Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ephesians 1:13-14 comments: sealed by the Holy Spirit

13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

What is the gospel of your salvation?

1 Corinthians 15:1 ¶  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Now, if you believe that, you are saved. God has saved you. It’s real simple.

2Corinthians 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

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

Acts16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

After you believed you were sealed. It’s done; finished. The gospel is not giving half your income or church attendance. It’s what it is. Belief saves you, not works. There are many things that are good like giving, church attendance, handing out tracts, etc. etc. but they can’t save you or keep you saved.

14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The salvation of God is the earnest money on the complete redemption and receipt of a glorified body in heaven.

Romans 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

How could salvation be any simpler? We look at a person and if they don’t fit our idea of what a Christian should be we immediately question whether or not they are really a believer.

Earlier Protestant Christians had an idea that carried them through doubt and difficult times. They believed that the Holy Scriptures alone are sufficient to lead men to salvation and that the Holy Scriptures alone are sufficient to sanctify the believer.

As the early Anglican churchman, William Chillingworth, said in 1638, “The Bible, I say, the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants!”

(William Chillingworth, The Religion of Protestants: A Safe Way to Salvation (1638, repr.

When you divorce your faith from the words of God written on paper you come up with all sorts of methods to control people and try to force them into the box you’ve built.  The Bible is very clear about how you are saved. We love to muddy it up.

You’ve been purchased by a ransom that the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, or God in the flesh paid to God the Father, or in simpler terms a ransom God paid to Himself.

Exodus 30:12  When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.

Psalm 49:7  None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:

Mark 10:45  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

1Timothy 2:6  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Your soul has been redeemed but one day your body will be redeemed. You belong to God.

1Corinthians 6:20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1Corinthians 7:23  Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

Just imagine what that time will be like.
1 Corinthians 15:51 ¶  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ephesians 1:9 - 12 comments; to the praise of His glory

9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
God’s good pleasure is why we are here.
Revelation 4:11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
It is God’s will and desire that all men should all be saved.
1Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Although, clearly, not all will so all in 1 Timothy 2:4 is all without distinction, not all without exception, and about this point regarding God’s will Calvinists are wrong. No one was predestinated to an eternity of agony by anything other than their own will.           
2Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
That He was willing to save all men and not just the Jews, His chosen people, was a mystery that few understood. The church, the body of Christ on earth, was a mystery.
Romans 16:25 ¶  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26  But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27  To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
That God would make the sacrifice for sins that would make salvation available to all mankind was a secret.
Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
Now we know some of what God will reveal to us but when we stand before Christ we’ll know it all.
1Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
That being said, the “mystery of his will” in this context is revealed in the next verse.
10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
This is the mystery of his will, that in eternity, the dispensation of the fullness, the completion of, all time  He gathers together in one all things in Christ.
This all is all without distinction, not all without exception, as Satan, the Beast, and the unsaved dead will not be gathered together to Him.
1 Corinthians 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
He will bring all things that are “in Christ”, dead and living, to Him.
11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
An inheritance is something physical as in;
Genesis 15:7  And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
You can inherit a spiritual thing as in;
Luke 18:18  And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
But, is eternal life a purely spiritual thing or is it also physical?
1 Corinthians 15:52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Romans 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
1 Peter 1:3 ¶  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Now, this is an inheritance in eternity to which you have been elected by your trusting in Christ.
In this verse your inheritance is something to which you are predestinated because of your faith in Christ. Predestination always refers to what happens to you after you are saved. Your destiny is not fixed until you are born again. You have a choice to make and then after your salvation certain choices are made for you but you still have a great deal of free will, so you can’t get out of responsibility for your actions.
When you go to heaven you can go first class, tourist, or in the baggage compartment, but you are going to heaven if you are saved. Period.
12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
The very fact that this first group of Jewish and Gentile Christians trusted in Christ is a praise to His eternal glory. The Holy Spirit drew them out of the corrupt world system of Gentile paganism and Jewish pharisaical self-righteousness against all odds. There was no political power and no advantage to be gained, only persecution, suffering, and death outside of the joy of following Christ and the promise of life eternal. We would do well to look into the early church for a comparison with what passes for Christianity today.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ephesians 1:8 comments: abounding in all wisdom and prudence

8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

This long sentence continues with the word, “wherein.” From, “…the riches of his grace…he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence…”

A simple point of theology here. There is no wisdom or prudence on earth apart from God in His three distinct parts, as we and the higher animals have three parts, of His soul, God the Father, His body and image, God the Son, and His Spirit, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost.

