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For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 9:34am On Oct 14, 2018
Hello everyone.

Allow me to welcome you to the thread and wish you a productive experience with it.

The purpose of this thread is...

to provide on a regular basis teachings on the Bible to help believers in Jesus Christ who want it to grow spiritually and bear fruit for the Lord Who bought them with His Life.

Clearly, the primary concern of this thread is with Christians, believers in Jesus Christ. But unbelievers who are curious about our Faith are welcome to observe if they please.

While the author is not shy of debates of all kinds, this thread exists essentially to share what he has learned with others who are willing to learn from him. If there is disagreement with what is said here, he would be happy to discuss that disagreement elsewhere and even link it back here if necessary or useful. This is just to maintain focus and order.

New material will be posted every Sunday with deliberate effort made to cover the basic and major doctrines of the Bible so that the reader can come to understand what the Faith is about. Questions will be entertained all the time regardless what day of the week it is.

Much that may be said here is not exactly common knowledge in the churches today. It may shock the sensibilities of most believers today. The reader is implored to be patient with the studies here. It is also to the reader's benefit to keep in mind that the author is willing to answer any questions or challenges to what is taught here.

It is strongly advised that the reader keep their Bible close and check every claim that is made in the studies written up here. While the author is committed to providing the Truth as clearly and accurately as he can, he believes that no teaching will do any good unless it stands on the Bible and illuminates the Scriptures for the believer.

As believers, our job is to grow in the Truth and help one another to do the same. This is why this thread was conceived. This is one of the ways that the author hopes to help other believers to grow in the Truth and become able to help fellow believers as well.

But perhaps the reader is not a believer. If that is the case, the author implores the unbelieving reader to give their trust to the Lord Jesus Christ so that they may be saved. There is nothing on earth that will last forever. Everything we see and experience in this life will come to an end. But eventually, we will stand before God and it will be decided what our eternal fate will be. If we get to live with God forevermore as part of His Eternal Family, there is no joy in this world to compare with what our experience will be and no loss or suffering or pain in this life that will sour that experience either. But if we are rejected by God and condemned to eternity in the Lake of Fire, there is no pain or suffering or loss in this life that will compare to that experience and no joys in this world that will comfort us then. Whatever the reader's particular experience in this life, whatever the reader may have done, the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was God Who came down to earth to become a Man and die for all the sins of humanity from the smallest to the greatest, from the first to the last, has paid for it all. All it takes to become part of God's Family, as has just been said, is that the reader should believe in Jesus Christ. The reader is implored to put his confidence in the Lord Jesus and salvation will be theirs.

Getting saved/born again is only the beginning of a long journey. Getting saved is getting in the door or gate. Ahead stretches a long path that every believer is called to follow in order to fulfill the purpose of their salvation. In John 15, our Lord Jesus says,

John 15:8,16 NASB
[8]My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
[16]You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

This is why we were saved: to "go and bear fruit and that [our] fruit [will] remain". The vast majority of Christians are not pursuing this goal. But even so, it is what our Lord expects of us and what He will judge us on.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB
[10]For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NASB
[12]Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
[13]each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
[14]If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
[15]If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Lord taught us that it is very important to Him that when He returns we should stand before Him with fruit that will survive His fiery test. He will not look kindly upon lives that have produced nothing for Him. So, it is not only right but positively to be striven for that we produce fruit that will survive the Lord's fiery test at His Return. This is what the Lord has left us on earth to do.

How do we do this? It is by learning the Truth with the help of a gifted and prepared Bible teacher, believing it, and deliberately and diligently applying it to our lives and finally helping other believers to do the same(Eph 4:11-16; 1 Pet 2:2). Spiritual maturity is the immediate goal of spiritual growth. At the point of spiritual maturity, we have become able to tell what the Christian Faith is about, why we are here and what is expected of us. That helps us make good decisions concerning every issue of our lives here on earth. It also makes it considerably easier for us to hold on to our Faith and persevere till the end through every trial and every tribulation. Those who fail to grow to maturity always run the risk of falling away from the faith when things get tough as they inevitably do for every believer (Matt 13:20-21). Those who fail to grow to maturity remain susceptible to all kinds of heresies that sneak into the churches (Eph 4:14). Those who fail to grow to maturity may last until the end but they will not bear fruit as a mature branch would and therefore they will suffer loss of reward (Matt 13:22).

Therefore, it is critical that we commit to spiritual growth and pursue spiritual maturity and production for our Lord. There will always be some excuse to deprioritize these things (Matt 13:22) but it is in our very best, our eternal interest to keep these things top among our priorities everyday. It is good to keep in mind that every concern we may have which distracts us from these pursuits commanded by our Lord is one which our Lord not only is very well aware of but has very abundantly provided for even if not quite in the way we may like (Matt 6:31-33). This walk of ours is a walk of Faith so not everything will be immediately evident. In fact, very little will be but what is evident to us will be enough for us to continue pressing forward to please the Lord Who bought us. We should keep this in mind all the time as we take pains to grow spiritually and bear fruit for the Lord.

Please click on https://www.nairaland.com/4787611/believers-thread-biblical-questions for answers to Bible questions and to ask Bible questions that may not be related to the studies here.

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Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 10:52am On Oct 21, 2018
FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES I: REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS

Hebrews 6:1-2 NASB
[1]Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
[2]of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.


Introduction
There is a great deal to learn about the Lord. The Bible is a very big book indeed and written in such a way that you really want to know what it says in order to learn anything in it. It does not yield itself to lazy handling and it certainly has little to give to those who don't believe it.

The above passage from Hebrews has an important lesson to teach, namely, that the truths in the Bible operate in cadres, if you will. There is the foundation (that is, elementary principles as in Heb 5:12) and then there are more mature truths. In my experience, the Truth of the Bible circles back in on itself so that we are constantly understanding better and better things we thought we had already learned as we continue to study the Bible and listen to gifted and prepared teachers. So, even though these are indeed elementary principles, we find them again and again as we move forward in the Truth in greater complexity and giving clearer form to other truths that we learn.

Today, the lesson is on Repentance From Dead Works.

The fact that this expression is in a letter written to the Hebrews makes this an important, even technical term. The context in which we find this expression is very deeply concerned with the obsolescence of the Mosaic Law. This is the letter that most directly addresses the question of the relevance and place of the Mosaic Law in the Christian Faith. And it is also the one where one foundational principle is called "repentance from dead works".

At the moment of belief, when we turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and choose to trust Him, repentance from dead works is part of what we have done. This is why it is called a foundational principle. Part of the meaning of turning to the Lord Jesus is that we have accepted that He is the Only Way that we can be saved, that we can do nothing by ourselves to be saved. That is, only in the Lord Jesus do we have life. Thus, whatever we once hoped would save us is now accepted by us to have no life, no ability in itself to save us.

What Dead Works Are
In the case of the Hebrews to whom this letter was written, they, by believing in the Lord Jesus, had essentially renounced every trust that they had in the Mosaic Law to save them (compare Gal 5:1-4). In other words, the rift between man and God which only spelled Eternal Death for Man was only sealed and repaired in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing we could do could seal it or repair it.

In this we begin to appreciate something about the term "dead works". In the footnote in the NIV, the alternative reading offered is "useless rituals". This is very helpful as far as it goes but it may embrace more than rituals. Dead works are essentially works that accomplish nothing despite all the energy that they cost to do. The Mosaic Law was the issue in Hebrews and much of the New Testament and today it is still a big deal in the Church with questions of tithing and Sabbath-keeping among others troubling believers. But there are other dead works which both unbelievers and believers are swindled into pursuing, moreso today than probably at any other point in human history. The many humanistic philosophies of today that glorify "doing good" are examples of these dead works. That is not at all to say that there is anything wrong with giving alms to the poor or starting businesses to solve some problem in the society. These are decent things to do and anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus would applaud them when they are done right. But they are absolutely no substitute for the Death of Jesus Christ on the Cross for us or for our duty to seek the Truth, learn it, believe it, obey it and help others to do the same. This is where the stumbling block for most people is.

1. Why Dead Works Are Dead.
The cost of doing good is high. The energy involved is prohibitive ordinarily. This is why people tend to get upset about being told that there is no value for God in all the good we do on our own. It is also why such people tend to reject God because they think that they can do good without Him.

"Good" actually is defined by God. And it is because of His Perfection that "all our righteousness are as filthy rags" (Is 64:6). So, even though we may feel that because we have spent so much energy and been so meticulous, we are entitled to some praise or other reward from God, it counts for nothing with Him because He is Perfect and demands nothing less than Perfection. While, because we are so weak, we can bear with ourselves and with each other and accept "our best" and "each other's best" as good enough sometimes, God demands no less than Perfection because He is Perfect.

This, in fact, is why He gave the Mosaic Law (Rom 3:20; 5:13, 20): to communicate to human beings that His demands are far more stringent than we could hope to handle. Even the Law itself compromised a lot on God's Standard to accommodate human beings (Matt 19:8; Mk 10:5). Sin, after all, is any act of rebellion against God, not merely anything we are uncomfortable with. Thus, it is God's Own Perfect Demands and Requirements that are at issue here, not our own emotions.

This puts human beings in a very frightening spot. Anyone who truly gets this knows how hopeless the human situation is without God's Help. We have no hope or chance of ever being perfect. We have no possibility of ever pleasing Him by anything we do and so we have only His Wrath, Anger, Judgment to look forward to. That is an unpleasant proposition. And it often leads to human beings making up all sorts of escapist lies to avoid having to deal with it in the short time that we live in this world. But those who have turned to Christ have already solved this problem. Instead of looking to commend ourselves to God on the basis of some moral victories that we think should impress Him, we have accepted His Own Offer of Justification that is utterly independent of our own energy and strategizing in order to escape His Condemnation.

2. Why They Are So Dangerous to Believers.
It is entirely possible for a believer to lose sight of the above as we see in Gal 3:1-7. Satan does not rest easy once we become saved. The addition of every new believer to the Family of God only brings his own execution closer. So, not only does he oppose the coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ of the unbeliever but he does his level best to reverse that faith once it is born in the heart of the unbeliever. This is what he was trying very hard to do with the Roman, Galatian and Hebrew believers to whom Paul had to write such difficult letters. As soon as anyone begins to look for ways outside of the Lord Jesus to recommend themselves to God, they essentially begin to deny any Faith in the Lord Jesus.

In the case of the Galatians, they were being troubled about becoming circumcised because this was the ancient covenant that God made with Abraham to acknowledge him and everyone who who was circumcised in like manner as His people. This was also what was happening to the Romans.

With the Hebrews, because they were already circumcised, it was the general question of continuing Temple worship and rites that was disturbing their walk. Today, as has already been mentioned, the issues include water baptism, tithing, even regular church-going and a large variety of other "rituals" and practices. Satan has no problem using legitimate practices that God once instructed to try to derail what God is doing NOW. That is something that believers often find hard to appreciate. As has already been pointed out, it was God Who commanded circumcision (Gen 17:10-14) but He is God and is at perfect liberty to change His Demands. As it was, the circumcision that He commanded of Abraham here was symbolic. It spoke to a time you to come when those who love Him would be marked with a spiritual circumcision. Likewise, all the sacrifices from the animal skins in the Garden (Gen 3:21) to Abel's sacrifice (Gen 4:4) to all the animal sacrifices of the Mosaic Law were all symbols of the Cross where the Lord Jesus Christ would die in the place of all humans for all human transgressions against God. Once the Lord Jesus Christ came and died for us, all of those symbols didn't need to be carried on anymore. There was no further need for them since all they did was maintain a consciousness of God's Promise of a Way to solve man's terrible problem of sin. Now that He has solved that problem in the Lord Jesus Christ, the reminders of what was to come are no longer necessary. The only reminder necessary now is of what HAS already happened and the Lord gave us the Communion for that (Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:17-20; 1 Cor 11:23-25).

So, what of works? What we are taught in the Bible is to quit pursuing any course of action in the hopes of satisfying God with our efforts independent of what the Lord Jesus has done for us. The simple truth is that it is impossible for us to satisfy God because we all have a sin nature which predisposes us to rebelling against God (Rom 7:5, 8, 14-24; 1 Jn 1:8 ). This is why even the good we believe we do is still evil in His sight. For one thing, if we obey Him in all points save one, we have still rebelled against Him even though it is in just that one thing (Jas 2:8-11; Rom 2:17-27). Then, again, good actions performed for evil motives are no good in the eyes of the Lord either (Is 29:13; Matt 15:8-9; Mk 7:6; Matt 7:21). All of this is summarized in what Paul says,


Philippians 3:1-11 NASB
[1]Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
[2]Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;
[3]for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
[4]although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:
[5]circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;
[6]as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
[7]But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
[8]More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
[9]and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
[10]that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
[11]in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.


Conclusion
Giving up confidence in the flesh is the beginning of faith in the Lord Jesus. To acknowledge both that we cannot save ourselves no matter what we do and that no human agenda or scheme or energy can save us even if it comes from somebody else leaves the Lord Jesus Christ as our only option. And once we begin that way, we must continue that way (Col 2:6).

