But Do You Really Like Yourself?

static1.squarespace.com.jpg

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24, NASB)

Ok so let’s be honest! Do you REALLY like yourself? Do you really think you’re not too this or too that? Maybe the “if only-ies” or “I wish I coulds” creep into your mind as the going gets a bit tougher and rougher than the flesh would want? Maybe your displeased with your reactions or actions? Are you becoming your mind’s worst enemy or nightmare?

Well friends, you are definitely NOT ALONE in your thinking! Many of us seem to fall hostage to the unhappiness of ourselves, which brings us to the question – as Christians, aren’t we supposed to like ourselves so we can be more like Jesus?

How often do we try to drill cliched sayings like this into our subconscious through self talk and perhaps even ‘recite’ one-liners like, “how can I love others if I can’t even love myself.” We start to loath the psychologist in us and end up wasting another day trying to figure out how to stop running away from the root cause to all our problems: coping with one’s self! As if we could do that, then couldn’t we cope with anyone else?

So, it’s time to stop right here and find some answers.

Let’s think BIGGER and think HIGHER as we delve into the world of thinking from a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.

We’ll examine some Scriptural supported reasons why we may feel we don’t like who we are, with realistic solutions.

REASON 1:  I am inherently flawed!

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NASB).

16For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17, NASB).

This Scripture very specifically says that God loves His human creation, so much, that He sent His son, Jesus with the intention to REDEEM EVERY SINGLE HUMAN!

That should tell us something. God loves us anyway!

Ok, so we know that, but do we really KNOW that?

Why not begin to look at ourselves through God’s own eyes? We like the idea of becoming godly and changing ourselves and growing, but when it comes to doing the work, we just like to talk about the idea. So do we just keep talking about what we want to change or do we actually role up our sleeves and start CHISELLING at ourselves to change and TRUSTING and DEPENDING on God to help us also be who HE wishes us to be?

TRUST comes from faith in our Creator and His Son Jesus, and faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).

God sees our sin much more fully than we do, but recognizes our sin in the context of His love.

God not only provides us needed lessons of learning accountability and obedience to HIS WILL, He provides us a pathway back to Him:

6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones, which You have broken rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You” (Psalm 51:6-13, NASB).

David spoke these words after he had committed some pretty terrible sins and brought his guilt before God. But in these verses he began to realize his sins were being viewed through the eyes of love, compassion and mercy – as well as justice.

Make me know wisdom he is capable of knowing it if GOD helps him.

Purify me, and I shall be clean he is capable of being clean if he relies on GOD.

Do not cast me away from Your presence…Restore to me the joy of Your salvation –It was as if David was saying this in his prayer: “GOD, I love you and I know I am valuable in Your eyes, but I lost that value because of my actions. Help me get the value back that I know you see in me. Help me grow from my mistakes. I know am flawed, but I know you see beyond the flaws.”

This is a brilliant way to begin to address the issues of our lives. God sees our potential and encourages us to come up higher. We talk to God.

TELL GOD “THANK YOU” for forgiveness and seeing worth in me.

TELL GOD “I LOVE YOU.”

TELL GOD ” I’M SORRY.”

TELL GOD “PLEASE FORGIVE ME.”

TELL GOD  “I WANT TO PLEASE YOU”; “I WANT TO ONLY DO YOUR WILL AS IT IS AS PERFECT AS YOU ARE”; “I WANT TO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER.”

ASK GOD ” PLEASE FATHER, ABBA, HELP ME”; “WHAT IS YOUR WILL FOR ME?”; “SHOW ME WHAT YOU WANT OF ME FATHER.”  

If we do our part in wanting to improve, God will do His part. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

When we do bring our flawed selves back to God it is a glorious time, as we can learn to live in His love:

1Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; 3Who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; 4Who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; 5Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle” (Psalm 103:1-5, NASB).

David found a way to see from God’s perspective and it was a cause for praise. David understood it is that perspective that could rule his life.

This is a huge ATTITUDE CHANGE! It came from learning God’s LOVE through learning about God’s forgiveness.

We can consciously work to make an attitude change, but if we do not keep it changed, it will reverse. This is a challenge!

Let’s keep telling ourselves “What gives us the right to not like ourselves if God loves us?”

We insult God’s name if we walk around feeling worthless!

God is the potter and we are His clay. We do not have the right to complain about the way in which he molds us if we have surrendered up our wills to Him, trusting that our perfect Creator will creator a perfect masterpiece out of what He has allowed to come to life.

clay-in-the-potters-hands.jpg

When we communicate with others, let’s try to speak in glowing terms and not be pessimistic, insulting or harsh. Our communication reveals what we are leaning on.

Here is what to lean on for positive, strong communication:

12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:12-17, NASB).

If we have the Lord Jesus in our hearts and minds, it will elevate our communication even when we are not talking about spiritual things.

REASON 2: I have made many bad choices based upon my sinful flesh and desires!

“1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:1-3, NASB).

Do you think that God is not aware of your bad choices? How does He see you in spite of them?

17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:17-18, NASB).

Take a moment to ask yourself this: Why would God give me His love of the Truth for the benefit of all, if I were just trash?

Give God credit in His love for you.

Shine your joys of THANKFULNESS & GRATITUDE for all HIS BENEFITS shown towards you and this is what we are told to do in Psalm 116:-

“What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…” (Psalm 116: 12, 17, 18).

Let’s try to listen to God’s voice that says, “I love you, my child. I know you are broken, but that is why I am here in your life.”

2 COR. 4, 16.jpg

Regarding our bad choices, we cannot take away what has already happened – our personal history is there to stay.

Our personal history can be destructive, especially if we view it as our personal present and personal future.

Every time we use a Scripture that talks about how bad we are, we will go to the context to find out how good God is in correcting that.

So, how does God view our personal history?

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His GRACE in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by GRACE you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:4-10, NASB).

God loved us even when we were dead in our transgressions.

Whose opinion, whose observation, whose assessment of your personal history is most reliable?

God’s of course.
Do we believe it intellectually or actually trust it is true?

It is okay to not like parts of ourselves–this is appropriate when we are not doing things right, kind or loving.

But God sees our character as POTENTIAL ground for goodness and godliness.

 So we need to learn to love ourselves in spite of not liking what we do.

That is part of the balance. We have to rely on God’s eyes and not our own. See things through God’s eyes.

6 The LORD performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:6-11, NASB).

We cannot comprehend the size and scope of God’s love. God’s grace, benevolence and plan are bigger than you or I can imagine! Why wouldn’t we trust His view of our broken selves?

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7, NASB).

Drive your desires towards God’s mind and God’s way. He knows it is difficult which is why He gives us so many things we can rely on.

Comparing ourselves to others (and never measuring up) is one of Satan’s greatest tools of lies. Our comparisons should encourage us.

Let us learn to say, for example:

The Apostle Peter made a lot of mistakes but look how strong he became. I can learn from his experiences.”

We do not want to let the mess of our lives override the love of God in our lives. God loves us in spite of our sin and in spite of our difficulties.

Would the God of the Universe not understand us? We need to rethink the eyes we see ourselves with and the voice we listen to.

God appreciates our frailty and has made allowance for it. Do you do the same for yourself?

20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honourable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable…” (1 Corinthians 12:20-23, NASB).

There is great wisdom in the structure of the body of Christ. Different members do different things, and some have more honor than others. But so what? They all have value and are a part of something bigger.

REASON 3: I don’t always do what is right, even when I know better!

14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:14-15, NASB).

Are we not all so often walking contraditions? We see, we know, and we want to do God’s will, but we so often do less, or act contrary or even defy it.

We see this as a reason to beat ourselves down, but how does God see it?

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25, NASB).

God sees our flaming contradictions through the covering of Jesus. What is His reaction?

trusting God - with address.jpg

God sees us as being made right through Jesus. Surely we could begin to see what He sees!

We being imperfect can never truly please God, so aren’t we really fighting an unwinnable battle?

We are weak and lack in discipline and focus. We even hold onto things that may not be right in God’s eyes, yet our Heavenly Father sees the depth of our heart above and beyond all of these things!

5 One person regards one day above another; another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:5-8, NASB).

The Apostle Paul was saying he was a slave to sin but did not want to be. He fought against that but acknowledged the fact that the fight existed.

One of the basic Christian principles is learning how to get beyond our own limitations when it comes to forgiveness.

REASON 4: Even when I do what is right, it seems to end up bad anyway!

6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls on Your name, who arouses himself to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have delivered us into the power of our iniquities” (Isaiah 64:6-7, NASB).

We see ourselves as so incomplete and so unworthy that we assume ourselves to be generally worthless, and this is the way we define our lives. What does God see?

God sees value, He sees worth, He sees potential. He sees what we can be in His hands:

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8, NASB).

The way we see ourselves dictates in whose hands we place our lives.

Do you place your life in God’s hands or Satan’s?

15 As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the loving-kindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, 18 To those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them” (Psalm 103:15-18, NASB).

God’s thoughts and plans are based on eternity – shouldn’t we rely on His judgment of us? Temporary vs. eternity? Flawed thinking vs. perfect thinking? Creator vs. created?

Are we making accomplishments in lifting others to higher spiritual levels?

16 Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified… 19 For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life, which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly” (Galatians 2:16, 19-21, NASB).

The Law served a great purpose, but its real purpose was to bring us to the next step. Our lives have to be in Christ so we can become acceptable to God. We are acceptable not because of our own doing; rather, because Christ “covers” us with his righteousness.

God does not call us in order to cover a piece of dirt with Christ, but He calls us because of the “YOU” He wants to draw out.

The lesson for us all is not to change the way we look through our eyes or through the eyes of other humans, because God is interested in our sincerity of heart deep within our soul.

Be the best “YOU” as God sees you!

So, are we doomed to trudge through life – trying, failing and then finally dying?

Doomed? No! Privileged? Yes!

God absolutely loves us and absolutely has our highest welfare in mind, after all, He IS our Father!

4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, my son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 for those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives. 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:4-7).

REASON 5: I cannot escape from the mire of this pit of my own sin!