As John Calvin pointed out, if I may paraphrase from his Institutes of the Christian Religion, that no person who doesn’t recognize that all wisdom, prudence, in fact, all things of any nature whatsoever that are good and have a benefit come from Him then that person is incapable of serving or obeying God voluntarily. As soon as you look at something else; your education, your appearance, your intelligence, the government, your spouse, your employer, your pastor, or your church organization as being the source of a beneficent for you then you have committed idolatry and have limited your usefulness to God and the blessings you are able to receive from Him.

Due to the nature of the way our Bible is written, by use of the word, “and,” wisdom and prudence are synonyms. As Proverbs 8:12 says clearly in its personification of wisdom, wisdom and prudence dwell together.

Proverbs 8:12 ¶  I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

Wisdom is also a synonym of understanding and knowledge.

Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Prudence is linked to these words through understanding.

2Ch 2:12 Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.

Wisdom, prudence, understanding, and knowledge from God’s perspectives are linked together.

Prudence is doing the right thing at the proper time. God’s timing is not ours. We don’t usually appreciate His timing because it is either just in time or what we consider as being too late. But, then our purposes are not His.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.        

“Abound,” is the opposite of abase, to be brought low, to have insufficient means to accomplish something.

Philippians 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Preachers love to say, “what is he saying?” Well, I love to say, “he means what he said.”

God has abounded toward us with His wisdom and doing the right thing at the right time. “All,” without exception or distinction. There is no deficiency in God’s plan. The deficiency is only in us or our perception of events based on our own perceived self-interest which is based on limited, finite knowledge.

And so, in keeping with the context Jesus Christ came at the right time to do the right thing in the right way and if you think that the “wisdom” of men has anything to say about it then you must realize that God regards the world’s wisdom as foolishness.

1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God….

Jesus Christ, the visible image of the invisible God, His presence, all through Scripture is the ultimate wisdom.
1Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom….

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ephesians 1:7 comments: Eternally forgiven by the blood of Christ

7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Trusting in the power of the blood of Christ is very important.

Colossians 1:14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:*

*The word, “even,” connects words and phrases that mean the same thing starting with, “I, even I,” in Genesis 6:17. So, Colossians 1:14 says that “redemption through his blood,” is, “the forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Hebrews 9:12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Hebrews 13:12  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Go back to Hebrews 9.

Hebrews 9:15 ¶  And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

The Law was unable to remove sins.

Romans 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

(Remission of sins and forgiveness of sins are synonymous phrases. Both words mean a pardon for sins, as if they had never been committed in the first place.)

Jesus’ blood was the basis by which God could remove the sins of humankind. He forgave man’s sins on the Cross.

Matthew 26:28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Luke 23:34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

This amazing act of love was performed, “according to the riches of his grace.” This will be shown to us in eternity by, “the riches of his grace.”
Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ephesiians 1:6 comments: accepted in the beloved

6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Acceptance is a very important thing to us on this earth. Feelings of being unworthy of being accepted or just someone not accepting you for who you are is a great wound in some people’s hearts. God reached out to us when we were still sinners. He did not accept our sin but He did accept us into His grace and mercy because that’s just who He is.

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

We have been accepted by God and if God accepts you then it doesn’t matter who else does not.  “... the glory of his grace” is referring to God the Son here, God the Father in verse 12, and the Holy Spirit in verse 14.

Christ has made us accepted in the “beloved”. He has made us accepted in the beloved by the glory of his grace. It is the nature of the Creator of the universe to accept those who seek Him, having paid the debt for their sins, and having risen for their justification. Some people would say, “well, if God is so loving and accepting why doesn’t He just accept all people no matter how they act, if they aren’t ‘too’ bad, and no matter what they believe?”

