People of The Living God

Romans 10:9-10


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May 2015





The Decline of Religious Freedom

James Sanderson

        The book of Acts records an account in which the apostles were hauled before the ecclesiastical authorities because they had been teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.  Multitudes of new believers had been “added to the Lord” (Acts 5:14).  Many, “vexed with unclean spirits,” had been delivered, and the sick had been healed (verse 16).  The religious leaders became “filled with indignation” particularly because these men had defied a previous order to discontinue their teaching.  The high priest asked, “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?”  Peter and the apostles responded, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  It is quite apparent that religious freedom and freedom of speech were not top priorities with the Jewish leadership.

        The situation that these early Christians had to face was nothing new.  Throughout the Biblical record, saints have had to make the choice of standing for God or denying their faith because of some authoritarian opposition.  Daniel and the three Hebrew children are examples.  Many of the prophets of old also faced persecution, jail, or even death simply because they decided to “obey God rather than men.”

        We Americans have been fortunate to live in a country where we have been able to practice our faith without fear of governmental reprisal or persecution.  Such has not been the case with many believers in the past.  Even today Christians in many lands live under the specter of government fines, incarceration, or death.  A recent Pew research study found that Christians faced some form of harassment for their faith in 102 countries out of the 198 countries examined in this study (Feb. 26, 2015).  Incidentally, Christianity had the highest rate of harassment of all the faiths studied.

        In recent years, evangelical Christians in America have had to deal with mounting opposition from government and society at large because of their stand for those moral principles found in the Scriptures.  The last fifty or sixty years have witnessed a dramatic decline in religious freedom.  “If the history of freedom were graphed, this would be the lowest point in a curve since the 1960’s, when the Supreme Court issued several momentous decisions on school prayer.  Our level of religious freedom is falling, and all signs indicate that it will continue to do so” (Religious Freedom and the American Settlement; Luis A. Silva; April 16, 2014).  It is interesting to note that this steady decline in religious freedom coincides with the decline in the American family.  In 1960, 73% of children lived in a traditional family with a mother and father at home.  Today, according to a Pew research study, only 46% of American children live in a home with a traditionally married husband and wife. 

        Children, especially those of faith, have to deal with many social pressures encouraging them to deviate from their religious values.  “Today, our children in public school are faced with the increasing reality that not only is there no room for their faith at school, but that some feel there is no room for people of faith either.  Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a non-profit organization in California, reported an increase in reports of school teachers and officials bullying Christian students in public schools for their religious beliefs” (U.S. News and World Report; Mercedes Schlapp; April 18, 2014).

        One U.S. Senator stated, “Religious Freedom is dying at the altar of political correctness” (Rand Paul, Oct. 23, 2014).  Those who adhere to a Biblical worldview are not considered to be politically correct; consequently, their religious rights are now being denied in many areas of the public arena.  “Before I speak about the ominous trends in America to curtail freedom of speech, let me tell you about Dr. Charles H. McVety, president of Canada Christian College in Toronto, whose television program was removed from the air because he had the temerity to preach against homosexuality.  Later, he was allowed back on television, but now he has to submit his program to the Canadian Broadcast Standard Council every Wednesday for review by the censors on Thursday, and then, if approved, can be broadcast on Sunday.  As far as I know this panel does not rule on programs that are immoral or violent, just on those that dare to be politically incorrect, such as a minister who believes the Bible and therefore opposes same-sex marriage” (The Demise of Religious Freedom in America; Moody Church Media, Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, 2014).

        This decline in religious freedom also coincides with society’s decline in moral standards.  As the secular world continues to assimilate the immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah, Christians will become more marginalized and will have to make some tough decisions.  “A growing number of incidents show that the redefinition of marriage and state policies on sexual orientation have created a climate of intolerance and intimidation for citizens who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that sexual relations are properly reserved for marriage.  Now comes government coercion and discrimination.  Laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity are being used to trump fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion” (“Bake Us a Cake, or Else!,” National Review, Feb. 18, 2014).

        When will conditions change?  If the Word of God is correct, these trends will continue and become more widespread.  The world at large has never appreciated the message of Jesus Christ.  As opposition to Biblical moral principles becomes more widespread, Christians can expect increased hostility to their faith.  Like those early apostles, many in this end-time will have to face the same choice: obey God or men – stand for godly principles or cave to the forces of darkness.

        The prevailing situation is another indication that we are living in the end of time.  In His Mt. Olive address, Jesus stated, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matt. 24:9).  In the book of John, He also stated, “Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:2).

        Americans tend to forget a valuable truth.  Our religious liberties issue not from Washington, D.C., but from the very throne of God Himself.  When a nation turns its back on God, that nation has turned its back on the very source of liberty.  Without a spiritual wall of defense, the way is opened for authoritarian rule.

        These are serious times in which we live.  Unfortunately, much of Christendom is asleep to the urgency of the hour.  It is imperative for every Christian to awaken to the gravity of the situation.  “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awaken out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Rom. 13:11-12).  Note that light is a defense against the enemy.  Satan and his cohorts accomplish their nefarious schemes in the shadows of darkness.

