People of The Living God

Matthew 24

 

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April 2012



 

THE DOOR WAS SHUT

Matt. 25:13

Randall Walton

        The significance of Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25:1–3 becomes more important the nearer we come to the end of this age.  The door of salvation has stood open since Jesus went to the Cross, but the time is close when that opening shall be closed to those represented by the foolish virgins.

        We are sickened by the constant barrage of messages that the Lord may come at any minute and rescue the church out of the confusion and turmoil of this old world.  Still others take the view, “Where is the promise of His coming?”  They are a part of the sleeping saints who are more interested in pursuing the joys of a carnal existence than in “seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

        But the Bridegroom is coming, that is for sure; the mere knowledge of that fact, however, is of little value in itself.  We need to read the rest of the verse which says, “Go ye OUT to meet Him.”  How many men of the cloth are today exhorting their people to “go out”?  The message is usually, “Come in, and bring your offerings with you!”

        The substance of the command to “go out” is so startling and jarring to the flesh that few care to hear it and even fewer care to obey it.  Most people want abstract teaching, i.e., a message which will not disturb their spiritual sleep.  They want to hear nothing about what God requires of them; they want to know more about His blessings and His promises, but nothing about obligations.  The command “Go ye out to meet Him” is an order which demands a response on the part of the hearer.

        The fact remains that only half of the virgins responded in a manner which would ensure their entering through the open door.

“Go Ye Out”

        The fact that the virgins were ordered to go out indicates they were in where they should not have been.  Wherever this in place was, it was not conducive to a close walk with God.  There the “spirit of slumber” prevailed.  The condition of sleep is the wrong place for saints to be in this hour.  If ever people need an awakening message, it is now, before the door is shut.

        “Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing” (II Cor. 6:16,17).  Here, the cry is, “Come out”; the location of the voice that calls is out, out of wherever the saints are.  In other words, they – the virgins and the people of God – are in when they should be out.

        In Revelation 18, we read of a woman called Babylon, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.  This “woman” is also called a city that has “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”  Astoundingly, many of God’s people are “in” that abominable city, because God calls from heaven with a loud voice, “Come out of her my people.”  There would be no reason to call them out if they were not in, but they are there in danger of partaking of her sins and suffering her plagues.

        God has determined to bring judgment upon that great city of Babylon, the stronghold of demons.  Many people try to portray the Roman Catholic church as the Babylonian city, but the R.C. church does not fit the description.  That wicked city is far older and larger than the R.C. church.  Revelation 18:24 says that “in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”  This “city” was influential in the death of Abel, the prophets, Jesus, Stephen, the martyrs of Rome, and both Catholics and protestants.

        This “mother of harlots” is none other than the dominion of Satan, that archenemy of God and God’s people.  It is he who has masterminded the “kingdoms of this world,” and who is the thief which “cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).

        Through his minions he has helped to separate, divide, and weaken the church of Jesus Christ, and in many instances he has taken over the reins of the assembly.  He has cunningly transformed his ministers as the ministers of righteousness, and himself as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:13–15).  He is behind the lawlessness and anarchy of this last day, inspiring men and women to ungodly deeds, both within the church and without.

        He has skillfully engineered the methods by which tyrants take over and control large segments of humanity.  Much of the commercialism of the world is the result of his gaining power over people through the instruments of greed, hatred, selfishness, and exploitation (Rev. 18:3,11,15,19,23).  He has succeeded in promoting his program of prosperity, materialism, and self–pride.  The exaltation of the ego has been one of his main weapons for conquest.

        But God is going to overthrow the satanic kingdom, and those who insist on remaining within the confines of that unholy city will go down with it: death, mourning, famine, and destruction by fire are the plagues which will be sent upon her and her inhabitants: spiritual death, spiritual sorrow (mourning), spiritual famine, and spiritual burning (Rev. 18:8).

        This downfall of Babylon is on God’s program and will surely come to pass.  It is necessary for God’s people to hear the call of the Lord to come out of her.  It is nearly impossible to remain within Babylon and not be a partaker of her sins.  The divine order to “love not the world neither the things that are in the world” (I John 2:15) is a difficult order to obey when one is constantly bombarded and surrounded by the world and its many attractions.

The Door Was Shut

        It is high time that those who know God ask Him for a revelation of how to “Go out to meet Him.”  The Lord has prepared a marriage feast, or celebration, in honor of the church becoming “one” with Jesus Christ (John 17:24).  Only those who meet the qualifications will be admitted to partake of that “supper”: “they that were READY went in with him to the marriage.”

        The state of readiness is not easily nor quickly acquired; it is the result of a process of discipleship, cleansing, purifying, obedience, submission, growth, walking in the light as He is in the light, conforming oneself to the image of Jesus Christ: “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14).

        Time is running out on this generation.  People have spurned the call of the Master to be ready, but events which are occurring and will continue to occur should cause many to become aroused and to begin to “trim their lamps.”  We can expect to see some very alarming circumstances in the near future as God sends warning after warning to the people of this earth that the end is drawing near.  These warnings are meant to shake the church out of its state of apathy and slumber so that the people will be ready before the door is abruptly shut.

        “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Rev. 22:11).

        The time to go out to meet the Bridegroom is BEFORE the above becomes a reality.