I believe that in this letter to the church at Ephesus, the Holy Spirit, through the wisdom He gave to Paul, is going to explain that very question in full.

What is sin?

1John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

What is the law that sin is a transgression of? The law is the righteous standard of God for the Hebrews revealed to Moses to give to the Hebrews when they wandered in the wilderness after being led out of Egypt. It was their civil and their religious duty, their duty to God and to their fellow Hebrew.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

To break one simple commandment of the law is to break every commandment.

James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

No human being, other than Jesus when He walked on the earth, is capable of keeping the Law given by Moses in every point. So, we are all condemned. No one keeps the Law perfectly or ever has and as James 2:10 says to offend in one point of the Law is to be guilty of all.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Several times, God boiled it down to one or two principles for the Hebrews, the Jews, and gave those principles by His prophets. The Hebrews, like many modern Christians, thought that God demanded ritual observances and forms and vain speeches and vague promises to justify them but He made it clear what He wanted from them.

Micah 6:7  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Still, no one got it.

Psalm 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Psalm 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Sin separated the Hebrew and all of mankind from God.

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

So, there was a wall keeping mankind from God. There was a barrier no one could or would pass over. We could no more not sin against God than a horse can be president of the United States. Just as a horse is not qualified to be president we, in our natural state, are not qualified to be in God’s presence. Humans, having the capacity to know the difference between good and evil at some point in our young adulthood or even earlier, because of that knowledge that the first humans gained by disobedience, are rejected in our natural state by a holy, righteous God. Even out best, Christian, gentlemanly or ladylike, civilized behavior is too weak a plea, too inconsistent, or nonexistent to even be considered as a substitute for obedience and will not get us fellowship with God.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

So, to you proud, self-righteous, wicked, perverse, spiritually blind fools who think of God as a fine ideal, a quaint, superstitious notion for bumpkins, or someone you wish would leave just leave you alone I point out that God came in the flesh, lived as one of us, shared in our temptations and physical struggles, died for our sins, and, this is very important to grasp, rose again from the grave.

If I give you a gift on your birthday and you refuse to open it or even to accept it the gift does you no good and it certainly isn’t my fault. People dying and their souls, the seat of their self-identity, going to a burning Hell for the balance of history and then to a lake of unquenchable fire for eternity, is not God’s “fault.” It is their own. Because, for Him to save you from this natural, human fate which results from knowing the difference between good and evil, between the God who created you and the darkness that doesn’t even comprehend Him, and choosing the darkness is your choice.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It simply involves faith in believing what He did;

Romans 10:8  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 ¶  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek [ means non-Jew, a gentile]: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Believe what Jesus Christ has said about Himself and have eternal life.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?

Or go your way to the fate of all men and women who will not believe.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Those who believe and trust in Christ are not necessarily better people than those who do not, at least by the world’s standards, although they should be and really have no excuse. They are often carnal, bigoted, worldly, fearful, superstitious, mean-spirited, Biblically ignorant, followers of men and not of God, and basically foolish as a child. But, the difference between them and the men and women of the world is that they are saved. They have no excuse for their weaknesses and their sin other than that they are prideful, Biblically ignorant, and unsubmissive to God. But, if they believe and have faith, as odious as they might be to you, as ignorant as they may seem, as childish as they might appear, and even though they may only be able to handle milk and not meat their entire lives they are going to spend eternity with Christ and be made like Him. You, on the other hand, are going to spend an eternity writhing in agony because that is what you chose.

I’m sure there are men and women who could have put this better than I did, who are more eloquent or powerful, more learned, more spiritual, more understanding, and full of wisdom but this is what I have.

I’m not trying to control you, get you to abandon all of the responsibilities God has given you as ministries except for church attendance, emotionally manipulate you, make you cry, be afraid, feel guilty for being a failure in life, a bad parent, a rotten employee, obey the speed limit,  get you to empty your wallet or purse, get you to vote for one political party or the other, make you do what I think I should do, come to the front of the church, go to the back of the church, tell you that there is only one or two acceptable ways to testify of your faith, get you to follow a man, or anything other than seeing you be saved, love the Lord, and trust Him.
 Be accepted in the beloved. How much simpler could I make it?