        Preparation is the key word for this desperate hour.  Sleep is the greatest hindrance to preparation.  Concerning His coming, Jesus Christ repeatedly emphasized the necessity of being ready.  Merely calling oneself a Christian and attending church will not be sufficient.  Only those who procured sufficient oil in their lamps went in to the marriage (Matt. 25:10).  Only those who watched did not have to suffer their houses to be broken up (Matt. 24:43).  Only those who endure unto the end will be saved (Mark 13:13).  One must understand that the words light, sleep, oil, lamps, and houses are Scriptural terms used to explain spiritual truths.

        We, as Christians, need to devote our time and energies to the spiritual preparation that God requires.  “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.  Redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).  The Apostle Paul reminds us that God has granted to each of us only so much time.  The wise follower of Jesus Christ will use that time to make his “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).  It is in the day of peace and calm that one makes his preparation.  When the storm comes, it is too late.  Jesus emphasized this fact when He contrasted the man who built his house on a rock with the man who built his house on sand (Matt. 7:24-27).  One man dug deep and secured the foundation of his house to a rock.  The other man was more careless and simply built his house on sand.  Both houses looked nice.  Nevertheless when the winds, the rains, and the floods came and beat upon both houses, only the house established upon the rock weathered the storm.






        Brother George Clifton Scullin, who has been a member of People of the Living God since our commencement in 1933, passed away on April 6th 2015, after having a long life of just over 99 years.  He was born December 2, 1915, in Alberta Lea, Minnesota.

        Brother George dedicated his life to God at an early age, and in 1937 traveled to an extremely poor area of Kentucky where he worked alongside other members of the church.  Brother George devoted himself to studying God’s word and, like the Bereans, accepted things taught by any minister only after he “searched the scriptures…whether those things were so”.

        He met Alda Mae Franke in California and they were married May 2, 1938, after which the two of them went to Kentucky to contribute to the mission there.  They were later blessed with three daughters, Margaret, Jeanine and Georgia.

        In the early 1950’s George was involved in tent meetings throughout the south.  He also worked on building a tugboat which was to be used for pulling a paddle wheel boat up and down the rivers to use for ministry.  The boat would give the laborers a place to stay, and they could minister in towns near the rivers.

        In the ‘60’s he and Sister Alda moved to New Orleans and began working with sailors and merchant marines who came to the ports in New Orleans.  He also took the position as principal of a small Christian school in Crown Point, Louisiana, where they taught using the A Beka curriculum.

        In the ‘80’s he took a trip into Mexico and Central America to preach the Gospel.  After returning, he went to the Northwest to minister to some people in Idaho.  He later moved to Fruitland, WA, and from there traveled to various places in Washington, Idaho and Oregon to minister whenever he was invited.  In all these ministries, his wife, Alda, supported and contributed as a faithful and dedicated wife.  Brother George was a great Bible teacher and taught classes whenever and wherever opportunity arose.

        Brother George also loved music and loved to sing.  He and Alda sang everywhere they went to minister.  He led the song service many years for People of the Living God and was very sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit.

        Brother George was not without persecution.  He experienced many difficult times because he held so strongly to Christ’s words and would not compromise his convictions for anyone.  This gained him some enemies and cost him some friends.

        He was one of the strong pillars in this church and he will be sincerely missed.  May God raise up others to continue to carry the torch of truth that Brother George has faithfully carried.

        Following are three articles Brother George wrote in the past which we print here in his honor.


Picture of George Scullin





George Scullin

        John 15:7: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  Did Jesus actually mean these words, or was this just idle talk?  Since He is God, is He not able to give anything to His people, whether it be riches and power, strength and health, or even life itself?  Did He not tell the fishermen where to catch fish in such abundance that their nets could not hold them all?  Was Peter really sent to take a coin out of a fish’s mouth or was that a trick?  Didn’t Christ heal multitudes of sick and diseased and even raise the dead, including one that was stinking from decomposition?  The answer to all of these questions is YES – absolutely YES.

        He is the Creator – the maker of all that man surveys, and more, for without Him was not anything made that was made (John 1:3 and Col. 1:16).  God said, “the cattle on a thousand hills” are His and since He made all these things, and shall destroy them when He chooses, is that not sufficient proof that God controls these things today?

        But, what about these words in John 15:7?  Don’t people ask what they will when they pray?  Friends, let God be true and every man a liar.  God never fails, for He honors His word above His name.  When man meets the condition set forth, then (and not until then) God will do His part.  The requirements of this agreement are two in number.

        First, the man must abide in Christ.  To “abide” is to dwell continually, not just occasionally.  A person living in a city may have a cottage at the beach where he goes occasionally, or on Sunday, but he does not abide in the cottage – his dwelling is elsewhere.

        So it is with the bulk of religious people today.  Once or twice a week they make a social call on the Lord for an hour or two, but the rest of the week they live as their selfish hearts want them to live, spending their time to satisfy their own selfish lusts and desires.  Others may be more ambitious in their religious actions, but they still miss it because their faith is in a religious organization instead of in God.  They feel that their affiliation with their church is sufficient, but no church can save anyone.