 

 

THE ATONEMENT

Harry R. Miller

        Perhaps no other Biblical subject or teaching portrays the Nature of God, His Benevolence, His Selflessness, His Love, His Mercy, His Justice, His Omnipotence, His Omnipresence, His Immortality, as the subject of the Atonement.  So majestic is The Atonement in content that it transcends the capability of man to unfold its glories.  Only the Holy Spirit is capable to touch that which is flesh and reveal the meaning of The Atonement.  Men can only write in a very limited way, that which they have received by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit concerning this great truth.

        The Atonement first of all, vindicates God in all of His wisdom, His plans, His works, and the exercise of His will.  This great display of the Nature of God exonerates Him in that it completely clears Him from all accusation, past, present, and future.  The Atonement demonstrates and shows that God was just and right in all of His plans and the many expressions of His wisdom.  There is no question by the angels of the Lord or of that great host of fallen angels and Satan, but that God is absolutely just and right in the manifestation of all His works.  If this were not so, His enemies would not hesitate to accuse Him of injustice.  The Scriptures state that “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11; Rom. 14:11).  The Atonement will show the Word of God to be immutable and incorruptible.

        The Atonement bridged an impassable gulf between the Lord God of heaven and earth, and finite, sinful and rebellious man.  Though man may desire to please God or to be reconciled to God – in himself he can do nothing that will satisfy the demands of love, mercy, and justice, or his own guilty conscience, so that he can find peace with the Great Creator God.  Man has reasoned that he must do something to appease God – an angry God.  Civilized and uncivilized peoples have offered up sacrifices, human and animal; severe forms of penance have been entered into; others may offer a few grains of rice or some flowers.  In each case the sacrifice was offered to make an atonement – to make expiation for their sins – to please God.  These people are convinced that God is angry with them and this is their way to gain His favor.  Contrast the purpose of the atonement – “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son,” “the just for the unjust,” to reconcile fallen, lost man.  Jesus “the LAMB OF GOD” offered Himself as a ransom, “took upon Himself our sins,” “became sin for us,” that we might be reconciled to the Father.

        “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the Atonement” (Rom. 5:8–11).  Jesus paid the ransom.  Jesus made the way.

        Incomprehensible, unfathomable.  Human wisdom is not able to imagine all that is involved in this great plan of Atonement.  Neither can human words describe the heights, the depths, the length, and the breadth of the marvelous expression of the heart of the Heavenly Father.  The Atonement is infinite in scope and boundless in magnitude.

        We see Calvary – not by the human eye or human understanding – but by the revealing power of the Holy Spirit.  It is this revelation of the Holy Spirit that enables us to comprehend, to a small degree, this benevolent heart of love, but this divine understanding is sufficient to melt the heart of stone and cause us to cast ourselves unreservedly and unconditionally at the feet of Jesus, broken and contrite.  So overwhelming is this manifestation of the love of God and His grace to us that the human heart will bow in submission and surrender to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Calvary is a part – but a glorious part of the Atonement.  We must understand that without the plan of the Atonement there would not have been Calvary.  Conversely – without Calvary the Atonement would have been impossible.

        The Atonement not only provided the means and a way for a rebellious, stubborn, proud, egotistical, selfish transgressor to be reconciled into the family of God, but also the Atonement manifested before angelic beings, evil spirits and man, the absolute justice of the law of God and its demands upon all beings.  The law of God judges righteously, justly and without partiality.  This infinite expression of the love of God has openly manifested the immutability of His law.  The Scriptures state that the “law is holy…and just and good” (Rom. 7:12).  The law of the Lord is best suited to the needs and problems of moral beings.

        The Word of God, His law, negates the antinomian doctrine which states that “the servants of God are free from the moral law by the doctrine of the dispensation of grace” (i.e. the people of God are not under law but under grace).  Consider how such a doctrine dishonors the Lord God of heaven and earth.  To teach or preach or believe that “in fulfilling the law” (Matt. 5:17), Jesus did away with the law, is not truth.  Read Matthew 3:15; when Jesus was baptized, He said that in so doing, He “fulfilled all righteousness.”  Because He fulfilled all righteousness in being baptized, did He do away with all righteousness?  The answer is emphatically NO!

        If there is no law – how can there be sin?  If there is no sin, why is salvation necessary?  Why did Jesus die on the cross?  Such teaching dishonors the Lord, His work and His Word.  According to I John 3:4, “sin is the transgression of the law.”  “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” (I John 1:10).  Yes, there is law and we are thankful for it.  There is also “a fountain opened to the house of David for sin and for uncleanness.”  Our transgressions can be forgiven and we can be cleansed.

        This marvelous plan and design of the heavenly Father is so majestic and so holy in its content and so vast in its scope that it is that “which things the angels desire to look into” (I Pet. 1:12).  To find the answer to “which things,” we must go back to the beginning, even “before the foundations of the earth,” back to “God’s eternal purposes,” given before the world began, back to the counsel chambers of glory where God’s purposes were formed.

        In the Scriptures we find that the “wisdom of God is a mystery” (I Cor. 2:7).  Jesus, while on earth spoke of “things which were kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 13:35).  Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:1–5,9 that this “mystery was not made known unto the sons of men” and that the “fellowship of the mystery hath been hid from the beginning of the world.”  Also, in Romans 16:25, “the mystery which was kept secret since the world began.”  We are told in II Timothy 1:9 that our “salvation and holy calling was given us in Christ before the world began.”  Peter understood this most intricate plan of the Father, for he wrote in I Peter 1:19, 20 “of Christ as a lamb and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world.”  John, in the book of Revelation 13:8, speaks of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.”