9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, there is none righteous, not even one; 11 there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; 12 all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. 13 their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips…” (Romans 3:9-13, NASB).

Jesus has released us from sin so what we need to do is TRUST in that release as we see the WHOLE picture in Scripture of how God sees us!

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Romans 3:23-28, NASB).

When you are justified, you are made right in God’s eyes. We are not actually “right” while still in our sinful state, which is why we need the “covering” of Christ’s righteousness.

When God sees us through the covering of Jesus, He sees our potential. This is just how we look at our own children when they make mistakes – we look at their potential.

Think of the reasons why you do not like yourself and replace those reasons with how God views you.

That does not mean we stop our work on character development into the likeness of Christ but it means we recognized that through God’s eyes we  see we have potential to improve and change and thus we can TRUST God’s ABILITY to mold us into something of incredible value. We start out as a lump of clay in a potter’s hand, and end up a beautiful vessel.

To live above our dislike for ourselves is to FINALLY breathe the fresh air of God’s mighty plan and really understanding what God’s Perfect Righteous LOVE feels like to learn how to develop this same kind of love.

19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. 20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! 21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. 22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!” (Psalm 103:19-22, NASB).

We choose what we set our minds upon. 

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8, NASB).

We must get out of the routine of, “I don’t like myself; I’m a failure,” and change that thinking to, “I love myself because I know unequivocally that God not only loves me, but He works with me and cares for me and has a plan for me. I am God’s MASTERPIECE. God sees great POTENTIAL in me. I can be an asset in the hands of God.”

We need to review Psalms 103 often!

God wants you to develop into something better–your potential. That is how we need to see ourselves. God has provided many inspirations for us to grab hold of. Learn to see ourselves through God’s eyes and put ourselves in God’s hands so His plan can be accomplished.

A text that easily puts the idea of loving ourselves into a positive light:

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the foremost of all? 29 Jesus answered, the foremost is, HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. 31 The second is this, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31, NASB).

Keep our love for ourselves in a positive and humble light:
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality” (Romans 12:3-13, NASB).

 Let love be without hypocrisy when we despise ourselves, it is actually a hypocritical act if we do in fact believe that God and Jesus love us and want to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as we serve God’s will.

A prayer of Daniel that reveals the sinful and broken state of himself and the nation of Israel:

4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and loving-kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. 6 Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. 7 Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day–to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8 Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You” (Daniel 9:4-8, NASB).

With such a state of affairs, the temptation could be to go down the road of self-loathing but Daniel was far more mature than that and simply lived his faith in God’s forgiveness. Are WE that mature?

The answer to such a humble and sincere prayer came in the form of an angel:

“20 Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, 21 while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. 22 He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision” (Daniel 9:20-23, NASB).

Acknowledgment:

The content for this post is based on a radio program by “Christian Questions”– http://christianquestions.com/
At the above link, you can find out how to tune in to the LIVE Broadcasts of the radio programs via the “Mixlr” App (anywhere in the world) as well as sign up for CQ Rewind, and obtain a written transcript of each weekly program which provides all of the Scriptures discussed on the program and the reasoning behind them, complete with graphics and illustrations. It’s a great Bible study and character development tool.
The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/29/but-do-you-really-like-yourself/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

Save

Save

Save

The Relationship between Peace & Unity

Internal Peace, External Unity.jpg

Dear friends in Christ Jesus,

The intention of today’s blog is to cheer our readers onward in striving to maintain peace within one’s heart even in the face of the most unfavourable circumstances.

But why?

Because the comfort and peace of the Church are dependent largely upon unity of the Spirit of the Lord in the various members.

Let us begin by sharing some glorious scriptures to refresh our minds about the sublime PEACE we are talking about:

  • “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).
  • Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
  • “The kingdom of GOD is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
  • “Follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).
  • Live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
  • “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace(1 Corinthians 14:33).
  • “God has called us to peace(1 Corinthians 7:15).
  • “Lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2).
  • “The wisdom that is from above is first pure then peaceable(James 3:17).
  • “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
  • “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
  • “Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
  • Have peace one with another” (Mark 9:50).
  •  “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:18).
  • Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). 
  • Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body” (Colossians 3:15).
  • “Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace(Ephesians 4:3).
  • “Preach the gospel of peace(Romans 10:15).
  • “To be spiritually minded is life and peace(Romans 8:6).
  • Love the truth and peace (Zechariah 8:19).
  • Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).
  • “The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in abundance of peace(Psalm 37:11).
  • “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13, 14).

What have we done today to let this peace of God dwell within our hearts?

A possible answer might be — that we have just read the words from the Holy Bible.

YES dear friends!

Even if our flesh is overwhelmed by the storms of imperfection that surround us, we can enter into the shelter of the Most High (Psalm 91:1) when we quieten our minds from the turmoil and read, listen to, or recite, passages of holy Scripture.

We can renew our minds by submitting every thought and motive to be in conformity to the will of God, and fixing our eyes on Christ Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and recalling how Jesus pleased the Heavenly Father through his loyal and faithful obedient even unto death.

By keeping a firm hold on the precious promises of the holy Scriptures, we keep our hope in Christ burning within our hearts.

“If there be any consolation [comfort] in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same LOVE, being of one accord, of one mind.

—–Philippians 2:1-2—–

What exhortations to unity, peace, and brotherly kindness! They suggest patience, forbearance, gentleness, helpfulness, and comfort one to another in the Church. By this means, the Spirit of Christ may abound in all, for the greatest possible progress for all in the right way.

If only we can be worthy of the name Barnabas, “Comforter” of the brethren. If the holy Spirit abounds in us more and more (by our unceasing efforts as athletes in a race), then what pleasure we shall bring our Heavenly Father. With the holy Spirit dwelling in us richly, may we all be sons and daughters of comfort in Zion.

Togetherness in Christ

Many Scriptures speak of togetherness.

“There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith” (Ephesians 4:4,5).

“That your hearts might be comforted, knit together in love (Colossians 2:2).

We are all part of God’s flock. Sheep like to be together. Unlike other animals who will scatter, sheep will stay together. They are gregarious. This helps them because they lack many of the natural defences other animals have, such as speed or personal protection (like a porcupine). Safety comes from staying close together.

To flock means to be in company together, to be a group. It means togetherness as comrades, brethren, and associates where we learn to pass our tests of character development into Christ. Some differences of opinion in Biblical details may exist which each Son and Daughter of the Most High has the liberty in Christ to possess. This develops humility, patience, and respect for other dear co-labourers in the “vineyard” of our Heavenly Father.

In such fellowship circles, we develop reliance on God to fight the battles surrounding us that might arise when sharing scriptural understandings of Divine revelation concerning prophetic unfoldings of Truth.

How we praise the God of mercy—the Almighty Heavenly Father, Who reads the heart of each one whom He has called by His good pleasure, for their eternal JOY and His HONOR (Nehemiah 8:10).

“BORN OF GOD” – What does this mean?

Peace may be found in holy words of encouragement and Divine reassurance. Here is one example.

For everyone who has been BORN OF GOD overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith” (1 John 5:4).

The word born” in this scripture is the Greek word “Gennao” (Strong’s #G1080) which often means begotten.

When and how are we begotten?

The beginning of one’s spiritual existence dates from the time a person believes in Christ as the ransom for their sin and makes a full surrender, or consecration, of themselves to Jehovah God, and this is accepted by Him.

The New Creature mind developing in such an individual continues until their final existence as actual spiritual beings, when they shall be “like Him” Jesus. As in natural generation, begetting precedes  birth. Really there are three steps of development — begetting, quickening, and birth. So also with becoming “new creatures in Christ”—there are three corresponding steps.

(1) We are begotten through the Truth—the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:15, 1 John 5:18).

(2) In due time come a quickening into activity, zeal, and labor. This gives evidence to others that we have been begotten of the truth to newness of life, new hopes and aims. The spirit of Christ in us will “quicken [make active in God’s service] our mortal bodies” (Romans 8:11).

(3) When we are properly developed, we shall come forth in the resurrection, “born” into full spirit-power and become “like him,” who is the “express image of the Father’s person” (Hebrews 1:3).

Our King Jesus gives us so much encouragement. “My reward is with me and I will give to each person according to what they have done”(Revelation 22:12).

The reward of immortality is the reward of the class who will help Christ bring the world of mankind up the Highway of Holiness!

Finally the Body of Christ shall be united with their Bridegroom— their Lord and Master Christ Jesus—for whom they have give up all earthly interests, ambitions, and desires. For whom they have suffered and on occasion been humiliated for, sometimes enduring abuses by the world who considers such as “peculiar.” Perhaps some of such are called by the world as “brainwashed,” “a sect,” “crazy,” “unbalanced in thinking,” “going overboard” with spiritual talk, “obsessed about God” etc.

May the JOY of finally overcoming the scorn of the cross of Christ that we do carry until death, create exuberant rejoicing within our entire being.

Each time we bow our heads and bend our knees in prayer, may the peace of God rule in us as we hide under the shelter of the Heavenly Father’s “wings” of Divine supervision, protection and comfort.

“Let your GENTLENESS be known TO ALL MEN. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GOD. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, WILL guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7).

“Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another. Love as brethren” (1 Peter 3:8).

Does “being of one mind” mean we must all think alike on every detail of Scriptural understanding? 

No. How grand a blessing here in that it is our differences that help is develop the greatest lesson of all, AGAPE LOVE.

“Be of one mind. Live in peace. And the GOD of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

“Be of the same mind” (Philippians 4:2). Being of one mind does not mean we have to see exactly the same on every smallest detail of the Bible. This would be like saying we must wear the same shoes or agree to like the same flavours or the same colours.

Paul urges us to have no divisions amongst the brethren through a lack of tolerance, a lack of compassion… a lack of allowances given as we do have in the liberty in Christ one for another and we are not to show favouritism toward this one or that one based on human fleshly preferences, nor are we to idolize any man, other than CHrist Jesus.

We appreciate ALL OUR BRETHREN who profess their consecration daily before the throne of God in their private prayers, as we, pray for them (1 Corinthians 11:18,19).