Therefore, while we must not withhold our hands from charity, good citizenship and other such things, we must never give any of these things greater value than God Himself places on them. They do help to present a good witness for our Faith but it is the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus that saves us and everything we do must flow from that. But such rituals as circumcision, water baptism (as we will see in another study), Sabbath-keeping and such things as anyone may lay hold upon to say that we are only saved by doing them must be summarily removed from our lives and focus as such. Our primary concern after Salvation must be to grow and progress in the Truth and to help others to do the same since these are the true good works that please the Lord. It is through those things that we earn our eternal rewards to the glory of God.


May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ remain with you.

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Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 11:14pm On Oct 28, 2018
FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES II:
FAITH TOWARD GOD


Hebrews 6:1-2
[1]Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
[2]of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.



Introduction
The next foundational principle here is that of Faith toward God. This offers us a good way of appreciating how Truth works. The first principle which addresses repentance from dead works could not be talked about without mentioning faith toward God. Now that we are going to discuss faith toward God, we will also find that it is inextricably linked to repentance from dead works. The Truth works like that: each like a strand of a web reinforcing every other and linking to every other in very intricate and sophisticated ways.

Repentance from dead works is what leads to faith toward God. Or perhaps it is better to say that faith toward God is expressed in repentance from dead works. The point, however, is that the two work together. As long as we are relying on any human effort or idea or system to recommend ourselves to God, we do not have faith that is pointed toward God. If our faith is toward God, we will be repenting from dead works. Faith in God and dead works are therefore mutually exclusive. This is what Paul teaches in Gal 5:4.

It's a popular enough question, "what is the place of works?" Faith is more easily construed as passive than it should be. After all, there is no action that anyone takes without confidence in something. When we try to sit in a chair, we do so because we believe that the chair will take our weight. When we lay in a bed, it is because we are confident that it is safe to sleep on. When we turn a handle, it is because we fully expect the door to open. When we open our eyes in the morning, we do so taking for granted that we will be able to see everything around us. All of these are things we do on "faith". We really don't often have much reason for the expectations and confidence that we have beyond the fact that things were this way in the past. It could be argued that science demonstrates that certain events are guaranteed because of certain principles. This is true as far as it goes. We do not throw anything up into the air and expect it not to eventually come back down. Science has confirmed the existence of a principle or influence it calls gravity that makes the eventual return of whatever the object to the ground a certainty. However, when we act in confidence that things will turn out the way that scientists are convinced that it will, we are still exercising "faith", in a manner of speaking. Thus, that phenomenon we call faith is not passive.

What Faith Is
Faith is confidence in something. It is not necessarily God toward Whom Faith is exercised. It may be man. It may be an inanimate object. It may be our own imagination even. Faith is not necessarily toward God but whatever it may be toward, it is not a passive adoption of ideas. When we believe in something, we act upon it.

The same way, faith toward God does result in action of some sort. But whatever this action may be, it is not a dead work. A dead work by definition seeks to gain God's approval by offering Him something that originates with us. For example, Cain's offering in Gen 4:3-5 was a dead work. A dead work is arrogant by nature. It assumes that we can impress God with something that originates with us. But God is Perfect and we are not. And He will never compromise His Standards. He may tolerate our weakness and foolishness, but there is a limit to that tolerance. Life was the cost of treason in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve forfeited their lives when they disobeyed God. Only a life given in their place could right things for them. And we all inherited the same burden. So, Cain's life was also forfeit for his own sins. If this was so, why did he bring vegetables to the Lord? Only blood could answer for blood. The Lord offered Adam and Eve coats of skins (Gen 3:21) - that is, an animal was killed for their unclothedness to be covered - as a testimony to the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus thousands of years later to cover up all of the sins of humanity (Luke 24:49; Rev 19:8; Is 61:10, 64:6; Zec 3:4; Rev 3:4-5, 17-18). Their acceptance of those coats was their acceptance of God's Promise of Salvation (Gen 3:15). When Abel later offers God a blood sacrifice (Gen 4:4), he was humbly accepting the same Promise. But rather than laying claim to God's Promise, Cain came up with his own idea and offered God "of the fruit of the ground". Note that in the Garden Adam had been cursed with having to strive and struggle to produce his food from the ground and with inescapable futility in such efforts. Still, Cain brings of the fruit of his striving, that is, of God's Curse, to make an offering to God. This is the principle of all dead works: they are born of human effort and human ideas that have nothing to do with God in essence. So, dead works demonstrate no confidence in God but rather witness to a distrust in His Promises.

Faith toward God is the opposite. When we trust God, we act exactly as if His Promises are certain and as if what He says is completely true. That means that Faith is the motivation for obedience to God. Faith therefore identifies itself through the works that it inspires.

James 2:14-26 NASB
[14]What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
[15]If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
[16]and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
[17]Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
[18]But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
[19]You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
[20]But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
[21]Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
[22]You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
[23]and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God.
[24]You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
[25]In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
[26]For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.


Faith toward God is confidence in God. When we are confident that God can and should be trusted, then we will do what He tells us to do. Those things He tells us to do are the good works of Faith.


The Good Works of Faith
Ephesians 2:10 NASB
[10]For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Abraham's and Rahab's examples in that passage in James are a strong illustration of what faith in (or toward) God is about and results in. Faith in God does not necessarily lead to a philanthropic lifestyle as many readers of James have assumed James 3:15-16 to mean. Being generous to even the least of believers with whatever we can afford to give counts for much with the Lord, yes (Matt 10:42), but charity is not by a long shot the limits of good works. Abraham's example involved the sacrifice of his son on Mount Moriah. Rahab preserved the lives of Israelite spies. These were acts of Faith because they were what God was commanding of these individuals and therefore what He supplied Grace to them to perform. These things were not their own ideas of what would please God but what they did out of a righteous, healthy fear and respect for God (Josh 2:9-13; Gen 15:6) in obedience to His Commands and His revealed Will.

John 6:28-29 NASB
[28]Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?"
[29]Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."


Matthew 17:5 NASB
[5]While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"

John 17:3,17
[3]This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
[17]Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.


Choosing to believe in the Lord Jesus is therefore choosing to have Faith toward God. And that too is the same as turning away from all human initiative in seeking to please God. What we do to please God must come from the Lord Himself (Gen 8:22, Jn 1:29). If the Work of God then is that we must believe in the One Who He sent, then our job is to learn the Scriptures since they are how we learn to know the Lord Jesus and think like Him (Jn 5:39; 1 Cor 2:16). And faith comes by hearing or paying heed to the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17).

We learn the Scriptures by reading them and by listening to gifted and prepared teachers whom the Lord has given to the Church to help us understand what we read (Ac 8:30-31; Eph 4:11-16). Without diligent application of oneself to Bible teaching, there is only so much faith that one can have toward God. God has ordained that our Faith in Him will grow only as we submit ourselves to the spiritual training of a gifted and properly equipped Bible teacher (1 Pet 5:1-5; 1 Tim 5:17). Otherwise, we stagnate in faith and run the risk of being seduced or threatened into throwing our faith away (Eph 4:14). Our faith toward God begins with the simple acceptance of the Gospel so that we are born again. But that is faith as small as a mustard seed although it accomplishes what is impossible to man: it makes us children of God (Jn 1:12; Mt 17:20, Lk 17:6). This faith must grow (Mt 13:31-32; Mk 4:31-32; Lk 13:18-19; Rom 4:21; 1 Pet 2:2-3; Col 1:9-10; Col 2:6-7).

2 Peter 3:18
[18]but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Jude 1:20
[20]But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion
Let us then give due attention to faith toward God by being diligent in reading the Bible everyday and seeking Bible teaching to help us understand it so that we can learn to think like the Lord Jesus Christ and thus act to please God having foregone all notions of self-reliance or appeal to any human philosophies and systems which operate independently of God's Truth.

Grace and Peace from the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 12:03am On Nov 05, 2018
FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES III: INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT BAPTISMS.

Hebrews 6:1-2 NASB
[1]Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
[2]of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.


Hebrews 6:1-2 NIV
[1] Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,
[2] instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.


Introduction
This principle is truly elementary to the Faith. It is one of the very first things you learn or ought to learn as you become a believer. But it is probably the most attacked of all the elementary principles and therefore might need a more vigorous treatment than the others.

Let us begin at the beginning for this one.

Exodus 30:18-21 NASB
[18]"You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.
[19]Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it;
[20]when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord.
[21]So they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they will not die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations."

This is the beginning of the history of baptisms. It is what John was carrying on during his ministry before the Lord Jesus paid the Price for our sins.

There is much to be said about the washing instituted by God in the Old Covenant and, God-willing, we shall say it in time. But for now it is sufficient to say that the washing and the instrument for it were very important symbols. Those symbols amounted to this: man cannot fellowship with God until he has been washed clean. In time, more will be said about this.

Down the ages from this first institution of the practice of baptisms or washings, different people have used it to say the same thing. John the Baptist was not the first. His was the most popular because he was by far the most blessed of prophets. His mission was to herald the Coming of the Lord God in human flesh. And in doing so, he was to prepare the Jews for His Coming.


John's Baptism
When we keep in mind that baptism witnessed to man's desperate need for cleansing in order to fellowship with God, John's baptism becomes that much more significant. The Lord God was coming to walk among men this time rather than man seeking to go into the Tabernacle to fellowship with Him. So, it made sense for him to baptise those who listened to him as a sign that they were ready to receive the Lord God.

John 1:25-27,29-31 NASB
[25]They asked him, and said to him, "Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
[26]John answered them saying, "I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.
[27]It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."
[29]The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
[30]This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'
[31]I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water."

But this was also something very important that John said:

John 1:33 NASB
[33]I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'

Matthew 3:11
[11]"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Luke 3:16
[16]John answered and said to them all, "As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

These are very important things to note. The baptism or washing of water was something done to prepare man to commune with God. And it was symbolic. It is very important to note that it was a symbol. When John was asked to identify himself, one of the things he said in response was that he baptized in water. Why would he say that? It is for the same reason that we find him elaborating elsewhere that the One coming after him would baptize with the Holy Spirit. John was really saying that he was a shadow, a symbol, not the real thing which would come after him.

The Christ was the real deal, the Light which cast the shadow of John the Baptist. It was the baptism of the Christ that mattered. John's was one of respect and preparation. The Baptism of the Lord Jesus was the One that actually accomplished what the Lord wants, that is perfect fellowship and union with Man without sin getting in the way anymore.

Acts 1:4-5 NASB
[4]Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me;
[5]for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

So, in a nutshell, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has no place for water baptisms. Such baptisms (regardless what the form or method preferred) only looked forward to the Coming of the Lord Jesus to die for our sins and finally open up the Way back into fellowship with God. Now that the Lord has actually come and died for our sins, such baptisms serve only to proclaim that He has in fact not come at all. That is blasphemy. The Spirit witnesses that the Lord Jesus has come in the flesh and died for our sins and has been raised up from the dead and received back into Heaven by the Father. That makes any symbol that still looks forward to the Coming of the Christ an accuser of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, it is spiritually dangerous to indulge in water baptisms of any kind. Whether sprinkling or immersion, it matters not a whit. Whether it is done at a baptismal font, in a tank or at a river is of no consequence. Who did it and what age at which it was done count for nothing. This is all because water baptism has no place in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ's Baptism
The Baptism of consequence today is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which God graciously grants to all who believe. It is through this baptism that we become part of the Church, the Body of Christ and through which we are brought into union with the Lord Jesus. Contrary to what is popular in Pentecostal circles today, this Baptism does not occur specially after one has been saved. It is the very means by which we are saved.

Romans 8:9
[9]However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Acts 15:8
[8]And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us

Acts 11:14-18
[14]and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.'
[15]And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.
[16]And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
[17]Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?"
[18]When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."

That is, Salvation is actually the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. When we believe, God gives us the Gift of the Holy Spirit to make us His. This is not something that takes a long time. And it is certainly not something that happens more than once. There is a lie that says that we get the Holy Spirit at Salvation and then later get baptised or filled with Him. This is not true. We get the Holy Spirit when and once we believe the Gospel, then we are commanded to continue to stay filled with Him. What that latter means is that we must be careful to continue to grow spiritually until it is the Holy Spirit Who fills our hearts, not the influence of the flesh. This is yet another thing into which, God-willing, we will delve deeper in time. For now, the important thing to know is that the Lord Jesus baptizes all who believe in Him with the Holy Spirit at the moment that they believe.

On Difficult Passages
There are some passages of Scripture like Acts 19:1-7 which may seem to make this a more difficult teaching to accept but again there are answers. Here, we will touch briefly on the answers and trust the Lord to bring us back to them in time. In Acts 19 and every other place where the Holy Spirit was not given as soon as some people believed and not until an Apostle laid hands on them, this happened because of the special period during which the Apostles ministered. It was at a time when the Lord was changing the dispensation of the Truth (that is, His Grace Means of providing Truth to those who thirst for it) and opening the doors of His House wide open to the Gentiles. For this reason, the rules for that period were different. In fact, it was not very long before people stopped needing the mediation of the Apostles to receive the Holy Spirit.

We will stop at this point and trust the Lord for another opportunity to learn these things more in-depth.

May the Lord's Grace keep your spirit.

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Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 8:14am On Nov 13, 2018
FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLE IV: LAYING ON OF HANDS

Hebrews 6:1-2 NASB
[1]Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
[2]of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.


Introduction
Laying on of Hands is our next consideration.

As we have seen thus far, there is much in these foundational principles that harks back to the Old Covenant of Moses. Much here too does. Lev 1:4; 3:2; 3:2; 4:15; 16:21; Num 8:10; 27:18; Deut 34:9.