        Before the world began or “before the foundation of the world was laid” God the Father designed a plan so infinite and so astounding the angels desired to investigate the contents of His plan.  They could not comprehend the magnitude and scope of the wisdom made manifest in the structure of the complexities of the related parts in the unfolding of this plan.  The astounding part of this amazing plan was the fact that with all of the unfathomable intricacies involved, the plan was so simple “that the wayfaring men though fools need not err therein.”

God’s Plan

        The benevolent Nature of the Father required of Him to share the attributes of His Being with other moral beings who could be made worthy to qualify for this honor.  God could not compel or force these moral beings against their own will to make their choice for Him.  The Master Designer could bring moral influence through spiritual, physical, and moral conditions and situations that would assist the individual to see and understand the value to be obtained through his choice for moral values.  Neither could Satan and his angels use conditions and situations to force or compel these moral beings to choose contrary to their own will.  Each individual would be placed in an environment in which he would be subject to the actions of a Godly influence and an evil influence.  Just laws would control these external forces so that one force would not be permitted to exert a greater degree of influence upon the individual than that of the opposite force.  Justice would demand this in order than an intelligent evaluation could be made of the influence and a proper choice made in view of the end product: eternal life and immortality, or eternal damnation and death.

        The individual, by his own choice and free will, would decide as to the state of being into which he should enter at the end of his earthly existence.  Blame cannot be placed upon any other being, circumstances or any conditions for his final reward.  He made his own choice.  The judgment will show and demonstrate that there were those individuals who lived under every conceivable form of adverse conditions and circumstances and who were greatly persecuted – yet, of their own volition, they always chose the way of the Lord.  Their desire to love the Lord and to please Him in this “evil world” and, though knowing the weaknesses of their own flesh and the frailty of the human will, yet their desire to honor the Lord was sufficient to permit them to be “counted worthy” to enter into the “fellowship of the mystery” – eternal life and immortality.  The judgment will also show there were those who refused the Godly influence and made their choice for the reward of the state of eternal damnation.

        The Author, The Designer of the Atonement, “is no respecter of persons.”  The demands, the obligations, the standards, and the rules are the same for all.  The Father’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “died for the sins of the whole world.”  Provision has been made for the salvation of the whole world – every individual – if every individual will meet the demands and requirements for salvation.  The eternal destiny of each person rests within the will (power of choice) given to them.  Such power and authority is staggering – to think that frail man who is spiritually blind and “dead in trespasses and sin” can choose against The Great Creator God, The Mighty Lord God of Hosts, The Redeemer, The One who made reconciliation for them.  He does not use force to make void the choice of the stubborn and rebellious in heart.  He will use moral persuasion in hope that the blind eyes will be opened to see and the mind will be quickened to understand the error of the wrong choice.  When such a revelation is given by the Holy Spirit and received by the individual, there is a willingness to voluntarily repent and ask forgiveness for his sins and reverse his decision, for the Lord.

        The Lord God cannot force His Divine Nature upon moral beings.  Character, physical or divine, is not a gift.  The word character comes from a Greek word which means to scratch or engrave.  To engrave an object on a piece of metal, gold or silver, is accomplished by gouging out some of the metal with a metal gouge.  The desired object will be shown as an engraving in the precious metal.  Character is formed by the choices we make.  Choices for the better things of life produce a strong or good character.  Choices for the baser things of life produce a weak or bad character.  Divine character, the attributes of the Lord, are brought forth in the life of a person who is surrendered and submitted to the Lord, a person who is willing to bear the reproach of the Lord, and in the face of all adverse conditions and circumstances and persecution, his choice is, yes, Lord, Thy will be done. He is thankful to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is such choices in the difficult places that engraves the character, the attributes of Jesus, in the life.  It is in places of such extreme pressure that the servant of the Lord can “show forth the praises (virtues) of Jesus” (I Peter 2:9).

        “In the beginning,” in the counsel chambers of the Lord, when the “sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan came also among them,” the Father presented His plan before the hosts of heaven.  Before the world began, God that cannot lie PROMISED eternal life” (Titus 1:2).  There is another aspect given to this promise of eternal life other than that of an eternal existence.  “Who saved us and called us with an holy calling…according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but now is made manifest by the appearing of our savior, Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Tim. 1:9,10). Eternal life and immortality – characteristics of the Father.  Immortality has to do with that which is incorruptible, eternal, sinless, not able to sin, the ability to always make the correct choice: an eternal, sinless life with a nature that would possess the same characteristics as He who made the promise in Christ before the world began.

        Each individual who passed through this life would be a free moral agent, a moral being, subject to moral law.  As a moral being he would have the power of choice as well as a knowledge of good and evil.  He would possess the ability to comprehend and give expression to his comprehension.