Would the apostle approve of the butting of heads, divisions and unkind harsh arguments between the believers? No, he would not. So why does God allow this, one might ask?

The answer from the Divine Word of God is this: “so that they which are approved may be made manifest” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Amidst the butting, some will show they still have the Lord’s spirit. They will be approved by showing a gentle submission of non-rebellious spirit of always considering others higher and better than themselves— by striving to not force their opinions of Biblical interpretation on others in a demeaning way; learning the lessons of humility, forgiveness, compassion and long-suffering; learning to LOVE MORE THROUGH SUFFERING MORE.

Aggressiveness among us is permitted by the Lord to see who will properly react to the test, who will have the right heart attitude, who will grow and manifest the fruits of the spirit. We really know only in part and this is humbling also (1 Corinthians 13:9).

Through the knowledge we acquire by our striving to diligently study the scriptures, and through our prayers for wisdom and understanding which our Divine Father does give to those who seek it in HIS Perfect time, in the Perfect amounts as HE would best see we should possess, let the main goal of all this work be to develop the HIGHEST LEVEL of LOVE possible — AGAPE love. A definition of agape love is in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. To put agape love into practice is why we are NOW being tested in the most severest and most adverse conditions of all.

Let us ask ourselves: does seeking and maintaining righteous peace help me love my brother and sister in Christ more?

Or should we “turn over the tables” of righteous anger like Jesus could and did do if we think we see or hear injustice? Let us restrain from this. We cannot judge the heart like our Master Jesus could and did.

“Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of GOD” (Matthew 5:9).

None will be accounted worthy who shall not have developed peace-loving dispositions. Anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife and a generally quarrelsome disposition must be recognized as belonging to the works of the flesh and the devil. These must be resisted in the heart fully, and in outward conduct as fully as possible.

Peaceableness must supplant quarrelsomeness in all those who would hope to share the Kingdom and be recognized as children of GOD. ‘So far as lieth in you live peaceably with all men.’ This of course does not mean peace at any price, otherwise our Lord, the apostles and the faithful body of Christ throughout this age might not have suffered, or at least might have endured very much less suffering for righteousness’ sake. Hence, the significance of our Lord’s statement, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation; in me ye shall have peace’ (John 16:33).” (Reprints of the Original Watchtower, R2251.)

 

The URL of this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/24/the-relationship-between-internal-peace-external-unity/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Gratitude & Courage

IMG_7192

 Our hearts o’erflow in prayer and praise
To thee most gracious Lord,
That thou hast opened up our eyes
To understand thy Word.
That thou hast sought us out to run
This narrow heavenly way.
O lead us by thy Spirit, Lord,
For this we daily pray.

We’re thankful for our blessings too.
We never should complain,
For even trials are stepping stones
That bring us lasting gain.
Sometimes discouragement comes in
To hide our face from thee.
“Tis then, we pray, grasp tight our hand
That we may closer be.

Give us fresh courage to go on,
For in OUR strength, we’re weak.
We “need thee every hour,” dear Lord,
Thy will alone we seek.
With gratitude and courage then,
O let us follow on.
By faith we see the prize in sight
As we behold the dawn.

 (from “Poems of the Way” – compiled by Br. Martin Mitchell)

I Need Thee Every Hour

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/21/gratitude-courage/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Expanse of Divine Love – 3 poems

PSALM 63, 3 - WITH CROSS & address

 

THE EXPANSE OF LOVE DIVINE

He loves me! Oh how much the thought entails,
Love that is perfect, love that never fails.
That strengthens me in sorrow or in strife,
Soothes all the trials and the cares of life. 

Higher than highest Heaven; so sublime
This love that lifts me up to heights Divine,
Enfolds me, fills my grateful heart with praise,
And lights my pathway with its golden rays.

 So high it overlooks man’s dreadful sin
And plans the fallen race to save, and win
Mankind for righteousness. To give them life
And free them from the bonds of sin and strife.

 A love so deep that nothing can molest
The calm and stillness of its perfect rest;
So deep the very lowest of our race,
In Time shall feel His power and know its grace.

Not e’en the silent shadows of the grave
Can hide from Him the soul He seeks to save;
For in due time He’ll call them back again,
Reveal His love, mankind shall serve Him then.

Its length? It teaches out through endless ages–
This love that’s sung by prophets and by sages–
The love that never fails, knows no cessation–
Eternity its limit of duration.

So broad, this love, it takes the whole world in.
It sees the vast extent of human sin,
Yet knows no barriers of blood or race
But reaches all with its unfailing grace.

It fills the universe, it lights the stars.
No selfishness its perfect beauty mars.
Increasing–as the need for it increases–
It knows no limits, varies not, nor ceases.

Lord let me lose myself in that great love,
Knowing Thou watchest o’er me from above.
Oh let me feel the Everlasting Arms
That shield from all that threatens or alarms.

Then shall the earthborn shadows flee away
And self shall be absorbed in love’s pure ray.
Thine image on this faulty tablet trace
And every earth stain from my heart efface.

Till love like Thine I may–in measure–know
And daily like the perfect pattern grow.
Then, by Thy grace, I’ll hear Thy sweet “Well done.”
Life lived in love, eternity begun.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, ESV).

[Note: “supplication” is the action of asking or begging for something earnestly and humbly.]

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4 ).

————

THE STRONGER LOVE

All earthly love is a thread of gold,
Most fair but what the touch of time may sever:
But His is a cable sure, of strength untold
O, His love, it lasteth ever!

And this great love he will on thee bestow
The fullness of his grace make known,
Earnest of glory grant thee here below
If thou wilt be his own!

————

“For GOD so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

*******

LOVE DIVINE

Yahweh God to us in Christ hath given
The proof and pattern of a love divine,
And human love above, though nobly striven.
God’s love is greater far than thine or mine.
For Christ came down from heights unknown to us,
And thus did show to God and man a love–
A love maintained through trial torturous;
A love beyond all loves, save God’s above.

*******

God Is Love

1 John 4:7-21 (ESV) reads,

7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from GOD, and whoever loves has been born of GOD and knows GOD. 8Anyone who does not love does not know GOD, because GOD is love. 9In this the love of GOD was made manifest among us, that GOD sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

10 In this is love, not that we have loved GOD but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if GOD so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen GOD; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of GOD, GOD abides in him, and he in GOD.

16So we have come to know and to believe the love that GOD has for us. GOD is love, and whoever abides in love abides in GOD, and GOD abides in him. 17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love GOD,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love GOD whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves GOD must also love his brother.

 

Reference:

“Poems of the Way” – Compiled by Martin C. Mitchell.

 

The URL for this post:

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/21/the-expanse-of-divine-love-3-poems/

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Two Canary & Sparrow Stories

Romans 12, 12 with address.jpg

Story 1: The Canary and the Sparrows

A story is told of a gentleman who had a beautiful singing canary. A friend wanted to try if he could teach his sparrows to sing by keeping the canary with them. He borrowed it, and placed it in the cage with his sparrows.

Instead, however, of teaching them to sing, the poor bird got so timid among the strange birds that it stopped singing altogether, and did nothing but chirp like the sparrows. The owner then took it back; but still it would not sing.

It then occurred to him to put it beside another canary, which sang well. This had the desired effect, and, regaining the old note, it sang as beautifully as ever.

Many Christians go, like the canary, into the strange company and atmosphere of the worldlings, and consequently they not only do not teach the world to sing their happy, glorious note of praise, but they cannot sing the old songs of praise in a strange land themselves, and soon they learn the sorrowful note of the world.

The best thing for such is to go back again into the more friendly, warm, encouraging and spiritually edifying society of happy, rejoicing Christian saints, among whom they will soon learn to sing the glorious notes of praise again, making melody in their hearts. 

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20, KJV).

Other Bible Texts to consider:

  • Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).
  • 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:15-20, NIV).
  • 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25, KJV).
  • Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8, KJV).
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV).
  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV). 

110321.jpg

Are two canaries always content being together? We would hope so.

Are we content with the circumstances in our lives? 

Let our answer be YES as we daily surrender the fleshly preferences and exchange them for seeking and doing our Heavenly Father’s will, being living sacrifices “holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).

What if there be misunderstandings between our brothers and sisters in Christ?

As we are on trial for glory, honor and immortality, our test is to overcome our weaknesses of character and rather, to develop agape love towards our brethren, TRUST and reliance on God and patient cheerful endurance, learning to do the will of the Heavenly Father who knows best what we each need to develop in our characters, so that we can become “more precious than gold” to our Heavenly Father, and be heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17).

IMG_7671

NO TRIAL OR TEST IS FOREVER. 

It is your faith that is on trial now.

In the calmer days, when the sun of favor shone brightly upon you, you were quietly laying the foundation of a knowledge of the Truth, and rearing the superstructure of Christian character.

Now you are in the furnace to be proved…

Summon therefore ALL your courage; fortify your patience; nerve yourself to endurance; hold fast to your hope; call to mind the promises, they are still yours; and “cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward” (Hebrews 10:35).

“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7) and faith has gained her victory.

 “57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58, KJV).

“37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us(Romans 8:37, KJV). 

*****

Story 2 – The Canary and the Sparrow

There once was a canary who would sing the most beautiful song during the day. This was so because he lived in a beautiful cage. His master brought him fresh water to drink and bathe in every morning. On top of this, he was fed the finest food. His house was set by the window with the best view and when the weather was pleasant, he would be refreshed by the fragrant breeze of the open window.

On a certain sunny day, a stray sparrow flew up to the window sill. He heard the song of the canary and then listened for a time. After a while he spoke and said, “Why are you singing so cheerfully since you are such a poor bird?” “What do you mean?” demanded the canary. “You live a confined life where your world is so small without any freedom,” answered the sparrow. “Your prison is so restricted, you can’t even try out your wings. Whereas, look at me… I can fly freely around” and then the sparrow flew up to the top of the neighbor’s house and back again, adding, “You surely are a poor bird.” Then the sparrow flew off without looking back.