It is quite clear from these passages that laying on of hands is a matter of identifying one thing or person with another. So, if Moses laid hands on Joshua, he was identifying himself with him and essentially saying that Joshua was to be treated as if he were Moses (Deut 34:9). This is really the whole idea. It is also the principle behind the Lord's use of laying on of hands to heal (Is 53:4; Mt 8:15).

This practice carried on into the early post-Cross days. Ac 8:17; 6:6; 13:3; 28:8; 1 Tim 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tim 1:6.

As has been said, this practice was used to identify the one upon whom hands were laid with the one who was laying hands on them. It made them one. So, what one possessed was thus transferred to the other (Mk 5:30; Lk 8:45-46), or what favor they enjoyed with God was shared with the other in some manner.

This is why in the early post-Cross period, the Apostles would lay hands on some people so that they could receive the Holy Spirit (Ac 8:17-19; 19:6). This happened to identify those new Samaritan and Gentile believers with them and thus enable them to share in God's Promise to the Jews (Jn 4:22).

The Situation In the Apostolic Age
1. Salvation Is From The Jews. The Plan of God for Salvation involved selecting a man out of whom He made a nation through which the Christ would be born Whose Sacrifice would save all of humanity (Gen 12:2-3). In other words, while God was always going to save all humanity, He was more intimately committed to one nation on earth. This is the nation Israel. The flow of history from Adam to Abraham was to preserve the line of the righteous in order to make this nation in which He would preserve a memory of Himself in the earth (Is 49:6). This is why the Flood happened in Gen 6-9 and why God intervened again at the Tower of Babel debacle in Gen 11. God chose Abraham a little after that to become the patriarch of this nation in question and from that time preserved and shaped this family and nation directly until it became a full-fledged nation with its own geographical boundaries. As small as it was and as many times as it was attacked, the Lord preserved it so that through it He would save the whole world.

This is how things were at the time following the Cross. Although the doors of salvation were always open to all who wanted to be saved from Adam until the Cross, during the time from the formation of the nation of Israel to the Cross, the majority of believers were Jews. Foreigners certainly chose to join them in Faith and often came to Jerusalem to worship. Naaman the Syrian (2 Ki 5:15,17-19) was one such foreign believer and so was the Ethiopian eunuch in Ac 8:27. But Salvation was IN Israel. But after the Cross, the Lord commanded to have the Gospel taken to non-Jews in an active manner.

These non-Jews (including the Samaritan) would need to respect God's Place for the Jews. Salvation does come from the Jews as the Lord Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the Well of Sychar (Jn 4:22). The Gentiles are always to keep this in mind (Rom 11:17-18). We have been grafted into Israel as wild olive branches. We are not those to whom the Promises were given but through faith of the same kind as Abraham's we have been granted to partake in them. This is why the Lord ordered things so that the early Gentile believers would appreciate their debt to the Jews through whom Salvation was brought to them. Laying on of hands was thus a way for Jewish Apostles to identify the first Gentiles believers with them so that they could share in the Gift of the Holy Spirit with them.

2. Association of Authority. It was also a way to identify new leaders of the churches with the authority of the apostles until the Bible was completed (2 Tim 1:6; 1 Tim 4:14). These leaders acted in the place of the apostles in providing Truth to the churches that they served at that time. Since the Bible was still in the process of being completed at that time, some special gifts were given to cover the lack. It is of such a gift that Paul speaks in 1 Tim 4:14.

The Situation Today
Today, the situation is different. The Lord has given the complete Bible. Those who hear the Gospel now have in it the means of learning all the Truth including that the Church is built on the Foundation of Jewish Apostles and Prophets. So, there is no more need for that demonstration that Salvation comes from the Jews. Also, because the Bible is complete, special gifts through which churches can access the full Truth of God are no longer necessary so there is no further place for imparting such gifts through identification with Apostolic authority. What all that means is that the practice of laying hands on anyone is no longer necessary.

Each believer receives a unique spiritual gift when they are saved. As they grow to maturity, these gifts become more discernible and effective for the Lord in the Church. And the Church has been given pastor-teachers and evangelists now to build it up. These two are spiritual gifts that come from the New Birth not from laying on of hands. The pastor-teachers have a responsibility to learn from other pastor-teachers and grow to spiritual maturity and then train rigorously in important skills which they require to be able to effectively teach the Bible. There is no Apostle today (although the common belief is that there is) through whom any special gift is given for the purpose of shepherding the Church. So, no laying on of hands on that count either.

Conclusion
The important lesson to take away here is that laying on of hands was the way the Lord associated one thing with another. When our Lord healed the sick by laying hands on them, He "took their infirmities" and shared healing with them. When the apostles laid hands on new believers so that they received the Holy Spirit, that too was an association of Jewish believers with Gentile believers so that the latter could share in the Holy Spirit with the former (Ac 11:17). Now, however, we know from the Bible that faith is what makes us one with the Jews. Because we believe in the Lord Jesus as they do, we have become one with them, one Body with the Lord Jesus Christ. So, each one of us whether Jew or Gentile receives the Holy Spirit once we believe.

Grace be with you.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 7:35am On Nov 18, 2018
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FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLE V: THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD

(Please note that all Bible passages come from the NASB unless otherwise indicated.)

Hebrews 6:1-2
[1]Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
[2]of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

Introduction
The last two principles named in this passage, that is, the Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment are actually one principle because the two go together. But we will treat them here separately for the same reason that the Lord Jesus (Mt 22:23-32; Mk 12:18-27) and Paul (1 Cor 15:12-58) had to address resurrection as a separate issue on different occasions in their ministry.

There is still today very much reason to affirm the truth of Resurrection, not least because even those who believe in a Resurrection do not really know what it is. Still, as can be seen from the passage that we have been studying, the Resurrection is a fundamental principle, that is, it is "the milk of the Word" (1 Cor 3:2; 1 Pet 2:2), not "strong meat" (1 Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12,14). It is something that new Christians, baby Christians are supposed to know. It is not "wisdom [for] the mature" (1 Cor 2:6). Yet, as can be seen from Heb 5:12, even those who have reached maturity can fail to continue to press forward in spiritual progress and as a result start to lose their hold on truths that they have already learned. This is why the apostles made a practice of repeating their teachings as often as they could so that they would "stick" (Phil 3:1; 2 Pet 3:1-2). When we stop "cycling through" the things we have been taught, we begin to lose touch with them. This is bound to happen especially because it is the devil's practice to steal truth from our hearts and replace it with lies, given even a little chance (Mt 13:4, 19; Lk 8:5, 12; Jn 10:10; Eph 4:27). So, as Paul told Timothy, it is crucial that we spend as much time as possible refreshing ourselves in the Truth:

1 Timothy 4:16
[16]Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

1 Timothy 6:20
[20]O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge"

2 Timothy 1:6
[6]For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

2 Timothy 1:13
[13]Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:14
[14]You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them.

We should do as Paul instructed Timothy too and stay within the things that we have been taught and continually stir them up within ourselves. Otherwise, as it happened to the Hebrews, so it will happen to us as well and at the time that the Lord will be expecting the fruit of maturity from us we will be needing again to be taught fundamental principles of the Faith. This is not a desirable thing or even a safe thing to do with the Lord (Mt 21:19; Mk 11:12-14, Heb 6:7-8 ).

Main Scriptural Witnesses
Regarding the Resurrection, there are two bits of Scripture that would be good to examine here:

1 Corinthians 15:12-58
[12]Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
[13]But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
[14]and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
[15]Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
[16]For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
[17]and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
[18]Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
[19]If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
[20]But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
[21]For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
[22]For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
[23]But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,
[24]then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
[25]For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
[26]The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
[27]For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
[28]When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
[29]Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?
[30]Why are we also in danger every hour?
[31]I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
[32]If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
[33]Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."
[34]Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
[35]But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
[36]You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;
[37]and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
[38]But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
[39]All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.
[40]There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
[41]There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
[42]So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
[43]it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
[44]it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
[45]So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
[46]However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
[47]The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
[48]As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
[49]Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
[50]Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
[51]Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
[52]in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
[53]For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
[54]But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory.
[55]O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
[56]The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
[57]but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
[58]Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:1-4
[1]For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
[2]For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,
**[3]inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.
[4]For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.

The Bible is replete with teachings about the Resurrection. It would take a lot of space and time to post all the passages in the Bible that speak of it but one very useful verse that teaches how well understood and entrenched it was in the hope of even Old Testament believers is the following:

Job 19:26
[26]"Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 7:47am On Nov 18, 2018
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The Interim State
There are two questions that may be posed:

1. What happens after we die?

2. What does it mean to be resurrected?

Both of them are common enough although they may be asked in different ways. The two passages from the two letters of Paul to the Corinthians are where the answers are most directly addressed in the Bible.

There is an error in translation in verse 3 of Second Corinthians chapter 5. It should be immediately apparent to anyone who pays attention to that chapter. We groan in this body desiring a better one and we are told that should we ever put it off, we will not be found naked because we will be wearing one from heaven. That is to say that when we die, our spirits do not become disembodied. Rather they are given new bodies from heaven in which to wait until the Resurrection. Now that statement is what is not commonly taught in churches today. But it is the Truth.

To explain, as Paul said in the other text we are using here, that is, in 1 Cor 15:45, the human being is a composite of body and spirit, not body, soul and spirit. In Gen 2:7, Adam's body was formed out of the ground and then, God breathed a spirit into that body and in that way, he became something called a soul. That is, the soul is what resulted when God united the spirit He created with the body that He formed. It was not a separate element of man's makeup. This is the same way that God created every human being. Eve's body was formed from Adam's rib and God breathed into it so that it became a living soul. The rest of us except for the Lord Jesus had our bodies formed from the seed of our earthly father and the egg of our earthly mother and when that body was fully formed and then birthed by our mother, God created our spirit and put it into that body and thus we came to be living souls as well. The Lord Jesus's Body was formed without a man's seed and so His conception was different. It is that absence of a man's seed that made certain of His lack of a sin nature which the rest of us have possessed since Adam sinned.

Our spirit is the real us. This is obvious from our reading in 2 Cor 5. Our body is what we wear or a house we live in. But "we" refers to our spirits. That is the real person. Our bodies are a tool we use either to serve God obediently and please Him or to rebel against Him and incur His Eternal Wrath. It is our bodies that weaken and die. Our spirits are indestructible. They will last for eternity. So when "we" die, it is only our bodies which actually die, like a worn-out garment that essentially falls off of us. But what happens when our bodies fall to ruins then?

This, as has been said before, is what 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 addresses. From that passage, it is clear that human beings were not created to be disembodied spirits. The angels are purely spirits although they possess some sort of corporeality that we cannot yet fully appreciate until the Second Advent and our Resurrection. But not humans. We are spirits who live in physical or material bodies. This was what God made us to be. In death then, we are the same according to this passage. Although our earthly bodies fail and die, our spirits receive a new body with which to remain in an interim state until the Lord returns to resurrect the Church. The question does arise: where do those who die spend this interim existence?

The Old Testament is awash with references to Sheol (Greek: Hades) or the Grave or the Pit. See Gen 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31; Num 16:30, 33; 1 Sam 2:6; 2 Sam 22:6; 1 Ki 2:6, 9; Job 7:9; 17:16; 21:13; 24:19; 33:18; Ps 6:5; 9:17; 16:10; 30:3; 31:17; 49:14, 15; 55:15; 86:13; 88:3; 89:48; 116:3; 141:7; Pro 1:12; 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; Eccl 9:10; Is 14:9 and many more. Sheol is the place of the Dead. That was where until the Cross, everyone who died was taken. Even the great prophet Samuel went there when he died (1 Sam 28:12-19). Since the Cross, however, all believers who die have gone into the Third Heaven. Believers who died before the Cross, like Samuel, were taken to Sheol, but not to the same place as unbelievers. All unbelievers were (and still are) put in Torments in Sheol (Lk 16:23, 28; Is 50:11; Job 24:19; Ps 49:14; Is 14:11. But believers who died before the Cross went to Paradise although this Paradise was also in Sheol (Lk 16:22, 25; Eze 31: 16). When our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, however, having perfectly fulfilled the Will of the Father to die for our sins, "captivity was led captive" (Eph 4:8-10, Ps 68:18) and believers who could not go home until then formed the Lord's entourage into the Third Heaven into the Presence of the Father having had the veil of our sin and consequent judgment torn open by the Great Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. These are those who in Revelation 6:9-11 are said to be at the foot of the Altar (the Altar is a symbol representing the Lord Jesus Christ just like the Seven Lamps before the Throne are a symbol of the Holy Spirit). So, believers who die today receive interim bodies and are taken into the Third Heaven to remain with the Lord Jesus in the Presence of the Father awaiting with our Lord the Day of His Return and the Resurrection of the Church.

The Resurrection
So, then, what does it mean to be resurrected since we have come full circle? Again, we must look at the verse in Job referenced before:

Job 19:26
[26]"Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God.

That is, even though we die, we know that we will still be raised up from the dead in this body to see God. This is the hope of Resurrection which drives all of the believer's aspirations. We endure everything we do in this earth because we are confident that life does not end for us when we die but that one day we will have back our material existence only this time without death ever again being an issue.

a) Soul Sleep
There are many false ideas about what the Resurrection will be. There are those who believe that when we die, we are unconscious, in a sort of "soul sleep" until the Resurrection when our disembodied spirits are awakened. Some parts of the Bible are used to justify this idea like:

Daniel 12:2
[2]Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Matthew 9:24
[24]He said, "Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep." And they began laughing at Him.