        The Atonement, the plan of the Father, made provision for the transgression of His law in every realm – in the heavenly realm, in the garden, and in the earth.  The execution of the law of God alone on Satan and the host of rebellious angels was not sufficient to arrest the progress of rebellion and sin in the universe.  In the Garden of Eden, Adam transgressed the law of God.  “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat.”  Here was law; it was broken.  Sin entered the Garden of Eden.  The Scriptures state that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

        Here is the evidence that something more was needed to support the authority of God’s law.  The execution of the law and its penalty may have a strong tendency to restrain rebellion among rebels, but the law will not subdue the heart.  This is true in any government – human or divine.  Paul affirmed that the effect of the law on his impenitent heart was “to beget all manner of concupiscence in him” (Rom. 7:8).

        The entrance of sin, transgression of the law of God, demonstrates that “the carnal mind, is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).  The law in itself only irritates and exasperates rebels.

        In the execution of His law upon rebel angels and man, God demonstrated or made a display of His holiness and justice.  If these acts of severity and judgment were to be the only expressions of God’s character or Nature, human beings would be fearful of Him rather than desire Him and His government.  The Father could not compromise His law.  His law is “holy, and just and good…and spiritual” (Rom. 7:12,13,14).  David stated “the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul” (Psalms 19:7).  The Atonement made provision whereby fallen, blind, rebellious man would be able to see and comprehend by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit that this Great, Majestic, Holy, Benevolent Being, the Heavenly Father, had provided the way and the means for reconciliation.

        All created beings, human and angelic, must be able to receive knowledge and understand that God is just, merciful and impartial in all of His dealings with all beings.  Mankind must understand that the means the Father used to make reconciliation were just, also the demands He places upon fallen man for reconciliation and the motive for desiring reconciliation of those who are enemies must be of such a nature that only pure undefiled, unselfish love could be discerned as the compelling force for such reconciling actions.

        Not only would an Atonement meet the need of honest hearted individuals but also the Atonement would contradict the lies and slander Satan had used to seduce Adam and Eve and all mankind by inferring that God was selfish and tyrannical in demanding that His laws be obeyed.  Such provision would present strong motivation reasons, and a hunger and a desire to repent would be created in the hearts of those who comprehend this marvelous provision.  Human beings would be able to see and understand the sincerity and desire of God in His Word.  They could comprehend from the Word of God that the Atonement was just, that God was not making an offer of pardon and forgiveness from sin that was not valid and honest in all of its aspects.  The Atonement must inspire confidence in the offer and promises of pardon and forgiveness – in fact, in all the promises of God, that men would know that the Word of God was eternal, indestructible, sure and steadfast.

        Humanity must see and realize that the Atonement was the only possible means whereby rebels could be reclaimed and reconciled to God (Rom. 8:3,4).  This, in turn, would cause individuals to understand that there must be a due administration of justice with pardon and reconciliation.

        So then, the atonement was that provision of God which would completely and fully deal with all of the effects of sin and transgression in the universe.

        No doubt, one of the very strong reasons for the Atonement was God’s great love for sinners.  Sin was not an accident.  The foreknowledge of the Father made it possible for Him to see and understand the end from the beginning of His plan.  Through His infinite wisdom and foreknowledge He was able to make provision for every eventuality that might arise in the fulfilling of His plan.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).  Before the world began, this marvelous plan for the Atonement was formulated and designed; “Jesus was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times” (I Peter 3:20).  Calvary was the climax, the pivotal point of the Atonement.  It was this part of the Atonement that demonstrated the true nature and character of the Father and showed to the universe what was in His heart.  In the “giving of His Son” the Father lay open His heart that all creatures could inspect the motives and the reason for this sacrifice.  Such openness of Being would cause those who desire Him to surrender, to submit, to yield to Him and His will.  This degree of selflessness on the part of the Father and the expression of His love is the greatest force in the universe that will deter rebels and cause them to turn from their rebellion and repent.  To refuse this compelling and drawing power is to put oneself under the penalty of the law – eternal death.  To yield to this great love is to be partakers of His love and fellowship – now and through eternity.

        “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.  Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until He receive the early and latter rain” (James 5:7).

 

 

JESUS: THE GUARANTOR OF SUCCESS FOR THE CHRISTIAN

Kenneth Fountain

Many Christians view following Christ to be a daunting task since the believer is faced with the oppositions of Satan, the world’s enticements, and his own carnal nature.  The born–again Christian must realize that the full resources of heaven are commissioned to provide complete support, strength, ability and assistance to him throughout each day of his life (Isa. 41:9,10).  God’s purpose is to bring to perfection in one’s life all of the attributes of God, and the fruits of the Spirit.  The believer may then truly please and bring honor to the holy, righteous, perfect God who has invested in his life; thereby receiving quality and worthiness to reside eternally in the corridors of heaven: a chosen member of the divine family of God.

The Christian should also see that pursuing a walk with God is not drudgery, nor does it deprive one of satisfaction, pleasure or enjoyment.  Neither is pleasing God an impossible uphill trudge like the mythical Atlas trying to carry the world on his shoulder up a steep mountain.  Furthermore, God is not a cruel superior being wielding a bat with which to crack faltering man on the head, until after three strikes for failures, man is thrown out of heaven’s graces.  (Another carry–over thought derived from Greek mythology?)  But that, with the omnipotent power of God, His omnipresent attention to us, and His omniscient knowledge of our activities, actions, thoughts and intentions, His primary, overshadowing expressed means of working with mankind is love in all its marvelous qualities.