After watching him fly off, the canary then looked at the bars on his cage. They wouldn’t move and he yearned to see a little more of the world around him very much. He started thinking more and more about his limited life, and soon became sad.

Before long, he lost his song. The next morning, his master brought him fresh, clean water for both drinking from and bathing in, but the bright yellow canary paid no attention. He stopped eating any of the delicious food prepared just for him and as the days went on, his head begun to hang down lower and lower and not one chirp or whistle came out of him.

The once happy canary had now become worse and not better and was truly a poor bird.

Then one bright morning, the sparrow reappeared as suddenly as he disappeared. He stopped and looked at the canary for a while. However the yellow bird with his head bowed low and filled with sadness, took no notice. The sparrow finally broke the silence and said, “What is wrong with you?” But the canary would not answer.

The sparrow now spoke with contempt, “You are even a poorer bird than I first thought.” Then, just as he was about to say something else to insult the canary, a cat jumped up on the window sill and caught the sparrow. The sparrow cried out for help, but there was no one who could help him. Then right before the canary’s eyes, the cat dined on the sparrow for lunch. When the cat had finished eating, he tried to get the canary also, but the bright, gold bars on his cage wouldn’t let him through.

When the canary’s master then heard the commotion, he briskly chased the cruel cat away.

After everything settled down and peace was restored again, the canary began to consider what had happened.

His cage protected him from his enemies, while the sparrow had no protection and was now dead. The canary had a master who cared for his welfare, meeting all his needs. The canary looked at the bars around him… he viewed the clean water to drink and bathe in, and gazed at the most delicious food for him to eat… and after thinking a long time, he decided he wasn’t poor anymore, but rather the richest and happiest of all birds. Understanding such great truth, he raised his most beautiful, yellow head and began to sing the most beautiful song!

Let us consider how much our heavenly Father lovingly cares for us, meeting ALL OUR NEEDS for our highest spiritual welfare!(Philippians 4:19)

Like the canary, we are protected from the Adversary—who, like the cat in this story—“prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  The Apostle Peter warns the Christians of the early Church to “be of sober spirit [serious], be on the alert” (1 Peter 5:8).

Some may say we are confined and restricted because of our consecration vows unto the Lord in following Christ and because of our strict training & disciplinary lives as we fight the good fight of faith and run in the race of the High Calling in such a way as to win— be more than overcomers (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Perhaps one could say, this is the strictest training school ever in existence because it is one which guarantees the highest reward—it guarantees glory, honor and immortality for eternal eternities in the Divine Realm if one patiently endures faithfully unto death (Romans 2:7).

Should you ever want to be like the sparrow in this story—seeking for earthly comfort … Or if you ever feel “caged in” or think the grass is greener on the other side” then it will help to remember what happened to the sparrow—he was caught and devoured by his enemy!

In a similar way, the Adversary will not be content until you are completely destroyed and your life is ruined!

Let us remember that when Satan tells us, “You are truly the poorest person without any freedom, with the most severest experiences which you do not deserve … there is something better than this for you now to experience… this life is about being free and having lots of fun etc.,” he is a liar!

Let us obey God’s Divine Principle of RIGHTEOUSNESS and sing our song of greatest JOY IN THE LORD reminding others & ourselves that we are the richest of all children because God is our Almighty Father who gives us only that which will work out for good. 

Let us declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). 

The Heavenly Father through Christ has promised a crown of life to those who are faithful to Him until death (Revelation 2:10).

Since we have surrendered our entire will to do the heavenly  Father’s Divine will in all, we cannot bemoan or wish for anything other than what our heavenly Father’s Perfect will IS and whatever His overruling providence has permitted, knowing that GOD IS THE GIVER OF EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD (James 1:17).

Let us end with the exhortation of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:3-15.

“3 His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.”

His Eye is On the Sparrow

References:

Story 1 – R.878 (Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s presence); Bible Students Daily Heavenly Manna Book – June 4th

The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/21/the-canary-and-the-sparrows/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Isaiah 45:15 – A GOD Who Hides Himself

ISA. 45, 15.jpg

Have you ever thought that God has withdrawn his favor from you?

Have you ever questioned… Is God really still dealing with me on a personal level, like His daughter/son?

We think to ourselves, could I really be in such a bad spiritually state?

We question ourselves:

Why could God be hiding from me?

In Isaiah 45:15 (NASV) we read, Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!”

Here we note that hiding from man, is one of God’s attributes. Is it because we have done something to displease the Lord, and where God disapproves of our actions? Perhaps in such a situation, we find we don’t have the prayer life anymore or one that we would wish to have where there is ease of communication without guilt or feeling unworthy. Or, we may be saying to ourselves “my life is no different than that of the world around me.”

So when we can’t distinguish any difference in our life then in the life of a person who has not given himself to the Lord then we say “there is no specific purpose to my individual experiences compared to another person in the world.”

Or, perhaps our experiences feel like they no longer have any spiritual meaning when we can’t identify what the experiences are for, and we get into a rut; when our experiences mean I am merely just existing or surviving this experience and I know I am just existing because I experience, but I cannot identify with me this experience spiritually.

Maybe we recognize that for most of us, when we grasped the Truth, we had a great outburst of emotion for it — we loved it; we were enthused about it; we talked about it; we were excited about it and when we heard a discourse we would get goose bumps from joy! And all of a sudden we come to a place where that is no longer true. We just go to meeting because it’s a habit and we expose ourselves to creation experiences which we are sort of glad about having, but beyond that, there is no quickening of the heart beat.

Here are some possible reasons WHY we may experience that God has hidden himself from us:-

(A) God wishes to AWAKE US TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

It is good to remember that when it comes to God’s dealing with anyone, they are never intended to be a harsh, burdensome experience but God’s aim of  allowing certain trying experiences in our lives, is for the purpose of CORRECTING a situation…. correction of action … and ultimately to correct our character so that we may learn to be perfect  (Matthew 5:48) – that is, “reckoned as righteous” through our Faith (see Romans Chapter 4) and LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS (Hebrews 1:9) so that we can be used in His future kingdom as administrators of the blessings to all the world of mankind – teaching mankind how to walk up the Highway of Holiness, having attained to the highest levels while going through the experiences of the Gospel Age now, while the permission of evil abounds.

In Hebrews 12:6, Apostle Paul writes, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

The chastenings of the Lord are not necessarily designed for punishment, but rather for discipline. They are necessary as a part of our training, and to test our humility before the Lord, and our loyalty to him. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). This is what it means to be “patient in tribulation” (Rom.12:12); and if we are thus patient we will rejoice in a hope which “maketh not ashamed.”

In Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) we read, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Our Heavenly Father does not deal with all in this manner but only with some, His sons.

He thus dealt with our Lord Jesus — “the captain of our salvation” — as he lived in this world of sin and suffered the “contradiction of sinners against Himself.” For, “what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 2:7).

 So the apostle admonishes that we “look unto Him” lest we become weary and faint in our minds (Hebrews 2:2,3). The rigors and the discipline to which a well-trained child is subjected by a loving father may at times seem irksome, unpleasant and painful, but it is for the ultimate good and development of the child in every sense. So it is in the life of the child of GOD but in a perfect manner.

The tests of faith, of fidelity, of love for God and righteousness, of obedience, of patient endurance and suffering wrongfully, the discipline of the Word under adversity, the submission in love to the Father’s will, and an awareness of the guidance of the Spirit, are some aspects of the Father’s discipline as He trains us for the purpose He has in view.

These are all tangible evidences of the heavenly Father’s love and concern. Like those to whom the apostle wrote, we also tend to forget this when the way is hard and difficult. Frustrations, pressures, and perplexities surround us. “Ye have forgotten” says the apostle, “the exhortation that speaketh unto you as unto sons” (Hebrews 2:5).

If we remember this always, we will rejoice even when all things seem to be against us as we earnestly seek to do His will, inasmuch as we know we are under His loving hand.

The life of the child of God, wholly surrendered to Him and to Christ, is an entirely new life, in and of Godly character, under the Father’s influence, control and leading, the Heavenly Father’s constant special and infinite care for our training in the principles of His laws, so that, we can be ministers of these laws and processes of training for all humanity.

We are “hid with Christ in God” (Romans 8:1-4; 8:14, 28; John 1:13; 16:27; Luke 12:4-7, 22-32; 1 Peter 5:6, 7; Colossians 3:1-4). Sometimes the Father withholds or hides Himself in order that the depth of our longing and love for Him and for Christ may be put to the test, that we may be conscious of a sense of loss, that me may yearn for Him and learn to fully depend on Him to reveal Himself more fully in all His love and tenderness.

God may withdraw His favor to awaken us to the situation that we have begun to slip or that we are near the point of slipping and that we need to reassert ourselves spiritually. The best example of this in the Bible, is when we look at the account of Queen Esther.

In the 4th chapter of the Book of Esther, we are told that Esther, (who had become the Queen of the Persian empire), had now an enemy against her uncle Mordecai and all the Jewish people (so this would include her, as she was Jewish). A man named Haman had become a chief counselor of the empire and had put into motion a plan that would mean the destruction of every Jew throughout the Medo-Persian empire. Mordecai realizes this; he tears his clothes; he puts on sack cloths and ashes, and he sits in mourning. Esther’s initial response is documented in Esther 4:4, “So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.”

So we can see that Esther’s first response is “let us stop mourning; let us not face the reality of the problems that we have.” Esther’s initial reaction is not a good reaction. Her reaction is one of not comprehending the true danger of the situation. It is Mordecai who wakens her to the danger by mentioning one thing specifically and that is, that this is not a danger, remote to someone else; it is, that YOUR VERY LIFE IS AT STAKE! YOU TOO, won’t escape this! You too, are Jewish and so your in just as much danger of death as I am in and all the rest of our people, the Jews, are in. But then Esther experiences the alienation that she has already experiences from the King himself and this is noticed in Esther 4:11, where she is speaking to Hathach, one of the King’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and instructs him to say to Mordecai.

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).