Matthew 27:52
[52]The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

John 11:11
[11]This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep."

Acts 7:60
[60]Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" Having said this, he fell asleep.

There are many more like those ones where death is described as sleep. But it is wrong to receive these passages and others like them to mean that those who die are unconscious. At the very least, this verse should call that thought immediately into question:

1 Thessalonians 5:10
[10]who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.

That is, even in this "sleep", we "live" with the Lord. Obviously, Samuel was not unconscious when God sent him to speak to Saul at the séance of the Witch of Endor. If we say that he was woken from sleep, then, why was he not raised from the dead like the little girl and Lazarus when the Lord Jesus "woke" them up? Then, there was Abraham and Lazarus and even the rich man. None of these people are found to be unconscious. The souls gathered at our Lord's feet in Heaven are not unconscious either but are clearly speaking even though they are told to go on resting. So, "sleep" in these passages cannot mean "unconscious" or "unconsciousness". Rather, it means that these people are no longer engaged in the war of this life. They have been removed from the business of living and are only waiting for the time when they can go back to "living" again or, in the case of unbelievers, to whatever eternal condemnation has in store for them.

1 Like

Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 7:52am On Nov 18, 2018
3/4

b) The Resurrection Body
Then, there is the question of what body we will be resurrected in. That one has already been addressed in much of the foregoing but it does bear further attention. It should be noticed that Paul had to answer the same question from the Corinthians as well some of whom thought that it was a very smart question to ask since it, in their minds, proved that resurrection was a harebrained idea.

1 Corinthians 15:35-57
[35]But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
[36]You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;
[37]and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
[38]But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
[39]All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.
[40]There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
[41]There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
[42]So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
[43]it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
[44]it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
[45]So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
[46]However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
[47]The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
[48]As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
[49]Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
[50]Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
[51]Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
[52]in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
[53]For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
[54]But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory.
[55]O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
[56]The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
[57]but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Two things are pertinent here:

One, it isn't resurrection if it wasn't this body that is raised from the dead. The whole idea is that God has the power to bring this body which is so weak and so prone to failure and which for most people would have already fallen to dust by the time of the Second Advent back to life. So, the fact that it is a weak body and could be nothing but dust by the Second Advent does not mean that a different body will be needed for Resurrection. It is not beyond God's Ability and Power to raise this very body up from death.

Two, in Resurrection, this body will be changed. While it will be this body, it will be different. For example, the perishability of this body will be changed into imperishability and its mortality to immortality. That is, this weak body will become powerful and this vulnerable body will become invulnerable. Paul also says that it will cease to be a "natural" body and become a "spiritual" one. That bears comment.

The adjective "spiritual" has led people to think that in Resurrection, we either get or become something called "spirit bodies". Whatever this may mean to any given reader, what Paul means is that our bodies will in Resurrection be made into perfect vessels for our spirits. In this world, our bodies provide an opposing influence to the influence of the Holy Spirit because of the sin in them. Additionally, they are suited to life in this world so that because of them we are severely limited in our ability to perceive and participate in spiritual realities. For example, we obviously cannot ascend into the Third Heaven in these bodies but our Lord Jesus could after He resurrected. For another example, all around us everyday, there is a great amount of spiritual activity with the elect angels fighting to defend and protect believers against the assault of the rebel angels (Dan 12:1) but we cannot perceive it much less participate in it. But in our Resurrection bodies, we will enter battle with the Lord Jesus against Satan and the rebel angels while our Lord annihilates the world's human armies massed against Jerusalem at Armageddon (Ps 110:3; Rev 19:14).

For another example, Paul teaches that this body will be raised in glory although it may be "sown in dishonor". Glory speaks of effulgent light. That is, our Resurrection bodies will shine just like literal stars but with the Glory of God Himself (Jn 17:22). However good-looking we may be said to be right now, these bodies of ours today are in dishonor. They are not glorious at all. But in Resurrection, for believers, our bodies will beam with a light more brilliant than seven suns (Is 30:26).

So, this body will be changed in some ways that can barely be imagined and in far more that we cannot conceive at all.

c) The Hope of Resurrection
This is what the hope of our calling is: that though we may die, we will live again and in an incomparably better existence than the very best that this life can afford. This hope is, as Paul said, why we are in danger every hour (1 Cor 15:30). In fact, he says that if there is no resurrection, our faith is entirely pointless and that is without doubt since for the believer, life in this world is a war. We are constantly pressing toward and sacrificing for a world that is yet to come. We are depriving ourselves of the sinful pleasures of this life and many legitimate pleasures too as we fight for eternal rewards in a New Creation which would only be possible if we will be resurrected to share in it in the first place. This is our lot. Only those who do not count the world to come as a worthy aspiration and/or do not believe that there is such a thing as a resurrection give themselves to this world's affairs and this world's pleasures without restraint or with minimal restraint. Otherwise, it would be madness to give up all of this world's allures and promises if we neither care for the world to come nor believe in a resurrection.

d) Timing of The Resurrection
But when will this Resurrection happen? Again, we refer to our text in 1 Cor 15:

1 Corinthians 15:20-26
[20]But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
[21]For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
[22]For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
[23]But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,
[24]then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
[25]For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
[26]The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Resurrection occurs in three echelons:

One, the Lord Jesus Christ Who was resurrected first, the Prince of Life Himself in Whom all who die will be made alive.

Two, the Church consisting of all believers from Adam and Eve to the last saint to believe in the Lord Jesus before the Second Advent, that is, "those who are Christ's at His Coming". These ones are resurrected at the Second Advent when the Lord Jesus returns. This echelon includes all dead believers and those who will be alive at the point of our Lord Jesus's return.

Finally will be those who are resurrected at the End of the World. This is the last Resurrection which will occur at the end of our Lord's thousand-year reign over the Earth. After those thousand years and the rebellion which Satan, released from the Abyss for a short time, will immediately instigate, the entire Creation will be destroyed and all Millennial believers will be resurrected and after them all unbelievers from Cain all the way to the last unbeliever to live in human history. After this will follow the last Judgment, the Judgment of the White Throne.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 7:54am On Nov 18, 2018
4/4

e) Resurrection of the Unbelieving
Primarily, our concern has been with the resurrection of believers but resurrection will occur for everyone in the end although its specifics will be different for the believer and the unbeliever. For believers, Resurrection will result in an infinitely better state of existence with a Perfect Body with incredible qualities and abilities beyond imagining in the present moment. This will not be the case for unbelievers. All unbelievers will be resurrected for condemnation and their Resurrection bodies will accord with that. The Scriptures do not tell us as much about the state of unbelievers in their own resurrection as it does about believers but what it does say is unpleasant.

Daniel 12:2
[2]Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Again, it must be said that there is so very much to say about all this. As we learn more in the Bible we will interact in a deeper and more comprehensive way with this issue and others.

May Grace remain with you.

1 Like 1 Share

Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by onuowu78: 8:21am On Nov 18, 2018
hmm
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by hylyne(m): 8:32am On Nov 18, 2018
Ok
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Harvard10: 1:52pm On Nov 18, 2018
Ihedinobi3:
4/4


Hello Ihedinobi,

Greetings to you from Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have not been a frequent visitor here but I was led to your posts. I am really impressed that we have people like us here on this platform. I wish we were so plenty that we make up to 25% of the population here. I must commend you with all Grace. I have not gone through your write ups but the few I perused were in tandem with the sound doctrines of Christ, not just the conventional teachings.

When I am done going through, wish to add / edit or modify some contents to suit size or audience needs with this your message as it would be easier to build on it due to its comprehensive nature. I trust I have your permission. I intend to use this to reach out to others. Been thinking of making such write ups for my outreach(s) (via media or physical) and seeing yours will expedite mine.

More Grace to you. I wish to connect to you. Pls let's talk.
My email: hisroyalmajesty2@gmail.com

1 Like

Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Patrik007(m): 4:55pm On Nov 18, 2018
Nice post

Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 5:03pm On Nov 18, 2018
Harvard10:


Hello Ihedinobi,

Greetings to you from Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have not been a frequent visitor here but I was led to your posts. I am really impressed that we have people like us here on this platform. I wish we were so plenty that we make up to 25% of the population here. I must commend you with all Grace. I have not gone through your write ups but the few I perused were in tandem with the sound doctrines of Christ, not just the conventional teachings.

When I am done going through, wish to add / edit or modify some contents to suit size or audience needs with this your message as it would be easier to build on it due to its comprehensive nature. I trust I have your permission. I intend to use this to reach out to others. Been thinking of making such write ups for my outreach(s) (via media or physical) and seeing yours will expedite mine.

More Grace to you. I wish to connect to you. Pls let's talk.
My phone is 090*********.

Very good to make your acquaintance, dear friend. And thank you for your very kind words.

It is okay to share the works here but please do not edit them. I am responsible to the Lord for what I write. You may copy them with proper attribution but please do not alter them in any way.

May I offer you an email to reach me at instead? (And it may not be very wise to leave your phone number in a public forum like this.)

Please email me at ihedinobi3@gmail.com.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by rinzaugustine: 6:32pm On Nov 18, 2018
Ihedinobi3:
Hello everyone.

Allow me to welcome you to the thread and wish you a productive experience with it.

The purpose of this thread is...

to provide on a regular basis teachings on the Bible to help believers in Jesus Christ who want it to grow spiritually and bear fruit for the Lord Who bought them with His Life.

Clearly, the primary concern of this thread is with Christians, believers in Jesus Christ. But unbelievers who are curious about our Faith are welcome to observe if they please.

While the author is not shy of debates of all kinds, this thread exists essentially to share what he has learned with others who are willing to learn from him. If there is disagreement with what is said here, he would be happy to discuss that disagreement elsewhere and even link it back here if necessary or useful. This is just to maintain focus and order.

New material will be posted every Sunday with deliberate effort made to cover the basic and major doctrines of the Bible so that the reader can come to understand what the Faith is about. Questions will be entertained all the time regardless what day of the week it is.

Much that may be said here is not exactly common knowledge in the churches today. It may shock the sensibilities of most believers today. The reader is implored to be patient with the studies here. It is also to the reader's benefit to keep in mind that the author is willing to answer any questions or challenges to what is taught here.

It is strongly advised that the reader keep their Bible close and check every claim that is made in the studies written up here. While the author is committed to providing the Truth as clearly and accurately as he can, he believes that no teaching will do any good unless it stands on the Bible and illuminates the Scriptures for the believer.

As believers, our job is to grow in the Truth and help one another to do the same. This is why this thread was conceived. This is one of the ways that the author hopes to help other believers to grow in the Truth and become able to help fellow believers as well.

But perhaps the reader is not a believer. If that is the case, the author implores the unbelieving reader to give their trust to the Lord Jesus Christ so that they may be saved. There is nothing on earth that will last forever. Everything we see and experience in this life will come to an end. But eventually, we will stand before God and it will be decided what our eternal fate will be. If we get to live with God forevermore as part of His Eternal Family, there is no joy in this world to compare with what our experience will be and no loss or suffering or pain in this life that will sour that experience either. But if we are rejected by God and condemned to eternity in the Lake of Fire, there is no pain or suffering or loss in this life that will compare to that experience and no joys in this world that will comfort us then. Whatever the reader's particular experience in this life, whatever the reader may have done, the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was God Who came down to earth to become a Man and die for all the sins of humanity from the smallest to the greatest, from the first to the last, has paid for it all. All it takes to become part of God's Family, as has just been said, is that the reader should believe in Jesus Christ. The reader is implored to put his confidence in the Lord Jesus and salvation will be theirs.

Getting saved/born again is only the beginning of a long journey. Getting saved is getting in the door or gate. Ahead stretches a long path that every believer is called to follow in order to fulfill the purpose of their salvation. In John 15, our Lord Jesus says,

John 15:8,16 NASB
[8]My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
[16]You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

This is why we were saved: to "go and bear fruit and that [our] fruit [will] remain". The vast majority of Christians are not pursuing this goal. But even so, it is what our Lord expects of us and what He will judge us on.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB
[10]For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NASB
[12]Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
[13]each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
[14]If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
[15]If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Lord taught us that it is very important to Him that when He returns we should stand before Him with fruit that will survive His fiery test. He will not look kindly upon lives that have produced nothing for Him. So, it is not only right but positively to be striven for that we produce fruit that will survive the Lord's fiery test at His Return. This is what the Lord has left us on earth to do.

How do we do this? It is by learning the Truth with the help of a gifted and prepared Bible teacher, believing it, and deliberately and diligently applying it to our lives and finally helping other believers to do the same(Eph 4:11-16; 1 Pet 2:2). Spiritual maturity is the immediate goal of spiritual growth. At the point of spiritual maturity, we have become able to tell what the Christian Faith is about, why we are here and what is expected of us. That helps us make good decisions concerning every issue of our lives here on earth. It also makes it considerably easier for us to hold on to our Faith and persevere till the end through every trial and every tribulation. Those who fail to grow to maturity always run the risk of falling away from the faith when things get tough as they inevitably do for every believer (Matt 13:20-21). Those who fail to grow to maturity remain susceptible to all kinds of heresies that sneak into the churches (Eph 4:14). Those who fail to grow to maturity may last until the end but they will not bear fruit as a mature branch would and therefore they will suffer loss of reward (Matt 13:22).

