committed to Him until the final Day of Judgment. We also must remember that it was Jesus Himself who told the disciples that He would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit when He goes up to the Father. We must not think that the Holy Spirit was for the disciples only. Paul encourages us in most of the books he wrote that the Holy Spirit is a “must have” for all believers in Jesus.
God is not mocked and when he sets something in order it will happen. It is He who made the way for all mankind to have salvation through the bloodshed by Jesus on the cross. It is Jesus making intercession for us in heaven, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives the power to those who believe to both confess and receive salvation. This is where God in three Persons comes into play. All three work as one. God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit all point to a pure and renewed relationship with God as our Father. Galatians 4:4- 7 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ”
Think of receiving the Holy Spirit in this manner and it will help you understand why it is so important for the believer to receive the Him. When God made man (Adam), He “breathed” into him the “breath of life”, Genesis 2:7. From that point on Adam had a personal one on one relationship with God which is emphasized in Genesis 3:8. However, from the fall of Adam until the Disciples received the Holy Spirit after Jesus rose up into heaven, there were no other people who were able to have that ono on one relationship. It was impossible for God to fellowship with man’s fallen sinful nature. Even throughout the Old Testament you will never read where any person, prophet or otherwise, were filled with the Holy Spirit. The wording is that the Holy Spirit “came upon them” and they prophesied.
Jesus paid the price to erase all of man’s sins for the sole purpose of making the way for the believer to then “receive the Helper (Holy Spirit), which brings us right back into that perfect loving one on one relationship with our God that Adam had. Ask for and receive the Holy Spirit and you will be right back in the very same place Adam was that we read about in Genesis 3:8 where God spoke to him “in the cool of the day.” By the way, “the cool of the day” in Hebrew actually translates to mean a sweat and pleasant time. Be filled with the Holy Spirit, then be encouraged and go enjoy your time with God, “in the cool of the day.”