God did not create man and the world we live in so that He could laugh at puny man’s vain idiosyncrasies as a form of sadistic entertainment.  No!  His was a glorious purpose of sharing His boundless love with other beings who would reciprocate His love and desire of intimate fellowship.  He could have made robots or automatons, but true love from another must be willingly given from the heart.  There is no satisfying fellowship or intimacy in a forced relationship.  God created a being (man) in a setting conducive to generating choices based upon love; and He initiated the relationship by loving us first (I Jn. 4:19).  As man travels through his allotted time on this globe, he has opportunity to experience firsthand God’s love for him and make daily choices to either develop responsive love and fellowship in return, or to repulse God’s undeserved offer.

In short, God has looked through the labyrinth of time and the masses of humanity, and has chosen you (a believer and recipient of His mercy) to walk with Him (Eph. 1:3–7) because He knows you can.  He knows that you can successfully walk with Him, not due to any inner quality or capability of the individual (I Cor. 1:25–29), but because He has carefully made every provision, foreseen every possibility and eventuality, and given everything needed to see you through the challenges of human existence to the heavenly estate He has waiting for you.  Peter said, “According as His divine power hath given unto us ALL things that pertain unto life and godliness…that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:3,4).  Almighty God has staunchly set Himself to personally see you through, and to mold you into His image that you may have eternal, everlasting fellowship with Him in the glories of heaven.  He has assigned ministering angels to protect you (Ps. 34:7 & 91:11); His Holy Spirit to instruct, guide, direct, and provide understanding to you (Jn. 14:26); and His own blessed Son has fully paid the price for all your transgressions of His holy, perfect laws, and has further demonstrated – in human flesh – how to successfully walk with God (I Pet. 2:21).  Jesus Himself now sits with the Father addressing our needs before Him (Rom. 8:34), administering mercy and empowerment to us, and steadfastly, faithfully abiding with us through each day.  The Holy Spirit provides inner peace (Jn. 14:27) in spite of surrounding turmoil, residing joy (Neh. 8:10) in the midst of adversity, and abounding love in the face of opposition.  We also have God’s infallible Word, explaining God’s laws – guidelines to successfully navigate life and develop fulfilling relationships with our Creator – Scripture full of faithful promises, instructional examples, inspirational encouragements, and concrete principles to provide stability, understanding and foundation for truth and spiritual knowledge of God’s dealing with man and His eternal purpose for man.

What Is A Guarantor, And How Does Jesus Fill This Role?

Guarantee is defined as follows: (1.) something that assures a particular outcome or condition, (2.) a promise or an assurance that attests to the quality or durability of a product or service; a pledge that something will be performed in a specified manner, (3.) a guaranty by which one person assumes responsibility for paying another’s debts or fulfilling another’s responsibilities; a guaranty for the execution, completion or existence of something.  A guarantor is one who makes or gives a promise, assurance, or pledge relating to quality, durability, or performance.  A related word is surety, defined as follows: one who has contracted to be responsible for another, especially one who assumes responsibilities or debts in the event of default (American Heritage Dictionary I 4th ed.).

The following is an example in scripture of a surety:Jacob’s fourth son Judah offeredhimself as a surety to his father for the youngest brother, Benjamin, when his presence was required in Egypt to buy corn during the famine (see Gen. 43:8–10).  Jesus is our surety because He paid the debt we could not pay for our sins, since He alone was sinless, pure and holy: the perfect Lamb of God.  “Jesus was made a surety of a better testament (covenant)…Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.” (Heb. 7:22, 25–27)

        A guarantor then is the person who is responsible to affirm that an agreement, or promise, is thoroughly and completely performed and adhered to.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our guarantor to success because He has agreed with the Father to see us through this maze of life.  He has personally paid the price to re–establish fellowship between sinful man and holy God.  He daily intercedes for man before His Father.  He has promised that “some must enter in.”  He is committed to “bringing many sons to glory.”  The very fact that He has spoken to your heart and invited you to become His follower is evidence that you have been chosen to become a child of God.  “Who [Jesus Christ] shall also confirm [Gr.: to make firm,establish, make secure] you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Cor. 1:8,9).

Many diligent, sincere followers of Christ have given up the battle against sin in their lives because of impatience with themselves and frustration with their inability to be faithful in honoring God and pleasing Him with their thoughts, motives, and actions.  Their resulting position is “I can’t do it, I quit!” (Others have chosen the faulty premise that (1) God doesn’t seriously expect a person to become righteous in this life, or (2) His grace is sufficient and we don’t need to concern ourselves with sin.)  Quite frankly, “I Quit!” is actually the frame of mind we need to allow God to do the necessary work in our hearts and lives!  I cannot accomplish anything pleasing to God.  I must quit – stop working, go out of business, cease, desist, expire.  If I could cause the human nature to conform to the nature of Christ, I would receive the glory for the accomplishment: “I did it.”  It is because of God’s foreknowledge of man’s weaknesses and inclination toward wrongdoing and spiritual self–destruction that He provided a spotless lamb, Jesus, to pay the lawful penalty for sins that man could not pay.  Man is incapable of saving himself from sin, hence, the need for a Savior.  We must humble ourselves and accept His gift of unwarranted mercy; avail ourselves of His grace and empowerment; permit Him to wash us in His cleansing blood; and restore our fellowship with Him in faith, peace and joy.  This is the dependence He requires: the acknowledgement that we can not please Him in our own ability, but He has promised to carry us through and present us faultless before the Father’s throne (Jude 24).  Herein He receives all the glory of this magnificent accomplishment of bringing many sons to glory. (I John 3:2)  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