Therefore, it is critical that we commit to spiritual growth and pursue spiritual maturity and production for our Lord. There will always be some excuse to deprioritize these things (Matt 13:22) but it is in our very best, our eternal interest to keep these things top among our priorities everyday. It is good to keep in mind that every concern we may have which distracts us from these pursuits commanded by our Lord is one which our Lord not only is very well aware of but has very abundantly provided for even if not quite in the way we may like (Matt 6:31-33). This walk of ours is a walk of Faith so not everything will be immediately evident. In fact, very little will be but what is evident to us will be enough for us to continue pressing forward to please the Lord Who bought us. We should keep this in mind all the time as we take pains to grow spiritually and bear fruit for the Lord.

Please click on https://www.nairaland.com/4787611/believers-thread-biblical-questions for answers to Bible questions and to ask Bible questions that may not be related to the studies here.
Very true
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Mryacks(m): 4:35pm On Nov 20, 2018
Ihedinobi3:
Hello everyone.

Allow me to welcome you to the thread and wish you a productive experience with it.

The purpose of this thread is...

to provide on a regular basis teachings on the Bible to help believers in Jesus Christ who want it to grow spiritually and bear fruit for the Lord Who bought them with His Life.

Clearly, the primary concern of this thread is with Christians, believers in Jesus Christ. But unbelievers who are curious about our Faith are welcome to observe if they please.

While the author is not shy of debates of all kinds, this thread exists essentially to share what he has learned with others who are willing to learn from him. If there is disagreement with what is said here, he would be happy to discuss that disagreement elsewhere and even link it back here if necessary or useful. This is just to maintain focus and order.

New material will be posted every Sunday with deliberate effort made to cover the basic and major doctrines of the Bible so that the reader can come to understand what the Faith is about. Questions will be entertained all the time regardless what day of the week it is.

Much that may be said here is not exactly common knowledge in the churches today. It may shock the sensibilities of most believers today. The reader is implored to be patient with the studies here. It is also to the reader's benefit to keep in mind that the author is willing to answer any questions or challenges to what is taught here.

It is strongly advised that the reader keep their Bible close and check every claim that is made in the studies written up here. While the author is committed to providing the Truth as clearly and accurately as he can, he believes that no teaching will do any good unless it stands on the Bible and illuminates the Scriptures for the believer.

As believers, our job is to grow in the Truth and help one another to do the same. This is why this thread was conceived. This is one of the ways that the author hopes to help other believers to grow in the Truth and become able to help fellow believers as well.

But perhaps the reader is not a believer. If that is the case, the author implores the unbelieving reader to give their trust to the Lord Jesus Christ so that they may be saved. There is nothing on earth that will last forever. Everything we see and experience in this life will come to an end. But eventually, we will stand before God and it will be decided what our eternal fate will be. If we get to live with God forevermore as part of His Eternal Family, there is no joy in this world to compare with what our experience will be and no loss or suffering or pain in this life that will sour that experience either. But if we are rejected by God and condemned to eternity in the Lake of Fire, there is no pain or suffering or loss in this life that will compare to that experience and no joys in this world that will comfort us then. Whatever the reader's particular experience in this life, whatever the reader may have done, the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was God Who came down to earth to become a Man and die for all the sins of humanity from the smallest to the greatest, from the first to the last, has paid for it all. All it takes to become part of God's Family, as has just been said, is that the reader should believe in Jesus Christ. The reader is implored to put his confidence in the Lord Jesus and salvation will be theirs.

Getting saved/born again is only the beginning of a long journey. Getting saved is getting in the door or gate. Ahead stretches a long path that every believer is called to follow in order to fulfill the purpose of their salvation. In John 15, our Lord Jesus says,

John 15:8,16 NASB
[8]My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
[16]You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

This is why we were saved: to "go and bear fruit and that [our] fruit [will] remain". The vast majority of Christians are not pursuing this goal. But even so, it is what our Lord expects of us and what He will judge us on.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB
[10]For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NASB
[12]Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
[13]each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
[14]If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
[15]If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Lord taught us that it is very important to Him that when He returns we should stand before Him with fruit that will survive His fiery test. He will not look kindly upon lives that have produced nothing for Him. So, it is not only right but positively to be striven for that we produce fruit that will survive the Lord's fiery test at His Return. This is what the Lord has left us on earth to do.

How do we do this? It is by learning the Truth with the help of a gifted and prepared Bible teacher, believing it, and deliberately and diligently applying it to our lives and finally helping other believers to do the same(Eph 4:11-16; 1 Pet 2:2). Spiritual maturity is the immediate goal of spiritual growth. At the point of spiritual maturity, we have become able to tell what the Christian Faith is about, why we are here and what is expected of us. That helps us make good decisions concerning every issue of our lives here on earth. It also makes it considerably easier for us to hold on to our Faith and persevere till the end through every trial and every tribulation. Those who fail to grow to maturity always run the risk of falling away from the faith when things get tough as they inevitably do for every believer (Matt 13:20-21). Those who fail to grow to maturity remain susceptible to all kinds of heresies that sneak into the churches (Eph 4:14). Those who fail to grow to maturity may last until the end but they will not bear fruit as a mature branch would and therefore they will suffer loss of reward (Matt 13:22).

Therefore, it is critical that we commit to spiritual growth and pursue spiritual maturity and production for our Lord. There will always be some excuse to deprioritize these things (Matt 13:22) but it is in our very best, our eternal interest to keep these things top among our priorities everyday. It is good to keep in mind that every concern we may have which distracts us from these pursuits commanded by our Lord is one which our Lord not only is very well aware of but has very abundantly provided for even if not quite in the way we may like (Matt 6:31-33). This walk of ours is a walk of Faith so not everything will be immediately evident. In fact, very little will be but what is evident to us will be enough for us to continue pressing forward to please the Lord Who bought us. We should keep this in mind all the time as we take pains to grow spiritually and bear fruit for the Lord.

Please click on https://www.nairaland.com/4787611/believers-thread-biblical-questions for answers to Bible questions and to ask Bible questions that may not be related to the studies here.

God bless you...the importance of spiritual growth in the life of a believer cannot be over emphasised.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 5:38pm On Nov 20, 2018
Mryacks:


God bless you...the importance of spiritual growth in the life of a believer cannot be over emphasised.
Thank you for your kind words, friend.

1 Like

Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 7:04am On Nov 25, 2018
FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLE VI: ETERNAL JUDGMENT

Hebrews 6:1-2
[1]Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
[2]of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.


Finally we come to the last elementary principle named in this passage. As was said in the last discussion, eternal judgment is tied to resurrection. This life is where each human being has an opportunity to make a choice - whether to submit to God and willingly become a part of His Eternal Family or continue in rebellion against Him and throw away His Offer of Eternal Fellowship with Him. Only in this life do we have any opportunity to make this choice. This is contrary to the Roman Catholic belief that human beings still have purgatory to escape Eternal Condemnation. That doctrine is false and completely unbiblical. There are also the various variations of the idea that after death, some people may be saved because of their good works because they never heard the Gospel or because they did not know that it was true. The notion of Universalism which holds that in the end every human being will be saved and nobody will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire is one such variation. All of these ideas suggest that after life in this world there is still some chance of salvation independent of our choice for or against God in Christ Jesus while we are in this mortal body. All of them are completely false and unbiblical. The following discussion should help to explain what the Bible actually teaches.


Major Scriptural Witness
The following Bible verse is the main guide for our thoughts in this matter.

Hebrews 9:27
[27]And...it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment...


It is important to understand that the above does not speak of how many times any given human being may have experienced death, for example, Lazarus who died and was raised from the dead by our Lord Jesus Christ and has since died again or any of the many other people whom special prophets like Elisha, our Lord Jesus Christ and Apostles like Peter and Paul raised from the dead and who died again. It speaks instead to our essential mortality, that is, the certainty of an end to our mortal experience in one way or another. There are three ways we know from the Bible in which physical mortality will end: Enoch's, Elijah's and Moses's departure from life in an unusual manner, normal death from the wearing out of this mortal body or some other damage to it and the Resurrection of the Second Advent. See Gen 5:24; 2 Ki 2:11-17; Deut 34:5-7; 2 Ki 13:14,20; 1 Cor 15:51; 1 Thess 4:16-17. Every human being's time in this world is limited. We will all leave this mortal plane eventually and when we do, we must face judgment.

In our last discussion, we saw that judgment does not happen immediately upon the moment of physical death as it is thought by some people. We are now going to discuss exactly what Eternal Judgment means and how it works.


What Eternal Judgment Means
To explain this, we must first remember what we have already learned. We come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ because we want to be freed from our sins and the just punishment due to them. Every human being is guilty before God (Rom 3:9-18,23) because of the sin in our flesh that drives us to wickedness (Rom 7:17).

John 3:18
[18]He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


It is to escape this judgment that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without faith in the Lord Jesus, we would have to stand before God to be judged on our own merits. The prospect of any good outcome of that is zero. This is because, as passages shared above show, no one has any righteousness of their own to present to God that is acceptable to Him.

Isaiah 64:6
[6]For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.


We were created by God and given a free will to choose whether we will submit to Him and be part of His Family or rebel against Him and reject His offer of eternal fellowship. In Adam, we all rebel against Him. That is, after Adam sinned, his sin-corrupted flesh was passed on to his descendants (Rom 5:12-21) so that from birth every human being, with the exception only of the Lord Jesus Christ, finds themselves in the grip of sin. That is why we are all under condemnation. Without the intervention of the Lord Jesus, we would die and face Judgment only to be formally condemned and thrown into the Lake of Fire. But the Lord Jesus died a terrible spiritual death on the Cross at Calvary to pay the price of every sin ever committed or is being committed today or will yet be committed by every human being. Thus, every human being is automatically answered for before God unless they choose to reject this sacrifice.

In other words, the choice that every human being is faced with is whether to reject the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ in their behalf or not.

This is the main issue of Eternal Judgment: the separation of those who insist on rejecting God from those who accept the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what we learn from many Bible passages on judgment.

John 5:22,27-29
[22]For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,
[27]and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
[28]Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,
[29]and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Matthew 25:31-34,41,46
[31]"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
[32]All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
[33]and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
[34]"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
[41]"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
[46]These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

John 3:18-21
[18]He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
[19]This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
[20]For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
[21]But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

Revelation 20:11-12,15
[11]Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
[12]And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
[15]And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.


So, those who believe are delivered from this Judgment of condemnation. But everyone who persists in unbelief will eventually face it.


The Timing of Eternal Judgment
Eternal Judgment as represented in the Bible is more complex than we find above. As we learned in the last discussion, there are echelons of Resurrection with the Lord Jesus in the First, the Church in the Second and Millennial Believers and all Unbelievers in the Third and Final echelon. This also applies in Judgment.

a. The Judgment Of The Church
1 Peter 4:17-18
[17]For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
[18]And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?

1 Corinthians 3:13-15
[13]each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
[14]If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
[15]If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


As passages like the above show, Eternal Judgment will begin with Christians. At the Resurrection that occurs at the Second Advent, every human being who maintained faith in the Lord Jesus (either in God's Promise of a Messiah to save humanity before the Cross or in the actual Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ after the Cross) until the end of their earthly walk or until His Appearing at the Second Advent (for those who live to see that moment) will be given New Resurrection Bodies and called to assemble with the Lord in the Heavens before the final war of Armageddon. After that war, these resurrected human beings (that is, the Church) will be judged in a general assembly over which the Lord Jesus will be presiding seated on a Judgment Seat (Greek: Bema).

2 Corinthians 5:10
[10]For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.


This is the first judgment. It is not one of condemnation since as we have seen, only those who do not believe are condemned. Belief in the Lord Jesus exempts everyone who possesses it from the Judgment of Condemnation. Lack of it, however, means that the person in question is already condemned and Judgment is only a formality to make it clear to such a person why they are condemned.

This judgment then is one to determine eternal reward. Each believer will be evaluated as to how well they have done with their faith in the Lord Jesus. This evaluation will yield rewards in varying degrees so that there will really be such a thing as "the least of the saints" and "the greatest in the Kingdom". This judgment is the greatest motivator that the Bible offers Christians to run a good race. Otherwise, the trials of the Good Fight of Faith would discourage believers. There is more to say about that but that will be said in future studies.

b. The Judgment of Millennial Believers
Matthew 25:31-34
[31]"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
[32]All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
[33]and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
[34]"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 20:11,15
[11]Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
[15]And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.


Our Lord speaks of the Judgment of the White Throne in our passage in Matt 25:31-34 but in Rev 20 where this Judgment is graphically described, the Millennial believers are not present having already been judged in keeping with the principle that Judgment begins in the Lord's House. It also makes sense to conclude that their Judgment will also be for reward since there is no question but that faith in the Lord Jesus has already saved the believer from condemnation and lack of it has already condemned the unbeliever.

This judgment occurs at the end of the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus which ends after the last uprising against the Authority of God in the Earth is crushed and the Universe is destroyed. It is also the penultimate Judgment.

c. The Judgment of the Unbelieving
Revelation 20:11-13,15
[11]Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
[12]And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
[13]And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
[15]And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.