        The difference between these people and the child of God is that the child of God has received the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9).  He doesn’t go once in a while and visit with the Lord – he lives with God, he is the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16).  They abide one with the other.  He feels the presence of God and knows the moving of God’s Spirit within him as God directs his daily life.  “If ye abide in me and…”

        “my words abide in you.”  This second condition is very important in this agreement between God and man, but just what did Jesus mean by “my words abide in you.”  By reading the parable of the sower (Luke 8:1-15) we get a better understanding of what is meant by “words abide in you.”  Notice especially verses 12-15 and see the different types of people and what each one does with the Word.  Only the good ground (they which in an honest and good heart, hear the word and KEEP it) brings forth fruit for God.  David said in Psalm 1:2 that the man of God found his “delight in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”  This is quite different from thinking about it only when the preacher draws his attention to it, for this man meditates on it day and night.  He also bears fruit for God, verse 3.  He is the “good ground.”

        Jesus said (John 14:23): “If a man love me he will keep my words.”  In verse 21, He said practically the same thing about His commandments.  His word, His commandments, His will – keeping and doing these are a proof of love for God.

        Consider each of the Ten Commandments carefully.  Anyone that is honestly trying to keep these words of God is doing well, but that isn’t all.  Read John 13:34; Matt. 6:31-33; Luke 14:26,27,33 and Luke 10:27.  Where do you find people today who even believe in these things, let alone try to observe them?  The men of God in the early church kept these words of Christ, and as long as they did, God answered their prayers.  “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”





George Scullin

        In Luke the tenth chapter, Jesus had sent the seventy out to preach the Kingdom of God, and they had returned rejoicing that the devils were subject to them (verse 17).  Jesus then said to them in Luke 10:20, “In this rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”  Was there something wrong with casting out devils?  Did not Jesus send the twelve out, giving them power to heal the sick and cast out devils (Luke 9)?  Did not He say that believers would cast out devils, speak with tongues and heal the sick (Mark 16:17,18)?  After Pentecost, did not the apostles have power to do all kinds of miracles and supernatural works?  Casting out devils is a supernatural work.  Some think that supernatural works are evidence of spiritual stature.  The truth is that supernatural works are not proof of godliness and do not assure one of eternal life.  In Matt. 7:22,23, Jesus said many will claim that their supernatural works qualified them for eternal life.  NOT SO.  Jesus did not deny their works.  He just said He did not KNOW them, and evidently they did not know Him, for He called them workers of iniquity.  Knowing God is more than acknowledging that He exists.  One does not really know God unless he has a very personal relationship with Him; a recognition of His majesty that is to be honored and revered.

        How do we know that our name is written in heaven?  How do we know that we love God?  How do we know that we know God?  “By this we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3,4).  That is how we know that we know Him.  We do not know that we know Him just because we feel good when we are singing some chorus about God’s love for us.  We do not know that we know Him because we speak with tongues.  People speak with tongues and do not really know God.  Men need to get this message: spirit manifestations do not prove that one has a relationship with God!  The proof is that we DO WHAT HE SAID TO DO.  If we do not apply the commands of the Lord Jesus to our lives and walk with God in His way, we are not going to make it.  Do not expect to be there.  He said so very plainly.  “He that has my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me” (John 14:23).  This is the evidence that our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life; that we love God, and that we know God.

        Abraham had no supernatural works, but he knew God and God knew him.  Abraham had a personal relationship with God, and he honored God by obedience.  God said concerning Abraham, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment, that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Gen. 18:19).

        Those that believe that they know God because they are engaged in religious activities will not be prepared for the troubles that Jesus warned would come in the end time.  World conditions show that we are on the verge of great changes; and we need to be prepared, because great changes are going to take place among God’s people, also.

        Jesus warned us of the days that would be like Noah’s day (Matt. 24:37-39).  When Noah and his family entered into the ark, God shut the door.  No one else was saved.  Jesus said, in Luke 13:24-27, that the “Master of the house” is going to shut the door again, and many will seek to enter in and shall not be able.  These are religious people; they are not sex perverts or murderers.  The people are going to say, “We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets” (verse 26).  These are people who desire eternal life.

        Folks, the day of salvation is going to end when God shuts the door, and those that KNOW NOT GOD are going to be lost eternally.  “Blessed are they that DO His commandments that they might have right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).  Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”  Obedience to His words is the required qualification for the right to eternal life.  But men do not want to “Do His commandments.”