Esther realizes that she has become estranged from the King and notice, that she says, as if “I am free to go to him but if I go to him without being invited to, by him, then I am afraid my life may be at stake even earlier because I have been so presumptuous to come to him.”

We may experience this too, in our spiritual lives as consecrated. We may at some point in our spiritual walk feel like we do not feel free to go to our Heavenly Father. We feel “I am not bidden to come to God anymore or feel God is not communicating with me anymore; that God has hidden Himself from me (just like King Xerxes has from Esther), Jehovah God has hidden himself for the past perhaps 30 days too, and we don’t feel we can go and plead our cause.

And this is what Mordecai is bringing out to Esther — the reason for Him hiding. He is saying, “remember Esther … You’re life is at stake! You think you will die if you go to the King … I know you will die if you do not go!”

So in our lives God may bring us to this point in our lives to show us that if we don’t continuously communicate with Him, then we WILL DIE!

You know dear friends, there is a far greater then Haman out there looking to kill us … that is… a “Haman” who is called Satan. Satan wishes to kill our New Creature developing in us — the embryonic New Creation which is developing into maturity until the Jesus agape love in us, overflows towards our beloved brethren and our will becomes dead to self but alive in Christ — being crucified in ALL we think and do, having our minds super-glued on Christ Jesus no matter how ridiculous we sound to the world or how humiliated we are for striving to conform to the LIKENESS OF OUR LORD JESUS.

Dear brethren in Christ, as we are now on an arena and we are a spectacle unto angels and men, let us endure it with great Joy in our Hope that promised for the faithful unto death isn’t just eternal life in perfect conditions, but IMMORTAL life and those who suffer with CHRIST for doing good now, shall reign with CHRIST. They are those who grow into the maturity in Christ, learning and CUTTING OFF and TURN AWAY from sin -from mistakes made in blind ignorance according to any uniquely individual situation allowed by God, and turning completely away from past errors, learning to well appreciate the failings of all their brethren and the world through their own experiences of enduring the sacrificial experiences as prospective Bride of Christ members, and learning to only FULLY depend on and seek out their Heavenly Father’ will in ALL.

So this experience is to help bring us back to the place where we will come and pour out our hearts to our Heavenly Father, but in doing it, we face that one big emotional problem: that problem of … “well I can’t do this because I’ve gotten out of the habit … I don’t have that feeling anymore.” And that’s when we have to awaken to the righteousness that says, “even if I don’t feel comfortable in praying to God, if I don’t do it, the result is certainly DISASTROUS! If I do do this, then there is the ONE and the ONLY potential of overcoming in doing this and as we come to the remedies we’ll find that the first remedy, is the remedy suggested by the first cause, and that is PRAYER.

PRAYER is the beginning of the remedy even though it may be the very hardest to apply when we feel estranged from the Lord individually.

This situation of Queen Esther’s, may remind us of a certain class in the Bible; a class mentioned in the prophecy of Jeremiah 8; a class that ends up saying “the harvest has ended the summer is passed and we are not saved.” That class that speaks those words in Jeremiah 8:20, in Jeremiah 8:11 said that the reason for their punishment is because they said “they have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”

Is this not the very thing that Esther was doing! Esther was telling Mordecai “your problem is you need to get out of your sack clothes … You need new clothes.” And Mordecai was telling her that’s like saying “peace, peace when there is no peace.” That is not the problem but rather is the symptom. The problem was that she needed to approach the King on behalf of Israel.

And so the alienation we sometimes feel is to awaken us to the deeper problems that lie there to bring us to the Lord not to solve the alienation but to solve a deeper problem; to find out what it is to not keep us away.

(B) God may hide himself from us, to teach us FAITH, TRUST and RELIANCE upon Him through Jesus Christ, our Master and King.

Sometimes our Heavenly Father teaches us that our life isn’t different from anybody else’s or to bring us to a place where we can’t see any purpose from an experience, He then says,

“That’s when YOU NEED TO TRUST IN ME when you can’t trace Me.” This is brought out beautifully in Job 23: 3-5,8,9,15 (NIV) and this pin-points the problem.

(3-5) If only I knew where to find Him; if only I could go to His dwelling! I would state my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what He would answer me, and consider what He would say to me.”

(8-9) “But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.”

(11) “My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.”

This is a sad set of scriptures. Job looks everywhere for God, yet cannot find God to feel that He is with him in his experiences at a time of experiencing so much pain and misery. These experiences seem over his head and as a result, Job was beginning to sink in the experiences he had. It isn’t until later in the Book of Job, that Job starts swimming upward again and begins getting over these experiences.

In Job chapter 23: 3-5, Job wanted to find God to plead his case before God.

Let’s look at verse 6 & 7 to fill in some answers.

(6) “Would He vigorously oppose me? No, He would not press charges against me. (7) There the upright can establish their innocence before Him, and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.”

In verse 6, Job realizes if he could find God, he would find Him a Merciful God, who would give him strength.
In verse 7 is the realization that if we feel we have lost God, we firstly need to find our Advocate — the one who pleads on our behalf! We know it is our Beloved, Precious Jesus who is the Best Lawyer in the whole universe!

When we feel we have lost our ability to approach God then more than ever we feel “if only someone spoke God’s language and could get through to Him for me”, and that is exactly what Jesus does! And Job was as if saying, “if only Jesus would argue for me … if I could just enlist the upright one on my side, then he would deliver me from this judgement forever … Then I would be over this particular experience”.

So friends, IT IS FINDING THE UPRIGHT ONE, JESUS, IN OUR LIVES.

And Job says he can’t. He goes upward, downward, backward, front, and simply can’t find him. So now let’s look at verses 10 & 12:

(10) “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
(12) I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”

So just like Job highlights through these words of his, let us look for the realization that even though we feel God is hiding himself from us for a brief moment, He knows exactly where we are and has not departed from us, and it is HE who FIRST FOUND US, called out us of darkness into His marvelous light, and adopted us as we are told in Ephesians 1:5 (NLT). God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”

God wishes for us to develop faith in Him, that He is taking charge in our life and to TRUST COMPLETELY in Him.

In verse 11 & 12, Job says what he felt he had done, and they are a stimulus to us about things WE MUST DO to feel this pull to our Heavenly Father. We must trust and be convinced that God will pull us through and make us more than gold IF:

1.      Our feet will hold to His steps;
2.      His way we keep and do not decline;
3.      We do not go back from the commandment of His lips;
4.      We esteem the words of His mouth more than necessary food.

It is at this point God is telling us we will be in a good place IF WE DO OUR PART. God is saying, “I’m putting you in a place where you can’t see Me, but if you just do your responsibilities then trust that then I will do what I promise to do and bring you closer to Me.”

And Job tells why he’s so confident in Job 23: 13-14. “But He stands alone, and who can oppose Him? He does whatever He pleases. He carries out His decree against me, and many such plans He still has in store.”

The Leeser’s Jewish Bible translation of Job 23:14 reads, He will bring to completion what is destined for me.”

Each one of the Church of the Body of Christ members (that’s you and me dear brethren) are being trained and fitted for a peculiar specific and each different part of the body that requires a different treatment. I can’t be treated in exactly the same way as Sister X, Y or Z or Brother A, B or C as we each need specific experiences and as we come into these experiences as their all different, we don’t see what the end result is, and God’s saying to us, “the reason I give you these experiences is because I want you to have confidence that I KNOW BEST what the end result should be and so I’m not going to let you see what this end result is, so that you will learn that my hand will lead you through this to safely overcome and develop a Christlike character that I require from you, so that I can present you to my Son when I’m through with you.”

It will take every inch of TRUST, of DISCIPLINE over the mind, and FAITH. It will require us to LAY DOWN OUR COMPLETE UTTER ALL for God to direct us now so we can prove to Him our LOYALTY to God’s PRINCIPLES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS so that we can receive the Highest possible reward because of proving to God that we please Him through overcoming the most unfavorable circumstances of the permission of evil.

And the end of this verse is saying that just like God has this kind of experience in store, so HE has other experiences for us also.

Now, the hiding of God’s face is only one tool in His tool box. 

The heavenly Father has tools of throwing His arms around us too!

At other times in our walk up towards spiritual Holy “Mount Zion”, God is showing us, that He really likes what we are doing.

God gives us His tools of directing us, just when we need that direction.
Our Divine Father testing us to the words we sing in that hymn,

“I’d rather walk in the dark with God,

than go alone in the light”. 

So would you really? That is what God is TESTING.

God is as if saying, “Are you willing to really walk in the dark with me when you can’t see the next step? Will you trust to take the steps in the dark and know that it will lead to gold? Would you really rather walk by Faith then walk by sight? Show me how”.

Let us look at one more thing here. Job’s attitude in Job 10:2. Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.”

This same word “bitter” is used in Deuteronomy 31:27. “For I know thy rebellion…?” The word “rebellion” here, is the same word as the one written as “bitter” in Job 23:2.

Job in verse 2 is saying, ” I just want to argue with God and show and explain to Him that this hiding from me just isn’t fair!”

This attitude is the one God is trying to correct, to bring us into a complacent one that Job shows and had in Job 23:10.

(C) God may hide himself to TEST THE SINCERITY OF OUR CONSECRATION.

How much easier it is to say “whatever your will God, I’ll do it!” but then when hammered down as life unfold, through the Christian pilgrimage to our heavenly home, how easy is it to accept our Heavenly Father’s will when we experience agonizing experiences of pain, sickness & disease, and death?

When we first made our consecration, it may have been far more easily said “God may it be your will”, yet we learn to understand what this means ONLY through the BIGGEST BLESSING OF ALL that follow: LIFE; EXPERIENCE; PHYSICAL and MENTAL PAIN, and /or SICKNESS, and SUFFERING.

We now see that being a soldier in the Lord’s army takes every inch of mental and physical energy that we have into the fight for the victory of being a member of the 144,000!

Never give up!

Never, never, never give up!