This is the final group of people to be judged. There is a similarity in this judgment to the judgment of believers in that it also involves evaluation of each individual's "deeds". This has led some people to believe that our "deeds" have a say in whether we are ultimately saved or condemned to the Lake of Fire. That is not what Revelation says. A combination of Revelation 20 and Matthew 25 shows that this evaluation of deeds is to provide clear understanding to each individual why they are condemned and will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. It is to be expected that each unbeliever when finally face to face with God Himself and the absolute certainty of the Lake of Fire will want to avoid the latter if they can. And God is gracious enough to listen to their protests and explain to them what their judgment is. Otherwise, it is sufficient that their names are not in the Book of Life where all those who have believed both before the Millennium and in the Millennium remain written.

Conclusion
As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:11, knowing the fear of God from the inevitability of Eternal Judgment (whether it be for reward for believers or for condemnation for unbelievers), we ought to be that much more zealous to please God and encourage others to do the same for once we come to that Judgment, there are no more opportunities to do as we should. God is gracious so He continues to be patient with everyone granting even those who hate Him ample opportunity to turn around and be saved (such opportunity is how and why Paul was saved too even though he was a particularly bitter enemy of the Church's prior). This patience of the Lord's ought not to be counted as weakness (2 Pet 3:9) rather we should receive it as the Great Grace that it is. If the Lord did not wait so patiently for us tolerating our foolishness as much as He has, no one would be saved. And eternity in the Lake of Fire is not pleasant in any description. Let us therefore keep in mind this certainty of Judgment and run in accordance with a hope of a full reward rather than be caught by surprise and suffer the Lord's Rebuke.

Grace remain with you.

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Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 1:20pm On Dec 02, 2018
JESUS CHRIST: THE POINT OF IT ALL I

Introduction
Perhaps, the best access point to more advanced teachings of the Bible is a discussion of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ since, after all, the entire Bible is about Him (John 14:6; Heb 1:1-2; Rev 19:13; John 1:1, 14). Especially because the Bible is really all about Him, this too is a very big undertaking. In fact, we will not be able to do more than a very broad, very general overview in this study. But as we study other things the Bible has to tell us, we will be learning even more about the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 5:39 NASB
[39]You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me...


Additionally, we know that it is only through the Lord Jesus that we are saved (Jn 3:16-18, 35-36; 1 Jn 5:11-12; Acts 4:10-12).

John 3:16
[16]"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.


So, the Lord Jesus is both how we are saved and how we grow spiritually and attain to maturity and fulfill our ministries in the Church and reap our eternal rewards. So, this discussion will look into Who He is.


Who The Lord Jesus Is
a) His Deity.
The Lord Jesus is God (John 1:1-3; Phil 2:5-11; Heb 1:8-12). That means that, like the Father and the Holy Spirit, He pre-existed all existence. He has always existed and will always exist. As John says, He was with God (that is, the Father) before everything began. He was also the Agent of Creation. That is, the whole Creation was made by Him according to the Plan of the Father. Not a single thing exists which He did not Himself make. He is identified from Eternity Past as The Word. But He is also called The Son. This latter title speaks of His Unique Relationship to the Father with respect to God's Plan in Human History.

b) His Humanity.
He became a real human being (Jn 1:14; Heb 2:9, 14). He was not always a human being. He became a human being at some point in human history. He did this in order to die for man's sin against God. This bit requires a fair bit of comment.

In Genesis 2:16-17, we learn something very important about the later humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord God gave the new human that He created one command, namely, that he should refrain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The penalty for disobedience was death. We also find in Ezekiel 18:20 that God holds each human being accountable for their sin and that the penalty for sin is death. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve both sinned and earned the just penalty for their treason against God. Ever since, Every single human being who has ever lived has sinned. So, as Paul teaches in Romans 5:12, death has been the lot of all humans throughout history. Only for those who believed either in God's Promise of a Savior and in the actual Savior when He came have had any escape from the Eternal Death that was the due of all sinners (Rom 6:23; Ps 49:8-9).

But how would God forgive such criminals as the human race which in its entirety has been in rebellion against God throughout history? It was human beings who sinned. And it was a human being who would pay the price for the Redemption of humanity (Gen 3:15). But since all human beings came into the world with sin in their flesh as a heritage from the first man Adam (Rom 7:17), there was no chance of humanity ever paying the price of all of humanity's multitude rebellions against God (Ps 49:8-9). Every human being was just as guilty as the next before God. How then could God's Justice ever be satisfied? A perfect human was the solution. Mankind would never produce such a person without help though Rom 3:10-18).

Romans 3:23 NASB
[23]for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


This is what the Lord God did so graciously for human beings. He gave His One and Only Son to become a genuine human being Who could pay the price of human treason so that humanity could be saved.

Hebrews 10:4-5 NASB
[4]For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
[5]Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me.


So, our Lord Jesus had a perfect humanity prepared for Him so that He could be the perfect Answer to man's terrible predicament. No human being would be eternally saved unless a perfect human being satisfied God's Justice concerning human beings. Finally, there was Somebody Who could do that.

As we have already seen, only a human being could pay for human sins. But not only that, it would also take God Himself not only to make such a human being possible but also to make that Sacrifice possible. The reason for this is that all sins, however seemingly innocuous, are necessarily eternal in ramification. That is, there is no sin that is small because all sins are acts of rebellion against God. So, they all carry eternal weight. This is why the wage of sin is eternal death. Who can pay that kind of price and still be able to save humanity? Only God Himself. Or else, the person would be consumed. It is like trying to pay off a huge debt on somebody else's behalf. To do so, the benefactor must possess sizeable enough means to at least succeed at clearing the debt or else there could still be a heavy debt to pay after their resources have been exhausted.

God obviously possesses a large enough reserve to be able to satisfy His Own Righteous Demands. This is why it had to be God Who would become Man in order to save humanity from certain eternal destruction. We had no hope otherwise.

So, the Word put on flesh and dwelt among us, entering into our predicament and accepting responsibility for all human rebellion against God throughout human history, past, present and future.

Hebrews 2:14-15
[14]Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
[15]and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

This is a very important lesson to learn and keep in mind. God became Man to save man from man's own sins against God. This is great love. This is God's deliberate commitment to this Creation, claiming it for Himself through all eternity. This is God making human beings who are in themselves not only nothing special but in fact condemned rebels against Him not only Family but also something very special to Him.

Our Lord's Humanity was real although it was also unusual. In order for His Body to not be tainted with the son that is present in all human bodies since Adam, His Body was virgin-conceived and virgin-born. But even so, it was a very real human body, only completely free of the sin nature. That is, He came into the world in the same state that Adam and Eve were brought into existence. He had no sin but He possessed a free will which made it entirely possible for Him to sin if He wished to (Heb 2:10, 17-18; 4:15). He was tremendously tested and tempted, more than any human being who has ever lived or will ever live but He never stumbled at all. He was absolutely perfect in His Walk and pleased God in all things that He did (Mt 3:17; Lk 3:22; Mt 17:5; Mk 9:7). That made Him the suitable Sacrifice for our sins.

c) A Jew.
In Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38, we see that the Lord's earthly lineage is traced to and through the Jews. Matthew particularly emphasizes this in verse 1.

Genesis 22:18 NASB
[18]In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

Galatians 3:16 NASB
[16]Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.


The Lord Jesus came into the human race through Abraham's physical descendants. Both his mother and adoptive human father traced their roots back to Abraham. The genealogy in Luke is His mother's genealogy and we see that it passed through David and through Abraham. Also, the Luke genealogy emphasized His connection to the entire human race in its tracing back to Adam and therefore to God's Promise of a Savior for all mankind, not just the Jews, in Genesis 3:15. A word about the genealogies may be at this point since it is often a stumbling block for some.

Regarding the genealogies, at a glance it is easy to see that the Matthew genealogy is different from the Luke one and this has been a stumbling block for some people. As has already been said, the two genealogies serve different purposes and are for each of our Lord's parents respectively. The Matthew one was for his earthly adoptive father and the Luke one for his earthly mother. Both parents descended from David, thus twice making him a descendant of David which is something we will discuss next. It may not be obvious that it is Mary's lineage that is traced in Luke 3 since her name was not written there but this is because a son-in-law is also a sort of adoptive son who can stand in the place of the daughter to whom he is married.

The Jews are a nation that God deliberately separated out from among the families of the earth in order to save all of humankind from certain destruction. It is analogous to the separation of land from the water on the third day of God's re-creation of the universe in Genesis 1. By the separation of this people, God created a definite "nursery" for the development of His Truth in the world. As this nation grew and went through different experiences, God guided it steadily to become His Means of bringing salvation to humankind (Rev 12:1-2, 5; Jn 4:22).

It is important to keep in mind that the Jews were not picked at random to be God's favored nation. God loves all His Creatures and would not favor one above the other unless there was reason to. We know from the Bible that God does factor in each individual's disposition to Him in His treatment of them (Ps 18:25-26; cf Lev 26:3-41). So, although God being God does possess every right to show favoritism, He really does not. Everyone has an equal chance with Him. It only happened that it was Abraham who gave Him the kind of obedience that pleased Him and which was capable of setting a standard for all of the man's natural descendants.

Genesis 22:18 NASB
[18]In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

Genesis 18:17-19 NASB
[17]The Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
[18]since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?
[19]For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him."


This is why the Jews were privileged as they were. Even so, in the Bible, it is easy to see that after Abraham, it was not always the majority of his descendants who were so obedient to God. In fact, Israel was a very rebellious nation against God. They were continually saved from total destruction by the Lord's remembrance of His Promises to the Patriarchs, that is, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But was any other nation as good? The Gentiles were notoriously ungodly. Beginning from Cain, they had a very rebellious bent toward God. Israel was constantly being seduced by them. But, at least, Israel had a heritage of Faith which was sustained throughout all the generations that she has existed with some remnant of her people always seeking out the Lord and being faithful to Him.

So it is wise to not take offence that God chose the Jewish nation through which to come into the human race. That is folly.

d) The King Of The Jews.
The Lord Jesus did not only become a Jew, He is also royalty among them. The genealogies also show this in the inclusion of David in His roots. In fact, in the Prophets and the Gospels, the Lord is very popularly referred to as the Son of David. The Psalms too are filled with references to Him as the true Successor of David and as King over Israel. See Mt 1:1; 9:27; 22:42; Lk 1:32; Rom 1:3; Rev 22:12.

2 Samuel 7:12-14 NASB
[12] When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.
[13] He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. [14] I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me.


The context of the above passage does indeed apply to Solomon in the immediacy of the moment. But clearly, Solomon's Throne ended with his earthly life and his son succeeded him. So, the whole prophecy could not have applied to him. This is a common thing in prophecy. Many prophecies apply to multiple targets and multiple situations. A very popular example of that is Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 which both apply to the kings of Babylon and Tyre as well as to Satan too. Another sometimes debated example is in Isaiah 7:14. There was an immediate application to the contemporary times of Isaiah and a much later application to the Lord Jesus Himself. So, the above passage in 2 Samuel 7 does definitely apply to the Lord Jesus. He is the "Descendant", the Greater Son of David, in view here and the One Whose Throne will remain forever (Rev 22:1,3; Heb 1:8 ).

Still, our Lord never ruled over Israel during His earthly life and Jerusalem was destroyed shortly after He returned to Heaven. Only in 1947 was the nation reconstituted and even now it certainly does not consider itself ruled by Jesus Christ. So, what does it mean when the Bible calls Him the King of Israel and what did Himself mean when He told Pilate that He is a King?

Matthew 27:11 NASB
[11]Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And Jesus said to him, "It is as you say."


John 18:37 NASB
[37]Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."


e) The King of All Nations.
The answer to the above is also in our Lord's conversation with Pilate preserved in John 18.

John 18:36 NASB
[36]Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."


Ps 2:2-9; 9:2-8; 47:2-8; 67:4; 72; 99; 110; Dan 7:13-14, 27; Zech 14:9; Is 2:1-4; 11; 24:23; 60; Rev 19:11-21; 20:4, 6 are some of the many passages in the Bible that speak of the reign of the Lord Jesus over the entire Earth. But as He told Pilate, His Kingdom is of a different sort than this world. This world is Satan's own domain and dominion. The Lord Jesus's Kingdom does not belong in it. Rather, that Kingdom is currently attacking Satan's kingdom of this world and undermining it. At the Return Of The Lord Jesus, the final battle for supremacy will occur with the Lord Jesus taking full control of the entire world and crushing Satan's kingdom completely. That is when His Reign over the nations will commence. And it will continue into Eternity punctuated only by the Final Uprising that will happen after one thousand years of His Reign over the Earth have been completed. That Uprising will be followed by the Destruction of this Universe and the Judgment of the Great White Throne. Then the New Universe of Perfect Righteousness will be created by Him where all the Righteous will dwell with God eternally. In this New Universe, the Lord Jesus will reign with the Father eternally so that the prophecy will be fulfilled that His Kingdom is forever.


May Grace keep you.

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Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 7:42pm On Dec 09, 2018
JESUS CHRIST: THE POINT OF IT ALL II


What The Lord Jesus Did

The bottom line is this: the Lord Jesus made creation possible by His Death on the Cross of Calvary.

a) His Eternal Role in Creation
We have already seen that the Lord Jesus is Eternal God too just like the Father and the Holy Spirit. As such, He had a role in creation. We already know that He was the One of the Three Who actually created everything (Jn 1:3; Col 1:16-17) just as He will be the One also at the end of Time to create the New Universe (Mt 25:31-46, cf. Rev 20:11-21:1)where God will live eternally with all His faithful family (Rev 21:3).