        Instead of the statutes and standards that God instituted, men have devised their own inventions that appeal to the flesh, thinking that God will accept their human inventions as a substitute for spiritual values.  This is actually rebellion, for they are despising God’s ways and doing their own ways.  For example, consider music in the church: music was once an expression of worship, but it has become entertainment and showmanship.  It may increase the size of the congregation, but God will never accept it as a substitute for obeying Him, for worshiping Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

        Jesus did not accept the hypocritical churchmen of His day.  He said, “Why do you call Me, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).  He even told them they were of their father, the devil (John 8:44).  He did not compromise His standards for men’s desires.  Esau despised the blessing of God.  It meant nothing to him.  He traded it for a mess of pottage.  Men despise the blessing of the Lord today; they despise the straight gate and narrow way that leads to life.  They despise the commands of Jesus.  They despise the way of righteousness.  They despise truth.  They despise everything that God called men to embrace and to live by.

        Jesus said, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).  Men do not want to come to Him.  They want Him to come to them.  They want His salvation; they want Him to bless their program; they want Him to bless the way of life they choose.  They want Him to bless their teachings and practices.  They say that we live in a different era, and the teachings of Jesus are not applicable to our time.  God will not accept their reasonings, and they will be judged as everyone else according to the words He spoke (John 12:48).  They do not know God and will not receive eternal life.

        “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).  “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3).





George Scullin

        There are a number of places in the gospels where Jesus taught about the last days and conditions that would exist in the end time.  In Luke 17:28, He said, “As it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”  These six things stated here are what we consider normal activities.  They were not bad things; after all, doesn’t everyone live this way?

        Notice here that Jesus did not say anything about their morals, although Genesis 19:4-10 graphically pictures the great homosexual debauchery that existed in the city of Sodom.  Was their immorality the sin for which God destroyed Sodom, or was there something wrong with these activities that Jesus mentioned?  Was sin connected with these activities?

        We find the answer to this question in Ezek. 16:49,50: “Behold this was the iniquity (sin) of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, an abundance of idleness within her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.  And they were haughty, and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw good.”  the six things listed here are spoken of as iniquity.

        #1 – Pride.  Is there a people that are proud of their riches, their greatness; a nation that declares itself to be the most powerful nation on earth; one that boasts of being greatest in all things; a nation that says to the rest of the world, “Do as we do”?  Does this picture the U.S. of A?

        #2 – Fulness of bread.  Wal Marts in every village.  McDonald’s that have spread all over the world, children and their parents waddle about like overweight ducks, food is wasted daily; enough to feed millions.

        #3 – Abundance of idleness.  Thousands of dollars are paid for an occasional family holiday.  People commuting by plane for weekly sports events.  Credit card indebtedness is considered by many to be the normal way to live.  The lure of entertainment is irresistible.  A great flood, composed of entertainment on the TV, internet, movies, books, music (so called), sports, etc. are sweeping many to destruction who are not building on the rock (Matt. 24-27).

        #4 – Did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.  In this affluent nation, many live in poverty, unable to afford decent housing or health care.  Leave it to the government to take care of them.  Famine can ravage a great area and people may starve somewhere else in the world.  Who cares?

        #5 – They were haughty.  Present day Sodom boasts, we are rich and have need of nothing, we are strong, we have the most sophisticated weapons, we are self-sufficient.  Our mandates make tyranny tremble.  Beware of our wrath.

        #6 – They committed abomination.  Lev. 20:13 – Homosexual activity is abomination in the eyes of God.  This was rampant in ancient Sodom.  Everyone knows there is much abomination in modern day Sodom, so we will not dignify it by giving it further exposition.

        With all these conditions present today, men just go on living, unaware that the handwriting is on the wall and sudden destruction is soon to fall.  Who will escape the destruction?  In Luke 21:34, Jesus warned us to beware of three things lest we be overcome and unprepared.  “Take heed to yourselves, lest at anytime your heart be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life.  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.”  These are not idle words to be carelessly shrugged off.  What is involved in “surfeiting, drunkenness, and cares of this life”?

        #1 – Surfeiting.  Strong’s Exhaustive Greek Concordance, #2897, defines surfeiting as “a debauch.”  Debauch is a French word meaning “to lead away or seduce, as from an allegiance.  To lead away from virtue or excellence; corrupt.  To indulge excessively in sensual pleasures, especially, eating and drinking” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).

        #2 – Drunkenness.  This means to be drunken, BUT God uses it metaphorically as the “spirit of deep sleep” (Isa. 29:10).  They are not aware of what is taking place round about them.  They do not realize that the standards of righteousness are being torn down on every side, opening the floodgates for the powers of hell to come in and take control.

        #3 – Care of this life.  This is anxiety about things pertaining to this earthly life.  Worry.  Pulled this way and that way by problems and things into which we get involved: eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.  They choke out one’s spiritual life (Luke 8:14).

        With such an abundance of nice things to entice us, it is hard to get people interested in the call of God to prepare for this day.  Even serious Christians become so involved with the cares of this life that their ardor for God cools and genuine worship becomes mere formality.  The requirements for salvation separate God’s people from the ways of Sodom.