A martyr means “a witness” and to be a witness of CHRIST will cost us our ENTIRE ALL not just half of us… No way! God doesn’t want a lukewarm CHRISTIAN as a King to reign with His Son Jesus in future… God does not want a COLD Christian either who has a non- repentant or non-forgiving heart… God WANTS A ZEALOUS follower of Christ who shall defend JESUS and those who are His; who have professed consecrating into Christ, to the best of their human abilities -seeing them all as better than self (Phil. 2:3).

So our tools to overcoming is prayer and the studying of Holy Scriptures every day and immersing the mind into Scripture at every point you have even if it’s a few minutes here or there then do that! ALL our time is consecrated unto the Lord so we no longer even own it, as we lay down our ALL on the altar of sacrifice daily, and daily seek to fulfill our covenant sacrifice until death.

Never stop to rest from activity in the Lord’s service, even for one minute!

Don’t ever think the battle is won till faithful until death!

By hiding himself, God is in fact asking us “are you willing to take a path where you now can no longer identify with me, where you find your confused and say God how does this experience identify with me?”

This was the test our Lord Jesus experienced too. Remember when Jesus hung on the cross, for the first time he did not call God “Father but said:

 “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

that is,

“My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Jesus felt our Divine Father’s face hidden from him!

Look at the depth that Jesus felt this experience …

I mean here is a PERFECT human, the Son of the Almighty Jehovah God, who had had a prior relationship with the Father when he was the Logos in his pre-human existence. Jesus knew God intimately!

God was testing our Lord Jesus to the very depth of his consecration. Could he take that alienation? In Jesus case, the experience was very temporary. It had to be, as his life was very temporary; it was only a more few hours on the cross and so at last his life WAS RESTORED and Jesus’s last words (which were called out by him in a loud voice) were,

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).

God had tested Jesus to the point of seeing if Jesus would really take and accept any experience, even the experience of turning his back on Jesus, turning away from him so that he could not even see the Father’s face.

(D) God may hid himself from us to TEACH US leadership and principles.

Under the Old Law, the Israelites were told exactly how to order their life. They were given a set of Laws and were instructed by God how to follow these laws to inherit eternal life. Every experience of life related to what God did want or didn’t want.

But when it comes to the Church of the Firstborn, God says, “I’m not going to give you a whole set of Laws and tell you what to do and what not to do, but rather I want YOU TO THINK OF IT FOR YOURSELVES … I’ll give you the material to based your thoughts upon, (and that’s in the Bible) but YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE what I want you to do and what I don’t want you to do.” And that’s HARDER, as it’s no longer the case of reading what the law is, but trying to learn HOW GOD OPERATES. And as a result God gives us the Gospel, a broad sketch outlines of HIS will. He gives us a book full of biographies – of both Old and New Testament characters and God doesn’t tell us which experiences they did right and which they did wrong but gives us these experiences and tells us “now you decide which ones I approve of and which ones are right and which ones are wrong based on an EDUCATED CONSCIENCE that you’ll gain from works in developing your Faith in Me”. And in most cases, God doesn’t give us the answers in our own individual experiences but wants us to think on His principles to deal with our challenges of life.

God does not want us as His children to memorize rules, but HE wishes us to be like philosophers and reasoned upon and apply His Righteous Principles… to figure out what He would wish of us and this takes continual leaning on HIM and HIS word through prayer and study.

That is WHY our Father hides himself, so it is better for us to see the principles.

Let’s share a practical example.

You have a new employee and there is only so long you can stand over your new friend’s shoulder and say “do it this way, this way, this way and this way.” After a while, you need to tell the new employee, “this is the end result I want so do it the best way you can.” You LET THEM figure out the best way in realizing how to accomplish the job and the LORD is telling us the same thing. “I want your character like mine. I’m not going to show you every step. I want you to figure it out on your own based on the principles to develop leadership potential.
Why does God work like this? Because God’s training us!

For what? To be Kings who will reign with Christ.

And a King must learn to think.

A King must know what the principles are to actively apply them.

God is training us to be teachers. There are good teachers and bad teachers. One feature distinguishes the two:

A bad teacher — teaches merely facts. He tells you what is the answer. What it is.

A good teacher — teaches how to think and how to arrive at the facts. These students can surpass their teacher and then they become even better teachers.

God is a good teacher. God is saying “if you just look at Me you’ll never learn to teach others so I’m going to hide from you so you can figure out what I’m trying to accomplish in your life.

God teaches us that we must be governed in our life by PRINCIPLES, not by emotions.

The emotional response to Truth can sometimes be an asset but it can be out of balance in our lives because that’s the only response we look for, so God may withdraw the emotional response and withdrawn that which produces that emotional response to see if we’re really serving him out of the principles of righteousness.

(E ) God hides himself in order to STIMULATE STUDY. 

We learn to go back to our Father’s word to see why He is hiding His face.

It’s like God’s way of tapping us on the shoulder and saying, “Read 2 Timothy 2:15 again … ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.'”

Just as one doesn’t study a verse of the Bible out of its context, so too we study the book of our lives IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR LIVES and we don’t take an experience all by itself and say why did GOD let this develop but we relate it to the context of our whole life.

When we go to school to be trained we relate what we study to the job we will do afterwards. So to, in the school of Christ, we are being trained for a particular job which includes many functions and let’s incorporate them into one job — Mediator.

What makes a good mediator?

The Vines Expository Dictionary definitions the word “mediator” in the following way:

“A mediator should himself possess the nature and attributes of him toward whom he acts (man) and should likewise participate in the nature of those for whom he acts (God). Only by being possessed of both deity and humanity can the mediator comprehend the claims of the one and the needs of the other.

And in the final analysis that is exactly the point. We will have the Divine nature (deity) if we are faithful unto death. Jesus got the Divine nature at death, when he was faithful. Only by having that, could he really understand what God required because then he shared the same requirements. Only by being with men and possessing their nature could he understand what they needed and he could then diagnose them. And so with us. Our experiences are to give us a common identity with the world. In fact that is why our life is no different from the world around us, and we’re told it wouldn’t be.

(F) God hides his face to BROADEN OUR BASE OF SYMPATHY

1 Corinthians 10:13 talks about what kind of experiences God gives us.

1 COR. 10, 13 -with cross

There is no experience we have that is different to man’s. So we look around and see that our experiences are no different to those we see around us and so therefore we say…”God is not with me”… It is just the opposite. BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE AROUND YOU, GOD IS WITH YOU!

If we look for our lesson and apply ourselves in learning to trust God’s providential care and leading we will know how to endure the experience and use the strength God gives us to overcome any and every test of character development God allows to come our way.

Our Divine Father tells us, “I’m giving you these experiences because that’s what you are here for… to learn to be part of the Mediator.”

In the tabernacle picture, you had two animals making ONE SIN OFFERING. But there was a distinction between those two animals. One signified Christ; one signified the Church. They both died; both had the blood applied on the mercy seat. But the blood of the bullock was for Aaron the High priest and his house, the Levites. The blood of the goat was for the whole family of Israel.

Christ’s part in the sin offering is peculiarly and particularly for the Church and the Church’s part of the sin offering is peculiarity and particularly for mankind.

And we can substantiate this in Hebrews 2: 17-18, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15,16).

So mankind will have the same experiences that the Church has because that is required in the body of experiences in the sin offering to most effectually help back the world of mankind in the kingdom that someone has gone through a life no different; that they have gone through the most common experience that mankind has had and that is universal and that is, that God is hiding his face from me.

So one of the most common experiences he must give us is that He hides His face from us so that we can learn to find it and so that, in turn, we can help mankind find God’s face again so that their lives are more meaningful even as we look to find God’s face in our experiences so that likewise the experiences can be more meaningful to us.
May the Lord add His bless.

Acknowledgment

Br. Carl Hagensick – words from his discourse titled “When God Hides Himself” have been used to create this post.

 

I KNOW NOT WHAT AWAITS ME

I know not what awaits me,
  God kindly veils my eyes,
And o’er each step of my onward way
  He makes new scenes to rise;
And every joy He sends me comes
  A sweet and glad surprise.

Where He may lead I’ll follow,
  My trust in Him repose;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows“;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows.”

One step I see before me,
  ’Tis all I need to see,
The light of heaven more brightly shines
  When earth’s illusions flee;
And sweetly through the silence comes,
  His loving, “Trust in Me!”

Oh, blissful lack of wisdom,
  ’Tis blessed not to know;
He holds me with His own right hand,
  And will not let me go,
And lulls my troubled soul to rest
  In Him who loves me so.

So on I go not knowing;
  I would not if I might;
I’d rather walk in the dark with God
  Than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk by faith with Him
  Than go alone by sight.

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/14/isaiah-4515-a-god-who-hides-himself/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

Save

Why Eternal Life?

with address.jpg

Life eternal? For what reason
Will God grant it in His time?
He’s preparing in due season
Wondrous blessings, joy sublime!

Now He’s training caring teachers
To instruct in righteousness
Life and peace for all God’s creatures
He designs to guide and bless!

Soon Christ’s Kingdom will be bringing
Understanding of God’s Plan.
Then they’ll all His praise be singing,
As they see His love toward man.

Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power
Of God’s character the base;
Through all ages, like a flower
He’ll unfold His glorious grace.

Sr. Margie Hagensick

IMG_7152.JPG

THE LAMB’S WIFE

 Jesus, the Lamb of God, delighted to do His Father’s will. The course marked out for Him was a remarkable one. He “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name.” “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” for God has predestinated that the Bride of Christ must first be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).

Those who demonstrate their loyalty to their heavenly Bridegroom under the various tests now upon us, filling up of the afflictions left behind of Christ for the Body’s sake will be counted worthy to form the Bride, the second Eve.

O glorious prospect drawing near—the Marriage of the Lamb!

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut” (Matthew 25:10).

When the marriage is consummated, and the virgins, the Bride’s companions that follow her, are brought into the King’s palace, with gladness and rejoicing, then the regeneration of Adam’s race, for whom atonement will have been made, will begin, and “the fathers shall become the children” of the Bride and Bridegroom, and they shall be made princes in all the earth, as co-labourers in the glorious work—the restitution of all things made possible through the sacrifice of the man Christ Jesus.