        Another derailing train of thought is erroneously based upon the 144,000 mentioned in Rev. 7:4.  The logic is that if God only saves that exact number, surely after six thousand years of earth’s existence, and the multiple billions of souls on earth through that time span, the count has been filled – no reservations left available.  They ignore verse nine of the same chapter which says, “a great multitude, which no man could number, of nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.”  (Remember that Revelation is a book of signs and symbols, and that numbers used in Scripture often represent spiritual truths.  The number 144,000 is equal to 12x12x10x10x10, and these numbers in themselves represent God’s perfect government amplified and exemplified in the lives of His people.)

Satan brings thoughts of giving up on ourselves, of looking at our failures instead of Christ’s abilities, and of becoming discouraged and feeling hopeless and helpless instead of resting in God’s loving mercy and faithfulness.  Notice this distinct difference in purpose: Satan condemns us for shortcomings and failures; God convicts of wrongs so they can be remedied (see Rom. 8:1).  He (Jesus Christ and His shed blood) is our remedy.  He who told Peter to forgive his offending brethren seventy times seven does the same with us, but we must understand, the number (70 x 7) is not an actual count; it is symbolic of complete (perfect) divine character – God does not retain a record of forgiven sins, He forgets them and erases them from our eternal record as though they never occurred (I John 1:9).  The writer of Hebrews wrote, “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8:12; 10:17).  As Charles Wesley wrote in the hymn “Blessed Be the Name,” “He breaks the power of cancelled sin, His blood can make the foulest clean, Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Full Payment For Sins Through His Blood Sacrifice On The Cross

        While it is true that the sinner must recognize his need of forgiveness and cleansing from sins to gain entrance to heaven, he can do nothing to actually pay the penalty that sins have incurred.  God requires that the sinner humbly, sincerely and honestly come before the throne with confession and remorse, then He grants forgiveness upon the merits of the complete sufficiency of the sacrificed blood of Christ.  There are consequences of sin exacted upon the individual due to existing natural and civil laws, but with confession and repentance to God, full payment for the sin is made.  The sinner who will acknowledge and forsake his sin before God is relieved of the burden of guilt from his previous wrongdoings and is granted communion with God.

        Ps. 32:1,2 &5: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  I [David] acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid.  I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”

Isa. 55:7: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

Jn. 1:29: “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.”

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

II Cor. 5:21: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Eph. 2:13: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

Heb. 8:12: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

Heb. 2:9: “But we see Jesus…suffering of death…that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

I Pet. 1:18,19: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

I Jn. 1:7: “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Qualified Us As His Children

        When we humbly and honestly look at ourselves in the light of God’s holy Word, we find ourselves echoing Isaiah’s words: “Woe is me!  For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5).  Even with man’s best efforts, God still sees us “all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6).  How then, could we ever possibly become acceptable before a perfect, holy God who demands of His family members (His children) that they also become holy and righteous?  It is a task man is incapable of accomplishing in himself, or by his own determined efforts.  It is necessary to depend upon God for this momentous attainment.  Our status without Christ is aptly described in Eph. 2:12, 13: “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”  It is because of God’s supreme love for His creation that we are invited to return to fellowship with Him and partake of the glories of heaven.  I Jn. 3:1,2: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him: for we shall see Him as He is.”  It is because of His mercy and faithfulness that we can be qualified to be called His children.  “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”(Col. 1:12).  We think of meet as meaning to come into contact with, or be introduced to, but here, the word meet is defined as to qualify, to enable, to render fit, to make sufficient; empowered, made worthy. (Strong’s, Vine’s, & Wycliffe’s)  He (Jesus) has, through His sacrifice and merciful grace, made us qualified to be saints: we did not qualify ourselves by good deeds, but by simple faith and obedience.  The Holy Father has commissioned His Son to oversee the work of qualifying His children.  We read in Hebrews 2:10, 11 that He is “bringing many sons unto glory, For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

Mediator/Intercessor Between Sinful Man And The Holy Father

        Since Adam’s and Eve’s failure in the Garden of God, and their subsequent dismissal from that glorious abode, man has been distanced from God because God is pure and holy, but man is polluted by sin.  We find throughout the Old Testament that in order to even approach the holy throne of God, man was required to make a blood sacrifice of an innocent lamb as atonement for sins.  These blood sacrifices (which were conducted for Israel by the priests) were a symbolic representation of the precious blood of Christ, the perfect Lamb of God.  Because He alone is sinless and undefiled before God, He alone is accepted before the Father.  He is THE intercessor before God for all mankind; He is THE mediator to the Father for our sins and our needs.  “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).  “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I Jn. 2:1).  “who [Jesus] is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Rom. 8:34).  “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us(Heb. 9:24).  “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them(Heb. 7:25).  Jesus fills the role of High Priest for all mankind before the heavenly Father.  “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 [to bring aid, or relieve, to run to the cry of help] them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:17,18).  “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  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” (Heb. 4:14–16).

We find that He (Jesus) is in constant communion with the Father because He is seated at the Father’s right hand in the heavens.  “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).  “Who [Jesus Christ] is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” (I Pet. 3:22).