Kenneth Fountain

      Many sincere Christians are crippled in their relationship with God by the knowledge of their own unworthiness to be ambassadors of the faith, or even bear the name Christian.  That name means “little Christs” or follower or disciple of Christ which denotes aligning oneself with His teachings and example of character.  Feelings of unworthiness are often brought on by close self-examination and sincere recognition of fault within one’s being whether those faults be found in the thoughts and intents of the heart or in one’s speech or conduct toward others.  Of course, Satan is also quick to point out a person’s faults and failings to promote lack of worth because of our unfaithfulness, unreliability, stubbornness, rebellion, shortcomings and failures.  Too often we look at ourselves through human eyes colored by Satan’s lenses.  This brings condemnation, discouragement, despair, and withdrawal from fellowship with God.  Prayer and worship become hindered as one feels alienated from the Lord, and confusion and hopelessness further distance one from the source of help.

       God’s assessment of our human condition is much different from our own “for He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)  To view our situation from His standpoint, we need to examine the Word of God, exercise faith in His Word and trust Him to honor His holy writ as He has promised to do.  If a person is a born-again Christian, washed in the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, then at some point, he must have confessed sin, repented in his heart of them, and believed on the Lord for the salvation of his soul.  We read in II Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Also, in I Cor. 6:11, “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  These have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18,19).

       It is true that Jesus has commanded, “be ye holy for I am holy,” but we are not expected to achieve this by our own determined efforts.  Many give up right here, recognizing the impossibility of gaining perfection themselves.  Just as we who are parents have goals in mind for our children, some are expected for each day, some for each year, and many future goals are to be attained by adulthood; even so, God has the ultimate goal of perfection for each of His chosen children, but He realizes that we will have failures along the way.  What is truly important is how one responds to his failures.  Does he become discouraged and quit, does he refuse to admit his error and blame someone else; or does he admit (confess to God) that he has failed to honor the Lord, ask forgiveness for his shortcoming (his sin) and desire to do better (repent) going forward?  Paul, in his letters to the Ephesian church and the Colossian church, charged them to walk worthy of their calling in the Lord.  With both, he spoke of the need for lowliness, meekness (Eph. 4:1-3), patience and longsuffering.  “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Col. 1:9-11).  When one falls flat on his face in the muck of sin he must, through God's grace, get up again (and again), wash in the blood of Christ, and walk on in newness of life.

       When we fall short of the Lord’s standards in our lives, we want to make amends and earn the right to be forgiven due to renewed merits or service.  However, the Word shows a different route to forgiveness and reinstatement to God’s favor.  David had some experience with sin and the desire to make sacrifices to restore himself into God’s graces.  He said in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  Also in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”  We cannot just apologize to God and promise to make things right so we may renew our fellowship with Him.  Our redemption is based purely upon the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ.  It is He who must “create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit” as well as “restore the joy of salvation” (Psalm 51:10, 12).

       John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  This sounds too simple for most of us, but God is interested in our hearts, not our self-righteousness which He regards as “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6).  Sincere, humble repentance and faith are the prerequisites to forgiveness before God.  As tenderhearted little children, we must come before “the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).  This is the same exercise of faith required of us when we first came to 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” (Eph 2:12,13).  It is His blood, and only His blood, that covers our sins at initial salvation, and every time thereafter!  There is a fountain still open for washing away sin and uncleanness in our lives, and this may be utilized anytime there is a need (Zech. 13:1).  As the old hymn states, “What can wash away our sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”  It is His righteousness that is attributed to us, not gained by us.  “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Prov. 20:9)  Consider Paul’s words in Romans (3:22): “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (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.”  Notice that it is because of His grace, His blood and His righteousness; not ours: we receive no credit or glory for the achievement.  We are frail humans, the dust of the earth without capabilities or worth of our own.

       No matter how stubbornly or determinedly we pursue holiness, it is completely unattainable without Him!  Jesus plainly stated, “for without Me ye can do nothing.  If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples” (John 15:5, 7,8).  This abiding in Christ is the same theme John presented in I John 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.”  As David said, “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin” (Psalm 38:18).  “I 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” (Psalm 32:5).

       Sin separates from God, and also causes a breach in the protective spiritual hedge around the Christian (Eccl. 10:8).  Satan then has opportunity to bring in condemnation to the heckled soul in an effort to suppress the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and restore the fallen saint to divine glory.  Faith in the Word must again work to overcome this, for “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1).  God does not condemn.  God chastises and corrects; He convicts of sin, that repentance may come forth and fellowship restored.  Anytime a person sins, he must honestly and humbly repent of that sin, however frequent that may be, and seek God’s forgiveness and restoration even as is recorded in Psalms 51 by David.  Jesus told Peter to forgive an offending brother seventy times seven (Matt. 18:22), yet we tend to think that God keeps a tally book on our sins even after we have repented of them.  Not so!  “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8:12 and 10:17).  We can keep our slate clean by repenting when we sin, and then He cleanses and forgets them.  If sin is coddled or harbored in the heart, it works like leaven – it swells and multiplies (I Cor. 5:6-8).  Sin must not be tolerated in one’s life.  “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (I John 1:6).