What we will pay close attention to right here is how the Lord Jesus made creation possible in the first instance. That is, knowing what creature free will would result in, how was a perfect God going to get the perfect creation? The answer to this will also demonstrate how the Lord Jesus is also "the Wisdom of God" (1 Cor 1:24, 30).

(i) Creature Free Will: Creature free will meant that to a limited extent angels and men would be able to choose whether or not they would obey God. That is, just as God possesses an unlimited Will (Dan 4:35) - that is, He lacks any external limitation upon Himself and is totally free to do as He pleases (Is 45:5-6; 46:9; 1 Cor 2:16)-, He gave certain of His creatures a similar but significantly limited will (Ps 82:6; Jn 10:34,35; Gen 1:26-27). Each angel - until the summary judgment upon the world that existed prior to the creation of human beings - possessed the ability to decide who they wanted to be in relation to God (Ps 8:4-5; Heb 2:7-9; 1 Tim 5:21; 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 1:6; Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26; Rev 14:10). Man was later created with the same ability. As is clear from what has just been said, this ability was limited (Gen 1:26-27). It is constrained by God's Own Will and His Own Being. There is only One True God so that there is truly only One Unopposable Will, not many. It is God's Own Decree to allow each of these special creatures the right and opportunity to decide whether to challenge His Authority or submit to It.

(ii) Satan's Rebellion: The existence of creature free will is what made high treason against God possible just as it made willing obedience to Him possible as well. Satan took advantage of this ability in his turn to rebel against God and attempt to commit a coup d'etat against God (Is 14:13-14).

Satan was created as a cherub, the highest rank of angels. He was also the only cherub at the time.

Ezekiel 28:14,16 NASB
[14]"You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
[16]"By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire.


As the context of the above passage indicates, he was created with every benefit that a creature could possibly wish for:

1. He was the high priest of the angels (Eze 28:13-14, cf. Ex 28:2-29).

2. He was the touchstone of perfection in the entire universe (Eze 28:12).

3. He was full of wisdom (Eze 28:12).

4. He was perfect in beauty (Eze 28:12).

5. He was built with music as part of his makeup (Is 14:11; Eze 28:13 KJV).

As a cherub, Satan was the Guardian of God's Throne and the protector of His Holiness (Is 6:2-3; Rev 4:8 ). That does not mean that there was anything unholy in the world of that time. His position was symbolic. He was the one tasked with maintaining a remembrance of God's necessary separation from creation. God is not part of or even similar to creation in any way. Creation is His Invention. He made it out of nothing and is completely apart from it. This is important for creatures because of how easy it is for those possessing free will to forget that God is not like them. That is easy to understand from how many times the Bible emphasizes God's Uniqueness (see, for example, Is 55:8-9 and Ps 50:21). It was Satan's job as the Guardian/Covering Cherub to preserve that truth among his fellow angels.

It is important to remember that angels at this time, although created holy, possessed free will and thus could go against God's Authority if they wished. This was something that Satan's position at the time had the capacity to dissuade. If any thoughts of rebellion began to be hatched in any angelic mind, a reminder of God's "otherness" from creation which would have reminded the angel of the futility of rebelling against God had the potential to put an end to the idea. However, it was the very one who was made to guard that Holiness that violated it.

As we see from Isaiah 14 and 28, Satan conceived in his own heart the lie that he could become God. Obviously, as we see above, it is not possible for creatures to ever become God. God is not a creature. He was never made. He has no beginning and no end. There is no limit to Him in any particular. These things are not true of creatures. Creatures exist because God made them. Creatures are limited in their ability by God's Own Chosen purpose for them. In other words, it is impossible for anything which is not already God to become God. This was what Satan's position was supposed to remind everyone creature of. But himself chose to ignore it and reach for the unattainable.

Isaiah 14:13-14 NASB
[13]"But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.
[14]'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'


In these words, Satan's self-delusion is abundantly manifest. In rejecting the truth that he was graciously granted the authority to preserve, he embraced a lie of his own creation and thus set the stage for an ill-fated rebellion against a truly unassailable God.

Once he made his choice, it only followed that he would start usurping God's Authority over his fellow angels and trying to win them over to his side. This is clearly shown in even his activities among the human race. He is called the Tempter because of his use of his great wisdom to seduce fellow creatures to sin against God and join his rebellion.

Ezekiel 28:16,18 NASB
[16]"By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire.
[18]"By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you.


The trade spoken of here refers to his campaigning among the angels to seduce them to join his cause. How did Satan succeed at seducing fellow angels who lived in a paradise universe and lacked absolutely nothing into rebelling against such a powerful God? This is a fair question to ask but our answer here will be, just like this discussion of Satan's rebellion, a summary.

As must be clear so far, the universe of that time was perfect and the angels were created without the material limitations with which man would later be burdened in his own turn. They lack material bodies. This is important. The angels were created spirits. They certainly had form of some sort but they did not possess physical bodies (Ps 104:4; Heb 1:7). But they lived in and ruled over a material universe where there were mountains, stones and all sorts of gems and pearls as our passage in Ezekiel 28 shows. It is not a stretch of imagination to think that there were animals and plant life in that universe as well. It only makes sense since "universe" or "creation" or "world" always has one clear meaning throughout the Scriptures. Those words describe the totality of all things that were made by God. And it only follows that what existed before God judged the universe of the time before man was created must be similar to what existed after and to what we look forward to in the Eternal State.

Animals exist in today's universe. They also exist in Heaven where we hear of horses, at least. There is not much reason to think then that they will not exist in the world to come or that they did not exist in the world that was before man.

Those animals were not spirits without bodies like the angels. They possessed physical bodies. Their existence then was sufficiently different from the angels' that they were curious about it and examined it with great interest as they are demonstrated to do with the Church at least (1 Pet 1:12; 1 Cor 4:9; Eph 3:10-11). For some of them, that curiosity was fanned into lust. That desire to experience existence in a material body was what gave them motive to rebel. But what gave them the gumption, the daring to do so? For consider that without the limitations of a physical body, they had far greater spiritual knowledge than we do and did know that such a rebellion was apt to gain God's summary judgment. But Satan did have an answer.

God is a perfect God. Satan himself was God's deliberate proof of that. He was the measure of perfection in that universe. That was what he hinged upon to sell his idea that God would not be able to execute Judgment against the rebels. Since there was a perfect number of angels created (Ps 147:4) and angels were incapable of repentance once they committed to a choice, their rebellion would result in a less than perfect number of faithful angels which would (in the thinking of Satan and his fellow rebels) put God in an impossible dilemma:

• Destroy His now-imperfect creation since being a perfect God, He could not tolerate imperfection? But that would mean punishing the angels who remained faithful along with those who rebelled and that is unjust. God is not unjust. OR

• Destroy the rebellious angels? But that would ruin the perfect number of angels. And God could not have that.

With things at such a pass, it seemed clear to the rebels that they could get away with their rebellion. They could not be rehabilitated or replaced and God could not summarily destroy the entire creation that was now imperfect because of their rebellion, so He would be forced to leave it to them to do with as they pleased. Consider that unbelievers really fantasize about such a possibility as well: being able to do as they please without God's interference, that is, to be gods unto themselves (which is why they pretend to themselves either that He doesn't exist or that He is whatever they decide that he should be, i.e. idolatry). This was the rationale that Satan sold to them. It amounted to this: that God would be powerless to judge them (Job 22:17).

A third of the angels were persuaded by Satan in his conspiracy and began to ruin the earth with their lusts run wild (as we in our turn have come to see humans do in the world in our own turn). They entered into full-blown rebellion, taking possession of animal bodies they pleased and eventually going on to try and create bodies that fit their unrighteous desires (note all the instances of demon possession in the gospels and Acts especially Mt 8:28-32; 12:43-45; Lk 8:26-33; 11:24-26; Mk 5:2-13). This went on until it was clear that no other angel was willing to join their rebellion. Then, God destroyed the universe of that time with a universal deluge. This is the state in which we find things in Genesis 1:2.

This is the first result of creature free will. Satan and a third of the angels used their free will to commit high treason against the God Who made them and gave them everything good and worthy of desiring. What He did not give - His Place as God and material bodies - were things which were impossible to confer and things which were no good for His creatures to have. A material body only made life harder for those who had it - as humans later demonstrated. A material body limits its possessor's ability to perceive and experience spiritual realities. It is only after the testing phase of time when every creature has made their choice about God that material bodies will be transformed to become able to perceive and experience spiritual reality. So, the angels had an excellent deal. But it takes tremendous arrogance every time for a creature to say to the Creator, "why did you make me this way?" (Rom 9:20). And rebellion against the Creator is ever arrogance.



The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 8:25am On Dec 17, 2018
Hi.

If you have been following this thread, then you know that I make an effort to post not much later than Sunday every week. Unfortunately, I did not yesterday.

The next post will follow next Sunday. Please bear with me and continue to keep pace with the Truth.

As soon as I can, I will provide an index to the studies here as well. Please note that I often revise my previous posts for greater accuracy or clarity. It is good practice to reread them both to see those revisions and also to keep refreshing what you have learned so far.

Grace be with you.

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Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 8:07am On Jan 06, 2019
Hello everyone.

I am very sorry for the long, unannounced absence. Events and circumstances made it very difficult to post as expected. But we will carry on now.

A very happy 2019 to you all. May the Grace and Peace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit never cease from you this year.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 8:12am On Jan 06, 2019
JESUS CHRIST: THE POINT OF IT ALL III

God's Answer
The Bible calls the Lord Jesus the Wisdom of God. We have just arrived at the reason. Satan's rebellion capitalized on the apparent contradiction between God's Love and His Justice. It is good to call to mind again what Satan's position in that first Creation was. He was the Guardian of God's Holiness, the Preserver of the Memory of the Lord God's fundamental "Otherness" from the Work of His Hands. If Satan had kept in mind that God is not like His Creation although it is modeled in every detail after His Own Nature, then he would not have thought that God would necessarily have a problem reconciling both attributes of His just because Satan had a problem reconciling both.

It is the Wisdom that God showed in reconciling His Mercy and His Justice that explains how the Lord Jesus is the point of all Creation. The Lord Jesus Christ is why God can forgive sinners and still remain just in doing so. That is, because of the Lord Jesus, God can expiate rebellion against Himself, thereby demonstrating His boundless love but without in any way violating His Justice which MUST be satisfied as well. How is the Lord Jesus the reason that this is possible?

The Work of The Lord Jesus Christ
The answer to the question above is in what the Lord Jesus did. But His Work is intrinsically connected to Who He is as well. Both are a whole. What He did was possible because of Who He is uniquely. So, while we have discussed to some extent Who He is, we will still revisit those discussions in order to properly understand the Work that He did.

To begin, the Lord Jesus is God just like the Father is God and the Holy Spirit is God. Again, there is only One God. But that God is in three Persons as the Bible reveals. These Three are One God, not three Gods. And they are not three aspects or three manifestations or three ways of understanding God. Rather, they are Three Persons, Three distinct Individuals Who Are Each fully God in Their Own Right but Who Share One Being, One Essence, One Perfect Will, One Perfect Existence. There is only so far that human language and logic can go in comprehending such a thing but it is completely true even when it defies total human understanding.

The Lord Jesus is thus God. He existed as God before anything was made. He has always been. He was never created. The Bible identifies His Pre-existing Deity as The Word (John 1:1). But He assumed Humanity at a certain point in Creature History. That is, as Hebrews 10:5 puts it, He had a "body" prepared for Him. In fact, what that meant is that He had a fully perfect and true Humanity prepared for Him complete with a human body and a human spirit so that God became a Man also.

This is most important indeed. The Lord Jesus was and is forever God, blessed forever and glorified forever. As such He has always been and will always be rightly worshiped just as the Father and the Holy Spirit both are as well. But He also became a true Human Being so that He can also be treated in every way that a human being can and should be treated. This is how He was able to take responsibility for the sins of all mankind. As God, He could only be mankind's Judge. That is, human beings had nothing in common with Him and could only fear His terrible and awesome judgment upon their rebellion. But when He became a Man just like any other human being, He became one of us although He did not share in our rebellion. In other words, our fear was something that He could identify with even if not share in. It was now His Own brothers and sisters who were standing condemned before Him. These were not just rebellious creatures anymore, rather, they were His very Own Family. And just as each human being has a certain feeling of responsibility for other human beings, now, so did He Himself.

Now, at this point, it is important to remember that God instituted a law of substitution to make it possible for those who are in trouble to be delivered. An animal's blood could be shed in order to preserve the life of an offender. A relative could pay off another's debt so that they could be freed from slavery or from the threat of it (Leviticus 25:47-49). A relative can redeem another's property sold for need (Leviticus 25:25). These things were to teach us that one may redeem another if one possesses the means. Now that the Lord Jesus had become a human being in addition to His Deity, He had become our "relative". Thus, He possessed the right to redeem His fellow humans from the just condemnation due to them for their rebellion against God. And since He was willing to, He was at total liberty to do so as well.