The love of God for man, His boundless mercy, and supreme faithfulness make it possible for man to enjoy intimate communion with Him.  He is patient, kind and understanding with man.  He knows man’s frailties and shortcomings, but He extends His great love to compensate for our failures, washes and purifies us so that we may grow in Him, and develop stability and strength to overcome weaknesses.  David gave expression to these qualities of God’s love and mercy throughout the psalms: “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations” (Ps. 100:5 and 107:1).  “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy…He hath not dealt with us after our sins: nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.  For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:8, 10–14).

The Promised Surety Of The Everlasting Covenant (Firstborn Among Many Brethren)

        Jesus, the Son of God, is Himself the promise to humanity of eternal life.  He has given the Holy Spirit unto His followers to work within the heart as insurance and a constant reminder to us of His interest in our lives.  “For all the promises of God in Him [Jesus Christ] are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest [Gr. a pledge or down–payment given as a security for the rest] of the Spirit in our hearts”(II Cor. 1:20, 22).  “Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13,14).  The Holy Spirit has the ministry of guiding us closer to God by working in our hearts through the daily activities of life.  However, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is heaven’s provision for man to begin a new life in the spirit by being born again of the spirit.  He has, through His blood deposit, made a personal guarantee that man has access to complete forgiveness and cleansing from sin, and therefore a fully paid opportunity to be restored to fellowship with God – the opportunity Adam lost with his disobedience in the Garden of Eden.  (There was no blood sacrifice in the Garden.)

        “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament” (Heb. 7:22)(def.: a deposit, pledge, personal guarantee: security for a bargain)

Titus 1: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

I Jn. 2:25: “And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life.”

Jn. 6:39: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”

Jn 17:2: “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.”

Rom. 8:29: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Promises In Scripture Of His Faithfulness To His People, And His Ability To Bring Disciples To Perfection

        Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary was an all–encompassing work emphasizing His investment in and purpose for man.  It proves that He is devoted to embrace any means necessary to accomplish His goal of producing a divine family, whose members embody His attributes, respond to and reciprocate His supreme love.  Not only is He completely faithful, He is completely committed as well – there are no limits to the scope and magnitude of His intent.

Jesus’ sacrifice and plan:

        Eph. 1:4: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”

        Eph. 5:25, 27  “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Col. 1:22,28: “In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight…that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus’ ability to sustain us:

Jude 24: “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”

II Tim. 1:12: “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”

Jn. 10:28: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.”

Phil. 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Eph. 3:20:Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

Jesus’ dependability – our Solid Rock:

Rev. 19:11–13: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True…and His name is called The Word of God.”

Heb. 13:5:I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Matt. 28:20: “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

Ps. 94:14: “For the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance.”

Notice, the Lord has an investment in His people that He will not neglect to watch over and protect them so He gets due return.  “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom 8:32)

Provision Of The Holy Spirit Within To Guide And Discipline His People (He convicts of sin; and chastisement is evidence of sonship.)

        John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  (Note: The word Comforter is from the Greek word parakletos, which means “to call beside.”  In ancient Greece, a paraklete was a teacher, a private tutor who went everywhere with his student beside him.  The word means not only to give comfort, or consolation, but also exhortation, and encouragement.)  A major role of the Holy Ghost in one’s heart is to instruct him in the paths of righteousness.  He does this by reminding the student (disciple) of what the Master said.  He also works within the inner man to bring understanding of spiritual truths stated in Scripture, because without the ministry of the Holy Ghost within, the Holy Bible is only another book.  The Spirit gives the Word of God life and vitality to bring spiritual life to the believer’s inner man.  (“for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” II Cor. 3:6)

        John 16:13: “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.”

        In verse eight of John 16, we find another aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work: “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”  It is the Holy Spirit then who convicts us of sins, not just a “conscience.”  His work in the heart to reprove, or chastise, is a sign that God is at work within the heart of the believer.  This actually is an encouraging confirmation of sonship!  He does not permit His family members (sons) to sin by shortcoming, ignorance, or stubborn intent, without pricking the heart with conviction and correction.  (Remember that sin separates one from God.)  “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12:5–7)In Romans 8:14, we read the following: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

Man’s Inability To Overcome Sin Himself Versus Ability Acquired Through God

        Paul describes man’s innate tendency toward sin in Romans 7:14–21 when he describes his own battle with carnality and sin.  In verse fourteen, he says, “but I am carnal, sold under sin.”  And verse fifteen states, “For that which I do I allow not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”  He depicts a true human dilemma, but the chapter closes with the proclamation that Jesus Christ our Lord delivers from this body of death (verse 24, 25).  In Gal. 5:17, we read, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”  We find these words in Eccl. 7:20: “there is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not.”  David wrote in Ps. 14:1, “there is none that doeth good.”  Also, in Ps. 130:3, he writes, “If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?”  (Obviously from this comment, none would stand because of his own righteousness apart from God.)  Jesus himself stated in Mk. 10:18, “there is none good but one, that is, God.”