       We come back to the question: are we worthy?  In and of ourselves, no, we are not worthy of anything God has to offer us: salvation, protection, answers to prayer, healing, deliverance, forgiveness, provision for all our needs.  These promises from scripture are not available to us because of our own merits or qualities, even obedience and good works.  However, due to the ever available and efficacious power of the sacrificed blood of Christ, when it is humbly and sincerely applied to the heart in faith, we are cleansed and made whole before the heavenly Father.  He then views us through the blood applied to the doorposts of our hearts and regards us as holy and righteous because of the finished work of the cross.  As long as our sins are forgiven (with no current debt or grudge against another, Matt. 6:14,15), our merciful Father grants us full privileges as due a son of God.  “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever” (Rev. 1:5,6).  “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (qualified) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12).

       We must take note that Jesus did list some things that make a person unworthy of Him.  In His sermon on the mount, Matt. 10:37-38, He plainly announced, “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.”  Our love for God must have preeminence over everyone and everything else in our lives (see also the first and greatest commandment in Mark 12:29-31).

       Because of the righteousness of Christ that is attributed to us, the verse in James 5:16 which reads, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” applies to us.  God does recognize and answer the prayers of His righteous saints.  We need not be buffaloed by Satan’s criticism and lose faith in the veracity of God’s Word.  It is a solid foundation that will never fail us.  Jesus proclaimed in Matt. 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”  The apostle John assures us, “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:19-22).  Since God is not a respecter of persons, we can pray and worship Him with full confidence, not only in His ability, but in His availability to us.  Each of us is just as important and valuable to Him as any of the great saints recorded in scripture.  As Jesus said, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22)  “They shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels.” (Rev. 3:4,5)  “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, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen” (Jude 24,25).





Alfred King

        Recently in talking to a friend, he made the statement that the purpose of God was to have a divine family.  He went on to say that the divine family was the whole purpose of God’s creation.  I found this somewhat troubling, and it made me begin to consider the many purposes of God’s creation and what man’s existence here is all about.  While it is true that God desires a family, beings that are conformed to His likeness, the purpose of man’s existence is more than the development of a godly family.  This article is an effort to present a few other purposes of creation, although I am convinced there are other areas that we may not understand until Christ returns.  The wonders of heaven will be unveiled for the faithful to behold, and I’m sure it will be far beyond anything we could possibly understand on this side of the veil.

God Came To Save Men

        One of the most common and well-known purposes of God is that He came to save sinners.  John 3:16 has been read and quoted by evangelists more than any other single verse in scripture to alert sinners that there is hope for deliverance and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.  John 3:16 reads, “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.”  In this account, Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews and He was explaining His purpose for coming was to save sinners.  He explained to Nicodemus that salvation is a spiritual work accomplished in the heart of any man who will believe in Him.  This wonderful gift of salvation is as the wind.  We don’t know how it comes nor where it goes, but the man who finds salvation in Christ knows he has been marvelously changed.  Old things pass away and his whole life becomes new.  He has a life within that he can’t explain, a love for God and for others that he never knew before.  Jesus came to offer this wonderful life to any who will believe.

        The Pharisees and religious rulers of Jesus’ day were never able to grasp this salvation, because they were so entrenched in their own religious activities and rigid traditions that they could not accept or tolerate anything that might destroy their superstitious empire and weaken their power or that might destroy or diminish their pious reputations.  When they beheld Jesus eating and drinking with sinners, their religious and hypocritical, self-created righteousness was shocked.  On one occasion when they saw Jesus in the company of sinners, they confronted His disciples about His “disgraceful acts.”  Jesus responded, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17).  The great apostle Paul humbly wrote to Timothy, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Tim 1:15).  Paul, the Pharisee of the Pharisees, found genuine salvation which Jesus came and offered.  The invitation to eternal life remains open today to all who will believe in Jesus Christ.  Jesus came to save you and that is one of the purposes of creation.

God Desired To Have A Family

        It has already been mentioned that God desired to have a family.  This truth is very evident in scripture, but there are aspects of it that are not so clearly seen.  Jesus many times referred to God as His Father.  This very expression stirred up the fury of the religious leaders against Him.  The extreme terminology, making Himself the Son of God, unsettled and angered the Pharisees and Sadducees so greatly that they felt they had to somehow disgrace and discredit Him.  Jesus, however, did not reserve this title to Himself alone but taught His disciples to pray the same by saying, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”  His disciples were also children of God and therefore prayed, referring to God as their Father.  Today those saved by the mercy and grace of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ also call Him Father, for we are now part of the family of God.  Paul understood and taught this in all the churches to whom he ministered.  He wrote to the church in Ephesus, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:14-16).

        Writing to the Romans, he sealed up any debate about God’s divine family in Romans eight.  Consider Romans 8:14, 16, 17, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”  “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”  So wonderful it is to be assured in the letter to the Hebrews that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren (Heb. 1:11).  What greater honor can a man possess than to be a part of God’s divine family!

There Was War In Heaven

        “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12:7-9).  The reason creation exists involves this war in heaven.  God’s people have a part in this great war.  Unfortunately, many Christians believe this war is future.  That is not the case.  We need ask ourselves a question to ascertain when this war took place.  When was the devil cast out of heaven?  We are required to go back to some plain statements of Jesus to find an answer to this question.