So, our Lord's possession of a human nature made it possible for Him to redeem every human being if He could pay the price for all of our myriad rebellions throughout human history beginning with Adam's and Eve's disobedience in the Eden of that time to the very last sin committed by the last human being to ever live and sin. So, the question is, could anybody actually pay such a price? What, in fact, is the price for sin? What can anyone do to expiate sin against a Holy and Just God?

[7]Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God.
[8]Redemption does not come so easily,
[9]for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.
Psalms 49:7-9 NLT

Sin is treason against God. Treason is an expression of a wish to rid oneself of a king's existence or influence. That is, the goal of treason is to be free of a king's authority. Where the king's death is possible, treason aims at achieving it. Since God cannot die, sin is really an effort to take over God's Creation and remove Him from it. The reasonable answer for this is an absolute separation of the sinner from God and from all His Good Gifts. This is a situation of true Death since God is Life and apart from Him there is no Life and nothing good at all, just bare, intolerable existence. To atone for sin then, one must suffer, at least, the loss of God's Friendship or Fellowship as well as His Good Gifts. That is, the person atoning must have a right to these things in order to be really and truly giving them up. But no man possesses such a right since every human being has always sinned. Even were there any righteous man at all:

[14]even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves," declares the Lord God.
[16]though these three men were in its midst, as I live," declares the Lord God, "they could not deliver either their sons or their daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the country would be desolate.
Ezekiel 14:14,16 NASB

The above is because human beings only possess righteousness in God's Eyes as a Gift. No one is by their own selves free of the stain of sin.

This is why the Lord Jesus Christ is so unique. He is the Only Human Being Who was ever completely perfect in every respect.

[35]And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:35 KJV

[15]For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 NASB

Thus, the Lord God put on a perfect human body and suffered severe testing to prove the true character of His human nature. This testing proved that He was qualified to pay for all human rebellion since He was the Only Human Being Who possessed by right God's Friendship and full rights to all His Good Things. This is the Wisdom of God which Satan failed to account for. He did not account for God's Deity in His Plans. That is, he failed to appreciate that a creature cannot plumb the depths of God's Wisdom no matter how wise they themselves are. Satan may have been the touchstone of perfection but God was the One Who made him so and thus must be Perfection itself. Satan may have been full of wisdom but it was God Who filled him with it and thus must Himself be Wisdom itself. There could never be any comparison between God and any creature however great that creature may be. This is why the Scripture can say:

[19]For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside."
[20]Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
[24]but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
[25]Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:19-20,24-25 NASB

[7]but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
[8]the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory
1 Corinthians 2:7-8 NASB

The Lord Jesus is God's Way of reconciling His Mercy and His Justice. In that reconciliation, the whole Creation was saved from the damage of creature rebellion. This was what Satan thought was impossible. And as we see in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 which is quoted above, if he knew what God could do, he would not have had the Lord Jesus Christ crucified. In that act, he sealed his fate and that of all rebels against God. The war ended effectively with the Cross. With the Cross, God was free to forgive sinners without violating His Justice.

What The Cross Is
If the rulers of this age has understood God's Wisdom, they would not have crucified the Lord Jesus. But they did not, so they did. But what is the Cross really?

On the one hand, it was the instrument of torture and capital punishment used by the Romans to maintain their fearsome hold on their foreign holdings. The Lord Jesus was unjustly condemned to death on a cross. His physical torture and death was terrible and, since He was utterly perfect in character as well, unjust in the extreme so that the emotional anguish was equally great. Thus it was one more of His Multitude Tests since it was for these wicked people that He was to die and could He suffer for them willingly with an embittered heart? But that is not all the Cross was.

The Cross was also where the Lord Jesus took responsibility for every last human sin ever committed, being committed or will ever be committed. He accepted divine judgment for every such sin and therefore freed every human being by default from any responsibility to God for them. Every human rebellion, every human treason is thus paid for. But this was a completely spiritual affair. It was a different event from the physical torture and death that occurred at Calvary as well as was already said above.

In the three hours of darkness that happened at that time, the Lord Jesus laid down His spiritual life in exchange for the lives of all human sinners. He suffered the full punishment of all human transgression against God so that human rebels could be reconciled to God. As a human, He qualified to be a substitute for all human beings. As a perfect human being, He had no personal sins of His Own to disqualify Him from answering for other human beings. As a perfectly tested human being who affirmed His Devotion to God without wavering so that He had no sin at all of His Own, He had gained every right to God's Goodwill and His Good Gifts and thus had these things to give up for the sake of His sinful fellow humans.

[28]After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, "I am thirsty."
[30]Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
John 19:28,30 NASB

The Cross is therefore eternal in nature. It is the foundation of Creation. Creation would not have been possible at all without it. If the Lord God had not decreed before ever creating anything that the Cross would happen, there would have been no solution to creature rebellion. Because God already prepared a solution to the evil that would result from creature possession of a god-like free will, He went on to create everything and work it all out to lead to the Cross. The Cross is the convergence of all the ages. Angelic rebellion was summarily dismissed in it. Human rebellion was pardoned by it so that every repentant rebel could be saved. And God's Eternal Goal in creation was guaranteed by it.

It should be kept in mind that the Infinity of God makes it impossible to fully comprehend sin and the Work of Christ to expiate it. This is because everything that touches on God is necessarily infinite in nature. Any transgression against God is by nature eternal in ramification. The expiation of such a transgression would be the same essentially. Therefore, the Cross is a far bigger thing than even the material universe. The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is greater than any human or angelic mind can conceive and certainly no human language can fully explain it. Still, we know enough from the Bible to appreciate that the Lord Jesus paid for every single human sin in human history from the first in the Garden of Eden to the last to be committed before human history is brought to an end and eternity begins.

The Issue of Sin And Judgment
This means that sin is no longer the issue between man and God. Because sin has been paid for by the Lord Jesus, the issue is each individual human being's attitude toward Him. The judgment that is left is one that differentiates between believers in Christ Jesus and unbelievers. Those who believe in Him have accepted His incredible Gift and been reconciled to God as a result without every sin they commit after that forgiven upon confession. Those who do not believe in Him either reject the Gift or refuse to accept It so that they are never reconciled to God and must therefore spend eternity in the Lake of Fire in anguish separated from the God that they hate.

Because also the Lord Jesus took responsibility for all human sinners and suffered divine judgment for it all from the Father, He has also been given the right to judge all humans.

[22]For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,
[27]and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
[30]"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 5:22,27,30 NASB

This is why the Judgments of the Tribulation and the Second Advent including the Judgment of the Church, the Millennium and the Judgment of the Great White Throne are all called by the Lord Jesus and administered by Him both through the agency of angels. Even the Church is governed by His Judgments during the Church Age, for example,

[20]But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
[21]I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
[22]Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.
[23]And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
Revelation 2:20-23 NASB

Conclusion
In short, the Lord Jesus is why a universe like what we see is possible. Creature free will was made possible since the evil that resulted would be more than sufficiently answered by the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. The Divine Goal of a family of willing, god-like creatures who will spend eternity with the Lord God in a perfect creation was guaranteed by the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus because it made possible a separation between a full number of sanctified children of God on the one hand and rebels on the other.

Thus we come to the end of this overview of the importance and centrality of the Lord Jesus to the Plan of God. In it we have touched on a number of subjects that with the Lord's Gracious Help we will explore in the future.

Grace be with you.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by pressplay411(m): 10:04pm On Jan 06, 2019
This is deep and comprehensive.
I hope to peruse all and digest soon.
Thank you for your stewardship sir.

Grace and Light multiplied in you and through you to the world.

1 Like

Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 11:14pm On Jan 06, 2019
pressplay411:
This is deep and comprehensive.
I hope to peruse all and digest soon.
Thank you for your stewardship sir.

Grace and Light multiplied in you and through you to the world.
Thank you for your kind words. You are certainly welcome to all the studies on the thread.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 6:42am On Jan 13, 2019
THE BEGINNING I: Overview

Our concern with exploring the beginning of all things is to come to learn Who God is relative to the Creation He made, what His Eternal Plan is and how it was set in motion. It is also to understand the nature of the Creation He made and of the moral creatures whose history God's Plan is all about. Finally, we will learn what the Destiny of Creation is and why it matters so greatly to our Faith.

God pre-existed all things. He was never created (Isaiah 44:6; see also Acts 17:24-28; Isaiah 45:5-23; Hebrews 1:10-12)

[2]Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalms 90:2 NASB

What God is in Substance is completely different from the Creation He made. As He told Moses (Exodus 3:14), He is Who/What He is and will be Who/What He Will Be. That means that His Existence is entirely dependent on Himself alone. He is not and cannot be dictated to or affected by factors external to Him. The crucial thing that this teaches is that He is not in any way subject to His Creation or to the factors to which it is subject.

When God, therefore, made Creation, it was not for any lack in Himself or to fulfill any need He may have acquired. He did it only because He wanted to. He also worked out every single detail of Creation from its beginning to eternity. This is what we refer to as His Plan. This is really what God's Sovereignty over Creation is about and how the Destiny of Creation is guaranteed.

That Plan was actually set in motion. That is, the Universe was created along with the moral creatures who are the key players in it. First, the angels were created. Then mankind was. These creatures are called "moral" because of a unique characteristic that they possess that enables them to either submit to the Lord God or to rebel against Him. This characteristic, the very Image of God, is commonly referred to as Free Will and is really what characterizes the entire Creation. The Plan of God is demonstrated for the Brilliant, Unassailable Device that it is through God's Answer to creature use of Free Will. That is, not only was the Universe created, all events in it were empowered by God so that His Plan would be realized in full.

Creature History is thus the unfolding of this Plan. Through it we learn the nature of creation and its destiny. Creature History is not meant to carry on without end. This is what we will learn. Although God was under no obligation to create the Universe, He did not create it with no purpose in mind. After all, His Plan must speak to a Divine Purpose. This Purpose is the point of all Creature History and the terminal point of the outworkings of God's Eternal Plan. This Destiny does lead to a great many insights about human experience in general and the Christian Walk in particular.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 7:31pm On Jan 27, 2019
THE BEGINNING II: God (Part 1)

In beginning, God...
Genesis 1:1

Introduction
In that phrase, everything that needs to be said is already said. God was the One Who began it all. Until God did, He existed "alone". His Existence is also not possible to describe in terms of creation. When God began by creating all things, He created time and space. Neither existed prior. This is important to recognizing how completely different He is in His Existence from creation. As Scripture says,

[2]Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalms 90:2 NASB

This is about as far as human language can stretch to try to appreciate God's Existence. He pre-existed creation in every respect. Time did not exist until He made it, neither did space.

But what is God? Who is God? Why did He bother to create anything? These are questions that are not far from our minds when we contemplate creation. They are also questions which should inspire humility in our hearts because of the incredible vastness and greatness of creation. The God Who could make such a thing must be awesome indeed. He must be One to fear and revere. The answers then must be approached in the same spirit of humility.

What Is God?
[14]God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
Exodus 3:14 NASB

This Answer of God's to Moses is the clearest answer as to how God may be defined. God is really that which IS in a way that nothing but itself can define. That is, while we can say, in a manner of speaking, that creation exists, God is really existence itself. He simply IS. There is no way to define Him without referring back to Him. He is that which exists as it pleases. That is the true definition of God. God cannot be affected or assailed by anything. He is what He is pleased to be, not whatever any situation or any other thing or being may be pleased or able to make Him. So, God says to Moses, "I Am Who I Am" or "I Will Be What I Will Be".

God is thus the self-existing One.

What we can see immediately from this definition is that God is characterized supremely by His Will. That is, what makes God God is His Utter Sovereignty over Himself. He is what He is irrespective of anything else.

How is God identified however? That is, any number of things may be claimed to be self-existent and there are many such claims (1 Corinthians 8:5). What then are the characteristics or attributes of a True God or of self-existence by which such claims may be reasonably judged?

There are two broad characteristics of God:

1. Infinity of nature;

2. Perfection of character.

These two things are immutable. They are perfectly stable but each for a different reason. God by definition is infinite in nature. But His Character is a matter of Who God chooses to be. Self-existence already means an existence subject to nothing but the Will of the Being itself. Therefore, the real question is whether the Being would be whimsical or whether they would choose to be defined in some specific way. Being God means that there is no Authority to Whom God is responsible to answer. So, He can be any kind of God He wants. He can be cruel and destructive. Or He can be loving and just. It is entirely up to Him.

This is why we are given assurances by Him that He does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17). His Character is stable and immutable because that is Who He Is. He is neither compelled nor enticed. Who He is is Who He is pleased to be.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Ihedinobi3: 8:35pm On Feb 10, 2019
Hi everyone who is following this thread.

Please bear with the slow-up in posting here. This new series requires more work than I anticipated so I will be taking a little time with it. In the meantime, please read from https://ichthys.com and continue to check in at my other threads.

Grace be with you.
Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by Nobody: 2:11pm On Sep 25, 2019
[quote author=Ihedinobi3 post=73697244][/quote]
I have never seen the chasm between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 so aptly and accurately described in light of Scripture!

God bless you Sir. Do you have a meeting place where you teach/fellowship with the brethren? I'd love to stop by.

No doubt, you possess a sound knowledge of Scripture. Hallelujah.
Grace be multiplied unto you.

1 Like

Re: For Believers: Bible Studies For Spiritual Growth by ichuka(m): 7:33pm On Sep 25, 2019
Hi bro
It's a beautiful thread,but it has to be lively
I saw these thread like 2months back.
You need to be stable.
Thanks

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