Reference: “What Pastor Russell Taught”

 

The URL of this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/10/why-eternal-life/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

Save

Save

What Does It Mean To Be Baptized Into Christ?

matt-16-25

What types of baptism are practiced in the Churches?

There is more than one type of baptism practiced in the Christian world. There is:

  • Sprinkling or Pouring on the Head
  • Infant Baptism
  • Submersion under water.

Sprinkling or pouring water on the head

There are no Scriptures in the Bible that describe baptism as the sprinkling or pouring of water on the head.

The first instances in the Bible where individuals were baptized was accomplished by John the Baptist.

Did John the Baptist sprinkle water or submerse the person under water?

“Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized” (John 3:23, NKJ).

And He [Jesus] went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first” (John 10:40, NKJ).

If all John was doing was sprinkling water to baptize, he did not need to worry about being near the “much water” of the Jordan River. Clearly, John was doing more than just sprinkling those he baptized.

Infant Baptism

Is infant baptism scriptural?

Nowhere in the Bible do we find infant baptism mentioned. Although at times the Scriptures do mention the baptism of households, they never specifically mention children or infants.

For example, in Acts 8, Philip preached to the people of Samaria.

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12, NKJ).

Notice, there is no mention of Philip baptizing infants in Samaria; just men and women.

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”

It would not be possible for a newborn infant to understand who Christ is, let alone believe in him.

Remember the question Jesus asked James and John in Mark 10:38,

Are you able to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

A newborn infant would not be capable of answering Jesus’ question, let alone responsibly making such a commitment.

Submersion (Dunking) into Water

Now we do find examples in the New Testament of adult baptism and in every case we believe the baptism was a submersion into water. For example:

“When He [John] had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him” (Matthew 3:16).

” (38) So he [Philip] commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (39) Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the LORD caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:38-39).

The only way Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch could have “come up” out of the water is if they have been submersed under it.

Greek Definition Of Baptism:

In support of this conclusion that baptism is submersion, let us looks at some definitions.

STRONGS: 907 baptizo (bap-tid’-zo); to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet).

VINES: baptism, baptist, baptize.

A. Nouns.

1. baptisma (908), “baptism,” consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence (from bapto, “to dip”).

B. Verb.

baptizo (907), “to baptize,” primarily a frequentative form of bapto, “to dip,” was used among the Greeks to signify the dyeing of a garment, or the drawing of water by dipping a vessel into another.

So this word has the meaning of complete submersion under water. Certainly when dying, the garment must be totally submerged in the dye.

There is a variation of this word.

2. baptismos (909), as distinct from baptisma (the ordinance), is used of the “ceremonial washing of articles,” in some texts; once in a general sense.

This word is only found four times in the New Testament and refers to ceremonial washings.

John’s Baptism & Its Purpose

Let us talk about John’s (the Baptist’s) baptism. John’s work was not for the Gentiles. His work of baptism was intended to reveal Jesus to the Israelites only, but John did not baptize believers into Christ. That would come later, after Pentecost. His work was not for the Gentiles.

In John 1:29-31 we read, “(29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (30) This is He of whom I said, After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. (31) I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.‘”

So John the Baptist was baptizing in order to reveal Jesus to Israel only, not yet to the Gentiles.

Bearing fruit was an evidence of those who had sincerely baptized. As John the Baptist said, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8, NKJ).

John’s baptism required a personal confession of sins. “And all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:5, NKJ).

Repentance and typical cleansing restored repentant Jews back to the condition of harmony with God as enjoyed under the Law Covenant and through the tabernacle arrangement.

“John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, NKJ).

The Jews had not previously practiced individual baptism. The whole nation was recognized as “baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).

In what sense were the Israelites “baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud”? 
We answer: When the Israelites passed through the Red Sea they were surrounded by water, and Paul mentions that this is a picture of them being baptized. The cloud is mentioned in Exodus 13:22, “He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” We think that that was the cloud Paul referred to as over the Israelites — so that in that sense they were surrounded from above by water as well.

The Jews were already children of God and heirs of the covenants and promises, and their washing away of their sins meant their coming near again to God, and into closer touch with all the promises and the blessings thereof (Harvest Gleanings I, 1HG255).

John the Baptist’s baptism, was “for the remission of avoidable sins, gross sins. The godly Jews were not intended, nor expected, to come to John to be baptized. He said, ‘Now come, if you want to get ready for Messiah’s kingdom, and try to keep the law the best you are able and take this water immersion, accepting this as a sign of your putting away sin and starting a new course of life.’ This is all that baptism meant to the Jews. That was not a regular institution. It was a peculiar thing that belonged just to the end of the [Jewish] age, and John tried there to especially prepare a people by this preaching of holiness and putting away of sin for the Messiah; for the testimony is that if they had believed John they would have believed Jesus. If they disbelieved John and disregarded what he said, and were not careful to come back into harmony with God, and become as holy as they were able to do, then they were not in a condition to receive the message God had to give” (What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book, Q34:3).

This typical cleansing available to the Jews is discussed in Leviticus & Hebrews.

“For on that day [of Atonement] the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Leviticus 16:30).

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Hebrews 10:11).

So John baptized the Jews for repentance and remission of sins similar to the typical cleansing as was accomplished in the tabernacle by the sacrifice of bulls and goats on the Day of Atonement. Every Jew under the Law Covenant was a member of the house of Moses (Hebrews 3:5). As mentioned above, the Jews were baptized unto Moses in the sea and in the cloud (1 Corinthians 10:12). As natural branches of the olive tree the Jews did not need en-grafting into Christ (Romans 11:16-21). John could not baptize Gentiles since they could not by repentance be restored back to a position they had never occupied.

After Pentecost, John’s baptism was replaced by Christian baptism into Christ.

In the book of Acts we have an incident where some of John’s disciples, after hearing the gospel, were baptized again, this time into Christ; after which they received the holy Spirit.

Acts 19:1-6 – “(1)… Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples (2) he said to them, ‘Did you receive the holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a holy Spirit.’ (3) And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ (4) Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ (5) When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) And when Paul had laid hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. (7) Now the men were about twelve in all.”

These disciples were baptized twice (John’s & Christ’s). Bro. Charles T. Russell teaches, “The Apostle instructed them more fully, assuring them that John’s baptism was all right in its time and place, but that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus, baptized into Christ” (Harvest Gleanings I, HG732:6).

In Acts 2:41 three thousand people were baptized and among these, there may have also been some that had been baptized by John earlier.

‘Never is it said of any Gentile that he was baptized unto repentance and remission of sins, that he got back into Moses and in accord with the law. On the contrary, the apostle shows that we and all spiritual Israelites coming from among the Gentiles, come into Christ in a different way from that in which the Jews became related to him. I call your attention to the apostle’s argument in Rom. 11:17-24, where he uses an olive-tree as a symbol or picture. He tells us that that olive-tree was primarily the Jewish nation; that its root was the Abrahamic promise; its branches were the individual Jews. It was to those branches that John preached the baptism of repentance. Many of them were defiled, living in sin, and he urged them to repent and be washed, cleansed; that otherwise they would be broken off. And so it was when Messiah was manifest; the prepared ones, Israelites indeed, in whom was no guile, were ready for him, received him and he received them, and they continued to be branches of that olive, tree. But the great mass of the branches, as the apostle goes on to explain, were broken off because they did not receive our Lord, because they were not in the right condition of heart, not “Israelites indeed, without guile” (Harvest Gleanings I, HG).

Christian Baptism and Its Meaning

Christian baptism has many elements that are similar to John’s baptism and some elements that are different. As with the Jews baptized by John’s baptism, Christians are to confess and repent from their sins.

“And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds” (Acts 19:18).

“(46) Then he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, (47) and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem'” (Luke 24:46-47).

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38).

Br. Charles Russell teaches, “This baptism was for Jews only, who had already been baptized into Moses in the sea and the cloud. Sins thus figuratively washed away did not include original sin, but merely minor transgressions against the Mosaic law.” (Reprints of the Original Watchtower 4308:5, 6th Volume of Studies in the Scriptures p.428, Harvest Gleanings I, 600:1,2)

John the Baptist could only provide typical remission. The Christian receives a real remission of sins through actual justification by Jesus’ blood.

John’s baptism pointed the Jews to Christ, but the Christian is to actually believe in Christ and accept Him as their Savior. Let’s see how this is shown in the Scriptures.

“(36) Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ (37) Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’” (Acts 8:36-37).

Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).

So faith in Jesus Christ is a requirement for the Christian baptism.

Baptism Into Christ – Not Into An Organization

Although those baptized into John’s baptism were to bear fruit, the Christian’s death to sin, walking in newness of life and drinking of the cup is a far deeper action. Christian baptism is more than the pursuit of righteousness. It is the total death of self will and a total commitment to sacrifice ALL — one’s time, talent and possessions to the Lord, often at the cost of suffering and persecution.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

“(3) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (11) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (13) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:3-13).

So we see from the 6th chapter of Romans and lowering the candidate into the water represents the death of the Old Man with his sinful ways and the raising up of the candidate shows our walk in newness of life as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. Notice how Romans 6:3 teaches that we are baptized into Christ’s death.

No scripture talks about being baptized into Jehovah’s organization. Also see how the following text show we are actually baptized into Christ.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NASV).

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38, NASV).

Ultimate Purpose of Baptism

What is the ultimate purpose of Christian baptism? Certainly to lay down our lives in the Lord’s service is purpose enough, but the Bible shows a purpose even beyond that.

Just as going to medical school is of no benefit to humanity unless the student becomes a practicing doctor, so it is with the Christian.

Context:

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed'” (Galatians 3:8, NKJ).

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18).

“(27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have PUT ON Christ… (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:27,29).

Those who are baptized are Abraham’s seed through whom God’s purpose is to bless all the families of the earth. This is the ultimate purpose of baptism.

The same point is expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:29.

“Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?”

This passage says that we are baptized for the dead,” not “into death.” The ultimate purpose of baptism is to bless all the families of the earth.