        When the seventy disciples returned from the ministry to which Jesus had sent them, they came back entusiastic and excited, exclaiming to Jesus that even the devils were subject to them through Jesus’ name.  Notice how Jesus responded to their enthusiasm.  “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:17-19).  While Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, He also came to give this same power to His disciples.  Jesus again speaks of the war and His power over Satan in John 12:31  “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”  This “now” was when He died on the cross and was in the grave for three days and three nights.  He came forth victorious, triumphing over the devil and all enemies.  With His triumph over Satan and all evil spirits, He empowered those who will believe with the same authority and power He possessed.

        Let’s consider just a couple more verses that unveil this marvelous truth that Jesus Christ bound the devil and cast him out of heaven.  1 John 3:8: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”  Heb. 2:14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”.  In reference to Revelation 12, which is where we began this section concerning this war in heaven, verses 10 and 11 reveal that salvation came at the same time, when the devil was cast out of heaven.  Clearly that was when Christ died for the sins of the whole world.  It is not future.  Before Jesus came, the devil could go before the throne of God and accuse God’s people.  The clearest picture of this is the account of Job, when Satan accused God of playing favorites with Job.  God was exonerated before all the beings in heaven and hell, for God knew Job would stand firm no matter how difficult conditions became.  Satan can no longer come before God to accuse God or God’s children.  All that Revelation 12:10-11 states is past, for it was finished at the cross: “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

        It is so critical that we understand that Satan was cast out of heaven at the time of the cross, for the devil has his focus now upon mankind, and especially believers in the Gospel.  Jesus made Satan powerless at the cross.  While we see all things put under Christ’s control (including Satan) we don’t see Satan put under the church’s (the body of Christ) control.  The fact that we don’t see an overcoming church today does not diminish or take away from the purpose of God, for He will have a church which will overcome the powers of darkness in a similar way as Jesus did.  Jesus said, “for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30).  God’s plan is to produce a church who can say the same thing.  There is nothing that can separate them from the love of God.

        Jesus has given His people power over the powers of darkness so they can be overcomers.  This is part of God’s divine purpose.  In the book of Revelation, eight times the Lord speaks to John about the overcomers.  Christians are to be engaged in the battle between right and wrong, between carnality and spirituality, truth and error, holiness and worldliness, for we are choosing every day whom we will serve.  Before Jesus returns there will be a final battle, and those who have chosen to serve God will find themselves facing evil forces in the spirit realm.  The antichrist will arise and will gather the nations against God’s people.  This battle is referred to as the battle of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20 and Armageddon in Revelation 16.  It is a spiritual battle fought, not with carnal weapons, but fought in the spiritual realm between the principalities and powers of darkness and those who have learned to walk in the Spirit of God and who know the power of God.  The battles and struggles against sin that we face each day are spiritual and we each must learn to engage in spiritual warfare today so we will be prepared for the battle that is coming.  We must overcome the works of the flesh, renouncing those works, and obtain the fruit of the Spirit as is revealed in Galatians 5:22-23.

There Was Sin In Heaven

          Before the war that took place in heaven, Lucifer was a beautiful and wonderful creation.  He was so deceptive and convincing that he gained the allegiance of a third of the angels.  We have the account of Satan (called Lucifer) in Isaiah 14.  Verses 12-15 unveil and expose when and how sin was first found in heaven.  “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”  Pride was the sin that brought about the events that followed.  Lucifer was no doubt the most glorious and wonderful creation God had created up to that time.  So beautiful, talented and divinely intelligent that he convinced angels that he could usurp the throne of God.  We find his beauty more clearly expressed in Ezekiel 28:12-17: “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.  By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”  While the king of Tyrus is addressed in this prophecy, it is prophetic of Satan, and this is obvious in these statements: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God.”  “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth.”  “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created.”  This prophecy or lamentation was not addressing the king of Tyrus but was in reference to Lucifer or Satan.  Lucifer appeared in the garden as a serpent tempting Eve to sin against God’s command.  He is the great adversary to everything holy, righteous and just and is the enemy of God and God’s people.  Sin began in heaven and it spread to this earth through Satan’s deceptive works.  It is through God’s creation of the heavens and the earth that He is producing a people who will, through the blood of Jesus, overcome every temptation and will turn from sin and walk in obedience and holiness with God.  God will use those who will submit to Him fully in His end-time battle.  They will overcome the devil and will inherit the kingdom prepared for them in heaven.

        God will use the dust of the earth, from which man was formed, to overcome this once beautiful and powerful being.  God will show His power to take the things that are nought to bring to nought this evil enemy.  Satan and all his demonic spirits will be finally cast into the lake of fire to be destroyed forever.  God is producing an army who will prevail over Satan, and they will win this battle in the end.