It should be evident then that man, in himself, is hopelessly inclined toward wickedness and sin.  Man is not strong enough in himself to overcome the temptations of sin.  (Even a born–again believer must depend upon the power of God within his life to strengthen his resolve and guide him with wisdom from above in order to gradually become a steadfast overcomer.  At the time of one’s new birth, he receives a new heart, with new desires to please God, and a delight in obeying God’s will and commands.)  He needs help – deliverance by One who is much greater and more able than man.  Thankfully, God in His wisdom, power and foresight has “laid help upon One that is mighty” (Ps. 89:19).  David stated, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Ps. 18:2).  Paul said in Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Without the constant working of God in his life, Paul would have been a dismal human failure, overwhelmed by sin!  The apostle John said in Jn. 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”  It is God’s power within the life that makes it possible for the believer to walk above sin.  In Rom. 8:37, after listing numerous obstacles in our human existence, Paul writes, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”  We are told in Heb. 12:1, 2, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”  Also in Eph. 4:24, Paul wrote, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”  These are things that the believer does to avoid sin, but notice that in both of these verses, Jesus has an integral part in the process.  He is always faithful to us, so when there is a failure, or shortcoming, the cause of the wrong is in us, not in Him.

The word grace is generally believed to mean simply divine favor, or unmerited mercy, but several verses where grace is used, it evidently has more to do with a spiritual empowerment from God: His enabling power is extended to man to reside in his heart and generate boldness and confidence for his walk with God.  For example, Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Also, in Heb. 12:28, we read, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Paul, in II Cor. 12:10 wrote, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Again, in Acts 20:32, “I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up.”  God has not intended that man fight his carnal nature, the world and the devil in his own ability or strength.  He has provided the necessary (not optional) help through Christ that we can overcome any obstacle no matter how insurmountable it may seem from our human viewpoint.  HE IS ABLE, and He causes us to be enabled by His supreme, omnipotent power and might.  “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence(I Cor. 1:24–29).

We find numerous scriptures describing God’s involvement in the lives of His servants.  This “support system” is to some degree dependent upon our faith and obedience, but the promises found in the Word supersede our feelings and environment.  The following scriptures are a brief list demonstrating His ongoing care toward His children.

Heb. 13:5, 6: “for He hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’  So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’”

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

Phil. 4:19: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Eph. 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

II Pet. 1:3, 4: “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Rom. 8:32: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

Jn. 14:16: “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.”

Jn. 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Because Jesus himself is in control of our “adoption process,” we can truly have joy unspeakable and full of glory, and enjoy peace and calm in our spirits despite outer turmoil.  As Paul said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith be content” (Phil. 4:11).If we only keep our hands in His, and follow His leading, we will reap the blessings promised.  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Ps. 23:6).  He is the Shepherd of our souls, and wants us to fully trust His love and care for us.  “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (I Pet. 5:7).

 

 

THE CHURCH OF GOD

Randall Walton

        In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he spoke of five distinct ministries or offices which had been given to the Body of Jesus to facilitate the divine work of the Holy Ghost among God’s people.  These ministrations, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11), were given for a definite purpose which Paul categorizes into three different avenues of expression:

  1. For the perfecting of the saints: to equip or make fully prepared.
  2. For the work of the ministry: to make the ministry of the church effective in accomplishing its mission on the earth.
  3. For the edifying of the body of Christ: the growth of the body to full maturity, both in strength and in composition.

Paul further advises us that these administrations were to continue to function “till we ALL come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (4:13).

        It is most evident that these goals have not been reached by the body of Christ.  There is little real unity even in an individual denomination, let alone the whole body of believers.  Neither has the body attained the standards of the nature of Jesus Christ!

        The only logical conclusion we can deduce from these things then, is that the body is in desperate need of a restoration of these ministries in order that the intended goal for the church may be apprehended.  It is no secret that the present professing Christian institution bears little resemblance to that glorious body which was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost as recorded in the book of Acts.  One only needs to make a general comparison from the first few chapters of the Acts to confirm this statement.

        With world wide events taking place as they are at the present time, the need for this restoration is greatly amplified, for the challenges which face the church on every side are so menacing and threatening that only a divinely empowered and Holy Ghost anointed people will be able to endure the pressures of these evil days.

What Were Those Ministries?

        Many people refer to the list of ministries in Ephesians 4 as the “Five–Fold Ministry.”  There have been many attempts to duplicate this five–fold work of God, but so far all of these attempts have failed.  The reason for the failures, of course, was because the effort was made at the behest of the flesh and not by the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  With all of his ingenuity, man cannot reproduce the works of the Holy Spirit, and the five ministries which were given by Jesus to His body were Holy Ghost appointed, anointed, directed, and governed.  Man was the mere instrument through which the Holy Ghost ministered, he was not the instigator, nor innovator of the Holy Spirit.

        We have observed many people attempting to “help” the Spirit by their own manipulations.  In many so–called Holy Ghost meetings where the Spirit of God was not moving, different individuals have “prophesied,” or have demonstrated certain physical manifestations as a sort of proof of their spirituality.  (Actually, the depth of anyone’s spirituality can be measured by their daily living habits and conduct, rather than their ability to run up and down the aisles and jump over the pews or chairs.)

        It is most evident from the context of Ephesians 4:10–14 that those ministries were the work of the Holy Spirit through individuals who were called and designated by the Spirit of God for a particular ministry.  The Holy Spirit was in charge of every phase of the work and the divinely inspired people were but vessels who were used by the Lord for the benefit of the Church.