Many translations agree with this wording, “baptized for the dead.” The translators do not believe this. They would rather not translate this text. Peter puts it this way:

“receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9, NKJ).

The word “your” is in italics. The thought is that the outcome of our faith, THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE, will be the salvation of mankind.

Does water baptism cancel sins? 

The traditional view among Catholic and many Protestant denominations is that baptism is necessary for salvation, forgiveness and the cancellation of sins. Not only do they believe it necessary, but some feel it must be performed in a prescribed fashion in order to secure salvation.  Some of their supposed proof texts are:

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ ” (Acts 2:38).

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

“There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism” (1 Peter 3:21).

These texts are telling us that those who are baptized will be saved and receive a remission or washing away, of sins. So are the Catholics and many Protestants correct in believing that the act of baptism is necessary for salvation?

No. Where these Christians are wrong is that it is NOT “water baptism” that saves us.  Rather, the true baptism saves us, that is, consecration and the resultant justification by Christ’s blood. Water baptism cannot save.  It is merely a symbol of the true baptism and the resultant justification that can save us.

Baptism is the outward sign of an invisible grace from our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9, ESV). 

We are saved by Jesus’ act of justification, not by our symbolic act of water baptism.

Water Baptism Is Symbolic

Many Scriptures establish that water baptism itself is merely a symbol and that it does not have intrinsic atoning qualities.

Luke 12:50 – “But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”

Jesus had already received water baptism by John, so in this case the word “baptism” must be symbolic of more than the literal water baptism. This is also borne out in Mark 10:38-39 (see also Matthew 20:22-23):

“(38) Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you ask. Can you drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ (39) They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ So Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized.'” 

More evidence of the symbolic nature of water baptism is found in Colossians 2:11-12 (ESV):

“(11) In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, (12) having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Notice here that both circumcision & water baptism are symbolic of putting away sin.  Obviously “circumcision” here is not literal. The Christian is not literally required to be circumcised as were the Jews under the Law. This is the symbolic circumcision of the heart. So, just like circumcision is symbolic, likewise, water baptism here is also symbolic.

Next is another symbolic usage of baptism, although a much different one.

“(11) I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:11-12, ESV). 

The baptism by “fire” is symbolic of the judgment and destruction upon the nation of Israel as stated in verse 12, “He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Just as the baptism by fire is symbolic, so is water baptism.

We are not saved by the symbol “water baptism,” but by the reality of it, the meaning of which we will get to shortly.

Born of Water – Spirit Begettal

Many believe John 3:5 teaches that unless you are baptized in water you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. It says, “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'”

The word “baptism” is no where to be found in this context. “Water here is symbolic of the Word of Truth. Without the Bible we would not have the necessary knowledge to grow in Christ and enter God’s Kingdom.

Our growth in Christ through his Word (the Holy Scriptures) is illustrated by the Greek word genno, that is Strongs #1080. Vines defines it as:

BEGET, BEAR (OF BEGETTING), BORN

gennao —“to beget,” in the passive voice, “to be born,” is chiefly used of men “begetting” children; more rarely of women “begetting” children (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1985).

So in John 3:5 we are “begotten of water.” This means that we are spiritually begotten by Truth.

Br. Charles Russell writes “We see that symbolical water represents truth, and that our begetting of the holy Spirit is said to be also a begetting ‘through the Word of truth’” (James 1:18). (Reprints of the Original Watchtower: R.4124:6, R.3600:6, R.2422:1.)

In support of this we will quote four scriptures which relate begettal to the Word of God.

“Of his own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18, KJV).

“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15, NKJ).

“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of GOD which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).

“…that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

So we see that John 3:5 does not teach that unless you are baptized in water you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. It actually teaches that we are begotten as New Creatures in Christ by the Truth of God’s word. It is the guidance from God’s Word that develops the embryo New Creature in Christian growth, preparing us for our ultimate Spiritual birth, after the first resurrection.

Saved By Belief, Grace & Justification, Not Saved By Baptism

There are many more Scriptures that talk about us as being saved, but it’s not by water baptism, it is by belief in Jesus Christ and the resultant grace of God and justification to life.

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

“(30) And he [the jailer] brought them [Paul & Silas] out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ (31) So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household'” (Acts 16:30-31).

“…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” (Romans 10:9).

“Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9).

“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).

“(1) Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, (2) by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you– unless you believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

“Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)” (Ephesians 2:5).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

The Jerusalem Counsel never addressed the issue of baptism when presenting minimum requirements expected of the Gentile brothers.

“(28) For it seemed good to the holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: (29) that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell” (Acts 15:28-29).

Where is water baptism on this list? If it were necessary for salvation, certainly the Apostles would have required it of the Gentile brethren.

“And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved'” (Acts 15:1).

Some Christians today take the same approach with baptism as these Jews took of circumcision, that it is a requirement for salvation.

Saved By Baptism?

In 1 Peter we find scriptures used by many Christians to again attempt to prove that water baptism is necessary for salvation.

“(19) by whom also He [Jesus] went and preached to the spirits in prison, (20) who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine long suffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. (21) There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:19-22).

Does this passage prove we are saved by literal water baptism? The simple answer here is that Peter is not talking about literal water baptism. In verse 21, He describes “baptism” as “a good conscience toward God.”  That word “conscience” is also used in the prior chapter.

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:19, KJV).

So the word “conscience” connected with the word “baptism” refers to suffering for righteousness sake. Hence, the word “baptism” is talking about living our consecration.  Our consecration results in justification by the ransom to life. That is what saves us.

It is interesting to note from verse 21 that we are not saved by the “removal of the filth of the flesh,” that is, we are not saved simply by John’s baptism, the repentance from sin. But we must go beyond that to consecration INTO Christ’s death and this involves cheerful in the spirit, willing patient endurance and sacrifice of self-will and self-interest.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Baptized In Who’s Name?

In whose name is the Christian baptized? Many quote the great commission of Matthew 28:19 to prove we are baptized into the Trinity, not into Jesus Christ alone.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

If we accept the translation as is, it does not prove that we are baptized into the Trinity, but merely the desperation of those who strive in vain to find support for this false doctrine, in Scripture. This passage does not state that these three are one person, nor anything of the kind.

In conflict with this, six other Scriptures refer baptism in the name of Jesus, not baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Matthew 28:19.

Let us look at these Scriptures that contradict Matthew 28:29. Notice that in none of these texts was anyone baptized in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit.

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38).

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of GOD and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12).

“For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus(Acts 8:16).

“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days” (Acts 10:48).

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into HIS DEATH ?” (Romans 6:3).

*******

How else are we “baptized into Christ’s death?

We need to surrender our wills to God, as Jesus did. He said, “Lo I come…to do thy will, O God. I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is written in my heart” (Psalm 40:7, 8; Hebrews 10:7).

We dedicate or consecrate our all to follow and obey the Lord with our minds, hearts, and our whole beings. This is a total dedication of service to do God’s will. When consecrated, we walk “in newness of life,” having a new, different direction or purpose. We pattern our lives after our dear Redeemer.

A few days before his crucifixion, Jesus stated, “But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50) This shows that in Jesus’ baptism, water was a symbol of his real baptism in death. It was about to be accomplished at Calvary. Like Christ, we who dedicate our lives to the Lord make ourselves “dead” to the world’s pursuits. Instead, we pursue heavenly things, studying the scriptures to find out what God’s will is for us. Our desire is to prove faithful unto death and be resurrected with Christ in a divine and immortal body (Philippians 3:10, 11; Romans 2:7, Revelation 2:10).

Water baptism is a witness to others of what has taken place in our hearts with the Lord and our commitment to Him, as well as symbolizing that life of baptism. The individual places himself in the arms of another, and being fully immersed in the water, is dependent on that person to help him up. He comes out of the water into “newness of life.” This is the new life to which he has committed himself until he dies. Hence, we believe water baptism is necessary, not for salvation, but for a witness of that life of commitment.

SO WHAT NOW?

Are you interested to GIVE UP your life rights on earth to inherit what eye has not seen nor ear heard … to inherit a life with Jesus and those who have now given up the pride of life and disclaim all rights to themselves, to their soul, to their body, to their time, to their health, to their reputation, to their talents or to anything that they own?

 If you confess to be the property of Jesus Christ your Redeemer, then:

  DEDICATE YOURSELF

to belong entirely to Jesus now,

to serve, love and trust him as your life and salvation until your life’s end and show this through baptism.

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

God is now selecting men and women of faith for special honors during the Millennium. Namely, to reign with Christ in heaven as spiritual rulers of the world, to lead the world to righteousness, godliness, and truth and raise all the dead of past Ages. Satan’s demons now lead the world into sin and ignorance. Then, Christ and his saints will lead the world into obedience and understanding (Revelation 20:1-6).

High Standards

When we understand the high honor to which the saints are called, we better appreciate the high standards that are expected of them.

(1) Godly conduct
(2) Character Development
(3) Study of the Truth
(4) Service and Sacrifice.

Consecration

We enter the race for the “prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) by consecrating our life to GOD.

This we do in personal prayer to God, committing our life and service and interests to God hereafter.

If this step is taken, then it is proper to symbolize that decision with water baptism, as a testimony to others.

(11) The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; (12) if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:11-12, ESV).

If you have not considered the matter of consecration, take time to do so.

Read our Lord’s words about this decision, thoughtfully, in Luke 14:27‑35.
Remember the blessings promised, and the conditions for them:

“by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Romans 2:7).

Remember the privilege of being with Christ, in heaven, to bless “all the families of the earth” during the Millennium. God wishes us to respond favorably. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

So dear brethren, let us pursue our consecration with determination and great zeal, so that we may please our Father and be prepared for our future mission.

Click here to watch a baptism service video

References and Acknowledgement:

Br. Peter Karavas & our brethren in Christ at http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/

Br. Charles Taze Russell: What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book, Q34:3; Harvest Gleanings I; Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, Studies in the Scriptures – Volume 6.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1985.

STRONG’S Concordance.

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/09/what-does-it-mean-to-be-baptized-into-christ/

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,281 other followers

Save

Save

Save