God Provided A Rest For Believers

          “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Heb. 4:9).  God in His divine plan is taking beings (carnal men and women) who are enemies of the cross of Christ, haters of God, despisers of righteousness and all that is connected with God, and bringing them into His family, marvelously and graciously changing them through His Holy Spirit.  He is taking those who will believe and come in repentance to the cross of Christ.  He takes them as His project to bring them into the likeness of His Son.  He uses His word and the Holy Spirit to bring about spiritual maturity in their lives.  This requires submission by the believer.  Being born again is not all there is in one’s walk with God.  Initial salvation is just the beginning of the transforming work of God in the believer’s life.  As the believer surrenders his every desire to God, he is conformed to Christ-likeness.  The more he is fashioned after Christ the more he desires the fullness of God.  God gives us great hope in Hebrews 4:6: “Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief.”  The rest to which every Christian is called is the place where one ceases from his own works.  He completely surrenders his life to God in every way.  There is nothing held back in reserve for himself.  The believer has learned and is totally convinced that God’s way is the best way and, in complete trust in God, he can fully rest in Him knowing that God does all things well, and everything works for his good because he loves God and is called according to God’s purpose (Rom. 8:28).  No words can describe this rest in God, for it is of such a divine nature that it can only be comprehended through experience, and only experienced as one surrenders completely to God’s will and control.  A great song states it this way, “There’s love in His control” (Said better than I can.).  God’s purpose is to bring some into His divine rest.

God Is Unveiling His Divine Character And Imparting It To Those Who Love Him

        It was Lucifer who wanted to be like the Most High.  God has cast him down, but God is going to create a people to whom He will impart immortality and incorruptibility (I Cor. 15:53-54).  There was nothing wrong in desiring to be like the Most High, but when one goes about it in his own strength, motivated by pride, selfishness, self-determination and evil intent, this becomes the greatest of sins.  God has determined that He will have a people who will be like Him, but they will acquire it through lawful means provided by a God of love Who, by His very nature, desires to share all He is and all He has.  God is love.  God’s love permeates heaven and His kingdom.  This love compels Him to share, and He has provided a process by which beings can be partakers of His divine nature (II Pet. 1:4).  He is revealing His divine character to all who have ears to hear.  He is opening blind eyes so they can behold His beauty and love.  When a man fastens his eyes upon Jesus, he sees divine character, and it creates a longing in his own soul to be conformed to that same image.  Consequently, he searches God’s word and seeks God’s enabling to be changed.  He forsakes all that would lead him away from this holy calling.  He willingly takes up his cross, denies himself, and follows Jesus Christ.  He counts the cost and finds the prize well worth the cost.  He sees beyond this veil of secrecy, the prize.  He sees through this glass darkly, though ever so vaguely, something of eternal value.  He goes his way, sells all that he has so that he might purchase this pearl of great price.  His greatest desire is to be clothed with the very character and nature of God, the nature revealed through Christ Jesus.

God Is Establishing His Kingdom On The Earth

          Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).  Though men have tried to postpone it to a future time, scripture clearly informs us that the kingdom of God is within the hearts of all who believe.  Jesus told Nicodemus that except a man be born again he cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3,5).  When Jesus came preaching the Gospel, it was the gospel of the kingdom of God.  It was not only salvation, as great and necessary as salvation is.  Salvation is the door to the kingdom of God.  There is infinitely more to the kingdom of God than salvation, so let us, with the writer of Hebrews, “go on unto perfection” (Heb. 6:1).  The establishing of God’s kingdom in the hearts of believers is intrinsically pertinent to the things written above.  The kingdom of God will finally and completely defeat Satan and his kingdom.  The postponing of this kingdom plays woefully into the hands of Satan, for it holds back believers from possessing the kingdom and exercising its power in the warfare against the devil and his agents.  Christians are to put on the whole armor of God and engage in the battle for the overthrow of the powers of darkness and the bringing in of God’s kingdom in power and glory.

        In scripture we have some examples of how the kingdom of God should operate.  First, Jesus demonstrated kingdom power when He cast out devils, healed the sick, raised the dead, opened blind eyes, made the lame to walk and the deaf to hear.  Secondly, when He sent His disciples out to preach the gospel, He told them to do exactly as He did and to proclaim that the kingdom had come nigh them (Luke 10:9).  The third demonstration of the kingdom was with the early disciples, for they went out healing and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.  So great was the kingdom’s power in the first Pentecostal church that from the very shadow of Peter came a healing flow (Acts 5:15).  The world was turned upside down through the power of the kingdom operating in those early disciples (Acts 17:6).  The kingdom of God came in power in that early church and is still available for God’s people in the 21st century.  Sadly, our leaders and teachers have fallen prey to the crafty and diabolical lies of the great deceiver and postponed it to a future time.  Consequently, few know it is available today and even fewer are seeking it.

        Jesus is the King, not will be King.  He emphatically removed all doubt in His words to Pilate recorded in John 18:37, “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king.  To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.  Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”  Jesus came as a King and will always be King.  Let those who believe comprehend and apprehend the glories and wonders God has prepared for them that love Him and continue to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness so that we, together, can be partakers of God divine purposes.